On the Move
A bit of flash fiction, inspired by the image "Mech on the Move" by Alex Ichim
I was leading a pack of Metal Jacks, heading to LZ-4. We’d been retasked to help secure the area for reinforcements. Easy enough. Getting there was the problem. The whole damn city was hot, and there were at least fifteen blocks between us and the landing zone. It was like running a gauntlet, hostiles were all over the place—on the rooftops, in the alleys and windows, under cars, inside abandoned buses—just every-goddamn-where.
We hammered down the street, loping along at a steady pace—around 30 kph—ignoring the constant ping of rounds bouncing off our armor. Unless they were rocking 50cals, bullets weren’t a concern. RPGs were a different story, though. Everyone had their eyes peeled. It only took a second to make your last mistake, and we all had better things to do that day than die.
Topper was out in front, leading the way. She hooked a left at Foster Avenue, and then made a right onto Central. Hell…even rooks know better than to run a straight line. We had five blocks to go, when we came to an eight-lane intersection. Camden spotted three hostiles as soon as we came into the open. It was too late to turn back.
“Go, go, go!” I sent the others through, while slowing to make myself the better target. It was the right thing to do. I was running rear—no one to obstruct if my Jack went down.
I turned in stride, just in time to see a rocket whiz by. It missed my chassis by half a meter and struck something behind me, something close. I felt the impact from inside the cockpit. Smoke and dust flooded the street. Debris rained down, clanking against my armor. I sighted Camden’s hostiles huddled behind the tail of a car, fumbling with the launcher, trying to reload. They really should have thought ahead.
I zeroed in and let my cannons rip. Turns out, I’m a much better shot than they were.
“All right, we’re clear. Keep moving. Five more blocks. And Topper…? You better keep us out of those goddamn wide lanes, you hear me?" I shook my head and picked up the pace. Rooks…there was always something they needed to learn.