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Chapter 88 - What Could Go Wrong[]

13 March 3042
New Avalon (Federated Commonwealth, FedSuns State Capital)

The message was delivered to Quintus Allard just 16 hours after its arrival at Inner End. A quick scan of the message told him all he needed to know. He slipped the slip into his pocket and wandered over to First Prince Hanse Davion's office, waving at his secretary as he passed into the open office. "They are on the way back, Hanse. Two weeks and we will see what they have found."

Looking up from the never ending paperwork First Prince Hanse Davion smiled at his old friend "I guess you want to go meet them and see for yourself."

Taking a seat in front of the large desk, Quintus Allard gestured at the small mountain of paperwork sitting on the desk "Care to get away from all that for a couple days and join me?".

"Don't tempt me with a good time old friend. Couple of days huh? Command Circuit? Thought you said your getting too old for the multiple rapid jumps?" First Prince Hanse Davion replied.

"I am. But if you go, well, I won't be tempted to take a much slower pace and getting yelled at by Tamara for being gone so long. Besides, when was the last time you made a visit way out on the Periphery's edge?" Quintus Allard asked

"Too long, way too long actually. You know what, the hell with it, it will be good to get out of this office for a bit. Sure, we will make a trip to Inner End and see what your treasure hunters found. See if they can top Snord's group." First Prince Hanse Davion said with a slap on his desktop.

"They are just getting started. Sure, in 3024 Snord found a SLDF Dropship that the Lyrans tore apart for salvage. Funny how all the Battlemechs that he gave the Lyrans were all "damaged", missing weapons, electronics and such. Then they found that "empty" cache in 3028 on Volders. Yeah, that is not suspicious at all. At least my group is openly giving us first dibs on anything going up for sale. They openly state that they might very well keep what they find. Snord does not do that, never has." Quintus Allard replied making air quotes as he spoke.

"I will bet you a bottle of Glengarry Black Label that their find, while impressive to them, is not that spectacular to either of us." First Prince Hanse Davion said with a smile.

"Why be cheap? You afraid of losing? Make it a case and we will not count the orbital station we already have been told about." Quintus Allard countered before asking "Have you made a decision about that?"

"Case it is then. Yes, I already have a meeting scheduled with our Project Lead from Challenge Systems in two days. They need the cash anyway, after selling their Challenge Yards at Galax to Federated Boeing in 3037. They don't produce enough Monolith Jumpships from Panpour to stay afloat, that's why we use them to maintain the few special ships we have stashed. Maybe we take her along to Inner End and she can ask them herself about what they found." First Prince Hanse Davion said

Standing back up, Quintus Allard said "I will leave you to your paperwork. You can handle the travel arrangements also. I need to go send a message anyway."

16 March 3042
Waitur (Former Outworlds System)

"There is the reply to that message. Guess you can tell the Colonel to expect Agent Hammel to come calling on him soon." The sensor officer said

Ship Master Sarah Campbell thought for a second "No, we better not tip them off that we figured out how to track their secret communications. That is the Colonel's job. Better that he does not know she might be coming to see him."


To: Hammel, Special
From: Inner End

Reply from QA. Message received. Relay to CO that security of items trumps all other concerns. Also, look forward to seeing items in person.


"Good morning, Jessica. Join me?" Leftenant Colonel David Mitchell said gesturing to a seat at his small table.

"Got a reply. Security is top priority, and he says he looks forward to seeing your find in person." Agent Jessica Hammel replied still standing.

Yeah, time to get with Allard if he meets us and get a new Liaison Officer, he thought before saying "That opens the door some. You do not approve?"

"I just think your overreacting and being paranoid. Your troops and even you tend to come down pretty heavy handed. No subtlety at all." Agent Hammel said

"Subtle does not mix well with military affairs, Jessica. Your boss seems to agree with my assessment. So, until our salvage is delivered, I will have my people assume control over the civilian ships. They will crew and operate them, but under our control. Simple as that." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"I am going to transfer to the civilian Merchant Jumpship to monitor what happens aboard those ships. Make sure your troops behave themselves." Agent Jessica Hammel said.

"Do not interfere in my operation Jessica. No one will be harmed unless they attempt to resist my orders. I have full command rights per my contract, your just my Liaison Officer. Even AFFS and AFFC regulations allow the military to assume control of civilian shipping during military operations when it is deemed vital to a mission's success. Your very own words, Allard says that security of our salvage is top priority. So, per AFFS regulations, as the Commanding Officer of this operation, I am assuming control of those civilian ships until our mission is complete. By force if necessary." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell said, tossing down the gauntlet. Her attitude had finally gotten too much for him.

"Make sure your people do not break a law, Colonel Mitchell. I will be watching." Agent Hammel said as she turned away to leave.

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