BattleTech: Galava

Warding Guard (Story Five)

Aike Rhodes leaned against the building allowing the shadows cast off by the light of the streetlight on the street just in front of the alleyway she was now in to conceal her presence from searching eyes. Things had gone wrong in a big way, and it was all her fault for losing control. Had she just played her part and kept her blackness down, none of this would be happening. Aike looked away from the street just long enough to check on the young woman setting next to her. She wanted to blame the little blonde curly haired stick of a girl, but Aike knew she couldn’t. It had been her that had set these events into motion, well most of them anyway. She had nothing to do with the Black Warriors Dropships and Battlemechs headed planet side at the moment to kill every last thieving rat in the port city in their words.

Everything had been going as Clara had planned. The Wayward Girls had preformed for the Black Rats and then had been allowed to ‘tidy up’ before being taken to a private estate for an after party where Clara and Aike were to be the personal dates for Captain Jim Hines. Aike had taken the opportunity to prepare for anything, in way of being equipped with weapons hidden in boots and half jackets while she and Clara had tidied up. Aike had not been to keen on allowing Clara to take on this role. She had been able to prevent this by taking all the dates that expected personal companionship at the end of them up to this point, but Clara had insisted that she was willing to do anything it took to search out any threat to Galava. So the party got off in full swing with drinking and more. Then one of Hines’ Lieutenants brings in his entertainment for the night in the form a slave girl who looked about as fresh off the boat as anyone could and scared with tear stains down her face and when Aike looked at her she saw her lost childhood friend Isa and that was when her dark twin called to her.

Aike couldn’t remember the first time she had realized that she had a deep darkness inside of her, but she knew wholeheartedly when it was born—the day of her father’s death and her mother’s capture at the hands of pirates who had attacked Scrape Hold when she was eleven. It had been that darkness that had saved her as she hid listening to the cries of help and being helpless to act. Upon seeing this blonde haired girl, her darkness came at once and with a fluid motion she had stood twisted her wrists in such a way for her two spring holstered holdout lasers to come flying out and shot the man holding the girl before going about the now half remembered task of gunning down every pirate in the room. It was less of a fight and more of a massacre and Aike didn’t come back to her senses until she stood over the now shot and dying Captain Hines telling him she would see to his wound if he told her where the ‘mechs and weapons had come from. Hines told her that they had found them on a planet outside of the Circinus Federation border in a hidden vault. Aike had plainly stood up and shot Hines one last time before looking up to see Clara staring at her with a mixture of honor and sadness in her eyes. Clara was the only person beside Aike’s mentor who knew of her darkness, but this had been the first time she had lost control while a member of the Warding Guard.

Clara quickly took charge after that sending Aike to guard the hall and to give her time to download as much of the Black Rats’ data files as she could and it wasn’t long before Aike was holding back pirates at a right bend in the hallway. So focused on her task and trying to make every last shot count in her holdout lasers due to their limited number of shots and reloads, she had not noticed when the blonde girl had come up next to her in the hallway and when Clara gave the evacuation order Aike knew she couldn’t follow. On her own she may have made it, but as soon as she quite covering the hallway the pirates would be upon the slow moving girl. So Aike reacted on instinct shooting out a window and grabbing the girl to jump down two floors to a secondary roof using her body to break the fall for the girl, but she had misjudged and they rolled off the secondary roof to fall another floor to the ground below.

When Aike tried to stand, she discovered that her left ankle wouldn’t support her weight. She slumped back down and reached for her hidden handheld communicator, but when she activated it to call for help all she got was static, someone was jamming her communicator. Before Aike could react to this knowledge, a message broke through the static. “Black Warriors to all people of Hilad’s Landing know that we are here to kill every last thieving rat and will give no quarter or mercy!”

The message continued to loop, but would not allow for any outgoing messages on Aike’s communicator. Aike knew they were in trouble far worse than she had ever been in before. Hurt and knowing the Black Warriors could come to the planet’s namesake port city first, and she was now stuck in the middle of a pirate haven with two shots left in each of her pistols. Aike had been so engrossed in her lack of options and trying to decide what her next move should be that she jumped causing pain to shoot up her left leg when the blonde haired girl touched her ankle. The girl didn’t seem to notice and just ripped a piece of her skirt and grabbed a near by bar and spoke up for the first time. “Hold still and I’ll brace it. I can’t believe you killed them all, why did you do that?”

The girl seemed to be talking more to herself than Aike and continued to ramble on as she worked on the makeshift brace. By the time she was done, Aike had learned that the girl was called Becka and had been taken from her home planet just two months ago and had been spared the worst of pirate treatment ‘til now so that she would fetch a better price on the slave market. While she did this, Aike tried to figure out what it was about her that had set her off so. Aike had seen several slaves since she had come to Hilad’s Landing; it was a fact of life and she had held back her anger at seeing it until tonight. For better or worse that face had brought out a part of Aike she kept deep down, a survival and primal part of her that fought and killed without question, a part that scared Aike to her core.

With her brace in place, Aike looked about hoping for some sort of option and finding one given to her by some lazy pirate who had left a motorcycle leaning next to a shed instead of locked away in the motor pool. Aike grabbed Becka’s hand and led her without questions over to the bike and promptly started going about the task of stealing it for use of their escape. It didn’t take long to break the lock on the bike and get it started, and as the two ladies went flying around the corner Aike could already hear the steady sound of Harvey’s machine pistol. As she rounded the building, she saw that the Wardens were already loaded up inside the Armored Transport and jeep with the larger six wheeled vehicle taking point. They were all loaded up if you didn’t count Harvey who was sitting on the door hanging out the jeep’s window firing his large clipped custom machine pistol at the guards trying to close the fences on the fleeing Wardens.

Aike pulled up along side the jeep next to Harvey who smiled from ear to ear as if he was some kid having the time of his life. Through the gun fire and wind he started shouting a conversation at Aike, “Well here is our lost lamb and look she found another [machine pistol fire] you would think the Cap could [Fifty Caliber fire] so if you keep running away from me I’m going to thank you found someone else to [Armored Transport crashing through gate] once we get settled in you and me need to have a talk about you skipping out on me! I mean how can I keep up with your pretty ass if you keep jumping out of windows every time a cute girl comes walking [machine pistol fire and car crashing behind them] I mean the Cap was all scared and such…”

Finally having enough Aike screamed back at Harvey, “So help me Harvey if you don’t shut up I’m going to crash on purpose just so I don’t have to listen to you!”

Harvey smiled back still hanging out the window despite the increase of the jeep’s speed with his long brown hair flying about him unkempt as always. “Now my Wildling if you keep saying things like that I might just get the idea you can’t resist my charms. Now move into center position, and I’ll guard you two girls’ asses ‘til we are back at the Beast. And no agruements, this is from the Cap.”

Aike just yelled back that Harvey was going to get himself killed one way or another before gunning the bike to bring it into position between the Armored Transport and the jeep. Feeling at least safe for the moment, Aike took a quick glance skyward to see the star like lights in the planets atmosphere that spoke of the Dropships that were bringing death and fire for the city whose streets she was currently speeding down. The Warden convoy, such as it was, continued its mad dash to freedom and for another ten minutes before the Armored Transport slowed and stopped. From behind Aike, Harvey called for her to ditch the bike and climb into the jeep.

After climbing off of the bike Aike turned to Becka, “So girly here is were you make a choice come with us Wardens or cut and run on your own. We are not pirates, but neither are we the safest persons to hang out with. Take Harvey there for example the dude is a gun crazed madman. It’s your choice but make it quick.”

Becka looked back and forth from Aike to the jeep with Harvey still hanging out the window, and then for some reason down at Aike’s badly bandaged leg and moved next to Aike putting her arms around her to help support Aike’s movements. Aike was tempted for a second to say she didn’t need the help, but decided against it and let the girl help her to the jeep where Harvey waited for them with the back door open, “Your carriage awaits ladies and please enjoy your ride.”

Once they were in and even before Harvey had his door shut all the way, Ben sent the jeep into motion once more with skill and focus that only seemed to surface in him when things were the most exciting. With that the Warding Guard headed for the Beast, and onto face a mad escape from the confines of Hilad’s Landing or to face a daring fight against the Black Warriors that may mean the end of everything that had been Aike’s world for the past five years.

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