Friday, September 12, 2008

Training Montage!

1. Peter sat in the cockpit of Scrapnel, the sturdy Blitz Iguana gear and watched as Gun emerged out of the caravan compound. The Tiger heavy gear, after over 200 hours of intensive training, was stalking through the urban debris of Khayr-ad Din's Ghost Town district. It was was early morning and the dew was just falling. Steam rose off the radiators of both gears.

"Good morning Gade," Peter spoke softly into the comm, " I hope you had a good night's sleep, because we're in for a busy week."

"Eh you know me Pete, sleep is over rated" Gade's barely half opened eyes were a clear indication of his current condition.

"Yeah, well, ease off on _that_ because you'll need to be razor sharp and clear headed for your fights," Peter sighed and then shrugged in the cockpit, "alright. So dueling isn''s not about being faster, or meaner or a better shot," Peter kicked the little Iguana into a jog, "it's not kung-fu, or whatever Sam does with his pistols."

The older pilot pushed the Iguana into a run, took the frag cannon off the back armour skirt and began taking shots. The targeting data was fed into Gun's display. Even at a run, Peter was putting shots through bullseyes he had set up in the neighbourhood. Each target got a single solid slug.

"Dueling," Peter returned Scrapnel to Gun's side, "is about focus, discipline and understanding your machine. You try," Scrapnel tossed the frag cannon over to Gun.

"Now now, if there's one thing you can be sure about, it's that I'm all about focus and discipline," Gade replied. Without hesitation, Gun started spinning on its heels as Gade fires bullseyes on 5 of the 6 targets, and then finally takes out the wheel on one of the nearby Longrunners. Diego, the portly, ill-mannered Imashen driver walks out from behind the Longrunner, waving his fist. His other hand is holding his pants up. Gade had committed the cardinal sin of interrupting the man while he was writing his name in the sand.

"OK so my focus and discipline has the same lasting effect as flavor in cheap gum, but it's there I tell you!"

"Yeah," Peter commented drily. This was going to be a long two weeks.


2. With the Iguana's canopy open, the trainer smiled, taking in a deep drag from a cigarette. In front of Peter, Gade was taking Gun through the motions of a sophisticated combo maneuver.

'The boy certainly catches on quickly,' thought Peter, as he watched punches, kicks, some blocks, an elbow, a sudden vibroblade slash and then a stomp for the finish.

It was two days later. Gade and Gun were progressing. 'Still sloppy,' Peter thought as he soaked in the sun. He leaned into the cockpit and keyed the comm: "Improvise! Change it up. It's not a set routine and you're not being graded. Not yet. Use the cannon!"

"But if I know it's battle ready now I won't get to improvise later, isn't that what you wanted?" Gade answered, now getting somewhat annoyed at Peter's constant desire to see a big bang.

Peter grunted, "I don't want you to fire the cannon. Just pretend to," he chuckled, watching, "you have to practice improvisation. That's how you get better at improvising," he watched, "and tighten up that block. I can drive a Behemoth through it."

Gun lurches to a start, skating in reverse, heaving it's mass from leg to leg with a poor sense of balance, "Pffft, if you think so, then go for it," Gade was almost egging him on now.

This boy's cockiness is gonna be the death of him, thought Peter. Tired of Gade's mouthing off, he decided to teach him a lesson, rolling at full combat speed right into the larger Tiger. Coming in for a melee combo of his own Gade fell back, rolling the two machines over each other and finally leaving the smaller Iguana pinned.

"Call me crazy, but seems to me dueling doesn't only involve the physical, does it?" Gade pulled Gun up and off Peter's Iguana, then helped his teacher up. "Though I don't expect that'll work more than once against you"

Taking a moment to figure out just what had occurred, Peter found himself with a smirk on his face. I'm starting to think Gade needs to learn how to be a better Gade.


3. On the eve of the first match, the mood throughout the caravan had become apprehensive. The Imashen drivers withdrew and ate alone. Tom Knox kept himself busy doing inventory in the infirmary. Even the cooler heads, Kelly, Ari and Josaphina, were anxious. Karin and Avatanya paced back and forth in the galley as they made dinner.

Peter climbed up the side of the Behemoth. He found Natty sitting up there, watching Gade work on the last of Gun's painting: stencil and paint gun in hand. The Tiger was abutted right up against the gear transport truck, and Gade clambered over his machine with great agility.

"Oh, heya Peter!" Natty waved and waved the older man over. The green-haired young woman was doing her best to keep her nerves down, "you ready for tomorrow?" she smiled.

"Oh, I'm ready. Question is," Peter looked at his student, "is Gade?"

"Heh," Natty just couldn't help but smile and roll her eyes, "when has Gade being ready ever been important to him before?"

"Touche," Peter replied, and then leaned over the side, "hey Gade, nice paint job," he paused and swallowed, "could you come here Gade? I've...I've got something for you."

"Sure thing," Finishing off the last highlight, Gade dropped the brush and walked over to Peter and Natty, "it wouldn't happen to be fuzzy dice to hang in the cockpit, would it?"

"Nah, that's been done," Peter smiled, "no, this is something of mine," he extends his hand and then opens his fist, palm up. Inside was a thumb-sized cylinder. It looked like a piece of something bigger.

"Is that...?" Natty and Gade asked, almost simultaneously.

"Yeah, it's a spark plug. From a Hunter. From...from the first Hunter I ever piloted on the Death Track 1000 up in Innsbruck. I want you to have it. It's brought me luck, and it reminds me of that first race, where I first took a life. I want you to have it because I don't want you to kill people in the dueling tournament, Gade. It's not the place for it. And especially since all this killing's being celebrated and televised."

Peter placed the spark plug in Gade's hand and then turned quickly, climbing down from the roof of the Behemoth as quickly as he could.


Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.