Author : Jae Miles, Staff Writer

The battlefield is silent and empty. In the city beyond, we can see figures on the remaining vantage points. All of us gawking like children as the spectacle continues.

The dawning light reflects from angles or scatters in rainbow flashes across Sean’s body. With unbelievable grace, he executes a swooping lunge; his head briefly level with his ankles as his arms curve back and up, like wings spreading. The slipstream of his passing bends trees and flattens the few shanties they had supported.

“Colonel Jones, please instruct your brother to carry out his orders.”

The voice in my earpiece is stiff with disapproval. This paradigm shift in warfare is beyond them.

“Brigadier Stephens. Major Jones is doing just that.”

“Pardon me, Colonel. I had the silly idea that attacking a city involved fighting.”

“Brigadier, you misunderstand me. I do not expect this city to fall.”

“We don’t have the men for a hundred and eighty square miles of urban combat, Colonel.”

I see Captain Andrews raise a hand, his other one pointing at the white flag bobbing towards us from the city.

“Gentlemen, I expect hostilities to cease within the hour. Yes, Brigadier, I will resign before court-martial if I am wrong.”

Sputtering over the earpiece is my only reply. After a while, the Captain arrives with our flag carrying visitor, who cannot take his gaze from my brother, even when he speaks.

Lieutenant Sprindi translates: “The humble representative of the people relays a request that when his august leaders capitulate, would the dalishen do them the honour of accepting their surrender in person?”

I smile at our visitor and switch to the command channel.

“Sean. Finish that pattern and get over here, will you?”

Sean finishes with a beautiful circling move, his hands moving so fast at it’s culmination you can hear the wind roar around them. After a simple bow toward the sun, he activates his gravtac and drifts our way, setting down with a gentle thud that only slightly demolishes our encampment. His feet are placed either side of the command tent. Our visitor is shaking like a leaf in the wind.

“Lieutenant, tell the humble representative we agree before he faints.”

A few moments later said representative is sprinting back to the city as Sean lets himself down carefully into a cross-legged sitting position. I lean against his toes until he extends a finger and gives me a boost to perch on his knee. I grin up into the immense sensor arrays so carefully designed to look like monstrous eyes.

“You were right. A two-hundred foot tall cyborg doesn’t need weapons; it only needs to be invulnerable. The terror inspired by facing something that can swat aircraft by throwing tanks at them is stupefying. Your destructive potential is unthinkable and you devastate their morale by just arriving.”

Sean chuckled over his speakers before resorting to command channel: “Good thing they needed the size to fit the first gravitic core. Sleight fields will keep me awesome until someone makes their own titans. Then things will get interesting.”

“Which is why I recommend you add Pehlwani and gada to your Wu-Shu.”

“Why?”

“They can’t shoot you, so they’ll take your lead. Seeing videos of your patterns, they’ll select a striking art. Which will be utterly buggered by Indian wrestling and Hanuman mace.”

“My big brother, still looking out for me. Love ya, Feargal.”

I look up at him, my quadriplegic brother turned ad-hoc battlefield god: “I think the ‘big’ bit is yours now. Call me older.”

I see the watchers flinch as Sean’s laughter roars out.

 

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