- "Mr. Marsden, sir?" The grey-uniformed young woman stood at attention, awaiting the man behind the large desk.
- A moment or three later, he looked up. He was young, no more than thirty, with dark hair and blue eyes, wearing an expensive suit. "Yes, Lieutenant Chidori?"
- She relaxed a bit, her blue ponytail swaying a bit behind her as she started to speak. "Preliminary assessment on universe J3X-472 had indicated a spacefaring civilization, so we blended in with the locals, did a bit of shopping, and picked up some local news reports, history texts, that sort of thing."
- "I know the drill, Kaname. I wrote it." Despite the apparent harshness of his words, he did not seem at all upset. His tone was almost jovial, and a twinkle in his eye showed his interest.
- "Yes, sir," Kaname continued. "It was immediately obvious that the planet we had arrived at was not Earth. Everything indicated that they were a frontier world, on the rim of human space, despite having clearly been settled for several centuries."
- Marsden nodded. "So expansion had slowed or stopped for a lengthy period of time?"
- "That was what we gathered from the history books we picked up, sir. The usual sort of interstellar empire not finding any external enemies and not looking to make any by letting people out of their grip, was our conclusion."
- "It does seem to be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy when they do that. So, what prompted the early return?" He interlaced his fingers, arching his hands on the desk as he listened.
- "Well, it's a frontier planet, Mr. Marsden, sir, and you know how things get. We arrived only a few days before a major pirate raid of some sort, and Sergeant Disaster insisted on getting into the middle of things, so we had to go in and pull him out before he gave the game away." Kaname's eyebrow twitched as she remembered just what kinds of idiocy the young soldier had gotten up to, and the ... incidents ... in their own history which had led to her being placed in command of the team. "We managed it, just barely... their weapons systems are like something out of an old anime. Giant walking robot tanks... you remember 'Armored Trooper VOTOMS'? Twice, three times the size of our Arm-Slaves. They must have something really interesting for fusion containment on those things..."
- After a moment's pause, Marsden spoke up again. "They use nuclear -fusion- reactors to power direct combat units? Yeah, we'd definitely like to get a look at those. Did you attempt to make official contact, then?"
- "Yes, sir," she reported. "The locals had hired a mercenary troop to supplement their local defense forces - which seemed to be limited to infantry and 'technicals' - so we made contact with the merc commander. He was looking for a new contract anyway..."
- The suited man considered for a moment. "I'll be glad to clear some time to meet with him, then. I've got at least an hour before I need to be seen anywhere, anyways." He touched a button on the intercom, and added, "Doris? Please send Kaname-chan's guest in."
- The door opened, and the tall blond man who entered was dressed in what could charitably be called a uniform, although it seemed rather casual and simple compared to Kaname's crisp dress greys. He spoke with a bit of an accent, perhaps Germanic with a tinge of Irish or Scots about it. "It's a distinct pleasure to meet you, Mr. Marsden," he said. "Th' young lieutenant's been telling me quite the stories about you and your little project."
- "You've only got a couple of years on me, Colonel, so don't be quite so 'old soldier' about it." She snorted in mock disdain. "Colonel Grayson Carlyle, Mister Chris Marsden, CEO of Rockhounds, Incorporated."
- Marsden had risen to his feet as Carlyle approached, and smiled warmly as he took the mercenary's hand. "I can already tell it'll be a pleasure working with you, Colonel."
- ** Rockhounds Inc
- On the surface, Rockhounds Incorporated is a perfectly normal Fennish worldhopper group. Their CEO, Chris Marsden, built a prototype d-hopper in his basement, and promptly disappeared (along with his entire team) for slightly more than a year. They re-appeared three years later with several samples of advanced technology and extensive financial backing, incorporating and beginning operations as an exploration and support company. They currently operate five teams exploring along different worldliness and have trade contacts in several universes along those lines.
- The truth behind the facade is that Rockhounds is merely the Earthside front for the organization Marsden allied himself to while trapped offworld. In order to support themselves while rebuilding their dimensional transit device, Marsden and his team enlisted with a PMC by the name of 'Mithril'. The group found Mithril's ideals congruent with their own, and had no trouble agreeing to assist them in dealing with their own problems in exchange for the resources needed to fix their own. Mithril's governing council found the idea of expanding operations into alternate worldliness to be interesting, and financed Rockhounds as a test of the principle. So far they appear to be pleased with the results.
Rockhounds, Codex pt1
ecsnorway Sep 3rd, 2013 58 Never
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