"Pilot, chassis damage detected. Recommend engaging target."
Responding, Pilot Steele send the command over his neural link, moving to shift his body right. Instead of his physical, human form moving, the moving giant of a machine reflected the movement. The landscape slid past the viewscreen, soon to settle on a Scorch model titan a good twenty meters away. He raised his weapon, ready to fire another grenade at Steele, but the pilot's quicker reactions saw him raising his railgun and firing off a charged round, tearing through the steel armour and chassis. The now sparking husk of a titan fell to the ground. Steele kept his weapon trained on the wreck for a few seconds more, before the hiss of an opening chamber cut through the air.
The front of Vanguard Titan FX-1913, nicknamed Effect, split open in to four seperate panels, opening up the pilot chamber. The man inside leaned forward and kicked a foot, his jump pack engaging to send him flying forwards. The panels closed up again behind him, and the pilot soon found himself sliding along the floor to lose his momentum. Eventually, he came to a standstill, slowly scanning his eyes across the small valley they were situated inside.
"I detect no more life signs." the feminine voice of his titan, cut through the silence. "We're clear to move on, Pilot Steele."
"Good." Kody replied, rolling his shoulder. He re-attached his weapon to the magnetic lock on his back, before turning back to his mechanical companion and assuming an upright stance with his arms outstretched. Almost immediately, a steel hand grasped him around the waist and quickly thrust him back into the pilot seat, the faceplates of the machine closing with another release of pressurised air.
"Chatter suggests we're needed for backup, Effect. Start moving. I'm going to take a little breather." Kody ordered, disengaging pilot controls despite sitting inside the titan. The lumbering beast of steel took off, moving at a surprisingly rapid pace through the valley.
Pulling a latch on his helmet, the pilot slipped it off and placed it in his lap, before adjusting his unruly shoulder length hair. A gentle five-o-clock shadow resided on his jaw, and a small tattoo of a widowbird circled his left eye. He let out a heavy sigh, wiping his sweat coated brow with the back of his glove. He leaned his head backwards into the fabric seat, and closed his eyes for a second.
"Steele. My analysis detects that you are phsyically and emotionally exhausted." Effect's voice suddenly burst into the cockpit, jolting him. "Do you require rest?"
"No, Effy." Kody sighed. "We can't let Briggs down now. We promised her we'd do this right."
"You have been operating for sixty eight hours and fifty two minutes straight. That is not healthy."
"That might be true, but I'm not slacking on this job. We even have Cooper expecting us to pull through." he argued, furrowing his brow in agitation. "It's not easy having a legend looking over your shoul-"
"Incoming missile lock. Phase shifting."
A sudden jolt hit the machine, rousing Kody from his lethargic state. He slammed his helmet back onto his head and waited for the screen to turn back on. As it booted, he felt the telltale weightlessness of Phase Shifting; the intangible pocket between realities. His visor soon flickered back to life, well after the phase shift had begun.
Only everything was still white.
'Uh...' Steele thought, looking around. "Effect?"
His voice was distorted, and echoed through nothing. He could barely hear himself, and his jaw felt like it weight a thousand tonnes.
"FX, this shouldn't be happening. Where are we?"
He got no response. He could still feel himself drifting through non-space, as he tried to mash the 'return to reality' button. It did nothing, as well.
"Effect! Answer me! What's goi-"
"Returning to reality."
Another shudder wracked through the body of the metal titan, shutting off all cockpit electronics besides a couple of gauges and buttons that flickered gently in the darkness. The viewport shut off completely, leaving nothing but a wall of pixels infront of the pilot.
He could feel weightless again. Was he falling?
"FX, please tell me where we are." Kody deadpanned. "Please don't tell me the phase shift fucked up."
The pilot blinked. Effect never referred to him so informally unless it was serious. Programming and protocols, and such. AI was made to break them.
"What?" he answered, fearing the answer.
"The phase shift fucked up." Effect answered in her typical monotonous voice. "We're currently a mile above ground in some country that most definitely is not a warzone."
"Above ground as in on a mountain or above ground as in fall-"
"I hope you have this sorted."
"We'll find out soon enough."
"What the fuck is that su-"
Titan Report #2823E
Vanguard Model Titan
Designation - FX-1913
Critical Systems: Operational
Life Support Systems: Operational
Targeting Systems: Operational
Phase Shift System: Damaged
Minimal. High velocity fall negated by jump thrusters.
Pilot unconscious due to head trauma. Medical Aid administered.
Phase Shift leak has relocated strike team to an unknown location. Dimensional shielding has leaked.
All power routes to the Phase Shift Module have been eliminated, to prevent possible relocation.