Legends and Myths Thirty Eight

Centaurus MechWorx Refurbishment Center- Remington Facility
City of Gates, continent of Forbes.
28 October 3080

  The remnants of the Knights had arrived within the Lancer’s home system the day before and had made transit to the planet that evening.  Landing their dropship, a somewhat abused Union class the crew had renamed Camelot as a poke at themselves, on the well-lit field had been a seamless affair. Upon landing, technicians and recovery vehicles came up to the loading doors of the craft and with the assistance of the dropship crew, the stevedores of the facility got to work.

  They had been warned about the potential for chemical residue on some machines.  Granted, they had been cleaned before transport… but no one among the Knights nor Camelot’s crew really trusted how well it had been done.  Indeed, once they had been loaded on board, the mechbays had been closed off and only masked personnel were allowed in there as a precaution.

  It had made for a long trip from Galatea to here, but precautions were necessary.  You just didn’t play games when chemical weapons were concerned.  And the technicians performing the off-loading of the machines to their carriers obviously knew the risks as they expertly moved the damaged battlemechs off the dropship.

  As for the thirty two men and women of the Knights, they were greeted by a small reception committee. Khalid had assembled his people outside on the tarmac with their duffle bags and whatever other gear they had as directed by the initial officials who had greeted the ship.  He had been told they would be given transport to a barracks to clean up and acclimate to being planet-side once more.  So, they stood off to the side, their gear grounded as they waited.

  About halfway through the offloading, two civilian buses and a ground car pulled up near them and a trio of personnel got out of the car.  The three, a short man with glasses and a neatly trimmed sizable salt-n-pepper beard was followed by a rather tall blonde- haired muscular woman in fatigues and the third person, a very slim young man in a technician’s overalls, came walking over to them.

 Khalid met them about halfway as the short, bearded man looked over the collected Knights then fixed his eyes upon Khalid.

 “A good evening to you, Sir…  My name is Chief Warrant Officer Charles Spiegel; would you happen to be Sir Khalid bin Zalas?” He queried as he stopped about four feet from the Knight.

 Khalid nodded as he replied. “I would be, Sir.”

“Ah good… the picture I was sent of you does not give you justice.  But security photos never do,” Charlie replied as he glanced at the very tattered Crusader being moved out of the dropship. “I will be the one overseeing the work to be done to your mounts and will be one of your Liaisons with Mechworx.  My associates will be your other primary contacts, this is Master Sergeant Tessa Drexel and Journeyman Technician Sean Farquharson.”

 The two named folks both gave a wave before Spiegel continued. “It is my understanding you have a large amount of work to have accomplished on your company of machines… with a priority of getting the least mangled back into Fighting Trim.  Those machines should be up and running within the week, if my data is correct.”

 Khalid nodded. “It should be, sir. We have had no other engagements to make them worse than what they were on Galatea. The information given back then has no changes.”

A smile. “Very good… then I will be getting started with overseeing the inspection; Master Sergeant Drexel will guide you and your companions to suitable lodging,” Chief Spiegel turned to Tessa. “Sergeant, I leave them in your capable hands.  Come Sean- we have some work to do.”

 As Charlie and Sean walked to the ground car, Tess looked over at Khalid. “So… do y’all have a specific peckin’ order for seating?” She asked as she pointed at the two busses. “Otherwise, all aboard…”

 Khalid smiled. “No pecking order… While I speak for us, we have no social strata to worry over,” he replied as he turned to look at his people.  “We are all Knights.  Tristan!”

 A MechWarrior among the collected group looked over. “Aye?”

 “All aboard the busses, my friend. Our mounts are being seen to and our Hosts wish to bring us to lodging as promised.”

 Tristan gave a thumbs up then started moving everyone to the busses with their gear. The drivers of both vehicles already had stowage doors open for the gear bags.  Quickly, the bays filled and were closed as group then loaded onto the vehicles.

  Khalid walked back toward the buses with Tessa alongside. “If I may… what should we expect?” he asked as he stopped at the door to the lead bus, his gear having been loaded by his fellows.

 “Overall or for the next week?” Tess replied.

 “The latter will suffice.”

 A chuckle. “Weeelll… I believe th’ plan is to get y’all into something more pleasant than a Dropship, get y’all fed and have medical look everyone over…” At the surprise look on Khalid’s face over the medical services, Tessa actually laughed as she motioned Khalid to get aboard. “Oh, Sir Knight… you guys paid for services and took a contract to work for th’ Lancers. Y’all’s health and welfare is included with technical work.  The Colonel believes in taking care of his people and while you are contractors, that includes you.”

 As she climbed aboard after Khalid, she continued. “If folks are healthy and cared for, they tend to have a higher morale and do better in most everything.  Medical is usually brought up later in the In-processing but we KNOW y’all seen and been through some shit… Decision was made to have it on site at the Barracks right from the get-go.” Tess shrugged. “Best to know if anything else is wrong with folks before it bites y’all in the ass, right?”

  The Knight pondered this from his seat across from her as the bus drove along as it left the landing areas. “Assuredly… I don’t think we are all that unhealthy, but it’s been a long few years and I know I haven’t had a physical in that time. Not all of us mustered out properly from Marik Service, if you wish to call how some of us left a mustering out.”

 “Well then, Her Governor-ness guessed right on this.” Tessa commented as the bus got up to speed. “Y’all be fine, Sir Knight.  While Remington Temporary Lodging ain’t the Atreus Hyatt, it isn’t a block house on Tukayyid.  Once everyone is gone over and y’all have gotten some good rest, I think th’ plan is to get folks acquainted with Centaurus and our training facilities.  And we have tons of those…”

Transient Barracks Alpha Two at Area Amalisar
Lancer Combat Training Facility
Three Kilometers North of Crossroads, Ashton
1732 hrs, 15 November, 3080

 It had been a whirlwind two weeks for Khalid and the Knights. Tessa Drexel had been very right- the lodging they had gotten when arriving on Centaurus, while not opulent by any means, it had been comfortable and appointed well enough to have been considered a three star facility anywhere within the Inner Sphere.  Her other warning about the medical exams upon arrival had been correct too; upon pulling up to the facility, they were met by more Lancer personnel and doctors.

  Once the situation was explained to everyone, all of them got their room assignments taken care of then as people were able, they were seen.  And as it turned out, it had been a good thing they had been… Of the thirty-two personnel he had brought with him (mostly Mechwarriors and pilots) almost a third of them had some sort of medical issue either unknown or previously managed when there had been adequate medical care.

 It cost no one their jobs, per-se, but at least one member’s active fighting career was curtailed.  That one, Lady Janessa, initially took the news hard about no longer being able to pilot a mech full time. It wasn’t until their Liaison pointed out that the logistical side of things was just as important as the fighting that she began to really listen. Perhaps even more so… as it was details like what was going on right now that were often missed.  Having someone capable of maintaining the ‘boring’ pieces would keep them able to fight and do their jobs.

 Janessa came to understand how important it would be and calmed down… and started to relish the challenge.  Being a small group, keeping records straight would be a manageable challenge- and when they went to go on their own at the end of the Contract, having someone able to make sure all the documentation was straight on BOTH ends of an agreement would be a key thing.  Even as far as they were from having to worry about logistics when they were a premiere Household Regiment, many had heard of Mercenary Units being done in by bad deals.  Even Lady Kaye’s trashy Mech Warrior Hero Novels had those details right… as her fellow Knight had pointed out to her.

  Training in this part of the job would be offered by the Lancers as it was also pointed out the better people understood their agreements, the less questions there would be.  Janessa looked forward to this as it would give her something to work on.  She’d still retain qualification in battlemech piloting, but it would no longer be her only responsibility.

 Once that was resolved, it was further documentation, discussions on upgrade packages to machines, gear issue (Khalid actually liked their host’s requirement of knowing Infantry skills and gear), it was then movement to the Training Grounds on Ashton.  In specific, the Amalisar Training Grounds, a hilly badlands area that was to be their first real outing in years as any sort of fighting force.

 Khalid had spent a large amount of time with Lady Janessa and MSgt Drexel in going over training plans and details pertaining to getting personnel reacquainted with battlemech combat as well as Small Unit tactics.  Indeed, the plan for the next five days was to be MSgt Drexel going over small arms and how to properly maintain their issue weapons.  There had been a few complaints leveled at him and at their Liaison about having to do common grunt shit…. Many of these complaints coming from one member.  And it had grated on him immensely, as it was borderline disrespectful.  And unbecoming… so it was a pleasant surprise when that person’s come-uppance came.

  MSgt Drexel, after hearing Sir Lucan grumble yet again about commoner stuff for what must have been the ninth time during a briefing, stopped talking and walked up from the front of the indoor amphitheater- stopping dead in front of said Knight. “So’s… you say you are too skilled and too good to be going through this remedial ‘nonsense’, as ye’ put it…” She began as she reached into a rear pocket of her uniform to produce a worn leather glove. “So’s… you say this training is beneath ya… and that you don’t need any of it.”

 “I do,” He said from his seat.  “This is some plebian shit and I wonder what the hell I was thin-“

 Tessa’s right hand, which had the glove in it, flew forward and slapped the leather hand covering across Lucan’s face, shocking just about everyone. “YOU COCKY INSECURE SHIT!!” She snarled at him. “YOU ARE HERE TO BECOME BETTER THAN YOU WERE…. AND YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE WE WANT YOU TO BE BETTER THAN YOU WERE, YOU ARROGANT ASS!” At that, several other knights rose up to get involved.

 Khalid had been pissed at Lucan’s antics, and was somewhat surprised when Tessa did as she did.  He had an idea what was to come next and despite being a touch annoyed by it being necessary, was very willing to see what was to transpire; you see, he had learned a thing or two about Tessa Drexel over the last week and he was certain this was not going to go anywhere near what Lucan might want.

  As such, Khalid called out “HOLD!” to the rest of his people, which caused the responding knights to pause. “Let it play out….” He said as he gestured from his seat on the side to have folks sit back down.

 Lucan, not paying attention to Khalid, got up from his seat in anger and went nose to nose with Tessa.  “Bitch! How dare you?!?!” his fist balled as he tried to menace the tall Lancer warrior and failed, as he was actually two inches shorter than her. He hadn’t swung yet, but he looked like he wanted to.

“How dare I?” She answered, staring him down.  “How dare I? Lucan…  And yes, I know who you fuckin’ are…  Oh I know exactly who your pretty boy ass is… While you were playing grab-ass on Atreus before the Knights got gassed, I was here fighting and watching people die against Blakists…. Those who lived longer and survived… had more than one way of fighting and they used ’em.  More than one way… and what we are doing here is a damn attempt to help all of you Mech Jockeys have more than One Trick you can use to fight with. Get blasted from your mech, you can still fight…
  This got decided while you were in transit here, cause some folks think y’all are worth the effort and expense to help.  And Khalid knows why…

  Some of you already have more than one way… and we are going to help those get better.  Some of you don’t have another way… and we’re gonna help those folks LEARN some shit.  Trust me when I say y’all are going to need this training; the universe doesn’t care who you are ‘n I would think YOU learned that five years ago.”

   She paused. “Yes…  I know a shit ton of ways to fight as well as talk shit.  But at least I can back my shit up when I issue a challenge….”  As she said the word challenge, a few of the observing Knights started nodding, realizing what exactly was going on.  Lucan was not a popular Knight and to some of his fellows, maybe this might be what he needed. That this lesson was coming outside their group was embarrassing…

 “You’ve been served, Lucan…  You just got Served, Son.  And I’m sure I can take you in any form of combat you want… cause you ain’t all that.”

  Lucan, having gotten his mental marbles back during her challenge, answered her.  “Bullshit, Sergeant.  There is no way you are better than me in Personal Combat.  You haven’t the schooling, the experience nor the ability.” He growled at her. “I am better than you and I know it.”

 Tessa smiled, her features taking on a predatory look. “Try me.”

 He swung.

 She blocked and as quick as a snake, popped him in the throat with a knife-hand that almost got missed by onlookers. This staggered him, which she then used his blunted momentum to snag a pressure point on his hand and drop the mech warrior to his knees in gasping pain. All told, from swing to his going to the ground took all of about a second and a half.

 “This lesson’s free…” She calmly stated as she held the pressure point for a full six seconds then let go, taking a pair of steps back. “Challenge is still there if you want something more formal-like than y’all tryin’ to sneak me like you did.  Or you can take the lesson, sit back in your chair, and shut th’ fuck up while folks try to listen. Your choice.”

 Lucan looked at her from the ground where was… and quietly slid back into his chair. “This is over for now…” He said slowly. “Lesson learned.”

 Tessa’s smile never left her face. “Good… as there is still fifteen minutes left of this briefing to deal with before dinner; I’m pretty sure folks be hungry and I know I don’t want to have that many mad at me to delaying food…”  With that, she turned back to head down to the lectern.  After she got back to the podium, she returned her attention to the whole of the room.  “Now then… Where were we? Oh ya…”

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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