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Chapter 1 of Hyperion.
Nassau Military Base, Nassau Republic, Mars. August 10th, 2336 standard, 1775 hours local.
Drake turned the corner of the pristine white hall, leaving the med-bay as part of his routine post-operation decompression, psyche evaluation and mission debriefing, following any military events in a Exoskeleton Mechanized Energy Robotic Assault Vehicles.
Exo’s for short.
Drake turned another corner, his shiny, regulation boots thumping rhythmically on the concrete of the hallway. He wore Standard Blues, regulation apparel for all off duty personnel. Drake had other colors in his quarters for other occasions.
Drake continued down the many corridors, other officers and medical staff passing him, busy with their own work. He smiled and nodded to anyone who made eye-contact with him. He was somewhat tired after his SPEC-Run in his new Exo, the last one he had didn’t fare well after the dust cleared from the most recent attack. Drake was known for over-aggressive moves, pushing his Exo to the limit. Through all the military’s Exo pilots, it was generally accepted that Drake was the best Exo pilot in all of the Nassau Mars Military Base.
Drake entered the Hangar. It was a hot, humid environment, much like the planet’s surface, due to the constant amount of work being done. Exo’s stood in different locations, some being worked on by multiple mechanics, some standing silent and waiting for the next operation. Sparks scattered on the floor from one Exo, as the metal plating was re-welded and reinforced. Tubes and hoses extended from another, steam rising from leaks as coolants and other fluids were pumped into it. Another Exo lay on its back, scaffolding surrounding it, on a powered slab. Battle scarring and bullet marks peppered its hull.
The Military paid for the construction and upkeep of the Mars Exoforce, but the machines themselves belonged to the men and women who built and kept them going, through all the abuse the pilot put the Exo through. With so many different upgrades, repairs and work done on each machine, the Lead Mechanic was primarily the owner, due to the fact that without him, no-other mechanic would be able to know the extent of all work ever done on a particular Exo. It had been this way since the invention of mechanized combat, and wasn’t likely to change as long as the war machines needed repairs. Drake walked down the line of Exo’s, and came to his own. He spotted his own mechanic Arnold, shouting orders to his assistants as they completed work on Drake’s Exo. “Get that coolant hose hooked up, before the reservoir cracks!” He turned to Drake, and leaned up against the Exo’s armored bulk.
“So? How’s it run?” He asked.
Drake sat against a railing. “Awesome! I never thought I could do a dive-and-roll maneuver in a combat mecha.”
Arnold looked up at the dirt caked on the Exo’s side. “Neither did I. Wow… That’s gonna take a while to clean.”
Both of them were rookies. They had both graduated from their respective academies at about the same time and both of them had been at the top of their class. “How d’you like the weapon fit?” This was part of any pilot’s after mission briefing. It was always a good idea to confer with the mechanic and alert him to any glitches or problems. NIFS could detect glitches during an operation that an engineer might miss.
“Damn,” Drake laughed “that Cobra gun kicks ass! I blew the main torque bus out through the guy’s spine. Missiles are great too. Blazer is a little weak though. I suppose it’s supposed to be. It’s great for exploiting armor breaches though. Keep it, and the missiles.”
“Any other idea for the handheld weapons, or do you want to keep the Cobra?”
“What do you suggest?”
“Either the Cobra, or one of those new Phased-Pulse Accelerators.”
“I’ll see if I can get you one. New weapon, hot off the drawing board. Rapid fire matter accelerator, fires an almost solid beam of energized atoms. Should be pretty devastating, but it hasn’t been field tested like the Cobra, or Gauss rifle. If you want, I can probably get you a test model.”
“Test model? I don’t know if I like that idea.”
“Don’t worry, they’ve been tested extensively already, they just need an operational field tester. You up for it? I’ve read all the specs, this thing should really kick some ass.”
Drake looked skeptical. “Alright Arnie, you’re the weapons geek. I’ll take your advice on this, see if you can scare one up.”
Arnold beamed. “Good choice. I’ll have that armor fixed up by dinner, and I’ll load your ammo back up. We should have that new gun in a day or so.”
Drake narrowed his eyes. “You already ordered the thing, didn’t you?”
Arnold feigned innocence. “No! Of course not!”
“You’re really something else, you know that?”
“Yessir!” Arnold saluted. “Semper Fi!”
Drake smiled and shook his head and walked out of the Hangar.
|- Hyperion Prologue|