As the door hissed open ice steel grey eyes looked up from the report they were reading, pinning the young blonde man with a glare.
"I trust this disruption is warranted?"
Visibly steeling himself the younger man nodded. "You wanted to know firsthand when the attacks were beginning. They just started the first wave."
Taking a deep cleansing breath, the grey eyes narrowed. "And the preliminary reports say what exactly?"
Licking his lips nervously, ice blue eyes darting around the commander's office of the jump ship, the young man hesitated slightly. "The reports are coming back as complete surprise your Grace."
Leaning back the man laced his weather beaten and scarred fingers behind his head. "You would think that as the next in line for a throne, you would have been taught how to lie better."
Slamming his hands down on the desk in front of him the man launched to his feet, yelling. "What are you not telling me?!"
The young prince took an involuntary step backwards. "There is one planet sir."
Taking yet another deep calming breath, the older man clenched his hands into fists on the desk and leveled a look at the young prince. "What planet would that be?"
"Orphus III, sir."
The breath he had taken in was released in a slow his. "And what is special about this planet, other than the fact that it is supposed to be your family's final resting place."
"Well sir....there is some...resistance."
"Resistance? What do you mean, 'resistance'?"
"Unit 5, fall back! All points are being over-run. Command has given the evacuation order."
"Control, this is Unit 5. With all due respect, if we fall back now, no one is getting off this rock alive. We're all that you have between this screaming horde and the launch pad." Cpt. Mykal McDaniel went quiet for a moment as he deftly maneuvered the bulk of his combat 'Mech to sidestep a pair of infantry launched anti-armor rockets. Grimacing as the legs of his 'Mech were peppered by mostly ineffectual machinegun fire, he re-keyed his transmitter. "You better get out of here Control. It's gonna get really ugly, really fast in a little bit." Wincing at the burst of light as one of his last comrades fell, the machine he once controlled turning into a small star before his 'Mech's light compensation cut in. "Probably faster than even that" Mykal thought to himself.
Rapidly cycling through targets and firing, he was focused on stopping as many of the armored vehicles as his cybernetics enhanced control s would let him, causing a pile up of wrecked machines and bodies. "Keep the line, Myk, keep the line." He chanted the mantra in his mind, fighting for the life of his ruler and their kingdom.
His last remaining squad-mate called over the private unit com-link. "Myk, as much as I love a good fight, we are so fragged. We are now officially the only two people willing to fight this losing battle."
Chuckling as his rockets stopped another mobile artillery, he responded to his oldest friend and second in command. "L.T., how many times have I told you to not use my first name on the unit line? Besides, this isn't a losing battle. This is a glorious defense of the crown. We'll be heroes. "
"Well, Sir, I figured since it was only the two of us, first names wouldn't be a big deal. " LT Fred Davidson chuckled. "I can see the news feeds now, 'Cpt. McDaniel and Lt Davidson single handedly faced down the Carthanian invasion force in their light scout/intercept 'Mechs, allowing for the safe evacuation of the royal family. They were quoted shortly before being turned into burning plasma as saying: "What the Hades, why not? There's nothing on the vid tonight anyway."'
Mykal laughed as his 'Mech kicked the burning shell of a light tank back towards the invading forces. "Yeah, I'm sure they'll even spell my name right for..." He was cut off as a high pitched warble came from his threat radar. Glancing down not once but twice and flinching at what he was reading, he immediately sobered. "Son of Zeus. Game's over Freddie."
The chuckling on the other line died in an instant. "Please tell me I'm not seeing what my readout is telling me."
The deep glaring red of a threat that was calculated as un-beatable and something to be run from at all costs stared the Captain in the face. One of them was a threat his complete unit would have run from without support. The five identical symbols on his readout set off warning bells unlike any he had heard before. "Yeah, five of them. The scaly bastards actually put five of them on the same planet. " At his mental command, his readout started dumping information on the targets into his head. At 400 tons of armor and weapons, Omnis, as they were dubbed, were the most destructive creations to walk on land.
As a concentrated beam of light lanced out from Fred's 'Mech, incinerating a light tank, he spoke up. "This ain't right Myk. They have never put more than one in an attack, and we've only ever stopped 'em once. Something is seriously fucked right now, what did we get stuck in?"
Seeing only seven moving icons on his scopes, Mykal was quiet for a moment. "They knew. They knew the family was here. They are hoping to crush us in this one strike." Swallowing the bile and burn in his gut, "We are the last two things protecting the Family Freddie." Switching the com channel to the command line, he keyed his communicator. "Command, how's that evac going?"
A new voice crackled over the line. "What the hell are you still doing out there, why aren't you on your way back?"
"Because if the two of us can keep what's coming busy enough, you might live to get in the air." Fred snapped at the man on the other side of the line.
"You two can't seriously be considering attacking that force, are you?"
"You're damn right we are." Mykal broke in. "You better get your ass out of here. Transfer control of the wall defense to my 'Mech and get the hell out of here. You better survive, cause if I'm throwing my life away, someone better live to tell the story." As the command controls were transferred one by one, Mykal's mind started whirring, synapses burning in ways they never had before, the amount of information being dumped into his brain making his vision spin for a moment. He got a chilling feeling in the base of his spine as he could begin to feel the tell-tale signs of synaptic overload, the nearly always fatal condition that occurred when too much electrical data was pumped into the brain by the synaptic interface to his 'Mech's computers. "Not like I'm going to live much longer anyway." He sighed to himself.
He heard a faint mutter from Freddie over the line, probably not being meant to broadcast. "Davidov better personally speak at our service for this."
"Don't worry son, I will." Was the soft reply from the voice on the command frequency.
Both Mykal and Fred mentally choked on that, and Fred's 'Mech even stumbled a bit.
"You're Highness?" Mykal asked quietly.
"That's right son, I'm not leaving until all of my people that are alive get out."
Swallowing a small lump in his throat, "You better get out of here your Highness. No point in throwing away your life for a couple of scout pilots. The country needs you to re-build after this. We can't lose you."
"My ass." Came the snorting reply. "I'm going to stay till you fall, if you fall. I'm sure there is something you can do with the wall artillery."
With mention of the defensive guns Mykal's brain was reminded of the burn from all the telemetry data in his head. "Your Highness, get to the evac, we'll be inbound as soon as I get a salvo off. L.T., I need you to circle around so you have a straight run for the base. When I give the signal, link your targeting laser to me and light up the right flank, I'll double tag the lead and right flanker."
"Myk, your head can't-'
"Just do it Lieutenant!" Mykal snapped, his head starting to throb.
"Yes Sir!" was the whispered reply as Fred moved his machine to a better firing location.
"Once you fire, drop your laser and beat feet back to base, don't stop, don't wait, and whatever you do, don't come back, no matter what!"
"Got it." came the disgruntled reply.
As the Omni's drew closer, already Mykal's threat detection started wailing, telling him he was in danger of being locked on to. As the left most Omni stepped into range of his targeting laser, he yelled over the com unit. "Light 'em up!" and he set his two targeting lasers on the pre-selected targets. Clenching his jaw as the targeting data for his two lasers and his lieutenant's one laser came streaming into his computer, a lance of fire seared his brain. Milliseconds later the pain tripled as the targeting information transferring to the nearly one hundred plasma cannon batteries at the defensive line came through. An eternally painful second later, a slight tone confirming lock chimed and Mykal slammed his thumb into the master fire button, screaming into the com at the same time. "RUN!!"
Dropping his connections to Fred's 'Mech, and the defensive guns, he wheeled his 'Mech around and slammed the accelerator to full speed. Looking up, he saw Fred's 'Mech already ahead of him and pulling away slightly. Despite having cut the connection to the extra inputs, the burn in his head had only lessened slightly, and was already starting to worsen. Fighting the wave of blackness that he knew was coming, he saw the sheet of star-bright fire lance over his head, a wave of destruction cresting into the massive oncoming machines. Already dazed from the overload, the destruction behind him made it impossible for his 'Mech to maintain its footing and was slammed to the ground and skidded to a halt, it's pilot near comatose, it's systems shutting down one by one due to sensory overload and impact damage.
As he felt the darkness come over him, Mykal was able to pull a last readout from his overtaxed brain and synaptic connection.
Where once five stood, now only one faint and failing energy source remained. Surrounded by the thermal reading of a molten battlefield, the energy source died out. A slight smile tugged at his lips. "For the Crown..." he thought as oblivion claimed him.