In the grim darkness of the 22nd century, nations fight for domination of a planet that is near-traumatized by countless deaths and screams of agony.
They bleed for a world in which the strong rule with impunity.
They die for the fickle dream of a realm which is barren by the countless firestorms that ravaged Earth over these seemingly endless, dark years.
With the creation of Savior Pods that allow pilots to survive all sorts of hits without being incapacitated or killed, the definition of war is now defined by the economy as much as by the heroism that these common soldiers show.
In this war, there are no winners.
Such is the reality of the world in which they live.
There is only nothing but death and despair…in the 22nd century.
A man stood outside the iconic Cathedral of Milan, looking at the bright sky as he strolled outside towards the street. After all, it was a great winter afternoon, with a light easterly breeze.
Then, he saw hundreds of things drop down from the sky.
It was the last thing that he would see.
A light came down from nowhere, burning him alive in a pillar of blue-white heat.
He did not even feel the pain.
His soul was simply…gone.
Officer candidate Frederick Heisenberg quickly recognized the black streaks on the sky, some fifty miles away from his base.
As the assistant company commander of the Bundeswehr Expeditionary Force, I Company, he knew that he was going to receive his marching orders.
Then, a message came out on his personal data assistant (PDA):
FLASH FLASH FLASH
ALL AVAILABLE UNITS DEPLOY TO MILAN CENTER. MAJOR DROP BY PAU
ORDERS: REGIONAL COMMANDER
ITALIAN FRONT – TAF
COPIED TO CENTCOM
Without hesitation, he boarded his Boa and in five minutes’ time, fifty turtle-like robots rushed out of the base, ready to meet their enemies on the field of battle.
“Super Plate, this is Heisenberg. What are our rules of engagement?”
“Heisenberg, this is Super Plate, High Command says to engage the enemy with extreme prejudice, regardless of collateral damage and civilian casualties. I’m pretty sure anyway that those people won’t mind, Officer.”
“Yes, Commander. Acknowledged. Out.”
It was the first time that the Boa saw a Vityaz in the battlefield. While Vityaz was cheaper and easier to repair, the meticulously-crafted Boa has better armor and protection.
The lead Boa in Heisenberg’s squadron unleashed a hail of rockets from his Orkan, a set of 30 unguided rockets that are armor-penetrating and can reach up to 300 meters. The Vityaz, caught in surprise, tried to fight back with his Thunder heavy shotgun and Gust light shotguns.
The Boa was battered, with its sensors suffering critical damage, but it was able to take down the Vityaz, forcing its pilot to use the Savior Pod.
However, its squadmates were quick to trade and soon enough, it was an all-out brawl as the PAU and the TAF were engaged in their first-ever battle.
“Alpha Squad, engage the enemy. There’s a lot of them out there, we just need to delay their advance!”
“Affirmative, Commander. You heard the man!”
Heisenberg maneuvered his mech in order to do a quick peek at the mechs behind the lead Vityaz, releasing a hail of Orkans and Thunder pellets.
It feels good to wreck them at this range.
Sensing that he was about to run of ammunition, he quickly moved towards the next street, giving time for his robot to reload.
Then, he went around another corner to spot three Vityaz robots trying to finish off a Boa.
He unleashed his load on the two that were nearest to him, leaving the third one scared as he retreated back to his comrades.
This is a freaking long fight, how I wish my Leo fire teams were here!
The Leo is a multi-purpose heavy robot that is also known as the “jack-of-all-trades” for the reason that while it can last long enough in any engagement thanks to its ability to have versatile loadouts as well as its high armor, it never excelled in any role, unlike, say, a Griffin or a Fury. With its one heavy slot and three light modules, it is indeed the bread-and-butter of the cavalry divisions of the Bundesmechwehr.
He went again for another peek, killing down one.
“Comamnder, this Bravo One-Zero Actual, we are facing attacks from multiple angles and we are almost out of ammo! We need to withdraw!”
“Bravo One-Zero, this is Heisenberg. Repeat your last.”
“Almost overrun, about to go Winchester, need tac retreat!”
Heisenberg surveyed his surroundings, looking for any sign of ambush. Then, he took a look at his map.
There’s still a few hundred yards to spare. I’m hoping that the Italians get their shit up by this point.
“Gentlemen, fall back to Waypoint B. We’ll rearm, regroup and re-engage the enemy there.”
“Roger that, Commander.”
“Received loud and clear, Commander.”
“Consider it done, Commander.”
There’s no point in wasting lives when we have the room to preserve them.
On his cameras, he saw the teams retreating in order and efficiency. He is proud of his men.
He knows that the battle will be forever known as the Battle for Milan.
But then, Milan will be known by another name.
And he does not know what the future holds for him.
At the frontlines of the battle, the Pan-Asian Union released their Natashas and Griffins as they tried to break through the determined defenses of the defenders of Milan.
Despite hours of fighting, the Italians and their allies from the Transatlantic Federation were still in firm control of the city, even though they lost the districts if Bovisa, Affori, Isola, Maggiolina, Turro, Bicocca, Crescenzago, Milano Due, Lambarte, Ortica and Citta Studi, with the Pan-Asian Union’s deepest advance at the Forlanini-Calvaraite front.
As was with many forms of urban warfare, progress was measured by blocks and by yards; however, Seneca knows that if they break through these defenses, Milan’s forces will be cut off – after all, their other forces were already wreaking havoc deep in the city, behind enemy lines.
“Omegas Two-Five to Three-Zero, commence advance. Omegas Three-One to Four-Zero, advance from the east, find open spaces to engage. The rest of you, hold onto your positions until I give the signal. I don’t want anyone trying to flank us from the city center.”
After a pause, he gave other orders.
“Remnants of Omegas One-Five to Two-Three, advance towards the west and draw fire from any ambuscades – eliminate everyone that you see.”
Everyone tapped the buttons on the computers of their respective mechas, turning Seneca’s UI into distinct hues of green, showing that they received, understood and were ready to comply with those orders.
“Gentlemen, let us begin.”
“Wait until they reach the red mark.”
Captain Nathaniel Arivare of the Civil Guard has been waiting with his company, hiding inside manholes and buildings as they prepared to ambush the Natashas that came their way.
All of them were armed with an assortment of weapons: Some had rocket-propelled grenades, while others had Javelins. A couple had Jackhammers with armor-piercing shells as well as crew-served recoilless rifles.
If we can take down one of these bastards, it would be enough, Arivare thought.
Anything else would be a bonus.
When the Natasha armed with two Gusts and Thunders went over the red mark, Arivare shouted,
“For Italy and for honor!”
The whole company echoed the cry as they unleashed whatever ordnance they can onto the hapless Natasha, who was shooting wildly at them.
Some of his men who were unlucky enough to be hit were turned pools of blood in less than a second; even though the Thunder’s pellets were supposed to be for robots, their size and speed made them more deadly for human soldiers.
“Take cover! Do not prolong the fight! Get out of here!”
What he didn’t know was that the Natashas and Griffins have already triangulated their positions for an artillery strike from the Zenit and Noricum batteries outside of the city.
As they went out, thinking that the battle computers of the Natashas won’t be able to see them, they sped towards the next city block.
The battle raged everywhere as the Pan-Asian Union slowly pushed their enemies down to the south.
A few moments later, large rockets and multiple shells rained down on Arivare’s positions, quickly shredding the members of his company who were unable to reach the buildings in time.
Within the space of five minutes, the Captain lost two-thirds of his men.
Arivare just sighed, for he knew that it was just the beginning of a million other troubles.