The introduction between Jeebs and Jerry had been short.
Despite the reassurance from Margaret, as soon as Jerry laid eyes on that six-foot tall, Generation 2 SWATbot Chassis and the bright red paint job, the old bird knew Jerry was resisting an urge to attack it.
Jeebs extended a hand in greeting and Jerry stared at it like it was a piece of rotting meat offered in some sort of tribute.
Jerry did not like it.
“You stay on that side of the table,” Jerry snorted, moving around to inspect the weaponry completely ignoring the metal hand “And stay the hells away from me,”
“If I were programmed with feelings,” came an accented voice, more than likely the original voice over for the AI, “I would be hurt.”
“I really don’t fucking care,” Jerry said flatly, regarding Mags with a casual indifference, which was as much restraint as they could muster, “As long as it stays out of reach, I promise not to damage it,”
“I hope not, he was originally programmed to be a novelty helper in the Tavern, but some customers took offense to him,” Mags explained with a slight scowl. “I like him.”
“I can’t imagine why,” Jerry mumbled sarcastically. “I will behave. Let’s get started, what are these things and why should I care?”
Margaret shook her head but forced a smile.
“Take care of him Jeebs, Wade ping me if there are any problems,” and the Gray Sparrow got a dual ‘Yes Mags’ out of both of them.
Jerry shifted on his feet, now glaring at the SWATbot. The A.I. he could get used to. Jerry was not even sure what Artificial Intelligence even meant outside of being, well, Artificial. The SWATbot? Jerry had only fought a few, even participated against a few battles with the COMbots that eventually replaced them. They were slaves to Robotnik, and eventually, that eccentric doppelganger, Eggman.
Sarge kept very odd company.
The automaton went over a list of what was available, ammunition types, functionality. Jerry was quickly lost within the first half-hour, unsure if he should be paying attention or not. The Blood Red Fox had moved over towards another table, looking over a wide array of what looked like swords to him.
They were odd, with indentures along the edges where it should have been sharp. They resembled the cutting weapon, with a curve to represent a particular style of blade Wade favored. Yet other than the hilt and the shape, Jerry could not really call it a sword.
Some of them were stained a dark color, with triggers built into the handles that were wrapped or bare. There were the more traditional weapons, each with the letter W stamped on the blade near the hilt, Wade’s one, and only signature. The Duck was not much of a smith in the Traditional sense, considering Jerry knew Wade used modern methods to forge the swords before him. Wade did take pride enough in the work by branding them with their mark.
Jeebs soon realized that Jerry had lost interest in what they had to say and instead turned to investigate the wayward Fox’s silence. After a moment more of Jerry inspecting a thin, curved sword, Jeebs spoke up.
“Sir, If you give me a preference in weaponry, I can-”
“-I prefer steel,” Jerry interrupted by holding up the thin blade for Jeebs’ inspection. “I don’t need a gun,”
“You will be alone on this mission. There is still no word from MARS3 and Control’s instructions were clear, you are to be outfitted with at least one firearm,” Jeebs churned out in melodramatic fashion.
“Why? What’s so special about those things?” Jerry waved at the table in which the weapons in questioned occupied.
The newly christened MARS4 had seen their use before, Overlanders were especially quick to revert to a Gun then go hand to hand with a Mobian. SWATbots had them integrated into their gauntlets, ComBOTs had them anywhere they could fit. Jerry had seen some Mobians make use of the forbidden technology, but the Fox still did not see a use for one. Most of the time the BADniks, SWATBots and the like were laser proof.
During the War, a knife in the dark was quicker. During the few battles the Fox had participated in, fighting in the Vanguard of the Royal Army, Jerry had his comrades to help with the bigger Machines employed by the Enemies of the Kingdom. He had witnessed their devastation, saw what the weapons could do wholesale when used on Mobians.
Now Jerry just had his steel and his teeth, and still unimpressed by guns.
“For the chemically propelled weaponry? Anti-Badnik High Explosive Ammunition,”
Jerry did not know what Chemically Propelled Weaponry meant, nor what High Explosive Ammunition was either. The Fox’s head dipped to one side and their ears perked, but Jerry said nothing.
“A Demonstration is in order then, please, allow me to show you the difference between your sword, and the weaponry Wade has forged for MARS use.”
Jeebs picked up a medium-sized gun and a magazine of ammunition before heading away. The SWATbot paused long enough at the door to see if Jerry was following.
Of course, the Fox followed, more so out of curiosity than to just get the day over with. Yet, Jerry only came close enough to allow the SWATbot to step further, then peered around to make sure he was not walking into an ambush.
Jerry was just leery of the machine, he hated those things long after his derobotization, and he would more than likely continue hating them. Wade made it, sure, but it still unnerved Jerry to even look at it.
They entered another room, on the far end were torsos of SWATbots, no more than twenty feet away.
“This is the approximate ‘long-range’ engagement zone you will have against enemy opposition during specified mission parameters. Generation One SWATbots do not have the same armor density as Generation Two nor ComBOTs,” the machine rattled off without emotion. “If you may, please, run to the target as if you were to attack it, Please Sir, this will be a part of the demonstration,”
Jerry eyed the SWATbot skeptically, but Control wanted him ‘outfitted’, might as well play along.
A lingering moment more, and Jerry charged the twenty-foot span at a dead run, leaning into. The Fox was an agile Mobian, not at all as fast nor as graceful as he would like to be, but he still covered the distance in just under a second and nearly collided with the torso.
The male came back, breathing heavier than he wanted to show.
“Point eight-eight milliseconds, point two faster than MARS2,” Jeebs said in a congratulatory fashion.
“Please clear the firing lane,” even as Jerry was about to make a ‘yeah yeah’ comment. The Fox moved well away as the SWATbot loaded and cocked the rifle in its robotic hands.
“How long would it have taken you to render three SWATbots at that Range combat ineffective?” the machine questioned.
Jerry considered it, looking to each one. A sword thrust between the armor plating, the force needed to rip out the right circuits. Thankfully SWATbots were designed with a shocking similarity to Overlander’s anatomy, and Jerry was very acquainted in how to inflict fatal damage on an Overlander. The difference had been the fact that they could not feel pain.
With SWATbots it was best to inflict the damage and get away because they could still lash out, and they were still dangerous with their wrist-mounted weapons. Coupled with their durability, it nearly took three times as long to actually end a SWATbot than an Overlander.
“About two seconds apiece if I’m lucky and they’re clustered, about three seconds apiece if not,” Jerry grunted his assessment.
There. Make it hard for the Machine to top that.
“Giving you the lesser amount, that is seven and a half seconds with converging and engaging all three targets, time on Jerry’s Mark,”
The Fox folded his arms over his chest. He inspected the SWATbot, then the chassis just downrange. Jerry folded his ears against his skull to protect them from the obvious noise before offering up a gruff, “Mark.”
The SWATbot shouldered and fired three rounds on three targets. Chemically propelled slugs each giving a brief ding as they impacted. then the torsos shredded outward in a loud clap. Jerry gawked, his ears peeling themselves from his skull to prick upwards once the thunderous noises had subsided.
“One point two-two seconds, consistent,” the SWATbot announced, turning to look at the awestruck Jerry.
“MARS1 holds the record, a score of point nine in engaging three targets with this weapon,” Jeebs proclaimed as a dais raised from the floor, Jeebs placed the weapon on it, unloading and applying the safety. “The time it took you to expend your energy to kill three SWATbots in close quarters with your blades, Wade would have rendered them non-essential threats and vacated the location.”
"And that is why Mobile Assault and Reconnaissance Specialists use firearms,” Control stated, her voice always sounded just behind Jerry, and it annoyed him.
Jerry had to fight the urge to look over his shoulder.
“In Actuality, Sonic the Hedgehog would shred these machines in the time it took to think of it, but these weapons level the playing field allowing us to move and engage far faster than a sword-wielding Mobian could. SWATbots have never been designed to engage Mobians in a moving fire-fight because most Mobians still preferred the bow, spear or even fist over the ranged weapons. That means the SWATbots will not seek cover while you yourself prove to be a difficult target at extended ranges and be a viable threat,”
Jerry nodded reluctantly. The Fox had first-hand knowledge on just how effective bows, spears, and even fangs were on SWATbots’ chassis. The memory unsettled Jerry and he shifted uncomfortably.
“Fine, I’ll take the gun, that one in fact,” The Fox slipped closer towards the dais to inspect the weapon, partially turning to direct a question to Jeebs. “Wade’s preference?”
“He called this model the SAS,” the SWATbot answered. “The Sally Acorn Special,”
Jerry grinned at the name. That was an inside Joke if there ever was one. Inspecting it, he understood why Wade named it so. It packed a serious punch for its appearance, and it was not too bad looking either. That thought of ‘not bad looking’ immediately brought on another that made Jerry gag.
The Princess was a very attractive female NOW, but by Gods, Jerry watched her play tea party with dolls when she was a child.
“Sir, are you alright?”
Jerry shook the reflex off him and he fumbled a magazine into the weapon, trying to mimic Jeebs’ movements.
“Old Joke,” Jerry explained, the grin returning momentarily, but it vanished when he realized he was smiling at a SWATbot.
Like a child not wanting to share a new Toy, Jerry glared at Jeebs and snatched the rifle away, turning his back on the machine as he sought to inspect the weapon without being ‘inspected’ himself. Shouldering it like Jeebs, Jerry pointed the gun in the general direction of the targets and pulled the trigger.
Jerry’s first attempt with the firearm the weapon did not even fire. No round in the chamber Jeebs observed.
When Jerry finally managed to figure the primary operation of the weapon, he shouldered it again, pointed, and fired. It took everything Jerry had not to yelp in shock, still, he did drop the rifle.
Control could be heard snickering, and Jerry offered the omnipresent being a glare. Or he thought he did.
The second shot Jerry dropped the rifle again, though attempted to catch it as it tumbled in the air. The third time Jerry did not drop the rifle, but he was pulling the bolt back to ‘reload’ the weapon like a crossbow.
Jeebs offered instruction, and Jerry half turned, listening and doing as he was told. Their hands guided over the weapon and mimicked Jeebs poise while the SWATBot kept their distance. After emptying the remains of the magazine, Jeebs brought the Fox a different kind of arrow, or correctly called a bullet. It was called a ‘ball’ round.
The shape of the bullet earned a scowl from the Fox. It was not round like a ball, but Jerry did not care about the names of the munitions.
Nearly a thousand rounds later, Jerry was hitting the targets consistently in the center of mass. Jeebs lectured him on the safety of the weapon system between magazine swaps. The SWATbot even quizzed Jerry, much to the Fox’s annoyance, who gave his answers begrudgingly.
After going through several more chassis, Jeebs stopped bringing Jerry munitions to practice with.
Jerry, however, felt good, despite the constant ringing in his ears. Ejecting the last magazine and clearing the weapon to make sure there was no live round in it, he turned to Jeebs.
“Is that it?”
"No, you will be equipped with armor," Control spoke again, despite Jerry supposedly had been in the care of the AI’s, Control seemed to feel it necessary to hang about and observe through her camera.
And giggle. Jerry was absolutely positive he heard her giggle.
Jerry hesitated, however, his eyes drifting from the SWATbot to the hollowed variants before them. Where did they get the materials for the weapons, ammunition, and now armor?
The more Jerry saw the more questions he wanted to ask.
But then again, what good was asking questions when they barely knew him? This was a desperate gambit to let him in on any of this. They have done little else but reveal more and more of this secret little program. As he was led to the Armory and allowed to inspect the armor, Jerry was unsure how ‘little’ this operation really could be or how limited their resources were.
“Your preference Sir?” Jeebs asked with a small, sweeping gesture.
Jerry just looked at the suits with a frown.
“I’ve never worn armor. What I did during the War, I needed to be quiet,” Jerry glanced towards the camera, more or less trying to ‘lay eyes’ on Control as he spoke. Just so long as he did not have to speak to Jeebs, Jerry would be comfortable.
“You order me to wear it, I will, but tell me what it does first,”
"Certainly, Jeebs?" Control asked in a knowing fashion.
The all-too-familiar sound of a laser weapon extended from gauntlet had Jerry’s eyes turned briefly to semi-circles of abject horror. His gaze snapped to the Red SWATbot as it turned its arm-mounted weapon on the closest suit of armor between them and fired.
Even as the electronic discharge of energy filled the air, Jerry had yanked a saber from its scabbard as he scrambled for cover. Glancing over the lip of a table, Jerry could see the armor and shot with the last wisps of smoke from the impact dissipating in the air.
“What the fuck lady?!” Jerry shouted angrily, pointing his blade at Jeebs, “That wasn’t funny you gods damn tin can!”
Jeebs tilted that saucer headed helmet as they seemed to regarded Jerry like a student. “I thought it was,”
The comment was disarming, the male’s ears once more peeled itself from his skull to turn towards the SWATbot with nervous curiosity.
“Give a fellow some warning next time, shit bucket,” Jerry growled but moved around the counter of weapons he had used for cover to inspect the armor.
The equipment looked like thick jackets, some with sleeves, others without, some with trousers, others with short skirts to cover the thighs. All in a varying degree of greens, blues, blacks, and whites. The armor Jeebs shot had been white, though a scorch mark decorated the center of its chest. That could have been a lethal hit, even for a stun weapon at point-blank range.
Jerry inspected the armor further, noting the glint of metal in the ring of black. his brows furrowed as he attempted to understand.
"Laser Proof Armor,” Control explained for him.
Jerry looked back to the Camera, genuinely impressed.
“How effective?” Jerry asked, knowing the Royal Secret Service had their own, stun resistant armor. Laser Proofing was never perfected, and anyone fighting the Iron Dominion or the Eggman Empire sorely needed it. Though the War Machines were either resistant or immune to their own firepower, attempting to smelt the metal had proven far more difficult than it was worth. Jerry was not even sure the Eggman Empire’s shock troops, the Legion, had anything like this.
"One hundred percent unless they hit you repeatedly in the same spot, or hit you with something heavier than the standard Legionnaire Laser Rifle," Control offered, though her tone was less dull than Jeebs. ”The mission you will be undertaking would more than likely see you in heavy combat, it is recommended that you wear our heaviest suit,"
“Heavy as in restrictive, lack of mobility, slowing me down since I’ve never worn armor before?” Jerry asked the Camera. “Look I will wear whatever it is you want me to wear so long as you are putting me in a fight, but I take a ‘do not get shot’ approach when dealing with people trying to shot me.”
Control seemed to think on that, ”Alright, the basic protection shouldn’t hinder you too much, but I do not like the idea of being exposed in the slightest,”
Jerry grunted, eyed Jeebs, then gave the SWATbot a wide berth as he picked out a blue vest. He tried it on, failed to get his head through the opening, then tossed it away for a green. Blue had always been Jerry’s favorite color, green not so much, but he sure gave the white one a nasty look. Why did they need the white armor for anyway? Snow?
Oh please, Gods, not snow.
Jerry managed to get into the green vest, the white one and the snow forgotten as he rotated his arms and hopped in place.
“Not bad, light, snug, doesn’t get in the way of my blades. Can I get one in blue?” Jerry directed to Control, again, looking to the Camera.
"I’ll see what I can do,” Control offered hesitantly.
“Alright, I’ve got my gun,” Jerry said, picking up a SAS.
“And I got-what’s that?” As he was about list off what he had, Jerry’s eyes focused on another SAS. It was a similar drab brown paint job like the one he held in his hands, yet there was an odd tube beneath the barrel.
“That is a SAS-G,” Jeebs immediately offered, turning to watch Jerry. “Wade made two, he took the second with him,”
Jerry picked up the SAS-G, inspecting the weapon. Next to it, there were larger ‘bullets’, about a hundred of them in nice neat rows. “What’s the difference?”
Jeebs started to approach, but paused, immediately shifting to go to the opposite side of the table. Jerry watched it warily, wondering if it was going to ‘forget’ the demand the Fox made and make that fatal mistake. Jerry had been utterly serious in dismantling that thing if it got too close.
“The SAS-G is a prototype model copied from designated grenadier weaponry in the G.U.N. Task Forces. In addition to firing what has been classified as Standard and Anti-Badnik Chemically Propelled Rounds, the under-mounted discharging unit can fire a high explosive munition in a thirty-degree arc. Said round detonates on impact, peppering an effective area of approximately five meters with shrapnel,”
At Jerry’s glazed expression and blank stare at the SWATbot, Control shortened the scientific and robotic dribble into something the Fox could understand.
"It’s a Grenade Launcher, the Grenades are bigger Anti-Badnik rounds,"
Jerry looked to the nearby Camera with ears standing upright.
“Oh I’ve GOT to see this,” Jerry announced, snagging a few of those large bullets and heading for the door.
When Jerry exited back into the firing range, Control sighed, ”He’s going to be as bad as MARS2."
“MARS2 was perky, cheerful, though the similarities are evident with their affinity for ‘loud explosions’,” as Jeebs spoke, an aforementioned explosion ripped from the Firing range, followed by;
“By the Royal Tits, that’s out-fucking-standing!”
"After questioning his former associates," Control continued on to Jeebs, ”I’ve determined that MARS2 and MARS4 have similar tastes in music, vehicles and a now with a calculative guess, an apparent affinity for explosive ordnance. If she had not been born during the start of the Great War, they may have been friends, I just hope he does not share her fate.”
Jeebs looked towards the Camera, “My creator always said Fate is a fickle mistress, but rewarding,”
"Your creator was a very wise Duck. Do not take offense to Jerry’s demeanor towards you, if he survives his ordeal, he will get used to you,"
The SWATbot slowly nodded, then headed towards the firing range “If he does not survive?”
"Then let us just hope he is more successful than MARS1 or MARS2.”