Red Delicious: Hi.
DireWolfe: See that bunker over to the right?
Red Delicious: Big grey building? Square-ish?
DireWolfe: Yeah…just past the mountain….see it?
Red Delicious: Nope….can’t see it (smile)
DireWolfe: Kool….I’ll scout…you lumber….meet you there.
I pushed my engine to full power and as I sped towards the bunker I could hear weapons firing and ferrous fiber armor being shredded off in the distance but our radar was strictly LOS(line of sight) so I had no clue where it was happening or who of the other six pilots were getting destroyed.
Red Delicious: Nice butt
Red Delicious; Just saying…your ‘mech looks good from behind.
That’s what’s wrong with these heavy-class ‘mechpilots. Their ‘mechs are so slow that they can pilot the ‘mech and get their sexting on at the same time!
DireWolfe: Eyes off my can dude!
Red Delicious: Chick!
Red Delicious: I’m a chick…
I had just made it to the bunker I had pointed out and thought….well, any female that calls herself a ‘chick’ is either my kind of chick or not a chick at all. So I rolled the dice hoping for the former as I spun my ‘mech around to face hers.
DireWolfe: Then get an eyeful of the rest of me.
I turned my two story tall ‘mech in a circle as dashingly as 10 tons could possibly be.
Red Delicious: Woo woo baby!
Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement just as four red tinged lasers streaked over my left shoulder, sizzling as they passed by, “Holy shit!” I yelped in real life as the right side of Red Delicious’s Catapult disintegrated. Twenty Long range missile tubes destroyed all at once. On pure instinct I hit the button igniting my jump jets and as my Wolverine launched skyward I spun my torso left and thumbed my weapons array, cycling to a weapon TIC desperately searching for a target. A weapon TIC is a tactical weapons grouping that allows a pilot to maximize damage while managing heat. But the TIC that I cycled to was my desperation TIC that had all my lasers bundled and slaved to a single trigger.
But then I saw my attacker and my pulse quickened as my stomach flipped. Our assailant was “Enraged Clown” One of the Inner Sphere’s best Assault ‘mech pilots. The Assault class mech are the big boys, armored out the wazoo with some of the game’s deadliest weapons.
Enraged Clown was in a “Stalker” a mech with more armor tonnage then any other mech along with a scary array of ten lasers. I knew he was about to mangle the other side of Red Delicious’s Catapult as soon as his weapons cycled back to ready so I had to, at the very least, distract him enough for her to gather her wits and hopefully get off a few shots before he annihilated her. My jump jets had me near the apex of my jump and as I drifted above the massive assault mech my eyes caught the red glint of the small cockpit window and I exhaled slowly as my crosshairs floated over it, triggered my weapon TIC and braced for his return shot as my mech landed back on solid ground.
Enraged Clown: What the f#&?
**DireWolfe eliminates Enraged Clown**
I looked over to where the Stalker had just stood and was shocked to only see the two massive legs of his mech slowly toppling over as shrapnel flew through the air from where the cockpit used to be.
Enraged Clown: No way…
Enraged Clown: That mech is hacked!!
Enraged Clown: You hacked a mech!
Luckily, once dead, the game kicked him back to the ready room because more enemies arrived and I had a battle to the death to worry about and no time for a mad crying Clown. Minutes later Red Delicious and I stood alone planet side. I was missing both arms, one shoulder and had major damage all over the rest of my machine. My teammate was a pair of bird legs with a badly damaged cockpit and one weapon still able to fire.
DireWolfe: Good form! We win!
Red Delicious: You’re my hero…(dreamy eyes)
DireWolfe: Whatever smartass
Red Delicious: You one shot a stalker Wolfie! I wanna have your babies!
DireWolfe: That was crazy talk about luck. Clown sure was enraged rotflmao!
The game kicked us back to the ready room and the legend was born. STARCOM the in-game instant messenger was all abuzz and everyone that was online and knew me were IM-ing me things like, “Is it true…?” and “Dude show me how!” and “Hey…can you hack a mech for me?” No one really believed it but with Red Delicious as an eyewitness and Enraged Clown complaining to everyone it didn’t matter how, why or even if it ever happened it became legendary in less than the ten minutes it took to dropship into the next battle.
Me one-shotting a Stalker wasn’t the only legendary thing that happened that night. I also met Red Delicious that night. Who turned out to be an actual female and so my kind of chick. Her name is Theresa and she’s not an apple enthusiast at all, she lived in the state of Washington. But what makes her legendary and the truest definition of BAE I have ever known is this; She and I have been friends and other titles for over twenty years but have yet to meet face to face. Have never shared the kind of hug a friendship like ours deserves to share or even just stood in the light of one another’s smiles.
I was arrested not long after the night I met her and when I didn’t show up in any Ready Rooms for a couple weeks she noticed. She noticed I was missing and found me in a county jail in Ohio. She was the first person to write me a letter all those years ago and has never stopped writing since. Hers is a friendship that has nourished me and fulfilled me and kept me safe, sane and relevant the last twenty some years. Hers a story that deserved to be told, a friendship that needed its own legend.
Check back soon…I’ll be sharing my poem “The Missing” next and the tale of its genesis.
Rock on and Drive
Daniel J. Royston
Categories: Daniel Royston