• Published 13th Dec 2012
  • 3,542 Views, 38 Comments

Mechwarrior: Equestria - faktopus



MLP/Mechwarrior crossover. Giant robots, little ponies - what could possibly go wrong?

  • ...
13
 38
 3,542

Chapter 1: On the Wings of Terra (Edited)

Jumpship/Dropship Chart
Inner Sphere Map


*****Chapter 1: On the Wings of Terra*****

Alex Stewart breathed in the recycled air on the Monolith class jumpship, Sacrifice of the Few.

The jumpship was making final preparations to jump, and Alex wanted to make it to his dropship before the ship locked down for transit. Jumpships were by far the most remarkable feat of engineering ever developed by the human race, possibly second only to the Hyperpulse Generator network. The Kearny-Fuchida drive would basically tether itself to two distant stars, warping their gravitational fields to slingshot the massive 750 meter spacecraft between the two to a point about thirty light years away. There would be several jumps on this journey. Or at least that's how the Mechwarrior understood it, beginning at Bremond and continuing through several more jumps to reach Northwind, and finally Terra. As Alex understood it, about two months ago Northwind had fallen to Clan Steel Wolf in a massive betrayal by Paladin Ezekiel Crow. With the gateway to Terra open, the Steel Wolves had wasted no time in jumping to the planet. They did not destroy Northwind's military though, and the Highlanders had followed them inside a week, meeting them on the early spring plains of Terra, and somehow beating them sideways despite being outnumbered in both Mechs and troop strength.

Battlemechs: tools of war that were both feared and marveled at by every member of the Inner Sphere. They were rare now, after the Sphere had passed laws that severely limited civilian ownership. Before those laws, miniature kingdoms had sprouted all across the galaxy. Wealthy individuals who possessed the millions of C-Bills to purchase one of the beasts tended to view any opposition as a nail, and when your hammer is a 100 ton, 15 meter tall assault mech, the nails don't tend to last very long.

Most battlemechs were now in the hands of private military contractors or the clans. Planetary defense forces had grown complacent in the past, relying on their allies and Inner Sphere peacekeeping forces to defend them against any would-be invaders. Complacent, that is, until the HPG network fell.

The Hyperpulse Generators were each more marvelous than any jumpship could hope to be. Messages that would take weeks or months to reach their destination by jumpship could be transmitted instantaneously using them, and they were made to last. Major components had a shelf life measured in the tens of thousands of years, and so the manufacturers of the major HPG parts had been disbanded several years after the network went live. Nobody expected the network to fail, and so it was even more devastating when a coordinated assault took place across the entire galaxy on the HPG uplinks.

Within a week, there were only five or six remaining operational HPG stations in the entire Inner Sphere, and the entire galaxy was thrown into a sort of dark age. With no factories to produce replacement parts for the network, entire solar systems were forced to adapt until the extremely rare parts could either be found, or jerry rigged using tech from the planet. In most cases, planetary governments simply abandoned the stations; preferring to shore up their own defenses and buy more Mechs and armor to fend off any attack.

Northwind had been one of those planets, being the gateway to Terra, the importance of defense was not lost to their governing body. Their failing had been in sending out detachments to other planets. Over 75% of the Northwind Highlanders had been engaged in combat operations outside of the system when Anastasia Kerensky's Steel Wolves landed, and any call for help would take two weeks minimum to reach their outside forces, and another two weeks to a month for them to mobilize for the trip home.

It was a miracle that Paladin Crow had been there in the first place to hire mercenaries on behalf of the Inner Sphere. The mercs had proven themselves invaluable in the defense effort of the planet, but were ordered to trap the Highlanders in their capital city in one of the most pitched battles the planet had ever seen. Crow made his escape on a civilian dropship in a failed attempt to cover his own ass as charges of treason were laid upon him by the mechload for his betrayal at Liao under a different name.

All of that was in the past though. Now, Alex and the rest of the Widow Makers' forces were tasked with aiding the defense of Terra so that the Highlanders could rebuild their home world. The message had come only a week ago, and even though they were mercs, the Widow Makers could recognize the importance of maintaining a stable government. The three Overlord class dropships that were docked with the Sacrifice of the Few were full to capacity with Mechs, tanks, battle armor, and aerospace fighters. Alex's lance, the Roughnecks, was a support/brawler lance. His own mech was a Hunchback, a 50t mech that sported a single PPC in the right shoulder, and an array of four medium pulse lasers, two in each arm. The left shoulder had been customized to be heavily armored, and when looking from the front, it appeared that the PPC was mounted on the left side. It was a dirty trick, one that Alex had thought up all on his own.

Alex was proud of his mech, he was a brawler to the core. His armor plate was a ballistic resistant variant of the standard Ferro-steel plating on most Mechs, and was about twice as expensive, but that didn't matter much when an Atlas stepped out with its massive AC-20 and fired a round into the faux cannon on his left shoulder.

Alex chuckled at that memory, if only he could've seen the pilot's face when instead of mangling the heaviest mech-carried energy weapon, the lowly 50 ton Hunchback shrugged off the round and sent a massive ball of blue plasma into the missile racks in the Atlas' left torso. He grimaced as he remembered the missile ammo lighting off from the heat and electricity as the massive 100 ton Mech was tossed on its ass from the explosion. He had opened a direct comm. link to the other pilot, planting a foot in the chest of the Atlas and giving the Cap Con pilot a few choice swear words before firing all four pulse lasers into the cockpit of the enemy Mech.

If memory served right, the salvage on that mech alone had been roughly eight million C-Bills, and he had gotten to keep half for himself as a reward for sparing most of the mech's mechanical components. Even if the enemy pilot had to be scraped out of his command couch with a putty knife.

Reaching his dropship, Alex smiled slightly as he floated into his room. The military jumpship had some artificial gravity, about half of what one could expect on Terra, but that didn't extend to the dropships that docked with it.

Alex felt a sudden sense of vertigo as the KF drives began to charge. A klaxon sounded within the jumpship as the docking doors and major passageways locked down for transit. Alex looked out his window, and was met with the sight of the entire ship glowing a dull blue before the stars around the ship seemed to dart away as the ship lurched forward.


----//DisengageDropshipClamp2-----Confirmed

----//ERROR- KF TRANSIT DETECTED - CAPTAIN OVERRIDE REQUIRED

----//Override 10533956-30AIN935K recognized

----//Dropship 1943-A Released

----//Recording Override Event - - - ERROR: NETWORK CABLE DETACHED

----//Local Backup Created - - - Please Refer Maintenance Personnel At Your Convenience

Alex was thrown across his room, the sudden deceleration of the dropship was not planned. Normally, the KF drive of the jumpship would compensate for the inertia of a jump exit. Alex was quick to regain his footing, grabbing his cooling vest and neurohelmet as he bolted from the room and down the hall.

He'd heard of Dropships being disconnected from Jumpships mid-transit before, and most of the stories were gruesome to say the least. Entire ships coming out of KF Transit inside a planet, or a few feet from a star. There was a way to calculate where the ship would end up, however the answer was always one of three options, depending on the Jumpship's orientation and the mass of the Dropship. For some reason, which Alex couldn't comprehend, the jump exits for such ships was always in the opposite direction that the Jumpship was headed, and almost twice the distance of a standard jump.

Needless to say, it was concerning. Most ships that were disconnected during the three to five second jumps were never heard from again, and it had to be a deliberate action.

"Wake the fuck up kids! Something just hit the fan and I'm pretty sure it wasn't rainbows!"

The other mechwarriors grabbed their gear and headed to the only place that they could really do any good from. The Mech hangar.

Alex glanced around once before ascending the access ladder into his beloved Hunchback. The lance was composed of five Mechs, two Cougar scout Mechs: piloted by the twins Zach and Kerry, one Dragon heavy mech: piloted by Vladimir, one Highlander assault mech: piloted by Lauren, and his own Hunchback. He sighed, if nothing else the lance was mobile, the Dragon could outrun a few medium Mechs if Vlad kicked the MASC gear into overdrive.

Alex grinned as he strapped himself into the command couch of his mech, he had named her Jessica after a long night of drinking. A tribute to an ex girlfriend, it seemed fitting. She too was a 50 ton rampaging bitch when she got pissed, which was roughly once every other day.

A klaxon sounded throughout the dropship, and the captain started yelling over the intercom. "Mechwarriors prepare for Hot-drop, all non-essential crew members report to upper decks, brace for impact."

Alex had about half a second to process all of that information before a metallic thud echoed inside the cockpit. Fuel lines and support structure disconnected as his Hunchback was lifted into the air over the drop door. He quickly flipped a few switches, powering up the Mech's fusion reactor.

"Reactors: Online"

"Sensors: Online"

"Weapons: Online"

"All Systems: Nominal"

"Voice Lock Command Required"

Alex grinned, this was by far the best part of the startup sequence, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me." The onboard computer picked up his vocal patterns, wavelengths, and least of all, his words. The vocal startup lock was something that was standard on all military Mechs, and several civilian industrial models had the same feature. It ensured that no rogue Mechwarrior could steal a mech and go stomping around on a joyride, while also marking the mech as something truly personal.

"Voice Lock Released, Welcome Back: Mechwarrior"

At that moment, the massive Endo-Steel drop doors engaged, splitting open to reveal a nighttime planet surface far below. Each Mech was held into the air as the Mech bay doors opened beneath their feet. For an instant, everything was quiet. Alex keyed his mic over the lance tactical channel, "Roughnecks, if we're going to hell, give Satan a black eye."

A chorus of 'Hoorah!' echoed from his lance mates, and the drop cranes released their hold. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as Alex was weightless in his command couch.

And then, gravity happened.

-----6:00 AM Ponyville, Equestria, Planet Equis-----

Rainbow Dash rolled over on her cloud, she had been too tired after practicing the day before to fly all the way home. What she had forgotten, however, was who exactly was on cloud duty the next day before she burrowed into the inviting white cloud.

She was falling, speeding toward the ground as she woke up. She flared her wings, swearing under her breath as she fought through her sore muscles and half-asleep mind. Leveling out, Rainbow turned to face whatever had knocked her out of bed at this hour, and came face to face with a certain golden maned - grey coated pegasus.

"Damn it Derpy! Don't you know to check clouds before you go and kick 'em!?" She shouted, sleep still clouding her judgment as she fought to stay awake in mid air.

"Sorry Rainbow Dash, But I've never seen you check a cloud in your life!" Derpy shouted back, giggling a little bit at Rainbow's ragged bed mane.

Rolling her eyes, Rainbow allowed herself to glide to the ground. Luckily, she had decided to sleep almost directly over Twilight's library. Letting herself in, she was almost surprised to see the purple unicorn up and going about her business.

"Oh hey Rainbow! You sure are up early today," she quipped cheerfully, humming slightly as she shelved, scrutinized, and re-shelved a whole section of the library.

"Yeah, wasn' exactly my choice though," Rainbow replied, still fighting sleep as she slumped over to the couch and passed out before she hit the cushions.

"What do you mea-" *SNORE* "Ah, I see," Twilight giggled to herself as she finished re-shelving the main floor of the library. She trotted up to her room, deciding to take a quick look at the stars before they were completely lost to the sunrise.

Halfway to her 9 1/4in Catadioptric telescope, which still needed recalibrating (darn it Pinkie), she noticed a flash through her window. Peeking out, she saw a shooting star fly almost directly overhead, and made a wish.

-----0613-----

Alex was panicking. Everything was going wrong. He patched his Mech's long range radio in to the dropship's command frequency, and immediately wished he hadn't.

"Captain! The reactors are flaring! We need to freeze the engines NOW before they blow!"

"Sir, Coolant pumps are all overheated, there's no way we can vent anything!"

"Fuck man, what're we supposed to do!?"

Alex turned off his receiver and watched the dropship shoot across the sky, easily 20km away by now, but clearly visible from the trail of plasma it left from its entry into the atmosphere. There were a couple flickers as the reactors tried to compensate for the heat, and the ship plummeted toward the planet surface.

He was falling too slow, checking the gravitational readings, he realized that this planet had about a third less gravity than the boosters were calibrated for. What that meant was that the boosters would fire early, and all but stop his fall a good mile up off the ground. The fall after that didn't really concern him all that much, but the sudden stop at the bottom would be trouble.

As he ran a few rough calculations through his head, he noticed that the Dragon had already started its burn. The heavy mech visibly slowed as the solid rocket boosters belched flame and smoke. Keying on his mic, Alex could hear Vlad shouting something in Russian as Lauren swore at him in English about the lower gravity.

Zach and Kerry seemed to take the hint, laying low like light mech pilots often do. Lauren's Highlander kicked in its jets about a mile after Vlad's Dragon. The weight difference between the assault mech and Zach's medium meant that he had another 10 seconds of freefall before he would need to activate his own boosters. The Cougars didn't really need the rockets, they could just burn their jump jets and be fine, but that generated excess heat that they really didn't need on touchdown.

Glancing back down, Alex saw the trail of the dropship as it connected with the surface of the planet.

The sky turned white.

"NO!" Alex screamed over his headset, the engines on the dropship hadn't been able to keep up with the strain of such a sudden deceleration and demand for power to attain a safe landing. They had overloaded, and the heat generated caused the air within the ship to flash burn. Not a fun way to die.

The explosion lit up the entire sky for an instant, and then it was gone. Alex punched the retro burners on his control console and Jessica shuddered violently as the boosters began their burn.

"Ten Seconds To Impact"

The droning of the computer snapped Alex out of his daze, glancing out of his window in time to see the two Cougars fire both jump jets and boosters as they landed on the ground safely. Vlad's dragon had used up all its fuel, and the right engine had burned for just a few seconds longer. His mech was now plummeting again as it flipped sideways, smashing into the ground several kilometers into a forest. Alex swore as the Dragon's fusion reactor flared, essentially detonating a bomb in the vast expanse of trees.

He and Lauren touched down at roughly the same time, jettisoning the solid rocket boosters as they burned the last of their fuel before coming to rest.

"Alright Roughneck lance, form up on my lead. Let's figure out where we are."

-----6:18 AM Canterlot, Equestria, Planet Equis-----

Shining Armor raced through the corridors. Luna and Celestia would be in the throne room at this time, conversing about the night's events and preparing to exchange places for the daytime. Whatever those things were, they made landfall somewhere near the edge of the Everfree Forest.

Somewhere near his sister's home.


"Computer, bring up a nav marker for Roughneck 4," Alex ordered, he had to find out just what happened. A small part of him hoped that his friend had been smart enough to eject rather than go down with his mech, a larger part told him that Vlad was about as stubborn as an Atlas when it came to his Mech.

"Navigation Marker Set."

Alex keyed his mic, "Roughneck lance, turn heading 1-6-5," he sighed to himself before continuing, "We aren't leaving him out there." With that, the four surviving Mechs turned into the forest, heading South-East.

The Cougars were making good time, simply jumping over dense parts of the forest and weaving their way through. An animal thought to tangle with Zach, and found itself eating a laser as the upper half of its body turned to ash.

Several times Alex found himself roping the eager twins back to the lance. They had always been competitive, so the impromptu race was hardly surprising. Lauren simply bitched under her breath about 'fucking trees' and 'fucking mud', all while swinging an arm of her Highlander to simply knock the vegetation out of her way.

Alex was not so lucky. Traveling in line behind the Highlander was a dangerous option, it left him open from behind and he had cored enough Mechs to know that flames weren't his particular choice of death if it could be helped. He opted to take a position about 100 meters to her right, simply slipping between most trees thanks to the Hunchback's smaller form, and firing his laser AMS manually to cut trees out of his way.

He quickly grew bored, anxious to find out just what had happened to his lance mate, and began calling on the lance tactical channel. "Roughneck 4, Roughneck 4 - Come in Vlad, over."

*Static*

"Roughneck 4, Roughneck 4 - this is Roughneck Lead, come on Vlad, over."

*Static*

"Alex, if he ejected you know damn well that his tac radio wouldn't be working," Kerry piped up, Alex was impressed, he was unaware that the twins could pay attention outside of active combat.

Switching over to the survival channels, Alex broadcast once more. "Roughneck 4, Roughneck 4 - this is Roughneck Lead, please respond."

*Static*

-----Elsewhere-----

Vinyl Scratch was rocking her new music on her tour stage. The rave scene was a very specific niche in Equestria, but every day more and more ponies found out about her awesome wubs.

Spinning up the next track, she hit a button on the turntable to broadcast to the speakers. She bopped her head along with the beat, peering out from her custom glasses as she saw the entire room start jumping in sync. 'This is awesome! This is spectacular! THIS IS DJ PON-3!!!' She shouted in her head, slamming a hoof down on the pyrotechnics as her name suddenly lit up in fireworks behind the stage, timing the fireworks right along with the most intense part of the song. The crowd roared for more, this was her best show yet!

"Alright guys, you want one more?!" Vinyl shouted into the mic.

"YEAAAAAAAAH!" was the crowd's reply.

Vinyl chuckled to herself. 'Then you better hold on to something.' She pressed another button on the turntable, queuing up her next track. . . *Static* "ROUGHNECK 4, ROUGHNECK 4 - THIS IS ROUGHNECK LEAD, FUCKING ANSWER ME VLAD!!!" *Static*

-----Everfree Forest-----

Alex saw it, but he couldn't believe it. Right there in the clearing where Vlad had crashed. . . stood his Mech! It was changed though, much of the torso had been overgrown with vines. It looked like it had been there for decades, not minutes. Scorch marks were all over the armor, and more vines writhed beneath the plating. The image reminded Alex of some sort of metal zombie.

Alex keyed his external speakers, maybe the radio was totally fried. "Vlad? You out here?"

The response was instant, and far from expected. The Dragon powered up. Running lights lit up around the feet, and the whatever-that-thing-is began to run toward him.

"What the FUCK IS GOING ON - SIR!?" Lauren shouted over her headset, she was more the 'If it gets in my way, smash it' type than the rest of the lance. 'Must be why she pilots the assault mech.' Alex thought.

"ROUGHNECK 4, ROUGHNECK 4 - THIS IS ROUGHNECK LEAD, FUCKING ANSWER ME VLAD!!!" Alex screamed, bracing as the Dragon charged at him. "Oh fuck me sideways," he whispered, practically making the Hunchback dance backward as the Heavy Mech tore up mud and dirt, sprinting at roughly 90 kph toward him.

Alex began to think that he might get out unscathed, "Maybe the trees are trying to pilot that scrap heap," he joked with his lance, still dodging and evading every punch he could.

*BOOM*

Alex was rocked backward, an armor plated fist slamming into the left side of Jessica's torso. Flame rolled around the Mech as sparks ignited a potent blend of tree sap and sawdust from the journey. Alex simply went with the motion, planting his Mech's right foot, he turned a nasty fall into a rather graceful (destroy everything within 10 meters) pirouette. Jessica was still going down, but she now went down left shoulder first, burying the flaming metal in mud and dirt. Alex's ears were ringing from the impact, and he was pretty sure a couple teeth had found their way under his command couch as he struggled with the muddy forest floor.

The twins were having little luck hitting the former Dragon, its constant movement throwing their targeting computers for a loop. They kept up their fire, most of the lasers and short range missiles going directly into the tree line. They were at somewhat of a loss, the forest itself seemed to give off false targets as their targeting computers painted ghost targets for them to aim at.

Lauren scoffed at the two scouts. As Alex started evading punches, she pushed her Highlander into position right behind the poor Dragon. Her face was a mask of boredom as she trained her crosshairs over the Mech manually.

The Alpha strike is the bitch of all bitches when it comes to Mech combat. It is only wise to use when you have a resupply station nearby, or only one enemy and don't need to worry about fighting for the next hour or so as the Mech bleeds off heat.

Not that Lauren had ever been wise. Heat slammed into the Mechwarrior as she cut loose with every weapon at her disposal, overcharging the energy weapons to the point of recklessness as they could simply melt down and detonate inside her own Mech's arm. She smiled a little bit.

Twelve SRMs, three overcharged large lasers, and a Gauss round that had been fired with supercharged magnets tore into the back of the Dragon. The lasers hit first, burning away some vegetation and boiling off several hundred pounds of armor. The Gauss round hit second, punching through whatever surviving internal components there were. Last, the SRMs hit. Two or three detonated on the surface, widening the gaping hole in its back. The rest detonated inside the mech. It seemed to bulge outward, like a balloon with too much air, before flames tore through every crack and seam in the armor.

A mushroom cloud rose into the air, twisted metal falling to the ground where Vlad's mech had once stood. Lauren just sat there in her Highlander, arms crossed, staring out at the destruction with a slight pout. Her Mech had initiated an auto shutdown to prevent the fusion reactor from cooking her alive.

"I like the new look," she chimed over the radio, seeing Alex's mech come plodding around the wreckage half covered in mud.

"Yeah, well don't get used to it. I'm getting this shit off ASAP." Alex retorted over the private radio link between the two.

Lauren laughed some more, but was happy to remind everyone what had just happened. "Ya know boss, I never did get the damn beer that commie bastard owed me."

"Yeah Lauren, well I'm sure he'll be waiting for us all in Hell an-," Alex paused, glancing at his monitors to confirm what he had just seen in the Hunchback's thermal cameras. "Massive heat flare, on your left, Lauren!"

Lauren rolled her eyes, her Mech still had about three minutes before she could risk powering it back up again. "Hey! Cap'n clueless, I am currently sitting in a fancy paper-weight. Just in case you forgot," she drawled.

A ruby beam of light slashed out from the forest, nearly grazing Alex's leg as he took a step backwards. He turned his Mech to face the attacker. He instantly screamed.

"What in the sweet FUCK!?" Alex began backpedaling as he sidestepped the crimson beam. If it was another Mech, it wasn't showing itself. Keying up his mic, Alex shouted at the twins, "What are you two doing? You're supposed to keep a damn eye out!"

"Meh, sorry boss. Just don't feel like losing any more paint today," came Zach's smartass reply.

"You two lazy fucks better get in here before I can power up, 'cause once that happens, lost paint will be the least of your worries," Lauren growled through her headset.

Zach couldn't hear any reply, but seconds later the two Cougars jumped into the clearing on pillars of flame. They began scanning the trees around the clearing, searching for any sign of enemy contact.

-----15 min. before-----

Shining Armor circled over the clearing where the Mech had crashed. Torn and twisted metal lied scattered around like a colt's toys. There was something wrong with the Everfree though. Soon enough, vines began to shift and twist, grabbing metal plates and bending them back into shape. Some grabbed strange box like pieces with pipes coming out of the sides, punching through the lining of the components and making them hum and crackle with energy. Within five minutes, the forest clearing had twisted this scrap into a hulking beast.

Shining could see at least three more coming off in the distance, two jumped over the top of the forest, while a third simply smashed trees aside to reach its destination.

Motioning for the Pegasi guards to land just outside the clearing, Shining waited for the rest of the behemoths to show up. He would observe and report back to the princesses if they were needed, and take them down himself if they weren't.

Shining's eyes went wide as the first of the beasts stepped out into the clearing. This one had no vines around it, and had some strange looking symbols on the upper portion of its right leg. He could clearly see a faint glow coming from the very top of the beast, and felt a strange pressure in his head. The pressure was not unlike what he had felt when casting his protection spells over Canterlot last spring, but these. . . things. . . they couldn't be changelings. . . right?

Shining nearly bolted from the scene right then as the beast in the middle sprinted forward, clearly looking to destroy the newcomer. He could see two smaller ones off on the other side of the clearing, they were identical, their legs appeared to be reverse jointed, like a bird. They began to fire beams of light from their arms, and strange fireballs from the shoulders. The pressure in his head increased dramatically when they fired their beams, and his vision was soon growing hazy.

Just as Shining was beginning to think things couldn't get any worse, a tremor began to find him in his little hiding spot. Looking behind him, he went slack jawed. A fifth behemoth, this one taller than the rest, was passing through the forest just a few yards away from him! As he looked on in awe, it raised an arm and swept aside a tree that couldn't have been any smaller than two feet around the base.

Shining watched, stunned, as the pressure in his head started picking up again. The fifth beast trudged into the field behind the first and unleashed enough magic to level half of Canterlot. The first monster stood no chance as it bulged and warped in the flames.

Shining was woozy. The magical overpressure in his head was almost too much to take. The final beast had stopped moving after taking its shot, simply hunching over almost like it was in pain. Steam rolled off its back from vents, and out from slots in one of the arms. The second marched up to it, stopping as if to say hello.

Shining couldn't take it anymore. He began to lose consciousness as black shadows invaded his vision. He heard a faint 'Sir?' from somewhere behind him as he passed out, the excess magic lancing forward out of his horn as he fell.

-----Roughneck Lance-----

Zach and Kerry stalked around the edge of the clearing, using sensors to sweep for any motion around them after the laser that nearly bisected their lance leader's leg. Zach was the weapons specialist out of the two, preferring to strip down armor and extra systems such as the mech's anti-missile systems to place better and larger weapons. His Cougar was outfitted with two large pulse lasers, one in each arm, and two MRM-10 racks in place of the standard LRM-15s. He was a Roughneck to the core, never one to back down from a fight. It was this hard-headedness that had molded his brother into the amazing wingman that he was.

Kerry was a defensive specialist. Forgoing heavier weapons in order to keep he and his brother in one piece. Kerry's Cougar was sporting two Large lasers, but in the missile racks, there was only one Clan-based SRM 4 rack. The Clan srms flew faster, hit harder, and weighed less than their Inner Sphere counterparts. To make up for his lack of missiles, however, the entire left shoulder of the Cougar had been stuffed with defensive weaponry and electronic countermeasures. His cougar had a trio of AMS lasers on its shoulder, all three working through one processer so they were never shooting the same target. To his satisfaction, and pride, he had never been hit by a single missile.

The other electronic countermeasures were in place to lengthen missile lock times, and mess with enemy firing computers. Normally, the computer would paint a shadow-mech to assist the pilot in leading a moving target, however, thanks to the ECM in his shoulder, enemy computers would paint a shadow mech behind, above, or right next to his Mech. Nothing beat the feeling of watching a Catapult trying to Gauss snipe the silly little scout miss by about 20 meters.

When the twins were together, they were unstoppable. Combined, they had more firepower than most medium Mechs, and even a few heavies. They knew not to go stepping on an Atlas' toes, but could use their jump jets and get right behind the bastard before the poor pilot could get his 100 ton ass turned around.

If there were any two pilots that the Roughnecks owed their success to as a unit, it was the twins. Scouts couldn't usually get up close and personal with other Mechs, but the twins did it on a regular basis, and never came out with more than a blown off arm.

Lauren watched the pair through her low light optics. She couldn't see them very well, but the flicker of heat every now and then through the trees was enough to ease her fears. After her alpha strike earlier, she had needed to vent about half of her extra coolant. She wasn't looking forward to piloting Nessie when all of that was gone. She'd likely be cooked alive.

Glancing at her lance lead, she cocked a half-smile when she saw the mud and grime on the side of his Mech. He was clearly missing some armor plating, from what she had heard over the radio and the LDM (Lance Damage Monitor), he had been hit with at least three SRMs. "Poor guy," she mumbled to herself, "hope your little tumble didn't mess up that pretty face."

Glancing back at her temperature readings, she realized she was well below the safety overheat mark. Tapping a few buttons, Nessie came right back to life. The computer spouted some unnecessary information, and told her that two of her heat sinks had been all but vaporized from the extra heat. She winced at that, they were the two that she had installed to handle the Gauss rifle. Ordinarily two heat sinks wouldn't matter, but when a Gauss rifle melts itself, the magnets tend to overcharge and, well, basically explode and take the entire arm with it.

Even with the missing heat sinks, the rifle was still operable, but she could only risk firing once every ten minutes or so, and hell no on any more alpha strikes.

-----Nearby-----

Shining groaned as the Pegasus Sergeant shook his shoulder, barely regaining consciousness. The Pegasus snorted in annoyance and rolled his Captain into the chariot. The fifth beast had apparently awoken from its nap, and he didn't want to be anywhere near it if it decided to go for a walk in the forest.

Shining Armor secured, more or less, the Pegasus bolted into the air, and sped toward Canterlot. He doubted that the Princesses would be able to defeat those beasts if they could put out enough magic to knock out not just a Unicorn, but the Captain of the Royal Guard.

-----Roughneck Lance-----

Alex watched with amusement as a tiny golden VTOL sped away. 'Was that laser a man portable model?' He wondered to himself. Judging by the heat flare it had produced, it would've been more than capable of removing his leg if it had hit behind the knee.

They weren't too bad actually, the Mechs had been designed to operate for weeks in the field without needing resupply. Lauren's Gauss rifle would be the first thing to run out of ammo, and she only fired that on Mechs that were in the Heavy or Assault class. Every one of them had energy weapons of some sort, as they never needed reloading and were by far the easiest to use due to lasers being made of, well, light.

The only member of Roughneck Lance to not have any laser based weapons had been Vlad. The Dragon simply didn't have the amount of raw energy output to power the things, and he had siphoned a lot of it into extra bits such as his MASC gear.

Myomer Acceleration Signal Circuitry (MASC) is basically, in 21st century terms, V-TEC for Mechs. Extra wiring and programming within the Myomer musculature of the Dragon allowed for the reactor to overcharge the Mech's muscles, and sprint for short distances.

Alex sighed as he glanced at his clock, 1943, and keyed his mic, "Looks like we're camping here tonight kids, grab a ration and chow down. We'll move at first light." He really didn't like being stuck out here, hopefully whatever fuckery that had caused Vlad's mech to attack his own Lance had subsided for now, and wouldn't cause them any trouble.

Sighing, Alex shut down Jessica for the night. A sultry voice came over his cockpit speakers as the computer's pre-recorded farewell cooed a sweet, "Good night, Alex," as he removed his Neurohelmet and disconnected the coolant tubes from his vest.

Twisting around in the cockpit, he opened his personal locker that was stashed behind the command couch, along with a small bench and ladder. It was a lot like a 21st century truck cab, with enough room to comfortably seat one other person behind the pilot, and two people if they wanted to get a little personal.

Alex grabbed his Thunderstroke Gauss rifle and a small pouch containing all of them. . . delicious. . . grey paste nutrients a Mechwarrior needed after a day of piloting. He climbed up the ladder to an exit hatch after noticing that the exterior vents had never been shut, but had been sealed during the drop by the reentry boosters' framework.

Popping the hatch, Alex climbed out of his mech, taking a seat on his beloved PPC housing as he begrudgingly ate the nutrient paste. This planet wasn't that bad, at least, he had seen much worse.

The air was definitely clean, aside from the stench of Ozone and burnt metal that followed Mech combat. The moon was clearly visible, and must've been close enough to reach with a Cougar's jump jets if one had the will. All in all, Alex thought, we could've ended up on an acidic hell-hole with nothing in the wilderness besides flesh hungry giant bats.

He chuckled to himself, glancing around the 200 meter wide clearing before inspecting the damage that the Dragon had inflicted to his Mech's torso. Alex winced as he saw the craters. Nothing was broken through to internals, thankfully, but his armor was designed to be ballistics resistant. He estimated that the Mech's fist had chunked about half the armor off. He saw a few pockmarks where rocks had struck, and laughed a bit.

Sighing, Alex retreated into his cockpit once more. He switched his Comm. over to the Mech's internal speakers, and laid back on the seat behind the command couch. Resting his legs up on the locker, and with his Gauss rifle loaded and ready next to him, Alex drifted off to sleep staring out of the top hatch at the stars.


Alex rubbed the sleep from his eyes, hearing a faint rasping sound coming from somewhere inside his cockpit. He glanced up, noting a small vine intruding through the open roof hatch.

Jumping up to a low crouch, Alex grabbed the vine and cut it off toward the entrance, tossing out the squirming stub as he locked the hatch and threw on his neurohelmet and cooling vest. He jumped over the back of his command couch, shivering as the liquid nitrogen burst through the insulating vest, guarding his body against the often blistering heat of combat in a Mech.

What he saw shocked him. Vines were wrapped around both of the Cougars, and Lauren’s Highlander was wrapped almost to its waist in the plants. As he gaped at the scene before him, vines began to worm up the cockpit glass of his Hunchback.

“Wake the fuck up Roughnecks!” rang out over the loudspeakers of each Mech’s cockpit as Alex fired up the fusion reactor of his own, wrenching the legs free of the stubborn overgrowth.

-----Canterlot-----

10:40 PM

Princess Celestia rushed through the castle corridors, heading for the medical wing. A panicked Sergeant had burst into the throne room as she and her sister had finished their nightly visit, shouting about metal behemoths straight from the mouth of Tartarus and an unconscious Captain of the Royal Guard.

Doctors and nurses leapt aside as Celestia tore through the narrow hallways of the medical wing, her worry growing steadily as she neared Shining Armor’s hospital room. She burst through the door, scattering a few papers from the countertop and startling a sorrowful Princess Cadence.

“Auntie!” Cadence cried, throwing herself at the ivory Alicorn. Cadence herself was a bit shorter than Luna, sporting a crystal heart cutie mark that signified her role as Princess and caretaker of the Crystal Empire to the far north.

Celestia returned her niece’s embrace, smiling at Cadence’s new choice of mane style, she had kept it in a bun after the events in the north.

“How is he?” Celestia inquired, glancing over Cadence’s shoulder at the still form of Shining Armor behind the drawn curtains in his hospital room.

“He is. . . sleeping,” Cadence replied, slightly surprised that she had no other way to describe her husband’s condition.

“You know, I woke up about five minutes ago, dear,” came a groggy voice from behind the curtain. “Right about the time you started punching me in the ribs.”

Shining armor was clearly annoyed. He had not only failed to discover the origins of the beasts in the woods, but had passed out like a filly after playtime just because they had used magic in front of him.

“I would like a report, Captain,” Celestia said sternly.

“Of course ma’am,” Shining said, “Some strange beasts fell from the sky in the early morning yesterday. I took the initiative and went to investigate myself, the beasts were enormous, easily five stories in height. They could,” Shining gulped, “probably destroy a pony’s house simply by stepping on it.”

Celestia’s mind was racing, she had never seen any living being fall from the sky in her thousands of years before, let alone beings so enormous.

“They could use magic as well ma’am,” Shining continued, “One of them channeled so much magic that it completely obliterated another one. That one, though. . .” Shining trailed off, trying to find the right words for what he was about to say. It sounded crazy, even to him, and he had seen it himself! “One of the beasts appeared to crash into the forest, ma’am. The Everfree seemed to. . . absorb it. . .” Celestia raised an eyebrow at this, “The forest grew in and around the wreckage of the beast, and apparently turned it against the others in its group.”

Celestia was dumbfounded. The Everfree was a strange place, and the more magic used there, the more the forest would respond to anypony inside its borders. For the Everfree to actually control and interact with a being, though. . . the amount of magic required to start such a reaction would be astronomical.

“What caused your. . . current condition, Captain?” Celestia asked hesitantly, not quite sure she wanted to hear the reply.

“When the largest used its magic, I began to feel strange ma’am. I found myself suffering from a massive headache and passed out shortly after.” Shining replied truthfully, hanging his head in shame toward the end.

Celestia began to panic. Sure, unicorns were sensitive to magic, but in order to create enough latent magic to cause anypony physical discomfort, well, she and Luna’s responsibilities with the sun and moon went un-noticed by all but her own student most of the time.

Celestia took a deep breath, collecting her thoughts for a moment. “Captain, please remain here and rest. Luna and I will go and investigate the ‘beasts’ and if they turn out to be hostile, I will return to collect the Royal Guard.” Shining Armor raised his head to protest, but before he could get a word out of his mouth a brilliant white light engulfed the room.

Celestia teleported to the throne room, startling Luna slightly, and causing a certain Wonderbolts Lieutenant to stumble backwards before plopping down on her flank.

Celestia would’ve giggled at Spitfire’s antics were she not in such a dire situation, “Come, Luna. Something important has come up and I require your assistance.”

Luna raised an eyebrow, glancing at Spitfire before being waved off by the orange Pegasus. She nodded, bowing to Spitfire and whispering something into her ear. The Wonderbolt giggled, and took to the air, soaring out of the throne room from a pony sized window about fifty feet above the floor of the room.

Celestia raised an eyebrow at Luna, curious as to why the Lieutenant had been in the castle instead of watching over the training academy. Brushing some slightly un-princess-y thoughts aside, Luna and Celestia took to the air, soaring out of the castle and across Canterlot toward the Everfree forest.

Celestia filled in Luna during the flight, and to say that the dark blue Alicorn was shocked would be a vast understatement. At one point, Luna had actually frozen at the mention of the fact that the behemoths had used enough magic to make a Royal Guard pass out from indirect magical radiation.

The only thing that came close to that amount of power in Luna’s mind were the Elements of Harmony. Luna shivered as she thought about her experience with the Elements. Even though she was not herself at the time, she had been forced to watch the atrocities committed by Nightmare Moon.

The pair flew in silence for hours. Their speed no match for the vastness of the Everfree as they strived to view these monsters for themselves.

-----Roughneck Lance-----

0433

The other Mechwarriors were roused quickly, each firing up their Mechs as quickly as they could. Alex had to use his Laser AMS to prune the vines from the twins Mechs. The Anti-Missile beam not powerful enough to do much more than make paint bubble.

The twins immediately retreated beyond the clearing, firing the occasional laser at clusters of vegetation as they awaited the other two Mechs.

Alex began to fire his lasers on the encroaching vines, keeping some semblance of a perimeter around himself and Lauren’s Highlander. This planet was strange. It seemed that the more weaponry he poured into the plants, the more determined they became to overtake him.

The twins caught on to his plan, facing back to back, they sidled up to their lance lead and alternated weapons, firing a mixture of missiles and large lasers at any unlucky plant that dared approach the trio.

Lauren simply stomped around. Her footfalls obliterated any vegetation unfortunate enough to be caught under her 90 ton Highlander. As the heat in his cockpit rose, Alex adopted the tactic as well. Utilizing his Mech’s articulated hands to rip and tear at any plants his feet couldn’t handle.

A pattern quickly emerged. The vines near Alex and Lauren were attempting to move toward the twins, who had switched entirely to lasers and feet as their preferred methods of destruction rather than wasting missile ammo.

“Stop using lasers!” Alex shouted at the pair, both of which turning the torso of the Mechs to face their leader. Alex could imagine the incredulous looks on their faces as he commanded them to cease using their most effective weapons in favor of kicking the plants.

Alex rolled his eyes, stomping his Hunchback over to the other side of the clearing. With a sigh, he tilted the torso of his Mech back, and fired his PPC straight up into the night sky. The entire clearing lit up as the pulsing ball of blue plasma and electricity soared upward, some bolts of lightning arcing downward to singe the forest floor.

The effect was instantaneous. Vines twisted toward the source of the disturbance as Alex trudged back toward the trio of Mechs on the opposite side of the clearing. Upon reaching the spot where he had been standing, the vines curled around themselves, weaving into a twisting spire as the forest attempted to chase the plasma ball as it faded into the sky.

-----Above the Everfree-----

Luna and Celestia altered their course once more. They had spent the past three hours wandering over the forest, searching for any sign of disturbance or giant monsters from space.

Luna was excited, what appeared to be a star had just shot forth from a small clearing in the forest canopy just a couple miles from their position. She could feel the raw power behind it, and that only served to excite her more. Creatures that wished to add to her beautiful night couldn’t be all bad, right? Perhaps she would have another fellow night lover to converse with, possibly even one from beyond her own planet!

Celestia was deeply disturbed by the star flying skyward. Whatever these creatures were, they were immensely powerful. Her forehead pricked a bit when the star had appeared, telling her that even from miles away, the sheer amount of magic was either world-shatteringly powerful, or extremely unfocused.

As the two closed in on the small clearing, they paused so Celestia could raise the sun. No sense in meeting their guests at night, even if the sunrise came about an hour early. Applejack crossed Celestia’s mind at that thought, certainly the early rising farm pony would appreciate the extra daylight.

-----Roughneck Lance-----

The sun was rising. Alex and the rest of the Roughnecks had backed off enough that the vines were no longer pursuing them. They appeared to not care as long as they didn’t use energy weapons, but still crept slowly toward the active Mechs, as if they could sense the energy within the fusion reactors.

Alex ran a quick system check, realizing that a few rear mounted heat sinks would need to be cleaned before proceeding to exit the forest. The vines had apparently wound themselves in the fins of the heat dispersion units, and ran the risk of catching fire if too much heat was routed to them.

Alex sighed, putting his Mech in standby as he disconnected his cooling vest. Standing up as much as he could in the somewhat cramped cockpit, he diverted the heat conduits away from the clogged heat sinks and doused them with a rush of coolant before climbing out of the roof hatch of his Hunchback.

Facing the rear of his Mech, and the entire lance, Alex stopped cold as he faced the tree line. Something had definitely moved. Alex brought up his gauss rifle, scanning the underbrush for any sign of movement.

His heart rate sped up, inside a Mech, infantry weren’t even a concern. They could prove troublesome if they camped out with a large anti-Mech weapon, but even those were not very effective against true Battlemechs, and were mainly used to put down retrofitted civilian models. Outside his Mech, however, he was a very exposed target.

After a few minutes of staring into the somewhat unsettling forest, he decided that it had been his mind playing tricks on him. Climbing down the maintenance ladder on Jessica’s back, he yanked out the two, meter long tendrils with more than a little effort.

Climbing back up and retrieving his gauss rifle from beside the trademark hump that gave the Hunchback its name, Alex froze again. He had that feeling of being watched. He spun around on his heels and almost started laughing at his own stupidity. It was nothing but a horse! A white horse had been freaking him out this whole time! A white horse that. . . had a horn. . . and wings. . . and, *gulp*, was . . . flying. . . thirteen meters off the ground. . .

Alex summed up all of these frenzied thoughts into one eloquent phrase, “Well fuck.”

Author's Note:

Better than it was, I don't think it's quite perfect, but I did what I could without ripping it apart letter by letter.

Notice the lack of magical, orbit drop surviving missiles and autocannon. That was a big gripe of mine with the story the first time.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!