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Callout
Röt Hafen Saga, Chapter 2-2

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When Lawrence arrived at the shop he noted that CO and Sergeant Major were already there as was half the team. He passed by the team room, collected and verified that everyone had been contacted, then went into the office.

Major Dees was waiting for him with a customary toothy grin. He stuck out a hand. "Hey big Sarge, how's it going?"

"Going great, Sir. How about you?"

"Fine. Fine."

"What's up?"

"Well let's give it a minute till your O shows up."

Just at that moment, Captain Tom Gerard walked into the office. "Hey guys."

"Hey, Sir."

"Ahh good, you're both here. Step into the office." Lawrence and Gerard eyed each other suspiciously and shrugged their shoulders. Neither knew what this was about.

Seated in Dees' office were Sergeant Major Mullen and Chief Leonard the company S3 or Operations Officer. Dees was immediately businesslike. "In case you haven't surmised it yet, 946 is being tabbed for a green call out."

"Really?" asked Lawrence, nonplussed.

"There's not much info on the mission. But it's TS and has the highest priority status."

"When?" asked Gerard.

The bird leaves for the spaceport at 2100 tonight," Said Chief Leonard.

"0900? Jeez they're not leaving much time! What about team gear?"

"Bring personal gear and the contingency pallet."

"Duration?"

"Unknown, but unofficially the BC said it could be anything from 4 to 8 weeks."

"Christ." Said Lawrence. "I assume you guys know I'm short. You did, after all, approve my terminal leave, Sir."

The Sergeant major chimed in. "It's cancelled. But don't worry, you should be out in time. The BC authorized a double separation allowance to make up for it. Fact is we need 946 to execute this and the BC requested you. Hey after it's over, c'ya, and don't let the door hit you in the ass."

"Great, Anne's gonna love this."

"Don't worry, we'll take care of the families. You guys get your shit together. We'll get all the families in here tonite for a last visit, then you guys are off." Said the Major.

"Here's the warning order that came down on the TWX this morning. Not much to go on." Chief Leonard handed Gerard the packet.

"Any questions?" Asked Major Dees. There were none. "Right. Off you go."

Lawrence and Gerard left the office thinking about the hard good-byes they would be faced with tonight.




By midnight, the 9 men of 946 were aboard the interface lander and on their way to rendezvous with their transport. The first indication of anything out of the ordinary was the long duration of the flight. They were in flight for 5 hours, well past anything needed to get even to high orbit. The second indication was the ship they docked with. Charlie was surprised to se it wasn't a standard NAC fleet or assault transport.

As they approached within visual range, several of the men were able to crowd a viewport and get a look at the odd shape and markings.

"What kind of ship is that?"

"That," observed Captain Gerard," is an NSL assault transport."

"NSL? You mean Schwabs?" said Sergeant Molitoris.

"That's right, Neu Schwabian League."

"All passengers, please put up your seat trays, lock you seat in an upright position, and secure shock frames. Commencing auto-docking procedures." They scurried back to their seats.




As they crossed through the airlock to the NSL transport, two officers greeted 946. One bore the rank of a NAC Major, the second, an NSL Major. Gerard saluted both.

"ODA 946 requests permission to come aboard, Sir."

Both Majors returned the captain's salute. "Granted," said the NAC major. They shook hands as he made introductions. "Captain Gerard, I'm Major Weston, 504th assault battalion. This is Major Wesreidau, Raumlande-Sturm Regiment 3." A third officer joined them. "Ahh there you are. Captain, this is Leutnant Makowsky."

The large blond haired man grinned and offered his hand. "Welcome to the NSL assault transport Kreta, Hauptman, umm excuse me I mean Captain."

"Kein probleme, Herr Leutnant."

"Ahh you speak German."

"Yes sir, a few of us do."

"Well that will help your stay here."

Weston broke in. "Captain Gerard. Leutnant Makowsky will take your men to their quarters. Leave your gear with these ratings and they'll bring it along. I want you to come with me for a quick briefing. We haven't much time since we jump within the hour."

"Yes, sir." Gerard motioned to Lawrence. "C'mon."

They followed Weseirdau and Weston through the innards of the cramped transport. NSL ships did not quite have the knack for crew comfort that the NAC did, however they were not as spartan as the ESU. They made their way through a number of confusing corridors until they came to the briefing room. It was empty. Weston motioned for the two SF men to take a seat. Wesreidau spoke into the intercom.

A moment later a short blond-haired man entered the room. He broke into a toothy grin. "Sergeant Lawrence!"

"Colonel Rölle! It's great to see you." The colonel clasped Lawrence on both shoulders. Charlie was at least a head taller.

"I see you've met the commander," remarked Weston.

"I first met Colonel Rölle when I attended the NSL Näheraumsturmschüle (near orbit assault course) back on Ross 42. After that our units kept up an exchange program for many years. That is until all this damn fighting got in the way."

"Yes, we have been busy lately, no?" Added Colonel Rölle.

"Well, anyway, what's the deal? What did I get dragged out of near retirement for this time?"

"Major Weston, perhaps you can explain," said Rölle.

"Yes sir. Right then. Captain Gerard, Sergeant Lawrence, we have an operation of the utmost urgency. And your team has gotten the nod. For matters of operational security that will soon become apparent to you, we can only cover your part of the overall mission. I'm not going into the whole thing now, we'll need your whole team for that. I expect to have 946 in here and assembled for initial misson brief in twenty minutes. Kreta is going to be making four jumps in the next 24 hours and that's going to be hard on everyone. We'll be meeting with another vessel and transferring your team onto there. However, I can tell you now that it's going to involve a free fall insertion from near orbit, and that you blokes will be on your own for a bit afterwards. So for now, on your bike, and get the rest of the lads in here."

"Yes, Sir." The two men left the room in a hurry to get their team. Gathered. Rölle and Weston traded knowing glances. "Pity it has to be him."

On to Chapter 2, Page 3.

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