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Freedom for Ares


 
written by Trenton Andres on January 06, 2003 | forum profile
number of views: 76956 |   printable version (text) (PDF)



This is the beginning of a novel being written by Trenton Andres. Stay tuned for updates.

Tae turned the top of the joystick on the control center of his suit, the image on his heads up display (HUD) showed a red dusty landscape, Mars. He turned the camera almost a full 360 before he saw what he was looking for. The small green glint told him that he had found the bottle he dropped on his way back from the mess camp. Tae pushed a small red button next to the joystick, the HUD showed a different view but the same bottle was on it. He put the crosshairs on the glint of green glass, "ha" he laughed "green in red."

He pushed the small black button on the top of the joystick and immediately heard the report as the automatic shotgun on his Dredge suits right shoulder fired, on the HUD the image of red dust spraying up and thousands of tiny stars appeared in the sand, as five hundred carbon filament wrapped pellets hit the bottle.

A new image popped up on his HUD it was of a young worried face of his companion sniper Doug Johnson

"What happened??!!"

"I recycled." he said with a smile "suppose your suit AI would have told you that." the sniper AI aboard both their suits took in all sound coming in through different microphones on the outsides of the suits and identified them along with the range and heading

"Don't do that! I'm already nearly having stomach ulcers out here."

"Is that from the food or because your nervous."

Another image popped up on his HUD

The accent of Dimitri Romanizt dripped of Russian influence, probably encouraged by his parents considering he was a native Martian so he would not have any natural Russian accent on mars. He said

"We're lucky to be eating at all, on the home world this war is costing some people their lives."

" Hacker."

"So"

"So what do you mean costing people their lives?" Tae asked.

"Earth cant produce enough food for herself but when they have to send troops to mars that makes it even worse, instead of agreeing to let us free they would rather have the population of earth starve to death."

"War costs lots" Johnson said

"Especially when interplanetary supply lines come into play." Tae added

"Well you snipers are lucky, you don't have to be up there on the front lines with ten thousand bullets and missiles flying around you with only your suit for comfort." Dimitri unlike Tae and Johnson was a frontline troop.

"Hey guys better get off the com or commander will be mad at us."

"good idea."

Tea sat back in his suit and switched the HUD image back to his camera turning it three sixty and programming the shotgun to automatic, anything that had a metallic signature that moved would be vaporized automatically. He started typing madly at the keyboard in front of him, he got through the security locks on the planetary defense system database on Pavonis. He looked at the satellite infrared image of the west side of the mountain. He could spot the camp but only because he had made not of the ridge right in front of them. He also spotted something very interesting and he knew what it meant.

Tae awoke still inside his Dredge suit, its AI waking him up at the usual time. no, it was early. The monotone woman voice of his AI issued from the speakers of his headset.

"commander Longfleck wishes to speak with you corporal"

"Yes commander" he grunted his back stiff from sitting all night.

"you and Johnson are to follow a group of TSF's (Terran Supportive Forces) and destroy them if they get to close to the group" the commander finished by taking a swig out of the coffee cup that he was holding.

"Sir" Johnson said in a whining tone " why not just move the group out of the way or destroy it."

The commander looked angry but knew he couldn't do anything.

Johnson was the Division leader and commander of all the forces mounting the attack on PMSP (Pavonis Mons Space Port). Tae saved the commander from the grief of explaining

"Cause they will be detected by the satellites in orbit and every single ship flying over Pavonis, its not every day that you see two hundred Dredge suits just pop out of nowhere." Tae explained

Officially mars and earth were not at war. Earth signing an agreement with mars made it clear that PMSP would remain terran until terra felt that its emigrants were safe. This had been a mistake and it had happed fifty years ago he was only 23 (earth years he was around 11 in mars years) but he knew it well enough to know that it was a mistake to take that agreement from the terrans.

"Your to move out when I say, most likely tonight, if your lucky" the commander ordered.

"Sir"

"Yes?"

"how many are there?" Tae asked in a tone that he hoped didn't give away what he was thinking

"approximately fifteen tanks and twenty or so transports, Longfleck out"

There was a pause and then Dimitri's face appeared on the screen

" good luck"

Dimitri once again had hacked into their conversation

" does anyone even try to stop you from eavesdropping anymore?" Tae asked with amusement

" umm." there was about a five second pause as if he was thinking " no. not really,"

"Typical" Johnson snorted

Tae pulled on the release bar that let him out of his Suit and stepped outside. Onto the platform/stairs that the door made when opened

He jumped out and slid down the leg of the kneeling giant that was his suit. It was only 2.5 meters taller then he was, not that big. It was medium sized Suit for those days not necessarily a scout, though it could hold its own in speed. It wasn't that big or its weapons that strong but still a deadly machine. The only real armament that could do any damage to a tank or Dredge suit was his rifle the barrel was shorter then expected for a sniper rifle had a few different types of ammo. it wasn't fast firing or could be used to demolish buildings. It wasn't brute force that made his suit so deadly it was a combination of the pilots imagination for tactics and the suits ability to match those abilities. The automatic shotgun on the right shoulder was able to turn 180 degrees in half a second and shoot most things down, up to 450 KPH flying overhead or towards the suit. Another feature that was a tacticians dream was the multi class rocket pod, caring ten different types of rockets from dummy rockets that looked like an ICBM to all electronic detection systems, to smoke rockets that sent a continual fissure of smoke able to cover an entire army with only fifty or so. Another great weapon on the suit was the electro magnetic mine that could be planted by the suit and when anything came near it the mine would make and EMP (electro magnetic pulse) and disable all electronics within twenty meters. The other thing he was proud of was the half meter long canister on the back of his suit, this contained a small flying scout he lovingly called Bill. Bill spun the two sets of string like rotors in opposite directions so their wasn't any need for a rear rotor. The centrifugal force of the spinning kept the rotors taught, the rotors were flexible straps of thick material shaped like a conventional wing. Bill was controlled by his suit AI and had a range of twenty five kilometers. He made his way over to the supply depot and got the food and ammo supplies he would need for the next week or so, if he ran out he could always ask for a drop ship to leave some at a checkpoint.

When Tae got back to where his suit was located he found Johnson and instructed him to re-supply too. It would be a long time before they could re-supply their Suits and their stomachs. He couldn't visit Dimitri on the front line so he made his way back to his suit and opened a comlink to him.

"Dimitri can you hack into our command database and see if there is a catch to this order of mine."

"ok but I didn't do it if I get caught"

"ya right"

Tae sat down and looked at the clock it was two thirty and without realizing it he dozed off.

Tae didn't dream often, but he did whenever something terrible happened or he thought something terrible was going to happen. Tonight he dreamt of his little sister she was three she was on the red sand dunes right by the north sea in a small t-shirt and shorts. It was warm, actually hot, really hot. He felt like he was going to die of dehydration. He looked at his sister she was on the ground but it wasn't his sister it was, a girl, he wasn't sure who but he knew that he had seen her before. Who was it? The dream faded never to be remembered for a long time but he would remember it as Déjà vu or it might come to him and then he would forget it again

He was awaken by his suit AI, in her sweet monotone she told him that

"commander Longfleck called and he was to leave immediately after you had enough sleep,"

"thanks" he continued, "contact Johnson's suit AI that he is to be ready within twenty minutes"

"I already have"

"Knew you would have"

A low whur and some of the LEDs lighting up told him that Charlett (of course the suit has a name) had ignored the last comment and was currently running a armor check or fuel calculations or something. He Checked ammo and fuel reserves and when he saw that everything was topped off knew that Charlett had not been idle when he was asleep.

He sat up and stretched, banging his head on the low ceiling of the suit, and dropped to his knees and crawled out of his suit.

"damn" he said louder then he meant.

"you know your mother would hurt you very much if she heard you using that language"

"hello Dimitri" Tae heard a voice behind him in his suit.

"Hacker..you programmed her to say that didn't you."

No response Dimitri had wondered off to his little world.

"Did you come to say anything of importance or just to prove that you could hack into my suit"

"I wasn't able to hack into your suit, Charlotte wouldn't let me so I asked her if she would say hi to me to make you think that I did"

Tae turned around to look into the suit's cockpit. There immediately was a start of machinery as Charlotte started warming up the various components of the suit.

He looked back down at Dimitri, Tae was on the platform that doubled as a blast door for the cockpit of his suit and for a platform for the pilot to stand on if they wanted out of the cramped quarters of the suit, Dimitri looked both worried and relieved,

"They caught me last night when I was hacking in for you, not digitally but one of my bunkmates saw me and reported me, I was taken to the commanders office. I thought I was dead but the amazing thing is that they knew about my hacking for awhile and were amazed at it. So I have been promoted and I'm shipping of to somewhere." Dimitri said this all as if he really didn't know what had happened a kind of sad, happy, relieved, and depressed feeling crushed together into a ball of emotion.

"So we'll be leaving at the same time then" Tae said emotionless

"Yes" he turned then paused and turned around with a smile even from four meters in the air Tae could tell that Dimitri was smiling. " your in for a treat tomorrow the commander told me, that if I told you, that I would be killed for treason along with you and Johnson but ill tell you this.. Your going into space."

Great. He was going to space, he hated space, even when he could navigate across Mars without a map and could probably do not badly on Terra space still made him a little queasy and very frustrated. He hated space.

"What was that all about?" Johnson appeared caring boxes of food most likely.

"Nothing Dimitri is moving to another post"

"really. Where?"

Tae turned and walked into his suit. Once he got inside Charlett closed the door behind him. For a second it was pitch black in the cockpit, black like space. The only light was the LEDs on his control panel like small stars. stars, the only thing he liked about space. Stars fascinated him he studied them a lot when he was young and the knowledge stuck with him.

"Charlett bring the HUD online"

Immediately the green glow of the HUD display filled the cockpit with green light. He sat down and started playing a combat simulator that looked so real that he sometimes forgot it was fake. Until he recognized one of the patterns that the enemy was using. That always slowed him down, whenever he saw a recognizable move he tried to remember what battle that was in. this was a good thing for both Tae and Charlett, while Tae learned to fight more effectively Charlett could predict the moves of the enemy in certain situations, using the defensive technology on the suit more effectively.

The HUD came on and disrupted his thinking, by reaction he sat down and immediately grabbed the two control arms. Charlett put a small tank and a moderately sized suit in front of him. Charlett knew Tae well enough that she knew that these two would not be a problem for him, most likely she had something else in store for him.

"Ok lets start" Tae said concentrating on what he should do. The only unrealistic thing about this simulator is that when a Laser or bullet hit the suit it didn't heat up or start to show any sign of damage so Tae sometimes had to get really into it before he got lost in fighting it. The terrain was of the Valis Marines, he knew these lands well he had flown through them in his teens. He looked on the radar image underneath the HUD and saw the two vehicles that Charlett had shown him. They were separated by half a kilometer, so he could sneak behind them but he didn't want to and decided to try one of the new weapons he hadn't tried in real combat.

He hit a few buttons on the Joystick that controlled the weapon targeting system and programmed the rockets with one of his directives. He was going to squeeze the button when a new dot appeared on the radar. The key to being a good pilot in one of the suits or anything else in combat is keeping your eyes open all the time to everything around you, radar, ammo, ect.., ammo especially, not a good thing if your in the middle of a battle with only a targeting laser, that's bad, very bad. The third blip was about three Km behind the other two, he decided to take the other two out first. He squeezed the button right below the trigger and heard the fire of rockets, (he knew it was fake because he didn't hear a direction and heading warning appear on his HUD,) three small rockets flew out from the pack on the suits left shoulder, spraying fire and smoke behind them. They stayed on a strait course and then after about a hundred meters the outer left one veered towards the tank. The right one and the center one continued for another two hundred meters before the right one veered. This tactic made it seem like there were more than one suit attacking.

The middle rocket stopped exactly fifty meters after the right one veered and dropped, Tae waited for about twelve seconds and then pushed the throttle on his suit to maximum his suit immediately leapt forward and ran into the smoke screen the rockets had made for him. He decided to deploy Bill and see what was approaching from ahead of him. The canister lobed bill out of the top end by compressed air, bill carried a camera and infrared censors, along with last known location that the suit was. In case the suit lost contact with Bill the small computer brain immediately headed for the nearest friendly outpost or Dredge suit.

While bill was moving towards the unknown target Tae moved his suit forward and over a ridge. The two blips were moving towards each other. He decided to get a good vantage point and take them out with his rifle when they went by. A blue dot on the HUD told him where Bill was. Tae moved the left joystick forward a bit then hit a button on top of it, his suit dropped down into a prone position and brought the rifle up. Tae switched the view to the scope on the gun.

His gun was one other of the many things he was proud of on his suit the gun also had a receiver so he could fire the gun without being there. If he dropped the gun to lighten the suit then he could relocate it later and disable the firing mechanism. If his suit was stolen or destroyed then he could detonate all the ammo in the gun. Destroying everything around it. He decided to use the small nuclear slugs that he liked very much in these situations, he turned the small knob on the right joystick to the third setting and waited for the enemies to appear. Meanwhile he brought up a new screen to check where Bill was.

The HUD showed the canyon walls below and the pink sky above. Ahead he saw something that he really didn't like. A large space cruiser was moving slowly towards him. He knew that it was unusual for a battle cruiser to be flying this low but it had happened to him once in a real battle. He checked his gun scope camera. There was the tank but the suit had apparently gotten lost, but then again suits didn't get lost.

He slammed the left joystick around in time to see the large Suit standing over him. If he had waited another moment he would have been turned into some burnt flesh in a pile of metal wreckage. He pushed the button slightly below the trigger to shoot whatever rocket was first in the pack. The rocket was not a moment to fast it was at such a close distance that the fuel was still in it, the rocket turned out to be an incendiary and the suit ignited and was obviously a remote controlled suit or it wouldn't of fallen like that our would have waited so long. As the suit was burning, it crashed into the ground with a roar and a thundering slam. He immediately turned and brought the rifle up and put the tank on the crosshairs and fired once. The whole thing happened in what seemed like slow motion. The fire issuing from the nozzle of the seventy five millimeter gun barrel. Then about a half second later the tank exploding into a massive fireball as the almost microscopic piece of super enriched uranium exploded and vaporized the top part of the tank.

He relaxed his tensions for a bit and looked around, he was on the north side of the canyon wall of Valis Marines the layers of red rock different colors. Then Bill returned with an unwelcome guest. The cruiser had arrived. It seemed to float over the huge canyons, it was falling, its size made it look like it was floating. That was more then he could bare.

"Enough!"

The image shut down and he nearly kicked open the hatch release on the door. Tae stepped out into the relative brightness of dusk, the Martian sky all sorts of colors.

He saw Johnson's suit was preparing for the mission, its various parts moving and twitching, like some massive brainless sleeping creature. He jumped off the platform and made his way down the rest of the way to the ground. He grabbed a box from a pile nearby and started eating its contents.

"Great vacuum packed sandwiches, probably fifty percent soy." he mumbled

"like everything edible on this base." Johnson yelled from his suit.

"What can you expect its from Earth!" Tae shouted back.

"ha" they both laughed quickly and Tae then got absorbed into the vacuum packed goodness of his sandwich.

The small fighter orbited about 100Km above the surface of mars, Emilio watched through the enhanced vision as a rather large ship plunged into the atmosphere on a controlled descent.

"Some presents for the Terries"

He tapped a small green glowing button on his right wrist and sent the pre-made prescribed message to the commander of the Dredge Suit regiment below him on the surface. He went back into a relaxed position as the black of night swept its way across the planet.

"Another night of mistrust and waiting"

He waited for fifteen minutes before he saw what he was expecting, two figures, Suits moved out of the base camp that he was watching over.

"No more waiting for them"

"Sir there are tanks ahead" a smoke trail and the thundering of large guns told them that some other group of suits had engaged this smaller patrol from the main group heading to the bottom of Pavonis.

"looks like someone else is interested in not letting these tanks out alive"

"sir?" Johnson asked "are we going to help"

"Yes"

They cleared a small rise in a prone position and saw below them some tanks caught between two low rises, on either side of the tanks were Suits, dug in, only about a fourth of their bodies were uncovered. Tae could see one smoking ruin of a tank, near it were three other tanks and a large Dredge suit, most likely a fire support vehicle. There were four suits surrounding the tanks and a fifth was on the ground, its leg had considerable damage and Tae figured it was out of commission for this battle. The other suits were medium size front line. Even though they had obviously had the element of surprise it looked as if they were losing.

The closest one had a rather large auto cannon, that was the commander or the most skilled pilot. It was almost beautiful the way the pilot used his suit. He seemed not to be aiming for the enemy tanks but was trying to hit the ground as much as possible. Tae increased the sight enhancement until he saw what the pilot was aiming for. He fired one of his high explosive slugs. Four or five milliseconds passed while the slug was traveling from the end of the barrel to right on top of the mine.

A small explosion sent a small shockwave across the low slope, then four then five explosions sent dust and shrapnel across the small plain. The Tanks were thrown into the air and the Suit was almost torn in half but its dense armor protected the Suit from everything but it's paint being skinned off by the sand. Tae moved the gun up and fired two armor piercing rounds into the center of the Suit right were the engine and the hydraulics were. No doubt they would want the pilot alive.

"Tae what the hell just happened?" Johnson said excitedly

It had taken less then five seconds for all of this to occur.

"There were mines, most likely remote detonated, set here to destroy that patrol." but the strange thing was the fact that such a skilled pilot like the commander in the big suit down there would use mines that would not destroy the large suit behind the tank, unless..

"What was that?" a woman's voice asked over the common band

"The mines went off late" an older Russian man's voice answered

"will someone help me up my leg hydraulics aren't working." a younger man said most likely the fallen suit's pilot

"why?" the woman answered "your no use anyway"

"c'mon that's not fair" the fallen suit's pilot whimpered

"exactly all you do is eat and get hurt right before battle." the Russian man said

"For gods sake help him up and somebody damage that Terrie commander so he doesn't move" a strong voice said with a small bit of annoyance most likely the commander

"Sir" said the woman " the Terrie command suit is crippled and it wasn't the explosion that did it"

"I know there is a sniper on the ridge behind me" the commander said

No doubt this guy was good, Tae had been told that night by Longfleck that he would most likely meet him. Ray Montero, a raider, a pirate, and a terran. Most of the time Tae thought of terrans as short chubby and paranoid (on Mars at least).

Tae aimed his rifle at the ground right below the recently standing fallen suit. He squeezed off a round.

"duhhh!!" there was a strange cry over the com. As the suit fell over again.

"Okay so there are snipers" the whiner in the crippled suit yelled "somebody help me up again"

"Okay you can come out now we know your talented" Ray said

Tae smirked and moved his suit position to standing and ran down the hill.

Colonial Jakk Luquae felt the shudder as the two bullets pierced his suit's heavy polycarbon/titanium armor and hit his hydrogen engine. The sniper had skill not to hit the fuel tank, or him for that matter. He knew that right now it was his obligation as a commander to kill himself with the small dose of cyanide that he had in his vest pocket. He was a self-preservationist, even he realized that without shame and he knew that if he was a loyal informant and talked a lot that the Mars forces would treat him well. The few tanks that were with him were computer controlled so he didn't mind losing them, if they were real men he would have never given up this willingly, he may be concerned for his own life but he certainly wouldn't let soldiers die for him to just talk.

"Ok you can take me" he said calmly into the common band "I don't care, damn wars pointless anyway"

He never did really side with the Earth forces on this war, who cares if mars gets its freedom, let them have it. He did like the Martians way of thinking anyway, "Don't bother us and we won't bother you." which was like most thinks in the universe.

"So a Terrie actually doesn't want mars for himself" one of his captors said, though he wouldn't call them captors, more like liberators.

"so how do you plan on getting me back to your base?" Jakk asked as if he was anxious to go.

"Our base is just fifteen Km away" the leader said "there is a rover that will take you back to our base automatically"

Tae walked past the remains of one of the tanks.

"you are Sergeant Ray Montero?" Tae asked

"Yes" Ray paused "and you are?"

"Tae Namosi second sniper division, thirty fourth Angels wish.." he was cut off by Ray

"Under the command of commander G. Longfleck"

"I assume that you got the same orders I did to fallow that column of vehicles two Kilometers up Pavonis and make sure they." Tae cut him off with a private transmission

"Don't finish that, my babysitting. I mean partner is on a need to know basis, he thinks that we are making sure it doesn't find any of the troops stationed in hiding"

"Hmm" Ray grunted, "my men are not on that type of basis so talk freely around them"

"Were they given a status on your accord?" Tae asked skeptically

"I would appreciate if you would not tell any high ranking official that"

Tae was interrupted by Johnson's face on the HUD

"What was he saying?"

"Exactly our orders"

Tae watched from the shade of his suit's leg as the group interrogated the TSF commander. They were not being rough with him, in fact he seemed like he was enjoying betraying his side. It wasn't any matter to him, he could say he was given some type of drug or psychologically tortured to tell. Tae tossed the leftovers of his meal off to the side. Ray walked up to him.

"who are these people?"

"the legendary OS.'

"you're the commander?"

"Yes, Just recently, you know about the cruiser Xythos right?" Ray asked

"Yes, I heard it got the crap beaten out of it by OS" Tae answered, he continued "lemme guess that was you that led them to victory"

Ray was silent. The Russian came up to them.

"Ray" They didn't use any of the usual military respectfulness "the TSF has given us all we want"

"let him go"

Tae had no objections, he didn't care. All he wanted was to get rid of the baby.

"Wait!" Tae almost yelled

"send my partner with the TSF commander to the base."

Ray and the Russian knew what Tae wanted out of this.

Tae went to sleep in his Dredge Suit, he liked the view for some reason. He liked being a couple of meters taller. He was sitting down in the suit, the seat was comfortable, but not a bed. Tae learned in their conversation that Ray had trained with the original OS crew. A French man, A Martian native and Vladimir. The French man had died in the battle of xythos. The Martian went home to his family after his sister died. Vladimir had no family, seemed incapable of dieing and was a great fighter and a survivor. Ray had taken command of OS after the death of the French man.

He drifted off to sleep. He had another dream this night. He was in a battle, he recognized it. There was a flash of light and an explosion. He was thrown back, drifting forever, swallowed up by the black ness of space.

He jumped out of his sleep with a cry, It was almost one in the morning. it was quite, Peaceful. Peaceful except the thuds of feet, huge feet. He was about to switch on a camera when an image came up. It showed a video feed from the shoulder of the suit. He was luck he had hid his suit before he fell asleep. It looked as if a large group of suits were walking through their camp. He received a text message from his companions.

That is a TSF convoy,

Jack in the box,

In thirty seconds, These are not Mars forces,

Confirm with text message.

Tae quickly typed in a message and waited. The thundering of feet still around him. His suit wasn't exactly well hidden, not visually. He was invisible to radar though and most other current forms of detecting large semi-metallic objects. These suits were most likely driven by an IA aboard the suit , any human pilot would have notice the encampment but AI's depended on radar alone. It would take the computers a couple of seconds to realize they were under attack if there wasn't any explosions. He thought that a squad like the OS would be thinking the same thing. He silently switched hands, his suit could handle shooting with the left hand. His suit grabbed the dagger from it's left side, Charlett knew what was going on. The dagger had a strong electromagnet in it, it caused havoc within the suit or tank it was driven into.

The timer on the HUD went off silently. He popped the suit into a standing position. The nearest suit was a small scout.

"Now!!!!" Ray shouted over the comlink.

Tae Pushed the throttle up and his suit shot at the small scout. His suit was a great deal bigger then the tiny scout. The small suit toppled over and was crushed underfoot as Charlett ran over it.

"This is fun!" The woman yelled over the com

"hmm" Tae grunted as his suit bounded towards a huge artillery suit, about twice the size of Charlett.

"This one won't be a pushover" Tae thought as he brought the knife back and jumped. Before he knew what happened there was an explosion and the artillery suit was a lot less then it used to be.

"Shit"

Two other suits had been knocked down because of the blast. He was on them, both were out of action and he was searching for another target when he heard the strange sound of a particle accelerator firing. There was a massive green light burst from his right. Tae had always wanted to put jets on his suit, now was one of those times when he wished he had them. He jumped as high as he could into the air the particle beam nicking his suit's foot.

"there goes an actuator" he thought as the suit landed and was brought down to one knee. He fired a burst of rockets and saw as they exploded, their incendiary warheads nearly melting the alloy of the suit with the particle accelerator.

"Always wanted one of those" He said, he picked the gun up from the fiery suit. Putting the knife away and accessing the gun. Charlett could hack into the gun in no time, especially if it was army issue. He waited and the shock of another suit exploding slipped his finger onto the trigger. A green light issued from the chamber and the beam of particles deposited itself into a Suit standing in front of Tae. For a minute Tae was surprised as the suit crumbled to the ground, It's electronics totally gutted.

The battle passed as if like a dream. Every so often a suit would explode next to him . He used up the remaining shells in the particle accelerator and dropped it. Picking up a huge gatling auto cannon. He never used one of these before. As he was hacking into the gun AI ha Small suit sneaked up on him. He turned around just as it took six auto cannon rounds to the chest before exploding

Tae looked to se what had happened and there was rays suit standing there with the gun barrel smoking.

"I owe you one" Tae said

"no " Ray said "we're even"

The battle raged on for another half an hour and Tae and ray stuck together, Tae tried a few more guns, including a Suit sized shotgun before he decided to stick with a medium sized auto cannon. In the end tae had racked up at least twenty kills and ray a few less.

In the end they had managed to destroy close to two platoons (a Dredge platoon consists of thirty five suits) before the remaining suits ran. They had been lucky. If those suits had been real pilots they would not have survived. They spent the greater part of the next day salvaging rockets, ammo, guns, missiles, they even found a small air transport.

Ray's face came up on Tae's screen as he was looking at a Laser cannon.

"Your patrol is about fifteen kilometers ahead of us, we might want to move out" Ray said

"Lets go"

"Alright you heard the man lets move"

Tae pushed the throttle to full and dropped the laser cannon. He switched the Sniper Rifle from his Suit's left to its right hand. The Martian G made the suits strides massive, a few meters long. Tae reached 103kph before he decided to level it off.

He saw two of the OS slightly to his left. Ray's suit was slightly behind his and Vladmir's was last in the line. They ran for the rest of that day.

Tae checked his messages and found that Dimitri had sent him another information package. He immediately set his suit to autopilot and looked at it.

"Apparently that column of suits we massacred came from the elevator, looks like they were on their way to Devil's ridge"

"Reinforcements for the siege"

Devil's ridge was a large city south of tharsis, it had been the Hotpoint of the ground war. It originally belonged to the terran confederation but MF had taken control of it as the first major military engagement. The TSF's decided they wanted it for a HQ so they tried to take the southern portion of the city. They took part of it and their advancement slowed to a halt. Lately MF had been gaining ground and were only ten blocks away from the TSF's HQ building.

"looks like we saved MF some trouble" The woman commented.

"They still hate you though" Tae replied

"We don't like them either"

"Quite" it was Vladimir "I have a contact"

The convoy that they had been stalking stopped just three Kilometers ahead of them. There was an outpost of some kind there. Their radar readouts showed a large amount of activity there.

"what do you think Tae?" Ray asked

"The radar doesn't show us enough to know numbers, and there could be hidden gun emplacements all around." Tae replied

"We should send a scout" Vladmir answered

"Ok" Tae launched Bill, The canister fired and Tae saw Bill whisk of, Bill flew at 5,000 feet, that was high enough not to show up on radar, or the naked eye.

"What was that?"

"I've heard of those, they were made as a spin-off of the cipher supposed to be a more compact scout and easily carried by ground troops." Vladmir continued "How long did it take you to get one?"

"Not that long, actually it was an impulse buy, I got it off the terran black market." He went on "Cost me more to ship it though."

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