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Author Topic: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale  (Read 34029 times)

mikecj

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #30 on: 26 January 2019, 02:19:25 »
If it really was a pirate ship, its a bad idea to have a technically trained person able to access your ship's controls...

Nice updates, thanks
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #31 on: 27 January 2019, 13:49:12 »
Chapter 6
By Cliff
Beta and Clean up By Nathan
Reviewed by Hotpoint. 


20 September 3046
New Circe system

The Styx and her brood of DropShips were busy and full of people in non-stop motion.  Everyone had gone home for some much-needed time off, but no one took the entire offered fourteen days of R and R.  There was a lot of excitement about getting ready for the second part of the mission. 

Somehow, word had gotten out about the recovery mission to the planet below.  It was not as big of a news story as there had been when they had brought the carrier Kaga back to the system, but the news of a ship thought to be un-salvageable being brought in had people talking.  The crew of the Styx had passed their first hurdle with flying colors, and were eager to get on with things.

The JumpShip crews had trickled back into deep space using the scheduled supply Raptor runs.  The Hard Hat had been relieved of her towing duties by another tug, and she returned back to a hard point on the side of the Styx.  After a couple of days back aboard ship the crew had started to get restless.

So far no one was saying exactly was going to happen to the Scout they had recovered.  Nor had there been news about the DropShip the Scout had been carrying. Speculation among the crew ran wild.

This time Captain Copeland did not have to have a face to face meeting with his boss to receive his orders.  This time they showed up through a resupply Raptor in the form of a standard SLDF secure storage disk.  Robert found that he missed having a meeting with Commander Xi. Still, it was nice that operations seemed to have become more routine.

There were very few differences in the planning between the upcoming run and the first shakedown. It would be longer run at a little over a thousand light years each way.  Despite the distance, the familiarity between the crew and the new drives meant that there was little that required his direct attention.

The one major change would be the lack of escort. Higher Command had decided that the next operation would take the Styx too close to the Inner Sphere. A ship the size of the Titan might be spotted there and draw undue attention. Accordingly, Copeland and his expedition would be on their own. Xi had added a note to the effect that he should be used to it. It was as close to a joke as she normally allowed herself, and Copeland found himself smiling.

The travel time was set for just ten days each way, another ten days would be spent in a system designated PHX 3345.  A little bit of time was set aside for any unforeseen emergency, but the whole idea for this phase of the trip was meant to test the crew’s endurance during long transit times. 

Passing this stress test would be the last hurdle in determining this experiment’s success.  If the Styx did not return by 25 Oct to New Circe, then a Scout mission would be sent out to find them.  Like the last mission various waypoints were given so that the Styx would plan to be at locations at a certain time, so that she could be more easily located in the event of a failure.

Protocols to preserve the location and identity of the home system were to be observed at all times once the expedition departed.  They would not be relaxed until the final jump back to the home system.  This crew was the one that Copeland intended to bring with him to the Inner Sphere, though most did not know it yet. His life and theirs might depend on whether or not they could keep to protocol, and he intended to be sure that they would.

While Copeland was certain of his JumpShip crew, the status of the DropShip crews was less certain.  Copeland knew that almost everyone on the Hard Hat and White Skies wanted one of the few coveted slots for the upcoming expedition.  They had no idea of what type mission they would be going on, but it was an active command in the SLDF navy and those were rare as hen’s teeth even with a war going on around them. 

Almost without warning the order was given to prepare for jump. Every crew member on all of the ships was ready to go for round two of the Styx experiment.  When the order was given for an estimated departure time, they were more than ready to go. 

As Copeland expected all stations reported ready for departure. This was passed along to higher command on the planet.  Exactly at 0900 on 20 Sep 3046., the SLS Styx left for her final exam with two DropShips attached to her sides.   

The Captain and XO had worked personally with the navigator on the planning for this run.  The JumpShip had to cover a hundred light years on average per day of travel.  This time though the worked hard to limit the total number of jumps, so as to avoid stressing the ship and its operations more than necessary. 

They also wanted to get the jumps over quickly, so only one hour was set aside between each of the twenty light year jumps. This level of operational readiness seemed insane. Before the arrival of the Colonials the idea of a jump less than an hour from the previous jump would have been unthinkable. Copeland intended to make it routine. 

The final jump each day would arrive at a safe or standard jump point around that day’s designated star.  The Star would provide the needed power to run the ships other systems, without using the limited supplies of conventional fuel for the fusion engines.  It also would give the crews of all three ships time to get over any jump sickness and perform maintenance. 

It was noted that when they used the Colonial made systems that jump sickness, better known as Transit Disorientation Syndrome or “TDS”, was a little worse than when they did a double jump.  It wasn’t too much worse than a standard jump, but it was enough of an increase that it had been noted by all of the travelers on the last test run.  Robert knew at least one SLDF sailor who was particularly affected by it. He winced slightly as he thought about how this new paradigm in interstellar travel would be treating the poor man.

Exactly ten days after the Styx had left New Circe it reached PHX 3345.  Their time there would not be spent idly. As before, there was a ship here to salvage.

This system’s survey was even more out of date than the one where they had found the Scout. Accordingly, they had a larger area to search. Robert didn’t even bother with a passive sensor sweep this time. They were on a time table, after all. Instead he ordered his crew to go active immediately, looking for their quarry.

This time it was so hard to find that it was not found until late into the night shift rotation, almost a full twenty-four hours from the time they started looking.  By the time that the next shift was on duty the target was firmly sensor locked, and a least-time course was plotted out for the Hard Hat to make it there. 

When Captain Copeland came on shift, early, he pre-cleared the Hard Hat to launch when she was ready.  The vessel pulled away from the Styx just as the tug completed its own shift change. The Hard Hat made a hard burn for the first four hours at almost a full 2g before lowering the thrust to a more bearable 1g burn for the rest of the day.   Everyone was eager to complete the recovery.

The Hard Hat had had an upgraded optical telescope added after a suggestion from the crew after the last mission.  Early the next day the telescope was able to get usable images of their target, a lost Merchant-class JumpShip. The Merchant had settled into an eccentric orbit around the system’s primary that had made her so difficult to locate.

The orbit was still had the JumpShip close to the null gravity zone around the star, but nowhere near what anyone would have called a jump point.  By noon on that day the Hard Hat was getting very good detailed imaging of the ship.  Any abnormality fist-sized or larger could be made out at this distance.

The JumpShip had two hard points on her hull. Both were occupied, and the Hard Hat’s crew nearly cheered when they saw the bounty they would be salvaging. Nothing could be made of the ship’s small craft bays at this distance, but the crew was hopeful.

The docking point closest to the JumpShip’s bridge was occupied by a Trojan-class DropShip.  Surprisingly, she looked to be fully intact and maybe even airtight.  The second hard point had what was left of a Mule-class cargo DropShip.  That ship looked like someone had taken an ice cream scoop to its center.  Some of the systems aboard ship might still be intact, but an impact had gutted whatever the ship might have been carrying long ago.

As the tug closed in on the derelict ships, its telescope reveled what had happened to the JumpShip that had forced to keep it to this one system.  The ship’s hull was visibly twisted.  The front of the ship was almost twenty degrees out of alignment with the aft section. 

There had been very few recovered ships that had undergone a misjump.  All of the ones that had been found so far had been recovered with a warped spine.  Such a deformation meant that the jump core could never be repaired.

Since that was the case, the kid gloves could come off.  This recovery was going to be done fast and nasty.  The captain of the tug broke the bad news to Copeland via a much time delayed radio conversation.  Then it was time to get to work. 

The Hard Hat needed to first attach herself to the aft section of old JumpShip with her odd shaped nose.  After that they could start reducing the momentum of the larger ship, until it was at a standstill relative to the Styx.  The attaching of the two ships could not be done at full speed, but the Hard Hat still hit the JumpShip while it was moving at a little over one meter per second relative velocity.  That was about twice the recommended speed for a combat docking to a JumpShip, but still low enough to avoid damage to the tug.

Once all the arms and towing equipment was attached and safe, the tug fired its huge main engine.  A Merchant JumpShip without any DropShips attached out massed the tug by a factor of around six times.  That is a lot of mass to have to slow down.  It can be done, but it takes a lot of fuel and raw thrust to do the job safely. 

With the jump-core already ruined they could be a bit more cavalier than last time. When the tug fired its engine, it could ramp up the thrust quickly.  It went from .01g to one full g of thrust in less than an hour.  After a quick check on all of the systems, the DropShip upped its thrust and soon it was pushed to 1.5gs for one and a half hours.  This was just a little over three quarters of the overthrust setting for the tug. 

After the ships had reached what was considered a stable orbit, the Hard Hat radioed to the Styx more details about the status of the Merchant’s jump drive.  With the scanning systems on the JumpShip and the radio fix from the Hard Hat it was a relatively easy math problem to jump the Styx closer to the salvage using the Colonial made drive.  This cut the amount of time needed to attach the two JumpShips together.  The Merchant might never jump again, but that had never been a part of the plan. 

The Styx had not deployed her sail upon arrival to the system.  The last time, it had made the job of attaching the salvage ship harder for the pilot of the Hard Hat.  This time they had done away with that problem. 

Both the Styx and the Hard Hat fired their smaller station-keeping drives in a complex dance.  They started only about a couple of hundred kilometers apart following the Styx’s jump, but in only a few hours the ships were only tens of meters apart. That would be close enough for now.

After conferring with the Hard Hat.  Captain Copeland ordered a halt to the whole operation until all of the crews could get some rest. This job might require less care than the recovery of the Scout, but there was still little room for the errors brought on by fatigue. They were ahead of schedule and had the time to do things right.

Following the rest period, the crews began inspections of both the salvaged merchant and the Styx. Once it was determined that no unforeseen issues had arisen, the lead pilot for the Hard Hat began the multi-hour process to soft dock the JumpShip hulk to the transport JumpShip.  Before lunch of that day the two ships where touching skin-to-skin.  The tie-down cables were attached to each ship by space suited figures and the two vessels were now bound together. 

While the securing of the hulk was going on, the surveyors and inspection crews boarded the wreck.  After the salvage of the Scout they steeled themselves against what they might find inside. That vessel had been purged when someone had tried to take the bridge. This vessel had been twisted by cosmic forces that had warped space and time. No one knew what damage that might have wreaked on the crew.

The Merchant had lost the ability to hold atmosphere.  Once aboard, inspection teams found that the hull breach had been what killed the crew, and quickly. All of the crew died from the explosive decompression, each still floating strapped into whatever station they had been in during the ill-fated jump. 

The twisting of the JumpShip had also crimped the DropShips to the two docking hard points.  This had prevented them from escaping the wreck.  Their crews would have been doomed regardless, as there were no habitable planets within the system.

It was undetermined if the Mule had been damaged in the jump, or later. No bodies were recovered from what was left of it.  The salvage teams were trying to work out what had caused the damage to it. In the limited time that Robert intended to stay in the system the might not be able to find out.

The Trojan was entirely a different story.  It had maintained its structural integrity, so the crew had slowly gone insane after the accident.  Surveyors found a dozen crewmembers that had ended their own lives in some inventive and gruesome ways.  The cabins of all but one the crewmember had been sealed shut from the insides.  Each survivor had done that before they had ended their own lives, and probably not long before. 

All showed signs of starvation. Most showed signs of poisoning and malnutrition. Damage to anything onboard that looked like it might have been made of organic matter indicated that after the crew had used up their rations.  They had tried eating anything they could bite through.

The expected crew for a Trojan was eighteen, so the salvage team quickly found out that six bodies were missing.  Robert hoped that they had never been on the ship at all. Somehow, he didn’t think that this crew was that fortunate.

The salvage crew only needed three days to clean up what they could and survey the three ships from bow to stern.  The list of needed repair parts was extensive, but it appeared that aside from the destroyed jump drive the Station and its support factories could fix all of it. 

With all three of the “found” ships attached to the Styx, some repairs could be started to the wreck from on-board stores, but it was mostly busywork till they could get back to New Circe.  The Trojan was as close to perfect working order as possible. The damage to the Merchant was almost entirely structural. The Mule was almost certain to be sent to the breakers.

On the 6th of Oct the SLS Styx prepared for departure.  The colonial jump engine was spun up, and the patched together mass of metal and men disappeared from this haunted section of space.  Most were very hopeful that it was for the last time they would see this star system. 

It would be a long ten days for the JumpShip and her cargo to cover the thousand light years to get back home.  They were making “only” fifteen light years on each jump provided by the civilian spec Colonial drive.  But they did this every hour, for between eight and ten hours a day.  They settled into the routine that they had established on the out-bound leg of the trip, and Robert found that he was satisfied with his crew’s performance under such a stressful itinerary.

Robert had ordered them to keep a wary eye on the systems they passed through. His crew had taken the order to heart. In every system the Styx had performed as detailed a survey at it could in the hour, they remained in any one spot. During rest hours the bridge watches had performed more detailed surveys of the places they stopped for the night.

   Two days before their return to New Circe, Robert welcomed the chief of data systems into his ready room. To his astonishment the chief told him that these scans needed to stop.

   It seemed the Styx was nearly out of disk space.


mikecj

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #32 on: 27 January 2019, 18:29:33 »
That's some thorough scanning.
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

DOC_Agren

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #33 on: 27 January 2019, 18:31:35 »
Either that, or damm does that onboard computer need an upgrade in storage
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #34 on: 27 January 2019, 23:29:38 »
Either that, or damm does that onboard computer need an upgrade in storage
or there systems pull a lot of data each day.   ;)

cklammer

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #35 on: 28 January 2019, 14:28:42 »
BT canon - one jump every two weeks basically ...

This AU - 10 Jumps/day on average

=> more jumps into more systems in a much shorter time plus storage systems planned for one new system every two weeks
=> Data flood!

They just need to upgrade their storage by a factor of 300x ... no biggie  8)

JA Baker

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #36 on: 28 January 2019, 15:39:12 »
What if they deleted all.... OK, most..... OK, some of the porn?


What? They're sailors undertaking a prolonged deployment away from home: there is going to be porn stashed somewhere in the computers....
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


DOC_Agren

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #37 on: 28 January 2019, 21:29:15 »
What if they deleted all.... OK, most..... OK, some of the porn?


What? They're sailors undertaking a prolonged deployment away from home: there is going to be porn stashed somewhere in the computers....
Now your just being silly
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

JA Baker

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #38 on: 29 January 2019, 06:08:27 »
Now your just being silly
You're right: they'd never delete the porn and we know it...
"That's the thing about invading the Capellan Confederation: half a decade later, you want to invade it again"
-Attributed to First-Prince Hanse Davion, 3030


snakespinner

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #39 on: 30 January 2019, 01:03:23 »
Now your just being realistic. :D :thumbsup:
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

cklammer

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #40 on: 31 January 2019, 17:29:14 »
But they are also smart: offloading porn to removable, external storage in order to maintain a vital aspect of the mission - this is surely something Captain Copeland would order done if having that option ...

OTOH, the Chief of Data Systems would have done that before bothering Captain Copeland .. so now the porn on the external storage units (whatever they actually are) or wherever needs to go in order to maintain the mission. And the Chief of Data Systems knows on one hand that the porn has to but knows on the other that he has to sleep sometime and who cooks his food ...

Edited for incompleteness
« Last Edit: 31 January 2019, 17:33:51 by cklammer »

croaker

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #41 on: 21 February 2019, 14:43:32 »
Quote
Robert sat down this screen and looked at his boss.  “I know we will be out way too far to use it.  but a mobile HPG would be nice.  I was thinking we could put in listen mode to eavesdrop on those ComStar nuts.   They might not be a problem now, but I would be they will be in the future, and it anyone stand a chance of blowing our cover it will be them.

An HPG in "listen mode"? That's just a standard HPG.

All an HPG does is rip a hole, then blast a radio message through. All you need to receive it is to be at the targeted location, and have a radio on the right frequency.

Now, if you want to track ongoing traffic, that requires a much larger and more sensitive array.... and doesn't give you any idea of the content.

</Pedant>
</Enjoying The Story Anyway>

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #42 on: 26 February 2019, 19:25:08 »
Chapter 7
By Cliff
Beta and Clean up By Nathan
Reviewed by Hotpoint. 

16 Oct 3046
New Circe system

The mass of metal materialized at the jump point in a flash of energy.  Moments later, a charm sounded from the communications console. Robert noted with satisfaction that automated systems around New Circe were already starting to ping his flotilla a few seconds after they entered the system.

The Colonial drive did not give that much of an “entrance wave” compared to a normal drive, but that did not mean that there was not something there.  You just needed to know what to look for.  That, and you had to be looking in the right direction.  If all of the stars were aligned AND you were looking in the right direction AND you had the right equipment AND if you had the right software you would have about a thirty to forty-five second warning before a ship was in your teeth.  It was better than nothing, but not but not by much.  It also was a lot shorter than the Star League Navy was used to having to work with.  It was also more time than the Colonials Navy was used to having at all. 

With the electronic handshakes done, the jumpship had to endure a quick flyby of a pair of Visigoths and an armed Colonial Fleet Raptor jump fighter.  They had been sent out to double check the Styx’s identity as well as those of her consorts.  It was only after the flybys were done that they were given permission to launch their dropships. 

Captain Copeland was doubtful that the fighters or the crew on the transfer station had noticed that they had already cut the hulk of a jumpship loose from the Styx before the first flyby.  He had taken the liberty because he had known he could be identified, and because the process would take long enough that the flyby would be over before the two JumpShips were able to fully detach.

The Styx kept an eye on the two fighters while the Merchant jumpship was slowly pushed towards the transfer Station by the tug.  Robert watched them on the sensor plot, but found his eyes drawn to the response craft. There was something odd about the way the fighters were acting, but he could not put his figure on what was going on just yet. 

Ten minutes after the jumpship had returned to New Circe, a second Raptor was seen leaving the modified hulk of a jumpship and jump away. Someone on the station near the planet must have thought that the Styx returning early was worth some bit of fuel to be used.  Robert knew that it should have been at least a couple of hours between one of those craft should be approaching. Someone must be in a real hurry.

Even with a Raptor courier being sent, he had a few minutes. He busied himself working on the relief rotation that would allow his crew some down-time.  Minutes later, a Raptor jumped in next to the transit station and transmitted a message to the jumpship on tight beam.

The unusual use of the courier had caught the crew’s attention as well. A silence slowly fell over the bridge as everyone waited for the communication to transfer and decrypt. After a moment or two a chime once again sounded from the communications console. 

“Sir,” said the CommTech on duty.  “We are picking a message coming from the new Raptor.  It is addressed to you, by name, and the Navigation Sections.  The message is complete.  It was a text burst, only.” 

Robert frowned. This was not the normal way to do business.  A classified order should have been marked to the attention of the captain of the ship, not to him by name. A strange message addressed to a specific person from command was unusual enough that it would spark the rumor mill among the crew. Such messages could be bad for discipline.  Already he could feel the tension coming from his bridge crew.

He thought for a moment about how to handle such a thing. At the very least he would need to be clear who the message was actually from, lest the crew get the wrong impression. They might think such a message might from law enforcement. Worse yet, it might be a notification from an intelligence service. Robert though neither was likely, but speculation about either might cause trouble. After a moment, he made his decision. He turned to the XO. 

“Review the message header, please” he said. “Who is it from?”

The XO started reading the message.  He and Robert were close enough to have few secrets. Also, he was closely trusted by the crew. In trusting in him, Robert was also trusting in them. He could at least read the navigation message and choose whether or not to share it.

   “Robert?”  Said the XO, “I have orders signed from Admiral Franks.  We are to park our salvage near the Transfer Station in a stable orbit within the next two hours.  Then we are to re-dock all of our dropships and use the “standard” jump engine to go to a set of coordinates.  We are cleared to move at your convenience and contact with traffic control had been cleared.” 

Jules continued reading, and his eye widened a bit as he reviewed the numbers contained within the message. He could not keep the wonder out of his voice as he kept talking.  “Sir?  I need to run the numbers, but I think these are for the L1 point.” 

Giving clearance and the coordinates to jump to the L1 pirate point was something, which was very rare, and never transmitted to another ship at one of the two main jump points.  In the event that you were given clearance to that location you still were supposed to use your built-in computers to work out the coordinates for the current location of the L1.  The fact that Admiral Franks was not even waiting for the Styx to do her own calculations was...odd. 

New Circe’s L1 point was highly restricted. Only SLDF WarShips were normally given clearance to transit the point. This was mostly because the L1 point was the closet place that a K-F drive could jump to the SLDFs only full-service Capital Shipyard .  It would be hard to believe that those coordinates had been given to just a cargo carrying jumpship, even if it was a listed member of the active Navy. 

The Styx had used the Colonial drive for her final transit into the New Circe System, and had kept the K-F drive charged while they made their final set of jumps. Once they had done the proper calculations and safety checks, the ship disappeared from the system again, only to re-appear almost immediately.

When the Styx emerged she was immediately greeted by IFF queries, navigational beacons and, because of her proximity to the vital shipyard, warnings that various weapons systems were being brought to bear. Robert had a brief and terrifying though that those weapons systems might choose to open fire before the CommTech transmitted the Styx’s credentials, bu not disaster was forthcoming. Mere seconds after the ship’s arrival Robert and his crew began receiving orders.

All of the dropship crews were allowed to land on the planet and take a much appreciated ten days of vacation once liberty was declared by those ships’ captains.  Robert thought it notable that both ships were being allowed to land, rather than having to ferry their liberty crews down by small craft. Higher Command knew it would need to give those crews some downtime before they could head out again. It seemed determined to have as fast a turnaround as possible.

The Styx need to have all her systems checked out, again.  The nearly unprecedented series of jumps that she had undergone would have taken a regular JumpShip months, if not years to complete. There was a great deal to be learned from the logs, and a great deal of maintenance to be done, and it all had to be done quickly. Robert knew that they would be heading out on the mission they had all been training for before long.

The last part of the messages was for Captain Copeland and Lt Vaun.  It was passed along that they needed to meet Commander Xi at noon the next day.  Both knew what the meeting would likely be regarding. Both knew that they would have even less liberty than their crews.

Captain Copeland ordered a complete bow to stern ship check out of his ship.  He wanted both style of jump engines torn down again, with all inspection redone, before putting the back together.  Things had gone well on the test runs, but the next trip would be the real deal.

The quartermaster of the jumpship was happy to be this close to the planet.  It would cut down immensely on the time it would take to replace all the food, spare parts, and fuel that had been used up over the last month of operations.  Every bit of time they could scrub from the turnaround phase would be useful.

The Styx had places to be. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #43 on: 26 February 2019, 19:26:02 »
17 Oct 3046
The Station in orbit over New Circe 

This time the meeting was not in Commander Xi office, but one of the conference rooms of the main space support facility of the Station.  It was not the largest briefing room on the Station, but it was very nice one.  It was not over crowded with people, but it was over crowed by rank. 

In fact, there were only five people present in the meeting room.  Lord Proctor Jennifer Vaun, Admiral Franks, Commander Xi, Captain Copeland and Lt Vaun.  Each of the people, had in their power to veto the mission at any time.  This would be the last meeting held to decide what the end state of this phase of the mission would be.

Commander XI would be in over-all command of this mission, but she was not the first one to speak about it.  She was sitting with her hand crossed on the table top.  Instead it was Admiral Franks who opened the meeting.

“The purpose of this meeting is to finalize the planning for a resupply run to the Inner Sphere,” he said.  “This run is planned to be different than any other of the runs.  It is intended that this will be the first of many accelerated supply runs, made possible through the use of the new Colonial-style FTL drive.  I want to underline that the procedures we have put in place to protect the League in Exile and New Circe in particular are more important than ever. I urge all of you to review those procedures before the departure of the Styx and her crew. This includes those of us that will not be departing on the trip itself.” 

The statement was necessary, but nearly redundant. Of the five in the room, all had been a party to the details of previous runs, and knew why the procedures were in place. Protocol dictated that these people be reminded of their obligations, but none had forgotten them.

“The jumpship that we have selected to make this run is the SLS Styx, a Tramp-class vessel.  We have taken out the lithium-fusion battery system from the Styx, and we have replaced it with a Colonial tech jump drive.  She will have the use of both types of jump drives for this mission.  The standard tech jump drive was maintained so that she still has a perfectly conventional jump signature when she is operating in Inner Sphere space.  This has reduced her cargo carrying capacity down to two hundred tons for the jumpship.  That is far too small for a mission, which is this risky to be worthwhile.”  The Fleet Admiral made a show of flipping a page in front of him, before he started talking again.  When no one asked a question, he started up again. 

“The next ship that has been picked for this mission, is the Leopard CV Class dropship, Hobgoblin.  This is the same ship Captain Copeland and his crew brought it back on their first shakedown cruise.  She has been modified with a Colonial-style jump drive similar to others of her type in SLDF Naval Service.”

He regarded Robert and Lt. Vaun directly.

“I want to underline to you that while this drive in functional, it was salvaged from a vessel that was not. Admiral Adama chose to downrate the vessel after it failed a spot inspection. Rather badly from what I have heard. We have checked over the drive to ensure that it is in working order, but I wanted you to know the drive’s origin so that you will be careful with it.”

The head of SLDF Navy looked around, and he had a sour look on his face.  “Intelligence thinks he knew that this ship’s Captain had been falsifying records for some time now.  We think it was to keep drawing money from his government as an active vessel, and it went right into the ship commander’s pocket.  The “failure” might have been a punishment and an announcement to the rest of the fleet’s ship commanders that still have active vessels. Intelligence thinks that he wanted to make a point, and so publicly sold the engine for us to use.  It was rather a nice bit of publicity for them, I must say” 

Admiral Franks had a sly smile on his face and the sour looked was gone like a puff of smoke in the wind.  “I might have to add, that bit of punishment to my own playbook.”

He shook his head, then returned to the subject at hand. 

“Outwardly the engines do not change the looks of the Hobgoblin.  She looks a little fatter, but well within the variation caused by patchwork repairs similar to those found in the Inner Sphere. The weapons, armor, and layout are all the same as a stock Leopard CV.  Despite that, we would prefer that no one get too close a look at her, just in case.”

“She is going to be the escort for this mission.  She will be carrying the same fighters she was found with by Captain Copeland.  We were able to refurbish them. This has the effect that it will lower the startup cost of this mission.  It only cost us a few spare parts, and some fuel to train up the pilots and support crews on how to use those ancient machines.”  Again, the Admiral stopped talking and waited for questions.  It also gave time for the recorders to do their jobs in other rooms. 

“All have been fully repaired, so that will give you the 25ton F-10 Cheetah, a lance of 50ton LTN-g15 Lighting, and your heavy hitter will be a 100ton STU K5 Stuka.  A lot of the parts had to be handmade, but we had the manpower and the money to do the job in time.  We were happy not to have to risk using fighters not known within the Inner Sphere, but you may be short on spares for them.”

“They are now up to the tech level and appearance that we saw being used by the House Militaries on our last visit.  The 65ton IRN-SD1 Ironsides has also been repaired to the same weapons tech level as the rest of squadron.  Some in the Fleet, wanted to keep the hull for deployment in the fleet.  That is after we took the time and budget hit in upgrading it to IRN-SD1b.”  This statement was for the recorders and for anyone who reviewed the public record of this meeting. 

Franks gives a slight chuckle, which was very heartfelt.  “The Fleet Quartemaster vetoed that plan.  It was deemed that it would be too expensive to keep a one-off fighter in serviceable condition for any length of time.  So, she is going with you.  Your 6th fighter is an 80ton Vulcan VLC-5N.  It is one of the two combat craft that we bought off of some refugees.  They were the ones that the Pegasus picked up last month.  The other Vulcan they had is going to be part of your cargo to sell.  If you dump both of those fighters before you get back?  It would save a lot of trouble for the fleet in the long term.” 

Franks shot a side look at Commander Xi.  “No one wants to be assigned to fly anything that might be connected to Pirates or the Usurper.  The threat of doing assigning someone to one of those craft has caused two incidents already.  And those are just the ones that I know of.  I have had to put out official statement about the use of those two craft.” 

A round of soft laughter went around the room.  Pilots were superstitious creatures, and ones with long memories. The Vulcan had been the backbone of the Rim Worlds military that had shattered the Star League so long ago. It was seen as a symbol of evil, and no pilot of the SLDF Navy would set out to pilot one.  Most would prefer to be disposessed.  Some would rather die.

“If you will look at the Annex A, you will see a list of dropships available for this mission.  Any ship that is selected must be acceptable to all the people in the room.”  “Now this is where it was going to be interesting,” thought Admiral Franks. 

Franks had already come up with who and what should be going on the mission, only one selection of vessels could match the mission’s end goals.  He and Commander XI had spent hours working on this problem, but he had to let the others at least look at it.

 The odds were that any craft he and she had picked out would be the ones going on the mission.  Then again surprises had happened in the past.  That was one of the reasons that they had to have this meeting in the first place.

Captain Copeland looked down at the list of ships that could fall under his command in the very near future.  It was a very impressive list of assets to have to go through.  it contained every dropship that was in the System, and a few that weren’t but could be retrieved by the Navy in time to participate.  There were even marked if they were fully operational, partial operational or in need of repair yard time. 

Robert kept his face like stone.  “Talk about having the pick of the litter,” he thought to himself.

 The ships listed were not just fleet ships, but every dropship that even just might be flight worthy.  Captain Copeland noticed something right off the bat and spoke for the first time to table full of power players. 

“As much as I would like to have the extra firepower.  I think any mech or other fighter carrier should not go on the mission.  We want to look like traders, not a raiding force. I also think we should take off both remaining mission-capable Mammoth class heavy cargo ships, at least for the first run.  They are too big, and I think that they would draw to much unwanted attention to us. For what it is worth, I doubt we would be able to completely fill them anyway.” 

Robert had been thinking about this mission while doing the shakedown cruisers.  By now he had determined what he thought he needed to pull this mission off. His eye did linger on the Richard III a “Recovered” CargoKing class ship.  And skipped right over it. 

Even as Captain Copeland was speaking, lines started to appear on each of the member’s briefing tablets, as ships were eliminated from the list.  They all had agreed with him, and now the list was only about one third as long, as it was at the start.  Those were the easy ships to cut off the master list. 

Lt Vaun was he next to say something, to the group.  “With a trip this short I think we can eliminate the Passenger Liners, like the Buccaneer class and her near sisters.  They also do have a good deal of cargo space, for the size.  But they are too thin on armor and weapons for this type of mission, and we are not needing that many extra personnel.  We might get shot at. They might get damaged.  They may be needed later, if the threat level is lower than we think it will be. For now we should play it safe.” 

Commander Xi looked at the list and she had a look like she had eaten some bad fish when her eyes went lower on the list.  It was all an act, but few would know this.  “We have two Trojan-class ships, counting the one you just brought in with you.  It could be repaired in a few weeks, but that would only give you about 3,000 tons of cargo per ship.  They have above average weapons and armor for the time, but they are very weak in lift capacity.  As it is, the one Trojan we have on hand is rarely used, since we pulled it off one of the four ComStar ships we have collected.  It is also quite unpopular with crews.”

A few nods went around the table. Similar to the Vulcan, the Trojan was known primarily in opposition to the Star League, rather than in its defense. Giving such a vessel the honor of this mission would be distasteful to many.

Captain Copeland scratched at his chin idly. Something he had thought about during the first stage of the Styx’s testing occurred to him. The Trojan might not be popular, but it might just be what this trip needed. The vessel had been built as a disguised combat ship, intended for blockade running. On this trip such a thing might come in handy. 

“If we took two of our Mules it would give us a lot of lift, but again they are very light on self-defense.  How about we take one of the Trojans, and one of the Mules?”

 He continued, thinking out loud. “I’d like to keep the crews of the White Skies and the Hard Hat, if possible. Both crews are familiar with the Styx and her capabilities at this point, and both performed admirably under stressful conditions. Both the Mule and the Trojan and spheroid, so neither crew should require much time to adjust.”

No one said anything for a moment. Robert seemed not to notice. Another thought struck him, and he turned to the others.

“Speaking of cargo lifting capability.  Do we have a shopping list compiled yet?”  Robert looked around the room and he could feel Jules start to straighten his back some. 

“We have.” Everyone turned to look at the Lord Protector and waited for her to finish her statement.  She was the Lord Protector, and the leader of their people.  It was not normal for her to have a speaking role in this, but these were new times. 

“With the war production fully on in all of our factories, we are running out of or wearing out a lot of things, Captain.  Agriculture for one is starting to suffer. We need you to find any type of Industrialmechs, large and small machine tools, construction, and farming equipment of almost any type.  The last can be wheeled, tracked, or even hover, for all I care.  We have been or will be helping in the feeding of 50,000 extra people for a year, at least.  And that it has drained or long-term storage food at an alarming rate.  We also would like to improve the genetic diversity in our food animals.” 

She passed a piece of paper with that was filled from top to bottom with hand written notes towards Captain Copeland.  There was a more, a lot more detailed list that would be put into a digital from.  This note was something she or her staff had been working on for a while. 

“These are the specifics of what is needed.  It is a more varied list than normal for a supply run.”  Normally the SLDF wanted to be very standardized when it went looking to acquire, so that it would make there logistic easier in the long term. 

Captain Copeland and Lt Vaun both looked at the list for the very first time.  Commander Xi picked up where the Lord Proctor left off after only about half a minute.  While the two man reviewed the list that she had both seen and help draw up over what seemed like a year ago. 

“We can also use any consumer goods, any kind of civilian vehicles, and any spare fusion engines you can find.  Any one of those things you bring in is one we do not have to take the time to build on our own.  Any military DropShip hull would be appreciated.  We can use more large cargo carriers, even with the extra ships the Colonials have.  They do not need to have working engines or engines at all.  Even hulks will do. We can refit existing vessels but at the moment we cannot build new hulls. If they cannot be refit, they can be repurposed to support space-based industry.”

“We can also use more of the 1ton medium class laser systems.  We would prefer the Martell or Magna styles, but any will work for what we need.  We would like to have another hundred or so in storage, and for combat replacements.”  She could tell that this was causing some confusion with the last statement, so she went into more detail after a few seconds lull of dead air. 

“We have sold our existing stock to the Colonials for their Viper MK VII upgrades.  Our newer tech lasers of that class saved weight by removing a lot of the integral energy storage.  This provided a better energy surge into those weapons than the older style weapons.  The current generation of Colonial Vipers just cannot support the energy budget for the newer tech weapons.  It has been decided at the strategic level that it’s not worth building or modifying an existing factory to make a few dozen a month, at best, of this weapon. We will buy what we need to refit existing craft, then focus on fixing the power problem.” 

“As always.  If you see any war machines that look interesting please do your best to pick them up, or get as much detailed information as you can about them.  We noticed on the last run that the technological collapse may have slowed down, but we need to know more.  We would like to know why the slide has stopped, and if it has, if it started to climb back up again.”

“We picked up rumors that a Star League Library Core might have been found on Helm in Marik space.  We need to find out if it is true that secrets of the League may be held by mercenaries.” This last was said with a sneer. The word “mercenaries’ might simply have been “scum”.

She continued. “Also, on the list are some Jumpship parts.  We would like you to make a big show of looking for the jumpship parts, we have listed on the master list.  It will be very useful in maintaining your cover story, and we could always use them down the road.“ 

Robert was stunned.  This was an extensive list, and a very detailed one at that.  When he had made the last run the list had been nothing like this.  He assumed that as before he would be given some discretion to look for other things not on the list. The face that the list was so extensive made him doubt that. 

One thought that keep ringing in his head as Lord Protector Vaun kept going and going.  Finally, he had to ask. 

“This is a hell of a list of cargos and finding 10,000 tons of it is going to cost a lot.  I thought we were going to take some of the Tomahawks, Tridents, or maybe some Sabers that they found on the Kaga.” 

Robert shot a look over to Jules and Commander Xi while he was talking.  “But, I read just before I came over that the other day.  It was decided that all of them were staying on the books and assigned primary pilots.  And the fleet wanted more of them built, not have the numbers thinned down.  Also, why do you want wheeled or tracked framing equipment?  I would think that we would want to use the more efficient farming mechs with all of the new land that is being prepared?  All of that now is going to cost.  So now I must ask.  What am I going to use for resources to fund this little shopping trip?”  He was just starting to rethink about wanting one of the Mammoths. 

Commander Xi looked at both Robert and Jules.  She could not wait until she told then what they were going to carrying.  So, with only what would be called an evil grin, she let the cat out of the bag for the first time to a larger audience.  The sell list had been one of the closest guarded secrets within the Star League in Exile.  Most of the time it would not be released to the general population, until well after the fleet had left the system.  That way had been found to work the best and cause the least amount of issue both publicly and in the political rings. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #44 on: 26 February 2019, 19:26:39 »

“The reason we need the normal and very low tech wheeled and tracked farm equipment, is that the Colonials need a lot of it to get them off of the algae vat food.  At least they are going to need it if they want to grow their own food in the near future.  You are right that industrial scale farming mechs are more efficient on large and medium scale operations.  But the average Colonial tends to freak out around anything that even remotely looks like a biped metal Cylon.  That is why we would like you to pick them up.  It is for trade to the munchkins, when they start asking from them in larger numbers.” 

Commander XI had a slight smile on her face.  “Now, as for what you will be trading?  For the first mission.  We are going to load a hundred ultra-class 5 auto cannons and a few dozen tons of ammunition for them.  They are mainly Kawabata Weapons Industries, or as you might know them, KWI built.  We identified a few other manufactures from before the Exodus, but they are almost identical.  It would be nice if there were more.” 

She noticed that Robert was about to raise an objection, and held up a hand to forestall him.

“I know, Captain.  The production of the Class 5 Ultra LBXs, or HODs, is going full bore.  But it still has not meet the demand for them for the deployed forces.  Only about five percent of the monthly output is going to replacing the older Ultra 5s used by ground units.  The rest is being put on to Warships, upgrading dropships, and then they are going into the aerofighters.” 
`
Commander Xi shot the Lord Protector a look.  “The Quartermaster Department has directed that for every two ultras still in the field, one must be kept in storage, as a potential replacement in case of combat loss or some other issue.  As more HODs make it to the ground forces, more Ultras will be available for this mission for you to trade.  The ones we are loading now are the oldest and most worn out of the whole lot. Some may date as far back as the fall of the Star League, and that should help you sell them.   We are keeping the best weapons in case something goes wrong with the new ones still in the field. Some of the ones you’re taking might not even be able to fire at the maximum rate without jamming.” 

She gave a soft chuckle at her last comment and gave a slight shrug.  She did not care if the weapon blew up in their next use.  At least, not as long as it was not her people who got hurt when those weapons went critical while firing. 

“We are still working on ideas on how you can demo the weapons safely.  We are looking at setting up a towed system of some kind to carry and firing one of the weapons, similar to an infantry field gun.  This is all new ground for all of us, also.  We have never traded Star League level weapons tech to anyone before.  We knew on the last run that all of the Age of War weapons were used.  Looks like you will have another first to put in your private log book, Captain.” 

Robert pulled out his personal Noteputer and started working on the screen. He searched within his files for a few moments, not realizing that the rest of the meeting had turned to look at him..  It was just long enough for every powerful person in the room to notice what he was doing.  Just before something was said, he found what he was looking for. 

“Here we go!  That is what I was looking for.” 

Robert looked up and realized, that what he had been doing had not gone unnoticed by the rest of the meeting.  He turned a little red at being notice, by his boss, and his bosses’ boss. 

He smiled sheepishly “I have a little hobby.  I like taking images of weapons of war, no matter how old or who built them.  On my last visit to the City of McEvedy.  I stopped by the Rusty yard.  I don’t know if you all know about it, but there are eighteen of the Rustys left that have not been fully recycled yet.  When the ultra-autocannon were brought up I remembered this.” 

Robert passed around his personnel noteputer with an image of a mech on the flat, low-glare screen.  “Rustys” were mechs that the Star League in Exile had captured from various groups over the years while they had been in hiding.  Those groups were often using such outdated equipment that they did not have much use to the Wolverine’s defense force.  They were left to rust in a common yard, until someone came up with an idea of what to do with one of them.  Then one would be pulled out, and the idea tried out on what had been a useless hunk of metal.  At one time, there had been enough wrecked “Rusties” to fill an entire whole reinforced Mech Battalion. 

On the screen was a battle damaged STN-3K Sentinel.  It was missing its arm mounted cannon and had defiantly seen better days, even before it had been captured by the SLDF.  “I was thinking instead of using up resources to make a one-off weapons carriage that we would have to tow around every time we needed to do a show and tell.  Why don’t we just fix this one?  I don’t think it will need to be rebuilt into anything like combat worthy machine.  We should be able to get away with it only being able to walk, aim, and shoot the one weapon in the right general direction.  I think it would fit better with the story of finding a small lost Star League depot.  Which was marked as a key part of the cover story on the other missions.” 

Commander Xi looked at the image and scratched one side of her nose.  It was a tell few people knew that showed when she was in deep thought.  She took a few moments, and then spoke without looking around the room.  She only passed the computer pad to the next person that sat at the briefing table after she started to speak. 

“I do not know if it well be cheaper, but it will be quicker. I agree it will fit better with the cover story we have used in the past.  On the other mission, we had carried whole machines and parts of other mechs as trade items.  It would not be a break in the protocols. “ 

All the other participants of the meeting nodded their heads in agreement with her statement.  Xi accepted the endorsements. 

“Okay,” she said.  “I will cut the orders  and have it added to the cargo list.  I will make sure it is shipped up when it is done.  I will also make sure they know it is a rush job.  The Repair crews will probably have to farm out the work to one of the hobby shops in the city.  It will cost more, but those type of places work faster than most repair and support units on a one-off machine.  Besides, it will be historically accurate if it is inspected by someone.”  Now Xi looked around the table and she was given the okay to make her suggestion into an approved order. 

Xi returned to her little computer.  “You also will be taking the last ten of the junk Class 5 autocannons we still have in storage.  Those are the last of those ancient weapons on planet, by the way.” 

Xi stopped talking and let her head tilt to one side and she looked levelly at Robert.  “Well, that does not count the five or six, which are being used in the R&D labs.” 

Franks had to fight down a snicker.  “I saw their latest work a few days ago.  If they can get those glitches work out, and can get the specialty rounds to work it might be a surprise to anyone we hit with them.  The idea of an armor piercing rounds or precision guided rounds is almost too good to be true. Right now it is nowhere close to true.“

Xi waited for her boss to stopped talking, then resumed.  “We also have crates and crates of computers that are outdated here.  They should be high end systems to those Barbarians on the Periphery.  I cannot believe I forgot about those.  I will have to order a re-inventory of all depots, which we have scattered around, to see what else they might be holding that has fallen off the inventory list.” 

Lt Vaun was looking at his notes, punching some number keys on his own device and he was not happy.  It was showing on his face.  And Robert was wondering if he was going to give voice to what was bothering him.  He did. 

“Even with the markup for the lostech items that is still not going to be that much capital to pick up the things, we need on the list we have been given.  At least not in any quantity or getting anywhere near the numbers that we need.  Much less trying to get some of the big ticket or capital items.” 

He made on odd, “I ate a very bad lemon” face.  Being the father of the Lord Protector, he a very broad access to information. 

“We cannot take any more weapons, because we need them.  All of our production capacity is focused on the war effort.  So, we do not have much to trade with on such a short notice supply run.  By my numbers, we are at just under a thousand tons of cargo going out system.” 

On the last mission they had spent months making older tech weapons to take to the Inner Sphere for trading.  That was something they had not been able to do for this mission.  The Wolverines were on a war footing, and there was no desire to stop making weapons for defense to instead make them for trade.

Admiral Franks had a look on his face like he wanted to space tape the Lt’s mouth shut. 

“Do not worry Lt.” he said, nearly clipping his words.  “We have thought of that, even before you were asked to take the Styx on her first shakedown run.  Back on the supply run in 2995 the fleet took the last Scout Class jumpship the Navy had with them.  It was sold for funds.  Those funds were what they used on different planets to acquire the needed supplies. We know what it brought then, and JumpShips have not gotten less rare in that time.” 

Now the Fleet commander gave his own sly smile.  “We have been repairing the Scout that you recovered since you have been gone.  All the repairs should be done in another week or so.  When it is done?  It will be towed out to the Styx from the one of the slips.  You will take it under tow and move it out system.  You will jump it close to Magistracy of Canopus.  Then a skeleton crew will man the Scout until you contact one of the Families.  They can act as an intermediary for the sale for the hunk of junk.  That should give you enough capital to buy whatever you can or is one both the open and grey market.” 

He made a face, like you would give to a teenager asking a dumb question.  “Why do you think we changed the name?” 

Robert had been about to inform Vaun of the intention to sell the Scout when Franks had begun talking. At the new information both Captain Copeland and Lt Vaun raised their voices and had a look like a goat eating AstroTurf on their faces.  They spoke at the same down and in perfect sync with each of the other men.  “What change of name?” 

Commander Xi looked down the table to Admiral Frank a little embarrassed.  “Sir, we have not released that information to anybody, yet.” 

She looked back across the table to the mission commander.  “Captain Copeland, if you would look at slide 15.  You will see that we have renamed the Scout as part of the cover story we have used before.” 

Robert and Jules did as they were asked and read the very slight change to the story they knew by heart.  Both he and his XO laughed out loud, when the saw the information.  Robert turned and looked at the fleet Admiral.  “Well, now that makes a lot of sense.  So, after we return with the first load of cargo we will then pick up that Merchant we dragged back.  And start all over again right?  Is this going to be a case of Rinse, Lather, and Repeat?” asked Robert. 

Jules was looking at the metal clad ceiling.  “If I remember right, a Scout class jumpship in working order is something like 200 or 300 million SL bills.  Now that would be some capital to buy a few local trinkets.”  Jules had a funny little grin on his face.  He was not thinking about moving the Merchant class ship.  He knew that he would have time for that later. 

Admiral Franks was red faced, from his neck to his forehead.  It was not often he put his foot in his mouth, and he hated himself every time it happened.  “I am sorry Captain Copeland and Lt Vaun. “ 

He looked at each man in turn and gave a slight nod of his head.  “I had thought you had already been brought in on all pieces of information related to this mission.  Yes, you are right about the second run.  Assuming things go well, we will proceed with a mission to sell the other JumpShip after you return.  That is also why the list of jumpship parts you will look for are for a Merchant Class.  It we can find another jumpship out here we will make a third run and dump it also.  We will keep our eyes and ears open. There are doubtless dozens of other hulks out there that we can salvage.  Be especially vigilant looking for Cylons.” 

Commander Xi tries to divert the subject away from the Admiral.  “Speaking of pay, let us keep going.  If we look on slide 22?  This is the breakdown of the rules for the bonus system which has been approved by SLDF and civilian legal.” 

It was dangerous work being on the resupply fleet for years far from home.  A bonus system had been drawn up after only a few missions.  It was done as a means, to keep people volunteering for the dangerous work. The numbers normally were on the massive side.  This time they were still larger. 

“As you both know, there is no danger pay in the SLDF.  But after all cost of the mission has been covered any profit will be split on the Share system, which is published to the people in the resupply fleet.  This information is listed as sensitive.”  Commander Xi stopped to take a drink for a glass of water on the table in front of her.  Robert found himself oddly fixated on it.

Having a real glass on in space was still a new thing for everyone to live with.  To Robert’s eyes.  It still was very strange to see in real life.  It used to be that you could only drink from plastic squeeze bulbs.  They just made everything taste a bit off.  You would get used to it after time in space, but every time you came back it made things different.

“Ahhh, the joys of new tech.”  Commander XI thought as she put the open topped glass back down on the desk top. 

“When you return, all of the cargo will be off loaded and inspected.  The military and the government will have first pick on anything brought back by your mission.  A far price will be assessed and credited to the balance on the cost of setting up and running the supply mission to date.  If the senior officer of the convoy does not agree with the assessed value of a given cargo he may appeal to the court system, up to thirty days after their assessment is given.  Everything else will be collected, inventoried, and placed on the “Gbids network” at the total discretion of my office.  From there, anyone and everyone can bid on what is returned.  All proceeds will be put to the cost of the mission or paid to the crews using the share system after the mission goes into the black.”  When they had been only doing one large mission this had been a steady source of income for many of the crew members and their families for a few years afterwards. 

“To add a little extra punch for the crew the Senior Officer on each jumpship also will have a budget equal to 10,000 SL-script in various denominations, which will be his petty cash for the mission.  Sums of these funds can be given to the crew as rewards, at the senior officer’s discretion.”

Robert nodded.  This money was for use by the crew, and why most of them deployed in the first place. Shares might be what made a fortune for anyone who crewed a supply mission, but petty cash would be how they lived from day to day while in the Inner Sphere.

Admiral Franks looked around the table before he spoke.  “We need to have a recorded vote on this to be added to the official record.” 

Every person in the meeting agreed to the rules, and the Lord Protector signed off on the official vote.  It was now legal and was binding to the Government, by the crews.  After the meeting broke up.  Robert and Jules walked/floated around Station.  It was going to be the last visit to the space station, for a length of time that was not even discussed in the meeting.  The mission would return when they were ready or for about a dozen listed reasons in their orders. 

They both wanted to see the Caspar that was calling herself Nike.  They wanted to see if it was a she, or just a machine.  When they made it to the area that they had been told was her dock, the Caspar was not there. They were told that the massive warship had changed location.   She had been moved now that the trial had been completed. 

The person at the desk had been amazed she had won the trial.  She was now in dock slip Number One again.  So, the two men made their way all the way around the station to a viewing area that over looked Drydock 1.  Robert found himself irritated that Nike had been moved to a slip closer to the meeting that he had just been in. He might have been spared the trip.

She was big, but at 680,000 tons she was the third smallest ship in the active fleet of the Star League in Exile.  The Fleet was the largest it had been since Clan Wolverine stopped running, after they had fled clan space all those years ago.  The fleet could now deploy four Battleship class ships, two of those being Colonial made. 

The Navy also had one Battle Cruiser, one Destroyer-sized Caspar (The Nike herself), one Destroyer/Light Carrier and a Fleet Carrier.  The carrier should be battle ready in a few months.  This was aside from the DropShips that had been made jump-capable with the new Colonial technology.  The SLDF fleet still would not be large enough to take on one of the clan fleets head-to head.  But it was a start, and the fleet was bigger than any single planet could claim for a defense force since the last days of the Star League on Terra.

As the two officers were watching the massive warship, the scarred section of the armor shell was being removed.  It looked like the crews had started at the bow and were working their way aft.  They looked to be removing all of the old and damaged armor plate that protected the old ship. There was not that much of the original armor plate had been left before they had started working on her.  That was enough to show them, that she had not been hiding on the edges of explored space. After all of these years without access to a dockyard and fights that she had been through.  It had added to the damage she showed with her battered hull.  It marked her as a fighter, and Robert and Jules could relate to that. 

As they were watching a second, smaller crane pulled out a large multi ton missile, and as they watched more were being removed from the warship.  At this distance, they could not tell what class those missiles coming off their ship were.  It was normal to remove explosive ordnance for SLDF warships, when they were going under a major refit or some along those line was about to start. The Nike dated back to the Star League, and those missiles likely did as well.  From the way the crew was handling them, they were probably nuclear tipped anti-warship weapons.  Robert shuddered at the destructive power any of those missiles contained.

The two men were not alone in the observation area.  There were six very large armed clan Wolverine infantry soldiers that looked to be guarding one woman at the other end of the room.  It was the woman that was watching the work on the self-aware warship, which drew the two men’s attention after half an hour of watching the Station’s crew work on the warship.  The soldiers were there to protect her. The chains were there to protect everyone else, but from what?

Robert tried not look at the woman in chains.  She was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen outside of an entertainment show.  When he and Jules left the viewing area it came to him, about who the woman might be.  She must have been one of the Cylon prisoners.  That was the only way to explain the guard force.  Why would a machine watch a machine being worked on?  It was strange, very strange indeed.  He would come back to his scene in his mind many times over the next few years.  It would be the hallmark image of the world he now lived in being strange. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #45 on: 26 February 2019, 19:51:29 »
I would like to think Nathan for all of his great work on this project, but RL has stepped in and he will not be able to continue his great work on this project. 

So I am looking for someone to take up the role as Beta reader and Clean. 

If you are interested?  Please be aware that this is a project that will run for some time.   

But if you are game?  please PM me. 

cliff

DOC_Agren

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #46 on: 27 February 2019, 01:39:18 »
you both have done a great job  :thumbsup:
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

wolfcannon

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #47 on: 27 February 2019, 16:39:40 »
Sling II Omni 25 tons
Mercury II
Mercury III Omni 30 tons

Wolverine III Omni 55 tons
Stag II 45 tons
Stag III 45 tons

Pulerizer II Omni 100 tons
Pulverizer III VA Omni 100 tons
Riflemen III Omni 80 tons

do these have stats?
Daniels Avenger                Clan Coyote
General Jennifer Daniels    Galaxy Commander Jim Skyes
                                        Omicron Galaxy
Clan Wolf in Exile
328th Assault Cluster(the Lion Hearted)
Star Captain James Sword

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #48 on: 27 February 2019, 20:16:17 »
some, i have not worked on that project yet.  i will work on posting them, after i get this moving a little more smoothly. 

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #49 on: 03 May 2019, 13:36:36 »
Chapter 8
By Cliff
Beta and Clean up:  Dan (Do to real life he was not able to complete.  Being my Beta reader is very hard and time-consuming work)
Reviewed by Hotpoint. 

1 Nov 3046
L1 around New Circe

From orbit?  The object looked like an old-style shotgun, just huge but also a lot uglier than any shotgun that had ever been made.  The Barrel was made up of the JumpShip SLS Styx that was 660m and underslung or strapped to her outer hull.  It was the Scout class JumpShip that was “only” 273m long.  Three smaller bumps were sticking out from the side of the long ship called Styx, which did not have a shotgun analog.  Those bumps were the Leopard class CV Hobgoblin, the Mule class cargo ship Lisbon Maru, and the Trojan class blockade runner that was now called the White Rabbit.  They all were ready for the jump, which would launch this mission. 

This massive stuck together piece of modern art metal was at the L1 point around a cold but habitable planet.  It was now the home of two cultures, one running from the group calling themselves the Clans and the other running from a group of thinking robots called Cylons.  Both groups of enemies would have wiped out the people living below on the planet.  All without a thought of mercy given to anyone on that might have gotten in the way. 

This null gravity point was not the busiest area of activity around the planet, but there was a strong sense of a mad rush.  Today was the big day for the group at L1, The Station, and the major military bases on the planet.  The equipment had completed all of the required testing.  And it had passed, or it had failed.  Then the failed equipment had been replaced and tested, again.  The crew drills were complete, and if one of them had failed the tests?  They were replaced with someone who could do the job required, and at the required skill level.  Now they were ready for the real test, which would not only risk their lives, but all of the lives of their families remaining back home. 

The last two small craft that docked with this abomination were the most important.  The first one?  It was a modified Mark VII landing boat that was only about 20 years old.  Still it had been reworked into fuel tanker, which could carry 28 tons of the not so user-friendly fuel called refined Tylium.  The Styx did not need the whole full load the little craft was carrying.  The Styx only needed a topping off her newly made fuel tanks, before she started the supply run. 

When the little craft left the small craft bay again, she would be 15 tons lighter.  This special fuel would have to last the Styx and her convoy, the entire trip to and from the area called the Inner Sphere.  A last-minute meeting had called the ship’s Captain and XO back to The Station a few thousand miles away.  But they were returning now, and they were in the last small craft docking to the odd-looking mass of metal, plastic, and organics. 

Captain Copeland, Lt Vaun, and the pilot were the only people on this last flight.  While the two officers were in their meeting, the resourceful pilot had taken the opportunity to pick up a few more cases of perishables food to bring along on this trip.  So, the Mark 7 was filled with items that had a very short shelf life, before they went bad.  The running joke on the long ship, was that they were not going to be able to use the shower for weeks.  At least not until they eat their way to the device first, by eating through the stores. 

Captain Copeland gave the pilot a change of orders at the last minute, and the little 150ton ship altered course.  It did a close flyby of the mother JumpShip.  It had starting from the Stern just forward of the great energy collecting sail, and then started working its way forward towards the bow of the ship.  This might possibly be the last time; he would be able to have this view of his command for a very long time.  That is unless something catastrophic happened, then the ship would not look as good as it did now. 

As they glided down the length of the modified Tramp class ship, Captain Copeland could pick out the little details of his command.  While they had run the last set of tests on her components.  Even the whole ship had been freshly painted, from bow to stern and the jump sail.  It was not a shiny or flashy paint scheme, but it had been artfully done anyway.  It was meant to look, well used.  So, there where various kinds of marks on the hull but was only for show.  Someone would have to be walking on the hull, to know that it was not real damage or wear marks on the outer hull.  And that was one thing, which Robert was not planning to let that happen, if they were not part of his crew. 

As the small craft came to the rounded bow.  They could see the name of the great ship in letters several meters tall, gone was the prefix SLS.  In its had been replaced with the letter’s M/V, it was the naming conventions used by all Houses in the Inner Sphere for nonmilitary vessels.  It was a holdover from the days before the Star League had formed.  The letters simply stood for Merchant Vessel, and under the rules of combat, she should be safe from most attackers.  Below the name in large letters was still saying Styx, in slightly smaller letters than the ships name, was name of this operation and owners.  It announces Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale and listed them as the owners of his ship.  Robert could not help but feel the heart in his chest thump loudly. 

The landing craft entered the small craft bay and settled down on the metal deck.  When the great metal bay doors closed, and a breathable atmosphere was pumped in to fill the space.  The craft opened and the crew could leave without the use of space suits.  When the docking bay was safe to enter, the bay crew entered and started to tie down the craft as the occupants exited it.  There was not enough time to do just one thing at a time, not today. 

“Robert, I know it is spilled milk but, it still would have been nice to have the capital grade DRADIS to go along with HPG system they put in, I think their just pinching pennies on us.”  Groused the XO, as they floated their way to the bridge of the large interstellar vessel. 

“I know, but they were right.  We only had room for one, and they looked at it from all sides.  You and I both, saw the final report, if they had put in a DRADIS system that would be able to detect any Tylium deposit, that far out form a star?  It would have been massive.  We would have lost all of the little cargo space we have left on the Styx.  That just happened to be what we are using for food or fuel.” 

Robert gave his longtime friend smile and slipped into the proper usage.  “I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of having fresh greens for a few months.  Maybe we can have a Raptor on one of these trips, if they work out.  They are small enough that they could get in close into each of the systems we pass.  Then they could have a look around without being spotted by any locals.”  The Raptor’s small mass and odd construction made them a little harder to detect than an aero fighter of similar mass at least in a powered down condition. 

The two officers stopped talking as they floated into the bridge of the ship together.  The two officers split up upon entering the bridge and the hatch silently closing behind them.  They would check on every position for an update, before they return to their seats and started strapping into their seats.  It was not “safe” to be floating around when you moved light years in almost a blink of an eye. 

Robert looked around the bridge of his ship, after the last strap was clipped into place.  “XO, COB are we ready to jump?”  He was using his “command voice” when he was acting as the Captain of the great ship. 

Both men replied, one after the other and they stuck to a well-rehearsed script.  ”Sir!  All systems are green.  All stations report ready for jump, and all attached vessels report ready to jump.  We can jump on your command.” 

With that bit of stage work done, it was time for the next bit of the play to start played by him.  “Communications, please contact Traffic Control and let them know, we are ready to jump.  We are wanting to set the clock for a jump in sixty minutes.  If we need to hold the jump?  They need to let us know.” 

The Captain was just fallowing the rules, for when a ship was this close to the planet.  Sometimes a second ship would stray too close to a ship preparing for jump in the high traffic area.  When something like that happened?  It was bad news for both ships, and the SLDF could not afford too many accidents like that to happen.  It was Traffic Control’s job to make sure this type of event did not happen.  It was just too bad that JumpShip’s crew would be the ones to also pay for it, if they failed to do their jobs. 

The countdown clock in the Traffic Control, and all the ships that were tied together slowly worked down to zero.  One second the ship was there, and then next?  It was gone in a flash of light and released energy.  On the positive side, by using the K-F drive, this area of space was now free of obstructions even to sand sized objects in a large bubble of area. 

Very few people noticed it when the oddly looking ship had left that spot of space.  The few people who did see or notice the ship jump.  To them?  It was just another ship on a supply run, to support the effort to combat the Cylons.  One of the intelligences in the local area that did notice them jump.  Only it was a warship, that likes to watch and to figure out puzzles.  At least that was what she like to do in her off time.  Sometimes that was a good thing, and sometimes it was sooooo not a good thing.  Only time would tell in what category this was going to fall into. 

SLS Nike had been casually watching the Tramp class JumpShip since the day it had jump to the L1 point.  She had been gathering information about the ship, her crew, and cargos going to it on her “free time”.  She filed all the information away, for when she had time.  She would work the problem only then.  Right now?  She was reviewing the repair and upgrade plans for her body.  After that?  If she got bored enough, she would revisit this puzzle.  She did put a mark on the file, which said it was a worthwhile puzzle for her to try to figure out.  It would be looked at sooner than other projects she worked in her free time. 

The trip was planned on the idea, that they would travel about a hundred light years every day.  Just as with the other shakedown runs had been planned.  The Styx would stay in the voids between the stars as much as possible, until the last jump of the day.  The end of day jump would put them in a system, which was not supposed to be inhabited.  Or at least those systems had been that way, in last the report as not having ben inhabited.  This would speed up their journey.  Everyone would stay together in one mass of moving life supporting structure, until the convoy commander gave the order to split off from the larger ship. 

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #50 on: 03 May 2019, 13:38:37 »

On the beginning of the twelfth day, they were 1100 light years from home.  The pattern had to change the afternoon on the eleventh day.  That was when they had passed the milestone of the point on the star map that high command had given Copeland.  It was the point, which they had reached the farthest any scout SLDF had been in a dozen years.  Every system after this one would be an unknown quantity, and it in increasing levels of danger. 

From now on.  The Styx would do four of the twenty light year jumps, and then wait in the deep of space.  The Hobgoblin would detach from its mother ship, and then jump on her own to the star system they had planned to say for the rest of the day.  It was now going to start slowing their progress to the Inner Sphere, but only a little bit.  The security this proved was well worth the time, and the use of some of the limited special fuel. 

The Hobgoblin mission was to jump in at a nonstandard point stay hidden and scout the system for any threats.  If it found any signs that humans might be able to detect the arrival of a JumpShip at a jump point?  It would have to get stealthy back to the Styx and warn them away from that threat star system.  No one must know about the Colonial tech jump drive, not all cost. 

On Day twelve this turned out not to be an issue.  But on day thirteen?  The Hobgoblin jump into a system, and it picked up a JumpShip at the zenith jump point, with its sails fully deployed.  From the broadcast between it and a Union class dropship burning towards an inner planet.  The Merchant class JumpShip was identified as a member of ComStar and operating under the Explore Corps flag.  The Hobgoblin used it low energy thrusters to put a gas giant between the two ships, and itself.  Luckily the modified carrier had started moving, as soon as its passive sensors picked up the intruder. 

She then spun up her jumpdrive to get out of the area, without anyone knowing it had been there.  It took a few additional hours for the Hobgoblin to find a system, which was not inhabited for the group to spend the required down time.  The stress level started to rise, as the one ship convoy now had proof they were almost to the Inner Sphere.  It now was no longer a thought exercise.  It was now all very real. 

On the fourteenth day of traveling.  The end system was known to have a very small colony on the only habitable planet in system.  This was where scramble started again, to find a safe harbor.  It would seem, that the scout found that the colony had grown since the last recorded visit by the Star League in Exile.  Then there also was a little problem of a JumpShip was at a pirate point near the planet.  Three additional star systems were check by the modified Leopard, before a suitable system was found that the next phase of this mission required. 

Robert noted in his log.  That was getting to expensive in the Colonial supply fuel to keep going like this for much longer.  They still had to get back home.  They still had the “normal” jump system, but that would add years to the trip home. 

After arriving at the zenith jump point of that unnamed system.  The Leopard CV dropship did not reattach itself to the Styx, again.  They were now acting as an outer line guard, while the rest of the ships worked to compete their tasks.  These tasks had to be done, before they could start the next part of their mission.  They had just spent the last eight hours traveling, instead of the almost 18 hours of traveling.  Now it was time for the heavy lifting, hard work, and long hours to begin.  One of the Mk 7’s landing boats left a small bay on the Styx and angled, so it could approach the one small craft bay on the smaller Scout class JumpShip. 

This maneuver had been planned out for weeks, and they practiced every day.  This was only done after the training traveling had been completed.  This time, and for the first time.  A remote access code was sent to the smaller JumpShip.  The battery system activated, and the door to the small craft bay opened to allow the craft to access the ship at a simple command.  The 10-person skeleton crews in space suits exited the small craft and began the job of bring the ship back to life.  While the new crew of the smaller JumpShip was boarding and waking up their new home. 

A second and larger group of space suited individuals started to exit the Styx, to work on their tasks for the day.  They started the working on removing the entire set of tiedown shackles and lines, which had kept the smaller ship inside the jump field generated by the larger JumpShip.  It was tough and dangerous work.  But by the time their work sifts had ended?  There was some distance between the two interstellar ships.  The distance would slow grow as the weak thrusters steadily worked on the mass of both ships. 

It took eight days for the Scout to be checked out and her jump engine charged for use.  Most of the time was spent just waiting for the massive engine to charge.  After a day off, the new crew of the Scout went to work on running training test on themselves and their new home.  With one more check.  The word was given, and both ships pulled in the 1000m wide jump sails.  While that was still going on?  They started the countdown clocks for both ships, to jump to the next star system.  A star system that was occupied by man and had been for hundreds of years.  That was their next stop on this supply run.  It was now time to start acting, like there cover. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #51 on: 22 July 2019, 21:30:20 »
Due to RL my Beta reader and go to clean up man was not able to help on this chapter.   I still hope you all like it. 

Draft Chapter 9
By Cliff
Beta and Clean up not done
Reviewed by Hotpoint. 

23 Nov 3046
Ltzehoe system zenith jump point

Traffic Control was a title, that was very grand sounding and it looked even better on paper.  It was also great, when you were trying to pick up a member of the opposite sex on a planet that was past the edge of settled space.  It was a bit of overkill of a title, for what this little out of the way system on the edge of human space was in real life.  The only reason that this planet even had a Traffic Control station at all.  It was because of the ComStar owned and operated a third rate HPG station on the planet’s surface.  This was the last point of Faster than light communication system access, in this whole area of space.  It was hoped, by the local governing body.  That one day, a Recharging Station would be built at one of the two main jump points in this system.  Something like that would be a major boon for the locals, even if it was built, manned, and maintained by ComStar. 

With one of those type of space stations in this system?  All of the visiting JumpShips, that now only stopped here to pick up the news from the local HPG and then they would pass the news to other worlds.  Then maybe, they would stop for a longer amount of time and trade more with the locals.  It would cut down on travel time by weeks.  That was not a so small cost, that was passed along to others down the line.  This could become a hub of JumpShip activity for this whole area of space, by this one infrastructure upgrade.  That meant, that JumpShips would stop by every three to four weeks.  Compared to the rest of the systems in the stellar area?  This was a lot of traffic.  As it was right now, very few dropships would take the time to burn deeper into the system.  Radio waves were speed of flight, and Dropships were not. 

The Traffic Control center was always manned, no matter what the hour of the day or night it might be.  Normally this would not be the case, for a system that saw so little traffic, but the Demi-Precentor over at the HPG compound had insisted on this manning level.  He had said, that since ComStar had paid for the equipment.  The local government should pay for the manning and make sure that it was staffed, always.  That is how Tommy had gotten the job.  He was smarter than most, and he was deeply loyal to the governing family of the planet.  Those were the two basic requirements for the job, training would be on the job.  The local leader had been trying to improve the education department around the planet, but so far.  She had only been able to start to affect the area around the capital to any degree, and “How to run a star system wide traffic control headquarters “was not a currently an offered class. 

When the alarm of an incoming jump wave started blaring out of the speakers from around his station.  He was quick to start up the recording equipment.  The jump wave or as it was called E-wave, was already larger than the Merchant class jumpships.  The last one of those, which had stopped by weeks ago.  Soon the E wave was larger than that time a few years ago, when a fully loaded Invader class JumpShip had stopped by.  It had been carrying mercenary’s mixed forces battalion, which were out hunting pirates in this local area of space. 

Even as Tommy watch, the wave grew in strength.  Then soon, the E-wave readings were telling him that it was a very large ship.  It had also must have jumped a full thirty light years or very close to it, to have caused that kind of wave.  Tommy was smart.  He put two and two together, before the JumpShip had entered his home system.  It said something special was here, and he hit the alarm button as hard as he could.  It was just like he had been trained to do. 

This alarm started howling in three different buildings in the nearby area, at the same time.  They were the alert desk of the ComStar HPG compound, the head of the small planetary militia, and the planetary Dukes office/home.  The last one room was right above the Tommy’s head.  It was just before local noon, so the Duke was already at work in her office one floor up from Tommy’s workspace. 

She would know that Tommy would not have pushed that button, unless told to or something important was up.  She was out of her desk and moving before most of her brain knew what she was doing.  She was moving at almost a run within a dozen steps.  The longer the alert sounded, the faster she moved. 

Duke Terry was an odd person.  She kept the male noble label for its power with the local population, but she was a woman.  That part also had helped when dealing with the Magistracy.  That political group was only a jump away.  It was just the way it had to be, and it work, so far.  She just had entered the room that held the equipment, that ComStar had supplied, when a land line started buzzing in the very small and one-man Traffic Control office. 

Tommy saw his boss enter the room, and he started to rise from his chair.  This was done out of reflexive habit.  She was more important that whoever was calling on the land line.  She did not smile when she entered the room, but she gave him a nod and then pointed to the ringing phone.  When he did not move fast enough.  She gave a voice to her motion.  She was stressed, but she was experienced enough to know that she needed to cover this fact up. 

“Go ahead and pick up the line.  It’s one of two people.  Why not just tell both of us what is going on at the same time, Tommy?” 

Tommy smiled at his boss, and then turned to read the ID name, before he picked up the land line.  The person on the other end of the line would not know that the Duke was listing in on them, after Tommy activated the speaker phone.  He had not been “trained” to do this, but he felt that it was the right move to make. 

“Demi-Precentor, we have a JumpShip at the jump point.  The computer says it is a Star Lord Class or like sized ship.  It also looks like it did a long jump.  Wait one minute.  A second E-wave is starting to come in.  It is a smaller craft, and the wave has now ended.  That one must be a Scout Class, and she is running light.  We now have two JumpShips, in system.  One larger and heavily loaded, and the other one very small and lightly loaded.  The computer says that both have just completed a long jump, but we do not have a starting point.” 

Tommy looked at the Duke, and then he asked a question he thought she might want to know.  “Sir.  Was ComStar expecting a cargo, and did not let Traffic Control know?”  The tone was slightly accusing, and he would not have tried it, if his boss was not ten feet from him.  It was not wise to poke the 600kg Tabiranth. 

Terry was really starting to like this boy, a lot, even if his father was a rat.  He was pulling information for that Holy Roller, which she needed very badly.  She had not even needed to ask or prep the kid, about what to say.  He just had done it off the top of his head.  Then she blanched when the information came over the speaker mounted on the phone. 

The Demi Precentor said the next ComStar Ship was not due for around fifty-four days.  Even then, it was most likely going to be only a Magellan class ship.  She would only be carrying some spare parts for the HPG system, that were coming due for replacements.  This most definitely was not a 175,000ton Magellan, stopping by.  They had seen one of those small JumpShips before, and had enough data on hand, to recognize one of them by now. 

Tommy was still talking to the speaker, when Terry came back to the world.  “I’m sorry Demi-Precentor.  That is all the information I have.  It will still be” Tommy stopped talking to look at a countdown clock on his system.  ”It will probably be around another 45 more minutes for any light speed communications, to reach us.  And that assumes that they started squawking the minute they jumped in system.  Okay Sir.  I will let the Duke know that you’re on the way over.”  Tommy looked right at the Duke when he said that.  He had a funny little smile on his face.  But his voice did not waver in the least little bit. 

The Duke just shook her head and put one finger to her mouth.  She waited for Tommy to close the line before saying anything.  “This boy has done a good job,” and she felt a reward was warranted.  But just a small one. 

“Well, I had better go make sure your father is sober.  Good job.  I just hope it’s someone lost, and not someone wanting to cause a local change of management.”  She turned and left the room.  She had a lot of work to do, some of it was good and some of it was going to be very bad. 

Less than one hour later, all the major players were in the Traffic Control office.  Two of the warm bodies were from the ComStar compound, one person who was in tactical charge of the small militia, the head of the government, and Tommy.  The Duke had thrown out anyone else, who wanted in the loop for this emergency.  She had kicked out any person, which she did not feel was important enough to be there even if they had deep pockets.  Nerves were getting shorter by the minute.  It had been a long forty-five minutes after the strange ship jump into the system.  Everyone was watching an old analog round wall clock on the wall count the seconds.  It was getting warmer in the room, as the time crawled by from so many bodies in such a confined space with little air movement. 

As the timer counted to fifty minutes, the computer beeped for attention.  Tommy turned and started pushing buttons with his back to the group of planetary level power players.  He started talking when, his systems gave him the new information it had picked up.  It was not that much information yet, but he knew it still was a good sign. 

“We have an incoming message.  It’s a burst transmission.  The computer is working on decompressing it.”  Tommy did not even look over his shoulder, as he worked the systems around him.  He was wanting to show that he had learned a lot in this job already.  Even if he did not praise Blake every time, he started a new set of setting changes or had to replace a bad component. 

A few more seconds passed before he could or should say anything else.  But when Tommy did?  His voice had noticeably less stress in it.  “Here we go!!  She is a Tramp class ship going by the name of Styx, and a Scout class going by the name of Toy Box.  They say that they are the Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale Company.  They are returning from a job.  They would like to send a, as in one, cargo dropship to the planet.  They want to see if they can do some business, while both ship’s jump engines recharge.  They are waiting for a reply before having their cargo ship start burning in.” 

Tommy was blinking his eyes, but the others could not see it.  He was impressed with the SOP this group was working under.  It would seem, that they have been working the outer edge of the periphery for some time.  That was the easiest way to explain that they had to come up with a way to say Hi and not get shot at, while they were waiting on a reply.  The Periphery was a dangerous place for lone ships, and this edge of the Periphery was even more so than average. 

The Duke was the first to say something, now that each of them had been able to breathe again.  The less said about their current heart rates, the better.  “Well, this was a good emergency drill.  We should do it again sometime.  It seems like we could use a few more of them.  I think our collective response was very sloppy.  What if those ships had come in at a pirate jump point?  We would not have had the time to prepare for an assault of ten-year-old space cubs.”  She was looking dead at the head of the small militia force.  He had the good sense not to lock eyes with his boss.  He knew that his small force had not performed very well. 

The Duke turned slightly to gaze at the Traffic control operator.  “Tommy transmit the location of the A pad at the “Star port” and them welcome them to our system for trading.  Ask them to please contact you, when they have touched down on the pad.” 

With her orders given, she left the room.  She was heading back to her living quarters for a hot shower.  She still could smell the fear sweat in her clothes.  She could not afford to have that smell picked up by some of the locals, some of which wanted very badly to have her job.  That smell was like blood in the water, for those two-legged sharks.  She needed more problems, like a bullet in the head.  She also needed to work out how to best leverage this new visitor to her best benefit. 


The Trojan class dropship made a steady 1g burn, all the way to the planet surface from the jump point.  This was not the “normal” speed of a combat landing, or even if the Trojan was being used as she had been designed.  She was called a blockade runner for a reason.  It really did no one any good, to make the trip uncomfortable.  That is, if they did not need to do so to make the mission work.  The Captain of the White Rabbit had been a Captain of one of the SLDF Lion Class dropships, until he had retired due to old age a few years before the Colonials found them. 

When he was recalled back to active duty, due to the war with the Cylons.  He had been assigned to be the XO of the Dropship Hard Hat as soon as he had reported in.  It was only when he was told of this job, and then it opened for him by adding a ship that did not already have a crew assigned that this had changed.  Until then?  He thought, that he would never command a ship of his own again.  Now not only was he commanding a dropship?  He was commanding one on a Resupply run, again.  This was a chance for glory and adventure, again.  It was one more day in the sun, and he was not going to risk embarrassing his family and or his fleet commander.  If he got his name put into The Remembrance?  That would be great!!  But at his age?  He would settle for a positive footnote in a history text somewhere, and a few free drinks at a local bar. 

Captain Copeland was setting in one of the empty cabins on the White Rabbit, waiting to land.  He could have claimed a chair on the bridge of the ship, but he had not.  He had a sly smile on his face, as he waited.  “This was the most excitement I have had since the Colonials had shown up, and the entire planet went on alert.   Now all I have to do, is not screw it up.  What was that old prayer, oh well?  I will have to look it up when we get back home.” 

The landing was more like a combat landing, then a cargo run to a planet.  The assigned landing area would have been called an austere landing site on a more settled planet.  It was just like what a combat landing, would have been going all the way back to the first use of a combat dropship.  The locals did not have a tower, manmade landing pads, or even landing radar to guide in an approaching dropship.  All of the things, that a combat landing would not have access to. 

“This was going to be fun,” thought the Captain of the White Rabbit.  As he smiled to himself, “It was so good to be in command again.  Even if it was a ship that might have been a scum bag pirate, in the not too distant past.”  The Captain of the Blockade Runner watched as his crew went through a set of orders.   They did this task, as steadily as you would have expected for a crew with this number of years of experience under their collective belts. 

The White Rabbit settled on the hard packed and fire scorched earth, with a smooth ease that showed off the skill of the pilot and his support crew.  They were only about a kilometer from what must have been the Space Port’s primary passenger concourse.  The thinking on the bridge of the dropship, was that this must have been considered a prime landing spot.  To be this close on New Circe, they would have to had been carrying some very powerful VIPs. 

When the temperature display said that it was safe outside, one of the cargo doors started to open on well-oiled hinges.  As this was happening.  The communication person sent out a few messages to the only person they had contact with on this planet.  It said that they were ready to talk at any time, about doing some trading with any local companies.  They also passed along in one of the messages to traffic control, which said they would like to contact a taxi service.  It would be needed for a ride to and from the HPG compound.  On the way down, it was noted that the HPG was in the center of town.  The taxis also might be sent to see any worthwhile sellers that were off the Drop port. 

Less than an hour later.  A little convoy of three wheeled vehicles drove out to the still cooling freshly landed Dropship in a single file line that did not leave a dust cloud.  Two were gloss black sedans style and the last was a white panel transport of some kind.  It looked more like a minivan in style and function than a sedan.  When the little convoy got closer to landing pad A?  The crew of the Dropship that had remained working outside, could see the ComStar logo painted on the sides of the lead sedan transport.  The crew had already unloaded two metal 9ton boxes.  The ground crews now waited for the next step in the dance.  Their hands never were very far from the sidearms strapped to their hips, as the wheeled transports got closer. 

Each of the metal boxes held a Class 5 auto cannon, within its metal sides.  They also unloaded six of what would have been mid-grade home or small office computers on New Circe.  The computers were placed on a pair of folding out tables.  Those computers had all been replaced in production about three years ago, with better systems.  Each of the machines were roughly equal to a Cray XC30 made in 2014.  Each of the computers was in its own newly made shipping box for the trip away from home.  Captain Copeland, the Captain of the Rabbit, and the senior enlisted person on the dropship walked out of the cargo bay when they could hear the approaching vehicles through the open hatch. 

It was quite the entourage that gathered around the base of the dropship.  Robert was looking around and mentally putting each person into a mental pigeonhole.  It looked like this was going to be a shop and showroom time, before he could send “Emma” to do her mission.  This was going to be the first and a very small-scale test, of what this whole mission was about.  Robert was hoping that this would knock the last bits of rust off and or show them, where their plans might have any unnoticed flaws. 

“Well?  I had better get this started, before the sun goes down.  They might even buy something today.”  Robert had said that in a soft voice, so that it would not carry past the five feet he wanted it to.  It would not due for the rest of the crew to know that their commander and senior staff were not 100 percent sure of themselves. 

Robert stood up a little straighter and put on his patented half smile, now that they were closer to the first test. “Good Evening folks.  I take it you would like to see what we have to offer for sale, before it gets dark.  Right now, we are short on most normal trade goods.  Most of our high end and bulk items are still on our Mule, at the jump-point.  We do have a couple of things laid out, that we think you all might like.”  He sounded like a used hover car salesman to his own ears. 

When Robert nodded to the mid ranked enlisted man standing off to one side.  Quickly he started opening one of the box’s tops of a crate that held a large weapon.  It took him only a couple of minutes to open all eight smaller sections, that had made up the top of the protective shipping crate.  The newcomers looked down into the box to see a well-known 8ton weapon cradled in a wood blocked and metal container.  When the last section top was flipped open the enlisted man quickly walked back to stand behind his boss. 

Robert could tell that the ComStar personnel were not impressed with the weapon on display.  The same could not be said of the other members in the group.  One of whom looked like he had already hit a bottle of something cheap, very hard, already today.  He looked like he was about to pee himself, after one look inside the gun shipping container.  The only woman in the group seems to notice the look and whispered something into Mr. Drunk’s ear.  He turned pale and then a little redder in the face.  Then he whispered into her ear in return. 

She was a nice-looking woman, not as nice looking as Robert’s now dead wife had been.  She had died fighting the Cylons.  Her Aero Fighter unit had been activated to fight, and she had been sent out to help defend the SLS York.  She had stayed in the fight despite a growing list of damage to her craft, while raking up a huge number of kills.  She stayed in the fight right, till her old Tomahawk fighter had been blown out of space by who knows what.  They still did not know what happened that had ended her life.  But the best guess, was that she had been rammed by a Heavy Raider.  Or maybe it was something of a like mass that was moving very fast, during the fighting. 

“Keep your mind on the job, Robert!!” He said to himself.  This one, the woman, is sharp.  That was what his instincts had told him after only seeing her for a few seconds. 

He turned to look at her.  She must have felt his eye on her.  Either that, or she had eyes in the back of her head, because she addressed him with a question without turning to look at him, after that one short gaze when she had walked up to the dropship.  That gaze had made Robert fill like the Zug was lining up a shot at him. 

“Excuse me, Captain.  Could you give me some more information about this weapon?”  She was referring to the weapon that was open, but there was something at the backend of the statement.  Something that was just hinted at. 

Robert tilted his head and stepped closer, so that he could also look into the holding crate.  It was all part of the art in how to sale something.  “Yes, Ma’am.  This is a licensed copy of an Armstrong J 11.  It is a Class 5 standard weapon.  It has the Universal Feed Block modification already done, and it will handle most common ammunition types for that class of weapons.  I don’t know who the actual manufacture of this one was, or when any of the others were built.” 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #52 on: 22 July 2019, 21:30:42 »
“They?  So, does that mean you have more than these?”  The lady said as she gestured at the second crate next to the opened one, which was showing off the medium sized Battlemech scale cannon.  She had been paying close attention to every word, and every movement of the man, out of the corner of her eye.  She had to fight to keep her voice sweet and level.  The two ways that she knew helped her to get her way, at least when dealing with members of the opposite sex. 

Robert tried to hide a sly smile and fought to keep only the half smile on his face.  “This woman was very sharp.  If I did not watch myself, she could be trouble.” 

“Yes.  We have five of them, that we can sale on our dropship today.” 

Robert knew, that if he said that he had ten of the old cannons for sale?  Then the local market would become over saturated, and the overall price would be lower per weapon as soon as the words left his mouth.  It was best to spread out this load of cargo, so they could get the best price per weapon.  It also would draw less attention to them, with the announcement of the lower numbers of weapons for sale.  If they were too big, someone might think it was worth the risk of attacking them. 

“Well then, Mr. Copeland.  Then it looks like we can do business.  I would like one of my people to come out tomorrow, to inspect all five of them.  We will be looking to buy only the ones our man says are good, and if we can settle on a price.  Is that a problem?”  It was not uncommon for ruined mech scale weapons to be sold as new or lightly used ones. 

The woman cocked her head and looked sideways at the older man.  She was trying to see if, there was more that she could use against him.  She made a note, after a handful of seconds, she had put his name on the list of people not to play poker against.  That was a short list, but one she paid attention to.  She could tell that this man was hiding something, but she could not tell what it might be.  Then again?  Most people who traveled through this part of space had something hidden or things they wanted to hide. 

Robert let the look roll off his back, like water on a duck.  He had a feeling that the look was not a power play of some kind.  It was just a hunch, but he had learned long ago to trust those hunches.  “It would be better, if we could meet earlier in the day.  We are going to be picking up some fresh food, to replenish our stocks.  I was planning, and hoping, to use some of the proceeds from the sale of the weapons for those supplies.” 

This was a two-part play, that Robert was pushing.  The Styx had left home with a full load of food, but it had not carried what most would call comfort food or drinks.  In fact?  They were carrying less consumables than what they had during the two shakedown missions.  The cover story, was that the Styx had them out in the deep back, working on recovering the Scout.  It would make sense that they might be short of those food type items at their first recordable port call.  The second part was to let the leadership know that some of the money, they would be spending on the weapons. That it would be staying on the planet, after all.  You tended to make friends that way, and it would keep the haggling at a more manageable level.  Plus, any storable and unused comfort foods and drinks would bring a higher value back home, if they were any good.  It was a win-win for the traveling circus that was calling itself Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale. 

“If you have set your clocks to our local time?  I will be here, with my people, to do a final inspection say around 0800.”  This was Duke Terry’s planned reply.  She delivered it with a smile, and without missing a beat.  She did not even let on that she had heard the comment about buying local products. 

“Ahh now for the game to start,” thought Robert and he let a sly smile slowly cross his face. 

The Trojan was a heavily armed dropship, for a cargo carrier.  If the locals wanted to just steal the weapons, and brought some heavy firepower to do it?  They would be in more trouble, than they could imagine.  This was considered by most a lawless area of space, after all.  That was why they had made the Trojan class ship and other classes of ships like her.  Robert was thinking that this was moving along quite nicely, and he started looking for traps that might be about to snap at him. 

“Hmmmmm.  That will work for the time, but let’s limit the congestion on the Port landing area.  Let’s say two sedans and two or so open sided flatbed trucks, to take your purchases home with.  You won’t need to bring a crane out.  We have an old Power-Loader mech on board.  We can use it, to help load your trucks for you.  That will keep our manpower low, also.  Now, as for as a means of payment?  My partners and I are pretty open, but C-bills are always good.” 

Robert tipped his head toward the robed men behind Mr. Drunk.  “You can also use a different form of payment.  I think if we can get some undated metal prices from our ComStar friends.  I do not know what precious metals you have on hand.  That is, if it might be helpful to you.” 

At the mention of the word “ComStar” the ComStar representative turned in the direction of the voice.  He looked like he had smelled something bad, but he did not say anything out loud.  Robert kept talking to the group.  “It looks like you’re the only party that likes my cannons, so let’s see what is in the smaller boxes!“  Robert was back to putting on the show, and was trying not to let it show that the woman was starting to get to him. 

On that queue.  The nearest enlisted man opened the create lid, that encased one of the large desktop computers.  A long power cord had been run out of the nearest cargo bay.  It was there so that the computer could be powered up, for show or testing.  Before the computer systems had left New Circe, all the software and data storage areas had been wiped clean of any information.  When the power was applied to the computer.  The stats of the hardware were the only information that showed on the screen in black and white letters. 

Everyone slowly walked by the displayed computers one after the other.  At first no one seemed that interested in the devices.  But the last person was a ComStar Adept and that changed in the blink of an eye.  He leaned over and started pressing some of the buttons, as he muttered a chant just low enough that you were not sure what he was saying.  Then his eyes went wide, and two words had come out of his mouth loud and clear, and a few heads turned slightly towards him. 

“Blake’s Blood!!”  When the young man was done.  He walked very fast towards the older ComStar person and whispered into the other man’s ear.  Every eye in the small group watched the young man fast walk towards his boss.  The boss had been standing only a few steps behind Mr. Drunk and not anywhere close to where Captain Copeland was standing. 

“Well looks like I have a buyer on the hook, now to move those bricks,” thought Robert.  He added on his mental list to bring more of those old computers out on the next supply run, if this mission was successful.  Before he could do more, than have that thought.  The older ComStar man was walking, well call it a quick pace, towards him.  As soon as the robed man was within a dozen steps, he started talking at a volume level that was only just below a shout. 

“Captain!  Where did you get these old computer systems?”  Asked the older ComStar man, who was speaking a lot louder than he should have been. 

“Adept?“  That was as far as Robert got.  Before he was interrupted by the man and his hand flew up in the stop sign, which was as old as mankind. 

“It is Demi-Precentor, please.”  He had an “I’m insulted, that you don’t know who I am” look over his tightlipped face. 

Robert gave a slight head bow, as an apology, to the white robe wearing man.  “Sorry Demi-Precentor.  You are not wearing a rank pin.  As I was about to say.  We picked them up in the wrecked Scout ship’s cargo bay.  About the only things that were salvageable, in her cargo hold, were the cannons and these few computer systems you see on the tables.”  This was a lie, which he had practiced as soon as he had read the note in his orders. 

The ComStar man was biting his lower lip and waving a hand in the air over his head.  He was being very dramatic looking, and it drew more attention to both him and the computers.  “How many do you have?” 

Robert was already, not liking this guy.  He did not like ComStar as a rule, after the reports from the first supply run.  Then there were the stories that had come from the slaves they had liberated before this clan moved around the Inner Sphere.  All of those stories were required reading in high school.  However, Robert had to put on a façade, so that he could do the required mission. 

“I can sell six of them.” 

This was Robert’s reply.  He went from a half smile to a tight-lipped expression that he had let come to his face.  “I bet this guy is a joy to work for.”  Robert felt an itch at the small of his back, just were his holdout pistol holster was setting.  Something was wrong with this man.  Robert could feel it deep in his soul. 

“That is not what I asked.  I asked.  HOW…. Many…. Do…. You…. Have?”  The ComStar man was getting pushy and angry at the same time.  He had said each of the last five words space out by almost a second and a half between each of the words. 

“How dare this person have these systems?  I have only seen systems this powerful, on Holy Terra.  I must have them all!!!  Before one of those animals from the Houses, found them.  They were already recovering too much of Blessed Blakes technology because of information from that Blake Damned Helms core!!” 

“As I said before, Demi-Precentor.  I have six of the systems for sale.  I was advised to ask 5,000 C-bills for each of them, by my partners.”  Robert was keeping his eyes locked on the ComStar Demi-Precentor.  He was hoping to find a way to make the other man blink or otherwise spike the deal.  It was early in the mission.  So, if he spiked this deal?  He was sure that he could make it up later. 

“Done!  I will take all of them!!”  The Precentor looked back at his vehicle and did a quick guess on the cargo cubage and the number of people it had brought out.  He quickly had come up short of the cubage he needed.  He was a jerk, but he was not dumb, and his math skills were top level.  “If Duke Terry is coming at 0800 tomorrow, to look at the cannons?  May we conclude our exchange then?” 

Robert smiled, but it did not reach his eyes.  “Damn!!  I should have started at 10,000.  O’ well, 5,000 is a lot better than the 1,000 C-bills.  That was what we had expected to get out of each of them, and that had been a best-case number.  I had asked for 5,000 each just to Frak with him.  I should be careful when I open my fraking mouth.” 

“Done deal!  They are yours on payment in cash, please.” 

Robert held out his hand, but the ComStar man kept his hands inside the sleeves of his robe, like Robert was contaminated or otherwise unclean.  Robert just smiled and dropped his hand after a few long seconds.  The Demi was being rude, and both parties knew it.  One did not care, and the other party was working how best to get even with the first party. 

Robert looked around to the rest of the visitors/shoppers.  “If this is all the business?  Then I will see you all in the morning.”  Robert could tell that the ComStar man had just put a major chill on the whole afternoon. 

Robert looked at the woman and raised and cocked an eyebrow as the ComStar people walked away very quickly.  “Ma’am, sorry, or was I referring to you with the wrong title also?  I did not mean to offend you.  We kind of jumped right past the intros.”  The more time that past.  The more he was getting mad about the rude ComStar Fraker.  One part of his mind was wondering if he should ask if dueling was legal here or not. 

The woman he was talking to let another sly smile cross her face.  She knew beforehand, that ComStar would have been her competition in any trade deals with this group.  She had watched the interaction between the pair of men, with some inner glee.  It looked like ComStar had just made the visitors mad and moved themselves off the playing board for the near future.  Something like that should make it easier to get around their deep pockets. 

“Don’t worry, Captain.  I’m not as set on using the proper titles, as some others around here. Now, I understand that you need a ride to send a message back home?  If you don’t mind sharing a ride with me?  It’s right on my way.  And after you’re done?  Maybe we can sit down to dinner and maybe get to know each other a little better.  I checked our records on your burn in, and we have never had the pleasure of your company on this planet.  And besides, I know this place that has great food.” 

“Oh Frak!!  This could get ugly,” thought Robert.  He had to fight to keep his face from moving a millimeter in any way. 

The rule number fourteen on this type of mission, was that no one went anywhere alone.  It was a rule that must not be broken.  His XO or any of the other ship’s captains could and would shoot him, if he did something like that.  And they would be covered by SLDF Law after they had shot him.  It had happened before, and odds were that it would happen again.  It might even happen on this shorter mission, and Robert would be the one to give the execution orders for someone in this little convoy.  He had not thought about this event, until just now. 

“I would love to.  But you see Emma?”  Robert pointed to an upper 20ish looking woman only a few paces away.  “She needs to contact the other partners, of this little operation.  She is the daughter and granddaughter to two of my main partners.  Besides, I have a rule.  It is not to let any of my crewmembers alone, on a new planet.  If I don’t follow my own rules?  Then what kind of commander, would I be?”  Robert was keeping his tone light and jokingly, but he was very serious. 

The Duke looked at the man even closer and did some more thinking, before speaking again.  She started mentally recounting all the stories about dropships crews being kidnapped for ransom.  She gave up after hitting more than twenty of the stories, that came off the top of her head.  She had not had to think that hard to remember them.  That was how common something like that happened in this part of space. 

“Good rule, and there is plenty of room.  Plus, one more person at dinner?  That just makes it easier for conversation to work.”  Duke Terry was turning up the charm.  And the bad part?  It was that she was not even trying. 

She had on her own sly smile.  “This man was no one’s fool, and he is not bad looking to boot.  This could be one of the more interesting evenings, which I have had in a few years.” 

Robert agreed to the offer, but he had to leave the group soon after this agreement.  He needed to pass along to some key members, that there was another change of plans.  He quickly exited the grounded dropship again and walked with the group.  He joined the locals and “Emma”, to one of the sedans.  The sedan had more than enough room for Duke Terry, Mr. Drunk, Robert, and “Emma” to all be comfortable in the back.  There even was a dedicated driver. 

The roads were not that bad, from the Space Port to the HPG compound.  They hardly hit a pothole on the whole drive.  Robert made note of the 70ton Magi tank, that looked to be supporting the front Gate Guard stationed at the HPG compound.  Up until right them, the ride had been in silence.  Now it was broken. 

“Now that is an odd-looking tank.  What kind is it?  Who do they work for?”  The youngest woman in the wheeled sedan was pointing to the massive tracked metal box by the gate. 

“Damn she was smart,” thought Robert.  But he did not let his face move a single millimeter when she asked her question. 

Duke Terry gave an odd look to the trader Captain.  “They are called the Com Guards, a military wing of ComStar.   They have, what they call, a Level II.  It is what I would call a Demi-Company of tanks, mechs, and infantry as a defense force for the HPG and the ComStar compound.  It is supposed to be, in case we are attacked.  The Wacko’s seem to have found a few huge warehouses full of old SLDF equipment some unknown time ago.  Then they went and armed themselves up a few years ago with it.  I had heard about it five or six years ago, but frankly.  I personally did not believe it.  That is until they showed up here, two years ago with mechs, tanks and infantry.”  She waved to the fortified compound, and she continued talking. 

“First, they unloaded two mech, two tanks and some infantry to guard the HPG and the people that are running the thing.  They did bring a couple of good things with them, so it has not been all bad.  I was surprised that they were able to rebuild that hulk of a building so fast.  Now with more mouths to feed?  They spend their money freely in town.  If anyone attacks us?  Just by being here, they have tripled our firepower on the ground.  I managed to sign an agreement with them, about a month after they landed, to start the rebuilding.  That if we are attacked?  They will help out, besides just in the defense of the HPG compound.” 

Terry was looking out the side window of the slowing car, now.  “The downside is that they get to keep anyone that they captured, and they have first pick on any of the salvage that might be left behind on the whole planet.  So far?  We have not had to worry about any attacks, at least once the word got out.  Let me tell you, word gets out quickly, that the Com Guards are on the ground on a certain planet.  We thought you might have been the first group to try them, when we thought a loaded Star Lord and another jumpship had come to visit all at once.  That is a lot of lift to be seen out this way.”  She did not say or bring up about the additional jumpships stopping by.  Those had mainly belonged to the only human faster than light communication company known to exist.  But not all of them had belong to ComStar, and that kind of information was power. 


The Duke, Emma, and Robert waited in the main waiting area of the HPG compound, until Emma was called back to send her messages.  Mr. Drunk had exited the sedan and walked out of the ComStar compound to the bar district for a few more drinks.  He had a huge smile on his face, when he announced his intention of leaving the group.  Robert doubted that he would be rejoining the group for the rest of the night. 

“Emma” sent four different messages, to four different locations, all around the Inner Sphere in the short time she was gone.  Most of the messages were cover for the third one she sent.  That was the only one that had counted, and it was going to the Duniashire system.  It was only about 21 light years away.  The other three messages were going to random common names that had been pulled from an address book collected on the last supply run. 

When the messages were sent out from the planet?  The HPG unit buried deep in the Styx would pick up the whole group of messages being sent out.  The operators were able to use a copy of the original messages to do some magic on the captured data packet.  This captured data also gave them very detailed information on how ComStar operated their systems.  This was the closest that a late military grade Star League HPG system had been to Terra since the 2800s.

They will be able to break the ComStar coding, by knowing the key information in those four specially selected and very different messages.  They were the first people to be able to do so, in centuries.  This “broken” information will help them decode any future ComStar messages, later in the mission.  As a bonus?  They picked up the latest and “original” copy, of the price list of almost any metal sold on the open market Sphere wide.  This last item was sent via encrypted radio transmission down to the White Rabbit, and it was deeply encoded.  It was to check to see if ComStar might play games with them on the prices.  After the one message was sent down to the one dropship.  The dropship’s crews had the rest of the late afternoon to be more socialized while they were on the ground. 

The dinner was just as good, as Terry had said it would be.  A fourth person had joined them for dinner.  He was a little older than the Duke, in looks, and it was not Mr. Drunk.  Robert took this to mean that they were very close in age.  He was very rich by local standards, but he was not a military man.  Emma was able to pump him for information, and quickly found out the bad news.  Nothing that was on the “shopping list” was going to be available in the city under short notice, if at all even then.  Or it would not even be on the planet.  That was not surprising, to Robert.  “Emma” was more distress and she took some time to understand one of the facts of life.  She had gotten to use to New Circe and its very high tech and military orientation. 

This was a backwoods planet and it was in a very low-tech area, but it was a mental letdown.  They only reason they had stopped here was to use the HPG, to get a message out to one of the Families.  Everything else?  That was just extra, like testing their cover story.  The icing on the cake, if you would like?  That was to do things that were a little upsetting to ComStar.  Blake would have rolled over in his grave.  If he knew what had happened to the organization, which he had formed all those years ago.  “Emma” and Robert did not make it back to the White Rabbit, till late that night.  They did have a good time, and it seem like there host did also. 


mikecj

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #53 on: 23 July 2019, 00:02:14 »
Nice, thanks for sharing
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

Trace Coburn

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #54 on: 23 July 2019, 01:09:38 »
  Well, someone just paid top dollar C-bill for obsolescent computers.  Tut-tut-tut: too sloppy, too eager by half. One has to wonder if the Robes saw something in the specs that made them really, really want them for the Holy Order (and if so, why), or if it was just a matter of keeping them away from the filthy illiterate neobarbs who don’t worship the Sacred Blake....

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #55 on: 29 July 2019, 19:56:48 »
Chapter 10
By Cliff
Beta and Clean up By:  not done
Reviewed by Hotpoint. 

The next morning 0730. 26 Nov 3046
Ltzehoe system

The Trojan’s captain had made sure that his crew was up early.  They had started pulling the allotted crates out of the cargo hold and moving them outside.  They were careful to put as many of the crates as they could in the shade of the dropship.  When Robert finely made it to the bridge, after getting an update from these other commanders?  He took a seat and started filling out his reports, that he had to keep on the mission.  He had just finished one of the most difficult ones when he was alerted to come to the main screen. 

He could see a mostly wheeled based convoy about to enter the Space Port from his very high vantage point at the top of the dropship.  He had just enough time to make it out of the bottom cargo door of the dropship, when the first of the three large flatbed cargo trucks, and a set of three 4 door transports had come around the last corner.  Robert tapped the duty door guard and gave her a slight nod, to defuse the tensions Robert could see building up on the woman’s face. 

A ComStar Van had joined the little convoy, that Robert had not seen coming towards them from the Bridge.  The group pulled up to the Engine fire safety line, that had been marked on the ground.  The White Rabbit’s crew had laid out the “safety line” the night before.  It was a legal notice to not cross that line, or you were about to put your life at risk.  It did not take long after the whole convoy had come to a stop on or very near the line.  Then people started exiting the different stopped transports in a wave of moving arms and legs.  It took longer for some of them to be ready to start doing business than others, after they first exited the different transports.  Robert, watching from the hatch, could tell that this was a new operation for them.  It just did not have the practiced look to his trained eyes. 

Duke Terry was not the first person out the door of one of the four door sedans.  That award went to the ComStar Demi-Precentor.  Robert made a note to himself, to try to take care of him first.  That would leave more time to talk to the Duke without a suspected spy in their mist for any length of time.  It was strange.  Robert realized that he was looking forward to spending some more time with her.  He also was looking forward to the art of making a deal.  He was about to embark on one on a scale that was his top ten over the last few years.  He had always thought that maybe he had a bit of Sea Fox in his blood.  He straightened his tunic and walked out and into the sun. 

Robert put on his half smile, and this time he did not hold out his hand to the other man.  “Demi-Precentor!  So, good to see you this morning.  I have all six of the computer systems you wanted out for your final inspection.  All you need to do is plug them in, and then have one of your people double check to make sure they are what you wanted.  If they are?  You may load them up.  As agreed, each one is 5,000 C-Bills, in cash.” 

Robert was not surprised, when the ComStar man did not offer to shake hands on the deal.  The only hand movement he gave during the conversation.  It was only as he waved to two Adepts standing behind him to start the required testing of the computers.  “Emma” would be collecting the money, as they loaded the computer systems that had passed the final inspection into their van.  This would give time for Robert to talk with the female Duke and her people while the ComStar people were preoccupied.  After all, they had found out that she was not married or legally partnered over dinner.  It was with this final thought that he moved closer to the woman. 

“Duke Terry.  It is good to see you this fine early morning.”  Robert pitched his voice lower for the next part, so the ComStar people would not hear him.  He and “Emma” had picked up that the planetary leader was not that thrilled with the head of the local ComStar office. 

“It is too bad that he had to be early, also.”  Robert said, as he used his head to point in the direction of the ComStar Van that was parked not too far away.  He was digging for a confirmation or for something that he could use, a little further down the road. 

“Robert, please call me Terry.  I think we can use our first names, don’t you?  Besides this is not state business after all.” 

She said with a sly grin, maintaining eye contact with the mission leader the entire time.  She knew that rumors would get around, that she had already slept with the tall Merchant Captain.  She was okay with that, and well you never know.  Dropship’s Captains were supposed to have a woman in every drop port.  So, the same must be true of jumpship commanders.  If he did not understand that every day that she breathed had her working on “state” business, then maybe he was not as smart as she thought he might be. 

“I can live with that, Terry.”  Robert said with an answering sly grin, that reached his eyes.  “Why don’t we let your team get to work, and we can chat a little deeper in the shade of the ship.”  Robert pointed to the five large crates with the tops already open. 

As Emma had hoped, the Demi-Precentor took all six computer systems, and one of his Adepts had passed Emma a thick package. It was filled with the 30,000 C-Bills that was required.  The amount was made up of only large notes inside the thin walled package.  Emma checked each 500 c-bill note before leaving the ComStar van side.  “Emma” walked over where her Captain and the leader of this planet’s government were talking off to one side.  Both of them were in the shade provided by the dropship.  Emma knew that she would get a copy of what was being said from the recording device that Robert had in his pocket, later, when they got back inside the dropship.  First, she had to let her boss know that part of her job was completed.  It was part of her cover and it would let her be closer to the mission commander. 

“Sir, that Demi-Precentor is an ass.  If I don’t have to deal with him again?  I will be a happy person.”  None of what she said, was a lie.  She would have said this even if there had not been any issues with the ComStar part of the deals today. 

“Emma, girl.  I know what you mean.  I cannot wait till they rotate that robed wacko off this mud ball.  The first few HPG Managers were very easy to work with, and I wish one of them would come back.”  The venom in Terry’s voice was caustic, even coming from Terry.  Robert and “Emma” had seen it delivered a few times at dinner the night before.  The planetary Duke gave her head a shake left and right, as if to cast out a bad memory. 

One of Duke Terry’s personnel walked over toward the group but was just hovering outside of hearing range of the three people.  He wanted to talk to his boss, but he did not want to interrupt her at the same time.  Finally, Terry relented and waved him over, and she had to fight to keep a flat expression on her face. 

“What have you got, Steve?” 

The nervous little man took the three long quick steps needed to reach his boss, before he started talking.  “Ma’am, all the guns are Armstrong J11s.  That is about all I can tell you about the make and model of the cannons.  We have been through all of them.  They all seem to be in anywhere between from good to excellent of condition or grade.  They all also looked to have been completely stripped down and expertly cleaned in the recent past.  They have the modified breach blocks, but they still will not fire the GM Whirlwind class ammunition.  I think they will handle anything from 50 to 100mm with us not needing to modify the rounds before loading.  The GM design uses 120mm shells that only they make” 

The little man with shifty eyes looked to one side to see what the stranger’s reactions to his statement might be.  “This is as far as I can go, that is, without putting rounds down range with them or taking them apart in my shop.”  He looked hopefully at Captain Copeland.  Steve was hoping, that maybe they might be able to test fire them one time.  At least before they put money down for them.  He had spent too much time out here not to think that anything that was too good to be true, most definitely was going to be too good to be true.  He also did not want to be on the blame line, if they turned out to be junk. 

The Duke saw the look, and she also could guess that there was no way would this commander let the weapons out of his sight.  At least not without some gold in his fist first.  “Well that is good news.  If you would not mind, go and help them repack the cannons.  It will give me a chance to talk to these good people about getting a few of them for us.” 

The smile from the Duke was enough to get the man to leave them alone, but he left happy at the thought that the best negotiator on the planet was on the job.  Weapons of any kind, much less good working order mech scale weapons were hard to find this far off the shipping lanes.  He also was happy that he had given his boss all the information he had. 

“Now it’s time to skin this cat,” thought Terry and turned her smile to Robert.  “Okay Robert.  You said you had five of these cannons for sale.  What are you looking to get out of these weapons?”  She slowly folded her arms across her chest as she was talking.  Now she was in her “pose”. 

“Okay Duke Terry, let’s start this game rolling.”  Robert almost started rubbing his hands together, but that would give away too much.  He put some steel in his soul, and just locked eyes with the woman.  He did not even put his hands behind his back to keep them occupied. 

“We are looking to get 150,000 C-bills, for each one of the cannons we have for sale.” 

“Come now, Robert!  I thought we were friends?  You know and I know.  That new ones only cost 125,000.  How about you take 85,000, each?”  Duke Terry was still smiling and not offended by the first bid that Robert had opened this game with.  This was all a negotiation.  There would be a sale today, and both sides knew this.  It was only a question of how much it was going to hurt, and how long it was going to take to close the deal. 

Now Robert put his hands behind his back, but he still had a sly smile on his face.  “Terry, you’re a long way from a factory that can make these cannons new.  And then you would have the cost of shipping them all the way out to you added in.  That is only if they would sell them in the first place 125,000.” 

The Duke knew he had a very good point.  She had to reach into her bag of information to counter his point.  She kept stuff like that in her head, to swing any negotiations back to be in her favor whenever she needed it.  From the information recovered from last night’s dinner and then the need to go right out to send out an HPG message.  She knew that Robert and his people had not been in contact with much that had been going on deeper in the Inner Sphere. 

“You know?  I heard that the Federated Commonwealth was able to put a class 5 system, which can shoot about twice as fast as a normal one, back into production.  I think that was about six or seven years ago.  What do you think that is going to do to the prices on what these older weapons will bring in on the secondary markets?” 

Robert did not let his poker face slip.  Well, he hoped he did not let it slip.  This was news.  This was VERY BIG news!  No one back home had known, that a Star League era and style Ultra class cannon had been about to be put back into production.  That was, if it was true.  If it was it could change a lot of things, back in the nebula.  He knew that there had been a few odd reports of “special” weapons that had been used by elite units back in the 3039 War.  But all the reports he had read before coming out?  Those reports had been marked down as propaganda.  After all it was not like they had a spy in the FedCom military industrial complex, or in any of the other house militaries for that matter. 

“Really???  I had not heard anything about that.”  He made a tight-lipped face.  “I will have to check into that, on our next stop.  What do you know about them?”  Robert let his eyebrows raise.  This had the effect of relaxing him.  He was showing some of the concern that he truly was feeling right at that moment. 

Robert looked at Emma and she knew this information needed to be checked out.  Even if it only turned out to be a wild rumor, or wishful thinking for someone trying to get a better deal on older tech weapons.  The more information they had to start, the better.  He had already been surprised by the response to the desk top computers.  Robert knew he was on his back foot with this set of negotiations.  He was too rusty, and Terry was too good not to know that he was on his back foot.  Much to his surprise she kept talking. 

“I started hearing about them about five years ago from some traders and ComStar chaps, after a few to many tallboy PPCs at the bar nearest the compound.  It is supposed to be a direct copy of an old Star League design, but to tell you the truth.  I have not seen one in person, yet.  I do know that the ComStar people are worried about them, because it looks like it might match what they are fielding with some of their prime units.  Now, from what I have heard, lately.  The FedCom are supposed to have a few hundred units in service with their top of the line Mech RCTs, already.  If that is true?  Then the market for this older style of cannon?  That will dry up very quickly, don’t you think?  How does 95,000 sound per weapon?” 

Robert was losing this quick; he could feel it.  And if what she said was true?  Then the mark up for the hoped-for Cash Cow for this mission was in danger.  Then Robert let a smile come to his face.  He had an idea.  “Even if it is true, Terry.  How long will it take for them to get out here, on the other end of occupied space.  I might be able to go as low as 115,000 each.” 

The Duke kept the same smile on her face.  They were already at the price point, which she had set as her maximum price for the weapons.  She knew that he had a point.  But Terry had one more card to play, to see if she could get a better deal.  She felt like there was still some meat on the bone of this deal.  What was the worst thing that could happen?  They would get the weapons at a price she was already okay with spending. 

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #56 on: 29 July 2019, 19:57:40 »

“How much barrel life is left on those things anyway?  100,000 and I will take all of them off of your hands.” 

Robert knew how old those cannons were.  As a matter of fact, it was his opinion.  That If someone wanted to shoot one, as some kind of a test before buying?  He would have made sure that he was in a bunker very far away, before they pulled the trigger.  But he could not say that.  It would blow his cover story apart. 

“Ugh… okay?  I have no idea.  As I already said.  We found them in the Scout ship’s cargo hold.  I can live with that number.  I will just have to deal with my partners, when I get back home.” 

Robert held out his hand and Terry took it in her long finger hand and pumped it up and down twice, before letting go of the other hand.  The deal was done.  Robert and Emma followed Terry to the trunk of her hover sedan, which was in front of the flat bed cargo trucks.  When she opened it, she pulled out three thick plastic envelopes. 

The first one was the thickest and had handwritten letters on the outside.  It said 200,000 in neatly printed numbers.  The two thinner ones each had 100,000 written in that same neat handwriting on one side.  Robert passed the thicker one to Emma, to count, while he took the two thinner ones.  Terry then opened a metal lock box, which was on the armored trunk floor.  Inside the metal box?  There were gold and silver colored bars stacked one on top of the other.  This far away from the major or House center banks.  Cash was king.  But having a lot of it on hand, that was a different matter.  It was not like the local government could get a loan from a bank branch. 

These items were called trade bars.  Each of the bars had a twelve-digit serial number and stamped with a maker’s mark.  Each one also was sealed in a clear, thick, and very hard plastic cover.  It would help prevent tampering with them, by any unsavory person.  This far out from normal civilization?  Paper money tended to be used, less than other forms of physical wealth transfer.  She counted out the bars of different sizes and colors.  With the mild fluctuation on the price of the metal in the bars, she was handing out.  The Duke overpaid by around two hundred C-Bills for all five of the cannons over the agreed to price. 

When Emma received the last bar.  Captain Copeland waved his hand and the old Powerloader’s ICE rumbled to life in a small cloud of billowing black smoke.  It slowly started its way down the loading ramp.  With each step, it was belching more but less dark black clouds of smoke out of a pair of back mounted smokestacks.  The power brokers moved out of the way, and let their people work.  They had tons of cargo to be moved and in a very limited space, and sometimes stuff just happened.  Anyone who had spent a few weeks at a drop port knew this. 

Robert and Terry chatted while “Emma” made two trips into the dropship carrying the payments into and putting them in the safe that was built into the very bones of the Dropship.  When she came back out the last time, after making sure the safe was locked and recovered by a concealing end table.  She had three, half liter bottles of the local caffeinated and carbonated cold drinks. 

Emma handed each of the senior people a drink, before she took a sip from hers.  While they were taking the first sips.  Jess’s AKA “Emma” intel skills kicked in.  “I hope we did not deplete your cash reserve with this deal, Madam Duke.”  Emma’s training was kicking in hard, and off to data mining she went.  The bad part?  She did not even realize that she was doing it. 

Terry took another sip of the offered drink.  She took the time to read the label and let a little smile come to her face, before answering the question.  “Oh no.  Close, but not quite.  The militia operations budget only had enough left in it, to pay for two cannons at that price.  I am, personally, picking up one for a project that I’m working on.  The rancher you were chatting up last night, Emma?  He is picking up the fourth one.  I have no idea what he plans on doing with it, and I don’t care.  The fifth one?  He and I are splitting the price and we will put it up for sale on the open market.”  Terry pointed her opened bottle off into the direction of the HPG compound.  “ComStar’s Explore Command has been running Mercs out this way for a while now.  We think that we can sell it, to one of them, at a nice profit.  They are always looking for repair parts of all kinds.  It they have the need bad enough, we will have something to sell.” 

She stopped talking for a second and takes a third sip of the cold drink.  Then she started up talking again, now that she was not working.  “We should be able to make not a bad profit on the cannon in a few months, but too bad about the computers.  That jumped up Adept is such an ass.  At least the militia will be happy with the two new cannons.  Well, the newish weapons we got for them.” 

Robert and Emma/Jess shot each other a look, but it was Robert that broke the ice on a new subject.  He was not going to beat around the bush.  He was going to dive into the meat of the issues.  “You don’t care too much for what ComStar has been doing out this way over the last few years, do you?” 

The look on her face said it all, so he continued, not needing to wait for a verbal confirmation of his question.  “So?  You wanted one of the computers, and he cut you out of any sales?  Why did you need one of them?”  Robert was giving the Duke a level look, but he made sure his face was as still as he could make it. 

Terry looked at both strangers, and then thought what the hell.  “It is for one of the Capital Investment items, that I have been trying to keep going.  I have been doing them mostly out of my own pocket.  I have been slowly acquiring the tools, and everything you would need, to set up a small auto-cannon ammunition factory for Class 5 weapons.  The Class 5 autocannon is very popular in this part of space.  It has a nice balance of range, stopping power, weapons weight., and you cannot beat the heat curve.”  She then gave a soft little shoulder shrug. 

“A good computer system would help out, a lot, if it was powerful enough.  I have already set up a small factory that makes Short Ranged rockets that fit any of the Holly made launch systems.  We can make about a hundred rockets a month, but we can ramp that up to two hundred missiles a week.  All we need is a few months warning.  That is if someone needs more, than what we have on hand at the time they make a purchase.  I prefer to keep a steady production rate, and keep people working, instead of feast or famine.  We also have our own line of short ranged rockets.  We call them dumb fire systems.” 

Terry saw the blank look on the off worlder faces.  “They are missiles without any guidance packages mounted in the nose, but they can carry heavier warheads.  You would be surprised, but we make a good deal of money selling them to different groups.  Most of the mercenary units don’t like them.  But if that is all they can afford?  They will buy them, some of the nearby poorer planets buy them for their militia units.  We use them for marksmanship training.  We are always looking to improve our high-end exports going out of our system.  It just takes time, money and some hard to find items.  Oh, and a reason for someone to send a jumpship out this way. “ 

Duke Terry was now looking down at the hard-baked ground at her feet and kept talking.  “We have everything we need to get that damn auto cannon shell manufacturing line up and going.  That includes the software.  It all has been collecting dust for over eight months.  Everything is setting in a small building near my home.  All we need to get it going is a pretty powerful computer system, to help design the ammunition and then run two of the production machines.” 

Terry looked up and over to where the ComStar van was setting.  She should have been shooting daggers out of her eyes.  “I looked at that computer system you had on display, and the Bio’s stats where great.  One of those would have been great, for what I need.  I think if I could get a few more of the computer-controlled production machines.  It even could have handled them too, and that would have increased our total production.  If I can make say a ton to a ton and a half of ammunition, to start with a month?” 

Terry gave a very unladylike snort.  “Even that jumped up Adept would have to buy ammunition from us, and I would make him pay in cash!  They will go through a lot of ammo with the Rifleman and Clint that they have over there.”  She had a dreamy look in her eyes at the thought of getting money out of ComStar every time they went to the range.  She knew that they would go through at least four tons of rounds, just going to a range one time. 

Emma raised one eyebrow as she looked at Robert.  This is where it came to a judgment call on a resupply run.  This could be a new contact for “The Family”, if Robert played it right.  Robert did not have to look at “Emma” to know she was looking at him.  He was thinking the same thing.  This contact had way too many “up sides” to pass up.  It had risks, but it also had a lot of rewards, to match those risks.  Besides someone down the road might pull the plug on it, or they might agree and help it further along.  It had not been the first time that a contact had been developed on a supply run.  Most of the time they were only used for that one supply run, but other times.  They had been run by one of the Family for some years afterword’s. 

“Terry, I might have a surprise for you.  But you will have to keep it quiet?  You will never be able to say, where you got it from.  Can you do that for me?  This is not a small risk, that I could be taking.  So, please tell me the truth.” 

Terry looked at the Captain and smiled.  She thought that he had been coy, with how he had phrased some of his words.  ”What do you have Robert?  Is it an autographed image of Jerome Blake dancing in nothing but a pink tutu?” 

Her tone was light, but the spark in her eyes was not coy at all.  More like blazing with the gleam of hope.  Hope was very hard to come by in this part of space.  You could get only fleeting glimpses of it, before it was snatched away again.  Having hope could be a great thing, and then it was equally as bad when you lost it. 

Emma had been taking a drink from her drink bottle and choked or snorted as she heard what the other woman had just said.  It was more like she did both things, at once.  She sent a pair of caramel colored liquid rockets out of her nose.  Of all the things, that might have been said.  That was not even close to being on the list of expected comments to come out of anyone’s mouth.  Emma was really starting to like this woman.  She also knew that this could be bad, if she turned out to be playing a game on them somehow. 

Robert had a good laugh at both women, because Terry was looking at the antics of Emma with an odd smile on her face.  “No nothing like that, Terry.  But one of my old bosses has a copy of that in a safe back home.”  This drew a look from both Emma and Terry, and this added to his mirth.  It had taken them a few seconds for them to realize that he was joking. 

When they were ready?  He lowered the boom.  “Let’s just say.  That we found more than six of those computers.  I was planning on taking one of them home with me, for a project a buddy of mine has wanted to try for some time.  I had expected to sell each of those computers, for only about a thousand C-bills.  I was thinking that since I did so well here with them, and you could use one.  I will just help him buy a lower end model, when we get back home.  Now, as a bonus you can use it to screw over a ComStar Adept with and ego problem.”  The only part of that story that was true, was that he had more computers and he wanted to get even with ComStar.  But it did sound very good, and he had pulled it right out of his fourth point of contact. 

Terry was confused, was he offering what she thought he might be offering her?  She needed to clarify what was going on right now, or it could get ugly.  Like a fully loaded passenger dropship landing without engines, ugly.  “Robert, all cards on the table.  What are you talking about?  Please speak clearly and plainly.  I don’t think we have much room for a misunderstanding on something like this.” 

Robert gave Emma a short nod and she walked back towards the dropship, without saying another word.  “Terry, what I am saying is.  I will trade you a fully functional computer system, like what the Demi-Precentor got, but we will trade it to you.  You will cover our food bill, any landing fees, which might be due.  Then we will call it an even trade.  The only catch is, you will never be able to tell anyone were you got it from or what you paid for it.  I need you to understand.  That I mean never tell anyone.  I think that if a certain Adept, found out?  He would seek out any way to get even with me, for being lied to.  If I have the right read on that young man?  He will want to get even with everyone involved in the deal.  And I do not like the idea, that someone in ComStar is out to get me and my people.  They have the largest jumpship fleet known in the universe, and very deep pockets.” 

Terry was stunned, so stunned that she was speechless.  Nothing else was said, until Emma and another man set a certain type of box down at her feet.  Terry thought, “I can do this!!” 

She quickly walked over to her hover sedan.  She opened the rear door, and the crewman forced the system deep into the back seat.  When Terry closed the door again, she quickly looked around the local area.  “Well, that just barely fit.  And thank god for tinted windows, and I had the top up.  I will have to lock it up and not let my staff even look at it until the next dropship lands and lifts off again.” 

In only seconds the game changing computer system was out of sight from any on lookers, which might be around.  The normally reserved woman hugged both Robert and Emma.  While doing this PDA, she fought to keep the tears from coming out of her eyes.  What sat in the back of the car, was the end of almost three long and painful years of work.  Now it seemed that a very complex project, almost on the level of a pipe dream, would be complete.  The SRM factory had been started and finished while the first project had languished.  All for some fresh groceries to feed about a hundred people for a few weeks.  Food was cheap on this planet, but not high-tech equipment.  The three individuals stayed outside in the shade provided by the grounded Dropship, for another hour.  They were just making small talk and getting a few more bits of information.  It was all about her plans for improving the manufacturing and educational capabilities of her planet. 

While they were still talking.  A series of large trucks rolled up to the dropships to offer fresh, frozen, dried, and canned food stuffs for sale to restock the dropships and jumpships.  In the end, enough food was loaded to feed all of the crews for a full ninety days.  Terry had stayed around and was happily making suggestions and even helped with negotiating down the prices.  She wanted her new friends to get the best deals and or the best cuts.  She, in person, would collect the bills from the venders and Robert’s crew would load the ship.  Duke Terry had not planned on staying all day at the Space Port, but she did.  Later that night.  It would go down in her journal as one of the better days, which she has had in a while.  Right up to the time that the White Rabbit started to close up her hatches to launch back into space. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #57 on: 29 July 2019, 19:58:36 »
28 Nov 3046
Ltzehoe system zenith jump point

The White Rabbit dock to the JumpShip on the number three docking collar of the Styx.  There, all the crews from the JumpShip and dropships were waiting to help move the food stuffs.  They worked quickly to fill up each of the other three ships food lockers with fresh food.  While that was going on?  Captain Copeland and Emma/Jess floated towards the bow of the large jumpship where the Bridge was located at. 

Lt Vaun was waiting for them on the Bridge, when the pair arrived by floating into the command center.  He made eye contact but waited until each had strapped into seats before starting his briefing to the mission commander.  “Both jumpships are green across the boards, and able to jump at any time Captain.  All dropships are docked and secured, but they would like a few more hours to trans-load the fresh provisions and store them properly before we do anything…. drastic.  Communications reports that they were able to pick up and record all of the HPG transmissions from this star system since we have been here.” 

The XO had his stone face on for the next part.  “They were able to decode the four messages “Emma” sent.  We will be able to fake those four locations codes, which were used in her messages without any problems.  We have two other messages, which we should be able to decode by tonight.  There was one message that was sent about ten minutes after Emma sent hers, which stands out.  We don’t know who it was for, but it was coded four ways from hell.  It was so encoded that it stood out.  I have told them to wait till the other messages from Emma, were decoded.  Then run the rest of them threw the crunching software and just let the computers chew on it, when it has the open cycles.” 

It was rare that a modern computer used its full computing power all of the time, and on JumpShips.  It was rarer that computers were ever taken offline, and this only added to the available idle computer processing power.  The decoding software would use those “down times” to work on very complex issues.  This software had come off a SLDF Bugeye that had not made it all the way to New Circe. 

Jules stopped talking and gave the pair of them an odd look, before continuing.  “You and “Emma” have a message from a Duke Terry person.  It was transmitted in the clear.  She said to come back sometime soon.  And she will cook you both a dinner, when you come back.” 

Jules made sure to make eye contact with both of them, before continuing.  He had no idea what was going on, but he was worried that they had broken protocol somehow.  ”She also said that if you can find any JagerMech or Enforcer parts?  She will pay top dollar for them.  Sir.  That is all I have.”  Jules was still strapped into the slippers, waiting for some information to explain what had gone on dirt side. 

Robert matched the eye contact from his second in command, and he did not back down.  “Jules, I think she will be a good contact for any of the Families that might be in the area.  She is smart, and she seems to be looking out for her people and their future.  She also does not like the way ComStar has tried to take over out here.  She also told us about the way they have increased their influence in the Free World’s League.  She said that they have even had fingers deep into the Combine.  One of those robed crazies, is now the Mark in charge of the whole Free Worlds League for God’s sake.  They also have raised an army called the Com Guard out of thin air, or so it seemed.  During a war in 3039 between the Draconis Combine and the new Federated Commonwealth.  Someone gave one side hundreds of old Star League combat mechs and tanks.  There are a lot of fingers pointing to them, as being the salesmen.  And those fingers are not just intelligence people, but also it was showing up in open source reporting.  What do you think, Jess?  We got all that data from her, or people around her.  Oh, and by the way I think we can retire your Emma identity.  It might keep ComStar guessing for a few more stops, but I do not think it is worth the effort to keep it going as long as we had planned.  We still might need it on a few special occasions.” 

“Emma” was a cover name and person that had been used on every resupply mission for the last hundred years.  It was a mix of Clan and old SLIC infiltration tech.  The person running an Emma would have on a hair wig and a suit that added about 35kg to a person’s body weight.  The wig and special compartments in the suit would “drop” skin, hair and other DNA loaded samples into a given area.  It would flood a good-sized room, that would act as cover for anyone that was around them with the loaded DNA.  It was a DNA smoke screen.  The hair and DNA packets had only come from families that could trace all of their relatives back to the people who were slaves or political prisoners recovered from the Draconis Combine.  There was a good-sized store house of this material that was renewed and stored.  An Emma suit was always worn when a member of the Clan needed to use a ComStar run HPG. 

Jess aka “Emma” for this mission looked at both men and decided that it was her place to say something.  “I think she could be put on the list, but I would not waiver the background checks and any required investigations.  I agree with the Captain.  She could be a big help, as a contact.  I about fainted, when she said the FedCom might have a production line up and working making Star League grade Ultra Class weapons.  Then when one of her militia wrench turners said they even have a type of Freezer heatsink in production.  I about jumped out of my shoes, when I worked out that it’s a first-generation double heat sink.” 

She let that part out, to get a rise out of the second in command of this supply run.  She even drops the line with a straight face.  She had not told Captain Copeland about her intent of dropping that bomb on the mission XO.  It was already written into her reports, but no one at the jump point would have had the time to read them after the dropship was attached to the Styx. 

“WHAT!!!” 

Jules made a quick look around the Bridge, and little beads of sweat started to form on his forehead.  Thankfully no one looked at him, but he knew that he was now the center of attention of the on-duty bridge crew.  It was not good form to yell at your Captain.  Plus, you really should not do that on his own bridge. 

“Sorry Sir.  But did you just say, one of the Houses militaries has recovered Ultra tech auto cannons?”  The blood had left Jules face with the news of late Star League weapons technology being used again in the Inner Sphere. 

Robert nodded to his second in command, to let him know that he did not take offence at the raised tone he had been subjected to.  “We don’t know if it’s true are not.  I have put it on the list of things to check out, when we get deeper into the Houses territory.  We have reports of other third generation mech components being put back into production, and the information came from two different point sources.” 

Robert turned a little in his seat to look at who he was about to address.  “Jess, I need you to decide.  This way no one can say later, that I was thinking with the wrong head on this one.  If we cannot get the same price or better, on the rest of the Armstrong designed cannons?  Then I say we should bring them back here and sale them, to these people.  We will have to dump all of the computers systems, before we come back this way.  Or we will have to carry them home and bring them back, another time.  Is this a sound game plan?”  Robert stopped talking and both he and Jules were looking at the younger woman.  There was a reason that the command effort was split between three different people.  This was something that the old Star League had pioneered back before HPGs were even an idea. 

Jess was quiet for a while, and then spoke just loud enough for the two commanders to hear her.  She knew exactly why she was being asked this question, and it still did not make her feel any better about being put on the spot. 

“Sir.  I agree about the old cannons.  I would also suggest that even if we could have one of the Ultras class cannons left?  One that would pass for an Inner Sphere built one.  I think Duke Terry would pay a fair price for it, and she would know that she owes us another large favor.  If we could get some locally made examples of that type of ammunition for it?  She might be able to reproduce it for sale, at a later date.  That would upset the local ComStar representatives to no end, I think.  I also agree about the computers, but before we sale anymore of them.  We need to check out the stats of local machines that are on the open market, before we set a price at our next stop.  This would allow us to know what a fair price might be.  I know that it was impossible to do it here, but in the long run.  It would benefit us.  If we are selling them to low, we will draw some attention.  And as far as I know, one of our plans put out before our leaving, was that we were coming back this way.  I do not see why someone in command cannot bump it to the primary plan.  I think it would be worth our time to come back to his star system, at least one more time. 

Robert did a little nod of the head.  You did not make a lot of sudden movements in zero g.  “Then it settled.  Comms.  Please send a message to the local Traffic Control.  The following message to Duke Terry.  We hope to come back this way, in the near future.  We are both looking forward to dinner.  Sign it in my name please.” 

Robert turned to look at his XO.  “I think it’s time to leave this system.  Navigation.  Check with our little friend, make sure they have the next jump coordinates.  If they are ready, we jump in three hours.  Ladies and Gentlemen.  We are twenty-four light years to Dunianshire, let’s be about it.  We are sticking to Plan Beta 4, for now.” 

And so, it was on the 28 of Nov 3046.  The two ships jumped from the Ltzehoe system, and right into an unnamed planet less star.  This put them with in ten light years of the next stop, of the resupply run.  With both ships safe and secured from the jump.  The post jump checks were started, and the jump sails were let out.  Soon they would start the slow process to recharge the jump drives, for their next jump across the stars.  They could have taken a straight shot to the next system.  This short jump was meant to buy time. 

It was not possible for the contact to have been able to reply to the message, which was sent from the ComStar controlled HPG by “Emma”.  So, a time was given for them to expect a second contact.  It would not stay a secret long, about where they had jumped to, but the longer it took the better.  Robert would not know if his contact was there.  At least not until he jumped into the next system, in about a week or so.  Dealing with the Lost Families was not the easiest, and they were known to move, die, or otherwise just fall off the map.

It was going to be a very stressful week for the command crew.  They were not used to waiting so long between jumps, which the “normal” jump drives required.  Robert used the time to work out his next move, if this contact was not there.  He even started on the finishing touches on the contact plans if even the second of his planned contacts was missing.  He remembers his father telling him once while he was working on those plans.  It was that his father had not been able to make contact with a member of the “Family” until they were down to the fifth line on a mission. 

Notes:
Why did I choose Ltehoe?  When I started writing this about 2012.  I wanted something that was off the map.  The first maps I found made it look like this system was just under 60ly from a major planet and not under anyone’s control.  It was only later, 2018 (?), that I found out that it was a lot shorter distance to a major system.  I was lazy and I did not want to change the planet’s name.  So, I just rewrote a little bit.
 
Buying/Selling mech weapons in the Periphery.  I was reviewing Mercenary 3055.  It had all of those rules about buying mech, dropships and jumpships.  I just wanted to write about what it might be like to go shopping and selling out there on the edge. 

Emma.  How do you keep ComStar/ROM not knowing who you are?  Crime drama is not my thing and it just kind of sounded cool.   I decided I would take it out for a drive for a few chapters. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #58 on: 29 July 2019, 23:17:01 »
sorry guys.. I messed up the formatting for when people are taking in their heads. 

this might help

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13111715/10/Copeland-Supply-Salvage-and-Resale

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #59 on: 10 August 2019, 19:50:23 »
Chapter 11
By Cliff
Beta and Clean up By
Reviewed by Hotpoint. 

5 Dec 3046
The Dunianshire system. 

The first, of the two convoying jumpships, to arrive in this system was the Styx.  She was followed a little less than five minutes later, by the Scout class jumpship now called Toy Box.  A jump point was a large area of space, but accidents were known to happen.  They were a very commonly used trope in written and visual media.  You did not want to have any type of space capable ship to close together.  If a jumpship tried to jump into the space, that was already occupied by another ship or ships of any type.  If that did happen?  Then both ships would come out of the event destroyed, most of the time in a very graphic way.  It had happened in the past often enough and in all cases,  it was bad?  The best-case scenario was that they would disappear.  Nothing was ever found of the two ships, which had their jump cores interact in such a way.  The scenarios went downhill from there. 

The Duniashire system was a center of large-scale manufacturing, and it had been that way even before the Star League fell.  Now it was not as productive as it had been in the past, but it still was a major industrial area.  The Zenith Jump point, even still to this day, had a fully operational recharging station.  It was both a major draw and a major user of the local monetary resources to keep it in operation.  Even with the rates it charged to help generate income for ships not trading here, it was always busy with interstellar traffic.  It was nowhere near as busy as it had been in its heyday.  It even was not as busy as it had been during the start of the First Secession War.  That had been the last time, that there had been four stations of this type in operation around this single star.  However, it was busier than it had been in the last fifty years.  This information was not missed by the locals and non-locals.  It was only the lack of jumpships in this part of space, which had capped the amount of traffic at the current numbers. 

That massive station was not the only object that occupied this part of the local star system.  A Merchant class jumpship, and Invader Class jumpship, and a massive Star Lord Class jumpship also were in this system doing business today.  This was not counting the Tramp and Scout that had just arrived.  There were also over a dozen dropships of various designs flying to or from the jump point, space station and the planet.  It should have easily impressed any ship’s crew and passengers traveling in this part of human occupied space.  It did not work so much on this two-ship convoy.  They had grown up in a busier star system. 

This was the first major port the resupply mission had stopped at on this run, but it was not going to be the last.  That is unless things went very badly.  Captain Copeland had issued each person in the small fleet two hundred C-Bills, in cash.  They could spend it anyway that they saw fit.  That is if they followed the rules set down by the Chain of Command before they left their homes.  A lot of people in the little convoy were looking forward to starting to fill their personal cargo allotment, with high value items to take back home.  Many of the crewmembers were filled with stories from past missions, were someone had been able to buy a home or other major item with the proceeds from that cargo allotment. 

“Sir.  We are jump complete on both ships, and the jumps sails are in phase two of their deploying cycle.  I am receiving an automated message coming in, which is saying.  That we will submit to a customs inspection as soon as the next customs ship is available.  It was not on a tight beam and it is repeating.” 

“Communications.  Please contact Traffic Control on the Olympus Recharge Station and tell them that the Scout ship is with us.  Also let them know, that we would like permission to launch two dropships to go planet side.  We also would like to know, if it’s okay that we launch our escorting dropship with two fighters.  They are to provide a CAP on both of our Jumpships.  Let them know that our CAP will stay in close orbit of our jumpships only.  That should cut through the auto replay mess and get us a person on the other end of the radio.”  Smiled the Captain to his crew, and true to his statement. 

A real person was trying to contact them, in less than five minutes, after their request had left the bridge of the modified Tramp class ship.  Captain Copland knew some of the key words to gets “stuff” moving in most heavily populated star systems.  He had learned a lot on the other missions, but sometimes some of the words had just popped into his head.  They did not pull his name out of a hat to make his first resupply run all of those decades ago. 

A very strong and loud voice carried over the active speaker system, which was auto fed from the radio receiver.   “Merchant Vessel Styx.  This is Traffic Control.  You are not to launch a bloody thing, till one of our Customs ships has checked you for weapons!!  Confirm.” 

Robert picked up the small handheld device mounted on the side of his fix mounted chair and pushed the side button with a slight use of force.  Robert could not help but feel a smile form on his face and he quickly decided to use a slow and friendly tone with just a little fun mixed in.  “Traffic Control, this is Styx Actual.  We all have weapons.  You know that this is the edge of settled space, right?”  Captain Copeland had been down this road before, and he was not going to let a local try to pull one over on him. 

It took a few minutes for the speed of light radio waves to cross the distance to the massive space station.  When it returned from that massive station, a new voice came over the speaker.  “Styx Actual this is Traffic Control Actual.  We do not have you on record, as having stopped here before.  These are the rules we will enforce.  When the Custom ships dock?  You will give them a list of major weapons systems and classes of all ships that are under your command in this system.  You will also be asked to pay a port fee for every day you are in system.  The first seven days are due before the Customs ship leaves your flagship.  This does not count docking or charging fees from this station or any landing fees on planet.  I am now transmitting a copy of all rules, laws, fees and fines.  Please let me know when you have them.  If you decide that this is not the place for you, but before the custom ship docks with your ship?  Please let us know.  You can finish deploying your sails, charge, and leave.  No harm no foul.  You will not launch a dropship, small craft, fighter, buss or we will have issues.  Maybe you will come back again when you are ready to trade in the deep end of the pool.” 

Robert could not help but smile.  The woman on the other end was feisty, and that was a good type of person to have in that type of job.  “Traffic Control Actual.  Thank you for your time.  We will be waiting for the Customs ship whenever it is ready to come over.”  The communication station ended the active connection with a flip of a switch.  After being given the nod by the mission and ship’s commander.  There were more than a few snickers floating through the air about the exchange.  It was with a few surprised looks that the speaker came to life again. 

“Styx Actual, we will have them out to you as soon as we can.  Thank you for your time and being a professional.  It is a rare thing to see, this far from Terra.  May you have a profitable and safe stay in our little solar system.”  The connection was static filled for a few seconds before it was ended at the source.  Robert had just cut threw a lot of the red tape and waiting by hours, in his book.