Schlock Mercenary Wiki

Clearing the line was a job taken by Tagon's Toughs on Luna. While completing the job, The Toughs acquired their company lawyer, lost their original ship, created an AI, and gained an extremely useful ongoing contract.

The Toughs were hired by Luna's government to clear out a 20,000-strong mob of protesters attacking the Permit and License Renewal Office. Upon arriving at the scene, the Toughs made the unpleasant discovery that the riot was not a riot, but in fact was a ridiculously backed-up line for the renewal office. Some people had been there for months, waiting while the people at the desk dealt with the bloated paperwork and near-fossilized computer system of Luna's bureaucracy. After some thought, Breya realized that with Ennesby to deal with the computers and the Toughs to act as conductors, they could clear out the line simply by getting all the applications processed, while also charging each of the 20,000 people in line a small fee for "express processing".

Early in, Nick got into a fight with a Neophant, which ended when Breya stunned them both. Nick was arrested for disorderly conduct, and was assigned a public defense lawyer named Massey Reynstein. Reynstein was then contacted by the Partnership Collective, who wanted his help keeping the Toughs on Luna for as long as possible. Reynstein rejected their offer and warned Captain Tagon about it instead.

In the course of interfacing with the computer system, Ennesby accidentally triggered the formation of a new artificial intelligence, Lunesby, which had been accumulating for centuries and needed only Ennesby's interference to achieve full self-awareness.

When Reynstein left after warning Tagon, Tagon decided to have Schlock and Brad follow him. This was fortunate, as the Partnership Collective then abducted Reynstein and tried to assimilate him, connecting him to their hive-mind. The two mercenaries rescued him, leading to perhaps the best possible outcome for Reynstein; he remained an individual, but gained full mental access the the Collective's immense law library, as well as the ability to spy on their decision-making. Reynstein then joined the Toughs, accepting Tagon's argument that a company of armed mercs would be excellent protection against further attempts on his life.

In due time the line was finished. Lunesby expedited the Toughs' payment (estimated wait time for that was 16 months) then declined Ennesby's offer of a transfer out of the government computers, choosing instead to stay there and work on pruning down the bureaucracy that had caused the whole mess.

While exploring his new link to the Collective, Massey found out why the Collective wanted the Toughs to hold still: they had been planting limpet bombs on the Kitesfear. One of the bombs was on a timer, while the other two had sensors that would detect any attempt to undock from the Hellevator, to which the Kitesfear was docked. The bombs were ludicrously overpowered; each had a yield of three teratons, which would obliterate the entire Hellevator and cause a worldwide catastrophe on Luna itself.

Captain Tagon had the idea of evacuating the Kitesfear in a shuttle, cutting out the section of Hellevator that the she was docked to, and teraporting the whole mess into deep space (to the Eta Carinae supernova remnant, in fact, which Tagon joked "might be pretty again if it were properly backlit"). This attempt succeeded, and although the Kitesfear was completely destroyed, there was no loss of life and only moderate damage to the Hellevator.

Naturally, the Toughs sued the Partnership Collective and won, but the Collective refused to pay. However, the court then sentenced the Collective to the destruction of two billion kilocreds of their property (one million attorney drones) for their reckless endangerment of the entire world of Luna. The Toughs were made agents of the court for this penalty, giving them legal authority to kill attorney drones on sight and get paid for it.

While the lawsuit was running, Tagon and Kevyn bought and repaired the Post-Dated Check Loan, which then set out for Nejjat.