Product information
Type Short story
Author Blaine Lee Pardoe
Pages 13
Publication information
Publisher BattleCorps
First published 17 November 2008
Era Star League era
Timeline 6 November 2775 - 6 May 2804 (see Notes)

Desertion is a short story by Blaine Lee Pardoe that was published online on BattleCorps on 17 November 2008.

Teaser text[edit]

In time of war many are called upon to do things they would normally be against, and in such circumstances those things are done. Sometimes, however, every man or woman is called upon to make a difficult choice for themselves, regardless of the cost, and then made to pay the price.

Plot summary[edit]

Private Ernest Nebfer is a Terran Hegemony citizen drafted into the Rim Worlds Republic's Republican Guards. He was dragged out of his home at gunpoint, put through basic training in four weeks, and then sent to the front lines. At some point during the battle for Procyon, he is put in charge of escorting a MechWarrior deserter to her execution. His conscience gets the better of him, and he lets her escape. As a consequence, he is assigned to the 405th Penal Battalion for 30 days—essentially a death sentence, since average lifespan in the unit is measured in hours.

Nebfer finds himself assigned to take Hill 215 from SLDF infantry. He and his fellow suicide troops are given a rifle, grenade, combat knife and satchel charge. Such human wave tactics have been steadily failing (at great cost in life) for two weeks. They're given a mandate—"win or die"—as retreat is not an option. They'll either be killed by the SLDF going forward, or killed by RWR regulars (the 88th Division – The Scythe of Amaris) if they try to run.

Nebfer charges up the hill, hoping to make it to the top and somehow stay alive. His comrades are massacred all around him, but he makes it to a wrecked 'Mech leg and prepares to throw his satchel charge into the SLDF trench, hoping that victory will mean life. He's hit by incoming fire and falls to the ground. His last sight is the armed satchel charge lying in the dirt next to his head.

Twenty-eight years after the Star League's liberation of Procyon from Republican forces, the children (half-siblings) of the MechWarrior saved by Private Nebfer visit the memorial to the victims of the battles for Hills 215 and 219. They talk about how their mother regularly visited the memorial park, though it wasn't clear that Nebfer was actually buried there, since many records were lost during the war. The older sister tells her younger half-brother that she's continuing her mother's tradition of honoring the man who had saved her life, and the sacrifice he made.


  • The datestamp on this story is 6 November 2775, which is around eight months too early, per the timeline established in Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 2 where it is stated that Procyon was invaded in late February/early March 2776. The battle for Hill 215 takes place around the time of the final SLDF assault, which the SLDF Fifth Army managed to wrap up by mid-summer 2776. Nebfer remarks that entire cities have been wiped out in the fighting, placing this after the main body of the 88th Republican Guards Division buttoned up in their Castle Brians.