Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to IS: Infinite Stratos or any content/references that're used. This Fanfic is made just for entertainment and not for commercial use in anyway.


*DON DON DON DON DON DON DON DON DON DON!*

The booming sound echoed as the missiles flew out at the same time from the ISes shoulders and wings.

"Incoming!"

The missiles rushed at us.

"Disperse!"

We all broke off as the missiles closed in.

"Oh shit! They're locked on us!"

*BAM!* *Click clack!*

*BAM!* *Click clack!*

*BAM!* *Click clack!*

Ratchet's continuously firing his Flak Cannon at the missiles homing in on him.

With its very wide shotgun pattern on every shot at close range, multiple missiles prematurely went off from getting hit by the barrage of flak shells.

"Tch…"

I had my share of missiles homing on me.

But unlike Ratchet, I didn't equip my Silverback with a Flak Cannon to counter them.

The best I can do is to avoid them at all costs.

I sprinted left, heading for the soccer field with the missiles still following me from behind, roaring like a pack of wolves.

Getting closer and closer to the field, the missiles were slowly approaching right behind me.

There's only one thing that I have that could get me out of this mess.

"—!"

Like a last ditch effort, I burst myself backwards into the air; jumping over the missiles that are locked on to me in a back flip fashion.

I threw out a Concussion grenade ahead of the hoard of missiles as they began to pull up towards back me.

*Beephew!*

With an ear piercing sound, the Concussion grenade went off; throwing the missiles off their course and into total disarray.

Some of them went off by crashing into each other in mid-air, while the rest blew up as they crashed into the ground.

"Ha-ha-ha…"

"Hot Shot, you okay?"

Landing to recover from that ordeal, Sideswipe contacted me through the radio comms.

"I'm alright. What about Ratchet and Scourge?"

"They're okay. Although, the IS managed to down Scourge's Silverback with those missiles, but Ratchet restored his energy shield."

I got back up and spotted the IS at the school's track and field, engaging on Scourge.

*Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh!*

Scourge retaliates with his Saber assault rifle.

"Come on, bitch! Is that all you got?"

"—"

The shoulder wings of the IS then began to slide open as I made a mad rush towards the IS to assist Scourge.

But before I can get a shot off from my Saber, the IS launched another barrage of missiles at me and Scourge.

Scourge was still firing his Saber at the IS, dodging each missile right before they hit him.

These missiles were not lock-on, so dodging them is a whole lot easier.

"Hah!"

I dove forward towards the oncoming missiles through the gaps, and hit the ground rolling towards the IS.

Getting out of my roll, I deployed both of my forearm mounted combat blades and lunged at the IS.

*KLANG!*

The sound of heaving metal clashing echoed throughout the school grounds.

The IS pulled out a Halberd at the last second to deflect my strike, knocking me back.

"—"

"Tch."

Trying to regain my balance the IS was about to strike her Halberd down right at me.

"Ugh!"

I dove right to dodge the first strike, but the IS wasn't done; it soon followed up with a series of swings.

*Whooph!*

Going left…

*Whooph!*

Then right...

And while I was avoiding the swings, Ratchet then came on the radio comms.

"Hot Shot, I'm picking up 6 bogies heading our way."

"How far are they away from us?"

"They're about 10 kilometer (6.2 miles) away from here and closing in fast."

"Well, check on them once every now and then."

"Roger, boss man."

Great, as if things aren't tough enough as it is…

And to finish it with an overhead swing; on reaction, I raised my both my arms up and crossed my blades to block the downward strike.

"Gr-r-r-r-g-gh!"

A deadlock, but one where the IS has the advantage because it's applying its weight down on me.

"Gr-r. Er-r-r-r-rghh!"

I can feel the ground collapsing from underneath me; I won't last much longer…

"Guys, I can use some help here!"

Scourge and Sideswipe were frantically aiming their Sabers precisely to avoid hitting me.

"Bro, we can't get a clear shot off with you in that deadlock."

"Ratchet…"

"You want to blow up the whole school? Anyway, those bogies have stopped about 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) from here."

"Well, wha- what are they doing- if they have to stop?"

"I don't know for sure, but it looks like that they're just standing there."

"Tch..."

"—"

The IS continues to apply more force on me, forcing me further into the ground.

*Tick-tack!*

I heard a sharp metallic cracking sound from above and looked at my blades.

Oh, shit…

A crack began to form on both blades from where the blade of the IS's Halberd in contact with.

"Gr-er-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r…"

As a last ditch effort to break the lock, I shift my crossed blades to the left…

"HYA-AGH!"

And suddenly swung them sideways to the right, diverting the IS's strike.

The sudden jolt threw the IS off balance.

With the current conditions of my blades, I had to retract them and go bare handed.

And just as I was about to make a strike towards the IS, someone blared through the radio comms.

"INCOMING!"

"!"

*BOOM!*

Something struck both me and the rogue IS; knocking it down and knocking me away from the IS.

"Dagh! Ugh!... Ugh…"

The helmet's visor had a small bullet hole damage on the lower left side of it. As for the vision, it lost its color and blurred as I hit the ground from that attack.

"Ugh…"

I can faintly hear Sideswipe in the raido comms to alert Ratchet and Scourge…

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

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

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

"Shit, Hot Shot! Now—my's joining the party!"

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 then began to slowly turn red hue.


10:37 AM, July 6 2021 (6 Weeks Earlier). Tezla's Lab, Thunder Crash Base.

"What the hell are those ISes doing all the way out here?"

"I don't know, Sideswipe, you want to go out there and ask 'em?"

We had a near encounter with those ISes back at that Cliffside. As soon as they left, we made an immediate return to Tezla's Lab.

Worrying about those ISes can wait, right now we have something that we must do.

According to Tezla, the Silverbacks are ready for use and he wants to start our training with them.

"There you are, anything going on topside?"

Speak of the devil.

Tezla's setting up some computers before we can begin the training.

"We had a near encounter with a small group ISes, Tezla. You still want to go on with training?"

The reason we did that patrol around the outskirts of the base is so to make sure it's all clear for us to train in our Silverbacks. But thanks to those ISes close by, things will possibly go hairy if we do.

"The training doesn't really have to be done outside. As you can see…"

Lights begin to illuminate a large open space behind him.

"We can start the training down here for now. But I've already dispatched some recon drones to surveillance the outskirt of the base for any ISes you've mentioned. Once it's all cleared, we'll move outside."

Tezla then walked to the 4 Silverbacks that are in the Seiza sitting position; the traditional formal way of sitting in Japan.

"There are some things I have to explain to you before you can armor up."

A star shaped energy 'manifested' in front of each Silverback.

"Even though that the Silverback can only react to guys; these four Silverbacks are specifically designed for you guys and you guys alone."

Designed for us alone?

But before I could ask, someone already beat me to the gun.

"What do you mean by that, Doc?"

"I made some adjustments to each spark, Brian. One of the adjustments I made is who it reacts to. Before, I designed the spark so that it'll only react to guys in general. But since these four are the first ones I've created, I feel as though that it has to be only you guys who can pilot them."

As he continued on explaining, Tezla put his hand on the right shoulder of the Silverback on the very left.

"With that, it'll increase the compatibility, synchronization and combat efficiency. These can also be increased by the time that's being spent between the Silverback and its pilot. Even though these four Silverbacks you see here look similar to each other now; they'll change as you use them over time."

Hearing that, these Silverbacks can't be your typical powered armor.

"Just like the IS Core, the Silverback Spark is a self-evolving mechanism. In a way, it's an artificial life form of its own. You need to be one with your Silverback; which is why that it's imperative to have the highest compatibility, synchronization and combat efficiency as possible with its wearer. And that'll allow the Silverback to evolve."

"Okay, then… but with us being the only four who can pilot these Silverbacks; are you trying to make the whole world our enemy, Doc? We have Phantom Task to take care of, in case if you've forgotten."

"If the world leaders accept the Silverback after the Demo, then I'll create more Silverbacks to even the numbers against the ISes that are currently out right now. And don't worry, Brian; I'll design their Sparks to react to all guys. But right now, let's see how things will play out."

The four Silverbacks that are in front of us all basically look the same; except that they're different in size from each other. Even though they're all slightly larger than us, I would say that they're about 2/3 to 3/4 the height of an IS with its pilot in it.

"As you can see, these Silverbacks look similar to each other. The reason for this is that they're in their Beta Phase; the basic form of the Silverback. The main purpose of the Beta Phase is for the Silverback to get a basic understanding of its pilot. Mainly things like their strengths, weaknesses and preferred fighting style."

Tezla then approached to the next Silverback and began to interact with the star shaped energy in front of it.

"But not to worry, these Silverbacks won't stay in its Beta Phase for long. While they're going through actual combat, they will gain all the experience in that situation. The spark will record all the data about its components and proceeds with its optimization process. Actually, it'll gain experience in any situation while active; from short checkups, to training and combat."

And he worked on these for years, even while being held by Phantom Task. Soon we're going to find out if all of this work is worth it.

"And there we go…"

He then backed away from the star shaped energy and raised his left arm. A holographic screen projected from his forearm.

"Alright guys we'll begin with the biological analysis. I'm going to need you to place your hand on the sparks you see in front of the combat armor in order for them to recognize their pilots."

He then backed away from the Sparks and walked towards a holographic console he set up at the side of the lab.

"Eric, you're first. Your Silverback is the one on your very left."

With multiple Silverbacks in one location, it's going to be tough to tell one from the other.

"Have you thought of giving these Silverbacks names, Tezla?"

"You don't have to worry about that. And besides, each of these Silverbacks will be different the more you use them. I'll explain it later, right now; let's proceed with the biological analysis."

I stepped in front of the Silverback that Tezla indicated, floating in between me and the combat armor, is the star shaped energy; the Spark for my Silverback.

"So I just place my hand on the Spark?"

"Yes, the spark will analyze your biological data; everything from your birth date, current age, height and even your Blood type. But for these Silverbacks, they'll go all the way down to your DNA."

Fixated on the Spark floating in between me and my Silverback, I placed my right hand on the Spark.

"Huh?"

A metallic ring resonated throughout the lab.

Next, a force of energy began to envelope all around me. In the next few seconds all the things that are unknown to me about this Silverback appeared in my conscious; from its basic movements, all the way to its specifications.

It feels as though that I've been using it for years, no. It feels as though that it's a part of me.

And as soon as it began, the energy that enveloped around me slowly began to dissipate and went back into the Spark.

"Ha…"

Slightly panting from the bio analysis, the Spark flew up and dove over the Silverback's head and merged with it from behind.

Seeing the Spark merge with the Silverback, my biological analysis is complete without Tezla saying anything before he notified Sideswipe.

"Eddie, you're next."


*Tatatatatatatata* *Tac*

"Alright, biological analysis is complete. All Silverback systems are nominal."

Immediately after a few hits on the holographic keyboard, sound of metal folding echoed out as the suits of armor adjusted to fit their pilot's body build.

The Silverbacks began to rise up from their Seiza sitting position with blue neon lighting on their linings/accents flickering on and off at the same time.

Once in full standing position, they set their arms off from their sides and legs shoulder width apart.

With their lights fully on, they began to open up from the back; ready for their pilots.

"Just slip inside from the back and Silverbacks will take care of the rest."

I went around my Silverback and slipped into it from behind, as well as everyone else did with theirs.

Once I got my arms in, the back of the armor began to close; incasing me in the armor.

After the armor made its final adjustments, the armor had awakened from its slumber; status feed coming up on the visor.

[Energy Shield: Online]

[Mobile Systems: Online]

[All Systems Nominal]

The armor's energy shield had enveloped around the armor. Seeing through the visor, I took a scan around the lab to have a feel for the combat armor's vision.

In just one quick look, it feels as though the visor's not even there.

"How's it feel, Eric?"

Tezla asked through the radio comm as he continued to observe us as we are slowly getting accustomed of using the Silverbacks.

"It feels…"

The armor feels a bit bulky like the flexibility's limited, but I'm already accustomed to that thanks to the Thunder Crash armor I used before. Then I put up my right hand and slowly clenched it to make a fist.

"…right. Except… this."

I felt the helmet that I'm wearing and noticed by looking from the inside of it around the visor, it isn't transparent.

"I feel like I'm a Faceless goon, not a warrior."

"If the user prefers, that helmet won't stay looking like that when the Silverback gets out of its Beta Phase. For it to get out of the Beta Phase is to use it continuously. But unlike other helmets that Thunder Crash had issued, these helmets are cybernetically enhanced to react with the human nervous system. Which will feed into the combat armor; you perform an action, the Silverback will perform the same action instantaneously."

"Uh-huh…"

That better happen when this gets out of its Beta Phase, because before, all of us preferred not to use any helmets. We even opt out on using the helmet Thunder Crash issued to us while on active duty.

Why? It's because it obscures our vision, preventing us from seeing snipers. Also, the visor on those helmets had the tendency of giving off a glint of sunlight. That right there is a sign telling a sniper 'Shoot here!', and it didn't give much protection from a direct hit by even the smallest of live rounds.

I'm guessing those helmets were there just for aesthetics purposes. Anyway, I wonder how Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge are doing.

"You guys doing okay over there?"

Ratchet and Scourge appear to be okay in their Silverbacks since they're already walking in them as if it was normal for them.

Sideswipe, on the other hand, seems to be having a tough time walking in his Silverback.

"I feel like that I'm a juggernaut in this thing. I can't move around as well."

Yeah, out of all four of us, Sideswipe's the fastest and the most agile. He even had to have his Thunder Crash armor slimed down so it won't interfere with his mobility at all.

"Just as I said before, Eddie; the main purpose of the Beta Phase is for the Silverback to gain the basic understanding of its pilot. Since the Silverbacks are designed for combat, it'll gain the most experience during combat, training or real. Once it's gone through actual combat in its Beta Phase, the Spark will record all the data from it and use it for the final configurations that'll best prefer its wearer."

"So basically, we have to take these out into the field, huh, Doc?"

"Yes, Brian. Once the Silverbacks gain enough experience, not only they'll be at their pilot's preferred configurations, they'll also take on a change in appearance. Okay…"

Tezla was looking at the holographic screens in front of him.

On these screens are live surveillance feed from the recon drones he dispatched earlier.

"It seems that you guys are beginning to have the basic movements down. I'd prefer that we head topside to move on with the training. But…"

He made a slight pause with a keen look on the same screens.

"Your close encounter with a small group ISes turned out to be solid. Look here…"

The same surveillance feed that Tezla's watching then displayed on each of our visors.

ISes are floating above the beachhead we spotted earlier today, but they're different from the ones we've had a close encounter with. Even though they have a similar to the orange IS, but they're hunter green colored and the pilots are wearing jet black colored pilot suits.

"You think they can pick us up if we're to head topside, Tezla?"

"I don't think so; not with the mountainous terrain in between this base and that beachhead. But it's best that we stay down here for now. You'll never know if they'll come on flying over here."

"Yeah, good call. Especially with that near encounter we had earlier."

Taking knowledge of this, Tezla ended the surveillance feed on our visors.

"Let's continue with the mobility training."

Throughout the remainder of the day we all continued our training underground and just plain out of sight.


10:18 AM, July 6, 2012. Off the Coast of Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.

"Hey, Houki. Are you doing okay?"

"Yeah, Ichika. It's like that I've been using the Akatsubaki for years."

Flying off towards the open ocean is a group of six ISes, each in distinctive colors; white, blue, magenta, orange, black and red. These ISes are the Byakushiki, Blue Tears, Shen Long, Raphale Revive Custom II, Schwarzer Regen and the Akatsubaki.

All 6 of them are on practical flight training due to IS Academy's beachside training. Unlike in IS Academy, the students have the freedom of training in their ISes in an open environment.

For this group, this flight training is mainly for the Akatsubaki's pilot.

All seems to be going well until the pilot of the Raphale Revive Custom II, Charlotte, looked back at the Shwarzer Regen's pilot.

"Laura, you okay? Looks like something's bother you."

"Huh? Oh, Charlotte…"

The silver haired had a puzzled look on her face.

Soon everyone took notice of this.

"It's when we were on that Cliffside…"

"What about it?"

"I thought I sensed a small group was there watching…"

Cecilia and Rin, pilots of the Blue Tears and Shen Long, began to have suspicious looks on their faces when Laura mentioned it.

"What do you mean watching?"

"Whoever they are, they better know who they're messing with."

"Mmh…"

Laura nodded in agreement as she soon went into deep thought about it until Ichika, Bykushiki's pilot, spoke.

"Come on, Laura. Don't get all caught up on it."

"But still…"

Laura still had a puzzled look on her face. With her face like this, it's making everyone all concerned.

"Everyone, we got an issue at hand."

Everyone then focused on a deep female voice that just came into their IS's radios.

"What is it, Chifuyu-nee?"

"That's Orimura-sensei… This is an important matter that can't be talk on the radio. Head back here immediately. We'll fully brief you then."

Ichika sighed a bit as they all began to turn back towards the Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture coastline, amplifying their thrusters to hurry back.


5:26 AM, July 7 2021. Tezla's Lab, Thunder Crash Base.

"Tezla, are you picking anything up?"

"I'm not getting anything on the scanners or the recon drones, Eric."

The training from yesterday went better than what Tezla expect. In the first few hours of using the Silverbacks, all of us are able to get the hang of moving around with them.

Today, he wants to resume the training as early as possible. Given that his live demo is sometime around next month, I don't blame him.

"From what it looks like, we can head outside to begin the next part of the training."

All of us then moved towards where the Silverbacks are stored.

As we got to the Silverbacks, Tezla brought up a holographic key board on his left forearm, and with a few hits on it, the Silverbacks went into their stand by positions, waiting for their pilots.

"Here we go again."

Ratchet slipped into his Silverback and the combat armor began to close up to fully encase him.

Not wanting to waste any time, we all got into our Silverbacks.

Once the combat armor encased us, we're ready for the day's training.

"How's it look, guys?"

"Everything looks good."

The armor feels a perfect fit around me, and it seems that mine isn't the only one. Even Sideswipe has no problems with his.

"Same here."

"Cool and it fits even better from yesterday."

"Come on, Tezla. What do you have planned for us?"

"Just head outside, I'll fill you guys in there."

Without hesitation, we all got on the elevator that'll take us above ground for our training.

"What about you, Tezla? Are you coming up with us?"

"I'll have to stay down here and keep an eye on the scopes in case if any ISes are in the area."

"Keep us posted on that , Tezla."

"Right, Eric."


As the elevator took us up, we had no idea on what Tezla had for our training today.

It really can't be combat training, no. It's too soon for that. And we just got the basic movements on the Silverbacks down last night.

Maybe it could be weapons training? No, just like for combat training, it would be way too soon for that.

And I don't remember seeing any weapons that looks like they go with the Silverbacks in Tezla's lab from yesterday, or before we got on this elevator.

The only way to find out is when we get right to it…

*Da-duhn.* *Psh-h-h-h-h-h-h.*

We've reached the surface as we got out of the elevator and into Tezla's weapons maintenance shop.

The place is a mess with the stools and work benches turned over and littered the shop floor. As we all head outside, the morning sunlight reflected off of my helmet's visor.

Thanks to the Silverback's helmet, the visor greatly reduced the amount of glare on my vision.

As we got onto on the vehicular testing fields, we got a great view of the sun rise over the ocean in the far distance.

"Damn, that's quite the view, isn't it?"

"Yeah, Sideswipe, it is…"

It seems that all of us took note of it, especially Scourge and Ratchet.

"Are you guys seeing this shit?"

"Hard to believe that we've lived here for 4-5 years of our lives…"

"Ah, hell. We've been too busy with our missions to actually take in the surrounding view, Ratchet."

The sun rising had us mesmerized and we all began to take in how serene the outskirts of this base is.

How lush trees look on the mountainsides towards the north, and west. And a Cliffside towards the south that looks over the ocean in the east.

It feels like that it's not a military base at all, with its surrounding area like this.

"Eric, are you guys there?"

Bringing us back down to earth was Tezla.

"Yeah, we're here, Tezla."

With him contacting me, it can mean one thing...

"Enough gawking guys, Tezla wants to get today's training started."

And just like that, Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge had turned their attentions to their radio comms.

"Alright, since you guys have the basic movements down from last night, we're moving on to the next stage in mobility training."

"And what would that be, Doc?"

"Sprint training, Brian; you guys are going to be doing that for today's training."

Tezla did say that one of the basic functions of the Silverback is that it allows you to run faster. Guess he wants us to move onto that.

"You guys were able to get the hang of moving around in the Silverbacks last night because the first stage of the mobility training mainly comprised of the basic movement you guys do to get around every day in your life, and that's walking."

"And you want to want us to do Sprint training out here because…"

"There's a lot more room out there. If you guys were to do the Sprint training down here in my lab, you're likely to crash and cause unnecessary damages to the lab."

No argument here…

"We could start the Sprint training now using the vehicular testing field, but those wrecked humvees and tanks are going to be an issue. So you guys are going to have to get some of those wrecks cleared out before you guys can start."

"And how the hell are we supposed to do that?"

Sideswipe was taking a good look at his Silverback's arms as though he's a bit disgusted because they don't look 'muscular'. Not just him but mine and Ratchet's as well.

"Just grab hold of the wreckages, and lift."

Just as when Tezla said it, Ratchet took a look at the wrecked humvees and tanks, then back at his Silverback.

"The Doc should know better than us that these wrecks are no feather weights; the weight of these humvees range from 2,340-2,680 Kg. (5,200-5,900 Lbs.). And the wrecks of these tanks aren't any lighter either, with some of them weighing up to that of an M1 Abrams Tank at 61,326 Kg. (135,200 Lbs.)! That's around 25-30 times heavier; not so good unless if you want multiple hernias."

He's got a point there. Not unless if we're forgetting something…

"Remember that one of the other basic functions of the Silverbacks is that it can allow you to hit harder than your enemies. That right there comes from strength provided by the Silverback Spark…"

While Telza's in the middle of his explanation, Scourge grabbed hold of a wrecked humvee by its front grill.

"… If it allows you to hit harder than your enemies…"

"Hu-ugh!"

The sounds of metal creaking and moaning resonated throughout the test field as he lift the wreck off the ground.

"… then it'll allow you to lift heavy objects that normally require heavy machinery to do so."

"Ho ho, yeah, who needs a fork lift now?"

Not only Scourge picked up the wrecked humvee with ease, but he also held it high up above his head. If he can do that, so can we…

"Tezla, where do you want us to put the wrecks?"

"Just put them right by the mechanic shop, but don't stack them in a huge pile. I got something in mind with those."

"Roger, Tezla. We'll get right to it."

"Oh and one more thing; you might need to assist each other with some those tanks."

"Uh-huh…"

Not wanting to waste any more time, we all got to work and began clearing some of the wrecks out of the testing field.


Most of the wrecked humvees and tanks that were in the testing field are cleared out.

Normally, a clean up like this would take hours, but with these Silverbacks, it took around 30 minutes…

"Alright, that tank near you guys is the last one you'll have to take out. Once that's out of the way, then we'll begin the Sprint training."

The tank Tezla indicated is not going to be easy to get out, because it's an M1 Abrams tank. And just as Ratchet stated, this tank weighs 61,326 Kg. (135,200 Lbs.).

"Guys, I can use some help here."

All of us approached the tank with assessing on how we're going to get it out.

"Well, we can't pick it up by the tracks because we don't know if it's in neutral; and if it is, then the track treads are going to move while we're carrying it and it'll fall off and possibly turning us into pancakes."

"You think that we can take it apart?"

"I don't think so, Sideswipe. Tezla has something in mind with these wrecks and I don't think taking them apart is one of them."

"Oh come on, guys. How about we just pick it up from the front and back, in between the tracks?"

Looking at the front and back of the tank, the central part has chain connectors on each side, next to the treads. Probably these are used to keep the tank securely chained down for transport.

"Worth a shot. You guys see these chain links on the underside? We'll use them as grips to lift the tank up."

Ratchet and Scourge went to the front of the tank, while Sideswipe and I went to the back.

"Alright, everyone got a good grip?"

"Yeah, we're good up here."

"Same here, bro."

"Okay, altogether…"

""""Hu-u-u-uggh!""""

The tank is up off the ground and we began moving towards the mechanic shop.

"Tezla, are you picking any ISes up on your end?"

"I'm not getting anything, so you guys are good."

With this tank out of the field, the field itself now looks more ideal for the Sprint training.

"Hey, Hot Shot."

"Yeah, Sideswipe?"

"Are you feeling okay man? Being here at this base and all?"

Since we've first met Tezla in Tokyo Tower, I've been having some flashbacks in my sleep, flashbacks of that attack back in November 2020.

That night I'll never forget, forged into my memory.

But right now, I can't let that bother me…

"I'm fine…"

"Suit yourself man."

"…"

"""…"""

All of us continued moving the tank in silence, until we reached the mechanic shop.

"Alright, let's set it down here…"

Gently, we lowered the tank wreck with ease. And with it now resting on the ground, we can get on with today's training.

"Tezla, the last tank is cleared and we're ready for the Sprint training."

"Okay, but can you give me a status report on the Silverbacks? I'm picking up some sort of power fluctuation coming from the sparks."

I took a look at my Silverback and then towards Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge seeing that they're doing the same with their Silverbacks. I'm not really getting anything on my Silverback.

"You guys feeling anything strange?"

"I got nothing…"

"I'm all good here."

"Are you sure that's not a glitch you're getting, Doc?"

"No. Well, whatever it was, it's gone now. Anyway, let's get the Sprint training started."

As Tezla began to explain the process, we began to head back towards the field.

"The Sprint training is just as it names implies; it's how to run at beyond super human speed with the Silverback. To do so, is to simply run when you're in the Silverback."

"I'm not getting the whole point of this, Doc."

"The whole point is so that you can adjust to the immense speed that you'll be traveling and gain control of it."

"So all we have to do is just run, huh? Won't things go haywire if we go too fast beyond our control?"

"I have the emergency shutdown control down here in case the Silverbacks go out of control, Eddie."

"If you say so…"

I don't blame Sideswipe and Ratchet for getting all antsy because we've only been using these Silverbacks for a day. And we're already moving on to the next stage in training.

To be honest, I'm just as nervous as they are…

"Hey,Tezla had risked his life to get these Silverback done. The least we could do is to show some goddamn faith."

"…"

Scourge is right, he's been held hostage by Phantom Task, forced to work on their ISes and finishing the Silverback Sparks behind their backs. Not to mention that he somehow escaped to complete the combat armor.

"Thank you, Clayton. Now are you guys ready to begin?"

I took a look at everyone when Tezla asked and they all gave a sharp nod as a sign of them ready.

"We're all ready…"

"Alright, the concept is simple; all you guys have to do is just run, and the Silverback will assist you. You guys see that M1 Abrams tank on the other side of the field? The visors on the helmets will help with the vision."

The tank Tezla mentioned is clear across the testing field.

Using the Silverback's cybernetically enhanced helmet, the visor gave me a close up view of the tank. The visor is telling me that the tank is 2 km (1.24 miles) away from our current position.

"Yeah, and by that tank you mean…"

"You guys are to run up to that tank, give it a tap and run back."

"Is that it? I thought there would be more."

"That's just the beginning, Clay. As you progress, we'll move on from there. Eric, you're first."

It seems that Tezla wants me to set an example for everyone, but I know that my guys don't really need me to do so.

Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge took a few steps back to give me some space. This isn't like that it's a huge competition or anything, all I have to do is just run up to the Abrams, give it a tap and run right back, easy.

"Just run and the Silverback will assist you."

I took a sharp look at the Abrams in the distance as tension begins to build up in me.

"Ready?..."

"…"

I lowered myself into my combat stance….

"Go!"

I burst off towards the Abrams at break neck speed.

Putting in every ounce of energy, I've reached my top speed. But the Abrams is still so far ahead…

"Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…"

Heavily panting with each stride, I can only keep this speed up for so long…

"Ha… Ha… Ha…"

Great, I just started and I'm already at my limit. Now my speed's dropping.

*Hm-m-m-m-mm*

"Huh?"

Just as my speed began to drop, I feel this warm energy beginning to course through my whole body.

With that, my speed began to increase...

But as this energy continues to course through my body, I surpass my top speed.

What is this?

The faster I ran, the more energy continues to build up.

As I'm going, I made a sudden stop at the Abrams, gave it a tap and made a mad dash back.

Bursting off for the run back, all the energy that's build up suddenly went off like an atomic bomb!

My whole vision became a blur due to the sudden burst of speed, but the visor soon fixed itself, restoring my vision.

And before I knew it, Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge came into eye view.

Seeing them, I began to decrease my speed. As I'm doing so, the energy around me slowly began to dissipate.

With that, I was now at running at average speed as I reached my squad.


"Ha-ha-ha-ha…"

"Good. That was good, Eric."

Lightly panting and recovering from my run, Tezla informed me of my run.

"You did it in 8.2 seconds, rest easy for a bit. Eddie, you're next."

Sideswipe then moved into his starting position, but not before asking.

"Hey, Tezla. Can Ratchet and Scourge be part of this as well?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Wouldn't it be faster to test three Silverbacks at once instead of just one at a time?"

"Well, putting it that, I guess it wouldn't hurt. Alright, Brian, Clayton, you guys are up too."

After hearing that, Ratchet and Scourge went with Sideswipe, lining up side by side.

"Ready?..."

They've lowered their stance…

"Go!"

Bursting off, all three of them began their run towards the Abrams.

A few seconds after starting, they've already reached their top speed under their own power.

The first quarter of their way towards the Abrams, energy began to envelope around them and after they're fully enveloped, they surpassed their top speed.

Just like when I did my run, they've reached the Abrams, gave it a tap and burst off for the run back here.

This time moving faster and eventually became a slight a blur a third of the way in on the return run.

Just as they're halfway through, one of them began to pull away; I'm guessing it's Sideswipe.

After a quarter of the return run left, the energy that's enveloped around them slowly began to dissipate as they began to slow down.

Needless to say, they've put on a good run.


"That was good guys."

"Yeah, that was rather… exhilarating."

"Man, I can do that all day..."

"That went a lot better than I expected."

"Don't get too comfortable just yet guys."

The day has only just begun, and they're already getting used to these Silverbacks.

"That right there guys is the Silverback's Sprint. Throughout those runs you guys did, the Silverback assisted you guys the whole way. It allows you to run up to super human speed and beyond."

"So is the whole day going to be like this? Running back and forth?"

"It's not just that, I got other things planned for you guys."

"Are you picking anything up any ISes, yet?"

"Everything's been clear so far."

We don't want any ISes to get involved in this. The reason for this is so that prepare without any disruptions for the time being, and when the time comes, we'll be ready.

"Wait a minute…"

Tezla sounded a bit startled through the radio comms and all of us are listening close.

"What is it, Tezla?"

"I'm picking up 4, 5, no… 6 energy signatures coming in from the southeast."

"Could it be the Japan Air Self-Defense Force doing their flight training?"

"I don't think so, hold on; I'm getting a better look at them from the recon drones."

Tension slowly began to build among us as we're waiting to hear about the incoming signatures with Eddie asking;

"What do you guys think, Japan Air Self-Defense Force?"

"I don't know for sure, but it's giving me Goosebumps!"

Brian slightly rose his right arm up as a gesture to what he's getting.

"Okay, I'm getting the images…"

Come on, Tezla. What's heading our way?

"Shit!"

That doesn't sound good.

"Eric! We got ISes, inbound!"

"Oh great! Just great!"

Ratchet's obviously startled now that its ISes Tezla picked up.

"Those ISes are closing in, fast. Get the hell out of there!"

"Right. You heard him, get back to the maintenance shop!"

Without hesitation, we all made a mad dash towards the maintenance shop.

"Well there goes our training plan."

Sideswipes pulled ahead of us just as we reached the mechanic shop, passing by the wrecks we removed.

I looked up towards the south east Tezla indicated where the ISes are expect to be inbound from.

In the clear sky above the Cliffside, are 6 humanoid looking figures with huge legs and wings off of their backs flying in.

No doubt about it, they're ISes alright.

"Uh, aren't those the same ISes from yesterday?"

Sideswipe was looking towards the ISes and I took a sharper look at them with visor. They're all in distinct colors…

White, blue, magenta, orange, black and red…

"Shit! They are the same ones from yesterday!"

"This is just perfect! Not only we're outnumbered, we're also unarmed."

"Come on, we're almost the maintenance shop, keep moving!"

Thanks to the Silverback's Sprint, we're able to get to the maintenance shop and we've reached the elevator to get to Tezla's Lab.

"Go, go, go!"

I urged Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge made into the elevator as the doors opened.

I bolted in, but not before the ISes landed just outside of the maintenance shop.

""""Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…""""

"Oh, shit that was close…"

"Way too close for comfort…"

Ratchet deactivated his helmet. It began to fold in from the top to the base of his neck to expose his face.

"You guys okay?"

"We've made, Tezla. But barely…"

"I'm sorry about this, guys."

"Shit like this happens sometimes…"

"Unfortunately we're going to have to stay down here and put the training on hold until then."

"Can't we just continue it?"

"We can but not as much, Clayton. You guys need more open space and my lab's not large enough."

That's just typical. Just as things are going as planned, it all turns to shit…

*Da-duhn.* *Psh-h-h-h-h-h-h.*

As soon as we got into the lab, all of us, aside from Ratchet, deactivated our helmets to discuss the rest a new plan for today's training.


12:16 AM, November 18 2020. Thunder Crash Base.

"Hot Shot!"

*BOOM!*

*Shephew*

"Ga-agh!"

I felt pain from the area of my left eye, blood coming out. I felt how extent of the wound was; it was from the top of my left eye brow, cutting downwards across my left eye, ending right next to my nose.

I tried to cover the wound, but blood kept on flowing out, obscuring my vision. As I tried to regain my bearings, I spotted Shockwave, Rocket Launcher in hand with smoke coming out of the barrels.

Realizing where that attack came from, Autumn then turned towards Shockwave, deployed her leg tips into cannons and aimed it at him.

But before the two engaged into combat, a sudden flash of light was emitted from Shockwave.

*Ee-e-e-e-e-e-ee…*

An ear piercing sound echoed throughout the gun range.

Seems that he set off a flash bang.

"Ugh…"

Autumn's a bit disoriented from it.

*Kluck* Klack*

Shockwave was just about to unload another round of rockets…

"Hah!"

Autumn made a sudden lunge at him to strike his body with her legs.

*Shee-e-ew!*

But instead of the legs piercing through him, he used his Rocket Launcher as a shield.

"Tch…"

Disgusted, Autumn pulled her legs away, with Shockwave's Rocket Launcher on them as it blew into pieces.

"Damn it…"

Shockwave uttered as he tried to back away from Autumn; but just like she did with me, she kept on closing the gap he made.

She kept on pouring the pressure on him as he dodges each strike from her legs.

"Come, you know you can't keep on dodging forever~"

"I don't have to."

"Tch…"

Autumn launched all 8 of her legs at Shockwave, but instead of dodging them, he lunged forward in between the gaps of her legs and performed counter clockwise twist and when he got close to her…

"Hyah!"

"What?!"

Autumn's face then turned from that of a sadistic killer to appall.

*Whoo-DUHN!*

A thunderous sound boomed through the gun range.

"Ga-agh!"

Autumn was sent back away from Shockwave. She slid on her feet as she was trying to regain her balance from the hit she received.

"Well, isn't that a surprise? Didn't see that one."

Shockwave was just regaining his balance from the attack he did on Autumn, but he's carrying some sort of huge combat club in his hand.

No, it's not just a club. That's a Kanabo.

The kanabo was a weapon that the Samurai used before they switched over to their signature katana swords.

Kanabos are designed to break swords, crush armor, and shatter bone.

It resembles that of a baseball bat that's made heavily out of wood or entirely of iron. But unlike baseball bats where they're rounded all the way around, kanabos have multiple flat sides (up to eight) with spikes or studs on them, aside the handle.

But this particular Kanabo Shockwave's carrying right now, is different from those.

This one is energy infused. Whenever it makes contact with its target, it sets off an energetic shockwave, amplifying the damage inflicted. That is where Derrick got his nickname.

"What is it that you want here?"

Shockwave tightened the grip on his Kanabo.

"That's none of your concern…"

Autumn then charged right towards Shockwave, all eight legs ready to strike.

"!"

Shockwave took defensive measures with him putting his Kanabo up to deflect each arm that struck him.

Noticing that her attacks aren't getting through, some her legs folded into cannon tips and began to charge up.

"Whoa!"

He held his Kanabo up at the last minute…

*Bphew!* *BOOM!*

"Shockwave!"

Smoke had kicked up and engulfed the both of them.

I can't see whether or not he made it out.

Then someone came out of one end of the smoke cloud.

It's Shockwave and he defensively have his Kanabo in hand.

And something seems to be on it…

*Mm-m-m-m-m-m-m-m*

A deep humming sound was coming from his Kanabo and it has what looks like a circular energy shield in front of it.

Even though he made it out, he's disoriented from the blast he took.

But what about the Autumn?

Where's Autumn?

The smoke began to clear, eight specks of light are shining through the smoke.

"Oh shit!"

Autumn changed her remaining blade-tipped legs into cannons, all of them aiming at Shockwave.

I got to do something.

Desperately, I looked around to see what I can use to help…

Aha!

"Fufu, say 'good bye'…"

Autumn's cannons are about to fire.

"Tch!"

Shockwave gritted his teeth…

"Shockwave!"

I threw a Claymore frag grenade right at Autumn right before she fired her cannons.

*DUHNN!*

*Bhpee-e-ew!*

It may not have damaged her IS, but Autumn was knocked off balanced from the grenade's shockwave to make her miss.

"Ugh, you again!"

She made a quick recovery and now she's aiming her cannons towards me.

Before she could charge her cannons again, I charged straight at her with both combat blades deployed.

"Kuku, you're such a kid, using a frontal assault like that… ha!"

I made a dive towards her and she shot something that looks like rope from her fingers right at me.

"!"

The energy lump suddenly expanded forming a huge net, as soon as I began to dodge it.

"Gugh!"

I crashed on a pile of debris after receiving the hit.

"Huh!-? What's this?"

Before I figured exactly what hit me, it extended all over me like a web, and a few seconds later, it held me down.

"Hahahaha! How easier can this get? Mess with a spider and you'll get caught in her web."

Showing a chilling smile, Autumn approached me, who's struggling, with all eight of her legs back to their blade-tipped state.

"Well, it's time to have a little fun…"

She held two of her legs up to me, one next to my right cheek and the other pointed right at my chest, over where my heart is.

"I haven't done this to someone as young as you are in a while… Kyahahaha!"

She laid the tip of the blade's edge on my cheek.

"Consider yourself lucky.~"

*Kch*

"Uh!"

*Kch*

"Uh…"

"Uh~"

Mocking me as she cuts up my cheek, she stretched her long tongue out like a snake.

"!"

The flesh and moisture rubbing against the cuts she made sent a sharp chill up my spine.

"Oh. Not bad. Now…"

She then pointed all eight of her legs right at my chest.

"Let's get to the fun part before you die..."

I struggled to get out of her web, but it's no use, I'm completely strapped down.

"Kukuku…"

She then placed her blades on various places of my body. And then she slowly began to apply pressure on them.

"Not on my watch!"

"!"

Autumn then turned to see a piece of spiked iron coming right at her.

*Whoo-DUHN!*

The Kanabo barely missed her but not without stunning her a bit.

Noticing that, he took the chance of making a charge at her, ready to swing his Kanabo down from overhead.

Autumn turned around, and her legs attacked Shockwave.

"Not my little brother, you bitch!"

He slipped through in between them and swung his Kanabo down at her…

But then I noticed that there were only six armored legs that attacked him, which means…

"Derrick!"

*Krssch-ack!*

"!..."

"…"

"Ah? What exactly are you spouting?"

At this moment, the other two blade-tipped legs pierced clean through Shockwave's body.

Autumn then pulled one of the two legs out of Shockwave's body, with it covered in his blood.

She brought her remaining legs back as she held Shockwave up close to her face.

"Aw… And you're such a handsome one."

Autumn then began to grope his face.

*Spoot!*

Shockwave weakly looked at her and responded with a bloody spit to the face.

"Ugh! You males are all the same!"

Disgusted, she was about to fling him off of her leg but he dropped his Kanabo and he grabbed hold of the leg Autumn has him impaled with.

With his free hand, he pulled out multiple Claymore frag grenades and armed them.

"As I said; not… my little… brother… you BITCH!"

"Derrick! No!"

*BOOM-PHEE-EW!*

*BOOM-PHEE-EW!* *BOOM-PHEE-EW!* *BOOM-PHEE-EW!*

*BOOM-PHEE-EW!* *BOOM-PHEE-EW!*

Claymore grenades went off, but the explosions they made were different.

These ones went off in a blue energetic explosion as opposed to the shock and fiery explostion.

The multiple explosions caused the wall near them and the massive ceiling above them to collapse on top of them.

After the dust settled from all of the chaos, the electrical web vanished.

I frantically tried to get up so I can get to the pile of rubble in a desperate attempt to get him out. But someone is trying to pick me up.

"Hot Shot!"

It was Scourge; he's trying to pick me up. But whenever he tries, I just collapse again.

"He's gone!"

I fell back down on my side.

"He's gone! There's nothing you can do!"

I tried to get up again, with Scourge, he's not really helping.

"Stop it!"

"Get off of me!"

Collapsing again, I tried to get Scourge to back off.

"Goddamn it! Let me get him out of there!"

I struggled to get back up again and trying to get Scourge off of me at the same time.

*BOOM-PHEE-EW!*

A small explosion went off from the side of the rubble pile, grabbing our attention and throwing small concrete flakes away from the pile.

"Hot Shot…"

"…"

If there's one thing that I've learned in these 5 years of being in Thunder Crash, it's that not everything will remain the same; especially when it comes to death.

Me, Eddie, Brian, Clay and Derrick have learned that throughout our lives we know that someone will die. It was all a matter of time and who will it be.

The only problem is we won't know when and who will it be, until it actually happens.

And this is no exception…

"Eric, come on, man. We have to go now. Ratchet and Hawkeye got the door open for us…"

"… Big Bro."

I weakly began to get myself up as if I'm struggling to carry a huge weight, while looking at Derrick's Kanabo, sticking out of the rubble pile.


"Ha… ha... ha…"

My eyes pooped opend looking at a metallic ceiling, heavily panting to find myself in the sleeping quarters of Tezla's Lab.

I looked around to notice that I'm the only one in the room.

The room itself is fairly lit and I noticed that the three other sleeping racks are empty.

Guess Sideswipe, Ratchet and Scourge are already up and about.

I got to join them for the rest of our training.

I got out of my rack and grabbed a change of clothes before heading to the showers to get all the sweat off I've build up overnight.

I can't really do much of what has happened back then.

But why am I kept on having these flashbacks?

"…"

Maybe Sideswipe's right; I need to get some help.

But the question is who can I go to?

I can't ask Tezla. He's got too much shit on his plate with the Silverbacks.

For the duration of washing all the sweat down, I kept on asking myself that same question.


8:45 AM, August 12, 2012. Tezla's Lab, Thunder Crash Base.

Five weeks have passed since our second near encounter with the same group of ISes.

Since then, Tezla has had us done our training in his lab as a precaution.

All of us are in our Silverbacks, and to give you a rundown of what's happened, we've just been doing mobility training. But that's going to end today, so Tezla said.

As of today, we'll be doing weapons training.

"Alright, you guys. Here are some of the Silverbacks tools of destruction."

A weapons rack appeared on the side of the lab, displaying rifles, grenades and small hand guns that are made for the Silverbacks.

All of us went up to the rack to get a closer look at them.

But truth be told, they're similar to that of Thunder Crash's weapons.

Saber Assault Rifles, Desert Rangers and Smoke grenades.

But there is this one rifle that's different from the other.

It has a rather 'alien' look to it, with the barrel of the gun looking like a blue glow-stick in the middle with a cross-shaped tip and smaller rods at each end of the cross attaching to the main body of the gun itself.

As for the body itself, it looks as though that it's a cylinder that's been formed out of a sphere.

The handle is near the back end and the fore grip is under the gun and right at the end of the gun's main body, partially under the barrel.

And unlike your typical guns where the sights are on the top of the gun, this one's actually on the left side of the gun.

Other than that, the rest just look like that they're highly modified; mainly, the Saber Assault Rifle.

"Exactly how are these any different, Tezla?"

"They may be the same weapons despite them looking a bit different, but they're overall different underneath. Take that Saber you're holding for example."

The only difference I can obviously tell with this Saber is that instead of it being black, its gun metal grey.

As I'm looking over the Saber, Tezla was interacting with one of the holographic screens.

"Now, you see that target up there?"

A holographic target appeared near the end of the firing range.

"Shoot the target with that Saber. Then you'll see the difference."

I moved over to the firing station as everyone else watches from behind me.

I took a look at the target as I brought the Saber up and looked down the sights.

I'm guessing that it's about 10 meters (just about 33 Ft.) away.

Locked on to the target, I primed the Saber…

*Click* *Clack*

And to warn everyone that a gun is going to be firing…

"Going hot!"

""""…""""

Everyone's watching as I pulled the trigger.

*Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh Perh!*

"What the hell?"

The shots I fired at the target weren't something I'd expected. Instead of them being the tracer rounds the Saber normally fires, the shots I've fired just now are blue energy shots.

And they didn't feel like your traditional rounds because there's hardly a recoil and no cases are being ejected from the other side of the gun.

I put the Saber down on the counter in front of me before I turned to Tezla.

"Tezla, what exactly did I shoot?"

"That right there is plasma, Eric."

Plasma? I thought he can only make small hand guns as plasma based weapons. Unless…

"I've re-built the Saber from the ground up so it can provide the necessary firepower to take on an IS."

Looking at the Saber I've put down, it's hard to believe that Tezla's able to make something like this in a short period of time.

He even told me that making new weapons normally takes years to make before they even make it to the testing phase.

This Saber, he probably must've been working on it at the same time with the Silverbacks.

"That Saber's not only has been re-designed into a plasma based weapon, its damage capabilities far surpasses that of its conventional cousin you've been using in your active service."

Ratchet then went to the weapons rack to get look at another Saber.

"Huh, might as well dub the conventional version 'Retro Sabers'. You know, they've been the same for the last 20 years of Thunder Crash's active service and now it has a newer version that surpasses?"

Yeah, yeah that would be a nice name for the conventional version, but that aside…

"Exactly how do we equip these on our Silverbacks? I don't see any straps that we can use to store it."

"The same as your Thunder Crash armor with the magnetic weapon straps on the back. And just like the Thunder Crash armor, it can only hold two rifles, two side arms, and a handful of grenades."

Didn't expect the weapon limit to be the same as before.

"Only for the Beta Phase; when the Silverback gets out of the Beta Phase, the weapons limit ought to as well. But that depends on the pilot's preference. And knowing you guys, the weapon limit's going to change. For now, you have no choice but to stick with the current limit."

"And what is this weird looking rifle? It looks similar to the Bolt Rifle."

Scourge picked up the alien looking rifle from the rack and took a look down the sights down range.

"Ah yes. That weapon right there is one of the newest I've made. Designed not only to feel similar to the Bolt Rifle, but surpasses it. What you're holding there is the Shockburst; an energy based weapon firing powerful, and precise laser beams. And just like the Bolt Rifle, the Shockburst is a semi-automatic rifle."

Tezla interacted with the holographic screen again, bringing up another target in the firing range.

"If you're wondering how powerful this is, shoot that target down range, Clayton."

Scourge took position at the firing station, aimed the Shockburst at the indicated target. This time it's a piece of steel.

From the looks of it, it's about 6 inches (little over 15 cm) thick.

"Going hot!"

He brought up the Shockburst up…

*Pephee-ew!*

The blue laser beam hit in the center of the target.

After taking the shot, the target Scourge shot was brought up to the firing station.

Tezla went up to it to show it.

"Look at that, went clean through. And you won't believe this, but this piece of steel is actually a piece off of an M1 Abrams tank."

"And it went through it like a hot knife through butter."

Scourge couldn't be helped but be impressed by the Shockburst, and Sideswipe as well.

But Ratchet on the other hand, seems to be having an issue…

"That's great and all, but what about short range weapons, Doc?"

"Short range…"

Upon hearing that, Tezla then went to the weapons rack.

"Could've sworn that I had it up here…"

What exactly is he looking for?

"Aha! This ought to fit your needs, Brian."

Tezla pulled out a gun with a massive barrel. Yet it seems that it doesn't fire any explosives, like grenades or rockets.

A short range weapon that Ratchet normally uses…

Shotguns!

What Tezla gave him is a Flak Cannon; a shotgun on steroids.

"Oh yeah…"

*Click Clack!*

"This'll do."

"That Flak Cannon works the same as the conventional ones you've used. The only difference…"

Brian immediately went to the firing station to fire it at a target down range.

Brought the Flak Cannon up…

"Going hot!"

*BAM!* *Click clack!*

*BAM!* *Click clack!*

*BAM!* *Click clack!*

"The shells are covered in energy, allowing it to outperform its conventional version. And it can also launch grenade; canisters holding the same energy covered shells that'll burst everywhere on contact, or in mid-air, depending on the setting."

Ratchet took a closer look at the Flak Cannon while ejecting the empty case out.

"Can it also fire tactical grenades? Say, smoke grenades for example?"

"Yes, Brian. Any grenade that's designed for the Silverback can be launched from that Flak Cannon."

Man, with all of these weapons being the Silverback versions of the weapons we've used during our active service, I don't really see the point in this weapons training.

We're already accustomed with them to begin with; it's just that they've been re-built for the Silverbacks.

"Tezla, you think that it's possible that we can use these without the Silverbacks?"

"Theoretically, it's possible, Eric. But the cost would be the damage capabilities. They will not be as powerful without the Silverbacks. They would be no powerful than their conventional versions."

"Well okay. But are there any other new weapons than the Shockburst? Cause I don't really feel that we need training with these weapons."

"And that's exactly why I re-built the conventional versions for the Silverbacks, aside from the Shockburst. Normally it would take months, sometimes years to master a new weapon. But given the short time we have before the live demo, I couldn't make a new set of weapons. And besides, you guys are already accustomed to them."

"And when is the demo?"

"It will be on the 21st; a little over a week from now."

A week at most? That sounds like that it's a while, but for training, it really isn't.

I took a look at Sidewipe, Ratchet and Scourge, who are now at the firing range, training with a weapon of their choice.

Sideswipe and Scourge with the new Shockburst, and Ratchet with his Flak Cannon.

"Well, I guess the next best thing would be…"

I picked up 2 Desert Rangers from the weapons rack.

"And brush up on the marksmanship."

"Exactly."

I walked towards the firing range to join everyone else.

We've had some run-ins with some of Phantom Task's soldiers, but that's the first time we've had actual combat since Thunder Crash's disbandment.

I primed both Desert Rangers, brought them up…

"Going hot!"

*PA PA PA PA PA PA PA PA PA PA.*

And began the brush up that's been put off for far too long; looks like this is what the whole day, let alone until the demo, is going to be like.


Author's Note: We're coming near the end of the first storyarc. What do you guys think?

If you have any thoughts, or feedbacks, please write them as reviews. Remember, I use them as referances for future chapters.