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.

Taking place on the planet Ironhold, this series begins with fresh recruits to the Jade Falcon military clan. The youthful hopefuls were bred through scientific methods meant to make genetically superior warriors. They’re known as Trueborn. The story follows Aidan, a Trueborn recruit and his group of trainees as they advance through the path to becoming Mechwarriors. Unfortunately for Aidan, his instructor is the demanding and cruel Falconer Joanna who takes an immediate dislike to him and takes delight in making his training as unpleasant as possible. As the trainees progress, inferior recruits are flushed out of the training program, pitting them against each other.

The Jade Phoenix clan is portrayed as being relentlessly aggressive in even the most relaxed moments. Major disagreements within the clan are settled in the ‘Circle of Equals’ where warriors would fight to decide an outcome. This book doesn’t have as much action as other Battletech titles, focusing more on clan attitudes and procedures and Aidan’s experience as he goes through clan training.

After training is complete, the remaining recruits face the six ritual combat trials. Succeeding will grant the trainees a position within the clan. During the Trial of Position, Aiden uses bold and risky tactics which almost pays off, but his battle mech is disabled at the crucial moment, ending his chance of joining the clan. He is flushed out of Mechwarrior training and begins a new career path, but it won’t be long before destiny brings him back into the cockpit of a battlemech.

Overall, I wish I started reading Battletech much sooner. I can’t recommend it enough. There is a great blend of technology, action and clan culture. The book also has some artwork tucked into the pages, a glossary of terms used and schematic drawings for each battlmech type. If you like action, science fiction, or just a great story, you can’t go wrong.

This book is a great introduction to the “Clans” but if you’re interested in reading details about the Inner Sphere or want a bit more history of the Battletech Universe as a whole you should check out Scribd. 

As mentioned in previous posts, Scribd has an excellent selection of Battletech novels. However they are somewhat out of sequence as I’ve discussed earlier and this book is considered #2 in the Legends imprint. This simply wouldn’t make any sense so I strongly urge you to read Decision at Thunder Rift by William H. Keith Jr. first.

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.

Chapter 3

Martinez and his squad marched through the corridor after passing the air-lock, arriving at the entrance to Alpha Labs. The corridor was undergoing maintenance, it had bare panelling and conduits left hanging open, a step ladder and a pair of toolboxes lay upon the floor. Sergeant Martinez taps a universal control panel on the wall and brings up surveillance footage from within the facility. The small monitor displays groups of frightening creatures moving through the blood splattered corridors. Their bodily features were flooded with the darkest shadows, sharp fangs and glowing red eyes pierce the dark veil.

“Sweet Jezebel” Martinez says, taking a step back in shock, “Is that what they’re calling ‘aliens’? They’re more like bloody hell-spawn” Martinez exclaims.

“What do you propose, loading these rifles with holy water?” taunts one of the Marines.

Doom SC1

“I think hot plasma will suffice” he says without a trace of humour. “It looks like they’re right
behind this barrier… assemble Tango-formation and rifles to full auto. We’re not giving them an inch” states Martinez.
The squad formed into three columns, rifles pointed at the sealed door, Martinez stood in the front-centre column.

“Alright, Marines. We’re gonna turn this facility into a ****ing ashtray” he says, then levelling his rifle. “Computer, open security barrier 00-2B” Martinez commands. Obediently, the door lifted upward and animalistic snarls and grunts, along with a nauseating aroma, spilled forth from the passage, a blur of movement triggers the Marines and three streams of plasma erupts from the rifles. Sounds of agony in an alien tongue beckoned them forward.
“Advance” commands Martinez, still squeezing his rifle’s trigger. The aliens were rapidly cooked by plasma, sending out plumes of ash and littering the floor with smoking, sizzling chunks which was crushed into crumbs under the Marines’ boots.

A short distance from the passage’s threshold, the hallway was intersected by another corridor. The rear column Marines flood the adjoining corridors as alien forms continued to fall to dust. The marines on point drop empty energy cell canisters to the ground as they reloaded and resume firing, the canisters impact the floor with hollow clangs. The number of aliens before them dwindled, two marine swing their rifles towards the intersecting hall as Martinez finished off the last of the large-jawed demons before them. The adjoining halls were flooded with the large-jawed stompers and spiked shadowy creatures with a humanoid form. Low-sounding snarls, flashes of sharp fangs and hissing tones filled their senses. The heated, foul aroma of death hung in the station’s cycled air. A spiked arm extends its sharp claws from behind an advancing demon, the closest their attackers would get. The Marines’ reload, making another chorus of clanking energy cell canisters. The hordes of demons began to shrink as the piles of black chunks and ashes grew. The Marines laid waste to the remaining demons and released their triggers, the sounds of flying plasma was drowned in the emerging silence. Smoke rises from their rifle’s energized prongs, the floor littered with scorched chunks.

Doom SC2

“Christ, what the hell were those things?!”

“Those weren’t aliens, those were God-damn demons!” the Marines exchange.
Demonic grunting came from the corridors beyond. Sergeant Martinez’s mind went racing, ‘This was a vast number of hostiles. If this is going to be a typical engagement, we could face some serious danger’ he thought.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think we need more firepower. Numbers like that could easily overwhelm us in the right conditions” he explains.
Martinez reaches into his pack and hands out bundles of energy grenades held together by a clip.

“Use the grenades as often as needed, we can’t allow them to get that close again” he explains.
“Alright, let’s move out” he says.

The Marines move deeper into the facility, toward the otherworldly sounds.

Moon base

Elsewhere, the station’s Chief Administrator Alexander Burvochov, his assistant Pauline Wolfe, the Alpha Labs Director and other UAC executives were in an Administrative Division conference room, a few buildings away from the Alpha Labs facility. The room had grey walls and a lush green carpet that was woven with a simple, industrious design, a window stretched from one side of the long rectangular walls to the other, displaying brilliantly shining stars. A long conference table with several luxurious chairs filled the centre of the room and the ceiling was dotted with circular lamps fitted into the ceiling.
They we’re watching events unfold on the large holo-monitor with clinical expressions.

“There it is, again!” shouts Pauline Wolfe, pointing at the monitor “They’re bypassing security barriers”

“There’s no way! How in the…?” stammers Director Lawson.

The Chief Administrator watches in silence, confusion painted upon his face, his arms crossed across his chest. On the monitor another group of aliens appear from a flash of green energy.

“Ya v osádke” says the Administrator, emphasizing his surprise in his native Russian tongue. “They can breach Alpha Labs anytime” he says.

He reaches for the communication panel in the table and calls the engineers in the Fusion Power Plant.

“Hey Chief” says an Engineer on the line, “we’ve cut the power to the teleporter as you asked. The physical connection is severed, but the damn thing is still running” explains the Engineer.

“Yáscik” curses the Administrator. “Cut all power to sector” he commands in his heavy accent.

“You got it chief” he says, tapping the control panel in front of him. “Sector-B is now in the dark”

“Good, keep off grid unwess authorized by Pauline or myself” he instructs.

“Yes, sir” replies the Engineer.

Alex closes the channel, then runs a hand along his face in frustration.

“Alex,” says Director Lawson, “you know that we won’t be able to monitor the Teleportation Chamber without power”

“Well, I can’t justify to myself sitting here doing nothing. I don’t know how or why, but something is powering that test chamber” Alexander says loudly.

“Hmm, I suppose that’s sound reasoning” the Director replies.

“I seriously hope Marines can deal with this, losing Alpha would be enormous loss” Alex says.

A loud scream of pain erupts in the conference room from Senior Analyst Portman.

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing” shouts Director Lawson.

Alexander turns from the holo-monitor to see Pauline Wolfe wielding the knife she keeps hidden in her tall boots, Senior Analyst Portman was taking his final tortured breaths, freely oozing knife wounds upon his chest and face, his right eye protruded grotesquely from the attack. He lay struggling to breath as Pauline continued to attack in a blur of fast, delicate movement. She moved from one victim to the next, slicing with wide, deliberate sweeps. Alex watched her approach the Director with dark, menacing eyes, her blade dripping with blood. Director Lawson tries to evade by moving to the opposite, far side of the conference table, she leaps onto the table and tackles the Director, pinning him against the wall and rapidly sinks the blade into his chest. The conference room was suddenly filled with death. The possessed Pauline had killed six UAC executives, their pools of blood were still growing and staining the fine carpet, the walls, table and chairs were speckled with red droplets. The Administrator was frozen from shock.

Batruger

“Jebat’ ” he swears softly, “Pauline, what have you done?” Burvochov manages.

After continuing her slaughter for a few more seconds, she casually turns her glowing eyes toward Alex, gently rolling her neck playfully. She rises from before the dying Director, absently extracting the knife with the motion as she stood.

Pauline’s face was drenched in shadows, she steps toward the Administrator with delicate steps, seductively swaying her hips, her eyes rapidly shifting in brightness and tone. Alex staggers back until his back was against the wall as the former-human stalked closer. The Administrator was awestruck by the intensity on her face, the odour of nearby pools of blood assaulting his senses, his mind began to spin as clouds filled the edges of his vision. Pauline grins devilishly as she licks the blood from the blade. Alex was overtaken by her shifting hypnotic eyes, his mind slipped into darkness.

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.

Spaceship

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.

Chapter I

After launching away from the Deimos moon base, the small escape pod sailed along the orbit of the red planet, a small metallic sliver in the dark vastness of space. On board, some of UAC’s top-level researchers watch as Deimos disappears before their eyes. Empty space crawled along the craterous surface, enveloping meter by meter. A final escape pod zooms away from the surface, just before the moon vanished from its orbit. Stunned silence filled the cabin of the pod as Director Will Banks, Susan Carmichael, Victor Kronos and Rupert Nexson stared into the emptiness.

Star Wars escape pod

“What the hell was that?!” shouts Victor
“It’s gone, the whole damn thing is gone!” Banks babbles.
“Unbelievable” says Nexson softly.
The sub-space relay began flashing as it began picking up a series of emergency transmissions from Space Marine High Command, UAC Central and others from the Phobos colony. Susan touches the receiver and listened to a transmission from Phobos.
The channel opened with an initial blast of static.
“To anyone who can hear this…” an explosion is overheard in the call, followed by sizzling electronics “…need immediate rescue” static muffles the voice, “…Repeat, Phobos is under attack”.
The Director buries his face in his hands.
They listened in silence as static overtook the channel until the pods computer interrupted their distressing thoughts.

“Video linkup established” it was from Councillor Crawford, overseer of Aerospace operations. “Hello?” He says, “What’s going on with the Deimos colony? We’ve lost contact with all channels, a total black-out!” he rants, the Councillor was wearing a suit with an ambassador’s stripe along his chest. They paused in hesitation. “Well?” the Councillor asks impatiently.
“Ah…There was a problem with the Gate B teleporter” the Director begins.
“It’s unleashed something horrible” he says. “The teleporter has triggered an infestation of feral alien creatures and the reason for the blackout is…” he says barely holding composure.
“…we just witnessed Deimos disappear”

“What?! Have you gone mad?” Crawford asks, shifting in his seat, his brow wrinkled in frustrated disbelief. “What do you mean?”
“It was crawling with energy, likely from the teleporter. We literally just watched it vanish from it’s orbit” Rupert explains.
Councillor Crawford stared grimly.
“You mean to tell me that Deimos just blinked out of existence? That the colonies are gone?” the Councillor asks angrily.
Rupert exchanges a sharp breath, disbelieving what he was about to say “That is affirmative” he replies, the Councillor’s image darkens with anger.
“William, do you really think you can feed me this horse ****? Tell me everything you know!” Crawford demands loudly.

image

William’s eyes dart from side to side, face flinching nervously.
“Well, uh…” he begins, the Councillor’s eyes watched unmoved.
Nexson watched, knew they were about to say too much. He approaches the console.
“We’re going to have to get back to you, Councillor” he says, reaching for the disconnect icon.
“Rupert, stay away fro–” Crawford angrily shouts before the call was cut.
The Director let out a sigh of relief.
“Thank you, Rupert” he says.
“Listen, no one can learn about our involvement. If they dig into top level operations then things are only going to get worse for us” Says Nexson.
“Right, we’ve got to get this sorted out” William agrees.
“Video linkup requested” the computer chirps.
“You can guess who that is” says Victor, the notification repeated as they stood in thought.

“The moon is gone, there’s nothing to investigate. The only evidence was in the computer logs, they’re gone. Our sub space channels are secured, they can’t be accessed” reasons Susan.
“That’s right, except…” says Rupert “…Corporal Revok and Major Mills know we were in Echo Labs when it was locked down” he says grimly.
Victor was first to speak after another moment of contemplation.
“They don’t know that for sure. All they know is that we were on the monorail. We can just say that was misheard” Kronos schemes.
“Okay, good. We’re going to say we were coming from performing audits at Computer Station K-3 and that this was caused by a maintenance accident. We can’t risk exposing the Paranormal Division” states Rupert, his syllables clipped in a serious tone.

Location: Phobos, UAC Colony, Central Processing

Frightened personnel dash along a winding hall, they could hear hideous snarls getting closer from behind. The three of them were nearing collapse when they reached a long stretch, the Data Storage Vault was at the end of the hall. The hallway was bright, hexagon tiles line the floor and strips of beige cushioning with a leathery surface rounded the circular reinforced walls. Various conduits of gas, water and optical cables ran along the ceiling in a grated cabinet. They reach the Data Vault and Dr. Manning looks into the retina scanner.

Sci-Fi vault

“Authorization Accepted” echoes the computer voice. Warning lights flanking the vault began flashing brightly, a buzzing alarm filled their ears. Two marines turn a corridor behind them.
“Bogies at two O’clock” one shouts. They opened fire on the approaching creatures behind them. Despite the brightness of the hall, the creatures advanced with a cloud of ensuing darkness. A slight quake was heard within the vault and the doors began to slide apart, two other barriers behind it began to unbolt and open. They scrambled through the still widening passage, then look back toward their saviours. The marines were ensued in their duties.
“Christ, these are some ugly mothers”
“There’s so many, where the **** are they coming from?” they casually exchange as they sprayed fire. They steadily held the rumbling chainguns with skillful expertise.

Dr. Diane Stone shouts to the marines, but her words were cut off by the sound of rapidly bending metal. A sealed door next to the marines was quickly ripped from its frame by large dark claws, revealing a towering creature with furious red eyes, loudly stomping the hexagon tiles with hoofed feet. They swing their guns toward the advancing creature, it reached its arm back and a swirl of shadowy, green energy swam along the valleys of its massive hand. They were already firing when it left the demon’s hand. They make their final move when they dodge the blob of plasma, the demon had been stomping ever closer. The marines tried to spring backward, but the massive creature grabbed one by the throat with one clawed hand, slamming the other marine into the wall in the process.
“Urp…Help…me” manages the marine as the grip tightened. It begins tearing his limbs, accompanied by grotesque sounds of ripping muscle tendons and popping joints, the surface of the passage was dripping in blood.
The other marine climbs to his feet and runs toward the vault. The huge creature was already stomping toward him.

“Close the doors!” the marine shouts into the vault, tucking his chaingun closely, Dr. Manning taps the command icon. The creature’s stomping grew faster, it was a few meters behind as the marine passed the first of the large narrowing doors. He quickly dashes through the passage, the creature was steps behind when Dr. Manning quickly shuts off the vault’s sensors. They watch as the creature grips the edges of the final door, the vault budged only minutely against the demon’s strength. The vault continued to close, slowly crushing the beast. It roared loudly as bones snapped and blood leaked freely to the floor. The unfeeling vault crushed it between the three barriers as they closed, spewing a stream of bloody matter as it came to a final state. Blood runs down the seams of the vault.

Chapter XIII – Devil in the Dark

From there they only met some light resistance, soon they made it to the structure. It was a writhing blob of orange and red flesh, the discoloration of veins protruded lightly from below its surface. Surrounding it was a moat of bubbling blood (or what looked like it), a bloated, sharp-toothed creature occasionally broke the surface. The UAC researchers on the moon were meticulously scanning it. A giant tongue served as a bridge leading to the only entrance. As they crossed over their boots made a sucking, squishing sound. They turned on their armour’s flashlight and entered the structure. The inside has coiled, fleshy walls that dripped with slime and steam rose up from below.

They stepped inside and the light from the entrance soon disappeared, in the distance they heard what sounded like loud stomach rumbles. The passages pulsated in an organic fashion, many were very narrow, the marines moved through it without any idea what would lie ahead. The walls would stick together and they would have to nudge it to move through. They came to a empty medium sized chamber, they were cautiously making their way to the other side when they were attacked by appendages that leaped from the floor in the centre of the room, they latched themselves onto their armour and pulled them down. Digestive acids surged from orifices in the floor and caused lethal amounts of toxic humidity. The test-marine turned toward the tentacles and fired his chaingun into the flesh covered floor, the appendages snapped off and they made their way into the next passage. They slowly moved along, yanking the tentacles from their armour. Mega-Armour saves my ass again, thought the Phobos-marine.

They moved through the fleshy passage and heard a buzzing sound ahead, it got louder as they approached the next chamber. They pushed through another folded passage, it peeled back, stretching a of web viscus fluid against the surface of moving flesh. It revealed a slightly smaller chamber buzzing with swarms of Cherub, a disturbing fusion of infant humans and alien genetics. Neither of the marines had seen these before. They were floating clumsily through the air and crawling through small passages high up in the walls. The Cherub swooped toward them, screeching and buzzing with their claws extended. The marines took aim with the shotgun and pistol and fired, the abominations turned to dripping pieces. More of the freaks swarmed into the room. The test marine emptied the pistol’s magazine, taking down several of the small creatures. The monsters attacked but were unable to overcome their superior firepower and splattered against the walls.

imageThey made their way through another passage before coming to a very large chamber, the strange growth seems to have grown over a modern community center. Some of the original features remained but the building was being consumed. Walking slowly, they carefully check for the threat but all was quiet, save for the sound of slime dripping from the ceiling. They then heard a slithering, sucking sound coming from above. A large creature had crawled from an orifice in the flesh covered ceiling. Its huge, shadowy body streaked across the walls. The marines raised their weapons and fired the plasma and grenades but the monster was too fast for them to hit, it darted to a far corner and stared at them with a hundred red eyes. The sight of its eyes confirmed their belief that this was Baphomet, the icon of sin. It was all black and moved on four legs that ended in webbed feet that provided suction for moving along steep angles. It also had a large tail, sharp fangs and claws. The test marine dropped his grenade launcher and lifted his chaingun, firing quickly. The line of bullets streaked across the walls, the shadowy creature shot yellow energy causing the Phobos-marine to dive out of the way as the creature continued to evade.

The creature roared when it was struck by the gunfire. The Phobos-marine got to his feet and fired rockets. The creature jumped from the wall to the ground and knocked down the Test-marine with its tail, then shot another bolt of yellow energy, the other marine had to dive for cover, he found that his armour was partially charred. The creature had leaped back onto the wall and appeared to be regenerating its wounded flesh with its piercing eyes locked onto its prey. They fired again, but the creature had leaped toward the Phobos-marine and grasped him in its teeth. The marine responded by shooting rockets down its throat, while the Test-marine pelted it with gunfire from close range, he was soon swatted like a bug by the huge alien.

A series of explosions sounded from within the creature, it spat out the Phobos-marine, his armour was crumpled and coated with dripping mucus, while the other marine was recovering from being thrown against a column. The Phobos-marine wiped the slime from his rocket launcher and struggled to replace the magazine. Ka-boom! The alien was facing the chewed marine when the side of its head erupted. Roaring, it moved toward the attack, whipping his tail toward the Phobos-marine, forcing him to roll out of the way. The alien was greeted with another explosive to the face, it made a disturbing series of fast clicking sounds as it winced in pain and then clawed at the Test-marine, its claws seemed to morph themselves at its will. He went dashing to the side, one sight of those growing claws got him moving for better cover.

The alien stomped around and fired another ball of energy, black blood leaked from it’s mouth. The Phobos-marine fired rockets that hit its side, it turned and threw more energy. The Test-marine had climbed to a second floor landing and aimed the chaingun at the creatures temple and fired. The creature cried out in the strange clicking sound, the rockets finally fell the beast, it scraped at the ground trying to regain it’s footing but was kept down by chaingun fire. The Phobos-marine gripped his BFG 9000 and aimed at its huge head and fired after a short charge-up, it made a large crater in the side of its giant skull, black blood oozed freely from the gaping wound. The Icon lay defeated and the building rumbled, the mysterious growth slithered away from the building, causing some of it to collapse. They easily walked out of the building to find that the growth had disappeared, leaving behind a gross, bloody residue. The marines made their way down a path of slippery stairs, away from the slimed, dripping community centre.

They walked for some time until a strange zipping sound caused them to turn back. The growth that had enveloped the community centre was shooting up to the sky in small columns. Red matter could be seen from far away, converging above them. Dread gnawed away at them as they looked at each other with worried expressions, then up at the sky. A small blob was forming in the sky, it got larger as more of the red substance shot toward it. “I think we should move” “Yeah” they said to each other.

They ran along a stone path in a connecting park that was thoroughly charred. The red blob had grown large enough to take up a large part of the sky above them. The substance stopped shooting up to it and the mass took the form of a large, circular cloud with an empty space in the middle, it churned with many shades of blood-red. The anomaly was scanned meticulously from the moon colony, the sight of the blood-red wormhole against the charred Earth was unbelievable even for the objective UAC researchers. The wormhole seemed to focus and follow the two marines, they ran for any escape that they could find. The wormhole swirled with fast intensity and the marines were sucked from the Earth, along with lots of debris, into the angry storm. They had no time to think or act as they were dragged into the churning maw of hell. The UAC sensor equipment recorded the whole event, they watched helplessly as the greatest fighters mankind may ever know were again swept into the unknown. With the defeat of the Baphomet, the portals stopped appearing on the Earth’s surface and most of the alien activity had been neutralized, but the mysterious and bloody wormhole continues to churn in the skies above the Earth.

 

End

Chapter XII – Hell’s Keep

The marine fell through the portal, spinning head over foot through thin strands of throbbing energy. He fell through an alien sky toward an unknown world, a large circle was below. An invisible force oriented him and guided him gently to the ground in the centre of the circle, Hell Knights and Cyber-demons could be seen in the area beyond. Looking around, he found himself in the centre of a circle of tightly assembled slabs of stone, energy from the portal continued to radiate upon him from above. He looked at the ground, ancient bones protruded from the dry dusty ground and eyeless skulls looked up at him, spewing a steam-like gas from below the ground. It was a hellish stonehenge that rose five stories high.

The marine walked out to explore the area but found he was being pushed back by some force. A breeze swept through his mind, a thousand voices called out to him. The voices were animalistic but seemed to imply a query.
“Why were we summoned?” the voices asked. The voices plucked the answers from his mind. The voices commanded a louder tone, “You have violated our sacred conduit” the screaming voices implied. The marine could feel the presence moving through him, the Cyber-demons began to slowly stomp around the outside of the structure, watching the marine with eyes of pure hatred.
“You are much like the other,” the voices said in a slithering voice, making the marines skin crawl. “Hell’s icon will consume you both” said the voices clearly. “Baphomet!” The name echoed through the area.

image

Before his eyes the hellish dimension began to fade and the Earthly realm appeared between the clouds of shifting atmosphere. The marine reached toward it, he stumbled and bumped his way through the rift. He stood in the centre of a free-way lined with crashed hover-cars. The imagery of destruction shocked the test-marine, being trapped in a computer simulation for so many weeks he had no idea that the demonic invasion had occurred. He rationalized that whatever he had been fighting on that Phobos hangar seemed to have made the Earth it’s new home at some point. How many of my people have perished? Surely, Earth’s forces can’t fight like he did on the hangar moments ago—Wait a minute, what happened on the hangar? How did I-? Explosions in the distance brought him back from his troubling thoughts. A very strange structure was in that direction, likely a stronghold for these monsters he thought. It looked like someone was fighting in that direction, he made his way toward the sounds of explosions. As he trekked along he soon saw some moving green light followed by a sound of imploding energy. Someone was in that direction was using a BFG 9000, whoever this person is they’re my new best friend, he thought to himself as he quickened his pace.

A few kilometres away, the other marine fought onward. Despite his enhancements from the mega-armour and a previous injection of the BSK serum while on Phobos he was getting fatigued. The constant onslaught of demonic invaders was unrelenting. His nano-enhanced chainsaw was slicing through several imps at a time, stinking carcasses trailed behind him. He pushed the saw against a demon’s head, a large slice of its scalp fell away, blood splashed freely. He spotted an Arch-vile, he heaved the plasma rifle and charged toward it. The Arch-vile shot a stream of fire after him, he ducked behind a car, firing burst from behind. The alien made a hideous roar in defiance and threw another volley of fire. The marine dodges and ran toward the alien.

The charred monster raised it’s clawed hand, poised to strike. The marine jerked the chainsaw, the blade flipped out and came to life. He cut off the offending arm and then thrust the saw through its chest and pulled it upward, the blade exited through the top of the alien’s skull, exposing steaming organs and splattering blood and bone. He heard the growls of more demons approaching, he kept his chainsaw at the ready as he continued along. He soon came across a mob of Lost Souls, a few shells from the shotgun shattered them to pieces. More of the flying skull monsters accompanied by Cacodemons and Pain Elementals attacked. The grotesque floating orbs were moving in a ‘vee’ formation. The marine gripped his shotgun and more Lost Souls fell to the ground in pieces. He was in the process of stashing the shotgun in favour of the rocket launcher, when an explosion ruptured against the side of one of the cacodemons, cratering that side of its bloated body, exposing mysterious organs. It fell to the ground with a splash of blue blood. Who could that have been? Surely the Echelon didn’t return he thought to himself.

image

Shrugging, he turned his sights on a Pain Elemental and let the rockets fly, he was hardly in a position to turn down the help. Lost Souls flew toward him and were shattered against his bare fists, one of them was kicked hard enough to send it high into the sky. He continued firing rockets at the remaining aliens accompanied by the efforts of the marine from the test chamber. He was firing a grenade launcher he got recently from a former human whom he promptly disarmed, (literally). The floating bloated freaks burst wildly under both of the marines co-ordinated attacks, sending chunks and blood flying.

They kept their distance and silently traveled to the demonic structure that was growing larger in the distance. They passed by scenes of destruction, buildings were reduced to rubble, impaled and burnt bodies of the marine’s countrymen scattered the city, and they had to climb around the rubble of an intersection that collapsed into the sewer tunnels below. Oh—and it smells like rotting s***, luckily the helmets of the mega armour filtered out the odour. Soon, they heard a low rumble coming from South-West. They moved toward the sound and, using the advanced functions of their helmet’s visor to scope out the source of the sound, they could make out an army of Hell Knights moving to intercept them.

“Get psyched” said the Phobos marine. They took their positions and fired at the aliens. The projectiles traveled two hundred meters before exploding against the targets leaving a small crater surrounded by blood, limbs and organs. The platoon of Hell Knights changed their direction slightly and moved toward the marines, throwing balls of burning plasma. They were covering behind a partially destroyed wall. The blobs of plasma sizzled against the bricks. The test-marine lobbed grenades over the wall, while the other blindly fired plasma from the corner.

The grenades killed off pockets of the platoon, the plasma slapped against the facing side. The Phobos-marine gripped his BFG and broke for more cover near-by. He then dashed closer to the aliens and took cover behind a toppled bus, his BFG was charging when he jumped onto it. The blob of convulsing energy flew through a pocket in the aliens’ formation. The resulting explosion decimated the surrounding Hell Knights, those that were closest to the explosion suffered complete disintegrated. The test-marines’ grenades provided support, the Phobos-marine jumped down and unleashed quick succession of rockets, defiant, the hell knight roared and threw plasma. Crack-boom. The test-marine’s grenades cut their frustrations short.

A horrible choir of alien voices sounded. Arch-vile emerged from the collapsing platoon, they immediately began using their mysterious abilities to resurrect the fallen Hell Knights, while others shot flames back at the marines. The Arch-vile raised their arms above the pathetic remains of the charred aliens as the remaining Hell Knights advanced on the marines. Light glowed brightly between the Arch-viles powdery, pale hands, chunks of burnt flesh began to bounce and roll toward them, ashy remains twirled through intricate swarms. The chunks and ash flared red brightly, it soon resembles churning flesh. An unimaginable sight of bubbling and stretching flesh quickly took the form of the alien reborn. The sight caused the test-marine to lift off his helmet and vomit loudly. The other marine shrugged, its not the kind of thing one would ever expect to see. He fired another BFG round, the green blob sailed toward the Arch-vile but was intercepted by a Hell Knight and detonated prematurely, the Arch-vile stood unharmed and attacking. The Phobos marine jumped out of the way just before flames engulfed the area.

image

The Arch-vile approached the demons who had recently fallen and resurrected them quickly, the Hell Knights sprang to life, tossing plasma. The scream of a chaingun sounded, lightning fast gunfire tore across the battlefield. The test marine emerged with fire in his eyes, the chambers on the gun turned wildly, another gift from the former humans. The Phobos-marine gripped his shotgun and advanced on the dwindling horde, he rolled to evade plasma, then took aim at a Hell Knight’s head. He fired, reloaded and fired again, the aliens skull blew apart, revealing its green brain. He then took to punching craters into the chests of the Knights, the gunfire drew the attention of the aliens. He drew close to an Arch-vile and unloaded his plasma rifle in multiple bursts at it’s head, which promptly turned to ash. The Hell Knights fell defeated, revealing the remaining Arch-vile, running madly. They were caught in the crossfire of plasma and bullets, they were soon wiped from existence. The victorious marines stood before the smouldering remains of thousands of aliens. The alien structure lay closer than ever, they wasted no time.

Chapter X – Lunar Monolith

The Moon colony sat in a large crater below a black starry sky, sunlight beamed against a large black monolith. UAC headquarters. The large, black building had long, wide slits in its surface that served as windows, the UAC logo was lightly etched against the surface of the building. Dr. Kronos rode the monorail, it was surrounded in a tunnel of metal supporting frames that housed shielding emitters, used to give the monorail its own breathable atmosphere. A set of doors opened as the car approached the building, he got out at a small platform and walked through a featureless door that was as black as the walls that housed it. The car continued along to a circuit station. Kronos took the elevator to the 22nd floor, it took him directly to the conference room. The other members of the meeting had also just arrived, they each stepped in from the corners of the room and simultaneously walked toward the brightly lit doughnut shaped table, situated in the center of the room.

Location of the UAC colony
Location of the UAC colony

The central chair swirled around, revealing Chief Administrator Dr Rupert Nexson, who stood and regarded his colleagues. They silently took their seats. The meeting was attended by Dr. Kronos, UAC’s highest authority on the portal phenomenon; Dr. Barrows, the head geologist; Dr. Clyde, highest authority on xenobiology (aliens); and Master Corporal Revok, head of strategic planning.
Nexson regarded Kronos, “What is your report?” he demanded.
“Success, containment field shows great promise. I endorse the advancement to level six testing” was Kronos’ prompt reply.
“Hmmmm, this may be the last experiment using the BSK serum that we can attempt for some time, make sure your people stay sharp. If you botch this experiment, I will personally shoot you into the heart of space without a thruster module.” said Nexson. “The experiment will be executed with the greatest precision, sir”
“See to it”.

Iron Sky
Iron Sky

Nexson continued, “Well, I’m sure your all interested in what happened to research lab Delta. Dr. White somehow managed a portal accident during a routine transfer of test subjects, and it looks very much like it will have to be destroyed. Kronos, you will be assuming Dr White’s duties, medium-priority” Kronos silently accepted the assignment. “Barrows, I understand you have something you want to report.”
“Yes, sir. I think we may have found another source of influence for the aliens” he says. The doctor tapped his data-sheet and a holographic image of the scorched Earth appeared in the centre of the conference table. A portion of the Earth glowed in red, illustrating a particularly badly infected area. “This area began showing some very strange bio readings, so I conducted another analysis and found this mysterious structure”, the image zoomed in closer and focused on a red bulge that seemed to breath up and down. “I think this structure should be considered a primary military target… although I have to admit that I have only a limited understanding of what it is, I gave these findings to Dr. Clyde for a review. Do you have anything to add, doctor?” said Barrows. Clyde had a short beard and was smoking a pipe.
“Yes I do.”, Dr. Clyde replied, “After a thorough scan of the anomaly, I believe were looking at a unique life form, its unknown where its organs or its higher intelligence centres are located. It is theorized that this growth is the result of psychic meditations of an extremely advanced being, likely located in an adjacent dimension. If you intend to destroy it… most conventional means will likely suffice” he said, thoughtfully gesturing his pipe.

Corporal Revok cleared his throat, “I seriously doubt that nuking that blob will make any difference, the resources it would take to strike that target would likely be put to more efficient purposes should the situation become more volatile” he said.
“What is the situation with the xeno-missions?” asked Nexson, regarding Revok.
The Corporal shot up in his seat, “The situation is the same, I can’t communicate with those who have passed through the portals and the hardware from your precious Alpha labs have never survived any longer than four minutes during field tests. Deaf and blind, thats our situation” A silent moment passed as the Corporal and the Administrator exchanged loaded glares. The Corporal stabbed at his data-sheet, an unfinished map appeared in the centre of the table. “This is all the scouting we’ve been able to do of this damned dimension, we still have entire continents to be explored before we can find the remaining spider-minds. I can’t endorse another deployment under these circumstances, were running out of men and you know very well that soon enough, we will be deploying our own families through those portals”

Iron Sky
Iron Sky

Behind Nexson, in the window, research lab delta exploded, sending debris mushrooming into space. Nexson looked irritated by the sudden loss, then composed himself to respond to Revok.
“I’m aware of this, Corporal. The deployments will continue, we can’t afford to lose the only foothold we have in the alien world”
The Corporal’s eyes burned with rage, as brightly as those of a Hell Knight.
“Alpha labs had better deliver and fast…or we will all pay the consequences” said Revok.
“Do you have any idea how much-” a tone sounded, cutting off their heated discussion. Nexson slapped a button and a dull hologram appeared, its light buzzing quietly. “What?” snapped Nexson. “Sorry for the interruption, sir. I think you would want to be informed that a corporate vessel has just come on sensors” Nexson suddenly looked very pleased.
“Really? What sensor unit are you monitoring it on?” he asked.
“A-42” the hologram responded. He rang up a visual of the vessel on his terminal, the image appeared in the centre of the table.
“Now where did this beauty come from?”

Commander Thompson was jogging to the bridge of the Echelon, the pilot had something for her to see. She stepped onto the bridge and asked what was going on.
“Take a look at this” he says, gestured toward the scanning-terminal, the Earth’s moon slowly turned in the holographic light. It didn’t take long for her to see that there was some some sleek looking buildings on the surface.
“It caught my attention when something on the surface exploded, look at the etchings on the largest building.” said the pilot. The Commander gripped the tuning knobs and focused on the big black building, the syllables fell from her lips.
“UAC” she said, stunned. “This must have been some emergency plan of theirs, I certainly never knew this was here” she said.

A green light began blinking on a console to the right.
“We’re being hailed” the pilot said. “It looks like they see us, too” She hoped for a friendly response and opened the channel.
“Attention, pirates,” came an emotionless voice from the speakers, “you are in unlawful possession of UAC property. Surrender the Echelon peacefully and immediately.”
Thompson slapped the communications panel. “This is Commander Thompson, we are not pirates, we had no idea you were operating out here, or at all for that matter”
“Irrelevant” came the cold reply.
“In case you didn’t notice, we just came out of a hellish war zone, we have a lot of wounded on board that are being accommodated by the medical bay.” pleaded the commander.
“Stand-by” came the response.
“Typical UAC”, The Commander fumed “They think they own the whole galaxy”

Starfighter

On the holo-monitor six small ships leaped from the moon and charged toward the Echelon. “Oh, hell!” cried Thompson, she quickly slipped into a command station and brought the weapons system online. The plasma turret warmed up and the missiles were loaded under automation. “I have a lock”, said the pilot. “Missiles away.” The missiles flew from the rear and turned toward the incoming ships. The fighters shot two of the missiles, the third struck and destroyed a fighter, shrapnel from its hull impacted the shields of the Echelon and bounced away. “Engage attack speed and pull hard to port” called the Commander, the ship pivoted toward one of the fighters. She wrapped her hands around the turret controls and fired blobs of plasma, the small, fast ships easily steer around her shots. The Echelons shields were put to the test, the fighters swooped in and fired. The Echelon limped away, the fighters were too fast for the huge vessel. “Missiles away.” Thompson shouted, the missile’s lock chased a fighter, Thompson fired plasma turrets from the other direction. Plasma erupted the hull and the missiles caused the small ship to explode.

Damn, that felt good, Thompson thought to herself. Four fighters left. The ship continued spraying plasma, the fighters dove and swooped around it. Two of the attacking ships came around and attacked the Echelons plasma turret. The shield sputtered and the following volley caused the weapon to rupture brilliantly, the debris floated away from the ship. They fired another group of missiles, the remaining fighters destroyed them with a flourish. Other fighters positioned themselves along each side of the Echelon.
“Attention pirates, we have identified your command centre, surrender or be destroyed” came a firm voice from the ships speakers. Thompson slapped the control for the ship-wide intercom. “Attention, all hands. We are about to be boarded by UAC personnel, do not resist.” Thompson tweaked the comm channel to close and opened the one to the UAC. “Echelon to UAC, we surrender. State your terms” she said.
“Put all weapon systems offline and open all space dock doors.”

Chapter IX – Untested Hardware

The gravity weapon rolled to a stop twenty-five yards from the Cyber-demons. The weapon sprouted two metal arms and plunged them into the dried soil, anchoring itself; it then spun open, revealing thin metallic prongs surrounding knotted tubes of red liquid. The prongs began spinning around the liquid as they flexed at varying degrees, radiating energy was emitted from the prongs, used to cushion the molecular effects of the red liquid. An electronic hum was rising in intensity from the weapon. The Cyber-demons continued approaching, unaware of the trap set in their path.

The Commander lifted the Echelon into the air, targeted multiple enemies and fired the plasma cannons. The marine continued fighting the hordes of monsters, their numbers were beginning to shrink, he hacked and slashed in smooth, graceful movements. It was a savage dance of death, blood spilling freely around him. The gravity weapon spun faster and faster as the build-up of energy continued. The gravity vortex shot out from the machine in two giant ribbons of fluttering energy. The waves of energy fluctuated, the machine worked to stabilize the energy beams. The Cyber-demons were in the thick of it when the ribbons of energy became perfectly flat and reached high into the sky, it became four columns of spinning energy. Small and large objects were swept away by the vortex and instantly burst into pieces; cars, trees, boulders and small structures were sucked into the vortex and torn to shreds on impact.

Doom 64
Doom 64

Viewing the vortex from the Echelon’s bridge was stunning, strobing light flooded the compartment, small monsters were sucked from the ground and thrown helplessly into the vortex. The five Cyber-demons found themselves being drawn into the columns of energy, they fired their rockets into it, exploding harmlessly against the surface. They split into two paths and attempted to move around the vortex. They stomped around the column but their powerful hooves began slipping under their weight as the gravity vortex pulled them closer.

The marine was still in the midst of his epic combat, corpses in many piles and blood flooding the ground. The intensity of the battle had lowered, in the distance he saw the Cyber-demons aiming their cannons, fused to their arms, at the vortex and fired wildly. Their furious roars of frustration could be heard over the deafening strobing sound of the vortex. He activated the auto-pilot program and ejected himself from the battle-mech. The mech blew out an upper hatch and the entire control seat, terminal, controls and all flew out at an upward angle, streams of jet propelled him away from the aliens remaining on the battlefield; he gripped the control sticks and steered himself towards the Echelon. The battle-mech’s programming was already running, it had dropped its weapons and began running toward the vortex.

DooM RPG
DooM RPG

The Cyber-demons fought against the force of the weapon, their cybernetic components were torn from their flesh, they smashed against the surface of energy and fell into thousands of tiny pieces. The monsters desperately gripped the earth, trying to back away but they continued to slide closer as metallic cybernetic parts were pulled out and streamed into the vortex. Their arm-cannons were soon stripped bare, the bolts fitted into their metal hooves began to fly out. The metal leg twisted under the giant demons weight. The survivors on board the Echelon watched as the Cyber-demons had their metal hooves stripped away. Their furious roars grew in intensity, one fell clumsily against the column and bloomed into a bloody mist.
“Where did they get those cybernetic parts?”A soldier asked the commander.
“The best theory I’ve heard is that those parts are what became of much of the UAC property that went missing during the events of the teleporter accident” replied the stoic Commander. Soon the remaining former Cyberdemons fell and were consumed by the spinning columns of energy. They were thrown into a putrid cloud of bloody particles, a defiant roar was cut short by sudden demolecularization. A large cloud of red demonic molecules surged above as small objects continued to fly into the vortex. Aboard the Echelon’s bridge, the survivors cheered when they saw the messy demise of the once feared giants. Commander Thompson reached into her pocket and flipped her holo-disc into the air and let it land into her palm. It turned on and she selected the gravity-vortex program.
“Here goes nothing” she said and initiated the program’s emergency shut down command.
The weapon made a high-pitched sound as the machinery tried to stop the energy beams from firing. The weapons hardware made a terrible screeching sound, exhaust pipes shot out and pumped plumes of smoke, the smoke came a little at first but was soon exploding with coloured gases. The beams of energy began fluttering wildly in all directions. A loud pop radiated from the weapon, the beams straightened and continued spinning.

“Damn it”! Shouted Thompson. “Error. Weapon malfunction has resulted in an incomplete shut-down. Please exercise emergency procedure golf-victor-one”. A schematic of the weapon was displayed on the Commander’s holo-disc, a component was flashing in red colour. The emergency energy conduit melted in the open position. The marine had ditched the ejected command module and was running toward the Echelon as the battle-mech ran toward the gravity-vortex. The Echelon used it’s zero-gee thrusters to make a fast spiraling descent toward the marine; without the mega-armor weighing him down, he ran toward her at a good pace, passing many angry aliens along the way. He leaped through the air and caught the steel stair-case of the ship’s access hatch, the aliens were close behind him. He swiftly climbed up and grabbed his only grenade, he popped the cap and twisted the top. The grenade glowed green, he threw it down the access hatch. He watched the aliens amassed below the ship, the grenade sailed toward them. The ship drifted away, the aliens’ attacks deflected off the ships shields. He remotely detonated the grenade when the ship was a safe distance away. A rippling burst of plasma tore through the horde as the battle-mech continued moving toward the vortex.

Doomguy
Doomguy

The marine exited the airlock and accessed a universal command console and input coordinates to the navigation system. Fire and plasma balls sizzled against the Echelon’s shields as the zero-gee thrusters pivoted the mammoth ship, the ship hovered motionless for a moment and then fired its main engines, its sound from outside was apocalyptic; the Echelon sailed away from the malfunctioning gravity vortex device. The doors to the bridge split open and the marine strolled inside, wearing his mega-armour and holding his helmet at his side. His smiling face was coated in sweat. He hadn’t had any social interaction since before the Phobos incident and his close encounters with the omni-dimensional aliens stained a twisted expression on his face. Commander Thompson was inwardly taken aback by the marine’s intense composure. Thompson saluted the marine.
“Christ, that was some crazy fighting, never thought I’d see anything like it”
The marine snickered loudly, “That war machine made things easier, it just happened to be in the ships armoury” he replied.The Commander turned to the scanning terminal and adjusted the knobs, the holo-terminal focused on the image of the malfunctioning vortex.
“Unfortunately, we failed to shut-down the gravity-vortex device”. The marine stepped toward the terminal and compared its data with the data on his armour’s holo-computer. “The mech is set to self-destruct, the reserve of BFG ammo should give us enough punch to take it down” said the marine. On the monitor, the battle-mech came running into the scope of the scanners, moving toward the weapon. The advanced structure of the mech withstood the extreme forces of the vortex. The marine remotely detonated the mech just before it would have impacted the energy column. The explosion filled the view of the scanning terminal and briefly jammed the sensors with its bright illumination. When the static cleared, it was revealed that the vortex was gone.

The crew put it upon themselves to rescue three other groups of survivors. The marine used the ships advanced scanners to determine where the centre of demonic activity was occurring. Strangely, the most activity was coming from an area that the marine had frequented regularly before being transferred to the Phobos base. Further scans revealed a very large portal operating in the area. Because of the heavy infestation in the area the crew had to drop the marine several miles from the location. The Echelon’s crew made some more rescues, they then took the ship high into the sky, beyond the atmosphere and set her into orbit.