The Shadow Hawk weaved left, slowing to a side-stepping jog as it twisted its torso. Dry rock crumbled as it thudded by, blooms of fire peppering its wake. The Armstrong J11 autocannon on its back swung down into its ready-fire position and chattered in bursts, sending a stream of shells into the path of the rushing Crusader. Coherent light raged futily past the black and grey 'Mech. Smoke billowed from the medium 'Mech's right breast, followed by blossoming fire on the 65-ton 'Mech that did little but pockmark its once-pristine paint.
Still the autocannon fired, gnawing off shreds of armour until it stopped suddenly. The reloading mechanism whirred for a bit longer then powered down. A final flight of long ranged missiles smashed into the worried torso of the bulky Crusader; spurting liquids meant it had been a good hit. It didn't slow, bearing down on the lighter 'Mech with fists upraised, its arsenal of missiles and lasers forgotten in blinding rage.
Outgunned, the Shadow Hawk pilot spread its stance as if to receive the charge then pivoted to deliver a passing knee-hit. The Crusader went down hard, and the Shadow Hawk was right on top of it even as it was falling, raining punches and kicks that crumpled its large frame.
Too late, the Shadow Hawk's pilot remembered the Griffin behind him as its Fusigon PPC bit into his back. Sparks crackled as a wave of missiles impacted all along its battered form; half found the hole the Fusigon blasted open, its fire feeding on the Shadow Hawk's internals and mangling the empty missile bay.
It was long enough for the Crusader pilot to struggle his 'Mech onto its knees. It didn't wait to be fully upright before launching punishing blows into the reeling Shadow Hawk. The Crusader laid its hands on the smaller 'Mech and pulled itself up as the SHD-2H was brought to its knees.
The autocannon hung limply, struck loose by a massive fist. The Crusader pilot saw this and ripped the Armstrong J11 from its mount. Metal, myomer, and electronics gushed apart at the tear.
Rocks crumpled under the Shadow Hawk's knees, its left arm slinking slowly into the ground. Black smoke poured from its torso wound, an electric fire starting in earnest. The harsh and distant light of the sun glinted off the barrel as the Crusader held it high triumphantly.
The club descended.
The ground burst into flames as the Shadow Hawk ignited its jump jets to smash into its executioner, sending burning rock to explode from all around it. Both landed with arms entangled just metres away, a cacophony of anguished metal and the deep roar of plasma. They sunk deeper and deeper into a self-dug pit, melting and pulverizing rock in their struggle. Lasers dug fiery, meaningless furrows into their armour when they hit, or created molten pools otherwise.
On top, finally, the Crusader freed its right hand to slam its palm into the Shadow Hawk's face. The jump jets cut off, leaving just the sound of crushing metal and splintering ferro-glass. Again, it raised its right arm to strike, slamming instead into the Shadow Hawk's upraised left forearm. The third blow whipped aside the blocking arm as the Crusader's left fist bore down.
Delicately, the SHD-2H had angled its right arm as the Crusader battered aside his defenses. The Martell Medium Laser had its focusing barrel shortened by a laser hit, but it could still fire. It did just as the 55-ton 'Mech's left forearm was swatted aside.
Light shone, burning through the Crusader's ferro-glass canopy. A fountain of fire and melting metal spurted behind.
He finally saw his opponent for a fraction of a second as the light consumed her.
Then, noise and--
Ethan Morimoto bent up from his cot, fully awake. A gentle darkness swallowed him, his screams still echoing in the stillness of his quarters. The light still burned in his mind's eye and he quavered.
Finding the dropship's thrumming at 1G thrust soothing, he stood up barefoot in his room, inhaling the stale cool air as it dried the sweat from his body.
Flicking the trid on, he sat on the cool floor cross-legged, watching a distant point of light slowly grow.
"The new Mercenary's Star," he whispered.
Edited by marwynn, 31 October 2011 - 02:07 PM.