Free Worlds League
Pryde Family Estate
September 18, 3054
A Marik Eagle adorned the wall over his chair as Medron relaxed into it, fingering his goatee with his left hand. His artificial left hand. Not a good thing to have in the Free Worlds League where people thought bionics stole your soul or other such nonsense. Even Medron didn’t like them, despite growing up with more machines then he could imagine, but an artificial arm and leg were better then being unable to walk. And if he had to go artificial to pilot the Serra-Pryde, he would.
He’d grown up with ’Mechs and would never give them up. Not while he could move. He looked down at the long scorch mark burned into the outside of his arm and sighed slowly. A real arm would have been destroyed by that blast, earned during an abortive rebellion against Thomas Marik that probably wouldn’t even make the news. Few even knew about it, and fewer talked. The flash of gunfire echoed in his mind and he remembered the feel of a neck crushed by his left hand. He blinked and shook his head, trying to pull his mind away from that.
He’d known martial arts were good when he first started training, but that was the first time he’d really used them. The first time he’d ever killed face to face. The first time he’d seen the life pour out of a man’s eyes. But it was all he could do. He couldn’t have let them win. Thomas Marik was the best thing to ever happen to this nation. His rule had to be protected, whatever the cost.
He slammed his left arm down on the chair, feeling the chair crack under the assault, and looked across the room to the single door, adorned by the Marik Eagle. His family had always been loyal to the League. And Medron was not going to break that tradition. Whatever the cost. The door opened and he smiled as the butler nodded to him.
“Your guest has arrived,” he said simply and Medron nodded.
“Show him in, George,” he responded and the butler turned to let a large man of over six feet walk in. The man looked around the room for a moment, taking in the rich tapestries and lighting with a whistle before looking at Medron and walking towards him.
“Hello mayfly,” he noted and Medron chuckled slowly as he stood up carefully.
“Zombie,” he responded and the older man smiled back at him.
“Guilty as charged. You look like you’ve grown up.”
“All it took was a lesson in humility,” Medron muttered and flexed his artificial hand.
“I’m still sorry about the arm and leg,” the man whispered and Medron shrugged. He’d heard those words too often in the last few months.
“And I still say it’s a small price to pay,” Medron whispered back. “If you hadn’t…well other matters would not have ended so well,” he finished as he rubbed the scorch mark slowly.
“That looks bad.”
“Could be worse,” Medron whispered and then stood up to walk over and shake the hand of the man who’d taken his other hand. “I’m assuming the fact that you’re here means you’re accepting my offer?”
“Mechwarrior Robert Grissom reporting for duty,” he noted with a mock salute and Medron smiled.
“Good. I wanted you beside me when we went to Outreach. You’re a good pilot, and you’ve got a good ‘Mech.”
“I was getting tired of Solaris anyways,” Robert chuckled back. “I have a couple friends that were feeling the same way. So what’s the name you’re thinking of? I doubt ‘Mayflies and Zombies’ has the ring you’re looking for,” he noted with a wink and Medron smiled back.
“Terra’s Pryde,” he whispered and Robert frowned doubtfully. “It’s an old name,” Medron continued softly. “It served well for a long time after Kerensky left. Then it, and my ancestor, died over two centuries ago on the Lyran border trying to fight off a WarShip.”
“A what? What did they have that could have even thought of doing that?” Robert asked in an astonished voice.
“Land-AirMechs,” Medron returned with a smile. “They were much more common back then.”
“Your ancestor,” Robert muttered slowly, comprehension dawning in his face. “So you really aren’t a Clanner?”
“No,” Medron growled. “My ancestor stayed here in the Inner Sphere to save whoever he could. He formed Terra’s Pryde to perform that mission when his brother fled with Kerensky. And his son died following in his footsteps. And for over two centuries my family has remembered that. And now those stupid, fake-bake, dial-a-dozen, vat-brat, bastards dare to take our family name and turn it into a bloody rag to be fought to the death over like dogs fighting over a hotdog rolling down the middle of the street!” he finished angrily and Robert took a step back cautiously.
“I take it you don’t like them either,” he muttered and Medron nodded sharply. Then Robert looked at the wall, showing the picture of an old Phoenix Hawk LAM with a Star League emblem on the shoulder and nodded understandingly. “Now about Terra’s Pryde. I hope you understand if I don’t exactly want to follow their example,” he noted slowly and Medron chuckled in response.
“Oh, neither do I. Trust me on that one. Dying for a cause is not my life’s aspiration.”
“Good. I don’t plan on dying for a long time.”
“Well, It does have a ring to it,” Robert muttered and patted Medron on his left shoulder.
“Kinda like my arm, huh?” Medron responded and Robert winked. “I want you in my lance Robert,” he added seriously and the older Mechwarrior nodded slowly.
“Works for me, kid. I think I’ll enjoy being a merc.”
“Me too,” Medron muttered quickly.
“God help the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission,” Robert winked. “Between the mayflies and zombies they won’t know what hit them.”
“If we’re lucky,” Medron chuckled back. “So, do you want to meet some of the others coming to Outreach with us?”
“What? You don’t think I just made this little plan on the drop of hat?” Medron asked.
“Considering how you usually act, yes,” Robert returned and Medron sighed slowly.
“Ok ok. Fair enough. You got me there. But I’ve changed now. Something about getting limbs hacked off has gotten me to thinking that planning ahead of the game might be a good idea,” he noted with a scowl.
“Glad I could help.”
“I could return favor if you want,” Medron muttered and Robert chuckled back.
“Not needed. I got my lesson in planning a long time ago.”
“Ah well. I’m always here to help,” Medron smiled and began walking towards the door. “John’s here already with some of his buddies. You wanna meet them?”
“Yes,” Robert returned quickly and followed Medron as he opened the door and walked outside.
“Sweet. Outreach here we come,” Medron muttered happily and then stopped cold as he saw the two people standing in the hall.
“Oh sorry,” Robert said into the sudden silence. “This is Avis Bulger,” he noted with a wave towards the man. “And this is—“
“Terra Belmond,” Medron interrupted, letting the final syllable stretch out.
“You’ve met?” Robert asked.
“Not exactly,” Medron muttered for Robert’s ears and cleared his throat as she glared at him.
“You,” she finally whispered into the awkward silence. “Are such a bastard.”