Tale: 24 - Ensign Arthur Raynor - MRC-F20 SUMO - Relics from the Past

Ensign Arthur Raynor was somewhat less than pleased with his current assignment. He considered it a substantial waste of his abilities. He was a member of the elite Royal Guard and one of only a handful left on the Moon after Queen Diana went to the Earth. It was his purpose to protect the White Palace not to go off on some stupid survey mission. However the order had come from directly from Harry Ord and Arthur was not about to start disobeying the Queen's personal bodyguard.

An asteroid known as M-O-V.I had a very erratic orbit around the Earth Sphere and for the first time in thousands of years it had gotten close enough to the Moon for an expedition to be sent to it. The Moonrace's various scientists and astronomers had shown a great interest in M-O-V.I for reasons that were quite beyond Arthur. All he knew was that he'd been assigned to the Aspite cruiser dispatched by General Ghingnham to investigate the asteroid. Naturally Arthur had encountered hostility from Ghingnham's pilots on the cruiser. They were famously arrogant and abrasive and this group were certainly living up to their reputation.

"Raynor there will be no need for you to launch," barked Edmund Curran, the leader of the Aspite's Mahiroo squadron. "It is just a simple fly by. We don't need the Royal Guard butting their heads in where they aint wanted."

"I will be the judge of that Curran," replied Arthur sharply. Queen Diana's Royal Guard had a great deal of autonomy within the Moonrace military structure. Arthur easily had the authority to do what he pleased on this mission.

Curran didn't reply. Instead his Mahiroo stormed out of the hanger followed by eight more of the dome headed machines. Arthur gave them a few minutes head started before following them. It wouldn't be a wise idea to antagonise Curran too much. However Arthur didn't want the Ghingnham pilot to think he was a push over.

The asteroid was a big black beast that filled Arthur's monitors. It was a lot larger than he expected at roughly one hundred miles in length. Long range visual scans from the Aspite had discovered several fissures that could lead into the interior of the asteroid. The SUMO's own sensors showed that the Mahiroos were heading towards the largest of these fissures. Arthur triggered his thrusters to help him catch up with the Mahiroos. He did not want to let them out of his sight.

Suddenly a wall of interference sprang up around the asteroid. The SUMOs sensors no longer detected the asteroid let alone the Mahiroos near it. Visually Arthur could just about make out the silver mobile suits. He swore to himself quite violently. Clearly this was not a natural phenomenon; something on the asteroid was generating an interference field. That could only mean that someone had got to the asteroid first since it was extremely unlikely that there was anyone resident.

Before long Arthur's SUMO passed through the interference field. Instantly communication was cut off with the Aspite and he was down to just visual sensor information. He noted that the Mahiroos were just milling around at the opening to the fissure. Obviously Curran was hesitant to carry on without instant support from the cruiser.

"What's the matter Curran? Too chicken to go in and take a look?" sneered Arthur. The message barely got through. The interference was affecting local radio communication as well. Arthur increased his thrusters to two thirds max output and sailed passed the silver mobile suits into the fissure. Incensed by the slur Curran led his team into the fissure as well.

After the wide open spaces of space the fissure was surprisingly claustrophobic for Arthur. After descending for a couple of hundred meters the fissure began narrowing. It got quite snug in places but the SUMO was able to comfortably fit through. Eventually the rock walls gave way to metal plating. More and more of it appeared before, after a few minutes, Arthur reached the 'bottom' of the fissure. The SUMO gently touched down on the metal floor and Arthur was forced to activate a light because of the darkness. A quick survey of the area revealed several mobile suit sized doors radiating off from the main room.

"Raynor, what is meaning of this?" barked Curran as his Mahiroo descended into the room quickly followed by the rest of his team. "There isn't supposed to be anything like this here."

"I don't know Edmund," replied Arthur. He was already forming his own ideas about that he was seeing. "I've got a feeling that we've just discovered something very old." Next to one of the mobile suit doors he found what looked like an control panel. With a careful hand movement the SUMO pressed the controls. After a few seconds of rumbling the door slowly opened. "I think we should have a look around. I'll take this door."

Before he received an answer he set the SUMO to walk into the dark abyss. There was even less light behind the door than there was in the main chamber. The light on the SUMO scarcely seemed sufficient. However the beam of light was already illuminating objects. They were, on the whole, mobile suit shaped. Some had a green paint scheme others were blue and yet more were purple. The purple ones had an additional backpack that appeared to have directional thrusters on them. A lot of them were also sporting damage consistent with heavy fighting. The beam of light fell on a pile of broken mobile suit parts in the corner of the massive room. Next to it was an extensive pile of weapons ranging from machineguns to bazookas to strange looking long barrelled rifles.

A little further into the room Arthur found a data bank of computers. Using the SUMOs systems he hacked into the ancient computers. Information soon filled his monitors. Some of it had been corrupted and was illegible but one bit come through in the clear. "After Colony 196: The launching of resource satellite MO VI into the Sun sees an end to the horrific age of mobile suits. May Humanity For Ever Live In Peace." Arthur read aloud. He couldn't help but think how wrong they were. Just by looking at the damaged mobile suits Arthur could tell that these people had been involved in some heavy fighting. It looked as though they had tried to solve their problems by simply throwing away their mobile suits. However that had backfired quite spectacularly. Some how this MO VI had missed the Sun and had finally returned to the Earth Sphere. He made sure to download as much information as possible since any scrap could be useful in the future.

"Sirs. I've found something odd," reported Kim Jong. Radio communication seemed unaffected by the earlier interference inside the asteroid.

"What is it, Kim?" asked Curran. "Mobile suits? I've found plenty of them."

"Sort of sir," replied Kim uncertainly. "They don't appear to have any cockpits...hey wait one of them moved...what the..."

The communication was cut off by a rather loud explosion that rippled through the asteroids interior. Immediately Arthur turned his SUMO around and had it running back to the main chamber. As his silver mobile suit pounded through the massive doors he'd opened earlier he almost ran straight into two black mobile suits. They were of a rather bulky and crude construction with huge round shoulders; mounted on their right arms appeared to be some sort of cannon. As the SUMO approached both the black mobile suits turned around and point their cannons. On the right shoulder a hatch opened and something began charging up. Instinctively Arthur activated the IF generator mounted on his left arm. The I-Field barrier formed just moments before the two cannons fired. The yellow beams were a lot more powerful than Arthur expected and he thought that perhaps his field wouldn't be able to withstand them.

Fortunately the field stood strong. Rather than risk a reactor detonation at such close range Arthur activated his heat fan rather than his beam gun. Using his superior manoeuvrability he plunged his heat fan deep into one of the black mobile suits. The armour plating melted under extreme heat and with a small explosion the mobile suit crumpled into a heap. Just as swiftly he decapitated the other mobile suit which promptly stopped moving.

Standing over the destroyed mobile suits Arthur could see that they did not have cockpits just as Kim had said. He had heard of remote controlled mobile suits before but none that were being used at the moment. That led him to conclude that this whole asteroid was a relic from the Dark History, considering the orbit of the asteroid, maybe even before. This made things very difficult. It was hard to predict such old technology. Even more so if someone was controlling these machines by remote though Arthur had a hard time believing anyone else was actually on the asteroid.

"Curran, I think it's time we left," said Arthur. He could see into the chamber where the black mobile suits had come from. More and more of them were activating and marching towards to entrance.

"I do not run from my enemies," fumed Curran as his Mahiroo returned to the central chamber. "That might be what they do in the Royal Guard but not in our unit."

"I do not doubt your bravery," snapped Arthur. "But this place is too cramped for your Mahiroos. These things aren't very manoeuvrable but they are pretty powerful. If we get them out into open space you'll take them apart."

"Agreed," grumbled Curran. "Come on men draw them out of the asteroid and we'll show them what we are made of!"

The Mahiroos began retreating back up the fissure as quickly as they could. Arthur had to admit that Ghingnham's soldiers were very brave but they weren't stupid either. There was a distinct tactical disadvantage in fighting inside the asteroid. Six of the black mobile suits clunked into the main chamber just as Arthur's SUMO took off up the fissure. They fired as soon as they detected the silver mobile suit but fortunately Arthur was clear long before the beams reached where his suit had been. Naturally they gave chase but despite their best efforts they were unable to hit the SUMO in the fissure.

After several minutes of frantic flying the SUMO emerged into space. It was an exhilarating experience of Arthur. The sense of freedom was palpable and very sweet indeed. However he knew full well that he couldn't relax yet. Moments later the six black mobile suits emerged from the fissure as well. Immediately Curran's Mahiroos set upon them. Arthur was suitable impressed by the display of individual flying skill. The first black mobile suit was downed by a pin point shot that ripped through the shoulder mounted generator which caused the whole machine to explode. The next was felled by a rather martial kick to the head that destroyed the control mechanism.

Arthur himself quickly joined the proceedings with his beam gun blazing away. Three shots hit one of the black mobile suits in the chest causing it to explode violently. The cannons mounted on them gave them impressive firepower but in the openness of space the Moonrace mobile suits had the advantage in movement. As if to prove the point the remaining black suits were quickly dispatched with little fuss.

"What now Royal Guard?" asked Curran harshly. "There were hundreds of those things down there. You can't expect us to fight them piecemeal like this. It'll get boring quickly."

"I'm sure they'll give us plenty to worry about," said Arthur. He was right. Before his words had even stopped more and more of the black mobile suits were emerging from the fissure. First six, then twelve, the twenty-two, then forty-eight. A seemingly endless torrent spewed forth. Increasingly there were brown mobile suits as well; they were of similar design to the black ones but they had some sort of booster on their backs and lacked the built in beam cannon. "This enough of a challenge for you Curran?"

Curran snorted before speaking. "It's a start. Maybe the brown ones will be more of a challenge." Before a shot could be fired strange red disks began popping off the shoulders of the enemy mobile suits. A blue energy field arced between the disks linking them all together. Curran took aim with his shield mounted beam gun and fired. The powerful yellow beam struck the energy field a few meters in front of the enemy mobile suits and fizzled out. "Now it's a challenge." The Moonrace mobile suits immediately scattered as the asteroid mobile suits let rip with a massive barrage.

"I-Field up. Set to auto reaction. Auto on!" Arthur barked. Even on the auto reaction setting his I-Field generator could only provide so much protection. He squeezed off a couple of shots that were easily deflected by the energy field. As far as he could tell it was quite different from the I-Field generated by his own SUMO. One of the brown mobile suits suddenly appeared from behind and lunged at Arthur's suit with a beam sabre in hand. Instinctively Arthur went for his heat fan; the super heated blade went straight through the energy field and pierced the mobile suit's reactor. He jetted away before the reactor exploded.

Off to his left Arthur noticed a Mahiroo firing on one of the black mobile suits. The beam was naturally repulsed but Arthur spotted that the energy field had to be entirely directed in one location. Leaving it vulnerable to a rear attack. Dancing his SUMO to avoid incoming fire Arthur waited for the Mahiroo to fire again. When it did Arthur seized the moment to deliver a killing blow.

"Everyone coordinate your attacks. The energy field can't cover every direction at once," he ordered. Promptly his heat fan sliced a black mobile suit in half as it tried to take aim at one of the Mahiroos.

"Sir, you can destroy the disks if you sh..." the communication was cut off as a beam tore through the armour plating protecting the Mahrioo's cockpit. Arthur swore violently and chased after the machine that had killed his comrade. He fired two shots with his beam gun. The first was deflected by the energy field but the second struck one of the disks which promptly exploded. At that moment the field around the enemy mobile suit failed letting Arthur riddle its torso with more beams.

Arthur knew things weren't going well. There were just far too many of the enemy machines. The survey mission had only been given a handful of mobile suits and losses were mounting. If the enemy machines were remotely operated there had to be a central control point somewhere in the asteroid. He pulled up the information he'd obtained from the asteroid's computer banks and tried to find something relevant. It was, however, difficult to concentrate on the information while constantly having to avoid enemy fire. Then he spotted a schematic of the asteroid; near the centre was a room marked Mobile Doll Control Centre. That seemed as good a target as any.

"Curran! I think I know how to stop these things," yelled Arthur as he gunned down another enemy mobile suit. "Help me clear a path back to the fissure. I need to get inside."

"I hope you know what you are doing," remarked Curran as he and his remaining Mahiroos joined up with Arthur. The five machines formed a rough vee formation and charged towards the fissure at full thrust. The shield mounted beam guns of the Mahiroos flared repeatedly. Most of the shots were deflected by the energy fields surrounding the enemy mobile suits however a couple were able to slip through and cause significant damage.

As they neared the mouth of the fissure the Mahiroos split off allowing Arthur's SUMO to descend. The SUMO hurtled down at a far greater pace than when it had first ventured into the darkness. This time Arthur had his heat fan ready and it came in handy about half way down. A pair of the brown mobile suits were heading up the fissure and so when the three machines crossed paths Arthur lashed out. His heat fan succeeded in cut one of the brown mobile suits clean in half while the other was mortally wounded.

The central chamber, at the bottom of the fissure, was surprisingly empty apart from the destroyed mobile suits from earlier. This made it a lot easier to Arthur to navigate his way to the Mobile Doll Control Centre. He had to travel through a rabbit warren of corridors, tunnels and passageways some of which were scarcely big enough for his SUMO to fit down.

Eventually he reached his destination and found it guarded by a quartet of the black mobile suits. Immediately Arthur started firing with his beam gun. He was able to knock out the energy field for one of them and then blast it's head off but by then the other three had opened fire. His I-Field generator kicked in and blocked the shots but it was under a great deal of strain to repulse the three powerful beam at point blank range. As the black mobile suits stopped firing to recharge Arthur took the opportunity to leap forward. With his heat fan out stretched he plunged the super heated blade down into one of the enemy mobile suits. Unfortunately the black mobile suit next to it recharged its cannon faster than Arthur anticipated.

The blast vaporised the SUMOs left arm taking the heat fan and the I-Field generator with it. The sudden loss of the limb caused the SUMO to loose its balance and fall to the ground with a metallic clunk. Arthur grumbled at his own stupidity but was rewarded with a golden opportunity. From the ground he could see through the enemies defences to his target. While the two remaining black mobile suits took aim he swung his beam gun around and let rip at the Mobile Doll Control Centre facility. After the beams penetrated the flimsy outer metal walls they found no resistance and quite happily trashed the inner mechanisms.

The effect was almost instantaneous; the black mobile suits stopped dead in their tracks. Arthur suspected that the same was happening outside the asteroid. He would have to get in touch with Curran soon but he had one last job to do. After getting the SUMO back up on its feet he set it on course to another part of the asteroid. He'd noted on the schematics that there was a propulsion room as well. He had the feeling that someone in the upper echelons back on the Moon had known exactly what was in M-O-V.I. Someone on the Moon wanted to control this 'mobile doll' technology. That must have been why Harry Ord had arranged for his transfer to the mission. It didn't take long to get to the propulsion room and Arthur immediately set about programming the ancient nuclear pulse engines to carry the asteroid into the sun where it belonged. Once that was done he travelled back to the central chamber where he lingered only momentarily to look upon the distant past. Thousands of years ago these people tried to find peace the only way they knew how. Arthur hoped that in the present day they would be able to find a more effective way of securing peace.

End of the Tale