Over the course of the next fifteen minutes or so, Talamini laid out what sort of fines and or violations had been racked up with this little operation, along with the potential MRBC repercussions…. And how all of it was being taken care of. The city charges were not even being leveled at them, with the Galatea City Police, of all people, telling the Port that The Colorado Blues was part of an ad hoc operation against a nest of possible Blakists.
The MRBC was already notified of a Sub-Contract the group had signed with the police, by way of Hooker, Starsky and Hutchinson Security Services (Talamini produced a paper copy of the contract and tablet with a digital one for Rhi to sign) that covered the use of the Dropship within city limits. The MRBC was also notified of the potential issue with Blackthorne Enterprises being a front for Blakist Intelligence and a clearing house for their mercenary employment operations…. And that Arkanian Group had brought it to the attention of a bonded representative and law enforcement. Because of this, any penalties incurred for a contract breach or breaking should be moot because of Blackthorne’s associations. The local MRBC offices and the planetary government’s dislike for the Word of Blake being the major reason for no issues here.
And this was the issues the AG would have had with the city and the Commission. Financially… the compensation for the operation would be different.
The AG would make money out of all this. There was no issue there where compensation was concerned. How much was the question, though as well as future employment options.
Future employment on Galatea could be in jeopardy as the cover story to free them from repercussions with the MRBC could give them issues with other units or potential employers. Any merc unit that worked with Authorities to investigate or assault other entities would be viewed as suspect by others. Not so much by the larger groups- but by anyone smaller who had dubious morality or ties. And such units were all over the Mercenary World and the profession. Always would be that way too… Not everyone was a Light Horse or Romanov’s Crusaders, with their reps as Honest and Moral Mercenary Commands.
In the near term, Talamini explained, his employer was rewarding them with approximately one-point-seven million Cbills, which would more than cover unit salary plus expenses. A princely sum but one earned by blood. New lodging would be arranged too, as their current location was now compromised… and likely going to be assaulted/destroyed by parties unknown.
Once everything was settled down and the various medical cases taken care of, the question of Arkanian Group still wishing to remain on Galatea would need to be addressed. Talamini looked at Arione for that. “As I understand it, you are the final arbiter for where your company goes.” He commented. “Once you deem yourselves able to travel, I can assist in arranging jump-ship passage from her to almost anywhere within the Inner Sphere except clan-held territory.”
Arione rubbed his chin. He was still in his armor and spent the entire time processing the Mob Money Man’s words. And they all made sense to him. He knew they couldn’t stay here long… and leaving here was likely the best plan of action for them. But where was the question. As he pondered this, he recalled his conversation with Adara… and the promise he made her.
“Mister Talamini… the course of action Arkanian Group will be taking is the one that is probably the more sensible one. AS soon as my wounded are able to travel and our equipment repaired as needed, the offer of paid transit fees on a Jumpship for us will be accepted.”
Talamini made a note on his datapad. “Someplace in mind?”
Arione didn’t even look at Rhiannon when he said it. “Yes. Centarus system. I am told there should be work available for the likes of us there.”
Rhiannon sputtered. “Wha… Who…” and she quieted as Arione held up a hand.
“I made a promise to Adara when all this started. And perhaps…” He mused. “Its past time to bury that hatchet.”
Talamini made another series of notes. “I see… have you been there before?”
“Nope. Just know a few folks who live there… and can assist with other work.” He replied as Rhiannon struggled to remain quiet and not laugh. Or scream- he wasn’t sure which.
“Not a problem. I understand it’s a very nice place,” Talamini said, choosing to remain ignorant of the issues between the two Arkanians. Not his business… “As for your wounded, they were taken to a trusted hospital capable of caring for the injuries and the non-injured are currently at an estate not far from here, cleaning up. Your severely injured member… has been taken to the trauma facility and I believe will be in surgery rather quickly.” Consulting a note that popped up on the tablet screen, he continued. “There is plenty of security on location.”
Arione nodded. “Thank you for that…”
“No thanks necessary. Once you and Ms Arkanian was ready to travel, I will take you to them.” With that, Talamini stepped from the bay and back down the ramp. “I will be in the car.”
When he was out of easy earshot, Rhiannon turned to Arione. “Centarus? Really?” She asked, incredulously. “Are you LOOKING to get in a fight and maybe die? You fucking swore you were gonna kill him… and highlanders are notorious for remembering that shit. That old man… I love you but my love….”
Arione sighed. “I know what I said then… and I also know what he did after the fact. And well… sometimes feelings change.”
Rhiannon snorted as she led the way back to the crew area. “Yeah… and this bitch can fly on her own.” She snarked. “You made a promise to Adara we would go if this didn’t work out here, didn’t you? Or is it something else?”
Arione removed the armored top of his suit when he got to the cube he used when the ship was in space. “Yeah I did… and to be honest, it is past time to end that grudge. It really wasn’t his fault what happened, and I was rather… emotional.”
She shook her head. “Actually, it was his fault she ended up in an ICU for a week… He could have killed her but didn’t. Not that smashing her hip and ribs with that damn hammer of his did her any favors.”
He looked at her as he put on a clean shift before removing the lower suit. “Don’t you think I know that… but it *was* business and well, he made right by it. And right now, resolving my anger issues is likely going to be a big help in keeping us afloat, whatever we get for this job notwithstanding. Add in that she holds no grudges, why should I?”
She just stared at him. “Are you going soft?” She asked, half joking. “I mean, you and grudges…”
Arione didn’t answer as he fastened his belt and slipped on shoes. “Sometimes, wake up calls happen in the weirdest places and times, Rhi. This one… happened when Amelia became known to me and the scope of what we were in the middle of became very apparent.” Grabbing a coat, he led the way out of the spaces and to the ramp where their ride was waiting.
“I told myself if we survived all this, I would go and bury this grudge. I already know doing so will probably involve a lot of pain and likely, just as much alcohol.” He paused as they reached the top of the ramp and looked over to her. “In the end, it was just business… and we were friends before.”
Rhiannon chuckled. “Oh, I agree there…” She said as they made their way down the ramp. “There will be a lot of both… I love you but you’ll be lucky if he only breaks your jaw.”
Burlington-Bonaventure Medical Center
Burlington Province, Galatea
0659 hours 09 December 3080
Adara stirred from the chemically-induced slumber to the low sound of a medical monitor and the slightly louder sound of snoring. Cracking open an eye, she saw in the dim light that the room chair was occupied by Arione, his head nodded downward onto folded arms as he snoozed. A soft smile graced her dry lips as she took in the sight. “Hey…” she croaked out. “Wake up before you fall…”
Arione stirred and lifted his head. “Oh hey, you’re awake…” He said. “how ya feeling?”
“I’ve been better,” She said as she attempted to adjust her position and the lack of ability to do so vexed her as much as told her she was in no condition to move just yet. “I’d say you should see the other guy but I know better.”
Arione chuckled. “Yeah well… they told me they had to operate right away as there was concerns about a fragment and your spine.”
A nod. “A part of the bullet. It shattered on the way in; armor stopped most of it but it also didn’t help.” She said. “I had Darren explain it all out to me… and I’m the one who said why wait…”
Arione smiled. “You and waiting… are things that don’t go together.” He joked. “Anyways… I figured I would be the one to tell you that when you are able to travel, we are doing what I promised you.”
Adara’s eyes grew wide. “We are?”
“Yes….” He said. “I think you are right- he’d help us out if he can and the Lancers always have work; I checked with the MRBC online records; they have an ongoing contract to train up other merc units and have responsibility for the border areas out there so I am pretty sure they have something we can do. Add in you get to see your teacher and perhaps witness a burying of the hatchet.” A smile. “And not in each other…”
A chuckle with a groan. “Ha- ow…” She grimaced. “Hurts to laugh. I’m glad you are willing to lose the grudge; it was always stupid.”
A smirk. “You will note guys can be stupid…”
“I’ve noticed…” Adara answered. “So how soon?”
“Once you are cleared to travel. And not before- its over four months of travel.” He said.
“Oh, I’ll be ready…. Don’t you worry,” She smiled. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything.”
0610 hrs 09 December 3080
Aleister Blackthorne sat at a desk in the house’s study. Drega House was a rather stout mansion built in the northern swamps and badlands of the continent four hours north of Galatea City. The house, built of stone and heavy timber, had been in existence for some five hundred years and owned by the Blackthorne family for at least the last two centuries. Constantly undated with new tech as it became available, the residence had all the modern amenities with a frontier veneer. And it was in the den where Aleister sat, going over the events of the past few days.
The operation to obtain access to the internal workings of the Phoenix Lancers data networks had not gone to plan. Taking the girl had been risky but since all external attempts had failed to crack their encryptions, it was deemed the best course. It was not like they hadn’t tried; ever since his organization had allied itself with the Word of Blake, the exchange of training and knowledge had given both sides an edge. His people had benefited more, of course, as the Blakists had access to everything the Star League had worked on when it fell… but some of the advances since had been outside of Comstar or Blakist facilities. That the Word understood this
That they had wanted access to the Phoenix Lancer networks had proven surprising to him. They were, after all, just a overlarge mercenary organization with a rather effective special operations attachement. All too effective one, in his opinion. Even with the death of their founder when their world had been assaulted in 3068, the Blood Spirits and their parent unit the Lancers had remained a problem for groups like his own. Groups that worked for their own advancement and the furthering of a ruling elite… Those who knew what was best for all… and unafraid to act.
The gamble to take the girl was compounded by his selecting the Arkanians. He supposed he may have relied on the grudge Arione Arkanian had against Duncan MacKenzie, the former exec and a field leader of the Spirits, too much. Given the known animosity between the two, he had been certain there would be no weakness in watching over Amelia Yoder’s incarceration while his experts worked. Aleister had needed the information quickly to support the Blakist operations currently ongoing on Centarus and deemed the snatch necessary. The guards over them, if repercussions were to happen, had to be expendable. He needed a cutout for this operation, a useful cutout… and the Arkanian Group fit the bill.
That they ultimately weren’t… was an error on his part in picking them. Sometimes, he mused, animosity was not enough to ensure usefulness. That it appeared the local mafia was involved in all this was also an oversight in his thinking and something of a surprise.
It was an oversight that would delay other operations he had planned. Unfortunate, he thought as he lit his pipe, but not over-comeable. Such groups could be bought; he just needed to find the right price.