Legends and Myths Thirty Seven

Lancer Command Complex
Auburn Mountains, Cromwell
03 September, 3080.

After she got a response to her query about guests, Leslie began figuring out exactly who was staying, who was going and who was to be in charge while both She and John were off world for vastly different missions.  After careful consideration and a no small argument with a hard-headed Highlander, she managed to come up with a very workable revised chain of command.

  Planetary affairs would be handled by Governor Sodher-Schaller with support from Governor Devine over on Forbes.  Between the two, who had very different personalities but equally smart, they would manage the planetary affairs without much trouble. On the military side of things, that was a bit more complicated.  Ultimately, she elected to make primary Major Clyburn who would be backed by Major Farquharson and the senior commander from Third Bn, Major Joe Johnson.

  Frank was her best choice as he was personable enough to lead and savy enough to know when he was over his head.  Sean was an excellent tactician but by his own admission, wasn’t a people person (which she reminded him he said…). Joe was a sound choice but very much the quiet commander… the one who watches everything and offers the subtle commentary when appropriate.  But while his quiet confidence was reassuring, a more assertive personality was necessary.  And Frank, as easy going as he could be, was not about to get bowled over by anyone’s force of will. Too many folks mistook his relaxed nature for no spine… and usually learned the hard way how wrong they were.

If something happened where none of the three were available, Diane would step in and take over military operations and Devine would handle planetary affairs.  The former Duelist could do the job but Leslie knew how the woman felt about warfare anymore… and she was not going to put her friend on the spot unless there was no other choice.

Once all that was set, she then notified her command lance to pack their bags… as they were going on a trip in a few days. A long trip…

 The first call she had gotten was from Kris, who asked after bringing her mastiffs, Trixie and Oreo.  Both had traveled into space before and with John gone and her daughter busy elsewhere on planet, she wanted to have them along. After a full explanation as to what was likely to be expected, Kris was undeterred; her reasoning besides the lack of coverage to care for them… was also rooted in companionship for all of them and in the feeling they’d be needed.

 Leslie, when told by Kris that she had a feeling they’d be important, agreed on their going.  She loved the two dogs of her friend and marveled at how well behaved they could be (and their abject goofiness when allowed) …  having them along, as long as they could handle the trip, actually was a sound idea.

 Maggie and Shannon both called her at the same time, asking about what to pack.  Far simpler questions… as this would be the first time either had been anywhere without being with the rest of the Battalion on campaign or on a civilian trip.  For both, this was the first time either of them would be part of a diplomatic mission (of sorts).  After giving advice on what to bring and not bring, she hung up with them and then stared at her com-unit for a good minute before lifting the handset and tapping in a number from memory.

Two rings and an answer. “Three Three One Archives…” The familiar voice of the Wolverine Loremaster, Jeff Kosh, answered the call. “For what do I owe the pleasure of a call from your august self, Colonel?”

 “Well… it’s a request of at least one person to take a trip with myself and my command group,” Leslie replied with a smile. “You see… I have this invitation to go to an event off-world and would like to bring a representative from your clan with.  Specifically, one of your junior lore-keepers.”

 “I see…” Kosh replied.  “Something of interest to the Clan, I take it, which requires recording?”

 “I think so… I am going to an event on Alshain at the invitation of Loremaster Tseng,” Leslie said in a light even tone. “And I think having an experienced observer along with would be smart. I’m very good but I think I’m going to be busy with a lot of higher end interactions.”

 Silence on the other end. “Sounds like an interesting event you are going to be going to.  And dangerous… especially for one of ours, if any among the Ghost Bears is not in agreement with their Khan.”

 “I thought of that… and believe me, I do not plan on mentioning affiliation to more than necessary, with the obvious ones being Tseng, who would expect it I think, and perhaps her Khan. So, someone without an old Bloodname would be best, I think. Unless you don’t have one. Then it is a complication and Andi will scold me clear into the next year over giving her a migraine.”

 Kosh knew who Andi Westerling was, having met the former Davion commando while the Bears had been here. And he knew she was far more than just a bodyguard. “Oh, I can imagine…” He commented. “Unfortunately, my list of assistant keepers is heavy on Clan Surnames though. Let me sort through who I have, and I will get back to you soon.  Whomever I send will be able to defend themselves, which should help Westerling with any migraine she gets from this trip.”

 A chuckle. “Outstanding.  I’m told its fourteen weeks out using one of the double transit jump ships and I expect to be there for about two weeks to a month. So call it six months minimum.”

 “Then I have one for sure, though her last name is unfortunate.”

 “Good and understood…  I am planning on being on our way by the first; If they have a dress uniform, make sure they pack it,” Leslie said. “I will leave it up to saKhan McEvedy if she or he wears your patches or ours; ours are easier for whomever it is to hide with but sometimes statements are statements….”

 Kosh pondered this. “I will pass this along to him.  I will recommend Lancer patches but the saKhan is the final word on it as far as I’m concerned; while we are more or less a subset of you right now anyway, despite what some believe, it is his call as the Keeper is representing us,” He mused. “I think less attention on her the better. Smarter too.”

 “I agree. But I also know that sometimes one must test waters,” She replied. “And that would be one way to do so.  If he elects for her to wear your patches, we will deal.” She caught the gender reference and smoothly added the detail to the conversation.

 “I knew you would say this… and while the pressure will be immense, I am certain my kinsman will be fine in your company,” Kosh said. “And I am certain the saKhan will confirm our readiness to you. Right now, we are something like ninety percent operational.”

  Leslie smiled on her end of the call. “You would be correct- I read that report only a little bit ago.  Many thanks, Jeffrey; have your kinswoman report to the main Lancer field within seventy-two hours. We should be loading then.”

 “Of course,” He replied. “If I don’t speak with you before then, have a good trip.”

 “Thanks! Talk to you later.” She hung up and sat back in her chair.

 While there were still several details to iron out over the next two days along with a message of who was attending with her sent back to Tseng, those items would fall into place neatly as they should.  She was sure she was leaving the Lancers in good hands… and if John kept to the schedule planned for prior to their leaving, he should be back here by the new year.  She had hoped to hear from him by now using the buoy network but for all she knew, they had not gotten to Barbados yet. And she needed to take time to write that message too…  A smile; he was going to be absolutely thrilled, she was sure, with this development.

But he’d laugh about it and timing… then curse it later under his breath.  It was his way; if there was one person who handled the chaos curveballs of the universe well (at least usually), it was him.

Drexel Field
Lancer main compound
0700 hours, 6 September, 3080

  As the last of the mechs of the Command Group was loaded as cargo onboard the Sebastian Everest, a modified Buccaneer class Aerodyne dropship used by the Lancers for non-combat transits, Leslie stood off to the side with Kristina and the dogs.  The two mastiffs sat next to Kristina, calmly taking in the scene around the landing area as they waited for the last member of their party.  And the Wolverine Keeper was running late.  Or She was running ahead of schedule… either way, the Keeper was not here.

  Andi Westerling was already aboard with her gear and bags, the veteran commando knowing it was best to get situated before takeoff so there was no question of shifting bags or adrift gear.   

  Leslie glanced at her watch just as a small shuttle in Wolverine Livery raced into the local airspace and came into a landing just short of the pad. Once landed, a lone figure got out with a satchel and a large backpack then headed in their direction.  The burgundy-haired woman, all five foot four of her, strode forth confidently towards the awaiting Lancers.  As she got within ten feet, she stopped and set her satchel down.

 “Ma’am, Lieutenant Shari Hallis; I apologize for being late; In the rush to get out here, I had to return to Outpost to retrieve a backup tablet and a gift for Khan Kabrinski; saKhan McEvedy insisted I not forget it and of course… it had been left behind in the rush,” Shari, for her part, knew enough not to salute in the open as she reported in. “I am certain we may have broken a law or two in getting back here.”

 Leslie noted the smart actions of the Wolverine Lieutenant and noted the use of the SLDF ranks in the introduction.  The Wolverines had gone back to the Old Rank structure way back during the Escape and had maintained their use.  When becoming part of the population of Centaurus and more or less being part of the Lancers, their overall rank structure fit seamlessly with the Lancer usage.  It made things easier on an operational scale, that was certain. “Lieutenant, at least you made it,” McCormack stated.  “Its going to be a long trip and I strongly suggest we get aboard and settled… I’ll make sure your driver does not get in too much trouble.”

 Shari smiled as she lifted her satchel. “Ma’am, I am certain Loremaster Kosh will appreciate that; he was the one who rushed me out the door and the one who was driving…” she said as she followed Leslie towards the accessway aboard the dropship.

 Kris laughed as she moved to follow, the two dogs going up to sniff the newcomer with a gesture from her. “Well… having your boss be the one to make you late helps mitigate things,” she said. “he will have to yell at himself then…”

 Shari nodded. “Yes.  As if this trip was not enough pressure for myself and the Clan; his being the reason for my late arrival I guess helps?”

 Leslie looked back at them when they got on the main passenger deck. “It does… though I may give you some gentle grief for forgetting the items.  Only gentle though; you are going into a potential lion’s den here… and you have an unfortunate last name for doing so. I do not need to add to things otherwise.”

 Shari frowned as she moved towards the stateroom one of the crew motioned her to. “I know, ma’am. It is a rather infamous one to have, considering where we are going.”

 Shan spoke up from one of the forward stateroom hatches. “Any Wolverine bloodname is gonna be watched for…  What one is yours?”

 “Hallis.”

 “Oh geez…” Shan lamented with a shake of her head. “Sister, you have got a problem.” All of the command lance members had taken time (at Leslie’s recommendation) to learn about the more famous names among the Wolverines and to learn some of the names the Ghost Bears had.  Of all the various names, she knew McEvedy and Hallis were the more infamous Wolverine ones… “Its alright though- Leslie said the Bears take their hosting serious so you’ll be fine.”

A voice from another one of the staterooms drifted into earshot. “If not then she’s my problem…”  Andi Westerling’s comment gave rise to a chuckle from the three Lancers present. “She will be fine… I haven’t lost one yet.”

 Leslie shook her head as the Dropship crew chief came into view and held up a thumb. “Ok…  enough chatter for now.  Chief Smith is ready to get us moving so get situated.  In five minutes, we are airborne…

 A chorus of “Yes ma’am” was heard from the three women present and they scattered to rooms.  Kris caught Leslie’s eye and once caught, glanced to Trixie then back to her followed by a nod.  The dogs approved of their addition.

 Leslie relaxed a little. It was going to be a long trip and there was going to be plenty of time to learn about their Wolverine Lore Keeper.  But having the dogs give approval was a good thing. If the guard dogs (which is what they were, really) were going to be able to accept the Wolverine addition as part of the pack, it would make their reaction time to protect her, if trouble happened, that much faster.

Entering her stateroom, she sat in the flight chair and strapped in.  All of her own gear had been long stowed so she was as ready as can be.

 This was going to be an adventure.

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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