Temporary base, may 3015: Necessary improvements

Deborah looked with some disgust at the 'chow' she would have to eat. The temporary base in the de ramshackle sheds and hangar near the space port was really not upto anybodies standard and the security was short of disastrous. She saw marks from at least 4 other small merc units who had used this as a temp-base before her, and she was sure, many others would hate it when she left. Bad food, bad lodgings, bad equipment, although the last might show some improvement as 'home' seemed happy with the results and had delivered an extra. She looked back at the faded and incomplete blueprints on the table before her.

"You can not put machinegun ammo feed trough medium laser energy conduit", senior tech Mogazaki said somewhat unclearly. He seemed to have decided that continueing the tech discussion would get his mind focussed on the problem, instead on the taste.

"It is just the angle through the shoulder, the elbow would be okay if we change the connection point of myomer muscle-A17 from LA17 to LA17b", Miriam went with the discussion, perhaps hoping that the food would taste better stone cold.

Next to them, staring at the schematics and the stripped arms of de Phoenix-Hawk, Wanda was quietly eating her food.

The center of the hangar was well lit. The Phoenix-Hawk stood with his bare arms and Grasshopper looked odd without its head armour and LRM5 laucher, as several techs were busy removing some front armour to reach the lrm feed. Master tech Malier was busy comparing the size and connection points of a SRM4 laucher with the head structure of the Grasshopper. "It will fit", he said to Deborah, "but I will have to use thinner cooling tubes next to the feeder: short range missiles are chubbier the original ones."

In the rear, as far from prying eyes as space allowed stood the squad shape of their newest prize: an Interdictor heavy mech. Ostentibly from a cache her 'family' had discovered, she wondered how they had gotten it to look so realistic: it looked like it been in storage for 500 years... or more. Perhaps it really came from an old cache. It was so outdated to ComStar standards that it might have come from one of the surviving Castle Brians on Earth. Still, with its enormous short range power (AC/20, SRM6, and 4 medium lasers) and tough hide, it was a mech to be reckoned with, especially in urban settings.

"Captain," Wanda had already finished eating, "if I'm allowed to ask, why did the Marik Liason pay us, including a bonus? My experience is that if a House is unhappy with a unit, money or equipment never seem to arrive."

"That is because they were not unhappy." Deborah smiled, "Our last mission uncovered full data on several important Steiner systems: planets, moons, major meteors, enough to compute trustworthy pirate points. Raiding just became much easier for them."

"Ah," Wanda reacted to that as she did to most things: blandly, "I see. Thank you, captain."

"Any news from David?" Miram asked, "their mission should commence soon."

Deborah looked at the four empty mech spots: Trebuchet, Spider, Locust, and Stinger; it should be enough for a quick warehouse raid. She shrugged: "We'll hear it soon enough, David will not risc communicating until after the mission."

Then she saw Ariben entering the Hangar. He ran towards them holding a HPG express envelope in his hands: "Captain, we've got an express mission!"

Deborah ripped open the envelope and read the message. Then she checked the hidden codes in the text: 'a zheta', 'important mission but do not break cover'
"Attention... Techs, you've got 5 days to finish the job, then a Dropship will land here to transport us the DC - FedSuns border. All mechs, all vehicles. Get busy!"

She walked to the ops room with Ariben and Miriam. The 'chow' still slightly damping stood alone on the table. "Waste not, want not", Wanda said as she picked it up and started eating it.