The comm crackled static as the message came over. We had lost this battle, and now a frenzied escape was our only remaining option. Making matters worse, I found myself suddenly in the unenviable position of being behind enemy lines. My tactics of moments ago, to sneak behind the enemy and flank them, now seemed sure to doom me.
I began sprinting towards the evacuation zone, choosing to loop around the outskirts of the battlefield instead of running straight through the middle. The middle is where we had incurred the heaviest losses; the middle was sure to be a deathtrap. Unless they expect you to do just this, and are waiting for you… With a snap of self-control, I silenced my doubts. The choice had been made, and all I could do now was see it through. The distance lessened slowly as the arrival time neared, and whether by luck or otherwise, I encountered no enemies on my path to the evacuation point. Likely, they’re too busy killing all your squadmates. A quick glance at my roster confirmed that pessimistic thought, as the number of my squad dropped from four down to two. And then, as I rounded the last turn, a hulking form blocked my way.
There was no time to stop. There was no time to think. There was only time to react, and my fight-or-flight instincts settled firmly on the former option. I raced directly toward the Titan, jumping from wall to wall in an attempt to confuse its targeting systems. One shot from the monstrous war machine was all it would take to reduce me to little more than a bloody smear on the ground. Understanding my intentions, the Titan began to back up… but too slowly. Wildly, I jumped from a wall through the air, catching a handhold near the top of the beast and hauling myself onto its back. It began moving wildly, erratically, trying to shake me off, but I held on and ripped open the maintenance hatch, exposing the delicate wiring that gave the monster life. Round after round flew from my gun into its soft interior, and I heard the unmistakable whoosh of the pilot ejecting. The fine hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I continued firing, all the while expecting a bullet from the former Titan pilot to find a home in my body… but then, with one final shot, the chain reaction of explosions that would lead the Titan to its inevitable destruction began. It was then that the all-too-pleasant voice rang in my ears.
Evacuation ship leaving in five seconds.
I knew from experience that they wouldn’t wait around. Leaping from the shuddering metal form, I sprang off a wall and hoisted myself frantically to the top of a nearby building. Shots rang out their joyous cries all around me – Great, NOW he decides to start shooting – but none hit their mark. I was approaching the evac ship… but from the wrong direction. Frantically, I hit the roof and left my feet immediately, jumping towards the opening, and hitting my jump jet for a final boost… and just before the hatch closed, I tumbled in. Enemy fire echoed off the walls as the ship accelerated upward, and I turned a grim eye to my squad monitor. I was the sole survivor of our encounter. It was a defeat, but one that the enemy had paid for. Five of their Titans had been destroyed, three by my hands personally… and I was still alive, and eager for revenge.