Alarms blared in Dragon Base, one of the largest R & D facilities on Fico, disturbing Private Jets from his slumber. Almost automatically, he began suiting up, knowing even before the coms officer began telling them that the siren meant they were under attack. Once he had the standard red-and-gray fatigues on, Jets left his room and began heading to his post, moving at a rapid, yet unhasty, pace. The rest of his squad was already on their way, and Jets fell in step with them without slowing down. Commander Harrier barked out his orders as they reached the hangar holding their vehicles.
Four DVX-4929 prototypes, experimental tank-killing craft specifically built to wage war against huge targets. Each man boarded his colossal tank-like rover, lying down in the holosensor tray before being entombed in the blackness as the top hatch closed above them. A split second of total darkness passed as the sensor input arrays came online, before bathing the pilot in the dull gray light that the external sensory suite picked up in the hangar. Following procedure they had drilled in countless times between training simulations and combat exercises, the five pilots of Rabid Cyclops Squad each linked their vehicles up to an A.G.N.E.S. transport for airlift to the front. After a final clear from the air control each craft took off, taking nimbly to the skies despite their heavy loads.
As the airborn convoy neared its destination, Commander Harrier's gruff voice echoed inside each man's iron tomb. "Alright, quick coms check before we put down. Jets, Lefty, take point. We need to hold Ivan's armored division off of the Irregular line as long as we can, give the Citsols time to dig in. Concentrate fire on the lead vehicle, one volley, then then fall back. Don't give them time to lock onto you. Don't expect the bird brigade to help out too much, they've got their hands full keeping Ivan's aircraft off our six."
Each cockpit shook slightly as the gunships touched down, the crunch of gravel audible even through the tank's thick armor. Cyclopses 4 and 5 rolled out, each trundling over to the road and then disappearing amongst the rubble, as Commander Harrier began setting up the rest of the Cyclopses for the coming battle.
The ruined red-light district of Owlopolis simmered, the gaping holes in the skyline crackling with dark energy highlighting that no part of the planet had been spared the orbital strikes the mysterious enemy had fired as an opening salvo. Thermopylae fighters cruised overhead, prowling the skies like sharks, hungry for enemy aircraft to devour. Bits of trash, lost belongings, and discarded posessions littered the streets, evidence of the civilian population's hurried retreat that had occurred just after Home Defense Fleet confirmed that it could not hold back the encroaching armada. A discarded scarf floated about in the wind like a lost ghost, flitting to and fro in the breeze. Then the drive wheel of a Teklatan Rhino smashed the gossamer phantom into the mud, grinding it together with the dust and tears that had been shed when the district had been abandoned.
The Teklatan grunts were not happy with their lot, cannon fodder for their alien overlords, but they followed orders out of a combination of fear and residual duty to their commanders, who had been seduced by the foreign powers with tales of pillage and plunder in a galaxy far from their own. Now that they had finally begun the promised campaign, tensions had eased, but the only fighting thus far had been in space, and until proper ground combat could be established, each Teklatan, from the lowest rifleman to the most prestigious Rhino Driver, would remain anxious, itchy fingers groping for triggers. It came almost as a relief when the lead Rhino, despite being a typical example of Teklatan engineering, and as such being essentially a box on wheels with guns sticking out and covered in thick plates of Syntha-Steel ABS armor, exploded into a firey ball of superheated plasma.
Each Rhino Driver searched their sensor screens for precious seconds, looking, in vain, for the attackers. The first vehicle had been destroyed just as it had entered an open plaza-like area, clearly bordering onto one of the more affluent sections of town. It was not until the second Rhino erupted into a similar flower of explosion-y death, that the convoy identified their attacker as a strange tank-rover a few degrees to the left of straight ahead, and a third Rhino was consumed in plasmatic fire before the remainder found the second attacker, a similar vehicle off to the right. The element of surprise lost, the one on the left retreated, following its companion down a side street. The armored convoy charged, confident that now that the enemy was revealed, they would be easy pickings for the invader's massed cannons.
Jets and Lefty retreated down the cul-de-sac, until they got to the end. Before their cumbersome armored vehicles could turn their devastating cannons back around, the Rhino convoy had cut off their escape. The new lead Rhino's captain focused rather too much on his cornered prey, as he didn't see the vehicles protecting his flank transform into more smoldering wreck-packages. To be fair, he had been in that position for all of two minutes, but it was still a grevious error to not pay attention to his flanks. His concentration on wiping out the enemy in front of him was so complete, he didn't see anything wrong until his targets suddenly began changing shape before his eyes, plates and components shifting until they had transformed into the Teklatan's least-favorite war machines to fight against: Mecha. The erstwhile leader didn't get a chance to even blurt his astonishment before the two enemy mechs fired their weapons and reduced him and his vehicle to smoking ash.
The Cyclopses were quite pleased with themselves. They had destroyed the enemy convoy with no casualties and minimal damage to their vehicles. Jets had just finished sharing a joke with Corporal Farshot when he noticed something in his cockpit's holographic display. "Wires, you have something on your foot." "What?" Wires looked down, and sure enough, there was a man on his DVX's foot, apparently a survivor from one of the Rhinos, brandishing what looked like a large war hammer. "Oi! Git off!" With that, Cyclops 3 kicked his foot, sending the man flying in a blur of blue. He impacted on a ruined corner store, and lay still. "What was up with that?" Wires asked. "Dunno, must have been a particularly stupid Ivan." He had just turned to follow his compatriots when the blue-clad enemy returned.
The Immortal, for that is what the feisty bugger was, swung his hammer, shattering through the light armor that protected the joint between the DVX's lower leg and left foot. Wires grunted in astonishment as his mech lurched foward suddenly. He tried to correct for the disturbance, but the Immortal had already swung again, using his mallet as a pole to vault up and connect a devastating swing with Cyclops 3's head. The robot head flew off into the distance as the Immortal flew on, carried by his hammer's momentum until he crashed to the ground, hammerhead down, in a kneeling position, clearly expecting the mech to fall behind him in a dramatic manner.
Unfortunately for him, DVXs are made of slightly tougher stuff than their drivers. Wires regained his balance and reverted the sensors to the vehicular arrays, restoring his sight to what he'd see if the tank mode of Cyclops 3 was active. He saw the Immortal, who was starting to turn, apparently noticing the mech hadn't fallen yet. Wires lurched his rifle into firing position and let rip. A smoking crater appeared where the Immortal had been, but he still stood, looking slightly disdainful, and a bit to the left. With that, the Immortal launched himself at Wires, smashing the DVX's rifle with a single swing of his hammer. Cyclops 3 teetered backwards, and went to ground with a crash. The Immortal used the back end of his hammer to pry the armored carapace of the vehicle apart, exposing Wires, who was now only protected by the red flashing haze that was his holographic display.
As the Immortal drew his hammer back to smash the Corpsman into a bloody paste, he noticed three things: One, the Corpsman showed no sign of fear, his face undeniably showing the signs of a man still hell-bent on killing his enemy. Two, the wrecked vehicle was beeping. Three, the holgraphic display clearly said "1 ni tcurtsed fleS". The last words the Immortal heard were "No Prisoners," muttered darkly around a Gamma Corps Fusion Grenade pin, and then the world became a roaring inferno of flame, pain, and disintegration.
The rest of Cyclops Squad looked on, astonished at the rapid destruction of one of their own by a mere infantryman. Captain Harrier opened a long-range channel. "HQ? We've got some footage you may want to look at..."
Varsaavius wrote:As the size of the explosion increases, the amount of social situations it can't resolve approaches zero.