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Unsuccessful Escape

The night held a gloom future for the five surviving members of Llana's Breakers. The cold, damp wind burrowed its way into their refuge, the far edge of the forest. Kusga trees creaked and moaned, their elastic branches surrendering to the evening's powerful gusts. Small creatures scampered here and there, leaving the five Mechwarriors shaken and troubled. A fine mist of weak acid rain blanketed the open prairies just north of the Kusga grove. Hindering sight and smell, the fine precipitation clouded the team's flashtorch views with a bright white wall of reflection, all the while producing toxic fumes wherever drops struck the exposed ores rich to the area.

Michelle Wright shivered, recalling instances of the previous night's disastrous battle, the battle in which Commander Llana had finally fallen. It seemed almost surreal, that replay of Llana's Mech literally crumbling under the force of a tremendous fusion explosion. The command lance had suffered unbelievably in that explosion. A total of six Mechwarriors had been robbed of life. All four Mechwarriors of the command lance were dead. The head analyst and Llana herself had been lost in an instant. After that, the Breakers just had well given up. Taking advantage of the freak incident, the enemy pirate forces had run rampant across the battlefield. Spotting slower heavy Mechs for artillery bombardment, the pirates had efficiently removed the Breakers of their firepower. Scout lances scattered instantly. Though most escaped the actual battlefield, enemy pursuits destroyed several of those that fled. Survivors had signalled one another to meet near Baq's Arch. The strange but natural land formation was several kilometers away. After 21 hours, only five had arrived.

What had gone wrong? Michelle pondered. Her only explanation was not a positive one. She could only imagine every mercenary's worst nightmare...employer betrayal. All mercenaries knew of Initial Pursuit, the small mercenary unit hired decades ago by the Outworlds Alliance. The Alliance had considered the company sized unit disposable. Pursuit's intelligence corps were well known for fools, and therefore exploited regardless of the consequences. Initial Pursuit met their end while working to weaken one of the Alliance's inside problems. The Alliance's thorn, self proclaimed nobles whom had rejected Alliance standards, overwhelmed Initial Pursuit to hunt them down like wolverines on an arctic hare. Survivors had met a more gruesome death. Public executions were intent on shoving the mercenary effort back into the Alliance's face. Looking into the dark blue glow of the chemo-heater, Michelle struggled to face the consequences of her grave situation. Her surviving teammates were of no comfort. Each held their own battle with this new reality. Rubbing her numb fingers against her stiff overcoat, she contemplated options. "We must band together if we are going to survive." Michelle thought frantically. She decided to propose her own plan of escaping this situation to the others.

"Guys," she said in a weak whisper. She struggled to find her voice, "Guys we have to get the hell out of here. It's not good enough to hide from these bastards." Michelle looked to John. "The ship is here. They won't leave the ship. They won't leave here."