OOC: Continuation of this thread:
The morning air picked up suddenly and lifted the peaked hat from a head of slightly greyed black. The owner turned around to pick it up, but was surprised when it was proffered by the outstretched hand of an Air Force Comandante.
"Good morning, Vasques", said the older man, picking up the star-studded cap and sitting it more securely on his head.
"Coron- General Mateo", returned the younger man, catching himself at the slip.
Comandante Hermann Vasques was the AFI's chief consulting officer for aeronautics and Mateo's former adjutant in his junior years. He would provide the technical background for the delegation. Though still en route, they would also be accompanied by Ministry of Defence Undersecretary Pietro Cabré, serving as the legal consultant and signing representative for the ExecMin.
"I was expecting them to use the airbase runways", continued the Comandante who was staring out, passed the balcony they were standing on, and passed the runway of Corregidor Airbase Civilian Terminal 1. The horizons were still empty.
"Hardly reasonable Vasques", snorted Mateo.
"Would you like to greet our business partners with a view of SAM sites and the PT yard?"
Vasques gave a bark-like laugh.
"No, I'm just not used to Terminal 1's opulence, nothing the like Airbase's dated facilities", he said, turning back to scan the satin seats, the currently unmanned bar, and finely carpeted floors.
"High Command has to receive dignitaries somewhere we can plant the rag-scribblers and photographers", Mateo replied.
"Indeed, we've seen better days", Vasques said knowingly.
Mateo grimaced inwardly.
"The air force has seen better days". That saying had unofficially replaced the AFI's motto in the previous decades. Sure, one could blame it on the fact that Toledo Aeronautics had all but reduced in size and manpower to the equivalent of a suburban garage run by 16-year old firecracker bootleggers. One could also blame the navy for draining the MoD budget on MCM's experimental Aegis system. But when it really came down to it, newly minted General dei Brigada Luis Mateo knew that all these incidents were the repercussions of a single administrative flaw: That the Brass lacked balls.
His thoughts were interrupted by Vasques stepping back from the balcony rail.
"Last time I was here was...", Vasques trailed off, looking about again.
"After the Deitorr inauguration, three years ago, you brought that fine blonde thing with you. Hardly appropriate", tutted Mateo in mock disapproval.
Vasques grinned and checked his watch. He turned towards the horizon again
"Clockwork, our new friends are right on time", nodding in the general direction of the dot on the horizon.
That would be the Slankstråle. Aamotech had been gracious, quick to respond and charter a special flight. Seeing as the Republican Armed Service had so rarely dealt with foreign corporations in recent years, Mateo was pleasantly surprised at the courtesy.
Hopefully, if all went well, the AFI could replace its ageing fleet of TA-71 strategic lifters. A new age for Iverican foreign relations meant that something modern was needed. Modern and- BIG. If the Primo was so intent on pursuing foreign aid missions into Afropa and similar cases, something like the Whitebeard would be necessary.
So far none of the other foreign manufacturers had anything remotely close the ballpark size and range of the Tungstråle. Mateo thought about how hard it was to get approval for purchases like this a decade ago. Back then, it had been nearly impossible to navigate the quagmire of MoD bureaucracy and inter-service rivalry.
There was a reason Mateo fought tooth and nail for the Air Force Rep office. A fight which had taken the better part of his youth, some questionable calls, but most painfully of all, leaving his command of the vaunted 12th Fighter Group, for a corner office and a star stud. There had been painful decisions, but now he was in a position to bypass most of the administrative hoo-ha and whisper directly into Minister Ibanes' ear. The 68-year old Defense Minister hung on every word he said these days, trusting Mateo as his eyes and ears in the Air Force. Mateo's suggestions now had more pull than a Capitán-General's when it came to influencing ExecMin's prerogatives. It was Mateo that got the 2017 budget allocated in the Air Force's favour, Mateo that had pulled the strings to red-paper push the Modernisation Initiative, and now it was Mateo that Ibanes trusted to oversee the purchase of Aamotech units. His predecessor had pretty much bent over for the Armada's budget hogging, and his predecessor's predecessor that had lost the lobby for bailing out Toledo Aeronautics.
The Slankstråle was now growing larger by the minute, on its final approach any minute.
"Come on, it looks like the Undersecretary just arrived", said Mateo gesturing at the terminal doors.
"We'll meet him in front of the jet bridge. We're offering refreshments while they do pre-flight, so behave, you're a Comandante now."