The Back Road
|The Back Road|
|Author||Louisa M. Swann|
|Interior artwork||Klaus Scherwinski|
|First published||7 August 2004|
|Era||Clan Invasion era|
|Timeline||17 August 3057|
|“||Louisa M. Swann brings us to Buckminster in the Draconis Combine for a story about coming home after years away.||”|
The unnamed first-person narrator (called "Hendal's boy" at one point in reference to his father) has just killed a cab driver and disposed of the body in a farm field outside the city of Nagoshima on Buckminster when he is confronted by Con, a young farmer boy about ten years of age and wielding a pitchfork.
Over the course of the story it is gradually revealed that the narrator grew up on this very farm and had a falling-out with his father over his decision to become a soldier. The narrator left home and became an elite DEST trooper but never saw his father again who sold the farm and has died since. Now the narrator, burnt out and utterly tired of killing, realizes the wisdom in his late father's words and attitude. He has deserted the military and is on the run.
The farm's new owner, Phelan Lucas (who is also Con's father), knew the narrator's family and his father, and seems to be much alike the narrator's father, an attitude the narrator has only recently come to respect. Seeing how the narrator has come "home", Lucas hides him in the barn. Con, however, aspires to be a MechWarrior himself one day (much like the narrator when he was Con's age) and has nothing but contempt for the deserter. When a BH-K305 Battle Hawk approaches the farm on patrol, possibly in search of the narrator, Con openly spurts out to the pilot that they have a deserter hidden in the barn who killed a cabby and threatened his (Con's) father. In the ensuing confrontation the narrator kills the 'Mech pilot, but Con is wounded by a stray rifle shot from his father.
Resigned, the narrator realizes that "coming home is not always the answer" and moves on, hoping that Con will one day understand; for now, however, the angry boy swears that he will become a MechWarrior and come after the narrator one day.