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Hyloran Sovereignty Gyre

Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
as written by Calcos

The freezing rain that assaulted them was a torrent of woe and misery, hindering the already arduous task of construction. The men and women of Excalibur Company aided the combat engineers in their duties, providing both security and a helping hand whenever the eggheads felt inclined to wave over a nearby rifleman to assist them in erecting a length of fencing or set up the odd polysteel barricade. All about them was the endless expanse of tundra, the permafrost below their feet was a hard compound, crunching beneath their soles as they walked across it and so tough to dig into that the engineers had resorted to plasma cutting in order to soften it up enough to drive a spade into it. He shook his head as he bore witness to the display; as much witness as he could bear, rather, given how blinding the light emitted from the cutters were, it was ill-advised to let one’s eyes linger on their progress.

Arthur scoffed internally, his hawk’s eyes watching over his own soldiers in 9th Platoon as they toiled away under the leaking, overcast skies of Gyre. Out of some flight of fancy, or perhaps because they felt the need to prove the Royal Army’s might to their enemies (for he could see no real tactical advantage), High Command had decided that establishing outposts on this frozen hellhole of a planet was critical in winning the “war” against the Morrigite Republican Army; terrorists, in every sense of the word, as far as the lieutenant-prince was concerned.

He tried to understand their plight, truly: They rallied for liberation from the Sovereignty’s bonds, claiming secession was the only way they would ever know true freedom. Indeed, the Morrigites had been absorbed into the collective civilization of the Sovereignty rather unceremoniously by force, what with their former government being as stubborn as their current incarnation was at present; and they weren’t the only ones that had been inducted at gunpoint, nor was the MRA the only group of detractors still fighting for independence. They were, however, the only group with a centralized, if illegitimate, governing body, the others existing merely as loose confederations of radicals and anarchists whose sole driving purpose was the downfall of the Hyloran Sovereignty.

Na-Mathair knows what they would do if they achieved that goal.

Still, as Arthur pondered on these points he couldn’t help but feel disgusted. He sometimes wondered if the Sovereignty was right to deny the Morrigites their so-desired independence. Then, he remembered the attack on Our Lady Grace’s Hospital, on Isolt; how many sick and innocent died in the fiery carnage that had been delivered straight from the nine hells; of how many children screamed in agony for their mothers to save them, to no avail.

Unconsciously, he clenched his hands into fists.

“Somethin’ the matter, sir?” he heard a voice speak up from his right. The lieutenant afforded himself a glance at his senior NCO, Sergeant First Class Graham Carson. He, like the enemy the Royal Army was sent to sniff out, was a Morrigite. A Sovereignty-loyal Morrigite--a rare find, no doubt about it. He was also one of the greatest men Arthur had ever had the pleasure of knowing; courageous, steadfast and dedicated to the cause. Arthur would fight through hell and back if Graham were at his side, and he liked to think the sergeant felt the same way about him.
From behind the ballistic glass visor that adorned the helmet of his adaptive combat armor, Arthur gave a sheepish, embarrassed smile. “I’m alright, Carson. Just...absorbed in thought.” Graham gave a slow nod, his eyes cast forward, surveying the lost cause on the near horizon, his own thoughts assailing him as well, though he dared not betray what was on his mind. He merely spoke encouragingly to the young prince.

“Aye. Thoughts can be a good retreat,” he said, turning to look down at Arthur’s still-clenched fist. “So long as they’re the pleasant sort,” he said finally, gazing up at the helmet that obscured Arthur’s face. Realization dawned on the lieutenant as his brain finally caught up with the sensation of his fingertips digging into his palms, causing him to immediately relax his hands. Graham shuffled a bit in his boots, standing stiffly as he gazed out upon the icy plains ahead, past the droplets clinging to his covered visage and into the grey, sun-deprived skies far beyond the curvature of the frozen earth on which he stood.

“It’s only right, sir. I feel it, too.”
“Do you?”
“Aye. We’re up against a horde of animals, not men. They earned what’s comin’ to ‘em.”
“You really believe that, do you?”
“Indeed, I do, sir.”

Hesitation permeated between them; Arthur was wanting to speak his mind, and Graham wanted to reassure his commanding officer that his doubts were ill-placed. Their efforts appeared fruitless, their war an endless abyss of turmoil. But the sergeant knew, in his heart of hearts, that they were in the right.

Finally, the lieutenant spoke. “You feel for them, do you not?” he asked rather bluntly. Graham didn’t avert his gaze from the scenery before him, but his attention was entirely upon his commanding officer. “Sir?” he asked, a rather chilling patience lining his voice.

Arthur took a breath.

“Don’t take it the wrong way, sergeant. I’m merely curious. They are your countrymen, after all, are they not? You must feel some sense of camaraderie towards them.” Graham cast a sidelong glance towards his superior. “Don’t you, sir?”

“I feel a companionship with all Hylorans, Carson,” he responded quickly, “They are all my brethren; my people. What hope do I have of becoming an even half-decent king if I shun even one facet of my constituents simply due to their heritage?” He turned towards his sergeant, the fiery look in his eyes just barely visible beneath the glass covering his face. “I’ll not abandon them, Graham. Not now, not ever.” Carson nodded, his eyes now keeping watch of the platoon’s activities.

“I wouldn’t expect you to, sir.”
 
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