Dystopia (GEAR)

Jun 14, 2018
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#1

Predator.

Prey.

On this day, in this place...the two were wholly interchangeable. So often did they seem to swap places that the opposing terms faded into a single, indistinguishable entity.

It was the rain. This damnable rain. A torrential downpour that churned the ground, already rutted deep and distended by the rigors of war, into nothing more than a soupy muck. A singular mobile suit slogged through the tempest, deep mud sucking at its armored feet as it trudged along. The depth of the mire varied wildly. Sometimes it rose near to ankle-deep even on the massive construct, while at other moments solidity was found to be hiding just beneath the opaque surface. The machine's pilot knew well what made the difference; those areas of stability, they were what remained of the pavemented thoroughfares that had one criss-crossed the area, gridlike. And the deep spots, drastically greater in number? The craters left by falling munitions. This had been a city once, a thriving metropolis. Now it was little more than a blasted hulk, a memory of civilization, what remained of its structures crumbling to dust and its roadways shattered by the bombardment. The ruins of lives long-ago fled from rose around him on every side, their devastation absolute.

It was here that he hunted - and was hunted. Predator and prey alike.

"Federation bastard." The intonation made both words out to be a curse. Narrowed eyes scanned what remained of the cityscape through the heavy haze of driving rain, rebounding water casting an obscuring aura around everything in sight as it fell from the heavens. A layer of dirt and grime and the scars of battle obscured many details of the stalking machine, but beneath the filth of combat and pockmarked armor it was unmistakable as an ace-model Gouf Custom, dressed all in mottled grays to hide it among the teetering remains of the city. A heavy six-barreled gatling hung from its shield, multibarreled 35mm vulcan and heated blade lurking beneath the armored slab. A Zaku-type machinegun was clutched in the right hand, scavenged from a long-ago-fallen ally, though he expected it to be quite useless. To make matters worse, while it had contained at least one round, what actually remained in the magazine was unknown.

And he knew - knew with absolute, total certainty - that he was not alone in this shellshocked hellscape. For far too long they had been playing cat-and-mouse, shifting seamlessly between hunter and hunted. A glimpse here, a movement there - were they real, or just paranoid imagination? Had he caught sight of his foe just now, or was his mind playing tricks on him? A customized Federation machine, no doubt tuned for an expert pilot in similar fashion to his Gouf, also stalked the field. He knew not its specifications, nor its armament, nor who rode within it.

He knew only that it was the enemy, and in war that was all that mattered.
 
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GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#2
Ka-thoom.

Overhead, the clouds rumbled... and broke. Forked lightning lashed downward, as if tearing the very skies in twain, to bury itself in the heart of an ancient oak, splitting it apart in a spray of burning cinders. The brief flash of light illuminated a form overhead, crouched among the ruined towers, its closed, spartan like head and blocky, rugged design a stark contrast to the curved, horned demon that lurked below. As the skies rumbled once again, the Mobile Suit turned its gaze skyward, a bright green visor anxiously awaiting the next burst of Heaven-sent fury.

Ka-shakk.

That's right, Spaceman. Thought the pilot, mildly, as the mobile suit carefully reached down to pick up a dark container from the concrete surface, sliding the boxy magazine into place underneath its weapon with a reassuring click - a stubby 100mm machinegun, blackened with age.

They don't have this in your world, do they?

The GM Blue Destiny Unit One slid along the back of the building, peering out below, as the Gouf sauntered its way carefully through the streets. Not for nothing had the two been stalking one another. Slowly, bit by bit, piece by piece, they had picked off one another's units, circling further and further away from the operational zones until they were too far out to be reached... and only the two of them remained. It was about more than just Odessa now, more than the invasion, than the fight for Earth, Space, Independence...

No. Now, it was personal.

What was strange, he thought, was how little of it he all remembered. Everything had started to blend together since he had met... her.

"Marion... Blue... Please..."

A murmured prayer in the dark, as the Blue Destiny rose to its feet.

"Speak to me. Show me the path forward."
 
Jun 14, 2018
81
0
6
#3
The Gouf's pilot, by and large, had managed to tune out the frequent crack-boom of thunder as the storm raged around them, the noise reduced to a dull roar in the distance by the intensity of his concentration. But when the lance of the heavens descended upon the unfortunate oak only a handful of colossal paces distant, it brought a shockwave and sound of such tremendous proportions that they rattled the machine around him. The Zaku machinegun it hefted tracked instinctually up toward the source of the blast, finger half-depressed on the trigger before his rattled thoughts caught up.

Just the lightning. Relax.

But the tension in his limbs refused to disperse, fingers grasping the controls with uncomfortable tightness. A sixth sense, that vague feeling of being watched, prodded at him - the enemy was near. His gaze scanned the piled rubble and ruined structures with even greater intensity than before if such a thing was possible, the suit's dull crimson mono-eye panning to and fro. There was nothing for a moment that seemed to stretch on for minutes, and then, visible in the corner of his eye, beyond doubt, was -

"FEDERATION COWARD!" Liquid flew in every direction from the casing of the gatling as its barrels spun to life, Gouf swinging the bulky weapon up to bear as if it weighted nothing. Even the cacophony of the driving rain was drowned out by the deafening brrrrrrrrt of the weapon unleashing its payload; chucks of shattered glass and rubble flew as a series of impacts traced their way up the Blue Destiny's mount, a line of fire aimed to scythe across what little he could see of the machine's silhouette.
 

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#4
All of a sudden, the roar of the thunder was joined by a different kind of howl: that of a fully automatic, armor-shredding, heavy duty Zeon-made Gatling Gun. Concrete was violently gouged from the surface of the building, chewn up and spit out by the assault as it tracked its way towards the Blue, which responded by ducking closer behind its barrier, even as the ground beneath it shuddered treacherously.

"Coward?"

The Federation pilot mulled the word over, irritably, as the Blue Destiny crept away from the onslaught, angling itself so that it hung off the side of the building, arm outstretched. A targeting recticle slid over the Gouf Custom... and then went higher, selecting an area above and behind it, centered on the weaker foundations of an adjoining building. His hands went out over the humming control panel, to hover briefly over a bright red switch.

"I prefer strategist."

With the flick of a thumb, the Blue's chest flared - and a pair of guided missiles rocketed forth, screeching through the air. At first glance, they would appear to be aimed directly for the Gouf, but not so - the wires cabled to their forms guided them overhead, to smash into the scenery behind the horned Mobile Suit. At first, there would be a gentle rumble... and then, a roar, as metal, rebar, and concrete began to cascade down, the building starting to collapse in on the streets - and the combatant - below.

Meanwhile, the Blue Destiny leapt off the building's roof just as it had begun to implode, sliding down the sloped, sunken concrete with its eyes fixed on the Gouf, and how it would react to the threat of living burial, machinegun trained on its form all the while...
 
Jun 14, 2018
81
0
6
#5
It seemed as though the Zeon pilot had little to offer in the form of retorts for his wittier counterpart, only scowling as the GM ducked back into cover. The steady stream of rounds chewing away at the structure continued for a moment longer before finally petering out as he let off the trigger. It hunkered down behind its own shield, angling the barrier toward the opponent's hiding spot in anticipation. The Zaku machinegun's barrel raised toward where he expected the Blue Destiny to emerge, muzzle swaying ever so slightly as it tracked across the immediate area. He doubted that the other pilot would be foolish enough to poke his head out of the same spot a second time.

He didn't have to wait long, with the Federation soldier popping out of cover not far from his expected spot. The lag period between seeing the GM and bringing his weapon to bear was enough for it to loose a duo of missiles, the projectiles at first angling in toward the Gouf. In a practiced motion the machinegun's aim shifted toward the rocket and the brilliant flare of their motors was opposed by the flash of tracers as a burst of fire lanced out; it clipped one of the munitions, causing it to tumble and burst blindingly in mid-air. The weapon had contained at least those few rounds, it seemed.

But the effort was in vain, for even as his muzzle tracked toward the second explosive it curved up and overhead out of reach, the Gouf's armored head and singular eye pivoting to follow it to where it detonated against the structure that stood behind him. The effect of the impact was almost immediately apparently as the structure began to slough down upon itself, eliciting a curse from the beleaguered pilot. The muddied waters around the machine's feet flashed into a great gout of steam as its thrusters roared to life, sucking it free of the muck that hadn't just been vaporized. It leapt from the danger zone, trajectory angled toward another, far smaller ruin in order to take cover behind what remained of the building.

A spray of gatling fire reached out for the GM, the shots ill-aimed mid-jump but hopefully adequate to force the Feddy back into hiding for those few moments of vulnerability.
 
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GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#6
Got you.

The Gouf was on the move, forced out and away from his preferred locale, keeping just barely ahead of the crumbling asphalt and shattering chunks of concrete as they slammed into the muddy waters all about it. Dust mixed with rain and the noise of thunder mixed with the creaking and bending of shattered, over-taxed supports - a cacophony of destruction. The Federation pilot had to admire his handiwork as he saw the Zabi bootlicker scrambling out of the way - not that those in Australia, he thought grimly, had been given the same chance when the Colonies fell.

He had been there, hadn't he? ...It was hard to recall now. Even the past few days, it seemed, were nothing but a haze of endless battle. All he had to do, he kept thinking, was get through the next fight, and things would become clearer...

But they never were.


If the Spacenoid was expecting the Blue Destiny to fall back, he would be disappointed. Instead, it charged, Gatling fire pinging off its frame and scoring deep gashes across its chest, shoulders, and shield - but not enough to slow it, not yet. The azure GM rocketed forward, bringing the machinegun to bear, stabilizing it with the shield as it depressed the trigger, unleashing an unending stream of gunfire at the Gouf in mid leap aimed directly at the machine's torso with the intent of chewing it to pieces with an entire magazine worth of ammunition.
 
Jun 14, 2018
81
0
6
#7
Was this bastard crazy?! Charging right into his fire like that...it was a case of either insane bravery, or tremendous stupidity. Coming from a Feddy, he'd be willing to wager the latter. The way the flurry of rounds deflected from the GM's carapace didn't bode well. These ground-pounding Jims were plated with something tougher than their cousins in space; he'd spent some time up there earlier in the war, and the same fire would have swiss cheesed anything the Federation could field. Regardless, that the enemy chose to advance rather than retreat was troublesome.

Shells likewise tore at the Gouf's armor as the GM unleashed hell upon it, impacts chewing away at its torso plating before the machine's shield was able to shift from offensive gatling-fire to defending against this new onslaught. Sparks flew from the barrier's face as rounds struck home, indicating the shrapnel that flew in all directions; a warning pulsed to life in the corner of his vision, indicating that shards of super-hardened steel and lead rebounding from the assault had damaged the gatling's motor. The weapon was impractical for use at the sort of ranges they were rapidly approaching, but an irritating waste of the ammunition still in the drum regardless.

The Zeonic machine bent at the knees as it descended back to sodden earth, a rough landing that saw it throwing up a great wall of mud and water and it skidded to a halt. Its right arm swung wide before arcing back inwards toward the encroaching GM, Zaku machinegun coming free from the Gouf's grasp and hurtling straight toward the enemy as a makeshift projectile. The limb's travel continued up to grasp at the haft of its heat saber; drawing it from behind the shield, it swung the blade down in a wide crescent arc even as it brightened to glow orange-hot. The weapon's tip passed through the muck at the machine's feet as it went 'round, and its superheated surface vaporized it into a great billowing cloud of steam that obscured the Gouf's form behind a white wall.

Come at me, you son of a bitch.
 

GEAR

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#8
The machinegun clattered into the mud behind the Blue Destiny as it charged, its ammunition spent, sinking into the muck below. The azure Federation Mobile suit closed the gap at incredible speed - something none would ever have advised against a machine known to be as talented and dreaded in the field of melee combat as the Gouf Custom.

Yet, it came on regardless, its pilot guided by more than mere instinct. No, he was guided by her voice, whispering into his ear... the angel of the battlefield who would guide him to flawless victory once again. Soon, he could feel it - soon, she would speak again, and everything would fall into a red haze once more, one from which only the victor would awaken. He was awakened from his musings suddenly as an alert blazed, the Blue raising its shield instinctively as the Zaku Machinegun bounced off its surface - but the confusion had managed to slow his charge long enough the Gouf's pilot to execute their strategy.

As a sudden wave of white vapor burst from the ground in front of him, the pilot scowled as the Blue's legs smashed into the wet concrete below, pulverizing it apart as its charge came to an end. The free hand now reached down to the unit's waist armor, producing from it a long tube - which then ignited into a burst of glowing fury, the beam saber now alight, casting its features in a fierce red glow.

He couldn't see the target - not entirely, but he'd come too far to back off now. The Blue's head mounted Vulcans blazed, raking across the gaseous mass in search of a reaction - and, once it found it, the Blue would swing violently inwards with its saber, shield held close to its body, looking to carve the Gouf neatly in two at the waist.
 
Jun 14, 2018
81
0
6
#9
Perfect.

Just as the Gouf's pilot had hoped, the billowing cloud of steam was enough to lure his Federation counterpart into melee combat. All told, the machines were decently matched; while the Gouf's close combat prowess was already the stuff of legends among mobile suits, the GM had the advantage of the potent beam saber. But, he thought, that same weapon was - with luck - about to be the enemy's downfall. For while the Zeonic machine was effectively hidden by the cloud, the brilliant glow of the plasma sword shone dully through the mist and revealed his foe's movements.

The spray of vulcanfire pinged from the Gouf's carapace without effect, but its pilot was wise enough to know that the impacts also revealed his location. The suit made to backpedal rapidly as the ghostly specter of the beam saber lunged forward in in response; the weapon's visibility ruined the Feddy's element of surprise, affording it enough time to clear the arm of the swing. Its right arm cocked up toward the GM as it retreated, but no counterattack from the heat saber was forthcoming. Instead the tethered projectile mounted within the forearm rocketed out at where the other unit's center mass should lay, loaded with system-frying electrical potential. He couldn't see the Jim beyond a vague outline in the haze even at this range, but that was all that was necessary.
 

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#10
The beam saber lashed out at its target - and hit only air, the Gouf already on the move. Blue Destiny's pilot tracked it as best as he could, the fog every bit as much an asset to him as it was to the enemy. What did he know about the blue, horned ones? They were optimized for close combat, and this one in particular... Was an ace model. That would mean next came-

Smoke parted as the Heat Rod surged forward, a metallic viper of certain death. You didn't need to be in the Federal forces to hear stories about the kind of damage those could do, and the idea of being cooked alive in his cockpit was far from appetizing. The Blue's leg verniers - a significant, yet often overlooked update over the Ground Type it was modeled after - activated, trying to throw him out of harm's way-

Gnzrgggkt!

Too close.

With a falsetto shriek of discharging electricity, the heat rod glanced off the unit's shield... but that was all it needed. Bolts of lightning mirroring those above lashed across the surface of the Blue, cameras shattering as the left side of its vision suddenly went dark... and deep within the Mobile Suit's head, an important, yet notoriously unreliable safety mechanism went click.

The Blue stumbled, unable to press its attack further as electricity ravaged its systems, the pilot grappling with the controls as he spat a curse. Was this it? He thought: Was he going to die here, forgotten and alone, at the hands of some Godless Zeek?

...No, not alone.

Without warning, the remaining sections of the three-panel monitor took on a familiar, crimson hue, as a tinny voice echoed unbidden into his ear. There was that same sensation again - the prickling on the back of the neck, the taste of blood in the back of one's mouth... and everything began to blend together, warped by a distant scream that he now only barely recognized as his own voice.

"No! No, no, NO! Listen to me! LISTEN TO ME!"

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