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Rise To Honor - Part 19: New York...It's Getting So Old
Posted By: Shadow<Shadowolf16@aol.com>
Date: 24 August 2002, 1:26 pm

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Shadow looked to Az as she came up to the cockpit section and sat down in the co-pilot's seat. She was about to say something, but she seemed to be too shy to say it. To make her feel more comfortable, he decided to start something.

"Look at me. Do I look like the person that would make fun of you if you said anything stupid?"

She smiled and finally replied.

"Well, I was going to say thank you for saving my ass back there."
"Well you would have done the same just as easily. It's not like I'm going to abandon you like the damn military or Geb."
"I'm sorry about Geb. He just doesn't consider you to be anything good for the team.."

Shadow quickly interrupted.

"...and he would like me to be dead as much as he would like Kroeger or the Covenant dead. I know. But that doesn't mean that I don't owe him anything. I still owe him my life. That's why I'm getting these weapons for the team. I can feel it Az. Something big is coming. Something that we can't stop by being mechanics. It's something that we're going to need to defend ourselves from. It's something that's bigger than everything before. I just have this feeling."

He looked to her and she quickly looked down.

"You feel it too...don't you Az? That's why you came. You have that ominous feeling too."

He nodded and they sped towards the city. The sensors on the ship blipped once as the dimly lit city came quickly into view. The ship zoomed in quickly. He lowered the ship's altitude so that it flew at about midway between the top of the buildings and the streets. He searched about on the street that Needles was supposed to be located. Everything was so blown apart he couldn't even distinguish between many of the buildings. But he finally recognized the right one. He stopped the forward boosters, and went up in a straight vertical pull. As he came level with the top of the building, he edged the throttle forwards, and the ship slowly moved to the roof. This thing could be a big mistake, so he landed the ship but kept the engines hot, just in case they needed a quick escape. They both jumped out of the cockpit doors and ran to the entrance to the second floor. He smashed open the trap door and jumped down. The lights were on, and everything seemed to be relatively recently used. But Needles was in no sight. He heard a thump as Az landed right behind him. Papers littered Needles' tables and the ground. Coffee-stained mugs were also strewn all over the place.

"Well if he abandoned this place, maybe there's still some stuff we can loot."
"Or maybe he join the resistance."
"Naw, he's no hero."

All of a sudden, Needles popped out from behind him main desk, pistol aimed and ready. Shadow held up his laser rifle, and Az had hers ready as well. Shadow quickly lowered it as the battle worn man slowly walked out from his desk.

"Tak! It's so great to see you friend!"

Shadow wasn't used to being called by his real name, and even then, Tak was a short nickname.

"Hey Needles, it's been a while. Why didn't you run from the city like many of the civilians?"
"I had all my shit here. Besides, the government comes around here once in a while to purchase some stuff. They tried to strong-arm me once, but I told them that this place was wired and I could blow them all to kingdom come if I wanted to."
"Is it?"
"No, just threatened them so they won't kick my ass. So what do you want here? I'm sure it's not just to say hi."
"No, we need weapons."
"Anything for a friend. But I'm low on the mula, so it will cost you."
"I'm willing to pay man."

Needles was the merchant of the city. He could sell a rusty can of beans for the same exact price as a assault rifle. He was quite the amazing guy in that respect. But he was a little eccentric. He would sometimes ramble on about random stuff, or things that had no relation to their conversation. Other than though, he was quite a descent guy despite his way of trade. He was black, but again, race didn't matter anymore. He was very old, and his curly black hair had begun to gray. His face was a bit wrinkled, and he had black soot and dust all over him from the government takeover.

"I was thinking to myself man. Why not sell the TV. But then I thought that I needed it to keep me sane. But on the other hand, I also needed food and money to keep me alive and stuff. But...you get the picture. So then there was..."

As he was rambling on, Az and Shadow looked to each other with weird faces. Yup, the same old Needles.

"And so I said to him..."
"Needles, lets get back to reality. We need weapons."
"Alright. I have a lot of chem weapons...some flame-throwers."
"What else?"
"I have some laser energy packs for the YS-22 Firefly laser rifles you have right there."

Needles pointed to the rifle in Shadow's left hand.

"Alright, we'll take 20 of those. What else you have?"
"We have a triple missile launcher. Handheld."
"We'll take five."
"I have more slugs for the RG-18 sniper rifle that I sold you a few years ago."
"Alright, give me fifty."
"I have what they like to call the Scorpion Rifle. It is such a powerful and fast firing machinegun that whoever uses it will need a waist and shoulder harness to keep themselves from breaking their arms on the weapon."

Shadow looked at the weapon. Leaned up against the wall, it was as tall as he was, though that wasn't saying much considering he was quite short.

"You see, the machinegun attaches to the right or left hip part on the harness, and the trigger arm has to reach back behind to reach the handle. The other arm aims. The gun is a smart gun."

Az quirked and an eyebrow and questioned.

"What's a smart gun."
"Ma'am, a smart gun is a weapon that self-tracks. It targets any non-human enemy and automatically aims. Of course, you can always easily turn this off if you're going out on a human killing spree."
"I'll take five of those, but I doubt we'll use them all. What kind of clips do they use?"
"Custom. Each clip contains 300 rounds, and you'll need to replace the clip every 30 seconds or so if you fire continuously."
"That's a lot of bullets. But we'll take three clips for each gun. Anything else?"
"Well, I stole this from the government during its experimental stages. It's a beacon for a satellite based Ion Cannon. The beacon is very small, but once activated, it can send a communicate for the Cannon to blast at the beacon's location. I've also outfitted it with a little device that will keep up with the government's constantly changing military codes, another little something I've devised. It may come VERY useful if you want to destroy a large building or something."
"Wow. That's amazing. I'm sure it's expensive though."
"You bet your ass it is."
"Alright, we'll take it."

It took all three of them a whole half hour to load the equipment up onto the Pelican. But once it was finished, it seemed well worth it.

"Az, get in the ship and start it up, I have to pay Needles."
"Right, wait. There are two enemy ships approaching. I think they're patrols, but they'll still find us if we don't get moving."
"Right. Needles, just bill us."

Needles slapped Shadow on the shoulder and dove back into his building as the Pelican took off.

"Shadow! Get up here!"
"They're two Banshee 2s. There's no way we'll be able to out maneuver them."
"Then we'll have to go head-to-head. Even with all the shit in our cargo bay?"

The ship began to rise as Az pulled it up. She hit the throttle just as the Banshees were coming around the corner. The ship was moving fast enough to hit them both right on, but they were so maneuverable that they easily dodged it and in a second were bouncing plasma bolts off the hide of the Pelican. Meanwhile, Az couldn't brake, and the ship ran right through a half constructed building. She swerved left, right up and down as she dodged metal bars and plates. He could hear scraping sounds as Az cut through the narrow spaces. He thought they were safe, but one of the plates in front of them lit up in a blue wonder before disintegrating into nothing. Shadow looked at his rear sensors and realized that the Banshees were following them. The damn ships were such improvements over their predecessors. They were more armored, faster, and MUCH more maneuverable as demonstrated now. They also packed plasma shields for defense of the main chassis only. Their weak point were the really, really thin wings that were almost impossible to hit.

The Pelican finally blew out of the other end of the building and immediately fired two Deadshot missiles. They launched out of the front, but immediately made a 180 degree spin and shot right past the Pelican towards the Banshees. One of the banshees made evasive maneuvers and was able to shake the missile. The second wasn't so lucky and its wing was clipped. It tumbled down the ground as orange and red smoke exploded from where the wing should have been. The ship slammed into the ground, but the second one still came after them. The Pelican made a quick turn around the corner, and then another, but they still couldn't shake the bastard.

"What the hell do we do?"

Shadow ran past all the piled up weapons in the cargo bay and opened up the doors. The weapons weren't strapped in, so many of them began to fly out the back as he opened the doors. He watched as numerous weapons and ammo dropped out the back, including the ion cannon beacon. He unstrapped his sniper rifle, and fired at the banshee. The blast was heading straight on at the Banshee, but bounced right off its shields. The ship began to blast at the cargo bay. Az zoomed up to dodge the blasts and the Banshee followed, but itovercompensated. It zoomed right above them, and was preparing to lower.

"Az, lower the ship!"
She did so, and the Banshee was having a hard time coming level with them. Meanwhile, Shadow grabbed the edge of the roof of the Pelican, and flipped up to the top.

"Not another "top o' the Pelican escapade!"
"Shut up EVA, I'm trying to concentrate."

He aimed at one of the wings, but it quickly swerved and fired some more. The blasts hit the roof, and he dodged by diving to one of the Pelican's wings. He rolled along the titanium-armored roof and ended up kneeling with his rifle aimed. He fired again, and again the blast bounced off. He growled and fired a second time. This time it hit its mark, slamming into one of the wings. The blast cut right through. The Banshee, without its wing for stabilization immediately swerved to the right and exploded along the wall of one of the buildings. He gave the city the middle finger as they left, and carefully crawled back inside the Pelican.

"I'm never coming back to this shithole again."
"I'm with you all the way on that one."