Connor stood still and observed the land. He, like others inside, wore a jumpsuit made out of rubberized fabric and a thick fleece with harness. Living in a below freezing environment where heat is essential sucks, but people manage, anyway they can. This world was hostile, the obvious fact, but it seemed better than the dying Mother Earth.
The base had reinforced walls and general good shape of its structures made it "safe". Well, atleast it managed to hold off the smaller Akrids. Connor hated these creatures. And feared them at the same time. Whenever he'd see them, his hands would shake and his throat feel tight and dry. Damn creatures.
The Akrids were reptile-like insectoid aliens native to this frozen planet. They saw humans as nothing more than prey. However, bullets could not harm them due to their incredibly thick armor. But Humanity learned from the previous mistakes and invented Vital Suits - walking machines that could transform. With these puppies humans were able to kill even the strongest, Category G, Akrids. Connor was an experienced pilot, and so talented he was practically born to use a VS.
However, he was bad at hand-to-hand combat. His skills were piss poor at that. But atleast the boy was good at shooting. He always had a pistol with himself. For unforeseen dangers.
"Soldier!" He heard someone shout behind him "Stand still, maggot. Now slowly turn back or I'll shove a size 10 combat boot up your ass!"
Connor turned back to see Samuel Blitz, a grease monkey. He was older than Connor and always wore a dark brown, wool hat and black gloves with white palms. Blitz believed himself to be a failure at everything he had tried except for being an engineer. But that din't take away his weird sense of humor.
"What's up?" he muttered in an innocent tone
"You son of a bitch" Connor replied with a short laugh
"That's me... So, what's up out there, Connor?"
"A hostile world, like always" Connor mumbled, watching the land of snow. Two Trilids, small flying creatures, appeared but soon left after realizing they came to the wrong place. "It never changes"
"Will it change? No. That's why we're here, Connor. To change things. Forever"
"Who told you that shit? Cal Mercer?" Connor asked. Cal Mercer was a somewhat legendary figure to the Snow Pirates and a fearsome enemy of the Crimson Unity. An ex-NEVEC turned pirate. That man was a legend.
"No, I made that up myself. Hey, have you seen Gibson? I think the last time I saw him was when he decided to go on a expedition this morning. Man, I remember that breakfast was plain awful - biscuits as tough as old harness leather and grits that were more lumps than grits. Sully can't cook. Damn, if I was in charge here I would fire him immediately. I swear, this man is poisoning us with his horrible cooking skills"
Connor smiled. Yeah, Sully was indeed a bad cook. The man was known for his physical strength and stamina that helped him a lot in combat. But what idiot would make this brute a cook? The answer was Cal Mercer. He was able to convince others that his ideas are correct. Everyone loved Cal. Hell, the pirates chose him as their leader because he was extremely intelligent and resourceful. Old good Cal. You can never blame him. So Connor decided to turn the discussion the other way.
"Gibson left?" he asked in the middle of Blitz's ranting.
"Huh? Oh yes he did. I saw him take five men and three VS's with himself. Left in a hurry. I couldn't ask him because I'm just a grease monkey and not authorized. But they took GTF-13M's! Man, I could not believe my eyes! Actual GTF-13M's..."
"So? You mean the mechs who can transform into snowbikes? They're good when you want to traverse the snowy plains. Honestly, I don't care what he took from the hangar. I'm just curious why would he do this. Must be something important. Don't you think?"
"I'm sure it is" Blitz nodded and took out a cigarette, what he did when he was nervous, allowing himself to relax "It has to be... Hold on, I'm picking up signals. Must be him. Yeah, I see him. Don't you?"
Connor looked at the horizon. The blizzard was getting stronger, making further objects hard to notice. However, the VS's soon showed up, dragging something with them. Something big. Another VS? Possible. So this was a salvage mission. And Connor thought that it might be interesting. BAH!
He murmured something, stalking off back to the hangar. The place was famous among pirates for having a vast network of underground tunnels and facilities. Most were abandoned and in bad condition, but some were still good. Connor stood there, near the entrance, away from the bitting cold. He observed how the VS's drgged in a frozen mech. Blitz said that it's a PTX-140, a VS created to destroy other VS's. It is a very powerful mech. But it also eats a lot of thermal energy, the main energy source on this planet.
The mech looked damaged. Gibson instantly ran to it and began shouting orders to his men. Connor understood that they wanted to open the machine. What for? The pilot is dead anyway. If there's a pilot in there after all. The men took crowbars and Blitz covered his eyes in horror as they tried to open the outer hatch.
"That will leave a few scars" he muttered in an angry tone "Damn bastards!"
"Dude, it's just a machine" Connor scoffed "Get over it"
"FUCK!" Gibson yelled as he touched the plates with his bare hand "Fucking cold! GAH! Shit!"
But the content surprised them all. The pilot was a girl. She wore grey camo with full body armor. The girl had freckles, a messy red pony tail and a faint scar on her brow. Connor wasn't amazed. He was never really interested in women. Plus, she looked very young, probably somewhere around 17. Just then, Blitz noticed something and raised her hand to reveal a glowing bracelet device.
"It's a Harmonizer!" he yelled in surprise "I can't believe it, shoot me dead. A freaking Harmonizer. Unbelievable. It's a fokkin miracle"
"What's a Harmonizer?" Connor asked, putting a stupid grin on his face
Just when Blitz was about to tell him he was rudely interrupted by Gibson, who coughed and checked the girl's pulse.
"She's alive. I have no idea how she managed to survive after the VS'S systems shut down. She should have frozen solid. This doesn't make sense" he glanced at his comrades "Take her to the hospital. Let Kyle run some tests"
One of the men, a walking mountain of meat with stuck-out ears, ice cold stare and a scar across the face, asked him if they should tell Mercer.
"No" Gibson replied "I'll tell him myself after we find out who is she and why she sent a recovery signal to us"
Connor wanted to ask something but at that moment his eyes met with the scarred man's. Tht ice cold look sent shivers down Connor's spine. Gibson always had weird people around him. This one looked like someone who would snap a person's neck like a chicken bone with great delight. Better stay away from him.
"Buzz off, kid" Gibson answered angrily, pushing Connor aside
Blitz looked as they left with the girl and spat.
"Don't take it too deep, Connor. That might cause you some problems. I'm sure you'll be able to see her again. Just after doc runs some tests"
"She looks perfectly healthy to me"
"Yeah, it's because of the Harmonizer. This device allows her to feed on thermal energy. She doesn't need food and water, doesn't need to sleep. All she needs is thermal energy. Listen, I doubt that Gibson will understand that. They will let her die. No, I'm going to get some energy for her. I think"
"What about you?"
"I'm calling Mercer. I think Cal should know. And I don't care if Gibson will send his goons after me. Mercer has to know. He's the only one able to actually understand the gravity o the situation"
Before Blitz could say anything against that, Connor ran off. To find his mentor. To find answers.