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Death Stalking ...

-Winsom, Jade Falcon Occupation Zone
-11 Januari 3069, 14.21 hrs, Military Time

For Carson Icaza, Death was a common thing ... Perhaps today he would find it.

It was true that all Clan warriors were raised without fear of death, and that in fact finding death on the battlefield was one of the most noble things ... but for Elemental Pilots, such as himself, death was a lot more. Every pilot faced it when going to battle, but none such as an Elemental did. For them, Death was expected. It was a rare occasion when an entire Elemental point made it back after a battle. In fact, it was a rare occasion when any individual Elemental made it back. As such, Elementals had a sort of spiritual bond with Death. They welcomed it, almost revered it.

'It is a good day to die', Carson said to himself, all the while watching his Commanding Officer, Star Captian Vanna Hazen, who was talking to someone in the Jade Falcon High Command over a secure Comm Channel. From the look on her face, Carson knew the news even before she said it.
"Ok, listen up" Vanna adressed her Star Commanders, "Reinforcements cannot be expected, but it is vital that we hold on to this planet. Out there .." she pointed at the sky outside her office window, is an entire cluster of Assault Mechs, courtesy of the Mercenary unit Bloodhand. We will take every machine we have available, and march out to meet them. This includes having people armed with nothing more then rifles if neccesary. Many of you will not make it back, but take satisfaction in the fact that every Mech of theirs we destroy will make them that much weaker when our reinforcements do eventually show up. Dismissed." With that the Star Captain sat down on her chair and went back to whatever she was doing on the computer, not willing to provide answers to any questions her Star Commanders might have. None were needed.

.........

"Star Commander Icaza, take your Point and move to secure our left flank." Vanna's familiar voice crackled over the radio. They had been out in the field for some time now, searching the rolling sand hills, known as the 'Red Sea' for any ambushes. The Bloodhand Mechs had held their position, refusing to march forward and engage them as clan warriors would have, which in turn made Star Captain Vanna weary of ambushes.
"Roger that" Carson answered. Then opening the private channel used be him and his men " Ok squad, move out. We are securing the left flank."
Almost unnoticable between the metal giants known as Mechs, five little Mechanized troopers, no larger then 3 metres broke of from the main group and headed north. To an unsuspecting pilot, it might have looked futile, or even comical, but those who had fought Elementals before knew better. And besides, if the left flank was attacked, they could send out a warning and try to delay the enemy. It would mean theirs deaths, but that was what they were there for ... afterall.

...........

"2 Assault Mechs coming in from the north, 450 metres" Carson yelled in the radio, alerting the rest of the Falcons that their left flank was under attack. Immediatly afterward he pushed the button for his jumpjets and jetted away to the right. The other 4 elemental pilots made similar jumps, either to the left, or right. The squad broke up just in time as a PPC bolt impacted exactly where they had been only seconds ago. If Carson had not caught a glimpse of them moments before they powered up, he and his squad would have been killed to the last man.
"We are under heavy attack here Commander" came the strained voice of Star Captain Hazen. "Hold them off as long as possible." Having known the answer even before Vanna said it, Carson pressed a quick selections of Comm signals to his Point mates, ordering them to attack. Then he engaged his jumpjets again and jumped to a nearby hill, landing behind it, just out of sight of the enemy assault Mechs, yet still close enough that his next jump would bring him right on top of one of them. At least the terrain was in their advantage. Running along the base of the hill, Carson did a quick check on his Point mates, and found that none of them had been hit yet. So far the Bloodhands firing had not been particularly accurate, obviously not used to the smaller size of elementals. A small beep notified Carson that his jumpjets were online and ready again, and as he jumped up, so did his Point mates. 4 little elementals rose up from behind the sandy hills sailing towards their opponents.
The Bloodhand pilots were ready this time though, and unleashed a barrage of missiles as soon as the elementals came in side. Carson could only watch as one of his friends got rocked by multiple explosions and fell to the ground. The rest of his point got off with little damage, the warheads not being powerfull enough to penetrate their armor.
'You will be remembered for the skill and honor you displayed, my friend' Carson said to no one in particular, just as he landed on one of the Sionna's arms. From there he half jumped half fell to the right, but managed to catch the Sionna's torso, watching with pleasure as his armored claws slid through the outer layer of armor and created a handhold. The other three elementals chose the same target, but one of them failed to hang on and fell to the ground, only to be crushed by the Sionna's massive foot as he tried to stand up. A horrible death, even for an elemental.
Carson did not left this faze him though. Hanging on to the Mechs torso with his left hand, he started ripping of sheets of armor with his right, trying to penetrate the armor and be able to do some damage to the internals. The other Elementals were doing the same, using their clawed hands and short pulse lasers to cause as much damage as possible.

The Mech pilot in turn seemed to panic, and started swining his torso to the left and right, flailing his arms wildly, trying to get the
elementals off of him, without little effect. The other Mech was circling his desperate buddy, trying to get a shot at the elementals,
but unwilling to risk hitting his own wingman.

Working as hard and fast as he could, Carson was rewarded with the satisfying hiss of steam and warmth as he tore another hole in the Mechs armor. As heat started to vent from the hole, Carson pressed his laser into it and fired away, shooting past the armor and into the vulnerable internal systems. For a moment it looked like nothing was happening, when suddenly a large explosion rocked the mech and blew up the right side of its torso. Reacting on instinct, Carson let go and jumped to the ground as fast as he could. His Elemental armor get blasted with shrapnell as he fell down, shredding it in several places and mangling his right leg. A sting of pain hit Carson, but was immediatly replaced by the familiar feeling of drugs and narcotics being injected in his body, as well as the sensation of a sticky residue forming around his legs; the black gel that sealed the breaches in his armor.

One of the other Elementals had also been holding on to the torso at the time of the explosion, but without the forsight Carson had had, he had not been able to let go on time and had been caught unaware as the right side of the torso was ejected by the Mechs CASE system, then blew up in a great ball of fire, taking the Elemental pilot with him.

As Carson fell to the ground, he watched the Sionna stumble, then fall forward. Carson's last surving Point mate had found a handhold on the Mech's leg and had been doing extensive damage there. The explosion, combined with that damage had caused the Mech to lose its balance. Like a crashing tree to a normal man, it came down, its shadow becoming larger and larger until the Mech finally hit the ground, several meters away from Carson. Knowing the other Mech would have a clear shot at him, Carson pushed every fiber of his being to run as fast as he possibly could toward the fallen Mech, hoping to find cover there. Missiles and laser fire impacted all around him, but none caused enough damage to stop him. Just as he was about the reach the fallen Mech, he suddenly saw his wing jump out from between the tangled mass of its legs and jump straight up at the still-standing
Sionna. Having been concentrated on taking out Carson, the pilot did not have time to turn and fire before the Elemental was upon him, grabbing hold on its hip and starting to climb up.
'Well done' Carson mentally praised his wing. This would give him enough time to finish off the fallen Mech. Taking a small jump over its back, Carson landed just next to its cockpit and started firing laser bolt after laser bolt at the Mechs viewscreen, all the while watching the terrified pilot within trying to get his Mech to respond fast enough.
He did not make it, and cried out in terror as finally the laser bolts burst through the glass and into the cockpit, killing its occupant and ruining the Mech.

Carsons wing in the meantime had been playing a game of cat and mouse with the other Mech, trying to jump around and climb around as much as possible, so that the Mech pilot could not catch him. Unlike the previous Mechwarrior though, this one did not lose his calm, but instead worked carefully to squash the Elemental like a human would squash a fly.
'Lets see him deal with two of us' Carson smiled, then jumped up at the enemy Mech ...

Between the two of them, they were slowly tearing the enemy Mech apart. One continously dodging those deadly hands and arms while the other worked on damaging the Mech. The pilot stayed composed however, and did not give them much chance to do damage, continously switching his attacks from one elemental to another, so that neither of them were able to stay still for long enough to really hurt the Mech. But Carson knew that sooner or later their luck would ran out and one of them would be caught by the Mech. If that happened, they were both gone. Carson had to do something, or lose the fight ... and he wanted to avenge his fallen comrades way to much to give up now.

Letting go of his hold on the Mechs leg, he fired his jumpjets straight up. Luck more then skill kept him from jetting straight into
the Sionna's arms, but as soon as he made it past them he switched his jumpjets off and let the momentum of his flight take him to its intented target. The Mechs head ...

Carson fell part of his front armor give way as he collided with the outer armor of the cockpit. The impact was a lot harder then expected and stunned Carson, temporarily fazing him and causing his vision to black out. Desperatly, he reached out with his arms, for anything he could hold on to. The Elemental armor started to slide down, then suddenly came to a stop as one of his hands found a hold on the Mechs communications antenna. As his vision came back, Carson was pleasantly surprised to look straight in the eyes of the enemy pilot. His face contorted in a wide grin, which he regretted his opponent would not be
able to see. He was hanging straight in front of the viewscreen, and swung his free arm at the glass, impacting with it and shattering it completely. Glass rained all over the enemy pilot, making several cuts here and there. Knowing he would never be able to bring his arms up in time, the pilot screamed out in rage at Carson, and started drawing his holstered laser gun. Carson in turn once again swung his free arm, which collided with the pilots head, the great claws first ripping its way through the metal of the neurohelmet, then through the flesh and bone of the pilots skull. Blood splattered Carsons armor as the giant mech came to a standstill, then started falling down.

Both elementals managed to jump clear before the Mech hit the ground, then met each other on one of the nearby hills while Carson radio'd his commander. "Star Captain Hazen, this is Star Commander Icaza. Left flank is secure. Repeat, left flank is secure." A familiar voice replied to his message, but it was not that of Star Captain Hazen, instead, it was Star Captain Roshak of Trinary Bravo that responded.
"Well done Star Commander, your deeds will make a fine addition to your codex ..." the transmission got interrupted for a moment while Carson heard the sounds of Battle on the background. "Star Commander, it seems we will not be able to hang on to the planet afterall. A good many of our enemies litter the ground, but we no longer have the Mechs needed to hold them back. You will take what is left of your squad and head back to HQ as soon as possible, there you will give cover for the evacuation of the remaining personel. I am counting on you to get all our people, and more importantly, all vital info, out of there before these mercenary scum get their hands on them. Do not fail me Star Commander."
"I will not" Carson replied "Honor and skill to you, Star Captian Roshak" he added, but the connection was already broken off.

..........

As the started to go down on the planet of Winsom. Two little mechanized soldiers, no larger then 3 metres broke off from the
fighting and carnage all around them and headed out to the west. To an unsuspecting pilot, it might have looked futile, or even comcal, but those who had fought them knew better.

For Carson Icaza, Death was a common thing . ... Perhaps next time he would find it.

- MechWarrior Wight Pryde

 

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