Wolf's Den Night Club
April 11th 3049
Smith had to give it to them. The Wolf's Dragoons owned this world, and when they built a place to party they did damn fine job. Lights flashed, and strobed, like lasers in a fire fight. The thud of base was a constant pounding that shock the floor. Catherine was right; the door man let them right in, which was awesome because the Wolf's Den was most definitely the kind of place you went to pick up chicks. Not the kind of chicks you took home to meet your mother. No these were more like the kind of woman that you would have bragged to your buddies about; if you hadn't spent every c-bill in your wallet for the privilege. Joker had already remarked that it looked like they had girls in here from every corner of the Inner Sphere, and more than a few from the periphery, but pretty girl's aside; there was still business to attend to The two men Catherine had sent them to meet where sitting at a large table on the upper level, overlooking the dance floor.
Smith offered a hand and introduced them "Good evening gentlemen I'm Smith; this is my associate Joker. We were told that you two were looking for some work."
"Might be" said a short bulky man at the head of the table. The tattoos on his head, neck , and arms told the story of a guy that had spent a long time in Wolf's Dragoons.
"Joker and I got let go form Snord's Irregulars a few weeks ago. We are looking for pilots to form an independent operation."
"I'm Bull, this here's Colt; we were with the Dragoons. Things got slow, they sent us packing." The large man said.
"We're in the same boat then" Joker said.
"What makes you think we'll be able to find any work, on our own?" The young Asian man previously referred to as Colt said. "If big name 'A' rated units like Snord's Irregulars, or the Wolf's Dragoons can't get any contracts what makes you think we will.
"We have the same concerns; but after looking into it we've found that the big names are so locked into their long term interests serving the house governments that they are actually passing up smaller corporate jobs. Basically they are all waiting for a real war. We just want the cash, and there is still plenty of money to be made out there if you know where to look" Joker answered.
"So you're telling me that we got shit canned for a lack of work that doesn't exist?" Bull snapped.
"Yeah, that's how it is" Smith said.
"Well fuck me" Bull added "I'm not ready to be done yet. I've got a lot more fight left in me, and the kid here, he's just getting started."
"Good; it sounds like we have your attention then. We need pilots or this isn't going to happen. What sort of pilots are you, and do you have your own mechs?"
Bull responded for the both of them. "I was a Lance commander; Beta Regiment, Charlie Battalion, Third Company, Second Lance. We specialized in indirect fire support. Colt was our rookie. They made us an offer to buy our mechs on the cheap, so I took it, but Colt here didn't."
"What'd you ride?" Smith asked "Oh and how much do you owe?
"I'm a Catapult driver. They wanted four point five million for it. I knew I wouldn't get that kind of deal anywhere else so I took it."
"We can work with that" Joker said. "Who has your loan?"
"New Avalon Capital Partners" Bull responded.
Joker turned to Smith. "You think we can convince our Lyran banker friends to buy up that loan?"
"I've got no idea, but I bet we know someone who does." Smith replied "So rookie, what's your story?"
"I was born on Kittery in 3025. When I was eighteen I joined up with the 1st Kittery Training Battalion. They made me a Mechwarrior, after that I did my time in the 1st Kittery Borderers; after four years in I hadn't seen any action so I applied with the Dragoons. I thought I'd see some of the real deep shit, but after a year of good training they started letting people go. I guess they didn't want me anymore. I didn't take the offer for that Trebuchet because I didn't think I would be able to make the payments and because… well I really didn't like the Trebuchet. I was a Cicada pilot on Kittery."
"Well heck the kids got more brains then any of us bastards." Joker laughed "Can't make the payments. That cautious instinct will do you well son."
"We can find a battlemech… I think." Smith said "Tell me Colt did you miss that gun on the Cicada while you were riding around in that underweight missile boat?" Smith asked
"Direct fire, direct action, your my kind of Mechwarrior son" Smith said. "We'll find you something with a gun don't worry."
"I appreciate that sir" said Colt.
"Son, I'm not sure this is the kind of unit where you get to call anybody sir" Smith replied
"Sorry sir… I mean Smith"
"Well if that's all of the business for this meeting, I say we get some drinks." Joker added "It's been a very long day, and I'm very thirsty."
"Joker my good man I couldn't agree more" Smith answered "You two sticking around for some beers?" Smith gestured to his new lance mates.
"I can't think of a reason not to" said Bull. He turned to Colt "You in Kid?" Colt nodded. Before long it was morning and the door man was pushing them out into the street.
The sun was just cresting the horizon when they exited the Wolf's Den.
David Cameron Boulevard was still asleep, but within an hour or so the street
would be packed with morning commuters. Sleep was a luxury Smith, and Joker
could not afford. They were still a bit drunk, but they had work to do.
Wolf's Dragoons Supply Depot S13
April 12th 3049
John was a short, balding, middle aged man, of unknown origin, who could be tracked around the galaxy by the unusual cigarette butts he left behind. The bark brown filters could be found on the grounds of bases and supply depots belonging to every military force large or small. Jon was a business man; the kind that traveled the Inner Sphere collecting used arms and ammunition that the House militaries didn't want anymore. Just a few years ago the Successor Lords would never have sold even a single round of ammunition, but with the recent resurgence of lostech and almost ten years of peace to build their armies the older stocks were being auctioned off to the highest bidder; more often than not, that bidder was John. Today he was loading dropship with surplus long range missiles, at the Wolf's Dragoons central ammo dump on the Remus continent of Outreach. Smith and Joker had caught an early morning flight to Wolf HQ. The last four hours had done them well. Sobriety went a long way in doing business with arms dealers.
"So you're looking for a medium battlemech; spare parts for a Catapult, Hunchback, and Jenner, and enough ammo to burn a major city to the ground. Is there anything else I can get for you?" Maybe some command and control vehicles, or a mobile field repair gantry. I also have a contact with access to some of the latest in recovered lostech weapons. You guys like pulse lasers, or gauss rifles, or extended range anything? Anyway you two know who to ask, if you do." John made a note on his data pad as an industrial exoskeleton loaded another container of long range missiles into a large freight container sitting on a flatbed cargo hauler.
"Well my hunchy already has more than a few tons of lostech inside, but I've heard those pulse lasers really kick ass" said Smith
"I've already got them on my Jenner. I wouldn't trade them for anything" Joker added.
"Well I can see you boys know your stuff, and I don't think you would settle for anything less than the best tech available. According to my trusty note book here I have a good selection of medium mechs available, but I don't have anything on this rock. I'll give you a good deal on shipping but it won't be free." John handed the data pad to Smith who looked at the list of available chassis before handing it to Joker.
"We should consult our pilot before making a deal" said Joker.
"Well I'm here through the end of the week. After that I'm on Solaris for two weeks, and then I'm on my way out to the Periphery to meet with some less than honorable individuals. I have no idea when I'll make it back from that one. "
"We'll give him a call." Joker said
Smith and Joker walked away leaving John to tend to his loading. The exoskeleton's servos whined under the weight of the missile containers. John made a note on his data pad; then lit a cigarette.
They didn't have to go far to find a quiet place to make a phone call. The outback was massive, and between installations there was little more than scrub and some lizards. The phone rang out on speaker... Colt picked up.
"Hey Colt, its Smith and I've got Joker here with me."
"Oh; hey guys, how's it going? I was just sleeping off the beers from last night"
"It's going; we have a lead on some Battlemechs for you."
"Really, already, that's awesome! What kind?"
"Well there are a few to choose from. In our price range, we could get an Assassin, Cicada, Hunchback, Centurion, or Crab. Any of those sound good to you?" Smith asked
"Well, I started out as a Cicada pilot, and I really liked it, but I've also learned a lot about fire support in the Dragoons... If it's up to me, I think I'd like the Centurion. I mean, if it's good enough for Justin Allard then it's good enough for me."
"That sounds like a good choice to me" Joker said "Smith, do you have any objections?"
Smith paused for a second, thinking about how well a Catapult, a Hunchback, a Centurion, and a Jenner would work as a lance, then said "I think that will work great, so long as the kid here doesn't start thinking of himself as the next great Solaris champion."
"Good; because we won't ever want to scrape you out of that cockpit with a spatula and a scrub brush."
"Alright kid, we'll come find you as soon as it's delivered so you can take it out and see how it handles."
"Thank you, sirs!" Colts excitement was audible.
"Go back to sleep Colt; we'll talk to you sooner than later." Smith hung up. He knew there was no more sleep for Colt today. He'd spend the coming days reading everything he could on the Centurion Battlemech. He'd learn about its development and combat uses, about the weapons it carried, and the weapons it could carry with future upgrades. They say you only fall in love once, but for a Mechwarrior every time you're assigned a new battlemech you fall in love all over again.
The two walked back towards John in silence; they could both remember being in Colt's shoes. What it was like to pick your own battlemech for the first time. The excitement of real battles to come, but also how that excitement could turn to stark terror in the face of the enemy, and how that terror could get you killed. So many young warriors only fought once. On Vega back in 39; the life expectancy of a rookie pilot was only four minutes. Smith, and Joker had managed to survive those first four minutes; many of their friends had not. The real question was whether or not Colt could do the same; because sooner or later, he'd find himself in the really deep shit.
"So you make up your mind on those chassis?" John called to them as they approached.
"We want that Centurion chassis." Joker answered
"An excellent choice" John said. "I'll make arrangements for shipping as soon as I'm off the boat on Solaris. You know that chassis has three wins in the urban arena on the medium circuit" John added.
"That's interesting, why is it for sale?" Smith asked
"Because it has one lose" John added his voice somber
"You can send the bill to Tharkad First Mutual." Joker said before they turned to leave, suddenly reminded of the dangers inherent to their profession.
John waved then off; lit a cigarette, and made a note on his data pad; servos