2nd January 3041
New year, new me... so they say… Artemis 'Maul' Kurian thought to herself, her lithe body leaning against the hard titanium-steel alloy armour of her Wolverine 6K's right leg, her arms crossed as her right shoulder rested her weight against her metal giant protector, her right leg crossed behind her left, her heel sticking up with the balls of her feet on the ground. The hot, poorly-conditioned temperature of the mech bay she and her metal behemoth stood in was just about every bit as disappointing and backwater as she would expect out of a spaceport in the Periphery, capital planet or not.
She found herself reaching behind her to the mech behind her. Her right hand grazed along the rough jagged surface of its damaged armour. A mech's feet rarely took direct fire from the enemy, but were also subject to projectiles from explosions. As a result, they rarely had armour replacements but were far from pristine. She stroked a small crater just above the mech's ankle joint. She had been through a lot with the mech; built an entire mercenary unit from scratch together, and watched it all fall apart together.
Standing at 5'10, the ethnic Japanese mechwarrior wore baggy beige coloured cargo pants with a plain black dri-fit shirt. Her body's shape was slender with a gentle curve around her chest, her shoulders and waist elegant and thin. Her long black ponytail flowed down from her high ponytail to past her hips. Her face had a strong jawline, with high cheekbones and fair smooth skin.
Some lovely new me indeed, eh? Her eyes looked to Captain Roy of the Exiled Hell Jumpers, whose battle-scarred face was looking as grim as ever. "So this is how it all ends, huh?" A strained smile akin to that of a citizen of the ancient city of Pompeii cracked along her face.
Her mercenary unit, Hell Juggernauts', was nothing but bad news. Their last contract in the Inner Sphere had utterly skewered their fighting force, leaving just the Wolverine-6K and Phoenix Hawk-1K, along with just 2 platoons of Roy's company. Clearly unable to successfully take a good contract in the Inner Sphere, they moved into the Outworld Alliance, hoping to strike a gold mine. The Periphery took its turn to take a swing at them, though, and their dropship, tech crew and anything or anyone who wasn't on the battlefield during their mission on Mitchella, a planet in the Alliance, was kidnapped and taken by some unknown pirate gang..
"Ain't over yet, boss. The Hell Jumpers' still got one more mission in 'em." Roy's arms were crossed, his eyes on the steel giant behind her, his voice a low grunt. His shoulders were stiffened up in a stance that was seeping with military experience, while hers were slumped with exhaustion and resignation written all over them, a clear reflection of her expectations for their future.
"I don't know if the Juggernaut's got another mission in her." Artemis stared at Roy's weary expression, and let off a gentle sigh.
Roy's right eye twitched, and his gaze turned to her. His eyes spoke of disappointment in a once proud warrior. "Third time's the charm."
Artemis rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "Third knockout blow's a TKO."
"Artemis." Roy's head cocked to a side ever so gently, as he took a step towards her. He paused for a few seconds, then stretched out his right arm towards her. Artemis resisted the urge to slap the hand away; Roy knew the boundaries, and she trusted him not to cross any. His hand slowly drifted towards her left torso, and opened up to grasp her left shoulder, but stopped himself from making physical contact with her. His right hand instead hovered just above her shoulder. "We've got this. You...'ve got this." His bright blue eyes stared into her very soul, dead serious, sending every nerve of the veteran Mechwarrior flying over the moon.
Her mind raced, shocks of adrenaline rolling across her body. Encouragement from her infantry captain was unprecedented. Despite their 2 years together as comrades in battle both on and off the battlefield, she had never seen him act this way before. Facing off against an Atlas would make her less nervous that she was right now. She tried to respond, but felt her throat stiffen up and just leave her out to dry. "I... wha..." Roy has always either been serious or laid-back, completely and utterly binary. Why's he going cheerleader on me now? He must really want us to get off the ground and get pounded a third time on the battlefield…
She raised her right hand, her fingers pushing his hand away from her thin shoulder blades. She shifted her weight off her Wolverine, walking away from the captain. Her hands rose up to her head, running her fingers through her slick jet black hair. "We can't. We don't have a dropship anymore, we lost a crap ton of infantry, the two Manticores aren't with us anymore, the Phoenix Hawk's cockpit still has a hole where…
Look, Hell's Juggernauts is screwed. Unless you've got one more bloody magical miracle to pull out your ass, [i]and[/i] another Mechwarrior, we're done." She turned back 'round to face him. The distance between the two leaders was now about 2 metres, and they began locking themselves back into a lasting exchange of eye contact. An awkward silence descended, as both wait for the other to offer up a proposal of future plans.
Roy just stood there, hands on his hips. His baggy green fatigues gently swayed with the wind of the mech bay's fans. Finally, he sighed. "I'll see if I can cook up some sort of turnaround for us. Maybe find some tech who isn't ready to watch a Kurita give up on herself." He turned to walk away, right hand sliding up to rub his temple.
Artemis rolls her eyes. "It's Kurian. I'm not a Kurita dammit!"
"Keep telling yourself that."