I don't own Iron Blooded Orphans

"What should I do, Orga?"

The night air was heavy and dark. The Third Division's commander was running on a diet of caffeine and raw nerves, staring down at the auburn-haired, green eyed boy.

Deciding the place where he might die.

Do I keep him away from danger, or do I use him? Do I bring in the younger soldiers? Should I?

He hated putting the younger troops in danger. But can I really afford not to use them? Would they really thank me for protecting them? We'll need every single gun we can get...


...and should I protect them, any more than anyone else? Younger, older... does it change that we're all soldiers?

"Dante," Orga groused, turning to the Third Division contractor's self-trained specialist in electronic warfare. The red striping on the side of his flak jacket marked him as a Human Debris contract-soldier. "Go with him. Get the eastern armory open. Near the younger group. One rifle and three clips to every single one of them."

Eighty-two, Orga remembered. Eighty-two of us are younger than thirteen. Even with nearly two hundred others I can't protect them all.

As Ride and Takaki's eyes widened in sudden unexpected joy, Dante hesitated, shooting his boss a hard look. One he rarely saw from the bloody-haired teenager. Orga didn't need to hear Dante's words to know what he was saying, as the ecstatic pre-teens celebrated. Are you sure, Orga? They might be thanking you now, and you might be burying them in a few hours.

Orga's eyes hardened, and Dante's widened. We can't spare anyone tonight, Dante, Orga didn't say.

Moments later they were gone.

Orga turned to Biscuit, as the overweight boy, Eugene, and Shino joined him in the abandoned breakroom. All three looked pale and irritable. Not enough sleep. In the grimy room's dim light, they all looked like shit.

Except for the other two, of course. Atra was sitting in a corner, working on something, and Akihiro was piling into a plate of hastily fried bacon and eggs and coffee, looking for all the world like he was ready to fight a war.

Akihiro's been pissed off, ever since he got that letter from Mika. Why?

Orga turned to Biscuit. "Is it done?"

"Yeah," Biscuit nodded. "The packages are set. Mikazuki can activate them with that code."

"Good job." Orga breathed, heaving a sigh. Two problems down. Twenty thousand more to go...

Biscuit swallowed as he questioned. "The code. Do you have any idea what it means?"

"No," Orga shrugged. "Something he made up."

"Boss," Eugene leaned against the drywall, frowning over a set of folded arms. "Not all of us are happy about this. We all knew we had to eventually do something about the upper ranks, but to act now? It'd be one thing if Mikazuki was here himself, but as it is, all we've got to go on is that one letter. We don't even know if it was him that wrote it. None of us knew he could even read. There's a lot we don't know about this situation."

"It's a bit late for that, Eugene," Orga frowned. He's not wrong. "But it was Mika, all right."

Tekkadan. Orga had been musing over the word for hours. The iron flower that never dies. How did he know?

"Yeah." Akihiro's grim, gravel-like voice emanated from the far end of the break-room's table. He glanced at Eugene with a narrowing of his eyes. Muscles clenching under his clothes like bridge-cables, he looked like he'd been carved out of a rock. "Mikazuki sent them. Don't doubt it."

"Fine, fine, boss." Eugene frowned under the pressure. "When should we hit?"

"Marabura and Haeda are gonna leave before breakfast," Orga responded. "That limits our options. Mika will have to deal with them, somehow. There'll still be two hundred or so members of First on-base. Maybe a hundred and twenty that can fight." He turned back to Biscuit. "Oi, how much sedative we still got?"

"Enough for forty, forty-five at most," Biscuit said.

"Not enough." Orga tsked, riffling his hand through his hair. "Make sure the officer's table gets it. Concentrate the dose if you have to. Just make sure the officers are out of action."

"The sedatives have to be taken in liquid form, Orga." Biscuit reminded him.

"Crap." Orga scowled. He turned to Atra. "Oi, Atra. You got any ideas?"

"Um!" She leapt to her feet. Orga glanced at the thing in her hand. Is she... knitting something? He stared. Huh? "You can try serving porridge but they won't like that at all."

"Like I give a damn what they like," Orga groused, scuffing at the floor with his boot. "Arrange for something to happen to the eggs and throw in all the leftover sugar, if that's what it takes to get them to eat that slop."

Atra flinched for a moment, before nodding and walking away hurriedly. She's always been skittish around me, Orga mused, glancing at her small, retreating back. Why? She follows Mika wherever he goes, and he's got ten times my kills.

"Oi, Atra." Orga called. She hesitantly turned back to him. "Thanks for helping us. But, by the time it's breakfast tomorrow, don't stick around." Orga muttered. "You won't want to be here."

She smiled at him, sadly. "I know, Orga."

He tsked internally as she left the room. I don't understand girls.

"Biscuit," Orga groused, finishing his coffee off. "About the explosives. Who knows?"

"The explosives Mikazuki asked for?" Biscuit nodded as he chugged at his own cup. "Yeah; Shino and Tamaki helped. Eugene told a few of the lieutenants." He paused. "The ones we know will keep quiet. We can't expect to keep everyone on after we take over."

Yeah. Orga already knew that. How many deserters will we have, by this time tomorrow...

"You manage to steal the master key to the mobile workers?" Orga asked.

"Yeah," Biscuit nodded, smiling. "We've got it, all right."

What's the damn time? "Good." Orga muttered, glancing at the clock on the wall. 1:12 A.M.

"Fuck." Orga grimaced at the sight.

"What's up, Boss?" Eugene was leaning against the near wall, sipping at his own fresh cup. Can't believe he takes it black.

"I just hate all-nighters, Eugene." Orga grumbled. "It's going to be a long, shitty, shitty night."

"Like that isn't obvious." Eugene sipped at his cup, scowling at the taste. "We'll rest after we've got the base under control. It won't take long. We've got the numbers." Eugene looked at him with something almost approaching pity. "It's what comes after that worries me. Your own job is going to suck a lot more. It's just the dregs of First that are still on the base."

"Yeah," Orga muttered. He turned to the leader of the Human Debris. "Akihiro."

The muscle-bound boulder of a young man responded only with a side-glance of his eyes.

"You've got two sets of orders. First, I want you to get your muscle squad together." Akihiro frowned for a heartbeat, as Orga continued. "Heavy weapons. Be ready to go in twenty minutes with the rest of us. Bring Dante, too." Orga breathed, and his eyes tightened.

"Next, after we're done with tonight's job, head up and out to the Hakafune spaceport with Chad and Dante. Ignore everything else. You can borrow my expense card. I'll find you an I.D. that'll get you in there once we finish up. I want you to go up there and link up with the rest of the contractors in orbit and make sure the Will o' the Wisp doesn't get stolen tomorrow."

"Got it," Akihiro grumbled. His expression was dark, his eyes... elsewhere.

His body's here, but he isn't.

"What's eating at you, Akihiro?"

Akihiro shook his head, not quite glowering. His immense muscles were taut beneath his flak-jacket. "Mikazuki found out something. Something I need to check on. I'm not staying up in Hakafune for long. I need to come back down and talk to him, as soon as tomorrow's job is done."

The hell?

"Sure," Orga said.

Akihiro glanced to him through a single narrowed eye. The granite-like muscles of his shoulders clenched taut under his flak-jacket. "I wasn't asking." After a moment, he returned to laying siege on his plate of food.

Orga shook his head for a moment.

"Eugene, Biscuit." Orga nodded to his deputy commanders. "You two stay behind. Secure the base after the Third Division convoy leaves. I'm taking Shino and Akihiro, with a few of the platoons."

"You'll leave us to take the base by ourselves?" Eugene frowned, Biscuit mirroring the expression.

"You'll have most of the troops." Orga grinned. "Think you guys aren't up for the job?"

"Fine, fine." Eugene grumbled. "Me and Biscuit should be fine." Eugene nodded to the shorter, stocky boy. "Like I said earlier, the parts of First left on base will be the dregs. We can handle 'em."

Biscuit spoke up. "We'll do it, Orga. Where are you and the others going? To Mikazuki?"

"No." Orga smirked, showing teeth. "The city. We've got a hostile takeover on the schedule."

4:25 AM

Orga and Shino met the aristocrat just outside of Chryse.

"Heh." Shino grinned, staring down the dark road. Looking at what was waiting for them. "Mikazuki really came through, didn't he?"

No shit, Shino.

Just down the road from them, in an abandoned train station's parking lot, there were at least a hundred men. Parked in some great circle, just below a dark hill.

Two factions. Blue, and green. Maybe twenty men in white uniforms, trimmed in blue; eighty in white uniforms, trimmed in green.

Waiting for them.

Behind Orga and Shino followed ninety-odd troops, in a set of four spare infantry trucks. We're all Tekkadan now, I suppose, Orga mused. I like it, Mika. I like it.

A severe man in a pressed blue uniform stepped up to Orga's window. He wore the epaulets of a captain.

"Orga Itsuka?"

A House Soldier, Orga realized, staring at the insignia on his uniform. A Captain.

The elite, thoroughly trained military units that only citizens could join, directly defending the Sphere's true masters.

How the hell did Mika get in with the aristocrats?

"Yeah." Orga grinned. "Guilty as charged."

"Follow me," the man said, nodding to him and Shino. "Tell your men to park off that way. I will bring you to the master."

Orga and Shino were escorted to the center of the ring of vehicles, illuminated by temporary lamps. Orga looked at the man waiting for them. Pale, dark-haired, dark-eyed. Handsome. He's younger than I expected, Orga thought. He can't even be thirty yet.

The man offered a well-manicured hand. "Orga Itsuka, I presume?" Orga nodded. "I am Taniel Noachis, heir to the Hellas duchy."

Orga stared at the hand for a moment before remembering himself. "Yeah," he said, shaking. Remember, aristocrats. It's all about protocol with them. Manners.

"Mikazuki Augus had only the best to say about you," the man gave Orga a thin smile. "I hope you can match up to his recommendation." He turned to Shino. "The same goes for his friends."

"Heh." Orga smirked. His clench on the other man's hand tightened. "We're Tekkadan. Don't underestimate us. We'll deliver."

Shino piped up, grinning. "Yeah. We'll get done what needs getting done."

"Good." The man's smile tightened. "There is too much at stake to permit failure." The aristocrat turned to a figure in the shadows. "Orga Itsuka, meet Ulysses Xanthe, the Duke of the Xanthe Terra."

Orga nearly gaped. A fucking Duke?

A short, doughty figure with a crag-like face and a trimmed salt-and-pepper beard stepped forth, glowering at Noachis. He barely spared a glance for Orga and Shino. He groused up at the other aristocrat. "Taniel, you brought me and my personal guard all the way here at this godforsaken time of night for a pack of brats?"

Orga's fist clenched, hidden in his flak jacket's pocket.

"No." The dark-haired, younger aristocrat smiled down on the older. "Soldiers." His expression flickered. "Ulysses, we've already made an accord. To work together in shaping the path of independence, to see that the path taken serves our purposes, in the end."

"Soldiers," Duke Xanthe muttered, glancing at Orga, a dismissive flash that seemed to weigh and measure his value in a split-heartbeat, and find it wanting. "These are kids. Useless to us. We can do better." He sighed, scratching at his beard. Noachis glanced to Orga apologetically. "I agree with the general gist of your argument, Taniel; it wouldn't have been wise to work directly with Red Line or one of the other PMCs, they can't be trusted to hold the line; but we don't need brats. I've been advocating all along that we should set up a professional military; combine the peerage's House Forces from baron on up, set up a central command and move in when Gjallarhorn pulls out."

Orga's expression twisted, his lips thinning. On any other day, on any other day at all—he would have ignored the jibes. But, at this juncture, now...?

I didn't come out here to be insulted. Not tonight.

"A fine idea, Ulysses," Noachis nodded, "but it always circles back to the crucial two questions. Which House will have command? And who will pay, in the years and generations down the road?" He nodded to Orga. "This is how I say we'll move forward."

Duke Xanthe glanced at Orga for a scarce moment longer. "Why these brats?"

Noachis gave the older Duke a level stare. "Every single member of the CGS Third Division has undergone the Alaya-Vijnana procedure, Ulysses."

The man visibly shuddered, glancing to Orga and Shino for a longer moment. "The things we do for results..." he whispered, before nodding. "Better them than my own men, I agree. I wouldn't wish that archaic barbarity on my worst enemy. What of their battle record?"

"Impeccable, of course," said Noachis. "Possibly the finest battle record over the last year of any military contractor in the Sphere."

"Good." The Duke nodded. "They'll make for acceptable fodder."

Noachis, slowly, nodded.

Orga's features twisted.

Not by aristocrats. Not by anyone.

"Grand ambitions require money," Noachis observed. "We already spend enough on our own forces."

"Most of our peers would rather sell their mothers than take a tax hike." The Duke grumbled in agreement. "And we fight for our privileges like dogs would a bone. But, we don't need to settle for a federation, or a confederacy, Taniel. We should be trying to unite the Sphere into a single nation. Our forces can lead by example, force the others into line. Combine the Economic Federation colonies under one banner—our banner. Get the Human Debris trade under control and tax it properly. Maybe even give a few to your pet project." He glanced to Orga; a dismissive flash. "They'd be in good company. Trash begets trash."

Not while my friends are fighting those Third bastards.

"Regarding unification, many dreamers of the past four centuries have aspired for it." Noachis smiled sadly. "Maybe it will happen, someday. But not in our generation. No one House or other faction is dominant enough to succeed. And, I agree, we can bring the bureaucracies of the Colonial Administrations under control after Gjallarhorn pulls out, but should we? If we made such a power play we could well be fighting a new war amongst ourselves within a few years. If we take that step, one of us may make a play to become a King. I'd prefer not to walk down that road. The status quo has been kind to us."

At this VERY SECOND Biscuit and Eugene and all the others might be fighting for their lives and these aristocrats think they can just ignore us like ants, fit us into their plans like so many little gears...?

Next to him, Shino tensed. The gangly, handsome teenager's good humor had long since evaporated.

"I'm willing to try, Taniel." The Duke of Xanthe glowered up at the taller man. "We can increase taxes on those not in the peerage once Gjallarhorn departs. Declare a confederation of the duchies. We'll just have to curtail the Federation bureaucracies and prevent them from wielding hard power. If we emasculate them, the Sphere is ours. There are a dozen sufficiently strong PMCs in the Sphere we can work with, if need be. We can buy out their leadership, combine the forces under our lead, force the bureaucracies to submit and be incorporated into the duchies. The other dukes will follow our lead once they see the prospect of spoils."

"A worthy idea." Noachis seemed to consider it. "But, again, I believe the balance of the status quo is acceptable. However, there may be some merit in using the other mercenary companies. We cannot let the democrats carry the day. If we brought the mercenaries upon the government centers, particularly Arbrau... we should be..."

The world faded around him, and Orga looked on, staring. What the hell are you getting us into, Mika?


Enough. He tsked internally while the other men debated. Take the damn initiative. That's why you're the leader.

"So, if I'm getting this right," Orga took a step forward, trying to control his expression. Trying to control his fury. "You aristocrats want to outsource your own defense?"

"Not exactly, Orga Itsuka." Noachis turned to him, smiling.

The Duke, on the other hand, seemed to have forgotten about him. I'll have to change that.

"But, close. The Martian Duchies already see to our own defense, by and large. We are... satisfied with the defense status quo, for the most part. We simply want an organization that can step in to the void Gjallarhorn will leave; to defend our routes where our own forces may be stretched thin, or out-gunned. To defend our interests, in the Lawless Territories, or in our home cities, if need be."

"To make sure the planet doesn't go democratic on us," the older Duke grumbled.

Like I give a damn what kind of government the Sphere has. "You want us to replace Gjallarhorn?" Orga clarified. But I won't deploy anyone against civilians. Ever.


Seriously, Mika?

"Yes." Noachis nodded, while the Duke scowled. "Their local arm has been weakening under budget cuts for decades. They only have twenty-five or so mobile suits remaining on the planet, and a few thousand soldiers. Two capital ships docked in Phobos." Noachis shook his head, as though remembering an unpleasant detail, and continued.

"This all discounts their arm in Tharsis, which operates in a different chain of command. That aside, their orbital command and Surface Bases represent a larger expense than any one or two duchies would be willing to put forth, but would be within the range of possibility for a sufficiently strong military contractor. Gjallarhorn's total presence on Mars right now is only slightly greater than the rumored strength of the Dawn Horizon pirates, truth be told."

"Even before these budget cuts, Gjallarhorn was unreliable." Duke Xanthe muttered, mostly to Noachis. "We paid far more in taxes than we got back in security. The past six commanders of the Ares station have all been posted from the Earth Sphere; glorified exiles, at that. A Martian hasn't commanded in generations. They look down on our sons when they enlist. We may hold title in the peerage, but we're considered unimportant provincials in the political high command. None of the Seven Stars have visited in several years. It's a disgrace. Then they dare to assume that we'll let Arbrau and the other colonial Federation governments take over after they leave?"

Orga's voice was hard. "How do the other PMCs fit in? Especially the frontier ones?"

Duke Xanthe stepped forward, fully adrressing Orga for the first time. "We'll organize and recall them. If Gjallarhorn is pulling out we'll have to bring them closer to the cities. You would be among them, I suppose."

Orga smiled. He couldn't help it. Idiots and children were just so funny, sometimes. He has no idea what he's talking about. If he does, he's a monster.

"Why us?" Orga asked.

"The Alaya— "

"No." Orga interrupted, shaking his head. "The whiskers don't make someone a better soldier. You can't implant loyalty, or discipline. Or honor." He stepped forward, again. "I'll ask again. Why us?"

He already knew. We're strong. And, to them? We're expendable.

Noachis considered Orga for a time, crossing his hands behind his back while he carefully picked his words. He locked his narrowed eyes with Orga's.

I'm being too aggressive with them, aren't I?


Tough shit, bastards.

"Your... representative, and leader, Mikazuki Augus, thoroughly impressed a friend of mine, and myself. We believe this project is within the range of his skill."

Orga blinked.

Hold on, hold on. What's this about Mika being leader? Orga considered the thought for a moment, then gave the mental equivalent of a casual shrug. A wild grin.

A challenge.

I guess it would look that way from the outside, wouldn't it?


He didn't let himself grin like an animal. But he wanted to.

No matter how angry he was.

I'll have to do something about that 'leader' idea of theirs. It would be a problem if my best buddy looked cooler than me, wouldn't it?

Noachis continued, his hands clasped behind his back.

"But that's all in the future. Gjallarhorn won't disappear so quickly. We expect to have at least a year, and potentially as many as three, before the organization withdraws its military arm from the Sphere. We expect they'll maintain a presence in Tharsis. This all is contingent on the Federation elections on Earth next year, which we expect to heavily favor the isolationist factions. Right now, we are..." Noachis smirked. "Planning ahead, shall we say."

"You realize that we're all space rats?" Orga said, clarifying. "Human Debris, even."

We're so far below men like you, you wouldn't even want to be seen near us in public, Orga didn't say.

The older duke was the first to speak. He addressed Orga with obvious reluctance and distaste, his lip curling.

"The tiered citizenship system is a law of the land we wish to preserve, Orga Itsuka." The man scratched at his salt-and-pepper beard, peering at Orga through narrowed eyes. "After the failures of Old Earth, we in the aristocracy have little interest in restoring democracy. You need only speak to the average man to know that the average man has no place in politics." The man paused for a moment, considering his words carefully, then continued.

This guy doesn't even see us as people. Ants, maybe. He doesn't think I understand a word he's saying.


He thinks I'll bark like a dog for some money.

"However, not all nobles are, automatically, supporters of slavery. In truth, the greatest supporters of the slave trades are petty nobility and non-noble landowners, whose only assets are land and laborers, whereas the cash-rich high nobility are generally neutral or slightly leaning pro-abolition. However, in order to wield power and influence, they need the support of their vassals. We," Duke Xanthe indicated Noachis "require the loyalty of our barons, just as they require the loyalty of their own men."

"What does that mean for us?" Orga asked.

Noachis was the one to respond.

"We will consider granting citizenship to you and your men, and granting your commanders a place in the peerage. If you can measure up to our hopes."

Duke Xanthe glared at the younger man. "Hold on, Taniel. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's an entire road between here, and there. And to let people who've been modified become citizens, let alone peers, is—"

Orga's hands clenched in the pockets of his jacket. Thoughts flashed through him. The sounds around—the bickering of the aristocrats, the tensing of Shino next to him, the dull clamor of men loading up their weapons—it all drowned to a dull clamor.

Orga thought. He thought about what to do.

Is this really the way forward, Mika? To become the attack dog of the aristocrats?

But this was beyond anything he'd ever expected. Citizenship for Tekkadan's soldiers... they could all start real families. Be able to own land of their own, instead of just renting from nobles. Go to good schools. Get better, real, jobs. They could vote. They could become anything they wanted to be.

We can be human.

Why didn't it feel like the victory it was? Why? WHY?

...Because we'll be doing the oppressing for them, won't we? Picking up where Gjallarhorn leaves off? Remember? They're 'outsourcing.' Remember how the Duke responded when Noachis mentioned Alaya-Vijnana. They want us to do the things they don't want to. Make the sacrifices they don't want to pay.


—BUT, can I really say no? Do I really give a fuck about the politics? I'm doing this for my guys. For my friends. For Tekkadan.

Orga sent Shino a look, and his infantry commander's expression tightened in sudden comprehension. The brown-haired, gangly boy retreated into the shadows.

"We can control them, Ulysses. In the end, all men want to be led, and led well— "

"Duke Xanthe," Orga interrupted, riffling his fingers through his hair, glaring through one narrowed eye.

But if we do this, Mika, it'll be on our terms.

Not theirs.

"What is it, Orga Itsuka?" the Duke grumbled at being interrupted with his debate. Noachis turned to Orga, curiosity writ on his features.

"On the battlefield, your blood would be just as red as anyone else's." Orga smirked, without any kindness. "That's how you aristocrats got your ranks in the first place, isn't it?"

The Duke's teeth clenched. "What are you talking about— "

—And Orga's grin widened, showing the incisors of his teeth. Noachis shook his head, warning Orga with his eyes. Don't do it—

Orga grinned in wild defiance, like the lowborn trash he was.

"Your great-great-great grandfather or whoever was the first Duke of Xanthe just happened to kill enough people that the government gave him a title. That's how it works, right? Becoming an aristocrat? All you've got to do is kill enough other important people, and then you and your kids get to be called nobles. Get to pretend that they're better than anyone else, just because of who their dad was. All the while, the rest of us get to live like shit, dying in the dirt."

The Duke's expression reddened, expression verging on the apoplectic. "I can have you shot— "


—Orga whispered, with a low chuckle and a cold cast to his eyes.

"That's all it comes down to, in the end. Luck." Orga glared through one eye, the Duke made speechless, his armed personal guard tensing where they stood.

"Whatever your ancestor did, he couldn't have done it without his comrades. His allies. His friends. But where are their fancy titles, I wonder? All you have is a rank that any of a hundred other soldiers might've gotten in your ancestor's place, if their luck had been just a little different. A bit less luck, a different set of circumstances, maybe a bit less skill, from your ancestor... that's the one difference between you and me, isn't it? What have you done, to earn being a duke? To earn your title?" Orga looked him in the eye, and grinned. "Are you really so much better than the rest of us trash, just because of the name you were born with?"

The aristocrat's face was reddening in fury, and Noachis' eyes were widening in horror—

Mika, this happens on my terms, or not at all. These bastards need us more than we need them.

"Men!" The Duke roared. "To arms!"

"Tekkadan!" Orga bellowed. "Lock and load!"

And then the eighty-odd men in green-trimmed uniforms were leveling their guns at Orga's fifty or so teenaged soldiers. Safeties flicked back, bolts cocked back, black rifles aimed for brown ones, fingers clenched, eyes tightened, and the parking-lot instantly was made silent.

Noachis stared on, horror writ through his features. He whispered—no, hissed at Orga; "What are you doing— "

"Surrender, Itsuka, you mad boy." Duke Xanthe glared at him, a vein at the edge of his flushed temple palpitating. "You're out-manned and out-gunned. Perhaps I will be merciful. After a stern disciplining." He turned to Noachis, scowling. "What a waste of my ti—"

"I agree with some of that," said Orga, his eyes narrowed to pinpricks. "It's time for a surrender." He glared at the two aristocrats, his expression twisting. "Yours. You two seem to have confused the kind of conversation we ought to be having. We're doing this again, my way."

"I have you outgunned and outmanned, Itsuka!" Xanthe roared. "Surrender!"

Orga paused for a moment, his eyes seemed to roam over the sky. The grin that came split his face apart.

"Itsuk— "

Orga roared in laughter, clenching at his stomach.

He kept laughing, wheezing, as nearly two hundred soldiers nervously aimed at their opposite numbers, their fingers on their triggers, staring at the black gunmetal around them—and at him. He could see it in the House Soldier's eyes, they were asking, demanding; has he gone insane—

"Ahh-ha ...haha, haah..." these fucking aristocrats.

Tekkadan's soldiers held their positions, gulping down their nervousness; their faith in Orga invincible.

Thanks, guys.

"Are you mad, boy?" Duke Xanthe whispered. "I have your men outnumbered. I'll bring you down and discipline you like the mad peasant you are and you will thank me for my mercy."

"You and what other army, motherfucker?" Orga smiled, his eyes pinpricks. The cold chips from the depths of a glacier. "Look around you, you arrogant fuck." Orga grinned fiercely, proudly, at the overlooking hill. "Look up! Look up!"

Gutter trash telling aristocrats to see what's higher than them. I doubt that's too common.

Duke Xanthe's eyes widened, a strangled choke of a sound coming from his throat—for a half-instant.

Thanks, Akihiro.

Staring down from the top of the hill was the other one-hundred soldiers Orga brought to Chryse. And eight mobile workers, their black long barrels pointing straight down the hillside, their light autocannons primed and ready, Akihiro staring down from the hatch of his dark blue mobile worker.

"I agree, Duke Xanthe." Orga shook his head, grinning. "I agree. It's time for you to surrender."

He turned to Xanthe's men. "DROP YOUR WEAPONS."

They obeyed instantly, without waiting for word from their aristocratic commander. Orga scoffed internally at the sight. So fucking worthless. These are the elites?

He turned to the speechless, bone-pale Duke and ducal heir. He grinned. "Now that we're doing introductions again, listen up. Because neither of you have a fucking clue what you're doing or what you're talking about. Bringing in the frontier companies? Thinking that the one thing that makes Tekkadan different from them is the Alaya-Vijnana?" Orga scoffed for a moment, shaking his head. "You idiots. Have either of you even seen a battle out on the borders? Ever?"

He didn't wait for an answer.

"Listen up." Orga forced his expression to calm into a cold neutrality. "I'll do this one more time. The name is Orga Itsuka, the boss of Tekkadan, until and if my best friend Mikazuki Augus thinks he's up for the job. I'd be happy to let him try, but that's neither here, nor there. Right now, I'm in charge." His eyes narrowed. "And you... you two seem to have confused something." He breathed, and continued.

"Those other PMCs you mentioned; The Red Line Company, The Five Hundred Guns, The Black Hogs, all the rest of those worthless fucks... they're to us what eunuchs are to real men. They're good for nothing but raping and killing; not fighting. Organizing them? Recalling them to the cities? The two of you are idiots might end up getting yourselves killed. That, I wouldn't care about too much, but it's more likely that you'll get a lot of other good people killed from that bad call. If you've met with any of their reps, you were being lied to. You fell for a mask. Guess what, out in the Lawless Territories? They take those masks off." Orga shook his head slowly, and sighed. Checking that his audience—the aristocrats, the House Soldiers, his own ragtag army—were following along.

"Let me tell you a story, Duke Xanthe."

Let me tell you a story.

I'm splitting this chapter into two pieces. This section has been done for a few days. The next half of Orga's interlude is very difficult to write, and gets into some of Orga and Mikazuki's pre-canon history together. It should be done in a few days. It is not pleasant reading. Colonies in real life were founded on human brutality, for the most part. Post-Disaster-Era Mars would be no exception.

About Orga—

Orga got along well with Naze Turbine, because when you get down to it, they were very similar men, different only in age and resources. They operated on practically identical emotional wavelengths: Naze just happened to already have that which Orga was striving for, though perhaps Naze was smart enough to be satisfied with less than what Orga died trying to achieve.

Orga's an interesting character to write. Full of internal contradiction, wavering between noble and mercenary mindsets, and unwilling to take shit from those he doesn't respect. Easily triggered by disrespect for his troops/friends/loyal followers. A mercenary, but as noble as a mercenary can be, within the constraints of caring for his men first above all others.

About Martian politics—

There are different factions in the Martian political sphere. The Bureaucratic Colonial Administrations want democracy and a continuation of the separate colonial borders. They, particularly Arbrau, want Gjallarhorn-Earth gone. The Colonial Governments largely represent the people (the wealthy people) and the merchant classes. The Colonial Administrations are seen as weak and corrupt—and this is largely true. Bribery is their bread and butter, like many Colonial Administrations in real-life Earth history.

The Martian Gjallarhorn nobility, on the other hand, own most of the land, and the majority of the wealth; they have little care for separate borders—they live on a supra-national level—and mostly seek to maintain their own privileges at minimal cost.

In the past, the Martian Gjallarhorn nobility was far more engaged with governing than they are right now—they are no longer seen as equal partners by their fellow nobles in the Earth/Moon Spheres. The Seven Stars have been pulling too many resources back to Earth, and anti-colonial racist sentiments have alienated the Martian nobles - rank be damned. The Martian nobles of Gjallarhorn aren't especially politically respected and now want to act under their own direction.

A few of those nobles, like this OC Duke Xanthe, are especially ambitious and want to create a political bloc capable of pushing against Gjallarhorn/Teiwaz.

The lower classes have no political representation, save by violence. Hence why so many live beyond the colonial borders (I.E., Lawless Territory).