Castle Roland

31st Century

by Hammy

In Progress

Chapter 6

Posted: 26 Oct 15

31st Century

Copyright © by Hammy

Planet Outreach

The sky was unusually dark with the occasional flash of lightning and thunderclap off in the distance. Another flash of lightning and an egg shaped DropShip came descending from the sky. Had it not have been for the landing platform, there would have been no place to land and since the mountain top area was extremely vast, the entire base was extremely massive, over forty square kilometers. Bright flashes of light gave away the snow-covered mountaintops in the distance, but that didn't deter the descending DropShip in any way. Suddenly, the wind picked up and the air turned cooler just as the DropShip was on its final approach.

Once the DropShip's engines were cut, several 'Mechs starting to fill the landing platform reacting as if they were expecting hostiles to emerge from the ship. Once the door to the DropShip began to open, the 'Mechs powered up their weapons and fixed their crosshairs on the entrance; clearly ready to open fire at a moment's notice.

"We apologize for the welcome committee, but please forgive us as we take precautions based on the latest news concerning WOB. Take caution when exiting, you will not be warned again." There was an eerie silence after the warning from the PA system announcing its intentions with the guests; however, nothing was happening till an armored vehicle appeared at the entrance. While some of the 'Mechwarriors in the 'Mechs breathed a sigh of relief, which however didn't cause them to lower their guns.

After a few minutes have passed and several scans had been conducted, the PA system was once again activated. "Welcome to Outreach. On the compliments of your hosts, we will repair any damage to anything that you need repaired and we will also escort you to the city Capital." Slowly, everyone started to emerge from the ship and load into the armored vehicle. Once the vehicle began to move, the 'Mechs began to move in formation towards the Capital city, Harlech.

It took about an hour to arrive to the outskirts of the city, and then the escort broke off seeing how their guests had arrived unharmed. The vehicle was to head towards a local bar for introductions and did not need any escort to arrive there as there were too many buildings for protection. Once the vehicle arrived at the Scorpion Pub, its guests exited the vehicle wearing dark blue cloaks so no one would recognize them. Only one person had a slightly different cloak, as it was a darker shade of blue than the rest.

The Pub itself seemed something you might find out of the Wild West, it had twin French doors at the entrance of the bar and massive windows on either side of the entrance. Above the entrance had a half-moon shaped window that had no other purpose other than to allow light to enter the building. What was really out of place was the building was made out of red brick instead of wood. A scorpion logo with the name 'Scorpion Pub' across it hung directly above the half-moon shaped window. The guests took a few moments to look around then entered the building.

It was noisy and filled with nothing but good conversations, but that all stopped when everyone turned to look at the guests. The guests looked around the room looking for the person they wanted to meet, once one of them spotted him, they started to walk forward towards the bar. Every local guy and gal eyed the strangers with hands next to their laser pistols in case if trouble started. Everyone looked after one another and they were not about to change the way they handled things when an unknown stranger enters the pub wearing a full hooded cloak. Even the bar keep was eyeing them carefully, almost as if he was ready to dodge in case.

Once the guests arrived to the bar, one of them placed his massive hammer on the table and asked for the special, however he didn't immediately let go of his hammer.

"You have balls coming in here dressed like that." The man to the left of the guy with the hammer spoke softly enough for only the guest to hear. "What if that thing is fake: how do I know you are who you say you are?"

"I suppose it's a formality, but if it was me on the off chance, I'd come in here naked just to see what the response had been instead of a dead silence like now." The guest moved slowly and placed his hammer at the floor. "I welcome you to try and pick it up."

"Hahahahahahahahahaha! I like you already!" He slowly turned to face the cloaked guest then looked at the others. Only one of the guests he saw had removed his cloak and he immediately recognized him, earning a nod that only he could see. Some of the other hooded guests were slowly shaking their head, so he was slightly amused till he strained to pick up the hammer.

"Good gawd!" He strained even more, putting all his strength into trying to pick up the hammer, but it wouldn't move an inch.

"Yes?" Came the only response.

The guy let go of the hammer and took off his wolf pelt and put it on the table. Next he upholstered his weapons then turned to the guests. "I'm unarmed, and to be fair, you should do the same."

Before the guests could do anything more, there was a fast scurrying of people rushing towards them with their laser pistols pointed directly to every guest in the Pub. "Are you sure you are holding the right weapons?" Came another voice.

Once the people began to ponder the question, suddenly their guns turned into vicious looking snakes baring their fangs at them, causing them to yelp and throw them down.

"That's better." One by one, each guest removed their cloak, till the last one did causing a few people to murmur about how young he was.

The guy with the wolf pelt grinned, "Welcome my guests. I apologize for the way we greeted you; surely you understand that times are starting to become tougher and you just can't trust anyone."

"I agree. I apologize for using magic but of course, the guns are back in everyone's rightful places."

"Ah! Merlin! It's been a while. How have you been my friend?"

Merlin grinned, "Not bad for someone who is very old. I'm afraid we have bad news."

"Surely all of it cannot be that bad? Barkeep, a round of the finest whiskey for everyone…" He leaned sideways to get a good judge on the kid that came along then spoke his additional response, "Some milk for the kid too."

This caused everyone in the room to burst out laughing. Chris blushed fiercely and tried to hide his head, but wasn't doing a good job of it. Once the laughter died down, everyone in the Pub returned to their tables and the same conversations between them all started as if nothing happened.

The guy with the wolf pelt chuckled then took his seat. "So who are you? I haven't seen you since the last time we met?"

"The name's JD, everyone either calls me that or Hammur."

"Really? Hammer eh? What is the secret of that toy you got there?"

"No it's Hammur, but I get tired of explaining this to people."

"Consider a slight name change then."

JD shrugged his shoulders then looked towards all the bottles on the wall. "As for that Hammer, it was once Thor's and somehow it was passed down to me… I'm not entirely sure how or why, but anyway what's with the wolf pelt?"

"That is a personal souvenir of mine. I'll tell the tale some other time. The name's Wolf by the way. Tell me, what brings you here? Surely, this isn't a personal visit?"

Merlin: "I am afraid it's not. Have you a place for privacy?"

Wolf: "The back room is good as long as the barkeep agrees."

The barkeep overheard this and shrugged his shoulders while handing out drinks for everyone. Once everyone took a sip, Wolf stood up and beckoned everyone to follow him. He didn't have to lead them very far as the room was only partially filled with people the guests did not know. Once wolf arrived to the head of the table, he beckoned his guests to take up a seat anywhere. Once seated, the door slid shut, sealing the room.

Before JD could open his mouth, he noted the stranger that rode with them. "You aren't supposed to be here."

The stranger smiled, "Actually, I am."

Confusion was etched on JD's face as he reached for his hammer but was stopped short as the stranger continued, "My callsign is Blinker, but you may call me JP. I am a scorpion just like Wolf here is as is everyone else in this room."

JD was about to yell, but Merlin stopped him and just as quickly, he changed to his calmer self. "I suppose an explanation is in order, but first things first. As for the bad news, all of us you see here in this room are the last of the council of Fierce Panthers."

Everyone's eyes widened in the room except for JP's. "That can't be! Please tell me Wild Dawg survived!" Wolf exclaimed standing up pounding the table, clearly not believing what he was hearing.

Merlin produced a pad from his cloak and slid it down the table. "That explains everything you need to know, but best connect it with the main viewer so everyone has a chance to observe the results of the past 60 hours."

Wolf did so and the video pretty much summarized the results of the past five days, much to everyone's disbelief.

With a heavy sigh, Wolf slumped in his chair. A few tense moments of silence passed the air till someone sneezed.

Wolf sat up and looked towards his left. Getting a nod in return, he looked to the others before he looked to the remainder of Fierce Panthers. "Wild Dawg and I were in talks not to long ago. He made me promise to accept his clan into mine should he somehow become incapable to command your clan any longer. So you have a choice: If you join, you will be subjected to trial and a rank will be given to you based on your performance, past and present. Should you not join, you are more than welcome to stay with us as civilians however, I'm not sure the kid would do us any good."

JD laughed, "You'd be surprised."

"Like a kid could do much to an old man like Wolf."

"Bite me rampage." Wolf growled, causing several of the guys to giggle. "That guy wearing yellow shades is Rampage, my right hand man. The others are Striker, Firewolf, and Dragonslayer. You all met Blinker in some form or another." Wolf let out a low growl towards JP's direction before continuing, "You'll meet the rest of the crew at a later time, but for now, we need to send word to the other alliances and see who's interested in combining forces."

Every guest nodded their heads causing Wolf to have another laugh. "Surely that kid knows what he's getting himself into?"

For the first time, JP spoke up, "You'd be surprised at what he can do, much less everyone else. They all get my recommendation."

"For now till I say otherwise."

"Whatever. Don't tell me I didn't warn you."

Wolf smirked, "We'll see. Also, Wild Dawg made me promise him the joining would be immediate. So guys, we gotta do this now in order for you and the remainder of your surviving civilians to be able to fully join us. The trial is one life, and you all get to face me one on one in a simulator. No sense wasting precious metal."

Suddenly, the room transformed to that of a high tech room with stainless walls and dim lighting. Behind the guests were several pods, enough to accommodate everyone in the room. JP, however exited the room before it transformed, causing wolf to growl slightly.

"Doesn't Blinker stay?"

"He doesn't like things like this any more than I do." Firewolf remarked, somewhat satisfying JD's question, but not entirely. "But you will eventually see him around."

"So who is going first?" Wolf asked to the general audience.

When no one answered straight away, Chris announced he would, much to the protests and laughter of everyone in the room. This certainly did not help Wolf at all since he was softly growling.

Rampage pressed a button on the table causing the wall behind him to slide open, revealing quite a number of pods and everyone but Wolf and the former fierce panthers walked towards them.

"Chris, I'll go first." JD boldly stated once he saw the look in Wolf's eyes.

"But…" He tried to protest, but his words were cut off by Merlin placing a hand on his shoulder.

"Good, it's settled. Please pick any pod, however at the go, only JD moves." Wolf spoke briefly then turned towards the pods, followed by JD as the rest stood there in silence, but only for a moment.

Both men wasted no time much to Chris' disbelief. He was the last one to step into the pod and once he plugged in, the Trial was underway.

From Chris's point of view, it appeared Wolf had the upper hand, but watching JD do something completely different than the norm was a huge understatement. Instead of charging straight forward, he took his time scouting the area, avoided hitting trees and stayed well out of the 800m and under passive radar too. Once JD crested a hill and saw Wolf moving towards him, he shut his 'Mech down and waited. Patience had never been JD's strong forte and Chris was wondering if that was really him. JD waited a few more minutes before he assumed Wolf would be where he thought he would be, he powered up his 'Mech and spotted his target, then the assault began. It only took three well placed super precision shots on the center torso to end the Trial, which left Wolf slightly frustrated.

Wolf: "Damn."

Rampage of SRE: "Bro, you so got your ass handed to you."

Wolf growled loudly at that comment and told him to 'bite me', which caused a few chuckles.

Tommy and Josh: "Shit JD, where the hell did you pick that up?"

JD: "Do you guys know why I run and butt heads in a brawl all the time?"

Josh: "Probably to piss Scott off."

JD laughed: "Close, but not even close enough. Let me tell you all a secret."

Merlin: "Speak up sonny, we cannot hear your thoughts."

JD: "The truth is I spent quite a bunch of time watching and observing how WOB fights. Sure, when I get frustrated, I'll run in and take risks, but I'll need to be told at least twice not to in order for some sense to be talked in to me, but that's besides the point. Late at night, other than the observations from WOB, I've been playing capture the flag on a high number of times with a bunch of different peeps and that helps a great deal. Ya gotta be fast on those light 'Meks otherwise you can kiss your flag goodbye. If you think that there is all there is for me to learn… I'm sure there is much more to it than what I've learned.

Stormy: "Amazing if I might have said so myself."

Wolf: "Ah stormy, have you come to relieve me?"

Stormy: "Hell no. This is your thing, unless everyone else speaks up and wants a shot; I'm staying out of this."

Wolf: "Suit yourself. We're having a party and then a debriefing afterwards."

Stormy: "I'm game."

Blinker: "As am I."

Wolf grinned. "Next!"

One by one, everyone went and passed…more or less. When it was finally Chris's turn, Wolf gave him a chance to back out, but Chris told him he refused to do so then JD actually offered for Wolf to back out, much to the laughter of everyone else.

Wolf: "Fine, you have been warned."

Wolf finally took a different 'Mech for a change, surprising his comrades.

Rampage: "Ray, are you sure?"

Wolf: "If you think I'm gunna get shown up by a kid, I might as well go all out."

The Trial began with Wolf heading towards the left and Chris heading towards the right. They both continued on in the same manner till neither could find one another. Then they both went the opposite way, even though Wolf had the faster 'Mech, Chris was still ahead of him until suddenly, he went into a building and shut down. Moments later, Wolf finally entered the area and came close to approaching the building. When he was within one hundred meters, his Beagle Active Probe picked up a shutdown 'Mech inside the building and rushed inside, hoping to catch the kid sleeping, but once Chris heard the footsteps, he immediately powered up and fired an alpha shot of nothing but ballistics. The first shot tore off Wolf's arm, throwing his aim off as he fired his lasers into the ground. The second shot hit his center torso, knocking him into the ground. Chris began to back up till he exited the building and fired one last shot just as Wolf began to stand back up again, killing his 'Mech instantly and destroying the building in the process.

JD: "Chris, seriously? You brought a knife to a gun fight? That is like a big no-no in most cases!"

Chris: "Well…"

JD: "Shit, I probably would have failed this if it were me giving the trial!"

Firewolf: "Actually, he passed, but that is not up to me to decide. I'm actually impressed he did what he did."

Wolf: "Never in all my years I'd have encountered this and quite honestly, you passed. What ever gave you the thought that I would take that?"

Chris: "Umm….Thanks. I just get a feeling."

Merlin closed his eyes for a moment and concentrated. Once he finished, a small grin appeared across his face. "It appears that Chris is gifted with the power of insight. He only used that when he was selecting his 'Mech, because he was sure Wolf would take something better. Never in a millennia have I seen such a thing. This child appears to have a real shot of turning this war around, given the chance. Of course, there are drawbacks. Chris, how do you feel?"

"Other than knowing what JD will bring tonight, besides this happy feeling, I feel kinda dizzy."

"That is to be expected. How long have you been using that power?"

"I dunno. I guess I've felt I've always had it. The only times I get dizzy is when everything is finished, whether it is in game or not."

Merlin thought for a few moments. He was deeply concerned for Chris as he hadn't noticed the effects after the space battle, but the boy didn't seem to be affected by any dizziness, unless he was cleverly hiding it.

"Well, we'll get you something kid, in the meantime, get some rest and your new uniforms are in your quarters." Wolf exited the pod as did everyone else who stared at him blankly as if how he already knew this information beforehand. He rolled his eyes in annoyance, "Sam told me and gave me the details, much to my protests. We'll gather for a meeting in an hour… all of us." Wolf turned to leave the room but stopped short upon hearing someone speak up.

"Yeah, what are we supposed to do in this smallish town that looks like something from the 1800's on Terra?" JD rolled his eyes remembering the history of Terra, not that it mattered to him all that much.

Wolf never turned around. "Fire, he's all yours. I'm going to mellow."

Firewolf watched Wolf walk away and disappear as the doors slid shut. He sighed, "Damn him… the town is an illusion. Everything here is underground. Up there is just for show."

JD nodded absent-mindedly till he realized something, "Wait a minute here, you mean to tell me we rode on some sort of lift taking us underground? I never felt anything moving!"

Firewolf grinned and nodded, "Damn right you aren't supposed to feel anything, especially on a super fast lift, no less!" JD remained speechless, as did everyone else, so Firewolf continued, "moving on, everything has been pre-selected for you. Unfortunately, unit policy states everyone needs to bunk with one another just in case and be warned not to give others grief since a high percent of this unit is on the young side."

Merlin dismissed that thought and shook his head as if he didn't like what he was hearing. "Scott would have a fit with too many young'uns here."

Chris glanced over at Merlin and made a face, "Hey! At least no one will call you gramps given your age!"

Merlin scowled at Chris causing everyone to burst out laughing. He huffed and disappeared to wherever he goes causing more laughter.

"Under normal circumstances, JD you'd be bunking with your own peers, but once again, Sam made it clear to keep you and Chris together as well as Aaron?"

Chris breathed a sigh of relief as JD nodded his head. "Aaron is a stray I guess. JD can explain that bit later on." Firewolf grinned in response and continued on as normal. Once sleeping arrangements were taken care of, he finally started the formal introductions.

"Rampage here is the XO and holds rank of Colonel. His name is Adam and you'll find that we are very informal here." Firewolf nodded his head seeing the nods in response and some sighs of relief. He continued on, "Wolf is the oddball, but don't tell him I said that. His name is Ray. My callsign is Firewolf and my name is Vash. The guy who left the room was Blinker and his name is JP, his preference. The other two guys here are the founders of SRE, but don't want to lead. The blond is Striker, aka Josh, and the black haired dude is Dragon, aka Mick."

Once everyone acknowledged each other, Firewolf stood from his seat and headed towards the same exit Wolf left to. "I know this sucks, but its gotta be done. Come, I gotta show yas around."

Everyone except Josh, Mick and Adam stood to follow Jay.

Chris had been wondering about Aaron and wondered out loud, "Merlin probably knows…"

JD looked over his shoulder, "Knows what?"

Merlin appeared directly to Chris's left, "Something about Aaron and he is okay."

Chris grinned getting his information, but earned a weird look from JD and frowned again. "If you think I'm a freak for having this ability…" He couldn't finish as a tear formed in his eye.

JD turned around and stopped, then placed his hands on Chris's shoulders. "I would never think that. I just have a hard time believing it myself. You are unique and even if I am a little bit jealous…" Merlin gave him a look and JD rolled his eyes, "…even if I'm jealous as hell that you have that ability, I do sometimes wish I had it myself."

"Be careful what you wish for, but be thankful you have your 6th sense." Merlin stared at JD for a moment, causing JD to roll his eyes again.

"So you don't think I'm a freak?"

"Dude no way! I wouldn't like you if I thought otherwise!"

Chris wiped a few tears from his face and a small smile broke through, "Well, if it helps, this is our room."

JD spun to look at the door and it slid open, "How did you know?"

Chris rolled eyes, "Our names are on the side above that button."

"Oh." Came the only response causing Merlin to chuckle.

Once the door slid shut giving the two some privacy, they took the time to look at their quarters. The place was spacious, even bigger than the other one on Panthera. It was basically a family orientated quarter with a huge play area slash living room combo directly in front of them. Off to the left had the kitchen and utilities room; to their right were three bedrooms, although JD knew that one room won't be getting any use. He figured it might be best used as an office space or something, but decided to work out the details later on. The pair looked around and found some of their possessions there already and wondered how but decided to ask later. Once they walked towards the plush blue couch, JD sat first, then turned to lay on his back. Chris grinned then sat on top of JD's leg then adjusted his position so he was lying on top of JD. JD wrapped his arms around Chris in a protective manner then the two quickly drifted off to a short nap.

SRE Hall – One hour and five minutes later…

JD and Chris entered the large room that was filled with people. There were a few conversations going but that all stopped when the pair entered.

"What? Is there something on my face?" Chris managed to boldly squeak out before some giggles and chuckles were heard. Wolf however was not amused.

JD looked around and continued on moving as if nothing had bothered him. From the doors, there was a huge glass table that appeared to be at least a hundred feet long and was able to seat at least sixty persons, but only half of that were present. The walls and ceiling were bare, plain, in dark blue with a scorpion directly behind where Wolf and Rampage stood. JD continued on walking towards the head of the table where most were gathered. Chris had to pick up the pace to catch up as he stopped when he spoke upon entry. It was then, JD noticed how silent the place was and he started to become nervous, but didn't show it.

"Don't stop at my expense, carry on…" JD mumbled just loud enough for all to hear.

Wolf grumbled, "About time."

Before JD could speak, Chris beat him to the punch, "We were taking a nap and we also got lost. That won't happen next time."

"Ray, give them some slack."

"Right." He sighed to calm himself down somewhat, "now that we're all here minus Merlin, let me start off by saying that I've reviewed everything that's happened on Panthera up till now. While we as a whole are quite massive in terms of personnel and pilots, I don't think we have the means to directly take on Blake." Ray held up his hand to stop others from commenting and continued, "Hold on guys, I'm not done yet. While we have lost our close ally and gained some new pilots, I'm afraid that they are going to come after us next because we simply cannot get teamwork going on a short notice. I decided to have a celebration tonight but in other ways, that's to see how everyone does as a team. Unfortunately, quite a handful of our best are away on missions. They should be back in a month or two, but for the time being, we'll have to rely on the other units for help should they decide to try us."

"What if it was the other way around?" Simon asked before anyone else had a chance.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean should 'they' decide and attack someone else other than us? They might as well try and weaken our alliance to the point where it makes for easy pickings."

"Guys, I got this." JP stood so he could be better heard. "I'm sure Stormy will tell us what's happening, but my feeling tells me it'll be a while yet before they attack us. No offense to our newest guys, but I think they're going after the easiest pickings before the harder ones."

JD slammed his right fist into the table, "Dammnit, we aren't easy pickings! I know for a fact that Sam really holds back on the field, because there was one time when no one was expecting him to be real brutal on the field, but he made the few of us who witnessed that to secrecy. I'm sorry but I really don't see how we are all that easy! If it was me, I'd hit here first before the others."

"Chill dude, I meant by sheer force. We out number you guys three to one, so strength in numbers and I highly doubt that."

JD grumbled and Chris spoke up, "I agree with Blinky. The feelings he described are spot on and I'm feeling the same thing."

JP looked over at Chris in surprise then grinned. "Oh, you too?" Chris nodded and JP continued, "call me John or JP. You'll like Stormy, he's about your age, but he's a damn good pilot."

Chris's excitement level jumped upwards a bit, "Really? How many other pilots my age do you have?"

"Oh, about a thousand or so; some hold pretty high ranks. I heard you tested slightly above Major."

"Really…" Chris managed to say before Ray stopped them.

"We'll get to that later, for now, we train to improve our teamwork." He sighed and thought for a few minutes, looking at everyone in the room. "Guys, my kid keeps pestering me to join our ranks. I'd rather not but, that's his decision. What do you guys think?" Ray lowered the seriousness level down a notch or two to ease some tension that was seemingly building up.

"What does the wife think?" Adam asked, knowing full well what the answer was.

Ray sighed, "She doesn't like it, but it's his decision." He thought for a few minutes as the silence was really starting to creep in. Before things could get out of order ensuing chaos, he started again, "Up to this point, JP has never been wrong on his feelings, but this time around, I want to be prepared. There is an alliance meeting after this and everyone above Major is to attend. We will need careful planning to launch a coordinated attack on Blake, before all hell breaks loose."

"What makes you so sure that they are able to break into the comm array on Panthera? Sam made sure it was the most secure in the most extreme conditions on the planet where no one would ever go?"

"Because Blake goes to places where no one else dares." Adam turned to look at JD with seriousness in his face. "There are a few spots on this planet that are more extreme than the one at Panthera. Granted, I gotta give Sam props for picking that location, because it gives us time to plan for this, unless they figure it out sooner. Unlike here, they actually have to figure out how to get there. That however is besides the point."

"Yeah, I get that, but Sam also encrypted the hell outta that array to the point where the best minds have tried hacking into it and failed miserably. What makes you so sure they have the means to take it over?"

Wolf stood and was about to say something when a figure emerged into the room in a brilliant display of blue and white sparkles. "They do not necessarily have the means to take it over, but to destroy it."

JD spun in his seat facing Merlin, "You mean… ?"

Merlin raised his right hand and with a flick of his wrist, an image appeared in front of everyone for all to see. "It has already happened. Panthera is no more." The image everyone was watching as the last transmission burst got sent from the planet, it suddenly expanded then exploded into millions of tiny rocks. There was a stunned silence in the room, that lasted for a whole of five minutes.

Ray fell into his seat. "Damn."

Merlin flicked away the screen and walked towards an open seat, but did not sit down. "That is not the worst of it. Blake is starting a mission to round up the rest of us survivors, but of course, they are all here." Merlin let it hang in the air waiting to see if someone would get it. He watched as JP and Chris visibly cringed once he said it and was pleased to see others in similar reactions.

"Damn." Ray repeated once again. "I suppose I should start getting people off the planet."

Merlin smiled, "No need. They are walking into a trap."

"Merlin…" Tommy's eyes were wide as saucers. "You didn't!"

"Heh! Had to. Besides, that planet was empty and I thought it might make good bait and teach Blake a lesson where they lose a significant amount of manpower. Besides, Blake will not find us on Outreach. Not unless we give ourselves away."

"Merlin is correct." Vash stated. "Blake has no clue our headquarters is on this planet. I thought it was a proper place once Ray found out about it and asked around, providing that we don't bring trouble here however, that is unlikely to happen now since Blake has the forces and is on the move."

"Damn." Ray spoke softly, causing a few to chuckle.

"Seriously Ray, that's all you gotta say?" Adam spoke not bothering to look at him.

Ray growled. "Bite me. There's other things to worry about that have me concerned. Where is Drake by the way? He hasn't been around since before their arrival." He shook his head and stood, "Merlin, have any of you seen a specific 'Mech on the field with a House Davion logo, only it was colored in black?"

Zach, for the first time spoke up, "What did this logo look like?" The entire room fell silent and looked at the kid as if he grew a second head. "What? I mean was it unusual to see a Federated Suns logo only that it was in black and white? I thought nothing of it and I figured WOB had a bunch of pilots from many different units!" The normal Federated Suns insignia had a yellow sun with its rays shining brightly outwards against a red background that was bordered within a thin black circle. In front of the sun was a sword with a black handle and pointed spikes at the base of the sword.

Ray's expression turned hostile with anger showing and a low emitting growl, "Damn."

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