BattleTech Fanon Wiki

Exile in Syberia
Next Chapter - Return to Story Index - Next Chapter

Unit Log, VeeMech TDR-1-74-01107C-J
Date 3018-08-12 22:30:47, Log Entry 12

In the end, we all agreed that getting a new body for Manx took higher priority than swapping me into another one. To that end, Spanner has spent the last week focusing on putting the Phoenix Hawk chassis back together. While he may find himself unable to transform, we figure Manx will at least find himself able to function in the larger BattleMech body, in a manner he's mostly accustomed to. Body dysmorphia may suck, but being mostly dead is worse, and hopefully, having started his life as an AutoMech, he won't be as affected by it. Spanner seems pretty confident that he'll be fine, at least.

It's also surprising how much a pair of highly motivated AutoMechs can accomplish in a week, with Spanner, assisted by Ripley, putting the Phoenix Hawk's chassis back together, and loading the computer cores from Manx's old chassis into the Phoenix Hawk's head. Once they were done, Spanner, patched into the shut-down 'Mech, sent the command to Manx's new body that would power him up.

I simply stared, watching as this AutoMech, who was essentially dead, came back to life in his new body. One moment, Manx stood absolutely still, actuators locked into place, engine cold, a lifeless metal sculpture. Then, with a brief spike of electromagnetic radiation, Manx's reactor started, the fusion reaction warming the AutoMech to its normal operational temperature. Seconds after that, he moved for the first time in his new body. His head turned, taking in his surroundings, after which he focused in on Glyph, who was standing next to me. After a few moments, he finally spoke. "I appear to be taller."

Glyph nodded in agreement. "Your previous chassis was not repairable, so you've been transferred to a one we were able to salvage."

Manx appeared to think about this for a moment. "I find no indication of a transformation sequence...but I have jump jets? And an ECM suite?"

Phoenix Hawk unseen fanmade

Phoenix Hawk Medium 'Mech

"Yep," I chimed in. "The 'Mech we salvaged was an old PXH-02 Phoenix Hawk. That's one of the predecessors of the Seekers and the AeroMechs, though this one predates being able to transform. Best we could manage right now."

"I see. You are Groundwave?" Manx asked. I realized that he'd never really had the opportunity to meet me before the battle where he got his ass blown up.

"That's me." I agreed. "I didn't get a chance to welcome you properly earlier, but welcome to my humble little bunker."

Despite the lack of capacity for facial expression, Manx certainly seemed confused. "Thank you, I think." He paused for a moment before he finally said, "Is there any possibility of being transferred to a Beetle-class AutoMech chassis, like my original one? Or any wheeled AutoMech?" Sometimes it can be a bit difficult to get a read on what's passing for thoughts and emotions in an AutoMech's head. This time, though, it seemed pretty clear that he wasn't as thrilled about his new body as we'd hoped he'd be.

Well, crap.

It wasn't like we hadn't thought about getting him another Beetle-class chassis. It's that it wasn't really an option, given how remote we were from the main AutoMech territories, whether AutoBoP or DemoCom. You'd have to haul out a 35-ton non-operational 'Mech that distance, while taking the same risk that Manx had taken coming out here in the first place: being detected by random DemoCom scouts, and potentially handing them a free AutoMech to bolster their side. Moving Manx's computer cores to AutoBoP territory would be a lot easier, but would mean moving in a force large enough to defend itself, and cutting into the excavation here.

That didn't leave us too many options if the Phoenix Hawk chassis wasn't going to work out. This wasn't exactly news. Glyph, Spanner, Ripley and I had all discussed this, when we decided in the end to do the expedient thing and put Manx in the Phoenix Hawk. With Primus Optimal not here, having taken the trailer he normally towed around with him, my radios were the only way for my companions to communicate with the rest of the AutoBoP faction. Getting Manx to use them would be out of the question, according to both Spanner and Glyph, since he lacked the programming to use them, and training him to do so would be time prohibitive, if it worked at all: AutoMech artificial intelligence might show an amazing degree of flexibility in terms of ability to learn, but they still lagged behind what you'd expect a human to be able to do, and radio communications wasn't an easy topic for us, either.

On the other hand, it's not like I really cared about transforming into a large truck or a series of tubes. On the other hand, I did find it useful to able to use that comm gear to communicate, whether it was with the base computers, nearby satellites, or any SDS drone that might be hiding out there in the outskirts of Syberia's solar system, which may well end up being my only ticket out of here.

Unfortunately, the gear to do that wasn't exactly lightweight; I might be able to trim it down some, but my full loadout of radios and other comm gear took up six tons, with my little Nighthawk drone taking up a half-ton beyond that. The Phoenix Hawk we'd shoved Manx into, meanwhile, only had seven and a half tons of weaponry to work with, with another three tons available if I was willing to sacrifice its jump jets. Shoving all those radios into a Phoenix Hawk would be an exercise in frustration, and would compromise the my ability to fight in the 'Mech, since I'd be giving up some, or even most, of its firepower.

Giving up firepower wasn't something that just made me nervous. In our most recent battle, my firepower and, even more importantly, ability to throw my weight around, ended up surprisingly important, given the trouble I had hitting the broadside of a barn. So while giving up by ability to defend myself made me nervous, Glyph and Spanner didn't like the idea, either.

I really wasn't liking my options. "Glyph," I asked, "I'm guessing you have no desire to trade places with Manx?"

"I do not," she readily agreed.

"Yeah, that's what I thought," I replied. "And Spanner is out of the question, since we need him to be able to patch us up, and his current chassis is set up for that." Sighing, I turned back to Manx. "That leaves the chassis I'm in right now, which had all our radios, or waiting until we can eventually get you back to friendly territory."

"I cannot manage those communications systems." Manx replied helpfully.

"Spanner," I asked, turning to our repair/medic AutoMech, "how long would it take to prep the Highlander for conversion to an AutoMech system?"

"I am uncertain. The cockpit command and control systems are not presently configured for AutoMech computer control, and our sources of spare components would not be easily adapted. It may be fastest to replace the entire head assembly, though those are also in short supply. There is, however, another option we may be able to avail ourselves of, though Manx would need to remain in his current chassis a bit longer before we could implement it."

"What is that?" Glyph asked before I could.

"Most of the systems needed to repair Groundwave's original GRF-series Griffin chassis were locked away in the DropShip we have since excavated," Spanner explained. "Transferring you to your current chassis would have been faster than rebuilding his old one. It is possible that your current chassis was only meant for you to use temporarily, and the intent had always been to transfer you back once the old one was rebuilt."


Griffin Medium 'Mech

Glyph seemed to immediately pick up on this line of thought. Turning to me, she said, "The remaining humans at this base may have died before that could become possible, and with no other active AutoMechs on-site to reactivate you in this chassis, or to recover the parts to rebuild your old one, you remained inactive until we discovered you. Spanner, everything you need is aboard the DropShip? Even an engine?"

"For the most part. I found a spare set of legs and the arm the wreck of Groundwave's former chassis is missing. Some of the torso assemblies are missing, but can be adapted from parts salvaged from the DemoComs. Even the communications gear would be straightforward, since it is mounted in a housing that appears to be common between Groundwave's current chassis and the GRF-series chassis he was previously installed in. That would also free up six tons in Groundwave's current chassis that, once he is transferred over, could be used for additional weaponry."

"And what would my loadout be?" I asked.

"Your existing communications gear, a one-ton bay that could accommodate your Nighthawk drone, and a standard particle projector cannon in the detachable rifle-type mount used by the GRF-series. That would appear to be your original loadout as well."

That...wouldn't be bad, really. I know my way around a rifle, or at least I remember knowing my way around a rifle. Griffins were also known to be solid punchers when caught in melee combat, and they sure as hell had their body parts arranged more like a human being than VeeMechs like Spanner and my current body.

There was just one problem, really: I'd built up a bit of a rapport with the small collection of AutoMechs here, but now I'd be trusting them to transfer my consciousness to an entirely new body, and if Glyph was right, and it was done in haste last time, then that might also be tied to a lot of my missing memories. Major West's message for me implied it was intentional, but is that intentional as in "every time you move bodies this will happen" or "we really did have a good reason to lobotomize you, and it isn't related to you moving bodies."

"All right, that might be a solid option." I told Spanner. "How long do you think it will take?"

"I would estimate no more than two weeks."

Wishing once again I had a head I could nod, I turned my whole body to face Manx. "Think you can hold on in there for that long?"

"The alternative is to be shut off until then, correct?" Manx asked.

"Pretty much, yeah." I agreed.

"That may be preferable."

Wow. I really hadn't counted on how much the ability to transform meant to an AutoMech. "Look at the bright side: when Spanner rips out all these radios, you're going to have another six tons of weaponry and heat sinks you can throw onto your new body. Or, if you don't want the jump jets, you can make it nine tons. And we've found a stack of weapons sitting in one of the bays in the DropShip that you can pick from – once I vacate the premises, you and Spanner will be able to remodel to your heart's content."

Manx nodded – Phoenix Hawks have heads and necks, so he could do that – and replied, "Are you certain you do not mind giving up the VeeMech chassis, Groundwave? You won't be able to transform anymore."

I shrugged as best my body could accommodate. "Manx, as far as I remember, I used to be human before I was an AutoMech, let alone installed in this VeeMech. Humans can't transform into vehicles, so it really doesn't mean that much to me."

Manx looked around at everyone, then back at me, then back at everyone, and finally, when nobody seemed interested in contradicting me, looked back at me, and said, "Wait, what?"


Next Chapter - Return to Story Index - Next Chapter