When light returned, I found that I had materialized in my Steambot alongside four other players in their own old-school Battlesuits. I noticed that there was a circular barrier around us and guessed this was a holding area before the start of the match. Although I had played LoW before, I had never entered into a PvP instance of the game. I was never interested in fighting it out using ancient machinery but I am guessing that the LoW matchmaking system was similar to other games. These other players beside me must have selected Battlesuit Arena. From the screen in front of me, this Arena was going to be a 5v5 contest. I was on the Blue team and my opponents were on the Red team. I recognized some of the suits my teammates were in, and they recognized mine.
“Is that a modified Steambot?”
I turned to the battlesuit that spoke. The voice that spoke was distinctly male but the suit the player was operating was arguably the most famous Battlesuit invented by a women in all of history; The Maid of Orléans. Despite it’s name, the suit had nothing to do with the saint. It was designed and built by an old maid named Joan Waterson in the Wild West and the name was really nothing but a marketing tool. Despite that, the Maid of Orléans had more than proved itself in battle. A clockwork exoskeleton suit that enhanced the operator’s speed and reaction time, it was famed as the quickest and most accurate Battlesuit of it’s era. Maid Joan, as she was commonly known, made the suit to be highly modifiable and even installed an aim-assist system that allow the operator to properly aim even while moving at high speed around the battlefield. Most Battlesuits and the few Mechs at that time were built to be tough and unbreakable, and they had a hard time tracking the Maid of Orléans as it zip around them. Only a hundred were ever made but that was enough as the Battlesuits helped the Federation gain several swift victories over the American Indian Tribes before their eventual defeat. The operator of the Orléans Battlesuit gave a cough and I realized that I had been staring at his suit for a long time.
“Sorry about that. Yes, I modified it myself.”
“You changed the direction of the exhaust. Why?”
The accusing tone of the question was unmistakable and I realized I do not have an answer to that question. I can’t say I have some unheard of system that reward me for making changes to a classic right? As I scramble to find an answer, the game saved me. The barrier around us went down and the battlefield appeared.
The map selected by the game was a town, more accurately it was a street and my team was on one end of it. Half destroyed buildings were on either side of us but it was the team on the other end of the street that got all our attention. This game’s PvP instance don’t wait around; it throws you into the mix immediately!
As if it was hearing my thoughts, a lady’s voice announced the start of the match and one of the enemy began dashing towards us.
“Fan out! Steambot, you’re in front.”
It was the player in the Maid of Orléans. In almost every game, there’re a few know-it-all who want to be the shot-caller and it seems I was teaming up with one. No matter. Being in front suits me just fine. I stood my ground and raised the Steambot’s left arm, taking aim at the fast approaching enemy Battlesuit. My impulse was to pull the trigger immediately but I knew that would be a mistake. I don’t recognized the enemy Battlesuit but it was moving fast due to several steam thruster on it’s back. More importantly for me, the Battlesuit didn’t look heavily armored. A direct hit from the X-S Cable Punch would be devastating and may even be enough to take it out.
I waited, and waited, and waited, and fired! The punch launched and the operator of the onrushing Battlesuit enemy was caught by surprise. He cut off his thrusters but he was moving too fast and couldn’t stop. The punch smashed into the Battlesuit and it flew up before crashing to the ground. For a moment only the sound of cable reeling back my fist could be heard. The rest of the players in the instance were surprised by my punch; I was surprised that the enemy Battlesuit was still active despite suffering such a big hit. No matter, I was going to finish it. I lean forward, pressed the pedal and my Steambot jumped into the air. I immediately realized a mistake.
“I never practiced the jump!”
The SH-3 Legs worked perfectly, launching my Steambot into the air to cover the ten meters, but it was out of control. I was flailing. Instead of landing, my Steambot bodyslammed into the prone enemy and a wave of dust rose upon impact.
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