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Monday, May 25, 2020 7:16:53 CSTLogin ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 123456[7]8910 ]

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Date Posted: 19:35:43 05/18/15 Mon
Author: JD
Subject: Part 2
In reply to: JD 's message, "The 31st Century Chapter 1" on 17:03:18 05/18/15 Mon

Chris nodded; feeling slightly uneasy of his new surroundings, slowly forms a grin on his face. “Cool!”

Sam chuckled before starting again, “I see you already met JD, Tommy and Josh.”

JD stepped forward and looked down at Chris sheepishly. His grey eyes appeared to strike fear in others who dared to try and stare down on him. The only person who could resist the feeling JD always gave was Sam. JD respects authority, but often wishes he had his own command for personal gain. He later discovers there is more to life than pursuing rank and commanding a Clan. Chris didn’t feel fazed by his presence and thrust out his right hand, as he wanted to shake it. JD was surprised as well as everyone else that Chris didn’t flinch one bit as most people tend to do so when they first met JD. Reluctantly, he slowly drew his right hand forward and firmly squeezed Chris’s hand as he did the same. “My name is JD, short for Jack Daniels and my Callsign is Hammer.”

JD stepped back and grinned as Tommy stepped forward. Chris noticed he had brown, caring eyes and he quickly warmed up to him and hoped he would be his friend. His face was scar-free and Chris wondered if he was very lucky or very good and wondered how old he was. “My name is Tommy and my Callsign is Coolio.” He spoke with warmth in his voice as he held out his right hand for Chris to shake.

Josh stepped forward as Tommy finally finished his handshake. As he neared Chris, he felt a rumble in the ground as it shook slightly for every step Josh made towards him. Puzzled, he looked around then stared at Josh in his eyes. Josh had dark blue eyes and several small scars ran down his face. “My name is Josh and my Callsign is Rampage. Some of the guys shorten my Callsign to ‘Ramp’, please don’t hesitate to call me what you like.” Josh finished with a grin and thrust out his right hand for a handshake, which Chris happily shook with. Once Josh was finished, he stepped back and the young redhead boy stepped forward. Before he could do anything, Sam stepped forward and stopped once he arrived at Chris’ side.

“No one knows his name and we call him John. He does something funny with his hands, but no one here knows what it is.” Sam calmly spoke as he looked at the smiling boy. Before he began again, he put his hand on his head and chuckled, “I remember when he first came to us. Merlin thought he was conjuring up magic and almost killed him with one of his spells. I’m glad I was there to stop him; otherwise he wouldn’t be here today.

Chris looked up at Sam with puzzlement and stared for a few moments. He had an idea and then looked back down at the smiling 7 yo and said, ‘hi’. The boy started doing something with his hands as they moved with ease, as if he was trying to communicate. Chris’s eyes went wide and he looked back up with Sam, trying to figure out what to say.

“Uhh, has he been to a doctor lately?” Chris asked, feeling a bit unsure in Sam’s presence. He was nervous enough and Sam picked up on it.

Sam placed a hand on Chris’s shoulder, “Don’t be nervous around me. I don’t bite.” He finished with a wink. This seemed to put Chris at ease some before Sam continued, “No, our doc is away on a mission. I am hoping he’ll return quickly, so we can find out more about this boy.”

Chris almost fell to the floor as he heard that their doc was away on a mission. He wanted to speak his mind, but decided not to as first impressions are usually the most important. His dad had taught him that and he earned many friends as they thought he was so cool to be with. “I think he is deaf. I know some sign-language and I think he just told me he doesn’t understand any of us.”

Sam’s expression was priceless. He was surprised, he had completely forgot a very few of the universe’s population was deaf. Armed with the newfound knowledge, he immediately left the room, causing everyone to look at each other and shrug. Moments later he entered the room carrying a device and set it down a few feet from the boy and Chris. Once it was in place, he flipped it on and a holographic image of a tall middle-aged woman came into view. She simply stood there looking towards the boy with her arms at her sides.

“Ah! I had forgotten about this. I’m glad I kept it.” Sam said he placed the device in front of the boy as he stood up and looked at the shocked expressions of his clan. Chris was staring at him with puzzlement written all over his face. Sam got the message and continued, “This is a device that acts like an interpreter. I used it to learn sign-language back in the early days of my life when I attended school. My parents made sure I knew every language there is available. I decided on this language because it was rare and it looked interesting.” Sam watched the image change his words into signs so the boy could understand what he was talking about. Sam crouched down to the boy’s level, “I’m sorry I didn’t realize this sooner. I forgot what the language was as it has been so long since I last learned it.” The woman on the hologram had completely interpreted Sam’s message to the boy.

The boy was surprised, but if his happy expression could get bigger, it did. He started replying to the hologram, but shook his head and turned to Sam and continued to sign to him. The hologram kept her attention on the boy as she relayed what he signed. “He said he forgives you and he wants to let you know he thanks you for rescuing him several days ago. He understands the situation and accepts things as they are. His name is Aaron, and he is five years old.”

To say Sam was floored by his response was an understatement. Everyone in the room was quite surprised to discover Aaron was really five and not eight. Chris understood most of what Aaron signed, but he missed several of the signs since he couldn’t read that fast. Chris knelt down and signed, “Nice to meet you, Aaron.”

Aaron grinned and leapt into Chris. Chris gave the surprised boy a tight hug for thanking him. When Aaron let go, he signed back, “Thank you! Can’t read, write. Parents killed few days ago. He saved me.” Aaron finished by pointing his finger at Sam. The interpreter relayed the message, translating it to spoken English causing Sam to some what blush, but he hid it well and a smile escaped from his lips. He knew he was wasting time and wanted to finish introductions to the rest of his clan.

“I’m sorry to cut this short, but I need to pull Chris into a meeting with the council,” Sam said as he looked at Tommy, gaining a nod from him. Tommy used to be on the council, but stepped down to allow others a chance at council leadership. Sam then looked at the rest of the group before continuing, “We’ll have to finish introductions for Chris later. I’m sorry, but I would like to get this finished before more issues arrive.” Sam spoke quickly as Chris stood up. This caused some ‘groans’ among the group, but they reluctantly started to head off to whatever direction they decided to go.

Chris wasn’t sure he was supposed to be in a meeting with them as he had ‘just’ arrived. He had been in meetings before with his MechWarrior4 team and he didn’t think they had seemed all too important. This time however, he sensed Sam had an issue that concerned him. “But I just got here! I don’t see how I fit into all of this?” Chris spoke above the normal tone he used and stopped himself from starting again as he had just about yelled. His face reddened a bit as he mumbled a soft ‘sorry’ and looked down towards the floor.

Sam quickly held his hand up as JD was about to open his mouth. “It’s alright, kiddo. This matter does concern you. Please follow me.” Sam smiled slightly before turning and walking towards the same doors he had originally entered from. The four high-ranking warriors turned to follow behind Sam. Josh looked at the group he was with and nodded before following after the high-ranking officers. Everyone, including Tommy was stunned at the sudden decision Sam had to make. He was sure there would be an announcement later on during a clan-wide meeting. But for now, it was for just the council. As they watched the council leave, they all looked at each other and shrugged.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Clan Council Meeting Room, moments later –

Sam entered the large oval meeting room first as the large brown double doors were wide open. The doors always remained open unless there was a council meeting in session. The walls were plain blue and it appeared that the ceiling was high, but in reality it was only 15 feet high. In the center of the room was a large dark cherry red oval table that sat up to fifteen people.

Sam walked over to the head of the table that was opposite to the entrance of the meeting room and waited till everyone entered. When Josh arrived at the entrance, everyone was looking at him. Grumbling to himself, “It’s always me!” This brought a few snickering around the room. Even Sam had to silently chuckle at Josh’s silent complaining about being the last one in had to close the doors.

Once Josh closed the doors, Sam pulled out the red wooden chair and sat. The rest of the group followed the same. Chris remained standing till Tommy pointed at a chair, “Have a seat next to me, kiddo.” Chris grinned and sat next to Tommy. Sam let out a sigh as he thought what he wanted to say. “Before we begin, I need to introduce the council to Chris.” Sam looked in Chris’s direction and smiled before continuing, “I’m sure you’re wondering why Josh is here. I’m not going to explain everything at this time, maybe he could later, but Josh was once a council member and stepped down on his own terms. As much as I would have liked him to stay, I also respect his wishes.” Tommy was blushing at being complimented by Sam. He hated it when Sam always did that to him, but he also knew it was for a good reason. Sam continued, “I would like to promote Josh to the rank of Senior Council Member so we can continue to get his wisdom and advice. This is non-negotiable, Josh, we always have room for more on the council and now is a good time as any.” Josh nodded his head and thanked Sam for the promotion.

“First, to my right,” Sam began as he moved his right hand into the direction of one of the older looking council members. Not wanting to waste time, he continued, “is council member Simon. He is the Galaxy Commander of Blue Panthers.”

Simon was well into his 40’s and had a lot of experience, both as a pilot and a diplomat. His head was shaved and his brown eyes welcomed friendship to those who are willing to be friends. “Hi, Chris. Welcome to the clan. As Sam said, I lead the Blue Panthers and my Callsign is Ironfist. Everyone calls me Simon.”

Chris nodded and said, ‘hi,’ then Sam continued, “Next to Simon is Roger. He is also a Galaxy Commander and council member. He leads the Forsaken Warriors and his Callsign is Air Fright” Sam spoke as he shifted his hand to the younger looking council member. He wasn’t the youngest nor the eldest, but he was very aggressive on the field and hard on his team. He always strived to get them to work hard so they could live up to his expectations.

Chris looked at Roger and something looked familiar about him. He wasn’t sure where, but it was just a feeling. Roger appeared to be 35 and had brown eyes and light brown hair with no scars across his face. When he reached out to shake Chris’s hand, Chris noticed many scars on his arm and hand. Chris hesitated for a moment but eventually shook Roger’s hand.

Roger smiled at Chris as he finished the handshake, “Good firm grip, I like that in a man.”

“Thanks,” Chris blushed at the compliment from Roger.

Sam switched arms as his left arm rose from its resting point and his right arm took its place. “To my left is Gail. She too, is council member and Galaxy Commander of the White Angels.” Gail was in her thirties and had long brown hair that seemed to go on forever, but was only to her mid back in length. She had bright pink eyes and an infectious smile that caused you to smile every time she did, even Sam.

Gail smiled, “Hi, my Callsign is Banshee, off the field, I’m Gail. Please do not address me as ‘sir’ as I do not carry a protruding organ and a set of mangos.” Gail finished as she watched the room burst into fits of giggles, then back to Chris.

Chris wasn’t sure whether to break out laughing or simply blush madly at her use for a certain appendage only men and boys had. Suddenly the room broke out laughing from their giggling state, causing Gail to blush some. Chris eventually joined in the laughter. When the laughter died down some, they exchanged pleasantries and Sam began to introduce the final council member.

“Next to Gail is our youngest acting council member, Josh, he is Star Colonel of the Knights galaxy. Merlin, who you already met, is the Galaxy Commander of the Knights. Josh used to represent Merlin in his times of absence. The council decided for Josh to carry the Acting Council Member title due to his input and wise decisions. I would gladly give him a promotion as he is ready for a new rank, but this is for later discussion.” Sam finished as all eyes were on him upon hearing the ‘promotion’ mentioned.

Josh’s shock didn’t last long as he realized he expected it and also needed to introduce himself to Chris. “My Callsign is Rampage, as you already know. It’s nice to meet ya, Chris.” Josh spoke with calmness as he held out his hand to Chris.

Chris shook his hand and noticed no scarring. “You don’t have any scars on you. You must be real good!” Chris was amazed and wondered how good he really was.

Josh blushed and chuckled, “I had a good teacher. I’m only 18, tho.” He smiled and looked in Tommy’s direction and saw he was rolling his eyes. Josh had just turned 18 a month ago. He had short blond hair and light blue eyes. For a council member, he looked quite good and was thin with some muscle definition showing.

Sam stood as Josh returned his attention to him. “Now that introductions are out of the way, Chris…” Sam looked around the table before finally stopping to look at Chris then continued, “We need to get you in a simulation to gauge your skill. Please keep in mind everyone starts as a Cadet. I really didn’t want to rush things and give you a few days to settle and get to know your environment, but such things aren’t possible as we are in the middle of a war brewing. Everyone fourteen and older is a pilot. I’ve even had some at the age of twelve piloting ‘Mechs and their lives ended too quickly. Your being here wasn’t a chance of fate. From what Merlin told me, you were the best candidate of your time to be pulled from history to join us here and now. I’m sorry for the loss of your parents, but I’d really like for you to join us in a real battle.”

Chris wasn’t sure what to say. He simply sat there staring at Sam as if he was looking at an alien. Chris had been nervous before, but never this nervous. He felt his whole body get heavy and a certain uneasiness was felt from within his stomach. Chris wanted to relax for a few days and not head into battle anytime soon.

Sam was hoping for an immediate response and was about to say something after a few moments of silence but Chris stopped him. “Thanks for the offer, but I don’t think I’m ready. This is too new and I…” Chris ran his arm across his face to wipe some tears in his eyes then continued, “…I just want to…” Chris couldn’t finish his sentence, but Sam started talking immediately, interrupting Chris, “Don’t worry, like I said, the general age is fourteen. Besides, you gave it some thought before giving your answer. I like that. It says a lot in a person and you have the ability to think first and act later, unlike a certain hard-headed Star Colonel who thinks he needs to show off his rank.” Sam had to let out a small chuckle as he was talking about JD. Everyone in the room chuckled as well as they knew who Sam was referring to. He shifted his attention to Tommy, “Tommy, please show Chris his new room and give him a small handheld pad. I trust in your decision on what to show him and when he is ready.”

Tommy nodded to Sam then turned to Chris, “Hey, follow me. I’ll give you the grand tour of this cool place.” Tommy grinned as he put an arm around Chris.

Chris turned to look at Chuck and grin. Both boys stood and made their way to exit the room. Once the doors were closed again, Sam returned to his seat to address the council on a few more issues.

“Josh, the council and I have agreed to promote you to Galaxy Commander. You are ready and we trust you to make good decisions. Merlin will now become a SaKhan and the 2nd in command of Fierce Panthers. Congratulations! The galaxy of the Knights is yours to command.” Sam smiled as he pressed a small button on the table then continued, “Computer, please input this into the Clan log: As of 13:00 hours on the 13th day of the 2nd month, year 3085, Star Colonel Josh has been promoted to Galaxy Commander. Also on this day, Galaxy Commander Merlin has been promoted to SaKhan and attains Speaker of the Council.” Sam then pressed another button to end recording and the computer voice spoke into the room to confirm the changes in command.

“Command codes accepted. Ranks have been adjusted and the clan will be notified of the news.”

“Any other issues before I adjourn the meeting?”

Gail sat up a tad straighter in her chair wanting to address an issue, “I’ve got confirmed reports that a new Mercenary group had arrived on one of our planets. I have three scouts checking it out, but they won’t interfere with anything unless a conflict arises.”

“Who is this Mercenary group and what do we know about them?” Sam leaned forward in his chair as if this was news to him.

“They call themselves Absolute Elite. We have very little information on them; however, they aren’t under any contract at the moment. I am led to believe they are a new group looking for work, but we will be keeping a close eye on them.”

Sam sat there thinking for a minute, “When did they arrive?”

“The reports confirmed their arrival at 11:00 hours in a barren desert. Do you suppose it’s a coincidence with the arrival of Chris?”

“I don’t know, but keep a closer eye on them if you have to. Send extra pilots as a precaution. I don’t want to take a chance and let them cause trouble with little resistance.”

“Roger that.” Gail pulled a small hand held pad out of her jumpsuit and punched in a few buttons then returned her attention to Sam and nodded.

“Good, any other issues?” Sam looked around and everyone shook their head ’no’. “Ok, if nothing else, then the meeting is…” Sam was about to finish but a portal had formed inside the room and Merlin exited, interrupting the meeting.

As the portal closed, Merlin took a look around and noticed everyone was staring at him. He shrugged it off and started talking as if nothing had happened, “Looks like I missed another meeting. I knew this would happen.” Merlin walked around to the opposite end of the table from Sam. He continued, “I have no issues to discuss and I thank everyone for their congratulations as well as congratulations to Josh for his promotion.” As Merlin was finishing his sentence, everyone’s eyes nearly popped out of their heads. They knew the wizard could read minds, but they didn’t know he was listening the whole time. “What? Its not like I was eavesdropping on the meeting, I just knew how it would turn out. You all should be used to this by now. And Sam, you know I really didn’t want to be SaKhan, but I guess it could not be helped. We, as a clan, have grown, so should the council.”

Sam chuckled at Merlin, as he knew him quite well. “I suppose anything we do or say, we can’t hide it from you ‘o magical one’.”

Merlin couldn’t help but laugh at the ‘magical one’. “I am in full agreement anyhow. Before we leave, the wizards’ council gave me an earful. I told them I had no choice as a Dark Mage was there. We should be on guard for him.” Merlin said as he looked directly at Gail. “Gail, you’ve had several run-ins with him, do be careful. Something feels out of place and I can’t figure out what it is yet. You may need to add extra reinforcements on top of what you are sending. I will alert the locals, unless you already have.” Merlin finished as he looked for a response from Gail. Not only did Gail nod her head, the rest of the council agreed with Merlin’s proposal.

Sam stood then crossed his arms as he looked at Merlin with a smile forming on his face, “Ever since I could remember, you could not beat a Dark Mage in a ‘Mech. I’m surprised you are still standing here.”

It was Merlin’s turn to act like JD for a change, “Never underestimate a 3000 year old wizard. I am the oldest wizard alive, yet the wizards’ council keeps me on a short leash. Such is the way of things these days,” Merlin said as his appearance began to change from an old man with a very long beard to a young man in his 20’s with long brown hair and youthful looking skin.

“Aside from not being able to use much magic while in the cockpit, I know you have been holding back. I cannot allow you to hold back anymore.” Sam spoke in a tone that was calm and commanding.

“Have no fear, I was gauging his skill. He underestimates me. I do not expect him to attack us anytime soon,” was Merlin’s short reply.

Sam shook his head, “Good. The meeting is done. I am placing headquarters under a watch right now in the light of recent activities. Merlin, is your report ready for me to read?” Everyone except Merlin stood and departed the room.

Merlin stood and pulled out a pad from inside of his robe, handing it to Sam. “Everything is there and in order.”

“Thanks old friend.” Sam put his arm around Merlin and the two exited the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Simulation Room – 14:00 hours

Tommy had been giving Chris the tour of the FP Clan Headquarters and Chris wanted to stop and check out the simulation room. He liked what he saw. All pods looked almost exactly like the ones he used to play in at the mall. The pods were black in color and were oval shaped with a door on the side for entry and exit. Inside was a joystick with several buttons, throttle control to the right of the stick, two foot pedals and several monitors for various displays a real ‘Mech would have, except there was a screen instead of windows for the main display. Playing in the pods was very close to the real thing, except you could try repeatedly or play with only one life.

Tommy knew by his expression he was really curious. “You can go in and take a look. If you want I can go over the controls with you. As I recall, I studied Earth’s 21st century history a little and I don’t think they’re any different than what they used to be, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.”

Chris looked at Tommy with a mile wide grin on his face, “Coooooooooooooool!” He ran over to one of the empty pods and hopped right in. He was checking out the controls when Tommy stopped to look at him from his left side. “You were right, they all look the same! This might be easier than I thought.”

“Hehe, nothing is that easy. Want to play a few rounds with me?”

“Really? Can I?”

“Sure…” Tommy was about to start, but JD came right up to him, obviously listening to a part of their conversation.

“Play me. I don’t think this old man here has what it takes.” JD wrapped an arm around Tommy’s neck and tugged on it before letting go.”

Tommy was about to protest, but Chris stopped him. “If this is anything like I have played before, I’m game.”

“Heh, heh, heh, good luck kid. Connect to pod 20. I’ll be in that one,” JD said as he turned to leave.

Tommy looked at Chris and thought he was crazy. “Are you nuts?! He is the most aggressive warrior we have! He’s gunna rape ya in there man. I only wanted you to have some fun and not let him ruin your day.” Tommy finished feeling a bit concerned for Chris’s well-being.

Chris was being very cool and didn’t see JD as a threat. “I’ll be fine. Could you help me connect to pod 20? That is probably the only new feature that I don’t know.”

Tommy shook his head and reluctantly pressed a button from the left side, right next to the stick. As the pod came to life, various sorts of controls appeared on the screen and a request to connect to pod 20 had appeared on the main screen. Tommy hit another button to confirm the connection and the two pods were instantly connected. “Well, bro… good luck. The door closes automatically, but I’ll be watching.”

Chris nodded and returned his attention to the screen. Several ‘Mechs appeared on the screen for him to choose and he picked a 65 Ton Loki. Tommy was about to leave when he noticed him choose the Loki and smiled to himself. The Loki was a very ‘boxy’ looking ‘Mech with a missile rack on the left shoulder. The cockpit was directly in the center of the ‘Mech, slightly above its chest. The arms contained a variety of weapons that could be housed within them. Not all of the known weapons could fit, only ballistic and energy weapons were restricted to the arms. The left and right torso could house a medium sized weapon or additional missiles if the pilot chose. It took Chris some time to build a specific configuration he wanted with a mix of energy and long-range ballistic weapons. Once he was ready, he picked the ‘Mech, saved it as his own personal ‘Mech, and a new screen popped up asking whether he wanted one life or multiple lives. Chris thought of selecting multiple lives, but instead, picked one life. His choice had caused JD to roar with laughter that could be heard outside the simulation room. Little did JD know, Chris wasn’t to be underestimated.

Tommy was in the observation room looking at their ‘Mech selections. He saw JD in his trademark ‘Mech, the NovaCat. It was his favorite ‘Mech and refused to part with it to simply use something different. The NovaCat appeared to be a moiré rounded looking mech with a huge muscular appearing torso. It weighed in at 70 Tons, had arms that housed all energy weapons and were higher up above its waist. The arms contained 3 huge cylindrical cannons and the cockpit was at the center of the ‘Mech, very much like a human looked, only the cockpit appeared to look like one of those hats a Green Beret wears, only level. The only difference between the two ‘Mechs was the NovaCat was able to have specialized armor that weighed more per ton than standard armor. Some pilots choose to have the standard armor, as it is lighter and easier to work around. Tommy became a bit worried at the ‘Mech choices based on what JD was bringing. Just before they started playing, Sam had entered the stimulation room, finally finding Tommy, as he was looking for him. Merlin had joined the two moments later as he wanted to see what was happening.

When the simulation started, Chris immediately charged straight out, down the rocky terrain. This caused the three observers to groan out loud. They knew not to charge straight ahead in a battle, unless it was a desperate attempt to out the enemy for someone else to shoot at. Chris however, had other plans. Chris was extremely familiar with the map’s layout as he had played on a similar version at the mall. This one had a different name to it and the actual battleground of the selected map reflected the same one as seen in the moon. Gravity and heat were not a problem as they had the same gravity as earth, but it was very cold. As Chris kept moving forward, so did JD. JD immediately changed his course and headed towards the crater in one of the lunar mountains. Everyone who knew JD knew how to fight against his style. One would flank in the opposite direction as JD charged straight ahead, but in this case, something was different. It was obvious that JD had learned something new and everyone was looking forward to seeing it. Once Chris had noticed a large hill to his left, he immediately changed plans and made it to the hill, lowering himself so he could hide and watch for movement. Chris remembered to switch to the outside view and watch from there as if he was looking in 3rd person view. Every ‘Mech, simulation and real, had a monitor built into the cockpit that showed what things looked like in 3rd person view. Piloting was done in 1st person, but 3rd person helped when hiding behind a hill.

It didn’t take long for JD to show up, but he came in from behind Chris. JD had seen Chris change direction and hid as he cleverly positioned himself 700m from behind. He had a perfect view of Chris’s Loki and let loose a few of his green lasers towards Chris’s rear torso, causing a few sparks as the hot energy weapon tore a slice into his armor. After 2 more seconds, JD let loose the second group of lasers that hit Chris’s right torso, again, from the back as Chris slammed it into full speed while turning towards the left. Chris knew where the shot was coming from and barely managed to avoid getting killed. Several alarms were going off inside his cockpit to warn him of low armor in a selected area of his ‘Mech. Chris spent a few seconds looking over everything to make sure things were ‘ok’ and begun to plan his next move.

“Damn! Almost!” JD muttered under his breath and continued pursuit as his NovaCat was faster than Chris’s Loki. JD knew that his NovaCat ran hot with six lasers, but he cleverly grouped them in three’s to lessen the heat output, as he didn’t have too many heatsinks to cool his’ Mech.

Chris was smiling to himself, but he also sighed a breath of relief as he barely escaped. He turned to face JD’s Charging Nova and slammed his throttle forward, only to hit reverse the moment he popped over the hill high enough to fire his weapons at one of JD’s arms. As he was coming back down, his ‘mech was hit by a dual blast of lasers, causing his torso to turn red. 10 Seconds later, Chris popped again, letting loose the same weapons: his was a mix of green lasers, and Gauss Rifles [1], plus a compliment of long range missiles. He again shot at the same targeted arm, blowing it off with his shot. On his way back down, he let loose his missiles, hoping to rock JD as he moved in closer. Long range missiles weren’t as effective as they are within 400m, so he had to use them the best he could. As the heat alarms sounded the cockpit, he relaxed a few extra seconds then popped, only to see JD was nowhere to be found. He spent some time scanning, only to get blasted in the center by a few lasers from JD who was about 600m to his right. Chris had been looking left when the shot was fired. As he turned to target JD’s other arm, he was too late as the NovaCat had already gone behind the hill. Assuming he would pop in the same place, Chris just stood there and waited, but a gut feeling told him to go back down, so as he threw his Loki in reverse, JD popped up with awesome speed and finished off the Loki with one good arm.

Chris had decided to stop as he had seen enough. He shouted, ’whoo’, and shut the simulation pod down. As he was exited, he looked around and finally found he had an audience up in the observation lounge. Everyone in the room was grinning as it had grown from three people to 10. JD had leapt of his pod and quickly made his way to Chris.

“Not bad, kiddo! You managed to get an arm with that and I’m impressed.” JD said as he gave Chris some praise about how he handled himself on the field. JD was about to continue, when Sam stopped him and shook his head. He mouthed ‘later’ to JD and he shrugged it off.

Chris noticed Merlin watching as everyone was giving him some praise and turned to the wizard, “Merlin?”

“Ja.”

“Thanks. What happened to your beard?” Chris asked as he tilted his head to the right.

Merlin chuckled at his question, “I changed my appearance to my younger self. My beard gets in the way when I am in the cockpit.”

“Oh!” was Chris’ simple, yet short reply. He giggled at the sight of Merlin in the cockpit with a long beard and shook his head at the images. Merlin saw a little of what Chris thought and silently chuckled to himself.

Tommy had been going over the mission review to see what happened for further analysis then joined the guys, giving Chris his congratulations and encouraging him to keep practicing. This was causing the boy to blush. “For someone who has balls to go up against JD and lose to him, yet still feel happy about it, I gotta say I’m impressed. Maybe with a little more training here and there, you might be as good as JD. Time will tell, that is if you are willing to improve.” Tommy smiled with a twinkle in his eye as several more guys from the observation lounge joined them. Chris had got his fair share of handshakes and congratulations. Sam was the last to talk to him.

“Thought you wanted a few days?” Sam thrust his hands in his pockets and let them rest in there as he shrugged his shoulders.

“Uhh, well, I wanted to check them out, but JD pulled me into a round, so I went along with it.”

Sam chuckled, “You’re lucky you weren’t alone. JD is often hot tempered, but this time, something is different. I’ll worry about that later, but that was some nice work, really.”

“That wasn’t what I was trying to do.” Chris scrunched his face in as if he were trying to figure out what Sam meant.

“Hmmmm…interesting. Don’t worry about it.” Sam wasn’t sure what to think. He thought this child was one hell of a warrior, certainly not cadet material, but showed lots of room for improvement. He knew seeing him in the sims for one time wasn’t enough. There would have been many more chances should Chris be interested in doing more than just one Round with JD. One thing was for certain: if Chris continues at this rate and improves, he could quickly become be their ace pilot.

“Well…” Sam began, changing the subject, “Shall we head to the mess hall and see what’s cookin’?”

Chris immediately forgot about what recently happened, as the mention of food suddenly became a top priority. He was about to say something when his stomach growled loudly. He blushed a little and nodded his head, ’yes’.

“Ok, let’s go eat.” Sam finished as everyone followed him and Chris towards the mess hall.


To be continued……


[1] Gauss Rifle – this weapon has been known to cause high damage in exchange for high weight and low recycle time, depending on if it were a lighter version of the weapon or not. Its color, when shot, was blue and is often slow moving. This weapon takes incredible skill to use when the target is moving to the left or right, or even jumping in the air.

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