Same temporary base, march 3016: It always starts small
Joshi and his driver saluted as Deborah stepped out of the Packrat, which drove off. She opened the door to the hangar and stepped through, when she felt a punch in her back and fell like a rock. Blood started to seep from underneath her.
The driver frooze, while Joshi shooted "Sniper!", and dove for cover. Most of the people in the hanger stood just looking or ducked behind things. Joab stared for a moment, then tried to climb in his APC, switch on motor and sensors, while fastening his seatbelts. Wanda looked around for a second, grabbed a trolley will half tons armor plate and used it as a shield to get close to the captain. She yanked the captain on the platform and continued towards the infirmary, when she was stopped by a 'That hurts!' from the captain, and attention signals from lieutenants Goldbau and Ami.
"That was horrible", Deborah called as she stood up massaging her shoulder, "a 20 kliks march for everybody except Joab, Joshi, and Wanda". She looked around. "Everybody not in cover will carry full combat gear, and you", she pointed towards the driver, "you are in trouble".
Master tech Malier tried to protest, but could not face the withering look in captain Hansen's eyes. "We are a combat unit, we will be ready to fight or to support those that fight at any time. Next time I'll use a real sniper with life ammo if that's what it takes. Understood?"
"Captain", Wanda asked, "can I speak to you?"
The hangar was deserted and outside, far in the distance, sergeants Arbi's voice could be heard. "Sure, Corporal, what is on your mind?"
"Captain, I do not want to assume things, but you are ComStar, aren't you?"
Deborah stared at Wanda, several reactions going through her mind. Then on a gut feeling she decided to go for it. ROM be damned. "Yes, we are. What gave us away? The new mechs? The tactics? Our techs?"
"Ehh, no Captain. Everybody is looking for Lostech, the Snords Irregulars are famous for it. The others though most of you trained on a League war college and those techs, yes that hinted, but that was not it."
Deborah waited and Wanda continued: "You were not afraid of the outcome of your contract dispute with the League. The Board mostly takes the side of the big guys. After you received the HPG message from lieutenant Everan and the Leagues message that they would claim damages because of 'misuse of contract' you just sent a factual report and forgot about it..."
They stood there silent for a while, then Deborah took a breath and said: "Thank you Corporal, you've been most helpfull, please warn us if we do this again." She turned around and walked to her office. How to convince home?