Based loosely off a game of NS Classic
- An unnamed story, names, places- fiction, any similarity blah blah blah.
<Captain Tannhauser> Have a seat.
<Master Sergeant Scaids> Um, okay. Why am I here? I thought you guys had the reports on all our battle missions?
<C. T> We do. Sometimes it's good to do a follow-up. Make sure the story remains consistent, see if there are any details that can be picked up on for the future. How did you come to be on Helios?
<M.S. S> At some point it became TSA policy to station a section of marines on all research facilities and points of interest. None of us wanted to be there. None of us even really knew why we were there. Our higher ups had a nasty habit of not telling us anything we "Didn't need to know." Hell, maybe they didn't even know.
Either way, I think that was probably their first mistake. It turns out it's a lot easier to fight something when you know what the hell you are supposed to be fighting in the first place. That wouldn't be a problem for too much longer.
<C. T> Don't get ahead of yourself. How many of you were stationed there?
<M.S. S>There were only six of us, not a huge number. Sergeant Duo, Corporals Fish and I, Privates Khan, Krug, Frosty. Certainly not as large a force as some of the other fighting forces we'd hear about, or participate in, at later dates. But this was Helios, just some backwater communications research station. Responsible purely for scanning the cosmos for alien communications and other anomalous signals, it was pretty low on every ones radar.
<C. T> Do you remember how the event started?
<M.S. S> I recall the group and I had been in the recreation room. I think we were running laps, or some other PT thing we did. You'd think there would have been alarms or something, to let us know what was going down. Instead we got all cleaned up, and were on our way to the hab-rooms when the power went out. It should be noted I suppose that power never went out on this station. I know some places were plagued with constant power outages, but that wasn't something that occurred here. Duo tried radioing the control room, but there was no response, that was when we headed for the storage room, and the weapons lockers.
<C. T> Sergeant Duo was your CO?
<M.S. S>Yeah, sorta. Technically he wasn't a officer or anything obviously. We were supposedly under the command of the station CO. At this point we hadn't been able to make contact with him, so standard procedure was to establish some form of communication with him. Since there was no response from the intercom system, that meant going to the control room ourselves.
<C. T> This led your team to move on the control room?
<C. T> Did your team encounter anything along the way that gave you any indication what was happening?
<M.S. S>Nothing. The entire way there we only heard our own footsteps. Private Khan dropped some grenades and scared the ###### out of Corporal Fish, but that was the only thing of interest that happened. I don't think it even made it into the report. The last fifteen or so feet to the entrance of the control room is when we started getting serious. The floor was getting sticky, hard to walk on. All the surfaces had that green-yellow junk on them.
<C. T> And when you entered the control room?
<M.S. S> Well we didn't exactly just enter the room. The door had become completely jammed. Krug and I tried to pry it open, but the damned thing wouldn't budge. What we ended up doing was cutting it down. Frosty and Khan each took a side and in about ten seconds we had our first glimpse into the room. The infestation had covered almost every surface in there. Some of the consoles and patches of wall and ceiling remained visible, but it couldn't have been more than ten percent. The Infestation had been spreading from the ventilation duct on the left side of the room. We did the whole move in slow, lights on every dark crevice, full sweep and all that. We confirmed the room was clear and began work on figuring out what happened.
<C. T> Where was the command staff?
<M.S. S> We didn't know. At least not right now. The first thing we did was try and get power back on. Emergency power was easy to turn on. In the command room it was just a big switch, like you'd see in Frankenstein or something. Once the lights were on the some of the computers were booting up we tried again to hail anyone. Naturally there was no answer.
<C. T> How long did you stay in the command room?
<M.S. S> I don't know, ten, twenty minutes? Sergeant Duo was trying to get a message to any ships that might have been in range, but that didn't look like it was working. Fish and I were trying to see about getting main power back online, while the rest were standing guard. Eventually Fish determined that the power shut off because the main generator lines were cut. Duo had been successful in reaching a ship, but it would be two days before they even got here, that left us with time to get the power back online.
<C. T> So you left the command room to re-establish main power?
<M.S. S> We were about to, but that was when Frosty reported movement from the entrance. We regrouped, and waited for whatever he saw to show up, but nothing did. Before we left we had Khan set up a few mines in the command room, this would be our safe point if we needed to retreat to a strong position.
We started moving out, Frosty and Krug taking point, Duo and Khan in the middle, Fish and I holding up the rear. As we got closer to Maintenance Junction the sound of scraping became more rapid, and there were more than a few "sightings", but still nothing that gave us any clue what we were looking for. Frosty looked around the left corner while Krug looked around the right. Fish said we needed to take a left to get to where the connection was cut.
We continued down the room for five or so minutes when we reached the generator room.
<C. T> According to the report this is where you encountered the alien growth cluster?
<M.S. S> Growth Cluster? Is that what you call it? Most marines called it a hive, near as we can tell it's where the bigger suckers grow from. Anyway, yeah, that's when we saw it. The entire room was in shambles, the generator itself was completely screwed, and the scraping at this point was more than just rapid, it was loud, and seemingly everywhere. We stared at it for a minute or so just trying to figure out what it was, when it lowered slightly and puked out a sack that writhed for a moment then burst into a dog-thing and charged right at Frosty. It's a good thing he's got good reflexes, it didn't even make it four feet before its head was blown apart by his shotgun.
This must have alerted the others, because at that point the scraping turned into snarling and roaring. Two more of them came at us from behind, one killed right away by Fish's machine gun. The other was brought down close enough to splash whatever passes for blood for them on me. I'll never be as glad to have a side-arm as I was there, six shots all in the ten-ring.
We entered the room and discovered the corpses of the command staff. Some half-eaten, most just rent asunder. Duo gave the order to Khan to open fire on the hive. Khan obliged, always eager to blow something up. Four grenades lobbed into the opening on the hive and the whole thing shook as they exploded. Two of the supports on it broke, sending the hive slamming into the ground. At that point all we heard was this screech, not sure if it was coming from the hive, or something else. All we knew was that it was loud. Like, cover your ears loud.
<C. T> You took the growth down with four grenades?
<M.S. S> Yeah, later hives would be better protected than this one was. We think we got to it early enough that it didn't have any protective carapace yet, who knows for sure though.
With the hive dead, Duo gave the order to fall back to the command room, to alert the rescue ship to the situation.
On the way back to the command room we fought off four more skulks, three from the direction of the hive, and one from in front of us. When we reached the command room the whole thing had become covered in the infestation. Fish and the others held the door position while Duo and I cleared the infestation off the consoles.
<C. T> Up to this point you only fought lower life-forms?
<M.S. S> Up to this point we had assumed that was all we had to deal with. That changed right away. After we cleared the consoles we discovered the back-up generator was nearing the end of its life, apparently only designed to run for an hour or so. Terrible idea when designing a space station, a back-up that lasts an hour. Even worse than the generator dieing, Fish got the station diagnostics running and discovered the infestation had spread throughout nearly the entire station. It was decided the best decision would be to get to the escape pods and destroy the station altogether. Khan took his remaining mines and grenades, while Fish rigged a trigger to have them detonate when the station powered down.
<C. T> So with power running low, and discovering yourselves surrounded, you took the offensive approach.
<M.S. S> Yeah that was Duo's call, not that any of us argued with him. The only main problem was that we needed to get to the escape pods in the now fifteen remaining minutes to power down. We moved it double-time, basically all out sprinting towards the escape pods. Well, sprinting as fast as you can with Fish's machine gun slowing us down. We had just reached the reception office when we were slowed down by heavy webbing. Fish, Krug, and I stood on guard while Frosty, and Khan cut through the webs as best they could.
In a flash Frosty was knocked to the ground, thrown four feet from where he had been standing. In his place was a lumbering dual taloned beast, snarling at him. Fish leveled into it with his machine gun, striking four or five hits before his gun was splashed with acid from the side, melting it apart in seconds. Frosty had regained his senses and was climbing to his feet, knife drawn, just in time to stop a claw from slicing through his arm. He deflected the blow and kicked out at the thing. Duo and I blasted it with our shotguns, three solid hits, the beast turned directions and vanished in a wisp of smoke.
From the side as Fish's gun was destroyed came a barrage of spikes, five striking Krug in the leg, and six my back. Krug fired a few shells in the direction of the spikes, seeing splashes of blood, but being unsure if he hit anything.
The room fell silent, except for the scratching and scraping we heard from all directions once again. Khan had cut open a path to the airlock, where the escape pods were located. With Krug, Frosty, and I injured, we slowly worked our way to the airlock.
Naturally the hurt got into the escape pod first, Duo getting in last. Fish had to fidget with some control panel to get the escape pod to actually launch, and even when it did, the mechanism whined and groaned to do so.
<C. T> And then the explosives detonated?
<M.S. S> Well, there was a moment when we thought they wouldn't. The external lighting on the station died, and the station just sat there for a few minutes. We figured the jury rigged trigger failed, but then the station blew itself apart. I'm actually not certain if it blew up because of us.
<C. T> The official report says the station exploded when storage pods containing volatile chemicals were opened.
<M.S. S> I suppose the infestation could have eaten through some of them. We've seen that before.
<C. T> How long before you were rescued?
<M.S. S> Oh, three days? The ship that came to rescue was a trade vessel, they were having their own engine problems, but mundane problems. They mostly left us to ourselves.
<C. T> They weren't curious what you'd been through?
<M.S. S> I think they were, but knew well enough not to ask. We used the med-lab to patch ourselves up. Frosty had a broken arm, Krug and I just needed stitches and antibiotics. We mostly spent our time recuperating. Duo wrote up the report, Khan and Fish took up some ship duties to keep themselves busy.
<C. T> Well, that about covers up the questions. Anything you wish to add?
<M.S S> What's this really about? Why did you bring me in here to discuss ten year old reports?
<C. T> Like I said, this is just a follow-up. It is important to judge the mental faculties of our soldiers. Especially ones who have been through what your squad went through.
Just something I wrote. Not my best work, I might do more, iunno.