Hard Choices

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Shrapnel Magazine 014 cover.jpg
Hard Choices
Story information
Author Marc Follin
Type Short Story
Product Shrapnel Issue 14
Content
Era ilClan era
Timeline 13-22 June 3151

Hard Choices is a short story by Marc Follin that was published in the fourteenth issue of Shrapnel.

Plot summary[edit]

In his unit's cantonment, Lieutenant Gabriel Morales of the Republic of the Sphere army assists in the reproduction of the holomessage in which the Exarch Devlin Stone dissolves the Republic. Soon the unit's members, which were in Free Worlds League space, find themselves divided about what to do. Gabriel's superiors ask him his opinion and order him to remain calm. After meeting with his pregnant wife, the Lieutenant talks with her about what to do. Being natives from Callison in the Wolf Empire territory, they find themselves homeless. The next day, Gabriel is awakened by a call from Varin, one of his men. He had been caught off base and after Morales reunites with him, the young man explains to him that he had been talking with mercenary members of the unit Baker's Butchers about defecting from the base and joining them. The leader of the Butchers also offered a place to Morales, which he didn't answer. After talking about the offer with his wife, Gabriel realizes than joining the mercenaries is their only real chance. Morales talks with Baker, who tells him that to be accepted he has to steal several 'Mechs, ammo, and parts. Reluctantly he agrees, though he doesn't want to shoot his former comrades. The next night Gabriel, his wife, and two more MechWarriors infiltrate their 'mech hangar. A firefight between former RAF soldiers ensues outside the base, and Gabriel's lance uses the chaos to escape. Despite being forced to shoot at his former comrades they avoided killing anyone. Once in the Butcher's DropShip, departing to space, Gabriel and his wife talk about what they will do, and they decide to abandon the Butchers once they finish their first contract.

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