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Call a dog and they come, call
a cat and they take a message
and get back to you later.
Oldwrench, chat 13th Apr


Firefox 3
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  5 Minutes

by Oldwrench

I decided to try my hand at writing. I liked the old rpg 5 min, so I am trying to make a story out of it. I figure enough of the original player are gone so I won't get to much hate mail for changing their characters. After many hours of typing... I'm really slow... and retyping, and editing, and fussing cause it just never looks as good as I imagined it. Here is chapter one. Please let me know if you like it... or don't like it... or hate it... if your comments aren't appropriate for the forum, you can always pm them to me.

While the story is evolving, we're distributing the  full PDF file every few chapters. The story is unfinished. Please do not print, copy, or distribute by any means. Thank you!

Chapter 1

Colonel Daniel Hellwind sat at his desk in the operations room of the White Magic class mobile suit carrier, the CWS Krikav. He finally had his own command, the 427th light armored. Twelve mechs, armored suits, in three battle groups. Each group had one light Firefly, two Thunderbirds, and one heavy Lancer. There weren’t any specialized groups in a small command like this, each group had to be an independent unit. It wasn’t quite the big command he had dreamed of, but... oh well.
Dan finished his final check list. They were about ready to move out, the mechs were aboard, all the stores and spares checked. The ship personnel were aboard, they were going to be short one mech pilot, he hadn’t made it to the shuttle with the other pilots. Dan had checked into it, seems his travel orders were screwed up, he was to late getting to the right moon base. This was supposed to be a easy mission, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Dan opened the file of his pilots records, maybe it was just as well the kid didn’t make it, this was going to be tough enough to fit together. Someone must be trying to make things hard for him, and he knew of a few who might want to. This had to be the most mismatched bunch of screw ups and rookies they could find.
He looked once more at the personnel breakdown. Three captains, Each piloting a Thunderbird. Captain Aidan Pryde, Green Giant group, the most experienced, an excellent tactician, good gunner, excellent leader, this is his third command. There was a problem though, after recovering from injuries taken in the raids on the pirate bases, there have been some questions, at times Aidan seemed to be slow to respond, like his mind was somewhere else... Dan was glad to have Aiden in his command, they’d worked together before, and he knew Aiden was a good soldier.
Under Aiden, in the Green Giant group, rookie Megumi Yamato, first lieutenant, pilots the second Thunderbird, the forces most iconic mech, well armed and armored, they did the most fighting.. She’s a martial arts expert, excellent piloting skills, very quick, excellent close fighting, a bit hesitant, needs to be directed... Second lieutenant John Crichton, flies a firefly, fastest and lightest of the mechs, usually used for hit and run, and recon work. An experienced fighter, he has the problem of being too aggressive, over extending his equipment. Dan sighed as he looked at the comments.. John would be a problem, he's a womanizer, insubordinate, mostly with women, and has been in the brig for drunk and disorderly, all to often... Geoffrey Harcourt, first lieutenant, another pilot he and Aiden had worked with. A regular British gentleman, he pilots the Lancer, the most heavily armed and armored of the groups mechs. They were best used as long range artillery. Jeff was a good soldier, experienced, not great at anything, but steady.

Captain Georgianna McFarlaine, leader of the Red Phoenix group, this is her second command. She’s a good pilot, good gunner, but her best weapon is her oversize particle beam saber, excellent at individual combat. Her Thunderbird is modified with a high power Minovsky drive and an I-field barrier shield. That must really drain the power supply, Dan thought. Comments on her performance, a bit week in tactics, not a good team player, often too aggressive and controlling. Dan shook his head, she didn’t sound like the best leadership candidate.
Under her command, second lieutenant Kaze, no other name, a rookie, pilots a firefly, very good with a light beam saber, good gunner, poor at tactics, good at following orders. He grew up as part of one of the para-military communes. First lieutenant Louis Herman, a veteran Thunderbird pilot. He’s good as a gunner but poor at close in fighting. Not very independent, works best with a close group. Dan sighed, he isn’t going to get that in a small command like this. Last is second lieutenant Arisa Higgins, a rooky Lancer pilot. She was top of her class in almost everything. A good pilot, but what was a girl from her social status doing here in a mech? People with her family money usually ended up as ships officers, in the big capital ships, not in a little carrier like this, and not fighting in a mech.

Captain Dominic Torres, Blue Dragon group, an experienced fighter, this is his first command. An excellent gunner, damn... did he actually shoot down that many drones with just his cannons? Hmmm, excellent at tactics, but the comment says “unconventional”. The comments also say he’s a maverick, doesn’t like formality, he's been disciplined a few times. Dan grinned, he knew what that was like. Just what I don’t need, he thought, a joker in the hand.
Under his command, first lieutenant Rose Kerlov, veteran Thunderbird pilot, good gunner, excellent at close combat using two short beam sabers. She’s been with Torres on all her combat missions and is loyal to him. I wonder if there’s something going between the two of them? Then there’s second lieutenant Benjamin Wolfman, a rooky, pilots a Lancer H, the heaviest armed of the mechs, according to this, he's the best rail gun shot they’ve seen. Not good with tactics and it says he’s slow. Wonder what they mean by that, slow moving... or thinking?
Torres will just have to do without his Firefly. He looked at the profile. Maybe it’s for the best, that pilot could just add more problems... Maybe I should have Rose pilot the firefly? No, better to do without the speed and recon than have a pilot unfamiliar with it. They will have to rely on the other groups. Good thing this mission is just a milk run.
The Colonel got a call from the ships controller, Yuki,  “Sir, the last pilot  has just arrived.”
Dan’s head snapped up, “what? How did he get here?”
“The pilot rode aboard a supply shuttle that was bound for the Eisenhower. He jumped from the shuttle to the Krikav as the shuttle passed by.”
“But those shuttles aren’t equipped to transport personel. How could he manage that?”
“He was wearing a maintenance eva suit, sir.”
Dan shook his head, the boy must be crazy, those suits only have maneuvering thrusters, if he’d missed his jump there’s no telling where he would have ended up, and the takeoff must have been really rough. “Yuki, send an ensign to bring him here.”
“I have already done so sir.”

Colonel Hellwind looked at the personnel file on his terminal. First Lieutenant Chad Ross, Firefly pilot. A excellent pilot rating. That was a bit strange, he’s a grounder, and they don’t usually make very good pilots. They think in two dimensions. Most pilots were either spacers, born in the space colonies or the asteroid mines, or had lived most of there lives in space. Not many who lived all their lives on a planet made a good pilot, much less one from the lower levels of the dome cities. It says he’s a fair gunner, but very good at individual close fighting. He has training in recon work. They also comment that he has problems with authority, especially with women, he’s been disciplined several times, mostly for fighting. Worst is, he was brought up before a courts marshal, but the charges were dropped in the middle of the trial. Wonder what that was about?

Lieutenant Chad Ross worked at peeling off the maintenance suit. He was keenly aware of the techs gathered around staring at him. Damn, He thought, they could at least help me with this thing. After all the crap I went through to get here, I didn’t think they were going to cycle me through the air lock. You’d think I was a ghost or something.
As Chad finished removing the suit, a young ships officer came up to him.
“Lieutenant Ross, sir.” the ensign said, “I have orders to escort you to the colonels office.”
“Ya, right,” Chad replied, “just lead the way.” I suppose I’ll get my ass bit for not being on the shuttle. They’re trying to screw me up, trying to make me fail. But I showed them this time, I made it anyway.

Colonel Hellwind glanced up at the young man as Chad entered the office. The boy was a bit less than 2 meters, wiry thin, dark brown hair, steel grey eyes. He has an angry look, Dan thought. So, he has problems with authority, we’ll see.
Dan didn’t look up, “You’re late, pilot.”
“Yes sir.” Chad snapped. Now it comes, he thought, no matter that it wasn’t my fault, I’ll get ripped anyway.
Dan glanced through the papers the young man had set on his desk. He had gotten a message from command that an error on Lieutenant Ross’s travel orders would make him miss the shuttle. He really hadn’t expected the pilot to try to make it. He had to give him points for determination and resourcefulness. He looked up at Chad. So, the boy looks defiant, he expects to be reprimanded, but at least he didn’t make excuses. Perhaps there’s some hope.
“You’re part of Blue Dragon group, your under captain Torres... Ensign, show Lieutenant Ross his quarters.”
Dan watched as the ensign had to almost push the startled looking Chad out the door. Dan looked back at the personnel file. The boy was either insane, trying to get here like that, or foolishly daring. Either way, couple that with his anger and you have someone who could be dangerous. Dan put his head down in his hands. Who had stuck him with this mess? Was someone actually out to ruin him on his first command?

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