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That explains the pants. – I Hate Titling Things!

That explains the pants.

There are Dark Horns shooting at me, it's early in the morning, and my Zoid is upside-down. Where the hell are my pants?

Wait, let me back up a bit. I'm a scientist, or I was before I ended up in charge of this mission. It was supposed to be scouting, research, infiltration...just about anything other than getting chased round swamps and valleys by the Dark Army. They've had us pinned near Godcry for weeks, and we've been holding on scouts, luck, and not much in the way of food or sleep. It takes a lot of Cannonfort to hold off one Horn, their pilots can get rest.

Tonight was particularly ambush-flavored, and it's why I'm recording this. To be blunt, if we don't get reinforcements soon, we're dead, and I'd like to leave something behind. It's also why I'm lacking in clothes. When your first time sleeping in the last thirty-nine hours ends with heavy artillery fire and a dash to your Zoid twenty minutes in, you tend to forget things.

I bet the other commander's wishing I'd hurry up and die, and I bet he's got pants. He's wanting to go home same as me...well, unless his home's the Central Continent too, then he won't get to. He's got someone waiting, then, someone who won't mind that I'm going home in pieces so long as he's back. That's assuming there'd be pieces of me left to find if the Cannonfort's cockpit took a full-on blast from a Horn. Those vulcans are really quite amazing, unusually powerful even for something boosted by the ore we've identified in the rocks here. There has to be something more to that stuff than fueling the native Zoids if they were able to modify Red Horn for the same effect, and I'd like to find out what it is before it kills me.

Really, people back home are getting to have all the fun with my data. Not just about the dark mecha, I've been studying the geography, the effects of constant cloud cover, why not to stick your hand near that plant that "only looks like it has fangs"...but it's damned hard to think about survival-unrelated science in an environment like this, much less compose anything resembling a paper. Still, even with the Nyx lot and ex-Zenebas out for my blood I bet I'm close to fifty thousand words of disorganized notes, maybe sixty. Half of that's shoved under the 'Fort's seat and controls right now, so if I'm killed tonight and my Zoid survives, whoever finds this better get my work to those who'll use it.

And if you've been listening 'til now hoping for action and final charges and noble fates, you're probably thinking I'm a pretty dull guy, or at least shitty propaganda material. I don't like recording how my friends die. I'd rather talk about the living and look to the future, and like I said, I'm a scientist. I still think that way. Look at it like this: a good commander's observing the way the enemy and his Zoids work and trying to predict future results on the schedule from hell. What's the worst that happens to a proper scientist? Somebody cusses you out, takes your funding, maybe complains about you to the President. If you're slow in dealing with a Dark Horn, you're dead. Quite probably flat, too. I'm not sure I like the higher stakes, but I don't think the scholars and engineers on the Central Continent would be much for fighting either.

My dad always said I should stick to being a scientist. Scientists don't get Dark Horns dropped on their heads, Shuu, and they don't end up dead like your brother...but I never really knew my brother, and I couldn't sit by and watch the continent crumble while Guylos built an invasion army. I know what my father meant now, and if he hears this, I'm sorry I gave you another kid to bury. Guess the war's in our blood more than you thought.

Bah, I'm supposed to be cheering everyone on, not rambling to a blackbox. But my comm's down, and the last thing I got through was to not worry about me, keep moving forward, Bird's in charge. Hopefully there's not a Horn circling round to finish me off, though I'd make a nice martyr then. "He was encouraging even in death", I can think of worse ways to be remembered.

Enough morbid. I want my Cannonfort on its feet, I want a cup of coffee, and I want to know what the hell's going on. I can still hear gunfire, though it's distant now. Sounds like the others are having better luck than me, or the Dark Army's just retreating for another assault. Either way, it's time to rally everybody, get the Raynos flying again, see what's going down and if there's any way I can stop it.

All this fighting, all these plans...I don't know whether to feel very old or very young. Both? I'm like that, these days. No matter what, though, one more day is another day we have alive, and I'll be damned if I'm giving up yet. All this stuff I'm saying? Keep it off the record until things are finished—you hear me, Bird? I don't want anyone losing faith on my account, and you'd better not either.

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