The Ravens (Part 6)

“It was ‘Nineball’, more specifically ‘H-1’. I had realized what H-1 was when I saw the results of my data search. H-1 is a machine; an AI controlled AC. He’s been around since before the Great Destruction, and somehow managed to survive through the 230 years since the Great Destruction. I come from a line of Raven’s, each one recording the destruction of H-1 in their logs. My Great-Grandfather wrote that he destroyed H-1 deep within the Raven’s Nest, and in the process destroying the Nest. About a hundred years later the Nest was rebuilt, and the Earth Arena was formed as well. ‘Nineball’ was the top ranking Raven, and even after my grandfather defeated him, he still appeared on the Arena Ranking. After being led into the deepest recesses of an old factory, my grandfather learned that his contact was ‘Nineball’ and destroyed him because H-1 had killed my grandfather’s family. After the assumed destruction of H-1, I read my father’s log, and saw that he, too, had fought and destroyed ‘Nineball’ and assuming, H-1.

‘Nineball’ turned towards me, completely ignoring Aurora, and shouted:

“Revenge… Shall be… Complete!” I saw H-1 charge his blade, and throw aside his gun. I took three shots with my Karasaw, and all three missed. I threw it aside, dodged to the left of H-1’s initial attack, and charged my own blade.

“Aurora, I know we haven’t gotten off to the best start, but I could really use your help!” I shouted, throwing my AC into H-1’s. He slid along the ground, and it seemed that a huge fire ignited under H-1. He shot up, slammed into me, and shoved his blade into the core of my AC. I looked at my AC’s monitor, and if it had been a little more to the left, it would have pierced right through my AC’s cockpit, killing me. The thing I remembered next was a bluish liquid running into my cockpit and down my visor. It was coming from my radiator. I also checked the electric levels around that area, and an explosion was imminent. Aurora had seen the battle until now, and she hit H-1 from behind. Having been given that chance, I wanted to finish him, but I knew that I didn’t have enough time, so I took his arm. I grabbed hold of his left arm, tore it off, the cores snapping, popping, and exploding as I tore it from the hinges, and threw it to the other side of the Arena. Red lights changed everything in my cockpit to a shade of red. I was out of time. I slammed the emergency ejection button. The door to my cockpit shot open, and I dropped down to the kneecap of my AC, and then got to the ground, running quickly from my AC. My radio was still functioning, and I told Aurora to get away from H-1 and my AC. Three seconds later, my AC exploded, sending shrapnel spikes flying everywhere, and I dropped to the ground, cracking the front of my helmet’s visor.

‘Nineball’ was still standing when I looked where my AC had been! I heard a robotic scream, and then H-1 took off through the hole in the roof. I ripped off my helmet, jumped to my feet, and looked at the rubble of my AC, and then my true target, H-1’s arm.

“The Corporations, the ACs, the Raven’s Nest… All of these were created by ME!”

That line ran through my head as I looked at the arm.

“Those who wield too much power. Those who only bring Chaos, are simply not part of the program.”

All of these memories that I had from my ancestor’s logs were coming back to me. I stood there looking at the arm in pure silence. There was no one left in the Arena, and I didn’t know where Aurora had gone. I heard something behind me, because rubble from the roof of the Arena gave way and I spun around. It was Aurora. She had fallen to the ground because the cement from the ceiling had cracked under her feet. I walked over and helped her up, a slight smirk on my face. She still wore her helmet so I couldn’t see her face.

“You alright?” I asked her, turning to look back at the arm.

“Yes, I think so. What was that… thing?”

“It’s ‘name’ is Hustler One, and it’s a machine. A fully automated AC with an incredible AI as its pilot. It doesn’t seem to be updated since my great-grandfather’s records over 200 years ago, and yet it can still defeat today’s ACs.” I said, a bit disgusted. She took off her helmet at that moment, and I saw her face for the first time. She had shiny blonde hair that fell to the middle of her back, and sea green eyes. I could see, even now, a competitive glint in her eyes.

“Oh…” she said, “Then why did it attack you and ignore me?” I explained my lineage, how my father had been a Raven, and his father, and so on. She nodded slightly, and then I spoke up.

“Well, I guess I better get back to the Nest, and report my findings.” As I started walking out of the Arena, she called after me.

“Take me with you!” I stopped, and turned to look at her.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes… I only signed on with Emeraude because my parents worked for them, and I didn’t want to be a scientist. Being a Raven sounds interesting, anyway, and I could finally earn some respect for my abilities.”

“I don’t see why not, but you’ll have to take the test, and I hope you know how to pilot an AC.” I told her.

“No problem, I’ll just take ‘Tiger’ with me, and use their AC for the test.”

“Sounds good. Lucky for us there’s an entrance to the Nest in Old Avalon, not too far from here.”

“Alright.” She said. I handed her a device that would keep track of me while she took her AC to where I was. When I reached the entrance, she was right there three minutes later. I took her inside, and found it ironic that the hangar beside mine was empty killed by me in the Arena. My engineers would service both ACs until Aurora had passed the Raven’s Examination. The hangar had to be slightly modified to support her AC, but it was done within two hours. I watched Aurora’s AC while she registered and took the test. I was studying it more than I was watching it. I looked through every sub-system, examining and cross-examining every inch of its body. It was incredible. I couldn’t believe that Emeraude would be able to come up with something like it before Zio Matrix had. After I had repaired the armor, and reequipped all the weapons, I shut down both systems. Aurora ended up coming by my room not too much later, and she had a Raven’s uniform on.”

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