I'm still working on my original fan fiction. ( Dark Harbinger
)It's a somewhat bizzare process for me, seeing as I'm getting parts out of order, and coming up with new ideas at random. I'm not quite as prolific - Fire Eel I don't know how you do it - but I'm trying to do the best I can, so here's a random, out-of-order chapter for Dark Harbinger.
“That which is believed by every part, by every fiber of the body and the mind to be possible, has already been done. “ -Inglair Vaahn 25th century philosopher
The promotion line always seemed a waste for Marcus. All you did was stand around for three and half hours in dress while your captain read off the list of TSA command authorized promotions and citations. They had tried to promote Marcus four times now, and each time he had declined his promotion.
It had been almost an hour and a half, but Captain Yavkawitz hadn’t even started talking yet. The battalion commander couldn’t seem to shut up, which was odd, but Marcus didn’t care. All he wanted to do was get back to the rec center on the station and start drinking. He wasn’t going to take a promotion if it was offered, and it wasn’t doing him any good to stand here sober and sweating with everyone else from 1st battalion.
At the front of the room, a sliding door on the right side of the presentation platform. A man wearing the bronzed chevrons of a colonel came out followed by two aides and walked over to Captain Yavkawitz. Marcus was three rows back from the front, and when he saw who the man was, his eyes widened.
Captain Yavakawitz had risen and swiftly saluted the man who returned the gesture with a curt motion of his arm. Corporal Williams, the company clerk, had also risen quite swiftly when the man had entered the room, and as soon as the Colonel had returned Captain Yavakawitz’s salute, he barked out loudly,
“Frontiersman! Soldier hup!”
Every right hand in the room hit a forehead. The identity of the colonel had long since circulated around the room.
Colonel Alin “Tep” Teperhazy walked forward to the podium.
The name was legendary among the TSA. Colonel “Tep” was the Frontiersman’s top ranking field colonel. One of only a few non-graduate officers, Colonel Tep had risen through the ranks from private by sheer skill.
Marcus had fought with him once, on Hera.
It had been a lost cause. From the moment they had dropped, the Frontiersman were outnumbered and outgunned. The aliens had set up multiple hive points, and their infrastructure had grown large enough for the production of fades long before the TSA had ever given the go ahead for the mission.
Marcus’ squad had been sent on a recovery mission to Data Core Delta. The TSA had over two hundred terabytes of tactical information that had been lost in the initial takeover of Hera. What they didn’t know however, was that in the time the Khaara had been on board, the TSA computer systems had been completely overrun and destroyed by alien growth and embryonic acid.
The majority of the casualties Marcus’ squad took, occurred in Data Core, as the team helplessly looked for a data access port. They failed their mission and barely got out of Hera alive.
The squad Tep was with got it worse.
They had been assigned to ventilation; Colonel Tep had requested it since it was guaranteed to be the most dangerous sector. Vent sector generated the human living environment on Hera, and although the Khaara could survive Earth-type atmosphere, they did prefer a slightly denser oxygen level. This meant it was an instant target for gorges to modify the environment on Hera. In addition, it had ventilation shafts connecting it to the rest of the systems, making it an ideal passage nexus for the lesser evolved Khaara.
Tep had taken an oversized firesquad in, 21 men and himself. The best of the entire battalion, fully equipped with everything that each individual soldier was best trained to handle.
By the end of the fight, Colonel Tep had come out with two other men; he was carrying both of them. One of them, a sergeant, died later in med bay.
No one heard anything from other soldier, he received a medal and a medical discharge and was sent away; not that he would have talked much anyway. Tep never said anything, no one ever asked. All the information about what had taken place, the legend evolving around the Colonel, had all come from the command video recording on Tep’s battle armor.
Apparently his team had been ambushed by what could only be called a battalion of fades.
From the instant that he had realized what had happened, the Colonel had begun shouting orders to his soldiers. They responded by moving into a well-practiced cross-cover formation spaced just wide enough to avoid the spray of acid from an attacking fade.
Their guns had already opened fire, and the formation quickly punched a hole in the wall of fades between the squad and the central exit from ventilation. Everything broke down from there.
Fades dropped from the ceiling clawing through the rear guard of the formation, and literally tearing soldiers in half. From the speed of the carnage in the video it’s almost impossible to tell how many there actually were. The front section, around seven men, made it into the corridor outside of ventilation, into momentary safety as the access door closed behind them.
And then the second wave hit. At that point, even the steely resolve of the veteran soldiers couldn’t hold out, their firing became panicked, saved only by the fact that a corridor didn’t allow for much variation in aim. Even then, the fades merely warped over the bodies of their dead comrades into the ragged group of survivors. The only one who maintained himself was Colonel Tep. He managed to shout enough sense into a few of them to actually get his soldiers moving again, back to the extraction point in the docking bay. One of his field officers punched the corridor emergency lockdown as they entered the tunnel towards the extraction point, Tep picked up a second heavy rifle from one of his fallen soldiers and two-armed both blazing guns to cover his team until the blast doors closed. Now, a heavy rifle fully loaded weighs approximately 112 pounds which pushes the limits of the strengthened servos on armored suits. Later, when Tep finally came out from Hera, technicians discovered his suit servos had been damaged to the point where they stopped functioning altogether.
He had held the door for twenty seconds unassisted while the rest of his men pulled back and that alone was enough to put him into legend.
The survivors had just rounded another corner in the corridor when a lone fade came out of a connection passage right into the middle of their group.
Its left arm arced like scythe through the narrow corridor, decapitating the Frontiersman directly in front it. The vid shows the bloody head rolling across the floor, bouncing a few times, and coming to rest right at the Colonel’s feet.
Fades can absorb a couple hundred rounds, and not the normal historical full metal jacket rounds, these are lead-alloy full service shredding-exploding rounds. If they had been used in service during any war on Earth, no one would have survived battlefield combat.
But Khaara do.
Frontiersman found out too quickly fades could still rip your head off with a couple pounds of metal in them, S-E rounds were the only damn thing that had a chance of holding them back.
Colonel Teperhazy may have been the only living Frontiersman to prove the experts wrong. After you see the privates head roll up to the Colonel, there’s a distinct click on the vid as Tep’s HMG’s run out of ammo. The fade glides into the corridor where the Colonel standing, and the entire screen is filled with nothing but the large black mass of the creature as it impales the other two soldiers with Tep. Its two bloodstained mantis-arms whip in front of its torso decrepifying the two injured soldiers, before arching in anticipation of another kill as it moves on to the Colonel.
Then you hear another clank, deeper than the first one, the sound of Tep’s rifle hitting the grated floor beneath him. After that the vid sort of cuts out, accounting for the three-inch scar running from his left ear toward his nose where the fade sheared off Tep’s combat helmet.
The final door in the corridor opened and Colonel Tep limped out carrying two unconscious men with him, one under each arm. In his each hand he held a TSA standard issue combat knife, the left one sheared off at the hilt. His pistol was missing, as was the holster of which only a two inch strip of black polymer belt attachment remained, but before anyone could say or ask anything, he immediately barked for the nearest soldier to grab a medikit and then ordered a full evacuation.