Here’s Part 5 of Snow Can Kill! I’m almost ready to wrap up this chapter. I’m still looking for talented artists to do illustrations for this story as well as covers for some of my other short stories! If you’re interested, please comment or send me a message!
If you’re just finding out about Iron and Ice, go to the archives so you can start at the beginning!
Snow Can Kill Part 5
The squeal of rending metal made Dimitri wince and he pushed harder. Whirring teeth bit deep into the Roxolan’s steel hide. The chainsaw’s motor growled angrily as it fought to keep spinning. He pushed harder. Smoke issued from the hole in the Roxolan’s back and the saw-blade glowed a dull orange. Dimitri pushed harder. Just as he was afraid the motor would give out, the teeth chewed through the last shreds of armor, and he was through. The controls almost leaped out of his hands as the saw plunged past the armor shell and into the Roxolan’s body.
Dimitri’s arm shook as the saw chewed its way through the interior of the mech. The saw moved faster, cutting through the softer meat of the Roxolan’s interior. Dimitri imagined the cables and delicate mechanics of the Roxolan being mashed by the razor sharp teeth. The Roxolan shook as the saw tore relentlessly on. Dimitri drove it in until the it was buried up to the hilt. He flicked a switch and killed the slicing teeth. With a groan, the Roxolan leaned forward and was still. As the shrill screech of the saw died, an unsettling silence descended on the fighters. Slowly, the howling wind returned, as if it were fearful that the violence so recently halted might begin again at any moment.
The jagged edges of the wound Dimitri had inflicted shimmered with heat. Snow hissed as it touched the dark red edges. Even as Dimitri watched, it began to turn black in the frigid temperatures. The blizzard stole the heat from the battle, and Dimitri began to shiver again. The sweat that drenched his body suddenly felt cold. He realized he was panting and took several gulps of the frigid air to calm himself.
He tried the radio. “Yanin? Can you hear me?” Only static answered him. Undoing the hatch above his head, he pulled himself out of his ride and into the snow. He wrapped his scarf around his face, leaving only his eyes exposed. He was careful to leave the hatch open and clambered onto his ride’s shoulder. He cringed as he looked over the twisted wreckage of the rocket launcher.
“Old man Hessel’ll kill me for this.” He muttered, as he kicked the blackened launching racks. “That is, if we don’t die out here first.” He slid down his ride’s arm and paused at the elbow before jumping to the ground. The snow came up to his waist, and he struggled to make any headway. The wind ripped the breath from his lungs, and his fingers stung as he clawed through the drifting snow. Pausing to catch his breath, Dimitri gazed at the frozen giants towering above him.
The mech’s were frozen as if in a photograph. The Roxolan’s pincer was buried in the flank of Yanin’s ride, and its cannon was entangled with Yanin’s useless arm. Yanin’s mech was slumped forward, leaning on the Roxolan like a drunken man leaning on a friendly shoulder. Sparks and smoke issued from both machines, and the wind moaned as it wound its way through their battered hulls.
It’s arm still embedded deep in the Roxolan’s body, Dimitri’s ride stood tall over the other machines. Its feet apart and arms extended, it looked like a fencer delivering the final blow to an opponent. Snow was already beginning to pile up on the mighty war machines. If they were left alone the snow would soon bury them. Maybe they would stay hidden for centuries beneath the ice. Dimitri wondered what future generations would make of this scene if discovered. Would historians and archeologists try to recreate how these three machines had ended up just so? Would they be put in a museum as a testament to the brutatlity of this conflict? Or, would they be melted down and reforged into some new form of weapon?
Dimitri shook his head. He had more important concerns right now. Ahead, Yanin’s ride beckoned. Dimitri hoped that the battle hadn’t destroyed the handholds leading to the cockpit, or this was going to be a difficult climb. “You’d better still be alive in there.” Dimitri grumbled and began to haul himself up the mech’s left leg. The icy chill of the metal cut straight through his thin gloves and within moments, his hands were numb.
After a grueling climb, Dimitri pulled himself onto the mech’s shoulder. To his surprise, he found that the hatch was slightly ajar. He quickly pulled the metal cover open and stuck his head inside. He recoiled from the stench of blood and hydraulic fluid. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he could just make out Yanin’s crumpled form sitting in the pilot’s seat. His left arm was pinned between the chair and dented outer wall. Dimitri couldn’t tell if it was crushed or just caught, but that wasn’t what worried him.
The Roxolan’s pincer had punched through the cockpit and one of the blades was embedded deep in Yanin’s side, just above the hip. A pool of blood had formed in the foot-wells.
“Yanin?” Dimtri called to his friend. He couldn’t tell if he was breathing. “Yanin! Answer me, idiot! You gotta talk to me! Yanin!” Before he realized it, Dimitri felt his eyes swell with tears. A wracking cry of anger and sorrow fought to escape from his throat. He punched the hatch, tearing his glove and leaving his knuckles bloody. He swore and punched the hatch again, harder this time. He screwed his eyes shut and wiped his face with his bloody hand.
“Always knew you were a softy, you big baby.” A hoarse whisper called from the cockpit. Dimitri opened his eyes and saw Yanin looking up at him with a wry grin plastered to his face. His dark beard stood out against his deathly pale skin, and his eyes seemed to have trouble focusing. “You’d think a man deserved a little nap after a hard day’s work, but no…” Yanin coughed, and grimaced as the movement sent pain shooting through his body.
Dimitri smiled and was about to reply when heard the crash of another hatch opening behind him.