Bam! The blast from the rifle shot rang in Joey's ears as it slammed into the wall where he'd stood in front of a second before. He'd only narrowly dodged it with his mech's thrusters. "Gotta be more careful, partner," he said patting the controls of his suit. "This isn't an opponent we can take lightly." He looked at the opposing mech, a prototype HERO-23. A mid-size machine, bigger than Joey's, armed with a laser rifle and gatling gun and sporting a grenade launcher. He could see the faded logo of the New Age Corporation on its side. He didn't know who the pilot was, except they were some retired vet. The enemy mech suddenly let loose a spray from its gatling gun in a wide arc. "Dang it, can't dodge this one. Engage shield!" The generator on his back hummed as a red spherical barrier appeared in front of his mech. The shots blasted against the dome. Joey checked his dashboard. "Only 20% more juice for the force field, huh?" He knew that if this fight went on any longer it wouldn't go well for him. "This guy is definitely one tough fighter." He admitted with a grin. "But this wouldn't be any fun if he wasn't! Time to go all out partner!"
Joey launched all of the remaining missiles from the pod on his back. The opponent simply sent flares from his shoulders and disrupt them. But Joey had already started his dash toward the opponent, the spear in his left hand clearly trained on his enemy. His opponent released another spray of bullets from his gatling gun. "Engage shield!" Joey yelled again. The red force field appeared and blocked the barrage once more. After a few seconds it flickered out, drained of all its energy. But it had done its job; the gatling gun was out of ammo and Joey was only a few seconds away from finally closing in. Joey had the frame of mind to glance up, only to see three grenades falling down on him.
"Drat! He must've fired them while he was spraying with his gatling gun," Joey said to himself. He whipped up the pistol in his right hand and shot them out of the sky. They detonated on impact. The nearest grenade was close enough to graze his side as he went past it, but Joey kept on going regardless. Finally he reached his target, jabbing his spear for all he worth into the mech's right arm. Just as he pierced his opponent, he heard the alarms go off in his mech.
"Right leg, compromised." The enemy pilot had dropped his rifle and drawn a hidden laser saber and stabbed it into his leg. It was a draw.
Joey sighed as the arena simulator powered down. "Well, we did our best, partner," he said to his trusty machine. Suddenly a voice came over the comm link. "Well done, Mr. Lockheart," a cool, low bass said. "I could use your talents."
"Who are you?" Joey asked.
"Forgive me, I am in the service of my master, Richard Norse." Joey's eyes widened.
"Whoa, the big leagues," he thought to himself.
"I have a proposal for you for a task that my master would like completed. I am sending you the specifications now." A window popped up on the main screen with the details. Joey gave a low whistle when he saw how many digits were in the payoff amount. The voice chuckled. "I take it you accept?"
"Absolutely," Joey said enthusiastically. "When do I start?"
"Immediately. Here are the co-ordinates for the rendezvous point with the other team members. I expect to see you there soon." The voice cut out. Joey grinned. "Looks like we're finally moving up partner!" he said. As he made his way toward the hangar of the simulation station, he saw the mech he had faced heading there as well. A video link popped up on his screen, revealing a large black man.
"Nice piloting, kid," the man said grinning. "You did well against my Glutton! The name's Jack Baronson."
"Joey Lockheart. You were a pretty sweet fighter, you know, for an old timer." Jack laughed wildly.
"I take it you received an invitation from Norse?" Jack asked. Joey nodded. "Me too! I guess we can go together." The man boomed again with laughter. Joey couldn't help but chuckle with the man's infectious laugh.
"I guess we can," he agreed.