Kincade Medical Center Village of Kincade
235km east of Zathras
1230hrs 9 December 3080
Kincade was a town along the major East West highway that transited the continent of Cromwell. While it wasn’t the bustling city that Landing is, it also was not the picturesque village that Zathras was. So it had some of most anything you would expect in a small town. Among its anemities was a medical center.
Not the biggest one, it was able to handle most any medical emergencies one would expect to have. This included such things as trauma- there was farm communities out here and sometimes bad accidents happened. It wasn’t really a combat hospital but with its capacity to handle major incidents, it became the nearest facility to send combat injured.
With the mostly mech fighting on this front, there thankfully hadn’t been much need. But even the pilots of those machines could get injured, and it was here any such casualties were brought. This included enemy ones… and it was where the injured Gordon Dragoons wound up- very much under guard.
Color Sergeant Hannah Gordon woke up with a groggy start and looked around. Where am I? she asked herself as she tried to recall the last few hours and noted her bandaged head along with her splinted arm. Her ribs hurt like hell too and she noted that she had a bandage wrapped around her ribcage, which a dressing placed on her flank where it hurt the most. It’s a hospital… and the last I remember was Lancer battle ar- ah shit. Realization hit her as her wits fully returned. I’m in a Lancer Medical Center…. And a prisoner. Great…
Entering the room, a technician spoke out. “Good afternoon, Miss Gordon,” the male technician said as they approached the monitors. Behind him, a female infantry soldier entered and took up position to the side of the doorway. “Welcome back to the land of the awake. How are you feeling?”
Hannah eyeballed the technician. “Gordon, Hannah A; Color Sergeant, Gordon’s Dragoons… Serial number 3152996…” was her reply.
The technician nodded as he checked the screen and then lifted a pad to make notes. “Duly noted, Miss Gordon. I see you are also alert to the fact you are not among your own… which means no apparent lasting issues from your injuries. There was a concern when you passed out as you were captured.”
Hannah continued to watch the actions of the technician as she repeated her identity. “Gordon, Hannah A; Color Sergeant, Gordon’s Dragoons. Serial number 3152996…”
The tech looked over at her and gave a slight smile. “Miss Gordon, while you are a prisoner, you are entitled to certain rights as enumerated under the Ares Conventions. As such, you are entitled to medical care on a level commensurate to what we give our own. Questions about your well-being are part and parcel to ensuring we are giving appropriate care,” He paused. “So those sorts of questions are NOT part of an interrogation for intel. That stuff we leave to spooks after you are well enough for a detention center.”
“And even then, we don’t torture prisoners,” From the entrance to the room, a dark-skinned male officer in fatigues entered along with a female member of Comstar. “Unless you count constant Musak being played at all hours of the day. Then maybe it might be. Though I’m told highlanders self-torture with their choice of musical instruments so I’m not certain it would work anyway. Because bagpipes…”
Hannah actually chuckled slightly. “Ach ye heathens…” slipped out before she clamped her mouth shut.
The officer nodded. “Now that’s a reaction I expected from a proper child of Northwind…” He observed then continued after a moment. “My name is Major James Payne, Phoenix Lancers and this is Demi-Precentor Julia Styles from the MRBC office here on Centarus. Despite your unit’s discovered association with the Word of Blake and its soon to be Wanted Rating, you are being accorded rights as a captured Mercenary under the employ of an Enemy Nation-State…. Up until your Unit’s status officially changes, at the very least.”
Hannah pondered this information. “And what happens when th’ Dragoon’s status changes?” She asked. “And when?”
The two officials looked at each other then back at her. “At that point in time, your status will change to that of captured criminal at which point the Lancers collect a bounty for you while you sit in a prison cell… and then you will be shipped back to Northwind,” Demi-Precentor Styles answered. “What they will do with you is up to the government of Northwind. Considering what they have experienced at the hands of The Word, I do not expect you to be well received… or treated kindly. As to when the status update that will be once secure communications is restored with one of the satellite offices. Within a few days, I suspect.”
Payne added. “Until such time, as I said, you will be accorded status of captured mercenary with the ability to renounce your affiliation and seek employment elsewhere. Granted, your choices will be limited due to associations once word gets out about the Dragoons but not everywhere- even we have former Clan warriors among us.”
He paused as he laid a small sheaf of papers on a mobile table within her reach. “Something to consider while you heal up, at least. I or another will be back later on this evening or tomorrow for a proper processing, seeing how you only just woke up.”
Styles smiled. “Indeed. You have quite a bit to think about and should I see you in a few days, I will discuss repatriation to Northwind then.” Looking over to Payne, she asked. “Anything else, Major?”
“No, I think not.” He answered. “If you will pardon us, we have a few others to speak with about their status yet. Quite a few were recovered and are also in this facility being tended to. Good afternoon.”
The two officers departed then, leaving Hannah in the stunned silence she had descended to after being given the news. The Dragoon mechwarrior was aware of the fate of those deemed Traitor to Northwind and to the people of it; she had grown up on stories of the Covenanters, their resistance to Amaris’s forces during the Coup… and tales of the fierce independent streak every scion of the world had. Among those tales was stories on the fates of those who had betrayed the world.
It occurred to her right then that what her Uncle had done was condemn them all… and she was not sure he understood this. But she most certainly did. Oh, she most certainly did… and the likely outcome chilled her to her core.
The tech had left along with the two officers and the trooper had stepped out when they did, which left her alone with her thoughts. And Hannah’s thoughts were a swirl. It was then she noticed the folded papers on the table. Stretching out with her good hand, she managed to grab the end of the table and pull it closer. Once it was more within reach, she snagged the documents that were on it and pulled them to her lap. Opening it up, she looked at the contents and just stared at the words on the top of the various documents.
Application for Employment- Phoenix Lancers and requirements were one part of the pile. The other was a Centarus Application for Residency. Looking through it, she noted a part of the applications that indicated potential sponsorship. Apparently, such things helped with gaining citizenship here as well as membership within the Lancers…. And the sponsorship block on both had a name in it.
The name listed was that of a Major Sean Farquharson… the commander of the Lancer force they had faced. I am being given an out, she thought as she read through the documents. This has GOT to be some sort of joke…
Eastern Central Divide
71 Kilometers east of Zathras
Sean stood in the ad-hoc command center set up in the barn of a local farm. The building, part of one of the myriad of horse farms and plantations on this side of the Divide had become a staging point for the push west. After the initial battles of the day before, the Lancers had kept up a general pursuit and push, using careful advance and recon to keep the line moving.
As suspected, the Word’s Allied Forces didn’t have a large presence or any sort of real reserve out here. And with the various raids taking out supply points and their staging areas, the assets arrayed against the Lancer Counterattack were having to fall back far faster than they would like. This suited him just fine, as it allowed the tech boys to get his stuff repaired and rearmed as needed for the continued offensive. Besides, there was still a Gordon force to bring down and he wanted to be the one to do it.
While he trusted the acting leader for Alpha Company First Battalion, Captain Jess Knox was not a skirmisher sort of commander. She was just as much a stubborn bloodhound as her commander though… and if those Gordon survivors were going to be caught, she’d get them. But he secretly hoped she wouldn’t catch them because, well, they were Gordons.
At least with her chasing them, it allowed his company to pursue as a supporting force… and respond as needed even as the badly damaged mechs were cycled forward as they were repaired. And it was here in the temporary command post that word caught up to him about what was going on back in Kincade.
“Major,” a Coms Tech called to him.
“Aye?” he responded from the map table he was standing at.
“Vid message…” the tech replied. “Routing it to the tablet next to you.”
Sean nodded and lifted the tablet as the icon flashed for the incoming message. Tapping it, he waited for it to open up. “Farquharson…”
[Major, James Payne,] the face within the video was that of Major Payne. [Subject is awake and your suggestion is being tried.]
A smile. “Ah good… We will see if the wee lass is as diehard as the commander o’ th’ Gordons be..” He said. “There be nae reason tae see a young’n be condemned… even a blasted Gordon.”
A nod. [Agreed. I thought about some of your possible reasons for this… and I suspect I know at least one.]
[If you turn her, its insult to injury, isn’t it?]
An evil smile. “Aye… tha’ be the crux of it.” Was his reply. “If’n she can be turned and by me, with your support for the idea, of course… it is the bigger insult to the bastard then just capturin’ her or beat’n him. Falling in battle is one thing… but being killed by Kin for th’ dumb decision of her commander is a waste…
Buck stops wi’ leadership and even if’n the Head Gordon gets caught alive enough tae be tried… I know th’ price she would pay being sent tae Northwind wi’ him,” He paused. “Thair be no honor in tha’ death. None.”
[Honorable action, Major,] Payne said. [Even in a classic highlands clan… disagreement.]
“Aye that. She is still a Highlander, lad… Despite her bein’ on th’ wrong side, she’s still a Child of Northwind. And much like th’ colonel, I cannae kill in cold blood unless they deserve it. Thae feud does need tae end sooner or later. May as well start wi’ her.”
[Noted.] Payne commented. [And if she has information, she might trade it for something.]
“Maybe, though I dinnae think she has verra much. Time will tell… Ri’ now, I’m counting on her being pragmatic and seein’ what options she has. Or dinnae have, as case be.”
[Understood and solid reasons, Major.] Payne replied. [I’ll keep you posted.]
“Good. Farquharson out.”