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  • 📅 September 2023 is YE 45.7 in the RP.

RP [Strays] The Century War


The bird-like form of Yamog's Pitohui wobbled and shook in the knees until it slid the rest of the way down the glass-dune, and then juddered and vibrated on the spot for several more moments afterwards.

Piloting a mecha really wasn't like the video games at all- It didn't so much self-right, as constantly fight against face planting, especially with something as supposedly agile, and intentionally unstable, as the one-eyed goblin's 'light' unit. Yamog never imagined it would feel like a helicopter dragging an anchor, sending all of those vibrations right up their spine and throwing their brain around like a washing machine.

Perhaps she would have stated this to captain birdman, but they were far too concerned with keeping their lunch down at the moment. Even Deimos seemed to be having trouble not 'stirring the soup' and overcorrecting, long after she had taken her hands off the controls.

Was it always going to be like this? Was she not worthy? The way that their leader despatched the tank with focused fire seemed so effortless... And Huthang was apparently cleaning shop by himself, calm and collected.

Regaining some semblance of focus, she grasped the joysticks again, and simply sat the mech down for a moment. Perched like a seabird making a rocky nest.

"Sir Roger... I do believe we dun' piled in all disorganized." The creature spoke plainly, losing the strange reverence that was apparently reserved for Deimos alone. "How's about now? Are we pilin' on forward, or we done enough to get they's attenchin'?"

They still sounded sick. They were not good at hiding it.

"We strays aint been around long and drop off good as someone looks at us the wrong way. An we cant afford fancy mecha or nothin like that so we build what we can and even without fancy training we learn and we adapt.

Over the past few years most of the Ol' salts that live and learn new shite pass that down to the newbies all that experience earned the hard way so you can start off better than they did. It aint in no book, or that you'll find in some fancy course but we got tricks we learned that you got to too.

Rule #2 is to always use your nanites if things go south. We aint got much of em, two sometimes three canisters but if you ever find yourself in the open, against multiple or more advanced oponents, or what have ye you blow a canister and it'll turn to smoke by default. Your fairy can see through it since its the same nanites shes made of and if shes got time she might highlight through it targets for you to shoot at.

Huthang did well with them and used em right. Remember that for next time but dont blow your load every single time someone looks at you funny cause you are still creating a new obastacle in a scenario for you and the other strays.

Next is one you all just learned with Ronnie; Rule #18 is to always protect your core. We can take all kinds of punishment and even get taken down without killing the pilot. But if your energy cell matrix is ruptured it will blow with the force of a biggun. And even if you can eject or escape its unlikely you'll get far enough before it kills you.

As such the places you should look out for damage the most are:

You joints in the legs. If they are damaged or crippled you are a sitting duck.

The cockpit. It isnt hardly armored and some energy weapons can pass right through it.

Your back. Most of our armor covers our whole mech but from behind you enemies can get shots at your joints, thrusters, and your center axel.

Other than that you lot didn't do too bad. There's more that fits the situation like #17 and #19 but the skinny of it is to learn from your mistakes and experiences. And as for getting their attention
you tell me!"

As chips monolouged and their Fairys ran diagnostics there was little actual damage to affect any of them. There was already wear to their machines and negligible errors like the most minor of pressure loss in a hydraulic joint, or a treadwell being off alignment by a fraction of a percent. But other than being jostled about and a chunk of ammo and energy low their machines were in good condition.
From their position in the dune, however, it was impossible to tell if they had been noticed. In all their HUDs and the GPS map on one console in each cockpit a little marker popped up on their position to mark their salvage as not needing to climb the dune back up and just go around it this time they turned about and, significantly closer, the massive pyramidal factory loomed.

There was no longer any sign of the shuttles or vehicles from before. All had made it inside the factory and even the ship on its landing pad had no crew or attendees to show as the whole installation seemed buttoned up tight.

And then, from the other side of the middle-level of the facility, there was a speck. Easy to miss at first as just more radiation artifacts until it came about in a wide arc and pulled in their general direction.

"Yeah, Looks like at least somebody saw the light show. With that storm coming I can bet davies to tomatoes whoever is in charge of Sec for that place doesnt want his boys to be caught in the storm for whatever some worker thought they saw, but is professional enough to send a quick shuttle this way to scope it out and zoom on back ahead of it when they know they wont find nothin.

And that's just what we needed~"
He cooed in an added clucking tone.

"With that storm comin and the normal radiation levels plays all kinds of heck with sensors and scopes unless you make em, especially for it like ours. So their flyboy will need to come in real close and wont pick us up unless we stay in the open unconcealed. So it's time you learned a new trick, watch this."

From his position in the lance only meters from the rest of them one of the canisters on Chips Highwayman burst and within several seconds the wavy glitter of the mirage nanites appeared to solidify into a coherent shape that was thinner at the top but widened and flattened out by the bottom as his mech was replaced with more glittering glass sands that unless they were as close as the other Strays to notice it shift somewhat in the solar winds would be indistinguishable from his surroundings.

"On average your mech should have three to six canisters of mirage nanites. Likewise Mirage nanites can take any shape color or form. Fire, water, a big fuckoff tree; They can take that shape. My favorite is to turn myself into a dune like this, or a big rock and ambush using em. You lot do the same. Tell your girl what you want her to do and then dump a canister, in the future you can pre-program these on one of your terminals for quick use but for now leave it to her and then wait for my signal to light that sucker up! "
"Come on Luk; I'll turn us into a sand dune." Luk had no idea what Chips was on about, but after Wayfinder had included a visual aid showing his big walking-thing crouching low and a lizard mutant hitting a button. He did that, and watched in amazement as the strange can let its contents flow. They now projected a dune of sand that would be none-too out of place on this world.

His stomach let out a slight, soft rumble...his tummy was starting to complain. Maybe there'd be some yummies he could eat after this.
Freehold Factory - Glass Sands
A couple of kilometres South of Fancy's Factory

The mutant felt incredibly lucky that they hadn't suffered any combat damage so far. Hearing Chips describe all the ways things could go wrong with one of their mechs, Huthang decided that he would do his best to keep both himself and Titania away from as much enemy fire as possible. In retrospect, not choosing a mainline heavy-firepower option for his combat machine looked to have been the right call after all. Really, the only immediate downside to the Avatar of Lyco was its slow speed, so maybe they would have to see about some way of supercharging the treads or otherwise enhancing its mobility.

Regardless, thoughts of potential modifications would have to wait as an enemy aircraft made itself known. He carefully listened to the advice from the avian mutant, more than happy to increase his ongoing chances of survival in any way Huthang could. This nanite system would prove invaluable, time and time again, the stray suspected as it sounded more and more like the perfect tool for a stealthy ambush predator. Which pretty much was the exact description of Huthang since the early thirties. All he really had to do was figure out how to adapt his skillset to mech operation and tactics.

But now wasn't the time for future planning, now it was time to hide and bide his time for the ambush. "Do it, Titania - hide us!" Huthang ordered his faerie AI, more than aware that she was just waiting for his command. He also chose not to specify exactly how to hide them, figuring that she was smart enough to choose something sensible.

"On it, Huthang!" the faerie replied, clearly excited. "One fairy mound and toadstool coming right up!" Before the mutant could even begin to process that statement and react to the colossally bad idea, the faerie blew a raspberry at him. "Psych!" She giggled, more than aware of just how quickly his heart had suddenly started beating. "Don't worry, silly! Just like geology, we rock!" And indeed, bad pun aside, the faerie had released the nanites which clouded around the Avatar of Lyco and turned it into what would appear, for all intents and purposes, like a craggy mass of rock emerging from under the sand.

Huthang groaned at the pun and instead chose to focus on getting his heartbeat back under control.

"Not bad not bad!" Chips commed in over the net. Inside their individual disguises they couldnt see out at all but in their hud and the inside of the mirage the outline of each mech was highlighted for them as was an icon for the distant shuttle with a rapidly closing distance notification that was quickly descending in calculated distance.

"With the ground radiation, the pilot won't be able to see much and will need to come low and turn about so he can see visually. If I was him, not that I can fly or nothin, I'd still pay attention to the energy signature of Ronnies mech site, and that star paint glowin and all above anything else. We aint come up against Fancy more than some skirmishin but either way soon as that pilot sees the star paint he'll know somethings awry and that we're in the area regardless so the jig's up either way.

So we might as well swat the bastard now and get a head start in without an assault shuttle nipping at our- Get ready!"

As he shouted the last part the shuttle entered within a kilomiter of them and on a direct approach. It flew low to the dunes at just fifty or so meters up and was pointing almost directly at them.

"No missiles, he might notice the lock. Guns only, the fastest shootin you got and if he aint scrap by the time he flies over us then you lock macromissiles on it and it should hit the thrusters from behind, on my mark..."

Closer, closer, and closer it got until just a couple hundred meters away Chips mech visibly moved forwards several steps out of its cover. With a low, almost too quiet tone he growled "Marcus." And the three hyper-laseres on the arm of his mech cut the sky in half with a torrent of blue as they spread and zig-zagged like a hose faucet even as others fired.

There was a muzzle flash from one flank of the shuttle and the stream of a rocket but both went wide as the pilot corrected and jerked the craft into a steep climb. It barely made it a half hundred meters before the steep angle caused a drastic decrease in the shuttles speed and for a brief moment it almost appeared to hover in place, nose up, as bolts of energy and rounds followed up its path and then into the fuselage of the shuttle which within a moment seemed to inflate and expand as it burst from within as something vital was struck and the shuttle exploded into a cloud of fire, smoke, and raining debris.

"Good kill, Who got it? Never mind it's scrap now!" Chips cawed, the excitement in his voice apparent. There was a sigh of contentment as they all stared at the still present but dissipating smoke plume as trails of fire slowly fell to the ground like lazy fireflies. With a second sigh, as if nobody had heard the first chips drew it out with finality.

"Yeah... Run." He stated matter of factly as his Highwayman pointed away from the destroyed shuttle, the deathcrawlers, and the factory and slowly at first before picking up speed began to hightail it back the way they came and towards the mile-high wall of black and lightning that was almost upon them.

The shuttle had been dead less than a minute and the last of the lightest debris was only just touching the sand when even distant as it was more than just the normal hazzard lights covering the pyramidal-shaped factory blazed on and began to wave around like spotlights. Massive bay doors at its base errupted with flashing red warning lights as garage-style doors began to open.

And to top it all off five more flying aircraft came from the other side of the factory, all five with long humanoid shapes almost as long as the shuttles themselves attached beneath them as if waiting to be dropped.

"What are you waiting for, leg it!" Chips ordered already a quarter mile ahead of them. As his mechs upper body turned around no doubt to look at them still idle he curse at having seen the new airborne threats.

"Oh. balls those are freakin mecha! And there's five of them! Go! Go! Go! Get to the storm!"

There was at the minimum three kilomiters to the storm from where they were set. The impossibly rapid deployment of the factories forces aside the previous shuttle had closed the distance to them in less than a minute and it would take them almost three to five to reach the storm...
Freehold Factory - Glass Sands
Too few kilometres South of Fancy's Factory

Perhaps it was the sheer sense of unfiltered victory that had so distracted Huthang. It had felt good when the Deathcrawler's had been taken out, but that had been tempered by the loss of Ronnie and the rather heavy come-down from the adrenaline-rush of sudden combat. This time though, the Strays had dropped the enemy from a perfect ambush. Indeed, Huthang's Avatar of Lyco had joined the outpouring of firepower with its own - with Chips having forbidden early deployment of missiles, the hyper laser was the only remaining long-range weapon at the mutant's disposal. He'd certainly poured on the rounds and done some damage, although Huthang was certain he hadn't fired the kill shot as he had been trying to breach the shuttle's cockpit at the time.

So yeah, in many ways it had felt like the Strays' first kill as a team. Considering such, it was no wonder that Huthang, like many of his compatriots, had been distracted when Chips started the tactical retreat. In fact, it was kind of embarrassing just how long it took the mutant to come back to any kind of awareness of his surroundings. Even as he threw the controls of his mech over, causing the Lyco's treads to spin into action and start propelling him southward as quickly as the machine could manage, Huthang cursed his inattention. This was exactly how he would get himself killed if he didn't curb such insane behaviour in the future.

As it was, Huthang wasn't exactly feeling that the odds of survival were currently falling in his favour. A quick munitions check confirmed what he already knew - 3 canisters of nanites, 2 shieldbreaker and 2 high explosive macromissiles, plus about enough charge for about thirty seconds of continuous firing of the hyper laser. He could always turtle up using the nanites, wait for the storm to hit, then use it as cover for his exfiltration but for all he knew, those mecha's would be able to see straight through it.

"We're not going to make it, are we?" The faerie AI seemed unusually subdued. Well, he couldn't have that and there was no way Huthang was willing to just throw in the towel. That sort of thinking would only guarantee the loss and he hadn't survived as long as he had by making things easier for his enemies. It wasn't like he had anything to lose anyway - being the slowest of the Strays' mechs, he would be the first to feel the wrath of Powers' forces. Maybe it was time to look fate in the eye and roll the dice again, see if the mutant's luck would hold out a little longer - maybe deliver him the hard six.

"Chin up, girl, I need you. Keep us moving towards that storm as fast as you can - use the jump jets to adjust our course." Huthang nudged the controls, causing the torso of his mech to spin so that he was facing towards the distant Factory and the approaching shuttles. "Now, we can't lock them with the missiles, so I want you to prep the remaining missiles to go ballistic and detonate as close to the enemy shuttles as you can manage. Launch as soon as you can. Meanwhile, I'll try to keep them blinded with the hyper laser." With one deep sigh, Huthang dropped the targeting reticule for the hyper laser over the approaching shuttles and began spraying out beams of blue energy. With any luck that would impair their vision and sensors enough that Titania's missiles would stand a chance of doing something to slow the pursuit.
Freehold Factory - Glass Sands
South of Fancy's Factory

Yamog's Pitohui didn't bolt away and leave Huthang behind, even though they easily could have, due to the difference in chassis and mobility. The titanic metal chicken just trotted away about fifty feet to his left, rough terrain causing it to prance as if dancing on hot coals, at this medium speed setting.

"Do we have to wait for them?" Deimos questioned within the dim confines of the cockpit bubble. Yamog felt uniquely distant from her comrades, struggling to hear through the static clatter of wind particulates bouncing off the outer hull... All just like little sea frigates, lost in a stormy gale...

"He has bigger guns. It would make sense. He's better equipped to shoot down the shuttles." The one-eyed creature stiltingly answered the machine. She didn't want to lie to her idol. "Don't worry, my precious. I will take your AI storage out with me if we need to escape. I will protect you, too."

Deimos sulked, actively forming into a tiny humanoid on the dashboard, so it could glare at her with those deep, black, demanding eyes.

"...I'll allow it. But I'm going to decide what you owe me later."

"Of course, my- Erm, could you fold out the panels? We should blind any incoming guided missiles, like we did to that death crawler." A cherishing, befangled smile. All four of her arms were busy keeping the mech's speed perfectly constant, not slipping on random junk- Opening up their own missile ports to get locks on any shuttle that passed close enough- and thirdly, making sure the active field of their ECM unit was big enough to cover Huthang's mech as well as her own.

Would have been nice to fire first, but the mech really wasn't equipped for any artillery fire like that...

The best advantage the mechs had when moving was the 360-degree capable movement of the upper body while doing it. Locking in the forward movement was easy even if making sure you did not drift too close to a fellow mech was hard. But luckily none of them had that problem as their courses locked and most could simply turn their fuselage 180-degrees around to look behind them with most of their weapons as well.

Even with the storm so close it was too far away. And with only a couple hundred meters from where they first started running the shuttles were already close enough to make out the details on the Mecha suits each one carried underslung on their bellies.

Not as sleek or new-looking as anything Origin would make each mecha was nearly identical in a boxy Nepleslian favored aesthetic as a second-hand quality frame. Bipedal, and with arms carrying massive mecha-grade rifles unlike the strays own mounted or built-in weapons each one was painted a brown-red camouflage.

Five hundred meters out huthang and others let loose Macromissiles and weapons fire. Not as effective as the first shuttle there was enough lead time for each shuttle to pull belly-up and away as a mechanism released each mecha and they fell hundreds of feet to the sands which kicked up violently around them, obscuring them only briefly as thrusters in their feat and back slowed their landing.

While the same height as most of their mechs the similarities ended there. Out of the five each carried a massive assault rifle while a couple even carried massive Bazooka tubes or other weapons maglocked to them. As if rehearsed the five exploded into motion all at once as, unlike the strays who ran-

The newcomers glided across the sands on their thrusters.

Whats more, despite the rapidly closing distance the previous shuttles came about and from them spewed suits of powered armor.

Beyond even them dust trails kicked up as slower-to-deploy vehicles departed from the factory in their direction.

Outgunned at least ten to one the comm crackled to life with an excited chips.

"Ah shit. Mission accomplished here they come!" He laughed despite the stress as his Highwayman turned into a near disco-ball of light as he unloaded all of his weapons at the rapidly gaining mecha who effortlessly dodge to the sides on their thrusters.

"Get ready-" He started, excitement building. "Prepare for fairy-to-fairy communication!"

Closing in now channels began to intersect. Lacking any military-style encryption or specific channels it became relatively clear when the closing mechas radio chatter began to merge with their own what chips was implying when new voices cut onto their comms.

<<H-4 watch those pannels.>>

<<H-4 copies. Leave that one to me!>>

<<H-2, the tracked one is mine. I want to grapple!>>

<<Negative H-2. Kill clean and move on. I want us done before that storm->>

<<I hear em on our freq. Hey, Mutants, don't run! Come and play!>>

[[Communicate through your Fairys from here on out.]] Each of their fairys spoke up in a comical impression of Chips' voice as if each was trying to sound like him. [[We got the Fae, they don't. And they gonna wish they did real damn soon, Rhindol?]]

The last statement, confusing as it was became apparent as the five mecha, dodging fire, shooting down missiles with smaller secondaries, and tanking on energy shields everything else started to widen into a semi-circle as they closed the proverbial noose around them.

It started quiet at first. Like a weak signal getting picked up on a radio. Stopping and then restarting several times as someone restarted it over and over it faded in each time to sound at first like distorted static and then become more and more clear as music as heavy guitar riffs and 808-drums drowned out the annoyed cries of the annoyed enemy pilots.

It was loud and intense and despite how it acted to drown out any non-fairy communication it did nothing to actually stop their impending death.

At least until the intense guitar solo started to ebb into a buildup and each fairy responded with [[Wait for the drop!]]

Less than a second later like dragging a fork against an electric guitar's strings the music shifted in pitch and new icons appeared on their screens behind them.


A voice louder than the music screamed over the comms and a mile behind them and to the side an outline pulled ahead of the wall of static and darkness. Possibly forty feet tall it dwarfed even the enemy mecha it stomped out and into the dunes as the massive Avatar of Phage loomed into the battlefield.

Looking towards the mecha chasing after its comrades however it did not see the rockets fired by one of the shuttles streak right into it as explosions racked the side of the mech. More than enough to kill even a mech that size when the dust settled the Avatar of Phage continued on even as more rockets streamed towards it. It was easy to see, however, the ERA pannels covering it exploding before each impact and the few that did get through leaving just marrs on the armor of the heavy mech.

It did not pause in the slightest as it erupted in laser fire from a half dozen locations on its body and missile launchers deployed from its shoulders sending streams of Mega Macromissiles into the air.

Whats more the much larger super-mega-macromissile launcher fired one of its three massive missiles which fired straight up into the sky and towards the incoming shuttle.

Its fate was unseen as, despite the heavy mech there was an even larger shape pulling out of the storm.

One Hundred Meters above the ground, something pulled out of the storm. Flat, like a deck it was sported on the sides with two massive gattling-style weapons each as long as any of their mechs legs. As it pulled out further a neck, and then a body, and then one massive leg after the other came out arduously slow but with its size covering incredible ground.

The storm seemed almost like it was striking it with endless lightning right until the massive vents on its abdomen shut off and the trillions of mirrage nanites it was feeding in to create the illusion of the ion-storm no longer followed the massive seige mech as Big ANThony took the field from its camouflage of an entire fake ion storm

ant-thony 1ref.png

Underneath its legs and around it smaller forms rushed out as first five, and then ten, and then twenty total mechs ranging from lights to mediums to even a couple other heavy mechs entered the battle.

One of the massive weapons on ANThonys frame glowed as the laser-storm battery erupted to life and filled the gap between it and a distant target. The burst only lasted a couple of seconds but thousands of bolts covered the distance in an instant and two of the enemy mecha simply ceased to exist as a thousand laser bolts passed through them without resistance.

And then the slowly buildup of guitars and drums erupted as the beat dropped.

Their fairys laughing maniacally in Chips squawking tone, his was the first mech to turn about as the five on five turned into a five on three.
Luk whined as Wayfinder kicked his mech into high gear, guiding him along the dunes as they weaved between them. "It's alright Luk," Wayfinder cooed, trying to soothe the big mutant, "Just hang on a little bit longer-we just gotta make it through this fight." She helped him guide his torso right, sending a smattering of hyperlaser fire at the mecha as they veered right, trying to keep up with the maniacal Chips.

The big mutant was starting to get hungry, he wanted nom-noms...his eyes began to drift over the various instruments and monitors...his mouth salivating as viscous drool dripped down his chin.