Untitled Mecha Side-Project

Taking a break from my (terrible) fantasy story to try my hand at a sci-fi story about mechas and mecha combat.

Please comment your thoughts, and I hope you enjoy!

(Fixed italics.)

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1. Trainees

Left hydraulics damaged.” The accented warning message drones on as Jaco’s mecha shakes from an impact. I can’t see a damn thing! A stern female voice comes in over the comms.

 

“Put on the headset and flip the bright green switch! You should know how this works already.” He follows the orders, and lo and behold, the screen in front of him flickers to life, exposing a debris-filled scene. Immediately, he sees a rocket flying straight towards him.

 

“Oh, shit!” He yells as he pulls a control stick sharply to one side, causing him to lurch to the right. Mirno’s really not letting up! A solid impact lands at his back, and the legs automatically catch him from falling over. How does she move so quickly?! He runs to cover in the wreckage of a collapsed building, and scans the environment. Alright, where is she…  He spots a vaguely mech-shaped silhouette standing in smoke, and unleashes a swarm of high-caliber bullets into it. “I’ve got you now, Mirno!” Right as he yells this, he sees a large, metallic hand thrust its way under the hatch.

 

“Got who?” She asks as she rips it open, and points a gun into Jaco’s face. The ruined cityscape fades away, and everything goes black.

 

“Well, you got me again.” Jaco sighs as he rips the VR headset from his head. “I didn’t even scratch you this time!” He climbs from the simulated mech cockpit to find Mirno eagerly waiting for him. It was only our second time taking the VR courses after our request to transfer from the R&D branch went through, and Mirno had seemingly mastered it already. “There’s so many different kinds of mechas, and they decide to make the one we’ll be training with for the next week some piece of outdated junk?”

 

“Stop trying to blame the mecha for your piloting error. It’s an outdated model for sure, but that doesn’t make it useless.”  She turns and begins to walk away, beckoning for him to follow. “Let’s get some lunch, and then we’ll try it again. You may be able to do something if you actually paid attention, you know.”

 

“Yeah, yeah. How about you teach me some of those moves you seem to pull off so easily?” She ruffles through her bag and pulls out a book titled Advanced Piloting, and hands it to him.

 

“Here, familiarize yourself with this.”

 

“No fair! Where’d you get this?”

 

“They were handing them out during class today, but you rushed off to the training sector the second you thought the lesson was over, and missed out. I went ahead and grabbed two of them.” Jaco sifts through the first few pages and tucks it into his bag as they enter the canteen. He looks around at the many open tables and chairs.

 

“Not a lot of people here today, huh?”

 

“There’s a lot of people busy working on the upcoming training courses. Apparently, we’ll have a chance to pick our own mecha and fight with it in a few spectated events. A tournament of sorts, where everyone will be given a rank afterwards, so that they can see who needs the most training and guidance.” They grab a plate of food each, and sit at an empty table.

 

“How come I’m only just now hearing about this?”

 

“You rushed out of class before it could be explained!”

 

“Well, so long as I can pick something other than that dusty old model they use for VR training, I’ll be fine. I just need something less… clunky.” Mirno says as an energetic girl runs into the canteen, and plops down right next to her.

 

“Hey there, pro! I just watched your last VR session and wanted to tell you what a great job you’ve been doing! And Jaco, I’m disappointed in you! You didn’t even scratch her!” Before anyone can respond, she pulls out a book and slams it on the table. “Anyways, I need you two to pick a mecha for the upcoming trainee tournament!” She beams. Each page lists a specific mecha, and shows a detailed illustration and description of it. She pulls out another book and hands it to Jaco. “Just make sure you get back to me before the tournament!” Jaco and Mirno flip through the book, looking at many different designs.

 

“I want something with plenty of armor and firepower.” Jaco responds. She grabs the book and flips to a page showing a large, bipedal mecha with a high-caliber machine gun mounted on its shoulder, and a massive railgun on its back. It’s got a very wide, rounded shape to the cockpit.

 

“This is exactly what you’re looking for! The Striker model 11b features a new kind of lockdown mode, where it implements experimental shield technology as it stabilizes itself for using the railgun on top. You can’t move while locked down, but you also can’t use the railgun while moving. The best way to use it is to go into lockdown atop a hill or high place, and use the powerful railgun to punch holes straight through most other mecha models! You can also disengage the railgun to increase the running speed to almost 60 miles per hour! Like most mecha models, it also features two fully-functional arms for grabbing, and grappling. Other weaponry include two arm-mounted machine guns, and a rocket pod.”

 

“Sounds perfect! I’ll take it. What about you, Mirno?”

 

“I just need something with high speed and mobility.” She responds. The girl flips through the book, and lands on a page showing a slightly smaller mecha, sporting long, slender legs.

 

“Here’s your girl! Raptor model 13a, featuring sprinting speeds up to 80 miles per hour, capable of jumping 20 feet into the air, and a built-in air-jet system for controlling in mid-air. It can stop and turn on a dime, and the weaponry is nothing to sneeze at either, featuring a short-range flechette cannon and medium-range precision cannon, both capable of doing some serious damage in the right hands!” She just about falls out of the chair in excitement.

 

“What about the reactor and cooling systems?”

 

“No worries, everything is up-to-date with the latest stable technology,and is all examined extensively by yours truly! So, are we all settled?”

 

“Will we be able to practice with them beforehand?”

 

“Nope. That’s also a part of the tournament, to test everyone’s ability to learn on the fly! Just familiarize yourselves with the basic and advanced piloting books and do some VR training for the next week, and you should be fine. Good luck!” The girl sings as she leaves the canteen. They finish eating their food, and enter the glass corridor connecting the canteen to the main base. Mirno walks up to the window, and peers out at a large submarine exiting the moonpool at the other end of the base. I keep forgetting how far from the surface this place really is. It’s quite lonely down here. Jaco notices her looking out through the glass and approaches her.

 

“Hey, something going on?”

 

“Just looking out at the ocean. Let’s get back to training.” They walk back to the training room and Jaco pulls out his advanced piloting guide. He reads through as Mirno sets the machines up.

 

“So what’s your secret?”

 

“I pay attention.” She quips. “Alright, are you ready for another round?”

 

“Are you ready to go easy on me?”

 

“They aren’t going to go easy on you during the tournament, you know.”

 

“Fine. I won’t let you win so easily this time though.”

 

“It isn’t about winning, it’s about learning.” They climb into the cockpit and put on their VR helmets. A familiar robotic voice speaks.

 

Ready? Go!A simulated cockpit materializes around them. Mirno immediately activates the optics, and dashes into the shadows of a ruined building. A few seconds behind, Jaco does the same. He scans the environment as he runs through the shadows. He hears something behind him, skids to a halt, and unloads into nothingness. An impact nearly knocks him from his feet.

 

Left hydraulics damaged.Damn, again?! He scans around the inside of his mecha, and notices a list of armaments. One word jumps out at him from the list. Landmines?! So I guess that’s what she meant by pay attention… He hears heavy footsteps in the distance, and runs towards them, being careful not to step on another landmine. He hears an explosion, the ground beneath his feet begins to shake, and dust clouds form. What’s going on?! He looks towards the sky to see a tall building falling towards him. Mirno exposes herself, and releases a swarm of rockets towards him. As they hit, the warning message echoes throughout his mecha’s cockpit. “Left hydraulics critical!I can’t move! Mirno’s voice comes in over the comms.

 

“You leave your left side too open!” She yells as Jaco shoots a rocket at the falling building, blasting a hole into it. It collapses around him, leaving him mostly unscathed. He thinks of what to do as the dust around him settles. Mirno thinks. The simulation hasn’t ended yet, I guess he’s still okay. But where is he? Right as she finishes thinking, an impact from behind shakes her mecha. She turns around, sprinting backwards to see Jaco’s injured mecha hobbling away. She unloads the rest of her rockets into him in a fiery explosion. The scenery fades to black, and they take off their headsets.

 

“I scratched you!” Jaco yells in excitement.

 

“Good thinking to avoid the falling building, but if you would have paid attention sooner you would have known to watch out for landmines.” I was careless… I had wagered that the building would have ended it, and I let him slip behind me.

 

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