First of all, I’d just like to say hi. I’m the guy (Thomas Buist) who’s going to be writing the other character in this story, Major Duo Maxwell. His story starts on the outskirts of the Sol System.
On the Edge
The Justice Mech rolled over suddenly, rotating through 180 degrees and then flipping back again, before coming to a complete stop. The little machine was tough, but too much had been asked of it and it was beginning to buckle under the strain. Last time it had been a failed engine, which had taken him a week on a barely habitable planet to repair. This time it was an inertial dampener failure; less major but still very much a problem he could have done without. Components were beginning to break down and repairing them was getting harder and harder. He had no spares left to replace the parts and very little material to repair the old ones with.
Justice Mech had started out a few years before as the Berserker, one of three concept machines that Duo had introduced to the Federation as his pet project. The Berserker had been a multi-role air/ground/space supremacy combat machine, but the Justice was more than that. It was designed to be faster and stronger than the Berserker while maintaining the same outer shell and dimensions and it incorporated all the latest Federation technology. Plus it had been further upgraded with all that Duo could scavenge or steal, including Borg, EGR, Dominion and Romulan technologies salvaged from various battlefields and graveyards. There had been plenty to choose from, since the EGR arrived.
But now it was in a mess, operating at only around 40% of its capacity and slipping downhill quickly. Its self-repair mechanisms were all but gone and its remaining systems were operating on the edge of failure.
Duo knew, in the back of his mind, that he probably wasn’t going to make it to Earth. But the part of him that had kept him fighting for over a year wouldn’t let him give up. He hadn’t had a wash in weeks, his long braided hair was matted, knotted, burned and, like the rest of him, disgustingly dirty. He had a few broken ribs that he knew of, plus a badly wrenched knee and a burn on his right leg that he was just getting used to ignoring.
A few focused thoughts instructed a dozen or so nano-machines tailored for automatic repair and maintenance to seal the broken system. He didn’t have many of the little machines left and there was no material left to make more from. At least he wasn’t going to have to set down on a planet, this time.
He’d been on the run for almost a year, after the EGR’s massacre of the Cardassians and the subsequent retirement of the Federation President he’d given up hope that the Federation was going to, or was even able to do anything to reverse the mistakes they had made. For over half of his life the Federation and Starfleet had been his home, his surrogate parents and extended family. Even if he did disagree with what was happening, leaving them hadn’t been easy. It had taken the massacre of a whole civilisation to make the difference, a fact he was still ashamed of. But the day after the EGR’s announcement he took his Mech, set course for the nearest uninhabited region of space, and left.
At that time he never had any plans on where he was going to go or what he was going to do, he spent a few weeks on one planet, a few days on another, jumping from place to place without any clear purpose or idea of what to do. The fighting had started with an EGR scout that had found and attacked him, and it had carried on from there. One battle lead to another, and another, and many more as the EGR turned one of their many eyes his way.
The first few battles had been purely for survival, but they had re-kindled something within him that had been dormant for a while. The sense of stubborn, pig-headed determination that had helped him survive in the past was awakened, and it was at that point he’d decided that something had to be done. He’d been fighting and running ever since, slowly making his way towards the Earth, and the President. He didn’t know what he was going to do when, and if, he got to Spock. But he did know that he had to do something, and going to earth was the only idea that seemed to make any sense.
The console beeped, something was showing on passive sensors. A single thought highlighted the image and enhanced it, showing an EGR Destroyer passing through a few light years away. The ECM Suite and Cloak installed on the Justice kept him covered as long as he stayed still. The same waiting game had been played a hundred times or more, yet he never really got used to it. His heart still did a hundred beats a minute until the destroyer was out of range.
There was, he knew, only had a few light-years to go. Earth was practically in visual range and yet he didn’t dare use the active sensor suite to take a look. Sol was far too heavily guarded to be careless, or for that matter, to make a mistake of any kind. The Justice was in no state for a running battle, especially not with EGR Capitol ships.
The nanobots signalled the completion of their task and the Mech told him that the dampeners were once again working. Not working very well, but working. A thought re-started the engine and he set off once again, at half-impulse, towards earth and his still half-formed plan.
To be continued…
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