Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Glint In My Eye

The White Glint was a legend amongst Lynx. The NEXT that tore through whole armies all in defence of Line Ark. It was said that its pilot sometimes showed mercy to troops, giving them an opportunity to escape if they agreed never to return to Line Ark.

Some said it was because its pilot was tired of war and only killed because of some higher duty. Others said its pilot only enjoyed killing worthy opponents. It would explain why any NEXT that had come up against it had not returned. I wonder how many NEXTs and Normals lay sunken beneath the waves of the sea surrounding Line Ark's headquarters.

I wasn't that bothered. I didn't believe in myths. No Lynx, and especially no NEXT, was invincible.

Omer insisted that I take along a pilot that they would recommend. I was a bit irritated by that, after all, I work alone and had not had any trouble so far with the jobs I had undertaken.

After waiting around a bit in the Omer base near the remains of Lagostown, a lynx walked in. It was Otsdarva. Hmph. Looks like Omer was serious about eliminating the White Glint. Well, that's if the stories I had heard about Otsdarva were true anyway.

We head out for Line Ark at dawn and got there about thirty minutes later. We were greeted by the White Glint's operator. Turns out Otsdarva knows her - Fiona Jarnefeldt. He also made some reference about her being responsible for the fall of Anatolia.

That was interesting...

We made it clear that we were not backing down. Otsdarva had already activated his overboost and headed straight for the White Glint. I was still expecting some sort of reinforcements from Line Ark, but none came. Not that I wasn't grateful though, the White Glint's pilot, whoever he/she was, was a beast.

I tried getting Otsdarva to slow down so we could plan properly and limit the White Glint's mobility. Maybe get it into the structure we were fighting around, it seemed like it was geared around aerial maneuverability. But no, he insisted on chasing the NEXT every which way it went, playing to its pilot's tune. It was obvious this was personal for him, as the number 1 rated lynx in Collared, he probably felt threatened by the White Glint, whose pilot was officially rated 9th and yet still more feared than he was. Knowing this, I was even more annoyed that Omer sent him along with me.

My HUD told me that I was running low on AS missiles. I switched to my right arm weapon settling in for the long haul with my rifle. Missiles were too expensive to waste trying to hit the White Glint anyway. Better to rely on my plasma cannon and the rifle.
Initially, the White Glint focused almost exclusively on Otsdarva, throwing a few missiles and shots my way whenever I got too involved in their dance.

I quick boosted out of the way again as the White Glint sent a few missiles my way once more. As I shot down the remaining missiles chasing me, I noticed Otsdarva moving erratically. What was he doing?

I then saw what was wrong, his main generator had been destroyed. Looks like the pilot of the Glint had crippled him completely. He fell out of the sky towards the sea. I thought about going to try and catch him, but the White Glint sent more missiles my way and forced me to dodge some more. Moving further away from Otsdarva.

The Glint then activated its overboost and disappeared behind some buildings. I hovered over the water warily watching the direction the White Glint went in and scanning for any sign of Otsdarva. Maybe he would be able to escape in time.

I heard his voice over the comm, he was congratulating the pilot of the Glint!

"Get out of there man!" I yelled into my mic. I got static in response.


Kasumi came in over the comm-link confirming that Otsdarva was dead. She also let me know it was just me and Glint left to duel. Not that I was expecting any backup at this stage in the fight.

I gripped my controls and began to scan the skies for the NEXT. My NEXT's cameras were not the best available unfortunately, even though they had served me well in the past. I vowed to upgrade my headpiece if I got out of this alive.

I saw a flash of white to the right. It was the White Glint. I opened fire as soon as my auto-targeting system picked it up and began boosting towards it. Maybe if I could get in close I could damage its boosters, give me an edge and maybe deliver some sort of karmic justice for Otsdarva.

I sent a cloud of missiles to its left and came in hard from the right, machine gun fire wailing over the sound of explosions. I fired flares, expecting a retaliatory salvo from the Glint, and I wasn't disappointed. I had gotten in close enough to hit the main boosters when suddenly I noticed it's engines glowing brightly and the unmistakable halo showing the discharge of kojima particles. My heart got caught in my chest. The NEXT was getting ready to release its assault armour attack. I quick boosted and flew into the air to get out of its area of effect. I watched as the field of deadly energy came towards me as I ascended. A stray thought passed through my head as I pushed my engines to their limits, In this moment, I was truly in a place reserved for a few. This feeling of riding the edge of death at over 200 km/hr, it was one of a kind. The zone.

I made it. I didn't get away completely unscathed though, the attack ripped right through my primal armour and damaged my armour plating directly. It wasn't enough to put my readout in the red though.

I had to act fast. The White Glint purging its assault armour gave me a window of opportunity, its primal armour would have been depleted and it would take a few seconds for it to recharge. Now was the time to strike.

I turned around quickly, targeting the White Glint and letting rip with my plasma cannon and rail gun. With no primal armour to defend the NEXT, it didn't take long. A couple more shots and it was over.

I could hear Fiona, the White Glint's operator over the comm. She spoke to me and said something about me being as good as she feared I would be. I didn't know what to think about that. How could I? I had just beaten the White Glint.

I got an S-rank for that mission from the match ranking computer. I stared at it for a while wondering how much luck played a factor in what just happened. After a few seconds I realised it didn't matter. Luck was always a factor in battle.

I had a few job requests waiting for me when I got back to base, the one that caught my eye was to bring down two of Algebra's lynx's, the pilots of Red Rum and Starka.

Before I accepted the mission, I thought about why I kept on taking these jobs from faceless corporations, adding destruction to an already blasted earth. A lot of people think that lynxes were insane or just desperate to justify their training and the amount of money spent on keeping our NEXTs in working order. I think it was more than that, but I didn't know why.

Part of the answer came to me as I managed to complete the battle against the two NEXTs, Red Rum's four-legged NEXT shorting out in front of me. The planning, the preparation of the NEXT for battle, the high speed ballet filled with the thud of bullets, the crackle of plasma and the sighing of missiles through the air.

I continued fighting in this war because it was something I was good at and my NEXT allowed me to do. Not that the loss of life was something that pleased me, but there was something, something that caught the eye in-between pushing the side-boosters to their limit as one weaved to dodge a missile barrage, something that captured the imagination as I soared through the skies watching the subtle electric crackle of kojima particles in the dead of a snowstorm.

I am sure the pilot of the White Glint understood that and that was why even as he/she sank, they didn't say a word. They didn't need to. We had already said everything there was to say.


Bee said...

Gotta say this looks different as a post. Don't know why. I really like it though.

Yegwa said...

Thanks! Still working on the style and should another one up any day now.