Chapter Three of Raven’s Valour: N00bed
By: Neko Incarnate, Mr. Gravity, et moi: Silent Invictus
After Tyen left I spent another few minutes talking with Andrews before heading off to my rooms myself. I made my way to the professor’s quarters and quickly typed in my pass code.
Sighing, I slowly stripped off my outer robes and dropped them onto the chair by my desk. I wanted no more than to go to sleep, but I know Tyen and his strange habits.
He can fall asleep anywhere, but then wake up for no reason at all, wanting to talk. It never bothered him that it might two in the morning when he called. I’m used to it by now.
So I sat, and waited, graded a few quizzes, and waited some more for the inevitable call. I must have begun to doze, because when I finally did hear the feminine voice telling me I had a call on the line, I jerked upright. I tapped the ‘Accept’ button on the console and waited for him to start. (I was actually grateful for one thing about the early morning calls: they were voice only. Tyen had the habit of sleeping in the nude, and that was definitely something I NEVER wanted to see.)
“I don’t know if I can trust the rookie.” Tyen started, his voice still slightly raspy from sleep.
“We just met him Tyen.” I said shaking my head, “you can’t judge people that fast.”
“I talked with him earlier today.” He contradicted. “He called me a freak.”
I pinched the bridge of my nose in frustration and wondered about how a man that was so stoic could be so sensitive over a name. “Tyen, what do you want to do about it? The headmaster has already approved him for the team, so you might as well learn to get along with him.”
“Oh I’ll be nice, Mother,” Tyen said with false sweetness. “That doesn’t mean that I have to play fair.” I could almost hear the wolfish grin on his face. I then listened patiently to his plan. I could faintly feel Alfred’s disapproval, and Sue’s contradicting excitement.
Though, after listening to the plan, I had to admit, it sounded like fun. “Oh alright Tyen, I’ll help. But I promise you, here and now… I will win.” I stood, groaning at the stiffness my muscles had taken. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
And with the sound of his disbelieving snort, I canceled the call and made my way to my bedroom and changed into my nightclothes. I stumbled over the edge of the rug and practically fell into bed, nearly hitting my head on the wall. Before my eyes shut I glanced at the clock and whacked it until it said that the alarm was set.
4 hours and one really weird dream later.
“So what kind of training do we have for today?” Andrews’ voice crackled over the communications’ link.
“Maneuvering, teamwork, tactics, and combat. You know, a general test of your abilities.” Tyen’s voice was even and calm like always as we continued into the hills.
“Yeah,” I continued, picking up on our planned speech. “You’ve been tested for one prerequisite. That doesn’t mean that you’re ready for the team.”
“But the headmaster said I pass—”
“Ultimately we have the last say on this. This is our team and because of our abilities, no one else is really qualified to say who’s in or out.” Tyen stated smoothly.
I cut Andrews off before he could begin whining again and sent Tyen a private message, “Let’s get this party started, shall we?”
Finally we crested the hill where Tyen and I had decided we would ‘test’ him and we let him take in the landscape while Tyen and I moved into our pre-planned positions.
“Right,” I said, gaining Andrews’ attention. “Prep your weapons quickly so we can check out Tyen’s work.”
“Right, um before we start can you just clarify something?”
I sighed, “Go ahead.”
“Okay. Tyen is a psychotic, distrusting, ex-mercenary, mechanic, who can read minds. And you’re a mentally unstable, explosives expert suffering from multiple personality disorder, is that all?”
“Ah hell no! That's just the good news, rookie! But enough talk. Begin round one, DING!”
He didn't have a chance. The first volley from my Gatling gun hit him square in the chest, but his reflexes were surprising. Only a half dozen shots hit him, before his boosters fired. His AC blurred on the console as the refresh rate tried to keep up with his movements, his verbal assault was a little easier to follow.
“WHAT THE HELL?! BITCH, KNOCK IT OFF!”
I decided to focus on his sporadic movements. Damn he was fast. My right arm whipped out and let off a couple rounds from my shotgun. One was lucky and scratched the paint off his arm. His movements were still a blur.
Quick boost right.
My tracking could barely keep up with him and then he was on me.
Things seemed to slow down as his right arm pulled back and a large hole in the palm formed, glowing like coals, just ready for some lighter fluid.
Bugger. I fired the jump jets as the blue flames erupted. A mechanical voice blipped on.
<Core Armor- 88%>
“Note to self. Blue. Fire. Bad. Gotta keep my distance.” I was more than half a mile in the air when I powered up my QR-SM's (Quick Reaction Surface Missiles). Four small missiles shot out on a vertical descent: swerving and curling, each trying to calculate his next movements. Andrews hit the over boost, flying toward the center of the missile pack. At the last second he dodged down, the missiles arced high, two collide leaving a ball of flames in his wake.
For the second time in this fight, he was right in front of me: the candle igniting. I got a shot off with the shotgun. The shrapnel tore down his right arm but the flamethrower still fired, melting the barrel and igniting the other shells. The explosion threw us apart.
I blacked out for a second. My vision was blurred, and I was upside down.
The now familiar voice called out a dire message in a strangely calm voice:
<WARNING! WARNING! Unsafe Descent. IMPACT. 5...4...3- >
Instinctively I fired the thrusters, rolling my AC to look skyward, and opened the throttle. The impact was like thunder in the mountains. As metal and stone grated against each other. I dug my free hand in to slow my reckless slide. My targeting screen automatically centered on him. The explosion had dented his torso and left black streaks of soot. As he fell he fired his boosters, landing smoothly.
“Not bad rookie, you've got some promise.” Quickly I switched channels. “Tyen quit laughing dammit, and get your ass down here!” I could hear his uncontrolled laughter causing static on the com- link.
Andrews was back up and charging his over boost. Then I saw them.
“Um- heh heh. Andrews...you may want to turn around.” the last two AC-SM's were back.
He turned and the missiles hit. Fire roiled out, as shrapnel landed in heaps.
“They always come back to haunt you. Thanks for all that help, Tyen. Lets see-”
I never finished. He appeared out of thin air. It wasn't just speed. There was empty space and then, a blackened AC, standing pointblank, both arms out; palms alight like the fire of hell itself. A flash of blue was all i saw before the screen went dark.
WARNING! WARNING! Core temperature rising. Activating fire safety procedures.
Dumping ammunition. Coolant released. System failure-
There was pitch black and I was falling. A vast nothing, and then the ground caught up. I may have blacked out but really I couldn't tell. The first thing I did was find the console. I hit the start up override and a dim light appeared.
The console began relaying an analysis.
<Core armor- 23%
Right arm- disabled
Left arm- disabled
I groaned as more bad news scrolled past.
“Computer external sensors?”
Activating forward cameras.>
The analysis slid to the side as the voice continued. My view of the battle field was rather lopsided.
Somehow I had managed to fall sideways, after the attack. What little I could see, didn't look promising. Tyen was up close with his sword matching Brewer's speed. Tyen would dodge a fire blast and jump forward with a sword stroke, and then Brewer would just be gone. Gone, as in not there. Not just hard to see, or faster than the cameras. He would completely disappear. Then a split second later a blast of fire would come from a different direction, and Tyen would have to boost away. But no matter how fast Andrews changed positions, Tyen seemed to know exactly where to boost from every time.
“So this is why your here rookie.” I scratched the stubble on my chin, anxiously. This did not look good. I watched completely enthralled, by the strange dance.
Dodge, slash, duck, stab, boost, spin, fire.
My vision started to blur and I had to shake myself to clear my head. I almost didn't hear it. I stopped the damage check and scrolled back up. There it was.
“Oh yeah. I'm not out yet.”
I began typing furiously, diverting power, rebooting the system, and putting my plan into action.
As I typed I could hear the battle continue outside; bursts of flame and the grating of AC's trying to gain traction on the stone. It felt like forever. But finally the computer beeped.
<System primed. Activate?>
My screen blacked out. I heard the wave sweep across the field, rattling the metal shards of armor and shrapnel. Then there was a massive crash as two large masses collided and fell.
I reached up and opened the hatch. It took a second to find away to the top of my fallen AC. The Armor had been severely melted and twisted. I continued to the top so I could survey the battlefield.
Less than two hundred meters away, two AC's lay motionless. Brewer's had apparently been boosting forward, because his had taken a face plant into the soft earth of the hills and Tyen's was loosely strung across the other; several burn marks lacing its lower arms and legs. A second later both pilots appeared and began swearing profusely. I just smiled, and called out with a grin: