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In the footsteps of Angelhus (2319 WORDS , SCIFI, ADULT LANGUAGE.) (1 Viewer)

Daniel Loreand

Senior Member
In the footsteps of Angelhus - Revised (2319 WORDS , SCIFI, ADULT LANGUAGE.)

Hey Everyone. Thanks to the great feedback I revised and went over my short story 'In the footsteps of Angelhus' and hope it makes for a better read. In regards to more details on Mars or Earth, I opted to keep it as it is for the following reason. It may seem superfluous to have the 'An Expansive Era story' added to the title but the reason being is I have a few Sci-fi storys set in what I called my 'Expansive Era setting' - so this story is more a snippet into a part of that world rather than a standalone peice. Anyway, hope this makes for a better read.



In the footsteps of Angelhus
An Expansive Era story
Daniel Loreand.

2375,
Lieutenant Angelhus Randolph August of the Mars tenth company,
Day one of the Larvaea expedition.

We landed today. The men were eager to get moving after the long months in stasis. I watched through my military grade exoskeleton's visor as the lifter took off to reunite with the command ship. It was gone in an instant lost admits the stagnant thick air of this place.

Being encased within metal alloy and standing twelve feet tall would usually lend some measure of comfort to a weary soldier’s mind, but this place drains any hope of comfort. Standing in this wasteland felt like we'd violated hallowed ground, like the planet itself was angry at our arrival and was willing us to retreat.

It was only then, when I took in the truly horrifying endless scope of my surroundings did I realise what a hideous place this is.

Back on Mars they are calling this moribund planet Larvaea, an unfitting name if you ask me. It conjures images of bright colours and new life. There are no colours here that don't stir up images of a bursting ulcer or a festering wound.

I see only a decaying bog stretching on forever dotted with large sickly purple and yellow veined twisted husks that vaguely resemble trees and gigantic filthy outgrowths that spray an ungodly amount of fumes into the already hazy void.

Green tendrils of smog crawled along the ground while the earth itself looked to be suffering from some otherworldly cancerous tumour.

Our Mechs inbuilt scanners picked up no intelligent life much to no one's surprise. Our MGE stabilized to the atmosphere far quicker then our ability to assess or quite comprehend anything ourselves.

The com chatter was filled with low mutters and deep breaths as if we were afraid the oxygen our sealed and pressurized exoskeleton filtered us could some how become contaminated in this breeding ground of death and disease.

The sheer lack of anything living in this vast expanse dashes my hopes for the terraforming team still being alive. Their distress beacon however was still coming in strong much to my surprise.

I lead the company forward in pursuit. There is fifty two men, not nearly enough for this operation. Our MGE modes of vision were predictably useless, not being suited to this places hostile and vaporous gloom.

It wasn't long into our trek of this forsaken place that our gatling lasers and blasters flashlights became necessary just to see each heavy step our exoskeletons made.

A narrow winding marshland forced the company to trudge in slow and sombre single file. Yellow sickly ooze slush’s around the marsh suggesting some form of life.
The maddening silence of the place brought similar silence to the men and me. It seems that the further we delved into this morass the more the fumes and smog closed in around us.

Gas clouds are loudly exhaled from craters of varying degrees of size within the boggy depths and on strange and twisting outcrops to assault our vision every step of the way.

One of the men tripped on a treacherous twisting fleshiness that sent him flailing into the murky acid of the swamp.

In seconds the million-credit military-grade exoskeleton had been burnt to ribbons and the screams of one of my men filled our com system for the briefest of moments until the man and machine were swallowed, nothing but bubbling gaseous clouds popped and gurgled contently from where my man had fell.

We all tread with a hindsight more caution from then on. I dare not call for camp for sleep, not in this swamp, though I dare say there is no place suitable to let your guard down on this forsaken rock.


2375,
Lieutenant Angelhus Randolph August of the Mars tenth company,
Day two of the Larvaea expedition.

This whole nightmarish place seems to have awoken hungry from a long slumber. It's a hostile place that swallows all that enters it and I begin to wonder if we are to become its next meal.

All the men feel the same. They trained back on Mars but nothing could have prepared them for this. I am logging this journal in the hopes of aiding any that are cursed enough to be sent to this planet of entropy.

I lie to the men by telling them we will be home soon. One asked about Earth and what it's really like back there. They're all Martians brought up on dreams of the capital world and its advertised wonders.

Again I lied telling them of how glorious and bright the capital is, failing to mention the eerie similarities it bears with this forsaken place.

By some miracle the dense marshland ended, we are one step closer to the beacon. I've never gotten used to these exoskeletons; it is my protection and my prison closing in around me. The filtered air is close and unnatural. After a couple of hours we set up camp.

The stimulants and carbon monoxide pumped through the suit did little to help sleep come any easier or calm my already fractured nerves. But when sleep finally came it was sudden and short and plagued with terrors.

We woke the next day to huge droplets cascading down like a bombing run from the hellish heavens above to explode on us like oozy yellow grenades. They began to singe our exoskeletons and some even broke through exposing those inside to the toxic air.

By the time the lifter picked up our distress signal through the mist and smog and filth it was already too late. I'm running out of men.

Command managed to get a signal through, wants a progress report. What do I tell them that all is well? That the men are in high spirits? That is what they want to hear and that is what they will get I suppose.

I've been doing this for far too long, this will be my last assignment I think. Retirement is calling me. I can feel it in my old bones and frail spirit. I have a first class citizenship, I could retire somewhere quiet on Earth if there is still such place. All dreams to dream somewhere that isn't Larvaea.

The hopelessness of this place strips a man down. Leaves him with little but the sum of his parts. Cut's through the bullshit and banter, good look at your self.
I will not deny that as we trekked slow and steady through the slush and filth of this abyss I found my old urges creep back into my skull and this one crucial time failed to resist.

The Mech records all stimulation use I'll be dismissed on accounts of drug violation. My dreams of retirement may have been shattered by my.. deficiency, but all that matters to me at this second is ending this operation. But even with the stimulants the edge of this place is still very much sharp.

Shadows creep at the corners of my eye only to skitter off into the hazy horizon and noises tick and play within my skull and still the scanner reads no intelligent life. No life, how can that be!? I keep my madness to myself and this log.


2375,
Lieutenant Angelhus Randolph August of the Mars tenth company,
Day three of the Larvaea expedition.

The signal draws me close but my heart is drowning in a sea of dread and my mind is a jigsaw that has been blown to pieces.

I did not baulk not this close, not in front of my men. But as I stepped forward to the site and my mechs heavy footsteps washed away pockets of mist at its feet every fibre in my being told me not to, told me to call in a lifter and to hell with command and their terraforming agenda.

Yet my legs moved and with them the exoskeleton that serves as my vessel on this planet. The site itself was in the eye of the storm. The smog we previously fought through was nothing in comparison.

It spiralled and enveloped the site in a miasmic entropic grasp; a war cry summoned forth to send anyone routing in its wake.

The huge crater spanned miles around the once bleach-white buildings of the construction site. It was a gaping maw in the middle land dug out by heavy diggers and huge craning lasers. How far down it went no one knew.

Scaffolding heavy diggers and all manner of equipment were abandoned forlornly like children waiting for their parents to come back to them.

There was no sign of resistance or panic as if everyone had abandoned their posts mid shift to simply go home. The shelters were stained as if wounded by the unrelenting smog and overgrown with some grotesque and corpulent fleshiness.

The men were quiet as they fanned out blasters held high ready to fire. Our search of the site yielded no results and fewer answer as to the whereabouts of the team. The remainder of the day was spent hopelessly searching and looking for anything.

The logs were found wiped clean. It's as if no entries were made and no one was ever here. The smog thickened and we set up a perimeter for the days end.

As I sit here motionless ready to shut down for the night the noises in the dark etch at my scalp. There can be no doubt that something moves amidst the smog and mist.

I have to find out have to go out. Leave my post? Yes at the time of reading this sounds like madness but as I write this log I cannot sleep nor think of nothing else. Something is here on Larvaea. And I must find out what.


2375,
Lieutenant Angelhus Randolph August of the Mars tenth company,
Last recorded entry of the Larvaea expedition.

This will be my last entry. The operation was a success to a degree. I found the terraforming expedition amidst smog and horror and endlessness.
In the mist, in the darkest most disgusting places imaginable. I'm unsure if I possess the means or words to give an accurate account. Damn it all that doesn't matter not now.

What lies within the impenetrable toxicity of this place the indescribable horror that left me routing back to the site like a rookie not a veteran of twenty years.
I spared the men whilst they slept sabotaged their MGE. Their pain was minimal compared to the soul crushing despair they would have faced.

I have created a beacon, a warning to stay clear of this place. I only pray to god it is heeded. Even now I hear them coming, scratching and dragging and crawling across the dead earth of this place.

They draw close. Too many to describe. I upload this log in hopes that it is proof of the lost cause that is Larvaea.. Lieutenant Angelhus Randolph August of the Mars tenth company.

2375,
Cadet James Sandal,
Entry one.

Command stated we are all to fill in daily logs, journals are good for the mind so we're told. Personally I don't see the sense in it. We'll fill their ears full when we get back.

We'll be landing tomorrow I'm getting exited. What can I say really? Same old thing; workout, breakfast, banter with the lads. Same old stuff like any job really.

Plenty of us aboard most men like me never seen real action so we're all pumped around the board. What else.. Oh yeah! Well there was the whole thing about the lieutenant.

We all read the late lieutenant's journal before it was restricted as classified. Nervous laughs were exchanged over the breakfast table and more than a few times were the words loony and old timer thrown about. I don't quite know how I feel about that.

Lieutenant Angelhus was a decorated veteran regardless of what happened. Seen him on some those Earth holo vids back on Mars, came across as a solid rock.

To be fair though, he was self admittedly high on stimulants at the time. Can't deny the material makes for a spooky read... But I find myself unconvinced like the rest of the men.

There could be some form of life down there that has telepathic capabilities that could have blocked the scanner. That isn't unheard of right?

I mean hell command stuck us with' a bunch of muties, sorry how insensitive of me. Mutants I should say. Their a group of Psykers accompanying us on the expedition, coincidence? Spooky lot, keep mostly to themselves.

Anytime we say anything to em' which isn't often, they just give us these looks real distant like, as if they're looking at something only they can see.

Makes me nervous them lot never know if their trying to get into your head.. I mean I know its illegal for em' to go poking and prodding an all but we don't have any mutie sensors on the ship like in the cities, for all we know they could be crawling into my egg salad right now..

I'm just being paranoid most likely, I should keep focused. Still something keeps prodding and poking at my surety..

Still, we have triple the men that accompanied the lieutenant and command wants' results. If there is anything down there which I highly doubt we'll blast em!

I'm excited to finally get inside one of those military exoskeletons we trained for, they’re huge, I once saw em take ten armed men out at a time walking tanks they are. Packing this sort of firepower how can we lose? Man oh man my first real assignment isn't far away and I can't wait!
 
Last edited:

hvysmker

Senior Member
2375,


I gazed into the heavy green and purple smog filled atmosphere through my military grade exoskeleton’s visor as the lifter took off to reunite with the command ship, only for it to be lost instantly admits the blubbery thick air of this place.
*** This sentence reads well until the comma, that is. The rest of the sentence needs a lot of work. Also, I'd split it at that point. I have no idea how to reword the last part. It makes no sense to me. That “admits” throws me off. Maybe something like, and I'm only guessing. “Instantly, it was lost in the thickening gloom.”


.......gigantic filthy outgrowths that spray an ungodly amount of fetid looking fumes into the already hazy void.
*** I can't picture something looking fetid? It's sorta comparing odors with looks.


Green tendrils of smog crept and crawled along the ground and the equally toxic air while the earth itself looked to be suffering from some otherworldly cancerous tumour. And as for intelligent life there was none our inbuilt scanners picked up, much to no ones surprise. Our MGE stabilized to the atmosphere far quicker then our ability to assess or quite comprehend anything of this place ourselves. The com chatter was filled with low mutters and deep breaths as if we were afraid the oxygen our sealed and pressurized exoskeleton filtered us could some how become contaminated in this breeding ground of death and disease.
*** Only my opinion, but although the descriptions are good and even flowery, I'd much prefer shorter sentences.


It wasn't long into our trek of this forsaken place that our gatling lasers and blasters flash lights became necessary just to see each heavy step our exoskeletons made.
*** flashlights


It seemed to me that the further we delved into this morass the more the fumes and smog closed in around us,
*** farther.


In seconds the million credit military grade exoskeleton
*** million-credit military-grade exoskeleton


2375,


It's as if it's been asleep for aeons and is suddenly woken, hungry.
*** It's as if its been asleep.... It's is only a contraction of it is


2375,


The huge crater spanned miles around the once bleach white buildings of the construction site.
*** bleach-white


The smog thickens and we set up a perimeter for the days end.
*** thickened


As I sit here motionless, ready to shut down for the night the noises in the dark etch at my scalp.
*** You need some delimiter before this sentence, at the point where you abruptly changed from past tense to present. I use the traditonal “***” but there are others, like an extra blank line.


There can be no doubt, something moves amidst the smog and mist.
*** I'd split that into two sentences for emphasis?


I have to find out, have to go out. Leave my post? Yes at the time of reading this sounds like madness, but as I write this log I cannot sleep nor think of nothing else.
*** anything else?


2375,


Command stated we are all to fill in daily logs, journals are good for the mind so we're told.
*** Again, I'd put more of a delimiter in to indicate a change of scene. That one line doesn't do it for me.


Their a group of Psykers accompanying us on the expedition, coincidence?
*** There are?


never know if their trying to get into your head..
*** they're? Aldo, I'm curious as to all those double periods “head..”? Are they mistakes or meant to be ellipses?


I think this is a very good and descriptive read, Daniel. What throws me off is the length of sentences, most if not all of which I think should be split into two or three. I'm not deathly against occasional comma splices, but these are at the point of being ridiculous. Especially as read on computer monitors, short sentences and paragraphs go over much better. And you really should indicate change of scenes better.


Otherwise, it's a good story and well written.
Charlie
 

Jamboree

Senior Member
Charlie has picked up on a lot of the grammatical/sentence structure already so I shall skip that. It's not an area that I am hugely strong on.

With regards to the story I'm not convinced by how much time skips between scenes. The first log seems to happen over a few hours. First they are landing and then the lieutenant is thinking about not setting up camp for the night. Would you leave with such little time before night fall or has timed jumped a lot?
Also a man dies very early on in the first day but a couple of paragraphs later and we are reading events from a week later. Could the whole story be changed so instead of it occurring over 4 weeks it occurred over 4 days? Otherwise it seems that we are missing out on a lot of things that happen.

I would suggest that more details about the narrator and the team could be included. How many soldiers are there? You mention that they are from Mars but we don't know much about Mars' current state. Is it completely populated by humans? I would consider leaving out the reference of Earth in the second log as it confused me and opened up a lot more questions than I wanted for a short story.
The last log and crossover with the new character was very confusing. They need to be clearly separated as at first I thought that the new narrator was the Lieutenant still. I like the idea of the last log with how the Lieutenant kills all the men but it could do with more detail. In what state did they find the research team? Were the managing to hold out against a vicious enemy, who perhaps isn't clearly seen but we only gain glimpses of their appearance? This is the area that could use with being worked on most to make it read easier but I think that the premise and idea is excellent and that you could have a very good overall story is you tidy it up in a few areas.
I would like to read a revised version and I think that this could be a great story.
Jam
 

Daniel Loreand

Senior Member
Thanks for the feedback guys, I need to work on my grammar and sentence structure. Something I have real trouble with. Thank you for taking the time to give me some feedback, really helps.
 

Daniel Loreand

Senior Member
Really appreciate this reply man, I really needed feedback on the story in general. I'm going to make some tweaks thanks to your feedback and tidy up the story a bit!
 

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