Sorry I missed a few weeks there. I'm going to put the last couple sessions together as a result.
It's interesting that salvage, a very important part of running a mercenary unit, and something that's been included in the computer games since the very first, original Mechwarrior game, is so poorly handled in the table top games. I think it's different in every book that bothers to cover it, and it's usually pretty hard to actually find the section that covers salvage -- I didn't find it in any of my books until after I'd had to divvy salvage out. Most of the time, it's not even done in terms of percentages -- it's something like "Payment in Kind" or "Prize Court" and these are then vaguely described, leaving it up to the poor GM to try to figure out how the employer is going to determine what values to use for this. I did it as a percentage of tonnage, which isn't actually correct: once I finally found a discussion of percentage, it turned out to be a percentage of value by C-Bills, which makes sense. I'll probably be doing a hybrid in the future: negotiated percentage of value, filtered through the mechanism of payment (mercenary keeps, payment in kind, payment in cash, or prize court).
Mostly the last few sessions have been lessons in how players are how they are, even when they don't mean to be. Despite intentionally stating that he doesn't want to be in charge, one of my players (our normal GM) just can't resist being the face. He makes nods to not being the leader of the group, but he still does most of the talking. We can't resist playing to our strengths and the things we enjoy -- I do the same thing; which sometimes results in groups having...unusual "face" characters (like our D&D 4th Edition group that was nominally led by a Gnoll Shaman). The character that's been designated the leader has been pretty quiet, but I'm going to try to draw him out a little bit.
The mercenaries, having completed their contract with the planetary authorities on Issan, went to finalize payment, and also to try to negotiate some resupply. They're very concerned about replacing the arm on the Wasp LAM (which is a fair concern), but getting a LAM arm takes time and effort, so they put a purchase order in at Galatea. Given a month's lead time, they expect that somebody there will be able to fill the purchase order (which is a completely reasonable assumption). The group splits up for their negotiations, with Galen and Jaguar visiting the bandit's blackmarket contact to get some equipment for repairs, and Ions, Zephyr, and Emma heading to the planetary governors to finalize the contract completion. Jaguar has been billed as a country bumpkin, good with a wrench and a welder, but innocent in the ways of the world. The reality of the situation is more that he should be placed somewhere on the autism spectrum, which makes it pretty funny to involve him in negotiations with a black market contact. The arms dealer offered to cut Galen in if he was allowed to negotiate with Jaguar alone; that's how crazy that went. The meeting with the planetary governing council went better, and the mercenaries sold off their salvaged units (they salvaged the Bulldog tank and the Commando mech along with some other arms and equipment from the bandits) to the planetary militia forces for a tidy profit. Then they were off to Galatea to establish their presence as a real mercenary unit and take their first "real" contract -- or the first contract that they'd get to choose and negotiate for themselves.
Doing some research, it was clear that the trip from Issan to Galatea would take pretty close to a month. They'd taken a fair amount of damage in their fight with the bandits on Issan, but between their salvage and the equipment they purchased from the black market, they were easily able to complete their repairs during the journey, except for replacing the arm on Emma's Wasp LAM. The travel time also gave them an opportunity for some training and rest.
The mercenaries set down on Galatea and got the address of the temporary office space that they were renting with some of their overhead money. They reviewed the responses to their purchase order for the arm, and they had two good options: an eager-sounding arms dealer named Bynjo Han and the proprietor of one of the proving grounds on the planet, named Marko Kurrov, who offered to buy the LAM from them for a little better than market price if they didn't want to buy an arm. Ions and Zephyr contacted Kurrov to get a proposed price tag, planning to take that number to Bynjo in hopes of getting a better price. Jaguar proposed talking to both of them -- he thought he might be able to win the arm from Kurrov in an exhibition battle. Ions tried to dissuade Jaguar from leaving to execute this plan by shooting him in the back with a sonic stunner, but Jaguar shrugged it off, bought Ions' explanation that he was just making sure Jaguar was tough enough for this, and took the monorail into Galatea City. The rest of the mercs kind of shrugged their shoulders and took the next monorail themselves.
Jaguar couldn't remember exactly where he was going, so he stopped in a nearby bar, where he spoke to a drunken old man. Their conversation was...probably confusing for everyone involved. It ended up with the old man suggesting Jaguar head to a little blood pit nearby named Aries ("It doesn't have as many 'e's in the name as you think"). The fight organizer/bookie at Aries then agreed to set Jaguar up on a match, with Jaguar continuing to insist on payment in the form of an arm. The bookie took this in stride; everybody seemed to enjoy that much of Jaguar chewing the scenery, since the bookie was non-stop fast-talking glibness, and Jaguar was as impenetrably clueless as ever. I, at least, had a lot of fun in that conversation.
The rest of the mercenaries went to the hiring hall to find their next contract. I presented them with four options, which is way more than a starting unit of five mechwarriors should get, but, hey, this is for fun. It was really two branching storylines, with the ability to play either side of each conflict. They eventually decided to take on an objective raid sponsored by House Marik. For the most part, their negotiations went well; though they were really focused on support costs, and ended up taking kind of a bath on jump compensation. I haven't calculated the route yet to know exactly how bad that's going to be for them yet (it only makes sense to charge jump costs for getting to the staging area and back -- jumps from the staging system to the target system ought to just be part of the operation). Then they met back up with Jaguar at Aries, the actual match will be in the next session. I haven't yet decided what I'm going to have him confronting -- Jaguar pilots a Stalker, so it's actually a more complicated decision than if he was piloting a lighter 'mech. I'm going to break out my Solaris VII maps though; I think that the blood pit will be loosely based on one of the Solaris arenas.