Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Bloodless Coup

Somewhere in the Westridge Range...

Medalev sighed with some satisfaction. His rag-tag band of men - human troopers and GREL soldiers alike, hovertanks, hover-APCs, some trucks - were now slowly picking their way through the mountains. After the mountains, it was the accursed dune seas of the Barrington Basin. But in the Basin: WestBase, the rendezvous point for all stranded CEF personnel on Terranova.

"It's gonna get worse before it gets better," Major Medalev grunted to himself. He looked at the detail of Mordreds trying to un-stick one of the column's trucks. Each of them was over 300 pounds of pure muscle, gristle and bone. They fumbled over the lever and nearly tipped the entire truck over onto its side. The Jan GREL supervising them started yelling loudly.

"No brains," Medalev grimaced from the top of the APC.

"Sir!" Upton was pointing from the other hatch. Medalev turned from the GRELs and followed Upton's finger. He saw a party of about a half-dozen, all on foot, picking their way through the rocks above the column, heading towards it.

"Shit," Medalev had raised his binoculars for a closer look, and then lowered them in disgust. They were almost certainly CEF stragglers. The last thing Medalev, or anyone in this convoy, needed were more mouths to feed. No matter how much he hated himself for it though, Medalev wasn't going to turn them away. The poor major, however, was in for a rude surprise.


"Major Medalev," the squat, dark-skinned woman in CEF fatigues saluted in a manner far too crisp for the major's liking, "I am Captain Cecilia Lysanov, 4th tier commissar of the New Earth Commonwealth."

Lysanov paused, letting her voice ring out a bit in the mountains. The entire column had come to a halt when the six stragglers arrived. When Captain Lysanov insisted on presenting her credentials to an assembly of officers and non-commissioned officers, Medalev began regretting not scaring the Captain and what was clearly her bodyguard off with a burst of machinegun fire.

"Captain, I am Major Medalev, Colonial Expeditionary Force. This is my command, the 170th Battle Group," Medalev swallowed hard. The 170th was perhaps the size of a company, not a battle group.

Lysanov looked around at the assembled humans and GRELs, nodded sharply and continued, "Major, I have orders here from the New Earth Commonwealth," she spoke loudly. She knew what she was about to say would be grossly unpopular among the survivors here, "they have instructed me to rendezvous with your command and present you with new orders. You are to stop making your way to WestBase immediately."

There was silence. Lysanov's face was stonelike. If she was worried that she'd be shot immediately, she didn't show it. Medalev frowned, finger twitching slightly. This was the only indication of what he was contemplating: mutiny and treason. The weight of his service pistol seemed heavy on his belt, suddenly.He let his eyes scan the assembled men. He knew they were tired, hungry and angry for being abandoned. But he didn't know how things would play out if he shot this commissar.

Judging by the looks of her men, I know that I'd get killed right off. Medalev's brow furrowed. Lysanov was still stoic. He considered the fact that it would be a tragedy to have survived the landing at Baja, only to get gunned down by some Party shirt's goons. Another moment passed.

"Captain Lysanov, the 170th Battle Group stands ready to serve the Party and the New Earth Commonwealth," Major Medalev saluted crisply.

For now, at least.


Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.