Been waiting a while to get this on the NS forums. It's a short NS story, been reading a lot of the Rebus short stories for those of you who know him in the UK and really enjoying them, this isn't anywhere near as good but a start
It's also peppered with homages to those who play reguarly on the YO clan server in Europe. Thoughts, comments and brickbats welcome
I'm thinking of changing the title though, any suggestions?
Always expect the unusualFROM THE WIKAPEDIA 2205 EDITION - PEACE AND SERENDIPITY LABRATORIES
It was a strange situation, the Quakers had always had a propensity for being good with money and this coupled with a new found cynicism for accepting that not only was there that of God within every human but also that of the night as well meant that they rose rapidly in the wealth stakes in the form of the Massow corporation. Started by a George Massow in the early 21st Century to try and earn money for social redistribution from a technology business, the beneficients of their largesse swiftly changed as all employees were deemed "Poor and needy Quakers" by default. Initial complaints from more traditional quakers were won over as the monetary benefits of internal redistribution were felt. They also benefited from a continuation of strong pacifist ideals. It wasn't so much from a "do thy neighbour more harm" perspective however as from a realisation that violence was bad for business. It meant spending more money on defence which couldn't be ploughed back in to the corporation - not that they had no defence at all - no corporation would be that foolish. It was more an acceptance that bribery and internal politics were more effective shall we say. As a result, they had an ultra loyal workforce and were seen as one of the stronger corporations to have forced their way through recently.
The lack of defence however did prove costly with one of the more advanced projects they undertook on the outer rim. You would always expect the unusual with the projects they took on and their peace and serendipity labratories caused more problems than the labratories could cope with...............PEACE AND SERENDIPITY LABRATORIES 2201 5:35 AM. Location : AUXILIARY GENERATOR
"So what were these religious fruitcakes doing here then" asked Dougie McCloud
"Don't know and don't care" said Tarn, stress making him sound a little shorter than he wanted to. "They were experimenting on some of the Kharaa's DNA I think." The blue ripple of the commanders scan gently stroked the walls, teasing the alien infestation details in to the marines sight. Further down the corridor in a gap between the wall, the catwalk and the open waterway underneath, a short spikey stump gradually revealed itself.
"There it is" sighed Dwayne and moved up to it swinging his gun off his shoulder
"Easy fella" said Tarn "we've been using our knife on these, seems to take them down quicker and we can hear if any of them move in on us. Knifing these cloaking posts draws them in faster than a Fade. Let's stay alert people, always expect the unusual"
Dwayne smiled gently to himself and unsheathed his knife. The blue ripples faded and the marines fear rose in their throats. They knew the commander would not have enough power in the obs for another minute or so and it was at these times that the Kharra tended to attack.
The squad spread out in a v shape with Dwayne wading in to the water and sliding the knife in to the stump, working it carefully, releasing the life gently from within it whilst the others covered. It was taking time though and the sweat bubbled to the top of the foreheads of the marines surrounding him.
"Murphee can we have a scan please, I'm getting kinda nervous down here" whispered Tarn in to his heavy armour mic. Alone out of the rest of the marines he had been issued the precious armour and it's scarred and pitted exterior bore mute testament to his recent life. His headset crackled in to life "I know bud, gimme a few seconds more, I'm all out of energy up here"
Tarn waited in quiet anticipation, watching Dwayne's back, forcing his breath in to some semblance of normality and control. Dwayne kept up his steady work on the sensory stump.
"Here it comes" crackled the voice in his ear
Blue lines crawled across the floor and Tarns stomach fell away. The dim light from the ceiling suddenly created a twisted shadow in the water as the form of an Onos slowly relented in showing itself, gently prompted by the scan. Legs wide as a tree, weathered like a mountain corry strecthed up to a body that dwarfed the marines, striking genuine terror to the root of their being. It still didn't stop Tarn though from swinging in to position in front of it, pumping his shotgun in some kind of worship to his bodys physical prowess, pellets creating inroads to the face of the Onos, green viscose liquid marking their less than affectionate passing.
In one smooth movement the Onos swept forward more gracefully than you would have any right to expect from it's elaphantine body, swallowing Tarn completely. Frenetic sounds of LMG fire followed the Onos as it backed down the corridor, head writihing in response to the bullets becoming familiar with it's body.
"Man down, man down" screamed Dwayne in to his mic, spittle flying from his mouth, eyes seeping fluid he did not want to share with the world.PEACE AND SERENDIPITY LABRATORIES 2201 5:37 AM. Location : UNKNOWN
The wan light of the HA suits head torches dimly cast about as acidic liquid licked at the visor of his suit. The hydraulic system in the legs failed and he could no longer move his legs. Strange he should not feel scared but the nanites began to weave their magic, increasing the seratonin within his body and reducing the adrenaline, taking their cue from the heavy armour systems as to the futility of the situation. Muffled sounds, bass heavy and rythmical faded as the extrenal microphones failed. The internal warning sounds designed to be calm yet to urge action, rose another notch. "Always expect the unusual" he whispered in to his mic, closing down the communication panel to his squads comm net. Not long now for Tarn Collins.PEACE AND SERENDIPITY LABRATORIES 2201 11:43 AM TSA MARINE COMMAND CENTRE
The collection of stripes round the table would have made a zebra proud but the atmosphere was not one of convivial accord. Seargeant Gus "puzl" Desfee's narled face looked round in concern
"So what I don't understand is why he stepped in front of the Onos. With his HA he stood a better chance of surviving a goring than any of the others and with another marine devoured he could have brought that Onos down with his weapon. As it was we lost 3 members of that team on the way back, with Dwayne Strummers incapable of speech - what the flying ###### went on?" A series of blank expressions and shrugged shoulders met the question, eyes looking anywhere but the Irishmans face "All I have is this last piece from Collins stating "Always expect the unusual" over the comm net. Any ideas?" PEACE AND SERENDIPITY LABRATORIES 2201 11:43 AM. Location : BUNK HOUSE
Dwayne Strummers looked at the base of the hologram, "always expect the unusual" was written in thin, polite curves. He glanced up to the image of Tarn Collins and whispered the same lines to himself as a mantra, fingering the base of it as he did and the relief of the words underneath, spelling out the words - all my love, Tarn.