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Scions of the New Age [sci-fi; mature content] (1 Viewer)

CyberWar

Senior Member
I still have my high-school history teacher Mr. Braddock in fresh memory, the things he taught in history classes. About the Age of War, the Sidh Imperium, of how our ancestors vanquished the tank-bred cyborg monstrosities alongside the Skargh, and were then betrayed by the vile reptiles. Of how generation after generation fought to an exhausted stalemate for the two and a half centuries, but never yielded. Of how the sacrifice of generations ensured that Mankind had finally secured it's future underneath the stars.

Among other things, Mr. Braddock mentioned that the last confirmed Sidh sighting was dated 2283, over 260 years back, and chances were by now they were most probably extinct. Or at least gone from our part of the galaxy for good. We all believed him - because why wouldn't we. Sure, every now and then some crackpot conspiracy theorist on the media cited alleged encounters with "unidentified spacecraft" on the Federation's frontiers that were said to "strongly resemble evolved forms of old Sidh naval architecture". The usual result was the guy being ridiculed on live broadcast as someone who's been listening too many tall tales by drunken spacers in Frontier bars. Some of the theorists would then cite specific instances of alleged encounters, claiming that their frequency was steadily increasing, and sometimes went as far as to claim the Sidhae were back and preparing for an invasion. The host would then go on to ridicule him or her as unhinged crackpot panic-monger, which was often followed by a heated argument that invariably ended with the theorist being removed from the studio by security and told to go wear a tinfoil hat somewhere else. And then the show would end and be followed by another newsfeed detailing the shenanigans of the so-called Corporate Wars, which everyone was much more interested in because that was something real and close to home.

What fools we were not pay any heed to those conspiracy whackos...

- Journal of PFC Andrew Korhonen, Bravo Squad, 2nd Platoon, Spectre Company, 25th Bde, FCMC -

---

Planet Trimurti Prime

September 15, 2549

15th day of the Second Sidh War


"30 seconds! Lock and load, marines!"

I quickly check my exosuit and cock my pulse rifle. The magazine is secure tight, the ammo counter display works fine, the exosuit is a go on all stats. The dropship shakes violently, muffled blasts of anti-aircraft fire rattling it from outside.

"What are we?!" Gunnery Sergeant Hudson shouts out, giving us his usual last-second pep-talk.

"Lean!" his platoon dutifully shouts.

"What are we?!"

"Mean!"

"What are we?!"

"Colonial Marines!"

"Damn right! And we're here to kick ass and make names!"

"OOO-RAH!"

A moment later, the safety harnesses pinning us down in our places disengage, the ramp status light changing from red to green with a loud warning beep just as the ship touches down. In a second, the whole platoon of us are up on our feet and ready to dash out into whatever awaits outside when that ramp drops. Then in another second the ramp drops. The first thing that hits me is the deafening noise of battle outside that completely overwhelms the senses. I hear Gunny shouting something, probably for us to haul ass.

Next thing I know, I'm lying on the dropship floor with my squadmate Pvt. Boskett on top of me, my eyes full of his blood and my ears ringing painfully. I can't see anything, more hot blood spurting liberally onto my face, probably from Boskett's neck, and all I can vaguely hear is insane screaming and strange, sharp electric cracks.

Someone grabs me by the foot and starts pulling me forward with all his might. The body of poor Charlie Boskett slips off to my left, and I manage to wipe enough blood from my face to catch a glimpse of him and realize that I was mistaken about his neck - poor bastard doesn't really have one anymore, his whole head, neck and left shoulder being gone. More mangled bodies litter the ship's drop bay, and I can see two men flailing wildly and screaming, trying to put out the flames licking their clothes. I look towards whoever is pulling me and see corpsman Jim Jenkins tugging painfully at my right foot, only now realizing that my gear has snagged on something on the floor. It seems that Jenkins realizes that too and leans down to unsnag me. Then, a brilliant flash and another sharp, electric crack. An intense heat almost scalds my face and arms as the contents of Jenkins's torso suddenly burst forwards, showering me in hot gore. Hearing mad screaming, I see him stand for a moment, a smoldering hole in his chest so big I can see through the red smoke-filled sky behind him. Only as he collapses lifelessly on the floor do I realize that it's me who is screaming.

"Get up, Korhonen! Get the fuck out or we're all dead!" my hearing finally returns sufficiently to understand it's Gunny shouting at me. Without further ado, I scramble to my feet, half-running and half-crawling down the dropship ramp that is scattered with dead comrades and slick with their blood.

"All clear!" Gunny shouts in the radio. The dropship raises its ramp and takes off, only the dead and the dying remaining aboard. As I clamber into cover behind what appears to be a civilian car, I look back only to see our dropship meet its demise. Another Cheyenne dropship comes crashing down from above, flaming and leaving a streak of smoke like a meteor, smashing nose-first into our dropship, both falling to ground like rocks and exploding in a massive fireball.

"Look at me! Look at me! Are you hurt?!" corpswoman Rasalaite from Charlie squad slaps my cheek rather harshly. A recent addition to the Spectre Company from New Kaunas, she is officially known for having the hottest ass in Spectre Company, and a temper to match.

"I... I don't know... I think no..." I babble incoherently, sincerely not sure if every part of me is still where it's supposed to be.

An even harder slap across my other cheek shakes me back to my senses.

"Get a grip, Private!" she shouts into my face, "Are you, or are you not hurt!?"

"Uh... no, the blood's not mine!" I respond.

"Then get up and fight, dammit!" Rasalaite who is only a few years my senior scolds me, speaking in her inimitable Eastern European accent, and moves on to the next man in need of her attention. Beneath all that blood and burns that cover much of his face, I can barely recognize Corporal Atkinson, my squaddie. A Briton from Wiltshire II, Atkinson has been nicknamed "Bean" by the guys. From what I gather, it's a reference to some Old Terran comedian. Whatever the case, Bean isn't up for much comedy right now, writhing and groaning in agony, and only now do I notice that he's missing his whole left arm, only a charred stump sticking out in its place. Rasalaite is quick to ease his suffering with a shot of morphine.

A rocket roaring overhead and demolishing the facade of a three-story building behind us reminds me that this isn't the time for gawking at comrades' wounds. More of those strange brilliant-purple flashes accompanied by whiplike electric cracks ring out overhead, a burst of intense heat from each of them, and only now do I realize it's some kind of energy beams being fired our way.

The trademark roar of pulse rifles briefly drowns out the noise of alien weaponry. As I lean out of cover, the IFF system in my HUD picks out several enemies at the far end of the parking lot that was apparently picked as our LZ. The Sidhae look just like in school textbooks - hulking brutes in powered armor, much bulkier than anything we have, carrying giant man-sized rifles befitting their size. These ones seem much more advanced though, and it is showing in their careless demeanor, standing at full height in plain sight of a platoon of Colonial Marines, blasting away at them without ever bothering to look for cover.

"Fuck! These sumbitches are walking tanks!" I hear PFC Ariel Ramon from Alpha squad curse as he drops back behind a civilian car to reload. I keep shooting, only to realize I'm having the same amount of success as Ramon and the rest of my platoon - the torrent of bullets poured at the Sidhae is simply bouncing off their heavy armor suits with little more effect than scratching paint.

Still, the Sidhae on the receiving end must be taking offense even to such minor inconvenience, their return fire striking with deadly precision. Just as Ramon is leaning out to keep on firing, an energy bolt strikes the hood of the car directly in front of him, the resulting small explosion spraying a bucketful of molten metal debris in his face while the poor bastard's clothes catch fire. Clutching his face and shrieking, he falls to the ground. I narrowly avoid a similar fate, barely managing to duck into cover as another searing energy bolt flashes over my head.

"Advance! Advance! Move or we're fucking dead!" Gunny roars and dashes forward to lead by example, weaving between the cars, "MOVE ASS!!!"

I do my best to focus on task at hand. It's just like in the boot camp, I tell myself. The guy or gal to your right is your pair - your squad or other, matters not. Unless there's nobody left on your right, in which case that leaves you with the guy/gal to the left. He moves, you cover. You move, he does the same for you. He shoots, you pause briefly, he pauses - you shoot, so that there's never an interruption in fire. Don't let the enemy breathe and shoot back, keep suppressing, keep pinning him down, and most importantly - keep moving.

A dash forwards, several bolts narrowly missing again. One burns through both car doors right next to me, splashing molten metal on the pavement. A few bursts at the enemy, one seemingly stumbling back a step after being hit. Then, corpswoman Rasalaite reaches her position behind the engine block of the car next to mine and opens up, giving me time to reload. Once reloaded, we repeat the process. The rest of the platoon is doing the same, and the Sidh troops who seem to be only four or five are now beginning to feel less confident, gradually pulling back.

"Use grenade launchers!" Gunny bellows.

A quick cock of the pump-action grenade launcher of my pulse rifle, and 30 millimeters of high-explosive death thumps away towards the enemy. Explosions rattle the enemy position. Two, one of which I'm certain is mine, land square on one of the foul aliens, knocking it down. Its comrades attempt to pull it to next cover, but quickly give up on the effort under sustained barrage of our grenades. Visibly enraged by their loss, the remaining Sidhae redouble their efforts. I make another mad dash forwards and keep on firing at them, alternating bursts of gunfire and grenades at them to buy time for corpswoman Rasalaite to catch up. 55 rounds... 45 rounds... 30 rounds... My ammo counter mercilessly ticks closer to zero with every burst. Then suddenly, my gun jams.

Cursing and blaspheming every deity under the sky, I jerk frantically at the charging handle, pulling out the magazine and attempting to shake out the faulty round. A narrowly missing energy bolt slices the roof of my current cover car clean in two, and the next thing I see as I duck behind cover is another bolt striking my partner square on the chest. Time itself seems to slow down as I see corpswoman Rasalaite's chest literally explode into a puff of red mist, her left arm separating and flying off to the side while the rest of her is knocked to the other, unleashing a girlish shriek of agony before death closes her eyes forever. Lance Corporal Danute Rasalaite, aged 23, is no more.

Anger coursing through my veins, I ram the last three of my rifle grenades into the launcher and lean back out, this time deliberately taking careful aim. Even though the HUD does provide targeting assistance, pointing the trajectory line at a moving target in the heat of combat is no easy business.

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! My three grenades arch away through the air towards the foul aliens, two bursting in their midst with minimal ill effect, but the third one landing square on another's armored chest. As he falls, his comrades deem it prudent to pull back, waving fists and shouting what is no doubt curses in their grating metallic voices back at us before more gunfire prompts them to high-tail it.

Finally, what's left of the platoon arrives at the edge of the parking lot, the remaining Sidh having disappeared amidst the buildings next to it. We quickly form a 360, with Gunny settling down in the middle.

"Status?!" Lance Corporal Detrick, as of now the acting squaddie of mine, runs up to me and demands.

"Six full mags, out of grenades, no injuries!" I report.

"Bravo squad reporting, three men down, one wounded, 32 mags and 12 grenades left!" Detrick delivers the report to Gunny after checking in with the rest of the squad.

"Fuck... A quarter of our guys gone against just five of them over this shit-eating parking lot..." I hear Gunny curse quietly after other squad leaders deliver their reports, "Leeroy Jenkins, this is Spectre-Two, LZ is secure! We need immediate medevac and heavy weapons support, over!"

"Spectre-Two, this is Leeroy Jenkins, reinforcements are on the way, ETA 5 minutes," I overhear the radio response, not quite hearing the rest of the message.

---

Only now that the immediate danger is over can I examine more closely the place we've been dropped in. It's a parking lot in what appears to be an affluent sub-urban district just outside one of Trimurti's mega-cities. Villas and mansions, probably owned by corporate suits and Novaterran celebrities, line the streets, this communal parking lot being more of an oddity here where just about everyone has their own spacious garage.

The skies are blazing red and filled with smoke from numberless fires. Frequent flashes illuminating the dark clouds overhead from above indicate the battle in orbit is raging and shows no signs of stopping. Last I heard, things here were going so badly the Colonial Marines weren't even sent here to repel the Sidh, but merely buy time to evacuate the world's civilians. Tankie scumbags were never famous for giving quarter nor asking for any, but nowadays they seem to be hell-bent on exacting revenge on every God-fearing human soul in their way. News say the Sidh have been hitting over 50 worlds with their full might at the same time just this week, 22 having already fallen before them in the two weeks since this new war started. More and more of their ships are said to be flooding into the systems about to fall like a never-ending tide of steel, 20 ships taking place of every one lost and disgorging their legions upon doomed worlds.

The air is aroar with the sound of descending and falling dropships, enemy fighters blazing across the sky to intercept them, and the rumble of general battle all around. There's not a place on this world that is safe from war now. Trimurti Prime is an old Imperial world, a former Sidh world taken from them by the Federation in the days long gone, so they can be expected to fight tooth and claw to take it. And so far, it seems like they are doing a decent job at it.

"Alright, listen up!" Gunny shouts to us, "Leeroy Jenkins is dropping whatever they have left to reinforce us! I was told to expect the remainder of Ice and Fusion Companies, and - whoopee-fucking-doo - a whole platoon of mechwalkers! They'll be here in 5 minutes, but until then, we're on our own, so keep your eyes peeled and shoot anything that's got more parts than God has given to proper fucking human beings!"

"Sarge, what's the deal with those two tankie mo-fo's over there?" PFC Manana from Charlie squad inquires, pointing at the two dead Sidhae some 50 paces ahead, "Shouldn't we go check'em or somethin'?"

"Good idea," Gunny agrees, "Manana, Korhonen, go check them! The rest, cover them! And don't fucking touch nothing you ain't sure about, and especially not their guns, you hear!? Intel says the tankies got them rigged, ready to blow up in anyone's face that isn't one of them!"

"Yo, Korhonen-buddy, you up for 'dis?" the coal-black New Nairobian speaks to me, the whites of his eyes contrastic almost humorously with his skin tone, "I gotcha back!"

The two of us carefully weave between the remaining cars towards the two fallen Sidh who lie next to destroyed cars on the road leading to the parking lot. So far there's no sign of the enemy ahead. After what seems like ages, we finally make it over to the fallen foes.

Like the textbooks say, the Sidh grunts are huge brutes, at least with their armor on. Back in the old days, they were said to average at 8 feet tall, and only God knows what new monstrosities they've bred in the 266 years in between. This one, deducing the two or so feet added by his armor, doesn't seem much taller than that though. The bastard still weighs nearly half a ton, though, it taking significant effort on my part even with the assistance of my exosuit to turn him on his side while Manana covers me, constantly pointing his gun at the dead Sidh for any sudden signs of life or an explosive hidden beneath the body.

Fortunately, no hidden booby trap appears, and the brute's tactical rig only seems to contain essentials - hand grenades the size of 1-liter jars, rifle grenades not much bigger than our own, what looks to be like batteries for his energy rifle, and the rifle itself. A man-sized monstrosity, his primary weapon doesn't seem to have ever been intended for use without powered armor, even though the physical prowess of ancient Sidh is said to have allowed such feats of strength. The handblaster on his side is of comparable size, essentially an autocannon-caliber pistol.

"I saw you get 'dis one for good," Manana speaks as he moves on to check the other Sidh corpse, "Muh pops used'ta work with old tech, including Sidh-tech... Watch 'dis!"

After I give him all clear as he leans the corpse over slowly for me to check for any traps, Manana reaches down inside the body's armored collar. This Sidh looks smaller than its buddy, though still a good 8 feet tall. Manana fiddles with something until getting a hold of it, and with a pop and a hiss, the Sidh helmet raises and retracts into the armor suit.

I'm somewhat struck at the revelation, seeing the lifeless eyes of a woman gaze back at me. She has cream-blonde hair, steel-grey eyes and pale skin that has evidently seen little sunlight during a lifetime inside that armor suit. Unnaturally shining eyes and signs of cyber implants mar her face, but all in all she doesn't look much different from normal human women. Hell, on some of the core worlds where cyber-augmentation is common, she might even pass for a human. A large scorch-marked indentation on her armored chest marks where I have gotten him, the trickle of blood from her mouth and nose showing the likeliest cause of death to be internal bleeding induced by a blast.

Mr. Braddock's history lessons from school begin to come back. The Sidh were once like us - humans - before they renounced their humanity and embraced cyber-augmentation. The feud between them and the rest of Mankind goes back even further, but the long story short, most of Humanity did not share their vision of Mankind as a universally-augmented species under a single Emperor to bind and rule them.

"Well, sheeet..." Manana grins dourly at the sight, "Looks like you gotchaself a Siddie gal, Korhonen-buddy!"

Before I can decide what to make of his statement, a large chunk of armor plating suddenly crashes next to him, startling us both.

"What the fuck..." Manana exclaims. Another piece of armor plating smashing into pavement next to him seems to affirm his statement. An instant later, a human corpse disintegrates into a disgusting splat of gore against the pavement next to me, and I realize with horror what is happening.

"Run!" is all I'm able to shout, when PFC Obindo Manana vanishes from existence, crushed and smashed deep into pavement by a 70-ton Schwartzkopf tank that buries itself into the ground nose-first almost to middle-turret depth.

I dash madly back to the platoon's positions, more junk, bodies and vehicles crashing into ground all around me, many of them way too close for comfort. Apparently some luckless dropshop has been blasted apart somewhere in the sky, its contents now raining down on equally hapless bastards on the ground.

Fortunately, the disaster ends as soon as it begun, even though it leaves the platoon another man short.

"Find anything, Korhonen?" Gunny asks when I return and stop to catch my breath, some junk still hitting the ground all about here and there.

"Nothing of worth, Gunnery Sergeant," I respond, "They look awfully like us, Gunnery Sergeant!"

"Aye, they do," Gunny agrees with me, "But don't let that fool you. Intel says these bastards don't give a damn about human lives, that they've already fucked up every human on every world they've taken in the past two weeks. The same goes for you all - I don't want any of you surr..."

Gunny never finishes his sentence as the whole of his upper torso suddenly evaporates in a cloud of red mist, spraying me and others nearby liberally with boiling blood and sizzling shards of bone. An instant later, nothing but a pair of smouldering boots with thigh bones sticking out of them remains of him, falling over each to its own side.

"Sniper!" LCPL Detrick shrieks - an instant before he too is vaporized. A chaotic return fire begins in the ranks as a large group of Sidh emerge from the gardens and buildings ahead. A robotic quadruped heavy weapons manned by two troops platform leads the way, blasting fierce beams of death at us. The characteristic thud of mortars reaches my ears, coming from the enemy direction, and moments later, enemy shells descend with a shrieking howl. Crackling electric blasts incinerate all those around the impact sites, several cars exploding violently as their hydrogen fuel cells are ruptured.

"Fall back!" Sgt. Tavington, fireteam leader of Alpha Squad, tries to assume command in GSGT Hudson's place, only to be blasted to shreds by a Sidh mortar shell himself.

What's left of us makes a panicked withdrawal, firing back with whatever we got. More men fall, ripped to pieces by hostile energy bolts as they retreat.

"Who's in charge?" I shout to the remainder of the platoon once we've secured at least a temporary foothold.

Brief confusion arises as folks exchange statements of denial in between trading fire with the enemy, who doesn't seem too keen on pushing us back, evidently confident in his eventual victory.

"I don't know... I think you are!" Private Cochevelou, the last survivor of Alpha squad, shouts from several cars away. Moments later, he falls, incinerated by another plasma mortar shell.

So this is it. All the worthier and fitter men have fallen, and now the task of command falls upon me, a lowly Private First Class. One would think there can be no more glorious demise than commanding a last stand as a lowly private after all the officers and NCOs have fallen. But it isn't. I'm sitting here, covering for my life just like the rest of the lads, without a fucking clue of what to say or do now that I suddenly find myself in command of them.

I don't know shit about what to do, what would be right. But someone's gotta do something before everything goes to shit. I take a few deep breaths to concentrate for the task ahead.

"Platoon, hear my command!" I bellow as is the way whenever someone assumes command by necessity, "Pull back to our original positions and hold the ground at all costs! THIS LZ MUST NOT FALL!"

The platoon briefing had us all write down the comm frequencies in case the usual commanders would fall. Back in boot I always thought of it as useless business. Now I stand proven otherwise as I dig in my shoulder pocket frantically to find one. A brilliant flash in the distance interrupts my efforts briefly and I watch in horror as a luminous beam pierces the smoke-filled sky to kick up a blazing mushroom cloud in the distance. If orbital bombardment is commencing, it's definitely not our boys who are winning the fight.

"Leeroy Jenkins, this is Spectre-Two, LZ is compromised, requesting immediate evac!" I speak on the radio after switching to command frequency.

"Spectre... Jenkins... will try to send evac... 3 minutes... enemy...full-scale bombardment..." only fragments of messages jagged by static come through to me.

"Off-world communication has been lost,"
the AI of my exosuit impassionately announces once the comms break up completely. More brilliant flashes and mushroom clouds in the distance suggest as to the likely causes for this interruption.

Sensing our weakness and their imminent victory, the Sidh at the far end of the parking lot begin a move towards us. The quadruped weapons platform rains deadly fire over our heads, sporadic mortar fire continuing with blasts throwing whole cars in the air. The lads return fire as best as they can.

"Last mag!" I hear Pvt. Berendsen from Alpha squad report to my left.

"Last mag!" Pvt. Schumacher from Charlie shouts to my right. I'm still wondering what that Nazi wannabe SOB is doing in the Colonial Marines rather than Rheinlandisches Kriegspioniere of his home, but I guess the desire to be with the best transcends nationalities and ideologies.

"Everyone on his last mag, load up!" I shout. Protocol dictates that the very last mag only be loaded up at the behest of the commanding officer. Never mind that I'm no officer or even an NCO, just a lowly grunt at the wrong time and the wrong place. But I suppose every man gets his moment to shine, and this is mine - even if there will be nobody alive to attest it shortly thereafter. I will get no medals, no applause, my name and my memory will be forgotten soon after the battles to come. Nobody will remember me or anyone else who stood here this day. Nobody but the Corps. The Corps alone will remember.

A bright flash straight overhead reminds me of the battle still raging on in the orbit. Most probably another ship's fusion core going critical after relentless barrage. Judging by how things are going here on ground, there's no reason to be optimistic about the likely outcome of the battle.

The Sidhae close in, most of our rounds bouncing off harmlessly off their armor. The grenades have been expended long ago - all but the hand-thrown ones that many men including myself save for themselves. Most don't need them, as our foes don't seem overly inclined to take prisoners, gunning down anyone moving they see. Whatever asshole thought it prudent to equip the lot of us with just high-explosive rounds instead of armor-piercing is probably having a fit right now, for whatever good it does to us bunch.

A near-miss of an energy bolt melts the left half of my helmet and visor to slag, scorching my face. The agony is indescribable. As I fall to my back, clutching what's left of my physiognomy, I hear the rest of the lads around scream similarly, dying or about to die. I see Pvt. Schumacher splay against a destroyed car, blood spraying from the huge gash that his left shoulder used to be. Pvt. Berendsen crawls along the ground crying for mommy, or rather, his remaining half does before a towering Sidh puts his misery to an end, crushing his head under his armored heel. Lance Corporal Jokke from Alpha squad who was technically my senior never made any effort to command the men, instead covering in a pool of his own piss - and I can't really blame him. A Sidh lifting him by the throat like a ragdoll and snapping his neck with but a flick of the wrist puts poor terrified Jokke out of his misery and shame.

"Leeroy Jenkins, this is Spectre-Two!" I speak on the radio, clenching my teeth to keep a pained groan from escaping my lips, "LZ is a no-go! Defense lines collapsing, unable to hold LZ! Spectre-Two, signing out!"

No response.

A sudden barrage of energy bolts prompts the survivors of my platoon to scatter for undamaged cover. In vain, as any who stands to rise is almost instantly cut down by well-placed enemy fire. Who's left, return fire, only to fall one by one. Another near miss sprays molten metal on my right shoulder, and as I roll on the ground screaming, I hear the Sidh approaching with their thumping metal steps.

I see PFC Riddick lifted up by the throat by an approaching Sidh trooper, his armor carved with Romanesque symbols, and snapping his neck with but a flick of the wrist. Pvg. Bosescu from my squad, whose native language is said to resemble the Sidh tongue tries to reason with them - only to be lifted up and have his head sliced off. And then my turn comes as a huge Sidh approaches me. I empty my last mag into him to little effect. Damn the bastards who thought HE bullets would be enough for these scumbags.

---

"Inapoi, acesta amurit deja!" one of the Sidh speaks as his buddy keeps me pinned to the floor, his energy rifle pointing in my face, "Armura ta se va murdari!"

"Cui dracu i pasa,"
the other Sidh scowls, raising his giant rifle to my face. So this is how death looks like. This is the end.

The sudden sight of a blazing ship-hulk breaking through the clouds interrupts them from thoughts of murder, and if anything, reduces the earlier victors to rats scrambling for safety. Enveloped in an orange sheath of flames, the blasted hulk of our Leeroy Jenkins is dropping from the sky, I recognize her immediately by the placement of her turrets and superstructure. She's falling almost over our heads, far too close to make running or hiding any good. Poor gal's almost cut in two - whatever the Sidh sumbitches have been doing to her up in orbit most likely was no more good there than for us here. Gunny used to say that her namesake was a legendary Old Terran hero, who would fearlessly charge overwhelming odds despite the foolish scheming of his ignorant companions. Guess this is where Leeroy's charge ended after all...

In these last moments, I gather the Sidh aren't so much different from us after all. The lot of them run and scatter at the sight of the falling ship, as if running and hiding would do them any good now, much like humans would do. They used to claim to be the scions of a new age, heralds of a new aeon of agelesness and opportunity to all Mankind. Yet for all their vaunted immortality, they now scatter like rats before one falling ship. Not like I blame them, but still....

When 2.5 clicks of ship comes down almost on top of you, you know there's no running from it. Neither for you, your buddies, or for anyone else in the next 100 clicks. The Sidh pinning me down probably knows that, just as I do.

"A meritat?" I try my best knowledge of Sidh tongue. Every kid in my parts has picked up at least some, as everyone hopes to strike rich exploring ancient Sidh techno-ruins.

The alien seems surprised.

"A fostu! Imperium nostru merita mereu," he responds, and I can almost sense a peaceful, human smile underneath his stern, lifeless helmet.

---

After-action report: All contact with planet Trimurti Prime has been lost, estimated casualties - 95%. Last communique received from planetside included a PFC Andrew Korhonen from Spectre Company, 25th FCMC Bde still holding a landing zone. Said individual and any associates presumed lost after the destruction of their home ship FNS Leeroy Jenkins. Any survivors unexpected to last for more than 17 days. Planetary defenses confirmed overrun, requesting new directives. Note: PFC Korhonen and his final companions are recommended for posthumous award wit Federal Medal of Honour.
 
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LaMDoH123

Senior Member
I like it. Mix of an old-enemy-remade from Battlestar Galactica with the disastrous first-battle of Klendathu in Starship Troopers. You write the action very well, and I could practically feel the bullets flying. You also did an excellent job of sneaking in history and information about the broader war. One thing that bothered me, though: you mention that the Marines wear "exosuits," yet on several occasions their "clothes" catch fire. Maybe this is just me, but when I think of an exosuit I think of a fully-armored shell, which wouldn't really "burn." If this is what you envisioned, then I'd remove the parts about clothes catching fire. If you were envisioning some kind of exoskeleton like from "Edge of Tomorrow" or Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, then it would make sense that their clothes would be burning because there'd be no armor plate to protect them. In that case, I would change "exosuit" to "exoskeleton", or at least describe it briefly to make things clear. Other than that little nitpick, great job!
 

CyberWar

Senior Member
I pictured the marines wearing Advanced Warfare-style exoskeletons over regular uniforms with light body armor. I suppose a paragraph describing the human armors and their terminology would have been in order.
 

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