Rande VanDelle or “Vandal” as he is more commonly known is a mechanic for the upright tanks in the Chevaliers Private Cavalry and has been for eight years and because of this, he is one of the sought out veteran mechanics there is. He manages to keep the old girls running despite the best efforts of the enemy fire they see off, but like every mechanic, he always has a favourite.
One night, after finishing routine maintenance on one of the oldest uprights in the section, Vandal asks to take it out on a routine patrol a bit earlier than planned as he really wants to test it out, after much humming and hawing, they eventually let him. He puts the machine through its paces in a way that not many other mechanics can and manages to go a bit further than planned, but he then picks up a threat message on his sensors.
Not sure what to do, he reports in, but when he hears nothing back, he starts to go in the offensive so that he can try and make his way back to the barracks and help. He is not combat or pilot trained in the slightest, but he still manages to fight his way out of a life threatening situation and just about keeps his head attached in the process, albeit with some sensory overload when the call comes in to evacuate, he is helped into the transport taking them away from the battlefield.
It is when he is called upon by his superior that he thinks it is the end of his career, but instead he is given a choice, he can continue with the maintenance team and love on until his superiors grace runs out, or he can train to be a pilot and hone his skills, which he showed during the confrontation. The problem is he never really wanted to be a pilot, but he agrees to the promotion and trains hard until he is called up.
Will Vandal be able to control his designated upright tank after only a short training period against an enemy who as well as turncoats and rebels, is harbouring an elite fighting force in support of them? This is a sci-fi set in a world which could be the future of our own where old technology is pitted against new in a war of attrition with a reluctant hero at the centre of it all, in this story which will leave you on tenterhooks throughout, as military teams engage in deadly confrontations, as civilians hide away.
Reviewed by @roxsannel