Omiea, Orosian frontier world
Great clouds of dust could be seen on the horizon. From what the Orosian soldiers could tell, they were getting closer as the clouds grew bigger and bigger. KMA-172 knew they were. For two months, he and his men had been there on Omiea, a frontier world far away from the main worlds of the Orosian Union. They had been sent there, or rather, went their own their own after the planet of Omiea was captured by a group of space pirates. Only recently incorporated into the Union, the defenses of Omiea were easily overrun by the massive , cobbled-together tanks and weapon platforms of the pirate forces. Omiea’s small population and a few soldiers that happened to be gathered there for a training exercise were forced to flee, becoming small groups of resistance fighters. If that major hadn't activated the radio beacon, KMA thought, they'd still be stuck here in this shithole.
He was interrupted in his thoughts by a radio communication: "Brother KMA, we have a visual on the enemy armor. Permission to engage?” “Hold,” KMA replied, “but fire the artillery and begin the stratocruiser bombardment” KMA looked up as moments later the fleet’s stratocruiser, the Orosian version of a transport craft, started firing. Hellfire rained down from the sky as railgun projectiles and explosives connected with the surface, throwing plumes of sand, dirt and smoke into the sky.
Then, the bombardment stopped, as the pirates got too close to the Orosian defensive lines. KMA’s mech turned around, he activated the speakers on its sides and said: “This is it! Today we’re liberating the planet of Omiea and bringing it back into the fold. Do not let them ruin what we’ve been working towards for the past months! For Oros!” The soldiers cheered as they braced themselves for the upcoming battle. Then, the pirates were upon them. Orosian cannons and tanks shot, shattering the weak armor of the enemy’s vehicles and immobilizing them. KMA’s mech rose, and twelve other mechs, piloted by the other Knights of the sixth Wandering Knight fleet, followed him. Each mech was unique, custom-made by the Knight it was piloted by, and all were equipped with different weapons. After that, it was quickly over, the pirates’ vehicles either retreating or simply being destroyed. Cowards! KMA thought, They’ll be hunted down soon enough
KMA was just finishing off one of the last enemy tanks when he saw something strange. Another stratocruiser, with a deep blue hull, had appeared over the battlefield. It looked as though small pieces of metal were flaking off it. Drop pods? Wait, are those strike teams? He’d know the answer to that question a few seconds later, as one of the drop pods landed on the ground right behind him, nearly knocking him over. He turned around to see a few soldiers, clad in heavier armor and armed with better weapons than was usually granted to Orosian soldiers.
One of them, presumably their sergeant, saluted him, and spoke: “Hail, master knight! Please, your work here is done, take your soldiers somewhere else.”
“A Brave giving orders to a Knight,” KMA replied, “what has this world come to? Why are you here, and who do you think you are that you can order me around?”
“I am Sergeant Wojda of the STG. We are here on an important mission, one that I cannot reveal the details of to anyone, not even a Knight. We need everyone to leave the area. I’m sorry sir, but this is extremely important.”
KMA, from his mech, had scanned the man and confirmed his identity, and had no energy left to argue. “Fine, I’ll get my men to leave. I want to be off this damn planet as much as you want me off it.” With that, he turned around and went back to the Orosian defensive lines, as he contacted the stratocruiser: “get me a transport. We’re leaving”.
The dropship had arrived at the Orosian base as soon as he had. KMA exited his mech and hopped in, preparing to leave when he heard a voice behind him: “Sir, may I ride with you?”
“Of course,” KMA replied, recognizing the voice as belonging to Sandra Robinson, leader of what became known as the ‘Omiean Rangers’, the resistance group that sprung up after the pirates took over Omiea. She was about half a meter shorter than him, but KMA was quite large for a robot, having been made to serve as an Orosian Knight.
As the dropship took off and flew over the wrecks of the battlefield, KMA could see the small figures of the strike team scavenging something from the wreck, but he wasn’t sure why or what they were doing exactly. “How was it down there, before we arrived?,” KMA asked the woman sitting opposite of him.
He saw her shrink as she replied: “It was horrible and I’d rather not talk about it.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know,” KMA was silent for a moment and then said “You know, you did a great job out there, escorting those refugees to safety, and harassing the enemy on the ground while we closed the trap.”
“Thank you, we weren’t sure we would make it at all.”
“You know, me and some of the other knights have been talking, and for your bravery and resourcefulness, we’ve decided to invite you to the Squire Program.”
“The Squire Program, sir?”
“You see, normally, Orosian Knights are selected and trained from a young age, but sometimes, adults like you prove their ability in combat, and we invite them to be squires, to train to become Knights. What do you say?”
“What will happen to my family? What about my friends?”
“As soon as you finish the training, you’ll have the full privileges of the Knights. You’ll be able to communicate with your friends, and your family can be moved to your planet of choice.”
“Uhh, I guess I’ll accept then. Thank you for the opportunity, sir”
KMA looked down on her and nodded, as the dropship approached the fleet’s flagship.
Meeting room, OSS Bedevere, flagship of the 6th Wandering Knights Fleet
KMA looked around the room. Around the massive ashen table there were a number of holograms seated or standing, some obviously working on something while listening. At the moment, though, all were silent, having just finished watching the emperor’s speech. One of the knights opened her mouth, but then closed it again, speechless. The man sitting at the head of the table, Grand Master Berko Hepburn, spoke: “As you can see, our ‘great’ emperor still has his way with words.” Several people around the table snickered.
“So we move on with the plan then?” another of the knights asked.
“Unless the emperor is willing to change the Dominion’s policies on their treatment of aliens, which, as you all know, are quite common in Oros, I do not see why we would. All we have to do is prepare and make sure that the time is right. We’ll make sure old grandpa there on Earth doesn’t notice us too quickly. I think that’s it for today’s meeting, unless anyone has any questions?”
KMA spoke up: “Actually sir, I was on the planet of Omiea today, and…” before he was interrupted by Berko saying: “We’ll talk about this after the meeting is over.”
A few minutes later, KMA was alone again, with the exception of the hologram of Berko. "Sir, I was asking about the strike team?", he said.
"Ah, yes, well, as you know, the Strike Team Group, or STG, is an elite branch of the Orosian military, responsible for dangerous assault missions, as well as a number of other things, including the investigation of strange or anomalous activities." Berko paused for a bit, and then continued: "We suspected something of that nature to be present on Omiea, although we don't exactly know what. Unfortunately, I am unable to explain it, but I'll try to keep you updated as the situation develops. I will hopefully see you tomorrow at the next council meeting." With that, the hologram of Berko dissapeared, leaving KMA alone in the meeting room, with the feeling that there was a lot more to the story than he was told.