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Mech Battle 9 - Eden

Written by BlackPhoenix

The planet Eden looks exactly like the name suggests. A beautiful land of peace and harmony, the planet consisted of a vast ocean full of life with just one continent about the size of Texas on old earth. The population of Eden consisted mainly of farmers and they liked it that way. Tilling the soil, close to the ground and God. They had no uses for modern things. They shunned electronics and mechanical conveyances. They were a simple people who left others alone and wanted to just be left alone. Life was good on Eden. Then an unmanned probe found Beryllium on the planet. The probe belonged to Comstar. Having no detection equipment or ever needing any until now, those who lived there had no idea what was to come.

One bright Sunday morning as the sun climbed slowly into the sky as a sweet breeze blew across the fields. The unsuspecting inhabitants of this small planet went about their worship services. The mining ships arrived. Huge automated machines that raped a planet, removing everything of the slightest value and dumping the slag into great mounds of worthless leftovers. They landed right in the middle of the only town on the planet and started digging before the inhabitants could even react. The long stabilizers burrowed deep into the soil and anchored the equipment. The processing equipment set up by the fresh water sea and started dredging a wash channel into deep water as suction pumps filled massive sediment tanks in preparation for the soon to arrive raw ore. There was no one to appeal to, and no one to stop the machines. The residents fled into the hills trying to escape the heartless pillaging of their land. Their prayers to God seemed to go unanswered. Robot collectors followed them into the hills, but they followed to strip-mine the high places for Comstar, to whom the raw materials of war were more important, than human lives.

As if this was not enough trouble, a few of the younger residents express their discontent by little acts of non-compliance, metal pieces tossed in delicate machinery. Large stones plugged the intakes and other little annoyances that slowed the mining process. This brought even more repercussions. A garrison of 5 Warhammers was stationed on planet to eliminate these slow downs. If citizens were even seen they were eliminated. All buildings and cave entrances that could be found were destroyed. Anything that could be used to shelter the residents was wiped out. Crops were burned, animals butchered and shipped to storehouses on other planets. There must be no way for the resistors to survive. It appeared as if the serpent had returned to Eden, and he wore a Comstar patch on his chest.

His name was RedJack, and he was an infiltrator. Everyone needed a talent and this was his. He could get in and get out of just about any situation. Given a mission thought to be impossible was only a challenge. The best spy in Pendragon, RedJack had managed to bring back more information than any other four spies. He had nothing in his life and needed nothing in his life, he said that was what made him survive, no one but himself to worry about.

The new mining operation on Eden did not go unnoticed by Pendragon forces. After shipments started to go out from the new base it was decided by the high command to do something at once. The job was to go in access the situation and destroy the mining equipment along with anything else of use to Comstar. This assignment fell to the best, RedJack.

The letter arrived in the usual way. As RedJack sat in the mess hall alone, (no one liked to be seen with the "spook".) The messenger arrived. Jack placed his thumb on the ID scanned and waited as the little machine did its work. The green light appeared and the little beep went off. The messenger looked at the tiny screen then saluted and handed RJ the sealed envelope. The seal of the Khan stood out on the back. "Impressive" he said in a voice just barely audible. He cracked the large wax seal and pulled out the single sheet of paper.

"Good Morning RedJack,

It is with a heavy heart that I must again ask you to place yourself in grave danger for the good of the clan. I would not do this if there were any other option open to us. I apologize.

On the planet Eden, Comstar has opened a massive mining operation. As usual the planet ecology has been destroyed along with all life than had been there. This operation must be stopped. For Comstar to be this brazen on a populated planet shows how desperate they have become. Your mission should you decide to accept it is to plant a small high yield mercury device in proximity of the mining equipment. Then set enough standard explosives to destroy other equipment vital to Comstar production. Your discretion is again appreciated. As usual should you be caught or killed the Ambassador will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck RedJack.


Khan, Clan Pendragon"

The standard assignment get in, blow stuff up, and get out. Things never change. RJ placed the papers on his food tray and lit them on fire. The coated paper flashed and disappeared, not even ashes left. He gulped his coffee and headed for the door.

The dropship came in low on a flat course. A thick layer of pollution that obscured visibility already covered the single landmass. Comstar wasted little time. The ship put RJ who was in his little elemental into the water about 1 kilometer from the shore. The little mech was watertight and started its trip by walking on the bottom of the fresh Water Sea headed for land. A large pack was strapped to its back holding the deadly cargo. As it came out of the surf looking around for anything that might be a danger. The only thing visible were piles of useless dirt falling into the sea. Picking his way along at reduced speed because of the extra weight the little mech move toward the Comstar machines. The night covered his movements, and the smog only added to the darkness that was in his favor. The strong lights along the parameter only offered a bright globe in the darkness. The dirt in the air made them all but useless. He approached the large main digging machine that spewed a thick cloud of dirt into the air allowing it to fall where it may.

The main mining operation was automated so there would be few, if any personal about. RJ moving quietly into the compound, walking slowly toward the center and main machine RJ planted the mercury explosive in the mess of wires and cables under the structure. He then moved toward the building that would have to be the barracks of the garrison. Four of the large Warhammers stood in line in front of it. The steps that allowed the pilots access to the cockpit were leaned against the war machine. RedJack put small explosive bundles on to the legs of the machines right on top of the ammunition-loading hatch. Four here that meant one Warhammer was still in the area.   Looking cautiously around there was no sign of the machine.  As RJ affixed a charge to one of the vehicles in the yard his radar pinged once.  This caused him to freeze.  Movement attracted more attention than bright colors.  The one blip was all that came through the headphones, nothing showed on the radar.   RJ went back to work with one eye on the radarscope.  As he connected the wiring to the detonator the radar pinged again.  RJ froze.  The contact was moving away.   He had been seen.  The target was moving toward the hill 200 meters away and making good time.  He had to stop them before he could report.  A quick burp of the jump jets and the distance closed to fifty meters. Through the magnified visor of the cockpit RJ saw something dart into a cave entrance.  It must be a listening post away from the base in case of attack.  In a few quick strides the Elemental was at the entrance.  It was darker than anything he had ever seen, nothing was there but blackness.  Using his external camera RJ tried to catch a quick glimpse inside.   No chance! That man could be reporting his position right this second.  Only one thing to do.  RJ hit the external lights on his machine and stepped into the cave mouth the heavy machinegun mounted in his left arm at the ready.  The bright lights filled the cave with their artificial sun.  In the corner trying to look small was a creature.  The light caused it to cower in fear.  RJ lessened the intensity of the lights and slowly moved forward.  It was a child, though it was hard to tell. Intelligence had reported that all the residents were dead and the planet was uninhabited, (except for Comstar.) This was not the first time they had been wrong.  It did appear to be a child, covered in a mixture of dirt, blood, and assorted grim.  Thin frail and its hair matted into one big ball.  With the lights dimmed RJ moved forward.   The little thing was terrified.  An Elemental is just a suit of powered armor with a man inside but it still weighs a ton and is 7 feet tall.  An impressive sight to someone so small, RJ took a chance and raised his bubble shaped visor to let the small one see he was human in side all this metal.  This did nothing to help the situation the little one would not come anywhere near him.  From what he could see he knew that it had to be hungry and thirsty.  He drew a small portion of water from his mouth tube and spit it in a stream on the ground and motioned for the tiny human to come.   The eyes looked at his face then to the water on the cave floor.  RJ did it again.  This time the thin little thing raised a bit to get a better look.  RJ took a mouthful from the access tube and made a production of swallowing it.  He then motioned for the small one to come and pointed to the tube.  It stretched up as far as its little neck would allow trying to look into the armor to where the water came from.   RJ sat back as best he could and leaned over also as far as the armor allowed to let it see inside.  The Dirty kid came to him slowly and peered into the cockpit.   RJ took another drink to show where the tube was, then pulled his head as far back into the helmet as he could to allow the kid to drink.  The kid got the idea and crammed its head into the helmet and slurped desperately at the access tube.  Boy this thing stunk was all RJ could think of as the matted hair brushed against his face.   The armor made it impossible for him to brush it away.  After about 2 minutes the kid pulled back and RJ took a deep breath.  Using the back of its hand the little dirt ball wiped at its mouth to remove the dribble of left over water from its chin.   This made a clean spot. It was a child and was human not just humanoid.  RJ sucked on the ration tube and made a production of chewing the paste like substance, not a lot of instruction was needed this time the idea was instantly accepted.  RJ barely had time to get out of the way as the dirty little body climbed up the armor to find the feeding tube.  In less than 10 minutes the kid had eaten ΒΌ of RJ’s rations.   The kid climbed down and sat in the dirt at the armored feet.  RJ hoped that this planet didn’t have any diseases deadly to him and wished he could wipe the end of the tube off but it was too late to worry now.  He looked into the big blue eyes and touching his chest said,

"RED" he tapped his armored chest and repeated "RED, I am RED."

This brought no response oh well too much to hope that it understood English anyway.  At this point the clock on his internal read out started to beep. "Crap pick up time" Red closed the visor and rose.  The kid moved back a little but didn’t run away.  RJ turned and headed to the entrance.  There he stopped and looked back.  The kid had no idea his planet was about to be destroyed, and just sat there.  The only word that came to mind was "CRAP" He could not just leave it there to die in the blast now could he.  He walked back and looked down at the kid.  RJ hated people, kids especially.  Why was this kind of stuff always happening to him.  He swung the near empty ammunition pack to the front of the armor he took the one remaining explosive charge and used the magnets that were built into it to lock it to the front of his armor.  Then he grabbed the now protesting child and stuffed it into the pack.  The kid was nothing but arms and legs and did not want to go in.  But he managed to get it in place with out crushing it.  An Elemental is not known for a delicate touch. He let the kid keep its head out so the panic would subside and they moved away toward the pick up point. Right on schedule the first of the smaller explosions went off.  The little mech took the heat and shockwave on the back and never slowed.  Covering ground like an apache scout the little mech with the smaller cargo headed for the extraction area at best speed. Between the slagheaps came a sound that was way too familiar to RJ.  A large mech was crashing along and seemed to be coming his way.  Just then the internal computer started screaming that radar had locked on to him.  RJ bumped the jets and the little mech shot forward and up.   Missiles slammed into where they had been 10 seconds ago.  RedJack remembered his cargo and placed the unheard but noticeably screaming package on top of one of the heaps of useless material as he passed and kept moving hoping the metal monster would concentrate on him and not dropped Items.

The little elemental was much faster than the lumbering Warhammer, but the Warhammer was nothing but armor and weapons systems.  The Elemental had no chance in a stand up fight.  Time to get sneaky.  RJ ran around a large pile of slag and hid behind an outcropping then he powered down the Elemental.  This would remove him from the enemy radar. Standing there powerless he watched the massive legs of the Warhammer past less than 20 feet in front of him.  As they passed he hit the power up switch.  This would show on the enemy radar but he was under the big machine and would be hard to see.  As power came to the systems RJ set the time for the explosive charge to 10 seconds and tossed it against the belly of the mech, the strong magnets locked it to the first piece of metal it contacted.  RJ was in the air just off the ground at maximum speed when the explosion went off. The concussion hit with all of its force.  The little Elemental hit the ground hard.  The system warnings were going off for all major systems. The little mech bounced twice and came to rest on its side.  Charred, smoking, and badly damaged.

As consciousness slowly returned to RJ he had the sensation of some one pulling at him.  He opened his eyes to see a Pendragon uniform rolling him to his back.   He was still in his armor and still on the ground.  The visor was shattered and he could hear the men talking about getting him out of the now dead elemental and how they had very little time to do it.  Then a sound drew his attention.  It was a high scream. Turning his head hurt, but he managed it.  A Star Captain was holding the kid by what would have been the collar if the clothes were in better shape and was shaking it and yelling at it to be still.

"Let em go" RJ mumbled. The Captain stopped the shaking and looked at RJ. "What did you say?" he asked. In a louder voice RJ replied "Let em go now!"

The Reply to this was. "Be quiet Warrior while they cut you out I can handle this thank you." The Captain motioned for his men to continue.  The heavy caliber machinegun appeared from the Elementals forearm as if by magic.  It sprayed the air with 50 rounds of exploding ammunition in less than 3 seconds and then tracked to point at the Captains head. "I SAID LET HIM GO NOW!" everyone froze.  The Star Captain released the small child and it hit the ground hard. The screaming stopped and on dirty knees the child crawled to RJ and took the cold mechanical hand and held on.   The machinegun returned to its hidden compartment and RJ slipped into darkness.   As he lay in the hospital RJ was told that the little girl, (he was surprised to find out it was a little girl, he had never thought about It.), had refused to leave his side for the whole trip home.  Only releasing her grip long enough for them to remove him from the armor.  She was in the hospital for sever malnutrition and dehydration, and would be fine.  She would not have lasted much longer when he found her.   The high concentrate of vitamins and minerals in the food paste was exactly what she had needed.  He would be fine, concussion, exposure to toxic elements and a few other minor things but he would heal.

After three days of rest and medical attention orders arrived that informed him he was to report to the board of review at 13:30 today.  No excuses would be accepted.  This was it.

As RedJack approached the parade ground he saw the massive Warhammers arranged if perfect lines.  Pilots stood at attention by the right foot their each machine.   As Red rounded the corner of the mechs the command table was set up in front of the Rouge Wolverine Memorial Statue.  The entire officer corps was present in their dress uniforms, that meant a hanging or a wedding, and he was not getting married.  It seems that this was much worse than he had imagined, it was a formal court martial.

RJ approached the single hard chair that faced the table.  He saluted and sat down.  Reddragon stood and walked around the table to stand in front of RJ.   He reached into his pocket and removed the blue folded paper.  He cleared his throat and looked into the eyes of RedJack and told RJ to "Stand and face the board."

RJ stood at perfect attention as Reddragon began to read.

"MechWarrior RedJack, because of your actions on the Planet Eden and the repercussions there of ….. You are hereby awarded the Rouge Wolverine Medal for Valor in the face of the enemy.  The award states as follows: While engaged in action against the enemies of Clan Pendragon.  Warrior RedJack did with disregard for his own personal safety rescue civilian personal from the battle zone while accomplishing his mission and causing grievous harm to enemy forces.

Rouge Wolverine stood for peace and no greater honor can befall a warrior, than compassion for his fellow man.  RedJack we salute you."

The entire command staff rose as one and saluted. RedJack returned it in the best manner he could.  Reddragon nodded toward DarkWizard.  DW came forward holding the hand of a little blonde girl.  Her hair was rather short and the dress she wore was obviously cut down from a Pendragon uniform.  DW stopped about ten feet from RJ and the little girl continued forward.  She stopped when she was right in front of him.  She was holding a small padded box.  As RJ looked into those bright eyes he knew this was the child from Eden.  She looked a lot different cleaned up.  She opened the box and removed the Medal of Valor hooked to its brightly colored ribbon from the box and held it in front of her.  RJ stood ridged.  Rd frowned and nodded for him to kneel. RJ lowered himself to one knee.  The small child he had carried in an ammunition pack placed the highest honor the clan had to offer a warrior around his battle scared neck.  She took half a step back and leaned forward to look in his eyes.  She placed a small hand on his chest and looked at him hard and said, "RED", before he could react she launched at him and clamped her arms around his neck and refused to let go.  Reddragon whispered to RJ

"Get up and face the men." RJ tried but she was not letting go.   Conceding to the inevitable RJ accepted the fact she was here for a while and put an arm under her and stood up.  She placed her head on his shoulder and smiled.   The first smile he had seen on that face.  RJ did the best about face he could with the burden on his shoulder and face the assembled men.

47 battle hardened warriors had assembled for the presentation.  Veterans of years of war, each man here knew death personally. These assembled men were the Iron Star, the personal guard of the Great Khan.  Known and feared by their enemies.   As RedJack looked at these "killers" he saw not a dry eye in the entire unit.  Perhaps they were human after all, and maybe, just maybe he was also.