Natural Selection and all therein belong to Unknown Worlds Entertainment, I make no profit from this. I do, however, own the concept of this story
The KharaaA Call To Arms
Wow, I thought. The war must be going pretty badly if they draft me.
Which the government had just done.
I wondered of what use I would play in the war. Most likely, I’d be some lowly private again, as I had in the Civil War that had nearly destroyed Earth twelve years ago. I sighed, remembering the crude nuclear bombs that terrorists had employed, and the new, deadly antimatter guns, missiles, and bombs. If only we could use them against the alien invasion… But the antimatter technology would violently react with the teleporter, as had been proven five years ago. It had nearly wiped out a whole continent.
In some ways, it was lucky that that continent was Antarctica. In some ways, it wasn’t. The environment had been totally destroyed. Ocean levels were rising in a vicious cycle. Earth’s natural resources were quickly being depleted. Renewable resources and technology were rapidly being developed, but still not fast enough. Soon, the Earth would be noninhabitable. In fact, buildings had to be equipped every six months with the latest air filters to counter the rising level of carbon monoxide and other poisons that were still drifting in the air since the last, devastating war, which had killed over fifty percent of the population.
That was when the government had made a new agency, called the Frontiersmen. They were to explore new worlds, and perhaps sometime in the near future before all the inhabitants of Earth died a slow death, one of those worlds would become terraformed, and become a new Earth. Of course, things hadn’t gone so smoothly. Recently, there had been vicious attacks by aliens, seriously deterring the progress of the Frontiersmen. And now to make up for the loss, I was to be deployed.
I walked slowly to the briefing center. I looked around, admiring the beautiful architecture. It was all glass, steel, and various metals, like all other modern buildings.
The receptionist greeted me with a warm, yet fake smile. “And you are…?”
“RG-31,” I replied dully.
“The presentation is currently going in room 336, third level.”
After being forced to wait three hours thanks to so-called “technical problems”, the presentation started. About fifteen people were with me, the ones who would later stand by me in the worst of times and become my future squadron.
“Here’s what we’re up against. The Kharaa. They are a group of alien races that have evolved from microscopic lifeforms. So far, we have only seen four types of these lifeforms, although it is suspected that there are many more. Also, because they are constantly evolving from different lifeforms, they gain different traits. Some are faster than others, some attack more viciously. We’ll go over these different evolutions as well as strategy for defeating them, repelling them, and the like. First we’ll show you a video clip of what these things can do.”
An image on the volumetric display device roared to life. It was grainy and shaky, obviously taken on the standard visor part of the helmet. The atmosphere was dark, and the only objects that could be made out were metal pipes and wires. A feeling of claustrophobia came over me as the unknown marine stepped over the numerous wires. The video blacked out suddenly, but the audio was still on. The unearthly screaming and sound of his flesh being torn out was enough. The classroom was shocked to silence.
“This was taken in the sleeping quarters during a standard patrol.”
The instructor rewinded the recording, and programmed it to play at one frame per two seconds. Then he fastfowarded it to the part where the marine had been attacked. Frame by frame we saw the dark shape silently crouching in the shadows. Frame by frame we saw the dark shape leap at the marine. The instructor briefly paused the recording to point out some of the anatomical features of the alien.
“It’s about the size of a big dog. See these claws? These were the things that ripped this poor man apart.” His laser pointer now rested on the creature’s mouth. “Definitely a carnivore. Look at these teeth.” He went to the next frame. A cavern of teeth- no, more like daggers, were exposed.
“Holy crap,” whispered one man to himself.
The instructor nodded solemnly. “That’s not all. Check out this. See these feet? They seem to be suited for gripping on to any surface, making you easy targets for ambushes.”
There was a stricken silence full of despair.
“Okay, let’s move on to the rest of the video clip.”
“There’s more?!” I exclaimed.
The instructor arched an eyebrow at me. “Not from this particular marine. Four marines were immediately dispatched to the site, and again, they were filming this. ”
A new image, sharper and clearer, was projected on the VDD. The image had obviously been enhanced through the latest cutting-edge technology and the new photoreceptors which had been installed within the visors.
So of course I saw the bloodied, decapitated corpse as if I had seen it with my own eyes. The alien was still there, feeding on it.
The marines immediately opened fire. The alien seemed to squeal as it was struck repeatedly by the bullets. Then, it just disappeared. Disappeared into nothing, as if it had never been there.
I got a really bad feeling about being a soldier right then.
The instructor snapped off the power to the display abruptly, but the image was still fresh in my mind in all its glory. The severed arms, legs, and what not. The alien feeding ravenously on the marine.
Damn. So this is what we were going up against? I sure as hell needed to listen to this briefing. It could be the difference between life and death. So I listened attentively as the various holograms, all constructed of shimmering blue, were cycled and commented upon.
The alien from the video feed was rendered, along with a vaguely humanoid alien and a strange creature which resembled the alien from the video, yet fatter and bearing spikes on its back.
“First, the skulk. Computer, add color.”
The alien from the video was enlarged; all other images disappeared. The light was immediately toned down to absolute blackness.
This skulk, as said before, looked the size of a dog but lacking the fur. It bore two razor sharp claws on two stick-like legs, as well as two hind legs, which were very muscular. The head of the skulk was shaped like one of a rat’s, disregarding the apparent size differences. Two golden eyes regarded everything with hunger and the primal instinct to survive. Of course, there was the teeth to top it off. All in all, a greatly intimidating sight; at least to those who had watched the fatal video.
“I’m pretty sure that you all know what its teeth can do. But you may not know some other interesting facts of its anatomy,” lectured the instructor. “The forelegs are used for slashing and tearing flesh apart. But it is also used to hang on to slippery surfaces, and climb walls with relative impunity. The hind legs are used as grippers. Notice all those muscles? When they’re leaping, that force greatly amplifies their power. These things are insane.”
He shifted his notes.
“The skulks have several different attacks. They like to jump a lot to dodge bullets, and also as said before, use their hind legs to spring and launch themselves at you. Occasionally, they will explode. This explosion seems to not be random, as it has been used to great effect against clusters of marines and others. They also seem to have the ability to launch a parasite. Once this parasite strikes your nerve system tends to fail a little bit, but it is usually not fatal. However, it seems to function like a tracking device, alerting your presence to every alien on that ship.”will make updates regularly