Aris sat at the bar, drinking her beer without so much as a word, she was never bothered, most Ravens didn?t bother to make relationships with each other, since you never knew who you would be up against next mission. She laughed to herself, a Raven; yes she was one of the prized Ravens, elite mercenaries that pilot the massive AC?s. She sometimes hated that face, as had she kept to a normal life, her looks alone would have had men all over her at a bar like this. Still it was a life she had worked for and she wasn?t about to give it up. Paying the bartender she left the bar and headed back to her quarters, she had worked so hard to become a Raven and yet look at her, a low level Raven with almost nothing under her belt. Most of her missions were minor policing matters that even her under-equipped AC could handle. Checking her mail, like always, nothing but the standard updates and all the missions were listed as taken. She laid down and drifted off to sleep, she decided she would quit, it wasn?t working out, and it was just costing her money, she could sell her AC and start a new life.
Little did Aris know, but she had come to the notice of a high ranking Raven, a shadow of a Raven at that, called Si Shen, old Chinese for Lord of Death, he fit his nickname well. It had been given to him by a Chinese Raven that had seen him in action on the field and it was a fitting name, for it was said none could withstand him. He knew the look on her face, all those that had it left but he knew she had the skill, else she would have been dead months ago. Sending her a message, with no names on it, he set her up a job to prove herself both to her and to the others. He had plans for her and he didn?t need someone of her skill just up and disappearing into the sad little existence the average person lived. The soft beeping of an important message at 4am was what woke her, she was surprised to say the least, hitting it, the computer modified voice of the recording echoed in her quarters.
?Aris, I have need of someone of your skill, prepare your AC now. A crew is waiting to take you to your destination. Your mission is simple, several new recruits have already failed to complete it. Read the following carefully.?
Location: Maya Crater?
Objective: Destroy mechs guarding warehouse?
Hostiles: 6 Light MT?s, 1 assault mech, 1 defense mech?
Reward: 20,000 credits, paid upon completion?
?Remember, others have failed at this.?
As the messaged ended, she memorized the information and it was a good thing, it deleted as soon as she was done. Getting geared up, she was impressed to find her AC primed and ready to go. Although she was excited about the mission, it worried her, who had sent it? Why had they sent it to her? A young man approached her, one of the air drop crewmen.
?Ma?am, we are ready to depart, please load your AC, our ETA should be 1 hour.? Saluting he turned and quickly boarded, wasting no time, she to boarded the drop ship with her AC, she towered over everyone while she was in it. Measuring an average 40 feet tall, these massive war machines were the current breed of tanks. ?I wonder who sent that message? Who prepared these men for this operation?? Little did she know, Si Shen was there, his AC would be dropped first, at a distance, she wouldn?t see him unless he wanted her too. Black and blood red, he would watch her handle this but not take part in any way, not even to save her life.
Upon arrival, the pilot contacted her and she moved into position, her AC an extension of her body. As the doors opened, she walked her AC out, freefalling, for most of the distance, her boosters came on to lessen the impact. Scanning quickly, her radar picked up the targets and she could see where the others had failed. MT?s were weak but in the proper position, deadly. They knew she was there, the question was, would they expect her first move. Coming head on, she waited until the last minute before entering their firing range and jumped to the air, boosters coming on, she didn?t need a lock, just a rough aim. Rockets shot out from her AC?s shoulder launcher. 4 MT?s went up in flame and the others were within her range now, using her rifle, she let round after round come down on them, the last she landed on. She had received minimal damage but almost got to relaxed, as a shot slammed into one of her AC?s arms.
?Damn! The mech units! I?m a fool!? Hitting her boosters she strafed around to face the mech and not present a target. She looked in awe, no wonder the others had failed, these mechs were designed for this job. For a moment there was no shots, just silence and fire. Then a small war erupted in the small crater, the old buildings were the only casualties. Even for its size, an AC was fast, hers topped out at 70 km/h, faster when boosters were on. Rockets flew from her shoulder as she sent her AC into a full speed run at the first mech, the defense one. Not expecting such a move, he didn?t react in time, the rockets hit him dead on, and to make it worse, Aris engaged her boosters, shooting straight at him, leaving the skid marks from her AC behind her, the energy blade sliced through the mechs cockpit and it went down. The other mech was fast but still was just a mech.
Chain gun ammo flew across the battle zone as Aris ran and dodged the fire. Shooting into the air, she aimed and came down on the mech, although it left her open, he had to move as well, her rifle was true in each shot. Each hit target and the mechs slow pilot barely avoided her, unfortunately, her energy blade was harder to dodge. Checking the area, she was worried something had gone wrong and she had failed this operation, then an automated voice came across her speakers.
"Mission Complete, return to base."
By 6am she was back and in her quarters, most were surprised to see her come back, let alone with so much damage to her AC, most figured she had failed and run but as she got back, and checked her mail and account, true to the message, the credits had been deposited. Later, the update from the Ravens Nest mentioned her success and she noticed the changes within the Nest right away. Respect, the one thing she had always wanted, now she had gotten it, maybe it was to early to leave just yet. It would be many weeks before she heard from the stranger that sent the message but finally she was getting access to better jobs, honing her skills as a pilot.