“Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclaps rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.”
JP (Pitbull) ————————-——-Highlander
March 16th, 3028 : Landhold : Garrison* : The unit, in preparation for their new contracts, invested heavily in munitions and other supplies for their coming contracts. They also began developing plans for * Deep Ice One and Rockhopper Exploration, to begin while they were away.
Major Erika Hartmann “Glamour” returned to System – Dumassas along with millions in gems and rare minerals she had traded in exchange for various BattleMech parts and several vehicles she had traded to the Bank of Aurore during her year in System – Aurore. This income was immediately spent on improving their landhold airfield in Garrison, though there was some discussion on building a sports complex for their nascent “INDY League” soccer idea. This was tabled for a future date.
Lastly, the group began its planned invasion of System – Pa’an, by making plans with Rockhopper to begin exploration of the starport in the Downdistrikt region on that world. The unit depended heavily on Lady Kalique Abrasax for intelligence regarding the system, and she willingly provided everything she knew about the system, both politically and militarily, giving them a good beginning for future plans. They agreed that either Northbank or Nemsos would be their target for political or military support, targeting either the Republic of Carcovaan, or the Barony of Carving as their eventual conquest. Or both. As they didn’t plan for such an activity to occur until 2-3 years hence, they were happy just to begin their influence and scouting phase at this time.
During this time, Captain Pol Baca “Templar” and MechWarrior Eric Lars “Caboose” began trying to influence the local “Dead” gang in Garrison, picking up Julia Dalgado. She was threatened and seemed to take it all in stride, threatening open war if her organization were attacked. The group quickly learned why they call her the “Queen of the Dead”. Though not fully resolved, it appears that her gang is increasingly no ordinary street gang, and might prove either an aid or a hindrance in the future.
March 17th, 3028 : The unit loaded into their transports, and began the slow ten-day burn to their waiting JumpShips.
March 26th : The unit jumped out-system, and began the twenty-six (26) jump journey through the heart of the Federated Suns, using their access to quick-charge facilities along the way. The trip was fairly uneventful for many jumps until charging in the Edwards system, when their JumpShip, “The Freedom of the Stars” suffered a charge failure and damage to its Drive Controller. Fearing the cost to replace such a valuable component, the rest of the fleet continued onwards, leaving the Explorer-Class JumpShip behind to effect repairs and follow along as it could.
April 17th : Having made good time through its use of quick-charge facilities, the core Iron Dingoes fleet arrived in System – Northwind, and after reporting in, the unit’s DropShips began their long twelve-day burn to the capital and Kohler Spaceport.
April 29th : The fleet reached orbit and were informed to make landing at Kohler Starport, but to remain embarked until approached by representatives of the local 5th Deneb Light Cavalry RCT regarding their operational status. It was also remarked upon their arrival some month before schedule.
Landing at the spaceport without incident, they noticed the mass of the Deneb Light Cav’s large DropShip fleet arrayed on the field. After a few hours, they were finally contacted by a minor officer of the RCT, who directed that select members were to accompany him to “The Castle”, the planetary defense headquarters. The lead Council members traveled with him via their own Hover Limo “Elite”.
Upon arrival at “The Castle”, they found the place a massive fortification equipped with communication arrays and defensive turrets, but otherwise was a BattleMech-sized fortification, with an ancient stone appearance appropriate to a world founded by Scottish immigrants. They were quickly hustled into a private conference room, and introduced to their direct commander, Major Scott Bradley. A fairly non-descript officer, he bore the walk of a veteran trooper, and the distinct military uniform and combat patch of the Kell Hounds.
Known as a veteran BattleMech Battalion with an unusual loyalty to House Steiner, it was one more oddity to their assignment. The officer made several things very cl;ear, handing over the unit’s briefing on a data pad, but reminding them that keeping the information regarding the contract private was important. He informed them that for now, the unit was effectively a mercenary force under the direction of himself as the major of “Bradley’s Bravos”, the new 3rd Battalion of the Kell Hounds.
He informed them that their equipment, including tanks, BattleMechs and DropShips would be painted with the Kell Hounds logo, that their troopers would be supplied with patches to make them appear to be Kell Hounds. They would be assigned a small garrison site south-west of the capital Tara, high in the Rockspire Mountains which dominated the land south of the capital. The unit would remain in their cantonment, with a handful of passes to the city to allow for the unit to engage in limited R&R. Any requests for supplies or equipment would be made directly to himself, and thence to whatever source was appropriate. For the duration of the contract, the unit was to stay quiet and make itself look like the Kell Hounds.
The unit spent the next couple months painting their Mechs and keeping a low profile. Although the Kell Hounds tactics were closely examined, the unit realized that it would be hard to pretend to be a light/medium raider unit like the Kell Hounds, largely because they had long since abandoned such a tactical direction for their forces for a direct assault force approach.
Nonetheless, they were able to spend several months in relative peace. They made an order for a handful of Swift Wind Scout Cars from the Federated Suns own stores. They took turns spending time in the nearby capital engaging in various personal pursuits, but otherwise spent their time visiting the couple of pubs in the nearby garrison village. They found the locals somewhat accepting, though generally not very friendly; something to be expected among the clannish citizens of Northwind.
The news media was concentrated on the reports of fighting between the Wolf’s Dragoons and various elite house members of the Draconis Combine on nearby Misery. It also continued to relate the marriage preparations between Melissa Steiner and Hanse Davion. As the marriage drew nearer and nearer, it became the chief talking-point in every news broadcast.
Towards the end of June, the unit were invited to a meeting with Marshal Lovis Yolis, the commander of the 5th Deneb Light Cavalry RCT. The unit were commended in their professional attitude and the discipline the Iron Dingoes had displayed. He seemed rather impressed by them, despite them appearing to be “… Periphery trash…” at first glance. The Dingoes seemed to take the comment as a compliment, and welcomed the upcoming dinner.
So far, their “Shadow Sword” assignment had been a walk in the park, and a great opportunity to be paid for some downtime. Everyone knew it was too good to last.