"I am just an aging drummer boy

And in the wars I used to play

And I've called the tune to many a torture session.

Now they say I am a war criminal

And I'm fading away

Father, please hear my confession."

-Dire Straits, "The Man's Too Strong"

King Hamdo wasn't always the person you all think he is now. If you knew his story, you might understand.

For starters, he wasn't the first…leader of his caliber. There were always other generals staking out whatever sources of water they could find and visiting various villages for new…"recruits". He came from one of those villages, as did I, as did everyone else I have known in my life. He still also holds memories of his mother dear to his heart, as do most of us in Hellywood, although the…clouds gathering inside his mind have obscured most of the details, reducing her to a mere angelic shadow with long, gray-blue hair.

Those soldiers who plan coups against him today might be somewhat heartened to know that Hamdo did attempted the same several years ago, and for much the same reason. He saw no end to the fighting for water, food and territory, and merely wanted to return to his home village. Several comrades of his perished in the struggle, but sure enough, he managed to overthrow the previous ruler of this battle station. He felt that his only wish had been granted.

Then he returned to his former village, or rather, what remained of it. Not only had everyone been killed, but the dwellings had been smashed to dust, the fields had been plowed under, and the wells had been drained.

The battle station was now as close to a home for King Hamdo as any place could be. And so he decided that was how it would have to be.

And if the life of a general was to be the only life for him, he felt his life should have a mission…to find and destroy those who had destroyed his village. His original assistants cast doubt on this decision, as they felt it was obvious that the previous commanders of this battle station had done so. However, Hamdo could not be certain. "It happened so fast," he explains, and he does not recall the craft lingering to destroy the village before it had left.

I myself certainly cannot recall; I was abducted from my village sometime after he had taken over the ship, which he had renamed in honor of a mythical land in the culture of the Great Precursors. Supposedly "Hellywood" was a magical realm where dreams came true.

At first I wanted to die rather than live another day on the ship serving "breeding/relief duties" in the ladies' quarters below. But after Hamdo declared me to be his personal favorite and tasked me with being his top assistant, I eventually began to see the rightness of his mission. Yes, he requires a constant supply of soldiers, women and general staff to crew Hellywood, but surely they can understand the need to demonstrate that evil will not triumph, and justice must prevail. Unlike Hamdo was, we will return them to their families eventually.

And then we encountered that mysterious girl Lala-ru, the one who can control water.

It should be obvious that whoever can control her, and guarantee a stable water supply, would become the unquestioned ruler of this world. Yes, one could use such power in such a way, but us? We only have our simple goals. And accomplishing goals is a team effort. There are those who think that Hellywood is the only remaining aggressor in this world; that all the other mobile battle stations destroyed each other either recently or long ago, but we are too wise to believe such stories. Even as clouds continue to encroach upon his mind, King Hamdo can still see the multiple battleships firing upon each other and the waves of soldiers storming through his village, as clear as yesterday.

Can Lala-ru not understand, wherever she is now?

And here's my first stab at NTHT, also my first non-Madoka fic in a while. Speaking of Madoka, I've also written a story crossing over that show with NTHT. Because obviously both shows aren't nearly depressing enough on their own.