"Hurry, Pan!" Ameil shouted over the bombs. The young girl picked up her three year old brother. "Hurry!" she repeated. The girl stumbled over rubble and shot Pan a few feet away, who started crying. "I'm sorry!" she exclaimed and rushed to help him up. His face was scratched, bleeding as if a large cat had clawed him.
Another bomb went off behind them; Ameil grabbed her brother's hand and darted away. The two made their way through burning trees and lifeless bodies. Ameil picked up Pan once again and shielded his eyes. "Almost home!" she said, wondering if there would be a home left. The young girl ran until the smoke thinned and she could see clearly. 'They haven't gotten here yet.' She observed through tear stained eyes that they were in a familiar neighborhood. "Almost home." she said more calmly, despite the chaos surrounding them. Parents herded their children out of homes; injured citizens were taken from the destruction, almost everyone was crying. Her sides ached furiously and she could hardly breathe.
Ameil set Pan down; he looked up at her with petrified eyes. "Momma? Papa?" his voice broke her heart.
"W-We'll find them, d-don't-"Ameil caught sight of the enormous war machine heading toward them, screams erupted from the defenseless crowd. The fifty story tall machine lifted its weapon above the scurrying beings. Ameil grabbed her brother and started to sprint away again, until she heard her parents' voices call out to them.
"Mommy!" Pan exclaimed. He wiggled out of his sister's arms and clumsily ran to his parents as fast as his toddler legs could carry him. Ameil panicked, she tried to yell but whatever sound she emitted was overpowered by the war machine's weapon. The Devouring Missile was aimed at her family.
"No!" Ameil Scott shouted, forcing herself to wake up. "No more." Instead of finding herself in an area filled with death and destruction, she was resting in the cockpit of her ARK 05-27, a robotic war machine just like the one that had murdered her family. She sat up, wondering how she could have drifted off to sleep in such an uncomfortable place.
"Yo, Sleeping Beauty!" a familiar male voice exclaimed through her monitor. "Time to wake up, prep time's over. We got a battle to fight." Ameil rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
"Right Lyle," she replied in a tranquil tone. "I was just catching up on my sleep."
"Well it seemed like you were screaming more than sleeping; I had to shut off your microphone- twice!"
"Sorry, I had a," she paused, searching for the right word, "bad dream."
"Ha, no doubt." Her partner replied.
Ameil chewed her bottom lip in deep thought, "I think today's the day."
"The day I-"
"Let me guess," Lyle interrupted, "you avenge your family?" Ameil nodded, forgetting he couldn't see her, and then switched on her camera. Lyle's face illuminated her screen, he smiled at her teasingly. "Ah there's my princess!" she ignored his statement
"I know today is it, I can just feel it."
"Uh huh, whatever you say." Ameil sighed and adjusted the settings.
Temperature was normal, systems unlocked, microphone on, video on, outside microphone on, O.B. field set, the rest of the checkups were left to Siri at control.
"Team 14, sign in." Siri commanded, her serious voice echoing around Ameil.
"ARK 05-27, sign in, normal systems ready." Ameil replied.
"ARK 05-28, sign in, normal systems ready." Lyle said.
"Releasing safety latches 1-10 on ARKs 05-27 and 05-28." Siri commanded. Ameil held her breath as rumbling shook her ARK, "Safety latches 1-10 released, releasing emergency safety latches 1-15, all safety latches released. Runway for Team 14- clear! All minor systems ready, Team 14 is ready for departure, awaiting countdown." Siri took a deep breath, "You guys ready?" she asked. Ameil nodded and Lyle said yes, "I'll be here the whole time and help you through your first battle, any questions?" Ameil didn't say anything, she was too busy going over the battle strategy and information in her head: Battle field in Africa, destroy the Federation's robots, and beware of ANACONDA. Ameil closed her eyes and went back to that day 7 years ago. The war machine had fired the missile at her family; Ameil was blown back by the force of the weapon. The name of the pilot and machine: ANACONDA.
'Yes, today is the day.' Ameil thought to herself. Overhead Ameil could hear the countdown begin.
"10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3." Ameil tightened her grip on the control bars, "2. 1… Initiating departure to Africa." The teen girl was forced against the back of her seat, Lyle yelled in excitement.
Over 40 ARKs soared out of the underground facilities of the Alliance, including Lyle's and Ameil's.
"Now don't worry about this flight part," Siri reassured, "we're flying your ARKs from HQ. You'll be able to fight on your own once we get to Africa." Ameil looked out her pilots' screen and observed the vast sapphire colored ocean.
"Are there civilians left in Africa?" she asked.
"Yes." Siri replied ruefully.
"And what about the battlefield, will there be any there?" Lyle questioned.
"Unfortunately, yes." Lyle shook his head at her reply.
"I didn't sign up to murder innocent people!" he exclaimed. No one replied.
"They should be evacuating citizens now, though." Siri said after a while.
"They better be."
The rest of the flight was silent between the three until Lyle spoke up again, "Ameil, just so you know, I'm here."
"I know." She replied in her usual nonchalant way.
"B-But…" Lyle struggled with his words, "You have to be here for me too! This is our first real battle! You can't leave me and I won't leave you, okay?"
She kept her voice steady, "Okay." She replied.
"Great, let's win this battle!" he exclaimed. The ARKs began to fly over a barren region.
'Africa.' Ameil observed.
Siri's voice rang over their heads, "Landing for team 14's ARKs in 10 seconds." A silent countdown began then the ARKs were lowered onto desert land, "Stealth mode activated for team 14." The ARKs changed color to match the desert sand and part of the gray sky, "Autopilot disabled. The rest is up to you guys; head northeast for 5.7 kilometers, that's where the battlefield will be." Ameil nodded and waited for team 1 to lead. Once the ARKs were commanded to go, she pushed her ARK to medium speed.
"Remember Ameil, you and me." Lyle said. Ameil couldn't hear him for she was distracted by a deep rage, "Ameil?"
"Right." She replied automatically. Before long they reached their destination, or what pin pointed the battlefield.
"What now?" A pilot called out through his outward sound system.
"Is this even the place?" another pilot asked. Many other pilots turned on their outward sound system to speak their mind as well. Ameil sat and waited. Soon enough a rumbling could be felt from under the pilots' ARKs. Team 14 flew up from the shaking Earth with several other ARKs.
"It's beginning." Ameil whispered.
Before them was the colossal army of The Federation. Ameil used her scanner to track down ANACONDA but was unable to pick up its signal, 'Where are you, Demon?' she thought.
"Ameil look out!" Lyle exclaimed, pulling her out of her thoughts. Ameil flew back, barely missing a D-Beam. She shot out an X-type bomb towards the direction of the attack. Several machines exploded.
The other ARKs began to contribute to the destruction as well. Shooting off their guns or swinging their massive laser blades at the Federation's machines. Several ARKs were beginning to falter and pilots were ejected from their ARK.
Ameil stood her ground with Lyle, not even breaking a sweat. She cursed at the large machines, "Where's ANACONDA?" she exclaimed, using her outward speakers. She continued fighting, smashing the machines' heads together, firing her D-ray straight through them.
Lyle exclaimed, "Ameil! There's too many, I can't hold them!" his ARK was run through by a Federation machine. Ameil turned off Lyle's microphone. His screaming was distracting her.
Ameil ignored his defeat and possible death while fighting. She began to lose track of time and what was really occurring. Her mind escaped back to the horrendous day.
"No!" Ameil exclaimed, reaching out to her family as if she could save them. The Federation machine fired the Devouring Missile. The ground beneath her quivered with a violent rage as earth blasted around her. Her vision went black while her ears began to ring. Death wouldn't accept her. Instead it was her family who was claimed.
Ameil opened her eyes;she was the last one standing.
"Ameil," Siri's voice echoed through her head. "Fallback." She sounded defeated.
"Where is ANACONDA?" Ameil demanded.
"That doesn't matter, Lyle has been-"Ameil ripped her helmet off, disregarding Siri's command.
"Where are you?"
In no time at all ANACONDA arrived, as if it had been waiting for this moment, a final showdown. Ameil readied herself. "You will pay." She seethed and gripped the control bars as hard as she could.
The two pilots fought for an elongated amount of time until their machines could no longer stand. With one final press of a button, Ameil shot her last amount of D-beam straight through the heart of ANACONDA.
Ameil climbed out of her beaten ARK and straight to the fallen ANACONDA. She found the pilot lying on his back; a dark red fluid stained his orderly body suit. She removed his helmet and noted how young the pilot looked, at least ten years old.
"You-You aren't him!" Ameil's eyes widened. "You can't be the pilot from the same-"her breath caught in her throat and she found herself wheezing. The boy looked up at her with blank eyes. Ameil stared back at him, her gasping beginning to subside. There was something about him that looked so familiar to her, perhaps his red hair, or green eyes. Memories of her family flooded back to her mind.
"What is your name?" Ameil questioned the dying soldier boy. He took her hand.
"Soldier C-239 of The Federation, A-Team, and Pilot of ANACONDA-"he stopped to cough up blood, "Pan Scott." Pan's lips began to smile, as if he had always wished to say those words someday.
Ameil stared at him; a scream began to form in her throat though she could not let it out. Pan's cold hand began to lose life in hers.
"N-no!" Ameil said, grasping his hand tighter, "Please no." Pan looked at her with a confused expression, "P-please don't die." a soft smile displayed on Pan's face.
"I want to…" he gasped, "see my family again. I miss them, especially my big sister," Ameil held her breath though she knew his next words, "Ameil…" Pan closed his eyes, smiling forever.
"No." Ameil whispered once his hand went limp, "No, no, no, no!" tears began to flow down her face, tears she had never experienced before. "No! Why? Please no!" she held his hand to her forehead, begging whoever was up there to send him back. "No! I'm sorry! This wasn't supposed to happen."
She was alone on the battlefield and now alone in the world as well. She kissed Pan's hand.
"I'll see you soon." She promised him.