The Ravens (Part 3)

“Now… Revenge will… Be… Complete…” The AC raised his left arm, and just before he brought it down, an explosion tore through the AC’s left leg armor. The only thing I could think that would have caused it was the dent just above the waist of his AC. Fluid must have built up in the tubes just above and below the dent. Now that his leg was unusable, he had no choice but to run. By the time I had gotten up, the AC was gone. The only things remaining were fragments of his armor plating from the explosion. I slid out of my AC, crawling along the street back towards the Zio lab. The largest piece of armor that had been left had the marking ‘H-1’. The AC had definitely been an older model with a few modifications. I decided that I would get Zio to bring my AC out to the Great Lake, just south of Neo Issac. I picked up my phone.

“Yeah… Zio is going to take it to the Great Lake… Yeah, full repairs. That’s all.” I hung up, and lay on the street. After a while, I took my helmet off, and threw it over by my AC. My face was scratched and bruised, and my body was pretty thoroughly shaken.

I stood up, my exosuit cracked from my initial impact with the other AC. As I walked back to the Zio lab, Dyne and Kamarya came out, stopping dead in their tracks as they saw me stumbling towards the building. Dyne ran out to help me, but I wouldn’t let him, something about a Raven and his pride. Since he could see that I wasn’t going to let him, he simply walked back under the overhang of the Zio lab. As we stepped under it, Kamarya looked with concern at my condition. While the three of us stood there, it started to rain, hard. The weather patterns were extremely messed up after the Great Destruction, and weather changed quickly. I looked to Dyne, after watching my battered AC in the rain.

“Do you have any idea what, or who, that was?” Dyne just looked at me, thought a moment, and then shook his head no. “Alright,” I told him, and then I turned to Kamarya, “Sorry about earlier. I just don’t like being questioned. As a Raven, it’s not something I’m used to.” She nodded her head, and then I pulled out my phone. I called Zio’s transport division, and told them to take my AC to Great Lake. It took some fighting to get them to do so, but eventually everything was ‘worked out’. I hung up, and then tucked the phone back into its holder on my belt. “I’ll be heading back to the Nest now, to get some sleep.” I said, turning and walking off. Dyne said nothing, and Kamarya followed him back into the Zio lab. A few hours later I was back in my room. I had thrown the armor plating with the H-1 design onto my computer desk. Then, after removing my cracked exosuit, and throwing it into the corner of my room, I flopped down onto my bed, and a few minutes later, was asleep. Then I remembered a dream, a dark landscape with flames covering the horizon, and then an image of the AC, H-1, that I had encountered. His lower half was swallowed up, immersed in fire. Then I heard that voice, the voice which had haunted me all day. I heard the only thing he had said to me that afternoon.

“Now… Revenge will… Be… Complete…” He swung his blade, and I saw a black of blood red coming over me, and then everything went red. Then my eyes shot open, and I sat up in a cold sweat. I was hard pressed to breathe, and my heart was racing. As I calmed down, I looked around in the darkness of my room, and realized that it was four in the morning. When I stood up, I walked over to the light panel, and turned on my lights. When I looked over at my computer, I jumped in fright because of the H-1 plating. I shook my head.

“Come on Tidus, you can’t be afraid of an AC.” I walked over to my computer and sat down. When I brought the computer up, I decided that I would find out just who, or what, H-1 was. I searched the Web first, and there was nothing. I was thinking of another place to check when I thought of the Raven’s Nest records. I knew that the first Nest had been destroyed almost 200 years ago, just 30 years after the Great Destruction, but records could still be out there. I searched under the records and found three matches. One was an AC pilot, Hustler One, but there was nothing about him except for that he had been ranked the number one Raven until after the destruction of the first Raven’s Nest, and he disappeared. The second record was of Hustler’s AC, Nineball, but once again, there were no real records of anything about the AC. The one thing that I found both chilling and surprising was that the only picture of the AC was startlingly similar to the one I had encountered the day before. The third entry was a record of a part that was developed before the Great Destruction.

I closed my computer then, not wanting to learn anything more about H-1, whether it was a person or a machine. I checked the clock, and it said that it was six in the morning. At that point, I decided to go down to the hangar. I took a shower, and then put on my Raven’s uniform. Walking, partially limping, to the hangar I was worried about what I would find. Walking through the familiar doors, I was relieved to see that the engineers had done quite a bit of repair work. The only thing that was left to do was put the armor back over the robotic components of the AC. About an hour later, they were finished, but something had come on the Neo Issac news. The first thing was obviously the AC battle that took place on the streets yesterday, but it was something else that caught my attention. Emeraude, Zio Matrix’s major rival, had made a breakthrough in AC construction. Their new pilot was a female, which most would see that as a sign of weakness. I’ve never judged anyone before I’ve fought with them, pilots anyway. Before I could see what the advancement was, my phone rang, and it was Zio Matrix. The person on the phone was requesting to know if I would be heading to the Arkot Ocean to engage the Emeraude fleet. I told them that I was heading out, and then hung up. One of the engineers brought me a new exosuit, and I strapped it on quickly. The same engineer helped me to plug the large tube into my chestplate after I had secured myself in the cockpit. I brought my visor down, and closed the core cockpit door after the engineer had gotten clear. Engaging each system in turn, I finally engaged the boosters and shot into the air. Adjusting my direction so that I would head north, I made it to Neo Issac by about eight. A Zio Matrix transport helicopter was ready when I arrived, and it shone red in the new rising sun’s light. It dropped two lines when it was hovering above me, and I was drawn up to two powerful magnets that were situated above my shoulders. As we flew to the Arkot Ocean, my final briefing was given to me from Zio’s headquarters. The fleet was comprised of two active aircraft carriers, and seven destroyer class ships.”

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