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Chapter 8 - What Could Go Wrong[]

6 January 3040
Breed (Federated Commonwealth)

With the new year over with, word spread through the Battalion like a wildfire about his resignation. Both Corporal Nathan Davis and Master Sergeant Harry Caldwell wasted no time beating down his door upon their arrival back on base. When Captain David Mitchell opened the door, both pushed past him into his quarters.

"What the hell, sir? We come back and find out you have turned in your resignation?" Master Sergeant Caldwell said

"Yeah, you're not ditching us are you, sir?" Corporal Davis asked

"No, I am not ditching either of you. Go grab a beer for both of you and grab a seat." Captain Mitchell replied

After both had sat down and opened their beers, he started explaining. "Once the NAIS jackass blew me off, I knew I had to get the ball rolling. That I have some info is now out in the open. It is now or never. So, I have 2 months of leave saved up. I already talked to Personnel and Major Davion was not bullshitting about pushing it thru quick. So, by 1 April I will be out. I already booked an expensive ass ticket to Sevon in the Outworlds Alliance. I will get there in 43 days instead of 118 days. I will be making a bunch of transfers catching different jumpships."

"What the hell is on Sevon?" Master Sergeant Caldwell asked

"Alliance Mining and Geology. I am going to try and get a meeting with the CEO. Maybe they will be interested in a nice Germanium find in their own backyard. Maybe I can get them to help foot the exploration bill, for a nice finder's fee for us. Davis, you have 7 months on your enlistment. Hopefully, I will have all the groundwork laid before you get out. Either way, I will pay for the trip to link up if I need to. That leaves you Master Sergeant Caldwell." Captain Mitchell said

"I have 21 years in, sir. I can put my retirement papers in today. Figure in 3 months, I can head out with you. With that information, I don't think you should be riding solo. If you can arrange another ticket, I can pay for it, but not much more than that." Master Sergeant Caldwell replied

"Glad you said that, you owe me 27,000 C-Bills." Captain Mitchell said as he handed over the ticket.

"Sweet Jesus, that is expensive. I might owe you, Captain." Master Sergeant Caldwell replied taking the ticket

"I figured as much. We are going to need more people. People we can trust and preferably know. Davis, you and the Master Sergeant start looking around, but for God sakes, no mention of what we are up to. Just that we have a business opportunity. If I can get Alliance Mining on board, I will try and get them to foot the bill for express tickets for everyone you guys' recruit." Captain Mitchell said

"Sir, how many people? I ask because all I have heard is grumbling about your leaving since I got back on base. I can honestly say that most of the Battalion will follow you into hell." Corporal Davis said

"Not sure I can get anyone to pay for 400 tickets. So only pick the very best to tell. Make sure anyone and everyone understands, word gets out, they slip of the tongue, they are out in the cold. No job. We all on the same page?" Captain Mitchell asked

Both Corporal Davis and Master Sergeant Caldwell nodded in agreement.

18 January 3040

A knock at the door brought Captain David Mitchell to his feet. Opening the door, he saw a grinning Master Sergeant Caldwell, he waved him inside and closed the door. "What has you all happy go lucky, Caldwell?"

"Let us just say that Major Davion is dumber than we thought." Master Sergeant Caldwell replied heading for the fridge and grabbing a couple beers.

"Help yourself. What has he done now?" Captain Mitchell replied sitting back down on his small sofa.

"Seems he submitted the paperwork to write off some of our vehicles and equipment as combat losses back in December. That paperwork has been approved and the vehicles and stuff no longer show on the Battalion inventory. Rumor has it, he was going to sell them off on the open market, at a discount." Master Sergeant Caldwell said

"Okay, and that is good news how?" Captain Mitchell asked, sipping his beer.

"Well, those vehicles are no longer on the base. I even have copies of the combat loss, dispose of as scrap orders. Since he wrote them off as combat losses, he cannot report them stolen or missing. Seems that equipment is also no longer on the base at all." Master Sergeant Caldwell said, taking a long pull on his beer and obviously proud of himself.

"Exactly what was written off and where is at then?" Captain Mitchell asked, now paying a little closer attention.

"Sitting in a warehouse, owned by a friend of mine, real close to the space port. Seems our corrupt leader wrote off 6 Heavy Track APCs, 2 Hunter Light Support Tanks, enough small arms and equipment to equip the entire Battalion from scratch. Our Major Davion checked the wrong boxes, he reported it all as destroyed or so heavily damaged as to be only fit for scrap. Plus, me and a few friends visited a few of those caches you created during the fighting, we have all that ammunition stored as well." Master Sergeant Caldwell replied, finishing his beer with a loud burp and opening another one.

"Who is this friend of yours?" Captain Mitchell asked, now fully alert and interested.

"Oh, no one really important. Just the head of Customs and Cargo operations at the space port. And before you ask, I have 9 mechanics on board. They helped me move our new inventory. I even managed to convince old Sergeant Major Pullman to join us. You know of him, he just retired before the fighting. I could think of no one better to help keep control of this rag muffin expedition we are creating. Davis is up to 22 people, all from your company and due to get out around same time as Davis. Seems Davis hacked the personnel database, he knows when everyone is getting out and is working off that list, being very selective in who he talks to. He's a good troop." Master Sergeant Caldwell said.

"Sergeant Major Pullman, he was 2nd Battalions Sergeant Major. Tough crusty NCO. Put the fear of God in everyone, from Battalion commanders on down. He is as solid as they come, but I never worked with him personally. How do you know him so well?" Captain Mitchell asked

"Me and Pullman go way back. Before I transferred to 1st Battalion, I was in 2nd Battalion as a mechanic. I fixed many a jeep that the Sergeant Major banged up after a few too many to drink on the down low and off the radar. How do you think I made Master Sergeant? I have been busted down 3 times before I made Sergeant. Seems having old Pullman in your back pocket is a good thing. I don't think there is an enlisted person on this entire planet that does not owe that man a favor. And probably half the officers owe him too." Master Sergeant Caldwell said

"Okay, so now we have a rough platoon of people in addition to APC's and equipment. Transport might get very expensive really quick." Captain Mitchell replied

"Yeah, I mentioned that to Pullman, he just snorted and told me that when the time comes, what we need will be where we need it to be, when we need it there. I believe him too." Master Sergeant Caldwell said

Author's Note
Captain Mitchell is/was part of the 33rd Breed Mechanized Infantry Regiment (That is what I am calling it anyway.) There is a Battlemech Battalion as part of the planet militia. A regular AFFS line Infantry Regiment, part of the large conventional garrison on Breed. They fought a delaying/defensive/guerrilla war against the DCMS invaders during their "invasion" of Breed. While some Regiments took up to 80% casualties trying a standup fight against the DCMS, the 33rd did not and only took 30% casualties roughly but inflicted losses on the DCMS invaders.

Very end of War of 3039, Breed attacked by DCMS (15 July - 4 November) with the 3rd Ghost and 2 Battalion of 4th Ghost. AFFS had following on planet:

2nd Robinson Rangers
2nd NAIS Cadet Cadre
Ten conventional regiments
Reinforcements (1 Nov)
1st Robinson Rangers RCT
2nd Robinson Rangers

Most of the Battlemech elements had left planet on 30 July for Robinson, only to return later. 2nd NAIS took 60% losses. 3rd Ghost was effectively destroyed while 4th Ghost took 40% casualties and withdrew 7 August.

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