Mending Legs


Michael Davidson sighed heavily as he thought about the letter from his mother one more time.  He tried to console himself with the knowledge that Jonathon was alive, but in the end his mind kept going back to the most baleful part of his mother’s letter.  Jonathon would never pilot a mech again.  Judging by the tone of the letter, their mother was relieved.  The civil war was over was over for her family, her sons were out of the line of fire.  But Michael knew better.  As he walked through the salvage yard, the memories came back.

Jon and he had been about nine when Tempest had gotten hurt.  He had hated his father for what he had done, and it had taken months before he finally understood. Even then, it had taken Jon contracting a case of Harper’s fever to it clear.  Michael had spent hours setting by the bedside as the infection threatened to destroy Jon’s inner ear.  Hours spent seeing the longing and fear in Jon’s eyes every time he looked out the window towards the agromechs in the field.  In those looks had been the truth.  If a horse can’t run, it has no reason to live…

The ringing crash of a dropped wrench brought Mike back to the present.  He consulted his noteputer then looked around critically.  Five million c-bills was a nice research grant, but nothing in this yard came cheap.  He’d need something easy to pilot, which ruled out the mostly intact Javelin he was looking at.  He walked further through the yard, spotting several mechs but rejecting each after finding its price on his noteputer.  He searched another three hours in the hot desert air before he found it.

It was so badly damaged that it appeared to be a jumble of parts rather than a war machine.  Only its peeling paint job kept him from passing it by.  This pattern was vintage, but he recognized it from one of his history books.  The scheme was Capellean and nearly fifty years old if his memory served him correctly.  His interest piqued, he began to walk around it with a trained eye. 

The launchers and mg’s had been stripped long ago.  Even the PPC was gone, but damage to the turret ring indicated that it had been blown clear by an internal explosion rather than stripped.  This was supported by the fact that the belly of the beast was rent open, what was left of the shattered reactor half hanging from the wound.  “Ammo explosion on a near-empty bay,” he commented to himself as he stuck his head into the rent.  Surprisingly, the gyro was still there and the casing seemed to be intact.  “Then again,” he thought, “it’s a rare model, not much call for that gyro.”   

He looked at his ‘puter, finding the price.  “It’s definitely a possibility,” he mused as he walked towards the head.  Predictably, the ejection had seriously damaged the cockpit.  Everything was a charred mess.  “But that’s ok, would have to rebuild it anyway,” he thought to himself as he weighed his options. 

The thing was cheap, and inherently stable too.  But as he mentally totaled the damage up, he could understand why it had set at this salvage yard for decades.  The thing was a wreck.  Even in the bad old days they hadn’t felt the thing was worth salvaging.  The thing was going to have to be rebuilt from nearly the ground up.  His fingers idly begin to trace name stenciled into the lip of the cockpit.  Was it really worth it?  F-I-O-N, he jumped as his fingertip hit a spot scorched by the unfortunate mechwarrior’s ejection.  It was a stark reminder that dreams sometime have unhappy endings.

Mike was setting in the main office watching the sun set, the purple rays casting a royal shroud over the fallen metal lords.  His musings were interrupted by the rumbling of a recovery vehicle approaching the main gate.  On its back lay the mech.  A moment later a prime mover pulled up beside it, bearing a Vindicator’s arm and three Martell medium lasers.  The two trucks were a stark reminder of the monumental-ness of the task before him.  Michael looked within himself, then checked the bill of sale one final time.  Satisfied, he keyed in his authorization code then handed the ‘puter back to the clerk.

As he walked out to the waiting vehicles, a thought crossed his mind. 

“Maybe the dead can’t be raised, but sometimes you can give a dream new legs.”