A Moribund Hero
Marcus's rugged dirt bike skidded to a halt at the top of a flat peak, which overlooked La Costa Mines on vast plains. The eyesore of swelling blue-green lights before the shaft entrance seemed like a tiny congestion of energy from his view. It wasn't.
He kicked his bike stand into the dirt and powered down the vehicle.
His field leader had already arrived. The man stood on the cliff, facing the swell. His broad back carried a high laser sniper rifle. He was dressed in khaki pants, steel capped and buckle boots, and a padded version of the army's bottle-green vest. No shirt. His hands and forearm were enclosed in soft metal gauntlets.
"Stromm. Deez day, good for hunting, no?" he cordially said as he stood next to the tall man.
Indeed, Stromm was as tall and a hunk of muscle as Wolf. Dark olive skin, smooth and hardened, adapted to the weather. His black hair was styled in a crew cut. Unlike Wolf, his face had a light carpet of a beard, which served to draw out more of his wide chin, angled jaw, and high cheekbones. Bushy eyebrows framed his green eyes, which twinkled with energy. Just enough roundness to even out his broad nose and full lips.
"Marcus. Always ready for a fight, huh?" Stromm's deep voice gruffed. "Fair enough. These mages are out of control."
It was the first time he was seeing such congestion of magic power. It made him frown.
"That's because he can't get laid." A woman sarcastically noted from behind them.
Marcus scoffed as he turned to see their scout member of the squad.
Silver strutted up to them. Like the others, she wore the colors of the People Army. Her waistcoat gave shape to the outlines of her busty chest and slender waist. The rest of her upper body continued to hold a ladylike charm with her lace-trimmed white cotton blouse made of magic-resistant material. Her hip held a black belt of daggers, lockpicks, and vials. Her khaki shorts, black-gloved hands, and knee-high black boots concealed other hidden weapons.
Most men of the army considered her attractive with her silky brown hair, combed back in a high ponytail, a tanned face that was lightly made up with neutral pinks and browns to keep her brown eyes and slender features appealing.
Marcus knew better. She was the other woman he couldn't charm. Not like he was interested in his comrade, to begin with. No, Lucy was more his type. His heart raced with thoughts that she would be arriving soon.
"Can you control your snake when she arrives?" Silver lowered her eyes toward his groin, making her curled lashes stand out.
"Vile womeen." He turned up his nose at her innuendo.
On cue, they turned to see Bessy trailing dust clouds toward them. Wolf overtook the tank to arrive before it.
Silver's eyes lit up with glee when she saw an armored Rabbit get off Wolf's motorbike. She eagerly went to greet the girl.
Rabbit politely returned the greeting.
Silver understood that the girl was a biodefect, but she was fine with that. Rabbit had no magic, so posed no threat other than her skills as a scout.
Bessy arrived. Marcus stood with aloof and suave airs to impress his lady. Lucy climbed out of the tank. His happiness turned to a frown when he saw a man also exit it.
"You!" He hissed upon recognizing Leon from that time at the bar. He whipped out his silver greatsword from his back and stomped his way to him.
"Hang ten, Marcus. Leon is my gunner." Lucy stepped before him when she saw his angry face headed for Leon.
"Gunner or no. An insult, deez insult." He raised his sword.
Leon blinked, analyzing the swing angle. He sidestepped to easily avoid Marcus's blow.
Marcus was trained enough to calm his reactions and recognize a fact of the moment. Leon was a biodefect.
"Deez isn't right. A biodeefect. No!" Marcus was distressed by the fact.
"He's got no magic, but warrior trained. He'll likely kick your ass again if you test him." Lucy explained and didn't care that Marcus was hissing at the fact.
Stromm sighed and called order on his squad. He and Wolf exchanged their civil greetings.
"Ready to kick mage ass."
"Hell, yeah." Wolf gave the man a hearty nod.
Squad42 and Squad43 gathered to go over their orders and agree on their positions and roles. When all was settled, they got going for La Costa.
When their dune buggies, bikes, and tank arrived at the scene, they saw the local scouts and guards doing their best to contain the magic and fight off the mages fueling it. But, the mages were attacking with weapons and fire, shock, and water-based magic in retaliation.
Leon frowned as he surveyed the mages from Bessy's periscope. They were well-armed in black-green soft leather armor and were mobile on dirt bikes. It wasn't a typical skirmish. They were organized and focused.
He adjusted the zoom and noticed a green painted skull and crossbones on their chests.
"Are they a gang?" He blurted.
Lucy nodded and began fretting. "Flippin breechers! They have mages."
She explained that the skull and crossbones belonged to a rumored group of troublemakers called Punk Bandits. Usually, they were petty thieves and highwaymen stealing from peeps. But she had never crossed any of them with mages before. So, their army never had to deal with them much, other than making sure they didn't get in their way.
"But to have mages in their gang. Crap. Not good."
She slammed her foot on the accelerator and snapped at Leon to prep the gun, but he was already on standby to fire.
A swarm of punk bandits on dirt bikes flocked toward them. They fired an arsenal of firebolts, ice shards, and shock bolts at Bessy. But the machine was hardy to withstand their first wave.
He fired a rocket at the center of the bike hoard to send some flying and crashing to the ground. However, as more fell, more came.
"How many are their numbers?" He calmly reloaded the gun and continued to fire, making sure there was no friendly fire.
"More than I thought." Lucy's eyes narrowed at the oncoming bike masses. She skillfully swerved and navigated around magic and weapon attacks.
Leon was able to adjust his aim to reduce the numbers. But it wasn't enough.
A couple of punk bandits got close to climbing onto the hull.
"Time for air. Keep Bessy's course. I'll do my best to reduce numbers." He released the tank's gun and placed his hat on.
His handguns were locked and loaded. He climbed out of the hatch and used the torque of the moving vehicle to propel him forward.
The punk bandits fired bullets at him.
He ducked and swung around to dodge them. Adjusted his body's gravity settings to keep balance. Aimed and fired. His bullets knocked a bandit off the tank.
He moved toward the other that was scaling the sides to reach him.
Shots were fired and missed.
He docked his guns; did a handstand, gripping a loop ring, and spun his body around to kick and knock the bandit off the tank. The body flew into Lucy's view before it struck the ground.
More on bikes inched dangerously close from behind.
Leon moved toward the back to see two bandits on dirt bikes. They were a few meters from reaching the hull.
They fired a mad round of machine-gun bullets at him. All were missed.
He slowly rose to stand on the tank's roof. His overcoat flapped against the wind; his hat was miraculously stuck to his head.
He stepped back to give him space to run. Arm's outstretched holding his handguns. He sprinted forward and jumped.
Shots were continuously fired as he did a twist and flip to land on the ground on both feet. Boot levels were adjusted to ease gravity density on impact. Bullets had succeeded in knocking off a bandit from their dirt bike.
A quick analysis of the situation and environment.
He docked his guns, he raced for the bike; righted it, and kicked it into gear, driving it for the other bandit.
The other bandit's gunfire was clumsy and with less aim. It was clear they weren't used to firing whilst driving with one hand.
Leon did a snap analysis of his trajectory and angles. Sped up to overtake the bandit then did a sharp turn to angle the bike then reversed. Gripped one gun. Stretched out his arm with an aim. A direct line of sight for the bandit's head. He fired.
It hit the target.
The bandit and bike overturned to crash and cause an explosion.
Leon docked his gun and straightened the bike. He followed Bessy's trail.