And heeeeere’s Johnny!
over the city, real darkness to add to the pall of smoke. The panicked crowds
were gone now, leaving only a lone Mech standing amid the ruins.
The Firestarter moved slowly, looking around as if assessing its deadly handiwork. Charred beams and rubble crunched under its feet as it advanced down the street. Its Beagle Probe picked up a target, and the skeletal machine swung around, bringing up its lasers and flamers...and just as quickly, it snapped its arm muzzles to the sky as a woman and her children ran for cover.
War is Hell, the pilot thought as he watched the civilians flee into the smoggy twilight, but even Hell has its limits. He took another puff of his cigar, and continued his sweep.
Once the pilot was satisfied that no enemies remained, he stopped his Firestarter beside a burned-out building. A bar, by the sign on what was left of the outer wall. Just what he was looking for right now. He shut down his Mech, removed his helmet, and popped the hatch.
The tavern was still burning as the Mechwarrior walked in, a slight smile on his unshaven face. His steps kicked up small clouds of ash, ash that swirled about in the breeze generated by his long black coat. He kept one hand on the laser pistol at his hip, until he was satisfied that he was alone. Then he pulled out another cigar with his right hand, as his left scooped up a bottle from the bar.
Tikonov vodka, he noted. Stoly. Not bad, not bad at all.
Then, as the Mechwarrior felt for his lighter, he noticed a sign on the crumbling wall. It was charring around the edges, starting to catch fire.
The Mechwarrior walked over, and lit his cigar from the rising flames. He grinned through the dense smoke of his first draw, and watched the sign burn, a metaphor for the city around him.
THANK YOU FOR NOT SMOKING, it said.
He chuckled as he toasted the burning sign with a drink. And he kept chuckling as he watched, until it was finally reduced to cinders. Then he returned to his Mech, carrying a case of bottles with him.
So many worlds, he thought...and so little time.
BattleMech Technical Readout