"Who do you think you are kidding Archon-Princes?
If you think we're on the run?
We are the boys who will who will stop your silly game!
We are the boys who will make you think again.
So who do you think you are kidding Archon-Princes?
If you think we're on the run?"
16 May 3066
The rumble of distant fighting shook the civic-centre the Local Defence Volunteers had taken over as their command post. Most of the old solders were well past their prime: most had seen action against the Capellan Confederation during the Third Succession War.
One's battle honours predated even that.
A miss-directed artillery round landed nearby, sending a thick layer of dust and plaster falling from the vaulted ceiling down onto the heads of the troops below. The youngest member of the platoon, a teenage boy who had been rejected from MechWarrior training for health reasons, stopped playing the harmonica and looked at his sergeant.
"Uncle Arthur" He asked in an annoying tone, "How long are we going to be holding these Lyrans here?" He motioned towards the eight MechWarriors that had been captured when their unit was ambushed
"For the last time Frank: you are not to call me that when we are on duty." The Sergeant rolled his eyes, "I'm sure the captain is arranging transportation as we speak. Now back up the ladder and keep an eye on them, there's a good chap."
Grumbling under his breath, the Private climbed back up the stepladder set at one end of the room and pointed his SMG at the prisoners.
"I don't care what you say Amaris, you are not using my truck to transport prisoners!" A grey-haired man in a Police Reserve uniform stormed out of the office at the end of the hall, "I need all my people on the street, keeping a lookout for looters. And before you say anything, it'll be a cold day in hell before I hand over one of my vehicles to you without an escort!"
"Now look here!" The LDV Captain, a portly old man with receding hair flared his nostrils, "We need that truck, and by Joe we'll take it by force if we have to!"
"Just you try it!" The police officer snarled as he stormed out the door.
"You see this is why you are going to lose this war." The senior Lyran officer smiled, "You lack the singular vision that only the Archon can inspire. Surrender to us, and you will be fairly treated."
"Never!" The Captain span round on his heels, "I would never betray the Duke!"
"As is your wish." The Lyran pulled a notepad from his pocket and started to write, "When this war is over, we will deal with those who opposed the Archon."
"You can write what you like. You're not going to win this war."
"Yes we are."
"Oh no you're not."
"Oh yes we are!"
"All together now 'Oh no you're not!'" One of the militia soldiers laughed.
"Whistle while you work, Katharine is a twerp." The young solider up the ladder started to sing, "She's half barmy, so's her army. Whistle while you work."
"Your name will also go on zee list." The Lyran looked up at him, "What is it?"
"Don't tell him, Pike." The Captain ordered.
"Pike." The prisoner smiled as he wrote it down.
"Sir, may I make a suggestion, sir!" The oldest member of the platoon stepped forward, "I remember something we tried when we were fighting the Kurita back in 3013: we captured a few of them, and the Major came up with a way to scare them. What we did was make them dig this big hole in the ground, and threatened to shot them all if they didn't behave."
"Oh aye, I've heard of this!" Another soldier nodded, his voice a thick Gallic burr, "They told them that they would rather die then face the dishonour of being captured."
"Well I didn't say it was a perfect plan…" The first soldier muttered.
"I will not threaten to execute prisoners of war: this is not the Capellan Confederation!" The Captain snapped, then saw what one of his other soldiers was doing, "WALKER!" He yelled, "What the hell are you doing man?"
"Me sir?" Private Walker came to attention sharply: it was widely known that he'd faked the medical complaint that kept him out of the regular Militia, but the captain didn't report him because he was able to procure certain items that were hard to come buy at time of war.
That said, there was a world of difference between being a black-market trader and chatting up an attractive young woman who he was supposed to be guarding.
"Yes Walker, you." The Captain looked ready to explode, "Fraternising with the enemy is treason."
"Actually sir, I'm not sure it is." The Sergeant took a step forward, "The rules of conduct don't cover Civil wars: they only mention 'foreign prisoners'."
"Can I talk to you for a minuet, Sergeant?" The Captain asked, leading the way over to one side of the room, "Now look here Wilson, I've had enough of your constantly undermining me in front of the men like this."
"Oh I am sorry sir, I wasn't trying to do anything of the sort, but when I was assigned to the Generals staff during the war of '39…"
"Yes, I am well aware that you served under the General!" The Captain snapped, "You don't have to keep reminding me…"
Can't take this any further. Any of you think you can, you're more than welcome to try.