Ark Pilot

Testing the foot controls, he relaxes as he feels the armour shift around him. The pistons and hydraulics hiss softly and move the wings on his back a fraction. That is until a spanner comes flying over and bounces off his visor. Stomping up to his suit, a young brunette woman pushes a few buttons on a terminal nearby and, swinging around, picks up a large wrench as the chest cavity opens and the helmet folds back.

“I swear to god if you keep messing with pedals while I’m adjusting the wings, the next time I hit you with a wrench it won’t be in a place where your armours protects.” From behind the pair, deep booming laughter echoes around them.

“Give the kid a break Jess, it’s been weeks since he’s been able to get into his Arc, let alone fly it.” Rounding on a blond man as he comes into sight, she brandishes a wrench toward him as well.

“And it’ll be even longer if I don’t finish these damn adjustments. I swear to god Lloyd, you’re as bad as he is.” Turning away from the Lloyd, Jess ducks back behind the suit and continues adjusting. Walking over to the young man in the suit, he stops at edge of the frame.

“How you doing, Mik? Alright in there.?” Looking down to meet Lloyd’s eyes, Mikhail smiles before replying.

“I’m good Lloyd. Just keen to be out in the skies again.”

“I know, lad, but take it easy. It’s your first run back since it all went pear-shaped. Remember, if things go awry, I’ll be right there.” Turning from the young man, Lloyd turns away and climbs into his own suit nearby, smiling as the chest closes and the helmet falls down over his eyes. Coming from behind the suit, Jess drops her wrench and taps away on the keyboard. Within a moment the suit jerks and lands on the ground, finally released from the restraints.

“You’re all good to go, Mikhail. Take it easy. Break my baby and I’ll break you.” Leaving the area, she waves over her head as she walks away. Pushing the button on his hand, Mikhail smiles as the chest closes and his helmet slides closed, the visor locking into place. Within seconds the HUD appears, running through all its checks. After a moment air flows through the suit and vision comes to him as the cameras turn on.

“Ready to go, kid?” At Lloyd’s voice he responds and bends his knees, bracing himself as the energy levels normalise and all the flight modules activate. Leaning forwards, Mikhail kicks off of the ground and pushes lightly on the foot pedals in his suit. Instantly the wings fuel out and he shoots off into the sky, the wind roaring around him. Clearing the safety altitude, he clicks the pedal down another notch. With barely a sound, the wings snap back, and the energy propulsion system activates fully. Smiling as he shoots off, Mikhail swerves through the clouds and looks down over the lakes and grasslands near their mountain base. Bursting through a cloud with a scatter of war droplets, he thinks to himself, “this is the life for me. The life of an Ark Pilot.”