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Clad In Iron


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If one had declared to the masses that, in the final years of the nineteenth century, this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than that of man, and yet just as mortal, none would take such a claim seriously. None would believe that as men busied themselves about their worldly concerns they were being scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency, the people of this world scurried to and fro across this globe, going about their little affairs, serene and ignorant in their assured dominion over the material- probably not unlike the infusoria under the microscope. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of incontrovertible human danger; or, if they did, thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days- a bygone age where terrestrial men of greater imagination pondered whether there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet, across the gulf of space, there brooded minds that are to ours, as ours are to that of beasts; intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, appraising our world with envious eyes, slowly and carefully drawing their plans against us.

And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

The year is 1903, the Great Martian War rages on.

Five years ago, mankind received a bloody and violent answer to the eternal question - "are we alone?". Indeed, the first cylinder falling from the heavens was a surprise to all, but markedly was only the tip of the proverbial spear. The merciless attack on humanity itself that soon followed was destruction the likes of which no person had seen - a terrible assault from cold, vile intelligences which shook even the greatest of human nations to their very core.

Like lightning and rolling thunder the otherworldly invaders struck across Great Britain from the landing sites of their silvery vessels, sweeping south past the great city of London and up to the furthest reaches of Scotland in the north. In a matter of days, there was naught but destruction and desolate wasteland as far as the eye could see - that is, if any poor soul had managed to survive in the wake of the invader's advance. Even still, this was not the extent of the invaders’ insidious designs, and even now the Martians conspire to leave absolutely nothing for us. However, the mettle and resolve of humanity is poised to determine if our home is something that we shall give up so easily...

To this day, the nations of the world push back! Equipped with unbroken spirit and boundless valor, brave soldiers make use of mechanical marvels reverse-engineered from the Martians’ own fighting machines. These mighty few, clad in iron and possessing prodigious courage, may yet turn the tide. Terrae Impetus Retro.

 

The State of Things

 

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The British Empire Defeated! So said the headlines of newspapers across the world during the winter of 1898, not but a day after contact had fully and completely been lost with England. Only a few short months into the Martian invasion and one of the most powerful nations the world had ever seen was no more. Some nations celebrated, others quietly gathered their military forces, but many simply watched, unwilling to acknowledge or unaware of the danger that the otherworldly beings posed to them. This complacency was only compounded when the Martian’s advance simply stopped at the English Channel, and for two long years it seemed as though that was the extent of their assault on humanity.

Of course, none sat idly by during this time. The remnants of the British Empire, formerly scattered across the world, lobbied for the retaking of their homeland. Others, such as France and Germany, made quick work of snatching up what precious few pieces of the Martian technology could be acquired for their own use. The lack of activity looked to some as though the Martians had simply left, gone to return to their planet. Some academics even went as far as to say that the Martians had been wiped out by the Earth’s own microscopic biosphere, for surely they could not have developed an immunity to Earthly diseases as mankind had over the millennia.

Whatever the reason for the pause in action, it was not to last. In early Spring, after the turn of the century, the second Martian advance began with their fighting machines emerging from the waters of the channel onto the shores of Belgium and the Netherlands. There was little forewarning to prepare a defense, and in the time it took for the powers on mainland Europe to marshal their forces the aliens had made it far as the French and German borders to the East and West, leaving swathes of destruction in their wake. It has been three years since then, and while ironclad battleships from the world's nations hold the line from the Channel itself, landlocked defenses are slowly beginning to weaken as the Martians continue their unrelenting assault. But man has not been idle, and their newest weapon may be just what turns the tide of this war of worlds...

 

Ferreis Induti

No later than the first sightings of the Martian’s massive mechanical beasts did the minds of man begin to work, wildly speculating and postulating exactly how the various mechanisms by which the fighting machines of the otherworldly invaders operated. After the first of the tripodal giants were felled, its components were hurriedly collected and whisked away to nations that coveted them by enterprising individuals for these theories to be validated and amended. At first, various nations only received bits and pieces of the Martian’s strange technology, and information that could be gleaned from the disparate parts was fractured and incomplete at best. Indeed, it took the Martians’ second brutal assault for the inventors and engineers of the defending nations to come together and truly unlock the secrets of the Martians’ greatest weapon.

Thus soon after, mankind saw fit to create fighting machines of their own. With boilers and reciprocating engines powering dynamos, these man-made titans leverage the magnetic-mechano limbs derived from the Martian technology to achieve motion. However, the more esoteric of Martian technologies have proven to still be beyond our grasp for the time being - the heat ray in particular vexing the brightest of minds. Though not as large as the hundred-foot tall behemoths they are designed to fight against, a dedicated and determined crew gives these machines an edge.

 

Demons from Mars

Much has been written of the men from Mars in the years since they landed in their gleaming pods, though as of yet no live individual has yet to be found. From the bodies recovered from their destroyed fighting machines, the true face of the enemy has been closely studied. The Martians themselves are large, with oily grey bodies about the size of a bear. They possess no limbs like the kind familiar to us - instead, a plethora of long, whip-like tendrils surround the area underneath their V-shaped mouths. Two large eyes, round and lidless, are perhaps the only familiar aspect of their peculiar biology. Internally they appear to possess no organs save an enlarged brain which occupies the majority of their body. How such an organism is able to live and function is beyond our science thus far.

More striking, however, are the great machines they pilot. Approximately 100 feet tall, the machines stand atop three spindly legs with which they glide across all manner of terrain. These legs attach to a girdle of sorts that is secured to the body of the machine itself, with a mass of writhing tentacles extending down from the bottom of the machine. A hood caps the very top of the body, while the weaponry - such as the heat ray - that the Martians utilize is held at the ends of the tentacles.

It should be noted that there are a secondary, distinctive subspecies of Martians, separate from those who occupy the tripods. While the large, cephalopoid creatures are undoubtedly the masterminds of the invasion, a second, subservient species has also been observed. Peculiarly, they are two-armed and two-legged, a form that at great distance could be mistaken for mankind itself. Indeed, it was initially thought that these creatures might be some twisted abomination of humanity, until specimens could be properly investigated. These are no humans - with brittle siliceous skeletons and long limbs which attach to an overly rotund body, it appears that without wearing the form-fitting, metallic space-suits provided to them by their masters, they would be crushed by the increased gravitation of our world. Beginning with the launch of the second wave of Martian assaults, the two-meter tall bipeds have been observed being deployed as foot soldiers, equipped with odd hand-held projectile launchers that fire metallic bullets without the use of gunpowder.

 

To Hold the Line

The time for action has come, for the first time in recorded history humanity’s fighting machines will clash with those from the red planet. The first generation of these colossi, built by nations around the globe, have been gathered along the French line to prepare to push the Martians back off the mainland. Housed in the mighty airship Thunderchild, this will be a deciding battle!

Name:
Age:
Gender:
Job:
Country of Origin:

Appearance:
Personality:
History:
Equipment:
Fighting Machine:

Designation:
Country of Origin:
Crew:
Description:
Weapons:
Traits:

 

Rules of Engagement

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Arabella Fortunado and the Damocles

Erich Volk and the König

Arnault Mongouse and La Charlatane

Edited by sunflower
  • Like 2

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OOC:

shall we begin, demoni?

Spoiler

Name: Marchesa Arabella Fortunado
Age: 26
Gender: Female

Job: Operator of Damocles
Country of Origin: Italy
Appearance: Tall, toned, and possession of pale blonde hair. The Marchesa once dressed fitting with the nobility of her position, but instead works to balance between that view and the practical necessity of her new role. Arabella stands tall and straight, seemingly aloof and confident.
Personality: Friendly, enthusiastic, compassionate, and appears to be completely the opposite of all three. By appearances the Marchesa is reserved, aloof, and does not deign to speak with those outside of her Damocles' crew. The reality, more simply, is that she is a little self conscious about her ability to speak the English of most of her compatriots. Marchesa Fortunado takes the historical purview of the marchese very seriously; hers is the duty to defend her empire's borders, though her protectorate has since expanded to the whole of the planet upon which she stands.
History: Born to Italian nobility, during the period of reunification, Marchesa Fortunado was raised in a comfortable environment and educated to the highest standards of her family. Her only problems may have been political were it not for the invasion of demons from the Red Planet. Instead she championed her country's efforts to build a titan of their own, personally entreated her distant cousins in the capital for support, and made it painfully clear that she would permit no one else to be her Empire's sword. The Damocles was built to her specification and she ventured to the war's front by the English Channel upon its completion.
Equipment: Sidearm, both firearm and the bladed, courtly symbol of her authority. Various other odds and ends.
Fighting Machine: Damocles

 

Designation: Damocles
Country of Origin: Italy
Crew: Variable, but minimally an operator and a munitions handler for each high caliber weapon.
Description: In the vicinity of 9 meters tall, the Damocles is built to maximize the mobility and speed of the Martian-derived magnetic-mechano limbs integrated into its frame. Its limbs, thus, are armored fairly sparsely; its protection is centered around the cockpit of its operator. The loaders of its pair of capital armaments, by necessity and occupational hazard, are much less protected. The two ten inch guns, originally stripped from an Ammiraglio di Saint Bon-class battleship, have had half the barrel chopped off for reasons of size. At thirty four feet long they would have more than doubled the Damocles' height and rendered it impractically top heavy. Instead, integrated into its back and rising over either shoulder, it gives the Damocles a battleship punch at much closer ranges. In comparison to most Colossi the Damocles has been painted in riveting gold, emblazoned with an Italian coat of arms, and a gleaming crown upon its head.

Weapons: A gleaming, 4 meter broadsword secured to Damocles' right forearm. Though it can be folded flush with the forearm for storage, pneumatics will deploy and lock it into a position analogous to that of a handheld, human-scale blade. Mounted to its back and loaded by a crewman each are two ten inch guns, and its left forearm contains a motor-driven Bailey machine gun and ends in a bayonet that can deploy the same way as its sword.
Traits: Demons from Mars require a God from the Earth, and Damocles was built to scale. Fast, powerful, brazen, and built to fight like the human being at its core. But a grace like that cannot be managed by a machine. To enable such feats the Damocles is controlled by a state of the art force-feedback man machine interface; strapped into place with tethers attached to its operators limbs the Damocles will, in broad strokes, ape its pilot's motions. The principle, and mechanics, have been compared to that of an enormous string puppet; the trouble being that hyper extension of Damocles' joints has the potential to be mirrored on its operator.

fK5oqYf.jpg

 

On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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Name: Erich Volk
Age: 26
Gender: Masculine
Job: Commander of the König
Country of Origin: Germany
Appearance: A stout, burly young man with a contemplative countenance, Erich stands at approximately 177 cm. He is generally dressed in utilitarian working clothing, his steel-toed boots and work vest make him fit right in with the engineers and mechanics assigned to maintaining the human fighting machines. Which is no surprise, given his tendency to supervise and assist with repairs and modifications to the König. His eyes are a bright grey, with short, jet black hair parted down the middle that matches a well kept mustache and near permanent stubble.
Personality: A usually jovial, if admittedly eccentric individual with an obvious interest in the deeply mechanical nature of the machines which he has spent his life building and maintaining.
Equipment: A variety of hand tools and equipment for the upkeep of his fighting machine. In addition, he carries a Navy P03 as a sidearm. An 8mm Luger self-loading rifle is stowed in the König for emergency use.
Fighting Machine: König

Designation: König
Country of Origin: Germany
Crew: 3
Description: A shelled, angular colossi of broad proportions, standing slightly lower than most of the human fighting machines at 8.5 meters. Squat, and covered in riveted armor plate, the German fighting machine resembles a gargantuan iron arthropod in some respects, its four locomotive magneto-mechanic legs only adding to the image. Each ends in a broad, spade-like armor plate which extends up past the "knee" of each limb, working as feet, protection, as well as earthmoving entrenching tools. A humanoid torso rises up from the "waist" of the colossi, hunched and widening towards the top, with two arms on either side. The left is heavily armored, possessing a massive shield of thick armor plate, which terminates in a hydraulic pincer. The right is smaller, ending in a large multitool and winch assembly.
Two smaller magneto-mechanical limbs extend from the König's back, each ending in somewhat smaller armored shields. A gilded ornament extends over the front face of the machine's torso, around the flattened slit viewport for the commander.
Two paired rectangular funnels extend out from the fighting machine's back, one of the few unarmored sections of the machine.
Primarily painted a light battleship grey, sans the gilded ornament and red markings.
Weapons: Four 17 cm SK L/26 guns mounted in a quad semi-armored position over the König's right shoulder. Equipped with semi armor piercing HE and airburst fragmentation shells. Loaded using a hydraulic rammer and an experimental electric shell feed.
Four casemate mounted 4.7 cm SK L/32 revolver cannons provide closer, more rapid fire support. They are mounted above the König's left arm positioned forward, lateral, and backwards; while the fourth is mounted beneath the right arm near the waist.
Traits: Clad in Krupp cemented armor plate stripped from the battleship Kaiser Barbarossa, a full 300 mm on the shields and thinning down to 100 mm on the colossi itself. Its heavy armor and four-legged stance significantly slows down the König compared to many other human fighting machines, though the advantage in survivability and stability more than make up for the lack of maneuverability.
Emphasizing this, the König has the capability to collapse its shields down to form a single large shell around the colossi. Digging its spade-like limbs into the earth and diverting electrical power from its magneto-mechanic limbs to its shell feed hoist allows it to drastically increase the rate of fire of its main cannons, at the cost of all movement.

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The Man, the Myth, the Legend:

Spoiler

Name: “Arnault Mongouse” (real name Saville, Sebastien Ulysse)

 

Age: 52

 

Gender: Male

 

Job: Agent of the Second Bureau, Commander of La Charlatane

 

Country of Origin: Fr*nce

 

Appearance: Close-cropped ashen hair and substantial moustache frame a worn and pockmarked face the colour of a pale ale, with two jewels of ivory-bound sapphire set within. Beneath Saville’s bright blue dress uniform, he is bulky and broad; coupled with his 190-cm height, he strikes an imposing figure.

 

Personality: Stark, serious, to-the-point. It is hard to make no-nonsense Saville laugh, and even harder to find him a doorway through which he does not have to duck (this is Europe). Quick to focus intently on the parameters and requirements of a mission and quicker to a cigarette. Knack for improvisation, and sometimes does things that are immediately incomprehensible (without offering explanation) that pan out to have become necessary following the appearance of problems he has seemingly predicted beforehand.

 

History: Sebastien was born in Boston in 1851 to a pair of textile merchants - French nationals who had begun exporting their wares to America. He received part of his education there, before he and his parents steamed back to Bordeaux in 1860. A decade later, Sebastien was conscripted into the French army at the age of 19 upon the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. He was assigned to Blue Division of the Troupes de Marine, serving as a signals/reconnaissance specialist. One of his most notable battles was the Battle of Bazeilles, where he and several of his compatriots relayed crucial information on the movements of Bavarian troops, allowing Marsouins snipers to lay an ambush. He received several commendations after the conclusion of the war, including promotion to Adjutant-Chef (Chief Warrant Officer) before enrolling in officer school prior to returning to duty for the Sino-French war. French military intelligence maneuvered the Marines into lending them Lieutenant Saville for a special assignment - planting him within Chinese foreign advisers, where he would pose as an American due to his fluency in English and American upbringing. At their naval headquarters, he would act to sabotage Chinese naval operations (including the elimination of key crew and personnel) as well as feed information back to his superiors on the movements of Chinese forces. He returned home when the war concluded in 1885, without having once come under suspicion by the Chinese. He was promoted to Capitaine within five minutes of stepping back onto French soil. Shortly afterwards, Cne. Saville was approached by the Deuxième Bureau, France’s burgeoning intelligence agency, and accepted an offer to join their ranks. There, Saville (under several aliases) travelled the globe in a multitude of clandestine missions of espionage, sabotage, and even assassination. He was assigned to infiltrate the Belgian Antarctic expedition aboard the RV Belgica, but his mission ended prematurely before he could depart by the landing of several strange vessels within the British mainland…

 

Fast forward five years, and now-Major Saville would be tasked with venturing to Boulogne-sur-Mer Forward Air Assault Centre (AABM). There, after dispatching one Capitaine Arnault Mongouse, and assuming both his identity and command, “Cne. Mongouse” was to report on the goings-on at the front, passing along any information about the Martians’ advanced technology to his superiors.

 

Equipment: A portable radio kit, provisions, field notebook, binoculars, lighter, cigarettes. Weapons include the Lebel 1886 in tanker/scout configuration, and the Modèle 1892 revolver.

 

Fighting Machine:  La Charlatane”


* * *

 

Designation: TMM-04 “La Charlatane”

 

Country of Origin: Fr*nce

 

Crew: 8 (1 main battery operator, 2 secondary gun operators, 1 forward machine gunner, 2 tertiary battery operators, 1 rear battery operator, 1 commander) 

 

Description: Nearly as broad as it is tall, the 11.5-meter Charlatane is a gargantuan armored cabin on a pair of thick legs, covered in guns. The Charlatane’s main body consists of a wide, squat box fitted with thick armor plate sloughed over every angle, punctuated by only a few narrow viewports near each gunner position. This box (the crew compartment) sits upon a smaller chassis half its size, to which the legs are mounted. The cabin has 90-degrees of rotational freedom, though the large main battery turret atop the cabin can rotate a full 360. The two fixed secondary guns protrude forward out of the cabin. Two sponsons extend from either side of the cabin, providing a full 180-degree angle of rotation for each - a third of these protrudes from the back. Each of these has an underslung machine gun. The commander’s seat is nestled in the middle of the cabin, surrounded by periscope viewports. Most of La Charlatane is painted a matte olive green, with some of the original iron frame remaining bare. Alphanumeric markings are stenciled in white, particularly on the cabin. The two most prominent markings are “TMM-04” on one side of the cabin, with “La Charlatane” on the other.

 

Weapons: 

Main - top barbette: Canon de 274 modèle 1887/1893 (274mm naval gun)

Secondary - fixed: Canon Hotchkiss à tir rapide de 47mm (47mm gun) x2

Tertiary - side and back turrets: Puteaux SA 18 (37mm breech-loading cannon) x3

Tertiary - side and back turrets: Mle 1900 Hotchkiss (8mm Lebel machine gun) x3

Forward machine gunner - between secondary guns: Mle 1900 Hotchkiss

 

Traits: 

The magneto-mechanical legs of the TMM-04 class of colossi are one of the sturdiest designs France has built. Powerful, massive and heavy, they can move the hulking mass of the gigantic TMM-04 at astonishingly fast speeds, though still slower by the standards of the colossi of other nations. The TMM-04 prioritizes protection and firepower, though a combination of thick iron plate partially salvaged from destroyed naval vessels, and guns stuck wherever the walker has room. Two hatches on the back of the crew cabin (flanking the rear gunner) provide access to the interior. These hatches can be reached by a series of ladders mounted on the legs and chassis of the TMM-04 when it is upright, but the walker can also “sit” through the use of a pair of pistons which can help lower and raise the cabin to and from the ground, as it crouches down upon its legs, providing easier access for mounting and dismounting.

 

The crew compartment is cramped and hot. There is barely any area to move around, with most open space within occupied by ammunition. Gunners rely on narrow slits in the armor to aim their weapons, and rely on their commander and his periscopes to spot and call out targets. With each gunner operating as their own loader, and the commander having to be constantly aware of his surroundings and providing targets to his crewmates, only the best of France’s mechanized combat engineers are allowed to operate the TMM-04. Each crew member is capable of making repairs should the walker be damaged, but in case of critical system failure, each carries a Lebel rifle and is expected to continue their mission on foot.

 

Edited by Perp
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IC:

Day broke as it always did, obscured by a fog that clung to the embankments of the river Meuse. The sun had yet to rise completely, or so it seemed through the blanketing haze that hung over the landscape. There was no brilliant disk of light shown down from the sky, simply an even glow that diffused through to the scenery around. Upon closer inspection a nearby observer might have noticed slight wisps of some black, opaque smoke that drifted through the fog on its own accord, driven by winds and currents unseen to any but it. Or perhaps they would have come to the realization that the grey tone which the dirt and foliage took on the banks of the river was not entirely the result of having been viewed through the haze around, but rather the fine, powdery dust which clung to nearly every available surface.

Suddenly a rapid succession of lights flashed from the western bank, breaking the eerie silence that had hung over the landscape, followed immediately by a thunderous crack and a faint whistling through the air.

And then all was silent once more.

Until a trio of explosions ripped into the landscape, one landing on the eastern bank and sending a huge gout of water and sand into the air. The other two sounded somewhere deeper into the mist, each more distant than the last. Scarcely had the debris from the massive impacts fly out of view did another barrage of artillery fire echo out across the grey landscape, melding with the cacophony of weapons fire which seemed to have taken the cue to begin. Not all originated from the western bank, however, as a pale green, ghostly shaft of light lanced out from within the mist on the opposite side, tracing a path like one would move the beam of a lantern across the landscape. Foliage burst into flames from its touch, and sand fused itself into glass. The water of the Meuse burst into a column of steam as the beam traced over its surface, and then it was lost in the fog.

* * *

2V0K1BvyXkME7hlDftq64tB_IPuNQuOHLRpxQJ2y49xeKquRiMqMBWFpoo6evIHzexwsNI3Q9m7CYX6JNidRsqnNqk3OJI8kq_BPNo-Rj-umHotW_ZjQhC32o8PC9rWbHWlMvFaO

Above the fog, suspended in the air nearly a thousand feet above hung the airship Thunderchild. The leviathan of steel and steam was, for the moment, motionless, though within the winding corridors and lightened frame in its interior it was anything but. At the heart of the massive airship, within its cavernous hanger space, engineers and officers rushed to and fro. They wore a multitude of uniforms and equipment, matched equally by the multitude of languages that echoed about the interior space of the airship. All were dwarfed by the massive fighting machines which they scurried about. Each was as unique as those that serviced them, bearing the flags of nearly every nation on the planet, though were still arranged in a pair of neat rows down the length of the hangar. The air was positively electric with activity.

One minute,” Came a voice, projected by voice tubes from a far off location somewhere else on the airship. The hangar space began to clear, as service people made last second checks on the colossi before moving.

Thirty seconds,” the voice sounded again, this time louder as the conversation which had filled the hangar not a bit earlier was pulled away with the crews.

Five.

Four.

Three.

Two.

On-

The last bit of the final count was drowned out by the great sound of mechanisms engaging, and one by one the section of hull beneath each of the individual fighting machines dropped away to release the metal behemoths into the sky below.

It was not a complete freefall, however, as nearly as quickly as they had dropped did pressurized seals break and gaseous envelopes not unlike those that held the Thunderchild aloft inflated, slowing their descent to a more manageable speed.

Guided by the crews within, one by one these armored warriors slipped beneath the fog…

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  • 2 weeks later...

IC:

"Tutto pronto, Marchesa?"

Her left gunner had just finished helping her strap in, and Arabella felt the resistance if she tried to move. She didn't push past it. That would have made the machine around her move, and inside Thunderchild's belly that would be... An issue. But the resistance proved that the intricate series of buckles and loops about her person were doing their job. A strap about her middle secured her in place and provided her anchor; down both legs and her left arm were a series of braces that locked her limbs into position relative to the cords and anchors attached near each of her major joints. Not very comfortable, and even on standby inside the hangar her enclosure was steadily getting hotter. A thick layer of ballistic glass gave her a view into the hangar beyond, the other machines being prepared, and she wondered if they were feeling the same things.

Maybe not to the same extent. While the machines were all unique, all arguably prototypes, she had questions about the very interface she controlled. Arabella had championed it herself. She believed it was perfect for her Damocles, and she knew she could control it. The trouble, and why she knew her Kingdom was planning to do away with it in future colossi, was how much work it was. Simply operating it was taxing, let alone the weeks of practice to learn to control it as fluidly as it was capable of. And she had never actually performed the drop they were about to undertake. The concept worked, of course, but that little niggling doubt remained. It was all technology that was so new. Had it all been tested properly? Would it work properly for her unique colossi, every one of them must wonder? So on, and so on, and so on.

"Si," The Marchesa answered simply, forcing confidence into the simple answer. It would work or it wouldn't. If it got her to the ground successfully she would handle the rest. "Al tuo post ora."

Her gunner nodded and gave the modified version of the bow she was due. To require such formalities all the time was impractical, to say the least of its ridiculousness. So the compromise had been struck to allow them their formality without interfering with their duties. The young man hurried to one of the two hatches behind her and she heard the door slam and ratchet shut. Whatever problems she might face, she knew, were mild compared to theirs. The descent for them would be fairly cold. And those reinforced doors were meant for her safety, not theirs. A risk, and all too likely sacrifice, that they accepted without reservation. She trusted them to do their jobs, and they her to be worthy of their efforts. Trust that had taken time and training to build.

And now it was time to put it to work.

She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, herself following the last few checks that she needed to perform. Her right arm was relatively unencumbered to enable her to access the emergency release she now felt for before returning her hand to hilt-shaped grip that served in place of a right wrist brace. At the one minute morning she softly, under her breath and in her native tongue, began to pray. At ten seconds she opened her eyes.

And at one the Damocles dropped.

Despite the way the system pulled at her limbs she kept the machine's own limbs straight, avoiding the possibility of interfering with another, larger falling colossus. Moments after the drop began the gaseous envelopes inflated, the sudden resistance driving the brace into her midsection. But relief washed over her at the mere fact that they worked. The rest, as she had thought, was up to her. Damocles struck earth like a mighty comet and as its legs bent so too did hers; giving ground, rather than keeping rigid, absorbed much of the impact though the force was still enough to make her feet ache. The cratered ground became visible as it smoothly rose in sync with her, the mighty avatar of her will stretching piston and valve to do as she bid. Her left arm rose bringing with it Damocles' machine gun, aimed at the fog ahead preemptively.

Lasciali venire. A flick of her right wrist triggered the pneumatically deployed sword to swing out and lock into place, ready and lethal. La mia lama ha sete.

fK5oqYf.jpg

 

On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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