Mech Battle 12 - Just a Regular Guy
Written by BlackPhoenix
He was one of the many that were
never noticed behind the scenes of any Great War. Not a famous general, or a man of
unfathomable heroics. He was a cog in the giant machine that had become Pendragon. But
with out the thousands of cogs the war machine would grind to a halt. His name was Dragon,
A fierce name for a man kept deep inside the lower levels of clan headquarters. He was a
communications transcriber. He sat in a cubical day in and day out. Listening to the
hundreds of transmissions from deep space and making a paper copy of them. Then passing
them on to his supervisor whom judged them for content to see if they should be passed
higher up or discarded. Dragon had become a creature of habit. He left for work at exactly
the same time everyday. Followed the same route, arrived within minutes of the same time
every day. He had the same lunch at the same spot in the mess hall and returned exactly
three minutes before the buzzer sounds to his desk. His job spawned regularity, but while
setting at his station for untold hours his mind would wonder into day dreams of glorious
battles and heroic rescues of lovely maidens, like the mind that is left to ramble by a
mundane job. It was if the war and life its self was passing him by.
Today was just like yesterday and is what tomorrow would be,
why should today be any different. 45 minutes until quitting time. Almost done for yet
another day. But as he sat at his desk transcribing the cargo tonnages of Carrilian
transports in the Altier sector, his ear caught something in the background of the
transmission. He rewound the tape and listened again. He repeated this step a number of
times. He was sure there was another transmission riding on top of this standard report.
There had been orders not to do that in order to save time, it messed up the tracking
computers. Knowing the Carrilians and their miserly ways this was more than likely a way
to try and save power. Then the want a be spy hiding inside Dragon kicked in. He made a
copy of the recording and put the disk in his desk drawer and locked it. Then headed home
at the proper time. For the first time that he could remember he did not fall asleep at
precisely 10:15 standard time. That recording was eating away at his concentration. He was
1 minute and 30 seconds early the next day. This went unnoticed by all but him. He got to
his desk and broke the rules, (something he had never done), and called a friend in
receiving. She agreed to re-route all Carrilian traffic to his terminal, but it had cost
him half of his private stash of home made fudge from his mother back on Earth, but this
might be something. (In his mind he knew that it was a dream to break the boredom). His
work output increased by 30 percent that day, again noticed by no one but him. But inside
the message of about every third shipping manifest was a 10-second burst transmission
riding on it. He diligently recorded all of them in order and placed them on the same disk
and locked it away. The shift change whistle blew. Dragon took the disk and placed it in
his shoe for concealed transport out of the building and walked passed the troopers at the
door. He almost fainted away when the man scanned his badge and waved him on, then called
after him, Dragon stopped and stood there. The guard rescanned the badge and looked at
"Pass expires next week better get it renewed."
Was all he said and he waved Dragon on.
By the time he was on the street Dragon was in a cold sweat.
This cloak and dagger stuff was cool, and scary at the same time. Home 7 minutes early, no
time for dinner. He put the disk in his computer and turned on the translator, setting it
to its work. After 5 hours it was still working. The translator program covered more that
700,000 forms of transmittable communication and could take a while. A fitful night was
the only thing Dragons attempt at rest could be called. Tossing and turning, seeing spies
around every corner and running around in his black ninja costume trying to save the world
from destruction. For the first time he could remember Dragon was wakened from sleep by
his alarm. He NEVER had to depend on it before. He was always up ten minutes before it
rang, but today he was jarred from sleep by its incessant clanging. He leapt from the bed
and raced to the monitor screen. It was blank with an error message flashing on the
"This form of language is unknown. Do you wish to add
it to database for further study?" He clicked the "no" icon and headed for
the shower. No known form, but it was a regulated signal inside of another transmission.
Who would do that if it wasnt some kind of code. Then it hit him - it WAS a code!
Not a language, but a coded transmission. That would explain it.
Quite pleased with himself. He showered quickly and got
dressed. He grabbed the tape and was out the door 15 minutes early. The ground transport
seemed to crawl along the course to clan headquarters. Every stop that he had made a
thousand times was an annoyance today. After a trip that seemed like hours he arrived.
They security screening passed as slow as possible. He finally made it to his desk and
called a guy he knew in de-coding. They had been in training together and Dragon had
carried him through mathematics. This guy owed him a favor. After vague references to test
scores while they were in training and promises of assistance on his promotion exams the
deal was made. The poor fellow even agreed to stick it on to a top priority message for
speed. A clear violation of procedure, Dragon thought about the way he was easily starting
to break rules and was a little worried. But this COULD be something, it COULD be. The
idea that this was still nothing but a cheat to save power was in the back of Dragons
mind, but the chance for intrigue was a hard one to resist.
More hours of waiting while the de-coders did its work meant
more hours of transcribing radio traffic. No messages from the transports he was looking
for but that is how it went. A flood of messages and then weeks of silence as they made
the long trip through the darkness. It was hard to concentrate and mistakes were made that
had to be re-typed before submitting. Just before lunch his comlink beeped, it was his
friend. He asked Dragon where he was taking him to lunch. Dragon told him of a quiet park
that they could meet at and ended the conversation. Broadcasts could be monitored. The 24
minutes until lunch dragged past slowly. When the bell sounded Dragon jumped up from his
desk. It took all of his dwindling self-control to keep from running to the park to meet
The park was empty when Dragon arrived. The empty benches
stood guard over the grassy areas. Thirty yards of open ground in every direction, no one
could observe them with out being seen. Trees rustling wind blowing, and birds singing.
This would make long distance recording a tough job also. To eavesdrop, the person wishing
to do so must be close and that would let him be seen. All this crossed Dragons mind as
the little voice nagged at him, "It is nothing, it is nothing
His friends name was Ryota he worked in decryption. No
one knew more about codes than he did. He approached Dragon and sat down. He handed him a
small packet just big enough for a floppy disk.
"Very funny Dragon." He began. "This is a old
letter replacement code from 100 years ago." Dragon just looked at the disk like it
would move or something, it just laid there in his hand.
Ryota reached into his pocket and pulled out a printed page,
"Here is a print out of the text, Its just gibberish,
talking about lore and history, means nothing." At this Ryota walked back toward the
building. Dragons mind raced, thinking it was nothing and KNOWING it is nothing is a
Work held little interest the rest of the day. Dragon
preformed the functions but his mind was else where. He rode the bus home and followed the
same path he had for years. His body knew the way home his mind was dropping into
depression. He fixed dinner but just pushed the food around the plate. He showered and put
on his robe. He sat on the couch and stared at the papers on the small table at his feet.
Dragon pulled the paper from his pocket and tossed it onto the table under his feet. He
sat there staring at the end of his intrigue. Life was back to the hum drum existence of
work. Dragon snatched the paper and tossed it toward the wastebasket, it hit the wall
behind it and bounced into the center of the room. Well if he could shoot baskets he would
be a pro. He got up and retrieved the stray paper. As he headed for the basket he opened
it on a whim. The typing was neat and tidy, as was Ryota.
"Very funny dragon. An old code I did not even use the
computer because it is not in there. I learned it in training. Here is your message:
1. Cyruis ready proceed as ordered.
2. The gesture on schedule.
3. Time table running on its own no way to cancel now, for the future."
Dragon looked at the printing again as if it would open up
and reveal the thinking behind the cryptic writing. No matter how hard he studied it never
gave up its secrets. It was consigned to the wastebasket and dragon turned on the video
for noise as he tried to clear his head. The news was giving its usual blend of the days
events as dragon headed to the WC to brush his teeth.
.. and this gesture of peace was unexpected from the
Templars but was accepted by Pendragon high command
At the word gesture, Dragon ran to the video to watch the
report. Toothpaste dripping on the floor. Leaving his toothbrush in his mouth he retrieved
the crumpled papers and read it once again. This was too much to be a coincidence. Dragon
broke the land speed record for apartment running as he headed for his computer. He
pounded the keys and entered the name Cyruis in to the search engine. He spit the
toothpaste on to the floor and faced the screen. From the cabala of old Earth:
"Cyruis was a ancient Greek Hero who was sent by the
Gods to slay the Red Dragon of Hades who stood guard over the condemned souls of man and
prevent them from reaching heaven."
Looking at the screen Dragon wondered of what great value
this information was. So the guy killed a red dragon. Then it clicked not a red dragon.
But the Reddragon, the Khan, and the gesture, the peace gesture. Crap they were going to
kill Reddragon. "
Who to tell" was the question racing through his mind,
"Who to tell"
He called the Klan Headquarters and spoke with the security
officer in charge who assured him that when the offices opened he would report it to his
superiors. This did not satisfy Dragon in the least. The news said that the ceremony was
at 8 the next morning. His only hope was that the security man had taken him seriously. A
fit full night followed. No sleep and it was amazing that he had not noticed how
uncomfortable this bed was.
The alarm went off a 6:15. Dragon was up dressed and hailing
a cab at 6:30, he reached his office at 7:02 and was on the phone almost before his shadow
managed to keep up. The same officer answered the phone. Yes he remembered him, and yes he
would report this to his superiors. Yes he was sure Dragon was serious and dont call
again. 7:21 and still no action being taken, Crap. Dragon remembered that there was a
security detail on the 4 floor of the building. Damn this elevator was slow. The door
opened on to the main lobby of the fourth floor. A large reception desk faced the
elevators. Behind it was a cute little blonde with big boobs and a small brain. She spoke
to dragon as he got off.
"Good morning welcome to Pendragon administrative
offices. How may I be of service." She blindly asked.
"I want to talk to security right now." He
The bimbo with the big hair looked toward the Service center
where 3 men in dark blue uniforms stood talking to what appeared to be the clone of the
girl at the front desk.
"Never mind I see who I need to talk to" Snapped
dragon and he moved away.
It was Gully talking to the girl, dragon and he were in
training together, now dragon was a clerk and Gully was a warrior in security. Dragon
managed to get Gullys attention with out causing a disturbance and pulled him to the
side. Gully listened intently before speaking and took the papers offered. One was the
printout of the message and the other the printout of the name Cyruis. He told Gully of
the news broadcast and of his beliefs that this was a plan to kill Reddragon. Gully looked
at the papers before he spoke.
" This is all conjecture Dragon, this could mean
anything. Talk between to scholars bored in space flight. Did you report your ideas to the
main security office?" Dragon shook his head.
"Then they will handle it trust me they take threats
against the Khan seriously. What do you want me to do drop into the meeting in a mech and
stop this attempt. They have security there pal and they can protect RD, dont
worry." Gully patted Dragon on the back and moved back to the counter. Dragon looked
at the floor deep in thought.
He was right he knew it but how to stop it. He looked out on
to the observation deck at the brightening sky and it hit him he would stop it and worry
about right and wrong later. He walked past Gully who didnt even look up from the
young ladies cleavage. The reason for having security on the fourth floor was that there
were three DireWolves mounted into the facade front of the building, every school child
has seen them, but these were the main defense for the populated area. These three mechs
were fully operational and armed. That is why there were always three top pilots hanging
around in the lobby of the fourth floor. In an emergency they would protect the city
Dragon moved on to the observation deck and looked at the
big steel killers in their beds. He walked around to the one that had Gully painted at the
edge of the cockpit. Gully had use the same access code since high school, he was a
creature of habit. Looking around for witnesss dragon pushed the buttons on the
access pad. The hatch hissed and started to open. Dragon was in and started the start
sequence before the hatch had closed. As the cooling fans gained speed alarms went off.
The loud scream of the launch siren drowned out all other noise. Dragon heard a pounding
and turned his head to see Gully pounding on the clear Endo-steel of the cockpit mouthing
words but they were going unheard. The green lights were starting to appear as the Dires
systems came on line. Gully looked down at the exhaust jets and ran for cover. To his left
Dragon saw the other two pilots pushing the access pads of their own mechs as he started
to move. With just two steps the Large Dire was airborne and headed for the reception
7:50, Dragon had not been in a mech for almost three years
and it was a talent that required constant training. He was all over the sky up and down
and side to side. A few of the controls had been modified from the original locations for
easy access of each pilot and Dragon had to hunt for some of the controls. At one point
ACs hammered into the side of the main library, when the wrong button was pushed.
With an unheard apology Dragon continued his erratic flight path.
7:55, the parade grounds was coming into sight. Then the
Dire jerked hard from impact. A rack of LRMs (long-range missiles), had slammed into
the Dire from behind. Thank the maker these Dires were tough. Dragon cleared the bleachers
into the stadium. From ground based mobile launchers missile after missile slammed into
the mech from every direction. The jets were over heated and the big mech was coming down
hard and fast. The system warnings were going off for just about every system. This was
going to hurt.
Reddragon, with SaKhan Dark Wizard, and Lore Master
BlkPhoenix walked out on to the parade ground to receive the peace delegation from the
Templars. It was with great surprise that the message was received of their arrival. But
stranger things than this happen in war. The Templars were about one hundred yards away
and walking toward the Pendragon reception. From the south sounds of explosions could be
heard All eyes turned toward the noise. Except the Templars they quickened their pace. A
Direwolf cleared the wall and was coming toward them. The automatic defense systems opened
fire. Missiles screamed from their concealed locations to intercept this threat. An arm
blew off in a shower of debris. The mech was still coming but from the lack of correction
movements it could be seen that it was out of control. DW and BP both dove at Rd to get
him clear and all three hit the ground.
The mech was smoking from damage as it headed to the parade
ground. The Templar committee saw the incoming mech and all but the ambassador drew hidden
weapons and tracked them in the direction of Reddragon. The large mech hit the ground
hard, it slide in between the two groups. Hand held mini-guns started to sing their song
of death. The large mech was in the way and did not permit a clear shot at the downed
Khan. The slugs were slamming into the body of the now useless Direwolf. It seemed a lot
longer than it actually was but in a matter of seconds the two Dires that were pursuing
the runaway Dragon dropped on to the field. This made them the instant targets of the
Templar hit squad. The enemy guns spit fire at the massive machine, but these were not
heavily damaged machines piloted by a clerk. These were machines of war with the best
pilots in the quadrant at the controls. In a split second the situation was examined and
action taken. Heavy Automatic cannons joined the fight and the Templars were now covered
by 100 tons of the highest grade Endo-steel available. The fight was extremely one sided.
The human body was not designed to be hit by .80 caliber depleted uranium slugs travel at
3700 feet per second, and Dires were. It was over before it managed to gain momentum. The
Dires were stamping around looking for targets. The pilots were still in blood lust trying
to work off the adrenaline. A squad of elementals arrived just in case close tight combat
was called for, they found Reddragon on the ground DarkWizard was holding him there by
placing his foot on the Khans back. Black Phoenix was swinging a small auto cannon at
anything that appeared to be a threat. He tracked to the approaching elementals and held
target until he could see the Pendragon crest on their chests. He then helped RD to his
feet after slapping DWs foot out of the way The SaKhan was still watching the downed
mech for possible threats. RD looked at his Lore Master and said.
"It would seem that you two might be a bigger threat to
my safety than an enemy division." He got to his feet and brushed the dirt from his
dress uniform looking around at the destruction.
It was three days before Dragon came to. The papers were
found in his pocket with the translation printed on them. Ryota about had a heart attack
when the entire command staff walked into his cubical and held the papers out for him to
see, and asked him to explain them. He took them and then about fainted again when he saw
the bloodstains. He told what he knew and made sure not to leave out anything. The Khan
listened, then turned and left with out a word. The night security supervisor was just as
shocked when it happened to him. He was asked why he failed to report a possible threat on
the Khans life to his superiors promptly. He had no answer. When asked why he did
not report the second call from Dragon either, there was still no answer. The Captain in a
act of honor offered to "resign at once". The Khan just turned and left. Black
Phoenix looked at the Captain.
"I would expect nothing less, have it on my desk in an
hour." He then turned and left the office.
Dragon woke to the sight of the command staff looking at him
from the foot of his hospital bed. He did his best to try and rise in the presents of his
Khan. A doctor stopped him and a man he had heard of but never seen in person spoke.
"Warrior Dragon, the circumstances of the past few days
have been brought to my attention".
"Sir I can explain" was the weak reply. Reddragon
held up his hand for Dragon to be quiet.
"Your actions were more than justified with the
information at you disposal. You showed the greatest justification in everything you did.
It is with great honor that I thank you for your defense of my person." Dragon
managed a pained smile. He hurt in places he had forgot he had.
The Khan saluted and left Dragon to rest. DW remained behind
and stood beside the badly injured warrior.
"You can have your pick of assignments Dragon. Is there
a dream job you have wanted son?"
Dragon thought for a second before answering. "Sir I
heard through the grapevine that a crew is going to the Beta sector, I would like to be on
the crew. They are going to need a paper shuffler sir and that I am good at. Flying on the
This time DarkWizard managed a smile. "You got it
Warrior, Now get well so you can leave." DW saluted and patted Dragons leg and left
the room. Dragon drifted to sleep dreams of adventure filling his dreams. He had dreamed
of adventure and found to be careful what you wish for you just might get it.