Chapter Four: The Stealthy Stunt
I gazed out over the horizon, a grim scowl across my chiseled face. There was something wrong, something about the way the wasteland shone in the dying light of day, maybe, or the distant smell of smoke in the air. I could feel it, right in my whiskers. Something was drawing me out to make one last patrol across the ruins to the west of our camp. Call it soldier’s intuition.
My old Omegamech and I have seen a few scrapes together, but this night, it was different. It was quiet–too quiet. The Bramble Claw are not a quiet foe, and this lull in the combat was only serving to set my nerves on edge, as if the terrain itself was running a hand backwards up my tail. There was something out here in the ruins with me. But I was ready for it.
Suddenly, with a shriek like a dying transport shuttle’s engines, the enemy burst into view above me. Out of nowhere, that bad feeling had materialized: a jet-black Omegamech, gleaming like the fangs of the very void, its outstretched claws reaching for my very viewport, energy blades crackling like the fury of a thousand suns!
My old training kicked in, and I was instantly moving. I ducked under the incoming swipe and my upper lip twitched as I heard the sound of serrated metal claws scraping across my hull. I lurched toward my assailant, swiftly bringing my shield to bear, and grinned at the satisfying clang of metal on metal. I’d taken him by surprise; that much I could tell by the way he staggered for a moment. It must have been ironic for him, the ambusher taken completely off guard. But it takes some fancy footwork to catch House Kass’ own General Emitt by the tail!
Then, just as I raised my carbine to give him what for, he vanished before my very eyes. I could just make out the faint sound of his retreat through the dusty wastes, churned earth the only sign that the enemy had ever been there at all. I snarled in rage, battle fury still coursing through my veins.
It was just as I’d feared. The Bramble Claw had finally managed to create stealth units. Their underhanded methodologies are predisposed for this kind of design, and it was only a matter of time before we saw the fruits of their labor.
My attacker had escaped, but I knew that I now had the advantage. The enemy had a chance to take me out, and completely blew it. They’d tipped their hand. We’d be ready for them next time.
–From a contraband pulp novel, found stuffed behind the pilot’s seat of a House Kass Omegamech