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Chapter 45 - What Could Go Wrong[]

25 September 3041
Inner End (Federated Commonwealth)

"Yeah, I know it makes no sense to you that I am taking Master Sergeant Caldwell and we are booking passage on another DropShip to Valasha. But look at it this way Chief Zuniga, you can continue your work, everyone can be basically loaded up and ready to go when I give the word. It is a lot cheaper just us two going over than taking the entire mission force. Especially if they tell us a flat-out no." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

"It still looks stupid. Hell, it makes me look as though I cannot keep our own ships running right." Chief Vincent Zuniga replied

"Maybe to an outsider, but no one in this unit thinks that. Your working miracles. We will be leaving tonight, in about 3 hours actually. Catching that Mule over there, it's heading to Valasha to pick a load of iron ore. For the two of us, it is costing a whopping 2,000 C-Bills. One way. How much you think it would cost us to ride our own ships over there?" Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

"Hell of a lot more than that. Okay, well then you two watch your butts. Why not take, Ms. Hammel? Figured she would want to go." Chief Zuniga asked

"I asked. She said she would accompany the mission; plus said she is trying to secure some special mission equipment and personnel. Whatever that means." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

31 September 3041
Valasha (Outworlds Alliance)

Leftenant Colonel David Mitchell cursed as the biting wind cut right thru his coat. "Son of a bitch, it's cold here." Having landed just 3 hours ago at the planets primary Space Port. With an average surface temp of 14 C, Valasha was a cold world, even colder than Tharkad.

"Tell me about it. We get this mission, I am either staying on the Dropship or living inside my suit of armor." Master Sergeant Caldwell replied, carefully leaning so that the wind would not cause him to slip on any stray ice patches.

"Just a little further and we should find the Government building." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

They had walked about 4 miles to from where the local bus line had dropped them off, having boarded at the Space Port. They rounded the corner, and the buildings suddenly blocked the wind. "Much better, at least the wind is not directly on us. There it is." Master Sergeant Caldwell replied. The Government building was a massive sprawling building.

Entering, they studied the placard listing the different departments and such. "Got any idea what department we should try to see?" Leftenant Colonel Mitchell asked

"Well, we could try prospecting permits. It sort of covers what we are doing. Or we could go right to the top and try to see the Planetary Governor." Master Sergeant Caldwell replied tapping the top line of the placard.

"Right to the top. Works for me." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said, trudging off down a long corridor. It took them 45 minutes to finally locate the large glass frontage of the Planetary Governor Office. Entering, Leftenant Colonel Mitchell walked up to the receptionist. When she finally looked up, he said.

"Leftenant Colonel Mitchell of Search and Recovery Inc. We need to speak to the Governor."

"Governor is not seeing anyone without an appointment. I am sure you do not have an appointment." She said, looking them both up and down, a sneer on her face.

"Okay, how about this. We see the Governor, or you can explain to him why he did not have advance notice of an invasion." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell snarled

A brief look of terror flashed across her face, and she shot out of her seat and rushed off deeper into the large office. He shared a look with Master Sergeant Caldwell, who just shrugged "Pencil pushers. Either way, we should get some attention real soon."

Footsteps pounded down the hall where the receptionist had vanished down. A man wearing a suit, flanked by the receptionist on one side and a man wearing a uniform on the other. Reaching the receptionist desk, the suit asked "Governor Ulman. What is this about an invasion?"

"Leftenant Colonel Mitchell, Search and Recovery Inc. About the invasion, well that is what you would call it if I did not ask permission first, Sir."

"Permission for what? You have me confused." Governor Ulman replied

"I would like to bring my unit here and do some looking around on the continent Menard." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

"Menard is a radioactive waste land. Has been for centuries. No one goes to Menard." Governor Ulman replied

"We would like to give it a try, Sir. We just want to get your permission first. For our bona fides, we have done work with Adam Pallas and Susan Long prior to this. It was a very profitable endeavor for everyone involved." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

"You have done work with Adam Pallas, Alliance Industries Diversified?" Governor Ulman replied

"Yes sir. Feel free to contact him or Ms. Long. David Mitchell is my name. If you could direct us to a good hotel, we would gladly wait for your call, sir." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

"Grand Manor, across the square. Best in the capital. Expensive. I am going to contact them. You better not be wasting my time. I will be in contact." Governor Ulman replied

"Thank you, sir. That is all that I ask. We will be waiting on your call." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said

4 October 3041

The call came via a hard knock on the door. Master Sergeant Caldwell carefully peeked thru the peephole before unlocking the door revealing Governor Ulman standing in the hallway. "Care to come in, Governor Ulman? We just got our breakfast and coffee delivered."

Entering, Governor Ulman followed Master Sergeant Caldwell into the large suite. Leftenant Colonel Mitchell was sitting at the table, only one hand visible holding a cup of coffee. The other was alongside his leg holding his Hold Out Needler. "Governor Ulman, please have a seat. Pour some coffee for yourself."

Taking a seat, Governor Ulman said "You checked out. You have done work with Pallas and Ms. Long. She would not say in what way you have done business."

"We find things and try to find a new home for them. Simple as that. For a fee." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"And you expect me to pay you to go look around Menard?" Governor Ulman asked

"No, Sir. That is all our idea. We are doing that at our own expense. But if we find anything of value, your the first person we are coming to see." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"I might be Planetary Governor, but that does not make me a rich man." Governor Ulman said

"Maybe not, but you can contact people that might be interested in what we might find. You know a lot of people." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"How long do you expect to be on Menard? I already told you it is radioactive. You would be doing so at your own risk, do you understand?" Governor Ulman said

"As long as it takes, Sir. Yes, Sir, we have informed that it could be dangerous. So we are willing to accept the risk." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"Very well. Ms. Long says you can be trusted to keep your word on any deal struck. So, I will take your word that you will inform me of any discoveries you might find." Governor Ulman said

8 October 3041

"My god Quintus, you look like crap?" First Prince Hanse Davion said when his friend entered his office.

"I am getting much too old for any sort of Command Circuit. Those last four jumps were the worst." Quintus Allard replied while slumping onto the couch.

"Justin filled me in on what you were doing. You learn anything useful or waste of time?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked while fixing himself and Quintus a drink at the well stocked bar.

"Very useful. I issued them a contract in your name. Pirate Hunting, but do not expect any pirate hunting, unless they trip over pirates while hunting." Quintus Allard replied while accepting the drink.

"Okay, that was confusing as hell. How about filling in the blanks some." First Prince Hanse Davion said while taking a seat across from his friend.

"They were gone when I arrived, well half of the group anyway. Before Leftenant Colonel Mitchell returned, I got to speak to Sergeant Major Pullman. He was quite informative. Even though I had taken the liberty of arming myself with additional information before heading out there. He left some details out, but he was not lying to me. When Leftenant Colonel Mitchell returned, they had recovered a Titan Dropship. Fighter Carrier from the Star League Defense Force. Slightly bigger than a Vengeance, carries half the number of fighters but three times the cargo. Anyway, seems Leftenant Colonel Mitchell was once a Captain on Breed in the AFFS. Got passed over for promotion to Major three times, pissed him off. Rightly so, I have read the award right ups that got shot down. Well, he came into possession of some data drives, tried to give them to someone from the NAIS and was told to take a hike basically."

"Those data drives contain information that have so far led them to rediscover a Germanium deposit, which they sold to Alliance Industries Diversified but also the Titan Dropship. They also found some Aerospace Fighters, seems some Rapier and some Samurai. Sold those back to Bauer Enterprises and Fairchild Dornier. Commodore Noble, the groups air wing commander, gave a write up to me on the Samurai. Plus, some changes he suggested. Fairchild Dornier lost their factory on Mizar back in 2774. You really should see about backing the rebuilding of that factory and get that Samurai back into production."

"Seems that when Captain Mitchell resigned his commission, the people in his Battalion thought so much of him that as their enlistments came up for renewal, they opted to join him. Jumped right out into the dark without a safety net, on a hunch that maybe, just maybe they would find something. That is a bunch of trust. They recruited, on the low down, AFFS personnel as they were getting out anyway. Seems Command Sergeant Major Vernon Grimes knows their Sergeant Major Pullman. Helped direct good people to well-paying job openings with them. Normally I would suggest we squash something like that, but in this instance, I think we should let it continue, maybe even prod it along. They need an influx of skilled people in the worst way." Quintus Allard explained

"So, this former Captain got screwed over for promotion, tried to give what he found to the NAIS who told him to keep it. Gutted one of my Battalions, played the system to recruit people, found a damned Germanium deposit and sold it to another nation, found a long extinct Dropship, advanced equipment and you want to keep supporting this? I should have the Rabid Foxes pay them a visit." First Prince Hanse Davion said in frustration.

"We get first purchase rights on anything else they find. At fair market value. Plus, they already defeated a ROM strike team, and recovered 3 of those fancy suits those ROM boys wear. The NAIS is already playing with them, adding them to the very few we already had." Quintus Allard added

"Damn Quintus, your getting soft or older than I thought. Back in the day, you would have returned with scalps, those data drives, the Dropship and this Mitchell's head on a pike." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"Maybe I am getting soft, but I have not lost my mind. They get to do all the heavy lifting and work. They have already attracted ROM's attention, which could possibly distract ROM enough so that we gain ground somewhere else. All we have to do is pay salaries for their contract, and shell out for anything they find that we actually want. It's not that different than Snord's band of treasure hunters." Quintus Allard replied

Snorting, First Prince Hanse Davion downed the rest of his drink before speaking "Okay, Quintus. Your obviously bored and want a new project. Run with it. I will talk to Melissa about Fairchild Dornier and their factory. That is going to be expensive and maybe a hard sell. But you can have your own pet treasure hunting group to play with. You never trusted Snord anyway, did you?"

"Thank you, Hanse. There are things I have never been able to quite figure out about Snord and his people. I do not like things that I cannot figure out. I am still waiting on that Outreach mission you gave them to backfire on us some day." Quintus Allard replied

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