10/17/3061 00:58 Location – CHS Trapper, en route to Gwithian
Bondsman Red is on the gantry surrounding a Wolf Hunter aboard the CHS Trapper formerly a Nova Cat Overlord-C before it’s seizure in the wake of the Cat’s Abjuration and the resulting feeding frenzy. Two Trinaries of the 40th Hellion Lancers, their support, and the Watch contingent remained on Wynn’s Roost with a rough map from the Red Rooster’s Jumpship and pirate group in which to raid nearby Outworlds Waste or Draconis March worlds for additional colonists and provisions. Despite the fact that Red had put the best man in change while he was on the yearlong possibly one way trip to the Homeworlds he was concerned that his group wouldn’t be there, if and when he returned. His hair had returned to its natural black and he had been forced to cut the Mohawk down to a short strip of hair that ran down his head. Now wearing a blue jumpsuit he was attempting to pry a stubborn access panel that refused to bulge.
“You really should try one of these,” Technician Paula said slowly elevating to the scaffolding aboard an electric scissor lift handing him a hook attached to a comealong. _ “Thanks Paula, I didn’t know you had those,”_ she held her ears and looked at him strangely, “What is it?”
“It is those contractions please stop being so vulgar.”
“Right I forgot you are all really touchy about those things. Seems strange, curses are curses, you would be amazed at my vocabulary of such things.”
Red put down his prybar and attached the comealong and pumped it eventually breaking the panel cover before beginning to check the rainbow vomit of wires, “Reminds me of my service to the Dragon. Everything was broken all the time, had to maintain my own machine with nothing more than basic hand tools and spray adhesive.”
“You were a Mechwarrior for the Combine? And you took care of your own Mech?”
“I was Blood in the Water, Fifth Amphigean Light Assault Group, shattered to pieces fighting the Ghost Bear rather than the Davion Devil. Escaped with my Jenner and fought until I could no longer win, then I just hid and waited for a DCMS raid, got rescued then deserted. Of course I maintained my own Mech! The Pillar of Steel started getting rusty around my section we were glad when we had enough armor and food. Who do you think took care of that Archer?”
“That is just strange, you are the first inner sphere person I have met. Sorry for all the questions.”
“No Clan Mechwarriors take care of their machines?”
“No that is the Technician Caste’s job.”
He got real close and looked around, “How are any of them still alive then? Couple of mis-calibrations, lapsed maintenance cycle, the reactor running a little too hot and then you guys take over.”
“We do not think that way.”
“Fortunate for the Warriors then, that is why the Combine Mechwarriors all the way up to the Coordinator help take care of their own machines. We would have been long dead otherwise.”
Paula whispered, “Your Technicians would kill a Warrior by negligence?”
“In a heartbeat if he pissed them off long enough. Now are you just going to stand there or help me splice these cables?”
“Well I hope they do not kill our Warriors?”
“What do you mean?”
“I was a Nova Cat before the Abjuration, our banishment from the Home Worlds for siding with the Second Star League, Star Colonel Montrose and the Ice Hellions trialed for some isolated enclaves in retribution for the death of Khan Taney. We just could not get out fast enough. Now the Nova Cats live in the Combine and I serve the Ice Hellions. What was it like?”
“Quite unpleasant, I am afraid I cannot recommend it. I would rather be a pirate than return, not just because they would kill me.”
10/21/3061 06:00 Location – Gwithian Colony
The small former Nova Cat garrison had been expanded slightly by the CHS Maker while it was in orbit mostly by putting more former Nova Cat and Smoke Jaguar Laborers and Technicians on it. The Aqueduct Montrose set down on the other side to take on water before being sent to another surveyed world that would soon be the next target for the CHS Maker, its crew composed of Pirates and Hellions split.
The Potemkin Coterie was scheduled to arrive by the time they made it to Hector and establish as large a support base as it could. The CHS Maker returning to Hector before venturing out again to some other world surveyed by the Nova Cats or Smoke Jaguars which had borne the brunt of the Hellion’s post refusal revenge rampage seizing supplies, sibkos, and survey data and sabotaging said data to ensure it would not be used again.
Star Colonel Montrose, Bondsman Red, and the staff aboard the mostly empty Trapper stepped out onto the Ferrocrete landing pad. A raw looking man with brown hair greeting them, a fellow Warrior though his uniform was different, charcoal gray compared to the Star Colonel’s white and blue, “Star Colonel, we did not expect you back so quickly, have you completed the initial survey already?”
_“I have Star Captain Vozka or rather my Bondsman Red has provided me with sufficient information to send to Khan Drake. I trust you have made sure this colony is ready, is the HPG still active?”
“Aff Star Colonel, the Enclave has been hard at work ensuring this station can manage the Khan’s planned transfer.”
“Good, Did the Diamond Sharks or Snow Ravens return this way Star Captain?”
“Neg, Star Colonel Montrose, we did expect them to and were prepared to disappear should they appear but they may no longer have interest in the Abjured Nova Cat’s holdings. No doubt the Sharks already have their own way stations and the Snow Ravens have the Bear’s stations.”
“I fear they may return. We cannot have either of those Clans figuring out what the Ice Hellions are planning, quiaff”
“Good take me to the HPG I have to send this data to Khan Drake immediately. Bondsman I will find you in the Technician’s quarters, quiaff”
“Aff Star Colonel Montrose”
Red, Paula, and most of the other onboard technicians waited for a truck to come around and loaded their gear inside. The Technician’s barracks were small and relatively new having been constructed when the colony was founded but none of the Techs had many possessions. Everything was stashed and they were on break for another three hours. Red walked around his new surroundings there was no escape for him but he was happy to at least be back on solid ground after spending months in space.
10/22/3061 07:19 Location – Training Site A10, Hector, Kerensky Cluster
Khan (Ale)Xander Drake was completing his morning exercise in full Salamander armor. It was his favorite suit type, one of the reasons he was sent as part of the joint redevelopment of the armor by the Fire Mandrills having won their respect despite his smallish size for an Elemental Trueborn, he was more driven, smarter, faster, and no less deadly than the Brutes of even the hated Ghost Bears.
Scaling the icy wall with his razor sharp battle claws was one of the ways he relaxed, each strike into the wall a killing or practice for ripping armor plating off a Mech. There was nothing like the thrill of battle especially for an Elemental Warrior. He longed for a chance to fight in the Inner Sphere and win the Glory that had eluded him for so long but he settled for burning Dark Caste and Snakes for now.
He cleared the wall jumping off the 150 meter cliff and using his jump jets to slow his descent, breaking right in stride running toward the test range where silhouettes of infantry, tank hulks, and a Mockup of the hated Timber Wolf loomed. He burned each to ash with the Flamethrowers under his forearms, the Ice Hellions would no longer be denied and he watched as the Timber Wolf burned.
Soon the Ice Hellions would win again and the Inner Sphere would burn at his fingertips.