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|Newtype Emo Guy|
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 2:24 pm
Its an original story mecha story that has nothing to do with the Gundam universe, though the story was inspired by it. I'd love as much feedback as I can get.
SIEGERISER: RETURN TO THE STARS Pt. 1
The battles continued, the war raged on. There was seemingly no end in sight. It had been over a year and a half since the Commonwealth of Langerland, a space station that orbited the Earth, attacked and killed many prominent members of the United Nations, then declared war on the entire planet. They occupied much of Asia, Africa and South America, as well as occupying or destroying most other space stations. Their dominance was hard to overcome. The armies of the Earth amalgamated to form the United Nations Army. Together, they were able to repel the Langerland Army’s advance.
Now, the remnants of the Langerland Army’s 13th battalion engaged in a fierce battle with the United Nations Army. Both sides used siegerisers, giant humanoid machines with human pilots, over sixteen meters in height. The main unit of the Langerland Army was the Hyrandog, a siegeriser with a dark red and mauve color scheme, with a triangular eye serving as its camera on its head. The United Nations Army used the Domon, a metallic silver siegeriser that had a visor camera eye on its head, and a shield attached to its left arm.
It was a battle that the Langerland Army tried its best to avoid.
When South America was invaded, the United Nations Army replied with a strong counteroffensive, much better than the Langerland Army thought they could. They lost their stronghold in Peru, their forces were in disarray. The United Nations Army hunted down and destroyed the remnants, wherever they were.
They found one of the last remaining groups of remnants and engaged with deadly force.
Machinegun fire tore through them, rocket launchers decimated them, artillery guns blew them apart. A decision was made; to ensure the survival of most of the group, they fled into the Amazon rainforest while a few of their comrades stayed behind to hold their attackers off.
They did not last long, but did just enough to allow the others to escape.
Samuel Armstrong was asleep in bed, his wife, Isabella, was next to him. He was drained, he worked into the early hours of the morning. The company he worked for was commissioned to create a new solar battery, the current ones were under great stress and became inadequate for current needs.
When New Canada, a space station, was created in Earth’s orbit fifty eight years ago, only a couple thousand people moved there. Even though living in space was already becoming common, many were skeptical. They were still being held to the earth by the gravity that was as familiar as the air they breathed. As the years passed, space travel became as mundane as driving to the supermarket. New Canada’s population swelled, and was still increasing. That was how Samuel became a citizen. His parents moved there when he was still a baby, it was the only home he ever knew.
He wanted to sleep in, it was a holiday, and he would be getting a much needed break from work. His five year old daughter, Cindy, had other plans. She jumped on his bed and hopped up and down until he stirred. His wife got up first, followed by him, though he would rather the comfort of his bed for a little longer. Much longer, actually.
It was not just any holiday, toady was Christmas. Cindy was already waiting anxiously at the tree, hopping just like she was on his bed. She had often mentioned that she wanted the new Meagan doll; a toy with an advanced AI that could listen and respond to spoken commands. It was even capable of carrying decent conversations.
As Cindy ripped off the traditional gift wrapping paper and gleamed at the doll she wanted more than anything else, it happened.
New Canada was under siege, the Langerland Army had attacked. Samuel grabbed his wife and child and fled to the basement. As he turned to lock the basement door, a bright, pure white light filled the space station and blinded him to all else.
“Wake up, sleepy head!”
Samuel opened his eyes. His vision was blurry at first, he swore he saw his wife ahead of him. When his sight normalized, he realized that it was not her. That person could never be his sweet Isabella, he felt ashamed that he made such a mistake. That woman, Lieutenant Marcia Cross of the Langerland Army, was not unsightly. She was a rather beautiful woman, younger than he was. She would have looked a lot better if she was not wearing black lipstick and eye liner, at least in his opinion.
“Hurry up, sexy, you’re needed now,” she said, caressing his cheeks. Samuel turned away; she giggled, then left him.
Samuel was sitting inside of the cockpit of his siegeriser, the Hyrandog. It was lying on the ground, covered in flora, using the dense forest for cover. He saw the date on his siegeriser’s computer, it was the twenty first of July, 2232. Five days had passed since the fall of the Peru base and since he and the others were on the run. He climbed out, Marcia was a few yards ahead. With her were two persons who wore the black and dark gray uniform of the Langerland Army; his allies, if he could call them that.
The large, hulky man to her left was Lieutenant Nikolai Ulyanov. He was Marcia’s lover, a romance that sprouted on the battlefield. He did not care for either of them, Nikolai in particular. The one to her right was Major Risa Valitor. She was far worse than the others. Cold, direct and stonyhearted, Samuel could not stand to be around her. He would not, if he had a choice. He had no choices now.
Risa stared at him, arms folded. Her baby blue eyes pierced through his skin; in any other situation, he would have turned and left. Only when her long, white hair covered them did he feel secure.
She surely was not like the others. They were emigrants to Langerland from other space stations, Risa was a pure blooded citizen. The genetical work of art of a people that no longer considered themselves to just be human.
“We don’t have all day, you know!” Marcia yelled. “Get a move on!”
Samuel walked toward them like a child expecting to be spanked. He only amused Marcia further, Nikolai also could not help smiling.
“Now that we’re all here,” Risa said, turning her back to him, “it’s time we evaluate our situation.”
Marcia and Nikolai nodded, Samuel only did so after watching them. Risa pulled out a map and laid it on the ground.
“We are here,” she said, pointing at their position. “Colonel Valitor has amalgamated most of our remaining forces and is fifty miles northwest of our position.”
“Colonel Valitor?” Samuel asked.
“He’s the highest ranking officer left in South America,” Marcia said, resting her hand on his shoulder. “And he is the brother of our astute major.”
“That’s not important,” Risa said sharply. “What we need to be concerned with is how we will rendezvous with them.”
“What good will that do us?” Nikolai asked. “They’re being pursued by the UNA search and destroy squadron, aren’t they? We’re much safer where we are.”
“We can’t be guaranteed that they aren’t onto us as well. Besides, there is a grander goal in mind.”
“Really? What’s that?”
“This.” Risa pointed at the map. “Langford Space Port.”
“I’m assuming the plan is to relieve our gravity bound friends of one of their shuttles, then return to space,” Marcia said.
“We can actually return home. I didn’t think I’d ever get off this rock.”
Nikolai examined the map, then turned to Risa. “The space port is only ten miles north of our position.”
“That is why we need to regroup with the others. A city was built around the space port, a military installation as well. They’re bound to have at least one squadron of siegerisers stationed there.”
Nikolai laughed. “Just one squadron, I’ll take them all on myself.”
“Out of the question. Natoog City is just seven miles east of Langford, we’d be surrounded in minutes. Besides, we’re all short on munitions. We can’t make any hasty moves. We need the others to carry this through.”
Nikolai appeared annoyed. He folded his arms, his left index finger tapped his right shoulder. “We can take that place, no problem. I think you’re just trying to save your precious bro—”
Risa walked up to Nikolai and stopped mere inches from his face. She did not appear angry, but her feelings could be felt.
“I am the commanding officer here, Lieutenant Ulyanov, and I make the decisions. We shall await Colonel Valitor’s instructions before making our next move. Is that clear?”
Nikolai sulked, his face showed his displeasure for Risa’s words. However, he forced a smile, then bowed before her.
“Yes ma’am,” he said, then walked off in a huff. Marcia stared at Risa for a moment before following him.
Risa picked up her map, seemingly unaffected by what just happened, and folded it up. She noticed that Samuel was still standing there. She stared at him to shoo him off, but he did not get the message.
“Is there something that is bothering you, ensign?” she asked.
“No, not at all,” he responded, then returned to his Hyrandog.
When Risa was certain that no one was around, she pulled out a locket from her pants pocket. She opened it, a picture of herself and her brother was inside.
“It won’t be too long now, brother,” she said. “We’ll both return to the stars.”
It was ten past eleven at night. Everyone was asleep in their respective siegerisers, except for Risa. She was still awake, awaiting a transmission from her brother. He was constantly on the move, therefore he asked Risa not to contact him. He did not need any unnecessary distractions. She sat there, calmly and patiently, focused only on the mission ahead of her. At least, that was what she told herself. She worried about her brother, and given the situation that they were in, it was quite likely they would never see each other again. It was possible he was already dead. She imagined his limp body hanging out of the cockpit of his siegeriser, then thought of something worse; her brother being blown to bits while piloting it.
She heard a beep, it came from her communicator. She immediately answered it, her brother’s face appeared on the screen. She gasped, half of his face was covered in bandages, including his left eye.
“Raizzo, I mean Colonel Valitor, what happened to your face?” Risa asked.
“It doesn’t matter now,” he replied. “And it’s okay for you to address me by my name. You are my sister, Risa.”
“Yes sir, I mean, Raizzo.”
He chuckled. “You always were the serious type. I blame myself, I always put a lot of pressure on you.”
“You made me into a strong person, there’s nothing to feel sorry about.”
“Raizzo, what’s your status? When will we attack the space port?”
He became silent, then said, “That’s what I need to talk to you about.” He became silent again. “There shall be no convergence.”
Risa immediately felt a chill run up her spine, her body temperature dropped to ten below freezing. She did not want to show her worry, she frowned instead.
“What do you mean by that?”
Raizzo did not do as his sister, he showed his concern on his face.
“We’ve taken heavy losses, the UNA is constantly at our heels. At this point, meeting with you is impossible.”
“Then we can meet with you. Give me your current coordinates.”
He shook his head. “You’d only get yourself and your subordinates killed.”
“Then what do you suggest I do, just sit back and let you die!”
“No, sister. You must carry through with the mission.”
“But how? There’s only four of us, and one’s as green as could be.”
“You can succeed with a distraction.”
Risa was afraid to ask what he meant by that. She had a good idea, but did not want to say it. If she did, then it would become reality. She did not want that. Still…
“By distraction, do you mean—”
“Yes, Risa, my men and I shall serve as the distraction.”
“But you just said that you’ve taken heavy losses.”
“There are enough of us to mount an ambush. The UNA is expecting a fleeting enemy, we will have the advantage.”
“You won’t survive, you know that!” Risa exclaimed, unable to hold back her emotions any longer.
Risa could see the pain in his last remaining eye. She calmed herself down.
“I know that, Risa, but I must do it, regardless. It is the only way for you and your subordinates to escape.”
“Self sacrifice, I never thought I would hear you spout such, let alone do it.”
Raizzo’s face brightened up. “Dear sister, I do not mind adorning the mask of hypocrisy if it means protecting you.”
Risa was taken aback by Raizzo’s behavior. She could not remember when last that he spoke to her with such emotion and care. Facing death, knowing that her life was also in danger, must have sparked the change in him. It was different, but not bad. She wished that she had seen more of that side of him. It was too late now, the least she could do was move forward, and carry out his wishes.
“How do you suggest I proceed?” she asked.
“Wake up, sleepy boy.”
It was the next morning, and Samuel received his usual wakeup call. That time, however, it was not from Marcia. He was face to face with Nikolai. He was startled, and was even more so when Nikolai grabbed him and slung him over his left shoulder. He carried the bewildered ensign to Marcia and Risa, then dropped him on the ground.
“Hurry and stand, ensign, we are pressed for time,” Risa said.
Samuel did as commanded, standing beside Marcia, who took great pleasure in his humiliation.
“There’s been a change in plans,” Risa said. “We will not be meeting with Colonel Valitor. His forces have been reduced significantly and the UNA is breathing down their necks. We are on our own.”
Nikolai smirked. “Then we go through with my plan.”
“Do you suggest that we stay here in this wilderness and die?”
“Of course not, that is why we will carry out Colonel Valitor’s orders.”
“Colonel Valitor will ambush his pursuers. He hopes that with his remaining forces, he can force the UNA to call for assistance.”
“That would draw them out of Langford and Natoog,” Marcia said.
“That would be the best case scenario. At the very least, we need one of them to be deployed.”
“But that means that Colonel Valitor is on a suicide mission.”
Risa lowered her eyes, then immediately rose them. “That is unfortunately so. However, we cannot let that fact impede our mission.”
“That won’t stop me at all,” Nikolai said, smugly. “I’ll prepare to depart.”
“Not so fast, lieutenant,” Risa said. “We will not take action until tomorrow afternoon.”
“Colonel Valitor will draw the enemy as far away from us as possible before launching his ambush. In the meantime, we need to scout Langford. None of us have ever been there, we need as much intelligence as we can get.”
“And how do you suggest we do that? Knock on the door and ask them.”
“Lieutenant, please do not make me repeat myself from yesterday.”
“I apologize. Please continue.”
“We need someone to infiltrate the facility. The three of us would draw too much attention to ourselves, therefore—”
“You can’t mean that guy, can you?” Nikolai said, pointing at Samuel. The ensign was thinking the same thing.
“He was born on Earth, just like his parents before him. He’s more like them than we are. He’d fit in easily.”
Samuel stepped back, alarmed at what he just heard.
“How can I do that?” Samuel asked. “I mean, I’ve never—”
“You have a wife and daughter, don’t you,” Risa said.
“How did you—”
“I know everything about those around me. You’re an engineer from New Canada. Your wife’s name is Isabella and your daughter’s name is Cindy. When New Canada was taken, you were drafted into our army, against your will. You were fearful of harm befalling your family if you refused. Am I correct?”
Samuel nodded. “It’s true, I never wanted to be here. They…your people threatened to kill my family if I did not enlist. It was the same for many of us.”
A passing gust blew Risa’s hair into her face. She brushed it back.
“Listen, I don’t care about any of that,” Risa said.
“What do you mean?”
“As a soldier, your skills are subpar, at best. You’re of no practical use to me, and I am not a person that allows trash to clutter around her. As soon as we return to Langerland territory, I will see into getting you discharged as well as reuniting you with your family.”
Samuel’s entire being exploded with joy, he rushed to Risa and held her hands with both of his.
“Do you really mean it?” he said.
“Yes, of course,” Risa said, taken aback by his behavior. “Do I look like a kidder?”
“No, ma’am, not at all.”
“Then it’s settled, we will depart immediately.”
“Um…wait. I don’t know if—”
Risa yanked herself free of his grasp, then looked directly into his eyes. Samuel felt chilly again.
“Listen, if you want to see your family again, you need to pull this through. Otherwise, they’ll be nothing more than a memory to you. Is that what you want?” He shook his head. “We have much distance to cover and not much time. Take whatever you need, you have five minutes.”
Samuel returned to his siegeriser, each step was heavier than the last. His thoughts were filled with fear of failing and ultimately, never being able to see his wife and daughter again. To never be able to hold either of them seemed like a fate worse than death. As he climbed into his siegeriser, he took the one item that he needed. Seeing it rejuvenated his spirit, empowering him to do what he must; a picture of Isabella and Cindy, taken at Cindy’s third birthday party. It amazed him how a life of such simplicity not too long ago could turn so terribly wrong. He didn’t do anything wrong, he cared for his family just as a man should. The Langerland Army and their stupid war were to blame. He refocused his mind, he had to rise above such thoughts. He could not change the past, only shape the future, and he intended for his loved ones to be in it.
“I will scale the heavens if it means being with you again,” he said to himself, then folded the picture into his pocket.
It was an arduous trek through the forest. Nikolai, Risa and Marcia were all in much better shape than Samuel was, he forced himself to keep up. The more time he took, the longer it would be until he saw his family again. He kept reminding himself of this, his body had already felt like quitting.
A mile before reaching the city, they came across a highway. It was a lonely stretch of asphalt, the perfect place to acquire a vehicle from anyone unfortunate enough to be passing by.
After waiting ten minutes, their prize approached them.
Marcia removed the top of her uniform and staggered onto the street, in a dazed like state. She then collapsed on the side of the street. The driver of the car stopped and rushed to assist her. As soon as the man was close enough, Nikolai leapt out of his hiding spot in the bushes, subdued him, and threw him into the bushes. He removed the man’s clothing, then pulled out his gun and fired one shot between his eyes.
It was a gruesome ending and Samuel was sickened to know that he was an accomplice in that innocent man’s demise. He did not linger on that, he kept his mind focused on what he needed to—his family.
He would ask God for forgiveness when it was all over.
Samuel hastily removed his uniform and changed into the dead man’s clothing. He picked up the key to the car, entered it, and started it up.
“Take this camera,” Risa said, handing it to him through the window. “Take as many pictures as you can, all images will instantly be uploaded to my siegeriser’s computer, so don’t hesitate to dump the camera if you have to.”
“I understand,” Samuel said.
“Remember, if you get caught, you know nothing about us,” Nikolai said. “I don’t care where the UNA confines you, I’ll find you and kill you myself if you talk!”
Marcia giggled. “I’m pretty sure he doesn’t need you to remind him of that.”
With those loathly remarks, Samuel set out for Eligarf City. The Langford Space Port awaited him.
“So, what do you think are the chances of him returning?” Marcia asked.
“Who cares,” Nikolai said. “As long as we get enough information out of him, it doesn’t matter. And after what I told him, I doubt he’ll talk after he gets caught, at least not before our attack.”
“I just hope we get something useful out of him.”
“We will,” Risa answered.
Marcia smiled and laid her hand on Risa’s shoulder. “Do you know something we don’t? Perhaps you gave him an extra incentive before we left.”
Risa frowned, disgusted by Marcia’s comment. “It’s nothing of the sort. He’s fighting for his loved ones. I know that if I were in his position, I would do everything in my power to be with them again. Everything.”
Risa walked ahead of Marcia, Nikolai turned away from her and grunted.
“Let’s move out,” Risa said. “We have our own preparations to make.”
It was a beautiful place with a hideous name. It was christened after the founder of the Langford Corporation, Eligarf Langford. An area that was once dominated by swamp and marshlands was transformed into the first space port on the continent. Trade and commerce soon followed, the men and women who built the city and worked within its confines settled there. More followed. In less than a decade, hundreds of thousands of people called it home.
The history of the city was lost on Samuel. His focus was solely on his mission.
Samuel soon passed a sign welcoming all those entering Eligarf City, he was within its limits. Using the digital map that was in the car’s onboard computer, Samuel discovered the exact location of the space port and the fastest route to get there. He wanted to get there, take the pictures, and leave as soon as possible.
On his way there, he ran into some traffic, there was an accident up ahead. As he contemplated whether to wait it out or turn around, he became fixated on the local playground. There was a young girl playing on the swings, one of the older boys got behind her and gave it a big push. She panicked and fell off the swing during its descent. The girl cried and the boy ran off. The girl’s mother soon appeared and tended to her. She used an emollient patch on a scrape on the girl’s knee, it would only take a few hours for it to fully heal. The girl was still unhappy, tears were rolling down her cheeks. Her mother embraced her warmly, her face soon brightened up and was as cheerful as she was earlier.
Looking at them, Samuel could not help but remember his own family. He wondered what Isabella and Cindy were doing in New Canada at that moment. Soon after the Langerland Army attacked, they rounded up everyone that survived and picked out those that they wanted to be drafted into their forces. They did not want just anyone, only those of a desired level of intelligence. Being a top notch engineer, Samuel was immediately chosen. It was the first time he considered it a curse. His wife worked in a factory, they did not care to know what she did, that fact alone spurred them away from her. They had another use for her and their child, a ploy that they used for other draftees. They threatened to kill the loved ones of anyone that did not cooperate, they could destroy the entire space station if they wanted to. It was a threat that was taken seriously, the fate of New Ireland was testament to that.
He hoped that wherever they were, whatever they were doing, they were safe. He longed to feel his wife’s embrace and to hold his little girl in his arms. Things he often took for granted were now cherished more than ever.
I’ll see you both again soon, I promise, he thought.
The honking of a car horn reminded him of where he was. The accident had been cleared, the traffic was freely moving again. He was now holding up traffic, he pressed on the accelerator and drove off.
Just over twenty minutes later, he was in the parking lot of the Langford Space Port. At first glance, it was a lot nicer than most of the space ports he had seen on Earth, though it paled in comparison to the one in New Canada, or any other space station, for that matter. He took a few pictures of the building’s exterior, then proceeded to the entrance.
He noticed that the security was not as tight as he thought it would be. That was a plus for him. Still, he did not want to take pictures openly, it would draw too much suspicion to him. He put his camera into his jacket pocket; every time he wanted to take a picture, he raised the camera out of his pocket just high enough for the lens to be sticking out. He took pictures of the terminal, as much of it as he could. Then he took a picture of the launch schedule. He noticed that there was a launch at four fifteen, their attack would have commenced by then. It would be the perfect shuttle to use to reenter space. He also noticed that the space sport had not been seeing much activity. The war was hurting business, which also explained the lack of security.
He wanted to see the waiting area and the gates, specifically gate fourteen. That was where the shuttle would launch from the next day. He used most of the money he had to buy a ticket for the next available launch, he did not care where it went to, for he would not be boarding. He gained access to the waiting area and, when the launch neared, made his way to the gates. He took pictures of it all.
For a moment, he thought of entering the shuttle and lifting off. He would have several hours before the others would figure it out. He had to quickly squash that idea, he had no way of liberating his family from New Canada, he needed to complete his mission and for Risa to fulfill her promise. There was no other way, Samuel made up an excuse and reentered the terminal.
There was a restaurant within the space port, Samuel went there to get a drink. He needed the respite; he had spent so much time in the last few months around undesirable people, he hardly had any time to himself. His thoughts returned to his family and of the good times that they spent together. He also thought of work and of the new solar battery that needed to be installed. He wondered what the progress on that was, if the job was even being continued.
His solace would be short lived.
He did not notice a man much larger than he was that was on a collision course with him. When he did realize what was about to happen, it was too late. The man rammed into him and fell on top of him. Samuel pushed him away and returned to his feet. The man stunk of alcohol, he was clearly drunk. He wore a pilot’s uniform and from his constant mumbling, Samuel learnt that he was recently laid off. The drunk was angry and was going to take that anger out on the closest person to him, Samuel was unlucky enough to be his target. He punched wildly at Samuel, who was able to dodge them until his back reached a wall. The drunk punched him across his left cheek and then hit his stomach. Many people ran out of the restaurant, a few called space port security, but none physically intervened. Samuel tried his best to fend him off, but he was no fighter. He tried to block the drunk’s assault as best as he could, until help could arrive.
It came a lot faster than Samuel thought it would.
Someone tapped the drunk on his shoulder. He turned angrily, and as he did, received a roundhouse kick to his neck. He was unconscious before he reached the floor. Samuel was happy to be saved from that scrape and wanted to thank his liberator. He extended his hand, and was surprised to see a gorgeous woman with long blonde hair grab it. He was lost in her appearance until he realized that she noticed it.
“Wow, um, thanks,” Samuel managed to say.
“You’re welcome,” she responded. “Do you usually get involved in pointless fights or were you bored with life and feeling froggy?”
“Neither, thankfully. That guy attacked me for no reason. I think he was laid off today, or something.”
“Well, that will be the least of his worries now.”
Space port security arrived and took the drunk away. After they left, four men came running into the restaurant. They all wore UNA uniforms. Samuel was fearful that they were coming for him. His heart sped up at times, and stopped at others. He could feel his opportunity to see his family again slip through his fingers.
They approached the blonde woman and surrounded her.
“Are you all right, ma’am?” one with straight black hair asked.
“Peachy,” she replied. “And you don’t need to address me so formally all the time, Daren. Just call me by my name, okay.”
“Yes, of course.”
She gasped. “Oh that reminds me.” She turned to Samuel and extended her hand this time. “Name’s Sarah, Sarah McKenzie.”
“I’m Samuel Armstrong,” he replied, seeing no need to falsify his name. They would have no way of knowing where he came from.
“Sammy, huh. You really ought to toughen yourself up. Needing a dainty flower like myself to save you can’t be good for your reputation.”
Daren chuckled. “Dainty flower? I’d hardly think a dainty flower could be the hero of the As—”
Sarah punched his shoulder, Daren winced and held onto it.
“I’m just your ordinary beautiful blonde, don’t mind him,” Sarah said, winking.
“Um, sure,” Samuel said.
“Sarah, let’s get the party started already,” a UNA soldier with spiky blonde hair said.
“Sure thing, Edgar. You guys go ahead, I’ll catch up.” Edgar and the two other UNA soldiers left, Daren remained. “You can go too, you know. I promise I’ll only be a while.”
Daren shook his head. “Can’t do that. You know about our assignment. At least one of us has to—”
“You don’t have to bother with that.”
“Actually, I do. I’m not in your position.”
Sarah sighed, Samuel wished he knew what they were talking about. His thoughts shifted to his mission. He hoped that he had taken enough pictures, with all the attention that had been drawn to him, he would not be able to continue. The attack would begin the next day, all he had to do was wait.
“Hey, handsome, are you listening to me?” Sarah asked.
“Oh, um, yeah,” Samuel said.
“What did I say?”
“I invited you to come have drinks with us!” Sarah said angrily. “Pay attention!”
Samuel did not know what to make of this situation. He did not understand why she would invite someone she did not know for drinks. His guard was up, he felt like it could have been a trap. At the same time, though, it did not. She was not like any other woman he had ever met, so quirky and self-assured. She scared him, but also intrigued him at the same time.
“So, you coming?” Sarah asked.
“Yes, thank you, however,” Samuel said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but why are you inviting me. We’ve never met before today.”
Sarah approached him and laid her hands on his shoulders. Her face drew close to his.
“Because I want to. Understand?”
Sarah tapped his cheeks. “Good, now let’s go.”
Sarah left the restaurant, followed closely by Daren. Samuel lagged behind her.
Sarah took Samuel to a bar across town. The other UNA soldiers were already there. He was formally introduced to Lieutenant Daren Rogers, Lieutenant Edgar Francis, Lieutenant Junior Grade Jeffrey Calomel and Ensign Jean Luc Baptist. Samuel learnt that they were all siegeriser pilots assigned to the base in the city. What interested him the most was that they had never seen live combat. They were all rookies of the battlefield, the closest they ever got to any action was in a simulator. Apparently, the city had never been attacked throughout the Langerland Army’s occupation of most of South America. It was a fascinating bit of information, he no longer regretted coming along.
It did not take much for them to talk once they were drunk, or it could have been a lackadaisical nature garnered from complacency.
Daren was the sole exception. He was not like the others, he seemed to take his job seriously and drank lightly. What was peculiar was that he was always at Sarah’s side, for some reason, but he could not tell why. Because of him, she could not drink as much as she seemingly wanted to.
“Hey Daren, I’m hungry,” Sarah said. “Mind getting me something to eat?”
“What do you want?” he asked.
“Doesn’t matter, just bring lots of it.”
Daren left, and as soon as he did, Sarah pulled out two bottles of beer she had hiding in her bag. She opened both of them and drank them simultaneously. Some of the beer ran down her chin and onto her clothes, but she did not seem to care.
“You sure like to drink,” Samuel said.
“Haven’t done much of it lately,” Sarah responded.
“I couldn’t tell that from the way you were inhaling it.”
Sarah leaned closer to him. “Tell me about yourself.”
With her so close to him, he could not help but be attracted to her. She was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. One of the most beautiful; the loveliest creature he had ever met stole his heart a long time ago.
“I’m married,” he blurted out.
“I have a wife. We’ve been together for nine fantastic years.”
“We’ve got a kid too.”
Sarah shifted away from Samuel, she laid her back against her seat.
“Well, I feel stupid right now.”
“Don’t be. You’ve got no reason to be. I’m flattered, actually.”
“You’re just saying that.”
“No, it’s true. I don’t get approached by women like you every day.”
“You mean lonely and desperate.”
“No, but I can’t imagine why someone like you would be lonely.”
“Comes with the job.”
“I’ve been wondering, what is it that you do? You’ve always got the UNA surrounding you, I’d almost think you were a criminal or something.”
“I’m not that lucky.”
“So what is it?”
Sarah shook her head. “It’s best that you don’t know. Besides, it’s a burden I shouldn’t have too much longer, anyway. It ought to be coming to an end soon enough.”
“I hope so, for your sake.”
Daren returned, Sarah stood up and walked past him.
“I brought back enough nachos to choke an elephant,” Daren said.
“Put it in a doggy bag,” Sarah replied. “I’ve got a big day tomorrow, remember. Can’t be out too late.”
“Then why did you—”
“I’m going to the lady’s room. You’re welcome to follow me if you want.”
“I think I’ll just wait here for you.”
As soon as Sarah was out of sight, Daren turned his attention to Samuel. He stared at him intently, Samuel felt like he was trying to burn a hole through his head with his mind. He felt like turning away, but did not want to appear weak before him.
“So—” Daren began.
“I’m married,” Samuel nervously blurted out. “And I have a kid.”
Darren was taken aback for a moment, then laughed.
“So that’s the real reason she’s calling it a night.”
“I’m sorry, I did not mean to lead her on.”
“It’s not me that you need to apologize to. Quite frankly, this works out in my favor. The earlier she goes to bed, the better.”
“What’s with her? I mean, just picking up a random guy and taking him out seems kinda bizarre. Or maybe this is what people are into these days.”
“No, it is pretty bizarre. She just has a propensity to be around men that aren’t in UNA uniform. I guess she’s sick of being around us all the time.”
“About that, just what is she to you guys? She must be important if you are around her all the time.”
“Did you ask her?”
“She said it’s best that I don’t know.”
“Then leave it at that.”
“Okay. I was just wondering.”
Daren sat down. “You sure do ask a lot of questions.”
Samuel felt like he was hit by a ton of bricks. The last thing he wanted was to raise anyone’s suspicion, especially someone as sharp as Daren.
“Um…it’s my nature, I guess,” Samuel said, trying to stave off any misgivings.
“Oh really,” Daren said. “Well, let me ask you a question. Why aren’t you with your wife and child? Why did you bother coming here?”
Samuel was really under pressure now. He realized that the slightest slip up against Daren would mean trouble. He needed to say something believable, and quickly. He was not very inventive and could not think up a good enough story. That being the case, he decided to use the truth to his advantage.
“I can’t be with them,” Samuel said, lowering his voice and turning away from Daren. “They’re still in the space station.”
“A space station?”
“Yes, they’re in New Canada, that’s where I live, or at least, used to.”
“How did you end up here?”
“I came to visit family, I was born on this planet. My wife and daughter did not want to go, they can’t stand being under the planet’s gravity. While I was away, the Langerland Army attacked New Canada. I haven’t been able to contact them since.”
Daren became silent, then said, “I’m sorry.”
“I’m used to it. All I can do now is hope that this stupid war ends as soon as possible.”
Daren leaned back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling. “Who would have thought that when the Langerland Space Station was built over two hundred years ago that everything would degenerate into this.”
“The space station comprised only the best of the planet’s scientists. As the years passed, their descendants began to feel superordinate to those on Earth. They believed themselves to be intellectually superior to the humans who were weighed down by this mortal soil.”
“The fact that they were literally above the planet only fueled their egos.”
“They secluded themselves from most of humanity a few years ago. Everyone thought that it was because they did not want to communicate with those they felt below them, but it was really to prepare for the war that they would wage against all on the Earth.”
“In the end, it’s ordinary people like you that suffer the most. Tragic, really, but that’s just how war is.”
They remained in silence for a moment, then Daren said, “What are their names? Your family.”
“My wife’s Isabella and my darling daughter’s Cindy. I’d do anything to see them again.”
“I hope you will.”
Sarah approached Daren from behind and tapped him on his shoulder.
“I’m ready now. We can go whenever you’re ready.”
“Sure thing. Just let me wake up the others, first.”
Daren woke up his comrades from their drunken stupor. While he was doing so, Samuel got to his feet and began to walk away. Sarah said nothing, he figured she was still perturbed by what happened. He did not want to leave things as they were. He returned to her and bowed slightly.
“I truly am sorry for spoiling your evening,” he said.
Sarah forced him upright. “Forget about it. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. I’m just glad to have met someone like you.”
Samuel was unsure what she meant by that, but he accepted it.
“Goodnight, and please tell Daren goodbye for me.”
Samuel exited the bar. It was late and he was in a city he was not familiar with. It would be quite a walk to return to the car. However, he was feeling fearless, now. He accomplished what he did not think he could, nothing else could bother him.
Once Edgar, Jean Luc and Jeffrey were back on their feet, Daren returned to Sarah.
“So how much of our conversation did you eavesdrop on?” he asked.
“Enough of it,” Sarah replied.
“I can’t imagine what being him must feel like.”
“Me neither. If there’s any reason for this war to end, Samuel Armstrong is it.”
|Newtype Emo Guy|
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 2:24 pm
And now for Pt. 2
It was noon the next day. Risa, Marcia and Nikolai were in the middle of their final preparations for the attack. Their plan was formulated. As soon as Colonel Valitor’s ambush commenced, they would wait for forces from Natoog City and Eligarf City to be dispatched as reinforcements. As soon as they joined the battle, Risa and the others would strike in full force. However, if neither Natoog nor Eligarf backed up the UNA search and destroy squadron, they would have to fight them off themselves.
As they were about to board their siegerisers, Samuel came running into their encampment.
“You made it back?” Nikolai asked.
“I’m…sorry I’m late,” Samuel said, out of breath. “The car ran…out of gas. I had…to run…the rest of the way…here.”
Risa grabbed a bottle of water and tossed it to Samuel, he immediately drank the bottle dry.
“We got your pictures, including the schedule,” Risa said. “You did well enough.”
“That’s as much of a compliment as she will ever give,” Marcia said.
“There’s more,” Samuel said, feeling his strength return to him. “The siegeriser squadron is made up of rookies, four of them in all. They’ve never seen actual combat.”
“So we get a couple playthings before we leave,” Marcia said. “How nice, I haven’t killed anything in a while.”
“You’re sure about this, ensign?” Risa asked.
“Positive. Only one of the four seemed serious about his job, the others shouldn’t pose a threat.”
Risa appeared skeptical, Samuel thought that she did not trust his information. She headed to her siegeriser, then turned to face him.
“I’ll put my trust in your words. Now hurry, we need to be in position before the ambush begins.”
They each boarded their respective siegerisers. Marcia used a Hyrandog Flight, it looked like an average Hyrandog except for a triangular shaped wing on its back and extra thrusters on its torso. It was capable of atmospheric flight and had two missile pods on its shoulders. Nikolai used a Hyrandog Heavy. It was a bulky, heavily armored version of the original that was armed with a Gatling gun twice the length of its arm. It could give as much punishment as it could take. Samuel used one of the commonly seen, mass produced Hyrandogs that made up the bulk of the Langerland Army’s forces. He picked up his M20 submachine gun and waited for Risa’s order to move out.
Risa, being a major and an exemplary pilot, commanded a Zakiule. It was a high end model that was a far more capable fighting machine than the Hyrandog. It was slightly larger than a Hyrandog and had a deep black color scheme. It had the familiar triangular camera eye on its head, as well as broad shoulders that were spiky and were capable of impaling a siegeriser. Its true power was in its circular power pack on its back. Its weapons were attached to the power pack via cables, giving them more firepower than any other siegeriser. Risa’s Zakiule only sported one cable, attached to its sword. Another cable dangled from it, once belonging to a rifle that was destroyed during previous skirmishes. Given their predicament, she was unable to replace it.
The four siegerisers once again used the dense forest to their advantage, they advanced to within two miles of Eligarf City.
There, they waited. Risa was apprehensive, she knew that the beginning of the operation would lead to her survival but would also seal her brother’s fate. There was nothing to be happy about, all she could think of was succeeding, to not let her brother’s sacrifice be in vain.
A message was transmitted to her at three twenty five. The ambush had begun.
They waited further. They needed to allow Colonel Valitor’s forces to do enough damage to the UNA to prompt them to call for reinforcements. By three forty three, they got their answer. Marcia picked up a transmission to Natoog City, their siegerisers were dispatched immediately to assist in the battle. No such order was given to Eligarf City. They waited ten more minutes, to allow the Natoog squadron to get there before making their move.
“Lieutenants, move out!” Risa commanded.
“Finally,” Nikolai said.
“Now the fun begins,” Marcia said.
The legs of Marcia’s Hyrandog Flight folded up, revealing two large thrusters. She used its arms to grab the Hyrandog Heavy, then flew toward the city. Risa and Samuel used the thrusters on their siegerisers in short bursts to leap toward the city.
“Major Valitor, I’m sorry about your brother,” Samuel said, through the communicator.
His words were unexpected, Risa did not know how to react to it at first. She sighed.
“Thank you, Samuel” she said, solemnly.
“You finally called me by my name.”
“Focus on the mission, that’s the only important thing right now.”
Risa and Samuel arrived at the city three minutes behind the others, but it looked more like three days. The destruction looked like something from a post apocalyptic movie. Entire buildings were blown apart, anything that was not on fire was crumbling around them. The masses ran wildly in the streets, horrified by the events that they never believed would happen to them, especially after the Langerland Army’s control of the continent had been lost.
It was a dreadful sight and one that Risa had no intention of continuing. She spotted Nikolai’s Hyrandog Heavy, she advanced toward it, followed by Samuel.
“Lieutenant, what’s the meaning of this?” she demanded.
“Just a little payback, major, you understand,” Nikolai responded.
“We did not come here for a massacre! We need to get to that shuttle as soon as possible!”
“We needed to draw out the local UNA. Speaking of which…”
Two Domon siegerisers emerged and engaged in combat with Marcia, Edgar and Jeffrey were the first to dispatch. Edgar aimed his two machine pistols at the Hyrandog Flight and opened fire, but he missed terribly. Jeffrey used an M38 assault rifle and supported Edgar, but was just as unsuccessful. The entire time Marcia dodged their gunfire, she was alight with glee. She flew ahead of the Domons, then turned around.
“Let’s see you handle this!” she exclaimed, then fired six missiles from her missile pod.
Edgar used his thrusters to dodge to the left before the missiles hit. Jeffrey was terrified by the sight of the missiles and carelessly moved toward them instead of away. His Domon was blown away by a mighty fireball that left only shrapnel behind.
“Save some for me,” Nikolai said, breaking away from Risa and charging in with his Hyrandog Heavy.
He aimed his mighty Gatling gun at Edgar’s Domon, but he was already on the move before he opened fire. He used his thrusters to fly under a collapsed bridge, and used it as a shield. From there, he returned fire, but most of his shots bounced off the armor of the Hyrandog Heavy.
“Daren, where the hell are you?” Edgar yelled into his communicator.
Daren and Jean Luc raced into the siegeriser hanger. They leapt into their siegerisers, Daren heard Edgar’s cries.
“What’s the situation?” Daren asked.
“What’s the situation? Are you serious? It’s like hell on earth out here! They already took out Jeffrey, I’m going to be next unless you do something!”
“We’re coming, just give us a minute!”
Daren powered up his Domon. He wondered how things could have gone so wrong so quickly. Just a while ago, he was with Sarah at the space port, her special cargo was loaded into the shuttle, she was supposed to depart soon. Then the attack began, and he was forced to leave her on her own. He did not want to, he was ordered not to, but had no choice.
“I hope she takes care of herself,” he said to himself. “She’s too valuable to be lost here.”
At the space port, Sarah was alone, looking at her shuttle. The pilot had run off, but that was not a problem, she knew how to operate one. It would be dangerous to attempt takeoff with a battle raging outside, suicidal even, but she felt compelled to try. She had to get to space, no matter what. However, she could also hear the cries of the people of the city. She did not want to abandon them, but did not see much choice.
She got tired of watching her shuttle. She headed toward it and got inside.
Daren and Jean Luc raced to Edgar’s position. As they neared him, Nikolai fired his Gatling gun and forced them to separate. Daren stopped and aimed his Type 33 Bazooka at Nikolai and fired. His shot connected and rocked the Hyrandog Heavy back, but did not destroy it. The armor was too strong. Daren prepared for a second shot but was interrupted by Marcia’s missiles. He dropped the bazooka while dodging the missiles and it was destroyed. Both Daren and Jean Luc dropped back to Edgar’s position.
“Hell of a party,” Edgar said.
“I wish I never got an invite,” Jean Luc said.
Marcia’s missiles hit around them, shaking the ground. What was left of the bridge looked like it could collapse on them.
“We need to take one of them out,” Daren said.
“The big one’s slower but is harder to destroy, the other one has thinner armor but is practically unhittable,” Edgar said.
“True, but the Heavy’s armor was compromised by the bazooka. I think we can take it down now.”
“Let’s go for it. What’s the worst that can happen, besides dying, of course.”
Daren drew a machine pistol from the side of his Domon and joined Edgar and Jean Luc in attacking Nikolai. They all opened fire at him, his Hyrandog was bombarded with projectile fire. His armor was impressive, but not impenetrable and Marcia knew this. She returned and fired another round of missiles. The Domon’s all dodged them, Jean Luc pulled out a hilt from the shield of his Domon, a blade extended from it, forming a sword. He charged at Nikolai; Daren and Edgar gave him cover. Nikolai raised his Gatling gun, but Jean Luc was close enough to swat it away with his sword. Nikolai could do nothing but wonder how he could have been so careless as to allow a novice to get that close to him.
As Jean Luc’s sword neared, it was sliced in half by another sword, this one had a green glow. Risa intervened to help Nikolai, then continued by slicing the legs off of Jean Luc’s Domon. As the upper torso hit the ground, Nikolai aimed his Gatling gun at it and opened fire, destroying it.
“Jean Luc!” Daren yelled.
“We don’t have time to worry about him!” Edgar exclaimed. “Look out!”
Daren and Edgar were being bombarded by missiles. They were forced into retreating to the innards of the city. Marcia, Nikolai and Risa pursued them, tearing what was left of the city apart. The left arm of Edgar’s Domon was blown off by one of the missiles, the upper torso of Daren’s Domon was breached by Nikolai’s Gatling gun. They were soon surrounded by their enemies, Samuel joined as well, with little remaining ammunition, and no way out.
“Finish this already!” Risa shouted. “We don’t have much time left!”
Marcia made another round past the Domons and was coming in for the kill.
“You heard the boss, it’s time for you to die!”
Marcia locked onto them, her finger on the trigger.
That’s when it appeared, another Domon carrying a Sauder Class Assault Rifle flew in front of Marcia’s Hyrandog Flight, almost causing her to lose control. It landed on the roof of a building several stories tall, one of the few that were still standing.
“Where’d that come from, I thought there were only four of them,” Marcia said.
“No matter, it’s just one more bug to be swatted,” Nikolai said.
The head of the mysterious Domon shifted to each siegeriser on the battlefield, its visor camera eye glowed blue.
“Who the hell is that?” Edgar asked.
“Can’t you tell?” Daren said.
“I would not have asked if I did.”
“Don’t you see what’s on the chest? BN-1.”
“That’s right! You mean…you mean we’re saved!”
“It’s not over yet but it’s about to get real interesting.”
Marcia refocused her attention on the Domon on the roof, angered by its interference in a perfectly good kill. She fired her missiles and blew the roof apart. Smoke and dust covered what was left.
“Ha, no one escapes—” Marcia began, but was cut short by the reappearance of the Domon. It was swinging from the side of the building, but she could not tell from what. She just nearly avoided collision with it again, diving low, then ascending as she turned her siegeriser around.
“Don’t you dare try to make a fool of me!” she said, angrily.
Suddenly, she was being hailed. She answered, and saw the face of a blonde woman with green eyes staring back at her.
“So you must be that Domon’s pilot.”
“The name’s Sarah. It would be nice if you introduced yourself too.”
“I will blow you apart!”
Marcia fired more missiles at Sarah’s Domon, it descended from where it was hanging as the missiles hit the side of the building. The Domon hit the ground, then moved out of the way of the falling rubble. More smoke and dust were raised. Marcia fired more missiles into the smoke, believing that the Domon was hiding within it. Sarah’s Domon flew behind her, Marcia realized that she must have gone around the building instead of what she assumed. Her guard was down, she expected to be attacked, but was not. Sarah landed on the street and tossed her assault rifle aside, waiting patiently for the next move to be made. Marcia’s anger boiled over, she wanted nothing more than to see the blonde pilot of the Domon suffer.
“Nikolai!” she yelled.
“I’m already there,” he responded.
Nikolai went after Sarah’s Domon, firing his Gatling gun. She dodged his attack with the nimbleness of her Domon. She sped off, Marcia and Nikolai pursued.
“Samuel, let’s follow them,” Risa said. “That Domon troubles me, there’s something about it that seems—”
Risa and Samuel came under fire. Edgar and Daren reentered the fray.
“We cannot allow them to join up again,” Daren said.
“We can’t hold them for long,” Edgar said. “Especially the one in the Zakiule.”
“We don’t have to. We just need to give her enough time to do what she has to.”
Edgar gritted his teeth. “All right, I can’t think of a better plan, anyway.”
Edgar and Daren continued firing as they repositioned themselves to the path that Sarah took. Risa and Samuel were forced to draw back.
“If only I had my rifle, they’d both be dead by now,” Risa said.
Sarah continued to evade everything that Marcia and Nikolai threw at her, what was left of the city was being turned into rubble.
“Surrender,” Sarah said through the communicator. “You’ll die if you don’t.”
“And who is going to make us, girl,” Nikolai said.
“She must be bad at math, we’ve got her outnumbered,” Marcia said.
“If that’s your answer, accept the fate that you have brought upon yourselves!”
Sarah came to a sudden stop. She raised the left arm of her Domon and fired a grappling hook out of its wrist. It went in Nikolai’s direction, he sidestepped it and aimed his Gatling gun at her.
“I have you n—”
The grappling hook retracted, the remains of a metal frame of a building once under construction was in its grasp. The metal frame hit the back of the legs of the Hyrandog Heavy and sent it crashing to the ground, back first; its Gatling gun was knocked out of its hand. Sarah advanced toward Nikolai, but Marcia intervened.
“Die witch!” Marcia yelled, and fired more missiles.
Sarah flew out of the way, but the Hyrandog Heavy could not. It sustained damage that was nowhere near as great as Marcia’s ever building rage. Marcia turned around to prepare for another assault. When she pulled the trigger, nothing happened. She ran out of ammunition.
“So you’re dry,” Sarah said. “Time for the next chapter.”
Sarah flew into the air and hovered by using her thrusters. Marcia was immediately disgusted.
“You dare challenge my air superiority!” Marcia roared.
“Let’s finish this already,” Sarah said. “I’ve got places to be.”
“You’ll never touch ground again!”
Marcia extended the right arm of her Hyrandog Flight, a retractable blade appeared from it. She charged at Sarah at the height of her siegerisers speed. Suddenly, just before she could get close enough to strike, the thrusters of the Domon deactivated. It descended as Marcia swung her blade. Marcia passed over Sarah, the thrusters in the legs of the Domon were activated. It flipped in an anticlockwise direction, the legs rammed into the Hyrandog Flight. It was smashed in at the area of impact, the Hyrandog Flight was knocked higher into the air. Marcia screamed, she lost control of her siegeriser.
While in midair and falling to the ground, Sarah latched her grappling hook onto Nikolai’s Gatling gun. She pulled it toward her as she used her thrusters to land safely. She aimed the Gatling gun at Marcia’s hapless Hyrandog Flight. A broad smile was on her face.
“Your time is up!” Sarah yelled, then opened fire.
Marcia was able to see the bullets of the Gatling gun rushing toward her. It was a slow motion moment, the kind of thing that happens when facing certain death. Time decelerated, giving the one about to die a few more precious moments of life that were taken for granted before being selfishly clung to.
However, no matter how much time had slowed, fate was inescapable.
“Nikolai!” Marcia screamed, as the bullets impacted, ripping her siegeriser apart. It fell to the ground as a porous hunk of enflamed metal, barely recognizable from its state moments earlier. It made a thunderous sound, then silence.
Nikolai had just gotten his siegeriser upright. He was too late to do anything, whether it was to save her or to console her. He blamed himself, the pain of allowing his beloved to die alone hurt more than any battle scar ever could.
Even with Daren and Edgar attacking her, Risa was focused more on the Domon that changed the course of the battle, the one that took Marcia’s life. BN-1, the imprint on that Domon, seemed very familiar to her. She had heard of it before, but could not remember when. She thought back. There was a conversation she had with her brother a few months back, it was about the defection of a UNA general to the Langerland Army during the campaign in…
“That’s it, I know who it is now!” Risa said to herself. She hailed Nikolai, he responded. “Lieutenant, fall back to my position immediately.” He did not answer, only grunted and mumbled incoherently. “Lieutenant—”
“Shut up!” Nikolai yelled, his eyes contained the wild fury of anguish. “Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!”
“Lieutenant, have you forgotten your place? I said to fall back, now! You don’t understand what you’re—”
“Go to hell!”
“Lieutenant! Lieutenant, respond! Lieutenant!”
There was no answer, Nikolai cut off the transmission. For the time being, all she could do was observe.
Nikolai gave a mighty shout, then charged at Sarah. She fired the Gatling gun at him, which further damaged his already compromised armor, but his Hyrandog Heavy continued to function. As he was about to slam into Sarah, she tossed aside the Gatling gun, then fired her thrusters to avoid his enraged charge. The hilt of a sword popped out of the left hand of his siegeriser, he grabbed it with the right. A blade extended from it. He fired his thrusters to give chase, and swung his sword when he was close enough. He narrowly missed, slashing through a bombed out hospital. He continued his emotionally charged attack, Sarah nimbly dodged everything that was thrown at her. It seemed like engaging Sarah was pointless, but then, for whatever reason, her Domon came to a stop. Nikolai did not waste that opportunity; he grabbed the hilt of his sword with both hands and brought it down on her Domon. She grabbed the hands of his Hyrandog Heavy, stopping the sword from ripping into her, but that did not deter him. He pressed on, the sword got closer and closer to her Domon.
“You will get what you deserve, witch!” Nikolai said, fanatically elated. “I will tear your bloodied carcass out of that Domon, you hear me!”
Risa continued to observe Nikolai’s fight. She was confused by Sarah’s tactics at first, but figured out what she was doing. It troubled her to see an Earthling so skilled.
“That fool can’t see what’s about to happen!” she said. She tried to contact him again, but he still would not respond. She gritted her teeth. They had lost control, nothing was happening as it should. They were running out of time, the UNA would be heading toward the city eventually. She could wait no longer, she had to take matters into her own hands.
Edgar ran out of ammunition, Daren continued firing as he reloaded. Risa left her position and charged toward the two Domons. Daren was about to fire at her when Samuel fired at him from behind Risa. The Zakiule was much faster than their Domons, they fired their thrusters to fall back. Risa, however, used hers, and caught up to Edgar’s Domon. She slashed off its remaining arm with her sword and severed its head. With the camera gone, he could not see a thing. Samuel resumed firing at Daren to keep him from interfering, Risa grabbed Edgar’s battered Domon and lifted it as a prize.
Nikolai and Sarah were still locked in the position they were in. Nikolai’s face beamed with joy, his anticipation for the kill he believed was upon him could not be suppressed. He did not want it to be.
Sarah hailed him, and he answered, expecting to hear her beg for her life. He did not hear any of that, just one word was uttered.
“Fool!” Sarah said.
In one felled swoop, Sarah turned her Domon around, its back was now facing Nikolai. She pulled down on the Hyrandog Heavy’s hands; its momentum, combined with her efforts, brought it off its feet and onto its back. It was the second time Sarah had succeeded at doing so. Nikolai struggled to get it upright, the left leg of Sarah’s Domon rested on top of it, impeding his efforts.
“The Hyrandog Heavy is a siegeriser with impressive armor and offensive capabilities, but it suffers from a serious design flaw,” Sarah said. “Once on its back, it takes much effort to get back up. That’s why you were unable to help the other one a moment ago.”
Sarah picked up the Hyrandog Heavy’s sword and raised it as high as she could, the blade pointing downwards.
Nikolai grunted, then said, “D-Damn you to hell, you b—”
“If you can’t stand to be separated from that psycho, I’ll be happy to oblige!”
Sarah rammed the sword into the cockpit of the Hyrandog Heavy, then twisted it, breaking the blade inside of it.
Nikolai’s fight was over.
Colonel Valitor looked around him. Several Domons had been destroyed by his unit, much more than neither he nor the UNA would have expected. However, now he was all alone. His subordinates had all been killed, his badly damaged Zakiule was all that was left. Everywhere he looked, there were Domons marching toward him. There would be no escape or mercy, he did not expect either.
He thought of his sister Risa, and how he treated her for most of her life. He was cold and demanding, always expecting a hundred percent from her for everything. They had very little fun, he hardly knew what the word truly meant outside of a dictionary definition. Despite that, she met every challenge and conquered every hill he forced her to climb. He wanted the best for her, and for her to become the best. He never once considered that the war could be lost and their forces beaten back into space, he would have considered such thought to be treasonous. Victory seemed a surety, he and his sister enrolled into the army to bring about what was eventual.
He laughed, thinking of how foolish he was to think that the people who called Earth home would just roll over and die in their presence. He regretted his decision to involve his sister in this war, putting her life in unnecessary danger. He wished now that he could talk to her once more, not as a master and a pupil, but as a brother and sister without a care in the world. He would have liked that.
Colonel Valitor raised the sword of his Zakiule and pointed it at his enemies. If he could give Risa even one more second to make her escape, he would gladly do whatever it took. He yelled loud enough that he thought that the UNA could hear him within their death machines. He charged at them, one final time.
Sarah left the remains of the Hyrandog Heavy. She used her grappling hook to retrieve her assault rifle while approaching the Zakiule. She was focused solely on it, nothing else.
“That’s far enough!” Risa said, pointing her sword at Edgar’s Domon. Sarah complied.
“I take it you’re in charge?” Sarah asked.
“I am Major Risa Valitor of the Langerland Army’s 13th battalion. It’s only proper that you introduce yourself.”
“I’m a nobody, just someone passing through here that was unlucky enough to get caught up in this mess.”
“Is that so? I believe otherwise. I am positive that you are Lieutenant Colonel Sarah McKenzie, the UNA hero of the Asian campaign.”
Sarah became silent, then said, “So you’ve heard of me. I’m flattered.”
“I’ve heard stories about an exceptionally skilled siegeriser pilot that was taking out our squadrons in Asia one after another. They called you the Black Nightingale, a name you’ve apparently embraced.”
“I can’t disappoint my fans.”
“Listen to me, Black Nightingale, I want you and your subordinate to disembark from your Domons. I have no qualms about killing this UNA soldier right now.”
“What do you really want? Why are you here?”
“Our goal was to acquire a shuttle at the space port to exit this planet and return home, nothing more.”
“That was your only goal, yet you killed so many innocent people? This city is in ruin, how do you explain that?”
“I apologize, my people acted recklessly. However, that does not change our standing. We cannot remain on this planet much longer.”
“And you think that makes up for what happened here?”
“No, but as I said, we—”
Edgar’s Domon kicked Risa’s Zakiule back. She was surprised, she did not think that it was still operational.
“Take out that Zakiule, now!” Edgar yelled.
Sarah received his message and did not hesitate to aim her assault rifle at Risa’s Zakiule. There was a problem, however, Edgar’s Domon was in the way of her shot.
Sarah’s hesitation provided Risa with a golden opportunity. She needed to distract Sarah just as Edgar distracted her. There was only one way she could think of to do it.
Risa slashed Edgar’s Domon in half, the two pieces hit the ground, then exploded.
“Oh no, Edgar!” Sarah exclaimed. Her words fell on deaf ears, he could no longer hear them.
In the confusion of the explosion, Sarah lost track of Risa. She knew she was coming for her, hoping to end the battle quickly. Machinegun fire came her way, she dodged it. Samuel had fired upon her, she was not too worried about him, though. Her focus was on her real enemy. She looked up, Risa was descending upon her quickly. She leapt back, but Risa still managed to slice her assault rifle in half. Now useless, Sarah tossed it aside.
“Not bad,” Sarah said.
“I’ve always wanted to test the depths of my skills, and you’re the perfect opponent to do that,” Risa said.
She advanced toward Sarah, continuously swinging her sword. Sarah kept leaping back to dodge it, all the while drawing her own sword from her shield. She managed to graze the chest area of the Zakiule, causing Risa to back off. Sarah put more distance between them before facing her again.
That radiant sword of hers could easily take me out, I can’t win in a straight up fight, Sarah thought. I’ll have to even the odds, somehow.
She contacted Daren. “Daren, lie low for now. They seem so focused on me, they’ve forgotten about you.”
“But you’ll be outnumbered,” he said.
“Doesn’t matter, you’ve got a grander role to play.”
“All right, as long as you’re sure.”
Daren held his position, watching the battle unfold. Risa charged at Sarah, with Samuel positioned with his submachine gun. He fired at Sarah, while Risa closed in on her. Sarah continued to disregard the Hyrandog, its firing was off target and inaccurate. She saw it as little more than a distraction, Risa was the only one she needed to keep tabs on. Sarah’s eyes were locked onto the Zakiule, she had to, otherwise it would be the last thing she would ever see. She dodged the Zakiule’s sword, but it came closer to hitting her after every attempt. Risa got close enough that Sarah was forced to use her shield to defend herself, it was completely destroyed. Sarah used her thrusters to withdraw, Risa followed, not wanting to give her a moment to regroup. Sarah fired her grappling hook, it missed Risa.
“Your tricks won’t work on me!” Risa roared, as she became ever closer to Sarah.
She raised her sword for the final blow, but before it came down, Sarah’s Domon swiftly moved to her left. The movement was so quick that Risa could barely see it. She looked to the left, the Domon vanished behind a building, all that was left of it was the cable attached to its grappling hook. That’s when Risa realized what Sarah was up to. She had no intention of hitting her with the grappling hook, she latched it to the building and was using it to sling around her. It was a revelation made too late, as Risa turned her Zakiule around, Sarah’s Domon slammed into it. The Zakiule hit the ground, Sarah’s Domon leapt into the air with her sword pointed downwards. Risa fired her thrusters, causing her Zakiule to skid on the ground as Sarah’s sword came down. She then used the thrusters to return to her feet.
Risa breathed heavily. Sarah’s attack was so well calculated, she was lucky to be alive. Even though she had the advantage, using a superior siegeriser and weapon, Sarah could not be underestimated, not for a second.
“You’ve got exceptional reflexes,” Sarah said. “That attack would have done in most people.”
“I’m not most people,” Risa replied, controlling her breathing before saying anything. She did not want Sarah to know how weary she was.
“Backup ought to be coming any time now, your chances of returning home are becoming slim.”
Risa was about to answer but stopped. Sarah was no fool, she would not have just blurted that out without a reason. She was probably trying to goad her into attacking so she could spring another well executed maneuver. However, she could also be using reverse psychology and wanted her to think that so she would use precaution, buying enough time for the UNA to arrive. She searched for Samuel, he could not keep up with them and was far behind. She could not count on him, she had to win on her own, and quickly. Despite what Sarah was planning, what she said was right. The battle had to end, and quickly.
Risa rushed after Sarah, and she, in turn, retreated. She followed Sarah’s Domon, swiping at it every time she got close, but could not land a hit. Frustration built as she closed in once more, attacking rampantly. Sarah ascended high into the sky, Risa watched her and prepared to do the same.
“Now Daren!” Sarah yelled.
Daren aimed his machine pistol at Risa’s Zakiule and opened fire. Risa saw his Domon and tried to elude his attack. Despite her efforts, the right shoulder of her Zakiule was penetrated by gunfire, she almost lost control of it. Sarah descended as she did earlier, with her sword pointed downwards, to do what she formerly could not. Risa held her ground and as Sarah got close, sliced the sword of the Domon in two. Sarah landed, knowing that she was in trouble, being so close to Risa. She grabbed the head of the Zakiule with her Domon’s left hand and tried to force it off its feet.
“You shall not win today, Black Nightingale!” Risa said, then plunged her sword into the Domon’s upper torso.
She missed the cockpit by a couple meters, a folly she intended to correct. Daren wanted to fire his machine pistol but was in the same position Sarah was in with Edgar. His attempt to save her could kill her.
Risa grabbed the hilt of her sword with both hands of her Zakiule, intending to rip through the Domon’s cockpit.
“My brother is risking his life to protect mine, I won’t allow his sacrifice to be in vain! I won’t.”
The right arm of the Domon was placed in front of the Zakiule. A compartment opened, revealing a double barreled machine gun. Risa’s eyes widened, never expecting such a weapon to be installed in a Domon.
“But…I won’t die either!” Sarah said, then opened fire.
Risa’s Zakiule was pummeled with machine gun fire. Pieces of the mighty Zakiule littered the ground, it was literally falling apart. The upper torso, including the head, received massive damage. Sarah heard Risa scream over the communicator, then heard nothing more. The Zakiule fell to the ground.
“Sarah, are you all right?” Daren asked as he approached her Domon.
“If you’re asking if I’m alive, then yes,” she replied. “But I’m not all right. This city has been destroyed, so many were killed, all for a shuttle. A shuttle.”
“You’re right, but we have to remember that one more of them is still—”
Daren was interrupted by Samuel’s Hyrandog finally catching up to the others. He was surprised to see the Zakiule lying in waste on the ground. He realized what impending death felt like; he knew that with Risa out of the picture, he would never return home. He would share her fate.
Samuel turned his Hyrandog around and made his way toward the space port. He did not get very far before Sarah and Daren caught up to and surrounded him. Sarah aimed the machine gun in her Domon’s right arm at him.
“Please…please stop,” he said over the communicator.
Both Sarah and Daren heard his voice and were both shocked that they recognized it.
“Samuel, is that you?” Daren asked.
“Y-Yes, it is,” Samuel answered.
“You’re a Langerland lapdog, sent to the city to spy on us, no doubt.”
“It’s not like that.”
“Give me one good reason why I should not blow you away right now,” Sarah said.
Samuel sweated nervously, then said, “I did not want to do it, Major Valitor told me I had to.”
“That’s no excuse!”
“You don’t understand, they have my family, they forced me to join their army.”
“More of your lies,” Daren said. “You expect us to believe that.”
“It’s true. I know that I lied to you before, but I am speaking the truth now. I was forced to join their army after New Canada was taken and was stationed at their Peru base when the UNA attacked. After Langerland was defeated, I fled, along with everyone else, and ended up being mixed up with Major Valitor and the others. She came up with the plan to acquire the shuttle and promised to allow me to rejoin them if the mission succeeded. That’s the only reason I went along with it. Please, you have to believe me. I only want to see my wife and daughter again, please.”
Both Daren and Sarah were silent, the conviction in Samuel’s voice proved to them that he was telling the truth. Daren sympathized with Samuel, he could see himself doing the same thing if he was in his position. Sarah lowered her weapon, she seemingly felt the same way. Samuel was relieved, until Sarah pointed it at him again.
“Despite what your reasons are, no matter how noble, many people lost their lives today,” Sarah said. “Should thousands die just for your own selfish reasons, Samuel! Is that what you think is right!”
Samuel gritted his teeth, he could see the death that Risa experienced happening to him. He pulled out the picture of his family and held it in front of him. He wanted them to be the last thing he would see, not the barrel of a gun.
Out of nowhere, the Zakiule that Sarah believed to be out of commission rammed into Sarah’s Domon. The unexpected hit paled in comparison to what she noticed. The power pack on its back was damaged and was glowing, it was about to blow.
“Daren, get back!” she yelled, and fired her thrusters to get away from it.
The Zakiule exploded, creating a fiery hell that devastated the three siegerisers as well as destroying everything around it.
That was the last thing Daren remembered before waking up in his Domon, he did not know how long he was out for, but figured that it was not long.
“Sarah, do you read me,” he said. There was no response. “Sarah, are you all right? Sarah!” Still no response. His camera was still functioning, he used it to locate Sarah’s Domon. He found it lying on the ground, its armor was torn nearly completely off and looked like a mangled mess. It did not look like something anyone could be alive in.
He angrily slammed his fists against the controls of his Domon, distraught by Sarah’s apparent fate. He cried, he did not know Sarah for long, but valued her friendship. She was a good person, like no other he had ever met.
He then noticed something else, something was moving not too far ahead of him. It was Samuel’s Hyrandog. It had taken damage, but was still able to walk. Daren tried to raise his Domon but could not, it was beyond that. He still held onto his machine pistol, he aimed it at Samuel’s Hyrandog.
Then came a monumental conflict. He wanted to shoot down Samuel, he wanted to avenge the deaths of everyone in the city, his siegeriser squadron and Sarah. He wanted to ensure that not a single one of the Langerland bastards that committed such heinous crimes would escape. However, he did not know if he could kill Samuel, knowing that he had a family waiting for him. He did not know if he could knowingly make his wife a widow or eternally separate a young girl from her father. Was his quest for justice and thirst for vengeance great enough to destroy a family? Those questions rattled in his head as he watched the Hyrandog get closer and closer to the space port. He closed his eyes, his hand on the trigger.
That was when a shot was fired, shattering the back of the Hyrandog.
Daren, however, had not fired it.
Freefalling from an aircraft carrier was the Natoog City Domon squadron. Armed with assault rifles and shotguns all pointed at the Hyrandog, it was clear what the turnout would be.
Samuel continued toward the space port. He was close, very close to reaching his goal of seeing his wife’s brilliant smile and his daughter’s lovable, innocent face. He wanted to hold them, to kiss them, to love them. That was all he could have ever needed, what he would have walked through the fires of hell to obtain.
As the Domon squadron landed, they opened fire. The right leg of the Hyrandog was blown off, holes were punctured into the body, fire and smoke spread throughout.
Samuel held tightly to the picture of his family as his Hyrandog fell to the ground. He placed the picture over his heart.
“Isabella…Cindy…I tried my best, but I couldn’t…I couldn’t…”
The Hyrandog exploded, taking Samuel’s life along with it.
Daren was saddened by Samuel’s death, even though he contemplated doing it himself. It was hard to see someone who cared so much for his family be killed so brutally. It was further evidence of how evil war really was, there was plenty evidence of that around him.
He heard the sound of rocket thrusters, the shuttle was taking off. As it blasted off into the sky, he watched it, puzzled as to who could possibly be its pilot. The Natoog squadron did not attack, they were just as confused. They did not want to inadvertently kill fleeing citizens.
“Why, Daren. Tell me why.”
Daren gasped, the voice on his communicator was Sarah’s. She was still alive, he was ecstatic to hear from her.
“Sarah, how badly are you hurt?” he asked.
She ignored his question and said, “Tell me…why I’m still alive…why others always die around me…but I always survive…always.”
Daren realized that she was disoriented, he contacted the Natoog squadron for assistance.
“Don’t worry Sarah, it’ll all be okay now,” he said.
Two months passed since that day.
Daren had been discharged from the Natoog City Military Hospital after a week, his injuries were not life threatening. Sarah was not as lucky. The explosion damaged her spinal cord, she was unable to walk. It was not a permanent paralysis, in time she would be her normal self again, but that would be years down the line. For now, she was confined to a hospital bed.
Daren knocked on the door of her hospital room. She acknowledged him, and he entered.
“You look chipper today,” Daren said.
“I’m being transferred to a hospital in my home state,” Sarah said. “I haven’t seen my dad since this war began. I can’t wait to hear him berate me for joining the army before he hugs the life out of me.”
“What are your plans, Daren? Are you being deployed soon?”
“I’ve been discharged. Apparently, the guys up top think I’ve been through enough. I don’t think they ever saw much value in me, anyway.”
“It doesn’t matter, you get to do something else with your life now. There’s nothing to hold you back.”
Daren nodded. “But there is one thing that puzzles me.”
“I never imagined the Langerland to be suicidal. They would never admit losing to people like us, so why did that one pilot go kamikaze?”
Sarah closed her eyes and grinned. “That’s a question that can only be answered in blood. I just hope that one day, I cause it to be spilt.”
“What was that?”
“Nothing. Now, tell me what’s in store for you.”
Colonel Risa Valitor rode in the back of a Langerland military vehicle, surrounded by three soldiers. She received a two rank promotion after her heroics and return from South America. It was not without cost. Her ribs were broken after falling out of the Zakiule’s cockpit after firing up its thrusters. Walking was unbearable, but this was a trip she felt she had to make.
The vehicle stopped in front of a house, Risa exited it and made the painful trek to the door. She rang the doorbell, a woman in her early thirties answered it, her daughter was hiding behind her.
“Are you Isabella Armstrong?” she asked.
“Yes, I am,” she answered. “Am I being punished for something? I’ve done nothing wrong. My husband died fighting for you people, haven’t I suffered e—”
“You and your child are being sent to New United States as part of a prisoner exchange with the UNA. Pack now, you leave immediately.”
Isabella beamed with elation, she bent over and hugged Cindy. Risa turned to go.
“Tell me, why are you doing this?” Isabella asked.
“Because I owe Samuel that much,” Risa said, without ever looking back. Isabella wanted to ask more, but Risa did not give her the chance. She reentered the vehicle and was driven off.
As she sat in the back, her arm around her chest, she pulled out the locket that had the picture of herself and her brother.
“Thank you, Raizzo, for everything,” she said.
She sighed, for she knew that her respite would be brief. There was still a war to be won, there would be many battles in store for her.
If only peace was not a luxury.
|Newtype Emo Guy|
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 2:24 pm
For now, this is as far as the story will go. I've been really busy lately and have not had the time to do more, but I will try to do so in the future. As far as Samuel goes, his death made more sense than his survival, especially given the odds that he had to overcome. At least Risa survived, originally I planned for all of the Langerland to die, but changed my mind on Risa at the last minute.
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