Twenty-Four: Calm

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Report: Quinn
The Ural Mountains.
Mount Yamantau research facility.
Designation: "Alpha Beta"

A battle was coming.

The snow fell lightly on my face, chilling my forehead and nose as it completed its slow fall to Earth. However, at this height it didn't have far to go. Mount Yamantau stood a whopping one thousand, six-hundred and forty meters above sea level, jettisoning high above the rest of the Ural mountain range.

Mount Yamantau, as well as most of the Ural range, had belonged to the TCC and the Americans since the very earliest days of the Iron War, captured as the USA made it's first push into enemy territory. The TCC, ever resourceful, had taken control of a Russian sensory outpost and retrofitted it into a factory to churn out new mechs in the middle of enemy territory.

This information had been provided by Dan Stonewood, who had long since known of its existence.

Nowadays, the facility at Yamantau produced less and less conventional mechs and was instead used as a base for the research division TCC Alpha. The base itself had even been given a moniker- Alpha Beta.

I trudged through the snow as it fell around me, soaking my combat boots. In one hand I held the blueprints Draco so desperately wanted. My other hand held a radio, ready to call in the cavalry at any sign of trickery. I was equipped with a standard parka, a vest and a helmet, not that they would do any good against a mech.

No wonder General Fisk had wanted us to meet him here. The facility at Yamantau was massive and opposing, much like the mountain itself. The air was thin. My breath fogged the space in front of me as I looked up towards the latticework of bridges that surrounded me. All of these massive, mech sized bridges were meant to be a testing ground for new and terrifying innovations the TCC could introduce into the Iron War. I was standing in the heart of the TCC war effort with nothing but a radio, a blueprint and a coin.

A storm was coming.

The blueprint itself was a mystery. Although burnt and weathered from years of disuse, it depicted an early prototype of a modern dropship. However, the blueprint’s scaling was completely off. The dropship was depicted as outlandishly huge. The physics behind it just weren't possible, as gravity would've torn the ship apart before it flew. It made sense that the plans had been left in Zolotoy when it was evacuated twenty years prior. They simply weren't practical.

However, if the TCC wanted them, how outlandish was the concept? Were they building a ship as large as this? The blueprints gave no information on the ship’s contents, construction or even fuel source. In any case, we’d taken several photographs of the blueprint before bringing it to the rendezvous.

Boots crunched in the snow behind me. My only accomplice, Commander Martin Telbus. Telbus was dressed in the same manner as I was. He carried a small service weapon hidden deep in the folds of his winter gear. It wouldn't be much use against an enemy mech at this point, but it was comforting nonetheless.

I could see several figures in the distance, advancing toward us. Clouds of breath fogged the air above them. TCC soldiers, by the looks of it, each outfitted in gleaming black combat armor that was left over from the third world war. They carried gleaming rifles, each as polished and perfect as the TCC's mechs.

However, the soldiers didn't terrify me as much as who they were there to protect. The man who'd single-handedly discovered our alliance and its location. The man who'd broken into a secure, military-grade connection just to threaten us. The man who claimed to know more about my father than I did.

General Draco Fisk's dark jacket hung taught on his shoulders as he strode towards me, blond hair uncovered despite the icy wind. His gaze was colder than the thin mountain air. His lips were a tight line, his arms clasped firmly behind his back.

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