no chem reference, but please continue the story! Not accepted for the contest tho ~Duster
No, not really. This is a portion of my story to test the waters. I'm sure the judge-types will see what I mean.
A streak of green lightning pierced the shadowed sky, briefly illuminating devastation. Ragged polytitanium plates had been strewn throughout the field, half-buried in the red mud, some drooping, oddly pliant. A light rain wept over this lonely scene, hissing and leaving dark stains on the husks of what could be recognized as shattered tanks and other twisted, unidentifiable remains. At the edge of a ditch, an accumulating pool of liquid slowly crept up the prone figure of a humanoid armor; a gaping tear in the twisted helmet revealed the off-white remains of a sagging skull. In the distance, a muted roar became audible as a dropship arrived, flooding the ruins with a sterile white light.
Woods surveyed the broken remains, a foreboding sight of all that remained of the 6th Seige Cavalry Division. A subtle sense of despair swept over him as he let out an inaudible sigh. This was unspeakably ridiculous. Forty thousand of the best trained from Core, suited in the latest self-powered armors and supported by twenty hundred BG20 tanks and assorted vehicles. Utterly decimated in six minutes -- and by what? No one knew. A voice broke into his thoughts, fighting to be heard over the engines.
"How's it lookin', hey?" It was Thomson, the sniper of the outfit, yet the only one who couldn't sit idle for more than a few minutes. Ironic, that. His accuracy was undeniable though, and he was quite capable of functioning independent of a full team. Woods didn't think he merited a reply. Instead, he gave the pilot the go-ahead to touch down. Anything else Thomson said was drowned in the shifting whine of the dropship as it manuevered for a clear spot among the jagged debris. Woods held up a closed fist in clear view of the trooper compartment and his team, commanding a silent stand-by. Seconds after a deep thump shook the ship, a rapid open-close and sweeping motion sent his men out the doors and in position to defend their only way off this forsaken planet.
Woods followed shortly after, sliding the plexisteel visor of his armor shut. A swift look around showed Thomson and the other three he'd brought with him with weapons at the ready, backs to him and the craft. A small beep confirmed a stable connection of suit comm-links. "Alright gents, we're here. Hope you came ready to play in the sand." A double-beep before Thomson's voice filled his ear, "I brought my towel and everything, Ma." The figure on his farmost left patted the dark material draped over most of his armor -- a deceptively simple looking cloak that could render itself and anything under it near transparent to thermal and visual sensors.
"Six minutes?" Harper sounded impressed more than anything as he eyed their surroundings. Carrying an M4H automatic gatling cannon modded to carry a Thundergod missile on it's aft side, along with various other smaller armaments on his person that he could cobble together for near any situation, Harper packed the firepower of a small gunship. As his team never failed to point out though, he'd blow his load within a minute of actual combat. Nevertheless, the weapons-engineer's dual servo-enhanced armor cut an intimidating figure.
Woods shook his head. "Yeah." Harper had good reason to be impressed. If what could be seen bathed in the dropship's floodlights were any indication, the amount of carnage that had been wrought in six minutes could only be rivaled by several Emperor-class battleships. But considering there were only fifty of the things in existence spread amongst the Terran Front, the situation was mind-boggling. "Move due east -- keep an eye out for bogeys." As the dropship powered down behind them, Woods' vision went green, the suit compensating for the onset of darkness. The pilot would stay here.
The last zone of contact, and the temporary command center of the 6th Division, the area they were headed for had been protected by a large portion of the BG20's and twenty thousand men. A brief rudimentary scan before entering the atmosphere had shown no movement and nothing resembling life. That was a chilling confirmation. As per regulation for offensive forces, the command center had been maintaining an open link with the nearest Terran command station, a fair distance away. At 0454, a status three alert call had been transmitted. This was assumed to have occured upon first contact with the enemy. Two minutes later, a status one emergency distress call had arrived. Six minutes later, all transmissions had ceased -- the last message a simple, "Help."
"Hey." Thomson pointed a hand at a sagging plate. "Is that supposed to be like this?"
"This's acid rain. Spend long enough in it and anything'd melt." Sanchez's smooth voice sounded bored. "But look." Thomson took a good grip before slowly tearing off a large chunk, servos in gauntlet and metal whining. "It's polytitanium cheese." A snort from Sanchez. "Kinda like your brain." Sanchez tapped his rounded helmet. Thomson gestured at another plate a yard away. "But that one's not-"
Woods took a breath. "Let's keep it moving." They had other things to worry about. It'd taken several days for Core to be notified of the incident, and a team to be scavanged and sent for preliminary investigation. The tentative cause was listed as a malicious guerilla raid -- the motive and method was unclear. Woods and company were charged with filling in those gaps.
Sanchez mimed an exaggerated shrug at Thomson before turning away. Like Woods, Sanchez was a run-of-the-mill grunt -- no combat specialization to speak of. Good reflexes and a clear thinker though, and a pal from Woods' days in boot camp. Didn't get along well with Thomson, something about him being a "spaz". Woods hefted his standard issue P7 rifle before taking the lead.
As the group filed between the ragged debris at a measured pace, the extent of the devastation became steadily more apparent, the silence broken only by the intermittent thunder and the low hum of the armored suits. "Shit." Harper suddenly stopped to point at something Woods had walked by. The first corpse they'd found, and it's broken armor, half-buried under debris. "The fuck hit him?" The suit was completely intact save for the ragged hole torn into it's chest. A steady stream of darkly tinted liquid dripped from it's edges. Anything organic had long been dissolved.
"Like a fucking chainsaw went at it ..." Harper muttered. The group stood in a dubious semi-circle around the husk. Thomson stated the obvious. "But there ain't no chainsaw can go through an armor." Park spoke up for the first time since their landing. "I'm beginning to think we've put down in some deep shit."
Shaded in green, the polytitanium shell on Park's back reminded Woods of a turtle. Standard for all field medics, the "shell" could flare out to provide a modicum of cover as they dealt with the wounded. It also housed the various medical fluids that were injected into their patients -- a potent mixture of steroids, stimulants, and anesthetics.
Sanchez shrugged sincerely this time. "Nothing new."
"Fucking wrong." Harper pointed now towards the crushed remnants of a vehicle under the frame of an overturned, 16-ton BG20 tank. "Six minutes to take out an entire division. Six. Fucking. Min-."
"Moving on." Woods turned. "Keep your trigger company." There was no point in musing over the broken shell of an armor -- but the atmosphere was suddenly undeniably tense. As the team trudged through the dark and the mud, further into the heart of the outcamp, savaged armor began to litter the ground. All displayed signs of the same, ragged wounds, and all were devoid of any organic remains.
"Fuck me." Harper sounded on edge. "That isn't humanly fucking possible." He pointed at a particularly damaged armor in the open, one of it's legs torn off by a tear that extended into it's midsection. "You don't take damage like that from a projectile."
Sanchez laughed. "Does it matter? Focus on the mission, grunt." Woods nodded. They'd have a better grasp of the situation once they reached the temporary command center and were able to access it's digital records. It'd also been two weeks since the attack had taken place; it seemed obvious the offenders hadn't stuck around. Still, it bothered Woods more then he let on. The nature of the camp's destruction seemed far too personal for sense to dictate, considering the extent of the damage. The team had landed on the western outskirts of the Division's base of operations, and assuming the entire base had been similarly assaulted, that put them up against a force capable of covering approximately thirty square miles in six minutes -- literally tearing apart well-equipped and fortified battalions as they went. That this was the work of some fanatical guerilla sect was inconceivable. Unless they'd somehow developed a new form of warfare that frankly impressed and scared the shit out of Woods. The commlink beeped as it transmitted his words. "Steady, gents. We'll be in and out."
The team pressed forward.
Two miles from the command center, the omnipresent shells of savaged armor had suddenly begun to disappear. The odd limb or shattered part gave evidence that men had fought and died here as well, but far less than there should have been.
Thomson raised his hand. "Hey, Ma? I have a question."
Woods humored him. "Do you need to go potty, Thomson?" Thomson lowered his hand.
"No. Just wanted to ask; shouldn't there be more of these poor bastards lying around here? Seems like basic sense to keep your most valuable point the most heavily guarded."
Sanchez cut in adruptly. "Look, dickwad. We aren't here to count bodies. Let's just do, what we need to do."
Woods gave his head a little shake. Sanchez was feeling it, despite his flippant attitude earlier. Woods too, was struggling to control an overpowering urge to radio the dropship in. Despite it's desolate appearance, there might very well still be enemy forces grounded in the ruins. The scan from outside the atmosphere couldn't be relied on to catch rabbits under the brush; if there were enemy forces still around, it would be better to move under their radar -- the dropship had taken them as close as it could.
Park's comm beeped once. "Maybe there were survivors." He waved his gun around the barren field they were passing through. "Thomson's got a point. And there'd be no reason for the enemy to clean up after themselves, right?"
Woods shrugged. "We'll find out soon enough." The notion hadn't occured to him. If there were survivors, they'd likely go underground to avoid detection. Perhaps they had all abandoned post after witnessing the destruction headed their way -- including the command center. Sure ... but what about the scattered remains they'd been seeing --
Woods ducked behind the ragged wall of a bunker. A quick glance around showed his team had managed to do the same. "Thomson."
"I need a check on a live target 100 yards dead ahead of us." He'd barely seen the bogey, but it'd definitely had the silhouette of an armor -- and it'd been moving.
"Aye, sir." Thomson swept a hand under his cloak, pulling the length of a Hades rifle free of the magnetic sockets on his back. Guaranteed accuracy up to a mile and a half away, the high powered electromagnetic chamber fired pure iron rounds at speeds near that of sound; completely silent and absolutely fatal in the hands of a professional. The rifle had earned itself the name of the god of death.
A second later, Thomson faded from view. The rain had stopped, but the muddy ground squelched softly as he edged towards the wall of the bunker. Dropping stealthily to the ground, he slowly pushed his rifle out into the open, only it's muzzle free of the cloak's embrace. The attached scope fed it's view into Thomson's helmet.
"Spotted. It's a ..."
"Status?" Woods questioned Thomson.
"... He's a live one alright -- and a friendly." Thomson's voice betrayed his amazement. "Infrared markers identified as 6th Division." Woods chuckled. "Seems like you were right, Park!" He took a step away from the bunker before turning to the rest of his team. "Looks like we've got a few survivors we can talk to about this mess. I'll call in the dropship." The aura of tension that had settled on the team seemed to loosen it's grip.
"I can't fucking wait to hear how they're going to explain all of this." Harper shouldered his M4H cannon and strode into the open to begin trudging towards the survivor. Woods motioned for his team to follow suit as he attempted to establish a link to the dropship they'd left behind.
Then all hell broke loose.
Rofl nice title..
Very detailed; sometimes too much that it lost my attention, then again I'm not that interested in military so much. But very nice cliff hanger (are you going to continue posting more up? or is this it?)
There is more, and I'll probably post it up just to share since this group's contest thing was the impetus for it's writing. However, there is an entire little plot sketched out in my head, and only about 2/3 of it has been put down on paper. As such, I don't feel like treating something as trivial as an intarweb contest like an assignment or job, so I'm not going to rush to finish it. This means that I'll post it up later, whenever I get it done.
But yeah, half the fun in writing a story like this are the obscure weapon references! You'll see them in action soon enough.