STORY NUMBER 8
Mikkel woke up at 5:23, sharp, as always. He leaped from his cot and, as he got onto his feet, glanced at a screen on the wall, depicting transitioning images of the new cadets of the IDA (International Defense Academy), the organization responsible for defending the Earth after it was invaded by external forces countless decades ago. Yet after all their work, the alien scourge still remained on the planet.
IDA. The meer thought of it caused him great anguish. It had been 6 years since he was exiled. It had been 6 years since he was sent through a warp to the deep jungle of Scavenger’s Pass to fend for himself or die. 6 years since he had been betrayed by his allies. 6 years. All for that fateful mission.
“It’s all in the past,” he murmured to himself. Yet he couldn’t shake the feelings of disgust and hatred for the IDA. Taking a deep breath, he expelled his thoughts into his mind, stored away until later. Proceeding through his morning routines without much afterthought, he stepped into his hangar.
Upon entry, one would immediately notice the glorious Zarkares DaP13 model, specifically tweaked to cater the needs of his mech and painted a vibrant, almost overly jubilant, hue of yellow in contrast to the dull, steel grey walls of the hangar. Taking a further look would result in the observation of a wealth of high damage, blood-red, assault weaponry mounted onto the mech, among them being the utilitarian NightFall GUA18, the “Mercy” HIRs 6, and the rare Spartan Carnage APMG7.
Directly adjacent to the first mech was a heat mech painted a deceivingly jolly shade of green. It to was equipped with high-damage weapons, most notably “Reckoning” HIRs 6 and the “Supreme Cannon". Mikkel made a side note in his mind to repaint his 2nd mech later.
By standard of mech pilots, he always kept a small area sectioned off in his hangar for spare parts and scrap.
As he glanced into the space, he recognized his first Tier 5 torso, Interceptor JCH 7, specialized for the surrounding jungle environment. Sadly, after the torso’s release, defects in the metal caused its hull to warp and thin, resulting in the changing of the composition of the armor. This granted the torso with lightweight capabilities yet cursed it with extremely weak armor. Rarely any pilot ever used the Interceptor model anymore.
Assembling his thoughts, slipping into the sleeves of his vest, and clutching his heavy backpack, Mikkel headed towards the hangar door and opened it, grasping a large, heavy lever. The early morning sun was peaking over the trees, into the rocky valley where he had set up his base, and bathed him in its warmth. It’s time to cause some havoc upon the IDA, Mikkel thought with a smile.
Mikkel’s mech weaved through the thick jungle with ease. He knew the jungle by now and followed the paths that he had cleared long ago. He had always traveled through this certain path when planning raids and attacks on the IDA.
As the trees parted, Mikkel approached the deforested area of Scavenger’s Pass. He immediately noticed the small outpost guarded by light scout mechs. His NightFall would tear through their armor effortlessly.
He deployed his drone, the standard issue Void RAI 5, and prepared to engage the small base.
The NightFall whirred-up, seconds away from firing a barrage of high caliber rounds. The Spartan Carnage was performing likewise.
Mere milliseconds later, Mikkel was satisfied as he heard the iconic sound of bullets pounding and tearing through weak hulls. The two scouts fired their Royal Launchers FPMs with minimal use, barely denting his mech’s armor.
The first pilot ejected in time before his mech would be destroyed, however, the second pilot was caught in the inferno and explosion of his ruptured fuel tank as the NightFall’s bullets finally reached it.
In under 30 seconds, he had disposed of the two singular scouts. Mikkel expected no more. He reached the outpost and exited his mech, slinging his worn plasma rifle over his shoulder in case he needed it.
He burst through the doors, pleased to find that the staff of the building were all too willing to have him liberate their gold reserves. As he saw the glimmer of the golden coins in the strongbox which held the facility’s money, he concluded that this was a successful raid.
Unbeknownst to Mikkel, one of the researchers had fled into the lab, clutching his personal tablet.
“It’s him again! The one with the gold and red mech! Please send help. Send in at least a Rank 2 to dispose of him!” The man panted frantically.
“We’re warping a pilot to your location right away,” A calm voice responded.
The researcher smiled. The thief would get what he deserved. The man was sick and tired of that young man waltzing around Scavenger Pass, plundering and attacking the IRA’s facilities. It was high time for him to face an equal.
Mikkel left the building and walked towards his mech as he was holding the strongbox when he heard the distinctive sound of a warp.
He instinctively flipped around to look upon the warp’s source. The action had saved his life.
A crimson, burning laser burst scorched the earth where he stood seconds ago. Sorrow, he realized. A mech had just arrived, straight from the IDA.
The mech towered above him, the menacing Brutality torso’s viewport gleaming with what seemed to be only describable as pure rage.
Instantly, Mikkel ran to his mech and entered it via the elevator in the left leg. It’s a good thing I installed that. He had designed it years ago, and it had proven to be more than useful.
Getting a feel of the controls, Mikkel regained his confidence. He noted that the mech consisted of a seldom-used Terror Blade Mk. II, the feared Crimson Rapture FS3, the infamous Magma Blast RPU2, and the recently used Sorrow.
He was in for a good fight.
Mikkel immediately deployed his drone, followed by the whir and firing of the Spartan Carnage. As to counter this the heat mech activated its shield, a rare, developmental technology. Of course, they would eventually figure out how to bind shields to mechs.
The shield only reduced some of the damage, but it still provided a pestilence to the destruction of the mech.
Mikkel kept firing the NightFall and Spartan Carnage at regular intervals, occasionally firing his Mercy when the mech got too close. However, he knew it was a losing battle.
The pilot was slowly moving away from denting his armor to targetting his heat engines, using his Terror Blade and Crimson Rapture whenever he could. He knew it was only a matter of time before he was perma-overheated. His cockpit was overheating, currently at 40°C above normal temperature. He was feeling lightheaded.
Then, when was weakened the most, the mech fired its Magma Blast. The last thing he heard before everything went black was an head-splitting boom as the heavy rocket hit his cockpit head-on.
Mikkel awoke in a hospital bed. The bright lamps overhead caused him to squint, but his eyes eventually adapted to the sudden increase of light. Upon analyzing his surroundings, he recognized that he was in the IDA Hospital room.
“Welcome back, Mikkel,” a voice boomed.
Mikkel turned to his left and saw a man in the doorway. He wore a suit and was reviewing the contents of the strongbox Mikkel had stolen earlier.
“Wh-who are you?” Mikkel rasped,”and why am I not dead?” The man smiled. He closed the strongbox and adjusted his crimson tie as he faced Mikkel.
“I am the head of the IDA and de facto leader of the Northern hemisphere. You may call me the Director from now on.” The Director voiced. “There is a reason why you did not die. You almost did, actually. That would have severely inconvenienced my plans. Luckily, we have a fantastic medical staff here at the IDA.” The man’s voice was smooth and calm, despite the fact that the rage that boiled in Mikkel was about to surface was easily noticeable.
“You left me to die. You left me in the hands of the invaders. I had nowhere else to go. Now would you care to suggest why whatever you have planned for me would undo all that pain?” The venom and hatred were obvious in Mikkel’s voice.
The Director was silent.
"I cannot undo the past, but I need you. The world needs you,” The man seemed to ignore the words that just came out of Mikkel’s mouth,”I’ve selected you to form part of an elite team of pilots to take down the alien scourge. If you are successful, I will grant your acceptance back into the IDA.”
Mikkel paused. What shall I do? I can’t just openly join his team. . . there has to be a hitch. Hell, I’m ready. One little risk that may end your life can very well be better than staying safe and living this life of monotony and pilfering. This may not undo what happened 6 years ago, but it’s a start.
“I accept,” Mikkel voiced.
The Director smiled.
“Welcome to the IDA Elites, Mikkel. Let’s get started.”