Spirit of Taurus
Zenith Jump Point
January 8th 3050
The ride back to Outreach was as long as the ride into Son Hoa, but it wasn't boring Smith spent almost every minute in the group dining area with the rest of the Outreach Irregulars. The first seven nights had been spent with each member of the Irregulars telling their story of the battle at Complex B. Oni had gone first, then Angel, followed by Cowboy, Colt, and Smith. Joker's story was filled with innuendo and terrible dad jokes, but it was by far the funniest. Last night was Gonzales' turn; as the newest addition to the group the story of Triple S lance was now a story of the Outreach Irregulars as well. Tonight was the last night they would tell war stories. As the surviving Irregulars sat quietly in the dining area; a holo-vid projector silently re-played the Battle Rom from Bull's Catapult. That flash was unmistakable, so bright, and so fast; the ROM ended. Smith knew that flash waited for all of them, but not on Son Hoa. In a few months they'd be back on Outreach looking for a new assignment, and Son Hoa would be a distant memory; another story for the bar.
The Spirit of Taurus was cramped; all union class dropships where. The Outreach
Irregulars had left Son Hoa with three of them; along with the twenty four battlemech
carcasses they had created. Including their own mechs, the Irregulars had left
StarCorps Industries Production Complex B with thirty two machines in various
states of disrepair packed into their three new dropships.
True to their word the StarCorps technicians had worked hard to rebuild as many broken machines as possible, but a few where totally beyond repair. Sadly this list included Sidekick; the fifty ton war machine's gyro, fusion engine, and DI computer were all toasted, but the cockpit, ultra autocannon, and three small pulse lasers would go to good use in rebuilding that messed up bandit Cataphract. The StarCorps people didn't have the skill to work with lostech so Smith's new machine would be finished by Cowboy's friends at Mech Magic Inc. back on Outreach. Colt would be piloting Angel's Warhammer; she had a Marauder now. Oni would stay with her Warhammer just as Joker continued to use his Jenner. Cowboy wanted something with a little more power and had laid claim to a pirate Cicada. Gonzales loved that Urbie, but the rest of the Irregulars had convinced him to upgrade to a rebuild Atlas. Once again the Outreach Irregulars had more mechs than people to pilot them; at least that would keep the bankers happy.
March 8th 3050
Catherine's office was unusually hot; the air conditioner must have been broken. Smith, Joker, and Oni had been picked up by a Lexan Oceanic at Harlech spaceport, and flown directly to her building. The rest of the Irregulars were busy seeing to their equipment.
"So, what's so damn important that you had to have us here as soon as we got off the boat?" Smith asked.
"This" Catherine said turning to a large screen on the wall opposite the conference table, activating it with a small remote.
The pretty blond INN reporter stood just inside a chain link fence covered in Comstar signs; most likely an HPG station. Greasy black smoke billowed in the wind as a strange looking Battlemech crossed in the distance. It was large definitely a heavy, maybe an assault; Smith thought it looked like a cross between a Catapult and a Marauder. The banner at the bottom of the screen read Invasion from beyond the Periphery!
"I've taken cover inside Comstar's Toland City HPG station. It's very dangerous for reporters outside this fence, but as far as we can tell these strange new invaders have stopped short of attacking the HPG tower. They destroyed a unit of the 12th Star Guards and the local militia in just a few hours of combat, and now have total control of Toland outside the fence you see behind me. When they landed yesterday they did not hesitate to kill anyone with a camera. I am deeply saddened to report that INN has lost camera man Rick Fields. Rick was killed as he tried to film the battle which took place yesterday. I will continue with updates for as long as I am able. Live from Toland this is Katie Octavian signing off"
Catherine cut the feed, turning the screen off. Smith was as confused as he'd ever been; for a moment no one spoke; then everyone had something to say all at once.
"Who are they?" Smith asked
"What kind of mech was that? Joker chimed in
"An entire regiment of the 12th Star Guards and the militia in a few hours; that's not possible is it?" Watanabe added
"We have no idea what we're up against out there but half the Inner Sphere is under attack by a high tech fighting force that's rolled over everyone who's tried to get in the way" Catherine responded. "I don't really know what's out there but I do know that the Federated Commonwealth is mobilizing everything and everyone they can to stop this invasion. They are offering three times the going rate for Mercenaries willing to jump into harm's way as soon as possible."
"We're desperately under staffed, but you already knew that" Smith said.
"With what we have now we could easily put two full companies into the fight; we just need people." Joker added
"I've set up a few dozen interviews" Catherine answered "You'll need to select your new people by the end of the week."
"These interviews include two dropship crews, and a full technical staff?" Watanabe asked
"We'll make sure we get everyone we need. Now I need you to go back to the spaceport and brief your people. The Outreach Irregulars have a war to fight."
She was right, the Outreach Irregulars had a war to fight; so did the rest
of the Inner Sphere. Colt was going to get his 'really deep shit' after all.