Disclaimer: I don`t own Zoids.


I don`t really remember where it all started. I don`t even remember how, either.

At the academy? Maybe. Probably a little later though.

I was at least ranked as an active private, when I met him, and after a time, he promoted me the way to corporal. That was when it started for me, I suppose.

That was when he first won my loyalty.

Back then, and it still rings true more than half a decade after the fact, the Imperial army had few female officers, let alone female soldiers. I was one of two attempted changes to that rule, the other was a naive girl named Viola.

She`s dead now.

I`m partly responsible, and I don`t give a damn either way.

My only emotions, my only true loyalties and my only real concerns lie with him now. He got me this far, I know he`d do it again if given the chance.

I think.

My name is Lieutenant Helena Ardin - though most people prefer to call me Lieutenant Hardin since I have a notorious reputation of discipline with my troops, the strictest of any unit in the Empire.

Sure, it gets me labeled a ruthless bitch behind my back, but I actually like that. It means they fear me enough to do just about anything I say.

Fear is the only true way to inspire loyalty, I`ve discovered. At least for a woman in the Guylos Army.

Viola tried differently, and she did manage to get the loyalty of a few of the troops in Rosso`s unit, but the problem is that no one would promote her and Rosso himself wasn`t ranked high enough to carry it out. I took a different road. I became the meanest, baddest, toughest bitch the Imperial army has ever seen.

I`m now the second-in-command of Regent Lord Gunther Prozen because of it.

He is the man whom my loyalties are reserved for. He is the only man in the army who cares nothing about gender, so long as the job gets done.

Unfortunately, it won`t get done this time. The false Prince and his friends are breaking through my lines right now, my own troops have finally broken. The strategy of trying to drive over the bridge with everything has failed, and now I realize that it would`ve been a better call to have blown the bridge and resorted to a full scale siege-style bombardment while circling around the other side and making a surprise attack from there.

Major Schubaltz would`ve done that, were he in my shoes, but that doesn`t really matter.

Nothing matters but my loyalty to Lord Prozen anymore.

That`s simply because my Iron Kong is about to go sky high from battle damage.

I suppose there are worse ways to die than getting to spend a split second locked into an eternity where you can reflect on just about everything. Even now, the flames have turned my world in white and contrasting shades of gray and black, but time has slowed down for me.

I`m screaming out orders to keep fighting and I`m not sure if my body is even registering my own thoughts anymore.

It almost feels painless, getting consumed by the flames in slow motion. I can feel a dull, humming sting, but that`s about it.

I wonder, if I had been at the academy at the same time as Gunther, instead of when he was graduating, would he and I have had any sort of chance?

It does keep me thinking sometimes, even now. I suppose I just have a love for him since he defied conventional logic and promoted a woman for doing a good job instead of for his own image.

What kind of love it is, I`m not sure. I don`t even have anymore time to think about that. Not now, anyway.

The world goes completely white and it stays that way. For how long, I don`t know. Time has left me and the only things I can hear are the flames of the explosion, my own screams of pain and the thoughts that I`ve had just now.

It was a good life, I guess, but it`s over now.

I don`t mind thought. As far as I`m concerned, I die as a martyr to Prozen`s dreams and ambitions, a loyal soldier who gave her all and in the end, found it wasn`t enough.

I am Lieutenant Hardin.

I was the most feared woman in the Empire.

And most importantly, I was loyal to the bitter end.

That`s all I had. That`s all I have. And that`s all I`ll ever know.

Author`s Note: Oh look, it`s a Hardin fic that doesn`t senselessly character bash her because the author`s not an obsessed fangirl who thinks she`s in love with Prozen. Quite the opposite in fact: I hate Prozen, and I`m a guy.

And no, this fic is not intended to make Prozen or Hardin look like good people, it`s intended to make people see that Hardin isn`t a complete idiot(not that she even had much of a chance to prove otherwise), and yes, she does need better hair styling but someone`s hair doesn`t make or break their worth on the battlefield.

For anyone reading this and thinking about NA: Expect the next chapter to be up within the coming week, if not the end of the weekend. Having a spurt of writer`s laziness.

Sh33p out.