Forty-Six: Lion's Den

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Report: Quinn
The Mojave Desert.
United States of America.
Crash site of the TMC warship.
Designation: "Dreadnought"

Six-hundred meters.






A jarring impact and a flash of sensors, the crackle of my comms.

My HUD booted up with a hum. I frowned. After experiencing the Spectre's HUD my usual no longer felt as intuitive.

The cameras showed only sand, swirling clouds of dust kicked up by the impact of my landing. It blocked my view, shrouding me in darkness for a few moments. At last it cleared, swept away by the desert winds.

We'd arrived.

All around me the ground was pockmarked, cratered by fallen debris. Large pillars of dust marked where War Robots were landing, and overhead I could see the open squares of dropship hangars poking out from behind their stealth plating like hatches in the sky.

"Defense teams, sign off!" I called, hand pressed to my earpiece.

Seconds later, voices rang out.

"Perimeter team one has landed!"

"Perimeter team two is all set!"

"Perimeter team three is ready, commander!"

I nodded. The perimeter teams were vital to securing the area outside of the crater. Without them the TMC would be able to freely send in new robots as we fought.

"Strike team, sign off!" I continued.

"We're ready, commander!" Kitt called.

"Strike team is ready!" Martin confirmed.

I took a deep breath. It was time.

"Form up!" I called.

The sand was clearing now, and I could see the rest of the robots in my squad.

Martin's Carnage sprinted towards me at top speed, massive Thunders gleaming in the sunlight. Elsewhere I could see more of my team heading in my direction. A second Carnage, a Rogatka, a Boa and, slowly lumbering in our direction, the Wedge. Kitt's Lancelot was absolutely massive, armor reflecting the sunlight in bolts of brilliant yellow.

It took a moment, but soon most of us stood together, shoulder to metal shoulder, facing the Dreadnought. It was much larger in person, and we gazed into the gaping maw of the empty rocket engines. Somewhere in there was our evidence.

"Enemy sighted." Martin sighed.

Sure enough, olive green robots darted across the sand, from a distance looking for all the world like little June beetles, green shells reflecting sunlight.

Kitt coughed.
"The weapons. Are those...?"

They were.

As they drew near to firing range I could see that every single Pursuer carried not one, not two, but three Gust shotguns.

"Dammit," Martin growled.
"I'm sorry, Jax, they must have reverse-engineered the ones left behind at Yamantau."

I shrugged.
"It's fine. It just means we know what to expect!"

"Let's hit them hard!" Kitt called.
"Here they come!"

"Wait!" I called.
"Don't break formation!"

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