The irradiated remains of Moscow.
A radioactive "exclusion zone".
Neutral territory, until now.
I watched, slack jawed, as two tendrils of white lightning reached out and struck the Valkyrie containing Jackson Quinn.
To his credit, Jackson didn't scream. I heard him merely grunt as his mech was overwhelmed with the searing energy. Though the command capsule would take most of the shock, he had to be in some serious pain. I just hoped his command capsule would activate and he would be able to get medical aid. If the blast had short-circuited the capsule, he was dead. Radiation would get him if the fall didn't.
But no, as the Valkyrie fell, floodlights darkened, Jackson was rocketed into the stratosphere to be returned to his dropship. I just hoped Lucas could treat him in time.
I breathed a sigh of relief and spun my Predator around. The shield was half regenerated.
“Take out that Legion, now!” I shouted, and pushed forward on my controls.
The Predator rushed forward, quickly closing the gap between me and the reloading Legions. Both mech's began shuffling backwards in an attempt to buy time but I was too close too soon. The first Legion crumbled like a tin can as my heavy shotguns made short work of it at close range.
Every shot was like a punch from an invisible iron fist, pellets the size of cannonballs buckling the metal armor. With one mighty blast the static cannon snapped like a toothpick, charged energy dispelling in a shock that nipped at the tips of my toes. I could only imagine how that pilot felt, so close to the detonation. Ouch.
No command capsule leapt from the Legion as the massive robot fell backward, unceremoniously, into the dust. Never to move again.
The other Legion continued to back away and my HUD flashed a warning. I could feel the static cannon reach full charge and I turned my heavy shotguns to the remaining enemy. Was I too late?
Fortunately, my team arrived at that moment. A Valkyrie pilot, Warren, took the kill, fully-loaded machine guns pouring lead into the crippled Legion's hull.
I breathed a sigh of relief. It was nice to have tolerant teammates. Otherwise sometimes it felt like I was all alone, like it was Daewi Park versus the world.
I hoped Jackson was okay.
He'd likely saved my life back there.
“Push forward,” Commander Telbus screamed, “we need to clear the southeast city center of snipers and artillery!”
We pushed forward, once again alone in the silent fog. Our solitude was only temporary. My hair raised, like hackles, on the back of my neck. Something was still out there.
Our strike force was slightly reduced now and we were down to nine mechs- four from my team, including myself, and five from the other squad that had joined us.
“Hey Daewi,” he said, “I think you'd be a good-”
Out of nowhere, the streaking, screaming long-range missiles returned in force, peppering my overworked energy shield with splashes of blue. An unlucky Veles took a blast to the legs, crumpling forward without a sound from the pilot. The command capsule leapt into the sky, signaling the temporary loss of another ally. The pilot could return soon but it would take time we didn't have. We were now effectively down to eight mechs.
I swore and began to weave my Predator erratically, desperate to avoid overheating my shield, but there was a sign of hope through the fog.
“We’re almost close enough,” Martin yelled, “those long-range missiles are ineffective if we get any closer to them!”
YOU ARE READING
Iron EmpireScience Fiction
[UNDERGOING MAJOR REWRITES] The Great Iron War has been raging for ten years. The Earth is divided. War has changed. An unstoppable Iron Empire sweeps across the globe, conquering the world in giant robots known as mechs. The year is 2042. Our wor...