A/N: Appropriate title for how long this took to come out. It's shorter than I wanted, but I needed to bridge a gap and this is it. I don't own Titanfall, so enjoy.
Crumbling rubble and curses from the IMC recovery and response teams could be heard in what used to be a research outpost. As the work continued a small lull gave way to the residual embers smoldering in the remains of the IMC structure and surrounding plant life. The trees nearest to the building were crackling as they burned slowly through their cores. It was almost a peaceful setting.
If there wasn't a destroyed building and a line of body bags that was growing larger every ten minutes or so.
"Look, sir." One of the Grunts tried as he held a hand to his ear. "I know we were expecting to find M-Cor out here, but they bugged out. The only signs of life out here are native and unfortunately that wants to kill us too." As if to punctuate his point, a shot rang out and was followed by a bestial howl. A second shot soon followed and silence returned to the clearing.
The man squinted as he stared up at the sun. It was a hot day today, and some Brigadier General was personally manning the radios to make sure his own ass stayed secure. He hated politics.
"I understand sir, we are combing the area for the on-site black box." He listened with only half interest as the man gave him orders. "Understood, sir. I will report back as soon as we know something." The line went dead and he redirected his attention back to the work being done. He had a good two dozen men and women pushing debris and another ten on patrol to secure the area for any threats.
The Sargent made his way towards the focal point of the digging and swung his rifle around to his back while pulling on the strap to keep it there. Clapping his hands together he made a small show of getting everyone's attention. There was a moment of quiet before everyone began to comply and gathered around him. He looked out the corner of his eye and spotted a small grouping near another building that had not collapsed.
"Everyone, now that I have your attention." The Sargent began. "The great and wonderful BG has told us to make sure to find the black box and any survivors." He could hear a few groans. "More importantly, he wants us to determine where the rascals who had done this had gone off to." Planting his hands on his hips he looked around at the troops under his command. "We all know that is what our great leader, the Lieutenant, will come over here and repeat to us soon enough." There was a snort, which was covered by a cough.
"But I doubt she will leave the building over there, since it is hotter than the Devil's ass crack out here!" He paused to take in another breath. "So take a few to get some air in your tanks, and we will sort this whole thing out eventually." He raised his hand to one of the men on the side. "Hunter, get us some music. I can't work in silence."
There was a collective cheer from the men as they dug for their spare O2 canisters and dropped any of the extra gear they were carrying near the entrance to an inflating tent.
"Someone get that damned prefab finished!" The Sargent barked. "I doubt the El-Tee and her entourage want to share what precious oxygen is in that structure with the Help!"
It was a hot day in an area filled with poisonous gas, wouldn't do to overwork themselves and suffocate.
"What the fuck Hunter? We aren't playing Tetris! Change the damn music!"
"Quit your bitching! This shit is classic!"
The Sargent sighed, he wasn't being paid enough to babysit these clowns.
"Matt! Get your fuckin' head down!" An IMC Grunt nearly screamed as he grabbed at the other man on his team. "We gotta get to the rally point!"
"Are you kidding me?!" Matt yelled back as he rolled onto his side next to the other man. "Dan! The rest of our team is dead! The Militia is fuckin' 'ere!" He held up a hand and pointed towards the window. "The whole city is in on this now and we are in the Central District! We are eight different classes of fucked!"
"We can make it, man!" Dan yelled back at the other man as he looked around frantically. "Just… Come on, we can make it the last three blocks." He grunted as he pushed himself up to his knees. He peeked carefully over the window frame. Not many people were in the streets, smart, since the area was now a battleground.
Corpses littered the street and sidewalks of the IMC, Militia and even the civilians. Some of the bystanders had been caught up in the initial attack and had either fought or ran. It didn't take a genius to figure out who the civvies would start shooting at when the time came. Dan scooted away from the wall and cringed as his knee pads and boots scraped and crushed the bits of tile that was scattered around them.
"Fuck it! Let's go!" Matt shouted at his friend before they both clambered to their feet and sprinted for the back of the building. Quickly finding the exit, Dan lowered his shoulder and the wooden door shattered under the weight of the man in full combat gear. Hitting the alleyway pavement with a grunt he tried to roll with his momentum and get back on his feet.
Matt jumped over his downed teammate as he exited the building and his eyes took in as much as they could in their immediate area. They weren't surrounded, not an enemy in sight. He let out a breath as he helped his struggling friend onto his feet.
"C'mon, mate. We have places to be." The other man thanked him as the pair started their trek down the alley. The sounds of gunfire and explosions filled the air, almost drowning out the intercom systems telling people to stay home. The two men slowed down as they reached the end of the alley and each took a side and slowly peered around the corner.
"Clear over here."
"Same. For now." Matt replied. "Let's go before that changes." Dan grunted in acknowledgement and the pair nearly sprinted across the street to the next set of cover.
"Hey… You feel that?" Dan asked as the pair hugged the side of an office building. The multi-optical helmet of Matt turned to face his taller friend.
"Yeah. Shit, mate. That's a Titan." His voice dropped to a near whisper. "We need to get to a better position. We don't know if it's friendly or not."
"I got an idea." Dan responded and nodded towards the next building, it was a shopping complex that had an overpass of the road. They could easily go over that and not draw the attention of anyone to them.
No sooner had the pair entered the deserted building had a Militia Titan rounded the corner, searching for any remains of the garrison in this sector.
"This room, what is it?" Rusky asked White. The man had been giving them a brief tour of all the spaces they would utilize specifically for Hazard. "I can venture a guess but I don't want to assume."
"This is our memorial to the past Pilots of Hazard." White spoke to the trio behind him as he entered the darkened room. He hesitated slightly as he spotted Commander Roe kneeling in front of some incense. Lt. Turner was also present, his wheelchair parked in front of a few pictures.
"So we enter the Hall of the Dead." The large man from Earth spoke, Anthony, if White remembered correctly. His voice was hushed as he continued. "A wonderful tradition to honor our fallen family." He bowed his head slightly and closed his eyes.
The small female Pilot, Cassandra, gave him a weird look. White paid it no mind, the respect that the large Pilot for the dead earned him some brownie points. Didn't mean he would go easy on him during poker night.
"We tend to pay respects to our fallen Pilots before we go to battle, never know if we will join them." White waited until the trio had entered before closing the door behind them. "Look at the photos and ask about the fallen, how they lived and died. Familiarize yourself with the old Pilots, learn from them." White turned from them to silently approach a corner of the room.
Cassandra watched him sit down in front of a solitary wooden frame and proceeded to light several candles around it. A bottle was produced from somewhere and he placed it by the picture. She approached the seated man and could hear the slight murmuring of the others asking or even speculating about the other Pilots.
"Who was he?" Cassandra nearly whispered as she examined the man in the photo. "He looks a lot like you." White didn't make any move for a minute. He didn't seem surprised that anyone had come to talk to him.
"He was my twin, we both managed to enter Hazard together." White finally spoke up, he never budged an inch to look at her. "He was killed in an… accident a few years back." White nodded beside him, and Cassandra obliged him and dropped down quietly to listen.
"He was codenamed 'Able'. He was very confident and could complete anything. Always willing and able to assist." White was nearly whispering. "I had a problem and he was there to help me." White took a breath, it was shaky. "Something happened, and it earned me a name within Hazard finally. It's not White, I promise."
"What is it?"
"Kane." He looked pained from speaking the name.
She looked thoughtful for a moment.
"As in the man from the Christian Bible?"
"Yeah." His answer was nearly a whisper and she almost didn't catch it.
Anthony had been peering at a few of the photos with Rusky, they had exchanged a few words as to guessing at what the Pilot's had done for the IMC and how they had gone out. All the pictures had call signs written in the corner of each one, that was Anthony's guess, since he doubted a parent would name their child 'Ticker'.
They had made their way to where the Lieutenant had been parked in his wheelchair. He was staring at a few of the images intently. One of them was a young looking woman, there was a Pilot's Pin in the corner and no name. He swallowed hard and finally opened his mouth to speak.
"Sir, um, what is the significance of the pins? I've seen it on a few of them in here." He gestured lamely with his arm in a sweeping motion.
"They were Pilots who died on their first drop with Hazard." He answered them quietly. "They didn't have time to get a call sign." Rusky nodded and went to ask the next question.
"Did you know her?" At this, David turned to face the two new Pilots. Anthony could see the steel within them and the anguish.
"Yeah, we were inducted to Hazard at the same time." He turned away from the two newer Pilots and looked back at the photo. "We were both fresh out of the academy and were more than surprised to be chosen for a position in an elite team like this one.
His head turned back to face the pair, he regarded both of them carefully and chose his next words carefully.
"It's bad luck to lose a fresh Pilot on their first mission." Anthony could feel the man's eyes bore into him. "Some say luck follows till the end."
Anthony and Rusky were silent at his words, what could be said?
The door slid open and the new light brought their awareness to the new occupant.
"Pilots, new orders. We are dropping on Angel City."
"You know… At this point I might just actually beat the answers out of you." Isaac commented from his place in front of the mercenary, Slone. Her breathing was haggard as if she had been running for hours. Her head tipped forward and she was on her knees, held steady by two Specters. She spat a globule of blood onto one of his boots defiantly. He looked down at it in slight distaste before nodding.
One of the Specters that was holding her slammed a fist into her side. A rib cracked loudly, and she groaned in pain as she tried to double over. The Specter holding her other arm reached out and grabbed her by the back of her head. Yanking it back and forcing her to straighten up.
"I'll give you some credit, for being resistant to this physical abuse." Martin admitted as he approached her and knelt down to look her in the eye. "But now you have at least one broken rib, and you know what that means." He placed a hand on the shattered bone and he could feel her tense up under his touch. "Are you ready for the pain I could inflict on you?" He asked her.
The only sound that could be heard for a few moments was the heavy breathing through her nose. She was coiled and ready to strike, but couldn't escape the literal vice grip of the two machines. Her eyes flickered over to the other pair of Specters standing watch behind Isaac. They were armed with SMGs and were watching her closely. It almost seemed human the way they did it.
"I know how the body functions quite well, you know." He started to apply some pressure to her rib. "Just enough push from me can-"
The man was cut off from what he was going to say next as there was a series of shouts and an alarm started blaring. Judging by the sound it was a local alarm, not a ship-wide one. Straightening from his position he made his way back to the metal table and slid his data pad over. Tapping a few commands on his pad he checked in with security to see what was going on. Text began to flow over the screen as the reports were flowing up to the Captain.
There was a prison riot.
"What do you mean a cell broke free?" Captain Richards asked with barely restrained anger. "You don't have long to explain, Lieutenant." The other man paled quickly as he looked over from his station.
"Sir, reports are still coming in, but the security attempted to stop a small fight within a cell. The prisoners subdued them and are trying to release the others!" The Captain looked at him for a few moments deciding his next course of action.
"Herd them back into their cell, use lethal force if they don't comply." He cupped his chin in his hand in thought, his finger idly tapping at his nose. "Reduce the oxygen levels in the other cells to minimum levels to sustain consciousness. We don't want them to be strong enough to join in on this riot." The Lieutenant hesitated as he tried to process what the Captain had ordered him. "I didn't stutter, Lieutenant. I want these orders complied with, or do we take pity on terrorists now?"
"Aye, aye, sir!" The man barked out as he opened a comm link to the security teams. "All security teams, direct the prisoners to return to their cell or be met with lethal force. I repeat…"
Captain Richards tuned him out as he looked to another deck hand. A brief gesture brought her quickly over.
"After the riot is settled, have the rations of the prisoners quartered. They apparently have too much energy and we could do with feeding our people more than them." The woman nodded quickly before heading off to comply with her new orders. He sighed as he returned to what he was previously doing, an open link with Captain Van Doorn.
The other IMC Captain didn't look very amused with the chaos that was unfolding within the larger ship, nor with the literal clusterfuck they had all jumped into. Van Horn made his annoyance very clear as he scratched at his chin.
"This whole operation is a mess, Richards." Said Captain narrowed his eyes dangerously. "Think-Tank is interfering too much with our operations and it seems that Seven is losing his touch with command."
"You will watch how you speak of the chain, Captain." Richards growled before sending a sharp look to the nearest of the deck crew. The young man wasn't paying him much attention. "Discrepancies will be dealt with after we get a proper moment to evaluate the situation and distance our men from Think-Tank." The Captains would never admit it, using codewords to talk about their superiors and affiliates was slightly paranoid. But when General Marder was involved, it never hurt to be more careful.
"I understand, Captain." Van Horn responded tersely. "But to make sure you have what you need, I'll be sending some marines your way to help control the brig. I did have a hand in overloading it with that scum." He shrugged at Richards before the two nodded once and the line cut.
"Sir!" The deckhand came back. "Riots have been isolated and the last of the Titan squads have deployed." The man looked at his data pad. "We just need to properly suppress them and get them back to their cells."
"Thank you for the report, Ensign." Captain Richards nodded as he turned to the tactical display before him.
"David." Turner's head didn't turn as he synced himself into the suit with Hannah. "Lokale Berichte deuten darauf hin, dass eine Elite-Miliz Präsenz in der Hauptkampfzone hat." David nodded as he checked in with the roster. "Diese Berichte haben auch gezeigt, dass diejenigen, die mit Pilot Lincoln verbunden sind, zu dieser Gruppe gehören."
David's hand stopped near a switch, it was frozen in place as his mind replayed the last few moments of the battlefield near the Odyssey.
"Kannst du auf das Signal zugreifen?"
"Ja." There was a pause. "Ich habe die Befehle geändert, die an Commander Roe gesendet wurden, unser Drop ist jetzt in ihrem Standort." David looked up at the internal camera that Hannah could use to see him. "Sie weiß es nicht."
"Alright, Pilots!" Roe's voice cut in through the radios. "We just received orders that there is a Militia task force that is skirting the edges of the main engagement zone." Several murmurs could be heard over the radios. "We are tasked with eliminating the group and recovering anything they may have gotten their hands on. Time for some headhunting!"
There was a resounding cry of confirmation and excitement. David managed to flip the switch that closed his hatch. The pod darkened as it pressurized and the panels in front of him flickered to life as Hannah's camera pieced the external world together for him to see.
"Standby for Titanfall!" Spyglass' voice resonated within the command pod of David's Titan. He could feel his every breath ringing in his ears. Each one more deafening than the last. His eyes lost focus on what was in front of him, everything seemed to slow to a standstill and everything blurred.
David's world lurched as they dropped from the ship and into orbit.
Post A/N: Whelp, there you have it. The literal struggle of my writing career. I had to fight my way through writer's block for Titanfall. Real world business and video games. Lol. I hope that this chapter wasn't too underwhelming. I hope to be coming out with them more regularly. Other than that... Remember Pilots! Keep on keepin' on!
"Local reports have suggested an elite Militia presence is making it's way around the main combat zone."
"These reports have also indicated that those associated with Pilot Lincoln are amongst this group."
"Can you lock onto the signal?"
"I have altered the orders sent to Commander Roe, our drop is now in their location."
"She does not know."