[ERROR: Data Transfer to PANDORA unable to complete. Suspected Signal Interference. Retry? Y/N]
Ahead of him, he saw the massive frame of his prey lurch— the one-two punch of the Iliad's finest biting deep into its armor and equilibrium. The railgun of Ajax in particular had bitten deep into its center mass, roughly where an Orbital's reactor would be housed at that scale. There was no plume of flame and fury, no chain reaction of runaway energy, no critical hull rupture billowing outward ahead of a torrent of aether. Rather, the alien was reeling, staggering down to a hand and knee as though drunk. Rabbit punched. Holden had wrecked its equilibrium. Systems for weight distribution stored in the interior of the chassis? Maybe.
No. Electromagnetic Interference. The shell carried much of its charge from acceleration into impact— a poisoned bullet. That was it, right. You only get one slip-up, Kon. Have everything memorized after this.
Regardless, the man from Belgrade hungrily leaned forward in his seat, body fighting against the inexorable press backward of acceleration as he screamed, transonic, towards the action. The blue flame of his verniers kicked up a rolling tower of dust behind as he brushed the sound barrier. Ten seconds out.
His comrades wasted no time in responding to his hails, Gypsy Soul seeming none the worse for wear in spite of engaging in melee with a foe well outside its weight class. The fey mech's blade, a red-hot light to match its wielder, had confidently redirected strikes meant to tear her in half completely, and more than forceful enough to. He'd underestimated that strange girl behind the mask, in truth— for all her spaced-out demeanor and corporate-based piloting experience, she was good behind the controls. More than the civilian carried by an exotic, high-spec design that he’d taken her for would be, certainly.
That same warning blared in Konstantin's ears once more as his field of view glowed gold. The foreign ape of steel unleashed another spray of diseased fury at its assailants— No. One in Particular. Ajax, raising his seven-layered shield as Hektor's mighty lance sought his heart, and his alone. The second Bandit clearly had some measure of intelligence left— an understanding of cause and effect enough to recognize Castle as a primary threat after the Keruanos had destroyed the equivalent of its inner ear. It couldn't allow such a weapon, both capable of piercing armor and scrambling its systems, to have any more battlefield presence. Its spines were aglow with alien light, burning hot as a sun and totally focused upon tearing straight through Ajax.
Gypsy Soul and Bedwyr completely forgotten. Fatal.
Most pilots would have carried their messages in cool, crisp, confident tones. It spoke partially to professionalism, true, the discipline instilled in anyone allowed to play jockey for a multistory mass of carefully engineered alloys, ordinance, and electronics that clocked speeds measured in mach with regularity. But for those in the know, those immersed in the unique military culture of piloting, far more motivation came from pageantry— smooth, swaggering radio cues were your calling card, proof you belong in the seat. Better death than sounding bad.
Kon's undertone, beneath this affectation, almost sounded hungry.
<<Pickle, pickle. Bombs away. All friendlies break.>>
The Marshal of Arthur's Court, revived into the twenty-meter frame of state of the art military ingenuity cast not a sword into a lake, but rather a disc into light. His momentum being what it was, not even the awe-inspiring might of a full-size orbital's limbs could produce much effect on trajectory or velocity of payload. Instead, the drum was in his wake as he passed overhead, veering off in a hard right turn the moment he entered the thing's field of view. Air resistance buffeting the knight's frame, Kon clenched his teeth and hitched his breath to push the blackness from the edges of his vision. By contrast his chariot's single yellow eye shone like the midday sun.
A dull, slightly hollow clang sounded from the region of yellow-white luminescence upon the creature's back, filling what would have been an almost awkward beat in the action.
And then, that same light melted through the steel drum, and met the payload within.
A blossom of fire and force erupted from the spines, as hundreds of fourty millimeter thermobaric cartridges passed the point of autoignition instantaneously within the remains of their containment. A ripple passed through the air as the pressure front surged outward in all directions, pushed by the countless expanding blazes in close proximity within the greater fireball. A wall of concussive force that, with any luck, would serve to flatten the damn alien he could only sand down before.
<<Ask, and ye shall receive.>>
How's that for a lightning bolt?
Left hand now unoccupied, the Bedwyr drew the blade at its hip, TLS-88 sparking to life as it circled in the air.