A few stray birds glided through the currents of air that swirled above the hot wastelands of south-western Enia. The birds would rise and fall with the terrain, suddenly shooting upwards as they passed over rocky outcrops, as though they were climbing them rather than simply flying over.
These birds were lost, unfortunately. Not much wildlife came out to this portion of the world due to its fairly inhospitable nature. Only resourceful humans who could drill down for aquifers and ground water were able to find ways to survive this place. And so they had built the little town of Abertyl.
Typically, there would be a few citizens wandering through Abertyl's tight streets. The village had been built during an older architectural era, which featured close-knit buildings and small streets, with the hope that by making everything closer together, it would be more efficient. While this was true, it also left Abertyl crippled to growth; its small downtown core had nowhere to move and go.
But now, many of these streets had been torn up, especially around the western edge, where the massive Goliaths of the Crisis Rescue Unit and Cain's strike force had collided in combat. Now though, only one Goliath was functional. The others had been nearly destroyed by the fight and the empty shells lay discarded around Abertyl. The pilots sat on the earth, feeling the warmth absorbed by the soil on their bodies and sucking it into their own as they rested after the battle.
Cain's strike force was a little less comfortable, each one tied up as prisoners of war. But they held no fear in their faces. They had respect for their captors and understood that they would not do any harm to the pilots. In fact, Jericho had expressed his admiration for the young students, likening them to what he expected out of his own kids and Cain had agreed, though his daughter was a bit too young to be even thinking about becoming a Goliath pilot.
But as they discussed that, their suspicions of secret weapons and being lured away from combat were confirmed. They turned to see an incredible fireball go shooting up into the air and break apart, spewing out molten metal and chunks of Goliaths, just above Narrius at the horizon. It created a glorious picture as the sun was starting to fall and so it became the backdrop to the event. There was a bit more of a fear attached to this spectacle than usual though because two streaks shot out of the inferno and rose up through the air, twisting and twirling and collided with one another as though they were two shooting stars dancing in the sky. And also going the wrong direction.
The CRU looked back down at Cain's squad and was met with equally blank stares. Neither one seemed to register understanding on their faces, and so neither side knew about any secret super-weapons that their army was holding.
"We need to get over there," Raul stated blankly.
"Agreed." Cain looked up and down his team and they all nodded in agreement.
"Umm, excuse me, but I believe you're all tied up and supposed to be our prisoners," Nami exclaimed as she put on a sneer and dropped her hands to her hips.
"And you're terrible piloting ruined all your Goliaths," Mr. Shotuku added, sweeping his hand out towards the piles of metal collecting dust.
"Maybe there is a solution to all problems here." Ardwen scratched his chin in contemplation before adjusting his glasses in his usual fashion. "Mr. Shotuku, if we could get Mother Gaia fixed, then maybe I could repair all the others quickly, especially if we have the scrap bots helping out. It would be a rough fix but the Goliaths would be functional."
The elderly teacher attempted to gave a sneer at Ardwen's idea but his piles of wrinkles always made it look like he was squinting anyways. "The scrap bots? I am not going to call down scrap bots to repair these machines so that you can go off on an unassigned mission to a warzone. We must return to the academy and deliver the prisoners to the army and then you will all resume your studies immediately!" Mr. Shotuku spun on the heel of his black slipper and began to walk towards the ship, passing Rick as he did.
"Wait, we aren't calling down the scrap bots?" Rick asked.
"No, we aren't Rick. Let's get these students out of this place. I'm getting dust in my beard."
"Oh." Rick looked down at his feet then around at everyone else. "I thought that was an order to get scrap bots, so I sent a signal up to Gretta in the academy." Mr. Shotuku stopped in his tracks and everyone watched as steam rose up off the top of his head.