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Chapter 92 - What Could Go Wrong[]

7 April 3042
Inner End (Federated Commonwealth)

Vengeance DropShip (Far orbit from a planet)

Vengeance Class Fighter Carrier DropShip, heading off.

Receiving a coded message from Adept Leon Hernandez's strike team caused the local HPG to send an abort signal to the Valkyrie. There was no sense in risking further exposure. The message reached them right before they initiated their jump. Precentor Malcom Braye order his Magellan Jumpship with the docked VengeanceClass Fighter Carrier Dropship to jump for Valasha to begin their long journey back home.

Dawn finally broke over the SaRI compound to find the fires extinguished by local fire fighters. The Kilbourne DMM was order to full alert by First Prince Hanse Davion and for the system to be sealed off. Nothing was leaving for the time being. A nonstop flow of ambulances carried away wounded to local hospitals. Medical personnel from the Kilbourne DMM were also on the scene. The dead invaders were lined up along a sidewalk inside the compound. There were 7 dead attackers in their suits, but they had taken two alive, but wounded.

The final tally of the killed and wounded had been completed and it had been a hard hit to SaRI.

92 KIA
101 WIA

Of all the losses, the loss of Captain Brackus Geovani, Alpha Company and Lieutenant Frank Gilborne, Bravo Company stung bad. Leftenant Colonel David Mitchell walked the grounds, speaking to lightly wounded, comforting those that had lost friends, checking on people he did not even know yet were part of his command. From a distance, so as to not cause a scene with his presence at the moment, First Prince Hanse Davion stood with Quintus Allard at the foot of Running Fox, his Overlord Dropship. A member of the Dropships medical team approached "He is stable, and the doctor is ready to wake him up."

"Let's go see who dared launch an attack on one of my planets, Quintus." First Prince Hanse Davion said, spinning on his heels and marching up the ramp.

In the medical bay, First Prince Hanse Davion said "Wake his sorry ass up."

The doctor administered the drug to bring the man to consciousness. It took a few minutes before the man began to move slightly. Finally, he opened his eyes slightly, just bare slits at first. Then they sprang open, and he tried to sit up only to find he was firmly strapped down. A man he recognized bent down slightly, but his foggy mind refused to put a name to the face. "Care to tell me who you are and who you work for?"

This was met with silence, even with a foggy brain, his deep training kept him silent. The man stood back up and said "First mistake was attacking my world. Second mistake was refusing to answer me. Quintus, he is all yours, get me the information I any means needed."

Chief Vincent Zuniga, who had been on his way to the surface when the attack occurred, studied the Lion Dropship with Chief Engineer Jones. It did not look good, nor did it look like an easy repair job. It could take months to get the proper equipment assembled here to lift over 7,000 tons. "Ever seen anything like that?"

"Only on a battlefield and we scrapped them in place usually." Chief Engineer Jones replied

A voice caused them to turn around "It can be righted. Going to take some special equipment to do the job." Miss Pompery said

"Who are you?" Chief Zuniga asked, on guard slightly, but she was inside the secure Space Port, so she must be friendly.

"Helen Pompery, Challenge Systems Special Project Lead." The woman said "I came in with the First Prince to evaluate the information about a derelict station. Your Chief Zuniga I presume."

"Yes, that is me. I guess that was why I was called down to the surface instead of supervising the unloading in orbit." Chief Zuniga replied

"They make a special rig for stuff like this, mainly found at ground-based Dropship manufacturers. I know Salvatore Incorporated on Layover has a couple of them. How fast they could get one out here I cannot say, nor how much it would cost. Once setup, it could lift this Dropship like it was nothing." Helen Pompery said

"Challenge Systems? You guys build Jumpships, the Monolith to be exact." Chief Zuniga replied

"Correct, but we do other things also. Quieter things for the Federated Suns." Helen Pompery said

"Well, Mrs Pompery, let's go give the Colonel the bad news." Chief Zuniga said

"It's MISS. Lead the way Chief." Helen Pompery replied

First Prince Hanse Davion decided that his presence would no longer cause a massive distraction to the recovery efforts and entered the SaRI compound searching for Leftenant Colonel Mitchell, finally finding him among the rows of his dead personnel. "I am sorry Colonel Mitchell for the losses you suffered."

"I doubt the attackers were after you, Highness. They did not hit your Dropship. You did not bring this on us." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied standing up from where he had been kneeling.

"All of these people are still loyal citizens of the Federated Suns under my protection. I feel every loss, I might not show it openly, but each loss is a tiny hole in my soul." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"I do not even know the names of most of these people. They arrived while I was gone, yet they were under my command. It just seems so wrong in so many ways." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"It is obvious that you are too exposed here on Inner End. I think I might have a way to solve your problem of safety and one of mine of needing a safe place for special work to take place. Would you care to talk about it?" First Prince Hanse Davion said

"You sort of lost me, Highness." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"Your finds have attracted the wrong sort of attention. I know Quintus already warned you after the first attack on your people. Now there has been a second one. I need a secure location, off the books if you catch my meaning, where special work can be done. Away from prying eyes. You have come into possession of a map that could possibly solve that problem of mine. I am very interested in the information you recovered on the Titan Dropship. I read the write up your Commodore Noble did for Quintus. But I fear openly building it will just invite attacks. I need a safe place, unknown to everyone, where that sort of work could be undertaken. I would also need a garrison force for that location that would not be missed. Your command fits that bill perfectly. Your a new command. Have only taken a single contract, which I am willing to release you from, pay in full, and give you a new contract but without going thru the MRB. You would have full basing rights wherever we locate a suitable system." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"Highness, I have several other operations that I already plan to undertake once we have the equipment I need. There are people out there in the Wastes that are being held in slavery. We know where they are. I cannot in good conscious delay their freedom. Plus, taking your offer would mean suspending any further missions we want to undertake." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"Nonsense. You have to locate the right place before any sort of garrison would be needed. Even then, you, and you alone will determine what size garrison and what the threat to the site is. If you still want to treasure hunt, you are free to do so. I just need the location safe and protected. We can even run multiple contracts at the same time if you want. Pirate Hunting, finding my site, Garrison, that is three contracts in less than ten seconds. Your information is obviously gold plated, not even Snords Irregulars find stuff this easily. You have made two discoveries on two attempts. You don't get no better than that. Your bound to trip over something out there that fits my needs while your doing your thing." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"I might know of one or two locations that could fit what your looking for. One is too heavily defended for us to take a stab at. At least from the intel we have managed to gather, I do not know for sure, we have not been there yet, but it is on my list of some day." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"I can definitely help with that problem. Why do you think it fits the bill?" First Prince Hanse Davion said

"One of the Pirate Jumpship Captains told me about a system that has a fully functional Olympus Recharge Station. It is the only place in the Wastes where repairs can be made to Jumpships and Dropships. He says it is the main reason Pirates love Merchant Jumpships. I have not pinned down the exact location though, but we have it narrowed down to four systems from comparing information from various captured pirates." Leftenant Colonel Mitchell replied

"A fully functional Olympus is definitely a good starting block, but Miss Pompery would be the expert on that. You pinpoint the system and I will help evict the vermin occupying the place." First Prince Hanse Davion said

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