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Coordinate 16Q Beta 23
Trilobite Moon
Labrea System, Irece Prefecture
Draconis Combine
Fourth Quarter, 3067

Duo Maxwell vomited. The inside of his cockpit felt humid. He tried to hold back the urges he had been feeling for the past 10 minutes, but knew there would be no stopping it. Even those with the strongest willpower succumbed under circumstances such as these.

Duo was still in denial. He could not be dying from radiation sickness. His life had been lived too honorably to have now received a fatal backstab from an unknown enemy. And yet it was happening, as real as the horrible picture painted out across his viewscreen before him. The picture had been changing ever so slowly, but it was mind-blowing in the sheer destructive nature of its presence. An atomic explosion had altered the entire atmosphere over the Kennedy Flats, wiping the beautiful sky from existence and leaving only the ugly splatter of an atomic radiation firestorm.

The blue glow from the nuclear explosion had been blinding. Literally blinding. Unmistakable, its now-eerie incandescent ebb stretched out into the surrounding skyline with streaks of pulsing turquoise shadows. The desert sky had been overrun with it in minutes. The uncanny hue marked not only the passing of time since the attack had been launched, but also the passing of several of Duo’s teammates. Among the dead were his company’s entire scout lance, all of whom had been caught in the terrible shockwave and their Mechs no doubt damaged beyond all recognition. The scouts, who had been the first to warn of the approaching missile, had paid dearly for their reconnaissance work. Though they were the first to die while performing their job, they would likely not be the last. The day’s training activities had begun as usual, with a routine a patrol starting just after 1300 hours. The reinforced company headed by Duo had been sent to the moon of Trilobite just 6 days ago, assigned a training exercise to improve the group’s guerilla warfare tactics. Since the Word of Blake’s Denouncement strike just months ago, the Strikers commanders had begun focusing on such tactics. While the overall team’s performance in the WOB war had been a successful effort, there was always room for improvement in both tactics and logistics. Duo and his company would be facing off against a computer simulated enemy. While combat would barely be practiced in the exercises, movement and strategic retreats would be closely evaluated. The idea was to have the simulation calculate the outcomes of individual battles, and the pilots would determine the rest through an enactment of tactical decisions. Such decisions would include each battles initial offensive moves and their follow ups against a weakened enemy. The real work was all in their minds, except for the test of endurance of piloting Mechs constantly with little or no shutdown time. The pilots had to stay in their cockpits for most of the week’s activities.