Many years ago, a young child, born in Moscow was sent by his parents to live in America to be safe from the world they grew up in. His life there was hard and painful, uneducated and was slowly growing worse with age. The young boy was sent to a boarding house for his beginning life in America and after some time, was adopted by a young military family. A women and man, both soldiers, felt that because of the state of war they were in, they could care for the child with no problem and would still be able to see him often. So the young boy was taken to an Eastern military base and was housed in the residence homes like any other child. The boy learned English and was a well spoken child, however, because of him being a Russian child, he was made fun of and his life made hard by his classmates.
The child’s life from school on was hell, but a normal kind of hell that every American child goes through and his parents stayed with him as long as they could. He was 15 and was old enough to know the truth behind everything a child should know that his age. He saw a car pull in to the drive way and say the Colonel of the base in his officer’s uniform walk to his door. He opened it and stood there listening to the High commanding Officer’s words knowing it was the worst news for any child to hear. The Officer told the child that his parents had been Killed In the line of duty. After He explained, the Colonel gave the child an alternative offer to being added as a ward of the state. The Officer offered the boy a chance to enlist and fight, to keep his home and to fight for the same things his mother and father put their lives on the line for, to protect their country and to protect him. Now it was time for the child to protect his home. The Colonel stood and waited for the child’s answer. The boy, in tears, told the man in front of him that he would enlist here and now if it meant he would get a shot at who ever caused his mother and father’s deaths. The man nodded and led the boy to the car as the door closed behind him.
His days as a new soldier in training under this Colonel watchful eyes was harder than anything the boy was able to understand, he cried, he screamed and he fought through it until he was what he was asked to be, a soldier for his country. He was 18 then and under the judging eyes of more than half a dozen trainers and high ranking soldiers he was told some very simple words. “Son,” said the Officer who made him in to a man. “You are a soldier of the United States Army. Are you willing to put your life down for this country?” The boy took some thought to answer him and said “No.” He was not willing to put his life down for his country, but he continued. “I am willing to put my life down for my parent’s memory, my home, my town and my people.” The boy was warned and Told To answer simple yes and No from then on and told that his hearing would be voided until after the month had ended.
The boy’s time of leave was spent learning more and more at the cost of what little money he had, sadly he was out of it soon after his work was starting again. The Soldier was told that he needed to pay for bills on base and so the Soldier’s life once again was getting worse. He fought through it tooth and nail. The Soldier was accepted in to the Ranks and was soon ready to move into combat, that day came faster then he thought. He was thrown into combat and had been injured in his first tour of duty. The Soldier now feeling more like a boy, was told because of his wounds, he would have a weak heart that would suffer from palpitation and would be unable to fight for his country. The boy was scared for many reasons but the most fear that filled him was the thought that he would be unable to help keep his parents life alive in him.
The boy returned home with a purple heart that never left its box and a ton of get well soon letters left unopened from hopeful children and parents wishing the boy will recover soon from his wounds. The boy didn’t want the “Get wells” or the award for being shot in the line of duty, he didn’t care. He wanted back into the military to fight for his parents but he was rejected every time and warned that he was not able to fight with his heart the way it was. His life was the same for the next year, receiving get wells cards and being told over and over, he was not allowed to return to duty even if he was stronger than any other soldiers in combat; they would not take him back. The young man now sat and began to read the letters he was given recently and they had stopped being “get well” letters and started becoming Emotional boosters to get back and fight, to find a way in to his line of duty and continue the fight.
The young man took these letters to the board that shot him down each time, and he saw a new face among them, a man that had never worked a hard day in his life and sat among the ranks like he was always there. The young man explained that he was strong and fit for duty again and these letters all say that he was being pushed for it. The man among the board stood and told the younger Man, that he was not allowed to reenlist and sat back down. The rest sat and kept their judging eyes on the young man that was starting to look like a child once again, but the Officer that brought him this far stood and hopped down from the board table above and landed on his feet and took a swing at the young man, not even a punch thrown by the man who made the young man in to this soldier, was taken off guard, the punch was blocked but was locked in place as the young man was confused of the reason why the older would do such a thing. The Officer explained. “This Russian born US bred young man has only had one thing on his mind, to fight for us no matter what he was faced with, he fights for his parents and not for a simple paycheck.”
The young man was sent home again and the letters he was getting for support stopped and he began to slowly settle for life as it was now, but he got a letter in his mail which was an enlistment form for a military group of soldiers like him that want to get back to their duty as soldiers. The young man eagerly accepted and signed up again. The young man thought he would see sand and forests along wave upon wave of soldier in training, honing their skills for their day of combat but no, he was in a cold and bright white lab with soldiers limping around recovering from their scars of war. The young man was tested and tested and tested again before every seeing the sun outside and he was told he could reenlist and he would have to show this to the Colonel that enlisted him.
The day came when he was in uniform and ready to see the board once again to bring up his case to enlist, holding the papers tight in hand that the medical officer had given him from the lab, he waited as all of the high ranks sat down and readied to pass judgment once again. The young man handed the letter to the Colonel and looked to him with a face of confidence; the Colonel took and read the letter before holding it in his hands still giving his judging look before passing it down to the rest. The well maintained man looked it over before folding it up and gave a very annoyed look before standing up. “Young man, by the info of this letter it has ruled you fit for duty under the conditions that you be in placed in the Titan platoon. As such you will be trained on the info for this class of soldier.” The man set the letter down and stamped it, finalizing his enlistment.
The young soldier went through hell once again to train for this group of soldier he had never heard of before and was ready for anything but soon his training was starting to not make sense as he was being trained to control machines that he had never seen before, and soon he knew full well what this group was. The boy was to be a part of an experimental armor division meant to test out how these machines worked in combat. The young soldier was worried he along with the rest of these soldiers had been tricked in to being test dummies for some new weapon. He was right. The young soldier along with 50 other soldiers had been dubbed. A-A.T.I then the number they were listed as. The young man was then called A-A.T.I 24 and was assigned to the machine called Close-line MK2.
Day one of the assignment for this platoon was to enter a small town which housed over 400 men, women, and children and was to find anything that was deemed a threat. Close-line MK2 was a lighter weight machine which gave the young soldier the ability to move the distance any normal soldier could, plus the agility and stamina to go farther than anyone. He was able to clear rooftop after rooftop and was working his body to the core but he felt like he was able to survive it until he collapsed, the young soldier had passed out on a roof and was unable to move for a few minutes but that was all that was needed to cost his group greatly. Five of his group had been shot and killed and five more where badly wounded trying to save the others. A-A.T.I 24 cursed himself for that day, but when they returned after that mission no one seemed to be worried about the 5 wounded or mourning the 5 dead. Just Seemed like No one cared about them.
The next assignment came and the machines become more armored and were now armed with rifles like the men on the ground anywhere else. A-A.T.I 24 took his time, paced himself and did his job as a scout. Soon the names of the machines as their full names began to become called MAX’s and the men who controlled them, “pilots.” Their mission went with no contact and the young pilot returned tired but glad no one was killed, the rest didn’t share the same idea. A-A.T.I 24 had given some thought to his MAX and added some details of his own. He added some decals he handmade and scratched in a name to the plate that covered his chest. “Man-hunter” The name stuck with him as no one cared, the plant would be replaced soon enough. Assignment number three came and Man-hunter was assigned to be a scout with a group of snipers from the 101st airborne rangers. He was more of a target for enemy combatants all around and that, in the young Pilots mind, was his job. The 101st Snipers looked to the armored MAX and stared more than doing their jobs, they felt it was a bit scary to have a large lumbering armored machine standing behind them with a tank gun attached to his arm. He was told this straight from the lips of the Squad leader who lead this group. Man-Hunter felt sad that they could not see him as just another one of their own but when the time came when he was needed, he proved himself. The young pilot and his MAX became the only defiance for those Snipers as they were attacked from all sides. Man-Hunter using all his training with and without the suit of armor, to fight off many of the force against them, using the main, 40mm Anti infantry rifle to stop and turn back the attackers, taking nearly as much lead as he gave out, and stopping the threat on the Sniper groups life, winning those men’s respect.
Man-hunter started see less and less of his platoon returning from their own missions, making him think things are getting worse for everyone in this war. Assignment four came and Man-hunter had a lonely job of taking supplies to an outpost which was miles from his starting point. The Now awarded MAX pilot set off and took the supplies to the British FOB that he was assigned to, but on finding the outpost he would find himself surrounded but judging eyes with heavy rifles in hands. These men were not only American but British and Australian soldiers all around. The Pilot walked his MAX to the middle of the outpost and set the supplies down and exited the MAX. “What the hell are you” rang out from the crowd of soldiers around him. The young Pilot said nothing but took a drink of water before meeting with the outpost Commander to tell him the supplied had arrived, he was thanked and was told he can leave. As he walked out the crowd had blocked him off from his MAX and was standing at the ready with very disliking looks. He was again, asked what he was and the pilot replied that he was “the lab rat keeping them feed and giving them the paper they needed to write home with.” His answer was met with another question. “Was it true you who saved a group from the 101st from a full platoon of insurgents?” The Pilot answered with a simple smile and a humble nod before making his way through the thick crowd to his MAX, soon entering and leaving the outpost with the supplies left behind as asked.
The pilot returns to find that he was alone, all his group of soldiers he had worked a whole tour with were gone within 2 months. The thought that he was alone made him think of his parents and why he was here again, his second chance. He was told that even though he was one of three MAX pilots not killed in actions, they would still have to do the assignments they were intended to do even if they would have less rest time between them. The young pilot felt sore inside and out at the thought that so many had died in combat and he was the one that survived and was becoming a legend.
The MAX’s still in combat use where Close-line, Rock-cutter, and Loose-pipe, the three pilots never having spoken to each other before were being told they needed to work as a team for this assignment. Man-hunter was deemed the scout of the three while Rock-cutter was deemed the radio man and Loose-pip the gunner. Their mission would be to enter a city at dusk and enter the main business district and recover three sets of stolen arms shipments. The MAX’s were fitted with racks for the shipments then dropped and sent into the dark. After finding the first and second set of weapon shipments that had been stolen, the group had been discovered and a violent fire fight blow threw the city as the three Max’s tried to survive more than anything, Man-Hunter was the only one to return to the LZ with anything, dragging both Loose-pipe and Rock-cutter along with a set of shipments on his back. The young pilot was told to retrieve the other two sets before getting evacuated. He did as ordered and left both his team mates with the shipments and the helicopter that was to bring them back. He collected the shipments under fighter again and close to maxing out his own abilities and began to return to the LZ. Finding both wounded MAX suits gone, along with the shipments he already had brought. The Pilots heart sunk in his chest at the thought that he was left for dead but shock it off and began to head for the closest outpost he remembered, Carrying Two weapon crates on his back and walking with his now unusable 40mm rifle.
As the daytime sun burned the dark colored suit in the sand and light cover trees it walked under, the pilot was hoping his team mates would be alive and would get these things to a military outpost as assigned. He didn’t stop walking until he reached a peak of a hill to look down on a fire fight at the British FOB he remembered from his last mission. The pilot with a single and honorable thought, opened the shipment containers to see what he could use and found what was a very heavy piece of hardware and quickly looked through the boxes he had to find all the parts, soon enough he had a heavy Rail-canon long rifle. It was a simple brake open barrel rifle made for a MAX suit. He loaded the round and took aim at an attacking vehicle and fired, the sound shook the ground and sand around him as the round left the barrel and entered the vehicle destroying it instantly. The echo of the round made everyone pause in their fight before The MAX began to be fired on by the attacking force as the allied force stared at the armored suit they had judged, shooting and being shot for their defense. The fighting ended with The pilot holding off the attacking force enough to have the outpost return fire to let him enter and hide, by then the attackers had moved away. The MAX pilot was greater in an odd way, he was thanked by every face that saw him, and he felt odd at being thanked for something that he thought was normal. The Pilot stayed with those soldiers for a day or so before having to make the trip back to his base with the shipments in tow and the long rifle over his shoulder.
The boy who turned into a young man, who became a hero to a few, felt that in his life he was doing what his mother and father wanted to do for themselves and as he though this he had no idea of the truth behind these suits or his platoons deaths but soon enough he reached his base, setting down the shipments and exiting his suit to rest, only to find that his things had been packed up like the rest of his group and set up to be sent home to be stored. The young soldier stared at that thinking they must be sending him home, they would not just assume he was dead and pack up his things but as the scared child with in him began to fear the worst, a sign of hope came out of a voice behind him. The pilot to Rock-Cutter stood with his comrade on his shoulder as the both held themselves up, The young pilot at turning and seeing them both alive went silent as his mind calmed and his hopes came back, he joined the other two to rest and get something for themselves to eat.
The young pilot’s life after that slowly grew lonely after that day, both of his new friends, said to be healing fine from the medical officers, has passed away from their wounds, their MAX’s being taken apart for scrap now a piece from each pilot,who he called his brothers after that mission together was saved and added to Close-Line. “Son, you are the last of your kind but alone in this war you are not. You are a soldier and no soldier is left behind.” Those words echoed in the man’s mind as he worked on his own Max, growing tired of that name and choosing to call His Suit But the plotoons name, Titan. The pilot was sent out the next day on a mission to meet with a convoy to get to a far away city that was said to need major supplies, he was told that he would need to assist in its defense along with help unload the supplies. The solider within the pilot, felt something was wrong but he didn’t listen. That day the Pilot never returned to his home base.
So the legend of the Titan pilot that saved a convoy of 1000 men was told. “From out of nowhere” The stories always began. “This big armored machine leaped from the sand to the convoy to join us and as we met him, He looked so young and child like, but a soldier just like you and me. He stayed with us until we reached our DZ but it was a trap and the town was full of armored vehicles, the convoy was armed but not able to deal with tanks. we were told to surrender and that we would be killed if we didn’t. The Armored soldier jumped from the truck with this single barreled canon looking thing on his shoulder and walked to the face of the tank and stood in front of it. The tank commander got out and stood in front of him, the guy lifts and sets the rifle down in front of the commander. The Pilot said that he and this suit were worth more than all of these men in the convoy together and that he would stay and surrender but we could leave. Many of us thought he was nuts and was going to get all of us killed. The Pilot had a look on his face that the commander would not look away from, he accepted and let us go free and we left but not before warning those bastards we would be back for our man.” This would be the point when anyone that was telling the story would begin to cry or pause in thought. “We watched the city as we drove away about a mile or so out from it we started seeing gunfire and bullets streaking across the sky, I thought the guy was dead for sure but what we saw next shocked us all, A fucking tank was thrown just out of the towns limits, many of us wanted to turn back at the point and fight now but before we had a chance we saw a large shining beam of light shot up from the city, a blinding white light and it grew in size before it vanished and we saw that whole city was glass in the distance and smoke. We know in our heads that the Pilot in his Titan must have done that to protect us and, we wished we knew his name, because he deserved a whole lot more than what he got, he was only a kid to the rest of us and he saved us all.
Written by Lander.J