A pair of short storiesA/N
Just a pair little short stories to celebrate the game a bit, and to put something in the rarely used Fan fiction forum. These two stories are my attempt to capture what a pre-game might be like for the two sides.
- Operations Room:
"These things... These... Kharaa... I just don't see what the big deal is. You know?"
The confident voice of Jason echoes in the quiet of the abandoned main operations room of the mining facility. The hum of the infantry portal and the chatter of us marines are the only sounds on this dead facility.
Less than twenty four hours ago, Me, Jason,and four other guys I don't even know yet were assigned to respond to an emergency beacon that detected the presence of Kharaa deep in the mines. Me and other frontiersmen have been running to and fro responding to false positives of Kharaa presence, but it's mostly just been things like a spore, or a dead cyst triggering the alarms after a cleanup.
But this time is different. The big wigs on the base were really sweating over this run. This one's going to be the real deal. I know it...
Of course, this would just so happen to be the mission I get stuck with this idiot. Jason. The overconfident vet who thinks he knows everything Kharaa, when he's probably only killed a skulk or two.
Jason goes on to boast about his experiences while we are all helpless to listen to him. Five fully armored marines with rifles out and helmets on waiting for an order... listening to this idiot.
"I always hear everyone being afraid of the Kharaa, when all they are a bunch a stupid animals. Like last week on that station. You know, the one with the bar? They had a stray skulk pinned up in the cafeteria that time, everyone on the base is freaking out. So, they send me and another guy in there and what do I find? The dumb thing eating on the vending machine. Just chewing out this machine like a maniac trying to get some food. Didn't even look back at me when I started putting bullets in 'im." He says with a grin.
"So? What's your point? Skulks do stupid crap all the time. Everyone knows they don't think." I reply.
"But that's just it." He tries to explain. "They don't think. They're stupid animals. I just don't see why taxpayer dollars are going to all this Kharaa defense bull crap when all we're trying to do is defend against a bunch of stupid dogs. It just doesn't make sense. The feds got no guts when it comes to this kind of thing."
He hasn't seen what a skulk can do to man like how I have... It's not pretty... There's perfectly good reason to fear the Kharaa.
Of course, I don't get to say that before our commander shows up.
"You're wrong about one thing there." He says with a confident swagger as he steps out the infantry portal.
Jason doesn't take well to being questioned. He stands up and meets our commander with a glare.
"Oh yeah? And who made you the expert big guy?" He says, oblivious to his rank.
The commander growls, but refrains from chewing out Jason. Instead, surprisingly, he remains calm and explains.
"The Kharaa don't think." He begins as he paces around the room. "You're right about that. But they aren't always like that. They have these things they build now. These... 'hives' if you will. They're freaks of nature that do strange things to the Kharaa. Makes them aggressive. Makes them smart. Makes them change..."
He spins back around to me and Jason with a serious glare.
"Two months ago a refinery not too far from here got hit by Kharaa. We finally got around to getting back in to pick the place up and push out the mess, and what we saw was no simple mindless attack. Every power node was ripped up and torn out. Extractors and armories pulled from their sockets. Infantry portals were crushed to pieces. The central command? Wasn't a shred of it to be found. Bodies were chewed, cut, broke, and bloody; not a single gun was on a one of them."
He raises his voice as he makes his point. "The hives are making the aliens smart. They tell them how to fight. The hives know what hurts us, and what hurts them. The hives are without a doubt an advanced alien lifeform capable of things we never thought possible. Taking out our machines, eating up our resources, and cutting up our men. They're smart alright. Smarter than us even. The hives are the source of all this mess with the Kharaa."
The commander than turns his attention to Jason. "And there's one right here on this very base. So if you want to get out of here alive, then I suggest you shape up and follow orders."
Jason doesn't challenge him. The fear in his eyes is clear. Nervous whispers from the other men give a more open display of fear.
The commander nods at his work and turns to the command post. He steps up to the computer screen as the armored panels close in around him, and disappears inside.
His voice rings over the headset I wear. "Alright boys. We have Kharaa movement confirmed by our long range sensors, we just need to find out where. Jason, get to work on this armory here. The rest of you, head over to the repair room and get an extractor up in that hallway. I want this done quick and clean. Move out marines!"
At that second, nanites instantly begin forming an armory, and Jason reluctantly pulls out his constructor and begins fleshing out the skeleton the nanites have produced. We will certainly need those weapons if we want to kill a hive.
On my HUD, a glowing marker appears and beckons me out of the safety of the operations room and into the darkness of the mine. Me and the other men pick up our rifles and head towards it.
"Time to go to work..." I mutter.
The commander overhears me and replies back.
"No soldier... It's time to go to war."
What is this? Light? Am I... born?
Slowly, I crawl out of the broken remains of the womb around me. Light floods my eyes and sound floods my ears. Desperate for air, I let out a pained screech and fill my lungs.
Eyes? Ears? Lungs? What are these things? What is this voice I hear in my head? Are these... thoughts? Do I think? What is that voice I hear?
Be still child. You think because I am here. I have given you will
I turn around to face the almighty voice echoing behind me and find a majestic being. A radiant orb balanced so delicately on atop the rocky face. Our hive. Our lord. Our master.
But my brethren around me do not acknowledge our hive. They growl and fight with each other like fools. Are they blind?
They cannot hear me. They are ignorant. I can choose but only one to hear my thoughts.
What injustice is this? What can be done? I cannot help but howl in despair.
Do not cry child. You will help me. You will be my voice. You will guide us. I have chosen you to lead.
Me? Lead? But I am a child. A lowly being...
You will lead. You must. I will show you how. Come... into me... and see.
Slowly, I crawl before the majesty of the hive. Beneath its base a hole opens up to admit me. Hesitantly, I crawl inside.
Then, enlightenment! I see! I can see everything! What is this? Is this power?
This my power my child. You can see. You can control. Try. Learn my child.
Learning is effortless for me know that I have attained this blessing. The world bends to my will. At my command, a tiny shoot of life emerges and begins to spread our presence.
Is it not beautiful? This is the beginning of our empire. With your guidance, and my power, we will create a kingdom.
But then, I feel a grim sadness emerge from the hive.
But our kingdom is threatened. Men wreathed in iron and fire bring death and despair. They seek to destroy us. To destroy... me.
What? What heathen could do this? Who could destroy such a beautiful creature?
They are harbingers of death. Humans. They seek to destroy all of us and our kingdom. They have already come for us as we speak. They draw near. Soon, we will be destroyed.
What? No! This cannot happen!
It will not. Not if you don't allow it. Do you see our other children? They are like you once were. Mindless. But they can be taught with you help. They can fight. Claws and teeth can kill the humans. Their hives, their disgusting machines, can be destroyed by our power. Our kingdom can support new life to help our efforts, and breed young soldiers to combat their threat. All you must do, is speak to them.
I will do whatever it takes to destroy these monsters!
Then lead them to battle. Expand our empire. Use your voice. Use my power!
And so I shall!
From my position within the hive, I unleash an angered howl that awakens our people. A howl that spreads my message.
Death has come for us. Arise to battle brothers. Find the enemy! Kill them! Claw their faces! Bite their necks! Rip the wires! Chew the metal! Break! Demolish! Butcher! Maim! Kill the humans! Fight for the Kharaa!
They roar back in confirmation. At once, they begin to advance on the human menace.
Well spoken my child. Now prepare yourself. It is time for a war.
That's it. Thanks for reading. comment and review please.
I tried to capture different perspectives here with the two sides. The marine side, I wanted the aliens to be seen as a menace; a strange new threat to be feared. I tried to demonstrate this with that little explanation as to what a 'good game' for the aliens turns out to be.
The alien side was a bit trickier. As an alien, I imagine the hive to be something like a godlike being for them, and that it would be something they practically worshiped. I mostly did this to try and avoid the 'hive is a nest/maternal instinct' type cliche, as well as explain how the hive is a supernatural being that can create new alien life yet can't do so alone.
But overall, I was just having fun. Thanks again for reading. Be sure to let me know what you think.