View Full Version : Pack Size 2nd Excerpt (foul language)

March 20th, 2013, 01:40 AM
I think this came out nicely. The second part of Pack Size.

"The Outrider is the vanguard, the scout, this we all know. They can harden their skin to beat invulnerable levels, their porous hides absorb anything for nutrients, including human blood, the weakest sections being the back of the legs, where the human hamstring would meet the glutes, and the soft hides beneath the jaw and below the armpit." I paused to survey the practiced facade of interest from the company. Good. If they pretend they're interested, then at least they're paying attention. Now the part that would perk up their ears and fears.
I clicked the remote, pulling up the data from Doran's implant. Battle footage. I spoke as the gruesome scene played out.

"These outriders are a new breed from your old friends." The footage showed the icy white of the tunnel, replaced in less than a blink by eight slender figures pouring like quicksilver into the field of view.
"The hides are yellowish, the jaws compacted, closer to our form than the usual lycanthropic jaw. The heads still elongated behind the shoulders." The scene wobbled as Doran raised his rifle, scoring two glancing blows as they closed, neither slug penetrating the elastic, starfish hides of the leading outrider. The pack song was a low rumbling moan from eight chests as my men met theirs.
Connor buried his combat blade, the high vibration alloy humming audibly on the footage, deep into the chest of the leading outrider, forcing it to grunt loudly.
"Here you will see that though Connor has hit a vital area, the outrider is unhurt." The company was uneasy already.
"The warblade never penetrated the hide, their elasticity is greatly increased from other outriders." A chorus of gasps exhaled from the audience chamber as Connor stepped back to find the beast unhurt.
"Here he pays for his mistake." I made myself watch as the outrider, a mere meter in height, brought it's arms from behind it and swung both into his neck just behind the cheeks, claw hands opening their pours to sop up his blood as it spurted. The other outsiders had reached him by then, and each buried their hardened hands into him, tearing until pieces of Connor were part of the once dreary scenery. I'd seen it fifty times, but I still cringed. The footage played on.

"Notice the rate of absorption is greatly increased. These things could drain you in seconds if they plant a claw in your guts." Not that one wouldn't be dead by then anyway.
"The compacted face makes a killzone shot or thrust possible, as we watch Lewis accomplish here," I spoke, just as Lewis planted two slugs between the low browed eyes of the first outrider, thrusting his wide warblade between the eyes of the second, before the third and fourth outriders swept him from his feet.
"The aura mind is also much more cognitive in the outriders than previously observed." An outrider had charged past him at knee level, sending him down but ignoring the kill, where the one behind him continued past him as well, stepping on his face and pushing off toward Doran and the rest of us, snapping Lewis' neck with the force of his kickoff. The company was dead silent. Good. I made them watch the outriders tear into us, as we put down another three before we suffered our next four losses.
"You hear the mute in the audio just after a man dies?" No one spoke, watching the grisly battle through the shaky, whirling view of Doran as he struggled for his life.
"The pack song changes from a rumble into a pulse of such high frequency we can't hear it here. Think of a sound grenade, set on pulse." The men were tense, some watching me, others watching the footage.
"They're squealing their kills, communicating them." Gasps again. The company watched Martel die trying to pull himself off of a two clawed lunge by an outrider, and Anton slide down the ice wall, his skull a cherry pie freezing on the descent to the floor.
"The pack song is low frequency to allow for communication at distances. These high pitched pulses in the upper frequencies have such little range to them, they can't serve any strategic purpose. They're pleasure squeals." Men shouted obscenities from the back rows, I glared vaguely out, silencing them.

Doran stood and walked out of the briefing auditorium. He was always sensitive to this. He was normally so calm, collected, analytical. Reliving his memories was the hardest thing he ever did. You could catch him crying about it at the bottom of a bottle now and then. I let him go, motioned Travers to follow, which he did hesitantly. None of the company noticed. Quentin and Scarecrow Sat obediently, Quentin glaring at the floor and Scarecrow gulping at the footage as if he'd never seen it before.

"Now for the fun part," I said sardonically.
"Were going to watch your new friends play their trump card." One outrider left, with Doran sideswiped and out, and four of my men dead. Seven on one should have been cake.
We did our best to encircle the final outrider, it's yellowed skin already pink from the blood of my squad absorbed, it's right leg split and drying, their form of self cauterization. It put its hands to the ground, let an intense rumble shake from its chest, and stood. It was calling, sending a beacon to the pack. It was preparing for death.
"Jones and Olag think they've got him," I spoke, more to myself than them. This part I might actually have to turn away from. Might, if I wanted the company to see me weak. I let the footage speak for itself, kept my jaw clenched against the inevitable event I was about to relive.
Jones thrust high, warblade humming, while Olag dove headfirst toward the thing, screaming as his blade shot out toward its midsection. It rose in one flash of movement, and the troopers blinked as if the footage had jumped or skipped somehow. Only I knew that this was it's true speed. I'd seen it in person.
The outrider gripped their faces in its claws even as the combat blades stabbed deep into its neck and stomach. It emitted the deafening high frequency pulse, muting the audio, and blood exploded from each trooper's face past its claws. Their ears shot jets of red, bodies went slack, and the outrider slumped forward, dead. The company moaned and shouted. I gulped my emotion down and turned to the crowd, pausing the footage.
"That pleasure squeal. Isn't just for fun." I waited. Their attention was genuine now. Good.

"We have business on that moon, gentlemen."

"Fuck yeah, Boss!" One man shouted, starting a round of whoops.

"Shut that fucking mouth until I'm done, trooper!" I yelled, unable to keep the smile from my mouth. At least they were excited.
"Squads of twelve will be split into fireteams of six, these are tight tunnels. Close quarters kits only, no thermal weaponry. Wire charges mandatory." The company began to buzz with whispered conversation, until I spoke next.
"Command has issued Wartabs." That meant they'd be trading in their suppression tabs for concentrated tabs. The excitement grew.
"Legion strength Wartabs." Roars from the crowd!
The stupid soldiers were excited, the scared soldiers roared just as loud to mask their fear. Legion strength tabs were the absolute strongest single issue tab a man could find. It meant one planned to be in close proximity to not one, tens, or even hundreds of Xenos, but THOUSANDS. You can sit alone in the middle of a horde of them with just one tab and not even feel nauseous.
But the pack could feel the empty space where we blocked their auras. No stealth with these tabs. Your presence was known.
Legion tabs meant battle. Death.

"You know the words, and if you don't I'll see you flogged, but I'll say them anyway." The company hooted and cheered, but dimmed their noises as I said it. Travers had returned, and chanted my words from the side of the chamber. Scarecrow stood, excited as the rest, a dopey grin on his face. Quentin sat glaring at the floor. He hadn't moved since the briefing began. I would have to talk to him before we left.

"These tabs are concentrated!" I shouted at a commanding volume. They began to chant with me,
"They will keep you SAFE, but you will be FOUND when you CRACK THEM!" The men stopped cheering and stood, shouting the words to me and to each other, the words they'd had drilled into their skulls from the day they joined.
"The legion tab is the SAFEST way to fight, and the FASTEST way to DIE!" The words echoed from mouths deafeningly. the fury was on the company now.
"ONE tab per squad, and EIGHTY meters clearance between TABS!" The screams reached their climax.
"You crack that tab and go in FAST, if you can't handle the SHIT then IT'S YOUR ASS!!!"

We were going back.