Chapter II

The data storage vault was a spacious chamber that was divided by two levels. The upper level held tall mainframes for storing data, the lower level had two rows of long computer stations, flanking a spacious work table with six thrones set around it, several data sheets, a few styluses, and some coffee mugs were left on the table. The room had rounded sloping walls with a streaked metallic finish and no windows, the floor had creamy-white coloured tiles, two circular lamps hung from the ceiling and filled the room with light.

Data storage center
Dr. Hugo Manning, Dr. Diane Stone, Dr. Louis Osborne and Major Ivan Daniels stood around the vault door enterance, looking into the spreading pool of blood on the floor.
“I…I…I don’t know” says Dr. Manning.
Major Daniels quickly cranes his neck toward the doctor.
“What? What do you mean you don’t know?” he asks.
“I mean that I have no idea where they came from, these God-awful things just appeared from nowhere” Hugo explains.
“Bull****. This has to be some sort of classified project, someone knows something about all this.” Daniels says loudly.
“Major, I’m a senior-level genetic researcher. Now, there has been some unusual developments coming from recent studies, but nothing like this. Not at all” Diane Stone explains.
“Then where are the freaks coming from?” Daniels demands in an accusing tone.
“We don’t know! I’ve never seen those things in all my life and I wish I never had” shouts Dr. Manning.
“What unusual developments were you referring to exactly, Dr. Stone?” The marine asks slyly.
“Well, uh, it’s classified” she replies in an irritated tone, Major Daniels scrutinizes her face with undisguised suspicion.
“Major, think about it for a minute. If UAC were harbouring this many creatures, the project would have nowhere to hide. Union Aerospace has a hard time keeping secrets around here as it is” Diane explains.

Nearby movement catches Major Daniels attention from behind Diane, his eyes went wide. Rippling, moving waves appeared in the empty spacious area, a clawed hand reaches through the energy and the portal flared with green light, a demon steps from the energy and turns its head to lock eyes with the marine.

The Major steps around Diane, who was unaware of their visitor, and draws his sidearm with smooth, practiced movement and quickly levels the barrel on the demon’s head, steadying the pistol by wrapping his fingers around the handle one digit at a time and fired a single shot. The discharged round caused a loud bang as the round travelled across the chamber and caught the spiked demon in the head, the force of the bullet sending it sprawling backward to the ground.

Location: Mars, Tharsis Bulge, Sinai Planum of Syria-Thaumasia block
Mars City
Coordinates: 77.92°S, 3.976°W

Mars city was a colony made up of several tall interconnected buildings, they were topped with antennas, receiving dishes and tall transmission towers, conduits stretched across the surface of the exterior walls, they had turned a rusted colour, caused by the red planet’s battering of furious sandstorms. To the West could be seen the tops of the massive dormant volcanoes, collectively known as Tharsis Montes. It was situated south of a large crater, close to the Candor Casma, the centre feature of the massive tectonic network of erosion, known as Valles Marineris, the largest visible feature on Mars, larger even than the length of the North American continent. Mars city was comprised of a major Administrative centre, an advanced research complex, a fusion power plant, Space Marine emergency deployment barracks as well as other critical colony facilities.

Valles Marineris is the long gash on Mars' surface
Valles Marineris is the long gash on Mars’ surface

Major Sergeant Martinez was in his office, a disassembled plasma rifle was on his desk. He was leaning back in his comfortable chair, cleaning a plasma distribution emitter with a wire brush. The Sergeant was used to the quiet life on Mars, rarely needing to plan a mission. Mars wasn’t perfect, but there was often something exciting going on, either emerging technologies or discoveries made by archeology teams. The Sergeant placed the cleaned distributor cap on his desk and began rebuilding the rifle. He was reattaching a thin coiled wire from the energization manifold to the micro-reactor when High Command signalled his terminal, he reaches forward and taps the receiver icon. Admiral Samuel Frost appears on the monitor.
“Sergeant, I hope your boys are ready for action. We have a situation emerging, but the details are a little sketchy at the moment. We need you and your squad to head up to Phobos, Code Red” explains Frost.
“Code Red? What’s happening up there?” Martinez asks, eyes fixed on the Admiral as he continued to reassemble the rifle.
“I’m afraid that’s classified, your team will receive their briefing on route to the moon”
“Christ, I’m getting sick of the aerospace industry’s constant secrecy” Martinez replies.
“Sergeant, this is an emergency!” explains Samuel.
“Yeah, I’m sure it is” he says, snapping together the rifle’s remaining components, standing to his feet and raising the rifle. “Forget it, okay. My team will be underway in under ten minutes”
The Admiral stifled an irritated look, “Good luck, Martinez” he says, reaching to close the channel.

The Sergeant walks from the office locking the rifles safety and lacing the strap over his shoulder. He marched the spotless corridor, a Union Aerospace official steps beside him “Hello Sergeant, I need an updated duty roster schedule. Would you mind just–” he begins. “This
really isn’t a good time, Sean” the Sergeant interrupts, staring ahead unfazed, the corporate official struggling to keep pace.
“Well, it’s just that this has been needing your attention for about a week” Sean continues.
“It’s on my list of priorities, alright?” Martinez replies.
“Well, if I could just get you to review–” Sean attempts to say, the Sergeant comes to an abrupt stop and stares angrily at the corporate official.
“Would you bugger off?!” the Sergeant bellows loudly, several people in the hall turn toward the shouting, but continue their duties, the Sergeant was well known for his short-tempter. Sean stood stunned as Martinez continued along. He reached the squad barracks.
“Attention!” he loudly yells as he steps inside, the marines quickly abandon their distractions and scramble to their feet in front of the bunks. They were wearing casual civilian clothes, emphasizing the rarity of deployments. The barracks was a long-stretching cabin with walls of green coloured plating. Sergeant Martinez silently scrutinizes his troops before speaking.
“No time for formalities, ladies. There’s a situation emerging, we’ve been ordered to head up to Phobos. Let’s go, double time” he orders.

A short moment later, the marines were suited in their armour, gripping their helmets along the inner rim, marching into the spacious Hangar Bay and filing into the large waiting space vessel. The name along the side of the ship was the USM Hurricane. They fill the deployment area and buckle into their seats, their plasma rifles were locked in cabinets along the right wall. The ship soon fires its thrusters and slips through the opened air-lock. It flies from the installation, flying close to the ground as it picks up speed. The pilot pulls back the throttle and the ship streaks into the Martian sky.


Martinez emerges from the bridge and addresses his troops
“Alright, men. Now that we’re off Mars, we can review our briefing” he says, removing a holo-disc from his pocket. He activates the disc, it projects a holographic screen with a slowly spinning symbol of the Space Marine Corps.
“Play mission briefing. Authorization: zero-zero-zero-nine-delta” the sergeant says.
Admiral Frost’s facade appeared in the holographic light.

“Hello marines” begins the Admiral “The following is strictly classified” he emphasizes.
“We recently received distress calls from Phobos, multiple reports indicate that the base is being invaded by alien creatures. It’s unknown just how dangerous they are, but reports lead us to believe that they have the potential to be extremely deadly” Frost explains.
“We want your team to head to Phobos and evacuate as many UAC personnel as possible and determine the cause of the invasion. Asses threat and, if necessary, search and destroy” Frost says with a clinical tone.
“UAC also wants your team to recover all the main station computer logs and retrieve the data core from the Gate-A teleporter, we have to secure it before one of UAC’s competitors get to it first. There is personnel trapped in the Fusion Power plant, the Central Processing facility, as well, the station Administrator and his assistant are somewhere on the station, UAC wants them rescued if possible” states Frost.
“Stay alert over there marines. I have complete confidence in you all, good luck” Frost finishes, his image melting away.

As they approach Phobos, the view screen displayed only a few escape pods drifting nearby. The moon grows larger as they drew closer, the ship slows as it makes its approach and the pilot began docking maneuvers. It pivots close to the surface, firing short blasts from the thrusters as it made minute corrections. The ship docks with its roof secured to the access hatch.

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