Legends and Myths Seventy Four- The Storm: The Leadership returns

Potemkin Class Cruiser SDS Juno
Near Deep Space Sensor Station Agnes
0810 Hours 09 December 3080

 The Juno, positioned some five thousand kilometers from the occupied station, floated as a picket for the system. Marines from both the Lancers and Wolverine sources were currently cleaning out the Blakist troops aboard the station. 

 Before the crew had evacuated two days ago, they had managed to lock out the invading troops from the engineering controls and this in turn kept the Blakist defenders from blowing it up when boarded.  It didn’t mean they weren’t going to fight but it did mean there would be no suicidal detonation of the station.

  Which was good, as command wanted the station retaken and back in service as soon as possible.

 Captain Sierra Mann, commanding the Juno, sat in their command couch and listened to the bridge crew update status as operation on the station progressed.  On the surface of Centarus VII, the handful of Blakist forces were pinned between Lt Ford’s crew in the bunkers and the company of Marines deployed to put them down. That fighting had gotten bloody fast though it should not last overly long.  The Blakists had their troop ship and not much else in support while her marines had fighters and at least one marine Alacorn that was used for popping gun positions.

 Probably another hour, tops, she mused.  Glancing over to the local space display, she noted the status change for the station. “Lieutenant Xi, that correct?” She asked the Deck Officer, indicating the status change for Agnes.

 “Yes ma’am. Captain Tomlinson reports 95% of the station in Allied hands. Some hold outs in the foodstuff storage area,” Xi reported then paused. “Ma’am… standby; we have an inbound jump signature.”

 Captain Mann spun to face the screens and noted the annotation. “This could be interesting,” she mused, noting the details that sprang up alongside the sensor blip. “General Quarters, Ms XI…”

**

Aboard the Merchant Class Jump Ship “Charon”
Outer Jump Point A Centarus System
0814 Hours 09 December 3080

 Senior Captain Thomas Benton, commander of the Charon, sat in his command seat and watched the screens.  It had been some time since he’d plied the Centarus Route, something like five years now, and he looked forward to putting in here.  Benton was one of about a dozen captains that knew the route.  At least among those that wasn’t Fed Suns Navy or employed by the Phoenix Lancers themselves.

 The story as he knew it was that the location of the planet had fallen off most commercial maps over the years- either through laziness or concerted effort by those who settled the place back then. Its existence was known and unknown to many within the Ship Trades… and if you got the chance to come here, you made a point to visit.

  While it wasn’t a Canopian Pleasure Planet, it was a wonderful place to stop over.  Nice folks, fairly advanced technical base and remarkably low ravaging by the various wars that had been fought since the Star League.  Its presence as a known destination since the days of the League changed several times… which likely explained why it was still in such good shape. Also helped having the descendants of three SLDF Regiments settle the place back then….

But yeah, not many folks knew of the place.  The Armed Forces of the Federated Suns knew as it was in FedSun space and Comstar knew of it, of course- those bastards had info on a great many places. And if Constar knew it, by extension, the Word of Blake did too.

 Heck, if not for a jump ship in the process of leaving when the Blakists invaded in ’68, it might have taken longer to free the place when it was invaded than it did.  The Word had wanted it for a base of operations, so he had heard, and had not expected the populace to resist as well or as much as it did.  But they did and the concentrated effort by a Kurita Regiment (of all things), a unit of the Davion 1st Royal Cavaliers and elements of the Mercs who called the place home that were off world freed it by the beginning of 3072.

 When he was last here five years ago, the planet had been free of Blakist presence for about three years and had bounced back in that time. Benton was happy about that and even more happy that some of the places he had took shore leave in had survived.  And with this trip, he was hoping to do so again.  And this time, he would have the time to do so.  The Charon had been tasked with toting a Independent Unit, the Khon Kaen Legion, in its mission to pursuit a bunch of Drop Ship thieves.

 Well, pursue the unit that had stolen the supply ships, at least.  It seems that a indie unit called the Grey Bolts had managed to abscond with two full dropships of supplies and parts that had been destined for the Khon Kaen. This hadn’t sat well with them, of course…. And his passengers had been tasked with bringing them to heel.  And hopefully getting their ships with the items back. A tall order to be sure…

 Looking over to his right, he watched the Legion’s commander’s, Colonel Adam Francis Pryme, response to the lightshow that happened during transitioning from a jump and commented. “Don’t get to ride in a Jump ship Grav-deck much, do you?”

 Pryme, a slightly heavyset dark skinned older mechwarrior just shy of two meters tall, chuckled as he took in the sight. “No sir…  Combat Jockeys like me tend to be either in a mech cockpit waiting to drop or on the command deck of a dropship.” He commented. “As of late, it’s been more the drop ship deck but never up here. So, I have never been able to see this… Not in the thirty years I’ve been doing this, at least. Rank has its privileges and a price for them.”

 Benton nodded in understanding. “I totally get it… and at least you now get to ride up here,” he replied. “Getting old is a bitch, ain’t it?”

 Another chuckle. “Hell yeah it is…” Pryme said as the colors began to fade. “And thank you for the opportunity.”

 “Not a problem, Colonel,” he said. “Centarus is a pretty planet and I’m pretty sure the local authorities will be very helpful in collaring the Grey Bolts; The Phoenix Lancers are pretty upstanding sorts for a Merc Unit. Really should be a House unit but politics, I suppose…”

 Pryme was quiet. He knew all about politics and seen plenty of it play out in his career.  Both on the Great House level and among minor nobility too.  It was rare he had a chance to not have it get in the way… and if the Jump Captain was correct, having a planetary government work WITH him for a change would be great. “Politics colors everything, nowadays.”

 Benton laughed ruefully. “Yeah it does…”

 The Navigator spoke out. “Transitioning complete in three… two…. One…. Complete. Welcome to Centaru- Oh SHIT!” The exclamation from the navigator was total surprise as his sensor board lit up with notification of fire radars targeting the Merchant class jump ship.

 Benton sat up straight in his chair. “What the fuck, Jones?” He exclaimed as the comms technician to his left attempted to decipher the warning incoming on the comms.

 The tech, Missy Malloy, looked at Benton. “Captain, we are being hailed…. On speaker.”

[Attention unidentified Jump Ship, this is the SDS Juno.  Be advised this system is currently under restricted travel directives set by Governor Sodher Schaller of Centarus IV. Identify yourselves and be prepared for boarding parties to verify information.]

 Benton looked at the ship that showed up on the cameras. “Jesus Christ… it’s a goddamn Warship!”

 Pryme held onto the rail that was next to him. “Alright, calm down… we ain’t dead yet…” He said to the air. “Who are they?”

  Benton held up a hand as he activated a mic. When Missy nodded, he spoke. “SDS Juno, this is the Merchant Class Jump Ship Charon, Thomas Benton commanding; we are on a pre-arranged transit submitted approximately six months ago via representatives with the Periphery March Militia offices. We request a meeting to discuss the supercargo we carry,” He said. “We are NOT hostile. I repeat… we are NOT hostile.”

 He stopped his message. “Missy, log that!” To Colonel Pryme, he continued. “This is NOT what I was expecting… no sir not at all…”

 Pryme signed. “Captain, unless a war broke out here without anyone knowing- which is possible, considering, I think we might want to do what the nice big ship says.”

 “Ya think?” came the reply.

 Missy spoke. “Reply transmission, Captain.”  And the message played across the bridge speakers once more.

[Charon, Juno. Your status as a Non-Hostile remains to be seen as we detect two Combat Drop Ships attached to your collars.  Please standby for a boarding party to verify documentation and intent.]

 Benton sighed. “Juno, understood and we are standing by for boarding party. Station Keeping engines will be operating only.” He replied into the microphone.

  To Missy, he said. “Missy, make sure folks get the message not to be stupid. We are a civilian ship and well, I don’t see the locals beating us up for that.”

 Jones, the navigator, spoke up then. “Boss… there is a ton of debris near here, far reaches of our sensors.  Looks like there had been a fight out here- lots of dead dropships and a few fighters. Blakist markings mostly…”

 Benton shook his head. “Well… that would explain the nerves… Who the fuck is the SDS Juno?” he asked the air. “Last I knew, the Lancers had no warships…”

 Missy spoke. “Captain, remember the reports of the Wolverines returning last year?”

 “Yeah?”

 “They supposedly came back with a few and this might be, well, probably one of their ships…” She replied. “Makes sense…”

 Pryme spoke up as he moved towards the lift. “As much as anything else, at least.  I need to get back to the Armageddon, Mendez must be going apeshit right now…”

 Benton turned towards Pryme. “Yeah… last we need is your people losing their shit with this…”

 “Which is why I am going- I trust them but I should be there and not here,” he said. “Let me know if we are getting visitors to us too. We’ll behave either way- space isn’t our environment to play in.”

 “Right” Benton replied and turned his seat to face the screens once more, which now showed several shuttles heading his way. Shit… he thought. Centarus is supposed to be a secure system; this shit doesn’t happen here….

“Captain,” Jones spoke up. “We got a LARGE sensor blip forming behind us….”

SDS Mustafa
0829 Hours 09 December

  The Mustafa transitioned into Centarus Space and was greeted instantly by the Juno even as her own sensor technicians took in what was in the space within range… and all three leaders on the bridge were shocked. Callahan, being the least surprised of the three, started barking orders to the various stations and ordered a holo-com call with the captain of the Juno.

 Within a minute, the holo-com sprang to life and Captain Mann appeared within. [Greetings Admiral,] She began. [Sorry for the mess you’ve stumbled into but it has been a touch busy last few days.]

 Hollister looked to Tinney, who exchanged the glance with his counterpart then the Wolverine leader commented. “Captain, it certainly looks like it is a right mess.  What happened?”

 Tinney added. “And what is the condition of Centarus…Synopsis is fine.” He asked.

 Off to the side, Callahan was handed a tablet with system updates of everything within range- notable the Merchant ship being boarded and the numerous wrecks of Blakist craft in the area.

 Mann paused. [My Khan, Colonel Tinney…  The Word of Blake launched what appears to be a last gasp offensive upon the system two days ago.  It was a combination of space invasion and pre-positioned mercenary units on planet.  Governor Devine is working to figure out how it happened and he’s not being polite about it,] She said dryly. [The enemy fleet consisted of nine transport jump ships and four Warships.  Commodore Rayson directed the immediate defense and counter; all Blakist warships were destroyed or captured with only one crippled among the fleet. All the jump ships were taken but not before an in-system jump by a handful put them almost on top of Centarus.]

 Tinney listened intently. “How bad were the landings?” He asked, expecting bad news.

 [Better for the defense than there was any right to expect, Colonel.  I want to commend you for the readiness of your commands.  The space battle around Centarus was fierce and unfortunately the enemy managed a few combat drops on key ports.  Only one was taken; the two other targets saw the drops repulsed or destroyed,] She replied.
[At this time, Governor Sodher-Schaeller has organized a counterattack is underway upon the primary landing areas on Cromwell. The Hyperpulse Generator facility in Kensington Park was destroyed via large car-bomb.  The Comstar Representative is quite furious and has pledged his entire remaining command to assist where we need them. And from I understand, his resources will be needed. The Blakist forces are not going quietly.]

 Tinney blinked. “They never do…. And where is Lieutenant Colonel McCormack?”

 [Off world, sir.  She is currently on Alshain or still enroute to it. She placed Governors Sodher-Schaller and Devine in charge while she was gone.]

 “What the hell?” Tinney questioned. “Why would she- never mind, I will find out later. Thank you, Captain.”

 Callahan took up questioning. “I will receive a report on fleet readiness later…  who is the Merchant you have shuttles going to?”

[The Charon. She jumped into local space about ten minutes before you.] Mann replied. [She is on the list of approved ships, but she is currently carrying two Battlemech Capable drop ships. With the assault on the system, she is being boarded to verify identities.]

 A nod. “Good plan and well done, Sierra. We will wait here and support you as needed.” Callahan glanced to Tinney, who was deep in thought as he had backed away from the holo unit then back to Mann. “Depending on the cargo, whatever is on board might be pressed into service. Get us that detailed report when you can; I imagine it will be quite enlightening.  Callahan clear.”

Mann saluted as the projector shut down.

 Turning towards Tinney and Hollister, Callahan spoke. “Well… this is a rather interesting development. I note she didn’t say anything about Wolverine forces but then, we are pretty integrated right now.”

 Hollister nodded. “I noticed. Either they didn’t hit us or whatever fighting we were part of was not worth singling out.”

 Tinney looked at the both of them. “Perhaps… but we won’t know until we get the full report…. And I get ahold of Auburn Center. May I?” He pointed at the bridge comm station.

 “By all means… they will want to know you have gotten back, I’m sure.”

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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