Castle Roland

31st Century

by Hammy

In Progress

Chapter 9

Published: 28 Jan 16

31st Century

Copyright © by Hammy

Unknown to the planet's defenses, several hundred cloaked warships surrounded Outreach.

"Sir! Scouts report a small enemy lance stationed several kilometers south of our position. Two more have joined them just now. More are on the way. However, by the time they get there, it will be too late."

"Good, send everyone. I want to wipe this god-awful excuse for a planet. Once we're done, we'll terraform Outreach and make it our own. But first, a test of skill..."

Team one:

Wolf – 75T Black KnightBanshee – 25T Raven
Rampage (Josh) – 55T Ryoken
Cool-Hand – 55T RyokenPlasma - 35T Jenner

Team Two:

JD - 95T Supernova
Hellboy - 95T Supernova
Simon - 70T Novacat
Blinker: 70T Novacat
Firewolf : 70T Novacat
Diablo: 75T Black Knight

Team Three:

Chris: 70T NovaCat
Pain: 75T Black Knight
Rampage (Adam): 75T Black Knight
Laser: 75T WildCat

Banshee: "Wolf, I've just received word that the other groups completed their missions and are on their way over. ETA is fifteen minutes."

Wolf banged into something inside his cockpit, causing a few small sparks, "Fuck! We are still going to be overrun at this rate. We need all the help we can get sooner!"

Banshee: "Ray, don't damage your own 'Mech at a time like this. Pain reports the cavalry has arrived and just passed them. Their ETA is about less than ten minutes."

Cool-Hand: "How the hell did that punk get here so fast?"

JD: "Watch who you're callin' a punk, rainbow water boy."

Cool-Hand: "How dare you...!"

Rampage (Chuck): "Guyz, stop!"

Wolf: "Nice of you to join us, JD."

JD: "I've got Hellboy with me. We'll back you guys up."

Plasma: "You and what army? Surely this is a suicide mission that puts all of us in danger of losing our lives, and you come out here and say 'I've got Hellboy with me'... are you fuckin nuts?! You've gotta be high on some sort of drug to even dare take on at least fifty fucking lights and some mediums, so yeah... you and what fucking army?"

Before Plasma could continue on, a thirty-five ton Jenner soared over his head. Thinking there was nothing directly below him on the hill, it climbed up and went on over. Clearly, it was alone till an explosion followed just before it touched the ground. Plasma didn't even see the laser beams cut through the air, as he was only focused on the Jenner.

In a calm and deadly voice, JD responded in kind, "That was a headshot, so if you can kindly keep yapping, I'd be more than happy to do the same to you."

Plasma: "Holy shit!"

Wolf: "Damn."

Several more suddenly jumped off the cliff and continued on in the same direction, but didn't get far, as Rampage and Cool-Hand opened fire, destroying their rear armor, leaving the remaining two headed directly for Hellboy and JD. That, however, was futile, as Hellboy jumped and fired a partial shot on both lights. But just as they thought there was only one, JD jumped followed by with an immediate two explosions.

Twenty lights now suddenly appeared along with several mediums, prompting JD and Hellboy to jump and fire on the mediums, destroying them in the process. Everyone else followed suit and opened fire on the retreating lights. While some of them exploded, some took heavy damage; those that were damaged managed to alert the rest of a presence behind them, causing half of the company to turn, while the other half went on to engage the two snipers.

With a quick precision, JD fired a pair of lasers to every cockpit he could manage, killing three lights easily while using three separate weapon groups. Hellboy repeated the same, but with less results and only damaging the armor on the lights. Whatever Hellboy missed, JD finished off, but not before he overheated and shutdown.

Given the planet was hot, cool-down took a bit of time, yet JD and Hellboy were feeling slightly pressured. Suddenly, four lights appeared on the ridge and fired on both JD and Hellboy.

JD knew very well the combined firepower from four lights could destroy him, even while shutdown. All he was able to do was watch as cold sweat formed on his forehead. Hellboy was feeling the same, more or less.

JD muttered under his breath, "I'm sorry Chris..." He quickly reacted to the trio of explosions by shielding his eyes. A fourth explosion soon followed as comms crackled to life.

Chris: "JD, you okay?!"

JD appeared a bit dazed from the blinding light as he tried to gather his bearings. He shook his head, since some flashes of light blurred his vision. He groaned again and muttered 'shit' under his breath. Once again, the radio crackled to life with Chris sounding more concerned, if possible.

Chris: "JD, please answer me!"

JD: "Gimme a sec! I'm fine, but blinded a bit. You guys are going to have to take over!"

Chris: "Roger that!"

Wolf: "Great save there, Chris, Sabre, Juan, and DS. Is Av with you guys?"

Sabre: "Yeah, mate, he is."

Before Wolf could say anything more, Banshe's voice was heard on comms: "Guys, heads up! We have a second wave incoming! This is going to be a hella lot harder!"

Wolf: "Damn!"

Rampage (Chuck): "Don't you have anything else to say other than 'damn'?"

Wolf chuckled, "I do." He fired his jumpjets, then fired a pair of PPC's, followed by thunderbolts, onto an incoming heavy. "All hands, engage at will!"

Sabre: "Missile lance, fire all missiles!"

JD: "Who's that Blacknight over on the ridge some six hundred meters to our left?"

Juan: "That is Av, sniping like a boss."

JD: "Heheheh, okay then! Chris, Hellboy and any others with direct fire, come with me and take your spots on a dune for coverage."

There were a total of six BattleMechs following JD to a small dune that provided plenty of coverage, but that spot could easily be flanked, however, all sides, except the front was covered. The fresh two 'Mechs were leading off JD and Hellboy, while Chris followed from behind. To say JD didn't like that formation would be an understatement.

JD: "Guys, I'm flattered, really. The formation will be a standard firing line please. Now, lets hurry before we get overrun! I'm counting on someone to watch our backs."

Sabre: "Actually no one is."

Av: "Eyes on the field, gentlemen. There is a final wave after this one and it's going to be ugly."

Firewolf: "Oh hell..."

Blinker: "Relax Fire. It'll be just like old times."

JD: "Well then... we're done for if no one is watching our asses. We'll need someone to do double duty!"

Wolf: "Nah, I've got my special forces up my sleeve for this. You undoubtedly know them, JD."

JD fired an alpha of lasers into a Summoner, instantly killing it. "You can't mean..."

Wolf chuckled, "Oh yes, I do mean what you think I mean. Those RAGE guys are nothing next to exceptional. Trust me, they're watching our backs."

JD growled, "Those guys are child's play compared to this."

Epi guffawed as a new voice was heard on JD's end of comms. "Ye of little faith, eh, Hammer? You and you alone are our biggest threat, but that doesn't mean squat since we are technically on the same side."

Before JD could respond, two 'Mechs suddenly appeared over the ridge he was crouched at. He instantly knew everyone else was shutdown and both 'Mechs were nearing critical. With ease and high precision, JD fired two groupings of four lasers into the centers of the jumping 'Mechs. Within one second apart, there was a flash and an explosion followed by gasps of disbelief being heard on comms.

JD: "Click-click."

Firewolf: "Oh please, they were crit."

Wolf: "Damn."

Epi: "And that's why you only play in tight circles, except now that the enemy has data on you, things are going to change."

JD ignored the banter on comms and continued to drop enemy 'Mechs one by one. One thought he was having during the whole battle was why Merlin wasn't there. He knew of a time when Merlin had no desire to lead a galaxy and wished to step down, yet the request was denied by the council and Sam had tried to prevent Merlin's departure from the Clan.

Chris messaged JD over their private comms: "Something wrong?"

JD: "Just wondering about something."

Chris: "Why now?"

JD: "I'm wondering where Merlin is."

Chris: "He'll be here."

JD: "That's the thing. I thought all he wanted to do is be on the field of battle instead of squabbling with council matters."

Chris sighed. "Well... if your connection to him can reach him anywhere, why not give it a try?"

JD: "You knew about that?!"

Chris: "Merlin told me to remind you."

JD: "That damn wizard... okay!" He closed his eyes and concentrated hard. It appeared he was yelling inside his head. Unable to think of a direction, he just sent a thought to anywhere in the universe, or so he thought. While slightly distracted, he still managed to fire off his lasers into the thinning opposing forces.

In what felt like seconds, but five minutes have passed. Yet JD did not hear the comms till Chris yelled. "JD, WAKE UP!"

JD shook his head. "What?"

Chris: "You were silent for five minutes!"

JD: "Shit, what... well I'm fine now. What's going on?"

Chris: "The final wave."

At first, it seemed like JD jumped too high, but luckily, only one shot connected out of ten that he could make out. He quickly reset and jumped till his guns barely cleared the dune then fired. He jumped once more and there was a brilliant explosion as the massive assault 'Mech was destroyed. Chris, being the same as JD in terms of natural ability, repeated the same maneuver as JD, only without jets, so he had to "hill hump" just as fast. This threw the enemy's aim off, as if trying to hit one of those surprise pop-up game machines at either the mall or an arcade. It was kept random 'til Sabre lost an arm.

Wolf: "Okay, RAGE, you guys are up! Let's finish these bastards off!"

JD: "Not so fast." There was a pause on comms before JD continued, "Lets give them a show they will never forget! Those with jets, copy my movements!"

JD turned his torso to the right then shifted his legs to the left and threw the 'Mech in full reverse. Once he neared full reverse speed, he fired his jets at a partial burn just barely peeking over the ridge. When he landed, he gathered some more speed and fired his jets again, firing his lasers when they cleared the ridge, only to reward him with an explosion off in the distance. When he landed, he repeated the pattern once more. On the fourth jump, instead of moving in reverse, he slammed his throttle forward and jumped, scoring another kill as an explosion thundered off in the distance; then his 'Mech shutdown to cool off.

To say comms were too quiet was an understatement. JD didn't even notice as he turned off his music.

JD: "You guys still alive?"

Chris: "Umm... what was that just now?"

JD: "What do you mean? I just piloted the 'Mech to fool them into thinking where I was gunna be; no big deal."

Blinker: "When this is over I want to fight you in the pods."

Wolf: "Damn. So that's the maneuver he used in the pods?"

Blinker: "Very much so, and we have front row seats to watch him pull this off."

JD: "Enough talking, more killing. Now if everyone could be kind enough to at least try what I'm doing instead of gawking at me, that would be much appreciated!"

Cool-Hand: "And you never did that to Sam?"

JD sighed: "He knew of it, and while I did manage a few kills, Sam taught me a better version to use."

Wolf: "Only a few people in the universe can do what you can, JD. That's what makes you a threat, not only to WOB, but to others who might oppose you.

Banshee: "To witness this from you, you are on a whole different level."

JD: "Aw you guys, stop! You're embarrassing me."

Chris: "It really isn't that hard to do."

Chris piloted his 'Mech in the same manner, but without jets and expertly landed a kill with random pop ups from several spots before shutting down.

JD: "Right then, time to get to work!"

With renewed determination, the entire squadron of 'Mechs repeated what JD had shown them only moments earlier. It was more or less a laser/energy light show on their part. The enemy did not know how to handle this, clearly thinking they had the upper hand in the battle with their monstrous killing machines, only to get severely decimated. When the dust cleared and the weapons ceased firing, the combined forces of SRE, WAR, and RAGE stood victoriously on the battlefield, but not without taking severe damage to their own 'Mechs.

Banshee: "Reports from other squadrons state the enemy is leaving the planet in one Dropship. This battle has been won, but will we win the war?"

Rampage (Adam): "Maybe. Search for survivors and salvage. We'll have a mission debrief in Hangar One, followed by a leader's council debrief afterwards."

Wolf: "Agreed."

Plasma opened a private channel to JD: "Sorry about that Ham."

JD: "It's okay. I'm glad you got me going."

Plasma: "Is it really? It's scary knowing there are others like you out there and in some ways I feel threatened being around you."

JD: "You shouldn't. The secret is to try to constantly be better than the next person, even if you to make mistakes... I think."

Plasma: "Cool, thanks!"

JD: "No problem." JD switched a channel to contact Chris directly. "Ya okay, Chris?"

Chris: "Yep. I think I'm gunna have nightmares of this."

JD: "Don't worry. It'll be okay."

Chris smiled to himself and disconnected the comms. He couldn't help but wonder how much his life had changed, ever since finding himself in the 31st century instead of the 21st. Never in his wildest dreams would such a thing as this have been possible, unless Merlin somehow jumped into a parallel universe that was based on the game he played at home so long ago. He announced he was going to check the forest out.

JD: "Be careful."

Chris: "I know, I will."

JD watched Chris pilot his 'Mech towards the forest. There was something to be said about that boy. He couldn't quite figure out what it was, but he knew for a fact he loved him more than a brother. While JD was never one to admit his personal feelings so freely, he felt himself doing something he has never done before. Feeling brave and yet slightly foolish for breaking protocol, he spoke softly thru the private channel. "Chris, there's something I've wanted to tell ya, but I just couldn't find the time or balls to do so."

Chris giggled, "Balls? You? And at a time like this? Can't it wait?"

JD: "No, not really."

Chris: "Well, okay, fine."

JD: "Well... never mind. Maybe some other time…"

Chris: "Seriously, just tell me."

JD: "Well, ever since I met you, I know I usually come off as an arrogant dick and first impressions aren't my thing, but it seems that you've warmed up to me, and I've never told anyone this before..."

Chris was struggling to hear JD speak as he was speaking so softly, almost at a whisper. He was about to say something to him, but JD continued, "I don't know why I'm struggling, but I do love you, really."

Chris was stunned, he knew he had some feelings for him, but he never expected to hear such words from JD, considering his rough life while growing up. Given he took a while to think on the words, JD interrupted his thoughts again, "You there?"

Chris: "Yeah, sorry. I was lost in thought."

JD: "Do you feel the same way?"

Chris started to speak, but was immediately cut off before he could say anything else, "I..."

JD's heart was beating so fast, he almost didn't notice the static and the first explosion in the distance. The moment he saw smoke was when the second explosion took place. He immediately stood in stunned silence as comms started up with shouts of some panic. Tears began rolling down JD's face, but not before pure anger began to make itself known. He knew he was in a slow 'Mech, yet he also knew there was a Warthog on remote standby. "Hellboy, send that hog to me."

Hellboy: "Dude, I can't let you go off on your own again like that!"

JD lowered his voice, "Fucking do it. Chris was there."

Hellboy didn't answer, he knew JD very well not to argue with him when he used that tone. He remotely controlled the Warthog to approach the 'Mech JD was in and instead of slowing it down, he watched JD expertly jump from 'Mech to 'Mech then made a turn towards the forest.

JD: "Epi, send your best runners. I'll need visual support."

Epi: "Hammer, I don't think..."

JD: "Dammit! Don't argue with me!"

Cool-Hand: "Dude, calm down!"

JD: "Don't go there. Do I get my support or not?!"

Epi: "Fine. Coyote and Adler will join you."

JD: "Just have them run ahead. I am going to hunt that murderous bastard."

Blinker: "Oh shit. Everyone to the forest!"

JD ignored Blinker's command, as he was the first to arrive. He slowed down to avoid hitting trees and when he approached the burning wreckage of the NovaCat, he broke down in tears and lost all coherent thought.

The radio crackled to life showing a face with black hair brushed to the left and a huge scar that ran down his face starting at the hairline and passed across the right eye. "I see you found the wreckage. Good, let that be a lesson to everyone to not let their guard down. You of all people should know that. I really would have liked to face you, but you know, seeing how you look now, even you give me chills. It's a shame really. You should've kept your boy toy home."

By now, JD was seething red. "If it's the last thing I have to do, I'll tear apart the universe till I find you, mark my words."

The guy with the scar chuckled, "I'll have you know, with all the warships at my disposal here and now, you will never get that chance."

JD's eyes widened as the viewers switched to space view with several hundred warships facing the lone planet.

"Farewell, maggots! Turn that planet to dust."

With that command, all warships opened fire in a brilliant display of light beams and sparks as each ship let loose its full power.

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