Castle Roland

31st Century

by Hammy

In Progress

Chapter 3

Posted: 27 Jul 15

31st Century

Copyright © by Hammy

Simulation room, ten minutes before lights out –

JD was the first to exit his pod, sweating profusely, followed by Josh, Tommy, Simon, Sam, and Chris. All of them appeared to be out of breath as if they ran a marathon.

When Sam finally caught his breath, he smiled. "Just this once, I'll admit this; you guys are damn near getting too good. I'm going to have to start taking my better 'Mechs against you guys!"

JD smiled as he felt his ego swell, but he remained silent. However Chris spoke up, "I watched you guys and compared it to earlier; in that actual battle. I think you guys did a sloppy job of teamwork when it came to it, compared to what happened in there." He said between breaths as he thumbed towards the pods behind him. "I don't want to upset anyone, but I always watch everything a bit too closely."

Before JD or Sam could speak up, Tommy smiled, "Very good." He then looked down and bent over some while his hands rested on his thighs, as if he was still catching his breath. "I'll admit, you are getting real good, keep that up and you just might surpass us all. I'd like to take you on, one on one some day."

Chris smiled, "Sure! But, um, why?"

Sam's smile slowly faded before he sounded off a warning tone to Tommy, "Are you sure you want to confide in him?"

Tommy's expression was that of shock, he least expected Sam to speak up on such sensitive matters when it came to who he truly was. After a moment of considering his options, he stood straight up, then looked at Sam in the eye, and nodded. He then turned to every one else and gave the same nods, which confused Chris to no end, but Chris quickly picked up what he thought was happening.

"Let me guess, your rank is just a cover for who you truly are."

To say everyone was a bit surprised was an understatement. "Well… to be completely honest, what stays between us stays between us, unless something happens and of course, Simon is in on this too, but he is busy in the repair bays with Hellboy, doing who knows what; but that is besides the point." Tommy began as he walked over to Chris and placed his left arm around the lad's neck, "I'm an Elite Level warrior and one of the Founders of Fierce Panthers. The remaining Founders are still alive, but retired, except for me. I know you see things others normally don't see and I can see you becoming an excellent Field Commander one day, perhaps one of the youngest."

"Then why is your rank not 'Founder' or something"? Chris wondered out loud to Tommy, getting a glare from him in return. "I'm sorry!"

"No, no, it's okay." Tommy began with slight concern in his voice, "It's just that I hate rank. I see it as a tool to boost one's Ego." With that he glanced over to JD with a knowing look, causing JD to slightly scowl and everyone else chuckle at his expense.

"Plus there are better leaders than myself." Tommy continued, "You see, Sam here makes an awesome leader. He knows which tools to use while on the field. Think of this for example; Simon is his left arm and Merlin is his right arm, while the rest make up the legs and so on. That's what makes him much more deadly on the field, but he can also adapt and work with various others." Tommy paused in thought before he had an idea he wanted to ask of Chris. "I just thought of something; I really never expected you to use JD and Josh like that, but there is only one other person who I know that does that."

Tommy was clearly thinking of the final part of their simulated battle where JD and Josh's 'Mechs were heavily damaged to the point where a single hit of anything would finish them, while Chris had some armor left. Clearly, Chris had used the two as decoys while he set himself up elsewhere and in Passive radar mode. What Tommy didn't know was Chris had already figured out everyone's weaknesses and strengths in the little time he had been with them, and used them to his full advantage. The result of the simulation was a clear victory to Chris's team.

As the silence crept on, the wheels began turning in JD's head and as he replayed the battle over and over, he was finally seeing the big picture and began to laugh; much to everyone's confused stares. "I just figured it out!"

"NO WAY!" Came the dual response from Chris and Tommy, causing Sam to glance to them, and then back to JD.

"Well Josh, we've been used!"

"Hey! I resemble that remark!" Josh squeaked as Sam chuckled, finally figuring it all out.

Chris replied with a hint of embarrassment, as his face reddened some, "For that I apologize. I was hoping to try something new, something unexpected and something I read up on in the archives."

Tommy's eyes widened, "You…" He couldn't complete his sentence, but Chris nodded at the unspoken question.

"Seriously, that's impressive. No one I know is able to do that, except for one other person. I'm not allowed to say his name, nor call sign, as to protect his identity." Suddenly, Tommy had an idea, "I was wondering if you're able to read from text and some visual videos, would you be able to read from videos without any text?"

Chris thought for a while. Sam moved to whisper with Tommy and the rest before patting Chris on the head and wishing him a good night. "Well, I might." He paused before continuing while scratching his head, "Do you mean to tell me you have visual battle plans and such on the enemy?"

Tommy smiled, "We do, or rather, Merlin does. Thanks to Gail, and the rest of the recon team, we managed to gather some information, but not a lot." Before Tommy could continue, everyone shared a yawn. "I'm getting tired, guys."

Simon finally spoke up for the first time, "Thanks for the invite guys. I'm sure the other Simon would have loved to be here."

After several c-yas and good nights, Simon walked away leaving Tommy, Josh, JD and Chris alone.

"Before I go, when do you guys leave?" Chris asked, but got ribbed by Tommy for asking such a question in the open.

JD was about to say something rude, but he thought the better of it and walked towards JD then whispered in his ear so only Chris could hear him.

"Tomorrow morning at 0800. What no one knows is those of us here right now, and three more people, are coming with us. Tell no one of this; I have a 6th sense for things and that sense is telling me something bad is going to happen. Aaron is coming with us, so be at my quarters when you're ready. They already know, Merlin does not; let's keep it that way for now." After getting a nod out of Chris, JD stood back up straight, stretched, and then yawned. "I'm off to bed guys, best we get a good nights rest before tomorrow."

After getting a nod from the others, JD turned to leave, followed by Chris. Chris suddenly stopped, turned, and waved; then hurried off to catch up with JD.

As soon as they were out of earshot, Chris got JD's attention and motioned him to come closer, "I'm already set and so is Aaron. He is probably sleeping, or watching a movie or something in your quarters." JD's eyes immediately went wide as several thoughts of his quarters being ransacked by a certain seven-year-old boy, but as the duo quickly made their way to JD's quarters, he was relieved to see it still intact, but the boy was no where to be found. In a near panic, JD quickly searched his quarters, only to find the boy sleeping on his bed. With a sigh of relief, he plopped down on a nearby couch and rubbed his temples. Chris sat next to him looking at him with wonderment.

"Okay, umm, let's get some sleep. We have a lot to do tomorrow."

Chris nodded and stood, as did JD. Both went about their separate ways and prepared for bed. Once they both arrived back at JD's bed, Chris immediately climbed in as if it were his own bed and curled right up to a sleeping Aaron. JD smiled, and silently giggled to himself, as he slipped in his massive bed on his end. It didn't take long before the pair was quickly asleep.

The next Morning, 0700hrs

JD's eyes slowly opened, looked at the digital display on the ceiling, and let out a groan. He turned to his right side just before the actual alarm was set to go off. He always liked having odd numbers set to wake him up in the mornings and today was no exception. The resulting noise also woke up Chris, as he was having a very good dream. Aaron however still remained asleep, but was slightly stirring from the movements of the bed.

JD stretched, and then glanced over his shoulder at Chris. He started to giggle as he looked at the state the boy was in; Chris' hair was a total mess, JD almost didn't recognize him, and to make matters worse, Chris looked as if he was heavily drugged.

JD shook his head as he stood in just his boxers. He knew he had to hurry, so he quickly made his way to gather his uniform, then head for a refreshing shower to hopefully wake him up. The moment he turned to head to the bathroom, he froze. There, standing directly in front of him, was a half-naked Chris, stretching. JD couldn't stop staring, but was also wondering why he couldn't get his body to move. He also didn't see Chris turn to face him and the front of the boy's boxers was tented.

Finally realizing what JD was doing, his face flushed red and tried to quickly head to the bathroom, but he had been busted. However, Chris was wondering why JD spent a couple of minutes staring at him, when he realized he was stiff and needed to quickly use the bathroom. Chris immediately flushed red and turned to move, but in his haste, he also bumped into JD, who was trying to not stare at Chris. An awkward moment ensued as two pairs of eyes made contact with one another.

"Umm…" Chris tried to say something, but got tongue-tied.

JD sighed as if to calm himself, "No worries mate, go and get ready. Take Aaron with you, we don't have a lot of time."

Chris was holding his breath during this time. He thought JD would have been upset with him, but was quickly relieved. He managed to say something to him that wasn't embarrassing. "Okay…" He hesitated, when JD started walking towards his bathroom, but managed to get a word out before he entered and closed the door. "Sorry about that!"

JD turned and smiled, "As I said, no worries." He was about to turn to enter when he let his gaze linger for an extra moment, then shook his head and disappeared behind the door.

Chris slightly smiled to himself, and then turned to wake Aaron up. That proved to be slightly difficult, as the younger boy kept pushing him away, as if he wanted to sleep in more. Little did Aaron know he was going on an actual trip and Chris was getting impatient with the still sleeping boy. He thrust his hands underneath the mass of flesh and hoisted him into his arms, then carried him to the guest bathroom on the other side of JD's quarters.

Once Chris entered the bathroom, he closed the door with his elbow and placed Aaron in the bathtub. Aaron still hadn't woken up and Chris really needed to use the toilet, so he simply just freed his aching penis and emptied his bladder. Once that was done, he had an evil grin plastered across his face. The results were really high pitch screams as the cold water hit Aaron's sleeping form inside the tub. The poor thing was shivering, but not for long.

In sign-language, Chris signed, "Sorry, we need to hurry up. We're going off planet!"

The younger boy's expression of distaste quickly changed to that of excitement as he quickly shed his clothes, causing Chris to giggle and do the same. The boys wasted no time getting cleaned up.

In the other end of the quarters, JD was just getting his jumpsuit on when the comms sounded, "I sure hope your late ass is awake and ready because we always seem to be waiting on you for everything!"

JD rolled his eyes and slammed his left fist to the panel on the wall, activating his speaker, "Quiet you! I'm almost ready, but I had a late night and I was babysitting!"

Some giggles could be heard on the speaker from the other end, "My, my, my, JD babysitting? Hell must have finally frozen over!"

JD groaned inwardly, "Whatever, you'll get your chance!"

"Sure! For now, joke's on you baby boy!"

JD growled and reared his right hand as if he was going to strike the comms dead. His temper got the best of him and just before he was about to swing his fist, another hand grabbed a hold of his arm, stopping him from doing further damage.

"You should know better than to destroy things around here. Sam is getting a tad tired of it."

JD growled at Merlin. He knew who it was by the sound of his voice and the blue glow from within the bathroom. Merlin was the only wizard he knew that has a blue glow when he teleports. "Still, my room and that fucker really pisses me off sometimes."

Merlin flinched, "Easy there. You have two kids in here."

JD glanced back over his shoulder and laughed. "Hah! One's old enough to know how we speak and the other one's deaf."

Merlin opened his mouth to say something, but no words were coming out. When he couldn't think of a witty come back, in all his three thousand years, Merlin was left speechless.

JD grunted slightly, freed his arm, and left the room, only to find two boys standing before him, fully dressed and ready. He turned back to Merlin, "Uhh, Merlin, can yo…" He started but there was nothing but empty space between himself and the bathroom. He shook his head as he turned to the boys.


Chris shook his head, "Yep, don't we need our stuff?"

JD shook his head, "Nope. I took care of that in advance." He gave them a once over then smiled slightly, "lets go. We're heading off on the biggest DropShip our Clan has to offer. I'm running late and the guys are already bustin' my balls for it."

"Yeah, I heard some of that; it was amusing, but kinda mean."

JD sighed then headed towards the door. "Yea, well, they do that because I'm easy I guess."

Aaron had been watching intently, but whatever the two were talking about, made no sense to him. He figured he'd find out later. Just as he watched JD moving, he grabbed Chris' hand and pulled him so he could follow. Chris was happy, excited and nervous at the same time, but he allowed Aaron to pull him and he followed.

Just before the doors began to open, several things happened at the same time. Chris noticed JD's hammer glowing, and quickly shouted that to JD. JD reached back and pulled it out just as the doors were opened approximately ten inches wide. Merlin also teleported directly behind them shouting "NO!" but it was already too late.

Thick smoke and a huge ball of flame came rushing towards JD; as everyone looked on.

DropShip Panther – 0700

Sam walked around the outside of his DropShip. To this day, he still couldn't believe he managed to win an Overlord-c class DropShip from a bet he'd won years ago. The DropShip itself was an eleven thousand, five hundred fifty ton military spheroid, capable of transporting forty-five 'Mechs. It was egg-shaped with the ability to drop and take off in the same manner, using its thrusters. The DropShip was incapable of faster than light (FTL) travel, yet it has handled his Clan just fine over the years since he'd become Khan.

Sam stopped for a moment to admire it as his mind drifted off to a discussion with Merlin the night before.

"Merlin, I want you to take DropShip Panther with you, then dock to one of our Jumpships to avoid suspicion. I won't risk a Warship just yet, I see no need to strike fear in those we are to approach. If things change for the worse, I'll use our warship to escape in, as it is one of the largest at our disposal." Seeing a certain look on Merlin's face, he continued "I don't want you to worry; this is only as a precaution. You know I'd stay and fight if I know there's a chance… plus I don't want to have to bring the 'elders' out of hibernation. I…" He couldn't continue when Merlin rapidly responded.

"But why would you do that?! It would only anger them to be awoken from their slumber…" Merlin paused to see a look of dread plastered across Sam's face, and narrowed his eyes, "You already did." Merlin meant that as a statement of fact to which Sam slowly nodded. "How did they take it?"

"At first they were upset, but after explaining the situation, they accepted."

"Surprising, considering what you did to them as punishment…"

Sam glared at Merlin harshly, "Now's not the time." He pulled out an electronic pad from his right rear pocket to check a few things, then growled, "Merlin, go see what the hell is taking JD so damn long. He is always the last one to show up and I tire of it."

Merlin nodded and teleported out in a blue flash, leaving Sam alone to his thoughts once again, but he didn't have time to dwell as a distant explosion set off alarms.

'Shit! It's too soon! Why the fuck are they hitting now?' He narrowed his eyes in thought as a light bulb went off in his head, 'Roger…' Sam growled, then broke out into a full run towards the Adjacent 'Mech bay that housed many of the Clan's battlemechs, including his own.

Upon entering the hangar, the lead tech saluted to Sam then gave him his report. "Sir! Enemy ships are attacking the civilian and crew quarters not far from the Clan Hall. Other than that, observers and radar are showing nothing on approach."

Sam's eyes widened in horror as Merlin teleported in, interrupting the lead tech's damage report, however he didn't have much else to say and saluted then returned to his post to ready the 'Mechs for combat.

Sam turned to Merlin, "Get back to JD now! Teleport him here immediately! We're under attack!"

"Shit!" The old wizard swore. He was never one to swear all that often and to say Sam was surprised was an understatement. "Things were quiet, 'cept for the banter between Simon and JD…" He didn't finish as he quickly teleported out.

Sam said a silent prayer in hopes JD and the kids were okay. Wasting no time and tapping into the Clan-wide communications from his pad, he announced: "All-hands, battle stations! Every capable body get suited up and in a 'Mech within the minute! This is not a drill! Those closest to DropShip Panther are to hold their position on lookout hill to protect the ship!" He paused for a minute before repeating the message three more times.

After Sam announced the alert, his concern drifted to Merlin. Not hearing or seeing him had Sam worried. He tapped a button on his pad to communicate with Merlin, "Merlin? What the hell is happening?" Since the comm line was open, he could hear groaning of sorts and nothing else. "MERLIN!" he shouted a bit louder and finally got a reply.

"I'm not deaf you know. But before you start, I managed to pull everyone out just before an explosion enveloped JD's quarters. We were lucky, barely!"

"Good thing too, if you are already on board, depart now! I'm getting the blast doors shut to protect us and our equipment, good luck and Godspeed."

"But, you're not coming?" Merlin protested over comms.

A dull roar of engines was beginning to sound so Sam had to shout over the roar, "Nope! Fighting is in my blood, as it is in JD's, but now is not his time! It will come soon! If we can't defeat our enemy…" Sam paused, and smiled thinking of all the fond memories he and Merlin shared as a team on the field, "…c-ya old friend."

"I refuse to believe that! I refuse to believe you'd give yourself up just like that, if all else fails! I refuse…"

"Who said anything about giving up?! I don't want to use it, but…"

Sam was interrupted once again, but by a different voice. "We're proud of you Sam. Whatever decision you make, we'll fully back you up!"

Sam smiled to himself, as he finally had the full support of the Elders and Founders of the Clan. "That means a lot coming from you Cash."

"Not a problem pardner, and we have the lookout point covered! Best you get out here and see this. We're in for a real fight!"

Sam smiled to himself as his excitement rose, "Very good, I'm on my way, oh, and Merlin?"

"You know I am not saying goodbye," replied a hoarse sounding Merlin from the departing DropShip.

"I know. I wanted to say… please protect everyone to the best of your ability. Fuck the rules, just do it."

Merlin chuckled, "Will do. And sir?"

Sam smiled for the first time at Merlin's use of the word 'sir', "Yeah?"

"JD says to give them hell and let it rain!"

Sam's smile broke into an evil grin as he entered his 'Mech, "You can bet on it! Wild Dawg out!"

As the blast doors began to open, a blast of air came rushing in. Off in the distance, several huge and ugly looking 'Mechs were slowly walking towards the hangar and it didn't faze Wild Dawg. He simply ordered his squadron forward to intercept them, while he moved off to join the Founders at the top of the hill. One of the best points of the location was it overlooked all points and was bordered by mountains, providing enough protection for the DropShip, the repair bay and a huge 'Mech hangar all in the same area. Once he looked upwards to see the departing DropShip, the computer voice from inside his cockpit announced it was well out of harm's way, barring any surprise attacks in space. He breathed a sigh of relief and tapped his comms towards his lance mates, all the while surveying the damage.

"Well, it looks like we have our work cut out for us. I hope each and every one of you has plenty of ammo!"

There was a chorus of 'yeps' in response to his announcement, and he didn't have to wait to give out the order to fire. It seemed like everyone was in tune with each other as the first target took the massive volley of missiles, thus destroying it easily.

"Sam took one look behind and noticed the battle had stopped. The very same ugly 'Mechs continued their movement towards Sam and company. "Guys, enemy closing in from behind! Suggested we take them all on instead. Keep moving! Don't give them something easy!"

Just as the last word was spoken, all ten 'Mechs turned to face their incoming enemies and as soon as Wild Dawg started moving, there was an incoming transmission from one of his scouts, "Sir! We are backing off and departing! Those guys you are facing… are the top dogs of W-O-B!"

Wild Dawg was about to reply when the transmission went blank. He was now starting to have doubts if the nine Founders were able to take on the Elite of the Elite in the Universe. He shook his head and pushed the thoughts aside, "Open fire, no mercy!"

DropShip Panther, just as she is leaving the planet's atmosphere –

JD was getting checked out is the med bay, while the boys were visibly shaking, Aaron more so than Chris. Once the medic gave them the all the clear, JD walked to the boys and embraced them in a tight hug. He knelt and looked at each boy in the eye, but he mentally promised himself he would learn some sign language for Aaron's sake.

"Boys, I need for you to find my room and stay in there. All your stuff is in there waiting for you. Chris, please tell Aaron what I said and do not leave him."

Chris couldn't say anything, but nodded slowly. Once JD stood back up, he gave the boys one more hug before turning to see Simon standing in the doorway. JD growled somewhat, and Simon raised both of his hands as if to not get into a fight with JD. Now wasn't the time, and they had to be focused.

JD wanted to smile, but he didn't. Instead he spoke, shocking Simon, "Merlin wants us all in Command. We may need to suit up before docking with the jumpship."

Simon let out the breath he was holding in. "No problem." He paused, then quickly followed up, "I'm sorry about earlier. I was only teasing bro."

JD just looked at Simon and nodded, "It's okay, I guess. Anyway, let's go."

Simon smiled in response then followed JD towards the Command Center of the DropShip, leaving the boys to their devices.

Along their way, every high-ranking Clan member took one look at JD and Simon, then followed the duo.

When they all arrived at the Command Center, Merlin turned to address the guys, "I have grave news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first?"

Josh spat on the floor, obviously upset, "Never anything good comes from you anyway. Let's hear the grave shit first."

Merlin smiled, "My apologies. The only good news is the jumpship remains hidden."

Josh groaned, causing Merlin to chuckle, "Well, the grave news is, our planet is under a full-scale attack by W-O-B and our chances look grim. Before you ask anything else, let me tell you that Sam had to awaken the founders for this."

Tommy's eyes widened and everyone gasped at the same time. "B-but… why?"

As much as Merlin wanted to, he couldn't look dejected, as he had always been a factual person. "The last transmission between Sam and a scout of ours revealed it to be W-O-B's top dogs, nothing else."

This caused another round of gasps and Tommy had one more thing on his mind, "Are we far enough to survive a planetary explosion?" The room fell deathly silent; one could hear the ship's engines since there was no human chatter happening.

Merlin was slightly shocked Tommy, of all people, would ask such a question and it showed. "…no."

JD growled, "And the bad news?"

"We have company," was the next grim reply from Merlin.

"Hmmm…" A smile started forming across JD's face. He looked towards his left and stared at Scott, "Aaaahhhh, Scotty, how many Supernovas slash 'Mechs do we have that are completely outfitted with energy weapons only?"

Scott's eyes went wide as he turned to JD, "You can't be seriously considering fighting in space!"

"I am and Merlin is." JD never lost his grin. He turned to Merlin and smiled more.

"There is no way you could have known we recently installed magnetic ports to mount on the 'Mechs for defense!" Merlin let his shock show.

JD giggled, "I got bored, and I wanted to test Chris's computer skills. He came a long way and well, one night we accidentally stumbled upon something classified to your and Sam's eyes only, well Scott's too."

"Ah, I see," Merlin responded.

"But, we haven't tested it yet!" Scott relied, panic heard in his voice.

JD turned towards the door to leave the room, but stopped short. "Good time to test it out. We need to eliminate all and anything that could get in our way." He was about to turn, but Merlin spoke up.

"I'm going with you, anyone else?" Merlin waited for a response as JD resumed his course towards the lift.

Once the doors opened, JD stepped in and turned to face the rest of the Council members. To his surprise, Merlin was just entering the lift, closely followed by everyone else.

"Energy weapons only guys, missiles can propel you from your anchor point. I'm not sure of gauss, so for now, we all go energy." Simon suggested much to JD's delight.

The lift began lowering the group to the 'Mech holding area. "That's fine with me. I suggest a mix of lasers, beams, and PPC's."

Just as the lift began to slow and the doors opened, the DropShip began to shake violently, causing everyone to latch onto one another, or to a steel beam on either side. "Not much time then!" Merlin sarcastically replied to their DropShip being under attack.

Red lights began flashing and a klaxon started blaring. JD smiled, "Okay guys! It's show time!" JD enthusiastically shouted, starting a light jog towards an open 'Mech bay with a huge, ninety ton Supernova at standing position.

The closer JD got to his 'Mech, the more he wondered why he was seeing a small figure standing right next to it. By this time, everyone had split up and one glance towards the place he was standing at told him everyone was well on their way. Suddenly, a much more violent shake of the ship, caused by an intense attack of some sort, threw JD off balance. He was about to fall when a set of hands grabbed him to prevent that from happening.

"Thanks!" He looked downwards to steady himself, then up towards a familiar face. "Chris! I thought I told you to head to my quarters?"

"Umm, well, you did, but I kinda figured you might need my help." Chris dropped his head in fear he might be yelled at.

JD took a hold of Chris's chin with his finger and thumb, and gently raised his head so he could look into the boy's eyes. "Look, this is far more serious than just the pods. You only get one chance at this, and I don't want you to throw your life away at thirteen."

Chris slightly smiled, "Well, it's nice to know someone cares, but I really do want to help. No one is jumping in that 'Mech right next to yours."

JD shook his head, "Too dangerous, considering the risks involved."

Chris was about to protest further when the DropShip Commander's voice blared over the 'Mech bay, "Gentlemen, we need to drop now or never! Armor is now at seventy-five percent and dropping! Whatever the ship got hit with was pretty damn powerful, and if it's a fucking railgun, we are royally fucked at this rate! 'Mech pilots be warned, we are now attempting evasive maneuvers!"

"Shit, fucking damnit!" JD spat to nothing in particular. "Fine, but if you become critical, you better head back in, that's an order!" JD reluctantly decided, at the last second, that Chris could join the team.

Chris stood stiff, trying his best impersonation of a salute, "Yes sir!"

JD half smiled, and then looked at the two remaining 'Mechs. At ground level, there was a readout that contained the current load out of the specific 'Mech to his left and decided it wasn't too bad, but not a good close range fighter. He already knew the one he was going to had all lasers, as it was one of his favorite configurations. Making a quick decision, "I'll take that PPC beast over there" he thumbed his way towards the 'Mech he was talking about, then continued, "you take mine."

Chris's eyes widened as big as saucers, "Seriously?"

JD nodded and Chris immediately hugged him something fierce. "Thanks!" He didn't wait for a reply and ran off to the elevator that transports the pilot to the cockpit.

JD watched Chris run off, and just before he was out of earshot, he yelled, "If I see one scratch on that paint job, heads will roll!"

Chris jumped onto the platform, turned around, and then waved, "I won't!" He let out a gasp when the platform started lifting with a sudden jolt.

JD wasted no time getting to his other Supernova. Since space was much colder, heat shouldn't be an issue for anyone at all, and considering his PPC beast had all its hardpoints filled to the hilt. The special 'Mech was only designed for deep space fighting, as the heatsinks were kept to a minimum, and the armor to a maximum.

JD put his helmet on just before he reached the cockpit. Once the platform stopped, he jumped in and started the power-up sequence. "Hammur in! Locked and loaded! All ready?"

Merlin: "Ja."

Rampage: "Yup-yup."

Cool-Hand: "Let's do this!"

Simon Ironfist: "Aff!"

Hellboy: "Let's raise some hell!"

Chris: "…Panthers Strike with fury!"

JD smiled to himself at Chris's little words. As little as they might've seemed, those very words struck each warrior in their hearts as a sudden sense of pride rose in each one. He flipped a few switches and remotely triggered the airlocks, as did every pilot. Once the bay was sealed air-tight, the foot clamps and magnetic interlocks engaged. The outer doors then began to open, showing the dark of space. Noticing he couldn't see anything, he switched to night vision, making the scenery change to a greenish glow, but his targets then became that much more clear. Once his 'Mech was fully exposed to space and the platform moved outwards, it only took a minute, but everyone got the surprise of their life!

"How in the hell am I supposed to defend this using just pulse lasers?!" JD heard Chris's statement over comms. He had to chuckle at that, but something in his mind screamed stop.

"Wait a minute, pulse lasers?! Who the hell switched that up?!"

Hellboy's voice sounded next, "Sorry about that, I switched things up at the last minute overnight. I kinda expected this sort of battle. Don't worry; everyone has a healthy mix of weaponry spread evenly between all of us.

Before JD could reply, he suddenly saw a purple streak of lasers perform a test fire into space. "Hellboy, are you seriously shitting me? X-pulse lasers in space?! How the fu…" JD's comments were cut off as he was now watching a flurry of single shots of lasers from Chris. Before he was about to start again, several delayed explosions broke the silence, followed by a few 'whoops' of victory chants coming from Chris.

Hammur: "Heh, I guess that will work okay."

Simon: "I'll take it! Weapons hot! Let's light 'em up!"

Merlin: "Let's blow sum chit up!"

Hammur: "I don't care if there's a million red dots on my screen, I only have one thing to say: IT'S HAMMERTIME!"

The moment after JD said that, he let loose several, individual, shots to selected targets and everyone followed suit. Little did they know, a trio of huge Assault class 'Mechs were well hidden in the dense field of Aerospace Fighters and rapidly closing in on the unsuspecting DropShip.

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