Author : S. Clough
“All units, fall back to waypoint epsilon. Marking recommended routes now.”
Reeve did as he was told. Command whispered into your head and they could easily put pain there instead of whispers. He was with four tax regulars, covering a breach in the stronghold’s outer wall.
“There has been a breach of contract,” command spoke softly, melodiously. “Dropships are inbound to epsilon, and a communiquÃ© has been sent to all aggressors. We are leaving this fight to the regulars. All non-secured equipment will terminate in five â€“ four â€“ three â€“ two â€“ one…”
Reeve smirked at the cries of surprise and horror that came from the Tax soldiers nearby. The equipment the Legion had hired out began to melt in the hands and on the body of the Taxers. The drone guns which had been holding the Anti-Tax combat frames at bay exploded violently. Discarding his weapons, Reeve began to run.
The Tax battlefield radio was swamped by screams. Command switched it off.
“Estimated time till total overrun by anti-tax forces: eight minutes. Step on it.”
Four other Legionnaires had caught up with Reeve. They’d thrown their primary weapons, too. They didn’t speak, but just ran with a measured, rapid pace.
“Anti-Tax unit will cross your path, twenty seconds. Retfire only.”
Reeve held seniority, so drew his sidearm. A lithe, low combat frame slid out of the shadows ahead. It saw them, and hesitated for a fraction of a second. Quickly, it pressed itself back into the shadows. As Reeve passed, it bobbed it’s sensor cluster almost imperceptibly, a weak imitation of a nod……
……Ana flicked the screen off ‘mute’, just in time to hear the Tax representative’s final denouncement of the Legion’s withdrawal. Reeve stood at her shoulder, in full battle gear: his presence was intended to give the Legion’s pretty face a degree of authenticity.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Powell. The contract that you signed clearly stated that the detonation of any N.B.C weapon on the battlefield constituted a breach of contract. I’m sorry for your losses, but you were the one who broke the terms. We had no choice but to withdraw our forces and equipment.”
“After your retreat, we were completely wiped out. You have the deaths of eighty soldiers on your conscience.”
“No, Mr. Powell. You are mistaken. They are on your conscience, as you are the one who requested the detonation of a micronuke. Each of our legionnaires received twenty sieverts, adjusted from the explosion. This constituted a clear danger to their health. Legally, it was as if you’d ordered your men to turn and fire on us.”
“We had no choice! Even with you, we were going to lose.”
“We never lose, Mr. Powell. We have traded upon that very fact for many years now. Too many people have interests in our organization for us to achieve anything but victory on our own terms.”