The Ravens (Part 5)

“Walking slowly to the door, I tied my hair back just before it opened. It was Kamarya.

“Good morning,” she said with a slight smile on her face.

“What time is it?” I asked her, trying to reciprocate the smile, but not having much luck.

“Ten thirty.” She answered. “Why?” A look of surprise fell over my face. I told her I would be right back, and I hurriedly closed the door, ran to take an extremely fast shower, put my uniform and exosuit on, picked up my helmet, and opened the door again. I began to walk quickly to my hangar, checking my watch, which said eleven AM. Kamarya followed me. “Where are you going?” She asked.

“I have a very special arena match today.” I told her, quickly opening the door to my hangar. I told her to go back to her room and watch the battle if she was that interested. After prepping, I shot out of the Nest in my newly painted AC, and headed towards the Arena in Old Avalon. Old Avalon was to the southeast of Great Lake, and I made it there just in time. The two ACs were lifted on either side of the Arena, and immediately I could hear the roaring cheers of the crowd.

The enemy AC, which I called ‘Tiger’ for the moment, looked even more vicious up close than it had on the news. My body tingled at the thought of fighting such a machine. For this fight, I had changed my mind and switched my equipment to a new pair of Zio Matrix quad legs that could carry 6700 units of weight without sacrificing too much speed.

I had still chosen my back weapons carefully, using a ZWC-LQ/2552 laser cannon on my left hardpoint, a ZWC-CN/500 light chain gun on my right hardpoint, my Karasaw-MKII, and an EL3-3443 laser blade, which was not exactly strong, but it was fast. I had repainted my AC to a black base with navy blue touches over it, and the optic sensor was replaced with a blue lens. My opponent had an interesting paint job. The larger part of it was ocean blue, the second majority was what made me skeptical of her piloting ability, luckily I shook my skepticism. The color was black, but there was silver sparkles mixed in. The rest of the AC was silver. I couldn’t make out what the weapon load out was, mostly because I didn’t know where to look. The front paws were clawless, but there were slits on each of the ‘toes’, obviously for the equivalent of a laser blade. Before I could finish analyzing my opponent, a woman’s voice came loudly across the loudspeakers of the Arena.

Welcome to the Old Avalon Sub-Arena! Today’s battle is very special because this will be the first public display of a new type of AC! The two ACs that will be doing the battle are the fifth-ranked AC ‘Dragon’s Blade‘, piloted by the Raven, Tidus, and the newest AC ‘Tiger‘, developed by Emeraude. The match will begin in a few minutes, so just relax!

The loudspeaker cut out, and then something came across my radio. I could only assume that it was the other pilot. The only basis in that assumption was the Emeraude emblem on the left above the helmet visor.

“So you’re Zio Matrix’s plaything,” I could hear laughter, “I hope you don’t mind if I beat you too bad.” The laughter continued. I spoke back,

“So you really think you can beat a top-ranking Raven on your first fight in an Arena?”

“Yes.”

“And just who are you to make that claim?”

“My name is Aurora, Tidus, and my machine is superior to yours.”

“We shall see…” I cut the communication and awaited the release of the two green lights. There were two red lights on either side of the Arena, and they changed green during an Arena battle. A few minutes later, the light changed, but we both stood there, waiting for the other to make the first move. I closed my left hand and the AC’s laser blade exploded into a brilliant blue light. I laid my Karasaw down and charged at the enemy AC. That was a mistake on my part, because I shot low with my blade, leaving my upper torso exposed. Aurora apparently took the opportunity I had given her because the next thing I knew my AC was on the ground. I got up immediately, and shut my blade off. She was behind me by this time, and I activated the chain gun on my right hardpoint. Because I could fire while moving, this made things a bit easier. I took aim, using my FCS to correct my visual errors, and fired. The chain gun let a round of bullets fly towards my target, and some hit and others missed. The chain gun wasn’t going to do enough damage to take care of my enemy, so I closed it down with only two hundred and sixty two bullets left. I had to glide to my Karasaw and grabbed it off the Arena floor. Making a quick turn, I brought Aurora back into my optic sights. She had, unfortunately, locked on with a now exposed EWM-S608. This releases eight missiles upon a full lock-on, and she had time to do so. Six of their eight missiles made contact with my AC, so I took some damage.

As I checked my AP monitor, it read about six thousand eight hundred, out of a maximum of eight thousand seven hundred. I had taken damage, but so had she. We stood at opposite ends of the Arena, and no one was making a move. There was a huge explosion not two minutes later, and I looked up to see the roof of the Arena caving in. I yelled across the radio for Aurora to get under the overhang of the Arena. All I could hear were people screaming, the roof slamming into the ground, and some type of movement. I looked at my radar, and realized that there was a third form on the screen. The dust took a few minutes to clear, and when it did, I started at my monitor as though what I was seeing wasn’t real.”

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