Budget Warriors: Your Equipment is Built by the Lowest Bidder

Writers Note / Disclaimer: I dont not own any characters, or things from Battletech. I would greatly appreciate anyone messaging me spelling or grammatical corrections (including this disclaimer: P ) Warning to any hardcore BT fans, I may get some history or info incorrect, I am very happy to fix if you tell me. Thanks ! This Fanfic is actually based on my Real Life Battletech Campaign which is still on-going

Futher note, since this is based heavily on my campaign ( both locations, battles etc ) most if not all mechs in the unit will be probably nonstandard ( which means I may have mis-understood some of the BT lore if they are modded to easily)

I will probably put up unit and mech info at some point

Italics is either whispers, or thoughts. Bold is yelling or computer text. In future i am aiming to have at least 5-10,000 words a chapter as a personal goal, and at the moment I am reaching around 2-3,000

This chapter has been edited to fix spelling and formatting errors, it has also been re-written, next is chapter 2 and so on.

Solaris VII 2972 February 3rd

Solaris, The modern Rome in a time of planet spanning wars and unimaginable destruction, The glorification of manmade gods of steel and wrath evident as people of all cultures races and houses jostle and push their way to the grand stadiums that dotted the planet, however unlike most tales of grandeur, of adventure and of greatness this one does not start off at the top not even remotely close. Infact, it seems to start quite close to the bottom.

As the greatest, grandest and most skilled warriors fought in arena's of twisted metal and scorched sand, while the crowds cheered on and howled their blood-lust cheering for their champions. A young man stepped in the cockpit of his mech, hands jittery with nervous energy.

"Atun!" A Voice cried from the foot of the hulking metal giant just as the pilot had seated himself a feeling of great power filling him as he began the start-up procedures before he noticed the voice pushing himself up and out to look down at the speaker he asked

"What is it? What could you possibly say that could help me in this situation? I'm going to die and that's final." The pilot, Atun said with a grim finality, a look of acceptance plastered onto his wiry face as he looked down. He wasn't a mech warrior, he was a coward. A washout from a DCMS academy, but for some reason he boss had faith in him.

"Can it you whiny bugger, you're from the Draconis combine!" the man yelled, mirth laced his voice as he disconnected the coolant pipes from the mech "Wheres your honour and bravery? I thought all you of all people wanted this." His comments were made in jest, his tone laced with a sense of familiarity which could have only come from years of personal experience with the pilot.

"Its back on Luthien! There's a reason why I have a dishonourable discharge, apparently running from combat is frowned upon." Atun sat himself back down in the cockpit, muttering obscenities under his breath, reaching forward he picked up his neurohelemt, an older design; Jury-rigged and patched together with whatever could be found. He noted this glumly as the box like helmet slid over his head, firmly sliding into place.

"State voice recognition code." his screen flashed, as the cockpit canopy closed around him, sealing itself with a hiss.

"Why fight today, when you can run away and live tomorrow." Atun recited, as he pressed down on the foot pedals and triggered his jump jets directing his mech backwards as if it were operational; A voice command was not the only thing required to finalised the activation of his mech. Urbanmech or no, it still was a multi-million C-bill machine.

"Passcode accepted, your still alive eh?" quickly flashed across his screen before his mech's various functions came online. The twisted sense of humour that was the hallmark of both the chief technician and his boss of Budget Enterprises reared its ugly head.

A grin flashed across Atun's face as the fusion engine in his mech throttled to life, his jump jet vents flared briefly for a moment before they died back down to standby venting the initial blast of super-heated air away from the mech, gripping the controls, he tested out the arm pods on his mech, the familiar feel of the cool hard plastic on his hand calmed him, as did the heavy coolant vest draped over his body, checking the weapon readout he was pleased to note his PPC and medium lasers were functioning fine not to mention the heat sinks were working which was an excellent sign, after all when Janos had bought them they were little more than boxes with holes.. Activating his communications unit with a small flick of a button, he waited for a response.

The man at the foot of the mech, scurried away hurriedly slapping on a headset as he made his way to his seat in the arena, for a brief moment he felt a passing pang of fear, the ground rumbled with the sound of far off explosions. His future lied at the foot of this untested pilot, drawing on reserves of Gusto and bravado he didn't know he had he quickly answered the waiting call

"G'day, Janos the tech here, Budget Enterprises at your service, what can we be doin for you today?" He drawled his trusty sales pitch, which admittedly did not work very often. But it worked enough that he had food on his plate, parts in his mech-bay and fuel for his vessel.

"Can it Janos," was the forthwith response from his headset, "please tell me you bet on the other guy." Atun's voice was almost pleading, a desperate quality tinged his voice

"No luck here kiddo, the last savings are on you and that trashcan of yours." Janos responded cheekily, before shutting off the communications unit before Atun could respond. Deep down, it was also to stop himself for breaking down in earshot of Atun. Every scrap of confidence, of luck was needed.

Fuming, Atun throttled his mech up to its maximum speed of an astounding 32kmph, once again the feelings of power and of greatness returned as with the heavy footfalls of his mech he exited the bay. Those feelings of power disappeared the moment he exited the mech bay and the doors slammed shut behind him. He realised just how small he truly was when he stared into the open arena, its true size staggering him.

"Hrrmm.. I swear it was smaller from up there." The domed head of his Urbanmech turned to a random portion of the arena, as if studying the crowd while the loud voice of the announcer boomed over old speaker systems.

"Welcome one, welcome all to the starting match of the day. Today, in the red corner we have our ring favourite Mark the pilot of that gorgeous red Valkyrie" As the announcers voice bellowed out over the arena speakers, a confident looking mech strode out into the field admits cries of adoring women, cheering fans and vocally brutish viewers just their for the oil to run freely across the ground.

" Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd in the blue corner, we have a newcomer to Solaris, Atun Zushen piloting the.." pausing for a moment he laughed softly. "It appears our newcomer pilots a trashcan!" the laughter quickly cut off as the announcement system died to a static, but the laughter was picked up by the crowed. Jaded to the enormity and rare form of battlemechs, the crowds of the arena voiced their displeasure at such an ill-regarded mech, forgetting that it was still capable of immense destruction.

As if goaded by the laughter, the Urbanmech broke out into a run, its slow ponderous waddle unusual for a mech of its weight size bringing it slowly to the designated starting zone, Its movements were slow, harsh and symptom of both a relatively inexperienced pilot and old, rebuilt equipment.

He shut down and filtered out the external audio input, desperately trying to regain his own composure. A solitary tear trailed down his cheek as he looked upon the steel form of his opponent. Taking solace in old traditions, Atun pushed his mech forward slightly into a bow, as he was taught back in his academy. That was his first mistake, bringing the mech back upright he saw a volley of missiles streak their way through the skies towards him. His flight reflexes kicked in, legs depressing control pedals which sent the Urbanmech on a similar path backwards, the initial volley of missiles exploding in front of him harmlessly, a scant ten meters between himself and the impact site.

"As you can see here folks, the Urbie is essentially useless at this sort of range, lacking the speed to close with the Valkyrie even in this close environment. The pilot stands little chance of bringing his firepower to bay, however if he can outlast the ammo of the Valkyrie his superior close range firepower might carry him through" The announcer kept up his running commentary, as the 'little' mech danced about the field sprinting slowly from patch of ground to ditch, arcing through the air whenever the Valkyrie was close to scoring a hit.

Three volleys soar through the air, thirty missiles in the space of thirty seconds. Seven had found their mark, the machines of war eager to scratch out their own meagre mark on the universe upon the patchwork and crudely rebuilt form of the Urbanmech. Atun swore and screamed in both panic and anger as the explosive payloads tore rents and holes into the armour of his mech, slabs of expensive and precious plate disappearing before his very eyes as the missiles worked inwards through his torso.

Quick to recover, only the thought of destitution and a life of insignificance kept him focused and a mere hairsbreadth away from giving up, likewise Janos had torn his hat into quarters, and was beginning to progress into octuples as he contemplated the finer intricacies of bankruptcy, business was slow. And this was his last chance to get off planet.

"As of yet fans, we have yet to see the Urbie fire a shot, however as most astute watchers may be noticing, there is alot more armour on this particular trash can then you would usually find." One of the arena announcers was astute enough to notice that the Urbanmech swung from side to side more ponderously then it should, its domed and blocky profile more rigid and fuller than usual. Down to slightly above half missile load, the Valkyrie pilot came to a similar realisation.

Half crying, half laughing Atun drove the mech from his latest patch of cover, following an audience wide gasp, which was visible but in audible the Valkyrie had ceased its movement for a few precious seconds, seconds enough that the Urbanmech closed the distance enough to use its primary weapon. Time seemed to stop, at least all sound did. The moment Atun mashed down on the firing studs that adorned his controls, the crowd gasped and aah'd in excited men. Instead of the whirring fire of a massive cannon, and the visible blur of a high velocity shell the crowd was ill-rewarded with the electrified blue streak of man made lightening.

The solitary PPC bolt slashed through the air, impacting solidly into the centre torso of the stationary Valkyrie, melting armour and sending rivers of molten alloys cascading down into the ground below. The crowd burst into loud and awe-struck cheering, all inaudible to the frantically moving Urbanmech pilot.

The Valkyrie began to frantically back away, a sixth volley of missiles going wide as it jumped backwards, its pilot obviously afraid of the implications that came with the Urbanmech mounting a particle projection cannon. Atun would have none of the cowardice that he was being shown, his own feet slammed down onto his jump pedals, the air becoming increasingly hard to breath as warmth flooded his cockpit.

"Waffle it!" He cried, a heat sink flashed red on his sub-system display panel, the cause of his elevated temperature suddenly evident. The Valkyrie had put sixty or so metres between itself and the Urbanmech, but it was not enough. His PPC chimed its malicious green signal light, the air returning to a normal temperature. The reprise was brief, another bolt of wrathful energy eagerly sought out the first's impact site, eager to join its kin. Atun groaned in disappointment, but the crowd and Janos jumped and cheered. While not in the same location, the line etched its way across the right torso of the red mech, exposing layers of silver armour hidden beneath its torn skin.

The game had changed. The prey had teeth, and it was not afraid to use them.

Its right arm weapon pod glowed with heat, as the heat sinks mounted in place of the auto-cannon furiously worked to dissipate the increased heat load. The Valkyrie having no such problem burst out from its hiding place trailing a plume of fire and smoke, its significantly more experienced pilot scoring a half score of hits across the torso of the Urbanmech as the Valkyrie landed on a nearby rubble pile. Running at top speed Atun hesitated to trigger his jets again, he was lucky so far that nothing blew up, and he had landed in one piece. Not wishing to chance fate, his plodding gate carried him ever closer to the slowly approaching form of the Valkryie.

Suddenly circuitry and wiring exploded from the left side and arm of his mech, Atun shrieked in horror, unknowingly echoing the cries of his employer and friend who watched helplessly from the sidelines. More warning indicators turned from their original peaceful shade of green, to a much more violent and ominous shade of red. Missiles continued to rain down upon his mech, Atun fought with his controls desperately attempting to stay upright amidst the rain of fire and metal. Armour hung limply from exposed skeletal limbs, the blue drip of coolant fluid leaked steadily from an exposed heatsink. But above all else, above the scars and the fire, the mech was still standing.

The crowd tensed in excitement, the killing blow was soon to come. The Valkyrie charged in, swift and almost completely un-marred form charing in for the final stroke, its left arm raised and poised to deliver the final stroke. It was the end, but Atun had more to say. Roaring and screaming aloud his fear, and what was left of his hope his mech broke into a shambling run, swaying uneasily from side to side streaks of blue vengeance streaked from the cracked casing of his right arm gun pod, the PPC bolts striking meter long craters into the sand and dirt, but twice gouging out sections of armour in vengeful fury.

The two mech's drew within spitting distance, a mere ninety metres stood between the two mechs and an end to the ongoing battle. The coolant dripping down the side of the Urbanmech began to boil and sizzle as it hit the ground, the PPC went silent as the left arm jerkily raised to counter the right arm salute of its opponent. A trio of ruby red lances of light stretched out and carved their deadly path through the central section of the Valkyrie, answered by the return of its amber coloured brother. Three lasers bore a hole into and through the Valkryie, one laser carved yet a deep gouge into the Urbanmech's head, both mechs continued moving forward another few gigantic steps, carrying them scant tens of metres before both tumbled to the ground, skidding in the sand.

The crowd grew silent once more, a trail of parts and circuitry lay behind the Valkyrie, its centre torso and valuable fusion engine now myth than fact lay scattered on the ground around it. Having removed himself from his mech, the Valkyrie pilot sat atop the ruined shell of his mech, watching as the clock ticked down. The battle however, was not won. Inside the head of his Mech, Atun lay unconscious, his prone form splayed over the blaring alarms of his controls the voice of Janos screaming loudly into his ear for him to awaken.

"WAKE UP YOU BASTARD!" Janos cried, desperately trying to wake his friend up, a loyal and entertaining assistant he would never find again. "Please, get up." He half sobbed, desperately he racked his mind for any way to wake him up, the clock ticked along in its final ten seconds, the crowd chanting along.

"3"

Years of metal conditioning, of training and of swatting his alarm clock had prepared atun for this one meaningful message.

"2"

"" Janos did his best impression of a high pitched, nasal alarm clock, and Atun responded brilliantly. His arm darted out, swatting a random buton, power flooded the Urbanmech's arm and the mech dutifully rolled onto its side.

It was enough, the clock ceased its torturous descent. Victory had come, and at a low price; one which joyfully fitted into the pockets of Budget Enterprises.

1:200 Odds were stacked against Atun. Against the odds he had prevailed, riches, riches enough to pay the debts long held against Janos were now in reach as the estatic technical squeezed through the opening pit doors and sprinted to the mech, Twelve million C-bills practically floating in his vision.

"IKNEWIT!" he cried, inputing the emergency override code and sliding open the canopy hatch, reaching inside to drag out Atun. "YOU WON!"

The only response from the near comatose pilot was a single line, one which would sum up his character both past, present and future.

"Five more minutes mom…"

Rusty Nail Mechbay, Solaris VII

Feburary Fifth, 2972

Atun limped gingerly into the mechbay, looking around slowly as he tenderly nursed a heavily bruised forehead among other body parts. He stood straighter and quickly narrowed his eyes.

"This seems suspicious." He muttered, kicking his way through lines of myomer bundles and power cabling, "Its too.. organised." He wiped his finger along the external casing of an autocannon, the kali-yama markings faded and barely visible. "Clean even!" His musings suddenly stopped as he walked into the foot of an Urbanmech, but it wasn't his.

Coming to a sudden realisation, he turned to one of the higher gantries and shouted as loud as his bruised ribs would let him; "JANOS! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?"

The greased back hair of the supreme technical officer, and overall smartass Janos popped out of the cockpit of the new, mostly intact trashcan.

"Yussum?" He responded cheerfully, somewhat absently testing the arm controls of the mech, waggling its arms around slightly to test its range of moment.

"Why is there a second mech Janos? Why is everything clean? And more importantly.. Why was there no bacon…" Atun started off his tirade and finished with a small whimper as he slowly climbed the crisscrossing roads of the mech-bay gantries, making his way to Janos.

"Ahh, didn't you get the internal memo?"

"No… I've been slightly out of the loop" Atun deadpanned, looking at his boss, and friend strangely.

"Ah, well I've cleared off all my debts, and with the remaining cash scored enough parts to patch up the main drive exhaust of this tub."

"And why are you doing that?" Atun was slightly confused, that money could of gone to a big workshop, penthouse and so on so forth until the end of their lives. To blow it all in three days paying debts and aqquiring parts seemed un-Janos like. Quickly brandishing a Interstellar-Ikea L bar he questioned the would be imposted. "Who are you and what have you done to my boss?"

"Relax you jumpy drac, I'm me, I've just decided to pursue my and now your life long dream."

Sighing, and leaning agiant the nearest sturdy object Atun knew this was his boss, no other person would so quickly change life dreams. Again. For the nineteenth time.

"So, what is it now."

"Budget Enterprises has started The Budget Warriors Mercenary Company, a sub-division of Budget Enterprises."

"…." Atun was shocked, not even in his wildest dreams; which were pretty wild if the hallucination of the penthouse filled with platinum haired beauties was to be an indication, couldn't have dreamt this one up. "Whaaa….?"

"I know its great huh, I scored us some surplus equipment, a scorpion hull I won in a card game yesterday, a fusion engine for the lil' bastard and an Urbanmech all for most of our pile of money, and an indiscriminate amount of software banned in two houses."

It might have been the concussion, the injuries or even the lack of acceptable nutrients and dietary supplements but Atun prompty fainted for the second time in almost as many days, leaving the now irate technician the job of hauling the man back to his bunk, granted Janos thanked the heavens and the local grocery market runs for making Atun light enough to carry.