A Son’s Requiem (Part I)

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Starting a new short fiction series here. This will be weekly (every Wednesday) and while set in the BattleTech universe, is considered non-canon (for those who care). This is, much like my Shred of Honor story, something I worked on for a defunct project and set aside. Enjoy.

14 November 3078
140 km Southwest of Denver, Terra
Word of Blake Protectorate

Demi-Precentor Alex Emory resisted the urge to reach out and clear his cockpit screen. The gray sky was smudgy with fog­—really just low-altitude clouds, this high in the mountains—and gave the viewable landscape a blurry quality that the weary MechWarrior kept trying to blink away.

The radio crackled with static, breaking the monotonous silence. “Orca Actual, Three. we’ve got contacts three clicks south. Just like you predicted.” Alex glanced down at the electronic mapscreen near his left knee, confirming his picket’s report.

“Copy that, Orca Three. Pull back up the pass; do not engage. Repeat: do not engage.” His eyes traced upwards along the thin black ribbon on the map, curling along a mountain valley that eventually terminated within the distant Denver metropolis. The route passed just below his towering Legacy; the thick fog prevented him from actually seeing the old highway.

It was ages since the last time Alex had traveled the mountain trails he knew surrounded him. Barely wide enough for a person, they offered unparalleled views of the Rocky Mountains on clear weather days. His father used to bring him along on hikes across many of the peak trails, carrying only the bare necessities on their backs. Fog days like the one spread before him were common, terrifying for a young boy. He could still taste the fear, not knowing if the next step would send them plummeting thousands of meters to the earth. His father never wavered, however, and Alex learned to trust him and his instincts.

Alex quickly flicked a finger along his eye, shaking himself from the memory. His father was long gone, missing since the start of the war. Killed by allies of those now slowly treading their way up the crumbled road below.

He strained to see through the fog as his two pickets passed, imagining the Ravens picking their way along the ruined highway with their dainty, bird-like gait. He thought he saw a passing shadow, but the fog slowly swirled, fooling his gaze with shifting shadow in the gray light.

Unconsciously, he rubbed his fingers over the grips of his Legacy’s controls. His eyes fixed on the passive sensor screen, the two icons marking his pickets fading from view as the sensor pod located a few hundred meters from his ‘Mech lost contact. Alex felt more than heard the quiet purr of the massive war machine’s fusion heart, waiting for the approaching enemy. With the extreme cold the night previous, combined with the twenty hours in standby mode, his Legacy would be virtually unnoticeable by the scouting force making their way up the road.

A data window opened at his request. Alex’s hands clenched the sticks in his hands. His eyes took in the streaming data from the pod: four medium-class BattleMechs and several smaller vehicles trailing behind them.

Alex grinned with ferocity. He may only be one heavy machine, but he also had the advantages of height, weather, and knowledge of the terrain.

Hardly a fair fight.

His old man would be proud.

The enemy approached at a slow pace, creeping into his self-designated killing zone. With a savage glee, he unstopped his BattleMech’s power and with a roar, unleashed his fury at the enemy unseen below.

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