OOC: Derp, forgot to post this last night.
Here we go!
Careful use of one or two grenades and alternating between long-range and close-range use of his railgun allowed the Jupiter to easily dispatch most enemies he targeted in less than two shots, at most. Davis was beginning to settle down, no longer irate at the shoddy intel or peculiar mission he was given, and frankly beginning to enjoy this assignment as he verified he had been able to re-do almost all of the customizations that damnable mechanic had carelessly erased from his property. From his Jupiter.
He could tell he was having an effect, as well. Most speedsters stopped attempting to engage him altogether, completely failing to damage the proud armor and being taken out in a second. The Jupiter was now more frequently under target by long range explosive ordinance, but either a precise shot blew it up before impact, he quick-dashed away from the immediate blast radius, or he absorbed most of the blow rather comfortably.
He had to hand it to Claire. She was commanding this bunch of random soldiers she’d never even met before with complete precision, and she appeared to be keeping a constant supervision on the whole battlefield despite being heavily involved in high-speed combat herself. Her mental agility was certainly impressive. Davis, accustomed to long-winded data packages in programming, knew how difficult it was to account for and remember something in a static environment. To do the same in this kind of dynamic environment was nothing short of extraordinary.
Mariette, though one would never have guessed from her calm and mellow composure, was anything but that. Her eyes jumped from window to window on her screen and she kept close track of all radio-chat and all positions. She’d taken close supervision of Ezekiel and Kotomi, personally pinging the best sniping positions she wished them to take, directing their scopes from target to target. She primarily focused on taking out priority targets with Ezekiel and providing cover-fire with Orphan’s systems, though sometimes she did have to advice for them to fall back before a dangerous Normal got too close.
She, too, was impressed with Claire’s leadership. Even surrounded by screens and endless data-feeds, she was barely more in the loop than Claire was.
Davis’ radar detected two enemy IFF signals just around the corner. From their positioning, they seemed to be preparing a scissor strike on Jupiter, most likely while relying on some sort of primitive stealth jammer to hope to catch the big guy off his guard. Bad move. Davis read the building that separated them for any thermal readings and, after safely verifying it as empty, shot three holes slightly too much to the left of one of the cores, piercing the walls of the house. The enemy core jumped to the right, right next to his partner. Perfect. The Jupiter shot a grenade right over the building, landing right between the two Normals – now right next to each other and both in the epicenter of the blast radius – and blowing them up with one shot.
The street seemed to erupt. Consecutive explosions from unknown sources came down all around Davis and, apparently, all of Team 3. The Jupiter itself was lifted off the air and thrown onto its back when three or four artillery missiles landed right next to it. The heavy impact of his machine crashing forcefully on the ground after being thrown back from the sheer impact of explosions was something completely alien to the heavy AC’s pilot. He was completely out of his comfort zone and disoriented.
It was Mariette’s distant voice as she tried to communicate and re-assemble Team 3 into a collective force that, eventually, allowed him to regain his composure. Davis clumsily pushed the Jupiter off his back as his operator briefed the team on just what had happened and prepared them for a change of plans. Apparently, not only were they badly damaged, the complete destruction of their deployment zone and the smoke and debris in the air very well disabled their team.
Blue Africa 1 – Collared 0
“If we weren’t under the very real threat of imminent death by ‘splosions, I’d be wounded. I’m kinda packing enough to blow this sh-… it all up. I just need a target, these missiles don’t come cheap.”"Does anyone have ordinance that can take those out?" Cynthia asked
“Copy that, moving in at top speed.”"This is Scarlet broadcasting to everyone," she said. "Titan and Orphan: switch teams. Then Teams 1 and 2, follow me. I'm gonna need some cover." She flared her engine and shot forward in bursts of quick-boosts. "Team 3, move into range for Titan's heavy missiles. Archer: cover him. Titan, stand by for further instructions."
Feeling glad that the close explosions didn’t seem to damage the Titan’s propulsion systems, Davis regrouped and advanced, waiting for the signal to let it rip. As soon as he was in sufficient range, the team broke off, with Titan seeking cover and the remainders looking for the best sniper-positions available. Soon, the order came.
But it was one he did not at all expect.
“Are you OUT OF YOUR GOD DAMN MIND? If you’re caught in the blast you’re dead! Dead! I’ve seen your performance, Claire, and while it has been nothing short of extraordinary it’s also been depleting your Valkyria’s power. Let me go in close and fire the missiles at the bloody thing.”"Then have him lock on to me," Claire said. “Tarot, Seer, transmit my coordinates to Titan and have him fire all ordinance at me," she ordered. "Titan, I want every one of those bunker-busters aimed right at my forehead."
“I wouldn’t recommend that, Titan,” cued in Seer. “You are not fast enough and you stick out like a sore thumb. That building is a complete fortress and you do not possess the evasive and infiltrating skill of Scarlet. If she volunteers for this… I advise we go forward with it.”
Davis wasn’t one for unnecessary risks or showy heroics, especially when the plan was clearly flawed and when he was sure he could come up with better alternatives. However, when two more missile blasts nearly tore his left leg to pieces, causing him to abandon cover and seek another hiding spot, he felt the pressure of time and had no choice but to comply.
“Adjusting targeting parameters… Done. Now someone remind me to realign this after I’ve fired my missiles or I’ll be shooting at Scarlet even after we bring that damn thing down.”
He confirmed the parameters, closed his eyes and pulled the trigger. He felt the missiles being ejected from his back and knew how they were tracking that rash, impressive woman. For a moment, he stopped giving an absolute damn about the enemies around him and waited for that brute sound of his missiles exploding. When it came, he opened his eyes and looked at the collapsing building. Then at his map. Then at the building again and he cringed when he realized Claire hadn’t yet emerged. His fists tightened around the controls and his heartbeat quickened. Mariette noticed the warning signs of anxiety the core’s Life-Support had picked up and felt a bit of sympathy for Davis. She could comprehend how the death of a comrade through his hands, even in a situation such as this and to a trained killer, would be hard to cope with. Perhaps this was why she failed to track the overkill of ammunition fired before the building’s collapse. Perhaps it was due to the tense situation itself.
The fact of the matter was the relief of seeing Scarlet emerge from the fire and dust seemingly fine was short lived. One woman fooled death, but an entire ship’s worth of crew became the grim reaper’s next target as all the ordinance Blue Africa could muster attempted to tore the USS Tungsten to shreds and ended all communication between pilots and operators.
“They got the Tungsten?!” shouted Davis, still quite shaken from what he just went through. He crunched his teeth with too much force and began reviewing all the info he needed to pilot alone.
“We need to regroup and gather our thoughts while we still have some time. This isn’t over yet. I advise us long range types take a semi-Operator role, since we can afford longer reaction times and have better frame of vision either way.”
“Everyone listen to Beatrice, the big one is all mine!”"Got something!" Cynthia said. "Two! Moving fast!"
“Irregulars?" Claire gasped. "Are they retreating?" Or were they headed for the Tungsten, too? More blips appeared on her radar, moving more slowly this time, in a set formation. "We've got more...Six signatures!"
Davis checked his status. Indeed, the artillery had taken quite an impressive chunk of his armor away, but the Jupiter was anything but vulnerable right now. It was still more than combat operable, even against a superheavyweight. Those walking juggernauts were certainly impressive, but they were sluggish and served for nothing more but to dump away big cannon-fire and explosions. Impressive and dangerous, really. But that also meant they carried large amounts of ammo. All Jupiter had to do was wail it with some missiles, pick apart key points of armor, then grenade blasts his ammo-cache away and blow him from the inside.
‘Been there, done that,’ he thought.
“Deploying second missile salvo! Don’t let them spread out just yet, try to get the others in the blast as well!”