August 27, 2018 at 9:18 PM #146158LegacyElite84ModeratorLieutenant ColonelTotal posts : 2516
“Claire. I don’t know if you can hear me, but please… wake up.”
* * * *
The world came rushing back into reality. The dark, faded walls materialized as she opened her eyes, revealing multiple holes riddled here and there allowing the intruding light of day to shine through.
Sitting up from her makeshift bed, she takes a moment to process her current situation and what led her down this path. Finally past her usual morning internal debate, she inhales sharply as she shifts to her feet. Her leg was still giving her a bit of trouble since their last run in with the UEC. Spotted the sharpshooter too late. Thankfully the shell passed right through the cockpit.
“Claire? You awake?”
The sudden intrusion of noise made her turn her head to the source. The radio had been left on throughout the night, just in case the governmental forces were launching a counterattack.
Walking over to the radio, she finally pressed down on the receiver “I’m here Xoán.”
“The maintenance crews just finished repairs on Brasswolf. You were right. You did get really lucky. Missed the power distributor by an inch. And we were able to salvage together two more working MeeVees from that last raid. Saved Belus with a bonus.”
“Finally some good news. Anything from Eva?”
The pause said all that was needed.
“… You might want to talk to her yourself.”
“And by the way, after you talk to her, head on down to the hanger. The boys got a surprise for you.”
Have to take the good with the bad, I guess.
* * * *
“Claire, this isn’t good.”
The logistics room was a mess. Scattered maps and papers littered the tables from the previous week’s operation of taking the outpost. Not as bad as it must have been during the actual operation, but a lot worse than its usual composure. However, the only part that was currently right where it belonged was Eva Gotha, coffee in hand while pouring over a few select maps and the center console.
Looking up from the tactical data in front of her, she waved Claire over.
“They’re building up an outpost around the hydrogen plant. I think they’re staging for another attack.”
Clair froze. The mere mention of the hydrogen plant for the past months had left her as stunned as if she heard Xoán’s voice over the radio for the first time bringing news of the plant explosion.
Slowly piecing over the maps and images laid out, her mind finally started to consolidate. Pictures and satellite images of the beginnings of fortifications around the once industrious hydrogen plant came running across the console screen. Even more alarming was the presence of a couple of MAVs escorting a few of the initial convoys to their perimeter.
“We need to go. And we need to go now.”
Gotha’s voice sounded different, gruff almost. But it just must have been her imagination.
“Are you sure about this Claire? We all know what happened there…”
“I know. It was never any secret,” She stated with a forlorn conclusion, but not losing the strength she knew she needed to continue “But we need to go. Catch them before they get established. And secure this region for good! We lost too much already…”
Eva paused to consider Claire’s proposition. She knew that Claire should not be anywhere within twenty kilometers of that hydrogen plant. She had already sacrificed so much to the cause. But Claire was right in the end. It was time to act.
“Get down to the hanger then. We’ll be ready to move out within the hour.”
* * * *
As the walkway doors slid open between the various lapses of electricity, Jié was the first to notice who was entering the hanger and started making his way over to Claire.
Jié always looked up to Claire since they had met before the Battle of Belus. Poor thing still had a bit of a limp from that spalling, but she was made of tougher stuff. She had saved his family’s lives more time than he can count, so he did everything he could to return the favor to the rebels that gave him hope.
Claire immediately perked up at the sight of the man. Decent miner, but an amazing mechanic. And just the person she was after.
“We just got the news, and the retrofits and repairs to the Brasswolf were just finished this morning. We’re ready to go whenever you are,” he said, with the gentleness his voice always somehow carried. Even when giving a rundown on repairs and workings of a war machine, he still found a way to make her smile.
“You always do know how to make the best of any situation. And what’s this about retrofits? This the surprise that Xoán’s been hyped up about.”
“Perceptive as always, Ms. Campbell. Right this way.”
It’s been a few days since Claire was down in the hanger. Politics always had a way of taking the time away from her, when the battles weren’t taking the seconds. But in those few days, things have underwent quite an overhaul in their hardware department.
Five MAVs were all lined up, all composed of a full military loadout. Two of which sported wheeled bases with combinations of machine guns burst rifles between the two of them, further equipped with some of the earlier, lightweight mining cockpits.
The third was on a retrofitted caterpillar chassis, with armor repositioned to protect the forward sprocket from gunfire, mounting a larger cockpit with some high velocity cannons, and a makeshift mobile communications system originally intended for exploration operations into the ice valleys.
The fourth utilized a salvaged reverse joint chassis from a UEC MAV from the attack on the outpost with a streamlined cockpit, mounting the same sniper cannons that had almost cost her a lot more than a limp.
And finally, at the end of the hanger, was the new and improved Brasswolf IV. The bipedal legs were reconfigured to allow for greater mobility while maintaining their durability, and a new governmental cockpit was installed with a built-in reactor. Some of the rifles from the previous engagement at the outpost were removed, as well as the mining drills. In exchange, repurposed mining spikes were mounted on the arms, as well as two rocket pods mounted under each of the spikes.
“You’ve been busy,” stated Claire, simply impressed with the speed and quality of their mechanics.
“We aim to please.”
By the time she finished her walkthrough of their new dogs of war, Tristan and the other pilots have already gathered around, having heard the news from Eva.
Tristan walked around to the front of the group to get everyone’s attention, “Izzet got redirected this morning from his patrol and is attempting to re-establish contact with the Asag colony. Hopefully we’ll have some help again. We’ll have no-”
The main hanger doors broke the briefing with the beginning of their opening sequence with the loud churning of its metallic gears. A blackened figure stepped inside the opening from the blinding daylight. Walking far enough inside to see the details of the figure, it was revealed to be Xoán, with a small smirk on his face after scanning over their new arsenal. He finally stopped his march in front of the rebellion’s best pilots.
“Alright, y’all know the drill. Mount up.”
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