Chapter 5: Revenants

" Omega 3 here. Got two Ghosts down already. Looks like they were menacing a bunch of Soldats. I wonder who they are. They looked like they aren't friendly with the Imperial army. So, the enemy of my enemy is my friend?" Lien spoke as she peered out from her Jetfire to look at the Soldats below, who were looking back at her curiously.

Her radio crackled to life. " We don't know yet for sure. If they don't seem hostile, then leave them alone for now, Omega 3," the voice replied.

" Oh, boss…how cold," Lien laughed.

" Hey, who are you?" a strange voice suddenly popped up on the radio.

" What? Who is this?" Lien's commander asked.

" Wow, they hacked into our frequency!" Lien noted, sounding impressed.

" The name is Ling Ming Xia, and I am in command of the Ark Raiders. The Imperial Army is after my ass cos I stole something from them, and I appreciate the support you are providing, but who are you guys? I was informed that there was a large contingent of Imperial troops having surrounded this town, and fighting them off with a lone jet plane is kinda pushing it," Ling replied.

" The Ark Raiders! Boss, it's Ming Xia!" Lien shouted excitedly.

" …Who the hell is this oddball speaking in the radio?" Ling mused.

" Ling, is that you?" Lien's commander spoke up.

" …Kimmy? It's Kimmy, right?" Ling asked.

" Who are these people?" a male voice spoke up.

" Oh wow, Ming Xia, you have got a guy in the same cockpit. Not doing something naughty right? I bet you have your leg wrapped around his neck or something. Dual piloting in a Soldats is kinda uncomfortable," Lien spoke up. There was an uncomfortable pause. " Oh shit, you actually do have your legs wrapped around this guy? Who is this man who Ming Xia has her sights on?"

" Kimmy, who is this nutjob who is piloting the dumb jet plane! ?" Ling shouted in the radio.

" She's one of the new pilots we got. She's a little crazy, but she will get the job done," Kimmy replied. " Actually, we were just patrolling the area, but it looks like the Imperial army is surrounding the town for some reason, which apparently is you. Shall we mop them up together?"

" How many of them are there?" Ling asked.

" Not including the ones I shot down, 10 Ghosts and 5 jets," Lien answered.

" Is 'Spaz' with you?" Ling asked.

" We are perched on the north east side of the mountain. If you head towards us, we can provide some cover fire," Kim replied.

" Pfft, giving us the hard job, eh? Alright, Shiro, let's go to the mountain side. Kimmy and 'Spaz' can provide us some cover," Ling replied. Shiro merely nodded his mech's head, not before tearing across the rooftops.

ooo

Two Ghosts moved towards him, their Reaper rifles firing beam after beam at him. Shiro swerved his Soldats as though he was weaving through a crowd, none of the beams coming close to even nicking him. Raising the M21, he fired a calculated burst towards the Ghosts. His shot penetrated one of the Ghost's arms, causing it to drop its Reaper rifle. Shiro caught it just as it dropped, not before switching the rifle's mode and shot a shotgun burst at the second Ghost, blowing up the cockpit in one shot.

Two jets flew low, releasing a swarm of missiles that flew towards his direction. Tossing the Reaper rifle aside, he picked up his M21 and started to open fire, the bullets hitting the missiles straight on, blowing them up before it could reach him. The moment he was out of bullets, he tossed the weapon at one of the jets, smashing into the jets turbine engine, blowing it up in mid-air.

" ….Why do I have the feeling Shiro is absolutely reckless?" Saito asked. " And despite being reckless, he is ridiculously competent. How the heck did he shoot down all those missiles like that?"

" I did mention that Shiro's a psychic, did we not?" Ling replied.

" …Well, yes, I think so…" Saito replied.

" Even if he is a psychic, he's one of the rarer ones. According to the P.M.A. (Psychic Measurement Analysis) test, Shiro is a Class 9 Psychic," Ling replied.

" That's crazy," Saito exclaimed. " So, does he see bullets fly at him in slow motion or what?"

" Maybe…I wouldn't know…and stop admiring his work and start firing some of those missiles! We've got Ghost's swarming all over the place!" Ling snapped.

The Soldats jolted all of a sudden when a couple of missiles struck the building next to them. Ling leaped off the rooftops and continued to move the mech on the road, with the people below running off for cover. Saito quickly got back to his controls, and looked at the targeting monitor. Two Ghosts were moving in from the distance. Taking a quick aim, he launched two anti-air homing missiles. Both Ghosts moved towards the side, the missiles following them for a while not before exploding before hitting their targets.

" …Craptastic homing missiles," Saito muttered.

" These things have limited fuel. What do you expect, the missiles to chase them towards the end of the earth?" Ling snapped back, wincing slightly as several more explosions blew up next to her. " Oi, you massive idiot, can you keep them off my back! ? What are you doing with the weapon controls, keeping them warm?"

" No…not really…" Saito replied, looking at the targeting monitor.

" Then fire already!" Ling snapped.

Saito pulled the trigger, and two more homing missiles were fired from the pack attached to the Soldat's shoulder. The Ghost on the left, swooped down to avoid the missiles, but it was greeted by four other rockets that came right at it. The Ghost's paper thin armour didn't stand a chance as the four rockets slammed into the mech as it attempted to avoid the initial volley.

" Nice shot, and here I was almost thinking you were some useless dead weight," Ling whistled, looking at the flaming wreck fall to the ground.

The second Ghosts opened fire on Ling after Saito managed to down the first one, but it was cut short as a railgun burst slammed into its chest, blowing it up to bits. Lien's spitfire sped on by, with Lien cackling loudly in the radio as if she was having the time of her life.

" The girl has some issues…" Saito noted.

" Tell me something I don't know," Ling replied. " Hang on!"

Ling moved the mech along, running as fast as the mech could move. Missiles and shots rained down all over them. Saito launched a few missiles, trying to keep them off the mech's back. Shiro was picking off some of them who were not paying attention to him, riddling them with bullets with his M21. A couple more exploded in a fiery blast the moment Shiro was done with them.

All of a sudden, a Ghost popped up in front of them. Saito was about to fire when he noticed something odd about the mech. It had a custom blue colour, was not wearing the Imperial army sigil, and it was a Mk-IV version of the Ghost, instead of the Mk-II they were up against. Also, it was carrying what looked like a sniper rifle on its shoulder.

" What?" Saito mused, looking at the mech.

" Reinforcements are here," Ling noted.

The Ghost Mk-IV fired the rifle several times, the shock of the rifle on its shoulder so large that it sent the mech reeling several feet backwards after each shot. No surprise there, as the shoulder mounted sniper rifle looked like it was supposed to be fired from the ground. The Imperial army Ghosts attempted to split up, but a couple of them were punctured by the sniper rounds, blowing them up immediately. If there was a flaw in the Ghosts design, it was that it lacked any form of armour. Its flight and mobility is a trade off against heavier armour parts, and being a mass-produced model, more armour meant for higher maintenance.

The four remaining jets attempted to flank the Ghost Mk-IV, only to be interrupted when a couple of large, metal flails were fired from the cover of the trees at the mountains at the outskirts of the city. Three jets met their fiery end, while another which had its tail nicked, spiraled out of control until it crashed into a nearby building, exploding into bits. Saito hoped that there was no one in the building that might have been killed in the crash.

The last remaining Ghosts attempted to flee, but Shiro wasn't apparently done with them yet. Launching himself towards heights that Saito would never imagine a Soldats could possibly achieve, he latched himself to one of the Ghosts, and then proceeded to tear the exterior armour apart, exposing the cockpit. Grabbing the terrified pilot with his mech's hands, he tossed the pilot unceremoniously away, and Saito was sure that he would meet certain death from falling at that height. The Ghost crashed back onto an empty street, and Shiro merely watched as the two other Ghosts escaped.

" That's enough. They had their asses handed to them today," Ling replied. Saito wondered from the tone of her voice that if she did not instruct him, Shiro would actually go off to hunt down the remaining Ghosts. He had not seen anyone so vicious, or so adapt at piloting than Shiro. It was as if he was facing a beast when he rode in the mech.

All of a sudden, Saito felt the ground shake slightly.

" Another enemy?" Saito exclaimed.

" Claim down, you idiot. It's 'Spaz'," Ling replied.

" Who?" Saito repeated.

" 'Spaz'," Ling answered back.

" That is not a normal person's name," Saito replied.

" I know, but we like to call him that," Ling replied.

Saito looked through the monitors, and saw what was causing the vibrations. A large mech was approaching the city from the outskirts. Saito recognized it as the Destroyer model. A very large mech, almost 3 times larger than the Soldats, armed with massive rocket packs on its shoulders, along with grenade launchers and a gatling gun on its right hand and two flails attached to metal chains on its left. It was definitely the one that took out the jets previously.

" Who are these people?" Saito asked.

" Resistance fighters," Ling replied.

" You are affiliated with resistance fighters?" Saito asked.

" Yeah, we share common goals sometimes," Ling answered.

" Like hating the Imperial army?" Saito ventured.

" Not really. Everyone hates the Imperial army," Ling replied, laughing. " They are old friends of mine. They are known as the Revenants."

" I've heard of them. They are apparently one of the 5 major resistance forces against the Imperial army. Still, I wonder why they are here. I was under the impression this place isn't anywhere near where they are usually found," Saito replied. He noticed that the Ghost Mk-IV had landed, and the female pilot of the mech exited from the cockpit. " Are we supposed to go and say hi?"

" I suppose that would be good manners," Ling replied.

She punched one of the buttons to open up the cockpit, and the Soldats mech chest piece opened up for them to exit. Ling got out and jumped off the mech, and Saito followed suit, seeing that Shiro had also parked his mech beside theirs and having exited it as well.

They walked up to the pilot of the Ghost Mk-IV. Saito wasn't sure whether he should be surprised, or aroused, since the pilot apparently had barely any clothes on. She was dressed in a tank top and very short jeans, baring most of her skin, obviously not suitable combat attire. She had a crop of neat, short blue hair and dark green eyes. She looked fairly mature, and short for her age. She smiled when she approached them, but almost gave Saito a dirty look when she spotted him. Saito wondered if he had done anything to insult her.

" What brings you here, Kim?" Ling asked. " I wasn't aware that your group was in this section."

" Actually, it was to find you. Hisoka has got a job for you, if you are interested," Kim answered.

" That's nice," Ling replied.

" Why don't you join us? You do about as much damage to the Imperial army as much as we do," Kim replied.

" Bah, don't try me," Ling snapped.

" …And who is this…guy?" Kim asked, looking at Saito.

It was only then when Saito realized that he was still dressed in his Imperial army uniform. He didn't bring a spare change of clothing when he was 'kidnapped', and he was still conveniently dressed as an enemy. Facing someone who was fighting against the Imperial army might cause some problems.

" Don't worry about him. He's one of my new guys. Just defected. Heck, why don't you stick with them?" Ling suggested.

" What?" Saito exclaimed, not believing his ears.

" You have got to be shitting me! Why would we accept this ass?" Kim snarled.

" Why not?" Ling replied. " Don't worry about it. He's harmless, I can vouch for that."

" …I'm not particularly comfortable bringing a former Imperial army soldier to meet with Hisoka. What if he's a spy or something?" Kim asked.

" Him, a spy? He has as much chance of being a spy as I am a boy in disguise. He's with me. If you don't trust him, I won't accept your job offer then," Ling replied.

Kim looked slightly annoyed. " Okay…I hope you aren't mistaken about him. Come one, I'll show you where we are parked. Might want to call the rest of your group," Kim answered, not before walking back to her mech.

" Thanks for the vote of confidence," Saito replied.

" …Yeah…well…gotta say something, don't I? Come on, let's go and meet the rest of the Revenants," Ling replied.