The sound of a door opening made her sit up in her hospital bed. Two people entered, a seemingly frail asian woman and a tall blonde-haired man, both middleaged. Akane smirked "Hey mom. Got a new boyfriend ? What would Oka say about it ?" Aikiko stuck her tongue out at Akane "You know I love only Oka and would never cheat on her. This is Captain McAfee of the Arkadyan military, he wishes to speak with you.
Akane's smile faded as she narrowed her eyes and looked at the man with a hint of disgust. She sneered "What's a person like him got to talk about with a 'Commonwealth renegade' like me ?" remembering the words spoken to her by an Arkadyan MP, that time she got arrested - again.
The man saluted and smirked softly "trust me, if I could have I would have sent someone else to talk to you, miss Mituyashi." Akane smirked right back "Oh how nice of you to say that. State your business, then get the bloody hell out of my room."
He nodded. "I am Captain Paul McAfee as your mother already told you, and I have been sent to offer you employment in our fine military forces." Akane blinked at that comment, then burst out in laughter "Offer me employment ? That's a joke. Must be."
Her smile faded as she glared at the man "Your 'fine military forces' have treated me and my friends like dirt and criminals way too many times, have tried to close down my mother's mech factory, have tried to put the lot of us in jail, despite all that we have done for the war effort, and now you offer me employment ?"
The man nodded and explained in a serious tone of voice "Most regrettable incidents, but some of us have realised your skill and potential and we are willing to offer you .. well, a job, as it were." He fidgetted a bit, slightly intimidated by the many stories he has heard about this woman, former Commonwealth gunner Akane Mituyashi.
She smirked, painfully rising out of her hospital bed. A machine bleeped out an alert as she did so and instantly a pair of orderlies stormed into the room. "You shouldn't get out of bed, Miss Mituyashi !" She snorted at the men. "Who's gonna stop me ? You two ?"
Aikiko giggled softly and shook her head as Akane pushed the nearest of the two orderlies out of the way, her cybernetic legs making soft whirring noises as she moves. Akane then turned to McAfee "You. Me. Outside. Now." and left the room.
"Employment you say ? I have a job as testpilot and mechanical designer in my mother's mecha design bureau, NMW." They were outside, walking towards Aikiko's car. "What would you have to offer me ?" The man nodded "We know about your wish to go back into combat, miss Mituyashi. The brass is prepared to offer you a commission as Seargeant First Class, give you a mech and allow you to fight at the front again."
Akane blinked and halted .. she spoke quietly "what made you lot decide to offer me that ? After all, the brass threw me out of the army in the first place .. " She was obviously intruiged by the offer. McAfee explained "And we tried to close down NMW bureau, and we tried to put you and your friends in jail, I know .. But we also saw how you eventually hi-jacked the second Messiah prototype and proceeded to destroy a Commonwealth invasion force as if it were nothing."
She snorted "The Messiah was destroyed and both me and my pilot nearly got killed in the attack." He nodded "But you destroyed an overwhelming superiority of Commonwealth mecha .. A Tarantula heavy assault units and it's escort of four cobra ground superiority mecha .. Impressive. Very impressive."
She chuckled "There are many more who can do that in the right circumstances." He smiled a bit and shook his head "But not in a mere seven minutes, miss Mituyashi. Besides, by doing what you did you saved the lives of half a dozen pilots and pushed Commonwealth forces back enough so we could capture the dragons-ridge mountainrange."
Akane remained silent for a while as she seemed to be pondering, considering his offer. "...what kind of unit would you offer me ?" McAfee nods "We have not decided yet but we are considering an upgraded Sierra Assault mech. We know how you prefer a unit with firepower over a more agile one, and even though it's a somewhat older unit, the Sierra still has a lot of firepower."
She shook her head "No dice. Sierra's are cannonfodder against tarantula's and the odd HMP unit we're likely to encounter. Besides, with my legs I can't pilot one of those things in combat anyways. Find yourself another pilot." The Captain blinked "But that's our most powerful regular unit. What else can we offer ?"
Akane sneered at him as she leaned in and looked straight into his eyes "Then give me a captured '27 or a '32." He shook his head "We can't give you a captured Commonwealth chassis. If you are to join us you must pilot a unit manufactured in Arkadya."
Akane nodded, pondering a moment, then turned to Aikiko "When will the third Messiah prototype be ready ?" Akane's mother thought for a few moments before answering "Three weeks." Akane nodded and turned back to McAfee "I will accept under two conditions. I get to use a Messiah Heavy Mobile Platform, and I get to choose my pilot and tech support crew."
McAfee nodded in agreement "acceptable." Akane chuckles and spoke, grimly. "My pilot will be Ryoshi Watanabe, and my tech crew will be my mother Aikiko, and her wife, Oka."
Oka nodded as she was told what happened "Sounds like you finally get to go back to combat, Akane." She sighed and shook her head a bit, taking another bite of her dinner steak before continuing. "You know how much I hate to see you and Aikiko so close to danger, but it's your choice."
Aikiko sighed soflty and rests a hand on Oka's shoulder "It's all she ever wanted, love. To matter. To be able to make a difference. She can't do that in our company, you know that." Akane smiled soflty "I'll be ok. You two keep that Messiah in tip-top shape and Ryoshi will keep me out of trouble." she nodded to Ryoshi who has been silent so far. "Right ?"
Ryoshi smiled. "Though we really ought to bring you back to the hospital and chain you to the bed .. " He wuipped, ducking the spoonfull of mashed potatoes Akane threw at him for that remark. He stuck his tongue out "It's good to have you back .. " The former Commonwealth pilot spoke as he continued his dinner.
Akane sighed "It's good to be back .." Closing her eyes for a moment "and to be able to avenge Edmund." Oka sighed softly and rested a hand on Akane's knee "It's been ages, Akane. Let it rest. Know what ? Tomorrow is Traf Memorial day, we can go to Ed and Traf's graves in the Arkadyan Hero Memorial Cemetary." Akane nodded slowly, opening her eyes again "I'd like that."
They slowly walked onto the cemetary, dressed completely in black. The only thing that could be heard on the peaceful hero's memorial cemetary is the gentle whirring of the hydraulic systems in Akane's cybernetic legs and the soft footsteps the group of four made as they walked over to the back, to Akane's deceased husband's grave.
The young woman knelt down at the grave and closed her eyes for a moment, brushing a hand over the simple but stylish headstone. "Edmund, you bloody idiot .. Why did you have to go be a hero and get yourself killed ?" She opened her eyes again, a single tear rolling down her cheek. "I miss you. More than you can know."
They remained at Ed's grave for a few moments more before they slowly made their way to a small chapel in one corner of the cemetary. There's a sarcofagus inside, with a small plaque. 'Here rests the great Arkadyan hero Tremento Traf, who's selfless act of supreme sacrifice turned the tide of war.'
Akane rested her hand on the sarcofagus for a moment and shook her head "Traf .. If not for me you would probably still be alive today. If I had not given you that silly idea, you would not have gone to Berlin to destroy Commonwealth's nuclear capabilities. And it's only dumb luck that you actually succeeded at that." She remained silent for a few moments more before continuing "Heh. I sometimes wonder what you would have said if you knew they would have made your assault on berlin a national holiday."
Ryoshi just stood there a bit, never having known either Traf or Edmund. Aikiko comforted Oka as the small woman with glasses wiped away a tear. Akane nodded at the sarcofagus "Well .. you take good care of Ed, Traf. 'Cos if you don't I'ma coming up there myself to smack you around till you do." Ryoshi tried to keep down a snicker as Aikiko and Oka let out a small giggle and Akane smirked a bit.
The enormous 34 ton heavy, 8 meter tall unit shuddered lightly as it lifted it's massive left foot and cautiously lurched forward, severing it's umbilical cord, and switching over to internal power. Oka sighs with relief and smiled "Three weeks hard work pays off today. Telemetry functioning properly. All systems nominal. Take her out, Ryoshi." A short "affirmative" was the answer as he turned the huge machine towards the vast double doors and slowly stepped out to the testing range.
He lumbered the mech up to the starting line and halted there. "Messiah three ready for manouvering and propulsion tests." he spoke. Aikiko was the one to respond. "You are go for test. Repeat, you are go for test."
The Messiah started forward again and increased it's speed, testing for balance in a straight line. Accelerating, heavy echoing footfalls carrying the lumbering machine forwards, passing from walking into running. Soon it reached it's enhanced top speed of 90 kph.
"Left hip actuator running a bit hot. Please advise." Akane's worried voice was answered by Oka "Well within nominal parameters. Don't worry, Akane, It's nothing to worry about. I'll take a look at it when you return."
The vast weapons platform engaged in a series of manouverability tests. Sidestepping, backpedaling, turning around, then combinations of those maneuvers. Aikiko kept monitoring the telemetry readouts as Oka watched the unit move over a closed TV circuit. "Looking good .." aikiko smiled "That's more than satisfactory. Please proceed to the firing range."
The Messiah turned and headed over to the firing range. Akane powered up her weapon systems. "Rapidfire canon online. Heavy vulcan online. Gauss on standby." Ryoshi lined up the Messiah chassis with the starting line on the firing range.
Soon a target drone appeared at medium range. Akane tracked it with the rapidfire cannon and fires a 120mm shell at the target which almost instantly exploded in a flurry of debris as it is hit. "Wooo ! Scratch one bogey !" She laughed softly. Ryoshi chuckled and spoke over the internal intercom "Feels good to be destroying things again, don't it, Akane ?" She nodded "Damn right it does !"
A series of smaller targets appear in rapid succession, moving from left to right. Akane spun up the heavy vulcan and spewed a stream of 30mm depleted uranium rounds at the targets which missed their goal. She blinked "Vulcan tracking and targeting is off. Compensating." she took new aim and fired again. The targets were riddled with holes. "That's better. Oka ? The vulcan needs to be re-adjusted four degrees to the left for targeting." Oka nodded "Roger."
Aikiko continues watching the monitors "Very well. If all is satisfactory on your side, Akane, proceed to testfire the Gauss. Be advised, you have live ammo in that thing." Akane nodded "Understood." She has Ryoshi switch surplus power to the gauss and immediately the enormous unit lowered itself a bit for stability.
"Gauss firing in three .. two .. one .. Firing now." And at that exact moment a massive flash lighted the area as a series of powerful magnetic coils hyper-accelerated a solid round out of the roofmounted Gauss cannon. The entire 34 ton unit shuddered from the recoil.
The four foot thick laminated armor plate Akane targeted had a hole punched clean through it, by the immense armor penetrating capability of the Gauss cannon ..
Be alert. The world needs more Lerts.