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Author Topic: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale  (Read 34025 times)

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #60 on: 10 August 2019, 19:52:53 »
Just as the jump sails were starting to feed power back into the massive interstellar drives and the batteries that made them work for a ship this size.  Robert’s day dreaming was interrupted.  “Captain.  We have a contact burning toward us.  It just flipped but it has not started slowing down yet.  I am reading her as a very old S7 Bus type craft.  If she does not fire her engine in one minute, she will crash into us.” 

The report had ended in mid-sentence as more information came in.  After a few seconds of quiet it started back up.  “Sir, I’m reading a spike in heat coming from the Bus.  She has fired up her main engines.  She has started to slow down.  Boy!!  It’s dirty.  Their output has lots of unburned fuel mixed in their thrust, maybe she is due for an engine rebuilding soon.  Her deceleration has her at 0/0 about a hundred meters off our bow. 

Robert looked over at the XO and gave some directions.  “Open Small Craft Bay Door 2 and turn on the docking beacon for them.  Jules, I think we should meet them at the small craft bay.”  Jules was still hooked into the non-floating slippers, but he turned at the hips so that he could see his boss. 

“Sir.  I think you’re right.  Let’s go see how much they will be trying to extort from us, on top of the published fees.”  Both men floated out of the bridge and pulled themselves down the metal hallway toward the expected landing area of the Customs inspectors.  Both men wanted to get to that location before the inspectors arrived, it was a matter of pride more than anything. 

Robert watched threw a thick glass window as something came into view.  It was a battered transport, which looked more like a brick to make a building, instead of a mid-ranged inter solar system transport.  A craft that size could hold around ten people, not counting the crew that the little ship needed to function properly.  It might have looked like a wreck, but the pilot knew their stuff.  It smoothly entered the bay and then sat down on the marked area of the deck plating.  It was as smooth of a landing as anyone in the SLDF in Exile could have done.  That was very high praise and he would not have given it verbally or mentally to just anyone. 

Once the indicator said that it was safe on both sides of the hatch, it went a bright green from its blood red.  A young female, with an Ensign rank badge on her uniform, was followed by an older man with a well-worn Star Corporal’s rank badge on his space suit exited the visiting S7 Bus.  The two jumpship’s officers opened the hatch, which would lead to the rest of the ship in one smooth motion.  Robert and Jules entered the bay to greet the new arrivals in the small craft bay. 

“Well they look bored, don’t they?”  Thought Robert.  “Welcome aboard the Styx.  How may we help you?”  He made sure to have his smiling face on when he spoke to the two new arrivals. 

The very bored young female officer was the person in front of the pair of new arrivals.  She spoke first of the two-person group.  She pulled out a thin handheld glass topped computer and tapped the screen with a plastic stick.  “Sir, please state your name for the record.  We also need to know the class of each of your ships and the composition of your escorts.”  She had given this exact same speech a dozen times today, alone.  And today was the same as the last 187 and she had another 170 days to go, before she was eligible for a new assignment. 

Robert kept a straight face and gave his and Jules names along with each of their job positions.  Then Jules rattled off the information, and the enlisted person wrote down all the information along with the young woman.  Sometime during Jules’s speaking the female officer started looking down at a piece of blue card stock attached to her right suit arm.  When Jules got to aero fighters carried by the Hobgoblin, he was looking closely at their faces.  Both looked up when the last class of craft he stated was an Ironsides.  Jules and Robert just kept a poker face and made like it was just another day in the deep black. 

“Now, that is an odd mix of fighter craft.  Are you a mercenary unit, which decided to become traders?  Asked the older man.  He had been around this solar system so much at high speed.  That it was starting to affect how he counted his age.  When he saw that something was off?  He was not shy about bringing it up.  It was his job to make sure the young officer lived long enough to be an older officer.  And sometimes that meant you had to ask odd questions. 

“No, they are just what we have been able to acquire along the way.  I would like to reduce it to one design for all six bays, but we have not been able to do that so far.  It would make it easier on our parts supply situation, not counting training and ammunition.  We hope that we might change our luck, here.  We just need to find the right buyers and sellers.”  Captain Copeland replied, in his best command voice.  It was not all a lie, just mostly one. 

The young female officer turned and looked down at the enlisted man, before turning back to the two other officers.  “I will need to see the cargo bays of all the ships and physically see each fighter, now.  If you would like to change your statement?  This is the last chance you will get, and there will not be any issues about the miss remembering what you’re packing.” 

Robert just grabbed a hold of a handle near the open hatch and with the other hand pointed down the corridor to show her the way she should go.  She went through each of the ships and stopped on each cargo deck.  The only issue that came up was when she entered the main hold of the White Rabbit and saw the battlemech.  It took some explaining, to get through to her that it was not a fully functioning mech.  He had to say, over and over again, that it was only being used as a demonstrator vehicle for sales.  The enlisted man climbed over it and after a few minutes agreed with Robert’s statement about the mech.  The entire inspection was complete in less than an hour.  Most of that time was spent just moving from cargo hold to cargo holds that were spread-out between the dropships.  When they returned to the small craft bay, which held her ride home.  The young officer was about halfway through the small craft bay, before turning around. 

“This is the first time I have been in this class of vessel.”  She gave a shoulder shrug and went on with her shtick.  “I thought it would be bigger.  Here is your bill for entering Duniashire space.  You will be charged a daily rate after the first seven days.  She passed over a card to Captain Copeland and waited for the payment for the number written on it. 

“Well, that explains why you did not ask to see the main cargo bays that this ship should have.”  Robert took the note and read the numbers then passed it to his second in command. 

Every other class of jumpship in the Inner Sphere only has enough cargo space for small spare parts, food for the crew, and not much else.  Jules took the offered paper and read the amount.  It was exactly the same amount that had been posted in the information pages, which had been sent to them earlier.  That was surprising, to both of the SLDF in Exile officers.  Captain Copeland reached into an inner pocket of his ships coveralls and counted out the seven hundred C-bills.  That was all that was required, to settle the bill the young officer had just passed him. 

The still bored officer looked down at the half inch thick glass topped computer.  She had been taking notes on it and now sees that she had missed something.  She counted the money and handed Robert back a thin paper receipt with a stamp on it.  She now looked a little embarrassed by her slight mess up. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #61 on: 10 August 2019, 19:54:43 »
“Sir, I’m sorry.  I forgot to note.  What is your business here in this system?”  The now slightly embarrass junior officer asked.  She kept her pen ready to write down whatever the merchant captain was going to say.  If they were not going to go in system, she had just shortchanged her government by about double the amount of money in her pockets. 

“We are on a trade mission.  We are to collect things that our home system cannot produce but needs.  Or we are to collect things we might be able to sell at a profit back home.”  That was the cover story, which had to be given every time when asked that exact same question.  It was the same one that had been used on the last half dozen missions like this one sent to the Inner Sphere. 

Both visitors seemed happy with that statement and re-boarded their craft to continue with their jobs on other nearby interstellar ships.  The two customs inspectors went to another ship, all the time knowing.  That what the pair was doing was just a check the box kind of thing and being the tax collectors for the leaders on the planet closer to the star.  The only reason they were out here, was to make sure that someone did not sneak in an attack force of some kind.  They thought that the little money that was collected was just enough to cover the fuel cost of the ship they used and nothing more.  All the time they knew they were just a speed bump, if things went wrong.  That was good training for a junior officer and an old crusty NCO that had made someone with a lot of rank mad at him in the past. 

Both officers of the Styx floated back on the bridge of the jumpship, and re-strapped into their chairs.  Both could now breathe a little easier, now that the inspectors were done and the fee’s paid.  It was one little step in the overall mission, but it was one they also had to get used to having to deal with.  It was times like this, which they felt like they were at the most risk of being discovered. 

“Well that could have gone a lot worse, than it did.  I was expecting to get hit up for a payoff of some kind.  I cannot remember the last time, we had an “inspection”.  That we did not have to cough up extra money in the triple digits.”  Captain Copeland shook his head and his XO was nodding his head in agreement.  Robert had a total of twelve hundred C-Bills in his pocket to deal with any added “fees” that might have come up. 

“Well let’s see if any of ‘Emma’s” messages made it threw to anyone.  Communication.  Please contact that old, decrepit Olympus and see if we have any messages waiting for the jumpship M/V Styx.”  Robert had to shake his head and smile wryly.  He had been waiting a long time to give orders like that on a supply run. 

This was something new for him, and it would have been done by the Flagship on a given leg of a collection mission.  This time it was just the Tramp Class ship Styx.  The last time he had been on this run, he had been in charge of this ship, and second in command of a small part of a supply run.  Still it was three or four jumpships working together.  Now, he was alone.  He did not count the small scout class ship, which was just a large bit of cargo he had to move. 

“Sir?”  When the communication operator turned to ask the Captain why there would be a message waiting on them in this system.  It was a star system that this ship or its crew had never been in before, as far as they knew?  Before another word came out of his mouth.  He looked at the Captain and changed his mind.  He did not want to ask again, by the look on the Captain’s face.  Captain Copeland had the “I am the right hand of God” look on his face.  This shift of jumpship’s bridge crew had not been on duty when the briefing had been given to the mission commander about Emma’s messages. 

“Sir!!  I am contacting the recharging station now.”  He flipped a few switches and waited for the reply to come from the old station.  It came a few long minutes later.  A very shocked radio operator turned in his fix mounted chair to look at the commander.  He had some aw in his voice. 

“Sir we have one text message waiting.  They sent a digital copy, now.  Would you like a copy on a Noteputor?”  He was assuming that the message in question was either a very personal one, or it was a very highly classified message.  Either way?  It was not for just anyone to know the contents of.  That was the safe bet 

Robert was not smiling.  Even just an almost questioning of an order on his ship was not handled lightly, so he kept a stern look on his face while he had eye contact.  “No, just read it aloud please.”  The ships senior officer smiled to himself.  Sometimes you must let your reputation ride. 

The radio operator silently turned around to face his station and started to read the message, after a few quick button pushes to bring it up to his screen.  “Sir!!  Its only three short lines, in the message.  First line.  Please meet at Le Chiffre, at main entrance of the Drop Port.  Second line.  Call and it has a contact number, twenty-four hours prior to meeting.  Last line says.  We are looking forward to working together as your Intermediary for local sales.  The message ends?”  There was a slight aw tone as the com tech finished reading the message. 

Robert still had a poker face on, when he looked over at Jules.  “Looks like someone from the Families still lives on the Planet.  I think we need to get clearance and launch the White Rabbit and the Lisbon Maru, both.  I think it will be me and Jess going with them, again.  Jules, I want you to keep an eye on things out here.  I don’t think we will have any trouble.  But you know if it goes sideways.  Get out of here and leave us.  If things go wrong?   Alt R, and just like that this is the last system.”  Alt R was, run home as fast as your ships can take you plan. 

Jules did not say a word.  He just nodded his head, that he accepts the order.  It did not matter if he agreed with the orders or not.  They were his orders, and they were already loaded into the ship’s computers as proof of them.  Jules knew that this was the burden of command, and the overall mission was the most important. 

Two hours later, two Dropships separated from the jumpship Styx, and started a long 1g burn towards the target planet.  The crew was happy to be able to enjoy the sense of gravity without having to use the larger jumpships rotating gravity deck for the pleasure.  It should have only taken seven days to reach the drop port from the jump point.  That would have been in a perfect world.  That did not happen. 

Both of the dropships had to spend an extra day in orbit, till two landing spots that were close together, were clear for their use.  Robert used this time to contact the Café Le Chiffre in “his” company name for reservations.  He then left his own message at the number that was given in the first lines of the message that had been waiting for them.  He left his own message with the date, time, and the name that the reservations were under.  This meeting would be different, because none of the parties would know what the other one looked like.  That is, until the meeting started, it was like a blind date from hell.  Robert was thinking of all the things that could go wrong with the meeting while they were waiting in orbit.  He was a jumpship’s captain, not a spy out of some cheap Tri D drama. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #62 on: 10 August 2019, 19:56:22 »
13 Dec 3046
The Dunianshire system

Robert and Jess, the intelligence specialist on this mission, were able to call for a hover taxi to pick them up at the base of the White Rabbit after they had landed.  As they had been told, the Café Le Chiffre was right outside of the main entrance to the Drop Port.  The Café was large, at least two floors of booths and tables.  The two people from the Star League masquerading as traders were escorted to a booth on the second floor.  It also was against one of the large side windows.  It was the perfect place to have a quiet meeting that few would notice in passing.  The table was set for three people, not the six that it was designed to hold.  The two visitors ordered from the “French“ menu and waited for their hoped-for contact.  It gave them both some time to think about what they were about to do.  This is generally thought of as not a good thing, when you’re under stress. 

The meeting time had been set for 6pm local and at 6:05pm a short woman of around twenty or maybe thirty local years old walked up to the table.  It was not just by her dress that you knew that she was not part of the staff.  She took a seat behind the only open plate left on the table.  She was way too young to have seen the Exile’s hidden home planet.  Jess in her “Emma” suit and Robert looked at her and went on high alert as soon as she took her seat. 

The woman looked at each of the two navy officers in standard spacer gear, in the face before saying one word.  “Revenge?”  The tone was a question not a statement of fact. 

Robert looked at her.  That was the correct challenge code word.  Now, it was time for him to give the counter password. “Ajax”.  He should have used the word in a sentence to hide it, but something told him that would have been the wrong move with this woman.  When he said the word, it was not a question.  It was a statement of a fact of life. 

The pair would know if this person was safe to talk to, if they lived for the next five minutes.  As soon as he said the word.  He decided to wait a few seconds before he added something that just popped into his head.  It also was going to be a breach of field craft, but he did it anyway. 

“You look like Lisa Noone.” 

The young woman blinked quickly three or four times.  “I do not know a Lisa, but Beth Noone was my mother.” 

The woman seemed to relax a little, before she continued.  She kind of had a lost look in her eyes.  “I think I remember you from the last trip, but I’m not sure.  I was only like ten when one of you stopped by our apartment.  When Mon died.  She had left me a hard copy folder to read.  I could not believe we were a deep cover family supporting a remnant of the Old Star League.  It was like something out of a daytime Tri-D drama.  I don’t think it truly set in, even after I had time to read the whole packet.” 

She gave a shrug and kept talking after a bit of a mental flash back.  “I really didn’t think that it was true.  That is until I followed her directions to the underground hidden warehouse.  That was about three months after she had died.  It was about half full of stuff, and notes about bank accounts full of monies that I did not know we had.  The extra money was to try to finish filling the shopping list, which had been left for her to do.  I’m kind of new to this, and mom did not exactly train me up before she passed on.”  She knew that she was rambling and probably was talking too much.  It was not like she had been trained to be a spy.  Her mother had died all of the sudden, and she felt that she had only been partially trained for something like this. 

Robert felt like he had been hit in the stomach.  Beth was a close friend from his childhood, and she should have lived for another dozen years.  At least, if she had access to some decent health care.  It was with a slightly breaking voice he had to ask. 

“How did Beth die?” 

They had plenty of time to talk shop, now that they were back in system.  It was better to get the personal stuff out of the way, to see if it was covering any lingering or hidden problems.  This would also have the benefit of letting the young woman know that what happened to the Families, being so far from their home, was important to him.  It would also show that they, the leadership, still cared for them so far from there people and the other families.  More than one of the “Families” had faded away, because of a death or any of a long list of other reasons. 

“She picked up some bug, which was going around the planet like a firestorm.  She just never was able to shake it after it hit her.  The doctors could not figure out how she lived as long, as she had.  She was one tough woman.  So, Captain Copeland, is it?  What do we do now?” 

“Right to business.  Just like her grandmother,” thought Robert.  “First, does your family still have contacts that would be able to sell large aerospace items on so short of a notice?  Yes or no?” 

“Captain!  I and I’m a company of one person now, is one of the most popular and primary go-betweens for the resale of dropships and small craft in this system.  The message I was sent said you have a Scout Class Jumpship to sale, correct?” 

She was looking dead at Robert, and not looking at “Emma”.  She knew who was in charge and focused on that target.  She felt more than a little offended that he would ask her those two questions.  Her mother had worked very hard, every day of her short life to be the best at what she did. 

“Yes, Miss. Noone.  That is correct.  We also have a list of things we are looking at selling, but not all should be dumped here.  At least that was what I was thinking.”  Jess passed over a hard copy of the list of items they wanted to sale on this resupply run, without being asked to do so by the Captain.  It had the desired effect of pulling the eyes of the other woman to face her across the dining table. 

Miss Noone took the offered information and looked over the list before looking up again.  “I do not know how mother would have handled this.  I must pay taxes to the local government on any dealings, which I sign on to do.  I will have to charge you a fee to cover those costs, which the locals are going to want covered.  My company’s books are checked often enough by the government, that I don’t want to risk them asking too many questions about you.”  She was shifting looks between the two strangers equally. 

“You are Beth’s daughter.  I know that we would pay her the standard fee.  They were the same ones that she charged everyone else, for those same reasons.  What is your fee rate and schedule?”  Robert could not help but smile at the younger woman. 

“I charge a flat ten percent fee on all big-ticket items that I help sell.  But I will cap the total to fifty million C-Bills in total fees.  You will have to pay for any taxes the locals might put on the sales you are party to.”  She looked around the room and then pitched her voice a little, but in the wrong way.  She did not know that whispering carried further than you thought. 

“I know mom would spend about a third of her profits on the stuff she put in storage for you all.  I will sell that stuff to you at cost, sense the government does not know about it.  If we are going to be working together for some length of time?  How about you all just call me Lora if you please.” 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #63 on: 10 August 2019, 19:58:42 »
She stopped talking and went into thinking mode.  She went to drumming her fingers on the tabletop.  “I will need to arrange to have the jumpship inspected, before putting it up for sale.  We do not have to do that, but it will speed up the sale.  If it passes an inspection?  I would like to post the results of the inspection, so everyone can see it when they want to.  Is that going to be a problem?”  She looked back and forth between the two again. 

“I agree to both the inspection and the fees, Lora.  You’re in charge of the sales.  So, we will trust you on what needs to be done.” 

Just as they paused in talking business, food for all three people was brought out.  This was an interesting bit of information, since Lora had not been there to order anything.  “She must use this place for meetings often.  That will be nice to help our cover.”  This was a silent thought that Robert had, as they started digging into the fresh hot food in front of them. 

All three agreed that you should never let good food go to waste.  You can always talk, but food was only ever done right once.  Besides it seemed very good.  The quiet time lasted only until the food was mostly gone.  Then the meeting resumed, and at a little friendlier manner than it had first started.  They still would take a small bite of the remaining food or take a sip of a drink, while they worked. 

All during the meeting, they talked about the best ways to move the equipment they brought all the way from home.  As it turns out, she knows a person at Majesty Metals and Manufacturing or as it was known to the rest of the Inner Sphere MMM.  One that would be able to schedule a meeting to talk about the cannons.  She also sent a message to the Recharge station at the jump point.  An inspection crew would leave the next day, to do the official inspection of the Scout to be put up for sale. 

About halfway through the meeting.  Lora passed Robert a locally made communication device, so that they could pass a message up to the Styx.  He needed to let them know that they would be having visitors, and they were going to the Scout the next day.  They also used it to schedule a meeting with a representative from MMM the next day.  After dinner Robert set up an official meeting again with Lora to join them at the MMM office.  Using a local made device was “normal” and added to their cover story.  That was the need of this night’s meeting. 


###################


So, the next day, both of the officers took another short hall taxi off the local Drop Port’s grounds.  The MMM office was in a non-descript ten story heavy duty concrete building near the heart of the city.  They reported to the administrative assistant at the front desk, and then quietly waited there turn to be called deeper into the building.  Lora walked in a few minutes later and joined the other two out system visitors in waiting. 

Lora was playing with a book that was almost three inches thick, and Jess noticed that the other woman was very distracted.  Jess was very well trained in some of the military disciplines, but she had natural talent about watching people.  She also lived by the two rules of her profession.  (1) "It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you."  And (2) "We put people in lunatic asylums, if they go around saying there aren't people hunting them down trying to kill them". 


Lora what do you have there?” 


Lora’s head almost popped off her neck when she looked up from the book.  “Its something that my mother and I think my grandmother worked on.”  Lora tapped the padded top of the book a few times.  “I remembered, late last night, that my mother was working on it all the time.”  With a soft sigh she handed it over to Jess.  “I thought that it might be useful.” 

Jess shot a look over to Captain Copeland, but he was head down into his own book.  Jess reached over and took the book.  She opened it to the first page and realized that it was a scrap book.  It had a mix of digital pages and old fashion paper.  Mostly it was made up of paper pages and images that were attached to the bounded pages of the book. 

While they were waiting?  Jess kept going through the scrap book, it was not like she had anything else to do.  Then she flipped to a set of pages that were made up of a paper magazine, that catered to the mech jock or want to be Mech pilot.  She was about halfway through the new section, when she stopped breathing.  She passed the scrapbook over to Robert, who first raised an eyebrow then looked down at the paper page she was pointing to. 

The story was an in-depth review of a battle a mercenary unit had been involved with back in 3028.  The title of the story was Massacre on the planet Misery.  Robert did not have to read the story to know what had caused Jess to pass him the scrap book.  In the center of the story, was a full color plate image of three mechs.  The trio were standing over a massive waste land of destroyed machines.  The standing machines were a Shogun, Annihilator, and an Imp.  These were all mechs that were known to be in operation with the Clans, when the Wolverines had left.  As far as the Star League in Exile knew?  They were not known to be used by any of the Inner Sphere’s major or minor power players.  Robert took the book and started reading the pages from the very beginning.
 

##############


The 5th floor waiting room was nice, even plush as those things went.  But it did not take long before the waiting was starting to ware on all three of them.  Lora was about to get up and start to ask some questions, when one of the other doors off of the waiting room opened up into what Lora knew was the low-level VIP waiting room. 

A man dressed in an expensive suit, a fresh haircut, a false smile, and an outstretched hand entered the waiting room.  He was talking as soon as he passed the door threshold coming into the waiting room. 

“Captain Copeland, of Copeland Salvage I take it?  I’m sorry for the delay.  I was just told that you were here.  I am going to have to get after the receptionist.  You should not have been left here so long.”  The last part was a blatant lie.  Everyone in the room knew it, as soon as the words touched the air in the carpeted room. 

“That is us, Copeland Supply Salvage and Resale.  I was about to see if someone else was interested in what I have for sale.”  Robert knew the game, and he wanted Mr. Slick to know that he was on thin ice.  Robert was not some back-planet rock with lips.  The sooner Mr. Slick knew that.  The better off everyone would be. 

The smile did not leave the face of Mr. Slick, but the area around the eyes gave it away that he got the warning shot.  “Why don’t you and your friends come into my office?  We can be more comfortable and discuss if we can do business, or not.” 

Mr. Slick stepped to one side and gestured into the room he had just exited.  He seemed relieved that all three rose and walked into his office.  He knew that his multibillion C-bill a year company had the upper hand when dealing with 99.999 percent of the population of the planet and those who visited it.  There was only one person in this group that had a “name”.  He let the group take whatever seat they wanted in the very nice office. 

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #64 on: 10 August 2019, 20:01:37 »

“I am truly sorry about the wait, but we needed to check out your story before we could have a meeting.  That alone took some time, on such short notice.  We get a Lost Tech Prospector in the office about every month.  They are always trying to sell “something” to my company.  Not all of them have Miss Noone working for them, but we still have to check them out.” 

Mr. Slick looked down and checked his notes on his office computer.  It was another delaying tactic, but not a rude one.  He had been letting them sit in the waiting room as a way to show them that they were not in a powerful position.  As he was looking down, he started to talk again.  “You found and repaired a Scout Class jumpship.  From the report that was filed.  It passed inspections for resale, with flying colors.  That was a good move by the way, whoever’s idea that was.  Miss Noone said that you might have something that MMM would like to look at, before you opened this “special” item for offers to anyone else.” 

Robert now had the stage, and he knew how to do this dance.  Lora’s job was to set this up, and now it was up to him to do his job.  “Yes.  You see the Scout had the one dropship on her, when we found her.  Before you ask.  We are not looking to sell it, but it did have a crazy miss match of fighters still in the bays.  We can move those.  If the price is right?  As for what we wanted to show?  That is what we found on the one mech in all of the cargo bays.  It is an old 2nd SW machine, but its arm mounted cannon is a late Star League area KWI design cannon.  That cannon was not the only one we found.  If you are not interested in them?  We will put them up for sale, on the open market.  We thought that if MMM bought them up?  Then you could help us pick up some of the things that might be harder to find for the normal shopper on this planet.” 

Mr. Slick was stunned, and he did not say anything for a long second.  The KWI or Ultra Class Cannon had been a dream of weapon manufactures for a hundred years.  Like most people in the weapons business.  He knew that they had been put back in production in 3045, somewhere in the Federated Suns.  If MMM could get a few working copies?  It would give them a leg up on getting a model in production on this side of the Inner Sphere.  They could corner the market on that class of weapon on about half of the whole Inner Sphere.  That is if they could get a few copies and then reverse engineer them. 

“We have heard this before, Captain Copeland.  How do we, and by we?  I mean MMM know this is true, or not.  I am afraid today that you are not the first person to walk into my office saying that they have a working KWI or some other bit of old Star League technology.”  Mr. Slick’s hands were slowly pushing keys on a flush mounted keyboard as they had talked.  He was buying time again.  He could not afford to be wrong about something like this.  These people, after all, had put up a whole jumpship for sale that they had recovered. 

Robert knew Mr. Slick was playing for time, and again he was okay with it.  However, time was something that Robert was not going to give him, this time.  “I have fifty cannons for sale, today.  If you have the range open in one hour?  Then I can have our demonstrator mech there, and we can show you.  I am tired of playing games.  After we prove what we have.  Then you can inspect the fifty we have for sale.  You can pick out however many you all want today.  The rest I will put up for sale to anyone else on the planet.  They will go to the highest bidder.  The price is 300,000 each in C-bills, for MMMM.  My partners and I think that this is a fair price.  The ball is in your court, as they say.” 

“Now Captain Copeland!  It’s……. you must be joking.” 

He gave the group across the desk from him a soft chuckle.  “If what you say is true?  Then I think 150,000 is the price we would be willing to pay, for something like that.” 

Mr. Slick was trying to hide his sweating hands.  This could make his career, if he could close this deal.  He could have taken the first offer and be done with the whole thing.  But that was not in his nature, to do something like that.  He would never go for the first offer on anything that was being sold to him, it did not matter what was at stake. 

Robert stood up and Jess was right beside him, delayed by maybe a second and a half.  “Lora?  I thought you had contacts that wanted to do business.”  He had pitched his voice, so it sounded like it had some anger in it.  It was all a game, and he knew that Lora would automatically know how to play along. 

Lora rose more slowly, and she was giving Mr. Slick that “you’re in so much trouble” look with full power.  “I’m sorry Robert.  I will have the press release sent out today.  We can have an open sale in forty-eight hours.  I will need that long to get the permits for the sale, and a place on the public range.  That way you can demonstrate the weapon to the crowds, that I’m sure will want to be there.  We should have no problem moving them in a day.  Well maybe two days, but that will be tops.” 

Oh crap!!!  I blew it, and they are about to bolt!!!,” thought Mr. Slick.  “Now, now Captain.  Let’s not be hasty.  Let’s wait on the decision of the final price for your products.  I will call the range and we can meet there; Lora knows where it is.  I will even have one of our mech transports dispatched to pick up your mech and take it to the range.  I assume that it is still on, one of your dropships” 

Mr. Slick was punching buttons on his computer like a madman or a three-year-old after drinking a six pack of energy drinks.  And he was not trying to hide it anymore.  He was trying to save this deal and maybe his job.  “I have the saved VIP range slot for you, but it will not be open till 1300.  Is that acceptable?” 

Mr. Slick looked up and was glad to see that they had not left the room yet.  “Lora knows how to get to the range, but I can have a company car pick you up with the Mech hauler.” 

Robert was trying hard not to smile.  He had just reeled him in, like a trout in summer.  He gave a nod to Lora.  She would be the one to deal with these people, after they had left the system.  So, he could not poison the well too badly. 

“We can do that.  The mech will be at the dropship White Rabbit.  You can have the mech hauler pick it up there, but have a nice car pick us up at the dropship Maru.  This is going to be charged to your company.  I am not paying for a bloody thing.  After the demo?  The mech will be brought back to the dropship, and then you can have a crew look at the weapons.  They will be on display outside of the Maru when we are done.  We will be expecting payment on the pickup of any weapons.  Payment can be a bank Draft or in cash.  It’s up to you and your procurement department.”  Robert turned and started to leave. 

Lora waited until both of her clients had almost made it to the door, and then turned to face the MMM rep.  “Have a good day, and I hope I do not see you on the range.  Live weapons might not like you.” 

Lora turned on her expensive high heels and followed the two space officers out of the office and waiting room without stopping.  She would be passing along to some friends what had happened today, and then just let rumors fly on how close this jerk had come to losing a deal of a lifetime. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #65 on: 10 August 2019, 20:03:31 »
Jess was fuming when they made it to the elevator.  She did not say anything while they waited but after boarding the metal walled room, and the elevator had started going down to the main lobby that changed.  She was about to say something, but Robert made a chopping motion across his throat to stop her.  He did not want her saying a word in a building, which was probably bugged four ways from Sunday.  They did not even talk in the taxi, which just happened to be waiting for them when they exited the building.  Lora told the taxi driver to take them and let them off at the Drop port pad, which had the White Rabbit sitting on it.  She was also quiet on the ride to the dropship. 

##############


Robert waited with the two women outside the dropship, but he had not said a word, until the hover car taxi was well on its way toward the exit of the drop port.  Then with a sloppy grin on his face he turned to one of the women. 

“I am impressed Lora.  That was some great work back there.”  Before he could say more a banshee drowned him out. 

“GREAT WORK?!!!!!” that Fraking person was a jerk and insulting.”  Jess was fuming mad and so red she looked like she could launch an Overlord into orbit.  Robert thought he could see fusion fire coming out of her ears. 

“Jess, two things.  First watch your choice of words.  We are on mission.” 

He was giving her the look that she had breached protocol.  He did not say another word until Jess calmed down and nodded back that she was back under control.  “Second point, on this planet?  We are the Barbarians from the edge of civilized space.  We are the sheep to be sheared and not the other way around.” 

Robert now relented on Jess and turned to face the local woman.  “And Lora that bit about the press release for open sale?  That was a perfect bit of adlibbing.” 

“Thank you, Robert.  I do think he will have to clean out the pants of that expensive suit with a large spatula about now.  I had to work with him once before, and he did much the same thing then.  This time?  It will get back to the top-level management, if I have anything to say about it.  I want them to know that he almost cost them those high-tech cannons.  You were not kidding about those Ultra cannons, were you?”  The last part, her voice had some stress in it.  She had been taking a lot of information on faith, and her whole business required that she be trusted by both parties.  When Robert left, she would still be here. 

“Lora, no I was not.  Now, will all of them work?  That, I will not say.  I will tell you that before we go to the range.  I will make sure that they unload the oldest and most worn out weapons, to put on display first.  I had planned to sell them only the best ones.  That plan is off the table, now.” 

Robert looked over at Jess before continuing.  “I did not lie to that jerk.  I just did not give him the right number, which we have on hand.”  He said with a sly grin. 

“Why don’t we wait in the main conference room of the Maru, until we have to leave for the live fire range?”  Robert gestured up the loading ramp to the dropship. 

The three people walked up the loading ramp into the cooler air of the Dropship.  Robert stopped only once.  It was to let the cargo master know, that they needed to move the Sentinel to stand outside of the White Rabbit.  He also cleared it so it could be loaded on the mech hauler, which was due in a few hours.  He did not want to delay the loading of the abused machine. 

They passed the next few hours, the three of them talking about how they were going to play the next few steps with plans and counter plans.  The only break they took was when Jess left to take the Emma suit off.  While she was gone, Robert let Lora know why she had been in disguise.  When Jess returned to the room.  They war gamed out steps and counter steps, to as many options as the three of them could think of in that short amount of time. 

The thing that help and hurt them on the price they wanted was something out of there control.  It was that the Federated Commonwealth had been making these types of weapons for a few years now.  That production was only going to the best or most trusted units, and from what they could tell.  The production numbers were suspected to be very low, compared to the need for the high-tech weapons.  They could not be found on the black market easily or this far from where they were being made, yet.  By the end of the meeting.  They decided that they would just have to see how it would affect them later, as they moved closer to one of the more populated worlds of one of the Major Inner Sphere Houses. 

The time seemed to fly by as they sat around the meeting room.  They were surprised when the intercom buzzed for someone to attend to it.  When Jess picked it up, they were told that their ride was waiting for them.  When they exited the dropship, they could see that several things were happening at once.  The modified 40ton medium class mech was in the last stages of being tied down on the mech hauler.  The driver for that demo machine would be riding in the cab of the huge multi wheeled transporter that was carrying his mech on its flat bed. 

The Dropship’s Cargo Master was using the loadermech to layout fifty of the large crates that held the cannons, which would be up for inspection and sale today.  Each crate was being set up, so that a group of people would be able to see what was in it.  They also would be able to run checks on the weapons without blocking access to a second weapon.  This action was starting to draw a little crowd of people to the pair of dropships.  Rumors were spreading faster than a jumpship, about what was happening on this part of the Drop port. 

There were strict orders that not one of the crates would be open, until the Captain got back from the range.  The Captain was sure that it would be reported back, threw MMM spies.  That the crates were out in the open, just as advertised.  He was also betting, that it would also be passed along.  That those weapon crates were still under the guns of the dropship.  That should make the people over at MMM a little nervous, and at the same time show that this Captain was not playing for a small prize.  It would take a large group of mechs and tanks to challenge the firepower of the grounded blockade runner protecting the weapons crates. 

The VIP limo and the mech hauler left as one group, going out the main gate of the Drop Port.  You would think that a mech scale weapons firing range would be far away from a habitable town.  If that had been the case, it would have been a very long drive even in a large hover limo to make it to that testing site.  The mech hauler followed the limo to the massive live fire range, that had been built by Majesty Metals and Manufacturing to show prospective clients their wares.  It also doubled as the marksmanship range for the local militia and security force. 

When they pulled into the range.  The limo’s door was opened, and the trio were offered to wait in the lounge while the targets and other range equipment was set up.  Captain Copeland, and team, declined the offer of the lounge use.  Instead they talked with the young kid, which was the pilot of the Demo mech.  He was more of an Astech for one of the dropships weapons turrets and an extra driver for the workmech, than a mech jock on this mission.  But there was a reason that someone so young had been approved to come on this mission.  Robert could tell that the pilot needed reassurances that he would be okay.  Still the young man was beaming with pride. 


The pep and small talk session were interrupted by a group of about a dozen people, which were an equal mix of male and female.  One of the women was in a mech cooling vest, neurohelmet, and shorts.  This was very old tech to the eyes of people who were used to the full-sized pilot cooling suits, and other items not seen in this part of space in a few hundred years.  Cooling suits had been what the old Star League had issued to every mech jock, tanker, and pilot for a hundred years before the fall of that organization.  By now it was listed as lost tech, unless you had access to a Star League bunker or knew about the clans. 

Seeing the woman in her gear had been anticipated by Robert and his group.  It was expected that MMM wanted to make sure no trickery was being played on them, from inside of the massive war machine.  Robert saw the group approaching first and made a slight head not to stop talking.  The young kid did not get the hint, until Jess put a pointed elbow into his exposed rib cage with just the right amount of force.  With all of his people looking the right way.  Robert greeted the advancing group of corporate sharks and middlemen. 

“Ahhhh good.  You brought your own mech pilot.  We have a rumble seat set up, so she can keep an eye on things inside the cockpit.  Mike is the closest person we had to a qualified mech jock, and I do not want to be up there.”  He smiled at Mike, and he quickly took the queue to start climbing the ladder to the cockpit at the top of his ride.  This statement had been rehearsed, so there was not any sting to those words taken by Mike. 

After the second set of legs had disappeared into the cockpit of the machine, nothing happened for about two minutes.  Then with a not so smooth set of movements, the tall mech walked to the firing line.  It was only a few dozen steps from where the mech hauler had helped unload the beast.  The first target was only sixty meters from the firing line, a two inch thick steel plate made to look like an outline of a tank.  This was not a test of the mech’s pilot, so all Mike had to do was standstill and lock the target into the decrepit fire control system built into the Sentinel.  When the pilot was ready?  He set the weapon to double rate of fire, and prepared to fire.  But as with any plan.  It went right out the window when it came to dealing with people who had their own ideas about how things should be going. 

Right after the mech had made it to the firing line, a person in range safety gear started walking up to the group.  She went about setting up a radio and rebroadcast system.  She and the mech jock in the rumble seat would be in charge for the next few minutes.  The pilot in the rumble seat now ordered how the visiting pilot would shoot, and her orders were broadcast to the people on the ground. 

First the targets were engaged in a normal firing rate, then a set of shots at the double rate, then back to a normal rate, then normal rate again, then a set of double rate fire, and then double rate of fire again.  It looked like they were going to shoot threw the whole ammunition load of the machine for this one live fire test.  Robert did not say a word and let the locals do their tests. 

Mike did not hit his targets every time, more like only about half the time.  This was not a test of his piloting or his mech gunnery.  It was only about the weapon that was mounted in the left arm of the battle machine.  Mike called out that he was down to his last five rounds on the open frequency.  The Range safety looked around at the power huddle, and after not getting any direction from them.  She concluded the weapons test.  She ordered the mech weapons safetied, and then allowed them to return to the same area that it had been dropped off earlier by the hauler. 

Robert turned to face the group of gathered MMM personnel.  He was not in sales mode.  He was showing just a little anger on his face, and he let it also show in his voice and tone.  ”Now that you have seen the weapon in action, and it passed all of your tests to prove it is legitimate.  You even had one of your guys close at hand, to make sure there was no funny business being played on you from inside the mech.  Now, I think it’s time to get my machine reloaded and back to the drop port.  I am sure you have heard about all of the crates being unloaded and placed around the bases of my dropships.  I had planned on asking 300,000 c-bills, for each one that you select from the fifty we have for sale.”  Robert was rehashing what he had said earlier to remind them, and to reinforce his determination.  He kept his voice the same as he dropped the hammer. 

“After what happened this morning, in your offices and some fact checking while we waited for some range time.  I think half a million C-bills is a better starting point.  I am not going to let you steal these weapons from my partners and me.  I can always find another buyer, even if I have to sell them one at a time to the average mercenary on the street.”  Robert turned on the heels of his boots and started walking to the waiting hover limo with his two co-workers falling in behind him. 

Robert and crew could not leave the area until the mech was reloaded onto the mech hauler.  While they were waiting Lora looked around the spacious cab of the limo.  She stopped once when her personal communication device when off.  She quickly read it, and then started looking for what she was seeking around the cabin.  She found what she was looking for.  It was the little mini bar that held a nice chilled dozen bottle selection of alcoholic drinks or juices, all of the very expensive kind.  Lora picks a bottle and held it up for Robert to look at.  He shook his head in agreement and then pushed a button on the arm rest of the door.  Robert called out the open window of the limo. 

“Mike, why don’t you join us till your ride is taken care of?” 

The young man joined the older people in the back of the Limo.  Lora pored each person about two fingers of the twenty five year old whiskey into the richly cut crystal glasses.  After handing each person a glass, she held up hers, and started to speak. 

“Mike great job!!  You sealed the deal.  Robert, I was sent a heads ups.”  She waved her device in the air.  “They are looking at the Scout, and a report has made it all the way to the top about the cannons you got your hands on.  I don’t know about the price tags they are going to go for, but half a million is a bit much.  You know, I will try to get the most money I can for each one.”  They touched glasses and slowly sip the very expensive liquid.  As she took a sip, she was hoping that she could get the half million C-Bills per weapon. 

After the half wrecked mech was reloaded on the flatbed hauler.  The now expanded convoy, left the range and headed back to the drop port at a nice steady cruising speed.  Robert contacted the dropships to let them know that they were coming back with a few extra transports, but to have all the weapons turrets manned.  This was just in case MMM wanted to take the stuff, and not pay for it.  Or maybe someone else that might want to jump into the picture, like the local government, and take them under new ownership.  You never can know how things can go, when you’re dealing with these types of large sums of money.  The hover cars, now with MMM personnel and wheeled mech hauler, were joined not long after leaving the range.  The additions to the convoy were four local made wheeled vans.  Robert was assuming that they were carrying a group of weapons experts for the next part of the mission.  If they were carrying ground troops?  They would meet with all of the firepower the White Rabbit had to offer. 

« Last Edit: 12 August 2019, 19:42:26 by cawest »

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #66 on: 10 August 2019, 20:08:37 »

As Robert and his team were getting out of the hover limo a second car, just as majestic, pulled up beside them.  The car was such an eye draw, that everyone stopped working to get a second look.  Robert told Mike to go ahead and unload his machine, and to store it in the Main cargo hold of the Maru.  He did not want it in the White Rabbit, which it have been in before.  Mike did not question the change of plans.  He simply nodded his head in agreement and went about his new task. 

If the Captain had wanted it moved to the star at the center of this system?  Mike would have done his best to do just as he had been ordered to do.  Robert turn to see the new business suited person, that was about to join the same group of people that had been at the live fire range.  Robert could tell this one suit was different than the rest of the group, which he had worked with so far. 

The man that exited the hover limo was nondescript looking, except for the suit.  He wore it, like it was an extension of his skin and his long but well styled hair was movie star perfect.  He walked slowly, but suddenly turned and came directly to Captain Copeland.  When he was close enough to talk without yelling.  He started by holding out his arm and open hand. 

“Captain Copeland, I’m McDonogh.” 

Lora sucked in a sharp breath.  If the name was right?  This could be the head of MMM, or closely related to that powerful person.  That person, who also was a member of the most powerful family group in the local space.  A very big fish, in any ocean. 

Robert did not even look at Lora, when she made the slight noise.  He stepped forward and took the offered hand in a firm but not a crushing grip.  It was returned in equal measure down to the ounce of pressure, by the other man.  Robert made sure to have his own salesman smile on. 

“Mr. McDonogh, nice to meet you.  What can I do for you today?” 

“So, you’re the man that has turned about a third of my divisions on their heads today.”  The man gave a soft laugh, as he looked the other man up and down.  “I must say.  You don’t look like an Atlas battlemech in human form.” 

“That is not what I intended.  I’m just trying to pay the bills, which I have run up over the last two years on this little project.  Well that, and I don’t like to be underestimated or looked down on by people who have never met me.  If you’re mad?  Then we will leave, unless you want to try to stop us.”  This was Robert sticking to the cover story, but he would not go down without a fight.  He knew that he had taken a risk by the way he had handled Mr. Slick, and the group at the range.  Robert knew that sometimes you paid through the nose for taking those kinds of risks. 

“Oh no!  It’s not anything like that, but you have come at a time that is too good to be true.  Oh, and I had already had a personal talk with the representative that was assigned to you.  I let him know.  That I was not happy with what he tried to do to you, and your company”.  The other man had drop Robert’s hand.  McDonogh like using his hands to talk, when he was excited.  Now he was waving them about, as he talked. 

“No, you’re just a little upset.  That someone from your company got caught trying to screw over someone for the good of your company.”  Thought Robert, but he was careful not to say the words aloud.  He also did not let the feelings show on his face. 

“So, I guess we can talk some business.  I think you’re a little early for closing the deal.  We just returned from the range.  Your guys have not even finished inspecting the weapons, which I have for sale.”  Robert could feel something else in the air, but he did not know what it might be.  He was going for a delay of game, just so that he could try to work out where any pit traps might be.  One’s that might have been put down and waiting for him, and his people to fall into. 

“Oh, I’m not here just for those rare cannons over there.  I’m here to talk to you about your jumpship.  The one that you have for sale and not the Tramp.  It would fit nicely with our new rapid supply systems, we have been working on setting up for only about two decades.  Most of our customers buy a dozen or less machines at once.  Even when we run a restocking mission to our major outlet stores.  We are only moving about a dozen battlemechs.  It is kind of a waste to use a twin collar jumpship to carry that small of a load, if you know what I mean?  It’s that or wait even longer as someone tries to find a Mule full of cargo that just might be going to the same place we are.  Sometimes delays cost more than you can possibly expect.” 

He was trying to make a joke of the last bit, but it fell flat on this audience.  He reacted quickly to the flat joke and got back to business.  “Anytime the company is thinking about spending a certain amount of C-bills?  I feel like I should be there to handle some of the details, and at least meet the group selling the item or items to us.  That way if it fails, for some reason?  I know the why and the how of the failure.  Without having to read between the lines on some memo, a few days after it hits the nearest mass market news outlet.” 

“It also helps, that the Scout has the smallest jump wave of any ship.  So, it is hard to track on any tracking systems this side of the fallen Star League.  Now what is your offer on your hopeful new jumpship?”  Robert was also thinking all of those were good reasons for this massive company to buy a Scout class jumpship, even if the company man had not brought them up.  Industrial espionage was alive, well, and heavily armed. 

“It is, and do you not think that “new” is a bit of a stretch for the Scout.  Your ship is old, but then what jumpship is not old these days?  How about we start at two hundred and fifty million for her?  After we get that worked out?  Then we can work on the deal for the cannons you have for sale.  I look at this as two different deals.  That way if we cannot come to an understanding on one, it will not adversely affect the other deal in any way.  It that works for you, that is?”  Mike McDonogh knew some merchants that like to do a single package deal.  Sometimes that work out best for the buyer, but most of the time it only helped the Seller get rid of some dead weight. 

Mike was trying hard to make this work and repair the damaged ego of this trader Captain.  MMM could use either or both of these lots.  If they could get both?  It would be a major boon, but the really big payoffs?  That would still be decades away.  When your company had been around for a few hundred years, a few decades was thought of as short term risk.  At least most of the time, they would think of it as a short term risk. 

Robert could not hold back the shock at hearing the number, “Well this is unexpected!” 

Robert still needed to drag it out some.  “Yes, she is old.  She was used by the Star League Supply Command before the fall, but her computers were so heavily damaged.  That we don’t know what really happened to her after things fell apart.  Last I checked?  A ship of this size was going for three hundred million, at any major capital world.  As you no doubt know, already.  We will be spending a lot of your money here on planet, to refill our cargo holds.  I think that you will be getting a lot of that money, back over the next week.” 

The head of the local MMM office could not help but make a sour face.  “Really?  That bit of information had not been passed along to me.  How about we cut to the bottom line, Captain.  I will only pay 270 million, but we will take care of any taxes or fees on this sale.  I will also put out a message to my people to be as helpful as friends and family can be.  That is my last offer.” 

The man but his hands behind his back and locked eyes with the visitor.  He knew that 300 million was a fair price out here on the edge of nowhere, but he was with MMM.  They should not have to pay retail price for anything, which was not listed as super special or lost tech.  That would have been bad for business, if word got out.  Word would get out, there was not any doubt about that.  This was only the second jumpship to be bought or sold in this system in the last half decade.  News like that could not be kept quiet for long. 

“Done,” was the one word reply from Robert.  He would have settled for two fifty, but he had just wanted to see, how much meat was left on the bone.  He now had the capital to start buying what they needed to fill his two cargo ships.  He stuck out his hand, and the two men shook hands on the deal right there in the afternoon sun. 

A deal of this scale was not done on a simple hand shake.  That was something that mostly only happened in TRI-D.  It would take maybe a day more, for all of the paperwork to be done for it to be a legal and binding deal.  All of the heavy lifting was done, but the details still needed to be looked at.  The rest of the group standing by Robert, both his people and MMM, were in shock.  It was like someone had just pulled out a magic wand and poof it was done.  People would be catching flies in their mouths for a few seconds. 

“It might take up to a few days to get all of the funds together, even for MMM.  But I will let the Central Bank know that it is coming out for your use.  This should make it so that you can draw on the funds, if you need to.”  The man smiled to Robert, and he had an odd twinkle in his eyes. 

“I was surprised you did not push on the final price, Captain.  Your reputation as a negotiator has proceeded you, even though you have only been on planet a day or two.”  Now that it was done.  Why not find out what he could about the new player in the area that was called Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale? 

Robert put a sly smile on his face.  He knew the other guy was fishing.  “It was a fair price, and with you taking all the pains out of having to deal with the local government.  Let’s just say I feel that it was worth it, not to get every C-Bill out of the old girl.  This way?  I can get down to the job of buying things for my trip home.  All the while your lawyers get to spend all that time fighting the government money suckers, and not me.”  Robert let the smile go to a full-on grin and beamed it back at the other man. 

“I have been away from my family to long.  The faster I can get a full cargo load?  The faster I can get home.  Then the faster my partners will get off my back, and the faster I can get back to my family.  Even not getting the retail or new built price for the ship?  I think that the offered price will get me a lot of the way home.  Besides, now you might be nice to me and not be so hard to deal with when I’m the one writing the checks to pay your company.” 

Well, I already have paid the lawyers their salaries for the month.  So, I don’t mind if they have to spend a few extra hours to earn their paychecks this week.”  His eyes were suddenly drawn to someone over Roberts left shoulder. 

“Looks like one of my armaments guys wants to talk to me.  If you would excuse me for a minute.”  Mr. McDonogh did not even wait for a word to get in edge wise, before he walked away.  It was not rude.  It was just that when you had that much money?  You expected people to make way for you.  It was just the way it had been done for hundreds, if not a few thousand years. 

The man, that was older than any other member of the MMM group, which was not wearing a dress suit.  Instead of that mark of office?  He had on a set of dropships crewmembers’ jumpsuit.  He was covered up to almost the shoulder of that jumpsuit, in dirty greases and old gun oil on both arms.  He looked like he was right at home being that way to, instead of being locked away in an office somewhere.  The crew suit might have been common, and dirty.  But it was almost new, when he had gotten out of one of the vans less than an hour ago. 

The older man was very excited about something.  “Mr. McDonogh!!  I’m so glad you’re here!!!!  You’re not going to believe what they have out.  If you do not string someone up by his thumbs, for almost letting this get away?  I will!!  Is that why you’re here?”  He stopped talking; maybe it was because he had run out of breath.  Or it could have been that he had run out of things to say.  You just did not know with people like him. 

“No, I was coming out anyway.  It seems these Lost Tech Prospectors have found a Scout class Jumpship and a Leopard class CV, complete with a set of fighters.  They were able to get the jumpship fixed up and needed to sell it.  I heard about it through the Water Cooler network.  Part of the story was that a certain person on the acquisitions team put his foot in it, when he tried to short change someone over a set of SL tech cannons.” 

By now the two men were almost shoulder to shoulder and the head of MMM kept talking.  Now the boss pitched his voice lower.  “I didn’t know how many it might be, until I was on the way over.  The local grape vine was talking it up like it was a Wolf’s Dragoons size of weapons cache, by the time I got to the gate.  What’s your read on the cannons, give it to me straight?” 

This jumpsuit and grease covered man, was not just some grease monkey.  This was the company’s walking encyclopedia on heavy weapons.  He had forgotten more about working on mech scale weapons, than any other ten people on the planet knew about them.  He was so good?  That MMM gave him a heavily armed three-man protection detail, whenever he stepped one foot off of company property.  That did not even count the armored car and safe room, and the other dozen safety measures the company had in place to keep anyone else’s hands off of him. 

The old man turned to look back at all of the open topped crates of massive cannons spread out on the super hard flame scarred drop port.  He rolled his lower lip up over his top one.  He hated not to know something, and he was about to have to admit to the big boss.  That he did not have all the answers, which he felt like he should have at his fingertips. 

“I don’t know where these cannons came from.  Some, I know, are of KWI manufactured and they were built before 2915.  I found the right markings that tell me that.  It is just that some of them are not KWI’s.  We don’t have much information on all the manufactures of this type of cannons, from before the fall.  What I do know, is that there are fifty of them on the ground.  I can tell, that all of them are Ultra 5 class cannons.  Some are in pretty bad shape, but all of them are useable.  All of them have seen some hard use, but they are very clean.  Whoever did the cleaning of the weapons?  They knew their business, and it was done maybe a few months ago.” 

The weapons expert started to flick his lips with the point of one finger.  He had a lost look on his face, but he still kept speaking aloud.  “I would bet, that somehow?  They found a lost shipment of these things.  Maybe they were going back, to be rebuilt back to factory specs, and they did not make it for some reason.” 

cawest

  • Captain
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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #67 on: 10 August 2019, 20:09:48 »

“So, can we use any of them?”  McDonogh put his hands in his expensive raw silk pants.  He was happy with the deal, so far.  But even if just half of these weapons were useable after all?  It would be time to pop the cork on something expensive.  It not?  Then he might just let them go to someone else, then they can take the risk on the large lot.  He would then only pick up a few of the best samples, for his people to work with.  He always had a plan B in the back of his mind. 

“Oh God!!!  Yes, I do!!”  The gun bunny looked around to make sure that no one, he did not know, was within ear shot of him.  He had been around long enough and was smart enough, to know what the “real” world was like outside of his gated housing community. 

“Sir!!  Some look good enough.  That we could put them on machines in a few weeks.  All we would need to do is just check them out, do a software update, and repaint.  Then we could sell them to anyone that had enough money.  Now a couple of the others?  We might be best to just turn them over to the R and D labs, to see if we can start making our own copies of them.  Or just use them for spare parts to keep the others in operation.” 

The grease covered man was talking and thinking at the same time.  He was dreaming of what he might learn from one of these weapons that had been laid out on the fire baked landing area.  He had read all about the high rate of fire weapons the old Star League had used before it had collapsed.  Now he was going to have one, and maybe find out why they never made a class 10 version of this weapon.  This was a dream come true, for the old man with his skills and knowledge. 

“Okay.  How many do we want?  How many are worth the money to buy?” asked the name and money behind the largest arms manufacture in the Magistracy of Canopus. 

The grease monkey gave a short barking laugh, and then turned so that he could make square eye contact with his boss.  “That is easy sir.  ALL… OF…. THEM!!!”  He almost said it too loud, but the noise coming from an active Drop port covered his statement. 

“Okay Jon.  How much are they worth?  You’re the best person we have, that knows Star League tech within a hundred light years of us.  They started asking 300,000 C-Bills each, then they went to half a million each after a leadership issue within our company.  I just committed us to a big chunk of money for the jumpship.  We can go deeper, short term.  I don’t think this Copeland guy is the type of a person to let someone who was trying to stick it to him, get off of the hook that easy.  He has some high cards to play and a grudge against us.  I need to know how, I can talk him down on the price.” 

“Mr. McDonogh.  You could sell them for a few million each, if the Fedrats had not started making them already.  I don’t know now?  I would think both prices are within reason for these weapons.  You have always been better at working out what stuff was worth or what someone would be willing to pay for something.  I would go with that they all need some overhauling, and there’s no ammunition on hand for them.  We are going to have to make some, just to test them.” 

“Thank you, Jon.  I will see how many of these new toys we can take off Mr. Copeland’s hands for you.”  He patted the older man on the shoulder, and turned around to look for the person who was about to take more of his company’s money.  And in some cases, more of his own money in the next few minutes.  At his level sometimes the lines got a little blurry. 

“Why don’t you see if you can talk him out of that mech?  It’s not combat ready.  I think that we could still use it for testing.  It did feed the weapon on the range without any issues, which they could see.  I heard that it even hit the target a few times.”  Asked the grease covered man, to the back of the man with the expensive suit. 

The richest man on the planet went looking for the person he needed to start talking to again.  He found all three of the same people still together in one group.  They were talking to another person that Mike McDonogh would bet was the Cargo Master of the dropship behind them.  When he was closer, he addressed the target. 

“There you are Captain.  I have talked with my people.”  He used his head to point towards his people off to one side of the dropship.  “They are still going over the weapons, but I think we can start working on a price for their sale.” 

In truth it still looked like a pack of ants crawling in and around, all of the now open crates holding the nine ton weapons.  They were all covered in muck, but looked to be as has happy as a dog, with a fresh bone. 

“Are you really stuck on that half a million C-bills mark, a weapon?”  The head of MMM had a salesman smile on his face. 

Robert was in character and ready to work on the deal.  “These weapons, maybe are old.  But a little cleaning, and some elbow grease to polish them up?  You could put them on the shoulders of those Shadow Hawks you are making, in no time.  I will bet, you could charge a mercenary unit through the nose for one of those modified mechs.  It would make up the cost of the weapon, at that price, plus any R and D you might have to do to get it to fit and feed right.  If you did that kind of refits to a dozen battlemechs?  You could cover the price of all fifty of the cannons we are selling.” 

“Man!!  This one is sharp,” thought Mr. McDonogh to himself.  “Maybe I can hire him away from this company.  He would be amazing to use against the Free World’s League!!” 

McDonogh had to shake his head to get back into the game.  “You have done your homework, Captain.  But ever since the rumor made it out here that the Federated Commonwealth, has put them and some other stuff back into production.  That means they are not as rare as they used to be.” 

He did not use the slang term Fedrats and any of another dozen terms.  At least not around someone, who might not like the term and thus cost him business.  “But now that word has gotten out.  There is a strong demand for the new tech weapons all over the sphere, but those are being slowly fed.  Did you by chance, find any of those Class 10 anti-mech shotguns with these smaller weapons?”  He pointed over to the rows of high speed cannons laid out on the ground. 

Robert was stunned but recovered quickly at the casual way someone was talking about Star League weapons.  If he would have been drinking anything?  It would have been blown out of his nose.  “I’m sorry.  A what?” 

Robert did not need to look over, to know that Jess was all ears.  This might be confirmation of what Duke Terry had told them at the last stop.  After much thinking, and many meetings, while they waited to make the last jump.  The delay had originally been meant to buy time for the Family to reply to the contact message.  The ship’s leadership and technical groups had thought that the FedCom rolling out the Ultra 5, was like when one of the Houses had begun rolling out the 45ton Hatchetman battlemech.  It was just an example of hyper focused development, and not a general capability uplift that was needed to do the work.  Now It looks like they might have been wrong, and the Duke was right after all. 

The rich man did not seem to notice the delaying tactic.  “The FedCom is supposed to have started limited production of a Class 10 Auto cannon.  It is supposed be able to fire a standard round, or some type of round that can sandblast the armor right off of a mech.  I’m not talking about a few off prototypes.  They are supposed to be in limited production of the final design.  If you see anything else out there from the old Star League days?  I will pay you top C-Bill, if you come to me first.  Captain, I don’t know if you were lucky once or you have a set of skills that are unique in my experience.  For some reason, I get the feeling it was not luck.  No, I am not going to ask you were you found this stuff.  I know that would be bad form, to do something like that.  I would also bet that if I did.  I would, and my company, would never see you again.  And I’m so not going to do something that dumb.  That is besides making the offer of being the first look.” 

Robert played along.  A salvage company with a strong corporate backing, would only add to their cover story.  That is if they did make any return trips to this area.  Besides the foot print of MMM was not small.  “Well, it was always nice to have a repeat customer.  Plus, one that understand some basic rules of how the game must be played.” 

Robert did not let his thoughts color his face.  “If you’re within a half a year travel time of us?  You have a deal.  It would be helpful, if you can get me some books on what you’re looking for.  Yea, that would be helpful.  The only reason I knew about these.” 

Robert points to the rows of cannons.  “It was that kid, which was in the mech today.  Somehow he knew what they were and could get one to work, with some help from the engineering crews on the jump and drop ships.” 

The rich man held out his hand again, and he had anything but a poker face on.  “Now that is a deal, Captain Copeland.  I will work with my people to get you any information we have to you and your people.  I will also make sure you have some contact information, which you can use at any HPG for free.  Then we can figure out how to do any future exchanges between us.” 

Mr. McDonogh got the feeling that this guy might have a few more high tech toys in his toy box somewhere.  He wanted his name, and more importantly his company, on the top of the contact list.  If this Captain did have some more stuff for sale down the line?  That would be interesting.  “Now to get back on track to seeing how much these weapons were going to cost me”. 

Now Captain.  “How about we stick with your 300,000 C-Bill offer.  The same as that offer you made back at the office?” 

Robert was rocking from heel to toe in his boots.  He could see Jess and Lora watching him out of the corners of his eyes.  “I really should push for more money, than my first quote.  Your guy, which we talked to first?  He really got under my skin.  I did have Lora write up the for-sale ads that I told him about, already.” 

Robert made a show of thinking about it.  “Let’s do it this way.  Each one of the cannons you want?  You will pay cash, and then load it on one of your cargo trucks.  I will stick to the 300,000 price, but I want cash in hand before each weapon is loaded.  Yes.  I know it’s petty, but he tried to make life rough on me in your company’s name.  So, it is a little payback.  I want the word to get around, and not just on this planet, not to screw with me or my company.  I’m sure you understand, all there is to know about a company’s reputation.” 

McDonogh thought, “Well, that was unexpected.”  He let his poker face slip back into place.  “Maybe he just wants to smooth the road a little bit, after showing he has a strong hand.”  Things have been going good so far, well minus what had happened earlier.  Paying in cash was going to be a pain, especially this late in the day.  However, it was not a show stopper by any stretch.  He had hoped that he could get the weapons for 400K.  He had no expectations of being able to get them, for the first offered price.  That might not have been the smartest move the Merchant Captain had made.  Then again.  Maybe it was a smart move, if he wanted to do business with MMM in the future. 

“That is workable.  Let me make some calls, for the trucks and the money.  Do you mind if we retire to a more comfortable location while I get some things worked out?” 

Robert looked at Jess and waved her to come closer.  “Jess.  Why don’t you escort our guest to the conference room?  I will be up in a few minutes.” 

The implied task was to try to find out exactly how much things had changed in the Inner Sphere, which is besides the two new/old cannon designs that it seemed to have been reproduced.  Jess also would like to personally see what else, like the double efficiency heat sinks that might be being worked on. She would dig to find out what else was almost close to being public knowledge.  A source this high, must have access that was at an impressive classification level. 

Robert stayed outside of the dropship helping where he could, but mainly he was just helping to keep an eye on everything that was going on around the two dropships.  That was very hard to do, with so many strangers walking around their ships.  So far, three times and counting.  He had to run people off, that wanted to see what everyone was looking at.  Robert did not think that the two long black hover limos, had help to keep the weapons sale low profile. 

“Well, you can’t have foreseen every minor problem or remember all of them from the past.  Not from all of those years ago.”  Robert was thinking so hard.  That he did not see the convoy of trucks approaching the dropships, until they were almost to his dropship.  He had totally lost track of time, as he try to keep an eye on all of the moving parts. 

There were several different types of trucks in the convoy coming to a stop near his armed dropship.  Most were a type of wheeled flatbed cargo trucks with some kind of lift hoist mounted on the very back of the truck’s cab.  The second most numerous of the types of vehicles in the convoy, but there were only three of them, were a type of high sided van.  Each one of them had Police Crowd Control markings on the side.  The first truck in the little convoy was the only one of its type.  It was a bank’s armored car.  Right behind it, was another sedan.  All of them were coming towards the Mule class dropship at about 10kph. 

Robert was standing next to the Cargo Master when it was obvious that this convoy was heading towards them, but Robert was the first one to speak.  “Well, this just got interesting.  That is a lot of cargo lift they are bringing.  Cargo Master!!  Get ready for some moving!!”  The Captain pitched his voice to cut through the noise around him. 

“Maybe, I should have not brought up the Cash thing?”  Thought Robert, “because that little good idea is about to come back and bite me in the butt.” 

When the new convoy stopped, a heard of people wearing police clothing exited the three vans in a wave of uniforms.  They quickly started to form a line around the dropship facing out.  Soon they had stopped anyone from seeing or getting close, to what was about to be exchanged on the drop port tarmac.  They only had stun sticks or light pistols, but the metal badges were firepower enough to keep any of the on lookers at bay. 

Robert was getting a little nervous about seeing all those armed men.  That is until he notices the heaviest weapon they had was a medium caliber sidearm on one side of their hips.  He was caught looking at them, because he did not notice Mr. McDonogh exiting the dropship.  He most definitely did not notice the rich man walking up behind him.  Maybe it was just luck, that he was able to do this, without making much sound to betray his steps. 

Robert tries not to jump a little, when a voice came from behind him.  It worked and it brought him back to his local environment.  “Looks like my banker made it after all.  I was starting to worry, that I might have to ask for a delay of payment for your stock.”  This had come from the rich man, which was standing behind him.  This time Robert noticed that he had a full powered grin on his face. 

“I take it you have decided which ones, of the cannons, you wanted to buy today.”  Now all Captain Copeland had to do was get his heart rate back under control.  Well that and try to figure out, how many cannons he was about to sell.  Then he could decide what to do with the cash.  That last detail would come later. 

“Oh yes!!  My head weapons guy said, that he wanted all of them.  So, I will have to try to not let him down.  You know how depressed those grease gun monkey types get, when they don’t get all of their toys that their hearts are set on.  I also checked with my department head, which makes the Shadow Hawk.  She told me, that she was looking at being short about twenty Armstrong J11s this year.  I am thinking we will use some of the ones you are selling, as their replacements.  I think Magestrix Emma would offer up a nice bonus, if we could give her a lance of those modified mechs.  Don’t you think?  I am betting that it will take some time, maybe six to twelve months to get the first one ready to hand over.  After that we should be able to get all twenty done in a few months.”  What he was not saying was that the time line, he had just referred to.  It had included building the new mechs from scratch, and not the time needed to just refit a machine already far down the production line. 

Robert had not expected to sell all fifty of the weapons, at one shot.  It had been planned that they might be able to sell thirty or forty at the top end.  That was what the number pushers back home had thought.  Many had said that there was no way that all fifty would be picked up for an entire planet.  They were planning to sell most of the cannons off in ones and twos, to the military units along the way between the major worlds.  That was how they had done it on every other time, which they had been on a resupply run to the Inner Sphere.  If the numbers were ever released, to the general public of the Inner sphere.  It would show that the Wolverines were the fifth largest seller of arms to this part of space.  It would also point to them being the key supplier of “Star League” designs to the Aurigan Coalition to the Free World’s League and every were in-between. 

This one stop would cause a rewrite of any future operational plans.  If other manufactures of a like size had this kind of money on hand?  That alone would prove that things had changed in the IS, since the last supply run.  “Looks like I will be able to keep the payment for the jumpship in the bank for a little longer.  I take it that the bank truck is carrying fifteen million C-Bills in cash form?”  For a second, Robert was hoping that it was not, but only for a second.  That sounded like a lot of money.  But to this man?  it was the sale price of three of the Shadow Hawks his company made by the gross. 

“You did say cash on pick up, did you not?”  McDonogh smiled.  He could tell that the Captain was trying to work out, in his head, if there was enough room in the two ship’s safes for that kind of money.  Each merchant dropship was known to have at least one good sized safe.  So, Robert should have access to at least a pair of them on the dropships.  “Sometimes it sucks, when you get what you were asking for.” Thought Mike McDonogh. 

“Captain, would you mind using your loader mech to help with the loading of my weapons onto the cargo trucks?  It would speed things up.  The drop port did not have any cranes available, for another few hours.  I have a dinner engagement, that my wife would be very upset if I missed.”  Mike had a sly little smile as he addressed the merchant. 

Robert gave a light laugh, before walking across to the Cargo Master.  He leaned over and pitched his voice, so that only the Cargo Master could hear.  When he turned back around towards the MMM man.  The Cargo Master was already heading toward the stationary machine.  By the time Copeland had packed down the money boxes coming off the armored bank car.  The hard plastic and metal crates holding the weapons were loaded on to the flatbed trucks owned by MMM.  As it turned out all the metal boxes, that were used to transfer the money, would not fit in the Mules single main safe.  They still needed to use the smaller safe that was in the dropships Captain’s quarters.  In the end all of the heavily armored doors on the safes were able to lock.  It was not easy, but they were successfully locked. 

While Robert was taking care of that, not to small of a problem, something needed for the future was done.  Just before McDonogh left, the head of MMM passed to Jess a hand-written note.  On it was a list of points of contact printed on one side.  This is what they could use, when it came to contacting MMM in the future.  It was a late dinner, had by all parties that night. 


Captain Copeland called a pair of food catering trucks over to the landing pads his ships were using.  Everyone would have a nice meal, and it would all be pay for from the sale of their cargo.  It was a nice break, because now no one would have to cook or clean up all the dishes left after words.  Both jobs were not highly sought after on a normal day, much less on a day that had entailed so much heavy labor under a hot sun.

Robert, Jess, and Lora all sat together on one table, while they ate under the open night skies of the drop port.  About the only time they were not eating, was when they got to watch a dropship light off its engines and it fought gravity on the other end of the drop port.  It was during one of these lulls that Robert brought back up the real reason for the mission. 

“Lora have you posted the message, that we will be looking to buy certain cargos?” 

“Yes, I did.  It should hit all of the major commerce sites, by midnight.  I thought we would have more time for them to sit out there.  I’m not complaining, mind you.  This has been both busy and a productive two days.“ 

She looked down at the expensive time peace on her left wrist.  She had been surprised at the power player that had been sent out to the drop port, and was glad that he went right to Robert to do the negotiations.  That did not mean that she was not pulling her weight.  “I make it about three or four hours from now, and then it will be on the world-wide network, with a bullet.”  She stopped talking to take a sip of some kind of cold drink from off one of the food trucks.  It was a brand that Copeland had never heard of before tonight.  She was positively beaming when she started talking again. 

“The deal for the jumpship alone will make my career.  Not wanting to sound ungrateful or anything, but I would like to transfer my fees out of your accounts as soon as possible.  I don’t want any unwanted attention from the local authorities, and my accountant will need to start working on protecting it from any surprise penalties.” 

Robert looked at the local member of the Family and nodded his head to her.  “I understand.  We have attracted a lot of attention already, but as soon as the C-bills are in.  We can work to have some of them transferred to your account.” 

He looked around and made eye contact with Jess.  “I think we need to have a meeting tomorrow, say 0900 local.  We need to see if we have had any bites on those posts.  We also need to pool all the information that we have been able to find out.  I want to put it on the table about all of the major players in this local area.”  Each of the other two people around him shook their heads, in acceptance of the plan if not order. 

Lora stood up and stretched her legs, working out the kinks that had developed while setting on the portable table the food truck had brought out for the diners to relax and eat at.  “Well, I need to get home and get some rest.  It has been a long day.  I will see you all in the morning.  I have a feeling that tomorrow is going to be a longer one, then today was.”  She gave an off handed wave and started to walk to the transportation stand that was set up to take ships crews into town for a night of “entertainment”. 

“Jess, I think she has a point.  I think a bed is calling my name.” 

Robert rose from the table and walked over to the catering truck.  It took him a few minutes to get the owner and operator of the truck to come over to talk with him.  Robert settled the bill and gave the older woman a nice tip, before turning and walking up the personnel ramp to the dropship.  As soon as she re-entered the truck, a light sign said that she would be closing in half an hour and it was “Last Call”.  It did not take long for Robert to be asleep, in his cabin for the night. 

Jess watched her commanding officer, until he disappeared from her line of sight.  “Well I better get up and get going.  Today’s reports and notes will not get written all by themselves.”  She was still working out how to best manage her time, so far it had not been that bad.  She was hoping that she would be able to get a few hours’ sleep tonight. 

She rose and left the plastic table on her way to the dropship’s ramp with more energy than she felt.  She did not go to her cabin, right away.  She went to the main conference room.  She had a lot of recordings and TRI-V images to review, before she can get some sleep tonight.  She makes a mental promise to herself, before she starts the paperwork.  That is, that she would not stay up passed midnight local time.  That was because she thought that Lora was right, tomorrow was going to be another long day.  She knew that she had one advantage over Captain Copeland.  When they lifted off of this planet, she would be able to sleep as much as her body wanted to. 

Notes.
How would you deal with a major weapons manufacture?  Now MMM is not in the league of Cal-Boeing or Corean Enterprises, but you get the idea about how it might happen.  Also how do you sell a lot of lost tech, without someone just taking it. 

Emma.  No, I did not know that the current leader of the MC was called Emma when I came up with the name for the Emma suit.
 
The Wolf’s Dragoons.  We all know about them, but to the SLiE they are just another mercenary group.  Think of that magazine as something about history at your local drugs store.  What got their attention as not the large mercenary unit?  It was the image of three iconic Wolf’s Dragoon mechs in one shot. 

Noone.   It is one word, and the E is silent.  It would sound like Noon not No one.  Yes it is a name and it thought that it would be fitting.

i tried to use a different way of posting so that the format would stick.  it only sort of worked.   

ckosacranoid

  • Lieutenant
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  • Posts: 850
Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #68 on: 13 August 2019, 13:51:51 »
I get the feeling that the wolverines should be making a regular run into the IS after this little  run and the info that is dropping into their laps and in the next two years after the clans steamroller everyone they are going to freak out for sure with that news. very cool set of updates to the story and things just got very big for the crew after this little stop and sale of things.

cawest

  • Captain
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  • Posts: 1600
Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #69 on: 26 August 2019, 20:22:14 »
I will be starting to post the next chapter on Tue afternoon.  I was PM a few questions. 

this spinoff is going to be mainly focused on Robert Copeland, but not totally

How long do I plan on going. 

That is a loaded one.  I still have 600 pages to go in raw draft, and growing.  I will go until I get tired but I will bet that it will not go to the 3100 timeline.  sorry guys.   

I hope this helps. 

cklammer

  • Master Sergeant
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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #70 on: 27 August 2019, 14:21:36 »
Wow 600 pges! :thumbsup: :drool:

glitterboy2098

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #71 on: 27 August 2019, 16:34:21 »
I get the feeling that the wolverines should be making a regular run into the IS after this little  run and the info that is dropping into their laps and in the next two years after the clans steamroller everyone they are going to freak out for sure with that news. very cool set of updates to the story and things just got very big for the crew after this little stop and sale of things.
in the canon setting, the Magistracy of Canopus started fielding more star league level gear around this time, particularly in the form of rare dropships like the Dictator class, as well as first deployed the (rather oddly advanced for both region and time) Ebon Magistrate as well. so who knows, maybe they do make more regular runs.

Hawkeye Jim

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #72 on: 27 August 2019, 20:04:04 »
Approximately when in the timeline is this set?

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #73 on: 27 August 2019, 20:47:39 »
Approximately when in the timeline is this set?

I am at the end of 3046, that is just before the Clan Invasion.  That started in 3049.  the AU by Cannonshop and Hotpoint started in early 3040

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #74 on: 27 August 2019, 21:06:00 »
Chapter 12

By Cliff
Beta and Clean up By
Reviewed by Hotpoint. 

14 Dec 3046
The Dunianshire system. 

Breakfast was served on the dropship right at 730 and would be finished no later, then 830 local time.  This was to make sure everyone had some hot food in them, before their duty shift or in some cases after their shift had just ended.  Jess and Robert picked up their meal in the dining hall but retreated to the conference room a few decks up, to eat and read in private.  “Open Space” was not something that a dropship was known to have in any abundance. 

The pair could not afford to only do one thing at a time, not today.  The meeting started right at 0900.  It could have started a little earlier, because the Captain of the White Rabbit had been the last to arrive to this first of its kind meeting at 0850.  Even Lora, was there well before the planned 0900 start time.  Everyone was eager to see how yesterday had turned out, and what today would bring.  Some were wanting to compare it with past reports from years ago, and one was excited to be doing something that her family had been doing for a few generations without anyone knowing.  This was new to her, and it was exciting. 

Robert sat at the head of the table and was facing the only door to the room.  When the ship’s clock read 0900 on the dot, Robert tapped the table with the end of a metal pen.  “Let’s get started.  First, I was in contact with the Styx this morning.  They report that they have two fighters on CAP.  This is the maximum strength they can have in operation under this systems rules.  They were happy to report that they have had no issues, yet.  The crew of the Scout JumpShip will be returning to them, in two days.  That is, if the money makes it to the bank.  All ships have been rotating crews to the Recharge station, so they can have some R and R.  They report that they started getting odd questions.  This would have seemed to have started late yesterday.  The Styx has raised the internal alert level, just in case.  They are keeping the higher alert level quiet, and they are not doing anything that would be obvious, to anyone outside of their hull.  Next to report will be the dropship captains.”  Robert looked over to the White Rabbit’s commander and gave a nod so that he could start his update. 

“Sir!  We have nothing new to report on my ship’s operation.  We have had zero incidents to report.  Current cargo load consists of twenty-five Class 5 ultra-class auto cannons.  We have five of the old Armstrong j11’s and fifty of the computers systems, all in there shipping crates.  We hope to release a few of the crew to see the sights and maybe do some personal shopping by noon today.  If we wait too long, it will draw some unwanted attention.” 

The Captain for the Lisbon Maru was next.  “Sir, I will not cover the communications with outside sources, Miss Noone will be taking care of that.  We had one unauthorized person, which tried to enter the ship last night.  Other than that?  We have no personnel issues to report.  The male intruder was detained and turned over to the local law enforcement, with only a few bumps to show anyone for his troubles.  We have moved all the cargo to Bay One or the top bay.  We also have the Mech tied down in Bay One, but we can move it back over to the White Rabbit if you want.  That should only take thirty to forty-five minutes or so, after you give the word that you want her moved.  The Cargo Master reports that our current cargo load is made up of the last twenty Ultra Class 5 auto cannons and forty of the computer systems.  Three of the computer systems are ready to off load and are stored by the main personnel entry point.  He can have more ready to come down with only an hour notice.” 

Jess was going to be the next one to brief.  She was not sure about including Miss Noone in on this material.  Then again, she was a “Family Member” and that deserved some consideration.  Who knows what they have been through and what it must be like living behind enemy lines for over a hundred years?  So, Jess took a deep breath, and looked back at her notes.  When she was ready, she just started talking

“The tech slide, that had been going on since about midway through the First Succession War, seems to have stopped.  In some cases?  It has already reach back up to the early Star League tech base level in some areas.  Not surprising, it is focused on warfighting tech.  I think that it should start spreading into other areas, as that tech base is allowed to take deeper root.  From what we have been able to find out.  It is that Ultra, and LB-X auto cannons started into production between 3035-3040 by the Federated Commonwealth.  Please see the notes on the current governments, it is on the ship’s servers.  We also have information that the Free World’s League started up limited production of the Gauss Rifle sometime in the 3040’s.  The Combine also might have Extended Ranged Large Lasers, and ER PPC’s and some Pulse laser tech.  Some of that data is a little less clear.” 

Jess was looking around the table.  All of the eyes were wide, and jaws were open, to include Lora’s.  She was about to drop the next bombshell on them.  “We got a lot of this information from one source on this planet, but it fits with what we learned from Duke Terry and her people.  From this time forward, until we find out differently.  We have to assume that when it comes to weapons?  We will have to assume that they are up to early Star League tech devices.  We do not know, it any of the House militaries will have Warships, or if they have even started building them.  We now think that the number of JumpShips in production has started to climb.  But it is unknown at this time by how much and how the numbers are spread out over the whole Inner Sphere.  I have a public sources report about how the increase in JumpShips production is going to cause a marked increase in interstellar trade all across the Inner Sphere.” 

“Yep that went over well,” she thought.  She looked around the table, and she could tell that everyone was still processing the information she had found last night.  She waited patiently for the attacks on her information to begin. 

Robert had one of his fingers across his lips and he was in deep thought.  He did not speak for a few seconds.  “That was what I was afraid of when Terry, who lives out in the out of beyond, knew about ultra tech cannons.  This will make it easier, but also make it harder in some ways, to sell our cargo.  I want everyone to keep an ear out, but I agree with Jess and her assessment.  Jess please make a copy of all your reports.  I want you to put a copy in the main safes on the Styx and Hobgoblin, when we get back to the jump point.  This information will be marked critical and it must get back home, even if all of the rest of us do not.” 

Robert looked around the table.  The group could tell that he was not making a suggestion, but he had given an order.  One that could have the deepest consequences, if it was not followed.  Now it was his turn to bring up something for the whole meeting.  Everything that was said or done in this meeting would be noted in the ship and mission logs.  But it would not have the same level of markings as he had just ordered done to Jess’s work

Captain Copeland did not want the mood to change, just yet.  He wanted them focused on the mission.  He opened a folder and passed to each person a set of color copies of the images that they had found while waiting to talk with Mr. Slick at the MMM office. 

“In front of each of you is a set of images we found yesterday, in a scrapbook that Lora’s family has been keeping.  Can any of you, besides Jess, identify the mechs in this image?” 

Robert was not that surprised, that none of the people in the room responded to his question.  He let them look at the images for a few more seconds, for the confused looks to take a good hold.  “I reviewed copies of the reports, from the previous resupply runs a few times.  What you’re looking at is a cover story about a battle, that happened back in 3028.  It was between the mercenary group called the Wolf’s Dragoon’s and the Combine.  The mercenaries went up against a larger Combine force.  We have had reports about this group, since they showed up in the Inner Sphere back around 3005.  High Command back home was of the thinking that.  They were just a larger than normal mercenary unit and they had a few odd names associated with them.  It was assessed that there was nothing worth looking into, any deeper, than what could be found in a few major news outlets.  I think we have maintained blinders about them after those first reports.  There only mercenary scum, why worry about them?  It was not like we would hire them.  Whoever of our people that took those first images of them did not have the hobby, I do.  Or maybe we did not have images of all of their machines, and we did not go looking for them.  I only remember reading a few text reports on them.  They were mostly about the major battles they were in, and how well maintained their equipment was.  They did point out the few odd names like Natasha Kerensky and a small unit called the Black Widows.  Now it would seem that we can connect a few more dots.” 

Robert could tell that they were not tracking with what he was trying to say.  “You see?  My hobby is taking images of old war machines.  Those three battle mechs are an 85ton Shogun, a 100ton Annihilator and the last is a 100ton Imp class battlemech.  Judging from the blank looks, that I’m still getting from you all.  It is that those names do not mean much to any of you, either.  If a unit had an old Shogun or Annihilator in their order of battle?  I would not be having a heart attack, which I am having right now.” 

Robert waited for the chuckling to stop.  “What had kicked me………. in the knees, was the Imp.  The Imp was never built in the Inner Sphere.  It is a Clan machine, born and bred.  All three of those machines were in operation with the Exodus ground forces, when our people left them, or we would be murdered.” 

Now it was sinking into them.  The Clans were back.  No, they had been back for 40 years.  Only no one back home knew it.  It was an intelligence failure on an epic scale.  Robert was looking at the top of heads as the rest of the members looked down at the images.  “From the name of the unit, I have to assume that they are from Clan Wolf.  I cannot see the Ghost Bears, or the Jade Falcons going by any name that is any way connected to the word Wolf or Widow Makers.  We need to find out as much as we can about them, without letting any information about us getting out to them.  Clan Wolf and Clan Wolverine did not get along that well, before we picked up stakes and tried to leave.  I would bet that their reaction to us has not gotten any calmer.  We need to find out if they left the clan, or has their clan moved into the Inner Sphere like we did.  Are has something else happened back in Clan space?  Or could they be on some kind of long-term scouting mission sent by the ilKhan.” 

Robert gave a half laugh.  “We don’t even know what questions to ask yet.  I would like to remedy that, before we start on our trip back to New Circe.” 

The stress had risen to a palatable level in the briefing room, with two threats to their home world laid out before them right after breakfast.  Now it was time to defuse that stress somewhat.  “I would like to wrap up the new information with Lora’s part of the meeting.  I think that I have shown that we need to keep all of our eyes and ears open.” 

It took a few seconds for Lora to collect her thoughts.  This was just too much new information to take in all at one time.  She had only just gotten use to the idea of what happened to the, she now had to call it.  The Original Exodus fleet, after all these years.  Now to think that not only was there one group near what was thought of as Human space, but there might be a second group of ex-SLDF forces hiding in plain sight in the heart of the Inner Sphere.  She gave herself a little mental shake to get back on track.  It was never good to be wool gathering in your first big meeting. 

“I re-checked just before the meeting.  And the money has not been put in the account, for the sale of the JumpShip.  The Bank is aware that the sum is coming, and from whom it is coming from, as well as the base idea of what the end amount could possibly be.  They have agreed for us to be able to start drawing on those coming funds free of charge or any fees by noon today.  But first thing tomorrow, if it has not been transferred by then.  I will start making phone calls to MMM and see what is going on.  I also have looked at the total capital, which you had before the sales yesterday.”  She stopped talking for a second before continuing. 

“You have 530,000 in C-Bills, or trade bars.  That we can start spending today, if you need to do that.  It was mostly what you brought with you to this system.  The sales of the cannons, for cash, will add thirteen point five million C-Bills to your available capital.  When the rest of the money hits the bank?  It will add another two hundred and forty million C-Bills to your capital resources.” 

A loud set of whistles went around the table.  None of them, except Robert, had ever dealt with numbers that large before.  With a slight smile, she went on.  “Yesterday, I posted most of the list that you gave me on the boards.  I only gave out, what Captain Copeland approved for public release at this time.  I have the last half of the list ready to go, and I’m waiting until I have been given the word for its release.  I would recommend that we do not hold onto that last part of the list for too long.” 

She smiles broadly.  You know the full toothy kind of smile.  “I already have a list of venders that would like to do business with us.  I expect the current list of venders to grow, threw out the day.  I have two large hover cars, with drivers, set up to take whoever needs to go check out the proposed loads from those first set of venders.” 

She passed out a card to each of the people at the table.  It had a set of names and contact numbers for a taxi service.  “I have contacted this company and made some arrangements.  They will pick you up from anywhere around the local area and drop you off at the dropships.  Captain Copeland, you will have to settle the bill, before you lift off planet.  I have reduced the list of vendors, to only the ones that have the best reputation or the ones that I have worked with before.  Captain Copeland will have the complete list, so that he can double check to make sure that I’m being honest.  It’s always nice to have a second set of eyes on a project like this.  I am also a firm believer in trust but verify.  I don’t want someone to say that I was biased.  Besides one of the other shadeier groups might have something the others might not have.”  She smiled at the Captain before continuing.  She was on a roll now.  This was her job, and she was very good at it. 

“The first company is a large vehicle transport company.  They said that they have twenty of the 10ton class flatbed cargo trucks for sale, that match what you wanted.  I told them that someone would be going over to see them, soon.  The inspection is to make sure that the parts are compatible with what “Our” planet can produce.  I asked, they are not fusion driven, but they are electrical/battery powered engines.  A second vendor called, and they said that they have ten of the 50ton class of flatbeds and one of the 70ton class of heavy mech hauler all for sale on their lot.  The person that I talked to did not know what the power plant each of the trucks might come with.  But when we send someone out?  They can check that out for you as well as your normal check list.” 

She went back to her notes and stopped talking, till she flipped to the one note she wanted.  “Most of what has come in, for request on items they have for sale, have not been on our published list.  They are more or less automatic, when word gets out that a cargo ship has open space that needs to be filled.  I did not put this one item on the cargo alert, but someone contacted us.  It would seem, that they have a FedCom WLF-1 Wolfhound mech, that they thought we might be interested in.  I called them back for some more information and got what was basically background on the beast.”  Lora could tell that this was getting the attention of about half of the meeting personnel. 

“It was supposedly picked up from a Combine supply depot, not too long ago.  The Combine had pulled it off of the battlefield back in 39.  It was repaired sometime later than that.  They say that none of the Combine Mech jocks wanted to pilot the thing.  I think that the Dragon’s supply department had it sold on the open market, and that was how it wound up out here.  I bet the jock needs the money, or the mech is a wreck, or both.  I still think that it would be worth a look.  I understand that it is quickly becoming a major light class mech for the FedCom units and the mercenaries’ that are working with them.  I also have a line on bulldozers and other construction equipment that was on the list.  I expect more request for information to come in, as the days go on.  I have set it up so that any more requests will come straight to me on my little electronic leash.”  She waved her digital data and communication pad in the air to show the leash she was talking about. 

Robert looked around the table, and then looked back at the Captains of the Maru and White Rabbit.  “I would like you all to put together two six person teams.  Send one team to each of the vehicle dealers and have all of the trucks checked out.  Make sure they have a copy of the check list with them.  You both can decide what vender each one of the teams gets to go to.  I think Jess, Lora, Mike, and I will take a car and go see the person selling the Wolfhound mech.” 

Robert looked back at the two Captains, making sure to have eye contact with each one of them for a few seconds.  “We can start releasing some of the crews for shopping trips.  Remind them of the rules, before they leave the ship along with the normal safety briefing.  I will be authorizing the release of an additional one hundred C-Bills advance on back pay, in cash for each person, to do as they will.  I know there is a money exchange location at the main annex of the drop port, so breaking the large bills should not be a problem for anyone.” 

Copeland let his voice get hard.  “I expect them to follow the rules, which were set down.  If they don’t?  I will pull everyone back into the ships, and we will see how long it takes for me to get confidence in them again.  Please pass along those exact words to your crews.” 

He again stopped talking to make sure the other officers got the point of his statement.  “Now, do we have any other business?  No.  Good, let’s plan to meet again at say 1700 local and see where we are at on getting some cargos lined up.”  Roberts starting to rise was the signal that the meeting was over, and the rest of the people present rose also to start about the task of the day. 

#############


Lora, Jess, and Robert walked out of the room together.  After one quick pit stop.  They were waiting at the personnel exit of the dropship, until they were joined by Mike.  Mike had been sent a message to meet here for a mission, which he was needed on.  Robert greeted the almost mech pilot with a handshake, and then turned to the group. 

“Now that the gang is all here.  We can see, what we can find out about this light mech that the local wants to sell us.  Mike.  Do you think you can pilot it?  You’re the only one I know on this mission, which has been checked out on House military tech neurohelmets before we left.”  Robert was in “Captain Mode”.  He had asked a question and he would not only want an answer, but he wanted to know the truth. 

Mike looked down at his feet for about two seconds, and then looked up about six inches over the head of the commander of this mission.  “Sir!  I can do it.  I worked out with every mech, that we had data on at the training base simulator, before we lifted off planet on my own time.  I don’t know about taking one into battle and being an asset to the mission, or something like that.” 

Mike did not want to make eye contact with Robert, and he looked like he might want to bolt out of the dropship.  Then he got himself back under control.  “Sir.  I washed out of mech combat school, because I did not take even one mech down during the final test.  I am a failure, as a combat mech trooper.  I do not know why I was picked to be the backup workmech driver and weapons turret crew on this dropship.”  Now his head came up to look at his commander and the whole convoy commander, in the eyes. 

Robert was concerned, as he was looking into that set of wet young eyes.  He knew that Mike was a mech tech or mechanic before the Colonials had found them.  He also had been one of the few people who was qualified to work on the type of mech that they were bringing on this trip.  “Mike, you will do fine.  Do you know why you were chosen for this mission?”  Robert let more emotion show on his face, and it soften the look.  He wanted and needed Mike to know, what part he was selected to play on this supply run.  Normally on a supply run a crew had over a year to find their place, without being hand carried to this conclusion.  That was even before they made contact with the Inner Sphere. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #75 on: 27 August 2019, 21:16:17 »
“No, Sir??”  Mike was confused.  It was the goal of everyone who was an accident or an instant to want to be a mech jock.  He had failed out of the final testing, and he had been assessed to be a grease monkey on the machines he had wanted with all his heart to take into combat.  Clan Wolverine only had so many open mech pilot positions each year.  They would only take the best for those limited number of openings.  He had even taken classes on dropship turret repair, on his off time.  That had been what he was planning to do, to pay the bills.  A mech wrench turner did not pay that well, when you were not on active duty. 

“When it was decided to bring a mech on this trip, to show off the ultra-auto-cannon.  They drew up two lists of names.  One list was for qualified mech pilots, and one was for qualified mech techs.  Your name was on both of those lists.  Do you know how many people showed up upon both of those lists?” Asked Robert, he was shifting into a fatherly mode.  He had spent some of last night reviewing a few personnel files while eating dinner. 

“I was?  I don’t know how many others, had the same skills as I do, but I would think there had to be at least a few hundred.”  Mike was shaking his head left and right like he was trying to throw the thoughts into the right bin in his brain. 

Robert put his arm onto the other man’s shoulders and gave it a slight shake.  “Yours was the only person, who could do both jobs on the whole planet.  You had bad luck on your Trial for Position on graduation.  I bet you would have had another shot, in a year or two.  And this time?  I bet that you would have won it, hands down.”  That was all he would say.  Robert started walking down the walkway towards the pickup point outside of the grounded dropship. 

Robert and his team did not have to wait long at the pickup point, for it to do its advertised job.  Lora had called for a car, before they had left the dropship conference room.  It was a nice car, but not too nice.  It was a six-person passenger hover car that pulled up for them, and it was not your normal bar hopping buss.  Lora passed the information about their destination to the driver, after the doors had closed behind them with a soft click.  The four of them did not talk on the trip out, after the information had been past to the driver.  They only listened to the random selection of music, which was playing in the background as they shot through town at what seemed like an excess of speed. 

############


The building the hover car pulled up to was tall, but it was not that wide.  It looked more like an industrial building, then a home that it was supposed to be.  It was on the edge of town, but not that far out of the way of major traffic avenues.  It was right off the main road, which connected this area to the drop port in almost a direct line of a high-speed access.  The four members of the off-world team got out of the blue hover car and looked around the area.  The taxi did not leave the area, as the renters started to make their way to the building’s front door.  The rental just pulled down the road a little ways, so that the traffic way was cleared of its obstruction.  Robert was about to ring the announcement button, when the door opened for them. 

“So, you must be Captain Copeland.”  This was said by a lower 30ish man with blond hair, as he looked up from his wheelchair blocking the doorway. 

“Are you the person that contacted us, and has a mech that you would be looking to sell to us?”  Robert made eye contact by looking down, but he was not steering down at the other man.  That was a knife edge juggling match that very few could pull off.  Where he came from?  Seeing someone in a wheelchair permanently, was a very rare item. 

“That would be me.  I’m Don, nice to meet you.”  Said the man in the wheelchair, and he holds up and out his hand to the older man. 

Robert shook the man’s hand.  He had a strong grip.  That was for some reason, a surprised to Robert and he waited for just a few seconds before letting go of the hand.  “Nice to meet you Don.  Can we see what you have?”  Robert pointed his chin towards the insides of the industrial building. 

“Follow me,” and the men spun around with in the length of his chair in a very practiced maneuver.  With a few pumps on the large back wheels.  He had wheeled himself away from the doorway and was at a rapidly growing distance going into the “home”. 

The whole first floor was open, and when Robert entered the home.  He could see the whole room, after not covering even five steps from the front door.  In the center of the room, was a bipedal mech which vaguely had an animal appearance of its head.  When everyone was in the building.  The heavy front door shut automatically, and the lights raised to almost spotlight the one combat machine in the room.  It was a light class battlemech that ranged from 20 to 35tons.  This one was at the upper end of that class.  It was supposed to be right at thirty-five tons, according to the limited data Robert had seen. 

“So, Don.  How did you come by this machine?  You called it a Wolfhound, right?”  Asked Jess, as she walked around the war machine looking up at the almost eight-meter-tall walking machine.  It was an impressive looking machine.  She knew that the mechs on her planet were in most ways better than this one on a ton for ton guide.  It still was an impressive machine, when you’re at its feet and looking up. 

“I was with a merc unit hired on by the Combine.  We had signed a three-year deal back in early 38, with “The Son”.  I had my 55ton Shadow Hawk blown out from under me, when the FedCom jump the border for what we thought was just an objective raid on the planet that we were hired to defend.  We were a company plus of active mechs.  Well, we were almost two companies strong of mechs, when we took that contract.  I think the old man was looking forward to becoming a full Battalion, after our contract was up with “The Son”.  He had been juggling a number of deals, to get the numbers to look right on paper for over a year.” 

Don was lost in thought, and then his voice cracked a little.  “By the end of the war?  We were down to a single Mech lance, a tank lance, plus some odds and ends for support.  The contract the boss signed said that they were supposed to replace any mech or tank lost in combat, with an equal machine as soon as the next supply shipment made it to a planet we were on.  It took them almost two years, before they showed up with this mech.  It was supposed to be my replacement for my 2H.  They said to take it or leave it.  The Boss was told that it was this one mech or another one like it.  That was going to be the only replacements we would get.  Just two light machines to make up for everything we had lost.  They had been shortchanging us for the whole time that we were under contract, but it had been nickeling and dime kind of things.  This was a whole new level of being hamstrung.” 

He was shaking his head as he relived those good(?) old days and he kept talking.  “Right up until that day.  it was nothing that big.  We had heard rumors that every mercenary unit was getting the shaft in one way or another, even with the “new leadership” that they had been supposed to be working under.  The Boss was upset, and I think he knew this was only the beginning of our troubles, just like we had been warned about before he had put his name on the dotted line.  Somehow, he contacted a JumpShip, which was also not happy about how they were being treated by the Combine.  He made a plan, and with the help of a pair of fighter lances from another unit that had been dealing with the same kind of thing.  We stole a modified Union dropship and blew our way off planet.  We had to fight our way to our new ride out of that system.  We hooked up with a merchant class JumpShip, which just happened to be going our way and had an empty spot on her hull.” 

Don was now looking up at his machine talking, but not looking at anyone in his “home”.  He had a slight smile about something, he was not talking about.  It was amazing how you can convince someone to look at things your way, when you have them under your dropships and four heavy fighters’ guns.  He did not want to sound like a pirate.  There were very few people alive now who knew about that part of the story.  Only the second in command and a few others had been interested in leaving the Combine, but that had been enough at the start. 

“We knew that the Combine was not going to be happy with us, and we had been exchanging fire with the FedCom’s units a few months prior on two different planets.  The old Man did not think they would like to see us with our hat in our hands.  We were running out of new places to go, and so that only left FWL or the Cappies as the only major player left to get a paycheck from.  We ended up working our way to the FWL.  We even got some help from one of the Wolf Dragoons regiments that the old man knew, to get out of the warzone.  We did a few security jobs that we could find, but nothing that was paying the bills that well.” 

Don did not notice that his group of visitors were not saying a word.  They wanted him to keep talking and he wanted to talk.  “We split up from the JumpShip while we were still in the FWL.  They hooked up with a larger merc unit.  One that was big enough that it could pay the maintenance, that the ship was overdue to have done.  I don’t blame them for leaving us, when they did.  They did help us get in contact with MMM, before they hooked up and took off with their new friends and bill payers.  MMM needed or wanted some more firepower out this way.  It was hoped that it would stop some of the pirate activity, which had been popping up over the last decade.  It was a nice six-month deal with an option to extend.  It even came with a nice sized bonus, if we worked out.” 

Don looked over and up to Copeland.  “That’s where the guys are now.  They are out hunting a pirate group, that raided an MMM convoy a few months ago.  It’s obvious that I could not go with them.”  Don was pointing at his chair, and he had a deep frown on his face and the smell of deep depression hung over him.  There was no way he could pilot a mech with his injuries. 

“So, why are you wanting to sell this?” asked Lora.  Robert just tried not to cringe when she said that.  She, like her mother and grandmother for that matter, always drove to the point.  Even when it was not polite, to do something like that.  As far as Robert knew, the whole family had a bad problem with their brain to mouth filter. 

“That Shadow Hawk had been in my family for over 200 years.  It was family, as much as a machine can be part of your family.  I’m pretty sure one of the Combine recovery teams pulled my ride off the battlefield and fixed it back up.  They did not return it to me, but I bet that they gave it to some Drak.  I got this.  Now it is newer and fully repaired, than my old ride.  Only it’s still not my old Hawk.  I would have said it was new out of the factory, but I did find a few odd welds in the armor.  Ones that could only have been done, while repairing armor plate outside of a factory facility.  Those Combine units were getting old Star League machines like Mercury’s, Thugs, Highlanders, and even a few Crabs.  I saw them at a supply depot, once.  I even saw them being used against the attacking FedCom’s units.  You think they would give me one, after I lost my girl?  Never mind, you already know what they gave me.” 

Don let out a loud sigh.  “I would have been happy with a Crab, even if it was lighter by five tons than my old bird.  Instead?  I get a light class mech that none of their mech jocks would have touched, because they could have the Panther or some old SLDF machine.  That was the start of my problems.  I was still mad as hell and I was not thinking, when I ran that hover car into a tree at full speed.  Now I can’t even drive this piece of junk anymore.” 

Don was looking at all of them now, but not really seeing them through his blood shot eyes.  Robert now noticed that he was probably on some heavy pain killers, and lots of them.  And it looked like he was chasing those pills by things, that you should not chase them with.  He was on the fast track to an early grave. 

“I broke my back in like three different places, and it paralyzed me from the waist down.  The real joke of it?  It’s that they say, it is repairable.  They have some great doctors out here on the edge of nowhere, but it takes money.  It will take lots of money, to get the right kind of a doctor to fix me back up.  Boss man wanted me to sign the mech over to them, after I was hurt.  But my dad had in his contract, and it had been carried over to mine.  That I get to keep my ride or any replacement, if it was lost in combat.  So, I have the title for this little beast, all to myself.  He was not happy, but what else can I do.  It’s the only asset that I have, that will give me the credits I need.  When I heard that you had sold a JumpShip and were looking for cargo?  I figured that you would have the money to buy this, without me having to worry that you would stiff me somehow on a payment program.  I know that you can sell mechs anywhere out here.  At least on ones that do not have a mech factory on the planet.  Then everyone wants a service agreement.” 

“Don.  Do you mind if one of my techs checks out your mech?” asked the Captain.  He had been listening to what the wreck of a human being had been saying, but he also had a job to do. 

“Hoped you would bring one.  There is a ladder on the other side of the mech and all of the manuals I could find are already in the cockpit waiting on him.”  Don pointed at Mike, the only person who was dressed like a working-class person and looked ready to go back to work again. 

Mike nodded at the two men, and then walked around the mech.  He found what he was looking for, and up the metal ladder to the cockpit he went.  This left the two women and the Captain to talk with the crippled man on the ground floor of the home.  Jess was trying to draw more information out of the man in the wheelchair.  Maybe it was too friendly.  Maybe she just needed to pump a new source of information.  He had said that he had worked with the Wolf’s Dragoons or had a few dealings with them.  Then there was the fact that he had information about the Dracs having access to old Star League designs, and in numbers.  That was coming as another shock to her brain. 

Jess looked around the room.  It was easy to see that this was the main living area.  The building had a second level that would have been the main living area, normally.  Getting to that level in a wheelchair?  That would have required a lift of some kind, that did not seem to be present in this building.  She started circling the large room and on all of the walls but one, was a mounted single shelf.  On that one shelf were half meter tall copies of battlemechs.  Each one was visibly different, in some way.  She saw half a dozen different versions of the 70ton Archers.  Most of the other machine’s sculptures, she was not too sure of what the names were. 

“So, Don?  You like all kinds of mechs.”  She said but pointed to the shelf with the mechs on proud display. 

Don looked to where she was pointing, and quickly thought he understood the why of the question.  “I also try to find out everything that I can about a new mech, or a new version of a mech, that even might be coming out.  I then try to make a scaled copy of it a smaller physical form.  I have to do something to keep my mind busy.  I also can sell some of them, at one of the local shops.  All I have to pay, is the materials and my free time to make the things.”  He said with a smile at the woman, and a gave a slight shrug of his shoulders. 

Jess nodded her head and changed the subject.  “So, did you look into the history of this mech?”  Jess asked pointing to the mech in the center of the house. 

Now Don seemed to have a recharge of his energy level.  Someone was asking about something he knew about, and it was not about his condition.  “I did look into it.” 

He rolled over to the long shelf and pulled an off-white folder from its holder mounted below the model covered shelf.  With the folder in his lap, he rolled back to the woman and passed it to her.  “The problem with the Wolfhound, is that no government paid to have it developed.  As near as I can tell.  This one was produced in the Lyran Commonwealth by TharHes Industries, for “someone”.  There are no records of who bought it, or when it was first sold.  It could have been the Kell’s Hounds or one of the other known testing companies in that part of space.  This one is an early production model, so it could have even been tested by Wolf’s Dragoons for all anyone knows.  There just is not that much information on it, that can be found by the average person.  Let me show you what I have found on the thing.” 

Don rolled himself over to a Tri-Vid player and after only a few minutes, he started a documentary story about the mech design in question.  While the four of them were watching the show, Mike was in heaven going over the mech with all the skill he had.  After the talk with the Captain and his explaining of a few things, he was having the time of his life.  How many people could say that they were checking out a machine that had never been seen by their people to date. 

Several hours later, the show had ended, and Mike had completed his check out of the combat machine.  After Mike had gone through the electronics and as many tests as he could, in the cockpit.  He had started working his way down the mech.  He was checking out all of the areas that were high wear or looked like they could be an issue if it had not been maintained.  He was looking into the space around the ankle joint of the mech, when Robert asked if he was ready, or did he need more time to inspect the machine. 

Mike slowly removed his hand from checking a fitting that was hard to reach.  “Sir?  I could always use more time for something like this, but I’m good.  That is unless I can take it out to do some running and gunning with it?”  He just needed a glance to know that his request was out of the question.  “I’m done when every you are ready, sir.” 

“That sounds good Mike, let’s go get some lunch and compare notes.”  Robert patted the younger man on the shoulder, and then turned and walked over to the wheelchair bound man.  There was no way that he was going to talk business around anyone, that somehow might let them know what this small group might be doing. 

“Don, I want to talk to my people in private and compare some notes.”  Robert could see that Don looked like he was let down by the news.  He was thinking that they were not interested in buying the mech after all.  Robert could read the man like a book. 

“Lora has your contact information.  You will know in less than 24 hours if were interested in the mech, or not.  I like the way it looks.  But I cannot buy a machine without knowing some more about it, and at least reviewing the local rules on buying something like this.  I at least need to know what a fair price is, and what is going to be highway robbery.”  He put on a grin to take the sting out of the last few words. 

Don was still let down that they were not going to make an offer on the machine.  He had hoped that they would jump at the chance to buy it, and then he could get the surgery that might let him walk again.  But there was still some light leaking in from the opening the officer had just given.  “I understand, Captain.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.  I have listed her on the mech boards for sale.  If someone else makes an offer first, the machine is there’s.”  It was a hollow threat, but he did not know if these four, knew it or not. 

###########


The four people left the building and their hover car was moving to pick them up, before they had reached the side of the street and the door closed behind them.  After a quick discussion on where to get some lunch and privacy, Lora suggested they go back to Le Chiffre.  It was a light traffic day, but it still got heavier as they got closer to the Drop port.  When they arrived at the Café?  They did not have to wait for a table.  They were seated on the second floor again, almost as soon as they entered the front door and checked in at the front desk.  Robert looked around, and he thought this looked like the same table they had used before. 

After being seated, Robert looked over to Lora.  “You must eat here a lot.  Is this the same table that we had our first meeting with you?”  It was not an accusation, but it was a very pointed question, which also stated he wanted an answer. 

Lora looked a little embarrassed by the comment.  “Yes, to both.  I grew up with the owner’s wife, so they generally have a table set aside for me.”  She shrugged her shoulders.  “Mom and I both hate to cook, so now I eat here, or I pick up some stuff that I can heat back up over a few days.  This place is also known for its privacy for business deals.  I’m not going to say that it is not bugged, but they do try to keep it as clean as they can.  Any electronic bugs would not have been put in by the owners, but by some of the local power players.” 

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #76 on: 27 August 2019, 21:29:08 »
Lora looked a little embarrassed by the comment.  “Yes, to both.  I grew up with the owner’s wife, so they generally have a table set aside for me.”  She shrugged her shoulders.  “Mom and I both hate to cook, so now I eat here, or I pick up some stuff that I can heat back up over a few days.  This place is also known for its privacy for business deals.  I’m not going to say that it is not bugged, but they do try to keep it as clean as they can.  Any electronic bugs would not have been put in by the owners, but by some of the local power players.” 

“That is good to know.  Since you know so much about this place.  Why don’t you order for all of us, if you would please?”  Jess was nodding her head as Robert was talking.  They had no complaints with their last meal, but it had been an eeny meeny miney mo on the menu. 

Lora smiled back at Robert.  “I can do that!  I will be right back.”  She almost was skipping between the tables on the way to a set of double swinging doors. 

When Lora got up from the table and took care of the food.  This gave Robert and Jess a few minutes of quiet time to compare some notes on what they found out from Don.  It was not like they were hiding anything from Lora, and they brought her up to speed when she returned from what might have been the kitchen of the restaurant.  She was an asset, and that asset could only work, if they kept her in the loop about the things in her lane. 

“Lora, as I was talking with Jess.  I really want that mech.  I think it fits with our orders of picking up anything interesting, that we could.  Now if it was a design that fought in the House military’s and has been around since before the SLDF left human space?  I would have an idea on how much it was worth.  This is your area, Lora.  How much is it worth, on the high and low ends?” 

Lora pulled out her briefcase and started flipping through a folder, until she found what she wanted.  “Here you go, Robert”.  She passed over a copy of a sales flyer. “When I saw that message?  I looked this up from my files at home.  This one machine has a list price of about 2.9 million C-Bills straight from the factory.  When you count the transportation cost and how rare mechs, are even on this planet.  That makes them a little more expensive, than the list price.  You could add up to twenty five percent more to the base price.  That is if we were talking about a factory fresh unit, and at a showroom.” 

Robert turned a little, to look at the younger man.  “Mike, you spent some time with the machine.  How does it look, from your point of view?” 

“I went over it as much as I could.  I moved the arms and as you saw, I even walked in place.  I also fired all the lasers in low powered training mode, and they all worked according to the read outs in the cockpit.  I checked all the joints, and they all seem to have very little wear on them.  I would say that they are almost new, well call it less than a few hundred hours on this set of joints.  The armor package is intact, but I did see signs that it had been repaired.  There are three areas of armor, that I think have been replaced, but it was done by a first-rate repair shop.  I would call it a factory grade level of armor repair.  It is as good a mech as you could expect, even if the tech is.” 

Mike paused and quickly looked around.  He was not sure if he should finish that thought, but then when seeing Captain Robert shake his head in the affirmative, he continued.  “It’s tech is older than we are used to.  I see no reason, not to see if we can acquire it.  If it is not too expensive, that is.  I like the whole head ejection system, and the all energy weapons layout makes it a good raider.  Its specs say that it is not going to be that fast, but the speed is not that bad for its tech level.” 

The population of the SLDF in Exile was so small, that they were limited in the amount of home-grown designed fighting machines they could come up with.  This new 35ton machine might be able to be modified and used in the fight against the clans or Cylons.  Right now, they only had two new light mechs in mass production.  The Sling II Omni at 25tons and the Mercury III Omni at 30tons.  Besides those two light machines?  They had two new medium mechs just now coming online.  The medium class machines going to the first line units were 55ton Wolverine III Omni and 45ton Stag III Omnis.  All of the Heavy mechs deployed were made up of a few short runs of some Golden Age clan machines.  Rumor had it that a new 75ton machine was in the works, but those were only rumors.  The big dogs that just were going into the heaviest ground units were 100ton Pulverizer II Omni and 80ton Riflemen III Omnis.  All of those new designed machines were just modifications of the older designs to use Omni technology as their base. 

The rest of the ground forces were made up of older and less capable machines to fill their ranks.  Mostly they were a mix of Firefly C and SLE’s, some old Slings, full sized Wolverines, Golden Age machines and a few Royal designs updated as they could with whatever weapons were available. The last were in active or stored until they were to be recycled or sold off.  That last part had changed with the coming of the Cylons. 

Mike was thinking, that all they needed to do was pop out the old engine and refit it with double heat sinks.  Then they could dump the old school large laser for EERPPC, the medium lasers could be popped out for a set of third generation medium pulse lasers or extended ranged ones.  It would be a zombie machine, which could take a pounding and still dish it out.  The whole head ejection system could save dozens of lives.  The suicide charge was a standard fit on SLDF in Exile machines.  There was too much of a risk one of their people getting caught after a machine was disabled.  If the rest of the SLDF machines had this whole head system?  All they, the SLDF ground forces, would need to do is track the head down and then recover it.  It would not save everyone, but it would save some of the highly trained pilots. 

They did not continue with the discussion about the mech.  They were interrupted by two strangers bringing over plates that were heaping with the most amazing smelling things, that three of them had ever smelled.  After the wait staff had left to finish cleaning up after the lunch rush, the foursome dug into the food in a blur of moving forks.  It was several minutes before anyone was willing to talk again. 

“Lora.  I don’t know what this is, but it is amazingly good.”  Where the mumbled words coming from Jess as she tried to talk and chew at the same time.  She had more or less failed at both, but only just.  Mike did not even try to talk.  He just nodded his head with a mouth full of food, after he had worked out what she had said.  Some of that food was still hanging out of his mouth and dripping down the front of his work jumpsuit.  He could careless for the mess. 

“They are supposed to be a French restaurant, but I like the Latin style better.”  It was Lora’s turn to talk with a mouth full of half eaten food.  This got Jess and Mike giggling a little. 

Robert looked around at the group and made sure to swallow his food before he tried talking.  “Lora, I can see why you like this place.  I think I will let you take care of ordering the food from now on, if you don’t mind.  This is a nice change of pace from the fish meals that I’m used to.  Now Jess.  How do you vote on the Wolfhound 35ton light mech with its laser-based weapons?”  The last part, he had read off of the sheet of paper that Lora had passed him that advertised the war machine. 

Jess did not even look up from her food when she started talking.  “I think it would be worthwhile to pick up.  The R and D teams will wet themselves on a chance to see what is going on in this part of space.”  That was as close as she was going to say about her home.  After all, the Cappies would have loved to have had let their R and D teams’ loose on the light mech as well. 

“Then that settles it.  Lora, after we finish this great food.  Please contact Don and tell him that we would like to come by tomorrow and workout a price for his machine.  I also would like a mech hauler on stand-by, to bring it back to the Drop port as soon as we close the deal with him.  I think we will see how much he wants for payment, then work on it from there.  Paying full price plus a few percent extra, is okay with me.  I think Don needs the money bad enough, that he will take a good and honest first offer.  Lora what are the rules for paying for something that large, in cash?” 

Lora looked up from her food, then reached over to her Noteputor and started to look for the information she needed.  “I just wanted to refresh my memory, but it is up to the person selling the merchandise to claim it on their end of year taxes.  That is unless they are a business.  Don will have to take care of it, but I don’t think he will be on the planet long after you take that mech off his hands to file any taxes.” 

She stopped talking for a minute and was reading intently, before she continued.  “Speaking of going off planet?  We have a message from MMM.  They would like to know what our trading route will be.  They made a point of wanting to know, if you are going to make system fall in the Canopus V area anytime soon.  They would like to talk about you hauling a high value cargo to Canopus, for them.  I would bet that it’s some Shadow Hawks mechs, and maybe a few Pike tanks.  You have an armed JumpShip, a Leo CV, and a Blockade Runner.  It makes since and cents for them, because they would not have to pay for an escort on that run of cargo.” 

Robert drummed his finger on the tabletop, as he pictured the local space in his mind and worked out different routes.  “I was not planning to go to Canopus V, yet.  Its five jumps from here.  That stop was going to be on our second run, if this one worked out.” 

Jess shot Robert a look, that was not nice.  It said she was not happy with Robert telling this person, that they were going to make a second run.  Something like that information, might let Lora know more than she should.  Operation security was a major driving point on all of the previous supply runs.  SLIC was a firm believer in the old saying, “that you could not tell anyone what you do not know in the first place.” 

Robert saw the look, but he did not let the look affect him in the least.  He turned just a little bit, just to show Jess that he was talking “at” her.  “I was going to see what I could find here, to fill out what the Boss said she needed.  Then use someone from the Families to see where I might need to go to find the rest of it and top off my cargo bays.  We were going to keep going until we had full cargo holds, and then return home.” 

Lora looked quickly between Captain Copeland and Jess.  She noticed the by play but she could not put her finger on what it meant, just yet.  When Robert stopped talking and Jess had not added anything.  Lora decided to break the silence.  “I would recommend that you not go to Canopus, yet.  I think we can find other locations, that would fill your needs on this trip.  That would give me more time to contact someone on Canopus V, and it most likely would take more than a single message.  They could set everything up, before you got there.  If you can?  Before you leave, please let me know what you plan to trade on any return trip.  If it is another JumpShip?  Any advanced notice would be great, but the more time I have to work with would be better.  I was kind of worried that you might have to sit on the Scout for a few months, before anyone could come up with the capital to buy it.  There are very few people on the planet that are sitting on a quarter billion C-bills that are not being used somewhere else.” 

Lora looked around the table but from the blank look coming from Mike, she quickly focused on Jess and Robert.  Lora got the feeling that she crossed a line into something, she was not supposed to know about.  But she needed to know somethings, if she was supposed to do her job effectively.  She always wanted to do any job the best that she could, and to do that?  she needed some information that it seemed their employers were not willing to give her. 

“Lora, you know that operational security is the keystone of our people.  And I think that, that part of your training was covered before Beth died.  I will have to think about it, before I will let you know any information like that.”  Robert had stopped eating and was looking Lora dead in the eyes, but his head was tilted slightly down.  This made is eyes look like they were cannon tubes, and they were locked onto her. 

“I understand, Captain.  I need to let the people over at MMM know something?  What should I say?”  Lora backed off, some.  If Copeland wanted to play it that close to the vest, then that was his call to make.  It would just limit the deals that she could make, or any discounts that might be lying about only known to the right people.  Maybe money did not matter that much to this man.  She had dealt with more than a few micromanagers, in her career.  She also knew deep down that she would have to work with that type of person again. 

Robert looked around the table, and all eyes were on him.  “Well this is why I get paid the big C-Bills, and why I’m the boss”

Robert went into command mode.  “Tell them.  That we are heading towards the FWL via the shortest path to pay off our partners, and that we are only buying cargos.  We are not interested in setting up any charter deliveries, at this time.  If they push?  Then just tell them you don’t know where we are going.  Say that maybe we are just a small company, and we do not want any others to know what our plans might be.  This is true, and if they don’t like it?  Well to bad for them.”  Jess was nodding her head as Robert talked. 

Lora looked down at her noteputor and worked on it with her fingers sliding across the screen for a few minutes, before she started typing on the screen vigorously.  She only stopped her typing to take a few bits of food that had been left on her plate, till she was done.  When she was done?  She looked up from her screen. 

“Okay I sent a message with what you said.  That should let them down easy.  I added some verbiage to cover any political issues your plans might cause.”  She was glad, when she saw that both Robert and Jess nodded and even seemed to relax a bit.  It looked like she had avoided some unmarked minefield before she had made it too far into the damn thing. 

It was quiet again as the four people went back to eating the food in front of them.  Just as they each were finishing the meal, but before the plates were picked up.  Lora’s noteputor made a buzzing sound, and she looked down at the header information on the incoming messages.  This slight noise caused by the device had drawn all of the eyes at the table to her. 

“Well that was fast.”  She looked over at Robert and opened the message.  “That was from the head of the Sales department for MMM on the planet.  That was not who I sent the message to, about your upcoming travels.  This is from a midlevel sales rep.  They said that they have two runs of Martel 5 Medium Class lasers, that they are now overstocked with.  They would like to sell them to you.” 

Lora looked up from her device.  Then picked it up so that she could read and look at her boss at the same time.  “Robert a full production run for Martel’s is about 25 weapons.  And it does not matter if they are small, medium or 90mm large bore gamma lasers.  So, you’re looking at fifty laser weapons of that size.  What would you like me to tell them?  She also said that they have re-viewed our wish list of items. They would like to send an invitation to you, to come to their main outlet store.  Which you can use at your convenience.  Someone must really like you, Sir.”  Lora’s eyes got big as she finished reading the message. 

Robert about choked, on the last bite of bread.  What could they do with fifty medium class lasers systems straight from the manufacture?  That would go a long way to finishing arming the last of the Viper MK VII’s that the Colonial Navy were flying when he left New Circe.  That is, if that many weapons did not complete the needed installations.  It also might let the Colonial Supply System to start getting a bit of a stockpile as replacements for the Colonial Navy.  Now, all they needed to do was find about fifty more.  That would fill the whole number on the wish list, that Commander Xi had given him.  The list that Robert had given Lora to put out, had that they wanted “A shipment” of that type of weapon in a short list of different styles. 

Robert smiled, after he got his face under something close to control.  “It seems like MMM would like to get some of their money back, before we leave.  I would like to take care of this as quickly as we can.”  He looked around the table before continuing.  “Do we think we can head over to the show room today?  We don’t have the money in the bank, yet.  But if we can find out what they have on hand?  Then all we should need to do, is transfer the funds and have them drop off what we find and like at the dropships.”  Robert knew that he was making it sound easy, and he knew that it was going to be anything but easy. 

Jess was the first to say anything.  “That sounds like a plan, Captain.  The longer were here?  The easier it will be for someone to start looking closer, than I would like, at us.”  Even Mike was shaking his head in agreement to this statement.  Pirates were well known to be in this area of space.  Someone robbing a grounded dropship was not an every month type of an event, but it was close.  More to the point, it often looked that way. 

“Well, Mike?  It seems like you will have a lot more to do on this trip, than you thought.  Lora how long do you think we have, before the car is ready to pick us up?  I want to contact the ships to see how things are going, before we head out on another task.” 

The job of the senior officer never ends.  You must have so many balls in the air at any one time?  That you ought to be in a circus act, before you are allowed to take on a major command. “This is a very tiring job,” thought Robert.  “I need to call it an early night tonight”

Lora was looking down at the computer, while Robert was talking.  She did not hear what he had been talking about.  “Sorry, Robert.  I was sending a message back to Don.  He was online, and he replied as soon as it was sent.  He would not mind if we came by at the same time tomorrow, to discuss a price for his mech.  The MMM Sale’s floor just opened an hour ago.  We can show up anytime, that works for us.  Their policy is that they just like it better if you call ahead, so that they can do a credit check on any visitor.  That is something you do not have to worry about, Sir.”  Lora had a full smile on her face.  This was the first client she had worked for, that could claim that price was not an issue. 

Robert repeated what he had said.  A very embarrassed Lora told him that the driver should be on the street probably, or in a parking area at the end of the block.  They could leave whenever they needed to.  Robert asked about the cost of these types of services.  He was worried that they might be wasting money on what was an extravagance, in his eyes.  Lora had to explain, in some detail, that the exchange rate between the C-Bill and what the locals used as a currency.  This meant that they would only spend about ten C-Bills a day for this door to door and on call drivers service.  Robert was okay with that bill. 

Robert pulled out a small communication device from his pocket and walked to a quiet spot on the floor.  He stopped by a big window that looked down onto the front entrance to the building.  The device was the size of a pack of cards, and they came in many different colors.  This one was a dull silver color, with the Tramp class JumpShips name printed on two sides of the device in thick blood red letters.  It was a secure short-range push to talk radio, that was very cutting edge.  It had a range of a little over 20km but was perfect for the ship’s crew to use, while in town.  ComStar would not know about them or how to decrypt the messages sent from them.  The trick was not to do things that would cause ComStar to look for them.  They should be able to cover the range out to the distances that the crew and teams would be traveling from the dropship, while looking for the things on the wish list that they were supposed to buy.  It they were going much farther away from the drop port?  They had a larger older Star League military spec radio they would have taken with them. 

Robert used the personal communication device to contact the bridge of the Maru and the White Rabbit.  Both ships reported, that they had no major issues to report to the mission commander.  They did report that all of the morning teams were still out, and the first groups of people on R and R had just left the first ship a few hours ago. 

Captain Roberts spent about ten minutes talking with each of the two dropship commanders.  He updated them both, that he planned to go to the MMM showroom, before coming back to the Drop port.  He asked the Captain of the White Rabbit to contact the ships at the jump point.  He wanted to see how they were doing, and if they needed to report anything.  Robert was developing an itch that he could not explain.  He was hoping that this little talk and his leading questions, would prod the other Captains to be a little more aware of what was going on around them. 

When he was done Robert returned to the dining table?  He was just in time for an after-lunch drink of some of the best coffee he had in recent memory.  After everyone had relaxed a little and the food was allowed to settle, it was time to get back to work.  They were all reluctant to leave the Café, but there was work that still needed to be done.  Lora had called ahead, and the car was waiting outside of the Cafe’ for them when they exited the front door. 

The drive to the MMM Showroom was not that long.  It was centrally located in this city for any visitor to this planet to see.  As you would expect, it was closer to the Drop port than to anywhere else that was a point of interest.  After all, the drop port was the expected source of their prospective clients.  It was a large 8 story tall heavy constructed building, but it only had two rows of windows on its tall walls. 

The showroom did not have a very nice looking front, it should have been called a warehouse, and not a showroom.  The thing was, people did not spend a million C-Bills at a warehouse.  After dropping off the four travelers the sedan drove into an underground parking deck to keep it close, but out of sight by any unwanted individuals.  It was expected.  That people, who did have a million C-bills to spend, did not want others to know they were there. 

###############

Notes.

How do you support a one-off machine, when the only production that had ever been made is on the other side of the Inner Sphere?  Besides I always had a soft spot for the Wolfhound.  It has a few ideas that even the Clan did not think about.  At least not until they ran into one in 3049. 

How and where, would a down on his luck pilot keep his machine?  I just took what I saw from one of the gear heads down the road and worked from there. 

Maintaining and working on strict OpSec, is like walking a fine line with landmines on either side. 

Next is how do the big boys do sales, but not to the government or to the larger units?  That is going to be “The Show Room”. 


glitterboy2098

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #77 on: 27 August 2019, 21:53:00 »
given the merc had some contact with the Dragoons, i'm curious to find out how the wolverines are going to try and pump him for information.
also, that the Combine was getting supplies of Star league designs from somewhere during 3039.

i'm also curious as to whether the merc had a model of the ARC-2W version the Dragoons used. (edit: because it is one of only two models of Archer developed after the fall of the star league, and unlike the -2S, which had been around for nearly 150 years, the Dragoon's Model was only introduced in 3010, and they the assembly line for them was lost in 3028. and the Dragoons didn't sell them and rarely let them outside their unit. so it should be a model of Archer that the Wolverine Characters wouldn't recognize, thus worthy of notice in terms of general info gathering. and when they learn the provenance of the type, the fact that the Dragoons had their own production site for archers, and their own custom version, would be info that they'd be interested in because it might be hints as to exactly what the dragoons were doing in the IS. )
« Last Edit: 28 August 2019, 03:51:41 by glitterboy2098 »

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #78 on: 27 August 2019, 22:00:04 »
given the merc had some contact with the Dragoons, i'm curious to find out how the wolverines are going to try and pump him for information.
also, that the Combine was getting supplies of Star league designs from somewhere during 3039.

i'm also curious as to whether the merc had a model of the ARC-2W version the Dragoons used.

the bust up short BN commander had a friend that was a XO of a Wolf Dragoon BN.  This mech worrier was just a SGT and will not have much intel.  Yes he would have a ARC-2W but only Copeland would know that, if he looked real close or if it had a name plate.   

glitterboy2098

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #79 on: 28 August 2019, 03:56:22 »
still, that is a person who at least had a more direct exposure to publicly available information on the dragoons that isn't basically the 31st century equivalent of a Dime Novel.. as intel people they'd try to find out what he knows about them purely as a foundational effort for later intel gathering.

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #80 on: 28 August 2019, 21:24:43 »
still, that is a person who at least had a more direct exposure to publicly available information on the dragoons that isn't basically the 31st century equivalent of a Dime Novel.. as intel people they'd try to find out what he knows about them purely as a foundational effort for later intel gathering.

I just went looking.  part of this is going to be covered at the end of Chapter 14.  I is only a few lines.  I might be able to expand on that as I flush out other chapters.  input is always welcome. 

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #81 on: 16 September 2019, 20:12:01 »
Chapter 13

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

Late on 14 Dec 3046
The Dunianshire system
Shopping spree. 

The group of four entered the massive building, that was kind of a warehouse and a showroom all in one.  It was for MMM, the largest producer of military weapons for this political group on the edge of settled space.  As soon as they had entered the main doors of the facility.  They could tell, that this was not just a run of the mill warehouse.  It was also a major defense point, for some very big opponents.  The building was complete with very thick walls, armored glass, and with heavy armored shutters to close off the building from any unwanted accessors.  Those were only the defensive points, that were clearly visible to the naked eye.  Robert made a mental bet that the building also had its own power supply to power those hidden weapons. 

The building was so bright inside.  That the group did not have to wait for their eyes to adjust to the inside space, from the bright outside sun light.  If it had been cloudy or if the sun had gone down?  They might have been blinded by the bright lights from the ceiling or from the light reflecting off all of the shiny surfaces that surrounded them, as they first entered the building.   

The entry way was large.  But not overly so with a receptionist manning a tall, massive, shiny and maybe wood looking desk.  It was set dead center of the two doors that allowed access to the building from the outside world.  It was instantly obvious that the massive desk was set up to control access to the main building, and to the showroom behind the office workspace and reception area.  The group of visitors only had to wait for a few minutes, after identifying themselves on who they were, to the gate keeper.  Soon after that a sales representative was fast walking in her high heels.  She was heading toward the group from a side office down an internal corridor that was half hidden from the waiting area. 

Drawn by the clicking of heals on the reflective floor, Robert saw her coming and thought she might be heading for them.  As soon as he thought that, but before he could alert the rest of his team.  Her actions took that need out of his hands.  That was when, he saw that she slowed down a little to catch her breath.  She carefully straightens her expensive suit, before closing the last few meters of open floor to them.  She introduced herself as Dawn, and that she would be showing them around the Show Room today. 

With a flourish of her right arm she pointed to a set of doors behind the massive desk.  As soon as the thick, and maybe armored opaque glass doors opened.  There was a massive change to their surroundings, again.  It was a massive area, once they were past the entry way.  Robert stopped counting the mechs on display, when he hit 24 of them in the large open area that was separated from the waiting room.  And those were the only ones that he had a line of sight with, after entering the main showroom area.  He was betting that there were some smaller ones being blocked by their larger brothers. 

While Robert looked around, he was wondering what stopped any pirates from raiding this building.  Two whole companies of battlemechs, just sitting around?  That would be a lucrative target even this long after the 4th SW.  Then Robert notices one of the mechs move just a little bit.  It was not much of a movement.  It was just like someone adjusting in their seat while they were sitting in the cockpit. 

With this one clue, in his mind.  Robert looked closer at the first mech.  It was a rebuilt Atlas assault mech.  Now he could tell that there was someone in the cockpit of the mech.  The pilot did not wave or anything, but the pilots were busted, and they knew it.  Robert had to smile.  “That would stop anyone from getting any ideas of shop lifting, with having about twenty-four manned and operational mechs in the mix to stop them.  I bet they are most likely crewed by the MMM security unit or a specially hired mercenary unit”

The first two mechs in the show area, were the massive Atlas and an equally impressive Awesome class machine.  The slightly smaller unit was standing not that far from the 100ton machine, as gate guards.  Both of the rebuilt machines were marked, as being for sale, but they did not list how much they might cost.  The sales rep went into detail about each.  She had started with the more massive machine, and now that it was revealed to be manned.  She took advantage of the sharp-eyed visitor.  This included giving the mech pilots orders to move their arms or twist to show off the massive machines in different poses. Then she had the slightly smaller Awesome go through the same motions as she had the Atlas.  Seeing that the group was not interested in the massively expensive machines, she went down the line to the next machine on display. 

Next in line were two types of new built Marauders, a 3R and a 3M.  Robert had seen this type of machine before, so he was not interested in these oddly shaped mechs.  Next to be seen, after the pair of Marauders, where four new locally built Shadow Hawks.  Each one was described as a different version, of that very old design.  One of the versions had the jump jets removed in favor of mounting both heavier armor and more weapons.  Next they were shown a Stinger, a Wasp, and two versions of the Locust light mech.  The sales rep was a little let down that the VIP group she was showing around, did not seem to be really looking at buying combat mechs. 

Those machines were the center of the showroom’s whole display area.  It was also the focus of how the MMM’s sales department used for the determination of promotions and bonuses.  She had only just been told, that this group had a lot of money.  Money which the leadership of her company wanted to take as much of, as they could legally take off of their hands.  She had been told, in no uncertain terms.  That she was to sell them anything they wanted, just as long as they spent money.  Also, strangely, she had a last-minute note from someone over in the main corporate building.  They wanted her to see, if she could find out everything they might have for sale in return.  She had almost missed a step when that note had been sent to her as she walked over to meet the VIP’s.  This was The Showroom.  They did not normally “buy” anything.  Very rarely did they even deal with trade ins.  That was a whole different division of the company, and they were normally handled at the drop port.  The show room was for sales. 

Now, they were all the way back against the back wall of the massive building.  She was now showing them the ground combat vehicles that were built by MMM.  If someone was not interested in battlemechs, then they should be interested in ground combat vehicles.  Against the back wall was a pair of long rows of death.  They were made up of tracked LRM and SRM Carriers, Po, Manticore tanks and Pike support vehicles.  The group of outsiders looked at each one and listens to her go about her sales pitch.  But she could tell that they wanted to move on to the next display.  Interspaced between the real-life weapons were images of examples of items that MMM could acquire, if they were given enough lead time and a graduated service fee.  These “displays” also did not get any higher interest than the real displays had from the small group. 

Dawn’s superb selling sense told her that the only thing that had grabbed the group’s attention, had been the Sabre aero fighter.  That alone had told her.  That they had money, that they wanted to spend today.  If only she could find out, what they wanted to spend that money on.  Dawn was about to start freaking out.  She kept those feelings hidden away in one small corner of her brain, and it would not show on her face or in her very controlled body language. 

If they walked out, without showing any interest, and or not buying any of the high-ticket weapons?  She might lose her nice paying job, as soon as they got into their taxi.  That is when it hit her.  She was showing and not asking, what they would like to see.  Now she had to figure out how to save the situation she had found herself, hip deep into.  She spun around on her expensive high heels and faces the group of four off worlders. 

“So, that concludes the normal tour.  Is there something you’re interested in, that we do not have on the main floor of the Show Room?”  She was keeping her face plastered with a salesperson smile, but her hands were behind her back to keep them hidden. 

Robert had been taking mental notes during the whole song and dance being put on by Dawn.  But besides the Fighter?  He was wondering if this was a waste of time, or not.  The Fighter was nice, and with the Colonial Navy now fielding the Royal version of that craft.  They were the same type that they found, when they recovered the carrier Kaga. 

It might have been worth picking up a few, if they could be modified up to the Royal level weapons tech with ease.  The down sides?  It was that the fighter would have to be stripped down to the frame and rebuilt with current technology from the hull out.  Robert knew that was not going to be cheap or easy to do.  That is why Robert thought they would take a pass, on even the little fighter.  Fighters were not on his list to take back home, and they were only borderline “interesting”.  He was not going to spend that kind of money on borderline. 

Robert would write down those notes about it and pass it along to his boss, when they got back to New Circe.  Someone with a higher pay grade might just decide to put in a request to get some, on the next run.  Then again, they might just toss those notes in the waste bin and move on to other maybe greener pastures.  Then again, the grass is always greener over the septic tank. 

“Dawn.  Your showroom is most impressive, but it does not really have what we need.  Where we are scheduled to stop over, at least for the next few months have different needs than I think you are used to filling.  I am not in the mood to compete against larger importers.”  Robert waved to point to the whole show room that was around him.  “What you have shown us, is not really what we are looking for.  Did someone not pass you the list of things, that my group is looking to acquire as cargo?”  The tone of voice carried his confusion. 

Robert was looking right at Dawn, and from the look on her face?  She had not been given much of a brief on what Copeland Supply was looking to buy today.  He could see flashes of anger between attempts to conceal her confusion.  This was only causing more anger flashes to be drawn to the surface of her face.  Robert had to fight down a smile, at seeing the rapidly changing color of her skin.  It would seem, that someone had been playing interoffice games again.  “I bet she is going to pay someone back in a big way.

“I take it, you were not told.”  Robert bit his lower lip.  You would expect better inter office communications, for something that has been around as long as MMM had been.  “Dawn where we are going, is off the beaten path.  What we are looking at?  Is picking up tools, construction equipment, and other things along those same lines.” 

Robert passed his noteputor over, so she could see the full list that they had posted on this planet’s worldwide information net.  They had done that posting so that everyone would know what they were looking for.  This was hoped to stop any unwanted contact and speed up there shopping time needed to fill the dropships’ cargo bays.  It would seem, that it had not worked as well as Robert had hoped.  But it did cut down on unwanted contact, somewhat.  It was just too bad, that this sales rep. had not seen it. 

Dawn was looking at the list on the offered electronic device.  She was furious about not being told about this list.  She had just wasted a lot of time, and she could have very well lost this client.  She quickly reviewed the list with a little more attention than the first glance.  She noted that it was strange, they did not want any mechs or tanks.  Everyone wanted mechs.  Battlemechs had always been a sellers’ market in living memory of anyone working for MMM.  There were always people that wanted one, even if they did not have the money to buy one.  As she looked down the list again.  She was not really looking that close.  She was getting a feel for what they were looking for.  She was going down the mental list of things, that she knew The Showroom had in the back room that might fit what he had told her. 

“Sir?  We normally do not carry this type of merchandise on the main floor.  How about, we all go out to the outside park and see what we have out there that you might like.”  She raised one of her arms and pointed to a side door on the far side of the building from their current location.  She had no idea what was all back there.  If she had been given that list, before she had started her routine?  She would have known everything that was back there, by heart.  She was thinking about how she was going to make whoever set her up today, pay.  As they exited the building, she was picturing sporks and sensitive organs. 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The “Outside Park” had a very different feel then the clean and climate controlled “The Showroom”, which they had just left.  Everything in there had been clean, neat, and if not new.  Then they all had been freshly rebuilt to a high quality.  It was that or the tape and bailing wire was carefully covered.  The outside area was a lot dirtier and grittier, on all levels.  Some of the outside displays even had unrepaired visible damage on them.  Some of the displays even looked like they would need major repairs, before they could move off the lot under their own power.  Robert thought that these machines were sold as is, and with a “buyer beware” sign posted in the cockpit of each one.  Those signs were not there by company policy, but they would have been left there by the last pilots.  All without MMM knowing about it, they hoped.  The group passed all of these war machines and kept walking around the area closest to the door. 

Robert was a little surprised, but in a good way, that Dawn kept right on walking passed the damaged war machines.  She was making small talk as she walked, but nothing that was related to the walking or other more conventional motive systems, that they were passing.  They were getting close to the end of the open lot, at a steady pace.  Robert could see the wall and gate that allowed secure entry and exit to the facility between some almost hulks, after a few minutes of walking.  Robert was again starting to think that this might have been a waste of time.  If he did not want new or rebuilt machines, why would he want wrecks? 

Dawn turned around just as they passed a mostly wrecked Scorpion tank, which had its turret hanging off to one side of the tank’s main hull.  There were still a dozen holes in the hull, and it still smelled of smoke.  “This is our workmech area.  This is not all of them.  We rent out a lot of the machines by the day, week, month, or even by the year.  If you’re a local company, and in good standing with MMM?  We will work with them on a rent to own program.  We have even been known to lend them, for free, after a disaster or major raid to certain groups to help with the rebuilding or other recovery efforts.” 

This area is even dirtier, then the area by the entrance to the Show Room had been.  Dawn was thinking, “I have got to sell them something, or I’m so gone”.  She looked down at her own Noteputor and then started up again with ”The Pitch”.  This was not her normal area, but she had a good bit of information on her device to help her. 

“We have two Rock Hound mining mechs, one Rock Otter, and one Dig Lord.  Plus, we have four Power loaders on hand, right at the moment.  There are more of the Power loaders, but they are being used at the Drop port for a short-term contract.  If you would like to see them?  We can have you dropped off, at the end of their work shifts later today.”  She was flipping through screens faster than she was talking. 

She was walking around a tall wall that might have been part of a storage and wash rack, but it had empty slots that looked to have seen recent use.  As the group followed, the quartet saw more machines standing in the hot sun over their heads.  “As you can see, we also have four carbine construction mechs, which will be returning tonight.  Last, but not least, we have three 30ton class logger mechs.”  With the last statement she turned and faced the group again.  She had a smile on her face, but it was a little strained.  She was out of cards, and she knew it.  “So, is this more in line with what you were looking for?”  Her voice now had an almost desperate undertone to it that contradicted her smile.  She was hoping to find a way to stay in the game. 

Robert and the rest of the group were looking around at the mass of machinery.  Robert had a tight lip look on his face, but inside he was happy.  Robert did a turn and gave some quick orders to his group.  “Mike, Jess why don’t you start over there and check them out.  You all know what we are looking for.” 

Robert could tell that Dawn was not getting it, so he turned and looked right at her as the other two went to the first two machines.  “We will be taking only the machines, that we think are up to our operational standard.” 

Mike and Jess had already walked up to the first machine, it was one of the Logger mechs.  He gave the sales rep one of his patented half smile.  “Now Dawn!  This is more like it!!  I think that we will be taking a few of these machines off your hands.  That is, as soon as MMM comes through on their end of the deal.  The one that we made before we got here, with Mr. McDonogh.” 

Robert even let the smile reach his eyes.  He was not dropping a dime.  He was dropping a manhole cover, and he kind of liked doing it.  Robert had hoped to be able to pick up three or four workmechs on this planet.  He had been surprised at the numbers of machines on display, even on a major world. 

Dawn was trying to be sly, but both Lora and Robert caught the hand movement the woman had just made.  What she had done, was just tapped the top corner of the screen on the noteputor in her other hand.  She had done it, just as she had been told to do.  That is if this group had decided to make a purchase at the Show Room today.  The two visitors did not say anything.  They just let the motion go so that it had seemed as it had been unnoticed, as if they were just three people watching two others checking out the tall walking machines. 

The other two were, first checking the logs of each machines.  Then Mike would climb the ladder and run the checks inside of the cockpit.  Jess would remain on the ground doing more studying of the historic operational logs.  It should have taken an hour to do each of the machines, but these machines were set up for review.  It also helped that the two people were working on this task, and not the one person that was normally given the job.  They were making good time, even if they were being thorough at the tasks.  The pair knew that if they missed anything major.  That they would hear about it when they got back home, and for many years to come. 

Jess and Mike had completed the review of four of the machines, when Lora’s noteputor buzzed for her attention.  When she looked down to read the message, Robert casually shifted position so he could read over her shoulder.  It was a bad angle, so Lora gave him a look before answering his unasked question.  “Well, Robert.  All of the money will be in the bank, by Close of Business today.  We can draw on the funds right now, if you want and it would be perfectly legal.  A fifth just hit your escrow accounts and the next fifth should be cleared for transfer by the top of the hour.  This is normal when they have to shift a large number of C-bills between banks.” 

What Lora did not need to say, was that both of her fees had already been pulled from the accounts, before he could spend a cent of it.  That still left a little over two hundred and forty million C-Bills for Robert to try to spend down, maybe even before they left the system.  You have to admit.  That is a problem a lot of people would love to have, at least once or twice in their lives. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #82 on: 16 September 2019, 20:22:57 »

“Well, that is good to hear.  That means we can pay for some of these toys, that those two are looking at.  Lora, can you please send a message back to the Maru for me?  They can now forward a message to the Styx.  That they can begin their shopping trip whenever they want to.  You can also post the full list.”  Robert had pitched his voice just loud enough for the sells person to hear him.  He thought that he knew the reason for the delay in the funds transfer.  Someone in MMM wanted to make sure they got a chance to get some of their money back.  This little speech had been worked out before they had left the restaurant. 

The two of them had been waiting to send that message for hours, and it felt like they had been waiting for days.  The Styx would now start actively asking around for a special list of key parts, which would fit a Merchant class JumpShip.  It was up to Jules to buy what he thought would be useful for their cover story and could be useful back in New Circe at the same time.  If he did not buy anything?  That was okay.  The key was to get the cover story out, to as broad an audience as possible.  This started the clock ticking about letting Lora know about the possible next mission.  It should not take someone with her contacts that long, to find out about the questions being asked about certain JumpShip parts.  Then there would be the pointed questions, that were going to be asked by her. 

Robert knew the Sales Rep had heard what he had asked, and he would bet that it would be passed along to her superiors later.  Now that he was looking at her.  He realized Dawn was being underutilized for the amount of money he was going to be spending, and he was hot.  “Dawn, can you have someone bring out some drinks for my people.”  She nodded and went back to her thin computer that was still held so tightly in her left hand, that her knuckles were white. 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Jess and Mike were setting at the foot of one of the Machines taking a break and talking.  Robert did not know what they were talking about, from where he was standing.  The three other people had already moved to a sitting area, which had a small selection of cheap lawn furniture.  That did not mean that it was not nice, and it just happened to be out of the sun as well as comfortable.  The pair had been going at it for two hours, but they still had four more machines to check out, before they were done.  The four machines that were due to come in, had come in.  It had been while the duo was finishing up checking on the last Rock Hound mining and prospecting mechs.  Robert could feel the let down from the pair from his place in the shade, when those four machines came marching through the gate.  It was like getting hit in the face with a fish. 

Robert had walked over a few times, to see how things were going with the pair.  Mainly it was just to chat with them, and to let them know that it was okay to take their time and do a good job.  He also wanted to know about a few other of the machines, but he did not want the sales rep to know.  So far, all the machines they had looked at, had checked out.  They told him, was that so far.  All they really needed was a good cleaning, before being stored in the cargo bay of a dropship to be taken off planet.  Well that, and a ride back to get them all safely back to New Circe.  The last part was not said aloud, but it was hinted at with head and eye movement. 

A few minutes later, a guy in a food vender’s outfit pushed a two wheeled cart over to the two people sitting on the mechs legs catching their breath.  This was his second time today, for it to have stop by them.  The pair knew that they had to be done as quickly as they could, so that they could get back to the dropship for the next meeting.  They also knew, that if they picked up what was referred to as “a lemon” for some unknown reason?  But it was known to come from the days before space travel.  It would reflect badly on them, when it was found out.  They could always come back to this place, if the Captain decided that it was taking too long today.  The time to find out that you have a bad machine, was not when you were over 1400 light years from where you bought the now useless machine.  Enough things would break, before they got back home. 

After servicing the two people out by the massive machines, the cart started moving again.  Then the cart came to the three people sitting around a heavy backyard table.  This was where Robert noticed something odd about the cart, for the first time.  On one side of the cart was a selection of about two dozen hard back books mounted in shelves on the side of the cart.  Robert was distracted from the books, when the vender asked what cold drinks they would like to have.  They all got up to see what was offered in the ice and glass bottled filled center void, of the three wheeled electric drink cart.  It was a wide range of drinks that would fit any time of day, or night for that matter.  Not for the second time Robert was glad that they had landed on a planet that English was the common language, unlike on some of the Drac or Cappie controlled worlds.  Here he did not need a translator for every little thing to know what he was buying

The two other ladies ordered a pair of fruit flavored drinks, and while the operator was taking care of them.  Robert looked down at the books on display.  All were thick, heavy and made of paper, there was not a single electronic book on display.  He was reading the titles but was having a hard time understanding some of them.  A lot of them were written in languages that Robert did not understand, or even could identify the letters that they were written in.  That was until he reached the end of the first row of books on the three wheeled cart. 

That book was clearly titled.  “The Complete Guide to Warfighting Machines of 3044.”  It was a massive book, like one’s that would be put out on a coffee table back home and never moved again.  It would have some very detailed images and as much information, the best that was available to the writers at the time it was last edited.  So, it should be one step below what the spies of the major houses might know about the subject covered with in its hard outer covers. 

Robert looked up from the books and made eye contact with the vender.  “Do you mind if I take a look at this book?”  He had no idea what the rules were, and he was treading very carefully.  Maybe a little too carefully, but it beats going to jail for doing something dumb.  Because something like that had happened before, and it was most likely going to happen again on this trip. 

Before the mobile drink vender could say anything.  Dawn interrupted him first, her tone was odd but light.  “Those are for our patrons.  It’s so they can compare our offered machines against any other known machine.  It also should help compare ones that they might know about but can only vaguely remember something about.  It sort of the light reading for, while…..  Well like we are now, waiting for the techs to get done doing any inspections or tests on the prospective machines.” 

Robert selected the book and asked for the same drink the women had, and then pulled the heavy book off the shelf.  He spent the next hour or so flipping through the mix of full color, black and white photos, and text filled pages.  He was so into the hard-backed book?  That he did not notice that Mike and Jess had walked back up, to rejoin the group.  Robert was a little startled when one of them set and empty glass bottle on the table right beside him. 

“If you would like a copy?  I can also add a copy as a comp, if you want to pay for an upgrade to the threat computer and have one of the Rock Hounds outfitted to hold it.  That is, if you choose to buy one of them?”  This was said by Dawn, as she gave Robert a sly little smile from across the table in the fading sunlight.  “If not?  I think you can pick up a copy at one of the major bookstores on planet.  I don’t know how much they cost, but it is probably about a hundred C-Bills or so for a digital or physical copy.”  She finished with a shrug of her shoulders.  She still did not know if they were going to write a check today, or not.  They looked like they were, but she had seen this before.  At the last minute they could back out after spending most of a day of her time.  If they came back tomorrow someone else might cherry pick them, unless one of them asked for her by name. 

Robert looked left and right, and after seeing that all of his people were nearby.  “Dawn, if you would give us some private time?  I need to get a back brief from my people.”  The Sales rep was already rising from the table as soon as Robert started talking.  It was a habit that had developed, over years of sales that had not started with her working for MMM.  The trick was to know when a group needed some privacy to talk about how much money they were about to drop in this office.  Or it could be that they were not interested in what was offered, and they were about to leave.  It was just one more step in going down the sale’s road. 

Mike was the first one to talk, because Jess was distracted by an image of a mech in the huge open book, which Robert had been looking at when they had walked up.  The image of a 100ton KGC-0000 or as it was more widely known King Crab, and it had a way of doing that to people.  Mike did not even notice that Jess was distracted.  “I checked all the industrial machines, which they have out here.  They all are used, some more than others, but all are in working order and well maintained.  I did not fire the Short-Ranged Missile system on the Rock Hounds, but they did pass all of the fire control self-tests, that I could run on them.  I say they are good to go, unless Jess found something in the logbooks that I did not see during my check outs.” 

Now Mike was looking at the other woman.  He was waiting for her to say something now that it was her turn to have input to this part of the mission.  He had no idea what she was supposed to do out here in the mech yard.  He just knew that she was part of the command staff for the whole mission.  That was good enough for him to not to want to ask to many questions. 

It took a few moments for it to reach Jess, that they were waiting on her for input on the mechs they had been looking at all afternoon.  “Ohh yes!  I went through all of the logs, and unless they are very good fakes?  They checked out.  MMM has been renting them out for about ten years or more.  The number of rental years is depending on the machine.  All the services have been completed and notes have been made, some notes are more detailed than others that were put in their logbooks.  I saw that some notes have been made where about when something major needed to be replaced, along with dates of the replacement.  I agree, all are worth purchasing and would help back home.  That is if they don’t want too much per machine.  They are used, to well-used level of condition, after all. 

Robert was lost in thought, and then he reached into his pocket and pulled out his push to talk radio.  Now that he did not “need” to be overheard.  He could use his own communications device.  “Maru, this is Copeland.  We are going to be late.  Please let everyone else know, about the change of plans.  We just will catch everyone up at the next meeting.  I want to have one at 0900, tomorrow.  If it’s important?  They can contact me on this thing or wait till we get back to the drop port sometime later tonight.” 

Robert waited for a few moments listening to the ear bud before continuing.  “Okay tell Jules that he has a ten million C-Bill budget.  If he needs more than that?  Then he needs to let me know, before he offers that kind of money on something big.”  It would seem, that something at the space station had attracted his attention and Robert was wondering what it might be.  Then he remembers, that with Jules?  Well you never knew, until it was in the cargo bays.  And sometimes you did not know until that cargo bay was fully unloaded. 

Robert put the comm away and looked at the little group around him.  He had a sly little smile that he made sure that Dawn could not see.  “Well let’s see how much of MMM’s money they are going to get back from us, in the next few minutes.” 

Everyone took a seat and sat back a little to relax, for a bit.  Their part of the mission was over, for now.  Now it was their turn to relax and let the Captain work up some brain sweat, to support the mission.  Robert looked up and started to look around, when he made eye contact with the Sales rep for the Show Room.  He waved her over, and he already had on his own salesman smile. 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Dawn gave a small smile, as she started to walk over to the table with the four strangers sitting around the heavy-duty yard table.  She was thinking that this was not going to be a big sale.  It would, however, keep the sales department heads off her case, for the next few days.  Maybe she would even keep her job for another week or month.  Every mech these people had looked at was at or over a Million C-Bills, out the door.  They were not a ten million C-Bills sale, like moving that Atlas would bring in.  Then again?  They have been trying to move that one beast for the last four years and they have had no takers, yet.  She still was hoping to pull that one off one day.  She had to push that dream out of her brain and focus on this sale, even if it was going to be smaller than she had first hoped for only a few hours ago. 

“Dawn, I think we are ready to see what your company is going to get out of us today.  Do you think we could have that gentleman come out again with some drinks, ones that are a little more potent than cold fruit juice?” 

Robert was loading the deck, for the Sales Rep.  Or that was what he was hoping, that she was thinking something like that.  Robert had been down this road before and was betting he was better at it, than this saleswoman was.  It was a gamble, and he like to gamble a little bit.  He had missed being able to do it so far.  The fun part?  It was that he was gambling with another person’s money, and they were okay with him doing it.  What more can a person wish for in a job? 

Normally she would not have called the vender to come out, outside his normal route.  Company policy was that it was reserved for higher end sales.  She had called him the first time because of the notice from Corporate about Captain Copeland coming to look around.  She thought that if someone that high in Corporate knew who this Captain was?  Then a few free drinks were in order.  The second stop by had been because it was on his normal route.  Besides a Wasp was about 1.6 million C-Bills new, and most of these machines were not that much cheaper than the 20ton weapon system.  So, Dawn sent a ping on her noteputor for the vender to come back out, before she sat down at the outdoor table again.  Her boss could cancel the request, but she had done as asked by this client. 

She would have preferred to work in one of the more lavishly appointed offices, that was also nicely air conditioned and dust free.  But if this was where they wanted to work?  Then she was game for it.  So, Dawn sat down in an old lawn chair to work on a million C-Bill sale.  Across from her was a local, that Captain Copeland had the foresight to hire.  Dawn had never worked for or against her before, but she had read a company report about her while they had waited.  She had been reviewing it again, when she walked away so that the group could have a private meeting. 

The report had said that she was very good or very bad, if you have to work against her.  It was said that her mother was also a real pain to work against, if she was working for the other side when buying any products from someone who had hired her.  Dawn had wondered why MMM had not hired her or forced her off planet, by now.  Well that was a thought for another day. 

Right now, Miss Noone was deep in her noteputor doing something, which no doubt was to help her client work this deal.  Dawn was still getting all of her notes together, when the vender made his way back to the table.  Everyone orders a local beer to drink, Dawn smiled to herself.  It always made her job easier, when the other side was drinking on an empty stomach.  Dawn re-pinged the drink vender with a code.  This was the code for him to stay near for the negotiations.  It also unfortunately pinged her bosses’ devices, and that might be bad, or they would just redirect the vender back inside.  She was doing everything by the MMM Sales book.  If her boss did not like it?  Well, at least she was covered, and HR would have to deal with her “bitch” side. 

When Dawn was drawing out the time, that she needed before she started the negotiating.  The longer she took, the better.  By the time she was ready to start the negotiations.  They all had almost finished their first beer.  Before Dawn could do more than say, boo.  Lora held her hand up.  It was the universal sign that she needed more time, before they could start the process of the sale of the machines.  Dawn smiled, this time it showed on her face.  Two beers should make her job that much easier, and a bigger commission for her to put in her bank account.  She might even get a full percentage bonus out of this, after all. 

Dawn knew the other side was ready, when Lora passed her noteputor over to Robert.  Dawn saw that it had a very detailed image of a 30ton logger mech.  “So, that is the one they want.”  Thought Dawn, as she pulled up some information in a small side screen on her own electronic device.  “Well, that’s the cheapest one they could buy.”  She had to fight not to let a frown come to her face at seeing the list price.  She was a commission sells rep, and the more expensive the machine they bought the more money she could take home. 

After giving Robert a few seconds to look at the data.  He turned it, so that Dawn could not see the screen anymore.  It was a letdown, but a million sale was a million C-Bill sale.  You did not do those every day, not even with a major Mech works on the planet like MMM.  If she could close this deal?  She would take home just under 10,000.  Well 10,000 c bills before all of the taxes and other fees were taken out of that check.  That was not a bad two months’ pay, if you can handle the stress.

Dawn put on her smile at full power, and eye locked the Captain.  “So, looks like you’re ready.  What machine are you looking at adding to your company today?” 

Robert had the screen pointed toward him, and then he looked right at the saleswoman.  “Dawn, do you give a discount when you purchase multiple machines?  That is if you buy them all at once?”  Asked Robert with a straight face.  He had seen Dawns face, when Lora had passed the noteputor to him.  The little downturn of her lips on the right side of her face said that she was hoping for a bigger sale, when she had seen the logger mech displayed on the small but bright screen.  It was just as Lora and he wanted it to be.  That also was the reason that he was going to start working this deal, and not her. 

“Boy is she in for a surprise,” thought Robert.  He had his poker face on, as he went to work.  He just added two points to his own score card against Dawn.  You had to have some way to know if you won, or to know how badly you lost. 

This was not the first time that Dawn heard of someone asking this question.  The answer was always the same.  “I am sorry, sir.  That is unless you’re buying a dozen, with a pre order request that has been filed with the home office.  MMM does not give a group discount.” 

She said out loud.  But in her mind?  It was going in hyper speed.  “Well this has gotten a lot better.”  Selling three machines, in one setting was rare.  So rare, in fact?  That she could not think of anyone working the floor of this building, today, that had done it before.  Even if the machines were the cheapest on the lot.  In the quantity they wanted, it would make this a very big sale. 

“So, you’re looking at all three of the Logger Mechs?”  She worked on her noteputor, until she found the page she wanted.  “They are a little over one point four million C-Bills each, so we can call it four point four million C-Bills.  Or four point three, if you pick them up yourself.  If you prefer, we can convert the amount to any of the house bills you like, if that would be easier.  MMM can handle most forms of House Bills, with minimal fees on the conversion over to C-Bills.” 

Robert had the same half smile on, that he used at other times like these.  “No, Dawn.  We will keep everything in C-Bills, if you don’t mind.  That is the way that we are used to working anyway.  We will start with those machines, and then see where we can go after that.” 

Robert looked down at the noteputor before he continued.  He did not want to see the saleswoman’s face just yet.  “From what I can see, those types of machines go for one point two five million C-Bills, new.  These machines are well maintained, but you would have to agree with me.  That they are far from new in condition.  Your company has been making money on the rental fees for some time, almost a decade on one of them.  Now, I don’t know how much you have been charging on those rentals.  I would bet they have already started to pay down the cost of buying them, in the first place.  I think three million for all of them, is a fair price.”  Now, it was time for Robert to watch how Dawn would react to that sum of money. 

Dawn was still sitting straight in her yard chair, but the lines at the corner of her eyes twitched a little.  “So, they might want more than just those three old machines.  This should be interesting.”  She kept her voice level, and she was wishing that she had her desk as a prop to use.  “Captain Copeland, I can go down as low as three point three for the lot.  That is, it.  Any lower and I will have to ask you for a job, and I hate space travel.” 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #83 on: 16 September 2019, 20:32:46 »

“This was not too far from the truth on both counts,” Dawn thought to herself.  She might have gotten away with taking three point one or even three million flat.  She could always say that she was trying to keep a VIP happy for MMM, as a whole company.  It would not fly that far but it would fly, somewhat.  It would depend on who these people really knew in MMM’s upper chain of command.  Anyone can name drop, after all. 

Robert thought about pushing harder, but then changed his mind.  The information that Lora had passed him, had said that the whole lot of the machines that they wanted.  All would sale for about nineteen point four million, in total.  He had thought about asking for a lot price, even after being told there was not a group discount.  Then he had gotten a feeling that Dawn would not go lower than nineteen or maybe eighteen point eight.  He could see her saying how great a deal they were making, at getting a half a million C-Bill price reduction off of the listed price.  That would be a hard-bargaining stance to beat, so he would break down what he wanted into smaller groups.  Then he could try to get a price break, that way.  It was going to make the day longer, but Robert felt that it was going to be worth the time.  He made himself look down at the screen again and he made a face that Dawn could only partially see, before he continued with his part of the dance. 

“Three point three million C-Bills is a lot of money, and I will still have the transportation cost in getting them off planet and out of this system.  I can do that, but I need them Agro inspection clean.  I also want a complete service regiment done on each one of them before I accept them.  And I want them delivered to my ships, at the drop port, at MMM’s cost.  On top of that, I will need them delivered no later than noon tomorrow.” Robert looked up from the screen with the last part of his verbal delivery, to see how she would react to that little bit of news. 

Dawn was fighting not to jump up and down. “Yes!!!”  she had done it.  The three conditions that he had asked for.  They all were free, no matter what machine they had bought.  Then it hit her.  He might be joking.  She had to make sure one way, or the other?  “We can do all of that, but we cannot deliver until payment, in full, has been made to MMM.” 

Dawn stop when she looked around the table.  Unless she was very wrong?  They were going to transfer the funds tonight. “No wonder Corporate HQ was involved.  These guys had some money to draw on!!”  Now Dawn knew that they had not been just name dropping.  These people were the real deal, and they wanted to spend a hill sized amount of C-Bills.  All because they had them. 

“Okay, then we have a deal Captain Copeland.”  She started to stand up, but something made her stop and return to her yard chair.  No one else was rising from the table.  She lost her composure for a few long seconds and started looking around the table.  She was trying to work out what she had missed.  She had gotten so focused on closing the sale, that she had forgotten the little words “for now” that the Captain had said at the start. 

Lora looked at Dawn, and it took almost a full minute for her to realize that Lora was waiting for something.  When Dawn got her work face back on, she was looking back at Lora.  Lora figured that she needed to get the next step going on her own.  “Dawn, we would like to pass the funds for these machines right now and end this part of the deal.  Do you have the account number and billing code, which I can transfer the funds to now?  We do not want to get caught out, if the banks close a little early today.” 

Dawn looked down at her noteputor, and quickly found the information and sent it to Lora’s digital mail address, one had been in her file.  She had never been there, when someone paid a multimillion C-Bill deal in full.  The same day that it had been agreed to.  It was a little unsettling, to tell you the truth.  She could tell that this was not over yet.  Her heart rate started to climb again as she waited for the data transfer. 

Lora’s noteputor buzzed and she looked down, and her fingers went to work in short flashes of movement.  “There we go.  The funds are working towards the account number you gave me.  I hope it was the right one, dear.  MMM does not like mistakes like that.”  Lora’s smile took the sting out of the last few words of her statement, but it was only half a joke and both women knew it.  You could run far and fast with the kind of funds, that had just been passed digitally between the two bank account numbers. 

Robert looked from Lora back to Dawn the Saleswoman.  “Now that is done.  Dawn what can you do on both of those Rock Hounds and the single Rock Otter mech?”  Asked Robert, as he folded his arms across his chest and waited for a reply.  This was starting to be a bucket full of fun, for the man from far away. 

Dawn was stunned. “They wanted more than those machines, after all.”  This could be a good night.  The key might be keeping them here and happy, as long as she could.  “Captain Copeland, exactly how many machines are we going to be talking about tonight?  If we are going to be here for a while?  Maybe I should have some real food delivered for us?  I believe Miss Noone likes the food at Café Le Chiffre.”  Dawn was remembering a bit of the other woman’s file.  She had been very surprised at how much detail MMM had on this woman and her family. 

Robert looked around the table, before saying any more.  He could see agreement on all of his people’s faces, about the offer of food.  “Dawn, food would be very nice.  If you do order something, just have them send over our usual.  If you, please?  As for how long we will be here.  This is dependent on how long it takes to reach the top of our pre-planned budget.” 

He gave a sly grin that Dawn found sexy, and he cocked an eyebrow at her.  “Before you ask.  I will not tell you what the budget is.  You will know, when I tell you.  That we are there, and our buying has come to a close.  Now back to those mining mechs.”  Robert drops the grin and his face went still as stone, as he waited for a reply. 

Dawn needed to think quickly and accurately.  “Let me take care of the food first, and let my bosses know that we will be here for some time.  We will also need some banking support.  I think that we will need to let them know, before they go home for the night.  They so hate it, when we call them in after they have gone home for the night.  They tend to drag their feet, when you make them go back to their comfortable offices.”  She gave a soft laugh at her own joke, but it did not carry over with Robert’s group.  Robert just gave her a slight nod of his head.  Dawn got up from the table to take care of what she needed to. 

When Dawn rose to leave the table, Lora reached again for her personal noteputor.  She opened a program.  She sent the driver waiting for them a notice, that they were going to be longer than expected.  She told him that he could leave and get him something to eat, and to charge it to them.  By the time Dawn was reaching for the door to the Show Room, the sedan was already pulling out of the underground parking area.  There was a very happy driver at the controls of the hover car.  Not only was he getting overtime?  He was now getting a free meal on top of that. 

When Dawn entered the building, her boss, his boss, and her boss all were waiting for her out of sight from the yard.  She waved to them but went to the land line first to take care of the food order.  She was surprised when she told the Cafe’ who the food was for.  Then with those few magic words. They had no problem making a food delivery, as long as payment would be given at the time of delivery.  This was common for a short list of food venders, that MMM had used in the past, but this was a first-time order to this location.  It would seem, that the file was again correct about Miss Noone.  She had friends, and then she had some friends that would do a lot to keep working with her. 

Now with seven meals on the way, to help further “grease” the skids of negotiations.  She had to deal with her supervisors, before going back outside to make another deal for who knew how many millions of C-Bills.  That was one thing she hated about this job.  Bureaucracy over deals, dominated this level of the massive manufacturing company. 

When she came back from the land line.  She fast walked back to her supervisor’s office to give them an update on these strange VIPs.  She started by telling them that Copeland and group, had bought the three logger mechs.  They were not that impressed, until she told them that they had transferred the funds already to pay for them.  This was met with some disbelief until one of them checked with the finance department, and they contacted the bank. 

It only took a few minutes of talking before the bank told them, that they had a three point three million C-Bills deposit being processed for the sales department’s primary account.  Dawn did not realize, that she had been a little nervous when they contacted the bank.  But it looked like they were giving a billing code that matched the one on Dawns computer.  After some quick explaining that Dawn’s clients were not done shopping, but they wanted to discuss the purchase of the Rock Hound/Otters on the back lot with her boss.  She just told them that they were hinting that they might want all three of the working machines.  That is, if she could close this part of the deal with this group.  A deal that they were delaying her on. 

The three-person management team was not overjoyed about the sale price for the workmechs, but they knew that they were used machines.  They still would turn a nice profit in the books, on that one sale.  They told her.  If she closes the deal on those three other machines?  She would break the Show Rooms best day, for the number of Mech sold in one day ever.  They wished her luck on breaking the single day sales of twelve million C-Bills.  The words were nice, but the tone that those words had been given were not.  Both of those records had been set by her second line boss.  What was not said, but Dawn knew from the watercooler talk.  It had taken MMM over three months, to get all of the money for that lance of Battlemechs she had sold to the mercenary unit.  She let the evil tone slide off of her back.  She had some money to make in commissions. 

She told them that they needed to make sure that the full cleaning and service crew came in first thing in the morning.  She restated that this Captain would want the machines, he was buying tonight, in his hands by noon tomorrow or there would be hell to pay.  She also told them that she might need someone with banking connections to be available, before she was done tonight.  She did a little lift of her chin, and her smile was pure evil. 

At first, her boss thought she might just be showing off and trying to get under her skin by being cocky.  That was until her boss and the senior person in the room got up to leave and told her the same thing, that Dawn had said.  Now it was not a joke.  She reached over and called the head of the Finance department and made arrangements, for someone in that department to be there all night.  They were to stay at work until they were contacted and told that they were not needed anymore, by someone in the sales department.  She advised them to keep an eye out for any fund transfers coming from her office tonight.  She got some push back from that department, but she stomped on it.  All she had to do was mention her boss’s name, and that did the trick.  She did not even have to go to the level, that the word to help them had come from the President’s personal assistant with a bullet. 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Dawn had a strut to her walk, as she left the office.  Her boss and the only male in her food chain, smiled and gave her a thumbs up.  Dawn returned the gesture, with a sly smile on her face.  If she sold just one more machine?  she would get a lance bonus.  If she broke the all-time sells for the total number of C-Bills, in one day?  That was another bonus on top of the lance bonus.  She told herself to check what the bonus was for selling two lances worth of equipment, in one day might be.  She was running the numbers in her head, to see how much she might be making today and tonight.  That was just in bonuses and commissions she already had in the bank.  She was looking forward to taking that nice month-long vacation on the beach, that she had wanted to take for years.  First, she was going to pay for a year of her homes lease.  She knew that for every feast, there are going to be two famines.  She had to fight down the urge to click her heals together as she cleared the office space. 

When she exited the door to the back lot, she could see Captain Copeland and group with their feet up on the lawn table relaxing drinking more beers or wine.  Even the man that ran the Vender cart was talking with them.  She noted that this group made friends easily.  All they needed was a little fire burning and it could have been a backyard get together, instead of a multimillion C-Bill business deal that it already had become. 

As Dawn got closer to the group, the feet had come down off the table and the vender started to leave.  He quickly decided, that he should just move a little way away from this group and sales rep for the Show Room.  He stopped just out of hearing range, so the group could have some privacy.  He still was close enough to be called over, when anyone needed refills or just some fresh drinks.  He knew that the “wine” was mostly fruit juice in a wine glass.  He should have alerted the sales rep, but he had been given a nice tip.  Besides the sales reps tended to look down at him.  He knew that most of that was due to him being able to pee standing up. 

Dawn pulled the yard chair out and sat down at the yard table.  It took a few moments for her to get comfortable.  A business suit and a lawn chair did not mix well, but she was trying her best to pull it off.  All the while trying to maintain her dignity.  When she felt that it was good enough.  She looked back at the leader of this quartet. 

“So, Captain Copeland.  Were you looking to make another bulk purchase on the Rock Hounds and the Rock Otter, also?”  She was not sure, but you had to start somewhere. 

Lora was the one to answer and not Robert, this time.  This was a standard trick to keep the seller off of their game plan.  “Yes, we are looking to buy all three of them.  That is, if the price is right.  What would you call a fair price?” 

Dawn looked down at her little computer again.  The little noteputor had an image of the Rock Hound and all the information on it, that she needed to make the sale.  “Well, I guess I will start.  They all are listed for sale on the planetary information net, and the total comes to right at five point six million for the trio.“  Now all she had to do was wait, for the counter bid to come from the other side of the table.  She knew that the listed price was high, but she had not lied to the man and his team.  That was what the total, of what was listed for them on the sales public access network came to. 

Lora just blinked at the other woman in “shocked” surprise.  “Are you kidding me?  Dawn, you have the logbooks.  The total, new out of the factory is maybe five point five.  And these machines are old.  The Rock Otter is listed as having been salvaged from the bottom of a shallow ocean over fifty years ago, and she is the newest of the three.  Would you like to try again?” 

“Oh crap,” Dawn looked down at her computer and flipped to the information on the Otter.  Miss Noone was right about the Otter.  Everyone knew that saltwater was very bad on machinery and worse on mechs.  She knows that she needs a good counteroffer, or this deal was burned.  And by burned?  It was that her company was going to take a hit to the bottom line or the mech would be staying on the sales lot. 

Dawn and Lora went back and forth on the cost of the three machines several more times.  They had just come to a total amount, that was well below what Dawn had asked for at first.  It also was lower, than what Robert would have settled for to buy them.  Lora had just finished sending the four point nine million C-Bills to the MMM account, when the food was delivered. 

Dawn was very pleased with herself even with the hard ball playing Lora.  She still had sold those last three machines, at a profit.  It was not that much of a profit per machine, but it would still be listed on the books as a profit.  They had just finished the transfer, when the food was brought in.  She had not known what to order from Le Chiffre, so she had just asked for whatever Lora had normally.  She was now mouth deep in angel hair pasta, when Robert said something.  She looked up and something must have been on her face, because the Captain repeated what he had said before with a knowing smile on his face. 

Robert had to fight down a food spewing laugh, at the look on the Saleswoman’s face with thin pasta hanging out of it.  He repeated what he had said, to the top of her head a second ago. He had waited until she was over a quarter of the way done with the main dish, before he had interrupted her.  “Its great food, don’t you think?  Normally we work through to the end of our meals, as a habit.  So, what is the price you are looking to get on the four Power loaders?  The one’s you have here, on the grounds.  We only have one between the two dropships I command.  I don’t think you know what it’s like trying to unload eight thousand tons of cargo, with only one of those.  Let me tell you.  It’s not something I want to do again.  That is if we don’t have to.” 

Dawn quickly put her fork down and looked up from checking her noteputor and let her head tilt to one side.  This was a gaff, and after so many hours working with this man.  He had not made a gaff, yet.  Or was it a trap of some kind, he had just left for her to fall into.  Dawn made a face.  She knew that she was very good at her job, but right then.  She did not know what way the statement might break.  She decided just to stick to her game plan, as if he had not said a word after asking about them.  Sometimes putting most of your cards on the table was the best bet. 

“Captain Copeland, you should not have told me that.  Now I know how much you need them, so I could stick it to you on the price.”  Dawn said between a few mouths full of amazing tasting food.  She had already added it to her short list of restaurants to eat at, in the near future. 

Robert looked at her and smiled, as he wiped some red sauce from the side of his mouth with a thick paper napkin.  “Not really.  We had a good look at them and their logbooks, already.  I know that they are almost new, so I think five point five is a good price for the group of four machines.”  Robert met the eyes of Lora.  She had thought they could have gotten the machines for a little cheaper.  Robert agreed in his mind, but it would have taken a lot of time to get a little lower price.  And in the end, Lora might have been wrong about getting a little price cut on the four machines. 

Dawn just said one word. “Done.” 

Dawn did not want to say more, because she did not trust her voice.  She had just busted two goals, in one deal.  She now had the most sales in a day and selling of eight machines in a day.  That was two full lances of equipment.  And she had done it all with one word, that was on top of the single lance bonus she had gotten with the Rock Hounds.  Dawn did some typing on her computer, and Lora sent the note to authorize the funds to be moved to the MMM bank account.  When Dawn’s noteputor buzzed to get her attention, a few seconds later.  She looked down at the message from her next two higher supervisors displayed on her screen. 

It was a very short, but a powerful message that she read.  They wanted to congratulate her on breaking the single day sells record, for the highest total sales in millions of C-Bills.  She had totally forgotten about that company goal.  Maybe she would go and have another look at that house on the hill she had always wanted.  She did not have the down payment, that was needed the first time she had seen it.  She now had the down payment and maybe a few years’ worth of mortgage payments.  She had done it all in one afternoon of work.  It was all luck, and because someone in the office had wanted to make her look bad. “Maybe living well is always the best revenge, like mom always had said.  I am still going to kick someone in the ovaries.” 

Robert looked over at Dawn, as she was reading something on her minicomputer.  Whatever it was she was reading?  It must have been good, because she had a sly smile on her face.  Robert thought it might be a few messages from her boss.  He knew it was not every day that someone sold over ten million C-Bills worth of equipment, in one day. 

Robert thought, “Now is the time to finish this, if I can.” 

Robert looked around the table.  It was covered in plastic plates that were mostly cleaned of food, and many empty bottles of beer and fruit drink.  “Well Dawn, looks like we are almost done.  We are almost up to the top end, of what I have budgeted to buy items with today.  I think we can get a few more items, that are on my list and that you might be able to fill for us.  I want to know what you can do for the four Carbines and that big.”  Robert paused while he looked at an image on Lora’s device, before continuing talking.  “There we are.  It’s called a Dig King.  It’s the 65ton mining mech.”  Robert looked at Dawn waiting for a reply.  He could tell that he had her undivided attention again.   The food might be good, but it was not that good. 

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #84 on: 16 September 2019, 20:42:35 »

Dawn’s head shot up from her noteputor like a snake and looked at Robert.  The last bit of food was a little harder to get down her throat. “Well, they want another five machines.  Let’s see how I can skin this cat?”

Dawn rocked back in her chair, with her arms stretched out and the hands going flat on the table.  She was looking at Robert, but she was also watching Lora out of the corner of her eye.  She knows, “he must have noticed her reading the messages and guessed what they might be about.”  She had to fight to keep her work face on. 

Dawn went back to her computer and looked up the sale slips for each of the five machines, that he had asked about.  She was not going to be caught flat footed, like what had happened with the Rock Otter.  Very quickly she did the math, in her head.  She did all of this in under a minute.  She was not just a pretty face with long legs.  After all the Magistracy of Canopus was a female dominated society since 2530. 

“Robert, the list price for all five machines would be around ten point one million C-Bills.  I know that you do not want to pay that much, for all of them.  So why don’t you tell me what you think you can get them for, and I will see if “we” agree.” 

While she was talking to Robert, she sent two messages out to all of her supervisors in the building.  In as few as words as possible.  She told them that the deals were still not done tonight, and that another lance might be in the works.  She was thinking that those messages should get them bouncing against and off of the Show Room’s walls, again.  She had to fight a smile down, at the images of what her short messages were going to cause in the building behind her.  They would be trying to figure out what was going to move next.  Dawn could have sent them a message about what they were looking at, but she did not do this on purpose. 

Robert was taking the lead on this one, just as he and Lora had worked out.  “Well, Dawn.  How about we look at the down sides first, so we can take that ten million number right off the table.  The four 30ton Carbines are old, dirty, and according to your own books.  You have been renting them out for all most a full decade, and they have been on the side markets for longer than that without any buyer coming forward.  I’m not going to pay one point four million for each of them.  The Dig King is over a hundred years old, if the data plate is correct.  I think your company has been trying to sell it for, I think longer than you have been alive.  Lora tracked down some information, on the net.  And she found that MMM has raised and lowered the asking price, so many times it’s not funny.  I would bet that every time someone new takes over the Sales Department.  The first thing they do, is mess with its price.  Just trying to get that much red ink, off the books.  It such a specialized machine.  That no one on this planet has rented it from you, in how long.  Am I right, Dawn?  The area under the foot pads has deformed, because it has not moved in so long.  Mike and I don’t think your people have been parking it in exactly the same place, after each use.”  Robert had a twinkle in his eyes.  He knew that he had a lot of high cards on this one.  He had not thought that he would be able to get the mining mech or the last two Carbines.  They have saved so much money so far, that now they were in play.  He really did have a maximum he wanted to spend to night. 

Dawn was blinking fast as she double checked the information on her own machine.  In her mind she was working out what to do.  Sometimes she hates it, when someone does their homework. “Looks like the good Captain is playing for keeps on this one.” The really bad part?  It was that when she checked her notes, everything he said was true.  The only thing that she had working for her, was that it was obvious that he wanted them.  He wanted them badly.  But what she did not know was, would he walk away from them if the price was not right? 

“Now how do I play this,” Dawn thought to herself?  “Captain it’s getting late.  I think we need to agree on the Carbines first, then we can worry about the big boy later.  I can go as low as one point two for each of the construction machines.  For what we are renting them for, over the last year?  Any lower, and it would be better just to keep them.  We can just keep renting them out as someone needs them, and we can make more money.  In the long run, of say a year to twenty-four months and they will be paid off.  After that?  It will be almost all profit generation, after paying for maintenance.” 

Robert was drumming his fingers on the thick plastic covered table.  He was letting the pressure build, as he stayed quiet for long minutes.  That was a little better price than he hoped for the workmechs, but he did not want to let her know it.  He would have paid no more than one point two five, for each of the mechs.  You never wanted to pay the retail price.  Not when you had to sell it to someone else, and still make a profit.  If you did that?  You would not stay in business for long.  But these machines were hard to find without going in deeper to the inner sphere, or at a capital system, or be on some other major world.  On the other hand?  They were used machines, and you do not pay new car prices for a used machine no matter where you were.  Robert had to keep with his cover story, and that took the retail price right off the table.  It was just a good thing that high command was not that worried about making a profit.  It was more worried about getting the needed items. 

“Dawn, I don’t know if that is that great of an offer on those mechs or not.  Then again, I will agree to that price and take all four.”  Robert did a “slight of hand” to distract her with an off-topic question.  “So, Dawn.  What do you get for selling the number of machines equal to a full-strength company?  I know that they might not be a combat company.  I think a fully equipped engineer company, is a nice bit of merchandise to move in only one day?” 

Dawn looked around the table, and then looked back to Robert.  Then she shrugged her shoulders.  “To tell you the truth, I have no idea.  This is so far out of the normal for me, and anyone else in the building.  I have never even talked about something like this at the water cooler, it’s not even funny.  I just hope my bosses don’t try to rip me off later.  As far as I know, it is that we only have a lance and two lance sales bonuses.  The only reason I know about the two-lance bump, is that I looked it up before we had dinner.” 

She looked back down at the screen of her hand-held system.  Her system had all the information that Lora’s had, but it also had the additional information of what was the lowest price a certain machine could be sold for.  It also had the proprietary information of MMM.  If someone sold a machine for more than that number?  They would get an extra cut of the profits on the sale, as their commission.  That was true of every machine in the Show Room, and it was true of a lot of their machines on the back lot.  The bad part was the Dig King, it did not have that information on her system.  She had gone to all of the “Normal” places, but they all were missing some key information. 

It had everything you could think of about the ancient machine, and its known history.  It had its current list price of four point five million C-Bills.  It also had the price history going back decades, on the rise and fall of that list price.  She picked a price, that was it the middle of the graph of highs and lows.  It would be the safest bet, and it was one that she could defend if her boss called her on the carpet about the sale price being too low.  With all of the sales she had done tonight.  She did not think that it would be that big of a deal, even if it was too low by a large margin. 

“I think three point five million is a fair price for a machine, that massive.  I bet you have some ideas about changing up its current working tools, for something else more aggressive.  Like say, a heavy wrecking ball of some kind?“  Dawn folded her hands on top of her sales computer. 

Robert gave a loud laugh, that carried over to the still waiting vender cart.  “If I knew, that they had more of these Dig Kings where we are going?  I would pay that, but there is no way to be sure.  It’s not like I can go into all the mines, in all the systems, and do a head count or inventory on what is on those properties.  I also have no idea what the end user will end up outfitting it with.  So, I’m not paying that price ether.  How is MMM set for spare parts to support it?  Because that is what is holding me back from buying it, now.  That is, how am I going to support it, when we leave this planet.” 

That was true, for the most part.  He knew that New Circe did not have any of this class of mech, but he thought it would be a great help in the war effort.  The problem was supporting a one-off machine, with limited support supplied on planet.  That is what was supplied by the small industrial base that could be directed at it, once they get home.  They could support a lance of war machines or a one of a kind industrial machine.  It that was the case?  That one machine had better be very good at its job.  If it was not… Well, there was always room in the junkyard with the rest of the Rusties.  It would not be the first time that something was brought back from a mission, and that later proved to not be useful enough to developed long term support.  The clan would use it until it was no longer effective at its given job or mission.  That might not be likely, now that the only line that usually produced replacement parts for all of the workmechs/agromechs on the planet was not doing so.  It was now making parts for the ground force mechs and some key components for aerospace fighters. 

“If you have enough spare parts, and attachments to last for a few years.  For let’s say for five years or so.  Then I will pay three million to you for it, tonight.”  Robert folded his arms across his chest.  He would walk away from this machine tonight.  He could always come back another day, or just forget about it. 

Dawn did not know what to say, so she just sat there thinking.  There was no way for her to know what spare parts were available or on hand for that thing.  If it had been a Wasp or Locust?  She had an idea, even with the Atlas.  She knew that they had years’ worth of spare parts stored in the main warehouse for that Assault mech, but she did not know if it was five years’ worth of parts.  She had seen them once on a tour of the main production facility.  From what she had heard.  They were trying to have enough parts on hand to fix up a second 100ton machine in a year or so, just from the extra parts that they had found.  Soon all they would need was another Foundation Type 10x chassis in decent enough shape, and those were not found at the corner drug store. 

“Robert, I do not have access to that information.  Let me go see if I can find it.  This one, I’m going to have to kick up to someone higher in my food chain.”  The Sales Rep stood up from the table and walked back into the building with quick steps.  She hated not having the answer, and she was also not liking that she was going to have to deal with one of her bosses to find out the information she was lacking.  It was getting late, but she was wired on adrenaline.  She was going to need it to deal with her boss, in the next few minutes.  That was a bit of a buzz kill. 

Dawn did not know it, but two of her bosses had been watching the whole time via the security cameras mounted on the outside of the building.  They even had ordered that the few cameras mounted on the access gate looking towards the back part of the yard, to be shifted so that they were looking their way.  They could not hear what was going on, but they could see them working.  Then magically they would see the funds transfer to the sales account.  So, they knew that she was still making them money, and lots of it tonight.  It was remarked and noted, that neither Dawn nor the group made any odd gestures when a sale was complete.  They had expected a flurry of handshakes or touched glasses to close deals on this magnitude. 

Normally it took weeks if not months, to set up sells that were not equal to half of what Dawn had pulled off this afternoon and evening alone.  They had no idea if it all had been luck, or if it had been Dawn’s selling skills.  They had no idea.  That they just happened to have, what Captain Copeland had been ordered to buy for the good of his Clan.  They had just been lucky that Dawn had asked the right questions and had been willing to listen, and maybe take the low-end sale.  That listening had turned into a massive amount of money for their department to night. 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Dawn was a little startled, when her supervisors were waiting for her as she re-entered the building.  Since Captain Copeland and his group were still setting outside.  They knew something must have come up, and they wanted to know what it was.  They hope the money faucet was not closed for the night.  They had gotten used to the numbers in their account climbing at a steady rate.  It was a very novel experience for them, and they liked it. 

Dawn’s first line supervisor was missing, but her second line was the first of the two women to talk to her.  She had sweat visibly beading up on her forehead.  She seemed to have already gotten over losing the number one single day sales of total mechs of all times title.  Granted she was still getting a cut of what her salesperson was making tonight.  That had to take the sting out of losing the title, somewhat. 

“You’re doing a great job, Dawn.  They are still outside in the dark.  Is something wrong?”  She was fidgeting left and right, and she was rubbing her hands together as she was talking to Dawn.  She had just finished her second pot of coffee on an empty stomach, and it was showing. 

Dawn had a flash of a few things she would like to have said, but she decided that she would keep it civil instead.  “I’m glad you’re still here.  They want five more machines.  They want the four Carbines and that old Dig King.  They have agreed to part of the deal.  They will pay four point eight million for the four Carbines.  The problem is the Dig King.” 

She passed her noteputor with the image of the mech in question displayed on the screen, with all the information on it.  “I don’t know how low I can go.  They have done their homework, so they know we have been trying to sell that thing for almost forever.  The kicker is they want enough spare parts to keep it running for five years of standard wear and tear.  I have no idea if we have that kind of stock, for that hunk of junk.  If I agree to that, and we don’t have it?  Well you know he could take us to court, and he would win for breach of contract.  Right now, the Carbine deal is on hold.  He offered three million for the King, but only if we have the amount of spare parts he wants.” 

The last part was a lie, and she knew it.  But it was her job to make the deal, and if that little push was what was needed to get the deal closed?  She would do it and do it again twice on Sunday.  She would take the sale and commission with a smile on her face, and not say a word edge wise to anyone in her company for as long as she could.

Shelley was the supervisor for the whole Show Room department, and she also was Dawn’s boss’s boss.  She was not known for expressions of emotions, of any kind.  She took the title of “Ice Queen” as a badge of honor.  That meant when the older lady shrieked and started jumping up and down.  Much less when she started dancing around in a circle, both of her subordinates were speechless.  When the normally reserved supervisor stopped the movements, that many would never believe she would undertake.  She had a huge smile on her face. 

“Dawn take the deal!!  We have almost enough parts to make a second machine, and they can have all of them.  The savings on our taxes at the end of this year alone, will make it worth it.  If they had not made an offer already?  I would say give it to them, and all the parts we have on hand, as a comp for the amount of money they have spent here already.” 

Shelley stopped talking for a second and she went from a sack of joy, and back to her normal stone face.  “Damn it!!  I don’t know if that is enough to meet their requirements.  I want you to make a counteroffer of two million C-Bills and tell them that we will give them every spare part, that we can find for it.  Take their money dear and close the deal.  Do you know if there is anything else, they might be looking at?”  The last was so fast and in an odd accent, that no one understood what she had said for a few long seconds. 

Dawn looked at the two other people near her with some confusion evident on her face.  She went with addressing the last question first. “No.  This Lora Noone and Captain Copeland play their cards very close to their chests.  Do you want me to comp them the Dig King and parts?”  This was a new area.  She was never allowed to offer comps on anything but free food, drinks, maybe a few ammunition reloads, threat software updates, or some spare armor plates before.  She was testing the waters, but she was unsure of the depth. 

Shelly looked at Dawn and her quick mind came up with an idea for later.  “No, Dawn.  You should never leave money on the table.  They made a good faith offer, with conditions.  We will meet them at least on most of those conditions, so they should meet their end of the good faith offer.  It is not your fault, that they did not ask for a comp of any kind before making that offer.  You never know?  These people are strangers, that have never been here before.  A comp might be an insult to them.  As soon as they transfer the funds and we get all the paperwork done, when they are done?  We all can go home with dreams of large commission checks in our future.  It will be an early morning for some of us, just so we can make sure we get these things off our property.  Now I will be able to put a notice with the main office and try to get some better equipment, to replace that stuff you have been able to move.”  She had almost said junk but had stopped at the last moment.  It was not nice, to call something junk.  That you had just sold and was paying you a massive part of your whole years pay.  All in a single night. 

Dawn nodded her head in agreement and turn for the door.  Thinking about when she got her commission check, at the end of the month.  She was definitely going to take a few weeks off and relax.  As she walked back to the table, she had a smile on her face that was not fake.  When she was close to the table, she raised her voice a little.  She did not see the need to be quiet. 

“Good news.  I was told, that there are almost enough spare parts to make a second mech on hand.  They don’t know if it will cover all the normal wear and tear items for a five-year period, but it should be close.  They will pack every one of the spare parts, that we have on hand and bring them out to the drop port.  I was told to counter your offer with two million.  That is accepted by my boss already, if you agree to our counteroffer.  And so as soon as we have payment?  It is yours, Captain.”  She saw smiles on the faces around the table.  She noted that the Captain made a gesture to Lora.  Dawn kept getting closer and soon was standing, so that she could look down on Lora. 

Dawn looked over at Lora, who she noticed was finishing the transfer of funds for the five machines.  She put on a beaming smile and looked over at Robert.  “Well, sir.  They are all yours.  Would you like to look at what we have at some of our outlying showrooms, or in the main Warehouse?  I can have someone pull the inventory list for you.  It might take a few days, but we can have them shipped in for your inspection or you can fly out to see them.  I’m sure we could have a proper passenger VTOL ready by the afternoon.”  Dawn asked hopefully.  This group had just purchased every operational work mech that the Show Room had, that were not already being rented out. 

Robert laughed slightly, waved off her comment and shook his head side to side.  “No, Dawn.  I think you have taken enough of our funds, for the time being.  We have some other items, that we have people looking at for us.  If you have something we can take and look at, when we have some spare time?  That would be nice.  We will post an updated wish list, on the normal spots’ tomorrow.  If you see an item on that list that you can fill?  Then by all means, contact us.  I look forward to doing business with you again, Dawn.  Now, it’s late and I would like to get back to my cabin.  I need to get some sleep, before I have to start this kind of work all over again.  I know, that I said, I would like the machines on the dropship by noon.  I don’t think that will be likely, now.  If you can start dropping them off starting at noon?  That would be good enough.  I must have them all by dark, to include the spare parts you promised for the Dig Lord.  My Cargo Master can get them packed down in our cargo bays, as they come in.  Please do not wait to the last minute to send them over.  If you have a load, just send it over.  My people will take care of it.”  Robert started to stand up and the others of his group joined him, in rising from the cheap glass covered plastic outdoor table. 

Robert looked around the lot with the mechs, tanks and other military equipment spread out around him.  Out of the blue, he tried to picture, in his head, what it was going to look like by this time tomorrow.  He had to fight down a smile, and he turned around a little to block Dawn from seeing it.  He was betting that it was going to take a while to fill the empty slots.  “I don’t think you are going to have any parking issues out here, for a while.” 

“Well I guess they got what they wanted, out of me.  I know that they did not run out of money.  They are still looking for more cargos. I just need to find something else, that they want.”  Dawn had thought the last deal was the end, but she had to at least try to get one more sale in.  Or at least try, to get one more in. That was because, if she did not?  She would always second guess herself, that they might have been talked into another sale if she pushed just a little harder.  That was the salesperson in her soul telling her that.  She looked down at her noteputor and fought down a shout, as her eyes ran across her little screen.  She had just been given a surprise by her company. 

The company supplied digital pad now had a newly modified screen saver.  It now had her name in bold letters and that she had sold over 21 million C-Bills worth or over 81 million MC Dollars’ worth of equipment in a day.  It even had little flashing fireworks going off in the area around her name.  That new screen saver would be pushed to every computer in her division, at least.  It would stay there, minus the little fireworks.  Those would stop in a few days, but her name would be there until something else on that scale was completed, by someone else.  That was going to be some time down the road, if she was a betting person. 

While she was fighting the urge to dance, she saw the book that woman called Jess had been spending all night looking through page by page like it was holy writ of some kind.  Jess and Mike had been acting like it was the best book ever written by man.  When she thought about it, both leaders of this group had like that book.  She made a quick note to have the newest edition gift wrapped and sent with the mechs the next day.  She had no idea how long she was distracted, but by the time she came back to the world she saw a problem. 

Then she had to catch up with the group walking away from her.  They could not leave the building, because all the doors had been locked now that it was after normal work hours.  She opened the main door and wave to the group as they entered the sedan, that had dropped them off, and then it had waited till they were done with their shopping spree.  She had no idea that it only had been called back while she had been inside the Showroom building, talking to her boss.  Dawn just saw it as another example of wealth, that they had a nice car and driver waiting at their beck and call. 

“It must be nice to have that much money.” Dawn thought as she relocks and then tries to open the heavy glass and steel doors. “Maybe I will be there soon.”  This sales commission would put her a lot closer to that level.  She was now closer than she had been, when she got out of bed this morning.  She thought that she had made over a years’ worth of her average commissions, tonight. 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


The ride in the sedan back to the dropship, was not as fast as the ride out.  All of the clubs, restaurants, and bars were all open and filled with people spending their money in those types of places.  Those establishments were the life blood for the city, outside of the income that the drop port brought in with cargos.  It was very common that a city’s main clubbing and entertainment district would be very close to the drop ports, in most of human control space.  It also made vehicle traffic hazardous in those areas. 

The group in the back of the sedan did not say anything, as they made their way back to their mobile home.  The driver took them right to the correct Mule class dropship without needing any direction.  There were over a dozen of that class of ship spread out over the space port to night.  The driver got out and opened the door, that Captain Copeland was exiting out of the transport with.  Robert pulled out a bill from his jumpsuit pocket and handed it over to the driver.  The Driver at first was going to refuse the tip.  It was against company policy, to take money from a client while on the clock.  That was until he saw the tip was a 100 C-Bill note.  After picking up his slacked jaw, he just pocketed the money.  He just nodded and said a simple “Thank you Sir.”  Before helping Jess, who was following Robert out the same opened door. 

Lora saw the hand off but waited for the driver to reenter the sedan, and he had pulled away from the grounded Dropship.  Robert had already turned and had taken a few steps toward the open personnel ramp of the dropship, when she spoke to him.  “Robert, the current exchange rate for C-Bills to MC Dollars is a little over 1 to 4.  Four hundred MC dollars is about what a driver like him makes, in a month.”  The tone was not mocking, it was just a question.  Lora had even made her statement with a raised eyebrow. 

Robert stopped, gave a slight shrug, and then gave an odd little toss of his head.  “It was worth it to me.  Think about how he had to wait, to even go to the bathroom, because we did not tell him how long we were going to be someplace.  We sent him away, when we knew, that we were going to be in the showroom for a while.  But it was the same driver, that we had been using all day.  That alone was worth, what I gave him.  That and the knowledge that I used a bank note, that we cannot spend back home.  That makes doing the right thing, a lot easier.  If it gets some goodwill for us?  Then that would just be a bonus, in my book.  You never know when we or you, might need some of that goodwill from a stranger or maybe from someone that this driver knows.” 

Robert started to walk up the entry way to the ship, then stopped.  “Lora?  We have a few empty bunks.  If you want to stay here, instead of going all the way back to your place?”  Robert stopped talking and looked down at his expensive pocket timepiece.  “We have a meeting in seven hours, so much for getting back early so I could get some sleep.”  He gave a soft chuckle. 

“No thank you, Robert.  I have a room above the Café, for times like this.  Thank you for the offer.  Maybe if I had my overnight bag with me.  What would Don think?  If I showed up in the same clothes, as I had on the day before?”  She turned and walked to the pickup point where another sedan, this one with yellow letters on the sides, was waiting for her. 

Robert, and the other two continued into the dropship.  As soon as the last person’s feet hit the inside of the ship.  The ramp and hatch closed and locked behind them with barely a sound.  Mike went one way to his four-man cabin, and Jess went another.  Maybe to sleep and maybe to work.  No one would know for a while what they were going to do, now that they were back to their temporary home.  Robert started climbing stairs after sets of stairs, going all the way to the top of the dropship.  It was a long climb.  There was an elevator, but Robert felt like he needed to work off some of the food he had been eating for the last two days. 

Robert stopped by the bridge to check in on the status of his command, both on the ground and far out into space.  There was nothing to report, that was out of the ordinary for a JumpShip and drops-ship’s crew during shore leave.  After that short briefing.  He walked back to his cabin for some much-needed sleep.  The sun rose to early, so he could not take advantage of getting as much sleep as he needed. 

Robert was sleeping so deeply, that he did not hear the alarms going off an hour after he crawled under the sheets.  In fact, he was sleeping so soundly.  That he did not wake up for his wakeup alarm, at all.  One of the Bridge crew had to come down to his room and use the built-in speaker system on his hatch to successfully disturb his sleep.  Robert had not wakened up well, after that blast of noise from his hatch.  When he had not checked in?  Jules had made the call to send someone down, so that he could make the morning meeting on time.  As a longtime friend.  He knew how long, down to the minute, it would take his friend to get ready for the meeting. 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Notes

Shopping for workmechs at a major Show room.  It would be like looking for a John Deere, at your local Cadillac dealer. 

The book on the drink cart?  It is like a current All of The Worlds Armor Jane’s book, and you should see what one of the new ones cost to buy these days. 

Why did I choose those particular workmechs?  I picked the ones that I could find the cost of.  It was that simple. 


DOC_Agren

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #85 on: 16 September 2019, 22:37:50 »
I love it

I was guessing it was a Jane’s style book, and yes I have a clue on $$
"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!"

ckosacranoid

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #86 on: 18 September 2019, 23:34:09 »
Someone made a very big bank sale that shot her up the ranks for sales bonus in one session for sure. nice update.

cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #87 on: 26 September 2019, 19:53:46 »
Chapter 14

By Cliff
Beta and Clean up:  Not done
Reviewed by Hotpoint. 

18 Dec 3046 0900 
The Dunianshire system

It was with wet hair, that Robert entered the meeting room.  He did not need to look at the clock to know that he was a whole two minutes late.  He had not even been able to swing by and get some food, before coming here.  He had a steaming cup of coffee, which he had made himself out of his emergency supply.  It was something that he maintained in his room when he had only a short time to clean up.  Robert does not bother to wait until he had gotten to his chair, before he started today’s meeting. 

“Sorry I’m late.  Let’s start, shell we.  I don’t know if I was dreaming last night.  But did we have an alarm go off last night?  The Officer of the Deck did not come to my cabin, so I have no idea if it was a dream or not.  Robert was looking around the table to figure out if he needed to be worried, or not.  It would be a bad thing, to be dreaming about alerts.  It was also a bad thing, if he had slept through an alarm or a drill of an alarm for that matter. 

The Captain of the White Rabbit looked at his commander and around the room.  Robert caught the look, and he gave the man a nod to continue.  That was all it took to get the ball rolling.  “Sir.  We had a vehicle that was acting strangely, since about noon yesterday.  We think it showed up about an hour after my ship was contacted and asked, if we had some computers for sale.” 

The Dropship’s captain looked down at some notes, before continuing.  “The person on watch stuck to the script.  They said that we did have some computers for sale.  If they would like to come out, to inspect them.  They could set up an appointment.  The person asked how many we might want to sell, the capabilities, and how much we wanted for each of them.  As we had talked about, before.  The person was told we had ten systems for sale.  They were given the correct specs and they were told, that we wanted ten thousand C-Bills per system.  It was caveated, that the duty person was not sure about the price.  It was clearly stated, that only the ship’s captain could make that decision.  That decision would happen only at the time of the inspection of the devices.” 

“A time was set, but the person or persons did not show at the agreed upon time.  It was logged by me, that they were a no show.  The contact number was active, when we tried to contact them about the missed appointment.  No one received our information request, and we stopped trying after the third attempt.  When we reviewed our security systems Tri-Vids, at the next shift change.  That was when we noticed the vehicle.  Not long after we started detecting communications coming from it, but it was encrypted, and it is on a range of frequencies that the locals are not known to use.  In fact, they match up with an old SLDF scout system that is very closely related to the CBR Commsat.  The only people we know that use this type of equipment are us, the clans, ComStar and now these guys.  I think we know who it might be, and it is not us.  By my orders.  We kept an eye on them, just in case, for the rest of the day and into the night.”  The Captain was looking at his boss, but he was not worried.  He had been both following “The Book” and his orders. 

“After nightfall, we kept them on our passive and light amplification surveillance systems.  I had one person that was tasked to keep an eye on them, at all times during the night.  This duty rotated every hour.  Also, a copy of all of the security feeds was copied to the ships main computer system every hour.  Sometime after you got back, from your shopping trip.  A six-person team exited the large transport, and we lost them in the night.  We think that they were in some kind of combination sneak suits.  We think that maybe they were a type of Camo/IR suits.  That is because we could only track them, when they got close via directional passive electronics.  We did not know what ship they might be trying to enter, but we thought they might be up to no good.” 

The Captain kept talking.  “The Captain of the Maru and I thought.  That they, or someone paying them, might be after the cash that MMM paid for those cannons.  We both were a little surprised, when they kept angling towards the Rabbit instead of the Maru, when we did pick them back up on the passive’s sensors.  We let them make it all the way to the Personnel Entry Hatch Four, on my ship.  They used some kind of electronic attack, which we have never seen before, to pop the hatch like it was unlocked.  We did not know they popped the hatch, until they activated the pressure plate alarm at the hatch entry way.  When the automatic alarm went off, and the lights and sound filled the ship.  They fled at the run, and on foot.  The original transport backed behind an intervening hangar, not soon after they released the ground team.  We lost it on our security systems, when we lost a direct line of sight on the transport.” 

“The Lisbon Maru and White Rabbit, where able to track the six people using the active fire control systems on the dropships for some time after we lost them on our shorter ranged security systems.  They dropped off even those systems, at the end of the main drop port landing area.  Local Law enforcement was called, and they made a report.  Our security team was waiting for this infiltration team in the engine room.  But the intruders retreated to fast for our team to make contact, before they left the ship.” 

The Captain had a little grin on his face.  “The locals were a little mad about us using our active fire control systems, while we were still in the drop port.  They understood, but asked us, that next time we let the traffic control know the reason for that action before we power them up.  We did not tell any of the locals, that we had been tracking the intruders before we went active.  They were told that the first we knew something was up, was when the ships loss of air pressure alarm went off.  They also think, that the thieves were after the money from the weapons sale to MMM.  We did not tell them that the money was on the Maru and not us.  It would appear, that they assumed it would be on the Blockade Runner, and not the cargo ship.  That is if they were going after the money, and not the computers.” 

“According to one of the local law enforcement officers, that we have talked to.  It has gotten around town, that we have a very large cash stash on one of the ships.  They strongly suggested, that we move it into a bank of some kind or hire some powerful bodyguards.  He might have been fishing for some overtime for his men, but he did not ask straight out and ask or offer his services.  I did not know, if it was out of line to ask him for names.” 

The dropship’s captain looked around the table.  “I suggest that we increase the security protocol on each of the Drop ships.  At least until we leave this planet.  I also think that the Styx might want to do the same thing, out at the jump point.  Sneak suits are not cheap, and combo suits are even harder to find.  Then add the type of communications we picked up before.  I think that they might also be a target for an assault out there.  Sir?  I do not think that they are going after the money.  I now think that they were sent to get the computers”. 

Captain Copeland looked around the table.  He knew why he had not been alerted about the strange van, and its odd transmissions.  If he was alerted every time something like that had been observed, he never would get any sleep.  He knew that it would have been brought up in today’s meeting or even the meeting last night, that he had to cancel. 

Robert gave a slight head nod to the Captain of the White Rabbit, before addressing the rest of the meeting.  “Well, it looks like those Religious nuts are looking at us, again.  This is nothing new, for us to have to deal with.  It happens every time, we make a supply run to the Inner Sphere.  I want the full counter intrusion protocols to be set, on all ships.  I think that now we know were one of those messages went, that came from the Duke’s planet.” 

Robert was rewarded with nods of agreement.  Something like this had happened ever since the 2920 run.  It had not taken long for the SLiE to come up with a way to “discourage” any unwanted attention and protect themselves at the same time.  So far, every time they had done this.  They had left a few bodies on the floor, and very rarely did the clan leave more of their own on the ground compared to the number of attacker’s dead on the ground. 

Robert looked down and frowned.  “I think your right Captain, about who was behind that little intrusion.  The White Rabbit has the most firepower, and she has the best targeting system that we have on the planet.  So, she will be in charge of covering all areas, outside of the dropships.  I want you to lock up, whatever they used on the hatch, to gain access to us.  When we get back to the Styx?  I want to know if we can make any counter measures for it, out of our own resources.  Have we had any other issues with our people on shore leave last night?” 

The two ship’s Captains shook their heads in the negative motion.  Everyone on the supply runs knew not to leave anyone alone, no matter what.  They also knew that it was only a matter of time before someone or group, would try to take one of the smaller groups of their crews for hostages.  It would be for a ransom, or it could be to torture them for information on the location of the lost supply point that the convoy must have found.  It had happened before, and there had been more than a few lost lives suffered by the SLDF.  In the past, they had enough firepower hidden away.  So much so, that when each group would try something like that one time.  But that one try?  Well, it tended to end that group from being a threat to anyone else, for a very long time. 

Robert hated this part.  But it was all covered in the operation plans made by higher command, because of those previous experiences.  There was not much room, for an even senior officer to change most of those plans for the whole convoy.  “We need to start the clock.  We will lift off in about 48 hours, from now.  It will be no later than noon on that day.  I will notify Traffic Control, that we will be leaving this planet in seven days.” 

This move was hoped to throw off anyone with a spy in the Traffic Control room, into thinking that they had longer to plan any bad deeds with a known timeline.  It did not matter if the bad guys were going after a few battlemech engines, or a dozen leg actuators for medium mechs.  They were all handled the same way. 

Now Robert was going to let the rest of the room know, how the afternoon and evening had gone.  “Cargo Master.  We should start to receive the first few, of a dozen industrial mechs at any time.  They should be starting to arrive before or close to noon, local.  We had a good time finding items on our little shopping list.  I think Command, back home, will be very pleased.  I was surprised that we were able to find so many potentially useful machines, all at one stop.” 

This news got the room to perk up.  No one had been told how well they had done last night.  When word had been passed around that the evening meeting had been canceled, it was hoped that it was good news.  “Lora has all the stats for them, all eleven of them.” 

When Robert looked around the table everyone was very happy at that news.  “I’m sorry.  My memory must be going, in my old age.  We did not get eleven industrial mechs.  We were able to get fifteen of them, with some spare parts.” 

Now it was Robert’s turn to smile at the whole meeting.  This was a lot better than they had hoped to have acquired, after only two stops on this run.  “I will leave that job to the experts, on where to put them on what ships.  Do we have an update on the crews that went out looking for the rest of the things on our little wish list?” 

The Captain of the Maru was first to have a brief, to answer this question.  “Lt. Vaun reports that he has been able to pick up all of the JumpShip parts, which we were asked by name to bring back.  He spent the full ten million C-Bills, and he completed the transfer last night to the seller of the parts.  He will start receiving the parts today via the Mark VII, that was carried on the Styx.  He will keep an eye out if anything else shows up on the market, which might be useful.  He is doubtful of this.  He thinks that he has bought all the readily available parts at his location, that can fit our needs.  He sent a list of his purchases, if you would like to review it later.  I already have the information, that I need to plan out were I will store them after our return to the jump point.”  The Captain of the Lisbon Maru stopped talking and waited for the convoy commander to say something. 

Captain Copeland was thinking about what he had been told.  He had been a dropship’s captain before, but that was not his job on this mission.  “I don’t think so, Captain.  At least I do not need that information, right now.  We will need to be able to cross load his purchases onto one of the cargo ships, so please send a copy to both Cargo Masters.  I do not want to have all of our eggs in one basket., if we can help it.  Now, what about the ground teams? 

It was again, the Captain of the Maru, who would speak first at the table.  He had the largest number of crewmembers, which had gone out the day before on official business.  “My crews went out to the different transport venders, as directed.  It took them all day, but they did find almost two dozen of the 20ton flatbed trucks that we can use.  Most of the ones they looked at were liquid or gas fueled based engines.  They selected only the ones that are battery powered.  Unfortunately, they did not find any fusion engine machines in their travels.  They marked each of the vehicles, under the hood and they copied the VINs down.  Now we will know if the vender has played any games with us.  The ground teams did not talk about any prices for the trucks.  They only told the Salesperson, that they were checking them out for their boss.  They did not say how many that we might want.  They are expecting someone to come out today to make an offer or to contact the lots, to set up a time for a senior person to come out and talk to them.” 

The Mule’s Captain had a smirk on his face.  “I think by opening business today.  They will have gotten word about what you did at The Show Room.  By the way?  We were contacted by someone who said that they were a business news reporter before the meeting.  They wanted to check some of the facts about us, and our shopping list.  They were told that we do not discuss buying or selling of any cargos, at any time.  They were told that it would be bad for business, if it got around that we talked about things like that.”  The Dropship’s Captain gave a little grin and passed it around the table.  Those few statements were a sure way to get a story published.  They had done it this way before, and it had worked to their advantage six times out of eight on average. 

The Captain of the Maru flipped a card and turned a little red.  “Sorry sir.  I forgot to pass along something.  My teams had to go to quite a few different venders yesterday.  But they did find one vender, that was not on the list.  They had ten of the 50ton heavy cargo movers, which we were looking for.  They refer to that class of truck as a medium class Mech Recovery vehicle.  We do not know if this is a local designation, or what.  At that same sales lot and store.  They also found one super heavy 70ton class cargo mover.  It looks to meet our needs of being interchangeable with the parts supply we already have set up at home for something like that.” 

The dropship captain passed a sheet of thin plastic, which had all the information about the trucks and the address for each of the two venders over to the more senior officer.  Robert was the one who had to pay for the vehicles, before they could go any farther.  There could only be one person on the blame line, and that was Captain Copeland. 

Captain Copeland took the sheet, looked over it quickly from top to bottom.  Then he folded the off green sheet into quarters, before putting it into the top right pocket of his ship’s suit.  He then looked over to the Captain of the White Rabbit and waited for his report.  Robert was thinking that he needed to come up with a briefing order that was more codified. 

The other ship’s commander was ready, and after seeing “the look”.  He started his part of the briefing.  “Sir, my crews were able to find two different venders, that had what we were looking for.  The first vender had ten of the 50ton class Lessepps type dump truck and loader combination, which were for sale.  This is the exact model that had been requested by name and mass, from High Command.  The second vender had five of the huge 150ton class dump trucks that meet our needs, and they are willing to sell them.  I have two teams that were planning to look at a few sedans in the 1 to 1.5ton range, to see if they fit for what was requested.”  The dropship’s captain looked around, but he was finished with this report.  Beside the attempted break in.  He felt like he had little to report, and thus felt like he had not helped much in completing the mission. 

Robert could see the uncertainty in the other Captain’s eyes.  That should not have been the case, and Robert felt like he needed to let the other officer know any help was good and needed help.  Different types of people needed different types of leadership input, for them to grow.  “That is good news!!  Please forward the contact information to Lora.  Then we will see if we can pick up some of those, also while we are out today.” 

Robert let the fake smile leave his face, for a more “normal” look.  “Lora found a mech that we will be trying to close the deal and buy out right, today.  For those of you, who do not know?  It is a new design of a Battlemech, and not just an old Star League or even older design that has been rebuilt.  It’s something new, and in fact.  Its design is only about 20 years old, or less.” 

Robert started talking again, as the rest of the people in the room digested this information.  “I would like to leave soon, to see about coming up with an agreeable price about that machine.  Do we have any other issues, that I need to know about?”  He looked around the table and the head gestures told him what he needed to know.  “No?  Then let’s be about the day and be careful out there.  I just want to put out one reminder.  I think it’s a statement from, I think one of the McEvedy’s that was made on the second supply run.  If ComStar is looking at us?  We don’t want to be too easy of a target for them.”  Before the group at the desk could rise, every eye turned to the convoy commander.  It was not every day someone quoted one of the key leaders of their people, and then he started to snicker like a schoolgirl. 

Robert could not help but give a soft laugh, and then told the rest of the group what had flashed into his mind.  “What I would give, to have been able to bring along a squad of Nighthawk powered armor.”  This brought a round of soft chuckles of agreement, from the people around the table.  Robert took control again.  “I will be taking the same group as yesterday, with me.  Mike knows and has already checked out the machine.  I hope this will be the last mission I need him for, at least on this planet.”  Robert looked over at Mike’s commanding officer and gave him a level look.  “He has done an outstanding job.  It should reflect on his evaluation, when this is done.  I hope all of our late additions work out as well as he has, so far.  I think that we will have to relook at, about not having a dedicated mech pilot on the mission.”  Robert put his hands on the table, he was not ready to release the meeting just yet. 

“I also will be taking Jess.  She will keep me out of trouble, or is that the other way around?  I seem to be so forgetful, in my old age.  I would like each of the dropship’s Captains to make any supply arrangements, which might be needed for fresh food.  Also think about what they may need today, to prepare for our lifting off and hitting the road again.  You all can draw on the cash funds for each ship, as you need.  Make sure everyone gets some time for some R and R, before we lift off planet.  It might be a while before we are in a big drop port like this again.” 

Captain Copeland rose from the table and made his way to the hatch.  Now he went and got him some food, to dilute the coffee in his stomach from the mess hall.  Jess was right behind him.  She looked even more tired, than he felt.  A quick cold cut sandwich was all they got from the mess hall, mixed with more caffeine.  Each person made sure to grab at least three cans of drinks that each had a hefty load of caffeine in them, on the way out of the empty mess hall.  On the way to the personnel hatch, Captain Copeland stopped by the nearest ship’s safe.  Jess had her own items to take care of before she could leave the ship for any length of time. 


cawest

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Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #88 on: 26 September 2019, 20:06:59 »

Robert pulled out a metal brief case and started to count out stacks of C-Bills.  With each stack counted, he put them in the metal case.  After he made sure of the final count?  He updated the inventory in the safe, before closing and locking it again.  The next stop was the armory.  This was to draw four side arms and holsters, for the weapons.  And again, he signed on the inventory list that he had the weapons before locking the heavy metal hatch when he was done.  With these errands done.  He made his way to the main personnel hatch of the dropship. 

He exited the last set of stairs, and almost ran over Jess coming down the ship’s hallway.  Now with a second person, he adjusted the load he was carrying.  He handed two weapons and matching holsters, over to Jess.  After putting the shoulder holster rig on, she inserted the SunBeam laser pistol into the opening.  Robert did the same with his M&G Flechette, which someone in the old Lyran Commonwealth had designed before Robert had been born.  Now fully armed with the weapons ready to use.  The two people finished the short trip to the dropship exit, and the rest of the group that was waiting for them. 

Mike and Lora were waiting for them, when the pair exited the dropship on the burnt tarmac.  Mike instinctively took the weapon that Jess offered him, along with the holster to go around his waist.  Captain Copeland was about to pass Lora a small slug thrower and a clip holster, but she stepped back from the weapon and man.  She looked at him like he had a horn growing out of the top of his head.  She clenched her leash tightly in both of her hands. 

“Robert!!  Why would I want to carry that, in the city?”  Asked Lora as she pointed to the offered weapon like it was an armed nuclear warhead.  Her heart was beating so hard, she thought it could be seen threw her shirt.  Her mother had tried to get her to learn how to shoot, when she was younger.  Her mother had loved guns, and she wanted her child to feel the same.  It had not worked, as her mother had intended. 

“After that attack last night?  I am not taking any chances, while we are out today.  Not with the money I’m carrying to pay for cargos or landing fees.  I am not going to add to that price, with our lives.  If someone is thinking about getting aggressive with us?  We need to be ready.”  That is what Robert said, but he patted the side of the briefcase to remind her of what was planned for today.  She knew all about the cash he had to operate with thanks to MMM, and they had not talked about paying for any landing fees in the last meeting.  She quickly put 2 and 2 together. 

She took the hint of the pat on the case.  One of the things that a person in her line of work had to deal with, was eavesdropping.  She also had been around the receiving end of more than one parabolic mike in her life.  She reached out and took the two items, from the mission commander.  She might not like handguns, but that did not mean that she did not know how to use one.  She turned and started walking towards a car, which was waiting not far away.  All the while she clipped the holster on the waist band on her black slacks. 


#############


The driver was the same man from the day before.  As with yesterday, very few words were passed between the driver and the group in the back of the VIP mover.  The driver did not make a comment, about the side arms each person had exposed on their hips or in shoulder rigs.  They were on the way out of the drop port, with less than ten words said between the entire group of people.  The driver just had a smile on his face.  He had heard about “the security” issue the drop port had the night before.  When he had come out to the drop port, he had half expected to find his task canceled.  That would have been bad, because he would not have been paid for his time. 

Robert was looking out of the sedan window, as it made its way through the city.  He was trying to see if anyone might be following them.  He knew in his mind, that it was a futile attempt.  How could someone like him, spot someone, who most likely was a pro following them?  This was why he almost did not see the large flatbed truck, which was parked close to Don’s home.  It was close, but there were a pair of turns before you arrived at Don’s. 

If Robert did not know what the large wheeled truck might be used for, he was informed when they passed the cab of the truck.  In bold white letters was Safety First Mech Movers.  It had been painted on the side door, and all the way across the front of the massive vehicle.  When the dark colored sedan pulled up to the house?  Don was opening the door and rolling onto the front landing of the home.  He waited for them to walk the short distance from the sidewalk to his location at the base of the little home-built ramp, that let him access or exit his home without aid.  He used a volume that was just a little too much for the distance, that it needed to travel. 

“Well it’s nice to see that you’re on time.  It is just like proper military people should be.  Are you ready to talk, or are you here to look at her again?”  Don was rocking his wheelchair back in forth, out of nervous habit.  He was nervous, and he had an almost wild look in his eyes.  This had been the closest, that he had ever been to selling his machine. 

Robert could not tell whether Don was ether still drunk from the night before, or if he was just massively hungover.  Robert could understand that, and he did not judge the man one way or the other.  How would he feel, in this man’s position?  “Oh, we are here for business.  But if you’re not ready?  We can come back a little later, when you’re ready.” 

Robert stopped walking and the others stopped almost at the same time.  From the looks on their faces.  They did not know if the Captain was joking, or not.  The good part was neither did Don.  He was about to start freaking out.  His eyes shot all the way open, and he stopped rocking from side to side with his wheelchair.  When Robert looked around, he had to fight down a smile.  You could not see the mech transport from were either man was standing. 

“Oh no!!!  I’m ready.  I have the title all ready, and she is ready to be move.  That is as long as we can come to an agreement on a price.”  He realized that he said too much and his mouth clamped shut, with an audible click. 

Don was sweating more now, but at least the random movements left and right had stopped.  He did not want to blow this chance, but he also did not want to be taken advantage of by these visitors.  He knew deep in his heart, that this might be the last chance to sell the mech.  And it would be the last chance that he would get to have enough money for the life changing surgery, he wanted so badly.  He rolled himself back into his home, leaving the door open for the others to follow him. 

Robert looked at the others and smiled before entering the house, which smelled of a mix of urine and stale beer.  It was a smell Robert had not noticed the day before.  Maybe he was distracted by the tall battlemech in the center of the room yesterday.  Today Don had four chairs set out for people to sit in.  He had set them up, so that his back was to the 35ton battlemech and everyone else would be facing it.  After everyone was seated.  It was quiet, no one was talking.  It did not last long before Don started to shift in his chair, breaking the desired stress causing set up that the seating arrangement was meant to do in the first place. 

Finally, Don had enough and spoke first.  He had lost the attempt at a power play against a master of the game.  “Okay Captain Copeland.  I have the machine, and you have the money.  So how much are you going to pay for her?” 

“Don, you have your facts a little off.  You have to sell it to us.  We, on the other hand, do not have to buy it.  We will be leaving in a few days, no matter what happens here today.  After were gone, you might be able to sell it to the next merchant that comes along.  Or you can rent it to the local defense force on some kind of a long-term plan.  That is, if they just don’t take it from you, and have some local judge say you are too unstable to have it anymore.  The question is how much do you want for it today and be done with all of your headaches.” 

Don was not the most experienced negotiator in the world, but what the off-world Captain had said was true.  That is except for the local military part.  They were just as likely to confiscate his machine first, as pay any real money for its use.  “I want three point five million C-Bills deposited into my bank account, and then she is all yours.  You will take care of any fees or cost of transporting it from my house to the drop port or were ever you want it.” 

Robert was thinking that the price Don was asking, was not that far out of line for his machine.  Still, it was more than Robert wanted to pay for it.  “Don, I know how much this machine cost new and fresh from the factory.  We both know it’s not three point five million C-Bills.  I was thinking that two-point eight C-Bills is more fitting of a price, for a light mech.  And yes, I will be paying in C-Bills and not in the local paper.” 

Don’s face turned red, and then it looked to turn more purplish than red.  His lips were in a tight line, but he did not say anything until the color in his face was back to a more normal shade.  “Captain you’re not going to find this type of mech anywhere else.  That is unless you go halfway across the Sphere.  I will tell you, that even if you do that?  It will not be in this good of a shape, when you do find one for sale.  Three point two million is more than a fair price out here at the end of civilized space, for a top of the line 35ton scout killer mech like this one.” 

Now it was time to bring out the big hammer.  “Don, yes.  It is rare.  Now how will I find any spare parts for it?  More importantly, whoever I sell it to.  They will have to have spare parts for it, and as you say.  It will be a bit of a travel delay, in getting any of those parts.  Do you know how much money we’re talking about right now?” 

Don’s reply to the question, was to give Robert a blank stare.  This showed to Robert, that Don had no idea what he was talking about.  Robert got up and cleaned off an end table and sat it beside the man in the wheeled chair.  With his briefcase opened in such a way, that Don could not see what was in it.  Robert started taking out bundled stacks of 100 and 500 c-bills notes.  This was part of the money that MMM had paid for those cannons the other night.  Soon the table was covered with money, and the piles kept getting taller and taller.  Don’s eyes kept getting bigger and bigger, as more and more bundles of bills were pulled out and put on display. 

Finely Robert stopped stacking packs of bills on the now very shaky end table.   “Don this is two point nine million C-Bills.  That is almost twelve million MC dollars, in local value.  This is what I’m talking about right now.  It is in cash money, right now.  Is this more to your liking?  You can spend it any way you want, and no one will be the wiser.” 

Don did not move a finger.  He had seen the weapons on their hips, and he did not have one close enough to be of any use.  The stack of money was huge, and it was an overpowering display of wealth.  Robert did not want to take advantage of the mentally and physically hurt man, so he decided to sweeten the pot a little more.  “Fine a little more then, but this is my final offer three million, worth of C-Bills.  Right here and right now.  Oh, and I know that this mech cost two point nine right off the factory floor.  You’re getting a hundred k, for your time and effort of keeping it up for the last few years.”  Robert pulled one of the gold bars that he had picked up from Duke Terry and put it on top of the display of cash.  It was like a crown on a man, as it sat on the tallest of six stacks of bills. 

Don was really sweating and after a few long seconds.  He pulled his eyes away from the stacks of life changing money.  It was with very shaky hands, that he rolled over to one of the shelves that had his hand built mechs models on display.  He selected one that was kind of hidden from view, and he popped the top off with a quick twist of the wrist.  For more than a few seconds the group thought he might be going for a weapon, and then maybe try to take what money he could grab and run.  Instead Don pulls out a rolled piece of thick off yellow vellum, from the handmade object.  After rolling back to the group.  He looks around, the only table within easy reach was full of paper and gold.  So, he smiles up to the Captain. 

“Well, this is a first.  I don’t have any place to write, because the only table I have, is full of money.  That is a nice problem to have, don’t you think.”  He gave a kind of manic laugh for a hand full of seconds, before he finally stopped. 

“I can’t remember ever having that problem, before.” He turned and rolled back to the shelf and pushed some of the handmade projects out of the way.  He signed his name on the title line of the document, with slightly shaking hands. 

Robert walked over and signed his name on the line required, for finishing the legal transfer of the machine.  Robert stuck out his hand and the two men shook hands, closing the deal.  Robert made eye contact with Lora, who then pulled out a small communication device.  She contacted the mech hauler outside and said that they were ready.  She told the driver to pull around the back of the building, so that Mike would be able to walk the machine out.  Then they would let the pros load and send the machine back to the drop port to be off loaded from one of the cargo carriers.  One of Robert’s people would put the machine into one of the cargo bays on a dropship. 

Now that it was done, and before it was going to get busy again.  Robert wanted to relax a little.  “Don, I think that we will step out and let you take care of the money.  You might want to put it in a safe place.  The hauler will be here in a few minutes.  Why don’t we wait out back, until you’re ready for us to move her out of your building?”  The other three joined Robert on his feet, when they heard what he had planned to do. 

The group moved out the back of the building, giving the wheelchair bound man some privacy to stash his booty.  That was when it turned out, that there was a lift to the upper floors.  Don had a heavy cardboard box that he was happily singing to himself and filling with the money, which was on the table.  Robert did not know if Don had a proper safe in the building or not.  He really didn’t care, but he thought that it was standard to have a safe of some kind in this type of building.  Buildings that rented out living space, that also could hold a multi meter, multi ton, multi million dollar war machine like most other people would store a wheeled transport.  One they would or could not take to their job or any eating place around town. 

The 50ton mech hauler was just finishing getting into position, when the great door at the rear of the building started to open on squeaky rollers.  Don wheeled himself outside into the sun, as the massive wall was rolled up towards the top.  Mike walked back into the building and started going up the metal ladder to the mech cockpit.  Robert could not take his eyes off of the vaguely wolf shaped head.  When the hatch clanked shut, he was able to break the spell. 

Robert walked over to the now Dispossessed mech warrior.  Robert was watching as Mike maneuvered the 35ton war machine, so that the lifting equipment would be able to help with securing the machine for transport.  There was not much a JumpShip's commander could do to help load a battlemech on to the wheeled transport.  Well, he could get in the way and be crushed, but that would not fall under the label of being “helpful”. 

Robert was now standing beside the now mechless pilot.  “Don, what are you going to do if the surgery is successful?  And you can walk again or maybe even pilot a mech again?” asked Robert without looking down at the other man.  Robert was watching him out of the corner of his eye, to see what if any reaction he would give.  Robert had no idea why he asked the question, but after it had left his mouth.  He realized that he cared about the response. 

The man looked up at the JumpShip captain.  “You know?  I have been thinking about that question a lot lately.  Before the accident.  All I wanted to do was pilot one of these, and try to blow someone else out of their mech.  I would talk to troopers who were blown out of their machines, in bars or in the infantry units.  All they would talk about, was wishing that they could get behind the controls of a mech again.  They would go on and on about what they would give, to do that again.  They had a god like feeling behind the controls, which they dearly missed.  I thought I would be the same way, if it happened to me.” 

The man shrugged his shoulders, but now was looking at his old machine again.  “I might have been that way, for the first few months.  Then I don’t know?  Something clicked in my head.  How many other people had I put in a chair like mine, or worse killed them?  I don’t think, that I can do that to anyone again.  Not after what I have been through.”  His head was shaking side to side, as he made the last comment.  He was quiet again for a bit, and then started talking on his own. 

“There has been a building boom going on in the core worlds.  More homes and factories are being built.  I have even heard, that they have started rebuilding entire cities.  Some of the ones that have been abandoned since the Star League fell.  If they can fix me?  I’m thinking that I will pick up a construction mech of some kind with the money I have left over, and then get a travel ticket back home.  Maybe I will just get a ticket back to someplace within or near, the old Lyran Commonwealth part of the new Federated Commonwealth.  I could start a formal school, on how to use those different types of work mechs and construction machines.  You know like those mech academies in the core worlds, but it will be about rebuilding and supporting cities and not blowing them apart.  I’m done burning them down.  You know when I was younger?  I was brought up using those types of machines, until I graduated to real mechs.  I was very good at their controls, growing up.  I even was given a few awards in school, beating everyone on my home planet for year after year.” 

He stopped talking again, and he was now looking at nothing.  “Yea, that’s it.  I just really want to build something, instead of just blowing them up.”  He gave a snort, that rocked his whole body.  “All of that is just wishful thinking, until I find out if they can fix the damaged to my spine or not.  Even if they can’t fix the balance issue, so I can use a brain bucket.  I can still work the controls on a work mech without one.  I don’t have any family alive, anymore.  I just have to take it one step at a time.”  Don’s voice was trailing off, getting softer and softer.  He had hope and he was scared that it would evaporate, like it had done so many times over the last year. 

Robert looked down at the damaged man beside him.  Don did not seem to notice the change in the way he sat in the chair. “Well that is, different.  I did not think that he would change that much, due to an injury.”  Robert was thinking and planning at a mile a second.  Robert let the other man daydream for a little while.  When he felt the time was right, he spoke to Don. 

“Don!  That is some plan you got there.  If you don’t mind, when we leave here.  Can you leave your contact information with Lora?  I would like to see how it all turns out, next time we stop by.  Or maybe I can send a message, to see how you’re doing?”  Robert stuck his hand out towards the other man.  This time it was not a business handshake, but a true friendly gesture. 

Don looked up and took the offered hand, he gripped it firmly.  It was the grip of someone who was a lot more confident, than the one grip he had used just an hour before.  “I will Captain.  I will make sure to leave a way for you to contact me.  You know?  Maybe I will put together a traveling academy.  All I would need, is an old Mule class and six or seven industrial mechs.  I could use a few contacts, that had access to a JumpShip or knows their way around the space lanes, every so often.“ 

Don looked down with a shocked look on his face and released Robert’s hand.  Don started patting his pockets.  “That was a good idea.  I need to write that one down.  Startup cost would be huge, but workable.  I might have to start small, maybe with just renting a Buccaneer or something.”  The man mumbled to himself, and then Robert made a little smile. 

“That was a good idea.  You could travel around working on different planets and for different Houses as you saw fit.  While you were doing that?  You’re finding out all kinds of information, and maybe a few secrets.  They would have to send someone back, to get the information to any decision makers.  They also would have to be someplace where they could then pass along the information and experience, to get back to the home world.”  Robert stopped his thinking right then.  What if the Dragoon’s had been doing just that?  He knew that he had not been given access to all of the files about the Inner Sphere.  He never would have had time to read them.  It was not like he was going to have a year between the time he left home and his first contact with the Inner Sphere to catch up on the intel files. 

“Don, we have to go after I make sure the hauler’s driver knows where to go.  I have to look at some more cargos, before we can break for the noon meal.  Good luck, and I wish you success.  We will be in touch.”  Robert started to walk towards the waiting hauler. 

Jess took his spot and started talking to Don.  Robert shot a few looks over his shoulder at the pair.  He was betting that Jess was borderline grilling Don on anything he might know about a list of subjects.  But Robert was betting that it was going to focus a lot on anything related to the unit called Wolf’s Dragoons.  Robert took his time and chatted with the driver for almost half an hour, before he started heading toward the rental car. 

Lora and Jess fell in behind Robert, as he walked to their ride.  They waited in the transport, till Mike joined them in the nice comfortable seats.  The Mech hauler pulled out and the sedan followed, going away from Don’s rented home.  Robert looked back, through the back window.  He saw that Don had started to lower the massive rolling door, before the view was cut off by a turn in the road.  Robert wondered how long it would be before Don lifted off from the drop port, or had a knife put into his neck for the money in that house.  It was not his problem, but he did hope that the man would get a second chance in life.  He seemed like he was about to truly make his mark on the universe. 

#############


The Mech Hauler and its load went one way after reaching the main road, and the sedan went the other way.  The first vehicle vender they stopped at was for the cargo trucks, which the clan badly needed.  It was a hard negotiation to set the price.  The vender knew that Copeland had a bucket load of money, and they wanted to have a larger cut of it.  Still they almost failed.  That had been when the vender tried to switch out trucks and load trucks on the carrier, that had not been checked by Captain Copeland’s crews yesterday.  Robert and his team watched as a vehicle transporter was being loaded with his latest buy.  They made a show of doubled checking each vin and for the hidden UV mark that might or might not have been in that location. 

Robert called back to the Cargo Masters and let them know that a dozen large flatbeds full of trucks were on the way to them.  With the manager of the truck sales lot still in ear shot.  He advised the Cargo Master to be sure to double check the VINs, when they were delivered to the cargo ships.  Just to be on the safe side, and in case someone wanted to play games with them again.  That had not gone over well with the sell’s vender.  While Robert was talking, he was letting his hand fall to his sidearm.  That had stopped any further issues from developing. 

Robert was able to talk the vender down to twenty-five thousand C-Bills for each of the trucks, to be loaded and shipped to the drop port.  Robert was thinking that he should have lowered the price offered per truck, after the vender had tried to change the vehicles that had been agreed upon before.  Instead he had gotten a good-sized load of assorted spare parts for the attempt to cheat them, for free.  Robert did not know what was in the four shipping containers, other than that they were parts and some special time saving tools to work on that type of vehicle. 

Lora made a note never to use this dealership again, and to post threw her network, about the attempt to cheat her clients.  She would go into some detail about the different ways that had been tried today.  She did not say, for anyone not to use them, in her notice of buyer beware.  She only said about how, they had been handled.  By the end of the week?  This truck sales lot business was down fifteen percent, and it was falling fast. 

################


The drive to the second vender was longer in travel time.  It was on the opposite end of town; from the first vender they had stopped at.  It seemed that the news of what happened to the first vender they went too, had spread faster than they could drive across town.  It might have been via the rumor mill or by some other means of information transfer.  This just proved, to Robert, that the old grape vine had an ability to self HPG message to anywhere in the known universe.  For one of the few times in his life, Robert did not care about the speed of rumor. 

The second vender had the trucks out and on display in a neat row, and they did not play any games with the visitors.  Well, no more than any other used car salesmen might try on any given day.  None of the wheeled transports they bought today, were in a used condition.  They were all brand new machines, with only a hand full of hours reading on the engine wear gauge.  Some of them still had plastic covers on them, to protect the seats and side mirrors for transport.  They spent about half the time being compared to the last vender, and it was a whole lot more enjoyable for everyone involved at this location. 
Lora transferred the money from the bank account to the vender.  Robert was very pleased at the speed they were able to get this done.  They had spent way less than half the time at the second vender, when compared to the first vender today.  The price for this batch of trucks was not that great, but it was about what was the normal dealer market value on this planet.  The Vendor knew what he had, and what they were worth.  They still did not get full asking price on the trucks, but they got a fair deal with a nice profit to mark down in their books.  The third and fourth vender stops went even faster.  Robert only needed long enough to double check the VINs and get them to come down to an agreeable price.  When they were done, it was time for lunch. 

##########


Why sneak suits?  Sneak suits have been a key to SF work since TRO 3026.  A combo sneak suit was cutting edge or even bleeding edge, until the clans showed up.  It would be the “go to” item for a little B and E.  If that fails?  Then you might pull more unique tools out of the toolbox to do some not so nice work. 

The Alarm.  It would make since that a dropship would be sensitive to air loss, so all you would need to do is over pressure your hull.  When someone opens a hatch, then the air rushes out and the loss of pressure alarm would sound.  It is how tanks fight in an NBC threat area today. 

Why civilian cars?  The SLiE have been on a war footing for a while now.  What they had been using to make private transportation, now has been repurposed for a war time need.  Try to find a 1943 car or nonmilitary truck.  There are none.  But people would still want them, things break, you will still have your odd wrecks, and you have a growing population.  Plus, the Colonials did not bring any cars with them. 

Detail. No, I will not be going into this much detail at very stop or for each purchase. 

A little history of the SLiE.  They relocated their population form the vicinity of McEvedy’s Folly, after spending a few decades gathering supplies.  They settled on New Circe in 2870


DOC_Agren

  • Captain
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  • Posts: 2136
Re: spinoff BSG crossover Copeland Supply, Salvage, and Resale
« Reply #89 on: 28 September 2019, 13:39:20 »
So Comstar or someone else attempted to raid the dropship for computers?
"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!"

 

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