500 Word Flash Fiction – The Mech and the Captain

Giant MechThe first time I met the Captain I was a snotty nosed junior officer just out of the Academy, desperate to see action and assigned as an Observer to the Captains Recon unit. I was told to shut up, do as I was told, stay out-of-the-way and maybe… just maybe… I might get back to HQ with my little war story.

That night the Captain was leading a Recon patrol into Century City to probe the Alliance forces and judge their strength before the Coalition launched its next offensive. A simply observe and report mission, a walk in the park. So there I was all gummed up with an over-sized helmet and a rifle in my hand which I wasn’t all that sure how to use, trying to keep up as the Captain led us deep into Alliance held territory. For the most part all I remember is being dragged along by my armor and pushed behind cover every time we stopped.

Before long we were holed up in a ruined penthouse as we observed the Alliance forward units – by observing it seemed to mean most of the patrol slumped around the suite walls and me sitting at the window with IR goggles on checking off movements as I saw them. About two hours into this we were getting ready to bug out, when the goggles overloaded with a huge IR spike and the looming shape of an Alliance Mech rounded the corner. Big ugly brute, a squat cockpit head and sloped shoulders that led to two huge cannon shaped arms. I had never seen these things up close before and it was thought the Alliance only had a handful of them. With one of these in our sector it would mean our offensive would be dead before it started. I was sweating bullets, gripping my rifle with clammy hands as the Mech drew level with our building. I looked up just in time to see the Captain dive out of the window. For some reason I cried out, which if looks could have killed I would dropped dead from the stares from the rest the unit.

I moved over to the window and caught sight of the Captain on the shoulder of the Alliance machine clambering towards the cockpit head before disappearing out of sight. Moments later the Mech shuddered and just stopped, slumping slightly against the building opposite. I caught a flash of a knife blade as the Captain swung down the broken Mech and disappeared into the shadows. The Sergeant next to me grinned, “Okay son, shows over… time for us to move out.”

Stunned I followed the patrol out of Century and back to our own lines, throughout the rest of the battle for that blasted city and the remains of the war that followed, the Captain would be credited as the only infantry kill of a Mech.

As for me… Well, this was only the beginning of my association with her.