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Drawcord pulled to length, his hood hug his face. It was uncomfortable stifling his head but it beat breathing in the Taint. Shou only wished he had the time to put on his riding mask instead of relying on his hood screen. It was thinner and flecks of dirt could still penetrate the aeronium and hit his face. His eyes squinted slightly to make hitting it harder.

The dust constantly rose behind his elecycle as they sped across the landscape. Closing in behind them, armoured trucks had their engines roaring in the wind. Bullet spray ricochets off the dirt around them as Shou dodged and weaved as best as he could to make them harder to hit without losing speed.

Adelle climbed onto the bike, standing with one leg on the seat while another rested on his shoulder for balance. He did not particularly mind being used as a stepping stone, especially not when they were being shot at. The elf had superhuman balance, and despite the instability of the bike, she stood with a gyrating stance and shifting knees to match his riding.

She pulled out an arrow and notched into her bow. As a bullet whizzed by and cuts her cheek, she lets the projectile fly which turned against the wind. It angled in Shou's side mirror's reflection and punctured the wheel of the truck directly behind them. The vehicle skidded and spiralled in the dirt before coming to a stop. It's gunner turned to fire a last burst of desperate shots, though by then they were far out of its accuracy.

Another truck rushed in from their left with its turret readjusting to line them in its sight.

Over their comm-set, Adelle yelled, "Be right back!"

A sudden lifting of weight from his shoulder signalled her teleporting away. He watched from the peripheral of his vision as she reappeared on the attack truck next to the turret hatch. The soldier atop it tried to pull out a gun but she kicked it away. She then grabbed him by his collar and teleported him. Behind them, the man popped out in mid-air with his momentum flying upwards. He rose about ten meters off the ground before wailing his feet as he came crashing back. He was left rolling in pain in the dirt.

From the truck, a loud crash brought Shou's attention and he only saw the rear half of the vehicle bifurcated, dragging along behind as the front half braked desperately to a stall. Adelle teleported back onto the elecycle and Shou wobbled for a moment before regaining traction.

He was insurmountably glad she was on his side.

Another truck raced up next to him and the passenger side window opened up. He pulled out his taser and aimed. The modified bullet blasted out of the chamber, through the opened window, and struck the driver in the neck and the truck quickly skidded to a halt.

"Not bad," Adelle said.

"Says the girl who just wrecked a platoon by herself."

"Don't bring a truck to a bow fight."

They were not out of the dunes yet. Far behind them in vehicles just slightly slower were Corlyle's main guard forces that had chased them all the way from Eran. They were near their hideaway but Shou hesitated to bring armed enemies so close to Miu and their home. Eventually, though, the elecyle would run out of battery and stall; Or a well-aimed bullet might take them out. A fight might be unavoidable. If that was the case, perhaps they should start with the big guns.

He double tapped the built-in radio in his hood. "This is Shou, calling Homestead. Homestead, come in!" Quiet crackled over for a few seconds so he repeated. "Homestead. Come in-!"

"This is Homestead," Miu's concerned voice zapped over. "What's wrong?"

"Bringing in heat. Get Reggie out with a pulse repulsor."

Without any hesitation in her voice, Miu replied, "Affirmative. I'll get it to meet you halfway."

To Adelle, Shou said, "You'll have to take over the elecycle. Just turn the throttle to speed up."

"What? Are you mad? I don't know how to ride this thing!"

"It's easy," he waved her concerns away. "It's like riding a bicycle!"

"I don't know how to ride a bicycle!" she exclaimed.

"Best way to learn is under extreme duress and threat of death!" he laughed excitedly.

They travelled for a couple of kilometres, putting more distance between them and their pursuers. But the dust cloud the elecylce kept kicking up meant tracking them was basically child's play.

Eventually, Reggie appeared on the horizon over a dune long before the warehouse came into view. The size of the Titan, doubling the building's height, lumbered towards them slowly. Without Shou's bio-cell and neural network, the mech could not regulate and cycle its energy, at least not while its own bio-cell was damaged. Thus, it's movements were slowed by the A.I to prevent overheating.

"Alright!" Shou said to Adelle. "I need you to teleport me behind Reggie. Are you ready?"

"No!" she replied.

"Good," he ignored her. "Let's go!"

She set a hand on his shoulder.

Suddenly, he was behind Reggie with the momentum from the cycle shooting him upwards until he was just slightly above its shoulder. The Titan shifted its helmet around as its sensors re-tracked him. In the distance, the elecycle swerved and wobbled violently, slowing down greatly before balancing and gaining speed again. He knew the elf was a fast learner.

Falling behind the mech, Shou managed to catch hold of a corner of its armour before slamming into its back. Letting out a painful groan, he noted that his body would be sore tomorrow as Reggie opened up the pilot compartment and he climbed in.

As the aeronium pod closed, Shou settled into the co-pilot seat again, putting his arms and legs into the protruding pneumatic controls with the monitoring helmet lowered onto him. The heads-up display flickered on with Reggie's cameras and sensors. When the magnetic cable clasped onto his quantum processor, all the information the mech processed registered quickly in his mind.

Hello, Shou.

"Good seeing you, buddy. Let's quickly get down to business, shall we?"

The radar pinged out a scan of the area. Four trucks - one with a heavy pulse rifle - were detected in the distance. No longer moving fast on the elecycle, the enemies quickly closed in. Behind them, Adelle was rushing off towards the hideout.

They brought up their right arm. Attached to where the hand should be was a large dish-shaped cannon of a gun with brackets and support beams scrounged from scrap metal.

Note to friend, Shou. Salvaged repulsor will likely break after a single fully charged use.

"Well, we'll just have to make our shots count. Prepare to charge to half. Wide-wall."

Maximum charge time estimated to be-

"43 seconds," Shou finished its sentence for him.

They were connected after all, and everything Reggie processed came to him just a few seconds later. It was still an odd experience like an echo in the back of his mind telling him things he didn't know before but immediately understood without explanation afterwards.

The processor conveyed the distance of their enemies to him. They held up the pulse repulsor and Shou initiated the charging early.

Enemies are not in range yet.

"This is what we call instinct," Shou replied.

Three of the trucks broke off from the one with the pulse rifle, accelerating as a vanguard towards them. The moment the vehicles' frames appeared over the dune, they began firing at Reggie. Bullets whizzed by them, a few scrapping and sparking off its metal frame. One hissed as it tore a pneumatic component off the left finger. Shou and Reggie set their repulsor to a high frequency and fired a stream of the pulsating sonic wave. The air before them vibrated and miraged, curving as the pulse wave reverberated through it towards the truck in a wide, wall-shaped wave.

One of the oncoming vehicles tried to swerve away but the large area of the pulse hit the group square. The windscreens of all three trucks shattered and their turrets began smoking as internal components broke apart and overheated. In the truck, the mortals would be hit by the vibrations. Some might suffer mild concussions. Others might pass out. But the gun was non-lethal, and they would eventually be thankful for it, albeit with a noticeable headache and some mild memory loss. Shou should know. While he was a soldier, he had been accidentally hit by friendly fire from a pulse repulsor before. Much better than a bullet.

His lost leg ached.

Pulse rifle truck approaching.

"Miu," he radioed. "What's the frequency of standard pulse rifle turrets?"

She immediately replied, "Eighty hertz."

"Alright," he returned his attention to the fight. "Let's calibrate to cancel that frequency. Conical."

Calibrating. Warning. Extensive charging will create feedback that damages friend Shou's bio-cell.

"We're taking the risk!"

I do not understand.

"I'll teach you what it means to live life on the edge!"

Red lights flashed through the cockpit as the charging began to strain the energy converters. The edges of his stump leg tingled with warmth as the bio-cell within heated up, running the focused charge for the repulsor through it.

Overheating in three. Two. One.

The truck burst over the dunes. The rifle turret turned its sights to them. They released the charge, and the repulsor fired a conical burst towards the vehicle. The rifle turret fired, distorting the air around it the same way they did. Meeting in the middle of them, the adjusted frequency of the repulsor cancelled out the rifle's pulse and pushed a second wave towards the vehicle.

Tyres burst and the truck skidded before flipping into the air from the momentum. It rolled once before landing on its side with a crash loud enough to be heard like thunder even at that distance. As the dust settled a soldier crawled out of the shattered windows, winded, but alive.

Shou pulled his prosthetic leg out of the protruding controls and released the aeronium bay door. He stuck his leg out into the open and ripped off the pants leg, revealing his cybernetics. At the shin, the plate that covered the bio-cell chamber was starting to heat red hot. He reached through his pants pocket's hole and pulled at a handle. The plate ejected open and threw out the blue crystal shaped energy source. The cell fell out of Reggie's back and landed in the sand just as it burst alight with green flame. No longer powered, the clunky leg prosthetic clanked against the pod and Shou had to drag it back in before closing off and depressurising the deck again.

With a sigh, Shou relieved, "Alright buddy, let's head back home."

Reggie agreed, turning its body back towards the direction of their hideout, though moving noticeably slower now that Shou's bio-cell was no longer providing added power. Shou was ready to take a break when his radio crackled.

"Shou Kenta!" Miu shouted through. "Why did I just get a ping that your bio-cell overheated and got ejected?"

"Um..." he worriedly replied. "Because I overheated and ejected it?"

"For geared sakes! How many time have I told you not to do that!"

"It's fine, right? It was an emergency and we have spare bio-cells."

"But we don't have spare legs!" Miu screamed. "If you damaged it, there's no replacement for your old ass model. And if your leg doesn't work, we've got nothing to fit into Reggie's set-up. Do you know how much a new cell converter cost?"

"Uh..." he knew, but he felt arguing with her would bring in more trouble.

Miu continued, "And did you not teach Adelle to brake? Because she just crashed the elecycle into the garage."

Shou seethed through his teeth. "I knew I forgot something."

"Damn it, Shou!"

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A note from aden_ng

Author's Note: Hi everyone. Thank you for reading Tearha: Titan War, which will continue to release a new chapter every week on Friday until its completion. If you like what you've read so far, and would like to support my writing, you can buy one of my books at my website. Or you could check out my Patreon to help out for the long run. Of course, just sharing, commenting, and reviewing helps a bunch as well!

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About the author

aden_ng

Bio: Author of 'The Chronicles of Tearha' web serial novels. Weird guy.

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