In 2017, the PMC Cerberus Security Services are hired to protect an oil pipeline following an attack three days earlier on an oil field. The team leader explains that the attack was carried out by Exoframes and that the country has no way to fight them on their own. The team leader notes that nations are starting to fall behind in the race to acquire Exoframes. He asks former Marine Loewner if he can handle being in a PMC, and Loewner answers that he prefers the looser regulations. Later, Loewner stands guard at night in his Cerberus Exoframe and chats with a woman piloting the Multi-purpose Exoframe. Loewner mentions that Exoframes are despised in the West because large companies like Caterpillar and Komatsu are seeing their stock values crash in the face of cheaper Exoframes. He says that as a child he thought the world would change if aliens arrived, but he never expected the Peddlers and their total disinterest in political and cultural exchanges. The woman comments on the surface texture of Exoframes and speculates that they are scarred, worn out machines that were used somewhere else before Earth. Loewner is chastised over the radio for chatting and told to get back to work. The team leader tells him not to mingle with civilians because this isn’t the military. Nearby, guerrillas in Submersible Exoframes are picked up on sonar near the oil pipeline. The Cerberus team leader orders his men to deploy and not damage the facilities in battle. The Cerberuses speed over the water and fire into it at the enemy forces. The team leader warns his men to keep his distance because the enemies use kamikaze attacks. One Cerberus is pulled underwater by two enemies and is destroyed. Some enemy units reach the shore and use their comrades’ downed units as shields while they advance. In the distance, several guerrillas set off an explosion at the oil pipeline. The team leader then orders his men to cease fire due to their contract being terminated over the client’s refusal to pay. Loewner objects because the workers have no way to escape, but the team leader counters that it’s their company’s problem. The Cerberus team starts falling back, but Loewner isn’t happy about it. In a helicopter, the team leader reminds Loewner what he said about mingling with civilians. Loewner states that soldiers are responsible for the lives of civilians, and the team leader tells him to leave military ethics out of a profit-driven enterprise. The team leader tells Loewner he can quit if he wants to, but he’s several jobs away from being able to afford the breach of contract fee.
This episode takes us to the Persian Gulf in 2017 and focuses on Loewner, a former Marine now working for the PMC Cerberus Security Services. This episode sheds some more light on the global upheaval regarding Exoframes. The oil worker notes that Exoframes are in wide use in her part of the world because they’re so cheap. But large (real world) companies like Caterpillar and Komatsu are seeing their revenue fall, so to protect their profits they have governments demonize Exoframes. It serves to demonstrate how Exoframes have completely upended the balance of power everywhere – militarily, politically, and commercially. These militaries and companies are literally becoming obsolete. As a former Marine, Loewner struggles with the notion that Cerberus will leave innocent people to die due to the contract being terminated, so it’s a harsh lesson on how a mercenary isn’t a soldier.