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Never forget, they aren't gone.

They're just basically in a jar. Behind glass.

Where the malevolent universe has labeled: Break glass in case of smartass. - Mantid archeologist Footsteps in the Stone

Heaven's on Fire. - Unknown, Pre-Glassing Terra

Ret.lek reloaded his rotary autocannon, bending his arm at the elbow and making cocking motion. The massive autocannon clacked like the doors of Hell slamming shut as it reloaded the heavy magazine.

"FOX-ONE! AWAY FIFTEEN!" Ret.lek yelled out, stomping the bar at his feet to fire the heavy fifteen launch tube long range missile launcher on the right shoulder of his Davion Class Storm Reaver. The missiles were what the mekhounds called 'blunts', which mean no warboi, no VI, no seeker, just a fuze and a shitload of warhead with solid prop acceleration and, as a special treat, a grooved missile jacket to let everyone around the missile impact eat a face full of shrapnel.

In the other hand of the massive assault class warmek Ret.lek held a massive hyperalloy I-beam he'd ripped from the wreckage of a fallen skyraker.

The missiles howled out, straight line drives down center-field, slamming into the face of a massive Dwellerspawn. Bioarmor shards exploded from its face, its teeth shattered, its eyes exploded, but it still charged out of the cloud and debris, running over the smaller Dwellerspawn, most of which had been raked by the shrapnel.

"Get some! Get some!" Ret.lek yelled out, leveling the rotary autocannon that took up most of the space of his right forearm. The cannon roared, the ammo counter falling rapidly, as he hosed the mag into the creature's exposed tissues. The heavy 203mm rounds hit and slammed deep into tissue, the endosteel jacket shredding along the grooved lines to peel away and cause massive damage, the hyperstatic shock gel interior expanding as it rebounded the kinetic force.

Then the unstable proto-matter core went off with a wet snap that Ret.lek could feel on his little toes.

The Dwellerspawn stopped dead.

Literally.

The bright flash of a Bowie-Spike erupted less than two miles away, the warhead detonating on the side of a six hundred story skyraker covered in moss, vines, barnacles, and massive pods and flowers. The skyraker disintegrated like a leaf pile hit by a tornado, everything but the hyperalloy superstructure shattered by the 250kt blast.

Ret.lek noticed the bright flash but little else as his proximity radar started singing that there was something coming down from up high. He looked up and saw a large shape diving through the smoke and dust, the tail coming back in an arch that Ret.lek knew would give the phasically strengthened lance the power to penetrate warsteel.

Ret.lek didn't bother with anything fancy as a huge stingwing dove at him, he just grabbed the I-beam with both hands of his mek, braced his feet, and swung the massive girder.

"HOOOOOOOOOOME RUN!" Ret.lek yelled out as the stingwing's soft body, built for flight and quick slashing attacks, exploded in purple slurry and rags of chitin sailed away.

In the engineer spaces of the mek the strands of the latest album from the oldest Terran band in existence roared out as the engineer mantids ran a bypass patch to get the six pack launchers hooked back into the sensor systems.

Rippling MRLS rockets came in fast, nearly a thousand, only two miles to the west, all clustered together and burning hard on chemical propellant. The missiles had no network connection, just slavering half-baked warbois shrieking and pounding their code streaked faces against the optics. They all went off in one coordinated explosion.

Several skyrakers, kilometers in height, began to crumble.

From out of the dust and smoke rushed a stream of smaller Dwellerspawn, these the size of train cars and ground cars, all of them raising up their thoraxes and scrabbling their tiny bladearms at the massive warmek that appeared out of the smoke.

Ret.lek laid around him with the girder, smashing Dwellerspawn, stomping with his feet, keeping an eye on his heat levels.

It was bright red, the beeping filled the cockpit, he was drenched in sweat.

Hell, he'd even done the emergency coolant release and pissed down his own legs to take advantage of the evaporation cooling.

He was panting with the heat, but smiling as wide as he had ever smiled.

"Sigma-Four, how's the heat?" Lance Commander Norgulk asked as Ret.lek stomped a Dwellerspawn the size of a bus into flattened chitin, ichor, and goo.

"Hotter than a Rigellian duck with a spread tail," Ret.lek said.

An Atrekna Autonomous War Machine popped out of the smoke and debris, firing heavy particle beams, most of their power sucked up by the dust, debris, pollen, microprisms, and water vapor. It still thundred like lightning as the air superheated along the path and insta-cooled, collapsing back into the partial vacuum.

Ret.lek hot his arm up in time to block the one that would have hit the cockpit.

Ret.lek grabbed up a ground car, crushed it in his fist, and slung it at the AAWM. It hit the front, not caring about the puff of pollen and spores that would wreak havoc on any seeker, bouncing off.

The AAWM had bigger problems as Ret.lek's big assault mek broke into a run, kicking vehicles at the AAWM as he ran forward, holding his left forearm in front of his face even as he bent his right arm at the elbow and made a pumping motion.

The autocannon reloaded again.

None of the hits from the AAWM did much more than scar the warsteel and Ret.lek was on the machine, grabbing the girder with both hands and slamming it into the huge 'eye' on the right side, shattering crysteel, bursting through electronics, puncturing the light armor.

He fired the autocannon straight into its face as he stepped back.

His heat ticked down slightly as he stepped to the side, avoiding the slashing missile attack.

Before the AAWM could react, Ret.lek reached out, grabbed the reloading mechanism for the AAWM's missile launcher, and ripped it out.

"NOW WHAT?" Ret.lek yelled out.

The AAWM popped open the cover for another missile launcher.

Ret.lek grabbed the edge and slammed it shut then jammed it with the girder.

Something exploded inside the AAWM and it stopped moving.

"I believe you have my property," Ret.lek grabbed the girder, shaking the molten metal off the end.

"Sigma-Four, how's that recon look?" Lance Commander Norgulk asked.

"Enemy present in strength, pushing through the rendezvous Tango," Ret.lek said.

"They're dropping our infantry support. Flash a beacon if you want some toe-jam running around," Lance Commander Norgulk said.

"I'm good," Ret.lek said, stepping forward at the same time as he swung the girder.

The fireback exploded in a shower of bio-napalm and blood that spattered all over his mek.

It made the scratched and scuffed painting of the Detainee on the chest of his warmek look like she was covered in burning blood from arterial spray, her voluminous breasts slashed with burning crimson blood. The naked images of the Detainee on his arms, which now danced and gyrated thanks to the LED paint his greenies had scavenged up, were covered with burning blood but kept one dancing.

Ret.lek didn't care or know, he was swinging the burning girder again, taking a half-step forward and swinging from the hips.

The flying Dwellerspawn popped like a bag full of ichor, chitin raining down as Ret.lek stepped forward, kicking a 'knife-hands' Dwellerspawn so hard it hit the sixteenth story wall of the broken skyraker.

The heat in his Storm Reaver dropped to 74%, hitting amber, and Ret.lek gave a whoop as he loaded his missile up from the storage bay and into the launchers, now that he didn't have to worry about the heat cooking off the warheads, fuzes, or fuel.

Three Bowie-Spike round went off in quick succession, one airburst and two at street level.

Ret.lek didn't notice much more than the flash, even the rumbling earthshock going unnoticed as he kicked a AAWM the size of a train engine and it flew through the air to slam through the side of a forty-story building, leaving behind a hole in it as it sailed out the other side.

He reloaded his rotary autocannon with a pump of his arm and smiled as he saw purple pips of phasic energy sources pop up.

"Sigma Leader, this is Sigma-Four, recon is going well," he said through the crackles, pops, and hisses of the FM band radio net. "Have spotted Atrekna leadership caste. I believe they have not spotted me."

Ret.lek broke into a run, his footsteps crashing against the cracked and broken ferrocrete of the shattered city's roads. He lowered a shoulder and crashed into the wall of a stadium.

"Roger, Sigma-Four, continue recon," Lance Commander Norgulk ordered as Ret.lek smashed his way through the structure of the stadium interior. "Good job staying in stealth."

"FOX FUCK YOU! SIX OUT!" Ret.lek yelled out as he reached a gap and could see the wall between his mech and the inside of the stadium.

The wall exploded in ferrocrete and smoke, revealing the large sets of playing fields beyond. Ret.lek burst out of the smoke, his hands over his head, gripping the girder.

In front of him eight Atrekna were waving their hands around, standing inside of glimmering gold fairy-dust bubble. Ret.lek could see the phasic energy around them, around their hands, and on the ground in front of them. The faint shimmering form of Dwellerspawn being gated in as visible as the phasic levels peaked and Ret.lek felt his active psychic shielding actually have to come on as the level of phasic power leaked through the massive passive systems of the Storm Breaker mech.

Ret.lek lifted his mek up on its tiptoes and moved forward with short little steps, his hands up by his chest.

The Atrekna were waving their hands around more urgently as Ret.lek stopped right behind them and crouched down slightly.

The Dwellerspawn in the three kilometer by eight kilometer arena field were getting less translucent and more solid looking.

Ret.lek turned his head so he was looking at the Atrekna from the side.

They kept waving their hands, all three eyes open, their mauve skin covered in purple perspiration.

"WHACHA DOIN?" Ret.lek bellowed out over the external speakers.

All of the Atrekna jumped, their feeding tentacles going straight out from their mouths. They turned and looked at the massive Terran skull faced head of the huge warmek.

The carefully constructed phasic construct, a temporal replication system, collapsed in a shower of purple sparks and a fountain of ichor and liquefied chitin.

The Atrekna screamed again as Ret.lek stood up, grabbed the girder with both hands, and swung it as hard as possible.

The golden sphere flashed, the girder gave a loud BONG, and the globe flew across the slurry covered field, sliding in the goo to come to a stop in the middle of the field.

The Atrekna were all in a heap at the bottom of the globe.

Ret.lek wasted no time, chasing the glowing ball.

"FIELD GOAL!" Ret.lek bellowed out over the external speakers.

The Atrekna had enough time for two of them to grab a hold of each other, screaming.

Ret.lek cranked the graviton systems as he kicked the golden ball that barely came up past the top of his foot.

It sailed across the field, leaving behind a glowing golden stream of energy, even as the Atrekna inside hit the inside of the globe hard enough that they splattered. The ball sailed out, went in between two large posts that had banners hanging from them, then winked out of existence.

The shattered pieces of the Atrekna sprayed across the empty seats.

"Sigma Leader, this is Sigma-Four, the Atrekna are still unaware of my presence," Ret.lek said. "Continuing with stealth recon."

He ran across the field, crashing through the side of the stadium, and out into the huge parking lot.

"Good job, Sigma-Four," Lance Commander Norgulk said.

In the field beyond was a massive horde of Dwellerspawn.

"FOX FUCK YOU! ALL IN!" Ret.lek yelled out, laughing, as he fired off all of his missile racks in a single 'alpha strike' even as he kept running forward, the girder in one hand.

It was good to be a warmek jockey.

-----

The day was hot, humid, with ash and dust raining down from the burning clouds in the sky.

Ret.lek sat on the foot of his huge mek, munching on a Countess Crey Ultimate Power Bar, Cranberry and Pumpkin flavor, a Liquid Hate in his other hand. He was watching his engineers repair the graffiti of the Detainee on his mech. They had added naked, laughing versions of her on the legs of the Storm Reaver mek.

Maintenance techs had huge coolant hoses attached to his mek, there was a heavy data cable running from his mek to the military intelligence tent nearby.

Lance Commander Norgulk moved up, deftly stepping over the heavy coolant hose. Beside him Captain Stomp Your Guts Out hopped over the hose, the black mantid's helmet on his hip, the gleaming chrome of his cybereye catching the light of the burning city around them.

"Private Ret.lek," the Captain said, his voice slightly buzzing.

"Yes, sir," Ret.lek said, swallowing the moutful of power bar.

"Nice job on the recon," the CO said. He snickered. "Them purple people eaters never saw you coming."

"Thank you, sir," Ret.lek said.

"Carry on, Private," the Company Commander said.

"Thank you, sir," Ret.lek said.

The black mantid moved away, reaching up to touch his implant.

Lance Commander Norgulk stepped up, climbing up to sit next to Ret.lek. The Pubvian stretched, his middle leg straight out, grabbing the toes with his middle arm for a moment to stretch the muscles.

"Commander?" Ret.lek asked as the Lance Commander dug out a Goody Yum-Yum bar.

"Good job, son," Norgulk said. He chuckled. "Nice field goal."

"Thank you, Commander," Ret.lek said.

"You got a knack for assault mek stealth recon," Norgulk said. He grinned, showing that four of his teeth had been replaced by warsteel implants. "Once they're done with the coolant flush and the slush dump, we'll be going back into the city on another recon. Command thinks there's more purple people eaters."

Ret.lek nodded.

The Lance Commander stared up at the burning clouds.

"Menhit's bouncing tits, I love warmeks."

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A note from Ralts Bloodthorne

Writeathon Stats:

Chapter Length: 2,398

Total Length: 54,096+2,398= 56,494


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About the author

Ralts Bloodthorne

Bio: The Wordboi, the Creation Engine, the Mad Arch-Angel TerraSol. I am Warlord Ralts Bloodthorne, the crazed speaker, the dark whisperer, the chronicler of dreams who's mind's eye peers into the spaces beyond for the sights to show you, such sights I have to show you, should you choose to look.

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Comments(22)
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Ray2024 ago

Congratulations on reaching the target for the Writeathon. I hope you also reach any additional goals you've set. I think this series has been in the three most recent and is the only one to hit the target in all three. Wouldn't be surprised that if you take part in the next one this ends up the longest story on the site if it isn't already (in terms of pages at least, think there's others with more chapters but less words per chapter out there)

Gigat0 ago

Congratulation! I never had any doubt that you would succed this writeathon.

Fenrir_101 ago

Steiner scouts are the best scouts

Allubaellchen ago

Its count as Stealth if nobody is left to sound the alarm....

Just ignore the warmek shaped hole in the wall

Masterofreading ago

The Detainee lives on bitchs long live the red lady

Gasmaskbro ago

Ah, the Stiener Scout Squad tactic of 'nobody's noticed you if there's nobody left to notice'.

A fine chapter.

Roko's Basilisk ago

Ahh, Steiner Scouting techniques. Truly a powerful ability.

Side note: Ralts, I love this story dearly and have been reading since P'thok on Reddit or here, and I've gotta ask; in your professional opinion, as WordBoi extrodanaire, are you physically incapable of NOT hitting the writathon goals?

WalkingInWonder ago

That… that is a lot of word smithing. Good on you, mate!

Thanks for the chapter.

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