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Bubblegum Raven or An SI's Cyberpunk Mercenary Mecha Tale

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Gideon020, Aug 25, 2015.

?

Should I bring bad things to a certain pair of 5th Sabers?

Poll closed Aug 28, 2015.
  1. Sure, why not. Might be good money.

    3 vote(s)
    75.0%
  2. Pfft, nah. Go blow up GENOM instead.

    1 vote(s)
    25.0%
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  1. Threadmarks: Prologue
    Gideon020

    Gideon020 Writing a novel.

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    Disclaimer: I like Bubblegum Zone and Bubblegum Avatar. But since the authors of those fics will never complete them and never see this one, I'm going to enjoy blowing up their characters. :p As for the rest? Just me having some fun.



    Prologue: Woke Up One Morning

    In a place that had no name, and certainly defied all reasonable attempts at describing it, a pair of entities that could be reasonably given the moniker of godlike were having a very serious discussion.

    *How could this have happened? This...this is just impossible!*

    The first entity had a brash, youthful tone to its communication, and if it were possible to provide a physical form to the being it could likely be a young man or woman with hard eyes and a serious demeanor even while displaying complete shock over the events that had just occurred.

    [I wouldn't say impossible. After all, the first of the pair arrived via impossible means in the timeline he was supposed to appear, and in fact did appear. As for our agent appearing in two time-lines at once, we have him where he is supposed to be and it will not be any trouble to ensure that the second also goes where he needs to be.]

    The second being was wise and understanding, relaxed and composed in spite of the strangeness that had just happened. An old man or woman, white-haired and good-natured, who's old eyes had seen enough that barely anything could faze them. As it was, this being was also surprised, but took the news in stride.

    The younger of the two was still spluttering about how their chosen agent had by some cosmic contrivance hit a quantum prism and thus a perfect duplicate was inserted in the exact same circumstances in a completely different universe.

    That it happened once was long shot by any kind of statistical prediction. That it happened a second time with a completely different person under totally different circumstances was so unlikely as to be laughably absurd.

    But it did happen, and while one could be safely ignored, the other needed some work done to prevent any issues.

    [A pity that he can't return home due to what has occurred. I'll have to play a different tack with that one. As for the second, his circumstances were beyond our control in the first place.]

    *But there is no need for an Avatar on that time-line, in that universe! Our opponent could send their own agent to oppose them!*

    [Ah, but you see, he is not the Avatar. Not there. No response will come because our opposition has no need to do so. My presence there would simply be to offer my condolences and a continuing line of support.]

    *By support you mean?*

    [Money. He will need it and it will hopefully be ample compensation if he has a constant flow of disposable income. And I will be compensating Miss Stingray as well.]

    *And the second?*

    [I can do nothing for him, but the extra money going to Stingray to allow our Avatar's unwitting duplicate to be hired on should help compensate if he managed to ingratiate himself under similar circumstances.]

    *I hope you know what you're doing.*

    [Child, you worry far too much.]

    But while two beings of godly power were discussing two individuals, they didn't notice a pair arriving in a lonely corner of the war-torn stretches of Central and Eastern Europe between the Russia and Germany.

    For his part, a young man was wondering why he was lying down on concrete, why he was wearing some kind of pilot suit, and why was a teenage girl a few years younger than him holding a very large pistol above his glasses square on his forehead.

    When faced with the situation, the young man quashed his fear, sighed and said to the girl, "Please tell me you at least chambered a round in that. And after you do that, can you help a guy out as to why he's lying down on concrete in the middle of nowhere?"

    A snowflake drifted down and landed on his nose, which prompted a clarification, "In winter?"

    The pair remained in silence as snow fell around them.

    ***​

    "Okay, so you get the helicopter and I get the AC." Gideon spoke out loud as he regarded the massive helicopter and the equally large mech sitting on the concrete of what had to be an abandoned airbase from the wreckage of fighters, helicopters and tanks littering the crater-strewn ground.

    Hole-punched buildings; ruined bunkers and hardened barracks along with the command buildings and air traffic control tower's skeleton, completed the macabre scene but Gideon was more interested in the helicopter and mech.

    After all, it wasn't every day that you stood in front of an F21C Stork Ultra-Heavy Lift Helicopter and a fully-equipped Tank-Leg Armored Core. The teenage girl nodded as she sat on the ground while Gideon stood, an AC pilot helmet near his feet.

    "Yes. And I'm sorry about before. I thought you had kidnapped me." She was a pretty young thing; Gideon had no doubts that the helicopter flight suit was hiding her curves well, but he wasn't really interested in fooling around, plus she still had that monster pistol holstered at her side.

    "De nada, if I had woken up before you I might have done the same thing." He did have his own side-arm, smaller but with a larger magazine, and the strange whispers of knowledge and training told him exactly how to use it. And how to use the machine looming above them.

    "So where are we? The letters look Cyrillic but I don't know if we're in Russia or somewhere else." Gideon mused openly as he looked around, "Also, when are we do you think?"

    "I don't know. But I don't think we can stay here." The girl replied as she stood up dusting herself off, "I know how to dock the helicopter to your AC. And to be honest, I'd prefer some company and protection." Her gaze swept up to the most dominating feature of the Armored Core as it sat silently in front of them; in the hands of the mecha were a pair of massive quad-linked guns fed by massive box magazines. Both weapons were the size of a small truck, held easily in the hands of a mecha the size of a large house.

    Gideon pursed his lips, "Its funny. Every time I look at the weapons mounted on that beast, I keep getting this silly feeling that I don't need to worry about ammo, just changing out my equipment."

    The girl nodded, "Yeah, same here, both for that and the helicopter. Like we never need to worry about stocking up." She glanced at Gideon, "Anna."

    "Hmm?" Gideon turned his head slightly.

    "My name. Anna."

    "Huh." Gideon murmured, "I always pegged you for a Violet."

    Anna smiled, "Close enough. So what should we do?"

    "You're asking me?" Gideon placed a hand to his chest, and when Viola nodded he looked off into the distance, "Hmmm...we need to find people. A town, or city, some place we can get some information. But I can't read Cyrillic or speak any Slavic language."

    "I can." Anna replied, "My grandmother was Russian and she made it clear that our family would learn the Motherland's tongue, even if we did live in London. I think it should help us here." She glanced up at the mecha again, "But what do we do about this?"

    "We'll find somewhere to hide this once we locate a town or city." Gideon advised as he pulled on the helmet, "Hope that flight training included instruction on how to use those missile launchers."

    "I'm more worried about being able to fly it solo." Anna admitted as she grabbed her own helmet and pulled it on, "We should practice first. I don't want to try and figure out how fly this thing while getting shot at."

    "Good point," Gideon nodded, "We should try and move before nightfall though. I don't want to attempt camping out here."

    "I think the helicopter has a sleeping area, but you're right." Anna agreed with a grim nod, "Let me get in the air, and then we'll start practicing."

    "Sounds like a plan."

    ***​

    As far as advanced mecha went, the cockpit of an Armored Core was surprisingly unsophisticated but that only confirmed Gideon's suspicions about it and the F21C Stork that Anna was running pre-flight checks on. For Gideon's part, the bootup sequence for the AC was relatively straightforward.

    As he flicked switches, Gideon watched the main screen activate as it tapped the internal batteries, before he pressed a button and heard the generator start up with a rising whine. A few buttons brought the FCS and Sub-Computer online, followed by the recon unit and the missile launcher in the shoulder.

    Finally, Gideon flipped the MASTER ARM switch and brought the AC's weaponry only as the Autocannons cycled their firing chambers and loaded their ammunition feeds. On the shoulder mounts, rounds were chambered and lasing systems primed as the backup weapons were prepared in case they were needed.

    Inside the cockpit, with the oxygen feed connected, Gideon gripped the control sticks before placing his foot on the throttle, "Okay, nice and eas-waaaaaaaaah!"

    The AC shot forward across the concrete sending dirt, concrete and snow flying as it careened across the ruined ground before smashing into one of the ruined buildings to come to a stop.

    As Anna stared, the radio came to life as Gideon chuckled weakly, "I'm okay!"

    Anna sighed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
    Rodon, shade267, Biigoh and 1 other person like this.
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 1
    Gideon020

    Gideon020 Writing a novel.

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    Chapter 1: Bullet And A Target

    It had taken until noon, but Gideon had managed to finally get a handle on the controls for the Armored Core. It was a complete defiance of what he knew from the actual games; Tank-Legs were supposed to be the slowest of the legs used by an AC after Quad-Legs, but the AC had gone from zero to eighty in less time it had taken for him to blink.

    As he skidded the AC around one of the ruined buildings, jumpjets flaring to assist the turn, Gideon hummed to himself over the radio, "I think I'm getting the hang of this." As he spoke, he fired the jets and jumped over a deep, wide crater, landing heavily as the AC continued to roll forward while up above, Anna kept a watchful eye on his progress.

    "Quite, and you only had to destroy two hangers and a building to do so." Anna giggled at the raspberry blown by Gideon as he powerslid into a hanger, turned on the spot and then roared out, braking to a stop in front of a ruined building that was likely the command offices, aiming the guns at them, "Going to do a weapons test?"

    "Best time for it," Gideon replied, "I've got a whole mess of range and fuse settings for all of the guns, so I want to try them out. Better move behind me in case recoil climb send a few your way." Anna shrugged as she shifted the control stick for the massive helicopter and brought it into a high hover above and slightly behind the mecha.

    "Okay, firing now." Gideon reported as he lined up the sighting reticule over the building, and pulled the trigger.

    Outside the Armored Core, it sounded like a thunderstorm as the eight linked guns fired at once, sending a hail of shells towards the building while rivers of shell casings poured out of the weapons to rain down onto the tank-like hull of the AC before spilling off onto the concrete to sizzle in the snowdrifts that had built up during the practice session.

    Inside, there was only a gentle rumble that was still quieter than it should have been as Gideon slumped in relief, "Thank god for Post-Kojima construction tech." Lifting his fingers from the triggers, Gideon zoomed in on the building to survey his handiwork. The entire building was covered in craters and holes while smoke wafted through the ruined roof from the explosions of warheads inside the building. On a whim, Gideon glanced at his ammo counters.

    He blinked, the guns still had full loads of ammunition, it was like the thirty-second barrage had never happened as far as his ammo count was concerned, "Anna, I think we might have some confirmation about the ammo situation."

    "What is it?" Anna had repositioned the helicopter and was now practicing low-level flight some distance away.

    "Hold on, I'm going to fire another long burst. Stay clear of me." Keeping an eye on the ammo counters, Gideon lined up the building again and pulled the triggers, sending another blistering hail of high-explosive, incendiary and armor-piercing death towards the already ruined building, this time the barrage began to tear out huge chunks of the brickwork and masonry, shredding the rusted and weakened steel reinforcement.

    Finally, the barrage stopped but Gideon ignored the collapsing building in favor of the ammo counters. Still full. A barrage that had to have emptied at least half of the total ammo capacity and the ammo counters were still full. Gideon knew he had to check further, "Anna, bring the Stork in for landing and prep the garage equipment, we need to look at the ammo systems on board this thing."

    "Understood, landing now." Bringing the massive helicopter around, Anna began unfolding the landing gear as the side doors opened to revealed an array of parts, equipment and weaponry as it landed with a soft thump on the hard concrete as Anna left the rotors turning while getting ready to move to the garage section of the helicopter, "Okay, bring it in."

    The Tank-Leg AC reversed and span before rumbling over at a slower speed to draw alongside the Stork as Gideon followed his strangely-acquired knowledge to line up the mecha with the garage arms, "I need a count of the ammo load for the Autocannons, we have to make sure this isn't a computer or sensor glitch."

    "Right!" Manipulating the various arms that reached over to the weapon, Anna quickly connected the diagnostic arms to the weapons while others inspected the ammo containers and their feeder mechanisms.

    Finally, after several tense minutes, Anna reported in a quiet, disbelieving voice, "They're all full. There's no problem with the internal sensors or the software either."

    Gideon's eyes narrowed, "Are you telling that this thing has an unlimited ammo cheat? That I actually fired over one thousand rounds and the ammo counters didn't dip because I cannot run out of ammo? Are you confirming this for me?"

    "I..." Anna shook her head before her expression firmed, "Affirmative, we have confirmation of unlimited ammo. Gideon, if this is real."

    "Don't." Gideon snapped, "This isn't something that can be duplicated and I don't want to potentially ruin this AC by tearing it apart to look for something that likely isn't there. We're going to say nothing about this because there is nothing to talk about with others, no-one would believe us, and most importantly-"

    "It gives us an advantage right?" Anna finished for him.

    Nodding despite the action being unseen, Gideon smiled fiercely, "We only need to worry about repairing and maintaining these beasts as well as keeping ourselves fed. And if I'm right, we won't have to worry about fuel on your end or mine."

    Anna nodded, "I can confirm that as well. Well, what do we do now?" Inside the AC, Gideon looked around through the cameras.

    "We go find ourselves some civilization, Anna, and then we get some answers about where the fuck we are, and what the fuck is going on." Gideon stated grimly, "Get the bird hooked up to me and lets go find ourselves some trouble.

    Anna grinned as she retracted the arms, closed the bay doors, and headed back to the cockpit to do exactly that, lifting the F21C smoothly into the air as downwash sent snow flying in twisting streamers. Underneath the helicopter, a harness dropped down on heavy cables as Anna carefully positioned the harness across the shoulders of the AC to allow prehensile docking connectors to locked into place and pulled down the rest of the harness, securely mating the Armored Core to the Stork.

    "This is Katyusha," Anna spoke with a grin, "Cargo is secured and ready for lift-off."

    "Katyusha, this is Raven." Gideon replied with his own wide grin, "Take off when ready. Safe flying."

    "Roger."

    It was a majestic sight to see if there had been any witness to the massive helicopter gaining altitude, the harness cables unspooling before they came taut and began to lift the mecha underneath into the air as well. There was nothing ungainly or wobbly about the action, the massive engines and tandem-blade rotors pulled both helicopter and mecha into the air in a single, near-flawless motion as the pilot of the mecha set the machine into standby mode and leaned back to enjoy the view.

    Inside the helicopter, the pilot checked the passive radar returns before nodding to herself, "I'm picking up a lot of SAM sites, but I think I dodge them." She checked the flare launchers as she spoke, readying herself for the challenge ahead.

    "Just inhale, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale. You can do this." Anna smiled grimly at the reassuring tone of the man being carried by her helicopter, but didn't say a word as she gripped the control sticks and began moving the helicopter forward, feeling the difference in flying with several thousand tonnes of heavy machinery slung underneath as she pulled the harnessed machine closer to her aircraft and locked it place.

    In the skies of Romania, the massive aircraft began making its way in a random direction, and by luck away from the line of Moldovan air defences Anna had detected on passive radar lining their border.

    ***​

    It was just as nightfall was approaching that Anna saw the lights of a highway, vehicles moving along the lanes in peace. Zooming in, Anna was able to identify a large number of military vehicles in the traffic but no mobile AA as she activated her running lights to make herself appear like normal air traffic.

    It was then that her communication system beeped, prompting her to activate it and listen to the voice speaking in...Romanian? After a few seconds, Anna remembered her Russian and replied, <"I'm sorry, I do not understand you. I am an independent aircraft looking for a safe LZ. Do you understand me?">

    After a few more seconds, someone else came on the line, <"This is Major Vladimir, Romanian Army, are you a mercenary pilot?">

    <"Yes, I am piloting a heavy-lift utility helicopter and have lost my way, I request a course vector to an LZ."> Inwardly and outwardly, Anna was sweating bullets as the teenage girl tried to keep her nerves from failing her as she angled along the highway, heading towards a city she could see in the distance.

    <"Pilot, you are on an approach vector to the city of Bacau. We have a Mercenary Staging Ground there for Mercs heading to the Ukraine. I will put you in touch with them for a landing zone. What is your cargo?">

    <"A super-heavy mobile armour unit slung underneath my airframe."> Anna replied as she continued on course, <"Landing zone request is for both myself and the armour.">

    There was a momentary pause, <"Understood. Standby for approach vector. Do not deviate or you will be fired upon. We will have an appropriate landing space marked out for you by the time you reach Bacau.">

    <"Thank you comrade."> Anna replied as the line went dead. She quickly switched to the communications channel shared with Gideon, "Are you awake?"

    "Yeah, I woke up when you came across the highway. Trouble?" Anna heard some groans indicating that he was stretching inside the cockpit.

    "No, but you'd better get ready to be stared at. We're coming to a mercenary staging ground apparently for mercs heading to the Ukraine so there mi-" Suddenly artillery began to fire from the city, sending shells and rockets streaking towards an unknown target in the distance as counter-artillery began to rain down, "Oh shit! Gideon!"

    "I see it." Gideon replied as he brought the AC to full power status, "No way we can land in that mess normally. Is that scanning disc under your left pod good to go?" He was talking about the large disc on the left side of the F21C, a highly sophisticated sensor array similar to the kind used on AWAC planes, only much more advanced.

    "Yes, I'm warming it up now." Anna replied as a second screen on her controls began to display multiple dots and after some fiddling, Anna managed to assign friendly status to the city defenders, "Okay, I have the enemy but there's no way I can take you to the staging area, you'd never make it in time."

    Gideon nodded, "Raise altitude, you're going to hot drop me."

    "But where?" Anna asked and Gideon nodded to himself as he scanned the area with his cameras.

    "Good question...Ah, there! That open square! It'll be big enough for me to land in and its a straight run to the frontlines."

    Anna quickly saw the location in question and began raising the helicopter's altitude, "Okay! Get ready for drop!" As she passed over the square, Anna slapped the release control, "Good luck!"

    The harness came away in sprays of compressed air and loud bangs, pulling away as the Armored Core fell to the earth, jumpjets flaring as it hurtled towards the ground and Gideon armed all weapons, "Let's rock and roll!"

    The mecha slammed into the square in a wash of exhaust flames, smoke and crunching cobblestone, already rolling forward as stone, asphalt and concrete crunched under treads lined with razor-sharp traction 'teeth' that dug into the ground while the AC roared forward, autocannons at the ready. Inside the mecha, Gideon squeezed the control sticks as he increased the throttle, rumbling down the road as the AC's treads crushed anything in their path.

    Up above, Anna was on the radio again, <"This is Katyusha to any friendlies in range, I have deployed a super-heavy combat unit to aid in the city defense. I repeat, I have deployed a friendly super-heavy armour unit to provide fire support.">

    The line crackled, <"This is Major Vladimir, this super-heavy armour wouldn't happen to the giant Battle Mover heading towards the frontlines, would it?">

    <"Yes sir!"> Anna smiled, <"He doesn't speak Romanian, so I'm directing his fire for now.">

    <"Understood. Be advised that we have identified the attackers as a Neo-Soviet Spetsnaz Guards Brigade force, so tell your man not to miss because they won't.">

    <"Understood."> Anna switched channels to Gideon, "Gideon, we have an ID for the targets, apparently Neo-Soviet Spetnaz, so be careful."

    "I'm arriving at the firing position now," Gideon replied as the AC rolled over a ruined tank, braking seconds after crushing it under the weight of the mecha, before the autocannons leveled at the distant targets, "Give me something to shoot."

    "Right, sending the targeting data now." After a few seconds, the targeting reticule snapped to a target and after seconds, Gideon heard the lock tone as he squeezed the triggers.

    Outside the mecha, a pair of soldiers were looking at the massive machine in the seconds before Gideon acquired a lock as one spoke with a distinct British accent, "What the bloody fuck is that machine?"

    "Don't know, my friend," The other replied, "But we shou-" Any further words were lost as the autocannons opened fire, unleashing a barrage of shells flying towards the approaching Spetsnaz forces, shell casings pouring out of the weapons in an unending stream as communication near the deafening barrage became impossible.

    Inside the AC, Gideon watched as the various targets slowly vanished under a hail of 60mm shells before the last of them winked out and he stopped firing, "I have no more targets locked."

    "None on my radar, good job-shit, I've got mobile AA moving in! Sending you the targets now!"

    Immediately new contacts appeared and Gideon swiveled the torso of the AC towards the new targets. Outside, as the noise settled, the two soldiers were moving away, one of them recording everything with a camera while the other looked back, "Good show, the Commander is going to want evidence, so keep recording."

    "You there!" The two paused and saw a Romanian soldier, a mere boy, aiming his rifle at them shakily, "What are you doing?"

    "We're mercenaries with Schwarzer Hund," The British man replied, "M4, Heavy Infantry, we're trying to get back to our unit so we can get stuck in with the enemy."

    "And the camera?" The boy's rifle twitched towards the device in question, "Why are you recording?"

    "Look mate," The Brit replied, "In case you didn't notice, there's a giant bloody tank-robot thing firing some bloody big guns back there, and no-one is going to believe us if we just give them our say-so. So we need evidence. Now let us past and we can help save your bloody city!" Sudden flashes in the distance lit up the dark forest.

    "Fais Chier! Artillery!" The second man immediately tackled his friend behind a ruined armored vehicle as shells began to fall along the defensive line, the Brit managing to catch glimpse of the boy seconds before a shell landed at his feet. When the smoke cleared, there was nothing left.

    "Damn it! Of all the bloody waste." The Brit looked at the Frenchman, "You're still recording?"

    "Oui! Somethings going on!" Following the Frenchman's pointing finger, the Brit saw the giant robot roll forwards towards a wide-open space.

    Inside the Armored Core, Gideon snorted, "Anna, I need you to land and prep the garage for a hot-swap. We're switching the left Autocannon to a Sniper Cannon. After that, get me a read on that artillery."

    "Right!" The massive F21C swept in for a landing, garage bays opened as the aircraft lined up with the mecha, arms grabbing the left Autocannon as the AC released the weapon, before a massive cannon was handed over to the AC, barrel unfolding as the pilot armed the weapon while the helicopter lifted off, "Taking off now! Standby for target coordinates!"

    Seconds passed as Anna swept the scanning disc's sensors over to where the artillery was lighting up the distance, and nearly instantly she had the needed data. With a few rapid commands, Anna began transmitting the firing information.

    Inside the Tank-Leg AC, Gideon watched as target cursors popped up and he locked the AC's brakes before taking aim. As the computer locked on, Gideon shifted in his seat and waited until...tone! He squeezed the trigger.

    Outside, the AC rocked back as the massive Sniper Cannon roared, sending a single shell streaking towards the artillery position. Seconds later, the target cursor vanished and Gideon was locking onto the next target. As he locked on, fired, and repeated, the Brit and the Frenchman were watched in amazement.

    "My god, what kind of machine is that? And that helicopter!" The Frenchman shook his head while his camera hand remained steady, "It's insane. Everything about this is insane."

    "I agree," The Brit replied, "But the fact remains is that we are staring at something that could change the world if it leaks beyond the media blackout." As if to punctuate his statement the sniper cannon fired, sending a shell streaking towards another artillery gun as the Romanian military along with mercenary support soon regained the upper hand.

    "Gideon, got a large aircraft coming in low, looks like its preparing for a drop, or a bombing run." Anna reported as she sent the information to the AC pilot.

    "I see it." Gideon replied, zooming in on the dark shape in the sky, "Looks like a cargo plane. Stand by..." After a few seconds, the reticule gave him the lock tone, "Got you." The AC rocked back as the Sniper Cannon fired and Gideon watched as a bright streak zipped across the sky. While he couldn't see the result, the shell slammed into the cockpit space of the aircraft and exploded, tearing open the transport plane in a fireball that Gideon could see as it slammed into the ground.

    "Good shot, the enemy is retreating." Anna reported as she watched the sensor contacts withdraw, "How are you feeling?"

    "Don't ask me to take a look at my handiwork, I want to be able to eat dinner tonight." Gideon replied and while the tone was joking they both knew that they didn't want to see what sort of destruction they had caused. Anna simply turned the Stork towards where the she had seen what looked like the staging area.

    "Stay with me, I'll guide you to the staging area." Anna said and while Gideon was silent, the Tank-Leg AC followed without any complaint.
    ***​

    The man watching the footage was bear in all but appearance, and even then the beard and long, dark hair threatened to complete the comparison, but he was silent as he watched the footage taken by the two uniformed in front of him, "What was the final count?"

    "Fifty airborne tanks destroyed, twenty-five Boomer carrier vehicles, three separate batteries of airborne artillery, and a transport plane carrying Neo-Soviet Boomers and Powered Armour Infantry. The infantry survived thanks to their suits but were in no condition to actually fight off the Romanians or the mercenaries escorting them." The Brit reported in a bland, professional tone.

    "The Romanians gave them both medals and a substantial payout for pretty much single-handedly saving the city from the Neo-Soviet attack." The Frenchman spoke up as the footage reached the the point where the massive machine was firing a large cannon, "That's the point where he destroyed the artillery."

    "I've had a look at the shell casings left behind before those gangs of casing-scooping children appeared. Sixty mike-mike and one-fifty-five mike-mike shells, and those sixties were firing as fast as a gun half the size, perhaps smaller." The Brit spoke up again, "But the main thing is that bloody monster of a machine. I've spoken with a few chaps in a few places I know, government and corporate, and no-one has got plans in the works regarding a machine the size of a house."

    The video ended and the commander of the mercenary army Schwarzer Hund, Nicholas Heydrich, stroked his beard. Finally, he came to a decision, "Approach these two, see if they'd be willing to accept a job offer from us. Independents usually don't stay independent for long in this business, and besides, this might just be the thing we need to get one over on Ethan Hollister and his Illegal Army."

    "If they refuse?" The Brit asked curiously.

    "Keep an eye on them all the same."​
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 2
    Gideon020

    Gideon020 Writing a novel.

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    Chapter 2: Mad Machine

    "Man, can you believe this?" Anna exclaimed as she studied the bill in her hands for one-hundred Eurodollars while Gideon calmly counted the rest into piles divided by denomination, "I mean, seriously, the European Economic Council is the one that has set the world standard for money rather than the American dollar?"

    "Considering the collapse of the American economy, a nuclear Third World War, and Japan getting devastated by the Second Great Kanto Earthquake, it makes some sense." Gideon replied as he began packing away the bills into a carrying case, "Frankly I'm more happy we aren't in Shadowrun. Can you imagine coming down with a case of VITAS or worse?"

    Anna shuddered, "Yeah, good point." She tapped the bill to her chin, "Although finding out that Ghost In The Shell, Appleseed and Bubblegum Crisis are real as well is a pretty big deal as well."

    "Limited nuclear World War Three, the invention of the Japanese Miracle and the Bioroid, the Second Civil War that reunited the United States by conquering Soviet America and Imperial Americana..." Gideon shook his head, "Goddamn insane is what it is Anna, we're looking at nearly two hundred years condensed into a much shorter time period. It's a miracle that GENOM has been able to still become the giant they are now with the political capital shifted to Newport City off Shikoku."

    "The nuclear attack and the earthquake, yeah?" Anna thought out loud as she walked over and made to return the bill she was holding, but Gideon held up his hand.

    "Keep it, might be lucky." Gideon explained and while Anna snorted in amusement, she tucked the bill into a pocket.

    "Maybe I'll get it laminated so I can hang it in my cockpit?" She mused while Gideon finished packing away the cash. Turning, Anna noticed several people approaching, "We have company."

    "I see them," Gideon replied, fingering the safety off his pistol as he put the cases away, "Probably a larger unit looking to add us to the roster, and I'm not surprised considering what we did." Anna smirked as she fingered the Third Class National Medal For Merit pinned to her jacket. Gideon had hung his inside the cockpit of his Armored Core, which the British-born Russian girl took as a sign of him claiming his own personal good luck charm.

    "Just stay ready for anything," Gideon's words drew Anna out of her thoughts, "In fact, why don't you go do a check on the seventy mounted on the Stork." While it sounded like a a request, Anna recognized it as a command and began walking over to the massive helicopter parked nearby; while doing further checks after the award ceremony and subsequent party, the pair had discovered that the helicopter was outfitted with a large 70mm rotary autocannon in a retractable mounting.

    Gideon had promptly rolled his eyes while Anna was at least happy for the ability to further defend herself without needing to rely on the missile pack on the right side of her aircraft. Now though, she was hoping that she didn't need to fire the monster gun tucked away underneath the cockpit of the helicopter as she opened up the crew access door and stepped inside.

    Gideon meanwhile, finished packing away the Eurobucks into the traveling case, and then placed his arms on the park table he had been sorting the cash on while he watched the group of five men approach. When they came close enough to speak without having to raise their voices, Gideon smiled, "G'day, nice weather we're having aren't we?"

    "Yeah, decent." The leader agreed before he sat down, "Heard about how you beat off a Spetsnaz attack with that monster behind you." He nodded at the Armored Core while Gideon didn't shift as the man continued, "I work for a group that take contracts all over the world, a group that some people have taken to calling 'The Illegal Army', which my employer has adopted for himself."

    "Illegal Army?" Gideon questioned, mind remembering an old Bubblegum Crisis role play sourcebook about a group with the same name, "Never heard of 'em. Your employer got a name or should I start giving him one for my remembrance?"

    The man smiled thinly, "No need. His name is Ethan Hollister. Perhaps you've heard of the man once renowned as the EEC's 'Real James Bond' during the War?"

    Gideon shook his head, "Nope. Didn't really care much for propaganda. Not with searching for anti-rads and food a higher priority." He sighed in annoyance, "Look, get to the fucking point. I want to actually start spending some my payout on some actual food rather than have rations for lunch, and so would my partner once she's done with her maintenance checks."

    The man's smile dipped slightly, "Very well. Mr. Hollister wants to hire you and you specifically to work for the Illegal Army. Our group can offer you a substantial salary and numerous benefits in exchange for you and your machine to become a part of our extensive complement of armored vehicles."

    "Not gonna happen." Gideon snapped, "For one, you don't have the wide selection of weaponry I will need to engage and eliminate any targets I encounter, but my partner does. For another, you don't have the aircraft that can carry my mech with a full combat load of weaponry and ammunition, but my partner does. And finally, I have a seventy-millimeter linkless-feed autocannon aimed at you, you smarmy little shit."

    The group looked in the direction of the helicopter to see the black-burnished quad-barrel muzzle of the Stork's concealed gun aimed squarely at them as Gideon continued speaking, "We are a team. I will not abandon my partner, and she will not abandon me. The very fact that you have dismissed my partner outright with your offer is an insult that quite frankly, I think she's rather peeved about."

    The gun shifted to aim more fully at the group while Gideon's lip curled back in a sneer, "Piss off, and tell your 'Mister Hollister' that he's not getting my mech, or me." The man's escorts shifted as if about to make a move, but Gideon simply pointed back at the helicopter, forcing them to pull their hands away from their guns. Meanwhile, the man seated across from Gideon got back to his feet.

    "Independents don't last long in this business, buddy. Especially when everyone's got a Boomer or two specced for anti-armor work." He waved his hand, "I'm sure you'll change your tune in a few weeks. So think about the offer, and I'll be waiting to hear your answer."

    Gideon looked past the men to see that there was only the empty expanse of the staging area; most of the mercenaries had moved on to other cities or had found contracts taking them into the Ukraine to join the fighting there. Anyone left was camped out somewhere else, taking their tents and other mobile shelters with them.

    Standing up, Gideon walked away from the table, held up his hand. And gave Anna a thumbs-down signal. Inside the cockpit, Anna's lips twitched as she armed the autocannon, sighted the group, and fired.

    When the tearing-cloth sound of the autocannon faded, there was only a large red smear where five men had been walking away as Gideon walked up to the helicopter and entered the crew area, "Fucking pissants. You heard everything?"

    Anna nodded, "You think this'll send a message?"

    Gideon's smile was grim, "Oh yeah. In the meantime, we should consider moving on to another city. Strong chance of retribution coming our way."

    Anna nodded, "Starting up the APU now, the engines will be warmed up in a few seconds. Better get in your AC." As Gideon left, Anna turned on the scanner pod, watching as the city map began to be overlaid with various dots. After a minute of watching, her lip curled, "Looks like they got the message." She watched Gideon climb up and enter the AC as the rotors began to spin and switched to their private channel, "Heads up, we have multiple high-speed ground contacts inbound on us."

    "Must be Boomers," Gideon replied as the hatch sealed behind him, "Dumping the right Autocannon, switching to the Pulse Gun. Get in the air and be ready to cover me with the seventy."

    "Roger." Anna increased the throttle and began lifting off, landing gear folding away as the scanner watched the inbound contacts while Anna watched Gideon drop the truck-sized Autocannon array as the shoulder weapon mountings rotated to bring a boxy gun into view with no visible barrel assembly, looking more like three hexagonal columns mated to a pistol-grip as the torso of the AC, which Gideon was still trying to think a name for, rotated to face the inbound threats.

    Seconds later, Anna saw them, a group of large, olive-green humanoids leaping onto the roof of a building near the staging area as she raised altitude and contacted the Liaison, <"This is Katyusha, being attacked by a group of unknown green humanoids.">

    <"Major Vladimir here, that sounds like BU-12 Combat Boomers. What's going on?">

    <"Is that what they are? Major, I believe they've been deployed to assassinate the pair of us. We are going to defend ourselves momentarily."> Anna armed the autocannon again, confirming that despite having fired at least one-hundred rounds, the ammo system was still full. Gideon was taking aim with the Pulse Gun but Anna was interrupted by Major Vladimir.

    <"We're trying to find out where those Boomers came from. You have permission to open fire, but do not attempt to leave the Staging Area until we've found out what's going on.">

    <"Understood. We're firing now."> Anna punctuated her statement by opening fire with the 70mm autocannon, catching on of the 'Boomers' in the chest with the burst and shredding it under a hail of high-explosive rounds, "Katyusha to Raven, these things aren't that heavily armored."

    "That's because they're meant to defeat tanks and infantry," Gideon replied as the Boomers began opening fire, railgun slugs spattering against the armour as the machines continued to feed data back to their owner, and to GENOM. Gideon for his part simply pulled the trigger and fired the Pulse Gun.

    There was a deafening electrical crackle in the air as clouds of electromagnetic energy and eye-watering green-white electrical plasma flew from the focusing array, crossing the gap in seconds and engulfing four of the incoming twelve Boomers while the roaring of the 70mm autocannon up above tore into the rest.

    Far away, in a mobile command center, screens went dark as datafeeds became corrupted while operators began deploying more units. In the shadows, a fair-haired man watched in silence as more screens went dark before blinking on to display new viewpoints. As one of the cameras was suddenly bathed in a green-white glow before cutting out, the man approached the operators, "Are we getting any data on that weapon?"

    "Apart from enough electromagnetics and electricity to fry a city? Barely anything. Whatever it is, it's frying the BU-12's so goddamn thoroughly that we're not even getting status update or error messages. So who knows what they're being hit with. Hell, if GENOM is managing to get anything from those 'hidden' feeds of theirs, they're welcome to it." As the operator spoke, more screens went green and winked out while the man in shadows watched intently, eyes always focusing on the screens that showed the massive armored machine.

    "Activate the rest of the Twelves, and bring that new model we received from GENOM online."

    The operator turned in his seat, "Excuse me sir?"

    The man glared at the operator, "You heard me, activate the Fifty-Five and send it in! Lets see how GENOM reacts to this when we send in their prototype toy."

    ***​

    Across the world, in a private office at the highest point in the city of Megatokyo, Chairman Quincy of the megacorporation GENOM regarded the large screen impassively with two other people as Boomer after Boomer fell in combat against a massive mecha and its strange energy weapon, while others were torn apart by the blazing autocannon mounted under the chin of the huge helicopter above the mecha.

    "Fascinating, wouldn't you say Mason? Madigan?" Quincy remarked, "And we have no idea as to who made this machine?"

    "None sir," The woman replied, "All my contacts in Romania and the Mercenary Contract Management Division in AEGIS along with a few select individuals in Poseidon and the Public Security Bureau have no idea who made that machine. There's nothing from any governments, nor in our rivals such as Arasaka, Kendachi, Militech or Gulf & Bradley."

    "A machine like that just doesn't appear from nothing, Madigan." The other man sneered, watching the live footage and already planning on how to secure the machine for his own plans in taking control of GENOM and dealing with his enemies along the way.

    The woman, Madigan, shot her counterpart a venomous glare, "I'd be surprised if you actually found out anything at all, Mason. What with your little fetish for the Knight Sabers."

    "Enough, you are both embarassing yourselves." Quincy snapped as the screen changed to different footage, "In any case, we'll have reactions soon enough. Apparently the independent journalist Sharp Clancy has managed to get his camera in the area." A glance did indeed show a raggedy-looking man festooned with various journalistic paraphernalia talking to the camera as BU-12s were taken out.

    This time, the effect of the weapon could be seen as a BU-12 was caught in mid-flight and the camera zoomed in on a melted, broken husk smoking from every possible location before focusing on the giant mecha. While the journalist was speaking, all three of the executives tuned him out before Mason spoke up again, "That...is not a laser weapon, or a particle beam."

    "Quite." Madigan mused, "But what interests me is the amount of power that would have to be provided to allow such a comparatively small weapon to have such a dramatic output. Not only that, the other weapons are interesting as well; it appears the entire mech is designed to operate as a single strike unit in conjunction with that helicopter."

    "The reports from Romania did indicate that the helicopter was always nearby and there was something in the report about a radar dish on one side of the aircraft...there!" Mason pointed as the camera swept up to the helicopter, showing the large missile pod on one side, but also a large disc on the other side, rotating slowly as the gun on the chin of the aircraft fired away, a rain of shell casings falling to earth in the process.

    Quincy nodded, "And the report did mention something about replacement weaponry during the attack on Bacau. Mason, do you know who is deploying those BU-12s?"

    Mason shifted to focus his attention on the Chairman, "The Illegal Army, a private military company under the control of one Ethan Hollister. As per your orders regarding data acquisition for the 55-C project, several units were issued to him for live product testing."

    "Ah yes. The IA has proven to be one of our more favored clients for Combat Boomers, I believe." Quincy mused as the news footage received a window displaying another viewpoint, "And here comes one of those test products now. Lets see how it performs."

    As the three executives watched in Quincy's office, in a briefing room halfway across the country a group of people were watching the footage before one of them, a well-built man with grey optical covers, spoke up, "Reminds me of some of the tanks that were used back during World War 3, in Africa. Only difference was that those were mobile fortresses."

    "Well, this one may not be a mobile fortress, but it has enough firepower to take on an army, and win." An old man remarked as he turned to the rest of his hand-picked team of experts, "What we are looking at here is a mystery weapon with no known analogue that appeared one night and singlehandedly became a national hero to the Romanians along with that helicopter. And no-one, from Moscow to Washington to Megatokyo and Olympus, has any clue on how it was built, where it came from and for what purpose was it built."

    "Could it be a prototype made by the Neo-Soviets before the war?" A woman with dark hair and piercing eyes questioned, "They were working on a number of experimental weapon systems before India and Pakistan set everything off."

    "As cyborgs? Yes. But not as a full-blown mecha." The old man shook his head, "How a weapon like this or an aircraft like that support helicopter managed to avoid being discovered until know is something that every intelligence agency on the planet will be trying to find out, especially if there's the possibility of more of them. But more than that, there will be a lot of people looking to acquire it."

    "Not surprising," Another man spoke up as he ran a hand through a shaggy mullet, "I doubt anyone wants that thing to remain independent or at the very least out of their hands. Not to mention there's the fact that even though it's a giant tank with a torso, it's chewing up those Boomers with those guns. I'd say that's what people are going to want to grab more than the mech."

    "Indeed. For now, I want everyone to keep an ear out for any rumors concerning other weapon systems like this one. If the source of this machine is found, you can damn well bet that everyone is going to want to lay sole claim to it."
    Meanwhile, back in Megatokyo in an affluent part of the city, a group of five people were watching the independent newscast in the apartment above a rather exclusive women's boutique store as the BU-12s finally were wiped out. After a few minutes of Sharp Clancy going on some ranting tangent, the sole male in the group announced in English, "I know what that is."

    When the other four, all women, looked at him, the man called Crag A. Reed had a serious expression, "It comes from an obscure Japanese video game back home."

    "A Japanese video game?" One of the women, a petite redhead, cocked her head as she looked at the machine, "Doesn't really look like a Gundam to me."

    Craig shook his head, "No, its not a Gundam. It was a game for the Sony Playstation, where you played a mercenary pilot called a Raven, and the main weapon was machines like that."

    "And you recognize it as being a machine from that game?" Another woman, with dark hair and eyes, wearing clothes that were much more expensive than the others, questioned.

    He nodded, "Yeah. The design was for the slowest of the machines, one that could carry the big guns, and while it's different, I know exactly what it is." His eyes narrowed as he recognized the blue Boomer that had rocketed above a building, firing a laser down at the machine to carve a glowing line in the armor, seconds before the mysterious machine fired its weapon and obliterated it.

    "It's called an Armored Core."
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  4. Gideon020

    Gideon020 Writing a novel.

    Joined:
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    Author Note: Will resume writing soon thanks to finally finding a website that had AC:V and VD parts lists, even if it is in Japanese.

    Question, who here thinks that the Martian Disorder Units should exist on Mars?
     
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