Warning: spoilers for By Temptations and by War

From the ashes...

Suriwong Floods,

Sarrin Province, Liao,

15th August 3134

The drone of the VTOL's turbine engine woke him. He knew he should be dead, and indeed, had hoped that that would be the case: he had deliberately disengaged his Tundra Wolf's auto-ejection system, knowing that he would never pull the red lever himself.

"You are awake then?" A voice asked above the sound of the engine, "Good: I would hate to go to all this trouble, only to have you die on me, Mr. Peterson." There was a hint of venom in the voice now, "Or should I call you Paladin Ezekiel Crow?"

"Who are you?" He asked, not even opening his eyes, "Where are you taking me?"

"My name, not that it's of any importance to you, is Peri Clearwater." The voice was calm again, "Precenter Peri Clearwater, of ComStar."

"ComStar?" Peterson opened his eyes, "What dose ComStar want with me?"

"With you personally, nothing. What we want is any information you can give us on Jacob Bannson's involvement in this debacle."

"Why should I tell you anything?"

"Your options are limited." Clearwater pushed open the large cargo door in the side of the transport, showing the swap several hundred meters bellow, "You are a convicted traitor twice over, someone who was willing to sacrifice an entire planet in order to escape. You can help us, or..."

"Or what?"

"Daniel Peterson, otherwise known as Paladin Ezekiel Crow and Ritter Michaelson, died down there, finally showing something worthy of the respect he had earned. It wouldn't take much to return you to you BattleMech and leave you for the scavengers."

"I still see no choice: death here or death back on Terra."

"Despite all that you have done, it has been decided that you deserve another chance: help us, and you will be given a new identity somewhere far from the Republic of the Sphere and the names Peterson, Crow and Michaelson. Somewhere even Jacob Bannson can not reach you."

"So the Black Paladin will live again?"

"Believe me Mr. Peterson, I would quite gladly put a built in your head right now, but I have my orders, and they are to deliver you to a ComStar DropShip at the spaceport. From there on you are no longer my concern."

"How nice for you."

"I do my duty, nothing more, nothing less. Have you made a decision?"

"I have: I will tell you everything I know about Jacob Bannson."

Central Spaceport,


15th August 3134

The VTOL landed in the shadow of a Union-class DropShip, the ComStar crest on it's side granting it all the protection it needed: even with the loss of the HPG network, the wrath of ComStar was not something to be treated lightly. Clearwater stepped out, checking all was clear, before almost dragging Peterson across the short distance to the open passenger hatch.

"So you're the infamous Daniel Peterson?" An old sounding voice said from the shadows, "Funny, I thought you'd be taller."

"Who are you?" Peterson asked, trying to make out the shapes in the darkness.

"My name is General Clark." An middle aged woman stepped from the shadows, a ComsGuards uniform hanging from her slim shoulders, "And I'm the best friend you've ever had."

"You're the one behind this?"

"Yes, and no: This is not the first time ComStar has risen people from the dead as it where, but this is the first time I've ever had to do it myself. Come, let us talk about Mr Bannson..."

The End