Bruce (Glamour)————————Phoenix Hawk
JP (Pitbull) ——————————-Ostsol
The coming contract brought forward a possible short-fall in income, particularly with the large number of infantry now under Iron Dingoes payroll. The liquidation of various assets (Mechs, parts, arms and a few bits and pieces acquired recently) was discussed and set aside for sale upon reaching Joshua’s Station, and its vibrant, open market. Various personal projects were announced and begun, such as Pitbull’s plans to expand his cockpit into something of a “sleeper cab”, among others.
The unit started gathering supplies and contemplating our coming contract. It was decided we’d take advantage of the Writ we held, and use the quick-charge facilities in Taurian space as we travelled. With a rapid series of jumps, we could buy a couple additional weeks at Joshua’s Station, and not only give some of our crews a little more time off, but allow us to scavenge the supplies we required to complete our contract. The former contract was paid-out, and Adept Caitlan Clarke was assigned as their ComStar rep for the duration of the coming contract.
Cornet Katherine Podalla “Ravenheart” who had proven both trustworthy and capable, was re-assigned back to TF29 for “debriefing”, and she was removed from the unit. Before leaving, Glamour took the time to ask Ravenheart about what TF29s plans were, and though she didn’t give any especially private information, she confirmed Sarne’s forces were pulling from the system and heading back to their holdings on the other side of the Taurian Concordat; incidentally near where the Iron Dingoes were going to be taking their next contract. The unit was promised a new liaison officer upon their arrival at Joshua’s Station.
Finally, the unit’s increase in size reminded everyone of the need for a better organization. To begin with, Colonel Ruxbundy assigned various promotions and duties, and confirmed several members for various medals and citations for their efforts during the last contract.
The unit then packed together, loading most of their excess infantry aboard the recently hired “Betty”, and made the three-day burn to their JumpShips waiting at the zenith jump point, without event. We were headed to System – Taurus.
The system had no recharge station, and the Nadir Point hosted a single Scout-Class JumpShip that was transferring cargo through numerous shuttles. As one would approach, another would undock and burn back in-system to the main world. We contacted them, and discovered them to be a ComStar vessel, that claimed to be providing medical supplies, and evacuating refugees. The vessel, “The Nightingale” was a medical ship, built with a Quetzecoutl modification. We informed our ComStar rep, Adept Clarke, and after a brief communique, she informed us they were sending a rep by shuttle.
The ComStar rep met Adept Clarke at the airlock, along with an “honor guard” of a squad of our Starguards. The two met for a short time in close quarters, and then we were informed the agent was willing to send any messages we might have free of charge. We took advantage of this opportunity, also informing Lord Henry Fitzroy, and giving him the chance to contact his friends at the planet’s Highport Station. The Colonel took the opportunity to send an update status to the mercenary hall at System – Heroditus, to give us a correct unit profile. Lastly, Pitbull sent a quick message to Lt. Colonel Carla “Razor” Chestine informing her we were still doing well.
With the departure of our guest and a week at rechrging both our JumpShips, (and several of Sarne’s ships accompanying us) we left System – Patriarch behind us, and moved into the core of the Taurian Concordat’s industrial and developed systems.
We reached the Nadir recharge station on Brisbane without incident, and initiated a rapid charge. Customs with our Writ of Passage signed by Baron Kenton Sarne allowed us to circumvent any troubles, and within 4 days, we jumped out-system again, without any events. We abandoned the couple of Sarne’s ships that had been accompanying us, since they chose not to take a quick-charge and remained behind.
Our jump into the Nadir recharge station of the Pinard system was shocking. Traffic was fairly dense, with ships coming and going back-and-forth from the system’s main planet, a heavily industrialized world, with many important Taurian industrial complexes. Compared to our jump experiences over the last year, it was fairly frantic. We requested a quick-charge from the station and settled into a short stay before leaving.
Our relative quiet at a jump point alone was broken by a 100-ton S-7A Class Bus ship’s boat requesting assistance. The boat was granted docking clearance in the “The Unforgiving Fury” hangar bay, though we swarmed the craft with Starguard marines to ensure no funny business. After a little difficulty docking, the pilot opened her rear hatch, to reveal a smoke-filled interior of its cargo bay, filled with several standard 4-ton cargo containers. The pilot was swept to the med bay for an impromptu interrogation, while our tech crews tried to identify the problems. Examination of the cargo manifest revealed it to be 40-tons of “Farm Machinery”, but its seals wouldn’t allow us to take a peak and confirm. Eventually we determined the ship to need several key components worth around 10,000 Cs in parts, and we decided to fix the drives and charge 2000 Cs in labour. We had the invoice signed and witnessed by our ComStar rep (who knew she’d prove useful?), and turned the matter over to our two best Aero techs; Glamour and Fixer.
The pair spent an hour or so, replacing various parts, when in the forward bay, Glamour noticed a handful of packing crates of a different style from the standard 4-ton containers elsewhere in the ship. Closer examination revealed them to have contained _Technicron “Hardsuit” Marine Comabt Armor", with the packing remnants and paperwork still inside them. There were six containers. Glamour thought about that for a minute, and then recognized the color and style as being similar to those used by Excalibur Corporation and their troopers.
Glamour informed the command staff, and immediately dispatched any free Starguards to take position on the airlocks, and then began activating the standard security troops of * “The Cerberus Command”. Troops searched the ship’s boat more thoroughly, and found the cargo containers were filled with garbage. One of them in the rear cargo area had been fitted with a life-support system to supply an entire squad for a week with food, water and air. The manifest said the ship’s boat was to haul its cargo from PPI Cargo JumpShip 6528 to a JumpShip known as “The Ghost”, at this jump point.
As Advocate began to step-up his interrogation, Glamour took the opportunity to travel down to the ship’s medbay, and begin her own “discussion”. After a series of “Bad Cop, Worse Cop” questionings, it was apparent the pilot knew nothing about the hidden troopers. She had been hired to haul this burnt-out ship’s boat from one ship to another by a third-party corporation, and was unaware of the boat’s contents. Arlana and her people were warned of the problem, and they gave leave to allow Dingoes infantry to swarm the ship searching for intruders.
Then reports came in from “The Iron Vagabond”, one of the searching squads had encountered a trio of troopers in combat armor trying to make their way to the bridge. As the firefight intensified, the other three raiders joined the attack on the bridge, but Dingoes forces quickly overwhelmed the force. The raiders used some sort of knock-out gas canisters, but the Starguards were in their own suits and unaffected, though many of the militia troops in the fight were taken down. When the raiders were noted as trying to contact someone off the ship, Voice instructed the bridge crew of the Vagabond on how to jam their signals. The group was eventually taken-down, with only one casualty. The knock-out gas proved to be non-toxic and temporary in its effects.
During the following interviews, it became apparent these were independent mercenaries that had been contracted to invade the Vagabond, storm the bridge and using their knock-out gas, take control of it. Once there, they were to steal the main navigation core, and make a direct line for the shuttle bays, steal a shuttle and get off the ship for a rendezvous with their contact. Their contact was someone they referred to as “…the Devil’s own Angel…”, Agent Cote de David. They believed she worked for Excalibur Corporation, but beyond that, they knew very little. The ship’s boat, its pilot and the five surviving raiders were turned-over to Taurian authorities, along with a quick story of their attempted hijacking. The mercenaries’ equipment (especially their valuable combat armor) were confiscated by the Dingoes, and many of the command staff now had battered, but useful suits for their own future excursions.
With no other events, the unit jumped out-system.
The capital of the Taurian Concordat was crowded at its zenith jump point. Ships were everywhere, hauling goods, personnel, and troops for everywhere else in the nation. As the crews of the JumpShips began to ready for evacuation from the jump point…
…a Merchant-Class JumpShip with a pair of Mule-Class DropShips attached jumped right on top of the pair of Dingoes JumpShips. Although the crews from both vessels were initially unhinged, the skill of the JeriCorp crew and Glamour’s surprisingly lucky talents, managed to get both ships out of harm’s way. The matter behind them, they proceeded to a safe point to wait. With at least a week purchased through their use of the quick-charges, they had time to burn in the system.
The Dingoes used their Writ of Passage again, and were assigned a ship’s navigator, one Cornet William B. DeSalle, who would accompany one DropShip to Joshua’s Station. Using an erasable navigation data card, the unit would transit through the thick asteroid clusters and nebulae gas clouds to the station. It would be a nine-day trip.
The unit chose to go with the “Betty”, loading it with various supplies, Mechs and personnel for their “business” trip to the station. The journey went without incident, and eventually Joshua’s Station rose into view…