Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to IS: Infinite Stratos. This Fanfic is made just for entertainment and not for commercial use in anyway.

Author's Note: Alright, I have mixed feelings about this chapter, especially with the last parts. I feel that I've might've rushed it. And there are other things that have me getting these mixed feelings. In fact there are so many, I don't even know where to begin.

But that aside, here's the long awaited Chapter 9.


12:30 PM, August 17 2021. Ishiyama High, Odaiba, Japan.

"Ugh…"

I tried to get myself up, but it feels like that I have a huge weight throughout my body, preventing me from getting up.

I can fairly hear Sideswipe in the radio comms to alert Ratchet and Scourge…

"Hot Shot's down! Hot Shot, Hot Shot!"

"UO-O-O-O-O-O-H-H-H-H! Stop this at once!"

"Who are you guys? And why are you attacking that IS?"

The radio comms are flooding with constant chatter from multiple sources; making it difficult to make out who's saying what.

All the while my helmet's vision began to slowly turn grey to red hue.

"Grgh…"

I looked where the rogue IS was standing before, to find it down.

Then I struggled to turn around as I crawled.

Oh shit…

Six more ISes had entered the fray. They must be the ones who were picked up earlier.

Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge each have two ISes on them.

I can't distinct them in color because of the red hue on my helmet's visor.

The best they can do is avoiding their attacks.

Scourge's engaging an IS wielding twin katanas and she's being backed up by another IS with orb shaped shoulders, who's currently firing down on him.

As he managed to get out of her firing range, the twin wielder charged immediately after him to keep the pressure on him.

"You want some!-?"

Scourge went barehanded as the twin wielder was about to swing both her Katanas; but Scourge caught hold of both of her hands, getting in a deadlock.

I looked to see that Ratchet's engaging on a pair of ISes of his own. This time both ISes are gun wielders; one staying up in the air firing a sniper rifle, as for the other one, she's on ground level dual wielding machine guns.

Ratchet was avoiding the sniper's shots while engaging the IS that's at ground level, firing his flak cannon at her.

The IS he's firing on fired back.

Even though he's managing on his own, Ratchet's not that suited for melee combat if it were to come down to it.

As for Sideswipe, his situation's like Scourge's. One IS wielding a katana fully engaging on him, while another IS stayed back and provided support; the support being what looked like a railgun that's mounted on her right shoulder.

But the katana wielder is very different from the other 5 ISes, the pilot of that is a guy. There's only one guy in the whole world who can pilot an IS; Ichika Orimura.

While Sideswipes avoiding the railgun shots, the katana wielder charged straight at him.

While I'm down maybe I can get something from these ISes…

"Ratchet, you think that you can get some intel on them?"

"I'm trying all I can to avoid getting filled with holes! And exactly what kind of intel?"

"Mainly where those ISes came from; Tezla warned us beforehand that IS Academy would send out more ISes."

He also said that our Silverbacks spark can restore the energy shield on its own after it was broken through, but how long will that take?

Real bad time to be down right now.

*BAM!* *Click Clack*

*BAM!* *Click Clack*

"Gugh-ah!"

Ratchet hit his target in the chest and stumbled back a bit and he took advantage of this before she recovered.

"Okay, I'm doing a quick scan on them…"

Ratchet received a feedback that confirmed where those six ISes are from.

"Oh, Shit! Now IS Academy's joined the party!"

Well that confirms Tezla's heads up.

"Man, aren't you persistence?"

Sideswipe kept on avoiding Ichika's strikes. He pulled out his Desert Ranger and took aim at Ichika in close range.

*CLANG!*

Ichika knocked the Desert Ranger out of Sideswipe's hand; landing right beside me.

Now, unarmed, he kept on moving back to increase the distance, so he can get his Saber out.

Noticing this, Ichika made a sudden burst of speed towards Sideswipe; holding his katana high above his head, Ichika's about to swing it down.

*Vr-r-r-r-rm!*

Sideswipe immediately revved his Saber's Chainsaw Bayonet.

*Ki-ck!* *Eer-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!*

Sparks are flying in between Sideswipe and Ichika as they get into a deadlock.

"Ugh-er-r-r-r-r."

Ichika has the advantage beacuse he's much taller than Sideswipe, thanks to his IS. With that, he's able to apply downward pressure on Sideswipe.

Just like how the rouge IS did with me earlier.

As Ichika's applying more pressure, Sideswipe's struggling to keep up.

*Eer-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!* *Krgh…*

"Gugh!"

Ichika suddenly swung his katana sidesways, knocking Sideswipe back.

Sideswipe tried to recover, but it was too much for him and he fell back.

As Sideswipe struggled to get back up, Ichika made a charge straight at him, ready to thrust his katana at him.

If he gets hit by that, it could break his energy shield.

I looked at Sideswipe's Desert Ranger that was right next to me. When I looked at it, the red hue that covered my visor has something for me.

[Energy Shield on standby, stand up to activate]

Looks like that I can get into the fray.

*Zrr-r-r-r-r-r…*

I heard electrical energy charging up above; noticing a glow from Ichika's support's railgun and aiming at Sideswipe.

I grabbed Sideswipe's Desert Ranger, got up and made a mad dash towards them.

As I got up, the red hue on my visor soon vanished and the color of my vision is restored. The 3-way crack that was in the center of it, vanished but one.

I guess it's there to remind me that the energy shield's been broken once.

The pilot of the black IS has a small smirk on her face as she's about to fire her railgun at him; time to wipe that smirk off.

I took aim at here with the Desert Ranger…

*PA! PA! PA! PA! PA! PA!*

I fired multiple shots at her, some of them hitting the railgun itself, disrupting her aim as she fired the shot.

Now that's out of the way, I continued on and dove towards Ichika as he's about the thrust his katana at Sideswipe.

*BANG!*

I knocked Ichika away from Sideswipe, and crashed on the ground after contacting him.

"Ugh…"

I got back up to help Sideswipe get to his feet.

"Come on, man."

I handed Sideswipe his Desert Ranger back to him.

"Shit, that was close."

"Did he break your energy shield?"

"No, it's regenerating right now."

"U-ugh…"

Ichika was just recovering from the tackle I gave him, and now he's coming towards me.

"I'll handle Ichika. See what you can do with that railgun."

"Right."

Sideswipe broke off as Ichika came straight at me. Let's see what the only male IS pilot can do.

I pulled out both of my Desert Rangers and took aim at Ichika.

*PA! PA! PA! PA! PA! PA!*

Ichika dodge the shots as he got closer and closer.

I attempted to increase the distance between me and him by falling back, but his speed's too much.

"Hugh!"

As he got close, I dodge sideways to avoid his attack.

Now that I'm behind him, I made a lunge at him to get on his back.

*KLANG!*

"Grgh!"

I was struck by the backside of Ichika's katana. As I tried to recover, Ichika turned around to face me and went into a kendo stance.

As he's in his Kendo Stance, his katana began to glow white-blue.

That can't be good….

I aimed both my Desert Rangers at him, but he made another charge at me.

"Tch…"

He swung his katana multiple times at me as I dodged each of his strikes.

I tried to counter with my Saber's chainsaw bayonet but he's too quick for me to pull it out.

As he made an overhead swing, I dodged right and pulled out my Saber and fired multiple shots at him.

He immediately turned towards me, seeing the Saber shots coming right at him, he put his katana up in defense.

I continued to fire my Saber at him, but moved around serpentine style to avoid some of the shots and blocking the others as he came closer to me.

I lowered my stance as he got closer and when he's about to swing his katana sideways, I launched myself up in the air over Ichika.

He looked up and watched as I jumped over him.

*Vr-r-r-r-rm!*

Before he turned completely around to face me I made another lunge towards him with my chainsaw bayonet revved.

*Ki-ck!*

Ichika knocked me back, but I fired my Saber at him.

Instead of dodging them, he brought up his katana to block them again.

*Bheew!*

"!"

As I was about to land, a laser missed my left shoulder by mere milimeters.

I looked to see that it came from the IS that was engaging on Ratchet, sporting the color blue and she's wielding a sniper rifle.

As if dealing with Ichika's bad enough…

*Bheew!* *Bheew!* *Bheew!*

She's raining shots down as I tried to dodge not only her shots, but also Ichika's strikes as well.

To make a counter effort against the blue IS, I pulled out my Shockburst to get the proper accuracy on her, seeing that the Saber's not going to do much against her when she's in the air.

*Pephee-ew!* *Pephee-ew!*

She dodged both shots as I have to stop firing at he to fend Ichika off.

Instinctively, I pulled out one of my Desert Rangers with my left and fired it as Ichika was about to attack with his katana.

*PA!* *PA!* *PA!*

This time Ichika was knocked off balance and he missed my left arm.

As I was about to re-engage the blue IS, I noticed that Sideswipe was engaging on the IS with the railgun at ground level.

Just like me with Ichika earlier, he's avoiding her attacks as she swung both of her energy blades that looked to be mounted on her forearms, like my combat blades.

Only that hers are longer than mine.

As she swung her right blade at him, he sidestepped a bit to his right to avoid the energy blade and caught hold of her hand, and pulled her towards him and landed a punch into her mid-section.

As she bent a bit forward, he climbed onto her and he started to attack he railgun.

He got a few hits on but she plucked him off of her back and threw him in front of her.

Rolling out of that throw, Sideswipe switched to his Saber before the black IS charged at him, beam spears still deployed.

*Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh!*

Dodging each shot, she closed on Sideswipe.

As she's about to thrust one of her beam spears at him, Sideswipe dove between her legs.

Before she turned around, Sideswipe made a lung at her, clenched his right fist and was about to puncher in mid air.

"Hmph!"

As he's about to land his punch the black IS's pilot made a smirk, like she's expecting him to come up close to her.

Oh shit…

"Sideswipe, back off! Back off!"

She then raised her right hand up towards Sideswipe, shooting an energy net at him. Although it didn't hurt him, but Sideswipe looks as though he's stuck in mid-air; he's not even moving an inch.

"Gr-r-rgh! Damn it! I can't! It feels like my whole body's frozen!"

Now that she got him in her grasp, she then deployed her railgun and aimed it right at him.

I took aim towards the black IS.

"Over here!"

"!"

Ichika came suddenly at me from my left side and I narrowly avoided his katana.

*Bz-t!*

My vision blurred for a bit and had a bit of static on it just as the katana missed me, but then restored itself.

Turning towards Ichika, I switched to my Saber and dove back as I fired it towards him.

*Bhew—!*

Again, that blue IS was shooting at me as I'm re-engaging Ichika.

I was about to shoot at her to shake her off a bit.

*BOOM!*

"Gu-u-agh! Ugh… Ugh…"

A thunderous sound boomed throughout the campus, catching Scourge and Ratchet's attention, as well as mine.

I looked to where the source of the noise came from to see a round casing being ejected from the side of the black IS's railgun.

In front of her is a suit of armor falling back as it crashed to the ground.

"Sideswipe!"

Noticing this, Scourge tried to break off from the magenta and red ISes, but they prevented him from doing so.

Ratchet also tried to get to Sideswipe, but then the orange IS landed in front of him at a short distance stretched out both of her hands and each had what looks like shotguns.

Ratchet would fire at her, but before he could react, she already has her weapons at his level.

Just as she pulled the triggers, Ratchet made an attempt to dive back, but each shot came at him faster than he can dodge.

"Fu-ugh! Oh-h-h…"

Smoke soon engulfed Ratchet, as the orange IS continued her barrage.

Then he emerged from the smoke could, having the same cracked-glass pattern all over his armor like with Scourge earlier. But this time it's worse; it looks as though it's about to shatter.

Like a predator stalking her prey, she immediately charged at Ratchet and her left arm opened up, revealing some sort of pilebunker.

"!"

Before he can move, the orange IS clenched her left hand thrust her arm forward.

*BAM!*

*Ugh-oh! Oh… Oh…"

The pilebunker struck Ratchet in the abdomen. At the moment of impact, the cracked-glass pattern on his armor shattered.

The pilot of the orange IS held Ratchet up, who looks 'impaled' by the pilebunker on her arm, and showed an angelic smile with a killing intent behind it. But strangely, it has a bit of guilt in it at the same time.

Ratchet and the orange IS pilot looked at each other up close. He weakly brought up his Flak Cannon only to drop it. As his Flak Cannon fell, the last bit of strength he had is sapped out of him.

Seeing no movement from him, she flung Ratchet off of her pilebunker with some of his weapons falling off of him as he hit the ground.

"That's it! You're next!"

Ratchet getting downed didn't go unnoticed by Scourge. As he's broke off from the magenta and red ISes, he pulled out his Saber and revved the chainsaw bayonet.

As he lunged at her, the magenta IS charged her orb-shaped shoulders and unleashed massive shots at him from the left side.

**BOOM!**

"D'oh-h-h-h!"

Scourge was knocked to the ground and the red IS charged towards him as he's getting up, about to overhead swing her katanas.

As he's about to take her on, the orange IS was coming up at him from behind, and the magenta IS then began to charge up her shots again.

Right before the red IS swung her katanas, he jumped back to avoid the swings.

Seeing an opening, he dove right at her, tackling her to the ground.

Standing over her, he grabbed the IS's pilot by the collar and clenched his right fist.

*BANG!*

"Ugh!"

As he's about to land the first hit on her, he was knocked off of her; seeing the orange IS with a shotgun aimed at him, as he's about to recover from the hit he took.

**BOOM!**

"Ba-agh!"

The magenta IS struck Scourge with her charged shots, causing the armor to have the same shatter effect that happened to Ratchet.

The shots sent him flying and he crashed close by to Ratchet.

"Scourge!"

Scourge laid there, completely motionless and he wasn't responding to my radio calls.

Those 3 ISes were checking on each other after downing Ratchet and Scourge.

"UO-O-O-O-O-O-OH-H-H!"

While doing so, Ichika came at me as I pulled out a concussion grenade.

I backed of so I can throw the grenade at those 3 ISes as they slowly approached Ratchet and Scourge.

But with his persistence, all I can do is avoid his attacks.

Can't keep this us forever…

All this has been is a stalemate.

I tried what I can to get on the offensive.

Both of my assault rifles, and sidearms…

None of those helped.

Except…

I looked at both of my forearms as I continued to avoid Ichika's attacks.

[Forearm Blades: Moderately Damaged]

I know it's a risk, but it's something they don't know…

Ichika swung his katana sideways as I jumped back a bit.

Now that I'm at a safe distance from him, I charged straight at him, but he sidestepped at the last minute.

But that doesn't mean that I completely missed him.

As I passed him, I swung a backhand with my right fist and deployed its combat blade.

*KLASH!*

"U-ugh!"

The blade struck Ichika's backside, knocking him off balance.

Before he recovered from the hit, I deployed my left combat blade.

As I'm charging back at him, Ichika performed a back swing with his katana, swinging it upwards.

*KLANG!*

Both of our blades crossed, with him knocking me back. And he charged towards me as I was landing.

Not wanting to cause more damage to my blades, I dodged as much as I could.

Every opening I saw, I used the chance to get a hit in.

But Ichika's too quick with his counters.

With every near miss from that katana, my vision blurs for a quick second and quickly restores itself.

If it's like that with every near miss, I'd sure don't want that katana to make full contact.

I tried attacking his lower body, but he's too fast as he backed off, only to re-engage me once again.

"Tch…"

Clenching my fists, as he came fast at me, I made an attempt to counter his strikes. Only this time, he's getting faster and persistence with his attacks.

And within in that barrage, he had his katana high up and it rapidly came down at me.

This attack is too quick, I can't dodge it.

*KLANG!*

I crossed my blades and raised them to block Ichika's katana, putting us in a deadlock.

"Gr-r-r-r-r-rgh!"

One of the things I don't need.

"Gr-r. Er-r-r-r-r-rgh!"

Ichika's applying more downward force on me.

I better get out of this…

"Ger-r-r-r-r-r…"

I slacked my right blade a bit and Ichika's katana slide along my leftt blade.

"Shr-rgh!"

Using Ichika's momentum, I swung my left blade downwards to the left, diverting the direction of Ichika's swing.

With him down, I swung my both my blade twice in a scissors fashion at his legs, bringing his upper body down to my level.

"Hyagh!"

*BAM!*

I swung my right fist downward like a hammer at his head and followed up with an upward swing.

*KLING!*

The blade made contact and sent metal shards flying.

"!"

I saw the blade as I brought my right arm up.

"!..."

Or what's left of it…

As Ichika stumbled back from my attack, I instinctually my right hand pulled out one of my sidearms and began to re-engage the blue IS.

Noticing that I'm focused on her, she began to fire her sniper rifle. Dodging each shot as I got closer, I retaliated with my sidearm when she's within range.

*PA!* *PA!* *PA!*

She dodged each shot and fell back. And as she fell back, the outer parts of her wings began to fall off and began to fly straight at me.

4 of the them to be exact.

What the hell?

"!"

One of the wing pieces fired a laser at me.

"Huh!"

I barely dodged it as I was about to switch to my Shockburst.

Just as I was recovering, another wing piece came up on right side. I instinctually aimed my Shockburst at it, but saw another one in my left peripheral vision.

Being shot from two sides!-?

I launched myself into the air to avoid the laser shots.

Finding myself in mid-air, I took aim at one of the wing pieces and fired multiple shots, and I saw one of my shots piercing through the wing piece.

As my shot pierced through, the wing piece blew up. That's one down.

Looking shocked the blue ISes pilot waved her right arm and the remaining wing pieces flew at me as I landed.

Each wing piece is firing a barrage of lasers as I dodge them. When the barrage stopped for a bit, I raised my Shockburst and fired 3 carefully aimed shots at them, all of them hitting their mark.

Now that those are out of the way, I turned towards the blue IS and closed the gap in between me and her, dodging her shots along the way.

Getting within range, I launched myself into the air and I brought up my left fist, combat blade deployed, as I got closer and closer.

I've got you now…

Her rifle couldn't aim at me because of the length so this is my shot at getting a hit on her.

"—You fell for it."

The blonde-haired IS pilot made a smirk, similar to that of the black IS when Sideswipe went up close with her.

Oh shit!

I instinctually pulled out a concussion grenade.

*PAM—*

The skirt shaped armor on the sides of her abdomen rose up.

"I'm sorry, but there're 6 Blue Tears."

I can't dodge them as I have virtually no control of my direction in the air.

And those are not the last 4 that shot lasers. These are missiles.

As a last ditch effort, I switched from my grenade, pulled both of my sidearms out and fired at both missiles as they got within 2 meters (6 Ft. 5 In.) of me.

**BAM!**

Both missiles went off prematurely from getting shot, and the force of the explosion knocked me out of the air.

"Ugh!"

I hit the ground and rolled out of it but not unscathed.

My vision lost its color and it's slightly burred.

Not wanting them to know that my energy shield's about to break, I aimed both of my sidearms high at the blue IS and squeezed the triggers.

At that moment, a silhouette of a person with over sized limbs charged at me with a glowing katana at breakneck speed. He's over swinging his katana at me just as the shots went off.

Ichika…

I tried to reach for my lower back to get a different weapon.

"Gua-agh!"

Right when I did, I felt the Katana impact my left shoulder and a huge 3-way crack appeared on my helmet's visor again. Even though the katana didn't cut through the armor, it continued going down to lower right hip.

After the katana struck me, I fell face first in front of Ichika.

Energy shield's been broken for the second time…

As my visor began to turn a red hue again, I can barely see that black IS that downed Sideswipe, carrying him, not in her arms, but what looks like wires that have him hogtied. And those wires look as though they're functioning more like tentacles as they're holding him.

Sideswipe wasn't even struggling to get out, more like he's completely lifeless.

Then the two ISes I was engaging alternatively on approached me.

As I'm lying completely motionless, a voice rang through the radio comms…

"Okay, what now, boss?"


Ichika watches as the Silverback he attacked falls in front of him.

With it now lying on the ground completely motionless, Ichika reverted his katana, the Yukihira Type 2, to its normal state.

"Did you use the barrier void attack on him, Ichika-san?"

Cecilia landed close behind him to have a closer look at the Silverback they were both fighting.

"No, I didn't use it. So these are the Silverbacks huh?"

Ichika took a closer look as a scanner appeared on his Heads Up Display.

"If that's all they've got, then so much for them being a match up to the 3rd generation ISes."

Cecilia twirled her hair as she gloated over there win in that skirmish.

"Hold on…"

[Life Signs Detected]

"Oh crap."

Ichika whispered as he scanned the Silverback he downed and he looked at the two Silverbacks Houki, Rin and Charlotte are looking at.

"Are you guys getting anything from those two?"

Rin had a keen look on her face as she examined the larger Silverback of the two that are close to each other.

"Yeah, I'm getting life signs from this one."

"This one as well."

Charlotte picked up one of the Silverback's weapons as she looked at the smaller one.

"Laura, what about the one you ha—aah!"

Charlotte saw Laura using her energy wires to hold the Silverback she downed and to her surprised she has him hogtied and using the energy wires to carry it.

"I got a life reading here, too."

Laura took another close look at the Silverback she's carrying.

"But they all seem to be unconscious, and I'm not getting any energy readings from the any of the suits."

"So, we've been fighting manned machines and not drones…"

Houki thought back on the fight to try to see if they showed any signs of human qualities during the fight.

"Now that you mentioned it Houki…"

Ichika cut her off while she's in thought.

"While I was attacking one of these Silverbacks, this one I downed tackled me to protect him, and the Silverback that I was fighting with before is the one Laura's carrying."

"And he also shot me a few times while I was charging up my railgun before he tackled you..."

"Another thing is this big one here; tried to break off of me and Houki-san after Laura fired her railgun."

"Same goes when I downed this one here."

Charlotte pointed the smaller one out as she examined the weapon she picked up.

"He tried to break off of you two so he can get to either one of them…"

"Hmph."

Ichika took a quick look at the 4 Silverbacks.

"Unmanned machines don't do that."

Now that the IS pilots know that the Silverbacks are manned machines, they're checking on them if they're pilots are okay.

"Ichika, even though they're unconscious, all of their vitals are okay."

"Yeah, but we have to be careful, Charlotte. We don't really know anything about these Silverbacks."

"One thing we know is that they can't really match up to the IS~"

Rin, like Cecilia, couldn't help but sing song their victory as they're looking over the 2 Silverbacks she, Houki and Charlotte downed.

"Rin-chan, even so, there are still human pilots in those suits. We could've killed them…"

"Mu-u-u-ur~"

Slightly annoyed, Rin continued looking over the Silverbacks while Houki has a curious look on her face.

"So what are we going to do with them?"

"We should bring them over to the instructors to handle them. Right now, let's check on what we're really here for."

"Hm."

Houki nodded in agreement.

"I'll check on the rouge IS, you guys watch those Silverbacks."

"""""Right."""""

The reason why they're at Ishiyama High is because of the rogue IS. And when the security teams failed to stop it, they were sent out to pursue it.

As Ichika reached the rogue IS, multiple ear piercing sounds ringed through the campus grounds.

"Ah!..."

Hearing the sounds, Ichika turned around to see smoke clouds where the other 5 IS pilots and the Silverbacks are.

Sensing trouble, Ichika dashed back to them.

As he's heading back, his IS picked up 3 additional energy signatures mixed in with Houki, Cecilia, Rin, Charlotte and Laura.


"Okay, what now, boss?"

Tch…

Great, all 4 of us are down now, with Sideswipe all hogtied…

The ISes cautiously approached us. They think that we're down for the count, but that's not true and they don't seem to know that.

The Silverback has to be downed 3 times in order for it to be out of the fight. Let's see here…

Scourge and I have been downed twice; Sideswipe and Ratchet, downed once.

6 ISes; 3 of them right by Ratchet and Scourge, 1 with Sideswipe and the other 2 are with me; being Ichika and his support.

We can't do anything to startle them. Not when they're watching closely. Unless…

Huh?

I feel something in my right hand. With my whole body on top of my right hand, Ichika and his support can't see it.

This object has this cylinder-shaped canister feel to it with holes on the sides…

!

A concussion grenade; must've gotten it as Ichika broke through my energy shield.

Maybe we there's something we can do with these…

"Ratchet, you there?"

"Yeah, unfortunately…"

"Got any concussion grenades?"

"I only have 2 left."

"Scourge, you there? What about you?"

"Same here; got 2 left."

I tried to avert my eyes over to Sideswipe, and just as I barely have him in my eyesight…

"So what's the plan?"

"First of all, we have to get you untied. I got something in mind, but you'll have to wait. Ratchet, you got those grenades on you right now."

"No… they were knocked off after…"

"?…"

Ratchet made a pause mid-sentence and he sounded a bit hesitant in his response.

"Ratchet?"

"Ha-ha-ha…"

Now he sounds like he's having a tough time breathing…

"Ratchet."

"!.. Uh… Sorry, Hot Shot. It's just that when she hit me with that pilebunker, my concussion grenades were knocked off… And at least, they're within arm's reach... "

That isn't a normal response from Ratchet, but it's not something that I should be dealing with right now.

"But are you okay?"

"I'm doing just dandy by lying here…"

"Well, okay…"

I clenched the grenade to ease the tension that's built up.

"I have a Concussion grenade in hand, but they don't know it because my body's covering it."

I eyeballed Ichika and his support, then to Sideswipe. I eyeballed back at Ichika and it looks as though he's about go off somewhere…

[Energy Shield on standby, stand up to activate]

"You guys have something on your visors?"

"No… I don't have a feedback about the energy shield..."

"I have the feedback, Bro. But I obviously can't do that yet."

"I got it as well; it's just flashing away at me…"

"Okay, here's the plan; Ratchet, get that Concussion grenade and throw it at those 3 ISes to disorient them. But make sure it's set hot before you throw it at them. Scourge, you're to do as you see fit to take them down; but watch it, this is the second time your energy shield's been broken through. One more, and that's it, you're out of this fight."

"Got it."

"You got it."

"Sideswipe, pretend you're unconscious, I'll get you out."

"Not much I can do anyway."

I made another eyeball look at Ichika's support, then Ichika.

"I'll make the first move; don't do anything stupid while you wait…"

Tightly clenching the grenade in my hand to ease up even more tension, I wait patiently for the right moment…

I looked at the IS who's carrying Sideswipe with her tentacle-like wires. Oh all the methods to tie him up, why Hogtie?

I don't even want to think about it. Not with how females these days can be sometimes…

Waiting patiently, Ichika began to take off somewhere. Not knowing where, I waited a bit longer for the right time to go with the plan.

After Ichika took off, his support watched over me in his place. I can't go with it yet…

"Okay, Ichika's gone… Now what?"

Ratchet's getting a little impatient…

"Not yet…"

I looked at Ichika's support and she turned her attention to Sideswipe. With her back turned, it's not going to work out well.

Not yet…

She then began to turn back to me, I armed my grenade as she did; this may not look like it, but this is the time to act…

Just as she looked down, I flung out the grenade in front of her.

*Beephew!*

The ringing sound pierced through the surrounding area. I got myself back up and the vision on my visor restored itself, only that it has 2 huge cracks on the visor now.

The blue IS that stood over me, stumbled back away from the small smoke cloud the grenade produced and dropped her large sniper rifle.

Even though I didn't get the full effects of the Concussion grenade, it's really difficult to keep my balance.

While I'm regaining my balance, the black IS seemed to tighten her 'grip' on Sideswipe. I got to get him out of there…

Laying near the blue IS is the large sniper rifle she dropped.

I rushed through the smoke cloud and picked it up by the end of the barrel.

The blue IS's still disoriented was unaware that I had picked up her large sniper rifle. Looking back behind her, the black IS brought out more of those energy wires from her back.

What I noticed while I was down, is that this blue IS's pilot seems to have some sort of 'pride' in her skills and position.

If there's one thing I have to tell you; is that if there's a specific type of person I hate the most; it's those who take 'pride'.

For me, that's a sign of them being 'egomaniacs'. Those who look down on others, those who deserved to be pulled down from their 'high horse', as others would say, in a harsh manner.

My solution with dealing them, is take whatever they have pride in, and simply disgrace them with it!

I swung the large gun like a large kanabo at the blue IS just as the black IS behind her shot more of the energy wires at me.

"Hya-ah!"

*BANG!*

On impact, I felt the large rifle I swung at the blue IS dissipating into white particles as the blue IS collided with the black IS.

The impact caused the black IS to loosen her tie on Sideswipe.

Taking advantage of the whole commotion, Sideswipe broke free the moment the black IS 'dropped' him as he was loosely tied.


*Beephew!*

The Akatsubaki, Shenlong and Raphael Revive Custom II ISes took a quick a look to where the ear ringing noise came from to see a smoke cloud right by the Blue Tears and the Schwarzer Regen.

"!"

Just as Rin looked back to Ratchet and Scourge, a cylinder-shaped canister flew up in the middle of her and the other 2 ISes with her.

*Beephew!*

The same high pitch sound ringed through the heads of the 3 IS pilots as they're engulfed by the smoke cloud produced by a Concussion grenade.

With the 3 ISes engulfed by the smoke cloud, Scourge took advantage and tackled the Akatsubaki the moment he got up, while they're disoriented from the grenade's effect.

As he's over the Akatsubaki, Scourge drew and clenched his right fist, before unleashing a thunderous punch on Houki's face.

Shortly after Scourge brought the Akatsubaki down, Ratchet sprang up to the Raphael Revive Custom II and grabbed hold of the weapon she picked up. That weapon she has in her hand is actually Ratchet's Flak Cannon.

Feeling Ratchet's pull on her right arm while disoriented from the Concussion grenade, Charlotte aimed his own weapon at him. As she moved her arm, Ratchet diverted her by holding on to her right arm, spinning counter clockwise to have her arm wrapped around him, bent forward to lower her stance.

Charlotte tried to fling Ratchet off, but he grabbed her arm even tighter. With how Charlotte's right arm wrapped around Ratchet, the side part of his Flak Cannon is held up against the left side of his head.

"Fr-r-r-r-rgh…"

Struggling to get his weapon back, he then changed his grip from Charlotte's arm, to the working mechanism of his Flak Cannon…

*Click* *Clack!*

Forced the side of the Flak Cannon even more against his head…

*BAM!*

The blast from the barrel went off right next to Ratchet's head; sending a tight group of energy infused flak shells right at Charlotte's head…

Then she loosened her arm that wrapped around Ratchet and his Flak Cannon fell out of her hand as she stumbled back.

As Charlotte stumbled back, Ratchet bent down.

"And… I'll take that..."

He picked up his Flak Cannon in an attempt to shrug that ordeal off.

After dealing with the Akatsubaki, Scourge moved on to the Shenlong and made quick work with her by grabbing both sides of Rin's head and yank her head against his; giving Rin a massive head butt, breaking the magenta-colored tiara looking piece on her forehead.

The impact she received made her even more disoriented.

Noticing the Raphael Revive Custom II stumbling backwards to him, he backed off to check on Ratchet.

"You okay, bro?"

"Yeah, sure…"

Recovering from their ordeal, the two began to recover Ratchet's other weapons.

As they backed off a bit more from the 3 ISes to do so, Hot Shot knocked the Blue Tears into the Schwarzer Regen with a large blue sniper rifle.

The impact the Schwarzer Regen received loosened her tie on Sideswipe. As she 'dropped' Sideswipe, the tie got even looser as he hit the ground and he manages to break free.

Knowing that Sideswipe's free, Hot Shot closed in on the Blue Tears, grabbed hold of her right arm with his left hand, pulled her towards him and thrust his right fist into her abdomen.

Letting go of her as she's bent forward, he gave a huge kick in the same spot he punched, sending her crashing into the Raphael Revive that's close by.

Sideswipe's vision fully restored itself, aside from a huge crack on his visor and he began to fight back on the Schwarzer Regen that hogtied him.

Noticing the Schwazer Regen's trying to recover from the impact she received, Sideswipe jumped on her back and began to thrash her around a bit as much as he could.

With his thrashing movement, Laura's unable to regain her balance with her Scharzer Regen. They continued this thrashing as Laura stumbled slowly towards the other 4 downed ISes

"UO-O-O-O-O-O-O-OHH!"

Attempting to make a surprise attack, Ichika charged towards Hot Shot. Hearing Ichika's battle cry is a dead giveaway for Hot Shot; telling him where the attack's coming from.

Right before Ichika thrust his Yukihira at Hot Shot, he made a sidestep and grabbed hold of his side as he passed by.

Feeling movement from left side to his back, he and Hot Shot began the same hustle and tussle as Sideswipe and Laura are having.

Even though Hot Shot's smaller in comparison to Ichika in his Byakushiki, he's able to manipulate Ichika into facing the other 5 ISes. 4 of them down, and Sideswipe and the Schwarzer Regen thrashing each other about.

"!"

Shocked from what he saw, he attempt to reach for Hot Shot to get him off of his back in anger but as he tried, Hot Shot pulled a cylinder-shaped canister, which's a Concussion grenade and armed it…

"Say 'hi' to your friends for me!"

The moment Ichika heard Hot Shot's slightly distorted tone say that. He felt a hard tap on his upper back before receiving a hard kick just a little lower from it; sending him right to his comrades.

Ichika spun around a bit to find out what was put on his back along the way.

As Ichika got closer to the other 5 ISes, Sideswipe armed the same kind of grenade and tagged it on Laura's back and jumped off of her right before Ichika got next to her.

**BEEPHEW!**

After both grenades went off, Alpha Squad regrouped on Hot Shot.


"Ha… I can't believe it! We actually did it!"

Ratchet exclaimed in a shocked tone.

As we're regrouping, I took a quick scan of the whole campus ground and then back at the ISes.

The smoke cloud that engulfed them dissipated into the air, showing that all 6 of them are down.

Ratchet took a quick scan as well, but towards the rogue IS we were originally supposed to take down.

"So for bringing that bitch down before 'they' showed up…"

I looked at the rogue IS as well. Seeing that there's no movement, or any 'signs of life' from it, there's not much for us to do here…

"Alright, before we head back, we should take a look at see what we can find out of that rogue IS. Those Concussion grenades aren't going to keep those other 6 ISes down for long."

"Yeah, if you don't take their Hyper Sensors into consideration…"

Ratchet's checking his weapons to see if they're fully functioning. With him saying that, he must've remembered something that I've forgotten…

"Spill it…"

Ratchet primed his Flak Cannon before holding it down.

"Tezla mentioned that all ISes have Hyper Sensors when we first started using those Concussion grenades a few weeks ago. The Hyper Sensors greatly improves the IS pilot's senses; senses like sight and hearing. It also allows the pilot to see 360 degrees without even turning their heads. Now considering that the Concussion grenades are the Silverback's version of the conventional flash bang, but more with the smoke, it can already disorient those who're caught in the blast radius for a short period of time without the Hyper Sensors."

Ratchet then held his last Concussion grenade in his hand.

"And with the Hyper Sensors improving the IS pilot's senses, then…"

"The Concussion grenade's effects are a lot worse on those ISes because of the Hyper Sensors greatly improving the pilot's senses."

"So we basically indirectly used their Hyper Sensors against them…"

"Yeah, of course…"

Ratchet seems to be okay from that fight we had with those ISes, but while we were down he hesitated in his response. That's the first time I heard that kind of talk from him.

But anyway, there's only thing we can do now…

"Alright, now that the rogue IS is down. Let's check on the rogue IS and get the hell out of here before Ichika and the others come about..."

As we turned towards where the rogue IS, movement soon came from it.

Sideswipe instinctively raised his Saber up at her.

As he did, the rogue IS slowly rose up from where it was lying down.

"Well, there goes that idea!"

I aimed both Desert Rangers towards the IS, as she's getting in her battle stance.

"Ratchet, got anything on her?"

The rogue IS then slid open her wing thrusters.

*DON DON DON DON DON!*

Missiles launched from her wing thrusters right before I was about to get single shot off.

"I'm working on it! Get off my back!"

All of us broke up to avoid the missile barrage. But not before attempting to shoot them down.

We all fired multiple shots, some of them hitting the missiles directly, others just grazing by some.

Some of them went off prematurely and setting off a chain reaction on the other missiles.

All of us felt the shockwave from being within close proximity of the blast radius.

I looked back at the rogue IS as I switched to my Shockburst.

"?"

What caught my attention on her is there's a small crack in the center of her chest area. Where did she get that from?

"Guys, I think I have an idea on how we can bring her down for good."

The IS launched more missiles.

"Well… spit it out!"

I made an attempt to dodge them so I can listen on Ratchet.

"For starters… the missile pods. Aim for the missile pods when they slide open."

Getting that from Ratchet, I rolled out of the dodge as the missiles went by.

I got back up, took aim and fired multiple laser beams at the IS.

Wait until the pods open on her wing thrusters open up.

"There are 4 pods we have to shoot. 2 on her shoulders, while the other 2 are on her wing thrusters."

Waiting patiently, all of us kept our distance from the rogue IS.

Scourge fired his a few shots of his Saber at her to provoke her.

Some of them actually hit her on the same small crack I spotted on her chest; which actually stunned her a bit.

*Bz-z-zt…*

Getting agitated, the rogue IS opened the pods on her wing thrusters.

"Now! Concentrate your fire on her wing thrusters!"

I pulled the trigger on my Shockburst. Multiple laser beams at her left wing thrusters, joined by Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge.

Just as the missiles launched from her right wing thrusters…

*DON DON—BOOM!*

The explosion on the left wing thrusters knocked the rogue IS off balanced. She stumbled to get regain her balance.

Smoke fuming from what's left of the missile pod we've shot.

While she's regaining her balance, the right wing thruster's still open.

With her moving about, we can't get a clear shot at it.

As we moved to get a better aim, the IS fell back a bit using her wing thrusters.

When we got close the rogue IS pulled out her Halberd.

""!""

Right when she did, we back off; not wanting to risk getting our energy shield chopped up.

Especially me and Scourge, we've been down twice. One more and we're out of this fight.

[Right Forearm Blade: Destroyed]

[Left Forearm Blade: Critically Damaged]

"Tch…"

After that melee fight with Ichika earlier, I got no other choice than to stay back.

Scourge fired his Saber at her, but she blocked the vital shots with the axe blade of her Halberd.

Sideswipe move to her left flank, Saber in hand to draw her attention.

"Sideswipe, you better not be using that chainsaw…"

"I can't even use it because it got jammed after a deadlock I had earlier."

Taking a closer look at his Saber's chainsaw, small electrical arcs coursed through the bayonet itself as he fired.

With Sideswipe grabbing her attention, Ratchet and Scourge opened fire her.

But as they did, her both pods on her shoulders began to open up.

Without hesitation, I aimed my Shockburst at her right shoulder.

*Peephew!* *Peephew!* *Peephew!*

Firing multiple shots at her, the IS swung her Halberd in an attempt to block them.

But the shots came too quick and they've severely damaged the missile pod.

With her stumbling back again, Scourge switched to his Shockburst for accurate shots.

Waiting for her to expose the pod, Scourge pulled the trigger.

*Peephew!*

*BOOM!*

Knocked off balanced again from the explosion on her right shoulder, the IS almost lost grip on her Halberd.

"Oh yeah! How'd you like us now, bitch?"

The shock from the explosion not only knocked her off balanced, but also caused a more damage to her body.

The small crack from the center of her chest area had spread into other series of smaller ones; covering the majority of her upper chest area. With the crack in the center of her chest was originally small had gotten longer and widen as well, ending on her right abdomen.

"—"

Recovering from those hits, the rogue IS stood back up and regained her composer; aside from the smoke fuming out of her destroyed missile pods.

She raised her Halberd up in front of her, like she's willing to use her melee weapon for the remainder of the fight.

"!"

I hear a deep charging sound, as the IS lowered her stance a bit.

What is she?

Then a thunderous boom resonated throughout the campus, the rogue IS charging straight at me with her Halberd ready to strike.

I dodged just as she was about to swing her pole axe sideways. Because of her missing her attack, we now have her surrounded.

Recovering from missing her attack, the cracks on her upper chest were exposed as she turned around to determine her next target.

"What the hell are those glowing things on her chest?"

Scourge kept on firing his Saber, with him being further away from the IS; he couldn't really see her cracks as well.

Ratchet narrowed his eyes to have a better look.

"Uh, looks like her armor's cracking up. Okay! That's got to be a weak spot! Aim for it!"

Right when Ratchet finished his sentence, the rogue IS turned towards him and charged straight at him and Scourge like she did with me.

With no time to fire his Flak Cannon, Ratchet dodge immediately.

Scourge on the other fired a few more shots with his Shockburst before he dodged.

*Tink!*

"Ogh!"

The tip of the Halberd's blade landed on glancing Scourge's right hip.

All of us fired at once at the rogue IS before she realizes that she hit Scourge.

"Keep her off of him!"

Scourge backed away from her and switched to his Saber.

The IS regained her combat stance as we're continuously firing at her.

"Wait until her chest's exposed! Aim for the heart area!"

Ready to make another charge, the IS held her Halberd over head. Leaving the cracks on her upper chest exposed.

"Give her all you got, guys. Now!"

Just as she started to charge, we all fired immediately.

The rogue IS got closer and closer. Right at the last minute, all of us dispersed.

Now with her back turned on us, we've held our fire back until she faced us again.

Long range shots didn't really work on her…

I pulled my Saber out and got a bit closer to her.

"Don't shoot her until she's up close!"

Ratchet switched from his Flak Cannon to his Saber as he backed up a bit.

"Yeah, you get cozy with her! I'll stand back!"

With her facing us now, all of us unleashed another barrage at her.

I fired multiple rounds into the center of her chest, right on the large crack…

*Bz-z-z-zt!*

*Clink!* *Clang!*

After hitting her, the rogue IS bent downward as if she's wincing in pain and erratically swung her Halberd around as a means of defense.

*KLUNK!* *KLUNK!*

Standing back up again, the IS got into her combat stance again.

With a deep charging sound resonating throughout the campus, all of us got ready for another charge.

"!"

But instead of a charge, she made a huge jump up into the air, heading towards Ratchet.

"Heads up!"

Ratchet aimed his Saber up and began to unleash a barrage of plasma, to get her down. All of us joined in as well.

Even though some of the shots hit the small cracks in her chest, the IS still broke through.

*DU-HN!*

The IS made a thunderous sound as she landed, Halberd already swung down.

The dust is kicked up from the IS's landing, and busting out of that dust cloud was Ratchet; rolling out as he hit the ground.

"You okay, Ratchet?"

"Doing just dandy…"

The IS then came out of the dust cloud as well, and continued with a charge towards me.

The IS swung her Halberd just as she got close.

She swung it sideways multiple times. All I can do is just avoid her attacks. I would use my left combat blade, but…

[Left Forearm Blade: Critically Damaged]

Real bad timing to have these blades virtually done with this fight.

As she swung her halberd again, I put a huge effort in dodging it.

*Frgh-sch!*

I put too much into, cause at the end of my dodge, I lost my balance and fell.

I regained my vision from my fall to see the axe head coming down straight at me.

"!"

It's coming down at me faster than I can move.

I prepared for the hit…

*Beephew!*

*BOOM!*

I opened my eyes to see the axe head thwarted off and the IS herself stumbling back.

Multiple plasma and laser beams continued to hound on her.

Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge were providing covering fire.

Using this opportunity, I got back up and put some distance in between me and her.

Then I regrouped with my brothers.

Both Desert Rangers in hand, I aimed it right at her as she's still struggling to recover.

Come on… Come on…

The IS then slowly began to turn towards us, and I pulled both triggers.

**PA!**

Soon, my shots were joined by others as they flew right towards the rogue IS.

Right when the IS faced us…

*BOOM!*

All the shots made impact on the cracks in her chest, the IS once again looking as though she's wincing in pain.

But she didn't take as long to recover from that as before.

Standing back up, the IS tightly gripped her Halberd.

Tightly gripping her Halberd, the same deep humming sound filled the air again.

All of us dispersed instinctively to surround her.

*Fr-r-rm!*

"!"

The IS suddenly made a sudden lung towards Sideswipe.

Sideswipe made an attempt to dodge at the last minute, but the IS this time kept her bearing on him and swung her pole axe at him. He's dodging every swing, but barely because of the speed of her swings a lot faster than before.

I raised both of my sidearms and pulled both triggers to get her off of him.

*PA!* *PA!* *PA!* *PA!*

Each shot instantly hit her but they didn't faze her one bit. She still continued engaging on Sideswipe.

Sideswipe made an attempt to jump on her as a counter. With the Halberd just passing by him, he could just get on her…

*Krr-schack!*

"Gu-ugh! Uh…"

"!"

Sideswipe was knocked down and landed on his feet but unbalanced.

Noticing this, the IS followed up on Sideswipe.

"!..."

Every swing with that pole axe, Sideswipe's knocked around.

After a few hits, the cracked-glass pattern appeared all over his armor as was knocked back.

As she's about to swing her Halberd down at him, I fired both of my side arms to get her attention.

*Tink!**Tink!* *Tink!*

But the moment I pulled the triggers, the axe head made contact with him. The cracked-glass pattern all over his armor shattered after that hit. Energy shield broken through for the 2nd time.

"Sideswipe!"

Sideswipe fell back as the IS drew her Halberd back. I instinctively kicked off the ground to get to him.

With Sideswipe down, she then turned her attention towards me and made the same sudden lung at me, blocking my way to Sideswipe. I brought both of my sidearms up as she got up close.

If they didn't work at that far range, maybe it'll work up close.

But before I can pull the triggers, the Halberd's already coming right at me.

Like Sideswipe, I can only avoid the axe head.

*Peephew!* *Pephew!*

*Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh!*

Shots were coming from my right side.

Ratchet and Scourge provided support to get her off of me. With the shots knocking her off balance, I used this chance to break off of her, and bolted towards Sideswipe.

He's lying down but hardly moving towards me. As I got to him, I grabbed him by his right shoulder and left hip to pick him up.

Come on, Sideswipe. We've been through worse together.

As I picked him up, a layer of bluish-white energy came in from around him and covers him. After that layer of energy covered him, he stood up under his own power.

"Thanks, man. I thought it was over…"

"We're not done yet…"

Just as we looked at the rogue IS, she's closing the gap in between Ratchet and Scourge. They must've kept on running back to hold her off for this long.

Seeing that, Sideswipe pulled out his Shockburst, and I pulled out my Saber.

Both of us burst out from our spot; firing our assault rifles at her to get the pressure off of Ratchet and Scourge.

Our shots missed her but they were enough to grab her attention. Seeing that Sideswipe is back up, she made an immediate charge at him.

As we're getting closer and closer, I went next to Sideswipe and pushed him a side right before the Halberd was swung.

When she swung her Halberd, I launched myself up and over to avoid the axe head.

"Stay back, I'll handle her."

Sideswipe moved further back and regrouped with Ratchet and Scourge.

Standing face to face with the rogue IS, I watched he closely for any movements from her, but she kept her combat stance with her Halberd ready.

"—"

"…"

Seconds feels like minutes as we stood, staring at each other. Tension built as I lowered my stance. If I were to say; it feels like the core of a nuclear bomb ready to go off.

*Fr-r-rm!*

The IS made the first move with a lung towards me, Halberd high up overhead.

*Vr-r-r-rm!*

I revved my Saber's chainsaw bayonet and raised it up.

*Kickr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-rgh!...*

Not wanting to be in this deadlock for long, I swung my Saber sideways; thwarting the axe head off and cleaving the ground close to my right leg.

I used this chance to jump on her, but she brought her Halberd back up with a back swing.

"Ugh!"

I was knocked off by the pole portion in midair.

Landing on the ground, I tried to regain my balance, but the IS quickly followed up on me.

I backed up to get some distance but she's too quick.

She swung her Halberd sideways and I turned towards the axe head, chainsaw revved …

*Kickr-r-rgh!...*

This time I swung up the Saber to divert the axe head.

!

I put too much effort into and lost my balance and slipped on the ground.

The IS used the moment that was diverted her Halberd to prepare for a downward overhead swing.

Same situation from before, I tried to avoid the overhead swing, but like last time, she swing's too quick.

"!"

But unlike last time, the large crack in the center of her chest, as well as the smaller ones that expand from it, were exposed.

"Tch…"

At this moment, it feels that time has slowed. I launched myself towards her as the axe head came down and I drew back my left fist. I heard the axe head contacting the spot where I was laying; with all of my strength, I unleashed everything that's built in my left fist…

*Sheph-KING!*

My left fist made contact in the very center of the large crack in her chest. My fist feels frozen while it's in contact with it. I struggled to get my left fist free. Even though my whole fist is just pressed up against her chest, there something that's mounted above it that penetrated through.

"Hr-r-rgh!*

*Kink…*

[Left Forearm Blade: Destroyed]

The feedback popped on my visor as I pushed the rogue IS off of me.

The moment I pushed her off, she stood up for a bit.

*Hm-m-m-m-m-m...*

A deep energetic humming sound filled the air before collapsing to the ground; electricity beginning to violent crack through her.

!

As the sound got louder and louder, I bolted away from her, blaring through the radio comms.

"Get down! She's going to blow!"

Upon hearing that, Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge dove away from the direction of the rogue IS.

A thunderous explosion boomed through the area as we hit the ground.

*Bzz-zt...*

The vision on my visor blurred for a second before it restored itself.

I took a look at the area around me before I stood back up, seeing that it's all clear, I looked back at the spot where the IS collapsed.

Maybe we can find something we can use to find out what caused this IS to go rogue.

I went to where the IS collapsed to find debris littering the area of the explosion.

Although, there are large arms and legs looking as though they're in placement like there's a pilot in it. The wings too looked in place.

Judging from how this looked, it seems that the IS itself is intact. Looks as though that it was the drone piloting the IS that blew up. Bits and pieces of it are scattered close by.

"Ha…"

Ratchet sighed before asking.

"So, how was it for you?"

*Tack!*

He kicked a piece of the drone pilot.

"Ratchet, is there anything we can use to find out more about this IS? Mainly what caused it to go rogue?"

Ratchet looked at the scattered bits and pieces around the IS.

"There's nothing I can use here. Unless…"

Ratchet then checked on the IS itself and picked something that's right next to the IS's right arm.

The object he picked up is a small rectangular box. It was covered with some black spots on it, but it seems to be intact by the looks of it.

"What is that?"

"Looks like it's the key part to the drone pilot... I'm not too sure though."

"You think it's still intact?"

"Yeah, if it's designed to withstand an explosion like that…"

Ratchet got up and placed the box on his lower back. Placing it there, the armor got a hold of it.

"But, it seems that it's the only thing that's salvageable. The rest are just shit…"

"If that's the case, then we got no other reason to stay here. Let's get out of here."

Just as we're about to leave the campus, Sideswipe blared through the radio comms.

"Incoming!"

*BOOM!*

A mid-sized crater emerged from the ground close to us, putting us on high alert.

Now what?

I took a quick scan around the grounds of the campus and saw that the 6 ISes we've fought off earlier are back again.

We've just finished taking down the rogue IS, and the Silverbacks are almost at their limit in their current state. Now's not the time to go and get into any unnecessary fights.

"Come, on! We've done what we came here to do! Let's get the hell out of here!"

With no hesitation, all 4 of us bolted out of the campus. We already had out hands full with that rogue IS, if we were to fight those 6 right now, all of that work will go to shit.

"Keep moving, Alpha!"

"Where are we going, Hot Shot?"

"…"

Shit, we've been so caught up on taking that IS down, I didn't even thought about a way of getting out when we finished…

Wait a second, maybe there's something we can use behind the dorms…

Being at the front of the group, I made a turn towards Ishiyama High's dormitories.

"Hot Shot, you do know where we're heading right?"

"Yeah, but I don't think we have a choice in this, Ratchet."

As the dormitories got into view, the 6 ISes are flying over us. Seeing an alleyway beside the dorms and a neighboring house, I turned into the alleyway and followed it and we're behind the dormitories.


Pursing Alpha Squad were Ichika, Houki, Cecilia, Rin, Charlotte and Laura.

All 6 of them are flying overhead as Alpha turned into an alleyway and soon they've stopped behind Ishiyama High's dormitories.

"We've got them, now."

Cecilia pulled out her Blue Pierce laser rifle, and took aim at one of the Silverbacks.

"Wait…"

Ichika watched Alpha Squad closely as he lowered her rifle.

Alpha Squad looked up towards them for a bit, and then one of them turned his back on them and pulled out a huge brown shotgun looking weapon.

Instinctively, Laura deployed her railgun and support struts and aimed her railgun at them.

Charlotte did the same but with her Vent Semi-automatic assault rifle.

Rin and Houki pulled out their respected melee weapons and waited to charge in.

Just as Laura and Charlotte were about to fire, Alpha took cover behind 2 mid-sized dumpsters and a sudden flash and smoke cloud burst out next them.

"!-?"

As the smoke expanded and covered the area in the alleyway of where Alpha's in, a black cylinder-shaped cansiter flew straight up and out of the smoke cloud.

"!"

Remembering what that canister is, Rin blared out.

"Everyone cover your eyes!"

*Beephew!*

The 6 IS pilots covered their eyes a few thousand of a second before a high pitched sound ringed in their heads.

As they opened their eyes, their vision on their ISes is blurred, and all of their other functions on their Hyper Sensors are jammed.

"Uh! Can you guys see anything in that smoke cloud?"

Having a tough time with his Hyper Sensors, Ichika turned towards Laura.

"I can't get anything…"

"What about thermal vision?"

Cecilia frantically tried to aim her rifle anywhere in the smoke cloud below. Charlotte managed to switch her vision to answer Cecilia.

"All I'm getting is a black patch on where that smoke cloud is. There are no heat signatures in there."

"Wait, it's starting to clear…"

As Houki mentioned it, the others looked at the lower smoke cloud slowly dissipating.

""""""!-?""""""

To their surprise, when the smoke cleared, Alpha Squad's gone.


"Alright, we're stopping here for now…"

Reaching behind the dorms, I took a quick scan of the area.

"…"

When I looked up, the same 6 ISes caught up to us. Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge looked up at them as well.

"What now, boss?"

Ratchet glanced back at me, ready to take his Flak Cannon out.

I checked what other equipment I have, other than my Sidearms and Assault Rifles.

[Cryo Grenades (x2) : Online]

Cryo Grenades... Tezla mentioned something about these...

!

"Those 2 cyan canisters are Cryo grenades. Those grenades don't freeze anything when they go off, but they're perfect against infrared vision. When they go off, they'll immediately drop the surrounding air to freezing temperature (32 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0 degrees Celsius). If you're anywhere in that area, you'll be invisible to any infrared vision; conventional or IS"

He also mentioned that I might have to use these to help with our escape. Seems that he knew what were going to go through before we fought the rogue IS.

Feeling one the spherical-shaped capsules, I scanned the ground with my eyes while my head's still facing the ISes above.

"!"

A large circular plate's on the ground right next to one of the dumpsters on the dorm side of the alleyway.

The plate's diameter is a bit larger than Scourge's Silverback; looks like we've got our escape route…

"Ratchet, still got some Concussion grenades?"

"Only one though…"

Ratchet turned his back towards the ISes as he pulled out his Flak Cannon.

"I still got 2, Hot Shot. What's the plan?"

Scourge asked while reaching for his lower back.

I looked back and spotted a bent up crowbar next to the dumpster next to me. That crowbar should help a bit.

Okay, this plan here's going to need timing. There's only one shot at it.

"Here's the plan; Scourge, toss a Concussion grenade a few meters in front of that circular plate. That plate is a manhole cover leading down into the sewers; we'll navigate our way out through there. When Scourge throws it, take cover behind these dumpsters. When it goes off and the smoke cloud expands to each side of the alleyway, bolt for that manhole cover. At the same time, Ratchet, launch your last Concussion grenade with your Flak Cannon straight up into the air. The EMP effect ought to disrupt those IS's Hyper Sensors. Got it?"

All of them nodded and without hesitation, Scourge threw a grenade at the manhole cover.

Immediately, all of us took cover behind the dumpsters, as I did, I picked up the crowbar.

*Beephew!*

A few seconds after getting the crowbar, the concussion grenade went off and a smoke cloud slowly expands to the sides of the alleyway, now's the time to act.

Everyone bolted out with Ratchet firing his last grenade straight up into the air and I armed both Cryo grenades as he did.

*Beephew…*

Hearing the grenade go off in the air, I threw one in the center of the smoke cloud and the other between the dumpsters.

Both of them let out a white smoke that contrasts from the smoke produced by the Concussion grenade.

With a combination of tactical grenades like this, we should be practically invisible to those 6 ISes.

I pulled out the crowbar and embed it in the edge of the manhole cover to pry it open…

Getting one side of the cover out of the ground, Sideswipe and Scourge picked the cover up from where I pried it and moved it out of the way, revealing an opening into the sewers.

"Go, go, go!"

Sideswipe and Scourge jumped right in; as they did I threw the crowbar into one of the dumpsters.

"Uh, there's going to be shit everywhere…"

"We got no other choice, Ratchet."

Ratchet reluctantly jumped in and as he did, I began to climb down the ladder and grabbed the edge of the manhole cover, and as my whole body got down the hole, I dragged the cover over the whole to seal it…

As the only source of light the dark sewers vanished, my visor switched to night vision.

"Everyone okay?"

"Scourge and I are okay."

"Okay, we got away from those ISes, now what?"

The only possible place we can go to for now is probably Tezla's house through here; we don't have any other choice given the circumstances. But then, the sewer systems tend to be huge mazes, we can easily get lost.

"Our only possible way of getting out of here is by getting to Tezla's house."

"Which can possibly take hours…"

Ratchet put his Flak Cannon away and looked further down one of the tunnel's direction.

"Nah, screw that. I just got something on my visor."

"Oh yeah, what is it smart guy?"

Shrugging off Ratchet's response, Sideswipe continued from where he left off.

"Looks like I got some sort of navigation system; route already set up and everything. Let me see on where it'll lead."

A navigation system in the Silverbacks?

"Alright, looks like we won't be lost down here. Hot Shot, let me take point."

Sideswipe began to run down the tunnels and we all began to follow suit.

The reason why we're heading to Tezla's house is because our other means of transportation's there.

During the 6 months after Thunder Crash's disbandment, all 4 of us went to get ourselves a motorcycle license. The minimum age requirement to get one in Japan depends on the size of the motor cycle you want to ride.

You can be 16 years of age to get one, but the restriction is that you can only use small and mid-size motorcycle. Motorcycles that are up to a maximum of 400 CC. Large-size motorcycles are 400+ CC, and you need to be 18 years of age to get the license for them.

Sideswipe, Ratchet and I use 250 CC motorcycles and Scourge uses a 400 CC. The one thing that all of our motorcycles have in common is they're all sport-touring.

We originally had our motorcycles hidden in a bush by the dormitories, but when summer vacation began, Tezla moved them to his house to safe keeping. We don't have to worry about the suspicions of breaking and entering when we get to Tezla's house.

He informed the neighbors and the local police that a group of late teenage looking boys matches our descriptions will one day, go to his house, and they'll ride off with them. He told them to let them go because those are our motorcycles.

With Sideswipe leading the way, all of us were just running to Tezla's house.


1:36 PM, August 17 2021. Shinjuku Sewer System, Tokyo, Japan.

"Alright, looks like we're here."

Sideswipe approached a ladder and began to climb up to the surface. And as he reached the top of the ladder, he pushed-up and then shifts the manhole cover and the sunlight shot through the hole, giving a bit of light in the sewer tunnel.

"Wait a minute."

Sideswipe stopped after Ratchet spoke.

"For all we know, those ISes could still be out there looking for us. If we go out there now in our Silverbacks, they could pick up our energy signatures."

"…"

He's right, being underground to a certain extent had hid our energy signatures from the ISes.

First thing to do is to deactivate them but how?

[Combat data acquired, deactivate the Silverback to commence Configuration Process into 1st Phase]

A feedback came up on my visor, looking passed it at Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge they seem look a bit puzzled judging by their body language. Seems they have the same feedback as well.

Thinking of possible ways for deactivating the combat armor, I feel the armor on my arms slowly folding itself from the tip of my arms and my helmet as well. The back of both legs had the same feeling but they stopped about half way, only leaving the frontal parts. Soon the armor folding on my arms and helmet stopped around my body. When it finished folding, the body and front leg armor turned into bluish-white Silhouettes and dissipated. After they dissipated, I feel an armor piece emerge on my left tricep.

"?"

I opened my eyes to find that I'm out of the combat armor. And it seems I'm not the only one.

Sideswipe, who's still on the ladder, is in his under skins. Under skins is something we normally wear under our combat armor so they can make the armor more comfortable to wear. But what's on Sideswipe's right triceps is an armor piece. He doesn't really wear one.

Scourge on the other hand has a pauldron on his right shoulder. And as for Ratchet, he has a chest protector that you normally see on a BMX rider. From the looks of it, it protects his whole body and it actually looks like a thinner version of his Thunder Crash armor.

All of us out of our Silverbacks but we have an armor piece on us in return. I don't really feel the same energy that enveloped me a few moments ago.

"You think the ISes can pick up our energy signatures now?"

Ratchet took a look at the thin body armor on him.

"No, I don't think so…"

"Hey, if they do happen to find us, we'll just tell them that we've been left behind during the evac."

"Well, there's only one way to find out, Scourge."

I looked up at the opening above us that'll lead up to the surface, not really knowing if the ISes are out there waiting for us.

I approached the ladder and tapped Sideswipe to get down.

"I'll head up first to check if it's all clear. I'll give the 'go ahead' if it's all clear."

I slowly began ascending up the ladder, right into the sunlight…


1:58 PM, August 17 2021. Route 3 (Shuto Expressway), Tokyo, Japan.

On this near abandoned portion of the highway are 4 sport-touring motorcycles, speeding on the pavement.

Each of them in their own color scheme; from front to back, the motorcycles are colored dark grey and navy blue, then gunmetal grey and onyx black, followed by navy blue and onyx black and dark silver and onyx black rounding up the pack.

Those who're riding them are actually 17-18 year old males, yet their body builds looks as though they're actually 20.

All 4 of them are exiting the Tokyo metropolitan area, heading to their desired destination. As for the motorcycle rider at the very front, he took a few glances of what's on his left triceps.

A carbon fiber looking plate is what he's looking at one every now and then as he rode.

Noticing a few overhead signs he narrowed his eyes to get a better reading of it. Some road signs in Japan, especially for major highways, have both the names in Kanji and English.

For the one they're approaching at high speed, the rider in front read the English name.

[Tomei Expressway]

Knowing that the route they're on will continue as the Tomei Expressway, the front rider began to speed up and the three behind began follow suit.

This expressway they're on will get them to their destination.

The Shizuoka Prefecture.


Author's Note:

Alright, that does it for chapter 9. I'm sorry that you had to wait for a while for this. I have too much personal matters offline to deal with.

And there's another thing you should know about this chapter. It's technically the last chapter for the first story arc. Whenever possible chance I'll get, I might get the next one maybe later this week, which will serve as the Epilogue for this arc. But I can't really say it for sure. For those who've waited for this chapter, thanks.

If you have any thoughts, or feedbacks, please write them as reviews.