EPILOGUE

Hansen's Roughriders Headquarters,
Dragon's Gate, Bromhead,
Capellan March, Federated Suns,
December 25, 3078

Colonel Wolfgang Hansen dimmed the light in his room so the hologram stood out in the dark. A mischievous smile escaped his lips as the hologram sprouted the image of Cleaver battlemech, a fine product he acquired – stole, technically – from the Ghalan family. Playing with his remote controller, he switched from weapon to weapon, trying to find the best configuration in terms of damage per weight, and his first choice was always with PPC, the signature weapon of his command lance. However, he found out that RAC5 had similar damage per weight with the PPC with much less heat buildup, and if not because the notorious jamming problem, he would've put two RAC5 on each mech, and he would've had a very formidable force, probably the deadliest in the Inner Sphere.

"The battle report from Callone VI stated that the AW-001 pilots are still unrealiable," his aide said as he flipped through the specs. "On some occasion, the cyborgs got confused and shot at each other. They're not really tough either, compared to the Manei Domini. One Celestial mech can kill a lance of normal battlemechs before being destroyed. The Cleaver's record is a far cry from that."

"That's because whoever operated these machines were morons," Wolfgang snuffed. "The AW-001 is a refinement of Manei Domini; tough, completely obedient, without that smug misbehavior of the Manei Domini. The Ghalan family just didn't know how to use it aside from selling it to the highest bidder. And even so, I won this technological advantage virtually free."

"But we lost Tenoch's regiment, Sir."

"I always want to get rid of that immoral sonofabitch anyway."

"Sir? I don't understand," the aide cocked his eyebrows.

"Major Tenoch has been a thorn in my flesh for far too long," Wolfgang switched the holovideo to Tenoch's dossier. "He's a man of no finesse, just savagery after savagery to reach his objective. While effective, he destroyed the reputation of the Roughriders and turned us into barbarians covered in high-tech equipments. His regiment consists of old technology, some even predate Clan invasion. So him and his regiment being wasted at a backwater planet is a good tradeoff for the new Cleaver mechs we just acquired."

"But they're untested, Sir," the aide pressed on his dissatisfaction with the Cleaver's data. "The only time they went to war was at Callone VI, and even then they were beaten by rag-tag units. I don't see how these new battlemechs can be a modernization of the battle-hardened Major Tenoch."

"You need to learn a lot, my young aide," Wolfgang switched to a dossier of a young woman with sparkling blue eyes and wavy blonde hair. "Twenty years ago this woman joined the Hansen's Roughriders under Sebastian Knell's company, the Knell's Cavaliers. They were bludgeoned by the Zhanzheng deGuang at Carver V. Sebastian Knell and all ranking officers were killed, leaving her at the helm of the dying Cavaliers. Somehow she pulled off a miracle and beat the Zhanzheng deGuang, then escaped off world. But instead of returning to the Roughriders, she claimed the remaining members of the Cavaliers, the mission payment, and the salvage as her own. She used them to create her own unit, the Ridinghood Cavaliers, cut off from the Roughriders."

"She stole money from the Roughriders," the aide started to follow Wolfgang's direction, "and you want her to pay for her sin."

"I've waited twenty years for this opportunity," Wolfgang got up, looking at the hologram intensely. "Over the years the bitch has been fortifying herself behind Davion and Clan materials. Now I have the perfect weapons to destroy her buttressing. This will be a test for the Cleaver battlemechs, and a chance to erase that mistake once and for all."

"But how can you find her?"

"Oh, I know where she is," Wolfgang grinned as he pulled up a drab beige planet. "New St. Andrews."


Outworlds Alliance Flagship Sword of Avellar,
Orbit of Callone VI,
Federated Suns,
December 25, 3078

Chairman Ricardo Avellar looked over the planet Callone VI through the window of his quarter. The troubled world had changed government several times within 10 years, and bloodshed ensued every time a new government arose. The small planet resembled Chaos March in the mid 60's where governors rose and fell in a blink of an eye, and nobody could get total control of the situation. The new government seemed to settle down, snugly enveloped in the blanket of the Nordic Fox Mercenary Regiment who was handsomely paid by the Federated Suns. As such, the planet officially belonged to the Davion family.

It was surprising how the Avellar family, the lifetime ruller of the Outworlds Alliance, regarded this backwater planet as a critical must-have. Nothing there was worth the trouble, not since the Ghalan family took their treasure offworld. Ricardo didn't care about Callone VI, and he preferred spending his time on a more stable world. But the Outworlds Alliance wanted Callone VI back, and it was his job to get it back. The irony squeezed a sour grin on his face as he observed the contour of the planet, studying the terrain.

The door of his quarter slid open and a shipmate burst in without his permission. "Chairman," the shipmate stated, "your guest is waiting."

"Send him in," Ricardo replied without turning. The sound of heavy footsteps reverberated in his quarter, and Ricardo let out a derogatory chuckle as the footsteps stopped behind his back.

"Major Tenoch, glad you decided to join us," Ricardo said, still having his back against the door. "It's just unfortunate that your soldiers chose to be dumb patriots. Such a waste of lives and talents."

Tenoch's face turned bright red as the insult struck him straight to the heart. Of course he didn't inform his soldiers about his decision. His pride sent the Alliance's envoys home and his troops to the battlefield against the outnumbered but massively confident rebels, but when the rebels started gaining ground, he decided he wasn't ready to die. He sneaked out from the battle, leaving his troops, and searched for asylum at the Outworlds Alliance.

"The WarBug Initiative is about to begin, and we are the tip of the Alliance's spear," Ricardo turned around, facing the bedraggled former field commander of the Hansen's Roughriders. "Soon worlds from Federated Suns will fall into the Alliance's hands, and Callone VI will be the first of them."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Tenoch's voice was hoarse from the pent-up shame. "Send me down with your troops. I will raze down the new government to the ground! I will reclaim Callone VI for the Outworlds Alliance! Give me your power and the planet will be yours!"

"Patience, Major," Ricardo replied calmly. "The Nordic Fox has its claws dug deep into Callone VI soil. I don't want any bloodbath yet, not at this stage. First we have to flush the mercenaries out of Callone VI. When the planet is not under the Foxes' grip anymore, then you can have it."

"I can take on the Nordic Fox!"

"You couldn't take on the locals without the Nordic Fox," Ricardo threw another barb at Tenoch. "Now you're telling me you can do it with my battlemechs?"

"Apologies, Chairman," Tenoch struggled to swallow his pride. "But how are we going to get the damn mercenaries out? Choke the cash flow?"

Ricardo turned his back at Tenoch, watching the planet through his window again. "Let's see how smart Jenna Alcatar really is."


Author's Note

Normally I don't like unresolved ending but through times I found it very useful if I want to resurrect my characters for another story in the future. The original story (My Father's Friend by Ulquorra9000) is never intended to be longer than one story plot, but I fell in love with the characters, and throughout this story I fell in love with all the characters (mine and his) and the interactions between them. So I intentionally left this one hanging. With the sadistic Major Tenoch finding his way to the Outworlds Alliance which is on the brink of expansion (and future merger with the Snow Raven), the posibilities are limitless for these guys. Who knows? But for now, let's just stop here, take a deep breath, and enjoy the victory.

Thank you for Ulquiorra9000, stonegnome1, and The Colonel for reviews, Sovyetfox (Cory) from deviantArt who lent me the Nordic Fox, and all who reads but don't review. I really appreciate the time you spent reading and enjoying this story. My next plan is to wrap up I,Kerensky 4 which is gearing toward its climax, then I have a plan to go back to 3048, back to the time when the Clans were an unstoppable force driving toward Terra. At this moment I don't have a plan to continue this story, but like I said, who knows…