|First published||2 August 2011|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||16 December 3016|
|Followed by||A Cover of Paint|
The story is set in 3016. Previously, the Killian's Commandos mercenary unit featured in another story by Purnell (A Cover of Paint) set ten years later; the unit had also been showcased in a BattleCorps Unit Digest.
|“||Longtime readers will remember Christopher Purnell's Killian's Commandos and its members; now he offers us the story of how Luys Claessens came to join the mercenary company.||”|
Luys Claessens is a colored MechWarrior on the Lyran Commonwealth world of New Capetown. When his mother died, he stood to inherit her Locust BattleMech. However, under planetary law, people of color are not allowed to possess weapons, and agents of the local government seized the 'Mech. Lawyer Adriaan De Wert (Luys' stepfather) advises Luys to forget about trying to press his claim in court, and try to find work as an overseer on a plantation.
Luys goes to the Boar's Head Pub at the Sondagstad spaceport and meets with Captain John Killian, CO of Killian's Commandos, a freshly minted mercenary unit. Killian offers Luys a contract that will get him offworld, as long as he brings his own 'Mech.
Late that night, Luys slips through the veldt onto his mother's farm. On other properties, bonfires mark celebrations in honor of Geloftedag – the Day of the Vow (a traditional Voortrekker holiday commemorating their victory over the Zulu king, Dingane). He notes that his uncle Piet is flying the banner of the Nieuw Broederbond, the most radically racist political party on the planet. Luys slips into the barn where the Locust is being stored and, with the assistance of a colored field-hand, powers it up and prepares to depart. His uncle bursts in at the last moment with a group of guards, but they can do nothing as Luys crashes out of the barn and races away into the night.
Just as he thinks he's gotten away, a militia VTOL appears on his sensors and orders him to surrender. He realizes that his only hope is to get to Killian. Once under contract, he'll enjoy the same legal status as a white New Capetown citizen, ensuring the validity of his claim to his mother's 'Mech. Racing into the city, he bypasses a militia roadblock and survives an encounter with a pair of Order Police in Kruger-class SecurityMechs. Once he reaches Killian's bivouac, he surrenders to the mercenaries.
At a hastily convened hearing, Interior Minister Karl Voerster demands that the 'Mech be delivered to the New Capetown militia. However, Killian's contract voids the racial discrimination that prevented Luys from legally claiming the Locust, and Kommandant Fischer (commander of the LCAF garrison) refuses to enforce Voerster's orders, informing the Minister that the Commonwealth disapproves of New Capetown's racial laws. He declares that the Commandos' contract with New Capetown is voided without any penalties to Killian's unit, ostensibly to protect the Commonwealth's reputation as an equitable mercenary employer. Voerster stalks out, swearing vengeance on Luys.