The Unconquerable Warrior
Clan Jade Falcon Occupation Zone
1 August 3052
The Star Commanders body hit the floor with a thump, head twisted sharply to one side, his neck obviously broken.
"That is enough!" A tall man in a Star Colonels uniform stormed through the gymnasium door and marched into the middle of the Circle of Equals, "What happened here?"
"He lost." An equally tall woman stood with her hands on her knees, panting, "Is he dead?"
"Aff MechWarrior Jakita, he is dead." The Star Colonel nodded after checking the other mans neck and finding no pulse, "And the reason for this Trial of Grievance?"
"Apart from he was a son-of-a-bitch?" The woman smiled at the way that particular euphemism stung the assembled crowd, "I had grown tired of Star Commander Simon's constant advances, and I wished him to stop."
"So you broke his neck?"
"Well he's hardly likely to invite me to his bed now, is he?"
"Good." Jakita stood, her shoulder length hair matted with sweat, "Is that all, Star Colonel Alan Roshak?"
"Neg MechWarrior Jakita, that is not all." Roshak span round, "This has to stop."
"What has to stop?"
"This continues fighting: since joining this Cluster, you have engaged in 30 Trials of one kind or another, killing 5 of your fellow warriors in the process."
"I never asked to join this Cluster, or even this Clan: I was quite happy where I was."
"You where taken bondsman after you displayed great natural ability on the battlefield. It is an honor to be accepted in the Warrior cast of Clan Jade Falcon. I would have expected you to be glad to have the chance to pilot a BattleMech again."
"Robert said the same thing, right before I broke his nose."
"Yes, and then you broke his back in your first Trial of Grievance."
"It was unfinished business: he broke my Mech's back, I broke his."
"It may not be against Clan Law, but it is still considered a taboo to kill ones former bond-master."
"Kiss my formally-Lyran ass: I had a life, a family, and he took it all away from me!"
"We are all aware of your former..." Roshak swallowed hard, "Situation, but you are now a MechWarrior of Clan Jade Falcon, and you will act as such."
"You mean like this?" Jakita raised her index finger, "Sit in it and rotate, Sir."
"You will not goad me into a Trial of Grievance Jakita: I will not give you the satisfaction."
"Very well, Star Colonel: I will refrain from attempting to initiate one."
"Good: perhaps you will learn what it is to be a Clan warrior after all."
"I'll have to lower my standard, but I think I'll manage."
"Your use of contractions is not enough to anger me, so stop trying."
"Then may I ask one question?"
"When will the Trail of Position for Star Commander be held?"
"You truly believe you can take Star Commander Simon's rank as well as life?"
"Aff, Star Commander: if he was capable enough to obtain his rank, and I was able to defeat him so easily, then I am obviously a better warrior."
"Your point is valid, and I will allow you to enter the competition, but on one condition."
"And that is?"
"You reframe for initiating, or goading others into initiating, any more Trials of Grievance. You will learn to curb your anger, and how to talk and present yourself like a proper Clan warrior, starting with grammar and pronunciation."
"That will be the day."
"Not quite what I had in mind, but it is a start." Roshak sighed, "I never expected that when I was sent MechWarrior Robert that you, his bondsman, would end up coursing so much trouble."
"I do my best."
"Yes even I must admit that your piloting and gunnery are remarkable, but you still have a lot to learn."
"I kill people; isn't what you want in a warrior?"
"In a soldier, yes, but a true warrior aspires to be more than just cannon fodder. A true warrior want to be the best they can, the best there is."
"Your colorful use of euphemisms will land you in trouble on day."
"Any fool can kill: a true warrior can realize when it is not necessary."
"And the six fellow Warriors you have killed?"
"A necessary evil."
"To what ends?"
"Is that not obvious? I want your job."
"You may be good enough to beat a fool like Simon, but I am a True Born warrior of Clan Jade Falcon."
"And that makes you special?"
"More than a freebirth like you..." The insult was the Colonels last words.
Reacting instructively, and driven by a mixture of adrenalin and pent-up anger, Jakita brought her right arm up as fast as she could. Holding her hand at right-angles to the arm, she slammed the base of her palm into his nose with all her strength. The force of the blow pushed the shatter cartilage up into Roshak's brain.
He just had time to look surprised before he died, his body falling like a puppet with the strings cut.
Jakita smiled as she looked down at the two corpses, not even flinching as two of the watching Clan warriors drew their side arms and amid them at her. Finally looking up, her dark green eye where as hard as stone, but there was the faintest hint of a smile on her lips.
"FOR THE ARCHON!" She yelled as she ran at the others.
The first round hit her in the left shoulder, making her stumble slightly as it forced its way through muscle and bone. The next hit her lower down on the same side, driving a rib through her lung.
Still she kept running.
The next round grazed the side of her head, threatening to send her into the abyss of un-consciousness, but she pulled herself together. Time seemed to low down as she ran forward, trying to cover the ground between herself and the Clan warriors, as more of them drew their weapons.
She screamed in pain as a burst from a needle-pistol stripped flesh from her right arm, the agony only fueling her rage as she finally crashed into the nearest Clan warrior, the force of the blow knocking them both to the gymnasium floor.
Landing on top of her startled opponent, Jakita grabbed his pistol and brought it up, firing twice into his gut. She turned to face the biggest concentration of warriors, her thumb automatically setting the selector switch to full-auto as she squeezed the trigger.
The remaining fifteen rounds rattled off in a long burst, downing half the MechWarrior's, some dead, some dieing, most badly injured.
One of the warriors behind her was able to bring their own weapon to bear on the back of Jakita's head, and pulled the trigger once. She just had time to hear the hammer fall on an empty chamber before her own life ended.
Startled by the sudden chain of events, the survives could do nothing but look in shock at the carnage.