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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-02-09, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
Dirge Eterna
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A double-update, not doing anything right now!

Ferrus Mons, Thracia

Ethan opened his eyes.

A lean man with white hair and a goatee was sitting in a chair at the foot of the pad Ethan lay on. He wore a grey jumpsuit with metallic connectors attached to it. The blue eagle design he had seen on the machine's shoulder was repeated on the man's front pocket.

"Ah. You're awake." he said smoothly, putting down a thick book. He scooted the chair closer to the bed.

"Where-where am I? Where's my father? Rex Ferra?"

"Your father's dead, son. And your machine is back at the mining fields."

"Where am- Did you say dead?"

The man nodded. "Yep. Dead. Tunnel Dragon killed him. And you killed it. Impressive, actually. Fully grown tunnel dragon versus barely armed miner suit."

"Dead." repeated Ethan, unable to comprehend the loss. He shook his head slowly, trying not to cry in front of the stranger.

"As to your other question," continued the man. "You are in Ferrus Mons, the Iron Mountain. Home of the Steel Talons."

Ethan blinked slowly. "The what?"

"The Steel Talons. We're a Knight Order." explained the man. He stroked his chin, thinking.

"You know the miner suits, son?" he asked. Ethan nodded.

"Knights are like that. But bigger. And with more guns. You'll see one, if you agree with what I'm about to say."

Ethan sat up warily. "What are you going to say?"

The man leaned forwards to look him in the eye. "You attracted the attention of one of my warriors, son. A miner taking on a fully grown Tunnel Dragon one-on-one and, albeit barely, surviving. How would you like to join the Talons?"

"I- I don't know." admitted Ethan. "This is all so..fast."

The man stood up. He took Ethan's arm, pulling him upright. The pair moved to a wall covered in regular sheets of grey metal. The man hit a green button on the side, and a blast of light nearly blinded Ethan. His eyes slowly adjusted, and he breathed out at the sight.

Nearly two hundred feet below, in a vast staging area at the base of a tremendous cliff, four dozen grey suits sparred, practiced weapons, and received repairs. A building to the south, belching smoke and fire into the air, produced a thick plate of armor as Ethan watched.

"I...I want in." said Ethan. "There's nothing for me. Not anymore. My mother's dead. My father's dead. Do I get to pilot one of those?" he asked, pointing. The man laughed.

"No, son. You'll be receiving a new one. The forge is churning them out as we speak, getting ready for the Feast of Blades."

"The what?"

"Later. Down the lift in the back of the room, press five. Tell them Dom sent you."

Ethan nodded, leaving the man to look out over Ferrus Mons. He punched number five on the lift, and yelped in shock as it plummeted downwards. Just as he was about to think that the lift would never stop, that it would smash into the ground and be destroyed, it stopped with a jolt. He collapsed to the floor, panting. The door opened with a pleasant chime. A middle-aged woman sat behind a desk in a blank room, typing on a cogitator. A metronome ticked on the counter.

"Um. I'm Ethan Wright. Dom sent me." said Ethan. The woman looked up.

"Alright. I'm Scribe Reddin." said the woman. She handed Ethan a pack containing one of the grey suits, among other things, and gestured at a door in the room's back.

"Welcome to Camp Blackhawk, Initiate." she said as he entered the room.



Ethan panted. The trainer, a man named Korgan Steele, had pushed him and a half-dozen others to the breaking point. Sixteen men had already "washed out" of the Talon program, they had been exiled from Ferrus Mons. Two had commited suicide. They had been cremated and their ashes vaporised in the Mons' fusion reactor.

"Come on, Initiate!" howled Steele, an inch from an initiate's face. The man's skin was red with exertion as he attempted to do the trainer's hundred press-ups.

"You think this is a GAME?!" yelled Steele.

The man gasped. "One...hundred." he collapsed. Steele stood up, smiling. He dropped a bottle of water. The man grabbed it and drank greedily.

"Five minute break." said Steele. "Then we run."

Ethan groaned, along with the other initiates. The "run" was actually a five-mile stretch around the entire Camp Blackhawk complex, situated in a massive cavern under Ferrus Mons.

The man drinking his water sputtered as he breathed in. "Jason Matthews."

Ethan shook his hand. "Ethan Wright."

"How did you get here?" asked Jason.

"Killed a Tunnel Dragon." said Ethan.

"Wow. I fought off a marauder suit. You trumped me pretty good." he said. Marauders were renegade miners that outfitted their suits with large bore drills and EMP launchers. They terrorized the mines to the far north, the equatorial regions and the south were more heavily populated.

Steele moved up to the initiates.

"Alright women! RUN!" he roared, setting off at a breakneck pace down the track. Matthews and Wright sighed in frustration and followed, the rest of the initiates breaking into a run after Steele.

"You've only got four weeks with old Steele! Keep up!" howled Steele from down the track. Wright grumbled. The Steel Talons had better be worth it.

You'll forgive me, but you must be mistaken. I've met your makers, and they don't even know your name...

(Updated Mar. 19)

Hat in the Ring

Last edited by Dirge Eterna; 02-03-09 at 08:34 PM.
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