We land behind a multi-story building, narrowly missed by a pair of rays made of sinister violet light. The air around the beams is vaporized with a high pitched sound. Like screaming.

The Annihilator is slowly walking towards our position and my display is all radiation warnings and strange power spikes. Physics isn’t exactly on its best behavior around the Niphal. Which is why we showed up in armored exosuits. Turns out they might be ancient psychotic AIs but if you pump them full of enough armor piercing steel and explosive rockets they still break down like any other machine. Just takes longer. 

With a thought we turn and start working on shutting down the machine trying to kill us. Our heavy magrifles hit its metallic surface and start punching some nice holes in it. It responds with an artillery barrage. Small spheres of mutated physics rain down on us causing our shields to flare and fail. Multiple systems sprout up warnings. 

“Fall back! Pattern beta-two!” I command even as I’m engaging my suit’s powerful thrust pack to leap backwards away from the giant death bot while simultaneously firing my rockets at it. A series of explosions stitch across its shimmering alloyed surface and we land behind another building. 

“Fire again!” I yell and another set of rockets launches over and around the building towards its target. We see flashes of light and hear the explosions as the rockets hit their target. 

“We have about thirty seconds. I’m open to ideas.” I say to my squadmates Linares and Ojandas. Their faces appear in my overlay. 

“Death from above is pretty classic. Close in and smash it up before it can adapt.” Ojandas says. 

“Always love getting to punch stuff.” Linares says. She is grinning.

“Alright let’s get some charge into our shield capacitors and we can make a run at it.” I say and know they are right. Niphal need to be taken out in brutal and decisive attacks or else they will adapt and make it almost impossible to kill them. 

As soon as the shields are recharged we jump into the air again towards our target. It’s unlikely to predict this tactic. Because it’s a bit crazy. But so is climbing into five tons of armor and guns to chase down psychotic robots. I smile broadly. I know my squad feels the same way. We engage. 

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