I don't own Armored Core or any of the characters except for John Hunter

I sat in my AC cockpit waiting for my opponent to appear. This was my first time in an AC, but I could already tell that it was about as basic as you could get. I hoped that it wouldn't take me long to get earn enough credits to upgrade it.

Then my opponents appeared. "What the!? Hey, they said one AC, not two!" They had sent a pair of ACs into battle against me. "No matter," I said to myself.

I boosted at the first, slashing with my laserblade while firing Pulse Rifle shots at the other. "Die, you piece of junk!" The laserblade simply annihilated the first enemy, while I destroyed the second with a head shot.

"Too easy." I said.

Then, over the com, I heard: "The test is over. From this moment on, you are... a Raven."

Maybe I should back up a bit and explain. My name is John "Jack" Ian Hunter, known amongst the Ravens as Wraith, pilot of the Armored Core, or AC, Phantom. Anyone reading this is no doubt familiar with the Ravens, the organization of mysterious mercs who pilot ACs. I joined up partially in order to kill the top-ranked Raven known as Hustler One, pilot of 9-Ball. He killed my entire family, you see. I didn't care if he was the strongest Raven ever. I just knew that he had murdered my family and I would kill him. The main reason I joined up, though, was the money. Simple as that. I earned a good amount of credits and did what I liked to do, at the same time. But don't get me wrong. I was choosy about my missions, and still am. I didn't favor any particular client, I just did things on the basis of right and wrong. I have no problems with vigilante justice, because I can often catch those that the law can't touch.

After I completed the entrance test, I registered my AC as Phantom and sold all its original parts. Thanks to a loan from a Raven by the name of White Queen, I was able to buy the proper parts to construct a light-weight death-mobile. As befits an AC called Phantom (not to mention my own alias), I had it painted a charcoal gray, to blend in with surroundings. (Anyone familiar with ACs knows that black stands out like a sore thumb.) For weapons, it was equipped with an LS-99-MOONLIGHT Laserblade on the left arm, and a Karasawa Laser Rifle on the right. The back weapons were, on the right, railgun, and on the left, a grenade launcher for the really hairy situations. The only optional parts I felt necessary were a missile jammer and an Optic/ Radar Camouflage unit. With that, I was ready for my first real mission.

This came about when the Zam City Guard requested that I clear some squatters out of a factory they were about to restore. Since they were armed and dangerous, there was no need to leave them alive to create more problems. When I arrived at the scene, I immediately activated the muscle-tracer system ( which enables you to fight as if you were not in the AC, as the AC mimics your movements) and went into battle. I quickly activated my stealth gear and ran around the first corner, thus ambushing the first MT. It was dispatched with a rapid stab from the Laserblade, while I continued down the factory hall. The next opponent, a crane with a laser cannon where the crane head ought to have been, was bit trickier, as my stealth gear chose that moment to go on the fritz. I boosted out of the way of the first shot, ducked the second, and finally got fed up and fed the cannon a bullet from my railgun. With that out of the way, I turned left and almost ran into the next enemy, a dormant heavy MT. Before it could power-up, I shot it in the head with my Karasawa. I boosted down the corridor and fired a grenade at the nearest wall. Boom! No more MT. According to radar, there were just two heavy MTs left, but I wasn't about to trust it. Right then my stealth came back on, and I snuck up on the next MT. Hack 'n slash, and there's another burnt hulk. I flew to where the radar said the last MT was, and fired one more grenade.

"Target of operation cleared. System switched to normal mode." With that, the mission was complete.