Gienah Orbit, April 3015: The Naming.
Captain Deborah Hansen looked up as lieutenant Miram Ami entered the captains cramped cabine. Her entrance was complicated by the need to bring several bulky and outdated datapads and even a few paper maps. Her effort was even more hampered by the khaki fatigues she wore 'one size fits none', which were creased and dirty as the dropship had no functioning cleaners. She had made sure, however, that the three silver stars on her colar shone: she understood the captains remarks about unit pride.
It was clear from the start that they had to learn many customs and habits of the Warring Houses. First that mercenaries weren't thought of well, but that mech ownership really counted. That made for interesting conversations where people were nasty and uncooperative, but never forgot a sir. It also meant that as they hired space on the Mule, they were not even allowed access to the bridge, so they used Deborah's cramped cabine as C&C.
Miriam hooked on what would be the ceiling during acceleration, narrowly avoiding her paperwork being blown all over the cabine by a rattling blower, and tried to give a report as they were taught to. It struck her that none of her training ever had involved reporting hanging upside down, on less than a meter from her commanding officer. Landing procedures and offloading sequences were quickly dispatched, but the possible encampment locations and security took some time. She then took out another datapad and started summerizing the problems and the good points on their equipment. The last was fairly short.
"... So the communication gear on our Wolverine is actually an original and even well maintained. It is the best command mech we have. The mercenary Wolverine had 3 fractured crystals in the targetting system. How anybody could aim a weapon in that thing is a Bla... I mean - is a miracle.
I fixed that as best I could, but we should replace - we should find spare parts. The Phoenix-Hawk is in surprizing good shape, no problems there."
Deborah blessed the choice of Precentor Vandel. Miram was a capable mech pilot, but far more important, she knew her tech and was a good planner. Most of the other 4 pilots seemed to handle their special mission without to many problems, except for adept, now corporal, Balawski who always took her orders just a bit furter than she wanted.
"The last merc mech" Miriam started.
"'new mech'", Deborah amended.
"Yes, the last new mech is a Trebuchet, but I could not have a look at it because it was buried beneath a few tons of cargo. Its pilot Peter, ah cadet Ronson is a really nice fellow, but I don't know the status of his mech. According to his description it is mostly original with a few patches and no major rebuilds."
Deborah sighted and summarized: "So that gives us 2 lances and a command mech, let's assume at about 80% effectiveness. At least the new mechs are acceptable - to inner-sphere standards", she checked the figures again, clearly not thrilled of having to go into battle with them. "How about the vehicles?"
Miriam coloured a bit. "Ehh they seemed to be stored in the lower hold, together with the Leagues ammo canisters. I did not get access. But", she continued hastily seeing the frown on Deborahs face, "the Demolisher is one of ours, so it should be fine. All the others are diesel or multifuel engines, even the original techs should be able to keep them functioning. Weapon wise: 4 APC with just standard machine guns - they even have the same calibre, the two standard scorpions and two vedettes of course have different calibre rounds, but at least their autocannons can share ordenance. I hope the SRMs on the 4 SRM-Scorpions can share with the packrat - if not I propose we remove the missile launcher from the packrat and use it as pickup vehicle. The twin Strikers should have their original Valiant launchers, I know those, bothe of them eat almost anything. The Galleon, of course, has no ammo problems, but I will need to look at its power convertors."
Deborah nodded for Miriam to continue.
"As you know, about half of the crews are new. Most are upset by having to wear these clothes. They say that their own stuff fits better and is of better quality."
"And is as diverse as the inner-sphere", Deborah countered, "the clothing stays."
"That means, Miriam," Deborah continued, "that we have about two companies of probably badly maintained equipments with a huge percentage of light and extremely vulnerable vehicles. If we loose less than half in the coming encounters we should prize ourselves lucky. Anything else?"
"Yes, cadet Ironford objects against the repainting of his mech, the Wolverine. He says it cost him a fortune and that he designed it himself. Also the league representative radioed in that they needed a name and emblem. They do not use the MRB number as calling signs."
"I'll think of something, Miriam. Let's talk to Cadet Ironford and have a look at the painting then. But Miriam, it will be repainted: everybody wears our uniform, and all equipment will be identifiable as ours.".
They went outside and glided single file through narrow passage ways towards hold number two. They encountered sudden gusts of smelly air, coupled with strange creeks and diagnostic sounds from patched up equipment and noises of to many people living in to confined quarters. Comfort, as everything else, was in short supply on board of a dropship. They reached hold two and entered. Secured by nettings and cables were crates, containers, and six of their mechs. Deborah was angry with herself that she had not visited this place before, but the paperwork and talking to integrate so many people into a viable fighting force had just taken to much time. Then she saw Ironfords Wolverine.
It's legs were painted like an ocean with choppy waves, while the torso rose from behind the horizon painted on its thights to form a seagod wearing a greek helmet and wielding a shotgun. He seemed to have even added several colored antennas to give it its crest, but that was hard to see because of a flare of spotlights. Deborah wondered what all that extra metal would do to the signal quality of the mechs communication systems.
"Beautifull isn't it", Micheal Ironford said, " 'The Eternal Warrior from beyond the horizon', it will make the enemy fear me!"
Deborah was still looking at the helmet, shielding the light with her hand. She pushed herself off to have a closer look.
"Cadet Ironford. You will repaint that mech. Period. I took over your debts so the mech is mine if I want to. However, I will call this unit 'The Warriors' and a corinthian helmet will be our insignia. A corinthian helmet with a multi-hue crest over an eclipse."
"Miriam, gather the troops. We will land in 1 hour and everybody needs to have their orders."