Peter walked across the 'Mech bay to where Scott and Kate were watching the refit of her new Griffin. As one of the five founding Owner-operators in MacKenzie's Marauders she had decided to throw her lot in and become a Stakeholder. It hadn't taken Scott a lot of effort to persuade her to trade in her Phoenix Hawk. Having won it in a high-stakes poker game a few years earlier she didn't have that much sentimental attachment. In fact, it had led to a lot of the bad blood in her previous unit.

To Scott, the rows of identical 'Mechs were a reminder of the days of the Star League. Back then whole companies would be made up of identical 'Mechs. Perhaps it was nostalgia for a time that he never knew. But given their financial health they of the Marauders they had the ability to make that choice. By limiting themselves to only three chassis types they had made maintenance much easier and reduced the amount of spare parts they needed to carry. As the only 'Mechs using ammunition were now the Archers, they also needed to carry very little ordinance too. In fact, they'd taken that further, and replaced all the Autocannons on the Athena with PPCs making LRMs the only expendable ordinance across the whole unit. The reduction in weight and freeing up of space allowed for a few other changes to make the Athena a more comfortable home as well.

Scott Came to attention, giving his father a salute. It had been over four months since Peter had taken up the role of Commander of the Waunakee Militia at the behest of the Planetary Governor. He was now the Marauder's Employer, at least until the end of the year.

"I hear you've had three contract offers come through already son." Peter said.

"Rubbish. The lot of them." Kate declared. As the only truly experienced Mercenary she was now their unofficial contract negotiator. "They're testing the waters. We'll have better luck hunting for our own, we have time."

"Good, the Athena refit is done but the refit of the Pallas is going to be another three weeks." Scott said as he turned to look up the 'Mech bay. The Pallas was one of two Buccaneer class Dropships the Marauders had acquired in a deal with the local Mining consortium. They had received them in exchange for the captured Mule class Dropship then sold one of the two outright before refitting the other as a support ship with additional weapons, Fuel and Armour, four 'Mech Bays, four Heavy Vehicle bays and additional passenger berths.

Kate spotted Jake coming towards them across the Bay. The affection she had in her eyes could not be hidden. Scott gave his father a wry smile. Peter had seen this before, he was going to need to chat with them before they left. Kate excused herself and headed to intercept him. The father and stood for a moment.

"Are you sure I can't convince you to come along at least once?" Scott asked as they began their stroll down the 'Mech Bay.

Peter managed a chuckle, "No son. My place is here, albeit behind a desk for a couple of years until things are sorted. It's your time to lead, all three of you need to stretch your wings. I'll still be here when you get back."

Scott nodded. He knew he could handle the responsibility but was still not sure. His father had said earlier that was a good thing, he was aware of the weight of the job before he started rather than finding out at a critical moment that you're not cut out for it.

As they walked, they could see some flashing bursts of light around the canopy of Tessa's Marauder. One of the Munitions Scissor lifts was parked directly in front of it. Peter had thought it was an Arc welder at first but now realised it was a Photographer.

They spotted Tessa posing for photos atop the hatch of her Marauder.

"I'm glad to see she's not in her bikini this time." Peter said.

Tessa had become the darling of local media. First as 'Arm Candy' for the tedious social functions her father now had to attend and her mother had managed to avoid, but quickly she had come into her own in the local social circuit and worked to build her father's power base. He was going to miss that when they left.

Scott had to laugh, "It was for a Halifax tourism campaign, and it certainly worked, Mother is quite enjoying managing the Lodge now it's re-opened."

"I don't know whether I need to tell you to keep an eye on her or the other way around." Peter lamented.

"Definitely the other way around." Scott laughed again.

They walked on, leaving Tessa and the Photographer behind.

"How are things going with the Militia?" Scott asked casually as they strolled.

"I'm still turning up new rorts that the old guard had going on. Just the other week I found out we have an 'Officer Training Facility' down town. Turns out it's a 'Gentlemen's Club'.

Scott shook his head. This wasn't the first story he'd heard from his father. Peter had known there were a lot of dubious things happening in the Militia before, but even he was surprised when he went over the books. Turns out they had an entire infantry Battalion that was on paper only.

"I'll bet there'll be some unhappy folks over this." Scott said.

"Absolutely, I put all the prices up." Scott couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at this.

"The cheeky Bastards were deliberately subsidising it on the Militia's purse." Peter explained, "I just made a few changes and gave them a six-month window to turn a profit. We'll sell it as a going concern running if they succeed or shut it down and sell the assets if they don't."

Scott still had to shake his head. The Landed gentry were not known for tolerating people upsetting the Apple Cart, but in this case the MacKenzie Clan were Old-money and Landed also.

Still, Peter knew the window of opportunity for change was starting to close. His real focus was to build an economy for Halifax beyond Tourism, in this case as a Military Training Centre and home for the Marauders. Helping Halifax from behind the scenes was a tradition for the MacKenzie Clan, his ancestor Paul had begun it somewhat in secret, but it was now time to emerge from the shadows.