Flying Pancakes

Unrelated stories that take place in a setting besides Star Wars...

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Balsa
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Flying Pancakes

Post by Balsa » Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:24 pm

Flying Pancakes: Fire in the Hole!

Captain Alex, whom his teammates called Highlighter, took a deep breath as he inched his way towards the garage door. He motioned for his team to stop behind him, then pulled out a flashbang. He nodded towards Sergeant Kever, and she popped open the metal door. Alex quickly lobbed the flashbang through the opening, closed his eyes, and charged forward after the muffled boom.

His MP5 came up automatically as he sighted a terrorist, and a quick double-tap caught the enemy in the face. Gun fire erupted around him as his team charged forward, hoping to storm the building. Another burst from his submachine gun cut down a retreating terrorist, and he distinctively caught the characteristic burp of an M249.

"We've got a Para!" Sergeant Kever called as she picked off another terrorist with her Steyr Scout. She sighted through the scope and head-shotted a terrorist who decided to peek his head out from cover. "I'll try to pick him off."

Before Alex could reply, another voice crackled through Alex's radio. "Hostage down!"

"Oh -blam!-! Everyone, charge forward, they're taking out the hosties!" Alex popped out the spent magazine and replaced it with a new one. "Storm the front!"

The trooper to the left of him rocked backwards as his head exploded in a cloud of brain matter. A split second later, the crack of an Arctic Warfare Magnum retort echoed through the landscape. "Kever!" Alex called as he ducked behind some crates. "Take out that sniper!"

"Affirmative!" was her reply, and Alex turned to more pressing matters as an HE grenade erupted near him.

His ears ringing, the captain tossed his own grenade in reply and followed that up with his final flashbang. He crawled through a shattered window and quickly rolled behind an overturned cabinet as the ground around him erupted in a hail of flying steel. "Need back up!" Alex called through his radio.

There was no reply.

Grunting, Alex climbed to his feet and brought his weapon to his shoulder. He peeked out from cover and reflexively shot a terrorist through the chest. "Report in team!" Alex called, and this time a hail of affirmatives and "Reporting in!" greeted him. Satisfied that he wasn't alone, Alex pushed forward and sprinted down the hallway.

A small object bounced in from a side hallway, and Alex tried to duck behind some cover, but the flashbang exploded in a hail of phosphorous. Completely deaf and blind, the counter terrorist emptied his MP5 at the wall and pulled out his pistol, spraying wildly into the air. Just as his vision cleared, a terrorist stepped out from a side room, his M249 blasting away on full auto. A round clipped Alex in the head, and all went dark.

*DEAD* [ftw] Highlighter: Blah, Para owned.
*DEAD* NesteaMan: lol
Kever killed 6-6-6 with a scout.
Kever killed [ftw] Panglarb with a scout.
Kever killed Fish111 with a scout.
Kever killed Pine Inch Nenis with he_grenade.
*DEAD* Sr.:.that's what she said {fb}: omg kever hax
*DEAD* [ftw] Highlighter: No she doesn't.
*DEAD* Fish111: No she doesn't.
*DEAD* Sr.:.that's what she said {fb}: im pretty sure she does
*DEAD* [ftw] Highlighter: She's just good.
Kever killed Frosty with a scout.
Kever killed ($killz) Dragon0111 with a scout.
[ftw] knife rush ftw! killed Kever with a knife.
*DEAD* [ftw] Highlighter: Nice try.
*DEAD* Sr.:.that's what she said {fb}: PWNT
*DEAD* Fish111: nt
[ftw] knife rush ftw!: kekekok
"Mr. T once defeated Chuck Norris in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. In retaliation, Chuck Norris invented racism." -- my brother

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Post by Balsa » Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:24 pm

Flying Pancakes: The Fall of Sharund-Roth

The fire. It burned bright against the night sky. Clouds of black smoke drifted into the air, blotting out the stars and the moon. Tendrils of flame roared from the blocky buildings of ancient Egypt and reached into the heavens. The screams of slaves, peasants, and royalty alike filled the air, and the cries of marauding soldiers provided a chorus to the symphony of suffering and death. A mother, brandishing a scythe, tried desparately to protect her infant son, but was quickly knocked to the ground. Her attacker silenced the wails of the baby with a quick blow, and then turned his attention to the sobbing woman. He ravaged her again and again as his compatriots looted a burned out store.

Sharund-roth smiled.

The ancient lich, his steel armor glistening from the many flames, loosed a feral roar and swung his scythe through a group of fleeing slaves. The razor-sharp blade sliced through them like chaff, and the undead lord extended an armored gauntlet to siphon the blood from their eviscerated bodies. Smiling, Sharund-roth turned his cruel visage to a pile of burning bodies, and with a few incantations, returned the corpses to life, enlarging his army of living and undead.

A symphony of trumpets and horns sounded from the east, and the lich turned. Arrayed before him were the chariots and assembled army of the mighty Pharaoh. His force stretched across the horizon, numbering in the thousands. Their roar of outrage and defiance smothered the horns, and in a thunderous cacophony of chariots and men, they charged the army of undead.

Sharund-roth smiled, his skeletal teeth showing from under his cowl. “You dare challenge my power? Go, my minions! Show the Pharaoh the true horrors of the God of Undeath!” Sharund-roth thrust his fist into the sky and called forth a terrible storm of terror.

Fire and brimstone rained from the heavens as the Pharaoh’s army met his forces head on. Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers were transformed into flaming torches as the hellfire engulfed them whole. Hundreds more were butchered by the horde of undead minions. The fallen in turn were resurrected by the unholy powers of Sharund-roth, the dead rising to meet their former allies. The human thralls of Sharund-roth let loose a battle cry for their lord and continued the mass slaughter.

Sharund-roth strode forward, his massive scythe sweeping through Egyptians and undead alike. He waded through them, incinerating those foolish enough to try to stop him, gradually approaching the Egyptian Pharaoh. He could taste the king’s fear, his terror of the undead horror. The terror fed Sharund-roth’s hunger, and the lich called forth a nightmarish war beast. The conjured demon erupted from the earth, sending soldiers on both sides careening into the abyss, and charged towards the Pharaoh’s entourage. But, despite this added threat, the Pharaoh did not attempt to flee, nor did he panic. In fact, his sense of fear was diminishing, and Sharund-roth found this news to be incredibly disturbing. Something was wrong.

The demon lumbered forward, roaring in a deep bass, when suddenly it jerked to a halt. It screamed in agony and ripped at its face before its chest split open in a gush of ichor and fire. The demon crashed to the ground amidst a cheer from the remaining Egyptian forces.

A group of white robed priests stepped forward from either side of their master. They raised golden staves to the smoke-cloaked stars, and chanted another incantation. Blazing holy fire pierced the clouds of smoke, turning the night to day. The firestorm engulfed the undead horde, turning them to ash but leaving all Egyptian defenders unscathed.

Sharund-roth roared in pain as the holy attack seared his undead flesh. He etched a demonic rune in the air and called forth another layer of unholy armor. “Your pesky magic cannot stop me, Pharaoh!” the lich called as he summoned another wave of undead attackers. His lines were reinforced by the many dead villagers, and they slammed into the beleaguered Egyptians. “Where are your gods now!”he sneered as his forces renewed their slaughter.

A calm voice spoke in his ear, and Sharund-roth sank to his knees as agony lanced through his skull. The Hebrew words lashed at his sanity, and the lich found his power seeping from his being. He tried to rise but found that he could not. The power word paralyzed his undead body, and he screamed in denial. “No! Egypt is mine! Pharaoh, you are mine!”

Sharund-roth looked up to see a priest stand over him. The human raised his hand, chanted some words, and placed his palm on the lich’s head. “I will return!” Sharund-roth screamed into the darkness as his world faded.
"Mr. T once defeated Chuck Norris in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. In retaliation, Chuck Norris invented racism." -- my brother

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Post by Balsa » Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:25 pm

Flying Pancakes: Makers

"Mommy, where are we going?" The little girl gripped her mother's hand tightly, afraid that the roaring wind would carry her into the bitter night.

"Hush, dear. We're almost there." Her mother spoke in quiet yet soothing tones, which were at complete odds to the surrounding environment. Great clouds of smoke rose into the night sky, while piles of rubble glowed white with fire. "Mommy has a job to do."

"But I'm scared!" The girl latched onto her mother's leg and refused to walk further. "I dun wanna go anymore."

Her mother smiled and knelt down, gently scooping her daughter into her arms. "There, there. Everything will be all right." She kissed the girl on her nose and continued down the trash-strewn street.

The two walked in silence for some time, through the rubble and burning trash, around derelict vehicles and fire-eaten skeletons. All the while, the little girl snuggled her face against her mother's warm cheek, eyes shut tight against world.

Soon they came to cul-de-sac. The area was fairly clear, with none of the usual litter and debris. The mother set the little girl down and knelt beside her. "Dear, see that car over there? I want you to run to it and hide behind it. Mommy needs to talk to some people for a minute. Go, now."

"No! Don't leave me!" The little girl wouldn't budge, her hands and arms firmly wrapped around her mother.

"It's okay, honey. Just go. I'll only be a couple minutes." She pried the child's arms off and gave her a gentle shove. "Never forget that I love you."

The little girl nodded and with a slight sniffle ran in that awkward stride of children towards the empty car. She slid underneath the abandoned vehicle and watched as her mother walked to the center of the cul-de-sac.

Her mother shrugged off the bulky parka despite the chill of the winter night. The heavy coat dropped to the ground, revealing a simple black jumpsuit. She spread her arms out away from her sides, showing that she carried nothing, and with a loud voice, she shouted into the night.

"I am here! Stop this wanton destruction!"

The child watched as her mother continued to stand there, a black shadow against the white fires. At first, nothing seemed to happen, just the continued howl of the winds and the quiet crackling of consuming flames. But, after several minutes, other shadows emerged from the broken buildings, stepping through the flames and burning trash.

Despite the light illuminating the street, these figures were pitch black, as if they were holes that forever trapped the light. Four of them stood at the edges of the cul-de-sac, surrounding the girl's mother, while a fifth strode confidently towards her.

The mother and the shadow man seemed to speak, but the little girl couldn't hear what they were saying. She wanted to run towards the safety of her mother, but the men were scary, and her mother had told her to stay behind the car. As she watched, the shadow man turned as if to walk away from her mother, and the girl hoped that her mother was done talking to these men.

Suddenly, the black figure spun, an obsidian blade in hand, and with a precise stroke, cleanly sliced through the mother's neck. Her head spun off in an arc, and her body dropped to the road. The little girl gasped, tears already streaming down her face. She scrambled from underneath the car and ran towards her mother's body. "Mommy! No!"

But before she could cross the distance, the shadow figure turned to her and pointed. The little screamed as her world suddenly disappeared and she was enveloped in blackness.
"Mr. T once defeated Chuck Norris in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. In retaliation, Chuck Norris invented racism." -- my brother

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Post by Balsa » Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:25 pm

Flying Pancakes: Honor

The air is damp and it reeks of my sweat. That’s to be expected, considering I’ve been sitting in this cockpit for the better part of a week. It’s also stifling, with the humidity making it feel as if I am sitting in a sauna. Again, not surprising, considering the constant rain and the damaged reactor shielding. But, at least in this cocoon, I’m shielded from the downpours, and I’m relatively dry, which can’t be said for the poor grunts on foot. I hope they have extra socks.

The red glow of various monitors and readouts fill the cabin, though some of those displays are cracked, and a handful occasionally sparks. One part of the forward shield is deformed, and there’s even a breach in the thick ferro-glass viewport. I’m not too worried about it, and it’s actually a blessing at times. Sometimes, I can feel a cool breeze through it, or at least I think I can feel one.

The radio is turned down. I really don’t feel like listening to the idle chatter of the rest of my lance. Being trapped her e is bad enough. To listen to their fears is worse. I guess it’s something I have to get used to, presuming I get to keep my field promotion of Chu-i, or lieutenant. Of course, I’d have to survive first.

Then again, surviving isn’t high on my to-do list, especially if I’m bumped back down to private. There’s no honor in that. Of course, there was no honor in being a private in the first place. I suppose if I were to survive, my family would eventually find out that I somehow lived through the Clan juggernaut, and they’d assume that I’d done so out of cowardice or incompetence. It’s not an unreasonable assumption, considering the circumstances.

My grandfather served the Combine as a Sho-sho, lieutenant-general to one of the prestigious Sword of Light regiments. From there, he served the Coordinator personally as an advisor and speech writer. He was a personal friend of the Kurita family.

Before him, there was my great-great uncle, who was a wealthy businessman. He chaired a successful pharmaceutical company. My paternal grandfather revitalized Benjamin’s fledging agricultural economy and even developed some innovative farming techniques.

My uncle is one of the top cardiovascular specialists on Luthien. My cousin is an attorney. My uncle is a successful graphic artist for a large hovercar manufacturer. My father is a lead scientist for the largest consumer-goods producer in the entire Draconis Combine.

What am I?

I am the shameful disgrace of what is perhaps a quite prestigious family line. I was given all the benefits of near-royal life, and I squandered it all. I dropped out of an elite university, twice, and fled like a coward to this backwater world.

If my grandfather were alive, he’d have committed seppuku in shame. I’m sure my other relatives would do the same. I know I have already disgraced my parents, for when they are in the company of friends and relatives, and are forced to respond to the requisite, “My son is a doctor. My son is a Tai-sa of such-and-such battalion. Who is your son?” – they can only mutter and pretend they have no son. Or perhaps their son died valiantly in battle in some fake and honorable combat unit.

If I somehow survive this battle, and get off world, they will be forced to continue their little charade. So, perhaps, it’s better if I perish and not bring further shame to my family.

With my luck, though, I’ll live.

Oh, something’s going on. I bring the radio volume up and listen in. It’s bad news. With Tai-sa Graham’s death, we’re pulling off planet. I guess my luck is against me, and I will survive to shame my family another day.

Oh wait! There’s more. My spirits rise considerably. We need to buy time. To get to our DropShips. I know what that means.

With more confidence than I’ve felt in years, I open the comm.-channel and volunteer myself as rear guard. There are a couple more like-minded warriors who do the same. Our superiors agree, and I bring my ancient Panther online, and throttle the 35-ton machine forward. Even though my ‘Mech is battle-damaged, I still have a working PPC. That is enough.

The rest of the Ninth Pesht Regulars move off. I am alone with three other Mechwarriors. Apparently I am the ranking officer. Chu-i. Oddly enough, it feels good.

We wait, and eventually our sensors pick up contacts. Just a few at first. But then many. Soon after, we can feel the ground tremble as a full battalion, or Cluster, of these so-called Smoke Jaguars approach.

It is time.

I flick my radio on. It is tuned to the rest of my ad-hoc lance. “Tonight, we bring honor to our families,” I say. “We not only fight for the Coordinator, but for our homes.” It feels good.

The first Clan ‘Mech breaks through the forest foliage, and as alien as it appears, I feel no fear. I settle my targeting reticule on it, and send a bolt of particle lightning at its face. It falls.

“For the Combine!” I yell, and I hear my fellow warriors yell the same.

We charge.
"Mr. T once defeated Chuck Norris in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. In retaliation, Chuck Norris invented racism." -- my brother

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Post by Balsa » Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:25 pm

Flying Pancakes: Memoir

I suppose it's never occurred to me that wearing someone's face without his or her permission can be regarded as wrong. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm well aware that it is wrong, in the same sense as watching a man take a 50-cal to the head is disgustingly wrong. But, I've never considered it morally wrong.

I've always figured that because a man is dead, he no longer has any use for his face, and it's only logical for me to take the face, if I so need it. We were always taught that every part of the body has a purpose, and it would have been morally wrong to not use all that we could.

For example, the hide of the bodies, when sewn together, make great cloaks. Strips of flesh can also be used to break up our silhouettes. Muscle fiber and tendons are excellent as make-shift ropes and bonds. The skull suffices as a crude shoulder guards. And, of course the ribs are nice decorations for the chest. The teeth can be used as jewelry or noise makers. But, the face and scalp, we've always found that to be the most important. Wearing the face makes us something that friends of the corpse can identify with, and we can then exploit that connection to create more opportunities to harvest flesh.

Apparently, however, all of these things, wearing a person's face, smearing my body with fat and blood, cloaking myself in the scalps of the enemy, these violate some written law that I've just now been privy to. Imagine my surprise when I'm told that there's this set of rules to which all warring nations subscribe, and desecrating the remains of enemy soldiers somehow violate these conventions. The other day, a member of High Command actually had the gall to approach me, saying that he had received several complaints when Nycha Sia’tet had impaled the bodies of several children and lashed them to his back. I couldn't understand it when he told me that that was morally wrong. How could it be? The objective was taken, was it not?

(Not to mention that Sia’tet is the Emperor’s daughter. I didn’t expect High Command to have the balls to file a complaint regarding her.)

Alas, the times are changing. War is a finicky creature. We must adapt, or else we die. I suppose even artificial constraints must be addressed, and this new set of rules designed to make war more humane must now be respected. Such crap.

I guess it’s too late to change our current mission parameters, and it’s certainly too late to develop new techniques and hone these new, undeveloped techniques. High Command will have to put up with our so-called depravity just a little longer.

Not that they can really stop us, if we so choose to ignore their directives.


--Journal of Colonel Asemir Lor’kora, First Null Regiment

Editor’s Note: Using their expertise in psychological warfare, the members of the First Null Regiment went on to a decisive victory over the rogue Warlord Kern’palor. However, the action resulted in the disbanding of the First, as well as the execution of Colonel Lor’kora.
"Mr. T once defeated Chuck Norris in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. In retaliation, Chuck Norris invented racism." -- my brother

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Post by Balsa » Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:28 pm

Flying Pancakes: Hello

“That guy scares me,” Raymond said as he sipped away the foamy head of his beer. “That guy over there.” The blond-haired mercenary pointed across the room towards a group of men and women huddled around a table. They murmured a few words, and soft laughter broke out.

Sergeant Johnson, sitting to Raymond’s right, sighed and turned in his chair to get a better look at the man to which Raymond was pointing. ““The Asian-looking guy?” Raymond nodded, and Johnson squinted. “Why’s he scare you, Ray?”

Raymond grimaced. Though he had known everyone at the table for years, he wished he hadn’t said anything. His lancemates would likely needle him for months. “You guys don’t recognize him? He was one of the Clanners who kicked our asses.”

“Yeah, so?” Priori De Vries, the third member of Bravo Lance, Second Company, Jaxxer’s Juggernauts, popped a pretzel into her mouth.

Raymond shook his head. “He’s the one that was totally cool during the briefing. He was just standing there relaxed and shit. And, he’s the same guy who personally took us apart.”

“You know, I think Raymond’s right.” Perry Cox, the lance’s intellectual, adjusted his glasses and shrugged. “Yeah, that’s him. And let me say, when I saw him lead his star into the ‘Mech bay, well, I got the chills. Everyone was gawking at the splendor of the assembled ‘Mechs, and that guy just heads to his mount without a word. He was way too calm.”

Raymond was slightly relieved to know that someone else shared his sentiments. “Yeah, he’s the guy that aced us,” he said, referring to the results of the combat exercise. Second Company was refining its anti-Clan tactics, and had been assigned to take out a single Star of five ‘Mechs as a warm-up. Twelve against five should have placed the odds for them, but they had lost. The remaining Clan Mechwarrior had managed to disable over a lance’s worth of ‘Mechs.

Johnson chuckled as he recalled the match. “You guys don’t know how much cursing I did when I was the first to fall. And then to see that one guy take all of you down? Man, I was yelling and screaming in my War Dog.”

The others laughed along with their lance leader, but Raymond was quiet. He had been the final Inner Sphere warrior to fall to the Clanner, and it hadn’t been a fun experience. The Clanner had toyed with Bravo Lance, and then toyed with him. Raymond wasn’t a green Mechwarrior, in fact he was a veteran of the Clan Wars, but he couldn’t remember the last time he had had his head handed to him so easily when the odds were so stacked.

The mercenary downed the rest of his beer in a single gulp and slammed the mug hard against the oak table. The others glanced sharply at his direction, and he muttered a quick apology. “But, who is that guy?” he asked as a waitress refilled his mug. “Do we know anything ‘bout him?”

“Well,” Cox began, and his lancemates focused their attention on him. “I did some research on the Clan unit before the exercise. Turns out they’re from the Fourth Guard, and it appears they’re Saber Star, which would explain why we got our asses kicked.” Cox pointed at the Asian-looking Clansman. “And the man who did the ass kicking, he’s Star Commander Alex Kerensky.”

“Who’re the others?” Raymond asked.

“I’m not sure, but I think the bronze-haired woman is Miri Ward,” Cox answered. “She’s also an ace pilot, and the two are supposed to be very close, if you know what I mean.”

“Yeah? And who’s Alex Kerensky?” Priori interrupted in her characteristic bored tone. She snatched another pretzel from the bowel in the center of the table. “I’ve never heard of him, so why do I care?”

Sergeant Johnson nodded in agreement. “Yeah, can’t say I’ve heard of him either. Not like Jaime Wolf or the Black Widow or even Kai Allard.”

Perry Cox wiped his glasses on his uniform shirt and took a sip of his drink before answering. “According to the records, he’s pretty well-known amongst the Clans. It’s not surprising that we haven’t heard of him since he keeps a pretty low profile.”

“So, what’s he done?” Raymond asked nervously. His palms were sweaty as his mind continued to reply those few minutes he had spent dueling the Clan warrior. “To have won a Bloodname must mean you’re pretty good, but to also be famous with the other Clans?” Raymond shook his head. “He’s got to have done some pretty hot stuff.”

“He has. Apparently he’s Clan Wolf’s best duelist, and he’s their primary instructor on dueling techniques. Saber Star is his personal unit, and he’s allowed pretty much free reign in most engagements.” Cox smiled. “Against Clan opponents, he’s deadly. Rumors say he killed an entire Jade Falcon battalion during their Refusal War.”

“No way,” Johnson interrupted. He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. “Only Natasha Kerensky and Kai Allard are that good.”

Cox held his hands up as if he were defending himself. “Hey, I’m just saying what the rumors are. It’s probably closer to a company, but you know how rumors go. His service record says it’s been years since he was last shot out of his ‘Mech. Apparently, his piloting skills are legendary. No one’s recalled having been able to knock him down, even after they’ve taken off his ‘Mechs arms.”

Priori nodded. “I can see that. When I fought him, he simply took the stream of autocannon fire as if I were hitting him with chaff. Then he sidestepped my missiles and lasers. I couldn’t keep a target lock.”

“…And then he sent a Gauss slug through your canopy.” Priori gave Raymond a dirty look, but he shrugged it off. “That’s what happened. After he capped you, spun and did this crazy side-jump. I missed his rear and ended up hitting you instead.”

“It’s funny, “ Cox added, “that they started to bid his Star away during their bidding process.” At his companion’s confused looks, Cox rolled his eyes in annoyance. “Oh, come on. You guys are studying to fight Clanners, and you don’t even know what bidding is? Bidding is where they see which commander can take the objective with the fewer units.” He sighed. “Dumbasses. Anyways, he was constantly bid away but he eventually fought a Trial of Refusal, and was allowed to participate in the battles.”

Johnson shook his head at the absurdity. “Hamper yourself by removing your greatest weapon? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“We are talking about Clanners,” Priori muttered.

“So, yeah,” Cox continued, “this Kerensky apparently doesn’t take bondsman because of how many he’s defeated. Duels generally end in less than a minute as he places headshots and leg shots. It’s uncanny how accurate he is.”

“Hell, it’s not even that,” Raymond said, “but how he’s able to get those shots off while running all over the place.” The Mechwarrior moaned as he recalled his duel. Kerensky had spun his Clan assault OmniMech in the air and triggered his large lasers. The beams had sliced into Raymond’s left leg, exploiting earlier damage and fusing the knee joint. A second laser burst, even before Kerensky had landed, locked the entire leg up, rooting Raymond to the ground.

“He froze me there, gimped me, and all I could do was try to keep him out of my rear arc,” Raymond said while staring into space. “My lasers and Gauss wouldn’t track. He was always just outside my firing arc.” Kerensky had used his Clan Gladiator’s excellent dueling capabilities to neutralize his opponent. “After side stepping my blasts, he took my right arm,” Raymond continued. “Then my left.”

Sweat beaded on his brow as he remembered that final moment. Kerensky had stood right in front of his disabled ‘Mech and raised the Gladiator’s arm-mounted Gauss rifle to head level. Raymond blinked as the image of staring down the bore flooded his mind. “And then it was over.” He shook his head to clear the image. “He opened a frequency with me and simply said ‘Bang!’. I almost pissed my pants.”

The group was quiet for a few moments as they all reflected upon that match. They had all faced Clan opponents in the field, and knew the supreme skill Clan warriors possessed, but none had been so utterly destroyed in what should have been an extremely unbalanced battle.

Johnson broke the silence after a few minutes. “Yo, Cox, you making this shit up? How do you know so much?”

Cox chuckled. “I’ve got my ways and secrets. Hey, Raymond, where’re you going?”

Raymond didn’t reply as he got up from the table and walked towards Saber Star. Miri Ward noticed him and nudged the Star Commander. The group of Clansmen stopped their chatter and Kerensky turned his chair to face the Inner Sphere Mechwarrior. Nervous, Raymond licked his lips and extended his hand. “Star Commander, you probably don’t remember me, but I was your final victim this morning. I just wanted to say that I am honored to have faced you in combat.”

It took a moment, but Alex Kerensky smiled as he recognized the mercenary. He stood and shook the man’s hand. “And it was an honor to have fought against your Company, Mechwarrior Raymond Icanza. Let me tell you, you did much better than I had expected, having put down two members of my Star. That is no mean feat. My congratulations go to you.”

Raymond was stunned that the Star Commander even knew his name. “Thank you, sir,” he said and snapped a salute. Saber Star responded in kind, and Raymond returned to his lance, satisfied.
"Mr. T once defeated Chuck Norris in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. In retaliation, Chuck Norris invented racism." -- my brother

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