Author: Oliver Hunt

Kylin sunk down into the cockpit of her mech, Trisha. Flicking the ignition switch, various lights on the control interface blinked into life. Readings show that she was combat-ready and a loud purr came from the engine situated below, the mech’s soul raring to go.

“Easy girl,” Kylin said with a smile. It had been fifteen years since the hive aliens from the Insekt sector invaded earth, sending humanity into a galactic war. To keep up with the alien threat, humanity built mechs. Larger than buildings and armed with more firepower than any tank the mechs proved to be a true titan of war, with a secret weapon. A symbiotic connection between the pilot and the mech.

One machine, two brains.

Kylin looked behind her and pressed a button marked “Soul Gate”. There was a faint hiss as it vented cold air and the panel behind the seat raised. Kylin smiled and let out a sigh.

In front of her was the heart of Trisha, a brain cybernetically altered that fed directly back into the mech itself. The brain came from a volunteer, someone was wounded during the first invasion of the aliens.

Most brains are from fallen pilots, but Kylin had gotten lucky. Trisha was a heavy weapons operator for one of the early MKI Earth Defence Tanks and had been mortally wounded when a Hive Queen destroyed her tank with a blast from its protoplasmic egg-glad. Trisha was a fighter, and now fourteen years after her death, she was still going.

Trisha always had issues finding a pilot she could bond with, but then came Kylin with her leather bomber jacket and hotshot attitude. On their first mission, Kylin and Trisha scored a total of three hundred confirmed kills and since then, they’ve been unstoppable, dropping into combat missions both on earth and amongst the stars. All the while, Kylin never left Trisha’s side. Even when the mechs’ red hull was on fire and the shoulder-mounted ballistic cannon torn free by a Scyther’s claw, Kylin remained in the cockpit, harness locking her in place as they fought side by side.

A quiet beeping came from one of the overhead consoles, drawing Kylin’s attention back to the controls. The panel hissed close as Kylin thumbed the button activating the communication link. The cockpit’s visor shaded green, then the torso of a man appeared on screen.

“ Good to see you Pilot Kylin. We have your mission details.” spoke the man, his handlebar moustache twitching as he spoke. The hum of the mech’s engine rose slightly, loud enough that it could be heard.

“And Trisha of course ” said the man sheepishly, nodding in the direction of the brain. Some of the commanders didn’t acknowledge the brains as human, instead of seeing them as only a machine.

Admiral Cleese was once like that but he had learned that Trisha is more than just a machine when Kylin had punched him after referring to her as an oversized can opener with authority issues. Since then he was always careful to say hello to Trisha.

“Ground forces have dug in at the base of a Hive Fortress near the asteroid’s largest mountain, codenamed Olympus. Your mission is to escort Little Dicky to the top of that mountain so they can throw a thermo atomic bomb down its throat. Understand? Oh and try not to get yourselves killed.”

“You can count on us Skip,” said Kylin accompanied by a roar from the engine.

The image phased out and Kylin looked back at the closed soul gate.

“Side by side. We’ve got this.”