A Town on the Edge of the LandLieutenant Joel Arnett smiled a brave smile. The Prushian guard was looking over his paperwork. Knowing that this search was just for looks, and more for curiosity of the Landship Scorpios II, Joel was laid back and cool with it. He had not, however, ever been questioned this far into the Prush Confederation. That combined with the vast amounts of illegal Prushian Salvage with Antiford destinations.
"So, Lieutenant Fleischer," said the guard, "What exactly possessed you to create such a machine?"
"An old friend," smiled Joel, "A mentor of sorts. It was his idea. I just saw it through."
"Never have we ever seen such a thing," said another guard, "It's just so... unique."
"Why a Scorpion?" asked the main Guard.
"You know... I don't actually know," smiled Arnett, "It just is."
The guard shrugged, giving Arnett back his Prushian papers. Arnett put them in his vest, then he tipped his hat to the guards.
"Never seen anything like it," said one of the guards.
"Good thing you're on this side of the canyon, ya?" laughed another guard.
"Those moles wouldn't even know what to do with it," chuckled Arnett, sharing a laugh with the group.
"Commandant," said a quieter guard, still over by the soldier's Paddock's Carriage, "We really must continue."
"Oh, all right," sighed the lead Guard, slinging his rifle over his shoulder, he extended his hand to Arnett, "Alright, Lieutenant Fleischer, it was a pleasure beyond words."
"I'll be sure to see you around," smiled Arnett, "Thanks for stopping by."
"And may the northern moles crumble in their sand!" said the lead Guard.
"Down with the Northern Moles," shouted the guards.
"Yeah," said Arnett, his fake smile spreading wider, "dehydrate and crumble."
The Prushian soldiers turned and headed back to their Paddock's Carriage and Arnett turned to go back to the Scorpios II. Arnett caught a far off sight. A trail of smoke leading up into the sky, a dark black kind of smoke rising right behind it.
"Hey," shouted Arnett to the guards, "Is there a town that way?"
"I believe so," said the head soldier, "A pretty decent size town."
"I think it is burning or something," said Arnett, "Shouldn't you guys help?"
The soldier shook his head, "We wasted enough time with you, sir. I'm afraid we must be back on our patrol."
The soldiers finished piling into the wagon and the twin engines fired up. Arnett furrowed his brow and shook his head as the Carriage was pulled by the two engines into the opposite direction. Arnett looked towards the smoke and pursed his lips.
"Here... I come... to save the day," Arnett smiled, climbing aboard his landship.
Arnett leapt over junk that he had stashed in the way and climbed over a few pieces of random equipment before reaching the cockpit. Inside he had garbage and leftover food lying around the consoles and everything and he wiped that all aside. Insuring that the engines were still running, he put the legs into motion and eased the Landship into a steady walk towards the smoke. Arnett grabbed a cigarette from below his chair and lit the end. Leaning back in his chair, he await the inevitable sounds of his apprentice.
Sure enough, the movement of the Scorpios II brought metallic footsteps of Alexander. Arnett decided he couldn't fully work out his new Landship alone the way he wanted, and a few missions had taught him having another body or two would be nifty. Under the guise of "apprenticeship", he had talked a lowly native of Astam Junction into cheap labor aboard the Landship. Alexander Nomaud was a Sparky young man, only about a year or two younger then Arnett, He had proven very useful and resourceful, and he even was handy on the Rail Gun.
Alexander appeared in the Cockpit, sliding into the Rail Gunner's seat and strapping in.
"That was really close," he said, chuckling off the experience, "I thought for sure that I was going to get arrested that time."
"Oh no, what a shame," said Arnett in a unenthusiastic voice.
"What's that?" asked Alexander.
"That, Alexander, is smoke," said Arnett, gesturing off into the distance, "There will be a test on this, later."
"Why are we going towards it? Are we... turning around? What happened to Antiford?"
"Ah, yes. You see, smoke means something is burning. Black smoke means something large and possible not supposed to be burning is burning," started Arnett, "This means there is a fire or something that should not be. Curiosity in my bones is peaked, Alexander. So... away we go to have a peek."
The Landship Scorpios II sped up as the engines resumed their usual activities. The ship cleared the horizon line and found itself on a small hill overlooking a large town. Arnett's eyes widened as he saw the smoke was a result of many burning things coming together. The town below showed obvious signs of being under attack. Refugees had grabbed some of their things and began running up the hillside. Buildings burned and showed signs of gunfire and cannon fire. A few explosions were still going off within the town itself.
Arnett saw a refugee who had fled early was gazing up and the Scorpios as it walked towards his location, his eyes wide and mouth agape. Arnett leapt up from the pilots seat and left the cockpit.
"Insure we don't crash, I'll be back," he yelled, heading down from the cockpit and leaping over junk to get to a bulkhead door.
Opening it wise, he pulled himself out onto the small deck of the Scorpios II. Waving his hands, he ran towards the front of the Scorpios II and leaned over the side.
"Hey, you there," he yelled, "What is going on, here?"
"I do not know, sir," yelled the man, his dazed look wiping away and he was running towards the ship, now, "A large land ship rolled into town and began shooting. Some of the men began firing back, but he has shot up most of the town. Look, there!"
Arnett followed his point back into the war-torn town. Sure enough, deeper into the town heading away from Arnett, a large Landship was spinning its turret wildly. Cannons and machine guns were flaring from its sides, and in its wake a trail of destruction was left.
"Wow, look at that," said Arnett.
"I need a ride out of here," said the man.
"You don't want this one," said Arnett, running back to the bulkhead.
"Why?" asked the man.
"This ship is going into that town," yelled Arnett, "It's not right for some big bully to shoot up a town like that!"
Arnett jumped back into the bulkhead and slammed the door. Seating himself back down in the pilot's chair, he strapped in and touched a ton of the levers and prepared to go in.
"Uhm... what are we doing?" asked Alexander, "Do you see the size of that thing. I can see it from here..."
"Yehp," said Flint, Pulling two levers towards him and sending the Landship into a sprint.
"So... why are we-"
"Adventure, Alexander," smiled Arnett, "Adventure."
Alexander gulped, and began preparing the Rail Gun for the attack.