Death's Own Daughter Chapter 36

Death’s Own Daughter


At 97, JJ Owens thought he would take one last trip to pay his respects to fallen comrades. He didn’t see that the fates had other plans.

Edited by Prof. Virginia Whippeal, djkauf and my loving husband Paul

--SEPARATOR--The medics slowly lifted the pilot out of the cockpit on a backboard. At first I can’t see the pilot’s face because it is faced away from me. When the medics finally get it out in the open and lying flat on the back of the Suit I finally see the pilots face.

Chapter 36

All my fears, and those of my family, were put to rest. There on the backboard was none other than Victor Light. He was severely injured; you could see the head wound and broken arm. What was most telling though was the way the medics had him braced on the backboard. From the looks of things he won’t be causing too much trouble. Looking over at the young medical officer who was in charge “Excuse me, lieutenant, but do you think he’ll survive?” I really wanted to know if this asshole that has plagued my family for so long was going to live.

“We won’t know tell we get him to the field hospital for sure, but most likely he’ll live.” I could tell by the way he worked that he was all professional. “Whether or not he’ll walk is up to the surgeons. I’m just an Emergency Medical Technician I don’t have the medical skill or know-how to say otherwise.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant, you’ve been most helpful.” After taking one more look at Victor Light, I head over to where mama and Alice are waiting. “It’s him alright. I would know that pig’s face anywhere. Come on let’s get off this scrap heap, and head back to the rear. I don’t know about you two, but I could use a drink, a strong one at that.”

Mama gave a worried look “Are you alright, Maiha? I know that you didn’t want this war.” Here she was surrounded by a field covered in the reams of an army, thousands of dead, dying, or wounded young men and women, and she was worried about me. “I know that you feel that all of this is your fault. Are you going to be alright?”

I look out across the battle field. From the recesses of my mind I recall all the places I have fought. One more time I have survived when I should have died. Once again I have cheated Death and denied him his due. With a heavy sigh I look at her and Alice “I just need a drink, ok?” I fail to put their concerns to rest. “I’ll be fine, but right now I want to go and get a big bottle of Scotch, get drunk, and forget what took place out here for a little while.” With that I turn and jump down from the Are’s back.

When I hit the ground I take off running. I push myself to the limit and I’m at the top end of my speed. I weave in, and around all the damaged, or destroyed, vehicles and APS. I know that there are unexploded ordnances out here, but I don’t slow down. I finally stop when I get to the range tower, or what’s left of it. From the looks of things it took a direct hit from more than one weapon. I see scorch marks from lasers, holes from auto cannon and rail gun rounds, and whole areas of metal which was twisted by PPC blasts. Only the observation hut remained. When I walk inside I find the ready room in total disarray. That’s when I see the two holes in the back wall. Looking around I find a rail gun round lying in a corner. I guess the ready room wasn’t as safe as everyone thought.

Walking over to the bar I find what I was looking for, an intact bottle of Home World Scotch. I also find a pack of Black Jake cigarettes. Just what I need to put the day behind me. I hear mama and Alice calling out my name. I really want to be alone right now. Thirty years ago I swore I would never take part in another war that I was done with being a Death Dealer. Taking the bottle, cigarettes, and some matches I put them in a bag that I found behind the bar. I go over to where the rail gun punched the hole in the wall. I pass the bag through and then left myself up to its edge. After wiggling through I drop to the ground and head for the far side of the estate.

“Dee De, full stealth mode.” I order.

Maiha, are you sure you want to do this? There are people who care about you, who are looking for you. (Dee De)

“Damn it! I said full stealth mode. Now do it!” I was pissed and I needed to be alone. I know what I did today all too well. Right now I need a break from it all. Dee De did as I asked and I slipped away into the woods that bordered the practice range. Even here I could see the evidence of today’s battle. When I get to the far wall I find a nice little spot that is out of the way where no one will find me. Once there I sit down next to an old tree and take out the cigs’ and bottle. After opening the cigs and lighting one up, I open the Scotch and take a drink. For the next hour I just sat there chain smoking cigarettes and drinking from the bottle. I try not to think of the battle and all the death.

Her voice caught me off guard. “Can I get one of those?” I turn and see Fuyuko standing next to the tree I’m using as a backrest. There she was still in her armor with a look on her face that I haven’t seen in a long time. The last time I saw that look was on the face of a young man right after the Battle of Higgins Road over thirty years. Back in the day we called it the ‘thousand yard stare’. I know what she’s thinking and what she’s feeling. I hand her the pack along with the matches. After she’s lit one up I hand her the Scotch.

“Go ahead, it’ll help deaden the pain.” I tell her knowing it’s a lie.

She looks at the bottle for a few seconds then takes a long pull off it. She starts to cough after she swallows. “God. How can you drink that stuff? It tastes like battery acid.”

Taking the bottle back from her I smile and take a drink. “You sip it. You don’t chug good Scotch like you just did. Hey wait a minute. How did you find me? When I left I was in full stealth mode.”

The look of embarrassment tells me she’s not too proud of what she did. “I was hiding behind the ready room when I saw you climb out through the hole in its wall. I waited for a few minutes then followed you. I figured you needed some time to yourself, so I waited to tell you I thought it was safe to come near you before I did. I’m sorry sissy, but I didn’t think you should be all alone right now.”

“It’s alright, kiddo. I just needed some time to think and put things into prospective.” I smile up at her then pat the ground next to me. “Now tell why you were hiding like you were.”

“I didn’t know what to do after I was ejected from Monsoon Warrior. When the Hell Hounds picked me up they brought me back here behind the lines. I waited around in the mobile command unit for Nanase and Nanami. When they showed up safe and sound I needed to find someplace that was quiet to think. That’s when I found the spot behind the ready room. I didn’t want to be in the MCU if you or mama got hurt so I decided to wait out the battle there. Nanase and Nanami are still there.”

“No, we’re not, sis, we followed you and sissy.” We both turn and see the two of them peeking out from behind one of the other trees. It was Nanase who had spoken first.

“Hey, we figured that if you two were going to sneak off, we could too. So we just decided to follow you, since you were following Maiha.” They may be the youngest of the Storm Dancers but they too had the ‘stare’.

I wave them over to us and pat the ground for them to sit down. Like I did with Fuyuko I pass them the cigarettes and Scotch. Just like their sister they followed my example. After we all had a smoke and a drink. We just sat there and let the stress of the day go. I know that I have more work to do and there’s mama’s wedding to consider, but right now I need to help them with what they have done today and yesterday. All three of them are too young for this shit. They have had too much violence in their young lives. They should be worrying about school, clothes, and boys. Not piloting multi ton war machines across a battle field.

“So, I heard that each of you made Ace twice. How do you feel about that?” I really needed to know what was on their minds. I take a drink from the bottle and pass it to Fuyuko.

After taking a sip Fuyuko gets this faraway look in her eyes. “I know that some of those men died out there, but I can’t say that I’m sorry they did. Those people were going to hurt us if they had a chance.” Taking another sip and a draw off her cigarette “I know what the soldiers of House Light would do to us. I would never take the life of an innocent but those pigs are not innocent. They have stolen, killed, and raped their way to power. They have no honor, and therefore undeserving of mercy on my part.” She takes one more sip and passes the battle to Nanase. The bottle has become the token symbol for whoever’s turn it is to talk.

Nanase reaches over and gets another cigarette and light before she begins to talk. “I know that I should feel upset for killing those men, but I remember what they did to our mother and Fuyuko. When they told us what they planned to do to us. I knew that I might have to kill to protect my new family. That it would be the only way to stop them. So I don’t feel as if I did anything wrong. I’m just upset that I lost Typhoon Harbinger. He ejected me right before his auto-cannon rounds cooked off from the heat buildup.” When she finished she passed the bottle to Nanami. Following her twins’ example Nanami got a fresh cig and a light before talking.

“I thought that I would be upset by killing those people, even the ones from yesterday; but all I see when I start to get upset is the look on our mother’s face the night she died. I still remember how I felt then. I was powerless to stop those men. I never want to feel that way again. That’s why I wanted to be a soldier so much. To bring those men to justice or to kill them.” I watch as she takes a drink from the bottle. From what I can tell the killing of the soldiers isn’t bothering her too much. In fact it may have done her and Nanase some good. When she hands me the bottle of Scotch I notice that they’re all looking at me.

Take a drag off my cig and a pull from the bottle as I collect my thoughts. “I know that you’re all a little worried about me. Understand something; I’ve a life time of this. I have fought wars on over thirty different planets and faced death on countless battle fields.” I take another drink from the bottle. “No matter what someone says, no matter what they do, when it comes to fighting a war it’s the young men and women who make up the military that always pay the price. Sure some of those men and women out there deserved to die, but not all. They should be held accountable in a court of law, not the battle field. That’s why I will always try to avoid all-out war. That’s why I needed to get away for a while before dealing with anymore of this mess.”

A hand reaches down over my shoulder and takes the bottle from my hand. Looking up over my shoulder I see mama standing there with a small smile on her face. “While I don’t normally condone the unlady like behavior going on here I’ll overlook it for now.” With that she tips the bottle up and takes a big drink from it. “That’s some good Scotch. You’ll forgive me if I pass on the smokes, nasty habit in my opinion. Before you ask, Maiha, I simply followed your sisters’ trail. You do realize that you upset quit a few people when you took off like that?”

“Frankly, I don’t give a damn. Last time I looked I was the one whose tits were on the line. If this all went pear shaped it would have been my ass that would have had to face the Emperor not them.” Yah my temper was up and I didn’t care. “If I want to take some time to be alone then that is what I’m going to do.”

“Calm down child. I know that you would do something like this sooner or later. I know how much this whole mess bothered you and was prepared for it.” Mama handed the bottle back to me. There was just a swallow left so I tip the bottle up and finished it off. I drank half of that bottle and was just now starting to feel the alcohol. “However, I do believe that you need to return to the house and get cleaned up. I’ll have Gin and the rest waiting for you. I expect to see you clean, dressed, and somewhat sober in time for dinner in my rooms.” With that mama turned and headed back toward the main house.

Looking over at my sisters I decided that it would be best to head back now, than later. “Come on you three, let’s head home. Sitting around here ain’t going to get anything done, and I have way too much work to do, yet.” I ground out the cigarette I was smoking then stood up. They all followed my example and joined me as I started to walk back towards the house.

We had gone only a few yards when Alice stepped from behind a tree. “I take it you’re ready to get back to work?”

“Yah, I guess I am. I just have to figure out how I’m going to explain my disappearing like I did.” I started to scratch the back of my head. All the sweating I did during combat had started to dry.

Alice gets a silly look on her face, and then starts to laugh. When I don’t join her she just laughs all the harder. I wait for her to get control of herself, and ask what’s so funny. “Kitten, your mama has already handled the matter.”

“And just how did she do that?”

“Didn’t you know that you’re out here ‘performing’ a ‘perfection ritual’ and were not to be disturbed?”

“What the hell are you talking about, Alice?”

Her giggle lets me know I might not like this. “Well, it seems that as the Head of House Nakatoma you are also the ‘top dog’ for the Temple. As such you can’t reenter the main area of the compound until you purify yourself of the evil of violence.” When she starts to giggle again I get a sneaky feeling I’m not going to like what she says next. “It had to be… (sneaker) in the (sneaker)…I’m sorry, but this is funny. You had to do it in the nude.” Yup, I was right; but you know something it was funny. I just start laughing right along with her. We’re joined by my sisters. It was just too funny for words. Mama used the mysticism of the Temple to give me an excuse to be alone. The fact that I would be ‘naked’ and performing a secret, an ancient religious act was more than enough to keep people away while I got my act together.

There was one thing that was bugging me though. “Um, Alice how did mama explain the absence of the girls?”

“Oh, that was even better. They’re your wittiness’ and the Temple’s representatives. They’re here to make sure you do it right.”

When I hear this I can’t help, but to admire mama’s ability to baffle them with bullshit. The woman was a true artist at misdirection and disinformation. If I ever need someone to run a deception operation I’ll ask her. The fact that she came up with such a plausible excuse on such a short notice was amazing.

“Ok, even I would believe that one. Alright Temple witnesses’ let’s get home, cleaned up, and something to eat. I have a feeling that today ain’t over, yet.” I started walking before I could be talked into spending more time out here. It took us about half an hour to get back to the house. We were greeted by mama at the entrance of the courtyard. The fact that she was still in her armor told me that something was up. “Is something wrong mama?”

“No, child, everything is being handled those who are in command of the individual units. I just thought it would be best if we all entered the house at the same time. It would lend credence to your purification.” Like I said the woman was a master at bullshit. We all started to laugh at her explanation.

“Mama, you are a true master of the art of verbal deception.” I place my hands together at my waist and give her a very formal bow. “I bow to your wisdom in this matter.”

When she returns my bow it is with a simple nod of her head. “You are wise beyond your years, young one.” Oh no, she did not just go there, but then again I was in the presence of a true master of the art! Should I grovel and ask her forgiveness, or perhaps counter with one of my more lethal jabs, or … oh, I know.

I palmed my hands together and bent deeply at the waist. "I am at your mercy, Madame Vengeance. Can this unworthy girl be found moderately talented enough to study the ancient art of verbal swordplay at your side?" Hopefully I can disarm her by playing the ‘wounded duck ploy’.

Mama gives me a strange look, then bends down and picks up a pebble off the ground. “If you can snatch the pebble from my hand, young one. Only then will you be found worthy.” Damn I just knew she wouldn’t go for it. Then again she did give me an out. Eyeing the pebble in her hand I pull up my HUD and get the exact distance from my hand to hers. Even using her Death Dealer boosted reflexes I still have the advantage.

As fast as I am she still pulls the pebble out of my reach. “Gotcha!”

“AAAGGGHHH, no fair! You set me up!” I know it couldn’t be that easy. Why damn it, do I always fall for the simple tricks. Our little by play had my sisters and Alice giggling. “Oh well. I guess you can’t win the all.”

“That, my dear, is an essential truth in life.” Mama was smiling at us all. “Now, girls it’s time, past time really; for us to get cleaned up. Maiha, Allison, your maids are awaiting you in your rooms. The same goes for you three as well.” Mama turns and leads us in to the house. Once inside we all split up and head for our individual rooms.

As usual Gin, Kina, and Nia were waiting for us. “Hi, ladies, did you miss us?” once again my joke fell on deaf ears, as usual. I just head for the bathroom with Alice in tow. Once there we both deactivate our armor and climb into the shower. We have a few minutes of hot steamy shower sex before getting down to the business of actually cleaning up. After the shower we climbed into the hot bath that our maids had drawn. For the next half hour we just relaxed, and let the stress of the day just melt away. Ah, Calgon take me away! There’s nothing like a nice relaxing bath to put the world into perspective.

When we finally get out we’re close to being prunes. After drying off, we head for the dressing area. Gin and Kina meet us there to help us get dressed. I notice our kimonos are the Storm Dancers ones we had worn the other day. “Your mother left orders for you and the Lady Allison to be dressed as you were yesterday, my Lady. She said it had something to do with what you must do this afternoon.” Was all the explanation Nia gave. The others only backed her up on this. When I asked what I was supposed to be doing this afternoon they only said they did not know.

For whatever reason mama was being all mysterious. I hate it when I don’t know what is going on. “If I find out that the three of you are me you’ll find yourselves on the unemployment line.” All three of my maids turn white as sheets when they hear the threat. Um they do know something. “Alright ladies, last chance, what is going on?”

After looking at each other, Nia nods her head to Gin. “Lady Maiha, please understand that you have put us in a difficult position.” I nod my head to let her know that I do. “We know that you can and will fire us if we don’t answer you, but we’re more afraid of your mother, the Lady Dai Etsu.” Now this was not what I was expecting to happen. If mama had told them to keep quiet then they will. There is nothing I could do to override their loyalty to mama, so I just dropped it and changed the topic.

“So, ladies, what’s for lunch?”

The look of relief that washed across their faces lets me know I did the right thing. Both Alice and I headed over to the table in suite area and sat down to lunch. For some reason I was ravenous. Both Alice, and I, cleared our plates and drank two full glasses of tea. For some reason we were not interrupted. When I ask Kina about this she merrily smiled and said that they had left word that we were not to be disturbed. With a giggle she said that the only fool who would dare to disturb us was currently in the Temple hospital under armed guard, who had orders to shoot to kill if he made any move other than to rollover.

That was rather enlightening piece of information. After we had eaten I heard a knock on our room door. I waved for Gin to go answer it. She let in all three of my sisters who were dressed the same as us, in their Storm Dancer kimonos. “Hi, kiddies. Do you three have any idea of what mama is up to?”

All three of them answered in the negative. They couldn’t even get their maids to spill the info. Now we have five very confused young ladies and nine personal maids who have clammed up. Talk about frustrating. A quarter of an hour later there was another knock on my door. When Nia answered it she found, and then quickly ushered in four very confused individuals.

All four were led by Prince Raygel, or I should say Captain Ravenswood. But it was little Dana Silver Leaf that made me smile. The young lady was dressed in what appeared to be the dress uniform for the House military. She appeared to be far more comfortable in her lady’s dress uniform then one would expect. However there was a problem with this and I needed to address it now. “Dana, I know for a fact that I told you that you’re too young to join the House Military. Why are you wearing the uniform of one of my House troops?”

When she blushed I knew there was something wrong. “I know that my Lady, but well I don’t have anything else to wear.” When she said that I did a fast rethink, but before I could come up with an answer she explained. “Yesterday, when your mama’s maids brought me the clothes that they did, they only had one kimono with them. The rest of my clothes were all House uniforms’. This is the only dress uniform in the bunch all the others are BDU’s. I didn’t think it was proper to be wearing BDU’s for your mama’s wedding so I put on the dress uniform. I hope that’s alright?”

I felt like an ass. Here I was all set to chew her out for wearing a uniform when that was all she had. “No problem Dana, but please understand that until you turn eighteen I can’t let you join the House military. I know that sounds harsh, but I have to follow the law.” I get interrupted by Captain Ravenswood.

“Excuse me, my Lady, but that is not exactly true.”

“And just how is that Captain. I know for a solid fact that is what the law reads. I’m trying my best here to change things, but that is one law I will not change.”

“No offence, my Lady, but that is not all that the law reads. It is in place to keep unqualified people from entering the Military of both the Houses’ and PDF’s. There is a provision however that you are overlooking.”
Now this was news to me, let me tell you now. I remember when that law was written. Hell I was one of the original authors of that law. So you can imagine my surprise finding out there is a loop hole. I mean we spent months going over that damned thing to make sure there were no loop holes. “Captain, I would really, no make that dearly, love to know what you’re talking about.”

“The Educational waiver.” Holy shit! I had forgotten all about that, but then again that waiver was only there for someone who had already completed Primary School and had their Diploma, but had not yet turned eighteen.
“You’ll have to forgive me here, Captain Ravenswood, but for that to be the case Dana would have to have already passed Primary Schooling and also be within six months of her eighteenth birthday.”

“Oh, but I can make an even stronger case than that. Dana Silver Leaf is not only has her PSD, but a Masters’ degree in Linguistics, and two Bachelors’ degrees, one in Business and the other in Modern Letters. I believe that should be more than enough to grant her a full Officer’s commission in the House military or any Military force in the Empire.”

I have Dee De pull up the full law for me. It takes her a few minutes to find it and then display it on my HUD. There it was in glowing black and white.

Empyreal Command 1967

  • Neither man nor woman shall enter into Military service prior to their eighteenth birthday. No man or woman can be conscripted prior to their eighteenth birthday. Only individuals who have reached their eighteenth birthday may serve in any Military unit be it PDF or House.
  • 1) Exceptions can only be made to individuals who are seventeen and nine months that have completed their Primary Education with a full diploma.
  • 2) Exceptions can be made for individuals who have more than Standard Education and not yet of the age of consent. Requirements for said waver are as follows.
  • a)Associates degree and seventeen yrs. six months.
  • b)Bachelor’s degree and seventeen yrs. four months.
  • c)Master’s degree and seventeen yrs.
  • 3) All exceptions listed in paragraph two can only enlist in the officer’s core and must complete a minimum of three yrs. service. They can only hold positions within the Officers Support cadre.
  • “Dee De, how long have these revisions been on the book?”

    Just a sec hon. After what felt like hours. They have been on the books for the last twenty yrs. (Dee De)

    Looking up at Captain Ravenswood “Ok, I’ll buy that, but we have another problem. Dana Silver Leaf does not have legal id as herself. How do you plan to handle that, sir?” I really wanted to know this, because if he can this will solve one major pain in the ass for me.

    “Oh, well… umm… I think I might be able to handle that.”

    “Captain, I suggest that you come clean on how you’re going to make this all work.” I was looking at Dana and I can tell that even she is wondering how Ravenswood is going to pull this off. “I believe that Dana would also like to know what you’re up to.”

    With a heavy sigh the man comes clean. “As a member of the Royal Family of High Winds I can grant her full Citizenship. Also I can make her an Officer of the Royal Guards thus giving her all the rights and privileges as member of the High Winds Royal Military.” Now there are a few things in this world that are mostly likely to throw me for a loop. What Raygel just said was one of them. In the last four hundred years there have only been six non Elf born people to be granted full citizenship to High Winds. If he does that it will put me in a very delicate position politically.

    “Prince Raygel, I’m a little fuzzy on the part about her having a commission in the High Winds military being a help?”

    “It works like” I interrupt him before he can go much further.

    “Tell her, not me. It’ll be Dana’s decision not mine if this happens.”

    Looking over at Dana he has the good sense to blush. “I’m sorry Dana. I should have come to you first with this idea. Like I was explaining to her Ladyship, if you become a citizen of High Winds I can commission you as an officer of the Royal High Winds Military. As such you can serve in either our military or in one of the House military units despite your age.”

    Dana looks up at him and a small smile crosses her face. “You mean I can legally be a member of House Nakatoma’s Military?”

    “Well, yes, but it is more than just that. You’ll also be protected against someone coming along and forcing you to return to Helos Prime.”

    “What if I don’t want to serve in the High Winds Military?”

    “Not a problem. I’ll just state that you’re serving your time in an approved House Military unit. Oh and by the way you only have to do five years, so if you want after your time is up you can do something else.” The man was practically bursting at the seams when he told her this. Not that I blame him. The smile on Dana’s face could be used for a nav beacon in deep space it was so bright.

    The petite young lady jumped up and hugged the big man as hard as she could. All the while chanting over and over ‘yes oh yes.’ When I finally got her to calm down again. “Well, Dana, I take it that you would like to become a member of the Nakatoma House military by the way of High Winds officers’ commission and term of service?”

    “OH yes ma’am. More than anything else.” She was truly happy. I believe it is the first time in her young life she has ever felt this way. I look up at Combs and Taylor to see smiles on their faces as well. Faced by this united front of friendship and love I can’t say no to her.

    “Alright, I’ll let it happen on two conditions.”

    Dana quickly calms down and looks at me. “What is that my Lady?”

    “You remain in the main house until you can present yourself as a young lady and you don’t go anywhere without either Corporals Taylor or Combs. Do you agree?”

    It took her a few seconds before she said anything. “I would like to know why first?”

    “Ok I can understand that. As before you still need to learn how to be a young lady and the best way to do that is around people who understand and can help you. Now as far as the corporals go I don’t want you without a bodyguard until you can move about comfortably as a woman.”

    After a few moments a careful thought she nods her head. “Ok my Lady, I can live with that.”

    “Good, and by the way you’re out of uniform young lady. Corporals if you’ll escort her over to supply so she can correct this matter.”

    “At once my Lady, what rank is Dana to draw?” Combs ask.

    “First Lieutenant, should do nicely I think. How about it, Captain that sound about right?”

    “Yes ma’am it sure does. Carry out your orders L.T.” Ravenswood tells Dana. She smiles up at us both then salutes Ravenswood and leaves us with Taylor and Combs right behind her. When they are gone Ravenswood turns back to “My Lady, I know that you didn’t want to do that but it is for the best. Dana will never really fit in as a regular girl.”

    Sighing I look up at Ravenswood “Trust me I know all too well. She never really had too much of a real childhood, I can tell. She is like a lot of gen-alt male brides. I have met a few of the over the years. I’m just glad that she got away before they sent her to that school.” I just shook my head in sadness knowing that even though I won the war here on Hades it’ll take a lot more to put a stop to that practice. The only way for me to truly end it is to attack Helos Prime and destroy everything that belongs to House Daniels. Looking up at the big man I could see that he had some more news. “So, Captain, what else do you have for me?”

    Pulling a few sheets of paper from his inside his uniform jacket. “I have the butchers bill, my Lady.” When he hands the papers to me I know what it was. The listing of our dead and wounded, along with the total of lost equipment. I was shocked to see that except for Captain Ravenswood, no one in the House military above the rank of first Lieutenant was alive. My God I thought over one third of my House troops were dead. Seeing the shock on my face Ravenswood tried to ease my guilt. “My Lady, please, understand this was not your fault. We placed the House troops in the center of the line making them the anvil to everyone else’s hammer.”

    “I know full well who to blame Captain. I will look her in the face every time I look in a mirror.” Waving the sheets of paper at him. “What these are is a reminder that when all is said and done I, and I alone, am the one to blame for what happened here today. So please, don’t try to place the blame on anyone else, unless it is on the rebel Houses. By the way do we have a tally on their losses yet?”

    “We’re working on it that as we speak, my Lady.”

    “Very well then, let me know as soon as you have it.” He nodded his head to let me know he understood. “I do have a question though. How is it that almost everyone our House and Body guard officers above the rank of Captain are dead? Except for you, the only officers we have above that rank are Col. Fujiyama, Maj. Howard, and Captain Bell. What, did you guys lead a full on assault on the rebel lines or something?”

    He looked down at the floor before he answered. “Well, to be honest ma’am yes. When the troops saw little ghost get shot out of her APS the troops came close to losing control, but when her little elves got taken down they just charged over the bearers and into the rebels. Seeing as how we no longer had direct control over our units we threw caution to the wind and joined them. The paint schemes we had made us the first targets they took out, but it did them no good. Our troops were in a full on killing frenzy.”

    Damn it happened anyway. All that planning down the tubes because I led my team over the wall and let my emotions get the better of me. If I had held my ground then maybe just maybe there would be more of my troops and officers alive. Alice comes up behind me and gives me a hug. While whispering in my ear. “Kitten, no matter what happened you could not have stopped this. Once the battle was started all of your planning was bound to get thrown out the window. You know that no plan survives contact with the enemy whole.” I nod my head letting her know, I knew. I didn’t have to like it, but I still knew.

    “Thank you Captain. I hope you can provide me with the names of reliable men and women to replace our losses. Do you know how many the other units lost?”

    He shakes his head no. “I’m still trying to compound all of that. The mercenaries are working on their losses as we speak and the Death Dealers have said that they’ll see to their own dead.”

    “I’ll deal with the Death Dealers.” With far more understanding in the matter than I liked. No Death Dealer commander ever wanted to let out how many men they lost in a battle. Their losses were and still are a closely guarded secret. It was a matter of pride that they left no one behind. “They won’t give up that type of information without direct orders from their overall command. As it is I’ll mostly likely be the only one to ever know how many they truly lost. Thank you Captain for all that you have done today.”

    “It was my honor and duty, my Lady.”

    “I understand that you personally led a troop of Jump Infantry in taking out the enemy command post.”

    “That’s not exactly true, my Lady.” The man had a strange look on his face, like he had just swallowed a bug. “I only led the relief team. It was Silver Leaf, Combs and Taylor who attacked and destroyed the enemy’s command post.”

    I feel my blood pressure spike to dangerous levels. “What do you mean Silver Leaf, Combs, and Taylor took out the enemy command post? They were all supposed to be in our own mobile command post far behind our lines.”

    “Well, when everything broke down to an all-out brawl and there wasn’t much more they could do from there. That’s Silver Leaf pointed out where the enemy CP was. Well between her and Combs they convinced Taylor that between the three of they could sneak around and hit it from behind.”

    The more I hear the madder I get. Here I am trying to keep the little shit out of the fight and avoid a political nightmare she goes behind my back and pulls a commando raid in the middle of an all or nothing battle. “When I get my hands on that girl I’ll skin her alive. What the hell was she thinking?!”

    “Um… My Lady…um… Well that is what those three are actually trained to do.”

    “What do you mean by that Captain Ravenswood?” it must have been the sound of my voice, but it was Alice who answered not Raygel.

    “Maiha, all the members of the old enforcer squads were trained for this type of operation. They specialize in taking out things like command post’s, landing zones, resupply and refuel points, or anything else like that.” When I look over at her I can tell she is telling me the truth. “If I had to guess I would say that Silver Leaf used her T9-A3 Jump Infantry gear, while the guys used their new Land Warrior assault armor. Between the three of them they can cause more havoc than an entire platoon of regular infantry.” As Alice laid out her reasons and explained just how those three were trained I realized that putting them where I had was not one of my better moments. Then again Dana had provided to be one hell of a coordinator. “I’ll be very honest with you; if you were to move those three plus a few more of the old enforcer platoon members over to the Intelligence Troop they would make one hell of a recon platoon. With the way they are trained they can do all of the sneak and peak stuff a recon platoon, plus smash and dash as well.”

    As she explains how she would form a recon platoon out of the old enforcer platoon I find myself liking it more and more. “I’ll announce the changes this evening after dinner.” Looking around I see that everyone agrees with me. That’s when I realized there was a reason we were all dressed up in our good clothes. It hits me like a ton of bricks, hell Dana even told me what it was.

    “OH SHIT! Alice when are we supposed to meet mama for her wedding?!”

    -------------------------------To Be Continued------------------------------

    *P.S. I want to apologize for the delay in the posting of this chapter. As some of you know I was order to take a vacation by my Doctors. It seems that I was pushing myself in my recovery and it was harming health, so on orders from the Doctor’s my husband Paul took way my laptop while I went on vacation so all I could do was what the other fine author here at BC posted and read my emails. Now that I am back I will be posting more often but not at the pace I was before.

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