MECH-anics of Friendship

A Stuck in Lawndale Vignette

By Neal C.

Introductory Note: This takes place between ‘Fear and Loathing in Lawndale’ and ‘Party’.


            Night had fallen and the air was oddly still, the pine barrens were stark and desolate.  In the background the outpost was in flames and well on its way to collapse.  Two gigantic forms stood in the shadows of a copse of redwoods, silently watching the aftermath.

            The larger form turned away from the wreckage.  The smaller one just stood and watched it burn.  It had seen better days.  Smoke drifted lazily from numerous carbon scorches.  It was nothing that couldn’t be fixed, but getting somewhere to fix it would be a problem.  It twisted on its torso to look at the larger mech.  It was in much worse condition, it was obviously limping when it moved and was missing its left arm.

            As the smaller mech’s pilot watched the firebase burn her comm beeped.  “You alright Muse?”

            She clicked her comm on. “Yeah, I’m fine.  My left leg is in the yellow, but other than that I’m a hundred percent. You look like shit though, Nails.”

            “I’ll be alright.  You did well out there.  Are you sure you haven’t done this before?”

            “What do you mean ‘good’?  I saw the enemy, yelled for you guys, then ran and hid.” She said, guiltily.

            “That was your job.  The Osiris is built for recon, not combat.  You wouldn’t have lasted five seconds against The Cynic’s assault force.  They had an Atlas for cryin’ out loud.  You spotted them and called in our defense force, you did your job.”

            “We still lost.  Your Bushwacker wasn’t built for a firefight that intense either.  As a matter of fact none of out stuff was.”

            “I didn’t think this installation would have been that great a target. I don’t know why she sent in the big guns...  Well all that matters is that we’re alive.  That means we haven’t lost the war.  We’d better get a move on.  As efficient as Cynic is, she’ll have them combing the woods for us as soon as they’re done with the base.”

            “How far is the dust-off?”

            “Twelve klicks south-east.  We’ll have to go back around the base.  If we run into trouble, head for the cover of the trees and run towards nav-point Charlie.  That’s the dust off.  None of her armor can out run you, you have a good chance of making it.”

            With his damage that’s a death march. “What about you?”

            “I’ll find a way, or I’ll make one… or I’ll die trying.”

            “I think you should be The Cynic… or maybe The Melodramatic.”

            “Hey!  Lets get a move on.”

            With that the larger mech turned southward and started to slowly limp its way southward.  Muse just shook her head and pushed the throttle of the mech up to quarter speed.  They walked steadily southeast, always keeping the burning firebase to the right.  They had covered quite a bit of ground and the firebase was well behind them when her HUD picked up a hostile signal.  She flipped her comm on.



            “Nails, is that as fast as you can go?”

            “Yeah, my left hip actuator is shot.”

            “Well we’ve got company, just ahead of us and to the left.”

            Nails tapped his helmet, the HUD fuzzed a bit and returned to normal.  It didn’t show any enemy.  “Are you sure?”

            “Yeah, the BAP picked it up.  It must have electronic counter measures, I can’t tell what it is.”

            “ECM?  It must be The Cynic herself.”

            That’s what I was afraid of. “What do we do?”

            “What’s your ammo situation?”

            Muse looked at the gauges. “I have two SRM volleys left.  Then I have the medium lasers.”

            “Cool.  I’ve got six shots for my auto-cannon, but my missiles are depleted.  Our mediums won’t do much good.”

            “What about your large laser?”

            “I can’t dissipate the heat.”

            “I guess this is it then.  We can’t outrun her.” Muse looked at her throttle.  Well, I could.

            “No, we can’t.  But you can.” Nails answered.

            “I’m not running, not this time.”

            “Okay, save your missiles though.  Shoot for the legs.  If I go down or she starts gunning for you then you run as fast as you can for the drop zone.  That’s an order.”

            Just then another behemoth entered the clearing.  Muse stared at it in awe.  It had to be four meters taller than her Osiris and at least forty tons heavier.  It stopped and looked at them.  It was The Cynic in her infamous Black Knight. 

            “Looks like the end of the road my friends.” Came a deadpan voice, over the open frequency. “Remember this is nothing personal.  Just business.” With that the Black Knight opened fire on Nails.  The PPC’s hit their mark on the top of the Bushwacker’s chassis, driving it to the ground.

            “Shoot the Legs!” came Nails’ scream over the comm.

            Muse shook herself out of her fugue and started firing her medium lasers at the Black Knight’s legs.  This unbalanced it enough to stop it’s firing.  It turned to face Muse.  Just as it raised its arms to fire its side was ripped open as Nail’s auto-cannon hit home.  Muse looked over at the Bushwacker.  It was back on its feet but it was clearly overheated, smoke was pouring out of all of its functional heat sinks.  It fired again, catching the Knight in the chest, driving it back a step.

            “Muse!  Run… Now!” Nails’ voice came over the comm as he fired again.  This time The Cynic was ready and fired back at the same time.  The Bushwacker was once again driven to the ground.  This time the running lights dimmed, the Bushwacker was out of the fight.  The Black Knight turned back towards the Osiris.

            Muse stared at the scene, wide eyed.  Nails was the best mech pilot she had ever seen.  This wasn’t how it was supposed to end, not on some backwater planet duking it out with a mercenary company.  Muse never noticed as The Cynic took aim, the next thing she knew she was on her back and everything was glowing red.  Above her The Cynic took aim for a finishing shot.  Then, as before, Nails saved her bacon.  The shots tore the left arm off of the Black Knight.

            “This ends now.” The Cynic said.  The Black Knight turned towards the Bushwacker. 

            Muse managed to get the Osiris to stand up.  The Bushwacker was still prone, but the lights were back on.  Then Nails’ voice came over the comm. “Muse, run away… get out of…go…please…out with a bang.” The static made most of the message indecipherable but Muse knew what was going to happen.  She turned the Osiris southeast and hit the throttle, full-tilt. 

            As she watched through the rear camera the Black Knight stood over Nails’ Bushwacker.  It carefully took aim, a headshot to kill the pilot executioner style.  She’s thorough; I’ll give her that.  Then, before The Cynic had a chance to realize her mistake, the Bushwacker exploded.  Muse saw the wave of force and flame coming at her, but she was already going as fast as possible. 

            Muse did the only thing she could do.  Cutting the throttle she hit the jump jets.  As the Osiris flew overhead the flamewave rushed through the forest.  Muse saw the dropship hovering over the drop zone another five kilometers away.  She angled her descent towards it.  She looked at her rear camera screen.  The flamewave had already dissipated but the forest was on fire and would probably be a nuclear wasteland for years to come.

            She shook her head as she landed and limped toward the drop zone.  “That was a bit melodramatic.”


            “I am not melodramatic.” I said, deadpan. 

            “Yes you are.  You blew yourself up to save me in a videogame.” Jane said, taking another bite of pizza.

            “She’s got a point.” Daria said.

            “Don’t you start.  One of us had to make it to the drop zone to win, Jane.  You were the only one capable of motion.  I gave you a fighting chance.”

            “That shockwave almost got me.  Besides, you were making that static noise over the comm yourself.”  Jane smirked.

            “Well… I was acting.”

            “Over acting is more like it.” Daria said.

            I stood up, put one hand on my waist and shook my fist in the air. “I am not Melodramatic!”



Author’s Notes:  That was a doozie! First off all, I’m finally getting around to filling in the gap between ‘Fear and Loathing in Lawndale and ‘Party’.  Secondly, I guess this one requires some explaining.  I’ve written Mechwarrior fics before and I’ve written Daria fan-fics before so I figured ‘why not combine them?  So I did, and I got this.  It’s definitely not the best but I like it all right. 

Now some definitions:

Bushwacker:  A medium mech from Mechwarrior 4.  It is 9 meters tall and weighs 55 tons.  I change the load out from the average to one Ultra AC (auto-cannon) 20, on Streak SRM 6 (six homing short range missiles), two one large laser and two tons of high explosives.


Osiris:  A light mech.  It is 7.5 meters tall and weighs 30 tons.  It had three medium lasers and one Streak SRM 6.  It is also the fastest mech in the game with a running speed of around 130kph.


Black Knight: A heavy mech.  It is 10.8 meters tall and weighs 75 tons.  It has two PPCs  (particle projection cannons) and three large lasers.

And, for those of you who play Mechwarrior, I know the high explosives don’t work like that, but that’s the way they should work.