Lancer Command Compound
0245hrs (GMT+2), 15 April 3080
News of the arrival of the Clan fleet arrived initially after midnight local time and the fast-thinking duty officer (Lt Rodriguez again) bought time for the command staff to be awoken. Colonel Tinney was online via Video Call when the exchange between Sariah and the Ghost Bear command happened. After listening to their content, he agreed to the two Wolverine Warships to go meet the fleet. Strong Answer but not provocative, he hoped.
After being patched through to Commodore Callahan, he stressed a neutral stance. “Kevin, I cannot stress this enough; if they don’t want to be coming in guns blazing, I am fine with that.” He had said and the Wolverine Ship commander agreed. Too much was at stake here if the Ghost Bears were true to their word.
“I completely agree with you, Colonel,” He had replied. “The less misunderstanding, the better. Its peculiar enough this is even happening…”
After the Commodore signed off, Tinney had Lt Rodriguez put out a call for the Majors McCormack and Farquharson then a request of Colonel Hollister to come to the main compound. He himself then got up, dressed and headed across the post to the main Communications center. All the action for the next four or so hours was going to be there.
And a large amount of it there was.
Scramble orders went out for all the Aerospace troops to be on standby. Lt Colonel Conigliaro did complain some up until the why was mentioned. After a few choice words about the situation (not the orders), he too headed for the pilot ready room. He would be damned if he was going to let his pilots get into a possible scrum against Clan fighters…
Alert orders also went out for the QRF companies of First and Second Battalions of the Mech Regiment as well as an alert order for the Returned Mech Battalion. The Armored Regiment was next and when Tinney arrived at the Communications Center, he was notified of all units having acknowledged Alert Orders and that Major McCormack was on her way and would be there within the hour. Major Farquharson was being tracked down by the MPs.
So, when Major McCormack arrived with Sean in tow (as well as Maggie, one of her command lance pilots and Sean’s wife), all three were directed to the conference room when Tinney waited, the system map on the screen with approximate locations listed for the inbound fleet… and the statuses for the rest of the fully functional Wolverine warships. The Bismark was station keeping on the far side of the planet while the other fully intact ship, the SLS Vincent was sitting guard on the naval dock in the asteroid field between Centaurus IV and III. Tinney looked up and waved everyone in. “Come on in…” He said, a notepad on the table in front of him. “Good Morning, Mags..”
Margaret Farquharson smiled at him when she entered and sat in a chair. “Good morning to you too, Colonel.” She replied. “Sorry to crash the meeting but Leslie insisted. And since Sean was going, I figured I would tag along.”
A chuckle. “Well, you’ll hear about this soon enough- all the company and battalion commands got notice of what’s going on.”
Leslie commented. “Yes… The expected Clan reply has come. But why am I here?” She too took a seat, a slight puzzled look on her face.
Tinney answered her. “Because you were mentioned by name….” He then tapped a button and played the exchange between Sariah and the Ghost Bear Loremaster. “So, you see… there is some explanations to be had, Les.”
McCormack, for her part, maintained a pretty good poker face during the playback. When she looked at her friend and commander, it was a look of puzzlement. “John, I’m as surprised as you are over this. I mean, yes I did meet her back on Galatea and before then, in clan space… but I have no idea why- oh no.” Les lifted a hand to her mouth, a sense of realization dawning on her. “Oh no….”
A lifted eyebrow. “Oh no?” he asked.
McCormack quickly tapped the surface of the conference room table to activate the seat’s terminal. “I think I know why she wants to talk to me AND why they are here in this fashion.” A few more keystrokes happened as she spoke. “Remember I took the opportunity to catch up with Phelan while I was there?”
“I do. Surprised he had time for you but then, you were his babysitter at one time and his friend before he left with the Hounds,” Tinney replied. “I imagine he would want to catch up some. Inter-Galactic Mail is not always timely or completely reliable.”
She tapped a bit more then cursed. “Damnit… my notes are on the offline server…. Anyway,” She looked up at Tinney. “I took the opportunity to expand the knowledge of the Loremaster, who I met and befriended back when we hit Strana Mechty, post Grand Refusal. All that research I was doing on Star League Depots and such? I also tried to find information pertaining to the 331st. She picked up on some of that and tried to steer me away from looking too hard. Politely, of course.”
Sean laughed. “She dinnae count on you being a bulldog wi’ a bone when you are lookin’ things up.”
Leslie nodded. “No, she didn’t… I still got plenty on them; despite the history wipe that was pretty blatant in spots, they didn’t get EVERYthing. And when Phelan had told me about some of the contents of the diaries he read of the clan founder and first Khan of the Wolves, I was pretty sure there was more evidence to be had out there… but that I would never get a chance to see it. When I ran into now Loremaster Tseng on Galatea… I kinda had to poke at the Bear, so to speak.”
Tinney stared at her. “What did you do?”
Leslie closed her eyes briefly. “In a round about way…. I told her about the Diary entries… and that the entire Annihilation of the Wolverines was based on treachery.” She opened her eyes again and looked at Tinney once more. “John, I even took her to meet Phelan. And no, he wasn’t happy to see me there with a Ghost Bear Loremaster. Took me ten minutes to convince him to even speak further on the subject than I had already. He was that mad…. But then he realized he had opportunity here to maybe mess with another clan. You remember his mischievous streak.”
A nod. “I do”
“So… he agreed to discuss it more in depth. Even had a scanned copy of the diary and showed her some entries, after making her promise to not reveal he carried a copy with him to Anyone within his clan. Ever.” Leslie continued. “She swore she would not speak of it to any one in another clan…. It was surmised this applied to her own as well. If they are here for the reasons stated, I guess not.”
Maggie spoke up. “Woooow…. Leslie, I think you might be the reason this is happening, you know. I mean, they probably were going to come anyway at some point, once the clans found out the Wolverine survivors were here.”
“Agreed…” Tinney said. “We knew they were coming. Never expected for THIS reason though. You think she found additional information that helped convince her Khan this was a good idea?”
“Only thing that makes sense…” was her reply.
“Okay then… Then the welcoming party is set,” he commented. “Go dig out your dress uniform, Major and tell Yoder she’s in charge of the company for now. You are going to be at the landing pad when they arrive in about two hours.”
Sean laughed as She blinked and guppy-ed, speechless. “John, are you sure?” She managed when she found words…. And the way she said it made Sean laugh even more, earning a punch in the arm from his wife.
“I am… One, you were requested. Two, you likely are the reason for all this… and Three, having my Intel Chief on hand for this meeting just makes sense.” Turning to Sean, he pointed. “And I want your ass there too, Laddie.”
Sean clammed up. “Eh why?”
“Because, one should always have a Scotsman around to worry people. Leave the Claymore home and wear your daisho.” He replied. “It will send a message if they are up on their cultural knowledges… and If it’s a damn trap, your job is to get Hollister out. I know that Katana will cut Elemental Armor,” He glanced at his watch. “Speaking of which, Mister Hollister should be here shortly.”
Almost as if summoned, Hollister arrived and went straight to the conference room. “Apologies, John… I was out at the Outpost Castle with some of the older warriors, discussing changes to equipment when the warning order arrived.”
“No worries, John; we were discussing our soon to arrive visitors and what brought them here…. Besides you and yours, of course.”
“They are looking to continue the Annihilation?” he said with a disappointed sigh.
“Actually… no,” Tinney replied and hit the play back once more of the initial exchange.. After it finished, he commented. “Not what anyone here expected…. And I think I know the reason for it.”
Hollister looked at the assembled. “Why?”
Leslie raised her hand. “We think I am the reasons… or at least a catalyst…”
Leslie spent the next few minutes explaining what was determined and her interactions with the Ghost Bear Loremaster… along with the revelations from Khan Ward. When she was done, she looked at Hollister.
“Colonel Hollister, I am so sorry for your clan. When you and I discussed everything along with your Loremaster, we all figured something had been hatched, that it had been some sort of conspiracy but only one sourcing… I never expected my one-off meeting on Galatea to instigate this…”
Hollister pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. “No, do not agonize over your role. If nothing else,” He dropped his hand to the table. “Our return gave their Loremaster the reason to even bring this up to her Khan. As far as anyone knows, even speaking of the Wolverines is forbidden except as a curse even now. For the Ghost Bears to even do this… is monumental. I do confess not knowing what event that was done in Khan McEvedy’s name though. It had to have happened long after our clan was declared dead or escaped.”
A nod. “Probably. And to call for a Grand Grievance or whatever…. I’m not aware of a Grievance Trial being done for anything bigger than a pissing match between mech warriors,” Tinney commented. “Refusal doesn’t cover it… unless whatever it was, is considered so bad that a bigger fight is called for. Still don’t get it… but I won’t until they are here.”
“I agree. We will not know what it was until they arrive…” Hollister replied. “How soon?”
“Ninety minutes or so. Give or take.”
A grimace. “I think I will be cutting it close if I am to be on the landing pad awaiting their representatives and need a dress uniform. I am not sure I have one here.”
“Well, go find out. If not, something can be arranged I think.”
Leslie got up. “If that’s the case, I need to go get ready then. Thankfully, I keep my dress greens pressed and wrapped. Been some time since I wore them… but they should still fit.”
Tinney called out to her as she reached the door. “Les…”
“Yes?” She stopped and turned. A small box was tossed at her which she caught and opened. Looking in, her eyes widened. “Why?”
“Because it was going to happen sooner or later, with as large as we are getting. Being you wear two hats, the rank should go with it. Its something I discussed with Hollister last week… as well as all the Governors.” He replied.
“Congratulations, Ms McCormack,” Hollister added.
She looked up at both of them. “Like I deserve this…”
A chuckle. “Shut up… if all this is because of you, I’d say it’s a deserved promotion. And no, you can’t refuse it… I don’t think your Sisters would let you.”
Maggie, who understood what was going on, looked at her friend and commander. “Leslie, I’mma gonna tell Shan and Kris about it in the next five minutes… you are NOT refusing this, we won’t let you.” She exclaimed. “Not when its an excuse for mead and food… For after all this, of course.”
Sean added. “Lass, I wouldnae argue with her…”
“I’m not…” Leslie said. “Okay, I’m out of here. Maggie, get them all up and moving, ok?”
“Si… now get…”
The three Lancers departed as Hollister looked at Tinney. “If she is the reason they are doing this, I cannot thank her enough.”
Tinney looked up at the screen showing the plots of the inbound ships then at the Wolverine leader. “John, I think it is a big part of it…. We will know for sure in about two hours.”
A nod. “That we will.” With that, Hollister left the Lancer commander to his own thoughts in the conference room.
Tinney for his part, looked back at the screen with the plots on it. With a sigh, he got up and headed into the communications center main area. There was a few more orders to be sent out before he too needed to get dressed.