The week is a flurry. The training evolution continues advancing the pilot skill library, as they are now learning to further manipulate the 57 foot controls to perform basic operations in Battloid mode. Literally, the 56th OG initially looks like a gaggle of babies learning to walk, with plenty of bruised egos to go around. By the end of the week, the flights are practicing hasty infil operations. The OG is watching the overhead monitors as the 309th commences its run in the sims.
Alpha flight approaches over the horizon in a fluid four formation, followed by Bravo and Charlie with a five second gap. FIGJAM’s voice comes over the intercom, “This is Alpha 1, maintain formation, 600 knots, and 1000 feet AGL. Line of departure in 2 mikes.” The rest of the flight acknowledges the order, and continue flying past a small mountain range. “Alpha, we have reached the LoD, give me mach 1.5, and 100 feet AGL”, FIGJAM orders. The planes drop in unison, and the rest of the class watches.
Ground buffeting starts to affect the Valkyries, and a few trees lose their tops as Alpha struggles to maintain control. The monitors show Chase, in Alpha 4, hit a large tree and almost augers in, but he is able to recover. “Tighten it up, A4!”, barks FIGJAM.
As they finish maneuvering through the mountains, a large city looms in front of them. Smoke rises from several buildings, and is reminiscent of what many experienced just years earlier in the Global Civil War. Alpha and Bravo simultaneously transforms to Guardian mode, transition into two trail formations, and take separate paths, maneuvering through the city streets towards the rally point. The Alpha four ship plows through a few buildings with gun pods, thrusters, and wings, as they negotiate the streets with moderate success. Bravo and Charlie don’t fare much better.
Some of the 310th pilots in the observation area snicker, but most are well aware that they made similar mistakes earlier in the week. They continue watching the various monitor displays, and observe the relative fluidity in which the 309th is maneuvering. Eventually, the satellite display shows the Guardians approaching the RP from three different directions, almost perfectly from bearing 0, 120, and 240, and spread out by a few city blocks.
“GO! GO! GO!”, yells FIGJAM, and Alpha transforms into Battloid mode from approximately 50’ AGL. They perform a combat drop, and Van Skiver even manages to drop A2 into a three point stance. Bravo and Charlie perform similar transformations, and the 12 mechs start working their way to the objective, using standard bounding overwatch fireteam movements.
About one klick from the objective, 9 bogies appear on the overhead monitor as mechs power up. The 310th makes a collective gasp as they see Gladiators slowly come to life. Bravo and Charlie bear the brunt of their respective ambushes, and most are cut down quickly by volleys of missile and autocannon fire. Several monitor displays showing their viewscreens go dark. Van Skiver’s voice yells over the intercom, “Shit, boss! We’ve got three bogies about 200 meters ahead!” FIGJAM uses his thrusters to jump A1 atop a building to the left, as A2 and A4 take cover behind the same building. Van Skiver’s A3 is alone across the street.
The Gladiators split up and come south down two parallel streets. G1 heading towards A1, 2, and 4, as G2 and G3 head towards A3. Harper sprints across to cover A3 and they move to the far side of the block to cover the next street. Harper and Van are able to get to the end of the street undetected, and Van pops out and fires a long burst point blank at G2. Unfortunately, many of the rounds miss. Harper drops to a knee and snaps off a short burst into G2, punching more holes into its armor. G2 fires a volley of missiles at Van, and Van attempts to punch a section of the building into the way of the missiles’ paths. Luckily, the missiles go wide, and explode further down the street.
At the same time, FIGJAM and Chase engage G1. Fig’s shots go wide, but G1’s missile volley finds its mark – Fig’s left arm and left leg bear the brunt of the damage, as the armor is chewed away, and he topples from the building. Chase rolls out of the way and uses his thrusters to attempt to flip over Destroid. Chase can be seen on screen trying to jam his injured leg at the correct pedals, but his slim-cast is interfering with the controls. His clumsy attempt makes it easy for G1 to simply pluck him out of the air and slam him into FIGJAM. Chase’s monitors flicker, but remain functioning. He rolls his mecha backwards and tries to snap off a burst, but the barrel of his GU-11 is deflected by a powerful punch that continues into the main fuselage.
FIGJAM stumbles to his feet and first a long burst from his GU-11, but the rounds do mostly cosmetic damage to the thick armor of the Gladiator. G1 proceeds to lift Chase’s Battloid, invert it, and perform a suplex. Chase attempts to get up, but his Battloid is non-responsive. His screens start to dim. “FUCK!”, he screams.
FIGJAM yells, “Chase is down! I repeat, G4 is down! I’m moving to you!”, and starts limping, then running, down the street to join Harper and Van.
Harper yells, back, “That’s a negative! Do NOT leave your wingman! Do NOT leave your wingman!”, as he snaps off another burst. G2 is almost upon them, firing off autocannon rounds and his 180mm grenade launcher, but the shots go wide and are mostly ineffective. G3, on the other hand, gets a good lock and fires a volley of missiles at Van, tearing away at his relatively light armor. His Battloid falls backwards onto the building, almost trapping Harper’s kneeling mech. G1 engages him in melee combat, and Van sacrifices the armor on his arms to parry the blows. His sensors show a very large volley of missiles coming from G3 towards him, and he grabs G1 and uses him as a meat shield.
G1 erupts into a series of explosions, as one arm and leg are disintegrated. Although G1 bore the brunt of the damage, Van was still in the blast zone and his Battloid crumples backwards through the wall. His armor is riddled with gaping holes, and his mech is billowing smoke. Several systems shut down, including the majority of his sensors, with the exception of a static-filled video feed.
“Fuck this shit,” Harper yells, and jumps into the air to transform into Guardian. He points the nose at G3, gets good tone, and fires a volley that does critical damage. Sparks, flames, and smoke start spewing from G3, as the missiles find weak spots in the armor. Sensors indicate several abnormal energy readings starting to emanate from the Destroid’s engine core.
G3 trades a volley with Harper, but Harper is able to shoot it down and return another volley of his own. More smoke pours out of G3, as its rocked backwards by the blasts. Its right arm and missile pod are torn away. The two continue trading fire as FIGJAM rallies and fires off a burst into G3. Van screams, “Guys, we’ve got incoming!” as G1 runs down the street and unloads a volley of missiles into the rear of Harper’s hovering Guardian.
Harper orders FIGJAM and Van to retreat, as he fires his last missiles at G3, critically damaging it further. FIGJAM seeks cover around the corner, as Van crashes through the building behind G1 in an attempt to tackle him, but does almost as much damage to himself as G1. Harper yells, “Use your damn missiles!” just before being knocked out of the air by G1. His guardian crashes into the ground, and lies limp. His screens dim.
Van leaps, transforms, and fires his entire complement of missiles into G1’s rear. Armor explodes in all directions, sending shrapnel down the street. G1 falls, missing an arm, leg, and billowing smoke, before exploding a few seconds later.
FIGJAM sprints towards what is left of G3, grabs its left arm, and unloads a burst into the rear of the shoulder socket. The arm separates, and G3 is effectively neutered. He yells in celebration, but then yells, “oh SHIIIIIIIT!” as fast movers strafe G3, destroying it and narrowly missing him.
Chase’s voice comes over the intercom, “This is A4, reporting all bogies down. I repeat, all bogies down. Prometheus, we need rescue and recovery at MC2045.”