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The Showdown at Dawn

Posted on Tue Feb 7th, 2023 @ 16:23 by Claire Cavendish & Oliver Bloomfield & Phoebe Hunter & Jonathan Monroe & Reagan D'Angelo & Cameron Johnston & Donald Johnson & Otis Jackson

Chapter: Prologue: Dawn of Avalon
Location: New Cresthill Station
Timeline: Friday, 25th of September, immediately following 'Quantum Knights, Rise Up'
5783 words - 11.6 OF Standard Post Measure

The sleek, experimental, jet got them to New Cresthill almost as fast as Cameron had run back to the Institute. Yet, it cut across the skies silently, and unseen by radar. The second the wheels touched the ground, Claire rushed out. She wasn't the leader and with the rising sun up in the sky she was way out of her element, but her friend and students were in danger and that made things like that matter a whole lot less. "Reagan?!" She called as she rushed into the station's building, half of the front porch torn out. Her voice echoed across the old stonework and at first there wasn't a reply. That's when she heard her, shouting another name, outside. Her eyes darted in the direction and that's when she saw it.

The hulking purple robot, holding onto the train cart as if it was part of a Christmas decoration set, shaking it to try and get something, or rather someone, out of it. She looked over her shoulder to see the rest of the team join her on the other side of the station. Her eyes settled on Phoebe specifically. She was the Knight's team leader because she had more experience in the field than any of them. Even then Claire didn't think she'd have any experience with this.

"What the blue hells is that!?" Jon exclaimed, almost bumping into the back of Claire as they both abruptly halted in their tracks. "Is that a robot!?"

Reagan thanked any deity willing to listen for her lifelong commitment to gymnastics and her athletic stamina right about now. Oliver was on a stable platform, but this thing would eventually get bored and just rip the car in half, she had no doubt. She had managed to find some purchase holding herself up, but there was nothing under her legs to support her but a robotic palm a few feet away. She was almost sure she was hallucinating when the whine of the engines perked her ears up, but when that sound got louder and stayed consistent? "They're here, Oli, just hold on a little longer! We're gonna get you home safe!" Not like they needed to scream to give away their locations, but Reagan felt like it anyway. She only didn't because of the boy there with her. This whole thing was... surreal. No training had prepared them for it, could have prepared them for it, and so there was little to assuage the fear or keep them safe other than improvisation. Almost there...

There had always been the possibility, bordering on a likelihood, that a lot of Cameron's role within the group would be to prepare the jet for immediate relocation. Simply put, as the only person who could currently fly the thing, it fell to him to stay close enough to relaunch if it became necessary. In some cases, this would have involved remaining behind and simply waiting to be useful. For someone with his capabilities, it merely required keeping an eye on his exit route. Though he'd been forced to stay back long enough to secure the vehicle, the streak of blurred movement that heralded his arrival was impacted only by several moments and involved a rather precise braking procedure that saw him pull up just short of collecting Claire's outstretched arm in his haste. She knew him too well, his first impulse was to rush ahead.

"Whatever that thing is, it's locked on to Oliver," he informed the group. "If we can get to them, I can get away long enough for you to deal with the rest of the kids but I can't risk higher speeds whilst carrying someone and that thing's going to take some convincing to give up on its target." His steely gaze fixated as he ducked under Claire's arm and took several steps towards the point of need. "We're probably going to have to destroy it."

Claire nodded her agreement, but saw absolutely no way for her to be able to help in that particular part of the proceedings. She knew she'd be useless in a straight up fight with something like that. Some of the others were going to be of much more help. "We need to safeguard the children." She looked over at Phoebe again, who seemed to be processing the entire thing, eyes glossed over signifying her focus on different possibilities. "What's the approach, Oracle?"

Otis stepped off the jet, stunned into silence. He hadn't been at the institute long, he didn't even have a fancy uniform yet, not that he was aware of that being a prerequisite of the job. When he had accepted this job he thought he had considered every angle of what this role would entail, but he had never considered giant mutant-hunting robots on his first field trip. Clearly, his years of watching and reading anything science fiction hadn't given him the imagination that came with pure hate and bigotry. "I can help, with the kids," he quickly corrected. He had some offensive abilities but nothing that would take down this behemoth. "Tell me where you need me."

To say that Phoebe was processing the situation was an understatement but she blinked and the moment of unfocus was gone and she only had two options that were open to them. "Bulwark... I need you to completely trust me here."

"Erm, sure," Otis replied. He was currently fighting his own emotional state, lying somewhere between wanting to do a good job and help these people in trouble and putting his full trust in people he was still in the process of getting to know. It helped that they all wanted the same thing.

"Good...Dash... I need you to get him close enough to Bridge and the kid and then I need you to throw a forcefield to break their fall and allow them some footing to jump down then Dash get the kid away from here and you go Bulwark and protect the kids and there is a civilian bus just outside that was abandoned in the attack that I saw on our way in. The robot does not give a crap over us or them its sights are set on the kid. Tenebris can you blink up there and tell Bridge the plan and that she needs to trust that she and the kid are not going to drop into the robot's grip but they are working with a time limit for there stepping stone."

It took a moment for Claire to realise that Tenebris was referring to her. It almost felt like playing pretend. Like the games you played in the schoolyard pretending to be cops and robbers. But this was real and people depended on her to be able to do what she did. She peeled away from the group to take up a position that gave her line of sight of the cart, but kept her out of direct sunlight, all the while keeping a close eye on the cart that was to be her target.

Despite the hyper-focus, despite an unwillingness to drag his gaze away from the unfolding scene; a scene that he had left and allowed to descend into this, Cameron still found a moment to address the same sense of slight ridiculousness that Claire had also experienced. He and Bridge had done a lot of work together, figuring out the best combination of their powers, having fun trying not to destroy property in their quest to develop a perfect strategy. It had never quite felt real, not in any way that had permitted Cameron to adjust to the fact that one half of their entire plan was currently dangling too many metres above the air for his patience to permit a lengthy explanation. Now that the time had actually arrived, there were certain realities that didn't care one bit about concepts of dignity and poise.

He turned and, in one fluid motion, pulled something from his back pocket whilst approaching his newest partner with hand stretched out. "Gonna be awkward, apologies in advance. I'll buy you dinner afterwards." He shoved the taser into Otis' hand and bent a little to scoop the man over his shoulder. "Just a kickstart, if you aim for my ass, you're picking up the drinks' tab."

"You can't be serious?" Otis asked as his brain barely registered the device in his hand. However, the slight huff and slump of Cameron's shoulders told him that the speedster was completely serious. "Geez, here goes." He powered on the taser and remembering the threat of having to buy drinks, aimed for the dip in Cameron's back. This wasn't exactly how I wanted to be swept off my feet!

"Blaze...SoundWave start distracting it." Phoebe said mentally going through the list of people that she had to work with. They all had gifts but they needed to get Reagan and the kid down to be able to deal with the robot properly.

Jon glanced at DJ.

"I can try to light him up, but we're going to have to be careful not to blow up half the train station," he said. "And if it has infra-red I'm going to have a big ass target on my back." Motioning to the left, he darted out into the open, using the stone pillars of the platform as cover. Seeing the giant robot looming, he concentrated a pulse of heat into his hands, took a deep breath, and hurled a football-sized sphere of hot blue fire into it's abdominal area, hoping that DJ was following it up.

DJ replied quickly, "On it" before pressing one of the keys on his keytars with his right hand while pointing with his left. The air rippled around his hand as the sound waves were formed into an invisible cannon ball and the launched towards the robot. The strike sounded almost like the ringing of an amplifier and dented the armor slightly in the chest area of the purple robot.

Claire sat squatted behind a small wall looking up at the train car. "Here goes nothing." She took in a deep breath through her nose and focused on the part of the train car that was still intact. With a sizzle and a pop she disappeared from her secluded spot behind the station and reappeared inside the cart. It was still being shaken by the big robot, and she immediately started to slide down the angled slope of the train. "Bridge!" She called as she slid closer. Able to slow her descent enough to grab on to a nearby seat, trying to take in the situation and what she could do to help.

"See, Oli? I told you! Hang in there, buddy!" Reagan didn't so much verbally acknowledge Claire as give her a big, reassuring smile, even while dangling there by her arms that were getting shaky.

"Oracle has a plan, and it's a bit intricate, and timing sensitive." Claire explained the plan to the two people they were trying to save from this monstrosity and hoped that she was coherent and clear enough for all the details to come across properly. She'd have to trust in Phoebe's experience and abilities as well as Otis and Cam getting the timing just right. "Don't miss."

Moving at high speed whilst carrying someone else came with a host of dangers that Cameron didn't have time to explain. Thankfully, the distance was short, though he took several stop-starts to negotiate a suitable deployment of their first secret weapon. Returning Otis to his feet, Cameron spared no time in zipping between the robot's legs to yell upwards. "You got my whole big dumb face to land on, this'll be easy!"

OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod Otis swayed slightly as he felt his feet connect with the floor, promising himself he would never let the speed mutant do that again. Being carried like a sack of spuds was one thing, but at those speeds, it was all he could do to stop himself from bringing up his breakfast. Focus! He looked up, calculating in his mind exactly where he would have to place the shield. He pushed all doubt to the back of his mind, there couldn't be a question of his ineptitude. Failure wasn't an option. Lives were at stake and this was the entire reason he was here. "3...2...1..." Without waiting for verbal confirmation he threw a force field and prayed he hadn't missed his mark, or that she hadn't either.

"Okay Oliver, hang on tight, okay?" With Claire's help, she was able to get herself up to at least free an arm and reach for the boy. The plan was just crazy enough to work, and Reagan really didn't have the luxury of second guessing it or suggesting a plan B. Carefully as she could, she got Oliver to climb down to her and wrap himself around her torso like a scared koala on a tree. Her eyes drifted to Claire with a nod. "Get your pretty butt back to safety, see you on the ground... 3... 2... 1!"

Reagan released her grip and the pair went into free fall. And all the timing just seemed to fall into place. The big, purple hand disappeared for some other purpose, and open air did not meet them for long before an invisible force cradled Reagan from the back. There was a loud "Oof!" and maybe a few seconds of lost air when her back took the impact, but she'd had far worse in her day. And the most important thing was the boy cradled safely against her front, cushioned. The rest of the fall didn't take long, and Reagan was already moving on her burning ankle with the boy. "Dash, you're up!"

There was no compromise to be had in the way that Cameron gathered both into the protective shielding of his arms. Reagan was far from a fragile damsel-in-distress candidate but leaving had cost the mutant more than he'd probably be able to put into words. A momentary hug, even disguised as it was in stabilising the pair before the baton changed hands was the least he could do to convince himself that there wasn't any lasting damage that he should have been present to avert.

"I need everything you can give me," he murmured into her ear, aware enough that there would be repercussions later for how much charge he'd taken. The taser worked for short bursts, Bridge's powers sustained him for much longer. He could still feel the remnants of the first burst, could possibly even have relied on that alone if he dug deep enough, but it wasn't a risk he was prepared to take.

However brief that little embrace was, Reagan was grateful for it. At first it seemed like maybe he was babying her and she fought the urge to tell him to stop it, and then when that wasn't the case, she was thankful she hadn't said anything at all. She got Oliver to move over to Cameron, and on his insistence, she nodded and squeezed his hand. She was already hot to the touch, looked exhausted, felt exhausted, but she had to oblige. For Oliver's sake at the very least. She gave Cameron what she could, little reddish arcs jumping between where their skin met, and when she felt it was long enough, that the robot would be catching up if they dallied longer, she pushed him away. "Now go, Dash! We've got this!"

"Just hold on," Cam directed the boy, who had already endured more than enough clinging for one 15-year-old to contend with. This time, both arms keeping the kid pressed to his front, Cameron bore the brunt of the g-force and made an immediate beeline for the jet. Its size had warranted parking a good half a mile away but the mutant chewed that up in seconds, tapping his security code into the door release and ushering Oliver up inside without following himself.

"Take a seat at the back, don't touch anything, don't open the door for anyone." Though the energy coursing through his system was urging Cameron to return to the fight, he took a moment to consider the boy's terrified face and forced himself to slow down for a minute. "It can't get you in here. When we get back to school, I'll give you a proper tour, show you all the things Nessie's got tucked away, but right now I need you to stay out of sight while we take care of this thing. You haven't done anything wrong," he reassured, slowly starting to back out. "Don't touch anything though." A second reminder seemed warranted; he didn't like to think what damage one scared teenager could do with the plane's potential.

The massive robot turned to face the pummeling of both the fire and soundwaves heading in its direction. Without letting go of the train cart it reached out its free hand and a distinct hum started to emanated from its palm, which started to glow red. "You are interfering with the search and recovery protocol. Damage has been sustained. Reactionary force authorised." With that a red beam shot in the direction of Soundwave who was pelting it with concussive blasts.

The beam struck Soundwave in the leg as he attempted to jump out of the way. The blast spun him in midair, causing him to land awkwardly, he immediately jumped up, and continued to send concussive waves of sound, "Shoot and scoot," he said aloud to himself as he moved and sidestepped in random directions after each shot.

A streak of blurred momentum was all that heralded Dash's return to the field at first. Without stopping, he checked the area first to make sure the students were evacuating as intended, and then turned a full circuit that brought him to a jog on the approach to intercept Reagan. "You think you can take on that shielding?," was all he asked, any reference to what he was actually planning clearly reflected in a prior training exercise the pair had already established.

Reagan was still busy collecting herself and moving toward the others when Cameron reappeared, eyes locked on the shaking train car section now that the only person in there was Claire. "Come on, Sugar Plum, get out safe." She spoke mostly under her heavy breathing, distracted entirely when the speedster was suddenly there again. "Shielding? I... don't know. They'd never be dumb enough not to protect it from simple electrical attack, right?"

With a moment of pause between assaults the robot returned its gaze at the train cart in hand. The target was no longer present. Claire locked eyes with the monstrosity looking down the barrel of the cart. The robot took a moment to scan the contents of the train. "Error." it announced before unceremoniously letting go of the cart still in its hand, sending it falling towards the people on the ground, not necessarily with ill intent but simply discarding an item no longer required for its mission.

Claire let out a yelp as the train started plummeting to the ground, she had to get out before crashing. Quickly she focused all her concentration on the spot she had left earlier. Took in a deep breath. Tried not to think about her impending doom if this didn't work, and with a hiss she disappeared from the cart and reappeared next to the station's wrecked building. The thing she hadn't had time to take into account was the first law of physics, and as she reappeared her momentum carried her into the wall. With an oof she came to a sudden stop against the brickwork.

Jonathan nearly jumped as Claire burst into the space about five feet away from him. "We need to bring this thing down, fast. Any ideas?" he called out. "Feels like it's got some sort of flame-resistant coating on the outside."

“We need to trip it.” Phoebe commented as she pulled Claire to her feet and looked around for heavy wiring. It was not something she saw in the future but she did not have time to be distracted it was just something that she knew from tactics and being a lot smaller than several adversaries over her time. Several telephone lines were down so they just needed to get it around it get it down to ground level.

"Bridge!" Claire looked at Phoebe and there was a look of quiet admiration in her eyes for coming up with something against this hulking beast. "Bridge! It's an AT-AT on Hoth!"

Reagan looked at Claire, an amused little smile on her lips, then quickly looked around to assess their options. The downed powerlines were a good start. She could lift them, just had to be careful of any live ends. And then there was her bum ankle... "Dash! You remember the snow speeders? Got our tow cables, let's do some circles. I'll try not to hurl on you. Everyone else run a pretty distraction for us, please?"

It took Cam a split second, though to him it felt like an age, to grasp at the reference and marry up Claire's idea with the source material. A brief tug to the corner of his mouth saw the humour in the suggestion though there was no time for the usual banter at the head mistress' expense. As far as Dash knew, he and Bridge were the only ones present who had been able to lay down preparation for something like this, at least when it came to the interaction between their powers and how to best support each other. Bridge had weathered the churning stomach to acclimatise to short bursts of speed. This was something they could do.

And so, as he felt her lithe frame latch onto his back, Cam trusted the gymnast's strength and agility to keep her anchored and took off, as they'd rehearsed many times, towards the fallen lines. He measured his pace on the approach so that they didn't stop entirely, adjusted his balance so that when she leaned down to scoop up a cable the pair of them didn't end up eating dirt, and then turned to size up their options.

"Let's keep its eyes off them." Claire looked at both Phoebe and Jonathan. DJ was still pelting it with concussive waves. Claire focused on a patch of shadow behind the crumpled up train cart and fizzled out in her first position to reappear much closer to the robot. She stepped into its line of sight. "Oliver! Over here!" She hoped that using the name of the target would attract the attention of the metal automaton.

The large purple robot stepped and looked, scanning all the different angles from which it was being assaulted. It was still trying to find its mark. And heard the name from different angles. The assault continued, and while most of the armour was able to withstand the attacks, it was starting to show dents and scorchmarks. It raised its hands and fired at the mutant threat currently assaulting it. "Seize and desist, if you continue your resistance your safety cannot be guaranteed." Blasts from its emitters in its hands fired away at the different, loud, attackers. Though it seemed to be missing what was going on around its legs.

After securing the kids from the train station on the jet, Otis returned to the thick of the fight. He tried to place force fields in strategic locations on the battlefield to protect the other Knights. However, everyone was moving too quickly, and though he had been able to save some of them from getting blasted, his inability to move his shields whilst they were in place was the limitation he didn't need right now. Still, he persevered and did what he could in the face of this threat.

It has been a couple of jumps in different directions before Claire came back in front of it. "Oliver!" She didn't have any powers to actually fire at it, but she could still distract by giving it many different cues to focus on. The robot immediately focused back on her and raised its hand. Just as she was about to jump away again the clouds broke and the woman known as Tenebris, who thrived in darkness, was standing in the middle of a beam of sunlight. There was a moment of panic as she saw the centre of its palm glow up and fire a beam at her. She was just able to jump away from the brunt of the blast, but the force threw her against the train wreck. Her head hitting it quite hard, there was no time to waste, and she scurried on hands and feet to get behind the train, into a patch of shade.

The whirl of motion in and around the robot's legs was a complicated waltz, its confusion as to which direct assault to neutralise first leaving it already unsteady on its feet. After several passes, Dash slowed to a pace that maintained momentum whilst allowing speech, and called up to the mutant on his back, "How many more?"

Reagan knew her job in this situation, something the pair had rehearsed in training (or something like it at least) more times than she could count. When they slowed, she grabbed for the cables as far from the damaged, exposed ends as she could, and held tight. Off they went, and she had to force herself to keep her eyes open and let Cameron do the rest. Ever tried closing your eyes while you had vertigo from spinning too fast? She couldn't recommend the feeling. His question got her to finally look, assess based on the legs and what length they had left to work with. "Couple more, let's tighten it up much as we can!"

“Move back.” Phoebe yelled running towards Jonathan and DJ to tell them already making a mental list of what she needed for next time as there would be a next time. “Get back.” She yelled at the pair grabbing both their arms to get them out of the area the robot was going to fall down in.

Claire could barely hear Phoebe's call to 'retreat' through her ringing ears. She saw that the wires had been tightened around the robot's legs and the call started to make sense. The metallic creature had been firing away at them without stepping too much away from its spot. They had to get away from it so that it had no choice but to step forward, which is when it would trip up.

The last couple of passes pushed a threshold that Cam normally would have preferred to avoid. Testing his own boundaries was one thing, and he would be lucky to sleep at all for a few days given the amount of energy he'd absorbed. But the strain of high speed, coupled with the increasingly tight rotations, was eventually liable to make Bridge pass out and so he counted three more and then slowed again, enough to reach out and smash a fist against an exposed plating on the back of the robot's leg, peeking out from between the layers of Reagan's handiwork. "Hey, ugly!" Without waiting for a response, he took off forward, maintained his best version of a jog and called to the others as the pair passed, "We'll grab the jet!"

The robot turned and Phoebe just stared up at it as it stared back at them. “You are not part of my operation.” It declared.

“No shit.” Phoebe commented with a roll of her eyes as she kept moving a few steps back as the robot did a little wobble as it realised it had been incapacitated and started it’s decent to the floor face first.

And just like that, Reagan's part was done. Probably? She was in no position to argue. She was burning up, she was dizzy and vertigo stricken. The others got a fast thumbs up as Cameron dashed by. "Give 'em hell, Knights." Thankfully, the jet wasn't too far off, and as soon as they were up the ramp she brooked no argument from Cameron, climbing off his back and falling into a hot, sweaty pile on the deck. "Oli, dear, are you alright? I need you to do me a favor, okay? Get one of the emergency blankets and pour some of the water bottles on it, get it nice and wet, then wrap me up. Can you do that for me?"

Oliver scrambled from the front of the plane to the back of the cargo bay. "Yes. Yes of course ma'am." He was clearly still in a state of panic but he immediately scrambled to get an emergency blanked from one of the wall mounts. Struggling with the strap and cussing some colourful Britishism under his breath when he finally won that particular fight. He shook and shimmied the blanket to unfold it onto the bare cargo bay flooring and pulled it straight a couple of times before he finally was able to get out all the folds. He then rushed over to the emergency packs and pulled the water bottle from them, immediately dropping the first one he grabbed, bursting its contents over the floor. "Crap. Shit. Piss." He took a moment to try and stop his hands from shaking and brought three bottles with him towards Miss D'angelo.

After preparing the blanket as requested he offered the dripping cloth to her by keeping it held up at his full length. He could reach over her head but he could no longer see exactly where the teacher was located. "Like this?" He inquired, with a tremble in his voice. He had done his best to work as fast as he could.

"Just like that, Oliver, perfect." Her voice was raspy, dry, and she wasted no time turning herself and backing into the blanket for him, reaching back to take the sides of the cloth and pull it over herself. For the first second or so, there was an audible hiss, steam rising out of the fabric. Reagan took each bottle in kind, the first two she poured over her head and back, and the third she took a drink from before splashing the rest on her arms. Wet, heated, and a little tired, she smiled at the boy. "Ready for school to start yet?" Morbid humor? Maybe, but her hand found his and gave it a light squeeze, still warm but not painfully hot as it might have been had anyone else but Cameron touched her earlier.

"It's time to end this show!" DJ said as the opening bars of 'We Are The Champions' Played with his right hand and rolled into a final large attack, that was thrown full blast from his left hand. He watched the head of the sentinel slide to an odd angle, with enough force they could finish it off permanently.

The robot crashed into the ground, dust immediately billowing out from under it, spreading in all directions. The concussive blast from Soundwave pushed its head in an awkward position. Were it a normal human the damage would've been fatal. It was a huge mechanical monstrosity though so despite its crooked neck it was still trying to regain its bearings and clawed at the ground to try and get back upright. The plating around its neck had come off slightly, though, and it was a clear weakness that had revealed itself in the form of wiring and circuitry. "Lethal force authorised. Last warning. Clear the field of operation or be fired upon." The voice was starting to crack up and distorted, like an old dusty cassette in a walkman with the batteries running low.

"Did someone" Jonathan smirked, rolling into the open. Where before only his hands were lit up with the sapphire flames, now the fire extended all the way up his arms to his shoulders. Concentrating all of his strength, he slammed both hands together and finally allowed himself to unleash more of his power than he had done in a long time. A veritable firestorm of superheated blue fire blasted out, slamming into the exposed sections of circuitry and wiring. Unprotected, the assault triggered several more secondary explosions in the head and torso. Within seconds, the giant robot's entire upper half was a smoking, torn-open wreck.

Claire skidded to a halt when the last signs of life escaped the robot's burning husk. She wobbled on her legs, couldn't remember the last time when she had done so many back to back teleports, and she had only gotten burnt once. Her heart was racing and her head was pounding as she came to a standstill against a wrecked train car. "Leave nothing. Whoever sent this thing shouldn't have the opportunity to salvage anything." She wasn't concerned with finding intel or chasing them. They had protected Oliver and it had shown that sending one of these things, even after a young harmless boy, had been pointless. She'd hoped that would be enough to dissuade follow-up. And if there was any to be had they'd be more ready, knowing how to fight it. Slowly she slid down the cold metal, legs simply giving out. "Just give me a minute to savour this moment." She put up a hand towards someone that immediately rushed to her aid.

Otis, seeing that Claire was injured, or fatigued, rushed to her aid but stopped a short distance away. Even now she showed such grace when it truly mattered. "The kids are safe," he said as his eyes roamed the battle scene. "We really need to go, the boys in blue will be here in no time," he stated matter-of-factly. He couldn't help but wonder if this hadn't been a mutant attack, would they already be here by now, providing aid to the injured and wounded?

There were times, Cam thought to himself, where he envied their chef's ability to be in multiple places at once. The occasional glance over his shoulder wasn't nearly enough to satiate his need to check on Reagan but there was a jet to fly and a group of people who needed returning to relative safety. With the preflight sequence quickly initiated, and the engines heralding imminent departure with a sudden roar of potential, the pilot leaned back to direct his attention out of the open hatchway towards the battlefield. "If you're not intending to walk home, let's pick up some speed!"


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