Emotional turmoil clouded most of Star Captain Hannah's
senses. She couldn't believe what was about to come. She had had a rich life, filled with
glorious combat, and honorable victories. The transition had been a hard one. At the age
of thirty, her life as a warrior had ended. The Clan, in all it's wisdom, had decided she
could better serve as an instructor of cadets then a warrior on the front lines. The sheer
enormity of that mental blow still woke her up from time to time, but as the years passed,
she had accepted her new life, and even found a certain peace in it. She had made her
mistakes, paid her dues, and had had a life of confrontation and struggle. At first, it
had ben all she knew, but ... and perhaps it was old age speaking ... her new life had
brought her a new sense of purpose, and rest.
She had been hard on the poor cadets at first, taking
out her own anger and frustration on the soon-to-be warriors. That was the way of the
clan, and it toughened her pupils into heartless warriors that would do what was
necessary, no matter what cost. Determined, totally ruthless, ... soulless.
It had taken the death of her own instructor, whom she
had not seen for years, that had brought a change. He had not been like the others. He was
harsh, but just, and even the wisdom shining in his eyes never could conceal that he cared
for his pupils. Even now, she did not know whether to love, or hate him for that. If she
had been different, if she had been like the others, she would never have made the
mistakes she had .... and she would never have known there was so much more then just the
Still, it had brought her where she was now, .... at the
edge of desperation.
His Death had shocked her, jolted her awake. It made her
realize there was another way, that she did not need to live the rest of her life in
misery. And so, she had started to change. Slow at first, and prone to attacks of anger.
But as time passed, she became comfortable in her job, and started taking a small measure
of pride in the achievements of her pupils. The cadet-trainer relationship changed from
being a struggle to that of a student-mentor one, and her training methods turned out the
most gifted and talented Mech-pilots in the entire Academy.
And finally, after five years of hardship, she had begun
to find content in her new position, and a measure of peace.
.... Until, one year later, the unthinkable had
.... Her mistakes had caught up with her.
... And they had a name: Cadet Shaynna.
Hannah had realized who the new cadet was as soon as she
had seen her, but nevertheless, did not want to believe it. It was not until she read the
Cadet's personnel file that she could deny it no longer. Shaynna was a freebirth,
considered all but worthless by the clans. And she was a typical freebirth at that.
Fierce, temperamental, and with a rage burning inside her for all the hardships that had
been forced on her. If normal clan children had a tough time, ... it was nothing compared
to the struggles freebirths had to go through to make it in Clan society. Generally
considered little more then cannon-fodder, the freebirths were treated with utter contempt
by their Trueborn brethren. They always got the most menial jobs, the worst punishments,
and the least respect. It was no wonder that most freebirths had an intense hatred against
all Trueborns, and their arrogant ways. This particular freebirth, called Shaynna, and
abandoned by her parents at birth, was the offspring of two well known and decorated Clan
Warriors. Star Captain Crest Pryde and Star Commander Hannah.
Shaynna was Hannah's daughter.
And so the struggle had began anew. Shaynna did not know
who her real mother was, and probably did not care either. But Hannah knew, and with each
day that passed, the knowledge got more profound, etched itself deeper into her soul. And
eventually, that knowledge grew into caring ... and later ... love.
For two long years, Hannah watched her daughter grow,
tutored her into the arts of Mech-piloting. Watched her evolve from an arrogant cadet to a
formidable Mechwarrior. For two long years, Hannah was reunited with her daughter. And,
even though she could not tell her daughter the truth, was still able to love her from
Eventually, two years passed, and Shaynna faced her
first real combat. Her first trial of Position. Like her mother, Shaynna was deadly in
combat. Lightning fast, never hesitating, and completely ruthless. Unsurprisingly, she
passed her trial with flying colors. Destroying all three of her opponents and gaining the
rank of Star Captain.
... For the second time ever, Hannah cried.
... The first time had been at Crest's funeral.
And later that same day, Hannah made the second biggest
mistake of her
life. She told Shaynna the truth ...
And here she was, inside the cockpit of a Mech once
again. She had not fought in eight years, but still, the controls came natural. The soft
vibrations of the humming XL-engine permeated her entire body, and her heart started
racing faster, adrenaline pumping. For the first time in eight years, she felt like a
... Only, this time, she had to face her worst battle
... She had to face her own daughter.
Shaynna had gone berserk when she heard the news. All
her frustrations, all her anger, finally found a focus, someone to blame for all that she
had been through. And that person was Hannah. Crying like a banshee, Shaynna had assaulter
her own mother, and it was not until two elementals rushed in and pulled her away, several
later, that she had calmed down. Leaving an unconscious and several wounded Hannah behind.
Hannah had spend the next week in a hospital, so badly
beat up was she. Yet the physical pain was nothing compared to the emotional hurt she
felt. Where Shaynna was able to blame someone else, Hannah had no one to blame but herself
But things had only gotten worse. When she was finally
released from medical care, Shaynna had a new shock in store for her ... A Trial of
Grievance .... in Mechs .... to the Death.
"Star Captain Hannah. " It was Shaynna's voice
she heard over her com-radio, but the hate behind it sounded almost alien to her.
"... Prepare to die." With that, the dark green Hellbringer at the end of the
long road raised it's arms to engage.
Two bolts of lightning shot out from the Mech's PPCs and
blasted Hanah's Summoner right arm, melting down armor and burning out the internal
mechanics, before finally severing the arm completely.
Hannah was barely able to keep her Mech upright from the
impact, and could do nothing but watch as the large autocannon on her arm was knocked out.
Immediately after her first volley, Shaynna opened up with lasers and missiles, but Hannah
pushed the button to her jumpjets and strafed sidewards, causing the second attack to miss
completely. Hoping her opponent's heat levels would give her some respite, Hannah broke
her mech in a full run towards her daughter and fired her own ppc and lrm10. Both weapons
hit, the ppc tearing a gap in the Hellbringer's armor on it's left leg, and the lrm10
peppering the Hellbringer's torso with small explosions. But Hannah did not get the
respite she had hoped for. Like a berserk warrior, Shaynna disregarded the rapidly rising
heat levels in her Mech and fired both PPC's again. The Summoner's speed saved it from the
first bolt of lightning, but the second impacted against her right torso and blew off
chunks of armor. And still, Shaynna kept up her relentless assault and fired the
rest of her weapons as well. Lasers and missiles blasted more armor off the 70 ton
Summoner and laid bare the internals on it's right torso.
Hannah fired back with her two remaining weapons, the
Particle cannon on her left arm, and the long range missile launcher on her right torso.
Her shots rang true and melted more armor off of her daughter's Hellbringer, but even
though both weapons did lots of damage, without her autocannon, Hannah lacked the
firepower to keep this up for long. In an exchange of firepower like this one, her
summoner would come out second best for sure.
Which meant she had to try another option ...
Hannah pushed hard on the jumpjet controls, using their
forward thrust to add to her own speed and causing the summoner to glide over the ground.
This way, Hannah hoped to throw off her opponent's aiming, as well as getting the speed
necessary to pass the Hellbringer and then turn around to fire at it's back. It meant
coming really close to her daughters Mech, but Hannah hoped the Hellbringers heat, as well
as the Summoner's now boosted speed would be enough to let her survive the close
Just before she passed the enemy Hellbringer, Hannah
fired her missile launcher again, more to distract her opponent then to actually do any
damage. Then she concentrated fully on her dangerous maneuver. If it worked, she would
have to use her jumpjets to turn 180 degrees and use her own sense of balance to keep the
Mech from toppling over as she did so. Then she could bring her PPC to bear on the
Hellbringer's back, and hopefully end this battle right then and there.
As she passed the Hellbringer, Shaynna opened up with
every single weapon she had. The speed, explosions from the long range missiles and the
heat from her Mech made the shot almost impossible to make, ... but Shaynna made it. PPC
fire, laser fire, missile explosions, every single shot hit Hannah's summoner and did
massive damage. The Summoner's right torso was blasted to bits, causing the long range
ammo to explode and the CASE system to eject the entire torso so that it's explosion would
not consume the rest of the mech. The summoner's center and left torso were hit also, and
concentrated laser fire melted off all of the armor, before missile explosions did
tremendous damage in the Mech's inside's. An engine hit, combined with the destruction of
several heat sinks resulted in a wave of heat going outward from the Mech's center and
almost cooking Hannah in her cockpit. Even worse then that, the rising heat and damage to
various computer circuits jinxed the PPC's targeting system, and jammed Hannah's last
Hannah's maneuver succeeded, but it was too late now.
Having no weapons left to fire with, the entire movement was futile, and it would only
take one more shot to finish her off. Hannah knew her daughter would probably blast her
out of the sky if she tried to eject, and frankly, she would rather die as a warrior in
her cockpit then as a coward in the air.
... And then it happened ...
... Shaynna's Mech shut down.
As soon as she saw the Hellbringer's heat signature go
down, Hannah's warrior instincts kicked in. She jumped her damaged Summoner towards her
opponent, and prepared to smash the Mech's giant fist into the helpless Hellbringer.
Shaynna was already powering up, but it was too late for her.
Hannah's Mech came to a stop right in front of the enemy
Hellbringer, and without thinking, Hannah raised it's left arm to smash her opponent's
cockpit to pieces. Yet as she did so, an image flooded her mind. That of her daughter
right after her Trial of Position, beaming with pride, and maybe for the first time ever,
letting go of all the hate she carried around. Another image followed the first, that of
Shaynna's body crushed inside the cockpit of her Hellbringer, her eyes still open, forever
reflecting that last moment of terror as the sky darkened overhead.
... No, it could not end like this.
Hannah let her left arm glide down again, and prepared
for the inevitable. A fraction of a moment later, the Hellbringer came to life, and fired
both it's ppc's straight at the Summoner's chest from point blank range.
... As her last act, Hanna opened her comm-channel, and
spoke to her daughter: "I love you."
... Then the Summoner exploded in a massive fireball as
the internal engine ripped itself to pieces.
- Star Colonel Loremaster Wight Pryde