Chapter VIII – Empowering Escape

The Staging Bay raged with combat, blobs of plasma and gunfire sailed through the air as demons continued to appear from portals. The Marine was shooting in two directions at once, holding the shotgun and assault rifle in each hand, blasting holes into Imps and Demons with ease. A Security Marine on a higher landing suddenly becomes possessed, it took the strength of every nearby survivor to tackle it and push it from the railing. The former human falls and splashes into a toxic waste tank and quickly dissolved into the green corrosive sludge. The Marine climbs to the next level above with little effort and begins mowing down the hordes amassed there. He sensed a large-jawed demon closing in from behind. He pivots slightly, tightly swings his shotgun toward it and fires two rounds. The Demon collapses with a dying grunt.

A Hell Baron suddenly materialized on the main level, roaring fiercely. A blob of green plasma closely zips past the Marine. The Baron took a few steps toward him and reached its arm back to throw another volley when almost every survivor opened fire on the hulking demon. The beast roared with fury and hurled the searing mass toward the Marine, it roared past as he narrowly shifts out of its path. The Baron was staggering against the barrage but still standing until a screeching grenade rolled to a rest at the demon’s hoofs and explodes. The blast severs the Baron’s midsection and injures some nearby Imps, the alien splattered to the ground with its unusual organs spilling onto the cold floor. The Marine was starting to clear the level of invaders under a constant onslaught, but there were still several Cacodemon attacking throughout the Staging Bay.

He climbs higher and gets into range of the bloated abominations. The first shotgun blast went up what passed for the demon’s ass. Then crossing to the next demon, he presses the barrel against its single eye. Blue blood splashed over the walkway, the Cacos tumbled and splattered to the ground. A blob of blue plasma hurls toward him from a demon at the far end of the walkway, he dodges by briefly bounding onto the handrail. He approaches firing both weapons at once, the Cacodemon hissed angrily and sank into a bloody deflated mass. He then stomps up the adjoining metal staircase where a squad of survivors was holding out. They turn their heads and see him approaching. A Security Marine was continuing to bark orders, an Engineer wades through the squad and greets him.

“Amazing work, marine” he states, thankfully. “I don’t know if we would have been able to hold out much longer” he says, as he resumed firing. “I’m Takeshi, I used to be a technical specialist around here. Who are you?”

Unable to come up with an answer, the Marine remains silent. “How did all this happen?” he returns.

“Something to do with the teleporter, but that thing is way beyond my security clearance” Takeshi says in a mild Japanese accent. “From what I’ve heard, the damn thing just started running on its own, these freaks started pouring through and they couldn’t shut it down” he loudly explains, picking off possessed humans one at a time, the sound of exploding grenades echoed from below.

“We sent a scouting party to find some escape pods, I hope we don’t have to send another”

About ten minutes passed when they noticed two of their scouts approach. They jogged toward the squad shouting,

“We found a bunch of pods! Sector-H has full suites of escape pods on all levels” they shout their report over the continuing gunfire. “The rest of our team didn’t make it”

“Excellent work. I’m sure your team did all they could” Takeshi says.

“You’ve just saved our asses” yells a survivor.

“We gotta go and fast” the scout continues. “One of those possessed cock-jockeys is going around destroying pods”

“That’s all I need to hear. Let’s lay down some suppressing fire and move out” Takeshi orders.

They moved strategically to the top level of the Staging Bay and through the passage leading to Sector-H, returning fire against the demons and former humans as they went. The corridor was wide, cables and large conduits stretched down its length and curved down intersecting paths, smashed maintenance robots lay motionless alongside the corpses of humans and aliens. Every meter they encountered more invaders.

Several waves of devilish skulls with tongues of fire charged through the air toward them and erupt against their storm of bullets. They turned down a right hand path and stumble upon a mob of Imps and Demons, the Marine quickly begins tearing limbs from their torsos, ripping into one demon after the other, painting the hall in dripping blood and leaving the survivors in disbelief as the hall vibrated with alien screams. The Marine slaughters the last Imp and they moved on. After a couple more minutes of fighting they soon had a clear path to the outer rim.

Something suddenly occurs to the Marine. In the brief gap from combat, he asks broadly, “Are there anymore survivors on the station?”

“Actually, there are some survivors in a Data Storage Vault in the Central Processing Facility. Sector-B. They’re trapped inside.” Takeshi recalls.

“You plan to go after them? It’s a bit distant” another survivor asks.

The Marine remain silent in thought, weighing his chances.

I can make it, I know it. He decides to himself.

They walked into the ring and the survivors wasted no time assembling into the escape pods on that level and trickling down the access staircase to the other pods below deck.

“I’m going after them” he states.

“You’re braver than I am, Marine” Takeshi states, pausing at a pod’s hatch.”I’ve gotta know, how did you manage to fight like that? It’s unbelievable”

“No idea, my instincts are taking over. I woke up from an artificial hibernation just recently and I have no idea how I got there” the Marine explains.

“Sounds like a classified project, possibly genetic testing. It doesn’t happen often, but the UAC won’t think twice about breaking laws to further their agenda” Takeshi offers. “This squad has had about all it can take, we’ve lost a lot of friends to these freaks. If you’re really going after them, then you should know that the reactor probably has a little less than two hours before the radioactive gas will leak. You need to secure your escape by then, because you won’t survive the initial flood of the gas”

Without saying another word, Takeshi ducks into the pod. “Good luck, Marine” he says, then closes the hatch.

The Marine studies a nearby station schematic posted to a wall, finds the most direct route to Central Processing before moving out. Outside the base, several escape pods undock from the station and are launched into space.

In Central Processing Administration, the emergency rescue squad lays defeated. Their bodies were scattered in close reach of each other on one side of the long rectangular common area, along with the charred remains of aliens. Their armour held cracks and gaping holes that revealed charred, smoking flesh. A pair of the fallen squad had been dragged to the centre of the room by large-jawed demons who were making disgusting blusts of noise from their feasting on the disgraced marines. The disturbing smacks and slurps of the gorging Demons rouses Major Sergeant Martinez from unconsciousness.

Knowing the danger undoubtably surrounding him, he stays perfectly still. He found himself on the cold floor with one of his marines strewn atop him. He allows his vision to restore, then quietly takes inventory of his equipment, he still had his pack stocked with energy cells, but couldn’t find his plasma rifle. He peeks out from his place on the floor and scans the area, carefully taking in everything he could see. He sees his dead and mutilated squad, the large-jawed demons were in view. He sees only one plasma rifle that wasn’t smashed or overloaded, lying on the hexagon floor tiles just behind the foul beasts. Silently, he reaches into his pack and readies a magazine of energy cells

He slips out from under the corpse and sneaks toward the armament with one delicately placed step at a time. He closes on the rifle and lifts it from the floor. Standing barely a meter away from the demons, he carefully extracts the magazine and sees that only three rounds remained. Gripping both at once, he almost drops the empty canister trying to insert the new one. Martinez reloads and a confirmation tone rising in pitch emits from the rifle. The demons made a curious grunt and turned toward the sound, Martinez fires point blank at the pair, turning them to finely textured, smouldering ashes.

He allows himself a sigh of relief, there didn’t seem to be any more aliens nearby. His eyes were inevitably drawn to the sight of his squad, they were mauled by Imps and missing limbs or heads. The image of their motionless bodies becomes permanently etched in his mind, fuelling his fury. He drops his pack onto a desk and retrieves the armour shards from an inner pocket, he snaps them twice into four sections and applied them to damaged spots on his armour. The nano-tech shards reform and patch the damage. During the repair, he finds his data-disc computer. He activates it and sends a signal to the USM Hurricane. Disturbingly, the ship did not respond. He uses a homing scan and received a signal from further out in Mars’ orbit, the ship had somehow undocked and moved away.

Chapter VII – Wrath of the Marine

The recently revived Marine moved fast, his instincts were sending him some previously unknown signals and seemed to imply lots of trouble, but he couldn’t seem to slow himself down. Any doubt he had in his mind was silenced and new focus took hold. He knew some dark evil had invaded the base and that he had what it would take to strike it down. With complete confidence, he shoots out his arm and grabs a brown spiked demon by its throat. He had known it was approaching for some time and that more lay ahead. The Marine looks into its dimming angry eyes, his grip continuing to close, crushing it into crumbs. He then slams it nose-first into the closest wall. Further along the path, he sees a group of imps approaching. He raises his sidearm, with new-found focus he shoots them down with pinpoint accuracy. A single imp remained and closed in, smartly dodging the shots fired. The Marine closed his hand into a fist and socked the imp right in the face, it collapsed with a crater in its skull.

At that time, the Marine hears a notification about weapons fire occurring in the fusion power plant. Realizing the power plant was a short distance away, he decides to head there and help whatever survivors he can find to escape. He turns toward the direction of the plant, fighting demons as he went. Arriving at the entrance a gathering of possessed members of station security staggered before the large door, absently lugging their pistols and shotguns. They lock their dark eyes with the Marine’s and fired their weapons. The Marine returned fire and swiftly rolled to evade fire.

“Die” the former human moaned.

The Marine easily dodges more of their bullets and proceeds to quickly empty the magazine, the former humans caught the rounds and hit the floor. The Marine approaches the large door, the dead zombiemen laid before him, bleeding out. He reaches down and pulls a shotgun dripping in blood from a zombieman’s dying grip.

He pulls the manual door release and it slowly raises into the ceiling. He hears demonic grunting and assault rifle fire coming from within. He pumps the forend of his shotgun, a spent shell flies out and drops to the ground.

Inside the power plant, a group of engineers led by a space marine walked through the outer ring of the facility, they came upon yet another spent escape pod module.

“Damn” swears the Marine “This one’s gone, too. There must be some pods left around here, somewhere”

They run to the next pod module.

“What the fuck is this?” An Engineer says, surprised.

The escape pod had been destroyed, turned into a smouldering, spark-shooting crater.

“This looks like it was done with an energy weapon” another Engineer says clinically.

“Who the hell would do this?” The Marine asks.

“Help!” sounded a desperate cry from further along the circular ring, accompanied by the sound of fast foot falls.

A trio of engineers were running towards them. A blob of green energy approached them from behind and detonates on contact, graphically consuming the engineers, leaving only dust behind. The group of survivors was shocked.

“Holy shit!” One shouts.

The corrupted Chief Administrator steps from the shadows, grinning madly and gripping the BFG 9000. The survivors ran for their lives, the Marine fired his pistol in retreat. The former Administrator’s chuckle echoes through the rounded hall.

The Marine moved through the short hall, a security office was through a door on the left, large-jawed demons blocked the path into the plant. The Marine steps toward the nearest demon and shoots at the optimal distance, dropping it quickly and targets the next. He shoots shell after shell, tearing through the revolting hell-spawn one at a time with blooms of blood coating the rounded walls. The Marine clears his way to the Staging Bay. The titanic area was rimmed with seven levels of walkways connected by steel staircases, a pair of massive anti-gravity cranes were attached to the ceiling, different levels held crates, hover-lifts and tool cases, on the lowest level there were two large vats of bubbling toxic fluid. The massive arena was roaring with assault rifle and chaingun fire that sprayed wildly in all directions.

A determined force of marines and engineers were fighting for their lives. Imps and demons dominated the area, along with revolting demonic blobs that float through the air, and more demons were appearing from nowhere, teleporting from flaring green energy. The Marine leaps over the guard rail, drops from above and slams into a demon, shattering its bones in an instant. An angry mob of monsters had encircled him, staring with countless pairs of red eyes. The first demon stepped toward him and the carnage began. The Marine wound up his closed fist and punched the imp square in the chest, the force shooting it back and striking the demons behind it. He made a few more quick strikes in effective succession before the power of his blows began to spike. He finds the strength to begin ripping limbs from the demons in progressively more efficient and faster maneuvers, arms and heads were torn and discarded, the cries of tortured demons briefly filled the air. The survivor’s gunfire rained down on demons around the Marine from above. The Marine aims his shotgun at the nearest cacodemon and fired a few shells, sending it to the ground with a messy impact.

“Hey, you!” sounds a voice from above. “Catch!” A survivor drops an assault rifle to the Marine.
The standard issue of the marine corp, the SSAR-40 spun slightly through the air and glistens brightly against the artificial light. He smoothly catches the rifle and puts it to efficient use.

Unlike the previous installment this story has much more action.  Aiden has assumed the identity of a Freeborn warrior, named Jorge. Freeborn warriors, unlike the genetically engineered Trueborn, are born naturally from loving parents, instead of being born from an artificial womb.

The book opens on the planet Glory with Base Commander Kael Pershaw in a discussion with his personal aide. Unaware of Aiden’s false identity, he is disgusted upon learning that he had easily defeated a Trueborn warrior in a brawl. The Commander despises the Freebirth under his command. After another fight results in the death of a Trueborn warrior, Kael Pershaw punishes Aiden by forcing him to wear the Dark Band of Shame. In spite of the punishment, Aiden’s unit are selected to carry out a rescue mission. Him and his squad deploy their battlemechs into a region known as Blood Swamp.

After locating the stranded warriors and their crashed mechs, their combined forces plan for an attack on a unit from a rival clan. The Trueborn warriors, having no experience piloting mechs through swamps, are humiliated that a Freeborn will command the operation, which ultimately ends in victory. So great was the victory, that the Trueborn warriors are entitled to compete for a Bloodname title, something only Trueborn are entitled to obtain.

Aiden, secretly a Trueborn warrior, interrupts the Bloodname ritual and reveals his true origin, demanding the right to compete. Kael Pershaw, compelled by a witness, sends the conspirators back to planet Ironhold to stand before the Grand Council where a decision will be made on the matter. Falconer Commander Ter Roshak is summoned to testify for his role in giving Aiden a false identity. Ter Roshak testifies that he was convinced that Aiden is the reincarnation of his former Commander, Ramon Mattlov.

Ter Roshak and Aiden’s defence is overruled, both men reject the decision and demand a Trial of Refusal, the right of any Jade Falcon warrior to contest a judgement by going into combat against some of the clan’s best warriors.  The votes of the trial decide the odds of  three to one against the accused. With the odds stacked against them, only cruel violent fate can reverse the decision.

Another highly recommended title, especially for fans of action driven stories. I encourage you to read it yourself and discover how the subsequent clan battles turn out.

Chapter 5 – The Fall

AUTOMATED EMERGENCY COMMAND IS NOW ONLINE
POWER INTERRUPTION DETECTED
EMERGENCY POWER STATUS: ONLINE
SENDING REQUEST TO CENTRAL COMPUTER
REQUEST:0Z01329 APPROVED
COMMAND: LAUNCH SEQUENCE 0090
SEQUENCE HAS BEGUN; ALL SYSTEMS OK
SCANNING MODE IN PROGRESS
SUBJECT STATUS: NORMAL
SUSPENDED ANIMATION STATUS: STABLE
EVALUATING
COMMAND: LAUNCH SEQUENCE 0099
SUBJECT REVIVAL IS NOW IN PROGRESS

Aboard the CSV Navigator, William Banks and Rupert Nexson were entering the spacious atrium, coming back from the Sub-Space Parlour. Several store fronts managed by holographic staff lined the curved walls, offering cuisine and entertainment. The centre of the area had a large, bustling seating area. Quiet, casual chatter accompanied by light violin music filled the air. The two men strode at a brisk pace.

“Those repulsive, treacherous cockroaches! Their insanity is going to get us all killed” Nexson growls, exclaiming his indignation.

“I’m sorry, Rupert. They have an airtight case” comments Banks with a sunken expression.

They enter the spacious seating area and join Kronos and Carmichael at a table hugged with booth seating.

“What’s happening? Did you reach them?” Carmichael asks as they sank into the chestnut coloured cushions.

“Yes, we are protected for now. However, the Paranormal Division has issued us an assignment” William Banks begins to explain with chords of renewed distress in his voice. “They want us to head to Phobos, back into the hornets nest, and secure specimens of the alien intruders for scientific study” he explains quietly.

“Is that even possible?” queries Carmichael.

“I’m sure that your estimation is as good as mine” Banks replies.

“It’s suicide” exclaims Kronos.

“If we refuse to cooperate, then our colleagues will throw us to the wolves. This is the only way for the Paranormal Division to save face with its private investors” explains Rupert.

Kronos runs his palm along his face.

“When do we leave?” asks Susan.

“Immediately” states Nexson. “We have been authorized to requisition a ship from the Navigator. We are to rendezvous with another vessel where we will get more information” he explains.

“Indeed. We have to get our affairs settled and leave at once” adds Banks.

Kronos and Carmichael shared the same look of concern.

“This is going to be extremely dangerous, as you’ve no doubt gathered, says Nexson, but we’re going to be far better equipped this time around”

“Emergency alert: reactor core failure” wailed the station’s public address system.

The marines were in the Computer Lab junction, getting close the Central Processing Facility.

“Well, that’s a bloody peach! What are we doing now?” asks a marine, as they stood in glow of the red emergency lights.

“Dammit! This mission is falling apart!” Martinez states, he removes his holo-disc and accesses the base’s reactor maintenance monitor. The disc obediently displayed the maintenance monitor for the MCR-700 reactor. The core was glowing red, notifications showed damage reports to critical hardware and core temperature warnings. He takes a moment to take in the exact extent of the damages.

“The reactor is finished. We have to complete what we can of this mission and abort, because the radiation will eventually leak” he explained. “We need to pick up the pace, let’s move”

They came to a sealed air-lock door, Martinez passes his armour’s embedded ID chip over the scanning plate.

“Authorization accepted. Welcome to the Central Processing Facility” the terminal chirps as the huge doors split and disappeared into the floor and ceiling.

The beams of their flashlights reveal a dark wide hallway with private offices along the walls. The offices had glass walls and doors, holding a couple chairs, a spotless desk and a cabinet, the office walls were creamy white. The hall had a long carpet with white trimmed edges and a blue pigment between. Continuing their way to the Data Storage Vault, they travelled the hall for some time when a shadowy form wearing a lab coat emerged from a office and quickly disappeared into a wide intersecting passage.

“Hey, you! Stop!” Martinez shouts into the distance, but a vacuum of silence was the only reply.

Martinez broke the eerie silence, “I’m not seeing things, am I?” he asks.

“Negative, sir. I saw it, too” replies a marine.

The marines pursue the figure and stop at the passage. Martinez grabs a electronic flare, switches it on and arcs it into the dark area before them. The brilliant illumination of the flare reveals several figures stalking the spacious area. The darkened figures slowly turn their heads toward the squad, revealing their pitch black eyes.

“What in tarnation?” Martinez exclaims with notes of disbelief in his voice.

A whizzing piece of metal flies past Martinez’s head. The former humans stepped towards the marines, they were wielding glistening surgical knives. Another thrown knife spins towards them and Martinez shoots it out of the air with a quick burst, which also strikes a former human. The other possessed scientists made no reaction to their colleague’s demise. The plasma burned through its skull and it collapsed to the ground.

“Sarge, they’re all fucked up” a marine exclaims in disbelief.

“Stop! Drop your weapons, now!” Martinez commands.

The former humans staggered closer.

“This is a rescue operation” Martinez shouts, alien groaning emerged from the group.

“Mortals” came a dry, tortured voice.

Alarm grips Martinez’s mind as a former humans full grotesque facade breaks the red coloured emergency lights. Its face was a warped menacing satire, madness was bursting from its eyes.

“Alright, forget this, these freaks are toast. Open fire” he says coldly.

His squad voiced no protest. Plasma illuminated the wide corridor, the flashes of light reveals blood splatter dripping from the walls and torn corpses bleeding out on the floor. They burned gaping smouldering wounds into the former scientists and they collapsed into smoking twisted heaps.

Martinez reaches for his ultra-frequency transmitter and finds the display black and unresponsive. He stared dumbstruck at the broken transmitter. This was never supposed to be a possibility, not with present-day military hardware. A marine screams and hits the floor, then is dragged into the darkness by an invisible force. Green energy erupts and a horde of tall, hulking aliens teleport around the marines. Time seemed to slow as Martinez took in the malevolent sight. Aliens surrounded them, and they were much larger than any they had encountered before.

“Fire” he commands loudly, more aliens were teleporting into the area before he could finish voicing the single-syllable command.

The marines devastated the first wave and blobs of acid were hurled by the next. Another wave of teleporting demons arrives, the rasping energetic sound was like that of a nail in their coffins, a sinister moaning voice is heard over the deadly exchange.

“Spread out” Martinez commands.

The marines spring to evade and quickly resume firing. A blob of searing acid smacks into a squad mate’s helmet and begins devouring the surface and burns straight through the marine’s skull. The screaming was horrific, but the rest of the marines would face the same fate if they dared yield from their combat. The station’s module sector began groaning from some force applying stress to the structure. The demons drew closer, a perimeter of smoking charred pieces and ash were all that separated them from the marines. Large jawed demons charged from the latest teleporting arrivals and demanded priority as their sharp fangs drew closer. They fired straight through the demons and burned through the Hell Knights behind them.

“Throw your grenades” Martinez commands.

Holding their triggers, they each threw a grenade into the air, followed by another volley. Loud blasts sends severed alien limbs sailing. The area was clearing, but more demons were charging. Behind them, a completely foreign abomination appeared from the green energy. Two tall skeletal demons with shoulder-mounted hardware spawned, they lock their eyes on the squad of marines and screech loudly. They fired a dual projectile from their shoulder-mounts, the last thing Martinez would remember is being caught in the explosion when the rockets struck their streams of plasma.

This was another book that was very easy to enjoy. Station Rage has action and intrigue, beginning with some history of DS9 and the Cardassians, building into scenes of espionage and eventually into guerrilla warfare on the station.

On the space station, Deep Space Nine, in an unexplored area, Starfleet discovers preserved remains of several Cardassian warriors from Cardassia’s distant past. Captain Sisco, worried about having a diplomatic dispute with the Cardssians, orders the area sealed off, but the horrors lurking within have only just begun to emerge. Garak, an exiled Cardassian and the only alien of his kind welcome on the station, recognizes the legendary High Gul among the bodies, a celebrated military tactician from Cardassia’s past upon whom countless myths of courage still surrounded. What appeared to be corpses were actually live beings trapped in suspended animation for a far longer duration than the technology was designed, still waiting to be revived.

Before long, the station is occupied by determined and highly experienced soldiers that have an intimate knowledge of DS9’s technology. The Cardassians, running on eighty year-old intelligence, assume they are still at war and perceive Starfleet as a hostile occupying force. After the systems of DS9 begin to malfunction, Captain Sisco deduces that a hostile force in on the station and he orders all non-Starfleet personnel to evacuate the station and begins sweeping the station for intruders. The aliens setup an elaborate trap for Odo, the station’s shapeshifting security chief, by trapping him and lacing his body with explosive materials, leaving him unable to change form without risking detonation.

Nearing the end, the action picks up when a single Cardassian vessel arrives, demanding Starfleet to hand over their intruders, Sisco’ refusal leads to the station being fired upon by the Cardassian ship. Sisco and his crew rush to the USS Defiant to defend the station from the attacking ship, but are intercepted by the intruders and are drawn into a phaser shoot-out. Captain Sisco is hit by a deadly blow and Kira is kidnapped by the invaders and forced to assist them in launching the vessel. Kira’s revulsion of Cardassians is again brought to the surface when addressing the High Gul aboard the Defiant. The High Gul’s character is likely the best parts of this book and his dialogue here with Kira is excellent. He is able to mold Kira’s attitude of Cardassians by being truthful and making it known that he is from a time well-before Cardassia’s genocidal campaigns on Bajor.

Kira’s prejudice is gradually broken and she agrees to help them pilot the starship and engage the attacking adversary from the High Gul’s past. The ensuing ship-to-ship combat was very satisfying. The Defiant faces off with no engineering crew, making each command critical. One wrong move could easily cripple the Defiant. After defeating their attacker, the story quickly wraps up on a somber note.

Overall, this is very much the type of book I like to read. This was a very action-oriented story. I highly recommend Station Rage to anyone with the slightest interest in science-fiction. If you enjoy an intriguing story with action, stealth, station-wide emergencies, phaser shoot-outs and a gripping space battle, then take a look, you won’t be disappointed.

*Happy 22 anniversary to the DooM series*

Chapter VIII – War Machine

A quiet hum was all that could be heard of the engine from within the bridge of the Echelon. She was cruising at a Mach-five, the ship’s computer estimated the time to arrival was twelve minutes. The marine was using a tiny energy emitter to give himself a badly needed shave, he swung his chair toward an adjacent terminal and studies the inventory of the ship’s armory. There were pistols, machine guns, chainguns, two BFG 9000s, and an experimental battle-mech; “Wow”, the marine said to himself. He had only ever seen the blueprints for these war machines, he never saw one for himself. He couldn’t wait to test it out. It was eleven feet tall, heavily armored with shoulder mounted chaingun and grenade launcher, it had sharp looking wings used for flight, which also can be changed into a sword for a specialized fighting mode. It was shining metal with clawed digits on the hands and feet that retracted when not needed. The marine put the Echelon on auto-pilot and abandoned the bridge for the armoury. He had to get the battle-mech ready for combat. He abandons his mega armour to operate the mech.

Space Ship

Miles ahead, the soldiers he was assigned to rescue were under constant attack from an endless demonic battalion. Streams of plasma would fly one way, while fire, electricity and rockets flew back. The survivors had been fighting the hordes back for days and kept having to retreat because the mountains of corpses they made was constantly threatening to trap them. The surrounding landscape had deteriorated rapidly. The sky was red, trees were burnt, the dried earth had deep cracks in the ground. Suddenly the Echelon appeared in the sky, accompanied by a loud bang. The survivors, undaunted, continued fighting. The ship maneuvered to a lower vantage. The marine, suited in the battle mech, was riding a cargo elevator to the top of the ship. Controlling the ship from the mech’s computer, he moved the Echelon towards the fighting, its defence systems were set to commence firing automatically.

The marine found himself looking down at the ground, vertigo was apparent in his mind. He studied the mechs targeting data, selected the largest group of aliens, then warmed up the chamber of a BFG he attached to the fixture of the discarded mini-gun. The chamber reached its maximum force potential and he let the energy bolt fly. He extended the wings of the battle mech, jumping from the surface of the Echelon, he glided toward the carnage. At that moment, the BFG bolt reached the ground and detonated, sending body parts shooting from the center of the explosion. The marine was gliding toward the ground, the commander of the survivors on the ground signalled the battle-mechs radio unit. “Sweet Jesus, its fine to see you. I don’t know where you got that battle-mech but I’m just glad your here”, said the commander. “All in a days work, do you have critical targets?” “My technician is sending targeting data to your ship’s tactical systems”.

Fracture concept art, Lucasarts

The marine studies the targets. The BFG took out a large number of the monsters but more were approaching, in greater numbers from outside the blast radius. The marine fed commands to the Echelon to target weapons on the largest group of demons. The big, beautiful ship used the zero-gee thrusters to perform a cartwheeling maneuver that swung the ship towards the demons with its plasma cannons facing out. The ships plasma cannons charged, making a loud high-pitched whine that could be heard for miles. Then, large blobs of plasma impacted against the first in a battalion of Hell Barons. They didn’t know what hit them, the plasma instantly melted the Barons to soup. The ship began circling the charred blast radius of the BFG bolt, melting hundreds of monsters each moment. The battle-mech dove through the air, towards a garrison of Pain elementals and Mancubus monsters. He flew above them and pulled up, while squeezing the grenade launchers trigger. Bombs of exploding napalm scattered across the field of demons.

The Mancubus exploded into burnt, stinking flabby chunks and cybernetic parts. Pain elementals melted grotesquely as the burning napalm seared their flesh. From above, the Echelon maneuvered at unthinkable angles, while blasting streams of plasma that was charged to tens of thousands of volts. Entire sections were scorched from the battlefield, while enemy fireballs and rockets deflected against the ship’s shields. The battle-mech would swoop in every so often with another bombing run, while the survivors on the ground continued firing with chainguns, plasma rifles and railguns. No one had noticed it yet, but several Cyberdemons were slowly approaching the loud battle. A few streams of plasma came too close for comfort to the survivors, their commander signalled the marine for an ordinance strike on a group of Arachnotron that broke ranks to flank the survivors. The marine handled the mech’s thrusters while he charged the BFG. A moment before it would have exploded, he released the mammoth blob of energy at the offending robotic spiders.

As the blob of energy sailed along, the mech’s targeting computer alerted the marine to five approaching targets of considerable mass. As the marine scrutinized the data, trying to identify the threat, the BFG bolt detonated, bathing the atmosphere in a green glow. The commander came over the mech’s radio, “Thats a fine piece of work, soldier. If we’re going to evacuate, I suggest we do it now”
“Stand-by, commander”, the marine replied.
Squinting at the targets on his computer, he identified the approaching Cyber-demons. “Negative, Commander. My computer reports several immense aliens approaching. I’m sending you my targeting data”
“Roger that, marine, standing by”.

Doom 3

Among the deafening sounds of flying plasma and explosions, Commander Thompson studied the hovering image in the light projecting from a holographic data-disc. A group of giant Cyber-demons were marching toward them. She barely noticed the words “Oh s***”, leave her lips. She and her men had seen the insides of many demons, but never the legendary Cyber-demon with her own eyes, only in intelligence reports from her scouts. The Echelon could only deal with Cyber-demons one at a time, it wouldn’t take much for the other four to permanently put her out of commission, and without her, they were doomed. The Commander had a weapon that could save them, but it had never been tested. It was the Commanders last resort, the gravity vortex device. The weapon was a metallic coloured rectangle on track wheels, used for remotely moving the device into position. Once initiated, specialized liquid molecules would simulate the crushing effect of a planets gravity upon a specific location. In theory, it could reduce a skyscraper to scattered piles of its most basic molecules. It’s designed to tear a target to chunks, then into bits, then tear the bits to molecules; then hopefully they’ll be able to shut it down before it starts tearing apart the scorched face of the Earth.

Arachnotron and Revenant quickly emerged from piles of steaming corpses. The Commander responded over the radio, “Marine, we have a contingency plan ready for this scenario. We are deploying a dangerous untested weapon. You are advised to command the Echelon to the coordinates provided for imminent rescue procedure. Time to weapon activation is eight minutes, starting… now.” The marine had been busy charging the BFG chamber when he got the rapidly spoken message. Quivering bio-energy hurled toward a frantic mob of many different aliens.

From their great distance, the Cyber-demons fired their rockets toward the Echelon. The marine was already in the remote piloting program for the ship. He fired the starboard thrusters and the ship hovered to the side as three rockets sailed past it. Using the zero-gee thrusters, the ship swung in another impossible cartwheel maneuver, the ship came to a hovering stop and the plasma cannons fired. The plasma impacted a few rockets that were targeting the survivors. He then input the rescue coordinates to the auto-pilot program. He disengaged the mech’s hovering thrusters and slowly, he began to fall. He swung his guns towards the the raging mob of snarling monsters and squeezed the triggers, spending as much of his reserve ammo as he could before jettisoning the weapons from their fixtures.

He was falling faster, he activated the specialized fighting mode from the mech’s computer. The wings on the back of the battle mech made mechanical whining sounds and folded in on itself, it then made a wrenching sound as it twisted and made a triple bladed sword. The mech automatically grabbed the sword and a pistol from a hidden holster. The targeting controls turned around, revealing another console behind it. The monitor turned from the dull green targeting data to a wide screen of vivid colour. Just before touching down, the mech automatically burst the thrusters, hovered above the ground for a half a second before completing his descent. Gripping the control sticks, he swings the sword around, decapitating several Mancubus, he then began making wide vertical slices through Revanent and Vagery. Vagery were all around him, they gestured their hands to invoke a telepathic attack against the battle-mech. The marine could feel the strength of the psychic attack pulling against his war-machine. With their telekinetic ability, they were trying to pull vital components, but the structure was too strong. The marine proceeded to slice them to pieces. He ambushed groups of aliens at a time, slicing upward with divine composure; arms, blood and organs spilled through the air and coated the mech. He dashed toward another mob of monsters, firing the giant mech-pistol. The huge pistol round bored out huge cavities from the aliens, often killing two in one shot, their corpses flew backward. He tucked the sword close and charged into a group of snarling, large-jawed demons and swung the sword violently. Their demonic body parts flew through the air followed by ribbons of blood.

A green blob of plasma hit the mech in its side, he didn’t notice, but the attack registered on the mechs sensors. He leaped the mech into the air, then fired the hovering thrusters and pivoted toward the attack, more green plasma was sailing toward him; a battalion of Hell Barons was marching closer. He aimed the pistol for the Barons’ heads and fired slowly. The heads erupted into a blossom of gore. On the other side of the battlefield, the survivors fought their way to the Echelon. The gravity vortex had five minutes to activation. Within the cozy battle-mech, progress of the weapons deployment was shown on the monitors.

He activated combat-auto-pilot and began entering a series of commands to the mechs computer, then resumed manual fighting. A warning alarm came through the computer, “Thank you for activating the self-destruct mechanism. it is recommended for your safety, that you abandon this battle-mech in six minutes”. The marine continued hacking and slashing his way through the hordes of monsters as the survivors rushed to the ship for rescue. The Echelon’s artificial intelligence detected the survivors and accommodated them by maneuvering toward them, lowering the access ramp and opening a patch from it’s shields to admit them entry. The relieved survivors quickly ran through the gap in the energy shields and easily boarded the ship. Commander Thompson dashed straight for the bridge. Outside, the demons died in great piles, the Cyber-demons were almost in range, the secret weapon rolling toward them. From within the bridge, the Commander consulted her holo-disc as soldiers manned the vacant stations, only twenty seconds until the weapons activation and that crazy marine was still out there, she thought to herself.

A large scanning terminal dominated the center of the bridge, it was a flat grid on a table that emitted the holographic scope of the scanners on the ship. Large knobs were set in the terminals control panel, used for tuning and focusing the scanners imagery. She approached the terminal and switched to the aft view and used the knobs to focus on the marine, he was slashing the sword savagely against groups of aliens that fell in fives and tens at a time. Whatever that kid is on, I want some, Thompson thought to herself. The marine’s destruction was a display of unbelievable intensity. One of her soldiers regarding the terminal, asked “Where on Earth did he learn to fight like that!?”
“I have no idea…” the commander replied.