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Iron Men: Hope for Humanity

Drizzt Do'urden

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[CENTER][B]Mature Warning: Thread will contain violence, language, and I'm sure excessive drinking (I'm pointing fingers at someone)[/B][/CENTER]

Keith was sprinting down the hallway, he was late. Real late, it was 10 minutes after the meeting was scheduled to start. [I]"Damn that waitress, if she would've left the damn room earlier I could've left earlier. I can't complain too much though.[/I] He smiled as he thought of the previous nights activities.

Keith turned the corner into the hallway the conference room was located in, he could see the commander round the hall just as he turned into the conference room. He dove into an open chair beside Ivan gasping for air. He could smell the booze on Ivan, which was a good thing. It meant that Ivan would be Ivan, Keith was able to handle the man when he had a few drinks, it was when Ivan was sober you had to watch out.

The group stood at attention as the commander entered. She was the first commander since James Conner died, and she changed EVERYTHING. Keith liked it when James was in charge, he wasn't for all the formalities like the others were. As long as the job was getting done he was happy. Lt. Colonel Victoria Franklin was the complete oppisite, it didn't matter how well you did your job if you didn't give her the respect she thought she deserved she was all over you ass.

"At ease guys," Of course as usual she waited as long as possible before saying that, "I know you all were expecting your final training mission. But it looks like we're going to have to cancel it." Keith thought they really were going to make a great team as they all groaned in unison at the thought of being forced to wait any longer.

"We have receieved intelligence showing the machines have sent a small task force. Mostly made up of infantry drones, and a few heavier artillery drones. To intercept a transport we have of scrap metal, medicle supplies, and food on its way here. Your mission will be to escort the convoy here, this is it gentlemen. What you've been trained for, its currently 0930 hours, your mission begins at 1000 hours. I suggest you suit up, you'll be dropped into the zone by chopper. Borris you've got lead on this, don't screw it up."

The room was called to attention again, once again they all stood while the commander made the painfully long exit. Damn keith hated her. After she stood up, Keith stood up and headed to the hangar to suit up. He couldn't deny, he was juiced about being involved in a real mission.
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"Fucking bitch..." Sheep said under his breath as the Colonel exited the conference room.

He sucks hard on his cigar; the cherry glowing in the dim light of the morning's western sky. A Sergeant steps up to Sheep and hands him the mission briefing. He begins flipping through the pages in the folder.

"You heard her, ladies, up and out."

Boris snuffs his cigar out on the table surface and begins to make his way for the aircraft hanger. His squad follows close behind their Captain. All of them so ready, so willing... to die.

"'Don't screw it up,' That's all she could say to me," he thought. Three years ago she wouldn't have been talking to old Sheep like that. Not before the demotion, when he was still a Colonel, not when James was still alive." His thoughts drifted back to that day more than once. He couldn't help it. It was his fault James Connor was dead.

He shakes himself out of his daze, reaching the hanger.


The squad hustles and one by one form a line on the far side of the hanger. Each one of their suits are mounted behind them. Boris strolls out in front of his troupe. Not a one of them has hesitation in their eyes. None of them have that human look of fear and doubt, say for Ivan. He's the only one old enough to remember a time before complete fear. The machines have been a threat longer then anyone can remember, but now that threat was the way of life. You ate it, breathed it, slept it. It consumed you. Life without fear? None of them knew that life.

Boris and Ivan shared the doubt. And if the rest of the squad felt it, they sure as Hell didn't show it.

"Katya, load terrain 589-001," Boris speaks aloud to the encampment's computer which is wired throughout the entire compound.

"Yes, Captain." A doscile female voice responds.

A large holographic map loads up behind Sheep.

"This is path the convoy will be traveling on. They are currently 85 kilometers out, traveling south. Our intelligence shows that the machines are disbatching a small party of about 25 infantry drones, and what appears to be about a half dozen heavy artillary drones. Last report has the machines at 35 kilometers from that convoy coming in from the east, and we will be coming in from the west. We're going to be forming two teams."

Sheep begins pacing back and forth in front of the soldiers.

"I'll head up Team A, Leon, you have Team B. Team A will head up reconnisence and be the lead team in the assault, Team B will hang back at this location (Sheep points to a rock formation just off of the convoy's path) and wait for orders. You will stay put and advance only when instructed to do so. Team A will be myself, and Wraith. Team B: Leon, Wolf, Cassandra and Nightwing."

"Excuse me, sir, but those numbers aren't even," Leon speaks up.

"The last thing I need is all of you children getting yourself killed on my watch. This is the way it's going to be, and until I get discharged or die, this is the way it's always going to be! Got it, soldiers?!"

They all yell out, "Yes, sir" in unison.

The younger soldiers grimace at the thought of being left out of the action. They know what the old man is doing, and some of them may do something about it. They came here to fight, not to hide behind rocks and listen to the garbled words of an old Russian. So much for Keith's hopes of them all making a great team. Something has to be done.

"Katya, disable map, and lower the suits."

The map disolves behind Sheep while the suits mounted behind the soldiers are lowered off of their racks next to each individual. The hanger doors grind slowly open and the sun streams in from the east, filling the hanger with light.

"Suit up, soldiers! It's time to see what Iron Men can do!"
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Leon wasn't impressed with the strategy that Boris had formed; he understood why he was being positioned away from where the main conflict would be taking place (being a Sniper and all) but he couldn't figure out the reasoning behind three others being placed in the same area.

"Sheep... this strategy is full of holes" Leon bravely said as the others prepared to suit up.

"How so?" Boris muttered in his thick Russian accent.

"You're assuming that the machines will strike directly from the east. A machine-planned strategy will always be prepared to adopt a new strategy at a moments notice. They are obviously going to flank the convoy" Leon replied as he attempted to suppress an arrogant grin.

Boris scowled and shook his head and bluntly stated, "There is a difference between machine mind and human mind [I]ja[/I]?"

"Well, fundamentally yes but..."

"Then do not question me, I have planned in advance. A machine does not show creativity, it only acts on logic."

"What the hell does that even mean?" Leon was quite confused by what Boris had said, logic would always beat anything in a battle of wits.

"It means that a machine cannot anticipate something unexpected. You have your place on the battlefield Ashbaugh, I think it's best if you kept in it. Are you clear?" Boris yelled loudly as the other members of the unit turned and stared at the two.

"As crystal.... sir" Leon muttered sarcastically as they both headed for their respective suits. He wasn't amused by having to follow this plan but it certainly beat any alternatives that he had in mind.
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Axela frowned and looked at the group she was forced with. * I can't believe he stuck me with these kids! Well, at leats Leon looks intelligent...* She smiled and walked over to Leon.

"Hey, I suggest you keep an eye on these runts. I work alone! This ones personal..." She glared at the rest of them and walked over to her suit. She rubbed her hand over the chest and closed her eyes.


[I]The sky was red with fire, as the machines rampaged through the camp. Axela screamed as a machine grabbed her by the throat. She could feel the life being crushed from her as it's cold fingers squeezed withe ease. Suddenly, the grip loosened, and the machine was flying through the air, and into an old building. It tossed the rubble aside and ran at the ones who hit him.

Two boys about 17 ran to Axela and one lifted her over his shoulder. They grunted and quickly ran to an abandoned shelter beneath the ground. The machine was right behind them, trying to pound through the metal bolted door. It wouldn't take long. The boy sat her down and riipped offher sleeve, wrapping the large gash in her bicep. He smiled and lifted her off the ground.

"You gotta be careful. How many times have we told you not to wander off by yourself?"

Axela laughed and kissed his cheek, "Don't worry Alex, I know my brothers will always find me." She Smiled and took both there hands, leading them through the labrynth-like underground shelter.

A loud bang rippled through the walls as the machine stomped down the passages, diligently searching for his targets. It savagly started blowing down the walls, quickly getting closer with every step. Destroying a large concrete wall, it happaned upon the three humans, lookig at them, and identifying them. Alex, Joshua, and Axela Noe', rebel fighters under Connor..Destroy.

Axelas eyes widened as the machine burst into the room. Before they had a chance to run, the machine grabbed Alex and threw him against the wall, breaking his neck. Joshua screamed and rapidly shot at the machine, doing little damage in his rage. While Axela watched in shock, unable to move. The machine easily tossed the boy aside and took his gun. It looked at the gun and aimed it at Joshua, it almost seemed like it smiled as it fired three shots into the boys head. Axela screamed as she watched her brothers die, the anger and hatred filling her heart.

A loud siren pierced the shelter and the machine bolted out of the room. Leaving her behind. She watched the machine leave, and memorized the branded number on it's head," TEX45730, I'll see you again."


Axela opened her eyes and looked at the number carved into her wrist. " Now i've got you Tex." She smiled and pulled her sleeve over the scar.
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Keith stood in front of the suit, for some reason he always loved the process of suiting up. The way the mechanical arms attached the arms/legs to him. It was probably because of the feeling he got, the feeling that machines were working for humans, the way it was supposed to be.

Keith choose to sit beside Borris on the chopper, he'd been wanting to talk to him about the "Strategy" he had set up. As soon as everyone piled up, the choppers pilot came over the comm. link, "Everyone buckeled in? We need to get moving, those artilery drones will take this chopper out if we get to close."

The chopper pitched as they were in the air, Keith was amazed that they were able to still advance technology, even after the machines took over. The new choppers were completly invisible to radar, and could fly at speeds exceeding 500 mph. "T-minus 5 minutes until we hit the LZ Sheep" This time it was the voice of the co-pilot.

"Oh shit" Borris looked around to the group, "change of plan. Leon, you are still in the back, but the rest of you are up with me and Ivan." He looked to Ivan who was obviously not happy at the change in events. "There's a lot more than we anticipated, we're looking at 50 infantry drones and a dozen heavy weapons." In training, Keith had alwas marveled at the extent of the sensors in Borris' suit. They were 10 times that of any other piece of equipment the humans possessed.

"Oh damn, we've got incoming." Every light and alarm in the chopper was going off. The pilots were in a panic, Keith was too. "Oh damn, what do we do Borris?" Keith realized that picking the window seat was a mistake as Borris grabbed him and chucked him out the door. They were still 50 ft. In the air, but the impact thanks to the suit wasn't so bad. Keith looked up as everyone else started bailing out, all landing heavily.

Keith got up to his feet just as Axela yelled "Get down dumbass" She jumped up and tackled Keith to the ground as a mini rocket sailed over his head. "Borris, they picked you up" Leon's voice came over the comm. link, just as the helicopter exploded with the impact of the missile. Neither pilot had made it out...[I]"Oh shit"[/I] Keith thought to himself, [I]"This is for real[/I] He ran a skimatic on his blasters and took cover.

The chopper hoovered over the first drop zone, Leon got up and slid down the line without a word. Keith figured he was "in the zone" as some of the older guys talked.
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Sheep just finishes pushing the last of his soldiers from the helicopter when the missile impacts with the tail. The chopper is sent spinning for the ground. It was too late to bail out now. He would just get torn to ribbons by the blades. As he and the 6 tons of heavy machine spiral towards the Earth everything suddenly becomes quiet. The sound of war echoes in emptiness and the death and destruction around him is soaked up like a sponge.


His vision goes black and his mind drifts... back to three years ago.

[COLOR="Red"]"Iron Man Pilot Test 1-2," Katya; the encampment's computer spoke.

Boris and a few other officers stand in the encampment's control room, intently studying the numerous monitors.

"Alright, James, everything has led up to this moment", Boris speaks into an intercom.

"Are you sure he's ready for this, Colonel?" Bridadier General Watts asks with concern.

"No he's not," Major Victoria Franklin enters the room.

"I don't believe you were invited to this test flight, Major," the mad Russian has fire in his eyes.

"I think I have a right to see my fiance risk his life for your selfishness!"

"Selfishness?" Boris' eyes grow thin.

"Isn't it true there's a star in this for you, Colonel?"

"You're out of line, Major!" Watts shouts.

Two PFC's grab Franklin by the arms and drag her from the command room.

"Is there any doubt here, Colonel?" Watts asks.

"None, sir. He's passed the .5% power test, the 10% power test, and the 25% power test. He's show no dip in vitals and there has been no excessive G force wear on his body. James Connor is ready for this test, General. I stake my career on it."

"Yes, you do, Boris. He's a young man and this is a big risk, so yes you do."

General Watts and Boris turn towards the monitors just as James is preparing for take off.

"When you're ready Lietenant Colonel Connor," Hesitation carries on Boris' voice.[/COLOR]

The chopper impacts the ground and is consumed in flames. Boris snaps back to reality. His vision is still black.

"Your vision sensory perception and external weapons systems were damaged in the crash, Captain. It will take me a minute to get them back on line," Katya's voice cuts in and out, scrambled in Boris' head.

"I need vision now, Katya, what is working!?

Sheep throws shrapnel off of him.

"Infrared, sir, I'm afraid thats all. I'll load it up."

"There must be fire all around me, it's all a blur," Boris looks in every direction.

He scrambles to his feet and stumbles on the bodies of the pilots, fading heat signatures; dead. He scans the distance for his squad. They're scattered in every direction, and Sheep himself wasn't even in the landing zone. He could hear the high pitched whirls and cold grinding gears of the machines closing in at his back. Their spotlights bathing him in halogen rays.

"Prepare for EMP pulse, Katya."

No response.


His infrared fades to black. His suit loses power and he drops to his knees. His arc reactor flickers and then goes out. The machines close in at his back, every moment bringing the old Russian closer to death.

"Power restored, sir. You didn't think I'd leave you all alone out here, did you?"

"I was beginning to wonder."

Boris's sight fades up from black. His radar and other detection technology immediately pinpoints the location of every drone at his back. Rain begins to pour down around him and before the first drop hits the Earth Sheep has a lock on every drone behind him. He gathers his strength and begins to push himself off of the ground; fire building in his palm, and only one thing left to say:
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Axela grunted and watched Leon slide down the line. She got up and ran behind an old building, kneeling down, she opened her palm and a crystal orb appeared there. "Find machine number TEX45730." The orb shimmered and an image of a machine standing in front of an army of other machines appeared."TEX!"

Suddenly, Tex's head turned around and seemed to stare at her. It tilted it's head and the image disintegrated. Axela frowned and the orb disappeared. *Damn! Figures TEX wouldn't be alone.* She stood up and locked in LEX's location from the orb. "Oh well, I'll deal with him when this is over."

She smiled and ran up to Leon. " Lets destroy these fuckers...I bet I can kill more." She smirked and released her energy swords. Looking at him one last time, she launched forward and landed in a group of infantry drones. Laughing, she began to spin viciously, slicing drones with every spin.

(sorry for the short post, have to go)
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[COLOR="DarkRed"]Ivan was quiet during the flight to the drop zone, but then again he usually was right before an operation. Or that is what everyone thought seeing as he had shut off the external communications in his suit, and left the visor down. Inside the helmet his voice, barely audible, seemed to echo in his ears as he stares at a picture of a blonde-haired girl of not more than seven years displayed in his HUD. "I'm off to another fight, Tessa. Wish me luck." He pauses, as if waiting for a reply from the picture. "I know you hate having me fight, but it must be done. If I don't do something then I risk losing you, and...

His words were suddenly cut-off by the commotion in the helicopter's bay. Catching fragments of the panicked words he reverts back to instinct an follows the rest of the group out the door. "T.E.S.S.A., activate stealth systems and prepare a does of stimulants in case the fall knocks me out." This time around Ivan spoke directly to his suit's A.I. system. As the stealth system activated the suit seemed to shimmer and fade away like a ghost descending from the sky. The impact was jarring, and Ivan nearly blacked out for a moment as he rolled across the landscape. After a moment to clear his head he looked around to get his bearing.

"T.E.S.S.A., give me GPS location for the squadron with my location as center." At his command a map displayed itself online Everyone save for Boris showed up listed on the map. [I]Great, the last thing this group needs is a missing commander[/I]. "Open a comm to the rest of the unit." A slight chirp signaled the open comm link. "All units, regroup at the following coordinates," Ivan sent out a visual map location to everyone, "and provide situation reports." As he spoke Ivan rushed towards the wreckage of the down helicopter. At the same time he noticed his worst fear coming true as Axela jumped head-long into the mass of drones. Making not only herself, but any nearby squad members the focus of attention. Ivan shut down the comm link to avoid being heard swearing at the top of his lungs at the childish behavior, and continued to move towards the wreckage looking for Boris. [/COLOR]
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Keith ran towards the wreckage. "Borris!" He heard a whir of something mechanical moving. "Arm blasters" The mechanical voice of JEMMA, Keith's on board comp., sounded. "Blasters armed." It was a cold voice, but it always made Keith feel at home. "Thanks sweetheart." there was no response, and Keith felt silly but he couldn't help himself.

Borris immerged from the wreckage, his hands glowing red. A communication from Leon came over the comm link. "Sir, Me and Alexa are almost in position." Another voice came over, this time it was Cassandra her suit had somehow been made able to fly, she was scoping the area. "Sir, the drones are closing. Half have broken off from moving towards the convoy. They're moving this way sir." She flew back down, drawing her shot gun.

Borris looked towards the group that was to follow him, "If they make it up on the ridge we're toast. We have to get position." Borris led the charge up the hill, on top there were some ruined buildings and other places to use as cover. Keith followed, he'd only known what he'd seen in the VR rooms. This was going to be completly different....this was going to be real.
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