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Chapter 77 - What Could Go Wrong[]

7 January 3042
Inner End (Federated Commonwealth)

Sergeant Major Chester Pullman took stock of everyone that had arrived from a sealed trunk that had been in the Condor Dropship's cargo bay. Inside, it held small personnel folders on each person that had arrived. Though not extensive, they did hit the highlights or in some cases the pitfalls of a person's career in the AFFS. He had glanced at several of the folders, but his main focus was on identifying any further shortfalls, which was hard to do simply by the fact that Allard had told him that further personnel were already on the way. So, he mainly focused on listing exactly what had arrived.

Mechwarrior - 13
Aerospace Pilot - 11
Armor Crew - 180
Infantry - 112
Engineers - 4
Senior Mechanics - 9
Mechanics - 19
Senior BM Techs - 7
BM Techs - 26
Senior AS Techs - 7
AS Techs - 30
Dropship Pilot - 4
Dropship Engineer - 2
Dropship Crew - 14

Down in the large Hanger, the newly arrived Aerospace Techs were going over their new charges, six RPR-101 Rapier and four HCT-213R Hellcat, though having ten fighters instead of six brightened the mood for most of the new pilots, but it still meant that one pilot did not have a ride. The senior techs spent time learning all they could on their new fighters. All were surprised to learn that the Rapier were all equipped with Double Heat Sinks, which was extremely new technology just beginning mass production. Each Rapier was equipped with 20 of the rare heat sinks. Studying the maintenance records revealed very little, as far as they could tell, outside of test flights, none of these fighters had ever flown before. It even clearly stated that they had been crated at Fairchild Dornier factory on Mizar in 4/2764. The next entry had been when assembled here on Inner End. It was the same for the two of the Hellcats, but the other two Hellcats had extensive maintenance records, until 3/2766 anyway, then a huge gap until here on Inner End.

The pilots mainly watched the technicians crawling over the fighters or stood looking at the lone Aerospace fighters that none of them could recognize or identify. It was sitting on maintenance stands, it's wheels not touching the floor of the hanger. The engine had been pulled and was on a separate maintenance stand. Whatever this fighter was, it had seen some serious action, the battle scars were obvious. "It's a Samurai, but not a SL-25. This is a SL-26. That engine is a 250 XL, I only know because I looked at it this morning before you even got out of bed. I did not even know XL engines for Aerospace fighters existed." Master Sergeant Oscar Gonzalez said walking up the small gathering of pilots.

"How do you know what it is?" Captain Ugo Ginatta asked

"Cause I am smart and can locate a data tag. Plus, they have the fighter's maintenance logs and even the manuals for every plane they have. All the manuals, I never seen such a collection of manuals. Not in my best days did any of my maintenance shops have every single manual needed for any fighter. We were always missing at least one and at the worst time. I have already taken a peek and I think this fighter can be restored to flight status with some work." Master Sergeant Gonzalez replied

"Where do you think they got all this stuff?" Captain Ginatta asked

"Well, rumor has it they salvaged it. Most of the troops back here are being a little cagey. I also heard they got attacked by someone right after bringing it back here. Not sure we are trusted yet." Master Sergeant Gonzalez replied

"Major Woodall is not a happy camper, nor are the other Mech jocks. They have zero toys to play with." Captain Ginatta said

"Well, figuring how fast we got out processed and then way out here to the boonies, they have some serious horsepower somewhere. I would bet that will change pretty quick. Plus, they have quite a stock of parts, even Ferro-Aluminum and Double Heat Sinks. I just heard about Ferro-Aluminum before I got out with all of you. Did not even know it was in production yet. They got money too, that dining facility is better than the one I ate in on New Avalon, brand spanking new too. I heard the barracks are more like apartments and every person has their own. No sharing rooms unless you want to." Master Sergeant Gonzalez replied

8 January 3042

A knock caused Sergeant Major Pullmans to look up from his desk. "Major Woodall, how can I help you?"

"A couple of things Sergeant Major. I know we just got here and all, but you have roughly a Battalion of tankers with no equipment. A company of Infantry with no equipment. I have a company of Mechwarriors without Battlemechs. Now the fighter pilots have planes, and their techs are happier than shit. But the rest of us are not too keen or used to sitting around with nothing to do." Major Woodall said

"Have a seat, Major. To be honest, your all a huge surprise to me too. I am scrambling to assemble what everyone needs. I just spent 11 million C-Bills to purchase another 8 acres to expand our compound and build you all proper housing. Four months from now, hopefully we will have you all in proper housing. We are fairly well off, but we also burn cash like there is no tomorrow. Or have been funding our current operation and refitting several Dropships prior to the current operation. I cannot snap my fingers and make equipment appear overnight. Wish I could." Sergeant Major Pullman replied

"How long do you expect your Leftenant Colonel Mitchell to be on this operation?" Major Woodall asked

"Honestly, no clue. As long as it takes. They were in a big, damned hurry when they left here beginning of December. Month, maybe two I hope." Sergeant Major Pullman replied

"Okay, its and honest answer. We are drawing a paycheck at least. The quarters suck, but cannot be helped, I guess. I will try and keep the peace until they get back, but it might not be easy. None of us are really garrison troops, we are used to either training or fighting. Sitting around with nothing to do is not something we do very well." Major Woodall said

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