Apologies for the swearwords. Well, this IS Joe ‘Scarface’ Turner!
Cordelia watched her brother maneuver his TAG around the biker bar with pride. Other than the ugly crack marring the yellow faceplate, the machine was in perfect condition. Her smile faded as one of the panzerfaust missile her brother had just sent towards the enemy remote from the shoulder mounted launchers on the Ramhorn-327 spiraled off target, making a mental note to recalibrate the targeting system.
“Joe, she’s off a little to the left, you’ll need to compensate.” she sent through the intercom.
“No shit little sis!” came the crackled reply, “I thought you said you’d fixed this thing!”
The smile returned to her face at her brother’s words, remembering all the times they had gone into battle together, for a multitude of different employers and a multitude of different reasons. This time they were working for the silk traders, and their enemy was the EI, the evil mastermind behind the Combined army.
“Tell me why we’re fighting these Ariadnan bastards again?” Joe’s voice crackled into her ear, “I thought we were here to kill bugs?”
“A misunderstanding, apparently” she sent back, “Some asshole got a little jumpy and opened fire when he wasn’t ‘sposed to, and now we’re stuck on this rock with our asses in the air”.
“Language, little sister!” Joe’s amused voice, edged with the pain he always felt commanding his TAG.
“You can talk! Just concentrate on not breaking her!” she commed back, wincing as rounds ricocheted off the robot’s green and yellow paintwork.
“Turner, move up and secure the quadrant” came the command from the Lieutenant, safely hunkered down behind a building at the rear of the battle, watching events play out on a computer screen no doubt.
“Easy for her to say!” her brother said, “That road’s a fucking deathtrap!”
“Just be careful.” she sent back, watching as her brother stomped out into the road, moving towards the helmeted figures of the Ariadnans on the building opposite.
Cordelia listened to the sound of her brother’s heavy breathing and the constant stream of swear words, comforted by the familiarity of the expletive filled monologue.She sensed something different this time though, a note of panic in her brother’s voice that make the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.
“The targeter’s fucking way off, I just missed a gimme – switching to manual.”
Cordelia’s frown deepened, her own anxiety beginning to rise. Signs of damage from the high velocity bullets impacting off the Ramhorn were visible even from this distance.
“I thought you said that fucking remote would be down!” Joe snarled into the comms, “I’m getting fucking hit from every fucking direc…”
Her brother’s voice was replaced by static as rocket after rocket smashed home, the TAG rocked back with each explosion, the machine’s sensors struggling to maintain balance as the robot teetered. With an agonizing slowness the Ramhorn toppled back, crashing into the ground like a discarded toy. The auto-eject system sent her brother’s unconscious form flying into the air, limbs hanging limpy as the body smashed to the ground in front of her, the guidance systems locking in on the beacon she carried in her boot.
“Joe!” she screamed, racing over to her brother’s lifeless form. “Get a fucking doctor here now!”.
She cradled her brother’s head, pushing back his dreadlocks and wiping away the blood from his mouth with her sleeve. Through her tears, she barely heard the signal to withdraw…
Link to my blog for play by play write-up and loads more pics!