|Author||Craig A. Reed|
|First published||24 May 2010|
|Timeline||9—14 August 3068|
|“||War makes for strong emotions, both for the victors and the vanquished. When those roles are reversed, the feelings expand exponentially, as the rescue force headed toward a Combine POW camp discovers.||”|
While the two DropShips of an AFFS rescue force approach the planet Chichibu in the Draconis Combine, Leftenant Colonel Colin Kerse irritates his executive officer, Major Amanda Rawson, and the other officers aboard through his reluctance to reveal details about their mission. He explains that this will ascertain they cannot leak vital information in case they are caught and interrogated. It is obvious that the strange-acting Kerse is hiding something and knows far more than he is willing to share. He orders a radio signal be sent to the planet, and the crew is surprised to receive an encoded burst transmission with up-to-date intel on their objective in turn on a predetermined channel.
Once the DropShips have secretly landed and deployed their forces, Kerse continues to skip the chain of command and has all units reporting directly to him. The task force's aim is a prison camp some 150 kilometers from their landing site. Kerse explains it to be a slave labor camp for a nearby mining operation; the Kokuryu-kai have withheld prisoners of war from the recent prisoner exchange with the Federated Suns without the knowledge or approval of the Combine's Coordinator. It is revealed that Kerse himself was held at this facility and escaped, but not before suffering lasting injury. The liberation of the camp is part of his personal vendetta against its commander, Sho-sa Kobayashi.
The rescue operation narrowly succeeds. On the way back to the JumpShip, Kerse reveals the last details: After his escape from the camp, he had to make deals with locals to escape off-planet; the Kokuryu-kai were not popular with Chichibu's population either, but held hostages at the camp. Timed with Kerse's prisoner rescue raid, the organization's members were arrested all over the planet.
- 8th Alshain Avengers (ronin former members of that unit, which was destroyed by Clan Ghost Bear)
- Chisholm's Raiders (Kerse's old unit)
- Black Hawk-KU - reported as Blackhawk-KU-A
- Blackjack (OmniMech) - reported as Blackjack-OC
- Firestarter (OmniMech) - reported as Firestarter-OB'