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Cameron Core Solutions: automated weaponry, military personnel, remote surveillance, security, reconnaissance, training, and logistical support

Episode 00

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#1
CrazyDreamer

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Alexi sat to one side of the Cameron Core Solutions booth on the convention center floor, nominally there to answer questions about what equipment they could field should they be hired for this or that "theoretical" mission suggested by one of the government or corporate agents browsing the selection of PMCs available for hire. In reality, he was on display.

Alexi had spent exactly six years and five days as the top NCO for Eden Command—not counting his two months and twenty-five days on loan to Galaxy Patrol 4—overseeing everything up to and including reconstruction during and after the Battle of Eden. He likely would have made Command Sergeant Major of the Spacy had he not been dedicated to the reconstruction of Eden and Eden Command up until shortly before his retirement.

The day after his retirement, he had begun work at CCS.

The pension for 30 years service ending at E-9 with a nice selection of medals and awards was enough to keep Alexi comfortable for the rest of his life, especially with his legendary business acumen. So, of course, he had negotiated himself a nice, fat salary with CCS and then offered to waive it in return for having a discretionary fund of the same size allocated to him over and above his ordinary budget. This saved everyone taxes and increased the effectiveness of Alexi's unit, so CCS had agreed.

Of course the reason that CCS was willing to pay him such a fat salary was that Alexi knew damn near every NCO that had ever served under him, a lot of whom had ended up with CCS's prospective clients and rivals, not to mention CCS itself. Putting Alexi out on display proved that he and his skills were, indeed, involved in their operations and provided a side-channel by which his contacts could get in touch without approaching CCS directly.

Also, it gave him a chance to network.

Ex-Corporal Shin appeared at Alexi's shoulder, seemingly from out of nowhere. He leaned forward and held out a mug: "Coffee, sir?"

"Thank you, Shin, I think I will."



#2
Coolhand

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Dwer 'Coolhand' Koolhan sat at the same booth as Alexi, his job was primarily to go tell people to ask Alexi questions and generally sit there and look like the model pilot he really wasn't. Dress pants and shoes were complimented by a military jacket bearing multiple logos including the CCS, Skull Squadron and various colonial military badges that most people had probably never heard of.

After the NUSA conflict Dwer had retired from UN service and returned to his home planet of Helios, a frontier world that had been caught behind the battle lines during the war. Here he had a hand in the rebuilding of the militia forces, helping to refurbish the NUSA models left behind as well as donating both his Songbird VF-19s and serving as a flight instructor and co-ordinatior. That is until he was desked for voicing political views.

Thus he put out feelers and discovered CCS was hiring, and that many people he once called friends were already under its employ. Best of all they promised to get him back in the cockpit again. Of course that also involved a lot of PR work and brown nosing, but anything was better than hangar logisitcs on Helios.

He had just finished extolling the virtues of the VF-171 to potential clients, a piece of hardware he'd had very little time to get familiar with himself. He saw the reasons CCS had picked it as their mainline fighter, but couldn't help but think the craft lacked true potential.

Sitting back he breathed a sigh of frustration "All this sitting around is going to kill me."

#3
CrazyDreamer

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Alexi watched the woman from Sales & Marketing talk to a representative from a wholly-owned corporate mining planet of reasonable worth. Given what Alexi knew of the rulers' budget, military development policy, and current conflicts, they would almost certainly hire a CCS Ghost squadron to gauge its effectiveness and then make a direct purchase from the manufacturer if they were pleased, hopefully contracting CCS to handle training and logistics setup when that happened. Nothing to do with the Damask Rose, although they might get credited with a percentage of the initial hire for having represented the company.

"All this sitting around is going to kill me."

Alexi looked over at Dwer. He hadn't kept track of the pilot post-war and was rather surprised to see him back again. Might as well figure out what was going on there.

"What would you prefer?"

#4
gradius

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Returning from the rest room, another woman joined the CCS marketing representative. She was dressed identically but that was where all similarities ended. This woman belonged to operations rather than marketing. With a brilliant smile, Tiffany Flores greeted another prospective client, and gave the standard sales pitch.

#5
Coolhand

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Dwer looked over at Alexi "I was essentially doing your old job back home, joined CCS because they said they could get me out from behind a desk. So far that hasn't happened, just pilots nerves y'know."

#6
Rivel

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There was a little cough from behind the cardboard-walled edge of the booth, and around stepped a tall, lean man in one hell of a suit. He looked comfortable in the suit, but he didn't look at all comfortable being in the hall. He had a badge identifying him as CCS staff clipped to his breast pocket, an awkward addition to an otherwise sweet ensemble. He nervously scratched at the side of the head, although it didn't take any effort to draw attention to the shock of white hair on his head. He'd tried growing it properly long, he'd tried shaving it, he'd tried combing, once, but he always invariably wound up letting it grow long enough to be tied back, but then hacking back when it got unruly.

"Well, I was promised we could do some good, otherwise this will be a short engagement."

He tapped his badge and walked over to the others. "I assume the welcome packet this was in was your doing?" he said to Alexi. "Thanks."

Nick had changed in some ways. He had lost some baby fat, lost some muscle along with it, but he looked much more confident in himself. He was clearly one of those souls to whom Father Time was kind. He extended a firm handshake.

He then turned to Dwer and looked him up and down.

"No, I can't place it. I know I ought to know you, but I just can't place it." as he kinda stared at the man he looked past him to take in the woman presenting their services to some planetary big whig. He blinked, then smiled. He'd have to greet Tiff once she finished.

#7
Coolhand

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Dwer stood and extended a hand to Rivel "Dwer Koolhan, callsign Coolhand. I was part of Skull Squadron during the NUSA conlfict." He studied Nick's face for a few seconds "I have to confess I don't remember you, were you part of the rescue crew?"

#8
Rivel

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Nick thought back several years, then focused his eyes on the man again.

“Yes, that was it!” he said, feeling greatly cheered by the hole in his memory being filled. “My apologies for not immediately recalling, it was a busy day, y’know?” He took the man’s outstretched hand and gave it a firm shake. “Nick Rivel. I only had a callsign for a single mission, Chief. If I ever have to get in another one of those damn things ever again, maybe someone will think of a better one.”

“I’ll be honest, Alexi, I’m not sure why you chose to track down a MI ground pounder like me, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. How are, uh, sales? Contracts? Whatever you call it.”

#9
CrazyDreamer

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Alexi nodded in answer to Nick's first question, then shrugged in response to the second; he was still more used to telling pilots to take their support crews and supply lines into consideration than conversing with them as equals. "The company's stayed in business longer than you've been alive, and it's pretty damn efficient, so we can afford a fair amount of downtime and discretion in the jobs we take. We do need a contract at the moment, though."

He looked back to Coolhand. "If you were doing my job, then you know how much it costs to put a manned bird in the air for even half an hour, and we don't have a guaranteed tax base to pay for screwing around. Of course, if we could line up a client who wanted to see how you fly before paying us, that would be another matter." He glanced over the at the client talking to Marketing. "Mr. Titanium Deposits over there prefers CCS's unmanned services for the same reason CCS does itself, so that's a no-go at the moment."

#10
Coolhand

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"Each to their own i guess, not so big on unmanned weapons myself."

He tapped a few times on the screen in front of him, scrolling through the various pieces of hardware CCS used.

"As for costs I know that all too well. Trying to keep those NUSA birds running was a pain in the ass until we managed to negotiate the rights to produce some of the more unique parts. Not to mention the Variable-Glaug unit the Zentran pop was running. Rest assured i get why were here, isn't going to stop me being jumpy til i get some cockpit time y'know."

Beeping came from Dwer's right pocket signalling his shift on the convention floor would be over soon.

"Anyway, i'm assuming Mr Rivel is here to take my place for a few hours? Or did you want me to send someone else?"

#11
CrazyDreamer

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Alexi didn't respond to the question immediately, instead spacing out for a moment in the manner of someone looking at a virtual display only they could see. He reached under his jacket to poke something attached to his belt somewhere out of sight, then began typing on the air. A few moments later, all of the paperwork he had pre-filed regarding Tommy was marked as complete and submitted. He reached back under his belt and disconnected the secure link back to the Damask Rose, preferring to leave it off in case someone tried hacking his network connections while he was out in the open.

He glanced over at Nick. "The Demon just joined us, Shinigami. Why don't you and Dwer drop by the bar? You can say hello and then bring me back a booth crew."

#12
Rivel

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Nick raised a brow at Alexi's little display. Huh. It was not exactly surprisingthat the old man had signed up for implants, but it was something else to keep in mind.

Then he winced.

"Of all the callsigns up for consideration, I'd rather leave that one behind."

"C'mon, Dwer, show me the bar."

#13
Coolhand

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Dwer nodded and signaled towards the exit "Pretty sure I know the way."

As the two walked down the strangely empty exit corridor Dwer posed a question to Nick.

"I've been thinking and you seem a bit more familiar now. Tell me did you ever serve with a squadron called Foxfire? Half the unit was shot down by an unknown and two unmarked -19's showed up. Sound familiar at all?"

#14
Rivel

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Nick suppressed the urge to wince and instead rolled his eyes. It was apparently his day to have bad memories come around to follow him. Whoever thought it had been a good idea to put him in a VF must have been out of their mind. Powered armor, that was the way to do it. He canted his head to one side, then the other, stretching his neck as he considered his response.

"You could say that. My first mission was Foxfire's last. Not for lack of trying: we got shoved into an oven on my first go. Why?"

#15
Coolhand

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" I was in the black Excalibur, recognised your voice from the comm chatter. I pulled one of your guys out, brass weren't too happy with me after it was all done." Dwer was smiling as he answered, oddly it was a good memory for him. Something from a more exciting if rather bleak time.

"Anyway it's not really important, like I said i just recognised your voice."

OOC:- We can transition to the bar now, unless theres more to add here.

#16
Hiro Protagonist

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Natalya stepped on to the convention floor and turned directly away from the CCS booth. She made a bee-line for the weapons vendors

She avoided the heavy weapons guys right off. She wasn't interested in funding a private army, or she'd have just bought one of her own. She was looking for something to off set her disadvantages on the ground.

She'd had one too many close calls in CSS's less airborne operations. It didn't take her long to find what she was after.

She took a moment to assess the tactical situation. She pondered playing it dumb, but she couldn't see that getting her any useful information. With enough blonde-bimbo in the act sshe could certainly have finagled a discount but she didn't care about the prices. She wanted information on capabilities.

She pulled her pocketbook from her jacket, and slipped a Vega Blackcard out.

She timmed her appraoch to arrive just as another gawker lost interest and began to try to gracefully escape the vendor's sales pitch. Pointing to brochure item with the credit card, she said, "Vhat makes your EX-gear better than the competitions'?"

#17
CrazyDreamer

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Alexi sighed, wondering where his reinforcements were as the two (potential) clients left the booth.

"Things are getting slow. Tiff, go ahead and head out; I'll message someone at the bar for reinforcements."

An AR keyboarded flickered to life within his mind and he and began to type.

#18
gradius

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"Aye-aye gov!" Tiffany tossed a mock salute to Alexi and a nod to the Sales and Marketing rep before heading for the changing rooms. Whereupon she shook her hair out and changed into something less likely to link her officially to CCS.

#19
schanze

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Five minutes later...

Kes arrived at the booth with Mack and Rod in tow. The air of the open hall was cold and matched the outside weather. She went behind the booth and a moment later retrieved and donned a maroon jacket she had left there earlier in the day.

A chair was available next to Alexi. She sat, leaned back and looked over at the older man.

"We'll watch the booth. Enjoy the break."

Kes looked at the men still in front of the booth and indicated available chairs next to hers.

#20
jester

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Mack trailed along and was periodically distracted by cool stuff and booth babes only to have to hurry and catch up with the group on their walk. Arriving in the booth and realizing he needed something a little more professional, he slid behind the partition and got one of the "surplus" CCS jackets stashed for just such an emergency - working for a PMC meant contingency planning was a part of everything.

As he came back around the partition, he recognized a face from a recent news article cruising by in the flow of people. It was the Vice President of Operations for Interstellar Express. He was recently in the press discussing recent shipping losses to pirates in the edge systems. Mack closed on him and started the pitch, "Mr. Huber, nice to see you at the convention. Have you considered augmenting your cargo protection methods?"

Edited by CrazyDreamer, 21 September 2012 - 11:46 PM.
PMS –> PMC






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