Legends and Myths Seventy Seven- The Storm: A quick meeting

Conference Room of the SLS Mustafa

1949 hours local, 09 December 3080

  Tinney stood at the viewport of the conference room awaiting the incoming guest.  When the Marines boarded the Charon, the captain of that jump ship explained in detail who they were carrying.  An impromptu meeting between the commander of the unit on board and the Marine Captain followed by a com-call… set up this most unusual contract discussion.

 Hollister sat at the table off to the side and commented. “Are you sure of this?”

 Tinney answered without looking. “About as sure as anything else in the universe, John. I mean… who would have thought the Blakist bastards would have tried this stunt?” he said. “Based on what Diane told me in her report, they are contained but not fully.  We can take ‘em with what we have on planet but it will be a slog… and take time.  This Khon Kaen Legion group seems almost too perfect a solution, but their initial info reads legit. And possibly cut down some of the time for the major ops to be completed.”

 Hollister shook his head. “I agree… fortuitous appearance on their part,” He replied. “That their information matches what we have from PMM over in Woodbine helps their case. I’m not sure meeting him in this fashion is smart though.”

 Tinney looked back at his friend. “Maybe not… but down on a planet? If they are questionable, down there is not a good idea… Out here, they can be contained.” He shook his head. “Callahan will blow them out of space if they are frauds.”

 A chuckle. “That he will…” Hollister’s data pad pinged and he looked at its message. “It would seem our guest has arrived. Two persons…”

 Tinney turned to face the entryway in order to greet their guests….


 Pryme and his exec, Lorraine Spector, strode through the passageways escorted by a trio of Marines. Both mercenary officers were sans weapons which admittedly made the older warrior feel a bit naked. His exec wasn’t feeling much better, though that she still had her bodice knife was a thing. The marine that had searched her had missed it in among her cleavage.  Not that a stiletto would do much, of course, but it was still a weapon.

 The two mercs were quiet as they followed the marine in front of them. Pryme noted the alertness of the crewmen as they were encountered and their overall politeness in interactions. Impressive, he thought. But when you have a big gun, being polite isn’t all that hard…

 Coming out onto the bridge deck, they in turn were politely escorted to the conference room off to the side of the deck.  The door opened to reveal a small conference room with two persons in it.  Both older men, with the one, a bald man with a salt-and-pepper goatee, standing on the opposite side of the table within. He, like the other man in the room, was clad in a Star League style combat uniform with name tapes attached. Both wore the rank of Colonel though the man seated also had a Khan’s rank. Well that’s damn odd… he thought as he came to a stop just short of the table. Lorraine did likewise.

 “Welcome to the Mustafa, Colonel Pryme,” the bald man said as he offered a hand across the table. “Sorry for the conditions of this meeting but circumstances… My associate, John Hollister, Khan of Clan Wolverine.”

 Pryme smiled slightly as he took the offered hand. “No worries, Colonel Tinney and pleasure to meet you, Khan Hollister. A pleasure to meet a Myth.” He smiled a bit wider. “Given what I’ve learned about what’s gone on so far, I completely get all the precautions. This is my Exec, Lieutenant Colonel Lorraine Spector,” Pryme replied, indicating his companion. “I’m not sure I’d do much different, at least if I had the shipping you have.” A wave of the hand at the accommodations and the ship as a whole. “A Black Lion like this is a relic. A very functioning one, obviously… but a relic.”

A low chuckle. “Yeah, it is… a very functioning one, too. Please be seated.” Tinney said as he too sat.  When Pryme was seated along with Spector, he continued. “As you are very aware, the system right now is in a bit of flux.  More planet side than anything… and one of our problems seems to be something of interest to you. Correct?”

 Pryme nodded. “Yessir…  a command known as the Grey Bolts. They were on Khon Kaen about nine months ago when a trio of supply dropships went missing. They were last seen in their company as the unit boosted for their jump ships.” He informed the Lancer leader. “My government was rather pissed, shall we say, as the supplies on those ships were meant to be surplus supplies; Khon Kaen had only recently rebuilt from the Jihad invasion by the Circinus Federation. For once, someone was far thinking and to lose it like that….” He shrugged. “Well, there was some angry voices. And my force was sent to either get them back, dispense some punishment or both.”

 Tinney glanced at Hollister, who was consulting the datapad in front of him.  At the Wolverine leader’s nod, he spoke. “According to Khan Hollister,” he indicated the Wolverine leader who looked up with a slight smile.” What we can verify from the data we have from a news archive, your story about the assault and the retaking of Khon Kaen checks. As does your overall mission, as per the March command notes we have.” He paused some and leaned back in a chair. “This indicates to me, on the face, that your story is likely truthful.  I’m pretty happy about that…”

 Leaning forward, he continued. “This also leads into what we know about the Grey Bolts. Our records on them are spotty… but several times over the last ten years, the Lancers have had interactions with them on a combat level or as part of an overall mission we were part of. There is a short period prior to their appearance here on planet we don’t have information on.  That period seems to correlate to what happened on Khon Kaen.” A pause. “As to how they got here, given history… they said all the right things to our negotiators”

 Spector nodded in understanding. “Which is why this little meeting…  Face to face is harder to spoof and its why you asked for me to be here with him.” She said carefully. “If we weren’t truly who we were, one of us would be the clue.”

 Hollister answered her. “Correct. Usually, one of a command pairing has the poker face, as I’ve been told. Stories that are false will have a point in them that a ‘tell’ will show. Neither of you are displaying any…. Which indicated you are either excellent actors or there is no duplicity here.” The man’s face was completely calm, as if he was discussing the weather.

 Tinney spoke then. “And if you WERE being duplicitous, this chat would be over damn fast.”

 The two visiting officers looked at each other then back across the table. “Well… we aren’t… and I’m too damn old for such nonsense.” Pryme sighed. “I have a job to do, and this is a damn wrinkle if there was ever one.”

 Spector added. “Understatement…”

 Tinney nodded. “It is… and I am choosing to believe you both.  I would also like to offer you a chance to continue your mission.” Reaching over to a data pad on a chair next to him, he picked it up and placed it on the table.  Tapping the screen a few times, he pushed it across the table to Pryme, who lifted it up. “It would seem in their success at their part in the attacks, your quarry has placed themselves in a rather good location for your forces.”

 Pryme handed the pad to Spector as he looked at Tinney. “Good is one of the words I’d use, Colonel Tinney.  Only one though.   One of the others isn’t meant for the negotiating table.” He paused. “How soon can we be involved?”

 Tinney looked at Hollister then back at the Legion commander. “Within a day I’ll wager. If you need to have your troops to land for combat operation prep, it will be longer.”

 Pryme looked at Spector. “Its been a while, but I think we can have someone ready for a combat drop. There is a space port, right?” he asked when she nodded at the combat drop idea.

 “There is,” Tinney replied. “I do not know where their ships went after offload, but it should not be hard to locate them.”

 “Then I suppose we should work out some final details on an adhoc contract,” Pryme said. “We aren’t really mercs but I’m certain some sort of deal can be framed out for this. I somehow don’t think a Gentleman’s Agreement can properly cover this…”

 A low chuckle. “Not really… but for the initial effort, certainly. Use of facilities and such can be discussed later. Our standard compensation is complete repairs post battle as needed; it’s part of our business, after all. Consumables are a different matter and can be discussed later.”

 “Sounds like we have a temporary deal, then,” Pryme replied. “If you do not mind, we have some pre-battle work to be done with whatever information you can get us for planning.”

  Tinney nodded. “Of course.  Take the pad with you; it has a good topographical map of Johnson and where the various defense bunkers are- you will know what we think is compromised, at the very least. While we don’t have a full disposition on what the Grey Bolts have, we do know it is at least a reinforced battalion of mechs and armor.”

  Spector commented. “That’s plenty to know… and we’ve had less information,” She looked at the two hosts. “I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to expect us dropping in.”

 Tinney smiled. “That’s the plan, ma’am… your force is likely not known to be so close, if they knew you were coming.  And perhaps, if they did know you were coming, they thought we’d just shoot you first without knowing who you all were.” A shrug. “Not our style.”

  Pryme nodded. “And I am pretty glad it isn’t. By your leave?”

 “Of course…” Tinney replied. “We will be in orbit about four hours after you are back aboard, providing your ship has the fuel.”

  The two officers departed, and Hollister rose. “I should think this will pose a serious surprise for them…” He said. “I have my doubts on all this but its minor ones. Their appearance is a small blessing; the Lancers are a bit stretched and half of our combat power is elsewhere.”

A sigh. “yeah we are… with that battalion out on Barbados, kicking them off would take a far longer time otherwise.  And that’s with your assistance….  Warship bombardment is not something I want to do here if I can help it. I will… but last option. Barbados…. That was to save lives in the end.”

 “Yes it was,” Hollister said. “Do you want me to brief Auburn?”

 “No… I’ll do it,” Tinney said. “I need a better conversation with Diane about what’s going on. I expect we are managing down there but I need to know how well before anything more drastic than this drop happens.”



 Back aboard the shuttle heading for the Charon, Spector finally spoke. “Adam… that was an incredibly short meeting… Too short.”

 Pryme was quiet for a good minute then answered. “It was… but I think there was a lot learned in it. A heck of a lot…. You noticed they didn’t discuss their assets much and it was business quick?”

 “I did…”

 Pryme sighed. “Unless I am wrong as hell, I think they aren’t as strong as they would like to be right now… and we are a damn gift in that department.” He said. “Yeah, they have these warships and that’s huge. But nothing beats boots on the ground. Nothing… and while my knowledge of the Phoenix Lancers isn’t large, what I know about the Wolverines is a shitton less. If they had the ground ass, they would let us cool heels.”

Lorraine blinked. “What makes you think they don’t? Aren’t they a reinforced Regiment like us? Or better?”

 “Last I knew, they were…” He answered. “But I am thinking part of their assets are elsewhere.  And why would their bosses be on a ship jumping in behind us?” He shook his head. “No… I think those two were on their way back from something… Something large… which has a draw on their combat power. They are good troops, Lor and a strong unit with a killer rep… but if part of their guns aren’t here, that puts a crimp in their fighting plans.  We are that unforeseen opportunity to deal with one of their problems… and are willing to cut any sort of deal right now.”

  He paused. “And whatever contract they DO offer… will likely be pretty damn fair. I know of their refit company; the handful of machines I’ve seen that have gone through their skunk works have all been solid. Sometimes their custom work is not as up-gunned as one might like but every single one has been an improvement in my opinion. And assistance with repairs… that will take heat off our supplies.”

 Lorraine shook her head. “Adam, while that’s a plus, I’m not totally sold on it. I have heard stories of units being beholden to employers via Company Store Syndrome. Are they immune to that temptation?”

A chuckle. “I think so…  Tech Work is cheap compared to replacement of equipment… and they do have a world to resupply from. Reputation is a thing… and they have one to maintain too. Screwing over a Merc unit, much less one like us, would not go over well.” Pryme leaned back into his seat. “I’m thinking we will be fine… and right now, I think we can back-burner the contract thing for now.  The initial offer for complete repair to anything damaged is worth it for us.  Especially as I think its on their dime, I think.”

A chuckle. “I hope you’re right, Boss…”

 “So do I, Exec… so do I.”

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: