09/14/3065 03:17 Location – Trojan Dropship “Raging Bull”, Al’Sur, Astrokaszy
Vanguard Commander Brandt and Strike Commander Lesson returned from their skirmish with the Red Skull, Tack’s Guillotine was carrying it’s right arm in it’s left hand in what would have been comedic if it weren’t for the blackened rent metal that was the Battlemech’s right torso. Sergeant Reinholdt, his Desert Rats, and the Red Skull Mechwarriors had arrived earlier, transported via the Marten VTOL, so that Major Grey and her people could debrief/interrogate/etc… the newly arrived mercenaries. The report was still being prepared but some of the Red Skull were playing hardball while others rolled with little provocation.
What was rolling was Joe and Markus’ tempers, each seethed for their own reasons. Joe walked his Phoenix Hawk into the Raging Bull’s Mech bay hopped out and immediately left going to their neighboring Mule drop-ship “Rodeo.” Markus would get there eventually but he had to clear the air with Major Grey first, her attitude was wearing on him after the past week, god it had only been a week since they made landfall and things didn’t make sense anymore.
By providence she was on-board with her new cybernetic bodyguard, one of the “freaks” that Joe had unmasked several days ago, and was responsible for detonating nuclear demo charges on their previous assignment without telling them. After checking in with Captain Radimir he went to her still in his cooling vest and jumpsuit, walking past several troops with the Twin Sabers logo on their fatigues.
Major Grey and Operative Kell were waiting for him in the corridor outside the Strategic Command Center. Major we need to talk right now!, Felicity turned and spoke calmly, I agree. Where do you want to start Commander?
Why didn’t you tell us about Mina?
She didn’t tell you so I didn’t either, you will have to ask her motivation to keep it secret. I didn’t order her to keep it under wraps when she volunteered for the assignment
Why even send an agent into this unit Felicity?
You needed an intelligence officer and she is one of the best, I forwarded her profile through a cutout to you and you hired her. She sent me occasional reports on your progress and I provided guidance when it seemed necessary.
You act like its not a big deal!, Markus was fuming yet Felicity remained calm
Its not, fire her if it pleases you but you will not find a more loyal and dutiful worker than that young woman
She pulled a gun on Sergeant Reinholdt, drugged and assumed the identity of Specialist Samira, and then assaulted Ravinia. What else has she done?
As far as I know asked the difficult questions, maintained a low profile, did her job, and kept an eye out for infiltrators from ROM, TMI, AIM, Loki, or hell even Mask, Canopus may be allied with the Capellans but that doesn’t mean they need to see everything we do. Leon is unreliable, you know it yet do nothing, and Ravinia has critical first person intelligence on your enemy yet refused to provide it until Mina “persuaded” her.
She’s a wildcard, the slightest strain was visible on Felicity’s brow as she continued to answer the angry questions of the Vanguard Commander, I know and that’s why she is perfect for this unit, you are all too predictable.
I don’t trust her anymore, what others lies has she been telling?
I don’t know. Her secrets are not mine to give, again ask her and fire her if it pleases you.
You’re not even going to offer a token defense of your agent., Frustration began to mount on Major Grey’s face, She asked me not to. Nor does she offer any apologies for her behavior, she was performing her duty and seeks to be judged based on results not your idea of politey.
Markus realized her wasn’t going to get further with those questions, Why didn’t you tell us about the bounty on your head? I can’t say it hasn’t been tempting. Thirty million Eagles would fix a lot of problems., Kell shifted to draw his sidearm but paused as Major Grey signaled him to stop, her face went intense and voice cold, Markus had stepped over the line and he couldn’t retract it fast enough, he realized to late that something was really bothering Grey,
You’d like that wouldn’t you? An end to your little problems. You have only been on planet for a week, sitting inside the heavily armored cockpit of one of the most impressive war machines mankind has ever made, winning by the way. Felicity grabbed his cooling vest and pulled him down to her level, You have no idea how many problems I would like to get rid of, yet you come here whining about your situation. Let me enlighten you., he’d never seen her this intense and pondering how fast Captain Radimir’s crew could respond if he shouted, The former Chief of Station cost me my whole network in the Marian Hegemony, my network, my people tortured and murdered in the wake of your Co-Commander’s raid on that secret factory on Marius’ Tears. Commander Arachne had full operational control of that mission and she chose to use nuclear demo charges to eliminate the threat. I had nothing to do with it but support her choice, Mina and her likely had some kind of agreement to deal with the fallout later but were pulled into this mission back to back without sufficient time to decompress.
Felicity released her physical grip but maintained the death stare that cut right to his soul, For me years of work gone along with dozens of lives lost to give even the slightest advantage to the Magistracy. The Word of Blake being kicked out was collateral damage but they still attacked MIM Headquarters on Canopus with the Revenant! I was there! I saw them, they killed two hundred people that day, the Ministry still hasn’t even quantified the damage to our operations.
I’m running out of allies Vanguard Commander, you remember Shonsa Kiang Shi Fang right? Her unit and her were killed and mutilated by Thuggees less than a month ago, I have the picture*. Felicity pulled her wallet out of her shirt pocket with her left hand and produced the picture of a woman’s decapitated head.
Markus looked away, Look at it! This is a war, undeclared perhaps, but people die, people lie, sometimes it catches up to them. You live with it and move on or don’t.
Major Grey paused, her breathing was harsh and she was clearly in pain but she wasn’t done, So if you want your little problems gone, go ahead, claim your blood money, I have not regrets for what I do., She was getting increasingly agitated, The Archon-Princess will stop at nothing to get her bitch ass on the Throne of the Second Star League and keep it there. The Federated Commonwealth has been waiting centuries for the opportunity, the only worse power is the Draconis Combine.
Me, Kell, Arachne, Mina, any of us would gladly sacrifice ourselves to avert the bloodshed on even a single Canopian world if it was possible but we have to pick our battles, we are fewer in number everyday. Not all of us can walk away and pick a new side., Felicity penned Markus against one of the corridor walls, Katherine has pulled right from the deepest depths of sludge in the Inner Sphere to wage her little wars out here. Before Konstantine died he was bragging about how many liberated slave girls he raped before returning them to their families. This man was a Baron! The Marians are slavers and pirates, sure they act more civilized but they are the very boogeymen all Canopians fear, with good reason, I’ve seen their depravity first hand, entire villages burned, people crucified or left to die in the cold.
Something changed in Felicity’s features as she continued something Markus hadn’t seen in her ever, a blanched face of terror. The Word of Blake has pulled inhuman demons straight from the Pits of Hell to fight for them, I’ve seen them, fought them, six of them killed fifteen of the finest soldiers in the MAF including Thane and twenty of Tina’s men. I’ve killed people and sent them to their death but these things are monsters. There is nothing so horrific in the entire universe, they are just empty shells of violence.
War is coming Commander, a war on the scale of which the Inner Sphere hasn’t seen since the end of the Star League. I won’t have it on my conscience to say I didn’t give it my all even if it was impolite.
You don’t have to like me or what I do Commander. As a matter of fact its better if you don’t, I respect your skill and straight forwardness but that doesn’t mean we need to be friends. But don’t try to judge me for what I do, you’re not from here.