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Sins of our Fathers
Facts
Author Jimmy the Tulip
Year Written 2007
Story Era 2611




DescriptionEdit

A sequel, of sorts, to “A Question of Loyalty”. Howard Coopers son, a private in the Outworlds Army, strives for acceptance from the people his father attacked. Will he overcome the bigotry and find redemption from the sins of his father?

StoryEdit

Mulligan Ranch
Pitkin
Federated Suns
27th July 2611

The clenched, red fist of the Wolverine BattleMech smashed down on the alien grav tank smashing through the turret and rendering the tentacle faced warriors inside into gory mounds of green flesh. Captain Kyle Colley withdrew the ‘Mechs fist with a grin of satisfaction.
“That’s payback for my father you green blooded, inhuman, …”
Kyle’s statement was cut off by an incoming transmission.
“Kyle, this is Major Jim Hardworth, what’s the status of your target?”
Kyle looked out his cockpit with grim satisfaction written over his face.
“He’s dead, Jim.”
Kyle’s Wolverine suddenly lurched forward as laser fire poured into the rear of his ‘Mech. A look of panic crossed his face as alarms started screaming then everything went black and credits began to roll up the screen.

“Aw, damn!” Erupted the young boy watching the holo-vid show.
“Cameron, I’ve told you not to speak like that.” Came a soft voiced, female reply.
Cameron looked slightly shame-faced. “Sorry, mom, but the Red Wolverine’s in trouble!”
Cameron’s mother smiled at her son. “I’m sure the Red Wolverine will come out ok, Cam. Why don’t you go outside and help your father with the wood?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
Cameron was eleven and had lived on the ranch his parents had bought for the last eight years. In that time he had become an accomplished horse rider and had learned a few traders tricks from his father when the merchants came out this far.
The Mulligan’s ranch was renowned for light years for its fine horses but Cam’s father would often have to make the four hour journey to the Capital to fill an order. He had returned from one such journey less than an hour before and was now chopping wood for their fire. It was going to be a cold night.

Cameron walked out into the cool late afternoon air. The sky was darkening already as the winter season approached and Cam could clearly see a star glimmering in the sky. He walked up to his father just as he was placing another chunk of wood on the chopping block.
Theodore Mulligan wiped his brow with the sleeve of his left arm, the axe hanging from his right hand.
“Hey, son. You want to take some of that chopped wood inside for your mother?”
Cam indicated his willingness but his mind was still on the Red Wolverine and the dire situation he was now facing. He picked up a few bits of wood and carried them inside, placing them on top of the dwindling pile near the fireplace. Then he turned and headed back outside.
As he again approached his father he noticed that the star in the sky had grown brighter.
“Dad, is that a falling star?”
Cam pointed to the bright star in the sky and Theo followed his indicating finger. The axe made a thud as it fell to the ground.
“Cam, get inside and tell your mother to get you both down to the basement.”
As Theo finished the order several smaller stars shot out from the ever-brightening main star. The small stars turned and began flying in the direction of the city. Theo looked around to see his son still standing there watching the lights in the sky.
“Cam!” Cameron was snapped out his trance by his fathers raised voice. “Go now!” Cam ran inside and, after watching his son run through the door, Theo ran towards his truck.


DropShip “Opportunity”
Pitkin
Federated Suns
27th July 2611

Captain Daniella Hartford checked the status of her Quickdraw for the second time. This was the time she hated most; waiting in the cockpit of her Mech as the Leopard Class DropShip burned in towards the unsuspecting planet.
The two SB-27 Sabres had launched from the Opportunity’s fighter bays to provide cover for their drop but they were hardly necessary. Pitkin was a backwater Fed world and barely warranted Mech defences let alone aerospace fighters.
What Pitkin did have in abundance was food. Wheat, grain and all manner of vegetables grew in the fertile soil that the civilians had carefully tended. The Outworlds Alliance would, of course, deny their involvement in the raid but everyone knew that many Alliance worlds were experiencing food shortages and it wouldn’t take a genius to put two and two together.
She looked at her feed for Jacob’s machine and saw an amber flashing light over the left knee actuator. That generally indicated that the status monitor couldn’t get a good read from that system. Daniella flicked on her comms.
“Private Cooper, I’ve got an amber light for your left knee. Please confirm your status?”
Jacob Cooper’s voice drifted back to her through her neurohelmets earpiece. “My systems show all green, Captain.”
Daniella wasn’t convinced. “All the same I want a full diagnostic run on your machine when we get back. It’s well past its prime and might be due for a trade in.” Jacobs reply carried the offence he felt even through the microphone. “This Vulcan belonged to my father, Captain. With all due respect it won’t be going anywhere but where I direct it.”
“Your father was a Leaguer and attacked the Alliance. You may have been born in the Alliance, Cooper, but don’t think that grants you special privileges. I accepted your placement here because I was ordered to but if you try to undermine my authority, just once, I’ll see you busted down to shoe polisher faster than you can spit. Do I make myself clear, Cooper?”
Jacob Cooper had dealt with this kind of bigotry all his life. He was the son of an ex-Star League MechWarrior, worse yet, a MechWarrior who had attacked an Alliance world and been captured. Though his father had served his time and was now living freely in the Outworlds Alliance he was still looked upon as an outsider and probably always would be.
Now at 21 years old Jacob felt the stigma of his father’s heritage even more. He had thought that enlisting with the Alliance military would grant him some kind of acceptance but it merely made the problem worse.
“Clear, Captain.” Jacob replied and swallowed his anger.
Hold it, he thought, use it on the defenders of this rock that you’ll soon be facing. Jacob closed his eyes for a few seconds and in that time failed to notice the status light of his left knee wink amber then change back to green.


Schaarton
Pitkin
Federated Suns
27th July 2611

The local militia were bustling around the command post, prepping weapons and getting body armor organised. Theodore Mulligan ran into the locker room and quickly changed into his cooling vest and shorts. Goose pimples covered his body as the cool night air hit his skin but he knew that, soon enough, he would be praying for the coolness of the night air.
After lacing up his boots he ran out of the locker room via a side door and down a short hallway to the Mech bay. Bursting into the cavernous bay Theodore ran up to the gargantuan machine sitting dormant, waiting for him to command it.
Theodore often thought it ironic that he piloted the same Mech as his son’s fictional hero did. The Wolverine Theodore piloted was a standard 6R model. It carried a medium bore autocannon, a six-shooter missile launcher and a single medium laser; nothing like the fancy machine of the Red Wolverine which was packed full of stolen Star League technology.
Theodore scrambled up the ladder to cockpit of the Wolverine and began his pre-ignition checks. The enemy dropship, whoever they were, would almost be down by now and they had to hurry if they were going to intercept the raiding force.
They had already learned that the dropship was a Leopard class. Just large enough to carry a lance of Mechs and far too small for any kind of planetary assault. More than likely it was a raid by Outworld or pirate forces looking for a quick and easy hit. Well, the Schaarton Militia would make sure it wouldn’t be easy.
The Militia force consisted of only two BattleMechs but also incorporated two squads of infantry. Standing up to a lance of Mechs wouldn’t be easy but it was their job to defend this small settlement.
With his checks complete Theodore engaged the furnace burning in the Mechs heart. As the massive Fusion engine brought power to the Wolverines systems the computer ran a quick systems diagnostic. All systems checked out so Theodore began his security checks. Every Mech was protected with a voice pattern imprint and a security password. That password could be a single word but most MechWarriors preferred a sentence; something that held special meaning for them. Theodore took a single breath before he spoke the words.
“Now, it has become our time to pay for those sins which our Fathers committed before us.”
Through the speakers in his neurohelmet the computer confirmed his identity.
“Thank you, Lieutenant Mulligan. The Repentant Son is yours.”
Theodore grabbed the control stick and throttled his Wolverine, the Repentant Son, forward in a slow walk. Once he had cleared the bay he formed up beside Captain Steve Bethalls Thunderbolt.
“Status, Lieutenant?”
“Green, Sir. I’m ready to send these boys back home.”
“Very good. Bravo 1, take your men to the town limits. Set up a defensive cordon in case anyone gets past us. Bravo 2 Hold here until we confirm that the enemy is clear of the LZ then get close enough that the 2nd fire team can have a go at catching that Leopard.”
Confirmation came back through the open channel.
“Alpha 2 and I will head out and lure the enemy lance away as best we can. Move out.”
The Thunderbolt lurched forward as Captain Bethall set his machine into a run. Theodore throttled up again and kept pace with the larger Mech, loping along just behind his Lance commander.
It wouldn’t be long, maybe an hour, before they would be in the heart of a battle. He just prayed that it was one they could win.


DropShip “Opportunity”
Schaarton Outskirts
Pitkin
Federated Suns
27th July 2611

Private Terrance Forth’s Jenner was the last Mech to disembark the Opportunity and make its way down the ramp to where Forth’s Lancemates waited. Daniella Hartford’s Quickdraw, Mitch Bullard’s Chameleon and Jacob Cooper’s Vulcan all formed up into a right-hand heavy arrowhead formation with Hartford at the front.
“We’ve got a small defensive force heading our way. Two ‘Mechs and some infantry. Bullard and I will tackle the ‘Mechs, Forth I want you and Cooper to keep that infantry busy. Don’t let them get too close, they might have anti-Mech weapons.”
The Alliance Lance confirmed Captain Hartfords orders and began moving in formation towards Schaarton. It only took ten minutes for the defending force to appear at extreme range on their sensors.
“Captain.” It was Private Forth. “I’ve got them, bearing 324 north.”
“Good work, Forth. Split into your assigned groups and move out. Forth, circle the ‘Mechs to your left. Those heavies will tear either of you two apart if you get too close.”
“Roger, Captain.”
Cooper had remained silent during the deployment but as they split away he opened a channel to Forth’s Jenner.
“Forth, the TBolt and Wolvie are south and slightly east of Schaarton. If we cut behind the Captain and circle them to the right instead I bet we’ll find that infantry there, just south of the town.”
“We don’t have time for your guessing games, Cooper.” Forth replied with a derisive tone. “Just follow orders.”

Inside the cockpit of his Vulcan Cooper raged. Taking the prejudiced crap from Hartford was one thing, she was his commanding officer, but now Forth, who has serve less time than Jacob was emulating her attitude. Cooper had had enough.
He throttled up to 95 kph and suddenly cut to his right. Then he took to the air on his jump jets and cleared the line of advance of Captain Hartfords team.
“Cooper!” He could hear the anger in Forths voice. “Get back here! You’ll blow the whole operation!”
Then he heard the measured voice of Captain Daniella Hartford but he could tell she was filled with rage at his flagrant disobeying of her orders.
“Private Cooper, fall back into formation with Private Forth or so help me God I will personally tear that Mech apart myself.”
Cooper tried to explain.
“Captain, I think you’re walking into a trap. The infantry couldn’t move faster than their Mechs so they must have taken a direct path south from Schaarton to be in position. That means they’re to your right.”
Hartfords measured tone was disappearing swiftly.
“And if you’re wrong, Private, you’ve just given your lance mate a death sentence. Even two squads of infantry can bring down a Jenner. Now form up or I’ll make sure you spend the rest of your life in a military prison, just like your filthy Leaguer father should have done.”
Cooper almost felt her disgust as he cut the channel. Despite his anger he continued forward.
You’re wrong, Hartford. Wrong about me and my father and I’ll prove it to you. My Vulcan is designed for anti-infantry combat so that makes me the best shot you’ve got.
Cooper charged his Vulcan forward and 95kph carefully watching the rough terrain ahead of him. He was so intent on watching his footing that he didn’t notice the amber warning indicator over the status for the Vulcans left knee actuator.


Schaarton Outskirts
Pitkin
Federated Suns
27th July 2611

Theodore Mulligan sidestepped the blast of the large laser from the Chameleon and returned fire with 6 short range missiles and a medium laser.
Three of the missiles took the Chameleon in the left torso blasting shards of armor into the air. One other missile hit the Mechs left arm while the remaining two spiralled away harmlessly. The vermillion light of the medium laser also scored the armor down the Chameleons left arm sending gobbets of molten ferro-steel to the ground.
In one deft move Mulligan swivelled his torso fractionally to the left and pulled the trigger for the medium bore autocannon on the Mechs right arm.
Depleted uranium shells roared forth and chewed into the right side of the Quickdraw that was facing off against Bethells Thunderbolt.
“Thanks for the assist.” came Bethells quick reply as he unleashed a trio of medium lasers at the Quickdraw scoring hits into the heavy Mechs centre and right torsos.
“Where the hell is that infantry support?” Mulligan questioned.
As if hearing the angry voice of Theodore Mulligan the comm units in both Mechs crackled to life.
“This is Lieutenant Vince Cortese, Lieutenant Pertain is down and his Rifle squad has been decimated. We were ambushed by a Vulcan that carved out our right flank. The survivors of Pertains rifle squad have joined me and we’re hunkered down under cover.”
Mulligan could hear the concern for his men reflected in Bethells voice.
“What’s the Vulcan’s location? If we can break off here we’ll try and draw it down then you get those men out of there.”
“It looks like it’s starting to head your way anyway, Captain. We’ll wait until it’s clear then we’ll withdraw to Schaarton.”
“Roger that, Lieutenant. Mulligan, we’ve got a Vulcan heading into our 9.” Mulligan threw a glance at his sensors as the computer beeped a contact warning in his ear.
“Captain, I’ve just picked up a Jenner heading in at speed from 3 o’clock.”
“Damn it.” Bethells hissed. “Alright, let’s pull back towards Schaarton before we get cut off. Once there we’ll head north and out onto the Freemantle Plains. You got that, Cortese? Requisition a couple of trucks to transport your men quicker.”
“Affirmative.” Cortese responded.

“Captain, the defenders are pulling back. Should we pursue?”
Daniella inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. Her Quickdraw was not heavily armored and that combined attack by the two defending Mechs had breached her right side armor. “Negative Bullard. Let them withdraw. They know we outgun them so let’s preserve our strength. Besides we’ll need all four Mechs to haul the plunder back to the LZ.”
“Roger, Ma’am.”
A minute later Forth’s Jenner rejoined the lance and half a minute after that Cooper arrived in his Vulcan. There was a slight limp to the Mechs gait.
“Cooper.” Hartford’s voice was a low hiss. A tone that her men had found to be dangerous. “You wilfully disobeyed orders. I should have you strung up.”
“But I was right, Captain. The infantry were exactly where I said they’d be. I took out one squad and sent the second packing.”
“Shut up, Cooper!” Hartford’s voice was rising in volume. “You could have cost us the whole mission not to mention the lives of your lance mates. Now, I want you to head into the town and make sure those defenders get the hell out of our way. Do you understand me?”
Cooper felt fear grip him. He was being set up.
“Alone? But Captain if those Mechs spot me they’ll tear me to pieces.”
Hartford’s reply sent a chill down Coopers spine.
“I only wish I was there to see it. The Alliance doesn’t need citizens like you, Cooper. Your father should have been shot and saved us all this trouble now. So you will do one of two things, Cooper. You will either get into that town to scout those defenders positions or you will shut down your Mech and return to the DropShip on foot. Which is it?”
Cooper had tried his best but just then he realised that nothing would be enough to remove the stigma that hung over him. He would forever be scorned and maligned by the people that he so desperately wanted to be accepted by. Then something inside Cooper snapped.
Coopers reply was as swift and sudden as the rage that built within him. His Vulcan surged forward slamming into Hartford’s Quickdraw. The Vulcan’s left arm smashed into the right torso of the Quickdraw. Twisted metal structure snapped under the strain and one of the rear facing medium lasers exploded sending sparks throughout the torso cavity.
The Quickdraw shook as SRM rounds housed in the right torso started to detonate. The cockpits of both Mechs split open amid the fire of ejection thrusters and the command chairs of the two pilots rocketed skyward. The Quickdraws body erupted with flame as explosions devoured the gigantic machine. The Mechs limbs went cart wheeling away as the destruction enveloped the Vulcan.
The smaller machine was flung backwards by the blast, its body torn open. Blue-white light blazed from the chest of the war machine as the engines fusion core escaped its prison and consumed the Mech, leaving nothing but a charred crater in the ground.


Eastern Freemantle Plains
Pitkin
Federated Suns
28th July 2611

Captain Daniella Hartford awoke to a throbbing pain down her right side. As consciousness invaded her resting mind she realised she was lying flat on a brown grass covered field staring up at the stars.
Daniella tried to sit up but she only made it a little way before pain seared down her right side and made her head swim. She flooped back onto the ground.
“Lie still. I’m trying to dress your wounds.”
It was a voice she recognised and one she instantly hated.
“Cooper.” she rasped through dry lips. “I was hoping you were dead.” She heard a snort of derision from the young MechWarrior.
“It’s lucky for you I’m not, Captain, or you’d be joining me in the afterlife. Looks like your right leg was cut pretty bad as you exited the cockpit. I’ve been able to stop most of the bleeding but you’re going to need a doctor to patch you up properly.”
Daniella sighed. It carried with it all the stress and tiredness that this operation had inflicted upon her.
“Why, Cooper? You could have left me and just walked away. That’s what I would’ve done.”
She cast her eyes down to see Coopers face. He was smiling but there was no mirth in it.
“Because I’m not you and no matter how much you hate me for it I’ll never be like you. I know that I’ll never have your respect but I was born in the Outworlds Alliance, it’s the only home I’ve ever known and I’ve spent my life trying to make the Alliance proud. That’s where you and I are the same, Captain. We love our home and would die for it. My father may have once been a Leaguer but he raised me to love my home and to do my duty.”
Daniella snorted. “Nice words, Cooper, but you still disobeyed orders. How’s that doing your duty?”
Jacob finished bandaging Daniella’s leg and sat back in the long grass.
“Captain, we had superior numbers and you left our right flank open; the flank closest to Schaarton. It seemed obvious that the infantry would be advancing from there. Say what you like but in the end I was right.” He paused then added quietly. “They had satchel charges, you know.”
Daniella shivered involuntarily. Satchel charges, if placed right by well trained infantry, could disable a Mech with one blast.
“You should’ve told me instead of ramming my Mech.” Daniella replied bitterly.
“At the time would you have cared?” Cooper queried.
Daniella didn’t respond. They sat in silence for few minutes, then finally Daniella asked the obvious question.
“Well, what do we do now? I can hardly walk out of here.”
Cooper looked around as if scanning the horizon.
“On my way down I saw a farm of some sort a couple of kilometres to the east. I could make it by sunrise if I left now.”
“You’re just going to abandon me out here?” Daniella asked exasperatedly.
“Just until I find some sort of transport, then I’ll come back for you and we’ll make our way to the LZ.” Cooper began placing several items next to Daniella then covered her with a blanket. “There’s rations, water, a torch and your automatic. I’ll be as fast as I can.”
“Thanks.” Was all Daniella said but Cooper took pride in that one simple word. It was the nicest thing she had ever said to him.


Mulligan Ranch
Pitkin
Federated Suns
28th July 2611

The first thing Cooper saw was the gargantuan form of the Wolverine standing motionless and catching the first rays of dawn. He stared at it longingly for a moment before surveying the rest of the ranch, what he could see of it at least.
He had arrived about ten minutes ago and had stopped to make sure the MechWarrior of the Wolverine had shut the machine down. Just past the Mech sat a wheeled utility vehicle. That was Coopers target; it also represented Coopers major problem. There was about 50 metres of open ground between him and the Ute.
You’ve got no choice, Cooper. You’ve got to just go for it. Cooper thought to himself.
Taking a deep breath and steeling his courage Cooper leapt from the ground and made a frantic dash for the cab of the Ute.
He seemed to be out in the open for ages and suddenly the Ute seemed so far away but then, suddenly, he was there grabbing at the door handle and sliding into the drivers seat. He peered above the dashboard at the house; no movement. He let out a heavy breath then checked the ignition. The keys, as he suspected, were not there.
Cooper used the butt of his sidearm to break the steering wheel cover and quickly some wires loose. Find the appropriate wires he touched them together but jumped when the engine sputtered. It was so loud. Quickly he connected the wires again and twisted the together as the he gunned the engine to life.
The front door of the ranch house burst open and three men charged out. One, obviously the MechWarrior, brandished an automatic pistol while the other two carried rifles. He recognised their uniforms as remnants of the rifle squad he decimated the night before.
Gun shots rang out as Cooper slammed the truck into gear and roared off into the field. The rear window of the cab shattered inwards and Cooper felt something slam into his left shoulder. He cried out with pain and twisted with the force but gritted his teeth against the pain and straightened the vehicle up.
He knew without needing to look that the MechWarrior behind him would be racing to the cockpit of the Wolverine. He had very little time and the Ute would offer him no protection against the deadly weapons of the Wolverine. Cooper floored the accelerator and flew out onto the plains, heading back towards Captain Hartford.


Eastern Freemantle Plains
Pitkin
Federated Suns
28th July 2611

“Captain Bethell, this is Lieutenant Cortese. My patrol has found one of the attackers, Sir. She was armed but put up no resistance. She’s also injured but she’s been tended to rather well. There must be another one out here.”
Cortese looked down at Daniella who stared back at him coldly as he waited for a reply.
“Good work, Lieutenant. I’ll send a truck out your way to pick up the prisoner.”
“Thank you, Sir. Can you make it big enough for us three as well? It’s a long walk back to camp.”
Bethells light laugh came back over the walkie talkie.
“I think you’ve earned that much, Lieutenant.”

Ten minutes passed and Cortese heard a vehicle approaching.
“Here’s our ride, boys. Get your gear together.”
Looks like the rifle boys that went out with Mulligan, Cortese thought to himself just as his walkie talkie crackled.
“Cortese here”.
“Cortese,” it was Bethell, “Mulligan has just reported in. One of the attackers may be heading your way.”
Cortese waved to the approaching Ute as it drew closer. Isn’t he going to slow down?, he thought.
“He’s stolen our truck from Mulligans Ranch and should be approaching your position.”
As the information sank in Cortese turned to look at the swiftly approaching truck. My god.
“Weapons up!” he shouted just as the crack of a gunshot sounded. One of his men fell clutching his abdomen.
Cortese raised his sub-Machine Gun and fired a burst at the truck which swerved suddenly and headed straight for him. Cortese dived aside as another shot rang out from the truck and dropped his second man just as he was unleashing a hail of machine gun fire himself. The man spun, firing wildly into the air then dropped to the ground.
The truck spun to a halt and a lone man dived from the cab taking cover behind the tray of the Ute. He stood up once and fired two shots in Corteses direction.
In response Cortese unleashed another short burst of gun fire which peppered the back of the Ute with bullets. When he stopped he called out to the gunman behind the truck.
“I’ve got two more magazines. How many rounds do you have left? Give yourself up!”

Cooper dived to the front of the Ute as machine gun fired flew through and over the back of the truck. He peered around the front and saw Captain Hartford lying a few metres from the crouching Federated Suns officer.
He was instantly spotted and another hail of bullets forced him to retreat for cover. He stood over the top of the bonnet and squeezed the trigger three times; bang, bang, click.
“God.” Cooper breathed as he returned to cover. There was no return fire.
The officer called out again.
“This is your last chance!”
Cooper hung his head, resigned. He’d done his best, no one could deny that.
“Alright! I’m coming out.” He yelled back.
“Throw your firearm out first!” came the reply.
Cooper did as he was instructed then slowly stood up and walked around the front of the Ute. The officer stood also and took two steps towards Cooper.
“I surrender and submit myself for trial by the Federated Suns Court.”
The Officer snort disdainfully.
“Trial? You filthy Outworlders don’t deserve a trial.”
He hefted his sub-Machine Gun and slowly squeezed the trigger. Cooper closed his eyes.
A loud burst of machine gun fire rang out deafeningly but Cooper felt no pain. This isn’t so bad, he thought.
He opened his eyes to see the Davion officer lying on the ground, just metres to his left lay Daniella Hartford hefting the machine gun of the second man Cooper shot. Cooper raced over to her as she slumped her face to the ground.
“Captain!” Cooper said as he lifted her and carried her towards the truck.
Hissing, Daniella opened her eyes and looked directly into his. “Now we’re even, Cooper. Get us the hell out of here.”


DropShip “Opportunity”
Pitkin
Federated Suns
28th July 2611

Cooper walked through the doors into the medical station of the Opportunity. They’d had a close brush with the Wolverine when escaping but had managed to out distance it and make their way back to the LZ. not without running out of gas with about 300 metres to go though.
Daniella was unconscious when they arrived so Cooper had been thrown in the brig. He had been released without comment soon after she woke up. Now he had received orders to report to Captain Hartford in the medical bay.
As he entered the room he saw the ships medic, Bullard and Forth all standing around Captain Hartfords bed. She looked up at him as he stopped at the foot of her bed and snapped a crisp salute.
“Private Jacob Cooper reporting as requested, Ma’am.”
“Cooper.” Hartfords face was stern. “I have filled out a report on everything that took place on Pitkin.”
Coopers gaze dropped to the floor for a moment before returning to her. “I understand, Ma’am.”
“Don’t interrupt me, Cooper. My report states how you volunteered for a dangerous solo mission to intercept the enemy infantry and how, later, when you rejoined the main battle your Mechs left knee actuator gave out crippling your Mech.”
Coopers mouth dropped open in shock. “But, Captain….”
“I said, do NOT interrupt me! My report goes on to describe how you single handedly mounted a rescue operation after my Mech was destroyed by enemy forces and successfully returned me to the Opportunity. I have formally requested that you receive a promotion to the rank of Lieutenant and be transferred to a more austere unit.”
Copper looked around those present. Their faces were hardly glowing with pride but there was no resentment, no hatred.
“Captain, I don’t know what to say.”
Daniella Hartford cracked a small but very rare smile.
“You don’t need to say a word Lieutenant Cooper. I will finally get you out of my hair so we both win.”
Cooper stared at her for a moment, then she threw a wink at him and her smile broadened.
“Thank you, Cooper.” Was all she added.
Bullard and Forth stepped forward smiling and shook Coopers hand as they congratulated him.
Cooper couldn’t contain his smile as he realised that all he had strived for had finally come about. On a world, light years from home, in the face of the enemy, the Cooper honour had finally been redeemed.

==Author's Notes==
I had to give it a nice ending in contrast to “Question of Loyalty”. I quite like the way this one has turned out but if you have any suggestions for future stories let me know. I’m considering writing a third in the Cooper Family saga.

--Jimmy the Tulip 20:43, 14 October 2007 (CDT)

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