Death Before Dispossession - 3025
Pryor collapsed to a sitting position by her stricken Mech, her neurohelmet
falling to the ground. The only thing keeping her from crying was the
shellshock that took over as the adrenaline of battle wore off. Scuttle,
her poor family's long-suffering Scorpion, had perhaps taken its final
beating, and now she simply didn't know what to do.
Anne shook slightly as she looked at the damage. The SRM pod was completely sheared off, taken by an autocannon shell that had nearly taken her cockpit instead. The armor was battered to shreds, and steam vented slowly from the old Mech's damaged engine. Scuttle couldn't even move, let alone fire, without the heat spiking dangerously.
As the poor unit's one old salvage truck towed in another downed Mech, Anne realized numbly that the rest of her unit wasn't feeling much better. The Mech being towed in was a Griffin, its cockpit shot through. That was another voice that wouldn't be heard over the radio anymore, and with that realization, she finally cried.
The next day, aboard the dropship, while everyone else was resting from the previous day's beating, Anne was working in the cargo hold. She had always been her own tech, keeping her family's old Mech running through hell and high water. Now she was digging through the unit's tiny stash of spare parts, hoping to find what she needed. All the others thought she was crazy, the "real" techs looking at her sympathetically, telling her that Scuttle should have been retired long ago.
That was easy for them to say. They hadn't grow up like she had, in a militia family on a forgotten world, riding in that old bucking bronco of a Mech beside her father from when she was only a few months old. Scuttle was all Anne had left of those happier times, and she wasn't about to let that much of her past go without a fight.
With that thought, Anne "picked up" a heatsink radiator, an odd sight in zero-G. She couldn't repair the damaged shielding, and of course she didn't have a replacement 330 reactor. But maybe she could find room for extra cooling to compensate.
Then suddenly, Anne held that thought, as something else caught her eye.
Tied down in the corner, sitting upright in the jointless rag-doll sprawl typical of dead Mechs, was the headless Griffin. Her unit didn't have the parts to rebuild the cockpit, and were still short a pilot even if they had possessed the parts.
It had the same end mass as her Scorpion, and its engine was...she did the math in her head as she put the heatsink "down" and went over to examine the Griffin. Its engine WAS still intact. And so was the missile drum on its shoulder. It would require a gyro rebalance, and there would be some loss of speed, but...
Filled with sudden inspiration, Anne went to inform her commander that the unit HADN'T lost its support Mech, after all.
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