Author: Isaaac Clarke PM
We follow a group of six characters who've been chosen to survive the end of the world by an organisation named 'Project ArkAngel'. This organisation has also built a device named, 'The ArkAngel', its purpose being to ultimately save the world. As the Survivors try to come to terms with the possibilty of losing humanity, they learn just what one must sacrifice for the greater good.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Suspense - Words: 1,088 - Updated: 02-22-13 - Published: 02-21-13 - id: 3102934
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter One: Sidelines
The sudden cry of "Mortar fire!" was the first thing that awoke Captain Richard "Starky" Damson. At the age of twenty-five he was the youngest Captain in the 24th Armoured Division, but that hadn't stopped him from being one of the more respected. Having been transferred to the 24th straight from Stanford Military Academy, he'd quickly risen to his Captaincy through his sheer tactical acumen and his ability to circumvent any opposition, something he needed as the first shells hit the camp.
After he quickly clambered down from his bunk he ran out of the tent, having slept in his uniform, and assessed the camp ground in an instant. They'd been at war with the Insurgents for two years, dealing with guerilla-style hit and run attacks, but they'd never tried anything like this, they were going all out and that worried him.
The camp was situated on a shelf of cliffs that had once been Helmand Province, but three years of The Decaying had seen a drastic change to the environment. Instead of a flat, rolling desert tundra, cliffs and mountain ranges stood there as tall as the Empire State and lighting cracked the starless, night sky like a hail of stones through sheet glass.
Intelligence said that this section was completely out of the Insurgents reach. But, as was often the case, Intelligence had been off... way off..
"You there, Private!" Damson cried, "Where's this mortar fire coming from?"
The private in question looked liked he was about to shit his combat trousers; he was green, shipped fresh out from the Academy last week. It was his first and, hopefully not last, combat tour. "Sir! Fire's coming from overhead, Sir! Over the cliff crest towards the North!" The private had to rapidly increase the volume of his helmet speakers to be heard over the repeated crashing din as the Insurgent mortar crews finally got their range in and started targeting the defenders who were trying desperately to get their own mortars operational and the air units up and ready.
"To the North?!" yelled Damson as a mortar hit just behind them, obliterating a fuel tank and sending angry, red flames leaping up into the night sky. "The only thing to the North are broken mezes and shear cliffs! Intelligence said-"
"No offence Sir, but Intelligence was bullshit!" Cried the private, "We've got anti infantry crawling down the cliff and enemy mech support air jetting in from the South! We were sidelined by Command and now we're fucked!" At this point, all pretences of rank and file fled the private as he tore his helmet off to reveal a man not much older then Damson. Fear clouded his features in an ugly grimace as he stared skyward, "We've got twenty minutes, tops! And I plan to be on the first chopper-rail out!"
Damson grabbed the private by the scruff of his neck and pulled him close, "What's your name, Soldier?" He growled, feeling the private physically tremble, "Harrison, Sir… Paul Harrison." He whimpered.
"Well, Private Harrison, I've got news for you, there are NO chopper-rails outta this, we fight or we die! Now, put your fucking helmet on before I shoot you myself!" And with that he shoved the private away and started walking towards the HQ Tent.
"Sergeant Hopkins," trying his collar-comm, all that Damson got in return was a wall of static, "Sergeant Hopkins! Report!" Still, a wall of static was all that greeted his call. "Damn it!" Throwing all caution to the wind and ignoring the continuous rain of mortar fire he broke into a fast sprint, dogging and diving behind various pieces of wreckage as gunfire started to rain down from the cliff face as the Insurgent Crawlers finally came into firing distance.
Loosing off a couple of shots, he hit one of Insurgents in the face, causing the back of his head to blow outwards and brought the Crawler down to Earth with a bone shattering crunch. "Not bad for a 'Capitalist pig', huh boys?" He whispered gleefully as another shot pierced the leg of another Crawler, causing another body to fall.
Feeling a surge of satisfaction as one more bullet shattered the skull of yet another Crawler, he pressed onwards towards the HQ tent as his men finally started rallying a defence and fired up at the Insurgents as attack helos were let loose to hunt and destroy the mortars raining destruction on the camp. After reaching the HQ he clambered inside, only to be greeted with a sight of utter chaos, as aides and army personnel were running to-and-fro trying to organise an effective defence.
"Can someone tell me how the fuck the Insurgents came at us?" Damson shouted above the noise, "Or, how exactly they were able to do it so goddamn effectively?" Looking around the tent he saw that there were no answers forthcoming. "Jarvik!" He yelled, "Jarvik! Where are they coming from?" His aide, Jarvik Yuklanenko, came flying around from the command table, com-card in hand, pouring facts from between his lips like a madman talking in tongues.
"According to Sat-scans nothings out there, Sir… It's as if the satellites can't see them!" Damson took the com-card from Jarvik, then stared at the read outs in disbelief.
"How is that even possible?" Throwing the com-card back at Jarvik, he turned towards the tent door as the sounds of gunfire and explosions intensified to a roaring din. As he ran towards the tent door shouting "What the hell are they-" Damson's world exploded.
Time seemed to slow as he was thrown, bodily, across the tent as the incendiary mortar shell burned through the bodies of his men in a flash.
Feeling the heat dissipate after being flung from the tent, he felt his consciousness fade as he landed and skidded to a halt two feet from the edge of the helipad. Struggling to look around he saw bodies of soldiers lying on the floor, one particular face he recognised was that of his aide, Jarvik, who'd landed not far a distance away from where Damson laid.
As his consciousness left him, Damson thought back to Private Harrison's words, "We're fucked!" Smiling to himself as he closed his eyes, he realised that Harrison had been right the whole time. They had been fucked.
They just hadn't known it.