Author Topic: Boots On the Ground - Story Thread  (Read 4717 times)

c_gee

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Boots On the Ground - Story Thread
« on: 21 July 2013, 10:47:21 »
Rawdon City, Roadside
Coventry Province North
Lyran Commonwealth
2 Oct 3023


Like a tap-dancer walking off the stage after a performance, the metallic clicking of heel on tile announced every stride of Josep’s parade boots, their mirror shine catching and reflecting overhead ceiling lights as he marched purposefully through the interior offices of the admin building. In his four years of employment with the Devil’s Boots mercenary outfit, Josep had only ever found a reason to step foot in Battalion Headquarters a handful of times - none of which had been visits that he’d have called “entirely pleasant”… especially the last one.

His arm itched.  It seemed like it always did in the late afternoon, moreso than at other times of the day, like his body could anticipate the end of the work day. Was that actually possible?

Josep set those thoughts to the back-burner of his mind as he approached the door of the office he was looking for.  He came to a crisp and precise halt in the open doorway and rapped lightly on the doorframe, inches away from a sign that read D COMPANY, PLATOON COMMANDER'S OFFICE "B".

“Sergeant Kinder reporting to Lieutenant Braun as ordered,” he barked.

If either of the two individuals seated behind the only two desks in the sparse office were impressed with Josep’s military precision, his dress or his deportment, they didn’t show it.  A woman with shoulder-length blond hair barely glanced Josep’s way as she worked the terminal in front of her. The nametag on her uniform read BRAUN.

“At ease, Sergeant," she said.  "Come on in.”

Josep visibly relaxed slightly and walked into the office of his immediate supervisor, which she shared with another platoon commander. He came to a halt at the edge of her desk.

A rather bearish-looking man sitting across from the blond woman eased back from his terminal, stood up and looked over at her. “Well Trace, I’ve got to get over to air ops to meet with Beef and Beans before the end of the day.  Gonna have us a little chat with the air controller.  I’ll see you tomorrow, yeah?"

“I’ll be here, Claude,” she replied as the man gathered up a few items and pushed past Josep and out the door.

Lt. Braun took a few moments to close down what she had been working on and then spun in her chair to address the soldier standing rigid in front of her.

“I know you’ve only been in fifteen platoon a few months, Sergeant,  but if you’re going to be my platoon NCO, you don’t need to be so formal with me.” She indicated toward the newly vacated office chair and continued, “please feel free to have a seat.”

Josep settled into the chair. “Thank you, Mam.”

“No need to thank me.  It is I who should thank you for coming into the city today to meet me. I’m sorry to have made you endure the commute on the grav-train. I would have much rather met you out at Company HQ, but like most of the platoon commanders, Lieutenant Parker and I have had to take care of a fair amount of business here in the city this week. “

“It’s really not a problem, Mam.” he lied, “I actually enjoy riding the grav-train in.  It kinda reminds me of the time I spent riding on the HML transit system as a kid… Course, even the transit systems for a small town on Hesperus had a lot more funding thrown at it than anything here on Roadside, but none-the-less, it’s still relaxing.”

“I bet,” she said as she grabbed a thick file from the top of her desk and opened it.  Stencilled on the edge was KINDER, JOSEP. She flipped through a few pages. “Y’know, speaking of Hesperus, earlier today I pulled your file and had a good read on your involvment with the Lyran Gaurds back in thirty-nineteen.  I’d forgotten that you were commended by the Gaurds for your actions.”

“Yes, Mam.” He confirmed nonchalantly.

“As a zipperhead no less.”

“Yes, Mam.”

“Sergeant, a tanker getting a unit commendation on a planet rife with mechs and an abundance of the all-mighty jocks to stuff in them is no easy feat,” she said. “I know that battle didn’t turn out well for the Gaurds, but you shouldn’t dismiss your accomplishments - especially in conjunction with your actions here in the Boots during the Marigol-“

“No disrespect, Mam,” he interrupted as he lightly scratched his arm. “I’ve been in fifteen platoon for over half a year now.  You shouldn’t need to be pulling my file at this stage, and even if you are, I imagine that you already know who I am and what I’ve done."

Braun paused at that.  Josep could see she'd figured out he wanted to cut to the chase.

“True enough” she said as she closed the file, stood up from her chair and walked over to a lockable filing cabinet. Opening it up she slipped Josep’s file in one section and from another section pulled out another file - one that was much slimmer.  She opened it up and plopped it down on the desk in front of Josep.  The picture of a hooded face of a rugged yet smarmy looking man stared back at Josep.

“I’ve been asked to put together a team,” Braun said.

“Well, you might want to reconsider this guy.  He’s obviously got terrible fashion sense and it’s likely he’s got at least one venereal disease.”

“Very funny, Sergeant,” she scolded. “This is Adept Davis, the Boots’ latest employer.  He’s hired us to provide a security team for him. A team I’m assigning you to be in charge of.”

“To do what exactly?”

“It seems,” she replied, “that the Star has bought some goods and they’re looking for some security during the delivery. The handover’s gonna take place over at the Chester starport grav-train station in 4 days.”

“Over in Chester? That’s a little out of the way.”

“I assume both parties involved in the handover want it that way, Sergeant.”

“What kind of goods are we talking here, Mam?”

“The Star hasn’t been entirely forthcoming with the information.”

“Peachy.”

“However,” she continued, “command believes that it’s some sort of lostech.”

That caught Josep’s attention.  It wasn’t everyday that someone was dropping ‘lostech’ into a conversation.  Actually, that wasn’t true. The kids in his platoon were constantly telling tall tales about the Valkyrie or Rifleman their family owned and the lostech crammed within it. Fantasizing about a better life than that of a PBI grunt was just about all a boot could do to cope sometimes.  But this, the mentioning of lostech in a briefing packet issued by command? This was interesting. Josep sat up a little straighter.

“How’d Command come to that conclusion?” Josep asked.

Braun flipped to the next page.  Another picture, though this time, that of a thin and wirey looking kid. 

“Meet Blaine Archer," she offered. “The lastest numpty in the sphere who’s gone and done something incredibly stupid.”

“I'm listening.”

“It seems that Mr. Archer, here was a tech in the employ of the Combine,” Braun continued. “Story goes that a few months ago he was sent out on a repair and salvage operation after a border skirmish on Moritz.  After he’d finished up his work on Combine units, he apparently offered his help in getting a merc mech up and running again and it was apparently during this time that he acquired the item or items that he’s trying to sell to ComStar.”

“That seems a bit of a jump from regular ill gotten tech to lostech, don’t you think, Mam? What type of mech was it, anyway?”

“A Marauder two,” she replied, not even a hint of a smile on her face.

Shocked, Josep paused.  There weren’t many MAD-4A’s in the sphere and an even smaller list of their owners.  Christ, this was starting to sound dangerous to him… Still, he had to know.

“And the merc?”

“One MacKenzie Wolf.”

“Well hell,” Josep said as he whistled low.  If there was one lostech story he’d be believing anytime soon, this was going to be it.  The Dragoons seemed to be swimming in advanced mechs and everybody this side of Terra suspected that they’d found a cache of lostech somewhere.  If anyone in the sphere had lostech inside their mech it was going to be the 18 year old son of Jaime Wolfe.

“It gets better,” Braun said. “Skilled as this Archer kid might be at talking to the guts of mechs, he apparently wasn’t gifted with an abundance of common sense.  Seems that in his haste to offload his illegally gotten goods, he’s broadcast more offers for his goods to potential clients than the holoporn industry does. It’s likely that Adept Davis isn’t the only one who knows when Mr. Archer is due to arrive at the starport, so Davis expects there could be trouble at the meet.”

“And that’s where my team and I come in,” Josep finished.

“Indeed.  You’re scheduled to meet Adept Davis the evening of the fifth,” she said. “You’ll want to have your team selected by then so I can approve it.”

“Yes, Mam,” he replied. “I’ll have a list for you on your desk in two days.”

As Josep rose from his chair and walked to the door he began putting a short list of candidates together in his mind. Unfortunately, since coming over to fifteen platoon six months back, he hadn’t gotten to know his troops quite as well as he liked and his short list was a lot shorter than he would have liked.  If he was going to put together a 6-8 man squad that he could feel confident about, he’d have to go through his own files and notes as soon as he got back to the Company headquarters. He spun in the doorway and came to attention.

“Oh, and on last thing Sergeant."

"What's that, Mam?".

“I'm glad to see your rehab went well," she said.  "You look good.  Dismissed.”

"Yes, mam," he muttered. "Thanks." 

 Josep spun and marched away.
« Last Edit: 24 July 2013, 02:33:15 by c_gee »
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