Chapter 1: A Hero Among Men
Thunder walked across the tear filled clouded sky on an early September day; winter had arrived.
A small crowed of twelve or seventeen gathered on the grassy field below.
A line of sharp looking men in black military uniforms, semi automatic rifles clutched in their hands, pointed skywards.
A coffin is carried down the two rows between the lines of military personal. It had a grey, white, and blue stripped flag on top of it, with a single red star in the middle with yellow tips.
As the coffin moved down the line, only a few people shed tears, one of them was a young women, she hid her face, as if she was ashamed to show grief at a funeral, two young adults stood at her side, looking slightly shocked. However, their face's emotionless, and devoid of any hits of life, they looked so dead, they may need a funeral themselves.
The rain fell harder, and the coffin was lowered into an empty transport Ship, that looked like a spaceship, long and sleek with the same flag as an emblem on its side next to two powerful thrusters with no wings.
The woman tried her hardest not to break down.
Regardless her tears joined the rain.
"Yeah, that's right you bitch. Hold it all in you fucking useless heap of trash… you and the two terminators over there can all go collectively fuck yourselves…Whores…"
The ill mouthed voice belonged to a surprising figure. One sitting in front of a clean slab of granite, the flat edge polished and transparent. The scene played out on the glossy rock, a portal to the living realm.
The man had a stern look on his dirtied face, with a strong jaw and sharp, clever looks. He had piercing light blue eyes border-lining steely grey, while his hair was a matted rusty brown. He had a stubble of a beard on his chin. He was young, as he looked to be the age of 25, and the rank on his BDU shirts' shoulder was that of Lance corporal. He had a dirty face caked with mud. And he wore a futuristic assault vest with urban camouflage and raid BDU and BDU assault leggings. He had on a modernized Raven light assault vest, and a streamlined combat helmet sitting on the ground next to him. And sung on his back was an M416 with an undrebarrle attachment and a holographic sight, a .45 Anaconda sat in its holster on his hip.
On his BDU shirt, there were three large bloodstains, in very close proximity to his heart and lung; he should be worried about them, as it appeared he was injured. But his face shown no pain, nor hurt, just anger and sorrow.
The reason for this was that this was not just any funeral.
It was HIS Funeral.
His name is Jack Conner; he's a CSA 45th Marine of the 807th Strike Battalion, 53rd Division.
And he's dead.
You're probably wondering how he died, and what his story is. Well then, let's take a look at that, shall we?
Thaldus-42, the rich green planet of the Safra System, third planet left of the burning orange sun Cantorax-657. Large and not largely populated, it is prone to having many rebel attacks often.
Rebel attacks that require trained elites like the CSA Marines to handle.
What exactly are the CSA Marines? Well now, looks like we're going to have a history lesson first before we continue on with this epic.
In the Year 4863, Earth has achieved space voyage long ago, and has now mastered it, venturing off into space was now as common as driving a car, or flying a plane. People now traversed through space all the time in personal space ships, space liners, or other things like that.
New races and empires were discovered.
For instance, the Cyrons.
A race of Anthroptic animals much like the ones we have on earth. Proving the fact that life on earth came from things on other planets. We just adapted accordingly. But their kinds were limited to felines, foxes, wolfs and dogs, and a few others.
Humans and Cyrons got along very well; sharing technology, trading resources, there advances in medical science were far greater than ours. Though there military was considered lacking in substantial defenses.
We helped train them and give them better weaponry, and jets. The poor race didn't even have computers; space voyage for them was treacherous. One mistake could kill the crew.
We stepped in and brought them up to date in military matters, and space flight, we weren't so different in other categories.
But we had no way to combat space threats; it was in both Empires interests at that point and time to form a combined army, they already populated many human planets and colonies, as did we with their colonies and planets.
But it was the terrible Arvakeien Conflict that solidified the pact…
The Universal Defense Pact in the year of 4882, the combined forces of the Cyron and Human Military, together it formed the CSA Marines. The Coalition Space Army Marines, the main infantry force of the CSA, dropped in by cruisers orbiting planets, stopping rebellions, fighting enemies, and winning wars.
But they were made to stop the most ruthless empire the universe has ever known.
Insectoid like creatures, monstrosities, crushing mandibles, solid exoskeletons, fast, incredible hearing, even better vision, silent, mind blowing technology, they swept across space crushing all who stood before them.
They were like a hive of ants, lead by a giant queen; they looked a lot like ants, but two arms and legs, a stinger like tail. They had no visible eyes, but they always saw you first before you saw them, they could cloak themselves and walk on all surfaces. There exo skeleton could withstand a direct hit from a .50 Caliber round at point blank from a Barrette sniper rifle.
They preferred up close and personal combat but the energy cannons on their hands were also favored. The plasma cannons could destroy tanks and short circuit a plane, they could reload by draining an energy source with an attachment on the device.
At first, we thought we would lose…
But then we got mad…
I mean the humans and Cyrons when they saw these things for the first time panicked. But the second time. It's like we just stood back up and said:
And with that, we reincarnated a weapon to match their ferocity. And just as evil as they were, just as malignant, and just as powerful…
They were giant ants, and what better way to kill ants then with something that spread like them?
Incendiary rounds were put to use everywhere. Flamethrower attachments were made for rifles in the place of undrebarrle grenade launchers or shotguns.
Tanks were given a napalm round and flame spitting barrels.
Missiles, 20MML, 30MML, Bombs, Mines, and grenades worked just as well, but this new weapon was much better.
The enemy was roasted alive in the heat, there Exoskeletons heating up quickly and boiling their blood. The landscape the battles were fought on was burnt to an unrecognizable black charred ash, but it had to be done, sacrifices has to be made.
Soon we were the ones pushing them back and fighting on their land. Instead of the other way around.
When we surrounded their homeland, we shot everything in the space destroyers, space cruisers missile ships, every powerful space launched weapon every space faring military ship capable of launching an orbital strike, shot everything they hand in there bomb bays at the planet, lasers, high powered energy beams, but this opportunity let governments helping the CSA, get rid of their nuclear arsenal.
We dropped over, 523,234,163,274 nuclear warheads, bombs, missiles, and material onto that planet.
It came apart from the force ripping at the surface.
Now it was just hyper-radioactive material drifting in orbit.
After that they returned home as heroes.
Everyone remembers the day that we won, and now the universe goes back to the way it was, wars, peace, trading, disputes, alliances… all the stuff that makes it what it is.
But yet… an unknown war of good and evil, death and life, virtue and sin, was being waged.
The Great Holy War… the war of angels and demons…
…But that will come to your knowledge later, as for now… The mortal realm.
But, enough with the history lesson… we now go to our hero, in what was supposed to be a decent, easy, mop up mission, on the grassy jungle planet of Thaldus-42… On the day he died.
We'll find him in the final minutes of his life, he, and his platoon, which held his one older sister, and two older brothers, the Conner Family.
His name is Jack Conner, already described crouching behind a brick wall in a small rural town south of the capital of the planet, the town was large, they were trying to push to the church, radical extremists rebels have been trying to take Thaldus-42 for quite some time, the CSA said they were few, and were badly equipped.
They were wrong.
Conner winced as another bullet chipped away a bit of his brick cover. "Fuck!" he swore.
The planning had gone to shit the moment they engaged the enemy the first Marines in the combat patrol went down instantly, and the rest ducked behind any cover they could see near them.
Conner was a stone cold killer, ruthless in combat merciless in killing, a rock hard bastard by all means. This fight was going to test him to his extreme.
There was a main road in the town, the fire was coming from the church that was directly down the road, shops and homes lined both sides of the roads. There was a hill on the right side of the town, a wall lined the houses on that flank, the wall had a dirt path in between the slope of the hill, and the twelve foot high stone wall.
On the left flank was flat open grass land. But the right flank was heavily defended. The left flank was covered from the machine gun in the bell tower, spraying death down on them.
The brick walls at the gates of the town gave them some cover, but whenever someone tried to run around the wall into the cover of the house, they were sprayed.
"I need one squad to take the right flank! We're getting slaughtered here!" the captain shouted of the platoon shouted.
"On it sir!" one woman volunteered, she was a 26 year old women, blue eyes and short blond hair pressed down from her helmet, she was the rank of Staff sergeant.
Next to her, were two men, one had brown eyes and black hair, and looked to be 28, while the other was 29, and had green eyes, with short, curly, black hair.
These were the siblings of Jack Conner, the woman was Maria Conner, the 28 year old was Austin Conner, and the 29 year old was Blake Conner.
But strangely, Jack Conner, the youngest of all of them, had but himself as far away from the rest of his siblings, his squad, as possible.
"Yo! Little Fuck-up! Over here! Now!" Austin shouted to his youngest brother.
"Grrr…" Jack growled, ignoring them.
"JACK!" Maria shouted, "Get your ass over here!" she commanded.
"Hmph." He grunted, he took a deep breath, and then dashed across the gap between the brick wall gate, door blown open by a rocket blast.
He felt bullets pocket the ground around his feet as the Emplaced weapon attempted to shoot him down.
He slid into cover a little ways away from his Siblings.
He hated them with a passion. He despised every single one of them.
Reasons why? Well, that will be revealed in time, my friends.
"Ok boys, we're going to have to take this right flank! MG's chewing us up; we need to move up, establish a defensive line, and provide suppressing fire so our men can move up. And air-support aint' coming for another two hours! Were on our own here! Platoons counting on us guys, so let's do this!" Maria rallied her two older siblings; Jack Conner on the other hand snorted and spat at her.
The glanced around the Corner, they saw a series of fox holes dug into the hill, and bunkers running along the wall, also, storage buildings were set up along the wall.
Austin and Blake glanced at each other, taking this heavily fortified position would be a bitch, going first would suck. They then grinned; they didn't have to go first…
"Yo, little fuck. Think your tough?" Blake grinned.
"Tougher then you, AND I have balls, unlike you two!" he snapped back at them, he glanced over the brick wall, and ducked as a round flew past him.
"Yeah, if you want to prove it, you go first! C'mon, man up!" Austin teased.
"Fuck off!" He growled. He then glanced around the wall, and saw the position. He thought about it. he knew he could take this spot, he felt it in his bones… and after that, maybe he would get some respect… maybe Blake and Austin would stop there endless mockery…
"Fine I'll take point…"he decided.
A dare was all that it took to get there younger brother killed in an act of recklessness… never before had the two older brothers seen death up-close and personal like Maria and Jack had…
They still had the sense that nothing bad ever happens.
"Jack wait!" She shouted, trying to grab hold of his BDU. "GRR! Damnit! Forward! Don't let him get to far ahead!" She commands.
Jack blitzed the line hugging the wall they may have good weapons but they had little or no training. He aimed his M416, heavily modified to match the modern times; he fired from the hip at the fox holes his goal right now was to take the first storage building.
He reached the door with bullets licking at his feet. He kicked it in and swept inside, rolling forward he felt the sound of a gun nearby trying to hit him. He looked up as he came out of his role, and looked left, a rebel stood there holding a Sub Machine Gun the resembled an MP5, he swung his Assault rifle up to deal with the threat, and let it fly on fully automatic, tearing chunks of flesh off of the rebel who stumbled back as the bullets hit him.
Blood splattered the walls behind the rebel who fell with a thud. Jack ran past him, kicking away his weapon as he passed.
He ran through the hallway that linked the storage buildings all together, so far the first room was cleared, eight more to go.
He raced into the second room, and dove forward, and swiftly rolled to the left on his back and swept his rifle in a line quickly across the room, holding down the trigger as it sprayed the rest of the mag at the enemy, he drew his holstered side arm one was left slightly stunned by the fact that his six comrades were suddenly killed by this man's appearance.
His existence was swiftly extinguished by the sound of a .45 Anaconda going off, and his head then being torn apart by the .45 caliber bullet passing through his brain.
Jack reloaded his weapon and replaced the missing sixth .45 round into the revolver.
Snapping it shut he re-holstered it promptly.
He saw that one of the Rebels was still alive writhing on the ground holding his chest; he stepped over to the man, and slammed his boot down onto his neck, breaking it.
He walked through the door on the other side of the room with shelves lined with boxes and cans.
He slid up next to the door and slowly opened it, and then tossed a flash bang through the open door, and waited for the concussive bang of it to go off, and then he swept through the open door and blitzed a dazzled Rebel, quickly putting a round through his head on Semi Auto fire mode, he then shot the other five the same way, putting them down with ease.
His two brothers had fallen behind on purpose, letting their sister, and younger brother take care of it, while they just casually strode along.
His sister was rushing to catch up to him, but he was clearing the rooms with breakneck speed and efficiency, that it was mind blowing, he was good at what he did, but this was a whole new level, it was like he was black ops secretly.
Jack cleared three more rooms, two more remained, and he cleared the first one easily. But by now the rebels were on to him in the last room.
It wasn't his fault really. It just sometimes happens, as he opened the door and slipped a flash bang inside, they knew he had done it and the eight enemy rebels covered their eyes and when he swept inside, they opened up on him.
Three rounds passed through his armor and exited out the back, he fell backwards in slow motion, time stopped for him, he saw this, and with one hand fueled by adrenalin, as he fell, he lifted his M416, and held down the trigger, spraying the room with deadly lead, he didn't stop firing as he hit the ground his brain didn't have the time to compute that they were all dead.
He calmed down, the moment had past, his breathing then started to slow, but not because he was calming down, it's because breaths were becoming harder to get.
He looked down; a small pool of blood was forming underneath him. His skin felt sticky on his chest.
He felt his heart beat raise, he tried reaching for his First aid kit, but his arm felt weak, the room started to spin, and spin, and spin. His vision started to fade.
By now Maria had caught up with him. "Oh, my god! Jack!" She shouted, the sound of a weapon falling to the ground was followed up by boots hitting the ground as the same ran over to his side.
"Jack! JACK! Look at me!" She shouted, he felt her hands press against his wound. His head tried to roll over to obey, but he felt all ounces of life leaving him.
He found his strength, and managed to turn his head towards her, the left side of his face was doused in his own life water.
"Jack, just hold on!" She begged him, her blue eyes were stained with tears, she was always the nicer one of the four. Jack guessed he didn't hate her that much. The pain dulled in his chest, and that's when he knew that if he just kept fighting the tunnel vision that threatened to plunge him into the abyss, he may make it out of this…
He felt her grip his hand, squeezing it to reassure him, it was the first time he ever felt loved or wanted by his family.
The first time ever.
"This is Staff Sergeant Maria Conner! I need medical Assist in storage room eight! We have a man down! I repeat! Marine Down!" She cried into the headset on her helmet, calling for a medic, again and again.
"Roger that, medic is on the way he'll be there in under a minute!" The reply came back.
"Thank god…" She whispered.
"Mary? What's wrong?" The sounds of his two dreaded brother's footsteps closed in on him.
His two brothers gasped at the scene portrayed in front of him, Maria holding a bloodied hand over his chest trying to stop the vital liquid from pouring out of Jacks body, a pool of blood on the floor, Jacks breath coming in loud ragged gasps, of that of a dying animal.
His legs scrabbled vainly at the floor, the pain was coming back. He let out a hoarse groan; he guessed they got one of his lungs.
He coughed and blood leaked out of his mouth, guess that confirmed that theory.
"Jack, it's going to be ok… Just stay with me…" Maria Begged.
"What…Happened?" Austin's voice was small, the reality of what was going on, and that Jack may still be ok if they hadn't teased him and made him go on this stupid challenge in the first place began to set in.
"He was hit in the chest three times, the exited out his back that's good and bad… they aren't in there anymore, but I think one passed through his right lung… he'll drown in his own blood if we don't get him out of here soon…" She said, worriedly, the grip he had on her hand was weakening considerably.
Pain blossomed in his chest again, and he cringed and tried to sit up, he squeezed the handle on his assault rifle for comfort, his rifle was his best friend, with him 24/7, unlike these three, it was with him till the very end…
This thought of death, the thought of what lay beyond. The thought of escaping this so called. 'Family' he had, he could leave them, get the last laugh in their current state, they were scared, they messed up, they told him to do something, but there little brother in danger, and now he may die.
He could die… be free… free from there torment that'll start up again once he's better.
And that's when he decided to leave.
He gave a small sigh… and let go of her hand, it slipped from her grasp cleanly, the tie to his family was severed.
"Jack…? Jack! JACKY!" "MEDIC!"
"I'm here! Let me through! Hold on!"
"Why isn't he breathing?"
"I'm losing him! Somebody give me a hand, shock pads going hot! 1…2…3… Clear!"
"He's…He's gone… he's, he's dead… I'm sorry… I did all I could…"
….End Chapter One….