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Author Topic: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks  (Read 2395 times)

Wereling

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #30 on: 13 February 2019, 00:03:47 »
January 6th, 3040
Hiring Hall
Galatea City, Galataea

This time the lawyer was different. Instead of the tall, somber form of Mr. Freydrich, Bismarck and Family had send a short, young man who must have been in his mid-20s at the latest. The sand-haired young man practically radiated impatience as he paced back and forth in front of the ComStar compound.

He looked up as Thomas approached.

“Colonel Schaller?” asked the young man.

Thomas nodded. The title still sounded strange to his ears, but he was a Colonel now.

“I am,” he said.

The young man smiled and abruptly stuck out his hand.

“I’m Jakob Forsbacka-Bismarck,” he said. “I have been assigned to your service for contract negotiations.”

Thomas paused for a moment.

“Forsbacka-Bismarck?” he asked.

Jakob nodded. “The same. Before you ask, yes I am related to the Bismarck. He is my great uncle. But I assure you that Bismarck and Family takes your contracted service with us quite seriously. I am a duly accredited advocate and my credentials are quite impressive.”

Thomas regarded the man dubiously. If Jakob had graduated from law school, suely it must have been recently.

“I assume you can provide bona-fides? asked Thomas.

He saw what might have been a look of irritation briefly flash over Jakob’s face. The lawyer reached into his jacket removed a disc of holographic foil sandwiched in polycarbonate. The hologram bore Jakob’s face, the emblem of his school, which Thomas was not familiar with, an issuance date of...

“3038?’ he asked. “You haven’t been at this long.”

Jakob shook his head. “Law is the family business. I worked as a paralegal throughout my teenage years. I did research for contract cases all through law school. This is not, I promise, my first case.”

Thomas continued to look doubtful.

Jakon bristled.

“You may, of course, refuse my services. Should you choose to do so, however, be aware that your deposit against future services will not be refunded...”

Jakob was scrupulously not gritting his teeth as he spoke, but he clearly had his hackles up.

Thomas was not happy with the situation, but what else could he do? Bismarck’s company had a sterling reputation, and the loss of deposit might not ruin him, but it would hurt.

He shook his head.

“No, no.” he said. “That won’t be necessary. You’ve produced your credentials as I requested. I simply wanted to be sure you are who you say you are.”

That seemed to mollify the lawyer, and Thomas watched some of the tension drain from his shoulders.

“This will go well, “ Jakob promised. “This will be a fairly standard contract negotiation, and I know what to look for.”

he shrugged.

“You likely don’t need to worry about someone stealing your command,” he said. “You’re not composed of ‘mechs, after all.”

This time it was Thomas’s turn to feel insulted. The galaxy might worship the feet that the Battlemech walked on, but that didn’t mean that his force was incapable.

Jakob seemed to realize his gaffe.

“I don’t mean any insult, you understand,” he said. “It’s just that more than one contract has been worded in an attempt to steal a mercenary unit’s equipment. Most of the time they’re worded to impound mechs and indenture mechwarriors”

Thomas gave a tight nod, but decided to let things go. He was paying for many things, but tact was not one of them.

“Let’s go,” he said, and the two of them entered the compound..

This time they were led to a slightly larger conference room than before. Thomas knew that he was to meet with a representative from something called “Arklov Solutions, inc.” based somewhere in the Free Rasalhague Republic.

To his surprise, he found himself met with a familiar face already at the table. The man who had shared Freddie’s dropship sat on the other side of the conference table. As Thomas and the lawyer entered the room, he stood.

“Colonel Schaller!” the man said, smiling broadly. “It is a pleasure to meet you. I am Lars Sigurdsson.”

Thomas met the man’s hand with his own. The handshake was firm and businesslike. The smile held no warmth whatsoever. Then again, this was not to be a meeting of friendship.

Thomas spoke his own greeting, and all present then sat at the table.

Sigurdsson spent no further time in pleasantries He simply passed over a tablet and began his sales pitch.

“Arklov would like to hire you to a three year defense contract. You will find our terms quite generous for a unit such as yours. We operate several units using ex-Lyran equipment, and so we will happily handle the maintenance portion of your contact in house. The initial posting would be a term aiding on the defense of Odin Manufacturing’s facilities on Orestes.”

Thomas scanned the initial few paragraphs of the proposal from the tablet. The terms were, indeed, quite generous. A significant enough sum up front, easily enough to staff and provision the vehicles he had. After that, a sizable monthly stipend to be paid to the unit payroll office.

Thomas’s heartbeat a little faster. It was nearly a dream contract. Almost too good to be true. He said nothing, but handed the tablet to Jakob.

“This contract does indeed seem quite generous,” he said. “Why us? We have no employment history.”

Sigurdsson shrugged. “Not as a mercenary, no. Still, I spent quite a bit of time talking with your first officer on the trip over. It seems you have most of a regular Lyran armor unit to offer, and all of them discharged honorably. After speaking with Freddie I took a look at the personnel packets of the officers you are now employing. For a mercenary unit they are squeaky clean.”

Thomas nodded. “I am very happy with the roster we have managed to employ. Still, this is a plum contract for a group you barely know.”

“That is true,” said Sigurdsson. “But you have to look at it from my point of view. Odin is practically gaining the services of a Lyran line unit. You are not a Battlemech unit, so your services are in less demand and your rates are lower. All of you have recent combat experience, and none of you has black marks against you in the Republic. That is surprisingly uncommon. Also you are not Capellan. That matters for reasons I cannot disclose. Lastly, you have no equipment that is exotic to us. You also have no maintenance section we will need to supply. Over all, we are getting a discount.”

Thomas nodded, but said nothing further. He found himself growing eager at the prospect of taking the job. His first contract, and it could easily set his unit up for continued expansion.

Next to him, Jakob continued to pore over the contract. He did not speak as he read, tracing a finger along the lines of text. Occasionally he would scroll back up a bit and re-trace lines he had previously read. After about ten minutes of sitting in award silence he set the tablet down, and turned to Sigurdsson.

“You contract does not specify labor rates for maintenance to be charged.to the unit,” he said. It was not a question.

Sigurdsson held up his hands in a motion of appeasement.

“An oversight,” he said. “We had not expected to find a unit of your size who both did not have their own maintenance section and had equipment we can maintain in-house. We expected to have to sub-contract that function and would have provided those rates once we had received them from the subcontractor. I can easily have them added.”

Jakob grunted and lowered his head over the tablet again, diving back into the contract. Thomas and Sigurdsson continued to make small talk as he read. A few minutes later Jakob lifted his head again.

“There’s an ‘other duties as assigned’ clause here,” he said.

“It is standard for any contract in the Republic,” said Sigurdsson. “It’s there to provide liability cover. The Kungsarmee reserves the right to call up any corporate-contracted unit in the event of an emergency. That I am afraid is required for any unit operating in Republic space.”

“I see,” said Jakob. He set the tablet back down on the desk, and then slid it back to Sigurdsson.

“Well,” said Jakob. “Please forward a revised copy of the contract with the proper maintenance rates and we’ll take a look at them. Other than that I have reviewed the contract and I will advise Colonel Schaller accordingly.”

Sigurdsson picked up the tablet and nodded, starting to stand.

“Well then gentlemen. I’ll have a revised copy of the contract to you as soon as I can. I may need to contact Odin for the information I need, so it might be a few days before i can get back to you.”

Schaller and Jakob then also stood, and another round of handshakes was had. Sigurdsson smiled again, and despite his excitement Thomas noticed that the smile didn’t quite touch the man’s eyes. Indeed if anything those eyes had gone hard and a bit angry.

All three men exited the conference room. As they walked to the lobby, Jakob tugged at Thomas’ sleeve, directing him towards the line of video calling booths. Jakob made a show of fishing through his pockets for the booth fee until Sigurdsson walked through the doors of the Hiring Hall.

“Don’t take it,” he said.

Thomas arched an eyebrow in confusion.

“Don’t take the job?” he asked. “Why? The payday on that contract could double the size of my unit by the end of it.”

Jakob shook his head. “You’ll never live to see it. That contract is a trap, even without ‘company store’ trick he just tried to pull. An oversight my ass.”

“What makes so sure we’d never live to see it?” Thomas asked.

“The ‘other duties as assigned’ language.” said Jakob. “That malarkey about it being Kungsarmee policy is complete garbage. I told you this wasn’t my first go-round with these sorts of negotiations. There’s no indication in the contract that the Kungsarmee has to assign the other duties.”

He reached up and put a hand on Thomas’ shoulder.

“Look, I know it’s a lot of money, but if you take that job you’re going to find yourself cannon fodder on a raid somewhere. There’s no indication that you’d be working for Odin at all. Every bit of language in that contract says you’re under contract to Arklos Solutions.”

“I see,” said Thomas. The dread of what had almost happened to him and his new command was a river of ice down his back.

“Don’t sweat it,” said Jakob. “Some of what he said is true. You do have remarkably good credentials for a brand new armor unit. Someone out there wants to hire you and isn’t going to lie to you about it.”

Thomas said nothing. After a moment Jakob spoke again.

“Look, if it helps we can see what that contract says about maintenance rates. I still wouldn’t take it though.”

Thomas nodded as the two of them headed towards the exit to the building. Just short of the doors Thomas stopped. Jakob stopped as well and looked back at him quizzically.

“I believe,” Thomas said, “I owe you an apology.”

Nav_Alpha

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #31 on: 13 February 2019, 05:52:05 »
Lawyer saves the day


"Hold your position, conserve ammo... and wait for the Dragoons to go Feral"
- last words of unknown merc, Harlech, 3067
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Dave Talley

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #32 on: 13 February 2019, 14:28:21 »
Lawyer saves the day

whoda thunk it?
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”.
I agree. Conditionally. I have no qualms kicking the favorite faction in the crotch--repeatedly. But the fact of the matter is, I prefer to kick EVERYBODY in the crotch as often as possible, like a game of whack a mole, only here's it's whack a crotch. Because we're playing in a wargame universe, and if you're NOT getting kicked in the crotch (repeatedly), then you're not in the ****** game.
- Herb

clansittingducks: is it wrong to want to take a baseball bat to their groin so hard their testicles fly out of their eyes upon impact?

VhenRa

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #33 on: 13 February 2019, 16:50:19 »
That right there is why your first hire as a merc unit should be legal representation.

Dave Talley

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #34 on: 13 February 2019, 20:48:21 »
That right there is why your first hire as a merc unit should be legal representation.

yep
first lawyer, second accountant
Resident Smartass since 1998
“Toe jam in training”.
I agree. Conditionally. I have no qualms kicking the favorite faction in the crotch--repeatedly. But the fact of the matter is, I prefer to kick EVERYBODY in the crotch as often as possible, like a game of whack a mole, only here's it's whack a crotch. Because we're playing in a wargame universe, and if you're NOT getting kicked in the crotch (repeatedly), then you're not in the ****** game.
- Herb

clansittingducks: is it wrong to want to take a baseball bat to their groin so hard their testicles fly out of their eyes upon impact?

DOC_Agren

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #35 on: 14 February 2019, 00:18:02 »
yep
first lawyer, second accountant
third a good doctor
"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!"

snakespinner

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #36 on: 14 February 2019, 00:23:43 »
Just waiting for the bill, knowing lawyers it will be good. :D
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

ckosacranoid

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #37 on: 17 February 2019, 16:06:42 »
that layer pretty much paid for himself right there and you really want to use him in the future for sure.

Esskatze

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #38 on: 17 February 2019, 18:54:53 »
Happy to see things are continuing. I know I'm greedy, but I hope we won't have to wait so long for the next chapter. Keep it up!

Wereling

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #39 on: 09 September 2019, 09:01:41 »
(In the immortal words of Granny Weatherwax, I ATEN'T DEAD. Apologies for the delay. I've had a bit of upheval in my life lately, but I plan to get back to this now.)

January 8th, 3040
The Laager
Galatea City, Galatea

Ronnie was in among her people. On most planets military enlisted types would all mix in the same bar, away from the complications brought on by the presence of civilians. Aside from Mechwarriors, who were their own breed, soldiers tended to congregate with soldiers.

Galatea was different. On any other world infantry would mix with armor, which would mix with aerospace crews. On the Mercenary’s Star there were enough of every variety of soldier for establishments to specialize in a single type.

The Laager wasn’t large, but it was unabashedly a place for tank crews. The front of the bar was a fully intact tank tread. Ronnie thought it had been taken from a Scorpion. It was in pristine condition, with the track blocks, bogeys, and sprocket all immaculately clean. The top was a clear polycarbonate shell so that drinks could be set on top without danger of spilling into the tread.

She’d been coming here since before Schaller had arrived. As soon as he’d floated the idea of becoming a merc she’d put in her retirement papers and set out for Galatea. She’d found this place the first day on world and had spent nearly every night here since.

She’d made a deal with the staff to use a small booth as a temporary office. Tommy might know the business, and he might know the officers. What Ronnie knew that he didn’t was regular soldiers. She knew she was going to need to fill in the rank and file, and she was determined to get her recruiting done before Schaller found a job.

So far things had gone pretty well. She’d filled in a few NCO slots and had even snapped up a couple of crew chiefs to keep things running. What she hadn’t managed so far was to find someone to serve as 2nd company’s chief NCO.

It wasn’t that the people she’d found tor the role had been bad, per se. But Frederick Marsden was a special kind of officer, and he needed a special kind of minder.

Freddie, she knew, was crazy. The lanky Cavalry officer would gladly throw himself headlong past countless enemies to get to the firing position he wanted. What he needed was a senior NCO that could keep a cool head and mitigate some of those tendencies.

She sat nursing her drink for a while. She had made a deal with the bartender to set up an ersatz office in a booth set back in a corner.  It offered a good view of most of the bar, and it made it easy for someone to find her to set up an interview.

Over the course of the next few hours she was approached by a few soldiers. One she offered a second interview, and he took it immediately. A second turned her down, but asked her to reach out once the company found a contract One she nearly turned in to the police herself, since he was clearly on some sort of recreational medication and was almost certainly a danger to himself and others.

She sighed and took a look at her watch. She was scheduled to meet with the Colonel and some potential suppliers the next morning. As much as she wanted to, couldn’t stay out all night. Not that she really had much of a desire to.

As she pondered departing, a mousy young man with a close-cropped head of blonde hair approached the booth. WIth him was a stocky man of middle height wearing a set of mechanic’s coveralls and no insignia.

Ronnie held up her beer in greeting as two two men approached.

“Hey Klopp,” she said, “Who’s this?”

The shorter man smiled and turned to introduce the man in the coveralls.

“Ronnie,” he said, “This is Lance-Sergeant Richard Dragunsky.”

Dragunsky held out his hand in greeting. Ronnie stood, transferring her beer to the offhand so that she could accept the handshake. Then she turned back to Klopp.

“I told you Jerry, I’m working,” she said, scowling. “Call me Sergeant Major Veronica Rickert.”

Klopp snorted. “Sure thing, Ronnie,” he said. “Anyways, Dick here’s looking for a job.”

She turned to regard Dragunsky.

“‘Lance Sergeant’, you say. You’re Capellan?” she asked.

Dragunsky nodded. “Was with Kamakura’s Hussars during the Andurien thing. Caught the last few months of the 4th Succession War with them too.” he said

“What’re you doing here?” asked Ronnie.

Dragunsky shrugged.

“Did my time. I enlisted on Sakhalin. Then Sakhalin got taken by the Feddies. Couldn’t go home and didn’t want to stay in. so I came looking for a job.”

Ronnie nodded, and managed not to wince. Losing one’s home planet was a real possibility in the age of interstellar war. She’d met a few Davion soldiers whose homes were now in the hands of the Draconis Combine following the most recent conflict. At least one had been so distraught that he’d apparently tried to smuggle himself back home, only to be arrested as a spy.

“Sorry to hear about home,” she said.

“Don’t be,” said Dragunsky. “Sakhalin might not be the most miserable ice ball in the Inner Sphere, but it’s got to be close. I enlisted in the first place to get off that rock.

Ronnie nodded again, feeling slightly better about the conversation. If Dragunsky didn’t feel bad about never going back to where he was from she wasn’t going to worry about it. Enlisting to escape was a traditional that predated spaceflight, after all.

“Tell her about the Scimitar,” prompted Klopp

Ronnie raised an eyebrow expectantly. Dragunsky shrugged.

“Jerry here tells me you’re looking for hovertank crew with recon experience. I drove a Scimitar for Kamakura during the MAF raif on Turin. I managed to not die.”

Ronnie rolled that over in her mind for a bit. By all accounts the fighting on Turin had been a wide ranging and freewheeling affair. The wide open plains of the area around the city of Porter had very little cover to hide behind. To survive there a recon driver would have had to know how to use speed and range to his advantage.

“Any kills?” she asked.

“Tagged a MAF Stinger during the fighting. Got credit enough to get the raise I needed to get here when I got out.”

That was good too. A Stinger wasn’t all that impressive, but it was still a battlemech. It seemed to show he was cautious, but not TOO cautious.

“Ever seen a Drillson?” she asked. Dragunsky shook his head.

“Not outside a field recognition guide. The Feds didn’t have them yet on Sakhalin and the MAF can’t afford them. You’ve got some?”

Ronnie nodded. She took a sip of her beer, rolling it around in her mouth while she pondered. Dragunsky seemed almost too good to me true.

“All right,” she said. “I can’t promise to hire you until we’ve had a chance to see how you’ll do in a simulator, but assuming your duty jacket checks out I’ll bring you in for some sim time tomorrow. That work?”

It was Dragunsky’s turn to nod.

“Works for me.Not that many armor outfits hiring, and it sounds like you’ve got most of them beat for equipment.”

Ronnie slid over a tablet and stylus.

“Give me your contact info and we’ll talk tomorrow,” she said.

Dragunsky smiled. “Yes, Sergeant Major,” he said.

Ronnie looked at her watch again.

“Not a bad day’s work,” she muttered to herself.

Daryk

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #40 on: 09 September 2019, 18:12:40 »
Not a bad day at all... Glad to see this back!  :thumbsup:

EAGLE 7

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #41 on: 10 September 2019, 09:16:59 »
   Glad to see this story continue.

Hairbear541

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #42 on: 10 September 2019, 09:36:45 »
yep , was so afraid this was just another one that just as it got really good , the author would fall into a blackhole to never be heard from again . glad to have you back .....

DOC_Agren

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #43 on: 10 September 2019, 12:39:26 »
I was afraid that they had signed that bad contract and had been made cannon fodder
"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!"

Daryk

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #44 on: 10 September 2019, 18:38:09 »
That right there is why you hire a lawyer first...  ^-^

Wereling

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #45 on: 11 September 2019, 21:10:37 »
January 12th, 3040
Hiring Hall
Galatea City, Galatea

It had been nearly a week since the meeting with the representative from Arklos, and Thomas was having second thoughts. On the one hand, the lawyer’s fears about the nature of the contract seemed valid. On the other hand, Thomas Schaller’s new mercenary band was rapidly spending money and currently had no way to make it back.

This would be the third prospective employer that Schaller met with since his meeting with Arklos, and neither of the other two had been remotely suitable. The first was with a Combine trading company that would have placed his company into the path of any potential incursion from Lyran space, which would have pit Thomas against his own people. The second was with a Lyran manufacturer who expected to gain his services at a steep discount due to patriotism.

This meeting would be with a party outside of the Inner Sphere altogether. Thomas wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of taking a contract on the Periphery, but between the 4th Succession War, the War of Andurien Succession, what was now being called the War of 3039l, and numerous other  conflicts over the last fifteen years, every employer in the Inner Sphere seemed desperate for mercenaries with battlemechs, not conventional armor.

This client was a bit of an odd one. A university somewhere in the Magistracy of Canopus had gotten it into its head that it needed some protection. Thomas had heard of learning institutions that needed a security force, but those were places like the New Avalon Institute of Science, or the Sun Zhang military academy. Such a place on the Periphery couldn’t be that important, could it?

Worse, the client was late. Thomas sat in the conference room in the ComStar Review Board building that he had leased for the negotiations. He tried not to fidget. Beside him, Jakob also sat. He had taken the opportunity to remove some documents from his briefcase and review them in the absence of the other party to the upcoming negotiations.

Jakob seemed to sense Thomas’ unease, and he looked up from his documents to soothe the man.

“Relax,” The lawyer said, “They’ll be here. They traveled hundreds of light-years to hire you. They’re just a bit held up, is all.”

Thomas nodded. The pep talk would have been comforting a few days ago,  but doubt ate at him now.

A while later, almost a quarter hour past the time when negotiations were set to begin, a knock came from the door to the conference room. It immediately opened to reveal a robed ComStar acolyte followed by a short, chestnut-skinned  woman in a cream-colored and very dirty suit. With her came a lawyer, impeccably dressed in a manner similar to that of Jakob. She was immaculately clean, and bore a lapel pin that marked her as an associate of the rival law firm to the one that Thomas had hired.

Behind them through the doorway Thomas could see another figure. A tall, heavily-muscled woman was holding a quiet but firm argument with building security. As the acolyte closed the door behind the lawyer, Thomas thought he caught the unmistakable scent of scorched human flesh.

The chestnut-skinned woman took a seat on the other side of the table without speaking. Her lawyer settled beside her and opened her briefcase, removing a paper contract from it. The woman in the soiled suit took a deep breath, apparently to center herself, and then extended a hand across the table.

“Colonel Schaller,” she said. “I am Doctor Priya D’Angonta. I apologize for our delay. We were unavoidably detained.”

Beside her the lawyer had gone stone-faced. Thomas didn’t doubt that whatever had dirtied the doctor’s suit and wounded her bodyguard had indeed detained them, but he was polite enough no to ask what had happened.

Jakob, on the other hand, apparently did not feel the need to be so mannered.

“Delayed by what?” he asked. “You appear to be in some sort of distress. We can reschedule if that’s necessary.”

Doctor D’Angonta shook her head.

“That won’t be necessary. I am quite unharmed, and ComStar was kind enough to provide the proper aid to my bodyguard.”

She did not, Thomas noted, indicate what had happened. Jakob appeared for a moment to begin to press further. After a moment however he stood and held his own hand out to Doctor D’Angonta and the other lawyer..

“Jakob Forsbacka-Bismarck,” he said in greeting. “I’ll be representing Colonel Schaller for this negotiation.”

“Ingrid Snorrisdottr,” said the other lawyer, taking Jakobs’ hand, and then holding her own out to Thomas. He shook it, and they all took their seats again.

“Let’s begin, shall we?” said the doctor. ”The University of Luxen wishes to offer a garrison contract to your organization. The contract will be for a term of no less than 18-months, to begin once your unit makes planetfall.”

“Why such a short period?” asked Thomas. “A year and a half isn’t a long contract for a unit that has to travel halfway across the Inner Sphere to take it.”

Doctor D’Angonta nodded, clearly expecting the question.

“The Magistracy is in a state of political turmoil at the moment. The University does not feel that it can reliably expect to be a priority of the MAF until things have settled. We wish to provide for a minimum period for the political situation to stabilize, with an option to extend beyond the initial period in six month intervals.”

Beside Thomas,Jakob was poring over the paper contract. At the mention of the option his head rose from the page.

“That doesn’t give a lot of job security to my client’s unit. I see here the option is at the discretion of the employer, with one third of the agreed upon compensation automatically applying to the extension.”

For a moment, a flicker of uncertainty appeared across Doctor D’Angonta’s face. She turned to her own lawyer, she shrugged and nodded. A scowl briefly appeared at the corner of the doctor’s mouth, and she shrugged.

“That language is negotiable,” she said.

“I see,” said Jakob. He sat back in his chair for a moment, absently chewing his lower lip. He turned to Thomas.

“Are you opposed to a renewal clause?” he asked

“In theory, no,” said Thomas. “If the contract works out well between us, it would be nice to have a framework in place for longer term employment. Six month periods seem a little short, and auto-renewing the compensation is a non-starter.”

“I see,” said Jakob. He drummed his fingers on the table before turning back to the table.

“Let’s table that for now,” he said. “Let’s talk maintenance clause options.”

Snorrisdottr shook her head.

“There aren’t any,” she said. “The unit is responsible for its own repairs. Standard ‘Wear, tear, and ammo’ clause,”

Thomas replied with a head shake of his own.

“That won’t work for us. We’re a new unit and we’re going to be low on support personnel. Tankers can do a lot of their own repair work, but there are some things you need a repair bay for.”

Snorrisdottr opened her mouth to reply.. Next to Thomas, Jakob was inhaling to interject his own comment. Both were forestalled by a raised hand from Doctor D’Angonta.

“The University simply does not have the resources to maintain an armor unit,” she said, slightly smiling. “While conflict for tenure is not uncommon, it rarely lapses into open warfare. However, I may have another solution.”

She paused for a moment, then stood and walked to the door.  She opened it, and motioned the tall woman that Thomas had seen in the hallway inside. She wore a heavy, probably armored, jacket. A hole had been burned through the upper left breast of the garment, and Thomas could see the stippled white pattern of a medipatch showing through the hole.

“This is Major Tabitha White,” said the doctor. “She is the head of security for the University of Luxen, as well as a high ranking reservist in the Luxen planetary militia.”

Thomas and Jakob stood to meet the newcomer. Like most tankers, Thomas was not an exceptionally tall man, though he did not consider himself particularly short. Tabitha White towered over him. They shook hands, and Thomas noted that her grip was quite firm. So firm he was certain that if she had wanted to the Major could crush every bone in his hand.

The lawyers, the doctor, and Thomas all took their seats again. Major White eyed a remaining chair, then remained standing at Doctor D’Angonta’s side.

“Major White, would it be possible for Colonel Schaller’s forces to contract with the local militia to use their repair facilities?”

The Major shrugged.

“I don’t see why not. The base near the University is old, but it was built by League occupation forces. It’s overbuilt for the unit stationed there. You could probably base yourselves out of there if you wanted to.”

“Would you be willing to provide an endorsement for the Colonel to the commander of the planetary militia?” asked the doctor.

She nodded.

“Sure,” she said.

“How much weight will that endorsement carry?” asked Jakob, beating Thomas to the question by about a second.

Major White snorted. “Lots of weight. The local commander is my uncle.”

“I see,” said Jakob. He went back to scanning the contract.

“What about the compensation terms?” asked Snorrisdottr.

“Those are largely acceptable to us,” said Thomas. “Excepting of course the extension clause. I will ask for a budget for medical treatment.”

“I can do better than that,” said the doctor. “The University of Luxen is a teaching hospital. We’ll be happy to handle the medical care of your unit ourselves.”

Thomas took a doubtful glance at Jakob, who shrugged.

“We can certainly work on that language,” he said. “It sounds like a good deal in both directions, but Ingrid and I here can hammer out the details between us. Why don’t the rest of you take a break?”

After a few words of general agreement Thomas, Doctor D’Angonta, and Major White stood and exited into the hall, where they were met by an Acolyte who led them to a nearby lounge. As they walked, Thomas  turned to the Major.

“You said the League built the local base,” he said, “But I didn’t think that the Free Worlds League had ever invaded that far into the Magistracy?” he said.

Major White chuckled. “They haven’t,” she said. “You’re thinking of the wrong League. Fort Collins was built by the Star League.”

Thomas wasn’t sure what to say, so he said nothing.

After a few minutes of pleasant conversation with the two women where Thomas carefully did not talk about the contract, the acolyte appeared again. She led the trio back to the conference room, where both lawyers waited.

“We think we’ve got a contract worked out,” said Snorrisdottr. “Aside from the language of the extension clause."

“I do have a suggestion there,” said Jakob. “Extension periods should be a full year, A renewal decision should be made and included in the University budget at least a calendar year before the extension is due.”

“A full year?” asked the Doctor. “Why so long?”

“If universities in the Magistracy are anything like they are in Lyran space, budgets are almost never approved on time,” said Jakob. “A year gives my client enough time to find another employer if the University decides to dispense with his services.”

Doctor D’Angonta thought for a moment, and then nodded. “That is acceptable,” she said.

“Wonderful!” said her lawyer. “With that squared away, we simply need to know the name of the unit that you’re contracting with. What is the name of your unit?”

All eyes turned to Thomas.

“Schaller’s Shellbacks,” he said. He tried his best not to look embarrassed when he said it.
« Last Edit: 12 September 2019, 06:39:46 by Wereling »

Daryk

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #46 on: 12 September 2019, 04:32:21 »
Nicely done!  And now I'm VERY curious who shot up the Canopians…  ???

EAGLE 7

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #47 on: 12 September 2019, 21:11:00 »
I also hope to see the back story on the attack on the Canopians.  The Shellbacks might offer to provide increased security to the Canopians on planet.

DOC_Agren

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Re: Tread Heads: The story of Schaller's Shellbacks
« Reply #48 on: 14 September 2019, 15:34:32 »
My guess might be within Comstar itself
"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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