Scene opens with the sound of random gunfire echoing through the city streets. Camera pans to a pair of RTC guerrilla fighters moving carefully through a rubble strewn street. Dust and smoke boil out of a nearby high rise that has been hit by something big. Radio squawks are interrupted frequently by jamming counter measures and high pitched screeches from cut signals. The two pause and look at each other as the comms repeat a garbled message, “Felon troops have retreated. Repeat, Felon troops have retreated. The city is ou…”
Their smiles and exultation are replaced with confusion and horror as a bright object in the sky draws their attention. A ball of fire descending from the heavens, material blazing off of it as night black smoke. The object is visible just long enough to be recognized as an asteroid and then a bright flash.
Camera jumps to a 10 mile view of the city as a finger of blazing death streaks down from the atmosphere and explodes less than a mile above the city. A blast wave engulfs the structures, tossing them aside like toothpicks. A split second later the remaining mass strikes the ground and the release of energy whites out the scene.
- CUT -
Maddox Felon, a handsome young man in a crisp Davion Guards uniform, walks down the hall of his dormitory at the Albion Military Academy flipping through his data slate. He pauses a few feet from a door, noticing that it is ajar, the lock hanging loose in the frame. He looks about and enters the room slowly, data slate falling to his side and mag-locking to a stud on the hip of his uniform. He is ready for anything.
Inside his room is trashed and harsh messages are scrawled in mechanics paint across the surfaces of the room, “Butcher’s Son!” “Mass Driver Maddox!” “Killer!” “Felon Quell ’Em!” Maddox looks around confused, then angry, then afraid. Something has happened and he needs answers before a confrontation. He wheels out of the room toward administrations when a pair of military security round the corner and order the young officer to come with them.
Maddox agrees and is escorted to a vehicle. Inside he scours the headlines and learns of the use of a mass driver on the population of Gateshead, his home. His eyes scream panic as the headline looms in front of him. Duke Felon is responsible.
He is brought in to a meeting with several high ranking instructors and military advisers at the Academy. There they discuss the incident and what it means for the Felon name. Maddox is asked to choose between loyalty to House Davion, or to his father. Without missing a beat he pledges his loyalty to Davion. They agree to discuss his assignment back to his home world on official Davion business.
- CUT -
4 Months Later
- CUT -
Duke Baston Felon adjusts the trappings of his regal dress uniform. The scream of rotary VTOL engines are muffled here inside the luxurious Duchal aircraft, a modified Karnov UR transport. The sound of a growling voice draws the Duke’s attention across the aisle from him to a stern faced man, Ferran Fath. Fath is dressed in a similar fashion, but the matte black uniform and red gloves give him the appearance of some sort of executioner. The visage fits him well.
Fath looks to the Duke and continues to bark orders about perimeter defense and intelligence reports, repeating again that “The Duke’s safety is of paramount importance.” Fath removes the headset and speaks, “Everything is in place, we’re on final approach. Contingency evacuation plans are in place. If anyone is going to try and sabotage these accords we’ll know about it long before they arrive.”
Duke Felon looks longingly out the window, withdrawn, “Do you think the peace will last, old friend?” Fath replies, “No. But while it lasts we need to make the most of it.”
The aircraft lands and Comstar representatives greet the two as they exit the aircraft, flanked by personal guards. The duke is all smiles and confidence, a visage of strength for the cameras. Fath’s eyes dart like a hunting cat, ever watchful for danger. Entering a posh conference room, the flash of cameras and the din of reporters wash over them like a wave. 13 dignitaries from the RTC tribes turn or stand to greet the duke and the proceedings begin behind closed doors.
- CUT -
Maddox is sitting in the command couch of his Battlemech. Radio chatter drifts by at a consistent pace, but it seems trivial. Still, Maddox’s hands glide over instrument panels every few seconds. He looks up and out of the cockpit glass to the left is a strikingly painted Centurion Battlemech, its right arm ends in a super heavy caliber cannon. It is shutdown, pilot ladder deployed.
Scene jumps to street level near the Centurion mech, in the distance we see Maddox’s mech, also a centurion, but with a more balanced weapon load out and the red, white, and blue striped paint scheme of the Davion Guards. A man steps out onto the streets, he has swagger and is focused on Maddox’s ‘mech. In his hands he’s carrying something.
Cut back to Maddox in the cockpit, his eyes do a double take to the street below and he triggers a zoom window to appear on the main view. It focuses on the man, the rakishly handsome Tovar Baatar. He is waving at Maddox with a hand held radio transmitter signalling a frequency code to talk. Maddox adjusts a dial on the instrument panel and the radio chirps and scratches. “This is Maddox Felon, to whom am I speaking?”
“It has been a long time, Maddox.”
“Tovar?” Maddox says, after a brief pause and recollection.
“You’ve been gone for a long time. A lot has happened in your absence.”
Maddox is silent, something isn’t sitting right with this conversation.
“I just wanted you to know, on this momentous day, that your brother died well.”
Maddox digests this for a moment and is about to reply when he is cut off.
Cut to Tovar
“I enjoyed cutting open his cockpit and handing him over to our soldiers. Seeing him drug through the streets was a sight to behold.”
Cut back to Maddox in his cockpit, Tovar laughing into the radio. As soon as he stops, Maddox replies, his eyes steeled. “I’ll remember that for next time we meet.”
“That may be sooner than you think.” Tovar breaks comms and walks back out of sight, leaving Maddox shaken but keenly focused on the comm channels for any sign of betrayal across the defense cordon.
- CUT -
The meeting is all political ring jumping. The treaty was agreed on days before, this was just the formal grand standing with a stamp of approval from almighty Comstar. Duke Felon and Imam Nadar Baatar shakes hands and pose for photo and video opportunities and exchange a few hushed words. Fath paves the way back out of the conference room, commanding the press to save their questions until later back at the palace. Fath is singled out by a reporter asking him what its like to be called a traitor by his own people, to which he replies, “I serve the best interests of the people of Gateshead. All of them.”
In the corner of the room sits Kamiyari Shinichi, an older Kuritan gentleman dressed in a silk suit with a sharp cut. He weighs those words heavily and watches events unfold with keen interest.
- CUT -
Back in the duchal transport, Fath and the Duke sit heavily and exchange looks. The Duke sees something in Fath’s sour expression and inquires, “What? I think that went rather well, considering.”
“The fuck was that snake, Kamiyari, doing there?” Fath almost spits at the word snake.
Duke Felon shrugs, looking back outside, “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Fath sits back and mutters, “I don’t think either of us has to guess.” He turns to look out the window where in the distance is seen the faint atmospherically distorted line of a massive orbital elevator.
Fath changes subjects, “Now that we have peace, we should discuss the resource drain that thing is costing us.”
The Duke and him discuss it, deciding that maintaining it is of paramount importance, as Gateshead can ill-afford another planetary catastrophe should it come crashing down.
(To be continued)