Darkness settled upon the red soil of the ravaged planet as the magnetic winds still raged across the patchwork metal frame of Hope settlement on the Martian landscape. Within the center of the settlement, a derelict Warehouse stood defiant to the powerful storm. Sand beat upon the siding of the building so hard, it sounded much like the crashing of an ocean against the paneling.
Within, the roar of the impact of the sand was dulled somewhat, creating a murmured groan as the occupants inside conversed quietly amongst themselves.
Dr. Davina Eze, the Cyborg Link, and A recently reanimated Griffin Lancer sat there quietly. Griffin, in nothing more than a hospital gown, barefoot and looking fatigued beyond his years.
“Link,” Griffin said as he finally found his voice- grating, dry, agitated. With raw toes pressed into the steel, he grimaced at first, before adjusting his gown to cover his backside, finally finding his footing, supported by his arms as he pressed his hands into the makeshift table he had just woken up from. “What is our tactical situation looking like?”
Link sighed and rested her back against an empty crate beside her, her head dipped somewhat in thought, her blonde locks draping past her face, drifting all the way to her knees. She took a moment to compose herself. Griffin was alive again, yet it was right back to business. He didn’t even have all of his faculties yet, but he wanted to continue the war. She took pride in that, however futile it seemed.
“We’re looking at next to nothing, Sir. When the war ended, either all our comrades got detained in prison camps, executed for treason, or they went into exile. Our ships dismantled or repurposed. Information hubs…There is one left. Pluto. At the old Government headquarters.”
Davina quietly placed her hand in her lab coat pocket, before producing a pair of data sticks. “We do have these. I dug up all the information I was privy to before Link arrived.”
- “Is it useful?” Griffin asked, his attitude boorish as he quietly stood there, arms across his chest in a defensive posture, his equilibrium finding its center as he did so.
“It’s about as useful as a bull with tits to us, but who you could sell it to…That’s a different story.” Davina said with a slight smirk. Griffin’s stance eased up a bit, feeling a twinge of excitement in his expression. It was at this point, Griffin ended the subject by plucking at his gown.
“I need clothes…something other than this.” He said quietly, looking over to Link. She gave a blush before turning away, obviously unsure of how to proceed. Dr. Eze however, stared directly into the proverbial sun in the room. She removed her lab coat and tossed it to Griffin. The man quietly donned the jacket on and buttoned it up.
“That should do until we find some threads…”
[Geneva, Switzerland: Earth]
[Assembly Division Chamber of Parliament]
Prime Minister Mostafa sat quietly in his chamber seat, overlooking the hundreds of politicians milling about, waiting for the parliamentary session to begin. After a few moments, Mostafa reached to the end of his desk for the ivory gavel sitting on the oak table. Gripping it in his fat fingers, he raised it above his head and with a powerful down-swing, knocked the head of the gavel against the desk.
“To your seats! The Seventy-eighth session of the Assembly Parliament is now in session! As we are now are in session, we will begin our first order of business. Minister Gromley of the Americas. You have the floor.”
The congregation grew quiet as Mostafa spoke. His burly figure and deep baritone echoed through the chamber halls as he requested his first business. As Minister Gromley’s name was called, a man dressed in military garb stood, a small stack of papers in hand.
-“Your excellency, I have come from my home to bring you news of the recovery efforts my people have made since the armistice. We have finally cleared the rubble and disposed of the irradiated material left behind by the once formidable Space-Born Federation’s dire attempt at poisoning our home world. Over 60 Tons of material has been shot into space, awaiting incineration by the local star…No further business.”
Mostafa gave a head nod, before pointing to another.
“Executive Minister Shultz. Seeing as you’re my Minister of the Army and the Sciences, do you have any new business on the research lab attack from a few hours ago?”
Heidi Shultz stood up, adjusted the blouse of her uniform, and cleared her throat. Her athletic frame and raven black hair stood prominently apart from the rest as she started to speak, her voice soft and calculated.
“Our research lab was attacked by an unknown number of guerrilla fighters. They escaped with sensitive data regarding a new weapons system in production…We are still investigating leads that may give us the location and identity of those responsible and bring them to justice. Prime Minister, I’d like to make clear the intentions of the research lab.”
- “By all means, Minister Shultz.”
Minister Shultz then quietly cleared her throat, before beginning her explanation.
“The Colonial War that ended 20 years ago, was a stain on human history. Over Three-Fifths of our species’ population died from the resulting twelve years of carnage. As a result, many colonies have ceased to exist. Most of you know of the fate of the Neo Tokyo colony. The surviving civilian population returned to Mars, a planet that we were forced to use nuclear ordinance on. Thankfully, the solar winds there proved to render any residual radiation harmless. Martian population levels returned to Pre-war numbers, though the problem remains.
We utilized an abandoned colony early in the war to begin a project to pursue the creation of artificial life…And were successful. We were successful in creating artificial life out of organic human tissue grown in test tubes. We were successful in indoctrinating them as soldiers of our army…We were too successful.
Recently, one of our research staff and team leads, who has yet to be identified, managed to procure the spinal cord, heart, lungs, and brain of a Federation war hero recovered from the Battle of Las Vegas. Judging by what data we managed to recover from the wipe of the hard drive, we have enough information to gather that she utilized those organic components to clone this soldier…We’re not sure on their identity, but if the information is correct, we may have a universal situation on the horizon.”
A dulled murmur had surfaced among the crowd. Minister Schultz quietly raised a hand to keep the crowd silent and attentive as she continued.
“My department has a solution. We have dispatched our Internal Affairs specialist, codenamed “Starfire”. They’ll find those responsible and bring them to justice.”
Mostafa seemed somewhat impressed. He smiled and nodded, turning his head to his wristwatch, before responding to the information presented before him.
- “Very well. I expect your presence in my quarters by 9PM Tonight with your report of the ongoing investigation…”
[3 weeks later]
Link had taken a few hours to rally the remnants in an impromptu formation outside the warehouse. Her golden locks danced in the Martian sun as she took a moment to sigh quietly, standing at the doorway of the warehouse, her head through the threshold. From the rest of the conglomeration outside, standing in the hot sun, this was almost comedic, watching her in deep discussion with the man they had saved weeks ago.
“Are you sure they’re willing to fight for me…,” Griffin said softly to her. Link, with a stern look on her face, glanced back to the group of soldiers standing in formation, then back to her commander.
- “We don’t have a choice in the matter, Sir. You’re one of the few men I’ve ever known who is a prime example of determination, even in the face of adversity. You were dead less than a month ago, and now, you’re walking, talking, your marksmanship is back to where it was before the end of the war, Your stamina’s great…”
“Stamina? How the hell do you know about my stamina…” Griffin trailed, now staring her dead in the eye. The Cyborg’s eyes glimmered in the darkness, the red light glowing brighter for a moment as she looked away.
- “…You remember when I said I was looking for a towel while you showered…I was watching you…and what you were doing,” She concluded. Griffin’s gaze didn’t shift, but a small smile creeped on his face.
“If you didn’t have a thing with Deber, you could’ve joined me,” He joked. “I’m sure we could’ve gotten more emotion out of you that way- “
- “Way off base with that one…Sir. I…Was doing it for science.”
Griffin paused for a moment to look outside at the group waiting in the red Martian sun. He now bared his teeth in a wider grin. “Is your hypothesis whether you’re capable of masturbation?” Link jabbed his shoulder for that one. Her eyes dimmed as she closed them, turning away. If she could show embarrassment, everyone would’ve noticed.
“…I had feelings for you once, Sir. But I realize now that they were misguided; What I felt was respect, fraternal love…You had Rei…She had you.”
-“Had, being the key word. This isn’t the world I left. It’s been what, twenty years? I should not be here, yet here I am, existing within this hollow body, an affront to The Morrigan itself; All three goddesses would shun me if they were in my presence now! I’m a dead man walking, Link…All we have is each other. We’re partners, until death…if you want me to lead these…freedom fighters…”
He trailed off. He glanced back through the doorway and sighed. “…These rebels…Then I will let Morrigan do her bidding in order to see it through…They will be my model army. They’ll go forward from this and recruit others…See to it that they are paired off and sent into Assembly space to recruit…”
- “After this, Sir. After you speak to them…They’re waiting to see the Hero of the Federation, She concluded.”
Finally, Link exited the door and stood at the front of the formation, facing them.
“Atten-tion!” She barked. The undisciplined nature suddenly stopped. Aged forms and tired bodies suddenly snapped to attention; hands at their sides, facing forward, standing straight as an arrow, as their eyes locked onto the warehouse doorway.
A polished black boot crossed into daylight. Then a leg, and then the entire form of Colonel Griffin Lancer appeared, dressed in a gray cotton jacket and a pair of blue jeans, a pistol holster strapped to his right thigh as he quietly walked across the formation, now standing in front of Link. The Cyborg gave a salute to her C.O., before receiving one in return. She then made an about-face and moved to the back of the formation.
Griffin stood there now, in front of almost 100 people, looking at their faces, their expressions. He was just as interested in them, as they were in him. He took a second to inhale deeply, regaining his composure, before speaking aloud, his voice echoing off the walls of the settlement. His face wasn’t his, but his voice was. That passionate voice, with tinges of anger and conviction across his punctuation. Every word could start a war, and he aimed to do just that.
“I want you all to think about the last time you ever tasted failure on your lips. It was bitter. Painful to swallow, almost incendiary to consider it…But I want you to think about it. Dwell on it. Feel that deep, burning anger, charring the edges of your psyche. That swell of fury behind your throat, the fire deep in your gut…Own it.”
He paused to gauge the reaction. It was as if he had never left. Their eyes had hardened their gaze, and now locked onto him squarely. He had their attention.
“I want you to own that fire. Own that anger, that frustration you feel. You were driven from your homes, you were separated from your loved ones, marginalized and cast out from society by belonging to a fraternity of elites. They cast you out. They gave you that anger. However, it belongs to you. The last 20 years…”
He stopped. The weight of the situation had now dawned on him.
“The last 20 years of your existence has been one where you’ve tasted only failure, and you’ve forgotten the glory of victorious conquest., of gallant righteousness brought to the people by the weight in your arms. Today we forget that. We start fresh now. We may have lost the war, but that does not mean they have quelled the voice of our desire, of our yearning for freedom. Their armies may count in the millions, but numbers alone do not give victory. Passion. Honor and duty, these are all core concepts we must learn and own…I aim to do just that. That and more, my children. You soldiers standing here will be the core of my new army…It has been so long that we have forgotten what we were trained to do, what we volunteered to do. As such, I feel it necessary to enact a credo to all of us. For the survival of our freedom. Raise your right hand…”
The company-sized group did as asked, and in almost slow motion, their hands raised. Some white. Some black. Some brown, some metallic. All raised their hand.
“Repeat after me:
I solemnly swear-
upon the blood that runs through my veins-
that I will commit myself to the fraternity of my comrades; -
that I will never abandon the cause -
so long as my heart continues to beat. -
I will accept all responsibility for my actions, -
and stand by the values of the Space Born Federation: -
By my word, and my blood, I am bound…”
The soldiers did as was ordered. They repeated the words uttered by their commander, with just as much passion as he did. There was a moment of silence, before Griffin lowered his hand, and motioned for the group to do the same. Griffin knew exactly how he would fight the new order with those who survived, The Remnants. He relayed those orders to his company.
“You will be trained as I was trained- You will all be SCARS Qualified! You will be paired off and sent to parts unknown to find fighters! You will create your own resistance! Because you are the remnants of a proud culture! A culture that founded itself upon the principles of those who came before you; principles forged in the fires of war! “We Hold these truths to be self-evident…- “
The formation suddenly completed the creed issued by those stalwart men who had an idea bigger than themselves.
- “That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!”
Griffin jumped in, his eyes wet with fury.
“They took it away from you! From your history! Your legacy! They destroyed that document and allowed it to die over a century of disdainful conquests to soak the money from your coffers! We rose up to fight them off, and in the end, we will be victorious!”
The formation roared with angry yells, clamoring in the hot sun as they agreed with the soldier’s sentiments.
“For the Federation!” He called out. The responded in earnest with the response, their fists raising into the air, just as they did when they enlisted twenty years ago.
- “For Glory!”