So I'm beginning another fanfic while I take a break from my other 4-5 stories. I was planning on writing one or this series for a long time, but I lost interest when I started some of my other fics. But I've got plenty of time now, so here we go!
"We'll brief you on the objective after you make a practice run with the suit, Epsilon. Make sure to run the primary diagnostics check first. Wouldn't want to ruin Exeter already."
Epsilon nodded inside his body-sized battle suit. He was wearing Exeter, America's newest innovation in futuristic aerial combat. After the U.S had lost control of the Gospel and its subsequent destruction by foreign forces, America's rights to own Infinite Stratos technology had been completely revoked. All of the U.S.A.'s I.S. had been forcefully confiscated by the United Nations. That had been six months ago.
Epsilon's armored fist smashed through a concrete block. He briefly thought of how easy it was, but his mind quickly returned to thinking of other things; Epsilon had run this course so many times that he didn't have to concentrate on it. The Exeter project had been initiated right after the loss of America's I.S. In fact, the Exeter project had been planned and designed years ago. It wasn't meant to be started until a few years from now, but the current crisis had sped up it's initiation date. As things were now, America would be terribly outgunned and nearly defenseless if it went to war with another country and ran into enemy I.S., so the Exeter project had been put into motion to return the balance of power.
The Exeter project was a new type of aerial combat technology. Since America was unable to possess I.S. of their own anymore, Exeter was a new creation entirely. Instead of a mech being controlled by a pilot, it was an armor suit that the pilot was inside and controlling as his or her own body. It was sort of like Iron Man. Except Iron Man was a character, and Exeter was reality. The silver battle suit covered every inch of the wearer's body, and it was armed with incredibly powerful weapons that were vastly superior to any of the I.S. they had been tested against so far. Exeter had already been tested against not only factory model I.S., but also specialized units from France, England, and several other countries. Exeter had destroyed all of them. Even though the enemy mech's had been controlled by expert pilots, they were unable to match Epsilon's piloting skills or the full power of the Exeter suit.
In almost all ways, the Exeter suit was superior to almost all known I.S. On average, at least. Exeter was superior to any standard I.S., but it couldn't match the specs of specialized I.S. mechs. England's Blue Tears for example: Blue Tears' accuracy had been superior to Exeter's by a 3 to 1 margin. However, It's weakness in close range and agility had been a huge disadvantage in combat compared to Exeter, which was superior in both aspects. With those advantages, Epsilon had easily outmaneuvered and defeated England's I.S. Of course, If Epsilon was confronted by multiple specialized I.S., even he wouldn't be able to handle that.
The U.S. Special Research Division was currently working on something they called the Instant Armor Modification Module. Epsilon didn't know the details, but he had been told the general idea behind the system. Apparently, the I.A.M.M. would make it possible for Exeter to instantly switch out armor components so that it could specialize the suit in another area, such as speed, heavy weaponry, or close quarters combat. Epsilon wasn't entirely sue how it worked, but as long as it did, he didn't really care. Unfortunately, it wasn't scheduled to be finished for another six months. Epsilon looked forward to using it later.
Epsilon had finished the practice course without even realizing it. He had been too deep in thought to pay attention to his surroundings. But when he looked at the score chart above him on the wall, he noticed that his score for the course had been perfect. A result of the past three years of intensive training no doubt. Epsilon had been put into control of Exeter nearly seven years in advance. He was supposed to be twenty-two before he started piloting the mechanical marvel, but instead, he was a fifteen year old teenager in command of a weapon of destruction. But the brass believed he was ready for it. And from the tests so far, he was.
The voice of the Commander crackled over the training room's intercom. "Nice work, Epsilon. Return to the observation room for your briefing. It's gonna be a lot to take in."
Epsilon walked into the observation room that overlooked the training area he had just been in. Sitting at the one table in the middle of the room was the 40-year old grey haired Commander. Epsilon had met the Texan three years ago, when his training had first started. The man's beady black eyes had always unnerved him. It was even worse that Epsilon had never found out the man's name. Personally, Epsilon didn't trust him. But he was his military superior, nevertheless.
Epsilon was still wearing the Exeter suit as he saluted the man. He had to be careful in doing so though; too much force and he could easily impact and shatter his skull. Inside a helmet, it would leave a very messy smoothie. "Reporting in, Commander."
The Commander waved his hand and replied, "At ease, Epsilon. Nice work out there by the way. Almost seemed effortless."
Epsilon dropped his salute and nodded. "Thank you, Sir."
The Commander sat back in his chair and pulled out one of his cigars. He almost always had one with him. Since it was against regulations to light it, he simply chewed on the tip. "And now onto business. We have a very important task for you, priority Alpha-1. Think you're up for it?"
Epsilon replied emotionlessly. "With all due respect sir, you haven't told me the mission yet."
The Commander cracked a small smile, but it was anything but happy. It freaked the hell out of Epsilon. "True enough, Epsilon, true enough. But we think you can handle it. After all, it is what you've been training for."
Epsilon gave no response. What he had been TRAINED for was unregulated combat with hostile I.S. in an open war zone. He really doubted that this mission would require such a thing. Still, priority A1 was top class, it would definitely be dangerous. And as his first real assignment as well? What was the brass thinking anyway?
The Commander got right to the point."Are you aware of the Infinite Stratos Academy in Japan, Epsilon?"
Epsilon nodded. "Yes sir."
The Commander grunted in response. "Then pack your bags son, 'cause that's were you'll be going for this assignment."
Epsilon was confused. The reason for going to that academy would likely be to retrieve or gather data on foreign I.S. technology, but none of it would be something the U.S.A. didn't already know. Why was something so easy ranked as a priority A1 assignment? There would be minimal danger...
"I'm sorry sir, but I don't see how a reconnaissance or retrieval mission is classified as this rank or why I'm being sent. Don't we have other agents that could do it? Exeter has more important things to attend to."
The Commander chuckled coldly. "Reconnaissance? Retrieval? Hell no, son, this mission is nothing as simple and easy as that. You're goal... is to DESTROY it."
Epsilon was shocked. "D-destroy? What do you mean by that, Commander? I don't-!"
The Commander cut him off. "I mean what I say, son. Raze, annihilate, decimate, whatever. The government wants the Academy gone, building and all. That includes all of the I.S. there, as well as any individuals we deem dangerous. Need any more clarification, son?"
Epsilon just stared at the Commander, his dumb expression hidden behind his helmet. "How and why exactly am I supposed to do that?"
The Commander cocked an eyebrow and gave him an incredulous look, as though Epsilon was asking a question with an obvious answer. "Well, we can't just go and drop a nuke on the damn thing now can we? War isn't that simple. As for why, it's because we ordered you too, and you have an obligation to obey. No more questions. There will be time for that later. In fact, I have to leave for another meeting right now, and you'll be filled in on the mission parameters later. Report to the engineering lab and be quick about it. I've wasted enough time talkin' already."
Epsilon couldn't wrap his head around the objective. Destroy a major non-military installation in a foreign country? Surely that was an act of war! Had this been ordered by the President himself? Just what the hell was going on? He was still thinking when he entered the engineering lab. He saw his friend, Engineer Lead Marcus Dougley, waiting for him as he entered. The young man had befriended him shortly after Epsilon had arrived in this facility. The man was constantly working on Exeter, so he and Epsilon had plenty of time to talk.
"Yo, Marcus. A little bit of an explanation would be nice."
The brown haired, glasses wearing nerd grinned at him. "Sorry, little dude. I don't have any idea what you're leaving to do, and you're not allowed to tell me. I just have to give you this, and you'll be on your way. ASAP too; you were supposed to leave ten minutes ago. But don't worry. Even if we don't have time to talk, I've got you a new buddy to fill in for me!"
Marcus held out his hand to show Epsilon a round blue and gray ringed disk about the size of his palm. "What is that thing supposed to be?"
Marcus smiled triumphantly. "This is my newest creation! A fully-functional Artificial Intelligence, Personally designed by me for Exeter!"
Epsilon looked at the excited man with doubt. "An AI? No way, that's way too sci-fi."
Marcus shot a sarcastic glare back at him. "Says the kid in the futuristic battle suit with jet-packs, lasers, and plasma missiles."
Epsilon smiled, even though Marcus couldn't see it behind his helmet's visor. "Point taken. And what does it do exactly?"
The man motioned for Epsilon to turn around so he could install the disk in the armor. He talked while he worked. "It does everything, and that's the true beauty of it! It helps with flight paths, weapon evasion, armor calibration, maximum output management, the list goes on forever! This useful little guy will make your job way easier! Thanks to yours truly, of course."
Epsilon was a little against having an AI to interfere with his suit, but if it was truly so useful, he supposed it was a worthy add-on. "Does this AI have a name?"
Marcus closed up whatever panel he was messing with on Exeter's back. "Yep. I call it..."Cerberus!"
Epsilon sighed. "You named an AI after a three-headed demon dog? Where did that inspiration come from?"
Marcus walked Epsilon over to the hangar door that connected to the engineering lab where he would be departing for Japan. "Well... Cerberus has a um... minor flaw."
Epsilon glanced at him. " A 'minor' flaw?"
Marcus nodded. "Yep. You see... Cerberus is uh...hmmm... oh! Cerberus is Schizophrenic, if you will."
Epsilon stopped walking and stared at the man, "You installed a bipolar Intelligence with access to my suit inside the armor?"
Marcus waved him off and pushed him to keep walking. "It's not like that. The AI itself just has multiple personalities, that's all. It's nothing dangerous. It has three, to be exact, which is why I dubbed him Cerberus. Though I suppose I could've called it Trident as well..."
Epsilon sighed again and stopped in front of the open hangar bay doors. "As long as it doesn't possess me or something, it's fine."
Marcus patted him on the back. "It'll be fine! He's nothing like that! You'll see. He'll activate about fifteen minutes from now. And he'll be great!"
But then Marcus got serious. "Hey, no matter what happens or what you're doing out there. I"ll be here for you. If you ever need help, you know where to find me."
Epsilon looked at him, noting a seriousness and sadness that Marcus's face almost never had. "Thank you, Marcus. I appreciate it."
The man started to walk back towards the far end of the hangar so Epsilon could launch. "Good luck...Church. I get the feeling you're going to need it." Church readied Exeter for takeoff and sighed one last time. He had no idea just how much luck he needed.
So I think this will be an interesting path for an Infinite Stratos fic. Sorry about the lack of characters form the series itself, but they'll show up next chapter, so don't worry. Please give me some feedback or tips! I feel like I may have done inadequately here, so I'd like to get the reader's opinion. Thanks for reading-Shadow0Fire