The DropShip settled on the landing pad, and stem vented from the drive- system. The ship's only passenger walked the short distance from the passenger lounge to the airlock, took a second to striation his uniform, and stepped out into the cool, pre-dawn twilight.

It had been almost 3-yerse since he had been home, and that last trip had not been a happy time, and he was as sad to have made it then as he was now.

In front of him, a line of Mech's, tanks and infantry soldiers stood to attention. There where so few familiar faces, so few friends, so many missing comrades. He thought back to the better times, when more people had stood where such a small group stood now.

A figure in a dark-grey uniform walked up to him, saluted, and handed over a pair of dog tags. He could just make out the name: they where his mothers. He looked at the officer, saw the captains star on his shoulders, but did not recognize the name on the man's uniform. "Where is she berried?" he asked, his voice shaking. "In the regiments graveyard" replied the older man, "next to you father". "Good, good" he replied, nodding his head sadly. He had been there when his father died, but had been light- years away when his mother was killed.

The captain seemed un-easy, but said what he needed to "What now? Are you staying, or do you need to go back to your unit?" In reply, the younger of the two pulled a single sheet of paper from his tunic and handed it over. It bore the crest of the Lyran Alliance, and was signed by Morgan Kell, marshal of the LCAF.

The captain stood to attention and saluted his new commanding officer "welcome home sir!"

Alexander Carlyle returned the salute and followed the captain to a weighting hover-car.