"Set your gasmasks, people!" Keen yelled over the roar of the Albatross's engines. His team grabbed their gas masks from the overhead compartments and put them on. They pressed the button on the sides of the masks, and a steady supply of oxygen began to flow through their helmets.
There was a loud hiss as the Albatross landed on its destination. Keen signaled for to his men to grab their weapons. They did so, taking their standard issue assault rifles, M9. pistols, and fragmentation grenades.
The back doors of the Albatross opened up. Keen stared into the wasteland before his robotic eyes.
The land was barren and dotted with holes. The holes were filled with all manner of toxic waste and acidic substances. Keen knew that if any human took a single breath from the wasteland's air, they would be dead in seconds. Luckily, he didn't need to breathe.
In the distance, a huge structure dominated the landscape. It was one of the few places to survive the mass bombing at the end of the Dark War. That was their destination this fine day.
This place was where the Missionary used to be. The robotic race that had waged war on mankind all those years ago…They had emerged from seemingly nowhere and attacked all major cities across the globe. City after city fell, and millions died or worse, they were converted. Converted into a monstrous being that was stripped of its free will, turn in a machine, and joined the Missionary.
Humanity had been pushed to the brink of extinction. As a last ditch effort, they bombed the Missionary's territories. The Missionary had seemingly perished in the bombings, and humankind slowly began to recover. Today, they still were recovering.
Keen had been ordered to investigate an old Missionary base with his team today. Nobody had visited the wastelands since the Dark War. The commander stepped out of the ship, his boots crunching on the barren ground.
His squad exited the Albatross soon after, looking around. There was a crackle on Keen's COM, and the pilot, a woman called Aleta, spoke to him.
"Hey commander," She said. "I'm going to circle around. Call me when your ready for pick up."
"Will do," Keen responded. There was a loud roar again as the Albatross reactivated its engines. The ground shook as the ship lifted off into the black sky, flying off into the distance.
Keen looked at his men. He had ten people on his team, all train to be the best in their field of expertise. He jerked his thumb toward the structure. "Come on ladies. We didn't come all this way for a picnic."
They moved across the wasteland, keeping a watch out for the toxic holes in the ground. Keen's second-in-command, Vasquez, moved up next to him.
"Commander," She said, her voice crackling over the COM channel. "Think we'll see any Missionary units?"
"I doubt it," Keen said. "This areas been quiet for over thirteen years. If the Missionary were still active, they would have launched another attack by now."
"Still…" Vasquez whispered, looking up at the enormous structure that was getting closer by the minute. "Makes your blood go cold, don't it? Go inside one of these bases again."
"I know," Keen said. "My first mission was infiltrating one of these places…"
"Wasn't that the mission where-" Vasquez stopped.
"Yes," Keen said. "Don't worry, Vasquez, I have no heart to break. That was the mission where I lost my entire squad. They were all taken by the Missionary and converted."
There was a sudden yell from behind them. Keen turned and saw one of soldiers was at the edge of one of toxic pits. Another soldier had grabbed the man and had pulled him away from the edge.
"My apologies, commander," The man said, as his fellow solider let him go. "The ground here is a bit unstable. I quite nearly slipped."
"Understandable," Keen replied. This man was called Derek. He was the youngest member of the squad and a heavy demolitions expert. "But try and stay away from the pits. If you slip in there, you'll be dead in seconds. I can guarantee your gas mask won't protect you."
"I'll keep that in mind, sir," Derek responded.
Keen nodded, and motioned everyone forward. They kept moving across the wasteland, passing by bits of scrap metal littering the landscape. At last, after another five minutes, they came to the structure.
Keen looked up at it. The structure was huge, casting a shadow over them all. It looked like a tower covered in spikes, and had no windows. It had a pair of doors on it. A busted device that resembled a security camera hung over the door. Keen knew that used to be a device the Missionary would utilize to scan all their units entering. The doors would open automatically for any unit entering the structure once the scan had been complete.
"Derek," Keen said. "Blow the door."
Derek snickered, but quickly regained his composure. "Yes, sir!"
He ran up to the door, and pulled out a satchel charged strapped to his belt. He pulled it on the middle of the door, and pressed a series of buttons on the explosive device.
"Back up!" Derek yelled, running away from the door. Keen and the others did so. After five seconds, the satchel charge exploded. The explosive blasted the doors apart, sending chunks of metal spraying over the squad. The bits of metal bounced off the team member's gas masks, and one hit Keen's hand. The blow didn't hurt the commander in the slightest. He didn't even feel it. But then again, he felt nothing.
As the dust cleared, the squad went inside the structure. They clicked over their flashlights attached to their masks. The inside of the abandoned Missionary base was lit up with light.
Huge, destroyed pods littered the floor. Long tubes hung out of the fallen pods, some sort of green substance dripped from their ends. Dust clung to everything and some human skeletons were inside the pods, their faces contorted in screams.
"Jesus," Another squad member said. "I'm glad I never went inside one of these freak houses."
"What did you do in the war, Frank?" Vasquez muttered, moving forward, keeping her gun trained on the surroundings.
"Secret stuff," Frank replied.
"Hey, cut the chatter," Keen said.
"Why, commander?" Frank asked. "Ain't no one here anymore to hear us talking."
"You never know…" Keen muttered. "Now, zip it."
They came to a large section of the floor. The floor seemed to curve downwards and it was covered in filthy water. Keen looked up and saw a broken tube hanging over the indented section of the floor.
"Looks like a hydraulics tube burst when the bombs hit," The commander said. He looked forward, and saw a closed door at the other end of the flooded section. "Hope nobody is afraid of water."
He placed his right boot into the water, and started walking through it, making loud splashes as he did so. The water was surprisingly deep and came up to his knees. Everyone else started to follow him across.
Keen looked behind him and watched his squad following him across. Their movements were making ripples in the water, which almost looked like they were following the commander.
Keen kept moving across the water, and suddenly halted. "Everybody stop."
His squad halted immediately. Keen turned and saw the ripples were still moving across the water. His squad wasn't making those, they were following him!
There was a loud splash and something emerged from the water. A skinny arm slashed at Keen's chest. The commander's reflexes allowed him to leap backward with superhuman speed, easily avoiding the swinging arm.
He looked forward and stared at the creature in front of him. It looked like a man, but its skin was robotic. Bits of human skin clung to its body, but beneath that were robotic limbs made up of wires and metal. Attached to its chest was a massive sharp spike. Two more spikes were also attached to the creature's wrists. The thing looked at Keen, staring at him with its hollow eye sockets. It opened its mouth, revealing real human teeth and gave a loud shriek.
"Kill it!" Keen yelled. The soldiers behind the monster raised their assault rifles and opened fire. Bullets tore into the thing, ripping its chest apart. Blood liquid spilled from its bullet ridden body and the creature was hurled forward. It landed with a splash in the water, and gave a final shriek before lying still.
Keen moved over to the dead creature and nudged it with his foot. It didn't move.
"Is that a Missionary unit?" Vasquez asked, moving closer to the dead creature.
"A Missionary Quagmire unit, to be precise," Keen muttered. "It was designed to function in water environments. From the looks of things, this one has been here for a long time. It must have survived the bombing, and waited in this place for more victims."
"If that thing survived…" Frank whispered. "…Maybe there are other Missionary still active here as well…"
"Yeah," Keen said, standing up. "Contact Aleta. Tell her to get in touch with command and let them know about our encounter. In the meantime, we'll keeping searching this place. Maybe there's more for us to salvage."