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Righteous Fire

A dark Virtual Mekton side-story

Chiisai looked up. He'd never dreamed of seeing Cora's exterior from this angle.

At his side, Jaired looked with the same amazed expresion on his face towards his own Archon's armored breastplate. The two looming war machines stood silently on the dark hangar, flanked by at least another half score VMs. No, maybe the "V" was superfluous rigth now.

Chiisai's amazed mind was momently digreesing. Right now he was paying less atention to his surroundings than to the thougth that he'd not be on the shoes of the soldier they'd just left tied inside his sentry box's latrine when his pals knew he'd been subdued by two schoolboys. Jaired's words bringed him back to reality.

'Well? 'Well what? 'What now? 'We take our machines and get the hell outta there. C'mon, let's move like we were on a hurry. 'You're using too many old movie lines...

Both boys climbed to their machines. They never designed them to be boarded from the exterior, climbing from the ground, but someone else had already taken care of that. They found liftwires on the humanoid Cora, and conventional retractable stairs on the flying-tank-like Archon. The machines had locks and codes, but both of them knew the backdoors they themselves had programed on the Mek's computers. Both Mektons stirred to life as the Archon streightened to his full, Humanoid heigth.

An alarm started sounding. '<Shit. 'They discovered the sentry.> '<I see. I half hoped they won't feel like john until a bit later.> '<And now?>' Both kids stared each other through their viewscreens. Both said the same thing.

'<Let's rock>.

The hanger doors never had a chance. Both humanoid war machines simply walked right through them to the exterior. A few MPs started firing on them with handguns and SMGs on a futile gesture as both Meks took the air, leaving the wrecked, burning hangar full of trashed mecha behind them.

This time was Chiisai who asked 'what now'. His machine had shorter-ranged sensors than Jaired's. The latter was thoughtfully watching his radar screen. '<Company. Two boogies at six thirty, vector two hundreds and thirtieth-two, angels two and descending towards us, speed Mach 2.1, range three miles and closing fast. Definitely hostile, I think. Aside from the boosterpacks, they look on my analizer like they were build along the lines of the things you could make with a "Kids VM Designer kit">', he said scornfully.

'<You could outrun them easily. I can't. Get outta there, I'll cover you.> '<No way. We started this thogether and we'll stay this way>. '<Then I take the biggest>. '<You always take the biggest>. '<Because my VM is tougher and can stand it. Remember the last Space Battle?>

Jaired nodded, grinning. As the two enemy mecha closed, both kids closed their thrusters. Chiisai placed vertically his machine, the air drag bringing Cora to a full stop on a blink. Jaired switched his machine to Humanoid mode, the Archon droped like a diver, both machines separated from their streaking and too fast pursuers by a full half-mile of air by the time they were able of hauling them around. Jaired switched again to Kunter-Killer, kicked his thrusters full open. With SO many thrust, he could afford to attack from below. He got an opposing mecha on his sigths. Chiisai already had the other.

The military pilots were good. They had much, much more training than the kids. They had even some combat experience. But they were used to jet fighters, not to mektons. They were caugth totally by surprise by the kid's sudden, rather simple maneuver. They knew their machines; the kids HAD designed them. They had not a chance as Chiisai and Jaired opened fire.

'<I think one of them fell rigth on what was before Intron High main building>. '<Don't remind me, please. And I always had thougth I hated that school...> '<I hate to repeat myself, but...> '<Yes, I know. What now. I say it's payback time>. '<You'r kidding...> '<I'm kid, not kidding>. '<Very funny>. '<Yes, I am. I say we go and nail them all>. '<You'r crazy. Two kids against the entire JSDF navy!> '<Why not? They blew my school, they blew YOUR school, they turned what we were making for fun into a crazy real-world evil thing, they took us, they took our friends, they took our FAMILYS! It's revenge time. Let's frag these bastards, then, only then, we think what's next to do!>

Jaired thinked abouth what Chiisai was saying. Chii has been always a bit of a temperamental boy, carrying the 'don't DARE to touch my people!' thing to extremes, but this time he was right. There was only one thing they could do right now. '<Payday, you say? Let's write a bill... Do you think they'll accept a cheque?> '<I doubt it>. '<Then we'll have to pay on cash!>


Onboard the 'Yamato II' submersible supercarrier, the new, proud flagship of the JSDF, the aproaching of the kids didn't come unadverted. Unlike some of their former comrades' mecha, both Cora and the Archon had the stealthy qualities of a brick. A cloud of Phoenix II XLRMs was sent toward them.

'<Jaired...> '<Yes, I got them>. '<Well, you should do something about it, since none of us carry antimissiles and each of these five-ton missiles could punch right trough both of our VMs...>' As an answer, Jaired kicked his turbine full open, reaching Mach 3.8 in a few seconds. He was slammed against the seat, but he managed to maintain consciousness. He could have outrun the missiles if desired, but instead he dove towards them, jamming those directed towards him with his ECM, then metodically picking one by one those targeted on Chiisai with his pulse-firing twin lasers. He allowed Chiisai to catch him. '<I said, I-GOT-them>', he said smugly.

On the Yamato's flag bridge there was much screaming. Two wings of F-25 figthers were hastily scrambled against what comunications from the High Command descripted as "extremely dangerous hostiles", while the mammoth main batteries started being charged with flechette. The two mecha were inside the efective range of the XLRMs, but shorted-ranged batteries of SAMs and AAA of her attendant ships, spread on a defencive perimeter of twenty miles, started firing. The Yamato's captain, however, chosed not to submerge. The flagship of the Japanese Navy WASN'T fleeing from only two fighters, be they as modern and strange as they wanted to be.

Above the clouds the battle was ragging. At first Chiisai and Jaired had been weary of the true capabilities of their shields on the real world, but once they noticed the radar-gided MRMs and heat-gided SRMs of the F-25s were unable to punch through them they started picking them off one by one. Then one of the desperate fighter pilots oppened up with his nose-mounted 30mm Gatling. The burst punched Cora's shields right out, and althoug the armor held, this time, both kids became much more cautious. Having noticed that, the remaining F-25 pilots closed, and a conventional dogfight, the first one on almost a quarter of century, started above the Sea of Japan.

The missile crews of the scort ships were not impressed, at all, with the romanticism of the situation, their corvette-sized SAMs being the cause of endless trouble for Chiisai, who lacked the powerful ECM system of the Archon. '<Jai, do high cover for me for a time, will you?>' He closed again Cora's thruters, his Mek dropping like a rock in a way no plane could imitate. He leveled again at 200 feet, just low enough so the SAMs could not target him. Now his only troubles were the Phalanxes, the surface guns loaded with flack, and Jaired being able of keeping that ugly 30mm rounds from his back. He looked at his screen's target analizer. Grinning, he set course straigth for a big missile cruiser, then, as the ship's batteries started firing, he let them hit him, then submersed Cora under the water.

The cruiser's crew were exultating. His first kill! Even the sonar operator cheered on. He wasn't looking at his screen. He didn't see Cora streaking, carried by her momentum, towards the ship, like a fifteen-meter torpedo.

Chissai once said, "you don't need enviromental protection, only the guts to cope with the dificulties", Jaired remembered, looking down. As expected, he saw the cruiser's stern bloosoming on a ball of rising smoke and water as Cora's oversized main gun fired underwater at point-blank range. The cruiser shaked, deadly wounded, while her crew scrambled frantically to the liferafts. Jaired laughed out, dropping into the sea like a diving pelican. He saw Cora climbing out of the water over the cruiser, then activating again her thrusters and taking the air. Well, he could actually move under the water. He targeted an Aegis destroyer, closed for the kill, opened fire, holed it under the waterline. Scratch two. Then the ASW ships started firing torpedoes and he had to take the air again. He saw Chissai had landed on another cruiser's deck and was meticulously turning by sheer force one of its main batteries towards another Aegis destroyer, then fired Cora's gun into the turret's open door, igniting the ammo. The huge guns fired. Scratch another destroyer.

The funny part, Jaired laughed, was that a couple of heavy missiles tracking Cora had acquired the cruiser. Scratch four. Laughing over the intercom, both kids keep fighting.


Twenty minutes later, both Mektons had cleared, chopped, hacked and just plain blown up his path across the entire JSDF navy towards the Yamato. '<It's big... It's fragging BIG!>', Chiisai muttered over the radio. It was not the most original thing to say, but he had to say something.

The flechette-loaded main batteries fired.

Both VMs were shaked and thrown and turned upside down like rag puppets by the sheer strength of the blast. Cora's reactive matter shield went down but held noticeably well, tough, most of the sharp metal flechettes not geting trough it. Jaired's pinpoint shield, however, was of no good against the huge scatershot blast. His mecha seemed to blossom on a fireball. Chiisai looked at the blast, atonished, then he feelt his blood surge. His war cry rivalled the echoes of the guns' barrage.

'Ho ka HEYYYYYYYYYYYY!!

Cora dove towards the Yamato, the ship's CIDS laying what would have been a deadly pattern of fire. Chiisai simply ignored the fire, letting the laser fire to be reflected harmlessly by his still up energy shield, the conventional Phalanxes 20mm rounds to bonce like hornets against his armor, flying straight down towards the ship's bridge. Any moment a heavyer AA gun would rip him to pieces. Any moment a missile could hit him. Any moment a surviving plane would get his tail and send him with Jaired. He didn't care a blast.

Cora started firing.

The Yamato's flag bridge exploded on a ball of plasma and laser fire. The migthy ship's superstructure bloosomed with smoke. The surviving bridge crew would be undoubtly stunned, but the 2IC took charge very quickly from the well-protected battle bridge. The supercarrier started closing her flight decks, readying itself for inmersion. 'No, you won't. Chiisai Batta won't let you go.' Cora turned for another pass.

Then the Archon dropped both heavy bombs into the ship's still-closing decks.

The retarded-blast bombs rolled under the flight decks, one of them slipped into the magazine elevators. Both bombs exploded. The Yamato, shaken by internal explosions, finished submerging, then the exploding magazine made her blossoming into a descomunal column of water rising upwards to the clouds.

Chiisai wasn't looking at the explosion, tough. '<Wha...>

'<You're not the only one who knows how to do funny tricks!>

'<Will you stop making smug jokes and explain me how living demons out of Hell walking the Earth aren't you dead, please!?!>

'<I simply covered myself with arms and legs. The blast blew all the limbs of my mecha, but the torso wasn't destroyed. I was without gravitics, shield, ECM, sensors nor guns, but alive. And thank you, my friend, for tipping me of placing on the torso those thrusters-hydrojets and placing enough of them to fly, since I managed to rise from the water with only 23.1% thrust.>

'<I believed you dead!>

'<I noticed. They did, too, since no-one fired at me while you were doing that nice straffing run. You scared them enough to submerge, I managed to slip my bombs under his tilting decks...>

'<...and that was the only way we had of taking out a ship so big!>

'<'Twas. So, since my mek is no more battleworthy and I do have fuel for only five Km left, would you be so kind as to giving me taxi?>

'Not a chance,' boomed one voice on his VM pods. The screens went blank, and the seals hissed softly while the doors opened. As both kids removed their VR gear, they saw "Auzzie", Natsumi, Yuriko, Keiko and Isa crowded around their pods, cheering them. 'Right now this guy's gonna give taxi only to one person -me!', asserted Isa. 'Hai, Isa-samma', joked Chiisai bowing deeply, mainly to hide his face's expresion.

'So, who was the maniac one who coded this scenario?', asked Jaired to "the King". 'I dunno, but I guessed it could be a nice birthday present to both of you, since both your birthdays are this week. 'Next time gimme a pie. This one is too weird. It is the first time I use the VM pod to play Blaze III, and I didn't liked having to figth before boarding my VM. 'Next time I'll send you a pie. Now, tell me, how's the feeling of this scenario?, two lone kids against our entire Navy? 'Well, I laughed when Chii tricked that virtual soldier into grabbing the lantern he had on his hand, but was the only funny thing of the entire game. Too dark for my tastes. I'm still wondering who could program such a thing...


Far, far away, a man turned a computer viewscreen off. Jaired's face flickered for a moment, then the screen went blank. The man punched a code on a secure-line phone. 'Field test satisfactory. Proceed with Fase 3...


Note: The Yamato II was inspired by the Blue Noah / Thunder Sub, the COOLEST ship I've ever seen on any Anime series!

 

Story writen by LITTLE LOCUS