First Contact short (re-write)

After grabbing some necessary feedback, I decided to re-write this particular piece of work.  Gotta say, I’m fairly pleased with the result:

Captain Rhodes frowned, his hands folded and resting against his mouth.  He watched the slow swirl of the clouds that covered Neptune pass lazily by his viewport.  Behind him, the wall was closing to conceal the viewscreen he took private messages on.  Today, he didn’t like the news that had come in.  He had just been ordered to kill the only living extraterrestrial Humanity had ever found, and to destroy the Temple he’d been living in – with no explanation as to why.  Sighing, he reached across his desk and grabbed two glasses and a glass bottle of a caramel colored alcohol.  Once they were closer, he reached out and pressed a button on his desk, and listened as a female voice responded.

Yes, Captain?”

“Send Lieutenant Sumner up to my office, please.”

Right away, sir.”  The comm clicked off, and Captain Rhodes sat back in his chair, letting out a heavy, audible sigh.  He removed his hat, setting it on the desk and running his hand through his hair.

As he looked out the viewport again, he could see the Temple – a Narelhen structure left when they resided in the Solar System over three thousand years ago.  Thinking about it always made the Captain’s head hurt.  These beings were cruising through the stars when the Roman Republic was just finding its feet.  The Temple itself was a mixture of Mayan, Egyptian and Roman-esque architecture.  That usually brought up the question of whether the Humans of that era had influenced the Narelhen, or if it had been the other way around.  He smiled absently at the thought, and a sharp knock at his door snapped him back to reality as quickly as he’d sought to leave it.

“Come in.”  The door hissed softly as it opened, and a soldier dressed in the all-black uniform that was common among the infantry of the USN entered.  The long-sleeve black jacket buttoned at the neck and at the wrists, and a zipper ran the length of the torso, black canvas pants were slightly baggy, and had pockets sewn everywhere, and the pants were tucked into black combat boots, laced tightly.  His hair was cropped short – by no means a requirement, but most infantry did it anyway – and his steel grey eyes looked to the Captain as he entered, snapping a salute and standing at attention.

The Captain returned the salute as he stood from his desk, resting his knuckles against the surface.  “At ease, Lieutenant.”  He spoke as the door closed behind the Lieutenant, clicking as the two halves met.  “Have a seat.”  The Captain motioned towards the chair at the other side of his desk and sat back down.  The Lieutenant, without saying a word, stepped over to the desk and sat down.  The two considered each other for a moment, before the Captain spoke again.

“Drink, Lieutenant?”  He reached for a glass and the bottle of alcohol.

“No, thank you, Sir.”  The Lieutenant raised his hand, and sat slightly straighter.  The Captain chuckled, and poured the alcohol anyway.  “You may need it after what I have to tell you.” Continue reading

Against Super Mutants (part 2)

The figure leapt down to the second floor through a hole that had opened up in what was left of the cement surface of the third floor.  The dust began to obscure the surroundings, and it made it difficult to find the way down.  He looked around for an easier exit, and exhaled heavily.  “Fuck it.”  He shook his head, and leapt down the last fifteen feet to roll into the debris on the ground floor of the tower.  Not giving himself time to rest from the fall, he was back on his feet, the duster he wore over his armor now more white than brown.  He sprinted hard to get out as the final supports collapsed and hundreds of tons of cement collapsed to the ground.  The cloud was enormous, and he dropped to the ground, covering his head to protect himself from any smaller debris that may still fall on him.

It took another minute or three for the cloud to settle enough for decent vision.  The figure sat where he’d landed, pulling his shotgun from the strap that hung it around his waist.  The Brutes and Master were sure to be waiting for him, and he certainly couldn’t let them live after they’d tried to kill him in that manner.  “Too smart for your own good, Mutant.”  He muttered, standing up with the shotgun ready for combat.  The cloud was still clearing, and he was having difficulty finding the three remaining Super Mutants.  “I thought for sure they’d be gloating about having brought that building down.”  He stepped forward cautiously, looking to his left and his right.  “Surely they didn’t run away.  Not like Super Mutants to do -”  Something large caught him across the face, and he staggered, his shotgun clattering across the debris as it fell from his hands.  He fell to his hands and knees, dazed.  “Found you!” One of the Brutes roared, grabbing him by the shoulders and picking up him off the ground.  “Quite a swing… you’ve got.”  The figure shook his head.  Seconds later his vision cleared, and he was staring right into the face of the Brute, that ugly sneer chuckling and beady eyes staring back.  The Brute turned to the direction, the figure assumed, that his friends were and shouted, “Over here! I caught the human!”  The figure took that as his opportunity. Time to see how dumb these things really are,  he thought to himself and tapped the belt attached to his armor.  As before, the armor rendered him invisible to the naked eye, though he remained in the clutches of the Brute.

The Brute turned back to face him, and a look of surprise crept over his face as he did not see what he expected.  The dust lingering in the area kept the illusion from falling so easily at such proximity.  Ignoring the fact that he still had a grip on the human, he opened his hands, and looked around frantically.  “Where did you go!?”  He bellowed, looking to his left and right.  Stifling a laugh as he dropped to the ground silently, the figure fished a frag mine from one of the pockets of his duster and pressed the red button at the center to arm it before dropping it into one of the pouches hanging off the Brute’s belt.  He then moved quickly to get out of the small, but potent, blast radius of the device.  “Right here!”  The other Brute yelled, “Where’s the human!?” Unfortunately, the second Brute didn’t get close enough to be affected by the frag mine.  “That’s what I was asking!”  As the first Brute was finishing yelling at his cohort, the tones from the frag mine grew high and fast.  A second later, it exploded, tearing a hole in the side of the Brute and throwing him like a Behemoth had kicked him in the side.  An agonizing groan was uttered from the Brute before he passed out, likely from shock.  He was as good as dead, anyway, with the amount of blood the figure could see pooling around various torn organs and shattered bones and spilling out over the broken rocks of the ruins.

The second Brute turned to run back to where the Master had been searching for the human when the figure leapt out of the shadows, a straight-bladed sword drawn from within the depths of his duster.  He pressed a button on the hilt and the blade exploded to life with electricity dancing up the blade, bolts jumping to random specks of dust as he pulled it back so his fist leveled  with his shoulder.  A split second later, the human let out a growl that quickly transformed into an enraged yell.  He drove the blade deep into the Brute’s back, wrenching a cry of pain from the monster.  The figure had driven it so deep that it passed clean through, entering just below the shoulder blade and exiting out the other side of the Brute’s rib cage.  However, he hadn’t counted on the intensity of the convulsions from the electrocution and before he could let the sword go, it snapped six inches above the hilt.  His eyes went wide with horror as the Brute dropped to the ground, minor spasms still shaking the body.

“Son of a bitch…”  The human looked at the hilt in his hand.  Then back at the blade that stuck out of the Brute.  He sighed and bent over to try and pull the blade out, gripping it with his gloved hand.  It didn’t budge.  He scowled, and stood up.  He put one of his combat boots up against the broken end of the sword and pressed, trying to dislodge it.  It still wouldn’t move.  He grew annoyed then, and stomped on the broken blade, pressing it further through.  He kicked again, and again, until the broken end of the sword had sunk just below the skin of the Super Mutant.  He stepped on the body to get over it and gripped the sword’s blade tightly, tugging it out of the wound.  The blade freed itself easily now, the wound beginning to ooze again now that the stopgap had been removed.  He twirled the blade in his hand, looking it over and paying careful attention to the broken end.  He sighed, twisting it around again and stabbing it back into the body.

There was no way to repair it.  A Chinese officer’s sword was hard enough to find in the D.C. Wastes, nevemind the parts that were required for the electrical circuitry.  He threw the hilt angrily at the body of the Brute, wedging it into the other shoulder.  “That was my favorite sword, too.”  He crossed his arms and looked around.  It was getting brighter.  Probably just the dust settling further.  “Now where’d your leader get off to?  He’s next on my list.  None of you are getting away.  Especially not after you broke my damn sword.”  He walked slowly over to where the shotgun had fallen when the first Brute had hit him, and knelt down, picking it up.  A quick glance satisfied him that it would still work, and he shouldered it and began searching for the Master.

He found the Super Mutant poking around in the ruins not far from where he’d finished off the two Brutes.  How he hadn’t heard the two of them, or the pop from the frag mine, he’d never know.  The Master had that damn Super Sledge shouldered, kicking debris out of his way.  The human engaged the stealth system in his armor, and once again he vanished from sight.  The plan this time was to finish this quickly, sneak up and end it with one shot to the back of the head.  He had more pressing issues to attend to, and the games with the Super Mutants had lost their appeal.  This would be quick, and then he could move on.  Or so he thought.

As he approached the Master, the Super Mutant suddenly turned and before he could pull the trigger to end the fight before it began, he was knocked off balance by one of the Master’s powerful feet and fell to the ground.  The Super Mutant stopped cold, looking down at the invisible body.  The dust had dispersed enough that at this range the illusion did not work nearly well enough.  The sneer turned into a sadistic grin, and the human felt all the air rush out of him as the Super Mutant’s foot caught him square in the midsection.  He rolled fifteen feet through the debris, losing his shotgun and the stealth generator for his armor in the process.  The Super Mutant stalked after him, picking up the shotgun and crushing it in his massive fist, tossing the scrap aside.  He took the massive Super Sledge in both hands and raised it above his head mid-stride, seeking to drop it on the human’s head and finish him.  The figure came to his senses enough that he was able to roll just out of the way of the hammer strike as it threw debris and a large cloud of dust into the air.  The Master stopped for a moment as he tried to pull the hammer out of the debris.  This would be the human’s opportunity.

Coughing, he got to one knee as the Master freed the hammer.  “Quit squirming and die!” The Super Mutant shouted, bringing the hammer up once more.  Timing would be everything in the next few seconds.  The human waited, visible, as the Master brought the hammer around to swing again.  The swing sought to cave his skull in, but the figure rolled at the very last possible moment, his body jarring slightly from the shockwave of the hammer.  But, the Master had again wedged the hammer into the debris that surrounded him, and the human took this as his signal.  As he rolled, he pulled the sniper rifle from off his back and took aim.  Thunder again rolled around them as the sound from the rifle echoed off the various buildings, bouncing this way and that.  Silence fell over this small region of the D.C. ruins, and the human heard the casing from the last round ring softly off the cement.  The hammer no longer had an owner attached to it.  It stood, stuck in the ground attempting to impersonate Excalibur.  The Super Mutant stood in shock, having staggered back a foot or two, looking down at his chest.  The modified .309 bullet had blown a hole in his chest.  Not where the human was aiming, but it would work all the same.  After a few seconds, the Super Mutant’s body seemed to catch up with his mind, and his eyes rolled into the back of his head, falling with a crash into the dust.  The human let the rifle drop beside him, and he lay flat on his back staring up at the roiling clouds that passed over the ruins now.  That was an adventure he’d not soon repeat if he could help it.

Against Super Mutants…

First part of a fanfic I’m working on with a friend.  This is my character, and how he ended up at the meeting ground for the two’s epic battle. 😀

—-

Where’d he go!?” a deep, menacing voice bellowed.  A group of Super Mutants stood in the center of a ruined building.  The north face had long since collapsed, eroded to dust.  The other three walls stood firm, though they were ghosts of their former selves, and several floors had fallen through to leave nothing but a foot or two of ‘standing room’.  The Super Mutants, with their green-brown flesh and hulking, muscular forms, stood out among the ruined grey of the building.  This made them easy targets.

A crack like thunder erupted suddenly from somewhere above them, sending a perfect shot straight through the head of one of the lesser Super Mutants.  The opposite side of his head exploded, splattering another of the nearby monstrosities with brain, blood and bone.  A flash of the shooter was all the Super Mutants were able to get before it vanished behind a fallen piece of wall three stories up.  “There!”  The leader, most likely what Wastelanders referred to as a Master, pointed to the position where the figure had gone into hiding.  The remaining Super Mutants opened fire with their various weapons.  Bullets of various calibers pelted the cement, raining dust and debris from the upper floors as the fallen wall was torn apart. Continue reading

“Ruination”

Another short piece within the First Contact universe, “Ruination”.  Enjoy!

—-

Vaering turned his eyes outward, over the crowds, and felt a swell of pride. So many people had come out to see the completion of the project. So many others had actually contributed their time and efforts to see the project realized; Like his friend Skjord. His eyes moved to observe the hulk of a Narelhen and then noticed that Skjord, along with the other Order leaders, had focused on a small group of people. As if snapping out of a dream, Vaering realized that the constant drone of hundreds of thousands of people had ceased. An eerie silence had fallen over them and as he searched for the cause his eyes again fell on the small group of people.

It was the Council! He, like the rest of The Order, snapped to attention as they approached the small dais that had been constructed at the base of the tower. But he only counted five among them. Where were the other two?  The lead member rose a hand, a hand that shone as brightly as the spire behind them.  He, like so many of the subspecies of Narelhen, was cybernetically enhanced.  The Order troops relaxed, and the Council turned to face the throngs of people who had gathered.

The lead Council member stepped forward to lean against the small Dais, his robes falling over his hands before he reached up to pull the hood back.  More metal shone in the warm sunlight, and a grin had crossed his face. Continue reading

“First Contact” Short

 

“Kill it.”

“Sir?” A soldier stood at parade rest in front of a large screen, a well-decorated man sitting behind a desk on the other side.

“Kill the alien, and destroy the temple.”  It took the soldier a moment to comprehend the order.  “Do you understand?”  The man added, more than a little irritation creeping into his voice.  The soldier roused himself from his daze and snapped a salute.

“Y-yes, sir!”  he replied.

“Good.”  The man had grown impatient and turned the screen off.  The soldier noticeably relaxed, despite having been ordered to destroy the only sign of intelligent life humanity had come across.  Sitting down at his desk, he stared out the viewport at the temple, shadowed against the blue-green swirls of Neptune.  The soldier would have to send down a group of soldiers, enough to do the job and contain the research team working in the temple.  He’d have to give the order to just do it, rather than notifying the research team of evacuating.

He sighed, reaching across his desk for a bottle and two glasses.  Next, he placed his hand on a button, listening as a female voice responded.

“Get me the Lieutenant for the marines stationed with us.”

“Yes, sir.  I’ll send him directly to you.”

Five minutes later, a knock echoed through his office.

“Come in.”  The soldier was standing at his viewport, his back to the door as the Lieutenant entered.

“You wanted to see me, Captain?”  The Lieutenant saluted as the Captain turned around, returning the salute.

“At ease, Lieutenant.”  He moved behind his desk.  “Drink?”

“No, thank you, sir.”

“You may need it after what I have to tell you.”

—- Continue reading

A Piece of “First Contact”

 

USNS Odyssey, stationary above Mars’ first moon, Phobos

August 22nd, 2532

Zander and I were walking down the hallway to reach the shuttle that would take us back to the surface. We needed to talk with Alpha about the incomplete cores, and if there was any way to obtain a completed code.

“Do you think he’ll actually give the code to us?” Zander asked me. A group of soldiers went sprinting by, pushing us to the wall. Zander was surprised, but I was starting to get angry.

“That’s the third group that’s gone running past!” I shouted, watching them continue towards the shuttles. “Where could they all be off to in such a hurry?”

“Got me. Maybe it’s a drill.”

“Wouldn’t the rest of the ship have been notified? It’d be a bit safer.” We continued walking. “And as for the code, he may. It’s certainly worth asking.” We reached the shuttle bay a few minutes later, after two more groups had gone by us. I asked the operator in the bay, but he didn’t know either. I shrugged, and walked with Zander to the shuttle that we had been using to get to the surface.

Shuttles were small, with a capacity of fifteen to seventeen people. We were the only two on this one, though.

“You guys aren’t going down armed?” The pilot asked, and we found this strange.

“No, why would we be armed going into the ruins?” I answered. Had something happened on Phobos, and that’s where all the soldiers had been running?

“Dunno. A few of the other pilots have shuttled down a platoon of infantry grunts for something going on inside the ruins. We don’t know much besides that.” I looked to Zander, worried.

“We need to get down there.”

The shuttle lurched out of the bay it rested in and into the empty expanse of space. After a minor course correction, it shot towards the surface. The ride didn’t take long, maybe three minutes from start to finish, but even that wasn’t fast enough for me. I could only imagine what was going on inside the base that would require an entire platoon of infantrymen. The pilot gave us the green light, opened the doors, and I rushed out. Before I could make it to the door that led inside the base, a soldier grabbed me by the collar of my uniform, dragging me around a corner.

“Hey!” I yelped, falling. I had been so wrapped up in my own thoughts, that I didn’t notice the entire platoon standing on either side of the base’s entrance. The soldier helped me up, and apologized for being so rough. Zander caught up a few moments later.

“What’s going on?” The local channel clicked on with his question. I was busy dusting myself off.

“I was just about to ask the same question.” I turned to look at the soldier who’d pulled me down. He shouldered his rifle, and explained that the AI running the base had gone insane, starting to attack any USN soldier who entered. I was confused. That didn’t sound like the Alpha that we’d been studying with over the past few months.

“Are you sure it’s the same AI, and not a defense system?” I questioned. He was. “And do you have any idea what caused the sudden shift?” He didn’t. The platoon had been sent down after a distress signal from a squadron that was patrolling the base.

“My ass that’s all they were doing…” I muttered to myself, keeping the comm channels closed. I looked up at the Odyssey. What had Captain Rhodes ordered? “Well, what’s the plan, then?” I pointed the question to the soldier, opening the channel again. They were supposed to try and get inside and shut down the AI. “Any idea how to do that?” I asked. He shook his head no. “Thought so.” I walked over to the door, and the soldier reached for me again.

“He’ll be fine, sir.” Zander told the soldier. I held my breath as I stepped out in front of the doors. I certainly hoped he was right. I waited a few moments, exhaling heavily when I realized I was still holding my breath. Nothing happened.

“Next step…” I breathed, keying in the codes to enter the base. The door slid open with a hiss as the airlock chamber depressurized. I stepped inside, and Zander stumbled in quickly behind me. “Risking it with me?” I asked him, opening a private channel.

“Of course. He wouldn’t hurt us.”

“Are you so sure? Remember, he runs on processes and directives, not on feelings.” I hated to admit it after we’d become such good friends, but in the end he was still just a machine. Zander nodded.

“I guess that’s a risk we’ll have to take. We need to know what happened.” I nodded, and keyed in the second code to enter the base. The doors closed heavily behind us, and the chamber began to fill with air. After a few more moments, the second set of doors opened with another hiss as the chamber pressurized to the interior. I stepped cautiously out of the airlock, and looked down the hall. The base felt deserted without seeing Alpha there to greet us. Continue reading

Introducing: Meredith Cross

Alright.  I think I’ve only got two characters left to do after I post this one, and they’re relatively minor.  Writing should start soon, which means I won’t be updating every single day, but probably once every few days, or maybe once a week.  Anyway, here’s Meredith Cross:

Meredith was born in Alaska, of the Atlantic State, in 2510. When she was young, her parents moved to Russia, of the Asian State, in order to work on the Phase Engine systems for the USN’s new flagship, the USNS Odyssey. She developed an interest in space very early on, and her parents often brought her to the USN base where they worked. Because of this, she was able to witness the hundreds of launches that occurred on the base, ferrying supplies and manpower into orbit for the Odyssey. Her dream has always been to go into space.

In 2530, at the age of 20, she was tapped by the USN to enlist as an Intelligence Officer. Her college scores impressed the USN Brass, and they felt that she could handle the great amount of data that they would be receiving from the Odyssey. She thought this was her chance to finally go into space, and she was crushed when she found out that the team would be based on Earth instead of on the Moon. So for now, she still awaits the realization of her dream.