A cool breeze swept through the cracks in the windows and masonry and the pale moonlight cast dancing shadows across the otherwise pitch-black room. The whole scene seemed desolate and lifeless. It was eerie enough to even unnerve Sergeant Hawthorw of the 104th Cadian Guard Corps. He surveyed the third floor refectory with a mix of disgust and wonder at what could have done this and how it could have been allowed to happen. The refectory was in the same state as the rest of the city. Dirty, with great slabs of brickwork missing, in complete electronic blackout and most importantly, devoid of life. Hawthorw’s seven-man team filed in behind him, each man a grizzled veteran of frontline warfare and tooled up to the nines with the best the imperium could offer. Full body flex-steel armour with internal life sign monitors, camouflaged in complete black, and the feared hellguns. Each man was there because they had proven themselves above their peers in physical, mental and tactical ability.
“Room clear” chirped the radio in Hawthorw’s full-face helmet. Each man had a full body Hasmat suit integrated into their suit because in the short month it had taken the 12th Recon Regiment to reach Golithia the planet’s atmosphere had morphed to become clogged with poisonous spores, which made unprotected travel on the surface impossible and created a dark purple mist that restricted clear sight to under a hundred meters. Also the planets 12 million inhabitants where gone and all vegetation on the planet was scoured clean. Each city was as the last, most building being damaged in some form and deserted.
“Move up” commanded Hawthorw, pointing at the room’s far door. Kasrkins Morgan and Stylus advanced cautiously on the far side of the room, taking position ether side of the solid metal door with Fye providing cover. Morgan slowly tried the worn rusted handle but it gave way in his armoured glove.
“Hey, I think this is a freezer” said Stylus, breaking the silence.
“ An just my luck the handle breaks, after a month on military rations I could use some good shit to eat man” muttered Morgan
“ Just like you to think of food in a place like this, this place makes me sick” sighed Fye “ but you’d probably eat the spores if you were able”
“You stuck up piece of shi...”
“Can it, both of you” intercepted Hawthorw “ no one eats until we’re back shipside. Stylus pick the lock” Stylus turned away to the door with a smart salute.
The decoder’s LCD screen cast an eyrie green light over the otherwise pitch-black room causing Rios to shift uncomfortably by the door. The keypad bleeped as the door opened with a hiss of decompression. The Kasrkins moved into the room with the efficiency and precision born of months of brutal and demanding training.
This room was different, the floor clean, the walls whole, and the air initially clear but soon became contaminated with spores. The squad had already split into two teams and were slowly sweeping the room, isle by isle.
“Sarge” it was Rios “I think you’ll wana see this”
“On my way”
Rios’ team had discovered a tiger sized animal. Frozen by the sub-zero vacuum of the freezer it had been perfectly preserved and trapped. It lay, coloured pale-blue on the ground where it had collapsed. Four muscular skinny limbs producing from the animal’s body, the back two ending in hooves but, disturbingly, the front two narrowed off in to single blade like claws.
It’s head had two thin slits for eyes and a mouth full of jagged protruding teeth. The whole of it’s back and its scalp was covered in overlapping plate armour, which to Rios resembled the earth indigenous armadillo’s.
“This is sum freaky shit man,” exclaimed Morgan “I an’t never seen nothing like this, what do you think sir?”
“I think commands going to want to see this. Rios, is it alive?”
“Don’t think so sir, the vacuum should have suffocated it “ said Rios who was kneeling next to the creature.
“Ok, you’ve five to get it ready for transport.”
“Sir, just need to fix a harness for it ”
“Good, Fye get on the radio and inform command of wha…”
The sergeant was cut short by a soul-sapping screech from the awakening creature and a split-second later it lunged at Rios, with eyes wide with hunger.
Its front claws sheared straight through the Flex-steel body plate and sank into Rios’ abdomen and then pushed up snapping wildly and Rios’ face, spittle flecking his visor. But Rios, through the pain, swung the butt of his rifle and slammed it into the creature’s face with enough force to break a man’s neck. Despite this the creature force Rios to the floor and reared up for the kill. A shot rang out and tore a chunk of the monsters jaw off but it took 3 more rounds in the head from Hawthorw’s Hell Pistol to kill the beast. A final dieing scream escaped the alien and resonated out into the silence of the night only to be echoed by an equally blood curling scream somewhere out in the darkness.
Rios was in a bad way. The claws had sliced straight though his gut and out his back and although the suit’s life support has stemmed the bleeding the crimson pool he lay in said enough, he was dead thirty seconds after his killer. The single replying scream was growing in to a chorus of rage and hunger.
“Shit” cursed Hawthorw “Fae get on that damned vox, tell command we need immediate extraction. Squad, on me and stay close.”
The sergeant broke into a jog out of the refectory, his six-man team behind him.
That single echo grew and evolved until it was an orchestra of anger and death swirling around them, threatening to engulf the city. Hawthorw urged his weary team on thought the supposedly deserted city to the Evac Site, the top of an office block roof. The Kasrkins ran through the ruined streets firing from the hip at shadows and ghosts in the spore mist. Terror griped their hearts and minds causing irrational thoughts and actions. Morgan fired into a mailbox as it loomed ominously in the mist for fear that it was monster intent on slaughter and devouring.
Suddenly a foot long spine of pure white bone flew out of the spore mist skewering Morgan through his thigh, sending crashing to the concrete pavement. Morgan cried in agony for help as blood spurted from the grievous leg wound. But his weakened cries went unheard under the deafening roar of the hoard and his squad disappeared into the Spores.
“Shit man, aww shit” cried Morgan in pain.
Shouldering his gun he pulled himself along the cracked, uneven pavement in the direction his squad disappeared.
“I am not being left behind. No chance in, what the...?”
A great silhouette arose out of the mist with a roar that cut through Morgan and filled him with dread. The creature swept into view through the spores with a second roar, it stood and towering seven foot tall and heavily built it stood up on two legs. One front limb was a hollow tube while the other a great bladed talon. Covered extensively in the same armour as the first creature and dark slits in the armour for eyeholes.
One again it opened its great fanged maw and roared in triumph at Morgan.
Originally frozen by fear he regained enough of himself to ready his rifle, unloading his cell into the monster with no discernable effect. He pulled another cell from his belt and looked up only to stare into the monsters tube arm.
He knew nothing else as the tube puffed smoke, sending a second spine through his visor.
The men finally entered the derelict office block, scanning the lobby for life.
“Where’s Morgan” said Fye with a start.
“Morgan, he’s gone”
“When did you see him last?” questioned Hawthorw
“Outside, on the way here, he was right behind me”
Hawthorw considered taking the squad back into the streets but in that dark place at the back of his mind he new that Morgan was already dead.
“Damn. Ok, troopers spread out and find the stairs”
“What! We can just leave Morgan!” cried Fye
“For all we know there could be hundreds if not thousands of those things and I will not lead my squad to their deaths. Morgan is dead and we do not go back for corpses so suck it up and obey orders.”
“Sir” sighed Fye, barely audible.
The Squad advanced slowly up the emergency stairwell until they came to a collapse in the concrete stairs.
“Sir, we’re on the seventeenth floor, schematics show a second stair well on the other side of the building” said Stylus “it should take us up to the roof”
“Good, which way?” asked Hawthorw
“Errmm, that way.” He said, pointing down a corridor.
Hawthorw set off down the route which stylus indicated, followed immediately by his team. But all the while watched by unseen eyes.
The team moved into an open room with scattered desks through out it. Papers, pens, mugs of old coffee, all left as they were before the spores.
The sound of faint steps stopped them all in their tracks
“What was that” whispered stylus
“Just keep moving” replied Hawthorw in a low voice
Hawthorw turned just in time to see a Kasrkin lifted of his feet by an invisible force; the man appeared to float with his arms pinned to his sides. He thrashed about and cried for help as Hawthorw finally noticed a wavy out line behind the struggling marine. Suddenly the Kasrkin’s cries turned to screams as his stomach split outwards, spilling out his intestines, then the wavy lines started to condense and a bladed claw appeared through the limp Kasrkin's stomach. The partially invisible monster tossed the body aside and charged the squad, screeching violently and swinging its great bladed limb. Muzzle flashes lit the dark office and lasbolts danced off the creatures armour with little effect. The creature scythed its blade through the air severing another man at the torso. Hawthorw dived and rolled under the blade as it came his way and the creature, discovering its prey was still alive turned on him and chased him to the crumbling wall of the room. It swung its arm in a downward arc but Hawthorw once again dodged the blade, throwing himself between the monsters hind legs. The monster roared as it wrenched its embedded limb out of the floor.
“ Hey Beastie!” cried Fye. Pointing his shoulder rocket launcher at the monster “chew on this asshole!”
The tube kicked back and the projectile flew out hitting the creature square in the chest, the explosion propelled it through the wall and out into midair. The creature’s screech faded into the darkness as Hawthorw crawled out of the rubble of the collapsed wall.
“Nice shot” Laughed Stylus
“The bitch certainly didn’t like that.” agreed Hawthorw “Fye, time?”
“ETA five minuets sir”
“Then I think we should get our asses to the roof”
“Agreed” replied Stylus
The surviving Kasrkins followed the second stairwell up to the roof, using their rifles to blow the hinges of the jammed door. The distinct sound of coalition vector engines penetrated the roars around them, the flares of the twin thrusters incinerating the spores around them and lighting up the gloom. The Valkiery stopped, hovering half a foot from the roof as the transport compartment ramp slammed down onto the concrete, revealing a Regulation Guardsman beckoning them to the doorway
“Hurry up, the thermals are showing all sorts of shit around this area” He yelled
Hawthorw and his remaining Kasrkins ran up the access ramp as it slammed shut behind them. The whine of the ship’s engines exploded into a roar as the pilot gunned the thrusters to escape the spore thick atmosphere. The regular sighed as the pilot gave a thumbs up from the cockpit and turned to Hawthorw.
“Sir, where’s the rest of your squad?” He asked, eyeing Fye and Stylus.
“Pilot?” relied Hawthorw
“Admiral Becker wants to debrief you when you get ship side”
It was Hawthorw’s turn to sigh; it was going to be a long night.
Last edited by DAvo001; 07-03-08 at 09:12 PM.