The Ravens (Part 1)

The ravens are an elite group of pilots, mercenaries who work for the highest price, no matter who the employer. I am on such pilot. My name, I cannot tell you, but everyone calls me Tidus. I pilot an AC, as most Raven’s do, but unlike them, I’ve been around for a while, most ravens don’t live very long, just the nature of the job. Only about the top twenty will come out alive, either on a mission or in the arena. The arena is actually more difficult that missions, because it’s not very often that you meet up with another AC in a mission. There have been others who “donate” their bodies to science, in other words – human test subjects. These pilots show up on the Ravens’ roster again after having been thought dead for months. These pilots always act much more fierce than usual, and we, the normal pilots, know they have been subjects to the ‘plus’ project. The ‘plus’ project was human biological enhancement, the replacement of such organs as the nervous system, brain, heart, and eyes, with machines which performed much better. The only problem with ‘plus’ is that eventually the pilots are all driven mad, usually to their deaths. Only those who are in considerable debt to the Nest, or Concord, become ‘plus’. That’s the history of the Ravens.

“I woke up early that morning, and slid slowly from my bed, falling to the floor because I was wrapped up in my sheets. After getting untangled I stood up slowly, blinding myself temporarily as I turned on every light in my room, on accident. They came on because when I leaned against the wall, I pressed against the light panel on the wall.

“Things just couldn’t get any worse…” I said to myself, walking, more like dragging my feet, into the bathroom. The cold metal surface on my feet wasn’t what was surprising, it was what happened next. As I climbed into the shower, normally I would turn on both temperatures of water and I would be fine. That isn’t what happened. The hot water panel got stuck, so only the cold water came through. When you are underground, the water is very cold. Needless to say, my shower wasn’t very long that morning.

As I stumbled out of the bathroom, I decided to just put on my Raven exosuit armor, as well as my uniform. The next thing I had to do before I left my room was check my mail. Logging in, I had three letters, two missions and an update. I decided to check the mission requests first. The first was a mission request from Balena, apparently one of their bases was coming under attack by Disorders, bio-mechanical creatures that came from Mars, nasty if you ask me. The second mission was a request from Zio Matrix. I liked working for them. They needed an Emeraude fleet taken out because it was threatening Zio shipping. I accepted that contract, but sent an added message saying that I wouldn’t be able to begin the mission for a day or so, because I was making maintenance changes on my AC. A minute or two later, I got a message with battle details and payment.

“70,000 credits.” I said to myself, “That money should help.” I sat back in my desk chair and checked the last email. The update was from a friend of mine, Dyne, who was a scientist in the Zio Matrix lab in Neo Issac. He and I met when he delivered a part as payment for a mission I had done for Zio. Well, this email was talking about a new part that Zio was developing. It was a blade, from its indication and description in the mail. I saved the email, and picked up my helmet from the desk, standing up from the chair and walking to my door. As I placed my hand on the panel to the left of the door, I walked through and I almost had to duck under the door. I stood about 5’11” tall.

Since I’ve told you that, I may as well tell you everything. I have silver-white hair and blue eyes. My Raven’s uniform was black and the exosuit armor was a deep blue. Well, I walked out of my room and, with my helmet in my left hand, made my way through the Nest to my hangar. As I was walking, I ran into on of the newer Ravens, and he had become a pretty good friend. His name, or rather his callsign, was Kuro. He stood about the same height that I did, and had black hair. His exosuit was a blood red, and I didn’t know much about him personally, but we had worked together on a few missions against the Indies, a large terrorist organization. We walked down the hall, our conversation being broken short because I had to go left to my hangar.

Saying goodbye, I again placed my hand on the panel on the door, and my fingerprints were accepted, and the door opened. As I entered the hangar, my AC stood tall, a sleeping giant kept in its scaffolding. There were no weapons equipped to it at the moment, because that would be a little dangerous. I stepped into the room about three feet before stepping on a glowing green disk. The disk was encircled by another silver disk that was about a food thick. The disk was three feet in radius, six in diameter, and had a silver railing that stood about four feet above the disk and ran around the front half of the disk. In the center of the railing, there was one large column that had a generator for virtual panels along the front of the disk.

As I stepped through the disk to the panels, I engaged the hover engine on the right most panel, lifting the disk up to about chest level of the AC, or about 35 ft. in the air. Looking at it, I used the sensors in the scaffolding to update the damage report on the AC monitor. It was a mess. There were damages on the left arm, there was a large gash from a laser sword in the right arm, the kneecaps of the legs were gummed and jammed, and the core had various bullet holes. The engineers below were awaiting my orders, so I sent them to them from the “tower” that I stood on. As they began the repairs, I checked the pressure on the radiator, and the strain on the generator; they both were okay. I then used the control panel to check my weapons in the depository.

The Karasaw-MKII, my favorite gun, was just fine, and I restocked its energy charges. Moving on, I decided to just leave the others as they were because I wouldn’t be leaving until tomorrow. Moving through the charts, I took out the optional equipment from the core, and stored them in a tank of water to allow them to remain cool. I watched the engineers do their work, replacing the armor plating and robotic components as necessary, but soon I grew bored with that, and I lowered the platform. Once it had been locked back into place, and the power shut off, I turned and walked out of the hangar, into the hall. Looking to the left and then to my right, I noticed that there was no one there. This was pretty strange, but I dismissed it as nothing.

Because I had finished sending the repair orders, I decided to head down to the Zio lab in Neo Issac. It’s very interesting how you get out of the Raven’s Nest. Of course, I can’t tell you, but just know that I ended up on the streets of Neo Issac about two hours later. I wore a black jacket with my emblem on the back and left shoulder.”

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