Epic Duels: Man vs. Machine.
Man: I’m not perfect. But then again, I smile with contempt, I’m not a machine. I’m Gus Manson. I look over the sandy rise at my big partner who is approaching the eleven foot electric fence of Power Plant 9. My partner is John “Mach” Smith, short for his hard earned title “The Machine.” I count down the seconds on my wrist band, keeping a close eye on Mach and the infrared camera above the fence. At 00hr.05min.16sec.32ns since the start of our mission, Mach arrives at the fence. Right on time. I swear the man carries a clock in his head. I take a steady breath, waiting for the camera to swing past the “sweet spot.” At 00.05.19.45 I break from the cover of the sandy rise. That’s a second sooner than I should have moved but I’m counting on my cooling suit to keep me from detection. Like I said before, I’m not perfect. But me and Mach have been through hell together. And we’ve survived because we ain’t perfect. I pass through the “sweet spot” and carry on directly for Mach. The gap between us closes. I shove off with my right boot and plant my left boot in Mach’s interlocked fingers. I don’t call him “The Machine” for nothing. My palms instinctively reach out and tap Mach’s shoulders for balance as he hurtles me head first over the fence. I realize this isn’t the best tactic. But no pain no gain right? I hit the ground in a role, taking the brunt of the impact on my left shoulder. The sand is soft, but not that soft. I force myself to my feet and sprint toward the small relay box and a twinge of pain arcs across my shoulder blade to my spine. Mach remains in the “sweet spot,” scanning the night sky for signs of the Sentinel patrol. Continue reading