Zebeneschamali, Lyran Alliance
2, January, 3065
All she could feel at that time was fear, and the pungent chill of loss.
"We have no time, Leah!" Her bodyguard yelled. The crowd around them was getting thicker, and bruises from being tossed around marked their skins. Behind them, a few militia soldiers ran trough the mass of scared people, clearly searching for someone. Their raised weapons were like omens of a terrible future. Looking like someone who, somehow, felt to have failed his duty, the bodyguard turned again at her. "Just run!"
He put a piece paper in her trembling hands and pushed her away from him.
" She whispered.
"I'll buy you some time. Now go!"
Without knowing what to do, she simply let her best friend go, against the flow of moving bodies, into the arms of their pursuers. Leah tried to say something, to do something, but she simply got washed away by the crowd, unable to turn back, pressed along with it. As she ran, she felt the tears running down her face, watering the hood of her vest, and bringing a salty taste to her lips.
The skimmers were waiting in the edge of town, near the last of the short and sturdy buildings. Leah dry swallowed as she saw them, on the other side of that sea of scared people running from the firefight. The sound of explosions and gunfire was unmistakable, now that she cleared the narrow streets. She took a deep breath and started to yank herself through the crowd. She was pushed, knocked, and almost thrown into the ground, were she would be easily be stepped on to death. By some impossible feat of will, Leah found a way to cross the flow, and saw herself near the skimmer crews, cleared of the confusion.
The men looked at her with a serious grin. Why shouldn't they? The other people knew better then to come close and face the TK assault rifles they wielded. Also, covered from head to toes in delicate and ornamented vests, she looked pretty much like any local girl, and not the noblewoman from a distant world. Still, they didn't do or say anything. They waited for something, so she gave them the paper.
One of the men signaled, and Leah followed him to the nearest vehicle. Once safe inside, she used the moment to catch her breath. Only then she noticed she felt nothing. Just the hot dizziness of someone caught in events bigger than herself. Not shame or sorrow for leaving her friend to die, only emptiness. Hot and painless emptiness.
Her mind drifted into bleakness, as if rocked by the gentle drift of the skimmer. She was safe, among allies, now. Everything would
The sudden stop brought her back into reality. There was screaming outside.
"Wait here." Said the man in front of her, before opening the door and disappear from slight. Leah heard more yelling, and then a soldier peeked inside, and asked her to leave the vehicle.
A cold gust of wind made her vests dance, and her flesh shake, as she moved again under the cloudy sky. Her would-be protectors were nowhere to be seen, and frenzied noises echoed all around. A huge column of skimmers and refugees on foot grew from a nearby roadblock, disappearing into the distance. Military vehicles were parked in the snow covered plains alongside the road, and armed men moved all around. On the roadblock itself, little more than a wooden fence, two BattleMechs stood vigilant. More than the rifles of the militia, it where those two 30-ton machines that impeded the crowd of going rampant with resentment.
Leah recognized both machines as UrbanMechs. It was impossible to go wrong, even for someone who barely knew war machines, like herself. The egg-shaped hull, standing over two legs, with no arms, and the muzzle of an autocannon noticeable on its right flank, was oddly peculiar, and almost pathetic-looking, wasn't due to the fact of the thing being 7 meters tall. There was also the symbol of a clenched fist painted on their legs. The symbol of House Steiner. But those people weren't line troops. No. Their antiquated equipment and harsh demeanor signalized them as loyalist militias. Little more than bandits.
They were herding the refugees. One Leutnant was holding a picture, and looked at the people his men brought to him. Only young women, Leah noticed. Then a militia soldier grabbed her by the wrist and pushed her to the Leutnant. He looked back and forth between the picture and Leah's face, but seemed somehow undecided.
"Put her with the others."
Leah was then thrown into a group of other young women. As she looked at their faces, she noticed they were all like her; good looking with brown hair and eyes. That took away any doubts that might have existed. They were searching for her. Somehow, though, they didn't seem to be very sure about what she really looked like. A group of militia soldiers gathered nearby, holding their rifles.
"In line, troops!" The commanding Sergeant yelled. The horror of what was about to happen petrified Leah with shock. They were decided to kill every girl that looked like her in any way, just to be sure they got the right person. The man kept giving orders, as the people all around were screaming with fear. "Aim!"
One of the soldiers of the firing squad seemed uneasy.
This doesn't seem right
"You'll do what you're told, soldier!" The commanding officer was almost red with rage, oblivious to the cold air around. "Now back in line!"
Even that solider obeyed. In the meantime, Leah made her mind. Now that all was lost, she couldn't allow all those girls to get killed because of her. She swallowed her fear, and decided to surrender herself.