The hanger was quiet save for the occasional snap from an arc welder and an almost oppressively low reverberation that made the whole place seem like it was at the bottom of the ocean. Bright sparks fell from high above the floor, a technician was busy making cosmetic repairs to this Throne. Even training exercises are harsh on both the machines and personnel.
The technician was new, not even on the job more than a month. When he was done with this plate he turned up to his supervisor, who was installing a new imaging unit for the enormous camera in the head. He called, “I would have thought this armor would be of tougher stuff, right? The tech specs say this stuff isn’t even on the Mohs scale, and it’s scratched up from routine testing like it was talc!”
"It’s not armor."
"Not armor? What are you-"
"I’m led to believe that some of the technicians have told you that Throne pilots are often left crippled after any stretch in active service. They are obviously joking."
The handful of jury-selected students scattered throughout the spartan affair of a hangar all breathed a collective sigh of relief. The instructor turned toward the massive mechanical suits, then back to the students, a mix of resignation and pity showing on her face.
"No, most pilots don’t live long enough to be crippled."
2 hours into a thing for my good friend Marisa’s book of the month illustration club thing over here.