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Chapter 49 - What Could Go Wrong[]

23 October 3041
Joshua (Former Outworlds System)

They had spent the last day and a half exploring the underground storage depot. Master Sergeant Harry Caldwell had spent a few hours reading the multitude of folders and then almost an entire day in another room reading detailed maintenance records on every vehicle stored when they were discovered. Chief Vincent Zuniga had spent hours calculating the space and weight of every item in the depot. The lack of any shipping containers severely limited his options for transporting their find to market. It took him an hour to locate Leftenant Colonel David Mitchell who was with Agent Jessica Hammel discussing what they would keep versus what they would sell.

"Colonel, we have a major problem on our hands." Chief Zuniga said causing both heads to turn and look at him.

"What sort of problem are we talking about?", Leftenant Colonel Mitchell asked

"We cannot carry a fraction of this stuff out of here. Not even close. I have done the math, twice. All that loot down there weighs 53,428 tons if we take everything. We have a total of 10,900 tons of cargo capacity, and that is only if we ditch everything, and I mean everything including food supplies. Our actual cargo capacity available right now is only 9,123 tons. Not even a fifth of what we need. Take the Mule, each cargo deck has roughly 211,000 square feet of cargo space available. They are massive. All those Merkava down there, they only occupy 22,464 square feet of space if we make them touch each other, but we don't so we will call it 35,000 square feet. Not even a fraction of the available space, but they will eat up 2/3rds of our available tonnage on the Mule. The lower cargo deck is 30 meters tall, while the upper two are 20 meters tall each. Those tanks eat up tonnage not actual space or occupy much volume."

"The Mule is a bulk carrier or was designed as such. Usually ten ton shipping containers or 100 ton shipping containers. Stacked on top of each other. To eat up the volume of space. Most of its designed cargo was going to be bulky but not overly heavy. All that stuff down there is the exact opposite, not overly bulky but heavy as hell. So, you better pick what we take carefully and might want to start thinking about how your going to hide this big ****** you folks dug or what's left might not be here when we come back another load." Chief Zuniga said

This had not even entered into Leftenant Colonel Mitchell's mind, so focused on how much the cache might fetch them on the open market. With a stunned look on his face, he turned to look at Agent Hammel. "You have any ideas on how to solve this little oversight of mine?" He asked Agent Hammel who was just as shocked as he was.

25 October 3041

Chief Zuniga's revelation brought everyone back to the reality of the situation. While Master Sergeant Caldwell supervised the various techs as they brought those vehicles and Battlemechs containing fusion reactors back to life after being shut down for almost three centuries, Master Sergeant Croyle had his engineers busy filling in the massive trenches they had dug, leaving only the side with the door open. Massive boulders were brought over and rammed into the hole the Mining Mechs had made in the outer shell of the cache before filling in the trench with rock and dirt.

Aboard the Intrusive, Intruder Assault Dropship, the rest of the Command Team huddled trying to solve this massive problem they now had. After a full day, no one had a solution. They were looking at over a year of shuttle runs back and forth to recover what they had found. Utilizing every ounce of cargo tonnage that they could. It was Corporal Tyler Crenshaw that proposed a solution while cracking a joke to his squad mates while Leftenant Colonel Mitchell was passing by without his knowledge.

"They are still racking their heads trying to figure out what to do. The old man should call up his best buddy Allard and ask for help getting all this out of here. Damned if I want to spend the next year or more playing yo yo." Corporal Crenshaw said

Leftenant Colonel Mitchell stopped dead in his tracks. "What did you say, Corporal Crenshaw?"

Spinning around so fast he almost fell over, Corporal Crenshaw snapped to attention and waited for the hammer to fall on his head. "Nothing sir, I was just being a smart ass. No offense meant, Sir."

"None taken. Now repeat what you just said." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"I said that you should call up Allard and ask for help." Corporal Crenshaw said, hoping the Colonel would forget any of the other stuff he had said.

"That is an excellent idea, Corporal Crenshaw. Excellent idea. Now, how about you grab your entrenching tool and go help Master Sergeant Croyle fill in the trenches." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied as he walked away.

Corporal Crenshaw looked at his squad mates "You think he meant what he said?" But before anyone could reply, Leftenant Colonel Mitchell's voice said, "Get to it Corporal Crenshaw, and take your squad with you."

  • Author's Note
    Square footage was calculated assuming a Merkava Mk VIII is the same size as a M1A2. I used 140 meters by 140 meters for the Mule's cargo deck, assuming the remaining 18 meters of their canon dimension of 158 meters wide, 158 meters long is piping and such around the cargo bays. Close enough for a story. Each upper cargo deck I used 130 meters by 130 meters for another 180,000 sq feet on each deck.

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