Posted Mar 08 2014 - 08:10 PM
"Yes, Ms. Lombardy. We're alive."
Abraham commented, mostly unperturbed by Gwen's sudden shouting in his ear. "Mostly" because he did initially tense, as if expecting an attack. When she flopped to the ground, he initially glanced over in concern, but relaxed when he saw she wasn't harm. Patting down his coat, he fished through his interior breast pocket, removing a rather battered old earpiece. Switching it on to make sure it still worked, and was in fact still connected to the Zephyr's communications, he set it on the ground next to his compatriot.
Without anothr word, he turned towards his mahine, and crossed the distance to its feet. Clambering back up towards the cockpit using the same route he had descended with, he continued to ascend past the cockpit. By the time he pulled himself up onto the machine's shoulders, he was red faced with exertion, lungs gasping for air, and muscles quivering. The pilot rested a moment before he carefully stood, suurveying his perch.
It wasn't pretty.
The Zephyr's unique shilouette was marred by the melted and scorched edge where its wing used to be, its sword conspicuou by its absence. The entire rear upper torso of the machine was riddled with scorch marks and pieces of embedded shrapnel, the paint in many places melted or scratched away. Its front end, from what he could see, was only marginally better; There was evidence of slightly warped metal where it had collided with the ground, not surprising considering the speed at which it had impacted. Its thrusters were incredibly hot and slightly scorched, though given a little time to cool off they would be fine. He surveyed all of this in complete silence, taking in every detail, assessing every bit of damage. The pilot crouched down, running his hand gently along where the wing used to conneect, unbothered by how warm the metal still was.
"Look what they did to you..." He muttered quietly, frowning slightly. "A little under ten years since you saw combat, and this happens to you the third time I take you into battle."
The Zephyr'd been forced to its limits by its unorthodox landing, and he knew it. So long living with it as his only company, he knew its capabilities inside and out. Gwen probably didn't know, and he didn't intend to tell her, just how close to their demise they had come. A second too slow, a little more shrapnel near the thrusters, the slightest delay in thruster output... If any one of a dozen things had gone wrong, it was entirely possible that one or both of them wouldn't have been getting out uninjured. Or at all.
"Lesson #9: Take care of the Zephyr. She's a good machine, well built, and well-maintained. Take good care of her, keep her running right, and she'll take care of you. If I've done my job right, you'll know how to do that when you need to."
"Sorry. I'll get you patched up when we get back to their base. They should have parts I can use."
Straightening, he quickly descended back down to cockpit level, glancing in at the radar before nodding and completing his descent. His boots hit the rocky ground with a quiet thud, the sound repeating on a quieter scale as he crossed over to where Gwen was. He kept a hand on his sidearm, eyes scanning the foggy encironment for possible threats.
'The coordinates we were given are just a few yards that way." He gestured in the direction he meant with a finger. "The flying tin can who blasted us out of the sky was guarding it, probably went down right next to it. If we're lucky, we might have somewhat intact parts from two machines for you to play with."
Panzer-009 was not happy. In fact, he was the closest that a machine could get to being very, very annoyed.
The Vernichten had made it back to the robot's fortress just fine, and was easily docked in the hangar bay. Barely a scratch on it, save for where the enemy sniper had grazed it. No, his annoyance did not stem from any damage to his equipment. Its root cause, ultimately, was the end result of the mission, or more specifically, the lack of certainty thereof. Damage had lowered himself down to retrieve the data corre, but he had not radioed to indicate success or failure; Whether this was due to inability or choice was uncertain, but the former was more likely. The Banshee had been felled by an enemy machine, thereby rendering the odds decidedly againt them. He had been forced to call a tactical retreat, and due to the thick fog and the sensory interference caused by the explosions and scattered metal, he had been unable to locate his ally.
The mission's outcome was uncertain, and it was frustrating. Eveen if Damage did make it back to base with the data core, he would not have been able to recover the prototype, thus rendering the mission a partial success.
Arms crossed, Panzer regarded the Vernichten in silence. Its modifications had been of his own design, and thus far, they had served him well. But he had to admit that, at its very core, its largest root problems stemmed from one issuue; It was still a mass production machine. It was not designed for agility, nor for long range capabilities. The FIre Vulture was meant to be a flight unit to counter the humans' own, but with more armor. The end result was more durable. but not nearly fast enough. The prototype had been an attempt to imitate the humans' stealth machines. The Vultures, in the past, had been sufficient to hold their own; But the humans had a new machine, one more versatile than the others. Faster, as well. That blue machine.
If he could have scowled, he would have. He had hoped for more time, but that would not be possble. He would need to speak with X-71 to see if they would be able to speed up the training and oufitting of their subjects.
And he would need to speak with the Technarch about his own... Project.
"Oh? Well, that's good. Say, you wouldn't know where I could get some coffee, would you?" Alusrair asked, energetically swingng out of his cockpit and down to the hangar floor, surprisingly alert for someone who had, by their own admission, been working for hours.
"I'd use Tylers' Iron Coffee Cube, but she sometimes puts landmines around her stuff, and I don't want to take the time to figure out how to disarm them."