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MECHAPOCALYPSE! TEARS OF THE LOST


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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."

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Melvin smiles at the new guy, and shakes his head, "I thought we were all left behind due to situational screw ups, but apparently not. I'm Melvin Grahame, but you can call me Harvard if you want. What sort of machine do you have?" As he lets the smile fade from his face, he turns toward Hogan, "Sir, What was the reason we were held back? I know with my skill set it could be that my talents were needed here for some research, but I can't fathom why a scout or combat pilot would be left behind from the big push. Then again, it could be that you needed some units to defend the base, in case some Kaiju came around the big wave aiming for HQ." Harvard shrugs his shoulders, "Whatever reason it was, I'd just like some more Information." He then adds "Sir."

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“Oh, Harvard laddy, you were, you were,” replied Hogan in a sing song way, “abandoned by the fates, left with the forlorn and damned but… I have seen the spark in yer particular sets o’eyes.   So here I am, at the behest of the great man hisself, General Sir Weslley, to give you the chance to die for the cause and place your names in the annals of history among the heroes of myth and glory.”

 

Hogan smiles broadly at each of them, “And that is as much as I can tell ye until you volunteer. The General says to me, Hogan,” the captain tucks his chin and makes his voice much deeper and more British, “ pick your men but they must be volenteers,  That’s what he says he does,” that last in his regular voice.

 

“So,” again the smile which now reminds everyone of a shark, “ whats it to be lads and lassies, do ya Volunteer or do I have to go with my second best choices?”

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Delaney raised a hand, without looking away from the personal data tablet she held in her other hand. She'd been completely absorbed by whatever she was doing with that since exiting the simulator.  Even now she frowned a little at something on the screen and quickly tapped and swiped it before re-raising her hand.

 

"I'm in," she said. "If I have to spend another day re-doing maintenance and playing with sim code, I will go insane and I will take all of you with me."

 

Finally Del put the tablet down on the table and looked around. She did a double-take on seeing Max. "Oh. Hey. You weren't here before. I'm Delaney."

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Katarina had a choice comment about soldiers being like mushrooms in being kept in the dark and fed shit primed on her tongue when the Captain dropped his little volunteer speech. The other MEKA model users were out there kicking ass and taking names in the big offensive already, and there was no way in hell she was going to be sitting here with tales of shit guard details to compare to theirs. This way she might not even have to go a court martial in the process of earning her wild stories.

 

"I'm in. No way are you going anywhere without my Hot Potato to trail break for this disaster," she replied with a laugh and a flash of an insolent smile. 

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"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.

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Melvin clears his throat a little bit, "What the hell. I'm in as well. Sage will probably get a workout.   So, care to fill us in on the details of the job, or are we just going to pull a charge of the light brigade?" He shudders at the thought, but doesn't withdraw his volunteering.

 

He smiles at Katarina's eagerness, and then he looks over at Max. "So, you get to be in one of the direct line of fire mecha, right? I should be able to help you out with Sage. He's a support-class mecha with some interesting sensor and attack systems."

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“Of course, I will not be left out, you can count on me, but I do not have a mecha, it shipped with the fleet. I did not,” said trooper David.

 

Hogan nodded thoughtfully, these will do god help them, he clears his throat, “Right then, you four,” indicating the three women and Harvard, “Download those sim tapes and gather your kit. Meet us at Load bay three, building seventeen, in…, he looks at his watch, “two hours. You have that much time to make personal arrangements for a long deployment.”

 

“How long,” asked Croft?

 

“Eternity, lad, eternity,” He stands abruptly, “ You four get moving, Croft come with me.” Not waiting he marches out of the room with Croft following, leaving the four troopers wondering what they have gotten themselves into.

 

Hogan led Croft outside the building to a waiting car. The trooper at the car had been reading on a tablet which he immediately put aside to hop out and open the door for the captain. Croft let himself in on the other side.

 

As the car drove through the base Hogan remained silent and watched the bustle of the miniature city go by. It was like any other military base pretty much anywhere in the world, or like how they had been before the invasion. And, with a glance at the artificial hills erected to screen the base from the bay and the silhouettes of the dozen Mecha patrolling that wall, unlike any other military base in the history of the world.

 

They arrived at building seventeen a massive Mecha hanger, mostly empty now, Hogan and Croft left the car and went inside and to one of the bays at the far end where Hogan keyed ina code and a door swished open revealing a massive Mecha. A Mecha Croft recognized.

 

“The Tessaract! How did my Mecha get here,” Croft asked and edge to his voice.

 

“Not quite, laddy,” Hogan chuckled, “This is the Tessaract-X. When you all over there in America started working on it we were sent the specs an schematics and well we just decided to do a little modifications ourselves. It is fully operational, and I thought it best if the one most familiar with be it’s driver on the upcoming mission.”

 

Croft looked it over and as Hogan told him about the additions and modifications they had made he saw the differences…

 

Two hours later all of the troopers were seated in bay three which had been turned into a briefing room the bay was huge and made the 5 troopers seem very small indeed. Captain Hogan came through a side door pushing an I-board.  He positioned it in front of the troopers and clicke a remote and a map of Inda appeared on the board.

 

“Alright then,” Hogan started, “as you can see this is India. Five years ago, the second wave of Kaiju bastards marched out of the Indian ocean and rolled over the subcontinent. The world was struggling with the aftereffects of the two meteor strikes as well as the first incursion in China and well, probably to the shame of all, India was left to fend for itself.”

 

The board went through a slide show of images of the fighting in Indi and the devastation left in the wake of the monsters.

 

“The Indian forces put up a brave fight but the numbers were against them and they just didn’t have the arms to fight the beasties effectively. We wrote them off, a billion humans, just like in China, we simply assumed they perished victims of circumstance. Until a month ago.”

 

The board switch to a image of a mountain fortress, ancient, crumbling. download.jpg.f5a5ddb470524f80fa82ef8024e1be67.jpg

 

“We received intel from a source in India that a large group of survivors had made their way to an ancient mediaeval fortress called Gawilghur. It’s a huge place located at the top of a goddamn plateau with only two routs up to it and the Mountains behind it are to put it mildly, unforgiving.

 

According to our source there are roughly eight hundred thousand refugees in the fortress, with at least three times that number in the mountains. That is about four million people give or take, and their starving.”

 

Another click and another slide show showing the terrain, the mountains, and the plains below.

 

“Now we have been able to verify only a portion of the intel, and it was too late to halt the Offensive on China. The beasties must know that the people are up there yet have made no assaults on the fortress or into the mountains. And that worries the General and I. We have started dropping supplies from altitude, but it isn’t enough.

 

 We need to have a firsthand look at the situation. In 24 hours we will deploy a regiment of PPA to reinforce the fortress and begin assessing the number of refugees and how best to work at getting them out. But the General wants to know what the beasties are up to and why they haven’t slaughtered those people like they did in China.

 

That is where you five come in. You and your Mecha will go out with the PPA, and air drop onto the plain before the fortress. You’re to recon the countryside and assess the number and make up of the Kaiju present and try to figure out what the testy little fuckers are up too.

 

In all encounters to date the bastards have simply killed and destroyed usually going in a straight line, showing no strategy,  no intelligence beyond that of animals. This is different and frankly a bit worrisome.

Any questions?”

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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?"

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Hogan shakes his head, "The PPA and your missions are separate, they will be concerned with the refugees and the situation on the plateau. You will be dropping at the base of the plateau and once you have secured the immediate area will put in a support unit for the Mecha if it's feasible. Your only concern are the Kaiju."

 

He faces the board and the map of India returns. 

 

"With the atmospheric conditions still playing hell with satellite recon, we have to have feet on the ground. That is you. Our goal is not retaking the subcontinent it is protecting the survivors and finding a means to either making that place there at supportable or developing a means to evacuate them. But that is not your worry all you job will be is to gather the necessary intel on the kaiju activities."

 

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"Alright," Del said, more than a little miffed at her greeting having been ignored, but soldiering on. "So we find the local kaiju, scout them out. Depending on what we find we'll either engage to destroy or lure them away so the ground teams can evacuate the refugees."

 

She shook her head. "That's a lot of people to evac. It's either going to take a TON of resources, or a TON of time. Or both. It'd help us plan if we had some idea what to expect. We need to give them cover after all."

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Katarina sat perched on a crate of supplies as the Captain gave his brief, fiddling with her very sharp knife. Her expression hardened as her country's own abandonment was skimmed over. The kaiju weren't dumb, never had been. Dumb didn't win a land war in Asia, build antinuke quantum shenanigans fields over their hives, or crash land a successful beach head from nowhere. It took all she had in her not to spit or ruin the tip of her knife carving something obscene into the wood of the crate she was sitting on. Good on these Indians for finding something that forced the brains behind the beasts to turn aside for 4+ years. She'd have a handshake and half a contraband chocolate bar for the first Indian survivor she had the privilege to meet. Packed a half-dozen in her kit bag alongside extra socks, underwear, and her second-best knife. 

 

"Seems pretty simple to me. Drop in, don't get in too much trouble, see what's up, and brag to the expedition how it's done when they catch up," she chuckled darkly, making her knife dance between her fingers. Beneath the seething indignation, part of her was itching for this. Couldn't be a hot shot pilot without surviving hot shot missions and looking good doing it.

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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.

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