Dead... and Back is a survival horror Role Playing Game. The Anarchy Zones is its official setting - aliens, reanimates, and the ruins of 2055 America.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Target Practice

The wall was covered with strange black welts - shallow bowls of obsidian glass a hand span across. Another scab popped off the concrete with a sound like a great hammer striking. Citizen lasers didn't penetrate concrete all that well - instead they flash explode what little moisture is present, and melt the substrate.

Satisfied, the pilot carefully set down the two meter laser apparatus, and picked another. This was shorter and stubbier, and oval in over all shape rather than lightning bolt. A bite was taken out of the back end, forming a groove to place the encounter suit's right hand, connecting the weapon to power ports and targeting. A satisfying hum began to emanate as the capacitors charged up.

Moments later, the Ekaide sprang into action, leaping forward like a grasshopper. For a four meter machine with legs seemingly too spindly for its bulk, the thing was quick to accelerate. The weapon swung to the left, and even combination of torso twist and arm movement. It tracked across a yellow line painted on a wall fifty meters away. Next the armor leaped sideways to the right, swung its left foot around to preform a quick one-eighty turn....

And hit a chunk of concrete, tripping. With a seemingly natural movement born from its computers, the left hand reached forward to cushion its fall, but the armor's face still planted itself on the broken road. Inside, monitors momentarily flickered and a warring klaxon blared.

Nothing damaged but pride, the alien set the machine to do a one armed push up, then curled the legs under, and stood up. The machine's head shook, mirroring it pilot. She then walked back to the start mark, reset the chronometer, and readied to start the beam cannon run again.

Another quick start, cannon tracking fleeing prey, turn about, fire at ambush, duck behind an old semi and crouch. Breath calmly and let the capacitors and cooling system catch up, reading for a full thirty second blast. Dash out from behind the vehicle, sweep building to the left while looking right for signs of missiles, jump from the yellow spot to the yellow X, then duck and push into the old open garage. Check time.

Still not setting any records, but better than last week - minus the face fault. Time for something different.

In the center of an intersection was an old human armor, propped up by some metal bards driven into the pavement like an anti-tank scarecrow. It was the common soldier one, smaller and slower than the Ekaide, but often equipped with deadly rocket launchers and not to be underestimated. After placing the gun on the hood of an old car, the armor balled up its fists, and approached, arms in front like a boxer. Quite unlike the human machine, the encounter suit's hands were built to take the rigors of close combat.

First the right arm blurred as a fist jabbed at the enemy's head. A lower punch to the gut from the left followed soon after, then two for quick punches from the fight. Some more cracks appeared in the smaller machine, but it had been filled with adobe like building material so it wouldn't simply disintegrate under continued practice runs. All the while, the legs bobbed and side stepped.

Punching an unmoving target didn't stay interesting for long though. Ambush drills were getting repetitive too. With deliberate attention, the pilot began flipping switches for the shut-down sequence. The front plate folded down to provide egress, as the legs crouched to bring it to a more reasonable height. Buckles unfastened, legs unstrapping from the sitting position of the pilots seat, and one arm grabbing the pilots sidearm, another a food bar, and the last two steadiness her as when shifted and got out.

A quick treat, and then on to personal weapons practice. Overhead a foreign sun hit its apex.

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