Legends and Myths Twelve

McKenzie Memorial Hospital Secure Wing
City of Landing
2103hrs (gmt+2) 5 October 3079

  In the waiting area, Colonel Tinney sat with a comm unit to hand as well as a tablet, working as he waited for his travel companion to come back out.  Major Farquharson was inside the wing, visiting with his injured daughter as she was recovering from the capture mission conducted two days prior.

  During the affair, she had attempted to escape the pursuit team and had been brought down by one of the Spectres assigned to capture her.  Never a very big woman, the weight of a power armored trooper tackling her had managed to break several ribs and some internal damage was present as a result.  The trooper who had captured her had been smart to have his camera on and recording… so how the injuries came about were documented…. And an internal review (ordered by McCoy) cleared Trooper Mercer of wrongdoing; the take down was clean.

  But Sean was still upset.  Either more over the injuries or that his daughter was working for the Word was in debate.  And Tinney, knowing the former marine like he did, figured it was about even.  In any event, he was there waiting Sean and still working at the same time… for the slow re-settlement of the Refugees was being handled carefully.  He didn’t want to just put them willy-nilly anywhere but he also didn’t want to segregate them either.

  That Governor Schaller had said she would take as many as wanted to go to Sage was a help… but integration of a society that had been separate of the Inner Sphere for so long had to be done carefully- and in places were minimal strife was possible.  And any location on world with former Clansmen would be difficult.

On a good day.

The amount of work involved over the last 72 hours had been far more complicated than expected… but the effort, he was pretty sure, would be worth it.  It had already borne fruit, with the groups that had gone to Forbes already working on some of the manufacturing issues at the old SLDF munitions plants there, as well as other manufacturing sites.  It wasn’t known if the problems would be solved but at least they had manuals for some of these machines.

  Looking over some of the notes from the other commanders within the Lancers, support for taking them in was positive- though Kassing was warning this was going to bite us in the ass.  And Tinney didn’t disagree with that assessment.  But it was the right thing to do… and sometimes the right thing was hard.

  And many times, painful.

The door opened from the Secure wing and Sean stepped out, stone faced.  Tinney lifted an eyebrow.  “Sean?”

  The highlander looked back at his friend and CO.  “Lad… I think be needing tha’ drink about now…”  He said quietly, his face still a mask of forced calm.

  The Colonel put away his comm unit as he stood.  “I know just the place…” He said as one of the security troopers outside the waiting room raised a comm to summon the transport.  “Twenty minutes…”

Reserve Hangar 19
Drexel Field at Phoenix Lancers Main Compound
Auburn Mountains, Continent of Cromwell
2304hrs (GMT +2) 05 October 3079

  In what amounted to the Back 40 of the main Lancer compound sat a handful of hangars.  Some mech-sized, the rest large vehicle hangars.  One in particular actually was a disused conventional fighter hangar which had been turned into something else…. And something out of time.

  RH-19 had been turned into a VERY Old Fashioned Pilots lounge, like something out of an old trivid shows.  A pool table, a bar with a small kitchen, easy chairs, a poker table… even a few video games to the side.  The place was set up as a spot to relax for the Mech and Fighter pilots stationed here at the main facility, a place to unwind or commiserate in the company of your mates.  There were two standing rules here that no one defied- the first was no used of ranks here… All business stayed outside the door and the second- if you broke it, you were fixing or buying brand new.

  Which could get expensive- the last fistfight in here broke the super ancient antique Juke Box loaned to the place by Major McCormack.  After nearly dying by her hand, the mech pilots who broke it had a hell of a time finding a replacement; and boy was it pricy…  So, the Second Rule was one everyone was aware of.

  Right now, that very device was playing music within the club as Tinney, Sean, the newly arrived Hollister (who sent for from the main building) and McCoy sat at the poker table.  Everyone had a drink, be-it a beer or a large tumbler of scotch.  Cigars were lit and the group listened to Sean as he discussed his meeting his daughter at the hospital and their conversation…

  “… Saying the lass was a tiny remorseful is actually an accurate statement,” Sean said as he took a sip of his scotch.  “She’s nae sorry she did as she did… just sorry that poor tech had poor timin’.” A sigh. “She really is her mother’s daughter.”

  Hollister shook his head.  “I am sorry your child did as she did and betrayed your trust…  I can only imagine the personal pain.  What will happen next?  I know were it to happen among us, the offender would be tried and punishment administered rather quickly.  Perhaps within the hour of judgement being rendered.”

  McCoy answered before Sean could.  “Well, for one, it depends on who the judge is…” He said around his cigar.  “Then it depends on the severity.  Considering she was caught with Blakists and actively aiding their efforts, its pretty cut and dried for charges- Treason and Aiding/Abetting a Terrorist Organization.  Punishment is usually a firing squad.  If they get a trial.”

  Tinney looked at McCoy even as Sean glared at him.  “Dude!” he exclaimed.

  McCoy looked back at the Lancer CO.  “Well, its true…” He replied.  “Trin got dispensation cause she’s family…”  Turning to look at the slightly Irate Sean, he continued.  “I’ll have you know I made a point to tell the team she was bring back alive… for that very reason.”

  Sean bristled a bit.  “Five broken ribs and busted jaw…” was the growled response.  “Obviously nae in one piece…”  The Highlander rose in his seat a bit, which earned him a hand on his shoulder from Tinney.

  “Sean… you damn well know getting hit by powered armor at a full run is not gentle.  He could have shot her… and as it is, she did shoot one of them,” Tinney said in a calm tone.  “I reviewed the inquiry- it was clean.  And I interviewed Mercer face to face last night.  He stowed his guns so he didn’t accidentally kill her and his body-cam footage shows him stowing his weapons.  McCoy and his troops made a point to bring her in… alive.”

  Looking over to Hollister, he continued.  “As for punishment, I’m still reviewing things.  I know what Planetary Laws have to say… and I know I have leeway.  I am going to go by the book on this as much as I can.  Best way to be fair…”

Hollister nodded.  “That is the best way to go about it,” He allowed.  “For us, it would be your option or exile.  Is that a possibility?”

Tinney shrugged as Sean calmed down.  “I’m still pondering that.  I’m even thinking about some of the Clan ways of resolving it though I need to read up on those.  It’s a different time around here….”

 He then picked up his beer.  “Different subject,“ He commented after a sip.  “Mister Hollister…  how are your people settling?  I know its only been a few days but are there any needs not being met right now?”

  Hollister shook his head.  “John, the last reports I received was that that all groups are settling in fine.  The bulk of our civilians are at that Outpost Castle on Sage and our fighting arms are stationed in the fours spots you recommended.  That small depot near that desert field is perfect for the group assigned there.  The rest are adjusting to their quarters here and elsewhere.  Once your medical goes over everyone, I believe the plan is to assist homesteading?”

  A nod.  “Yes…,” Tinney replied.  “I want to be sure everyone adjusts alright to being planet side again and having both your folks along with local residents being on the same page for when settlements happen.  There is going to be conflict but if it can be mitigated through planning, I want that.”  A pull from his beer.  “News of your return will be hitting various news networks elsewhere soon enough.  Your first appearance was almost two weeks ago…  Other than that opportunist groups that tried at the field, I expect the first fortune seekers sometime in the next week or so.

 And the first Clan force within a week to ten days after that.”

  McCoy blew out a bunch of cigar smoke.  “That why you got them spread around?”

  A nod.  “yes… makes any attempt at them that much harder to succeed in toto; Security in system and on planet for each enclave will be beefed.  And if one’s targets are not in one spot, achieving all of them is that much harder.”  A shake of the head.  “Good thing most of the Regiment is here at this point…  Trying to do this with conventional alone would be damn hard enough. Its also why the bulk of the non-combatants are at that Castle- safest place for them until better situations can be had.”

  Hollister lifted an eyebrow.  “How long do you expect before fortune seekers and hunters come looking for us?”

  “Six months to a year…” Tinney replied as he sipped his beer.  “Eighteen months outside.  Depending on how the Clans hear of you, any attempt will be a competition for the right to kill you… or it might be a joint operation.  I’m not sure.  No matter what… I expect fanatical devotion to their effort by them.  And that can be an advantage…”

Hollister was puzzled.  “How?”

A grim smile.  “Fanatics have issues thinking outside the box… or being creative with tactics.  And the more Crusader the clan coming calling, the easier to predict course of actions… My opinion of course.” Tinney replied.  “Not all of them are dumb- they have learned some very bloody lessons since being stopped at Tukayyid.  Several bloody lessons… as well as teaming with the Inner Sphere to hunt Blakists.  The bastards messed with them too… and Stone managed a deal of some kind.  I don’t know particulars- all I know is they helped retake Terra.  So, if any come here, it will be rough and it will be special.”

A nod.  “I see… so six months maybe?” Hollister asked.

“Unfortunately, yes…” Was Tinney’s reply.  “For Clans at least.  Others…  by Christmas.  Fortune Hunters and all that are everywhere…. And I can almost guarantee someone will try.  The who is the question.”

Hollister sighed.  “You are full of good news…”

McCoy chuckled.  “Would you prefer he NOT tell you?”

“No… no I would not.”

“Then don’t worry about it,” McCoy replied.  “Anyone comes for you, we kick ‘em in the teeth and send ‘em packing…  Its what the Lancers do.”

“Aye,” Sean added.  “It is what we do.”

Phoenix Lancer Command Compound Operations Center
Auburn Mountains, Continent of Cromwell
0630hr (GMT+2) 25 December 3079

It had been a long two months since the majority of the Returned (as the official commentary called the Wolverine survivors) had arrived and most were now settled.  For the most part, the Centaurus populace accepted the refugees with open arms.  There had a been a few incidents- mostly from some of the former Clansmen that also resided on planet.

  For those, a heavy effort was made to educate and diffuse tensions.  What helped was the fairly complete records and histories on the warship databanks; these went a long way in helping lower the heat between the Not Named and the former clansmen.  A complete copy of the Wolverine version of the Remembrance and its similarities to other Clan versions…  helped in some cases.  And made it worse in others…  In extreme cases, even the Colonel stepped in… and offered Trial of Grievances to parties.  Shocked a few people when he did that- especially when he answered one of the few Elementals’ (a former Wolf) challenge, offering to go Un-Augmented.

  But it got the point across to all of them (even the Elemental who the Colonel knocked out (and broke his hand in the process)) and peace settled in.

Indeed, there was much in the way of peaceful interaction between the Returned and residents.  Both had much to teach the other and as near as it could be determined, it was working out well.  Old industrial plants were rehabilitated and some re-started, with beneficiaries being everyone.

As word trickled out of the system into the universe, messages of support came back from the Prince Regent of the Federated Suns (who was informed at the Camelot Summit on New Avalon back in October.  Other leaders deemed trusted enough were advised of the Returned and deals made to get needed equipment for their assets- most notably restocks for the Capital Ship missiles and Naval Autocannon ammunition for the Warships of the Returned were nearly empty.  And deals were made- both for deployments and for Information Exchanges.

But the fears of the wrong people learning this info were justified…. As the Escaped Blakist forces slowly passed the word on what had arrived in system.  No warships could be spared- but expendable assets could… and were.

So, it was a bored System Sensors Tech who discovered it first.  Inbound craft with no IFF sensed by the Deep Space Sensor platforms.  And far closer to the planet than liked…

“El-Tee…”  A sensor technician, Senior Sergeant Will Bailey, called out to the Officer In Charge.  “Sir..  Come take a look at this…”

  The Lieutenant, Carlos Rodriguez, ambled over and looked.  Blinking once, he reached out and tapped a key on the panel which transferred the imagery to the large master screen on the wall.  “Let’s get a better…. Ah shit.” He breathed as the screen expansion confirmed what he thought he saw.  “Inbound Raid…  Good catch, Will.”

  Bailey nodded as he started tapping on the console keyboard in front of him.  “Thanks sir…  I though so but I wanted to be sure.  Holly, hit the Alert…”

  Specialist Holly Douglas, who had drawn the Holiday Duty with two others, blinked twice.  “On it,” She replied and immediately began sending out warning alerts.

The Lieutenant studied the screen and the projected tracks came up on it, Bailey adding them immediately as a soft klaxon began to sound.

Within three minutes, the rest of the Duty Section started arriving even as Rodriguez’s comm began to chime.  Glancing at it, the LT answered.  “Aerospace Control…”  A pause then a reply.  “Sir, DSS reports a four Dropship formation inbound.  No IFF… though Drive Signatures initially identify as two Leopard, one Union and a Condor class.  No Aerospace assets noted at this time…”
Another pause.  “Plus Fives are launching and-“ Another pause.  “Still refining track.  But it appears eastern Cromwell and all of Sage is within the window.”

A much longer pause.  “AS soon as its locked down further, get the warnings out.  Bravo First Battalion’s in the que… Understood. ” Hanging up, he muttered “And a merry Christmas to you, too…”

Author: John T

Warrior-Sage and full time healer. Gamer and Arm Chair Analyst (who isn't these days?) who isn't afraid to read up on what I don't know.

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