Free Worlds League
March 12, 3056
“They’re gaining on us!” Yanak screamed as the hover jeep skittered around another boulder at breakneck speed. Seconds later, the boulder disappeared under the punishment of a Hussar’s main laser array.
“Yeah, tell me something I don’t know,” Michael muttered as he glanced in his rearview mirrors to see the Mongoose, Mercury, and Hermes moving along with the longer-ranged ’Mech. When he looked back to the ground in front of the jeep he cursed and turned the wheel hard over, trying to avoid another large rock. He didn’t quite make it, and the rear end of the jeep screamed in anguish as he bounced off and kept moving on, spinning like a top. The gunner strapped into the machine gun assembly on the back of jeep lost his lunch and Michael grimaced as the jeep spun, out of control, up an incline and into open air.
“You’re gonna kill us all!” Yanak screamed as another laser blast shot by overhead so close they could feel the super-heated air washing over them. But Michael just fluttered the air jets on the jeep, trying to bring it back under control as it fell towards the ground with sickening quickness. “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!” Yanak kept on screaming as the hover jeep finally smashed into the ground, screeching in protest before bouncing back into the air, its rear end yawing back and forth sickeningly. “What the hell were you people thinking! Are you trying to kill me!” he shouted and Michael grunted as he finally brought the jeep back under control.
“We can always just take you back to the Wobblies if that’s what you want!” he shouted back as he swung through a dip in the rocky terrain and up over another hill. The Husser’s laser carved a trench in the ground next to them, skipping superheated rocks off the jeep and he jerked back as one of them took off a corner of his windscreen and one of his side mirrors.
“Well at least there I had a chance of being rescued by someone competent!” Yanak yelled over the wind blowing through their hair. “What the hell are you idiots doing here?”
“Look, Medron Pryde sent us to save you!” Michael shouted as he shot the hover jeep over a dried up creek bed.
“That little brat?” Yanak screamed in horror. “Oh shit! What did I ever do to deserve putting my life in that little thief’s hands?”
“Thief, sir?” Michael asked and dodged around a rock outcropping as the laser smashed a large chunk of it into slivers.
“That little brat used to steal oranges from my property! Do you know how hard it is to make Terran orange trees grow on Atreus? The kid’s a menace! What in hell does he think he’s doing!”
“Trying to save you, sir!” Michael shouted as he pulled the jeep out of another turn and shot it toward a small wood in the distance with a stream flowing through it. What would be a stream during the rainy season that is.
“And you’re doing a fine job of it!” Yanak shouted sarcastically. “Another minute and the rest of them will be in firing range! What do we do then? Spit at them?”
“Oh, we won’t have a problem there, sir!” Michael shouted back as he pulled the jeep around another boulder, feeling the heat wave of another laser go by overhead.
“Oh? You have a rocket booster strapped onto this thing that you haven’t told me about! Cause if not, they’re going to catch us!”
“Better, sir!” Michael shouted. “I’ve got a plan!”
“Blake save me from the plans of idiots!” Yanak screamed as the jeep careened around another set of rocks and plummeted down into the dry riverbed. It smashed into the ground and slowed down for a second before the hover jets pushed it back up into the air as Yanak’s hands clenched onto the back of the seat so tightly they’d turned pure white. It looked like they were trying to find a paler shade.
“Blake?” Michael shouted questioningly. “I thought you were ComStar, not those toaster worshipers!”
“I’ve been inside their organization for years, idiot!” Yanak shouted back. “If I didn’t say his name out loud at least once every few minutes they’d start getting suspicious! And besides, there are times when you just have to pray to someone for protection from idiots like you!”
“Don’t worry, old man!” Michael shouted back happily as the jeep shot up an incline towards the trees, then jerked as a laser shot nearly caved in the riverbank on them.
“Who’s worrying!” Yanak shouted back. “I’m way past worrying! You’re going to kill me at this rate, assuming those idiots back there miss their chance!”
“Hey, I’ve got everything under control, sir!” Michael shouted as he gripped the wheel white-knuckled and the jeep screeched as it ripped over a small rock.
“You mean that plan!” Yanak screamed and Michael nodded. “Your plan sucks!” Yanak added and Michael winced as another laser burrowed into the ground beneath them, lifting the jeep up on its heat wave. “Ooooooh shit!” Yanak cursed as the jeep finally smashed back down on the riverbed with another scream of agony before moving on slower then before. Then they were finally in the woods, and Michael shot the jeep down the riverbed, trying unsuccessfully to avoid all the rocks.
“Sorry, old man, but this jeep’s starting to lose it!” Michael shouted as it slewed around more and more.
“So what? We ditch it, run into the woods, and wait for that Mongoose to find us?” Yanak shouted and Michael shook his head back and forth quickly.
“That wouldn’t be the plan,” he shouted over the wind as it began to slow, the jeep too damaged to keep up speed. It bounced jarringly off another boulder and the rear end swung around before digging into the sand. Something finally snapped audibly and Michael winced as the jeep simply dropped the rest of the way to the riverbed like the rocks it was grinding over.
“Well let me tell you that you’re plan sucks!” Yanak shouted as the jeep came to a screeching halt. Then an unholy roar of what sounded like autocannons on full fire rate thundered through the woods around them and he ducked low into his seat, covering his head. “Oh we are so dead,” he whimpered.
“Not really,” Michael muttered as the thundering finally ended. Then the sound of scores of infantrymen screaming in defiance smashed over them and Yanak looked around fearfully, waiting for the hordes of Word of Blake fanatics to rush over them and kill them. If they were lucky.
“We will be when they catch us!” Yanak yelled at the top of his lungs and Michael just laughed.
“Not exactly,” he smiled back. “You see that was the plan,” he finished as all around them, small vehicles fired up their engines and began moving, crashing through the woods like a herd of wild boars. Several of them came out of the woods onto the riverbank and Michael waved at them. Only then did Yanak realize they weren’t painted in Word of Blake colors.
“What the hell?” he whispered as one of the vehicles, another jeep just like the one they’d trashed, came to a stop beside them.
“Well come on, old man!” Michael shouted as he jumped out. “Unless you want to stay around for the Wobblies to catch yah!”
“No thanks!” Yanak shouted back and jumped out to follow Michael and his gunner into the jeep. He jumped over the side, fell into the rear seat, and hung on for dear life as the driver shot the jeep forward. Then he heard an explosion from behind and pulled his head up over the back seat to see their jeep cooking off. “Thank you, Blake,” he whispered and Michael laughed at him.
“That was my grenade, old man!” he shouted as the hover jeep shot up onto the riverbed and then into the trees at break neck speed.
“Blake save us,” Yanak whispered as branches bounced off the windscreen while the jeep bounced off more trunks then he could count. This was turning into a decidedly bad day. Then the battered and scratched jeep finally shot out of the trees onto the rocky plains and he saw what looked like an old battered Seeker-class DropShip. He looked around to see scores of small vehicles bouncing along with them as they shot their way towards the DropShip, many towing what looked like massive field guns with smoke rising out of their muzzles.
“Nice plan, huh!” Michael shouted and Yanak just shook his head disbelievingly.
“Idiots,” he whispered softly. “I’m surrounded by idiots. The plan sucked!” he finally yelled back. “You could have gotten me killed with that wild stunt back there!”
“I’d rather be lucky then good!” Michael shouted as they neared the ramps to the DropShip.
“Then you’re doing really good at getting what you want!” Yanak shouted and Michael chuckled. “I’m going to kill that brat when I see him!” Yanak swore. “He’s insane to think he could get away with this!”
“Sometimes insanity works, old man,” Michael shouted with a beatific smile and then their hover jeep shot up the ramp and went airborne for nearly ten seconds as it flew through the air, crewmen scattering in every direction to get out of the way of the charging vehicle. It turned in mid-air, hover jets swinging it around, and then dropped to the floor where it screeched all the way to the wall. It came to a bumping stop and Yanak let out a long slow breath as the rest of the infantry vehicles barreled in at only slightly more restrained speeds. Then Michael stood up and looked over the sides of the jeep like he was measuring something. “Good job, George,” he whispered. “Right between the lines. I guess you win that bet.” Then he turned to smile innocently as Yanak looked at the two jeep drivers in horror.
“Maniacs,” he whispered slowly and leaned back into the seat shakily. “I’m surrounded by maniacs.”