This is Commander Alcarta of the Aurora Defense Squadron. We are under heavy Kharaa attack and request immediate evac! I repeat -
Transmission terminated. EOF not found.
Admiral Rosenburg of the TSA battleship Boreas pondered the distress signal with fear. The Aurora Station was a top-secret research facility known only to the highest-ranking officers in the fleet. With the Kharaa threat looming over their heads, the station went from being a standard research facility to a laboratory with the resources to develop an anti-Kharaa weapon.
Did those vermin know what they were attacking? Or was this some odd coincidence?
Regardless, Rosenburg knew that if the well-equipped defense forces were being overrun, the Kharaa had to be incredibly powerful to match...
Marching onto the bridge, Rosenburg immediately started giving orders. "Ensign, set a course for Colenar, maximum speed."
"Aye sir. Approximate time to arrival, four days."
Hopefully the defense squadron could last for four days...
"Damn it!" A shotgun shot rang through the air as Commander Alcarta jumped out of the command chair. A skulk was wounded by the blast, and a second shot finished it off. However, the damage was done; the observatory which was being used to transmit their distress signal was trashed, with no hope of repair. Alcarta swore under his breath, knowing that they didn't have enough resources remaining to create another.
"Sir?" Lieutenant Commander Novus, in a suit of heavy armour with his heavy machine gun, was waiting for orders. Alcarta needed a moment to think, then decided...
"We're going for one last strike. We don't even know if the signal reached anyone. Let's do some damage!" Around him, other marines cheered, eager for a chance to strike back. Orders were quickly barked out, and two squads of six marines each left the base, one led by Alcarta, the other by Novus. Their objective - to strike two hives at once to cause confusion, and hopefully destroy the enemy forces.
"Let's move out!" With that command, three heavy armour marines and three jetpack marines went through each side of the base, each aiming for a separate hive...
However, a cloaked skulk near the base saw one group moving out, and could easily hear the second. As the third hive awakened, the trio of hives decided their best chance was to call upon their most powerful fighters.
While most life-forms generated by the hives were devoid of a personality, being completely controlled by a hive-mind, these ten Kharaa had their own personalities. An experiment by the hives some months ago, the few surviving marines still carried horror stories about a group of intelligent aliens that had demolished a force five times their size...
They were a last resort, however, as crafting a life-form with its own personality, while powerful, required a large amount of resources. Hence, as there was a large resource build-up from having pushed the marines into a small area with only a single resource tower, there were plenty to spare.
Both the Pipeline and Sub-Sector 5B hives began the personality transfers as the Cargo hive commanded the remainder of the alien forces to hold back the humans...
"My god, they're EVERYWHERE!" Novus could certainly agree with that sentiment; they had just been ambushed by a third group of skulks just after securing the Western Skylights area. They ignored the alien resource tower there, knowing that the hives were far more important.
Meanwhile, over by the Topography station, Commander Alcarta was taking advantage of a break in the action to encrypt all top-secret data and retrieve the only sample of a special anti-Kharaa nanite which was supposedly capable of killing them from the inside.
Placing the sample in a chest pocket of his jetpack's body armour, he signaled to his group of marines to move out toward the C-12 resource node...
The western group of Khiraa, the hives' slang for the intelligent life-forms, caught sight of the western marine group just outside of the western Nanogrid Maintenance station. Feeling hungry, Eternaly_Lost darted in, and ate a marine in heavy armour before running away to feed.
However, the marines weren't content to let him run. The three jetpack marines in the group chased after him, two heavy machine guns arming and a grenade launcher, reloading after a previous group of skulks.
Unfortunately for them, they didn't see the series of webs that Soul_Rider had placed near the ceiling, anticipating a jetpack chase. The paralyzed marines were no match for the hidden Nightstalker and Xentor. Hearing the loss of their flying companions, the heavy armour marines turned the corner and began to fire, only to be distracted by the acid rocket fire of a fade from the direction of the hive. Knowing that fades presented an immense threat, and their eaten companion would still have several minutes before he was done for, Novus ordered his fellow marine forward toward the fade.
Yet again, that was just what im_lost expected them to do. By the time the marines turned the corner, he was already invisible again. Frustrated, and expecting a cloaked alien, the two marines began to throw hand grenades in each direction, hoping to uncloak the fade. Seeing a moment when the marines grabbed their heavy machine guns again, im_lost darted out and struck Novus, severely damaging his armour.
Alas, that left him open to the fly-by attack by Xentor a second later, ending Novus' life. Alone, the last marine was no match for the combined western group of aliens...
Meanwhile, the eastern group was having troubles of their own. Due to the enhanced carapace of Thansal, in addition to his speed and silent strikes, he was able to strike with a xenocide attack, several times. Each time, he came out near death, but Faskalia was hiding around the C-12 resource node area, healing Thansal to full for a new strike.
Already, his strikes had cost Alcarta one of his jetpack marines, and some health damage to the other one, but the armour damage was fixed in a second due to the welders the heavy armour marines had brought with them.
The next time Thansal rushed at the marines, however, he was spared the fire by the onos just behind him. After delivering his blast, Thansal retreated, while TheFeniX stayed behind, and knocked down the three heavy armour marines like bowling pins, devouring one whole before retreating after the skulk.
The other jetpack marine looked enraged, and chased after TheFeniX, shotgun in hand. Alcarta yelled at him to stop, but could only watch as the fade Isamil darted out as soon as the jetpacker reached the corner, decapitating the poor marine with a single strike before blinking away.
The three remaining marines pushed forward to the eastern Nanogrid Maintenance. However, they were met with a wall of offense chambers planted by Faskalia earlier. Backed up by defense chambers, and since none of the marines had a grenade launcher, they were forced backwards toward the Nanogrid station. Turning toward a biting noise behind him, Alcarta barely had time to recognize a lerk before it zoomed past him and into the Nanogrid station.
Looking where the sound came from, he could only see that he lost a heavy marine from that bite, and the other one was limping, an offense chamber spike stuck in his leg. Alcarta knew that taking out the hive himself was futile, so he chased after the lerk in the Nanogrid station...
Gwahir was making a game out of this. He was darting around so fast that the marine trying to shoot him was missing badly. He played around with the jetpack marine for a minute before moving in for the kill, and bit the thruster controls for Alcarta's jetpack.
Alcarta quickly found himself losing height as he missed another shot toward Gwahir causing him to hit the base of an alien resource tower, knocking it over and causing it to writhe in a death agony. Gwahir shot toward Alcarta's back and bit him, killing Alcarta's last stand.
However, the vial containing the sample of anti-Kharaa nanites slipped out of the pocket from the bite, and landed, broken, inside the now-open resource node...
The research facility was now in Kharaan control. Putting the two fades, im_lost and Isamil in charge of gaining any relevant information, due to their claws being the most compatible with human keyboards.
Meanwhile, Faskalia was chatting with Thansal about their victory over the marines, while destroying any leftover marine structures and rebuilding the resource tower in the Nanogrid station.
The nanites were dormant, not knowing that they were being absorbed into a Kharaan resource node. It wasn't until they had reached the hive that they awakened. The hive was distributing resources between the remaining aliens, which now consisted only of the Khiraa. However, the nanites then attacked, managing to make their way into two of the Khiraa before the three hives shut themselves down to contain the infection.
<GAH!> Faskalia let out a scream of agony when the hives suddenly shut down, causing him to get a severe headache from the shock. Being more closely linked to the hives than any other lifeform, Soul_Rider was also feeling the same agony, before both fell unconscious.
<What's wrong- arrrrRRRRGH!> Thansal started, but before he could finish, he too felt the disconnection shock from the hives. Across the station, the other Khiraa felt the same agony before themselves falling unconscious.
In these Khiraa, however, the nanites fought against the bacterium composing the life-form vigilantly. Something amazing yet terrible then happened. The bacterium somehow merged with the nanites, becoming a single cybernetic cell. This happened multiple times, and then they started to multiply, enhancing the power of the Khiraa that they dwelled within...