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*Training and War*

*MultiMage Chronicles, Part Gamma*

&Current time frame: c. 1.5 Months after a "war machine" was seen in downtown Tokyo

"I don't get it. Why would he order us in for 'special training' on our vacation day?"

"Maybe he's running a tight schedule, Raye. You know how the 'old man' works it."

"He isn't that old, maybe thirty, Katy."

"Add a few zeros to the end of that and you'd be right, Serena."

They continue the rapid fire question sessions down the road as they walk from Raye's temple to The abandoned Mansion.

"Where did he get those robots?" Rini asks. It was a shock how she was added to their trainees. 3 days after the rescue Op to save Tiffany, AKA Sailor Saturn, They all had noticed a power around the corner of the mansion they were practicing by. Eric had turned that corner wih his .45 raised to shoot the intruder, but found Rini standing there, alone and scared by the patrols.

"Amy?" Lyta asks, not knowing the answer

"I'm guessing production facilities in other galaxies, or locally around this solar system or galaxy. He has a lot, considering the amount of gear he employs."

"We have all seen the Battlemech he uses locally, but what else does he employ?"

"Magitek Armors, Aerofighters, Naval vessels, both Sea and Space, Hercs to a limited extent, and other items. A regular technological smorgasbord." Amy says, ticking off the items on her fingers.

"And what is the diffrence between a Herc and a Battlemech?" Rini asks, as they now turn down the road to Serena's houe, which is not far from the abandoned mansion.

"Hercs have hardpoints and a power-maintainence problem. they are also one-shot wonders that can't get up from a fall, and weigh from 60-200 tons. No real match for a battlemech, I'd say. Battlemechs don't have a power problem, but instead are incredibly heat-innefficent. They also have criticals, as opposed to hardpoints, which are fixed/exposed placment locations, and "crits" can be customized, making it all that easier to make a battlemech more potent a weapon platform. Battlemechs can get up from a fall, and weigh from 10-100 tons, and, pound for pound, a Battlemech is worth more than a Herc any day. Battlemechs also employ weapon systems that can hit their foes about 10 times the range of a Herc."

"If a Battlemech is worth more, then why does he use Hercs?"

"Because, Rini, they are about a dollar a dozen." Megan says, looking down the road towards the forests that surround the Mansion's property. In the distance, she can see a dropship being loaded and readied for takeoff.

The continue on in silence, mulling things over, when they sense something approaching. Not natural, they all realize almost at the same time, and definitely with bad intentions. It hits them what it is just as they enter the old trail.

"Susan Brant, Daily star. Overheard you talking about "Battlemechs". Care to elaborate?" She shoves a tape recorder in front of Tiffany's face, and presses record.

"Ehh...No comment, comrade." Megan says, pushing her away from Tiff.

"And what about you?" She points the microphone in Lita's direction.

"Gerard!!! Wake your lazy ass up and do something about this flea!!!" Serena shouts down the tree corridor toward the mansion.

"Ehh?? Who?? What? Oh... No Problem, Ma'am." To the utter horror of the reporter and her small crew, the trees begin to move...then they realize that it was another war machine, not unlike the one they saw in downtown not too long ago. The one that tore up an entire company of Pacifica Army forces. "I'm sorry, Ma'am, you are on government property. You are requested to leave WITHOUT your gear NOW or be fired upon."

"Susan-"

"I stopped giving a fuck 10 seconds ago. Conversely, you have 10 seconds to get outta my crosshairs before I use you for target practice."

"The people have a right to know everything about everyone." A man says, Dick Thornberg, who was following them.

"Not where I come from, Dick. Hey! No Filming, asshole!" Gerard fires his Extended range Small laser into the lens of the camera, destroying the recording mechanism, but not the film.

"Expect a call from the ACLU, morons." Dick says back to them.

"Expect a call from the MM TechStrikers of the 14404th, asshole. We can play the same game, only, we're better equipped to do so. Gatekeeper alpha, please remove this annoyance." an approaching Cauldron-Born fires both ERPPCs it was packing into the ground in front of them, scattering a lot of charged particles and dust, and they start running like scared dogs, except for Ms. Brant, who didn't move.

"Are you deaf? I said leave!" Gerard shouts through the loudspeaker at her, and fires one of his ER large lasers into the ground in front of her. She still doesn't move, but instead, splits into 5 diffrent warriors, each wielding a scimitar and ninja uniform. "So, you wanna play, no? All units, Initate Enhanced Imaging." Gerard and the other guards begin moving on her, and all of her forms throw some small (but sharp) ninja stars at Gerard's mech, piercing slightly into the cockpit. Gerard returns fire with both of his arm pods, eliminating her illusion and revealing her. "computer, activate Force Hypercharge on starboard Weapon pods. Fire starboard LRMs." Instead of the usual mob of LRMs one gets when you fire a weapon system like that, a blue mass leaves the pack, and slams into the ground around her, creating one large ball of force matter, which envelops and destroys her. "Proceed, ladies." he says to the girls, and returns to his guard spot and daytime nap.

The scouts begin once again back down the path to the mansion, and once again, they sense another presence. Not evil like the last one, but powerful nonetheless, and slightly famialiar, but from a long time ago. Raye tries pinpointing it, and the source seems to be a gardener working the paths along the side of the "abandoned" road. She blows it off, thinking it unimportant, and keeps walking. They walk past him, and keep going, when they hear the sound they all hate: a heavy hammer mechanism being drawn back on a firearm, and a light, sinister chuckle.

"Heh, heh, heh. Next time you sense something out of the ordinary, Raye, investigate. If it seems out of place, investigate further. It always saves you a lot of heartache, trust me."

He raises his hat, and Serena, Amy, and Raye gasp sharply at the same time. Raye reacts first.

"Jaedite! you scum! How did you get that close to the mansion? What are you doing here?" She almost didn't stop.

"The same thing I've been doing for the past three months, Raye. Serving the Emperor." In the background, the dropship takes off, drawing all their attention in that direction for a brief second. "There he goes. Ladies, I have been ordered to conduct your training for today, at least, untill the boss gets back. Then he has some special plans for you."

"Why should we trust you?" Serena asks.

"Because Eric has for the past 3 months. I have some special training drills for you. You may like it, you may hate it all the time, but, regardless, I have been ordered to give you zero-G combat training today, in use of hand-to-hand, firearm, and weapons. The rest is a suprise."

His visor starts blinking, and the radio activates. "Epsilon-1 from CNC, come in."

"Epsilon-1 here, go."

"Security protocols have changed. Escort the ladies in personally for ID set."

"Aff, CNC." He turns the radio set off. "Ladies, I have been ordered to take you to base CNC for a new ID set. Apparently, command is getting paranoid. This way." He turns into the forests, and they follow, reluctantly. He opens an underground hatch, and drops in, not even noticing the ladder. They also get in, and start walking down the security hallway, which is well guarded by infantry forgces and secret agents. Near the end of the hall, his radio starts again, only this time it's staticy, and undecipherable.

"CNC, This is Epsilon-1. Status report required. Repeat, you are broken and unreadable. CNC, come back!"

(3 seconds garbled) "security breaches all-" (10 seconds garbled) "require orders. all points securit-"

"COME BACK CNC! Will be there in 10 seconds. Come back!" By now, everyone was at a dead run for the end of the tunnel. He kicked the door open, and stepped into a lot of activity in the control bunker. "GIVE ME A REPORT!" He shouts above everyone else.

"Sir, we have breaches all points in the perimeter sectors. Patrols comprimised, report fast-attack vehicles and heavy armor. Moving on CNC. Orders?"

"Muster all forces for garrisson. Light infantry, heavy infantry, Elemental, Battlemech, get it all moving. The security of this base will not be compromised. It is vital to our future operations. MOVE!" He turns to one of the viewscreens that was displaying a random camera image, and curses under his breath. He turns to the main Communications panel, and throws the "garrison" switch.

"All units, this is Epsilon Command. You are hereby authorized to remove the security threats to this base, including all intelligence threats, with anything up to and including lethal force. All units are to use counteroffensive plan Beta, Clean-up plan Delta, and Garrison plan Gamma untill further notice. Primary targets are CNC and Offensive, Secondary are media and intelligence. Fire at will."

The tension in the room is visible, the silence, unbroken, untill the radio crackles. "You heard the boss, Plan set Beta-Delta-Gamma. Move it, strikers! We ain't got all day!"

"Ladies, stay here untill I return." He says as he walks past them.

"Where are you going?" Lyta asks.

He steps over to the glass display case containing the floor's firearm cache, and unlocks it and slides it open partially. He grabs two 9mm pistols and clip holsters for his belt.

"CNC From lance Bravo leader, soldiers have reached the Mansion. Repeat, Soldiers in the mansion."

"Confirmed." One of the operators says, and looks at Jaedite. He slides the case open the rest of the way, and starts shucking assault rifles to the people in the room, and slings clips around along with armor vests and helmets. To the suprise of the rest of the girls, Tiffany grabs one of the big wheel guns off the rack and holsters it, along with several speedloaders.

"Armor up, ready the device." Jed shouts.

"Seyla!" the people in the room shout, and someone turns a key and twists a dial under it. He presses the dial in, and shouts "Readied. Let's get the losers!" He draws the bolt back on his rifle, and they all flood out, leaving the scouts as the only ones in the room.

The haunting sounds of gunshots and shouts were evident all around them. Above, below, left, right, it all sounded like a slightly muffled war field. Some hammering at one of the blast doors is heard, and is followed by a burst of machine gun fire. The blast door is pried upward, and the first thing they see is a dead soldier...one of the Multimages. The door is pried further, and they begin to see who it is. CIA agents and the media are here.

Lyta grabs one of the assault rifles, and joins Tiffany in the front. As this as a cue, the rest of the girls grab weapons. M-16s, MP-5As, .45s, and .357s are donned, and readied. Once the agent finishes prying the door, they flood in, hoping to see what made this little base so powerful, but saw only steel cases, and...10 girls???

"You should not have come here, comrades." Behind the mass of reporters, a point of elementals file in, arms raised to shoot

"Dick-"

"Shut up, dickhead. I know who you are, and I couldn't give a shit. Elemental point, see to it that they get a nice seat in the brig, quiaff?" Trisha says, waiving her M-16 around.

"The people have a right to know everything about everyone, miss."

"Not in this base and not on my watch, buster. Get moving, Dick."

Jed returns to the bunker, both gun barrels smoking still. He opens all the armored cases, and deactivates the timer that was ticking awfully close to 0. "Now that that is over, shall we go?" He says to the girls.

"Yeah. I'd like it much better than cleaning up this mess." Rini says.

"Indeed. This way, please." Jed says, stepping through a portal into another area of this dimension. The ladies follow.

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"Commence drop procedures."

"Aff, boss." The large moving cranes drop their loads down to the ground. Loads of battlemech armor designed and ready to defend the banner of the Multimages. In this hop was 3 lances of 4 mechs, and one lance included a prototype design: the MLM-1 Multimage, an Assault mech which the Emperor had high hopes for, as it would give us an excellent weapons platform that bears our name. The drop proceeds well, and all units touch terra without a scratch.

"Vector to objective Alpha, please."

"Vector 269 at 10.35 miles to Weapons depot. Sensors register no contacts, sir."

"Glad to hear it, Emily. Let's frag." Eric says with a hint of anxiety in his voice. It never served well to take a life, especially over sonething as pathetic as this.

The lances, one consisting of a Raven, an Axeman, and 2 Riflemen 2-C, lance 2 consisting of a Turkina, an Atlas, a Puma (Eric), and a MadCat, and the third contains a HunchBack 2-C, 2 Awesomes, and the MLM-1 Multimage, begin their overland trek toward their goals: a munitions depot, 2 factories, a training camp, and the Pacifica president's palace, which is known to house chemical weapon factories. At a constant speed of 60 KPH, they arrive at their goal undetected and undisturbed after 15 minutes of fast moving.

As soon as the battlemechs step out of a forest into view of the factory, all hell breaks loose, as a load of battletanks opens fire on the units, primarily the MadCat and Awesomes. The shots hit, but to no avail, and the front rank of armor is mopped up in their first salvo. Eric drives his mech between the goliaths and hoses down the others with his ERPPCs, and the Axeman brings down the factory with his twin LRM-15s that make this unit a wicked foe at a distance.

Once Eric was convinced that the factory was decommissioned, they turn toward the Depot, and commit in. 18 Minutes to the goal (2 rivers in the way), and they step into the barb-wire fenced lot of the munitions dump. Soldiers scatter left and right, and Eric orders the Hunchback to eliminate the buildings. He twists his torso toward the main building, and unleashes both Heavy ACs into the walls, exploding the frail contents inside, and knocking over all the battlemechs, even at 250 meters. Eric notes that the MLM-1 was the first unit back on it's feet, even a second faster than the Puma he was driving.

The barracks facilities were literrally next door (2 minutes), but the force had to stop to mow down several aero planes that were guiding in on them. The riflemen got 3, the axeman got 1, the MadCat got 2, and the Turkina flaked the last one with it's LB/V-5X ACs. The barracks put up a fairly good fight, with soldiers armed with LAW rocket launchers "pinpricking" the 'mechs. A LRM set silenced the guns, and the Raven was given the honors of wiping the barracks, which it dispatched efficently with Streak SRMs.

Again, the force was delayed by a weak show of power on their foe's behalf, as MI-24 Hind attack choppers were sent at the company, but they made the mistake of coming low and slow, exposing themselves to the might of the LB-2X AC mounted on the MLM-1. A salvo apiece removed them from the skyway, and the fourth target was reached, the Tank factory, with a showroom full of Russian-designed T-72 armor to smash like so many matchbox cars under a sledgehammer. One of them managed a lucky shot on one of the Rifleman's parasol Radars, shearing it off the battlemech and infuriating the pilot, who got an unexpected sunroof conversion. All the units pitched in on destroying this factory, courtesy of it's sheer size, which would take a single unit about 30 minutes to lay waste to alone.

The big kahuna, the palace, was the last target scheduled, but they came across a network of cocaine manufacturing and distribution bunkers buried in the forests surrounding the president's lot, and Eric ordered the mechs to make a thourough search of the forestry, to eliminate a large cash crop of Noriega's. Thrice Artillery had to be called in to eliminate a large coca field in the forest. During the rout, Eric had ordered his forces in a ring of death surrounding the palace, and he ordered everyone to the palace, to crack it open and destroy the chemical factory under it. Another target of opprotunity found was the president's helicopter had not left, but was fully loaded. The MLM-1 used it's Small pulse laser to cleave off the rotors, and stood by with it's crosshairs locked on it, under the threat to destroy it should any of the doors be opened. A green explosion from the palace signaled the destruction of the Delta-9 manufacturing plant, and the dropship landed in a Coca field behind the president's wrecked mansion, and lifted off with all 12 mechs and a chopper (minus the blades), burning about 2.5 billion in illegal plants.

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"Where are we?" Raye piped. The place looked like something out of Star Trek.

"Welcome to Training ward Epsilon, ladies. Here, the elites of the Aerofighters, commandos, magimasters, elementals, and other space-bound warriors learn how to move in, react to and kill in Zero-gravity situations. You are ground-bound because this room is magnetized. Once you step out, it'll literrally be like flying."

"What's the catch?" Tiffany said.

"You heed anything I tell you. I'm a certified instructor for this."

"Alright. What are we going to do up here?" Serena says, looking in the direction of the door.

"You are going to learn how to move and use firearms in no-grav situations, as some of our mutual enemies can control gravity and time."

"What about time?" Trisha asks.

"If your enemies are controlling time, you be screwed. Enough talk, let's go."

He goes over to the wall access panel, and opens an access hatch, revealing several pairs of boots. He starts passing them out to the scouts, and they change footwear. Jed throws a switch, and the shoes that were on the ground begin rising off the ground.

"Now, first trick is that without directional gravity, any wall can become the ground. Disorienting, but useful." He goes over to one of the walls, places his boot on it, and begins walking on the wall toward the ceiling. He steps onto the roof, and walks over to the door, which also had a set of controls located upside-down and near the ceiling. He presses the button, and steps out on to the roof of the hall. He turns back to the door, and looks in at the gawking girls. "What are you waiting for? Lent? MOVE IT!"

They flood out into the hall, and feel the immediate effects of the gravity change. "This way, ladies. Training sector 3A is ours for the next 8 hours. That is, if you can outlast my projections and keep going that long..."

"We will," was Raye's confident, almost arrogant comment. Jed ignores it, and stops at another (upside-down) panel, and picks up a phone and dials a number.

"CNC, this is Epsilon-1. I have arrived with the special trainees, and am ready to commence. Clear out scheduled sector." He hangs up the phone, and continues walking.

"Uhh, Jed?"

"Yes, Serena?"

"What kinds of military forces are here?"

"This space station has about 15000 combat-ready units, including Elementals, battlemechs, AeroFighters, and 1 division of MagiMasters."

They continue on in silence, untill they reach another room like the one they entered in.

Once there, they commence their training, which includes basic movement, advanced movement, hand-to-hand combat, weapons combat, Firearms training, and grappling. They all passed (Serena turned out to be the best, and Amy did the worst) marginally in the movement fields, They all had difficulties in the Hand-to-hand, Lyta nad Trisha dis exceptionally well with the firearms (except for a spinout when using an assalt rifle), no-one could grapple at all, and, strangely, Tiffany did the best with Weapons combat, Even giving Jed a run for his C-bill.

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