Here outside, it had been a blustry, brilliant day of spring.
The oblique sunset constrained the polarization of the sun's rays, starkly illuminating the angular structure of a distant living complex against the rolling hills and landscape beyond.
Casting eyes to the foreground, it seemed clear that only today, new growth had swept away all the last remanants of the lingering, cold campaign of winter.
Perhaps it was the realization that he had time to notice the swift progress of growing grass that deeply disturbed and angered the spirit within him. Or, more likely, it was his reaction to the subliminal flickering of fire projecting through the distant clouds, now boiling with deep gold, red, and green.
Both were products of the dynamic meterology of this, the third planet, with it's recently terraformed valleys briming with foilage, carefully filtered microparticulate aersols, recovering atmosphere, and the resulting, pecular slender tendrils of forward-scattered light that seemed to resonate within his head.
Those sharply focused and shimmering beams of light were orders of magnetude less intense than even the weakest of energies permanently seared within the reaches of his memory. Even so, the shimmer of evening rays were sufficiently powerful to take control of his mind, transporting him momentarily from this recovering capital to the distant drop zones and killing fields of his past.
Suddenly, he felt the familiar tingle of a neurohelmet and the changing gait of his trusted Shadowcat as he executed a final, high-G turn, now closing on his primary target at 80 kph, barreling across the terrain in perfect synchrony with his wingmates. Those familiar sensations of anticipation and trust in man and machine were like nothing else.
The hot, searing sensation of battle soon swept over him as his mech's fusion reactor pulsed and stuggled to maintain it's full output. Using his mental energy and augmented HUD vision to keep large lasers on the rapidly moving target was the challenge as he evaded incoming missile rounds and responded. Soon, his flickering green beams erupted in red and gold flames as the last of his opponent's armor glowed, vaporized, and suddenly gave way. Penetrated, the crippled mech was engulfed by the sudden, brilliant flash of it's breached reactor - something from which none survived.
As his senses adjusted, the calming chatter from his nearby commrades danced in his ears over the loud sounds of his cooling battlemech. Battle hardened and weary, the men, his men, were nonetheless quick to respond to the changing battlefield situation, establishing a perimeter, logging system checks, damage, scrap, and battle details to their remote support teams.
This day, there had been no losses. Listening to the ensuing battle reports, his mind automatically sifted through the audio as he recognized the familiar voices. Without thinking, images and histories of each formed instantly in his mind.
Each with their own place in time. Kelida, Red Rosse, Tick, Nate Nostra, SLI, MAD, Diemos Bavros, Kai, Yoosty, Beefnog, Hopster, Xman Leroux, Digit, Krusher, Miner McEvedy, Musashi, Rudacat, Hybrid, Temujen, Deflater, Manic, OU812, Gryphon, Shark, and of course, MadMax. So many challenges, so many battles, always with great risk and cost. All had left their mark on both him and the proud history of their clan. So many now fallen, as masters of their fates, heroes on the field of battle, and forever larger than the simple game so many were content to percieve.
Sadness decended and tempered the momentary intensity of battle, the machines, the technology, committment to objective, and the sprit of the adventure that he knew had been shared by those known to Ler Devalis, Khan of Clan Nova Cat, as he was once known.
Just as strong as the alloys and as brilliant as lasers, were the memories of the heroic deeds of his clan mates. Forever his family, his friends. Together they had written their own history and forever would he be proud to have served among them.
With that thought, the reverie suddenly passed. Seemingly lasting only in a flicker of time in duration, the final rays of sun were now almost entirely quenched and absorbed by the planet's burdensome atmosphere. In their absense, the flickering discharge of lightning would still be visible for a while. Then the stars would come.
With a heavy sigh, the warrior's anger gave rise to resolution, and one final challenge. This time to himself. Only in fantasy are dreams unrealized.
In this, the final chapter of his life, he saw clearly what remained to be done.