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Fandom: Jak & Daxter
Setting: Jak II
Series: Battle Born
Synopsis: The first time Jak saw a Metal Head, he was reminded of an old children’s story.
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Jak expected to find himself going up against men. Before him, in a defensive stance, was a figure only describable as Thing. It seemed human enough – a head, two arms and legs – but was encased in bizarre armour. Metal plates covered from head to toe, in an assortment of white, yellow and grey. A large gem lodged in the helmet glowed a pale acid green, made of what appeared to be glass. The effect was almost one of gazing upon an oversized insect.
As it propelled forward at incredible speed, the blonde soldier was left with a niggling thought in the back of his mind – and only a split-second to react to such an attack. The familiarity of said enemy previously unattainable, that was no longer the case – realised in the heat of battle, of all times.
The adversary, faced with an empty rifle, instead began striking with the attached bayonet. Jak barely ducked from the blade’s swipe, feeling the movement of air as it narrowly missed slicing horizontally along his stomach. With a back-step, he put some distance between them and readied his own weapon. Yet the armoured creature was relentless. Determined to kill, all in the name of survival.
The young soldier aimed, just as the knife cut across the top of his head, taking several green-blonde strands with it. Pulling the trigger sent a fluffy of bullets into the figure and knocked off their head covering, before they crumpled to the sand in a heap. Crimson seeped from the wounds and dyed the surrounding sand. The victor approached, adverse to taking chances. Another volley of shots entered the fallen one’s skull. Perhaps a cruel action, but the last word to describe war was ‘kind’.
No honour to be found here.
Jak paused and caught his breath, glancing downwards at the blood-coated helmet, studying sunshine glint off the gem. Twisted. Eerie. He supposed the unease would wear off after several more battles.
Its armour. Belonged to a monster, the stuff of nightmares to ensure children didn’t wander astray. If Samos’ fables were correctly recalled, their fabled name was Hora Quan – Metal Head to the layman. Creatures that took the forms of insect, reptile and mammal, even supposedly wandered amongst others as humans. Shapeshifters, warmongers, beasts. They brought war, decay and disease, tainted innocents with the Dark, their corruption.
The army clearly chose said creature as its symbol for that very reason, frightening the innocent youth within men, a shard of the soul that never faded, clutching the blanket of nostalgia and touching it to their faces.
Stories of mental and physical crippling from comrades were thought to be the work of overexaggerated hearsay. The blonde now understood that to be only a half-truth. Metal Heads were numerous, well-equipped and desperate to succeed – deadly in battle, but not the legendary world-enders.
Although new to this war, he was learning at a phenomenal speed. ‘Field training’, his superiors called it, as a cruel half-joke. Yet he could not relinquish an inescapable feeling of dread. The movements, perception and unadulterated rage of his foe…only upon reflection could the anomality be determined. Thing, indeed.
What cerulean eyes could not foresee in that moment would be his involuntary plunge into the abyss, uncovering the bottom of the iceberg known as truth.
And with truth came its partner.