Max's face was neutral after getting the answers, he was satisfied mostly, though, the fact they'd have no support until things were secure was normal, it meant they'd all need to be much more careful, since any damage wouldn't be repairable.
"Which regiment's going in with us, Captain?" He wondered if John had shipped out on the offensive. He knew from what letters he'd been allowed to receive, that his unit had been pulled back recently, though with how the invasion was said to be, he wouldn't have been surprised if they'd been deployed once again.
Max looked at him, then at the T-X. "Kurosawa-San would kill you with his bare hands if he were standing here. Reproducing Tessa before we had all the bugs out..." he trailed off, then remembered he was with a senior officer. "... Sir."
The captain chuckled. "He probably would. We did make some modifications, including Phase II on the Overdrive system." Max stared at him. "That was purely theoretical."
"Well you will be the first to pilot it and test the system in Combat. Just like you wanted." The Captain replied. "This is all part of that."
Max nodded. "I'll go get my kit squared away, and then come back here, and the tech crew can give me the full rundown on all the modifications." He smiled "At least you guys came to the same conclusion I did before shipping out, that the shoulder armor baffles needed to be abit more rounded inside the joint. The last round of tests had me nearly ripping the arms off when the armor got in a bind and pinched due to the stress."
The Captain excused him to take care of his arrangements, which didn't take much time, and was there with the head of the tech crew for the T-X. Together they ran down the list of new equipment, and how to operate Phase II of the OverDrive system. The Captain excused himself about halfway through, and when it was done, Sam thanked the crew chief, and then laid a hand on the foot of the mecha. "We should get along just fine."
He made his way to the Hangar they were meeting in and sat quietly as he briefed them on the situation on the ground, and their mission, a recon in force.
"Several Questions sir. Going in with a regiment of PPA sounds great, but what is our command structure? Are we using integrated command, supporting the PPA on call, or true detachment, to accomplish our ground recon?"
He had no problems either way, it was just good to know ahead of time so they didn't lose a step to command snafu in the field.
"Second question, do we have any recent comms to the refugees in the fortress? I know you stated you'd been dropping supplies, but dropping troops is going to be something else entirely. Do they know we're coming, so as to not cause panic among the civilians there?"
"Third, sir, What, if any, support can we expect on the ground? A regiment of PPA, and 5 mecha isn't a small force, but the people there are already starving. Correct me if i'm wrong, but we can't carry down enough supplies for them, and for us. Not just food, but equipment to keep the PPA and our mecha functional. Do we have any indication they have any of that there?"
"I'm in too." Max smiled He'd been about to reply when asked about his mech, but the Captain spoke up, and he let it go. "Rangers are automatic Volunteers, sir. Much like SAS." It was well-known that Special forces were expected to Volunteer en masse for pretty much any assignment. Even if he wasn't boots on the ground like he'd been during his training, he was still a Ranger, no matter what.
Max relaxed, and nodded. "I was wondering what the situation was." It wasn't quite a question, more 70/30 split between statement and question. "Seemed odd to me to get shipped over after the main forces leave, and without my machine." He pulled over a chair and took a seat, nodding to his fellow troopers. "Unless that's changed too."
"Come on Tak, you know it's not like that. I know our work's important. The new systems onboard are gonna revolutionize how we can fight, but there's only so much sims will tell us. Actual combat stress tests are needed, just like they were with the GM-9's. I survived those, I'll survive this too. I can't let us look like we've just been wasting time, money, and resources. I know a real field test is why they called us up. Just be thankful they didn't call us to go in the main assault."
Takiro looked at his test pilot and arched an eyebrow. "Shying away from a fight, MAC?"
"Nah, more like knowing to pick my battles. I wanna run field tests, and yes engage some actual Kaiju. That doesn't mean going into the middle of a full on invasion with a machine no superior's really going to know how to deploy properly." In theory the Tesseract was the next generation Trooper -type machine, but with its special equipment, it was somewhat unique, and therefore an unknown quantity in the field.
"Good, you actually use the brain in that thick skull. That's why I wanted a Ranger, not a Marine." He smiled at him. "You have a work order for me?"
"Yeah, Whole shoulder assembly's got to be replaced. I was thinking we'd use that new design you were working on. We've tried everything else, so we might as well give it a go." Shoulder mounting Tak frowned. "Thank god I designed it to be able to disengage the weapon mounts." "Yeah, there w\ouldn't be as much use to the OD if using it broke the weapons every time." It was true that they'd reinforced the structure and and armor of the machine to the maximum, but the OD system let it exceed normal physical limits. This was incredible for the boosts in speed and strength, but as was quickly learned, the ranged weapons wouldn't survive long if used melee combat. They simply had too many moving parts.
Takiro added his digital approval to the work order. "Fine, get it done. I won't waste my breath saying to be more gentle, but remember that this will eventually become a production unit, We're not like the others. I don't want flaws in my machine, where normal use can break something important." Tak was all about quality, his name rested on that, and the fact the M-7 and M-9s were still heavily used machines, despite being abit older spoke highly of his capabilities as a designer.
"They're just sending you though, we'll be along soon enough." Max looked at him, and nodded. "Hard to be a test pilot without anything to test."
That had been hours before, and Max was honestly feeling abit out of sorts. Without the Tesseract he was fine, but going back to a GM-7 or 9 just wouldn't be the same. Sure he could handle them fine, but it wasn't what he was going to be as comfortable with. Still they'd not just call him over without planning to bring over the GMX-7, so he'd make do. He was missing the main fight, but there had to be a reason for the call-up.
He took his gear on his shoulder and debarked the plane. He reported to the officer on duty, a Lieutenant named Soldano, and was directed to head promptly to Captain Hogan, who was currently in the canteen s near the Simulators. He'd have preferred to square his gear, but he didn't have the luxury of that so he soldiered on. He was still a Ranger, after all.
He heard voices, and knocked. "Pardon the intrusion, but I was told to report to Captain Hogan, and that I could find him here. I'm Max Croft, test pilot for General Motors, and newly called up Trooper." He saw Hogan's name tape, and nodded, then offered a quick salute. "Reporting as Ordered, Sir."
Deep underground hidden from the humans aerial eyes and bombs, the Audug stirred the primal pool while the smaller Gallu, in segments of three or four carried nutrients and mass, to pour into the swirling viscous liquid.
Deep in the pool something stirred.
Sadeev spurred his mount the last hundred meters into the wood beyond the narrow path before reigning the sweating horse to a halt. He leapt off the saddle and pulled the long barreled high-caliber sniper rifle from it sheath and while the horse panted and shook from its long swift climb, Sadeev ran then dropped down and crawled on his belly to the edge of the wood where he had a clear view of the path.
He glanced to his right his eye following the path up to the slim land bridge still a kilometer away and beyond it to the ancient walls od what was once India’s mightiest fortress and today stood as the last remnant of that once great nation.
The Great mountain fortress of Gawilghur was constructed sometime in the 15th century and was the major stronghold of the Maratha Empire, its walls unassailable it stood supreme and unconquered until it is impregnability was overcome by the British in 1803. The British gave it back to the Marathas after their war but it was abandoned. Still it stood empty occupying the sky above the plain of the Deccan Plateau an impressive, imposing site, only visited by tourists and historians until the Kaiju Invasion.
India had been spared from the devastation of the second meteor strike but that had proven a calm before the storm. As refugees from the islands and nations to India’s east poured in to already overcrowded cities and town, food already in short supply was exhausted, famine and disease threatened but would never get to wreak its foul toll for a greater death dealer was on the horizon. Or rather under it.
Two months after the meteor strike a horde of small Kaiju erupted form the ocean to swarm the coastal cities of India. It was the largest number of the creatures yet seen. Thousands of the eight to ten-foot-tall beasts and hundreds of the larger fifteen to twenty feet, a bestial horde which overwhelmed the army though they fought valiantly. And that was just the first wave. India was over run in less than a week. India was written off by the west.
Operation Stormfront had begun. For five years mankind had been rocked back on it heels, fighting a defensive battle on all fronts in this the strangest most horrifying war the world had ever witnessed.
The Kaiju cut a swath across Asia the middle east and Europe. They dominated north Africa but found the conquest of the southern part of the continent difficult due to natural barriers which slowed even their monstrous progress. In the Americas further ocean meteor strikes devastated coasts and monsters born from the missile from space assaulted the coasts but the numbers were not as great as those in Asia and so the beasts were held at bay for the most past.
Eventually the International Alliance Mecha Corps was established, and devices designed from the ground up to fight the monster invasion were built. Tested and proven in combat the IAMC was to become the forefront of the war against the Kaiju.
Based on French Island in Australia the IAMC built a large state of the art mecha factory and training center. A naval port, air strips, housing, and two nuclear power plants turned the once pristine nature reserve into a futuristic manufacturing and Military fortress. Hundreds of Mecha were built and thousands of the new Personal Powered Armor suits.
On October 1st 2025 those mecha, PPA suits, and the personnel to operate and service them were boarded onto a huge fleet of surface transport ships accompanied by the largest naval force assembled since world war two and set sail for China.
China had been the beginning of the apocalypse and it was from china that the monsters seemed to replenish their forces outside of the meteor strikes of which none had occurred since the first year of the invasion. The location of the central ‘base’ of the Kaiju was known and every attempt had been made to destroy it from long range to no avail. Even the most fearsome weapons in the human arsenal had no effect. Every nuclear weapon fired or dropped into the region failed to detonate with a nuclear yield although the normal explosives seemed to function. There was no explanation. And so it was determined that a strike at the heart of the invasion was needed and so the greatest military operation ever planned was being executed.
But not everyone was involved. As the ships set forth, those remaining at IAMC Headquarters watch as their friends, lovers, brothers, and sisters sailed off into harm’s way. Those left behind were a few fully trained Mecha Drivers and those who had not yet completed their final training but were in the process of being fitted for their machines.
Two days after the fleet set sail Trooper 1st Class Aiya David, former member of the Israeli Defense Force now a recently graduated mecha trooper stepped away from the serving line carrying a tray of breakfast containing eggs, waffles, whole fruits, and juice. She looked around at the scattered people seated in ones and twos across the wide, virtually empty dining hall. She did not immediately see anyone from any of her classes as all of them had left with the fleet. She had been left behind due to a mix-up in paperwork of all things and still the bitter disappointment brought the tears of anger to her eyes, tears she refused to shed.