Kenshiko threw the torn mattress against the corner, throwing her fist through it, shaking the wall with every throaty snarl, pounding on the polyesterine surface again and again until the box-springs lashed out at her. She slashed the kinks out with elbows as crimson lines twist up her arms and fabric viscera littered the floor of her cell.

“Who elected the World Government? Nobody sane, of this I am certain. I have only to look around me, and I can see the faces of more than thirty nations robbed of their borders. 'One Globe with a Single Banner, we are all one in the cosmos and together we will ascend.' It's as the man always said, time after time.”

Upon the victorious battlefield she saw the Red Colonel raise the enemy flag, and the swaying landmasses united in their green spread on the blue backing of the bloodstained flag was held aloft, to the jeers and mocking of the mixed company of veterans and civilians alike.

“One world, one home. That was what was promised to us. Well let me ask you, my friends, where is home? Is it where we come from, paved over for low-dome Capsule houses? Is it where our dead are buried, under plots of land bought by contract between their supposed owners and the Prime Minister without a thought to the actual people that live there? Or is it where we bear our hearts, cast out to wander the Earth as if no blood beats within them, to be forgotten as if our lives no longer matter?”

Willa gripped the flagpole, and the cloth froze and broke into hundreds of shards as she ran the Shatterlock through it. The company stood to uproarious cheers: “Rautt! Rautt! Rautt!”

“The truth is we embody the vision this so-called World Govrnment strives for, and my God are they afraid of us! In driving us out, we have only become stronger, together! United by a common purpose, greater than blood, deeper than soil, and wrought through our just conviction alone! If they wanted to make the globe a single entity under their control, then we'll show them what the true nation without borders can do! You are the finest, the bravest company the world has ever known, will ever know! No longer are we the lost, the condemned, the forgotten. We will fight! We will win! We shall seize our nation! And even if we should fall, we'll strike them such a blow they'll have no choice but to remember us!”

Here was one that saw to the heart of the matter with complete clarity. Kenshiko had felt it for true, and for the first time in a while, an elation greater than the ache and regret that wreathed a fog about her. When she spoke, she felt the purposeless fatigue that crept through every fibre of her being, the malaise shook off when she gave herself over completely to the heart of battle.

Everybody who had put their hopes on her shoulders had paid the price dearly. How could she call herself master of anything when all who followed behind her had died? The vision that the Colonel offered her was one that she could follow. Master no longer, she would become a Red Tiger.

Every battle they fought gave her purpose, and she'd served with distinction. Every chevron sewn made it clearer to her that she mattered. For the ones they lost, they'd fight to change the world. Many fine promises were made when she'd adopted the Red. The troops of the Plantain Crescent; The Private from Swallow Hill. The Prime Minister had his eyes on space, the army would take what it could, and the memory of the forgotten were merely numbers that could be altered. They took back what was theirs, and they dared call them Raiders. Until they pulled the film from their eyes and liberated them from autocratic grasp of the WG, they'd continue to fight.

What other choice did they have but to believe the Colonel's lie?
Alone amid the ruin strewn all about her, deep, rapid breaths did little to fill the stinging emptiness inside as Kenshiko sank to her knees. Trembling, wrapped hands tended to the stinging in her eyes, the exipred sweat mixed with fresh blood only serving to make the irritation worse. She held herself as if that would stop the shaking – as if that would stop her fall - every sharp gasp falling in half-sob.

What have I done, Sis? I'm sorry Kaibyo...

Even in her thoughts, she had not even glimpses of words to offer anybody else; her students, the Squadron, those that were in the way, and others who were on the other side. In the solitary cell, Ochazuke's papers lay in n orderly stack in the corner. The history they shared remained as it ever was. The lone Tiger, sheathed in sweat and blood, solemnly she realized that the legacy held within was the only real thing she had left. And so it left her to question why did he keep calling to her from the outside?

Tigers may only be contained by yoke and deception, but to surrender, that was unacceptable. At least one person in the world still believed that.

Crawling through the wreckage, Kenshiko reached towards them then. Wait for me. I'm coming.