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Can you tell me where we can start again (cover art) Chapter Art

Chapter 18[]

Can you tell me where can we start over?[]

Replacement and Training Depot
Jade Falcon Occupation Zone

"That is one." Henry said quietly.  The Trueborn in front of him had no battle honors yet, being a fresh replacement from the Homeworlds straight out of sibko.

Henry, on the other hand, had rank now.  Leskovic had led to a series of blood stripe promotions.

"One what, Freebirth?"

"That is two."  Henry's blow was lightning fast. Striking the frankly younger man firmly in the solar plexus.  "One more word, fledgling-" his knee took the man in the groin, while his arm came down behind the man's shoulders. "-and we will have a longer counseling session on proper military decorum when addressing someone who out ranks you."

The younger warrior lay curled up on the floor as idled warriors and new transfers ogled the sudden burst of absolute violence in their midst.

Henry squatted, "Now. You are Warrior Phillip, fresh from Ironhold. You have a single victory in your Trial of Position, you have heritage of the bloodline of Hazen. Which is a dignified and respectable lineage ill-suited to casual use of epithets or racial slurs.  Normally, a Falconer beats that sort of lack of discipline out, but these are trying times. I am sure you did not mean to give offense...did you, Quineg?"

Phillip groaned, "nnneg..."

Henry took the man's hand and helped him to his feet, "Then we are all good. Welcome to the Bravo Sweep.  I am your new commanding officer."

Phillip looked him over.  "You did not look that tough."

"I get that a lot, it is the Kowloonese heritage. We all have baby-faces." he grinned, "Come on, we need to get you sorted and billetted."

"How did a Freebirth get command of a sweep star??"

"I earned it." Henry told him as they walked.  "It does not help that everyone inside the Bravo Trinary above me was put out of action by an accidental discharge in a refinery.  Lskovic was a rat-****** and a half, only upside is that it resulted in promotions above me and my former Bondholder now commands whole Cluster."

"You are...a Spheroid??" said Phillip surprised

"Thought we made that clear when I reprimanded you for the racial slurs." Henry stated, "The term 'Abtakha' mean anything to you, Quiaff?"

" hear stories, ovkhan."

"I am quite sure there are MANY stories." Henry stated, "I've been with the Clan since Blackjack, and you can can the fake warden act." he opened a hatchway, "I have no sympathies for it.  The 'save' feature on the Inner Sphere is poorly thought out and the damned House Lords have about beaten most of mankind into a dark age with their wasteful ambitions-I am here with the clan for the sole and only purpose of making sure the Crusade succeeds."

"You are a Crusader too??" said Phillip

"It is the only position that makes sense." Henry stated, "Your ancestors missed it. For the last three hundred years trillions have died in mindless, pointless, stupid conflicts waged for the pride and avarice of House Lords. Whole worlds have been lost. The cost to mankind is incalculable, and the knowledge lost can fill whole planetary libraries which are still overflow.  The only answer is radical reform. The way of the Clans is the only reform that even looks like it might work."  He helped his new replacement stow their gear.  "Therefore, I would be an idiot not to be totally on-board with the Crusader way, and if I am to be a crusader, then being in the best of the Crusader Clans is the only way that works."

Henry returned, and sat down across from Phillip while the transport pilots powered up the shuttle's engines.

"You chose this...did do I ask this?" asked Phillip

"Did I surrender peacefully?" Henry offered, "No.  I was the last Cadet to surrender.  Three days after Mark won his parents house in a trial.  The medtechs had to rebuild my legs.  I barely made it in to the Leskovic mission. That was only by beating the snot out of someone else to get my slot.  The Warrior I displaced is now my second in command."

"Casualties were bad, Quineg?"

"Aff,VERY bad.  The whole of Bravo Sweep had to be rebuilt with whomever was at hand and either unassigned or awaiting replacement." Henry told him.  "Most of the Trinary were incinerated. Which is why a greenie fledgeling like you gets to be part of a front line cluster right out of the gate instead of working up to it."

He reached into his uniform jacket, and handed Phillip a tablet, "Study that. We will be arriving at the unit and going straight into prepping for combat. So no time to muddle around with preliminaries, the Galaxy Commander wants us hitting dirt first and hard at the next objective, it will be a recon raid in force."

Notes from the Author - Henry Ngo[]

Henry Ngo is the 'middle child' between Patrick and Elizabeth.  He's not actually OLDER than Phillip, but there's a perception thing between people who really have 'seen the elephant' and people who've only trained.  At this point, in mid to late 3051, Henry's been as hard a charger in the Jade Falcons as any two Trueborns-being a freebirth, you already have to be twice as good to get half the respect, and like Mark Harris (Canon character from the sourcebook AND from the Sarna entry) he's put in the work to get the status.  I think the defining difference between them, is that Henry's a sincere convert on a level most adoptees need to be brainwashed to get.

As in, Henry (Formerly  Ngo) Jade Falcon has, indeed, shot at other Lyrans.  This isn't really the usual 'stockholm syndrome' type situation here, either-he's ideologically aligned with the Crusader Cause, he honestly feels that everything has gone horribly wrong in the Inner Sphere, that it needs to be saved, and that Clan Jade Falcon is the way to save it.

Which makes him kinda terrifying when you think about it for more than about five minutes, because it means there's not a whole lot holding him back from being a completely ruthless prick about it.  Historical examples to model this, would be akin to the Cossacks who sided with the Third Reich in the 1940s, or converts to Communism in various parts of the world during the cold war.  In his mind, every Jade Falcon victory is one more step to a better tomorrow.

As for everyone, and he's emotionally willing to accept the 'Temporary but totally necessary' pain in the short term to achieve what he honestly believes is a better long-term outcome.

For some of his new fellows, this can be truly disconcerting. Because even among the Jade Falcons, 'freebirths aren't supposed to think that way'.

(Well, they are, but...nobody actually believes they do.  Henry puts a lot of his Trueborn colleagues off their game in some situations by not being the expected closet warden, but instead about the hardest core crusader in his unit.)

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