war angels part 1 (krusty_the_klown)


The moon shone luminous above the dark sky, like an all seeing eye gazing upon the devastated village. Fern trudged through the rubble, clutching his rifle and scanning the piles of wreckage nervously, careful not to make too much noise. There were reports of enemy soldiers in the area. This confused him; why fight over an already destroyed town? He remembered listening to Chief Mendel brief him and his platoon of nameless grunts about there only being around six or seven enemy targets in the area and was gong to be a “simple cleanup”. Fern doubted this with all his heart and soul. Cleanups only happened when you heard your drill instructors shout "Inspections!" or if you were picked to do KP, kitchen police. As he stepped over a pile of broken chairs, he saw movement in the corner of his eye. A wave of nausea washed over him. His hands trembled as he raised his rifle and pointed the muzzle to where he thought he saw the unusual blur of speed.

Cautiously tapping a thermo-vision button on the side of his battle helmet, he shifted his eyes suspiciously in the green luminescence generated from his sophisticated helmet. Opening his COM link he scrolled through his list of contacts. Finding one he opened the channel and wiped the sweat off of his brow. Suddenly, a pitter-patter of footsteps sounded behind him. His eyes widening he spun around and caught a glimpse of an outline of a head of some sort before he heard a cracking sound and was plunged into a chasm of darkness, his vision disappearing before his very consciousness until he saw nothing.
His ears rung as his hearing faded, then his sense of smell turned sour and disappeared. His fingers and toes grew number, he feebly lifted his arm to try and feel for his weapon but couldn’t. His arm had already gone limp, as with the rest of his body. All Fern could do was breathe shallowly taste the bloody saliva resting on his tongue and slipping down his throat; and then, nothing.

---

Seth turned to check on the other few privates he had with him. Poor suckers. This was their first tour of duty. Their silhouettes were all that could be seen as the night had taken over. The grunts looked back at him and nodded. They just wanted to get this patrol over with. This place had been giving even him the creeps. A COM channel open in his helmet. Private 523-C. That was Fern he recalled, possibly more information was uncovered. Seth turned and said, “Quiet! I’m getting a transmission.”
The other grunts stood still, nervously scanning the landscape. They were out in the open with towers of mangled buildings and vehicles surrounding them, an ideal place for an ambush. After a few minutes of waiting, Seth said, “I can’t hear anything and Fern left the channel open… something might have happened!”
“Do we have to go out there?” one grunt asked worriedly, jabbing a stubby finger towards the debris-ridden mess that used to be Fervor Town.
“We have no choice” said Seth, his eyes lowering. “Gather up, men. We’re moving out.”
The wide –eyed rookies could only stare at Seth. “Maybe he got… killed.” He said, his voice shrinking on the last word.
After a few moments with the young privates staring at him, Seth frowned, clenching his fists as he stepped towards the competing soldier, grabbing a fistful of his shirt and holding his bewildered face close to his.

“Quit being’ such a Goddamn pussy! We’ve got a friend out there who needs help and all you can do is stand there trembling with your thumbs up your asses!” Seth snarled, his eyes flaring and staring the poor grunt down. Shoving the soldier from his grasp, he swiftly whirled around and continued trudging over the clutter. Seth’s other friend, Gerard was even amazed. He had never seen his friend so angry before. But he still ushered the other rookies along with him and followed Seth. A humanoid distortion appeared next to a smashed in wall. The distortion shifted slightly. His insides grew ice cold as he jogged a little faster to tap Seth in the back.
Seth’s body jolted as a rush of air whizzed by them. Gerard fell into his hands. Flipping his friend over, a horrific sight plagued his mind. Seth had three diagonal slashes across his face and a dangling eyeball dripping with fluids that were too hard to identify in the darkness. His helmet was split down the middle with visor shattered completely. Dropping him immediately, he drew his weapon and swiveled around.

In the distance, a blur streaked across the path where the rookies were walking and sent one of them flailing six meters to the right, landing hard behind a pile of junk. The other rookie stopped and began firing erratically. Flashes of yellow lit up the vicinity until the rookie shook violently, a multitude rounds slamming into his body and sending him flailing lifeless to the ground. Gerard had taken up cover behind a remarkably standing half of a shop and peered through the display window. Adrenalin pumped through his veins as he clutched his automatic rifle and pointed it onto the open field ahead. A glimpse of movement showed to his right. Taking advantage of this he shifted quickly and fired a few bursts. A now more visible distortion crackled with electricity and rolled smoothly behind a clump of debris.

Gerard clutched a fragmentation grenade and began to prime it but instead clipped it back on his combat vest and reached for an Electromagnetic Pulse Grenade. This would mess up any electronics and hopefully catch the camouflaged bandits with their pants down. He heard saw some more movement and quickly whipped the grenade in the general direction. After a light pop of exploding surges of electric energy, nothing seemed to appear. Then he fingered his rifle’s trigger, ready to begin firing whenever he saw another burst of movement. It seemed as though moving messed up their camouflage. Whatever ‘they’ were. After a few tense moments of hard staring, the recently exposed enemy target lifted his head over the cover that was shielding him. Gerard fired a few careful shots, crumbling the debris and leaving them even more exposed. Then he started firing rapidly. Feeling the gun jump in his hands as he spotted a valid target was refreshing after slinking around in the dark and witnessing his platoon get picked off one by one by an unseen enemy.

Gerard felt around his vest pockets for his fragmentation grenade. Now would be a good time to try and flush some of them out. He waited more for some indicators of the invisible bandits. Chief Mendel’s training rang through his ears, ”It’s not what you can see, its what you can’t see.” Trying to use this information to his best advantage, he looked closer. Gerard then noticed a humanoid outline of seemingly featureless wall surrounded by bricks on the face of another barely standing building. Slowly tucking the grenade back into his pocket, he raised his rifle, zeroing in the scope for a headshot. Relaxing his breathing and holding his weapon was held steady, he tilted the muzzle just so the crosshairs were resting on the distortion. He tensed his muscles for a split-second and felt the rifle kick back. A flare of light appeared where he fired as a figure dropped down. Aiming at the fallen enemy, he fired a few long bursts to make sure it stayed dead.

Glancing up, he saw more visible silhouettes charging right towards him, muzzles flashing. Bricks crumbled all around him and dust rained down upon him. Gerard dashed out and scrambled behind another sturdy-looking pile of debris. On instinct, Gerard raised his gun and laid down suppressing fire: A stupid mistake. The highly trained enemy personnel easily spotted Gerard’s position and showered it in a hail of lead. A sharp pain lanced up his arm and pierced his chest. Breathing heavy now, he saw the moonlight reflect off of the silvery river of blood rushing from his arm and multiple chest wounds. Another slug punched a hole into his ankle, causing him to fall out of his crouching position and flat out onto the ground. Gerard gritted his teeth and primed the fragmentation grenade; he was not going down alone.
The platoon of men had been patrolling the perimeter for a few hours now and had not seen or heard anything.
“That Chief Mendel was full of crap.” Eddie complained, adjusting his helmet’s chinstrap.
“You’re full of crap, Eddie.” Muttered platoon leader, Garson, “And if I recall correctly, you were scared out of your mind to get out here even though you say you didn’t believe Chief.”
“Hey, I sort of believed him when he made the briefings but after hours of searching this dump and finding nothing, I say this mission is worthless. COMOPS is going to call us any minute now,” Reasoned Ed.
“Shut up, Eddie. You said that an hour ago.” Said Grant, disgusted. If they were so damn scared then why be a soldier? Grant liked Jess, who was quieter and wasn’t involved in the nonsensical rants the other guys made. All they did was groan and complain.
Garson halted suddenly, holding his hand up and crouching down. Eddie let out a groan before dropping down. As he turned his head and opened his mouth to say something, a crackling gunshot pierced the stagnant night and impacted Ed’s jaw. He crumpled immediately to the ground as unimaginable amounts of gore poured out of the soldiers face. His helmet wasn’t going to save him now. Garson erupted with commands.

“Spread out and find cover! Tell me if you see the sniper!” Scrambling behind a ruined car, he saw Grant start to stumble and get shot right through the back. The gunfire was coming from the East. Staring hard at the buildings and possible sniping nests, he spotted a flash of light. That definitely belonged to a high-powered sniper rifle.
Garson raised his weapon and sprayed bullets in that general direction, too scared to aim correctly. Glancing quickly towards where he last saw the muzzle flash, nothing appeared to be there. Turning his thermo-vision on, he looked closely but couldn’t see any sort of target that resembled a shooter. This was unusual, he reflected. Suddenly his vision blurred and felt as if the very life was being sucked out of him. A storm of flying dust and airborne chunks of debris surrounded him. Turning around, he spotted Jess, his weapon raised and spitting streams of bullets. Almost immediately afterwards, he shook violently as a hail of rounds were drilled into his body and sent him crashing to the ground, lifeless. Using the last of his strength, he turned his head once more and spotted his assailant. He had bulky dark-gray armor and an angled helmet with a polarized visor. Feebly raising his rifle, he pulled the trigger and watched his killer stumble backwards, surprised, but making no effort to clutch his wound. That was the last thing he saw.

---

Gladiator201 stood, unmoving. Mission accomplished, he told himself. He and his group were highly trained soldiers that excelled in decisive strikes behind enemy lines and surgical precision in handling weapons and executing tactical maneuvers. Merciless as they were, a scrap of human emotion was still left inside them, left to wander through its seemingly mechanical host. He radioed for a drop ship to come and pick them up and nodded silently towards his companions, paying no attention to his fallen comrade. That was Galdiator203, who had gotten his shields and camouflage sensors destroyed and was eventually gunned down by the enemy. Still, he showed no emotion. There was nothing they could do except move on. Acceptance was a powerful tool when dealing with such carnage daily. To accept it with the open arms and embrace Death was part of a soldier's job.
Still, he clung to the memory of his childhood. It seemed like lifetimes ago. In fact it really was a whole different life: one that harbored safety, kindness and free will. That was until he was drafted into the military and eventually picked for the Gladiator Program. Then, he plunged into an euthanasia of nostalgia.

The sky hung oppressively low in the heavens, overshadowing all hopes for an energetic day over all else. The inter-planetary-personalized-shuttle hovered silently behind them. Fourteen-year old Jack sullenly waved goodbye to his father, clutching a duffel bag full of extra clothes and personal belongings. Jack’s mother had died of cancer before he was born. His father was an only parent whom he loved very much since Jack also had no other siblings. He fought back tears and gave his old man a warm bear hug. His father then grabbed Jack by the shoulders and looked him in the eye. “No matter what happens in the army, always remember that I’ll be thinking of you every day and that I’m very proud of you.” He paused, “Now go. Your new life awaits you.” And with that Jack turned and let his rubbery legs take him to the forbidding building that was unmarked and plain from the outside.

His vision flashed to another memory. Petty Officer Granger’s six-foot frame stood hunched over into Jack’s ear, “Pump them noodle arms of yours boy!” Beads of sweat glistened on his dirt-streaked face, the muddy, rain soaked ground getting closer and farther with every new pushup. Farther away in the drill area, new recruits were busy making their way through a challenging obstacle course. Jack’s arms felt like a mass of gelatin, slowly wearing away with his sagged shoulders. Still, he refused to give up and give Granger satisfaction. Finally, after fifty more, Officer Granger yanked Jack up by his shirt and shoved him in the direction of the obstacle course. Smiling but not letting it show too much, he strolled away and let his arms hang limp by his sides, pulsating with fatigue and pain. As a boy, Jack had a special gift: he never gave up. He then flashed to the shooting gallery. The MA24 felt hot in his hands and the humanoid target stood sixty yards away and pock-marked with bullets, a great number concentrating on the head and chest. This was exceptional, considering this was his first live action with a rifle. Granger’s face appeared next to him, examining Jack’s target with a pair of binoculars. He then smiled and said jubilantly, “Nice work, soldier! Carry on.” He simply shrugged off the compliment and fired another burst, all of the bullets landing just off the right corner of the circle.

Then, finally he flashed to his greatest fear: Flying. Just watching the ground disappear underneath him and the feeling of his stomach starting to lurch was enough. But then seeing anti-aircraft tracers flash around him and feeling the craft start to pitch violently made his insides twist with nausea. Heights didn’t scare him though; just movement through it. Galdiator201then was hit hard with reality. The bleak rubble and dark sky forebode him once more. His helmet was still claustrophobically tight around his shaved head. At least he could polarize it on flights to help with the airsickness. But it would have to wait. A few contacts appeared just a few kilometers Northeast of them. “We’ve got company!” he yelled as the rest of his now five-man elite team immediately formed a loose envelope formation, clinging to the shadows. The sniper, Greg, clutched his sniper rifle and crawled into a pit with a tarp he could see out of but was hard to see into. After a few tense minutes of trudging through the war-torn landscape, Jack held up one hand, this meant to halt. The group stopped and crouched, weapons ready. Greg shifted lightly in his nest. A figure appeared in the distance but full-bodied a shot immediately rang through the air and dropped it. A few more contacts moved near the body but then scrambled to cover as another one took a hit in the chest and crumbled to the ground, soon the whole area near them was alive with gunfire.

Dean did not like the idea of this mission in the first place and certainly did not feel any better when two of his comrades were dropped almost instantaneously and the world around him seemed to collapse. He hit the ground and behind a chunk of wood. He caught a glimpse of his friend take a few hits in the back and collapse, firing a few shots in the air before hitting the ground in a puff of dust. Resentment then germinated inside him. He clenched his fists and tightened his hold on his D5k Deutsche. He quickly popped a few shots before huddling over and praying for the best. The staccato of bullets slackened. Peeking his head around, he saw his last remaining partner lob a grenade. A few moments later the gunfire intensified and splintered the wood he was standing behind. Sharp pain lanced up with wrist and lower back. A pool of blood formed there, but he did not care.

Dean sat on the ground, his mind racing but unable to replicate his thoughts into action. Dean slowly raised his small Sub Machine Gun and fired until the bullets ran dry, and then reloaded. A fountain of rejected shells formed a pile next to him. Giving in was not an option. His other partner suddenly was sent hurtling towards the ground at high speeds, his assault rifle spiraling in the air before landing on the ground with a solid thump. The new wave of lead pierced his body, jolting it with each new impact. He was flung forcefully backward as a heavy sniper slug punched him in the gut. Another tri of bullets knocked his helmet off. He only had seven fingers left but it was still enough to keep shooting. The handle of the Deutsche grew searing hot. Finally another sniper slug punched a hole in his eye, tearing into his brain and clattering throughout the other side. His body was finally at rest, after fighting an insurmountable evil.

Jack stood there panting. A garbled radio transmission opened in his helmet from FLIGHTOPS. “Help! Ugh. We’ve been hit— requesting backup! More clos—NO! NOT JHONSON! Agh, I’ve b!“ Then there was nothing but static. Gladiator201 looked forlornly at the rest of his team. “Hey guys.”
The rest of the group snapped to attention as they had been carefully scanning the skies before.
“The drop ship has been hit and I think we’re getting some more company. We’re not out of here yet.” He said and dropped his head, staring at his dirty boots.
Silence filled the void as a gust of wind rushed in.
Gladiator200, Greg was the first to speak, “That sucks,” he said bluntly.
Gladiator204, Sam nodded replied, “So, is there any more help coming or are we stranded here?”
“There wasn’t much useful information in the transmission. I think we may be though.”
“I see. Well, why don’t we just set up a defensive perimeter then?”
“Good idea. Greg! Go to your sniping post. Morales, set up your machine gun over there. The rest come with me!”
But no planning in the world could ever prepare them for what was coming next.

---

A plume of heavy smoke rose in the distance, fiery ashes racing the sky-blackening smoke to the top of the atramentous sky. A monotonous thumping sound shook the Earth as the mechanized beast lurched itself towards the elite team. Clumps of debris were pulverized in its wake. It coruscated an unearthly beam of phosphorescence, illuminating the wasteland of death. Jack’s pulse quickened inside his own mechanized armor. The beast of a machine stood erect at four-hundred meters and was bristling with a multitude of automated chain guns, firing a healthy two thousand bullets per minute and missile pods belching smoke and hot-tailed rockets. It looked like a giant spider with eight legs and a large central turret on top.

The group could only stare in awe at the colossal feat of human engineering; but more importantly, of Tyranian engineering. Tyranians came from the empire called Tyrania, a rebelling planetary colony threatening to overthrow Earth’s colonies. They and their ruler, Flyker Glaxcom were sought out to take over the peaceful planet of Omnicron Six since it held an abundance of natural oils and gases invaluable for powering any war machine. Jack and his Gladiators were sent by Earth to protect Omnicron Six. And obviously, Flyker didn’t want to take any chances so he sent in some of the mechanized walkers that Jack was facing right now.
Jack snapped back to the present and started barking orders. After that, he opened a channel to OMNICOM, but OMCOM for short. They were a military headquarters stationed in Omnicron Six for such uprising and attacks as this and were also responsible for supplying their soldiers and sending support. Their support however, would never come.

Everyone lay perfectly still, letting their camouflage work at its maximum capacity. The hulking beast stomped closer, rattling Jack’s teeth with every step. A cataclysmic whining sound saturated the air, and then the whole land was bathed in an aquatic light. Suddenly, the noise stopped and an explosion ripped a quarter-kilometer sized hole in the city. A wall of fire and smoke darkened the sky thousand fold, appearing just four hundred yards ahead of them. Their suits temperature regulators groaned as they worked nearly beyond maximum capacity. Jack was bathed in sweat, his perspiration only matched in the fear within him and the task that lay before him. Struggling to keep consciousness, he clenched his teeth and craned his neck to watch his rocket man. Thelonious, Gladiator199, or “Thump” for short, tightened his grip on his rocket launcher. The mechanical giant loomed in the distance.
Suddenly, the giant’s leg stomped through the massive ring of fire and Thump fired his rocket launcher. The missile spiraled in a trail of smoke and exploded in a brilliant flash of bright colors along the leg. Very little damage was done, however. A few lumbering steps later; Jack aimed his wrist harpoon, shouted “Now!” and fired. The harpoon arced against the night sky and clanged against the hull. A few more harpoons clanged against it as well. Jack’s and Greg’s harpoon caught to something while the other’s fell to the ground. Jack reeled it in carefully and felt the ground disappear under him. The winds grew stronger the higher he went. His old fear returned as Jack’s face grew pale and his arms grew weaker. He set the reeling motion on automatic, and shut his eyes tightly.

A guttural rumbling sounded above him, squinting, he saw the barrel of a chain gun start to rotate, faster and faster. “Incoming!” he yelled, and swung onto a ledge that was nearby, however the barrel followed him, whirring so quickly that it was now high-pitched. The next thing he knew, a thousand dull pains lashed his head and shoulders. A shower of sparks rained down upon him, as his shield warnings blared, A second later, his body shook uncontrollably, sending his grappling hook ajar and himself hurtling towards the ground. Fear gripped him again.

The monster looked smaller and smaller until the whole underside was visible. The corners of his vision started going dark Then, a blur whooshed by and Jack was airborne again. Turning, he saw that Greg had snatched him out of the air by swinging. Jack grunted as he flipped acrobatically through the air and landed on another ledge with a window looking inside. Luckily, the flames provided enough light to see the ledges and differences in height. He uttered a quick “thank you” and continued to try and find an opening. He found one. There was an exhaust vent that had an easily removable cover. It was also very large as the exhaust created by this robot was very massive in scale so his bulky suit fit in nicely.
Jack started to press forward but then found himself going into a free fall. Craning his neck to see downward, he spotted a tiny pinprick of reddish light that was supposed to be the bottom. Or his death, he did not know. The tiny pinprick was becoming larger, and the walls had gotten noticeably smaller. After another minute of falling and keeping his arms clear of the intersecting vents that could send him tumbling head first, he exited the vent and the light blinded him. Below, a hard metal floor met him as his body slammed into it, chest first. The repercussion of his head following made him dizzy. He scrambled best he could and drew his sidearm. He had left his assault rifle behind to gain some maneuverability. The room he was in was small and held only a fuse box. Red light fixtures were in the corners. He heard footsteps coming around the left hallway corner.

Aiming there, he steadied his breathing and tightened his finger on the trigger. Thump, thump, thump, the footsteps resounded, louder and louder. Jack saw a leg pass the wall and then the rest of the body with the head following a split-second later. The gun recoiled lightly as the skilled marksman put a nine millimeter slug inside the officer’s brain. He stumbled backwards and slouched against thewall, the blood spatter dripping downward. A gruesome hole on the temple marked where the bullet entered.
Then he heard a few more hurried footsteps by followed by a gasp. The Gladiator took a few long strides cocked his legs and dove headlong into the man turning the corner at blinding speed. The man didn’t have time to let out a yelp before slamming into the far wall and busting his head as well. There was a second person. This one carried a light assault rifle. Jack ducked quickly and swung his leg around in a swift kick to the shins. The guard’s legs went out from under him as he landed hard on his face. A stream of blood ran down the bridge of the guard’s nose as he gripped his rifle furiously and started to fire. The gun growled to life, spitting a stream of bullets that impacted on the far wall as Jack rolled to the side, reared his fist back and leaped, bringing his fist down on the man’s head. A sickening cracking sound followed a solid thud as the guard hit the floor limply.
Jack bent over and picked up the rifle just as a voice boomed above him. “Freeze. Do not even think about moving or picking up that weapon.”

He quietly suppressed a chuckle when he glanced upwards to see a trio of men training Colt.45 magnums in on Jack’s head.
“Alright guys, get him.” Murmured one as the other two cautiously stepped towards Jack’s bulky frame. Tensing his muscles, he let go of the weapon and leaped forward, tackling the far man with astonishing force. The officer’s hat fluttered lightly to the ground as he smashed into the wall and dropped his pistol. Whirling around he saw the other men start to cock their pistols. Like a Western cowboy, he quickly drew his sidearm and fired two shots all in a split-second. The two officers fired a stray bullet before stumbling backwards and clutching their chest wounds.
“Don’t move.” Threatened Jack with a gravely voice as he strolled towards the downed cadets and abruptly pistol-whipped each of them once in the head so they became unconscious.

Then he grabbed the light assault rifle, hefting it in one hand with his genetically enhanced strength and the pistol in the other. Stepping into another room, he found that a dozen guards had taken up cover in the brightly lit room. Control panels lined the walls as display screens flickered. His assault rifle rattled off a burst of shells, immediately catching two guards with their heads up. Raising his pistol simultaneously, he blasted another man in the arm. Now the whole room was alive with gunfire. Jack sprayed with his assault rifle whilst picking off priority targets with his pistol. A multitude of guards went down, no match for the deadly precision of Gladiator201. Arterial spray filled the room, painting the walls red. A swatch of bullet marks tattooed the front of his suit. There were no targets left, only the slaughter.
Suddenly, a contact appeared on his HUD. It appeared to be moving quickly. “Greg?” he asked nervously. Then, a mechanized warrior appeared in front of him; more machine than human and chillingly similar to Jack.

---

On the shining white chest plate of the other mechanized fighter, it read Warrior4.6. The Warrior took a few steps towards him and leaped forward, catching Jack off guard and sending him toppling to the floor. The Warrior slammed his fist on Jack’s helmet with brutish force, making his ears ring and his vision blur. He grunted and kicked the Warrior off, immediately drawing his pistol and firing a few shots at him. The bullets clattered on the far side of the wall and on the Warrior, which hardly flinched.
Jack fired another few shots, which the other super soldier dodged with ease. This was because he was already on feet and charging directly at him! Jack lunged to the side, swung his leg around and landed his boot on the Warrior’s temple, sending it crashing backwards. Jack took this moment to his advantage and unloaded a whole clip from his stolen light assault rifle. A storm of tiny sparks emanated on the Warrior’s armor. But, without hesitation sprinted directly toward Jack again. He tried to lurch to the side and kick but felt himself being hurtled though the air at blinding speed. The next thing he knew, he was slamming into the wall and rolling on to his back with the Warrior standing over him. Then a deafening boom rang through the air and the Warrior jerked sideways. Struggling to get on to his feet, he caught a glimpse of Greg. This was the second time he saved him.

But, the battle wasn’t over yet. Four more Warriors appeared at the door, standing deathly still. The recently shot Warrior scrambled to his feet and lashed out at Greg with a whirlwind of kicks, punches and elbow shots. Greg recoiled violently from each hit, being back up against a wall. The Warrior swung his elbow in an arc at Greg’s head, making a hairline crack in the helmet followed by a haymaker punch, which sent Greg tumbling down to the ground. Greg desperately tried to scramble away but received a knee blow to the head from the Warriors standing by the door. Jack could only stare in awe; and in enragement.

A surge of power rushed through him as he lunged for the Warrior that was doing the most damage; he grabbed his neck, squeezed and brought him high over his head. Then he proceeded to bring him down and crash his back over his knee. A crack resounded throughout the Warrior’s bones as he crumpled lifeless on the ground. Letting out a growl that belonged to his ancestors dwelling in caves; and spun around, bringing his elbow down on the Warrior standing on the middle. He easily deflected it and sliced him in the ribs with a scissor kick. Jack rolled on the ground, clutching his side and shallowly breathing, still fueled with adrenalin. The trio of Warriors suddenly charged from three angles: front left side and… where was the other one? Jack glanced upwards; saw a flash of white as his vision blackened around the edges and crept slowly inward, the dull wall of flickering monitors passing deeper and deeper into the bottomless infinity of empty blackness.
Thump gritted his teeth and squeezed the trigger of his heavy machine gun., letting loose a hail of searing lead pounding the incoming wave of attackers. Whole crowds of them were chopped down in a furry of blood and bullets. So much had changed in a few minutes. After Greg and Jack have ascended, a fleet of drop ships dropped at least four battalions of infantry. Things weren’t faring well. Morales had taken a rocket to the face. Countless other Gladiators were being slowly whittled down by the sheer numbers of their faceless doom. How many, he did not know. Their whole squad had been separated. Deleterious showers of fire wafted the opposing ranks, the whole battalion glowing with luminosity and flame. A sonic boom shook the ground as a shadow whistled overhead, a trail of ashen smog glistening in the moonlight, almost stealing away for it’s precious light.

Shifting his gaze upward, Thump spotted his guardian angels: a squadron of F-80 Elite Attack Force, which was comprised of ten eight-plane groups that were called in for support. But, this was more than just support; it was a matter of life and death. Shrill cries and screams of the agonized dying soldiers permeated the cacophony of clamoring war machines clashing together for the brutal battle of survival: the looming epitaph of humanity and it’s own destruction.

Allowing a slight grin to pass his lips, he silently prayed that he would get out of this alive. He wiped a track of soot on his cheek and again hefted his machine gun, letting it roar to life and slice at the flood, bent on the sheer calamity of the planet’s protectors. For a moment, the ferocious bombardment of sound faded as he remembered the lyrics to a particular song;
“Brother will kill brother,
Spilling blood across the land
Fighting for religion
Something I don’t understand.

Fools like me, who cross the sea
And come to foreign lands
Ask the sheep, for their beliefs
Do you kill on God's command?”

The last question lingered in his mind for a short while as the familiar roaring of clashing drums and wailing guitars thumped a rhythm into his mind. He barricaded the other sounds out, his eyes concentrating this new energy into the battle. Thump howled ferociously as a soldier leaped on him to slash a wicked knife at his throat. Swinging his elbow at the soldier’s head, he dislodged his grip and started emptying his secondary Sub Machine Gun into the enemy’s stomach. The Heavy Machine Gun lay on the ground not so far away.

Suddenly, a mechanical warrior swept the gun up and fired a burst that knocked him off his feet, pain lashing at every nerve in his body. Do you kill on god’s command? He asked himself gazing at the angels gracing the skies above with such beauty, striking down opposers without mercy or regret for they knew it was right. A miasma of smoke lingered above the evil monstrosity. To destroy, was it's mission. To end lives to those who deserved it: A Death bringer's will.
That vision faded away in tattered shreds into his memory. Thump took out all of his grenades and pulled each pin tossing them in all directions as enemies were closing in, weapons drawn. Yes… yes he would.

---

Jack’s head shot violently upward as he suddenly awoke with a splitting head ache, startling the technicians that were with him in the small white room. One of the grayer technicians took a few cautious steps toward him and said, “You were knocked unconscious and this is the Megalith’s on-board hospital that you currently reside in.”
Jack went to grab his helmet but realized it wasn’t there. Alarmed, he scanned the room and tried to leave the bed but was forced down lightly by the technician.

“We strongly advise you not to leave until instructed to, Jack.”
He frowned and asked, “How do you know my name?”
“Your suit supplied all of the data we could need and more.”
As Jack spat on the floor and scratched his aching head, he said, “Where is my squad?”
“What squad?” he asked puzzled, “You were the only one on board. The rest must be getting crushed by our superior army.” He seemed to flaunt the word “superior.”
A small grin spread on his face as Jack made another move to disembark the bed, but on the opposite side this time. The technician didn’t have time to stop him as he scrambled to him, eyes flaring behind the dark-rimed glasses.

“Listen to me!” he started to say but caught a kick to the throat that knocked him off to the side.
Jack sprinted towards the duo of other technicians that were starting to notice what was happening, mouths agape, but too slow to react. Jack swung his elbow at a the doctor’s head, his body going limp as a sickening crack reverberated in the sterile room. The other technician was starting for the alarm as Jack took advantage of his fitness and slammed headlong into the technician’s hip. A cry of pain And then a soft yelp as Jack yanked the doctor by the neck, his feet dangling high off of the ground. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a distorted chunk of wall in the hallway outside the room, as it grew sharper and more humanoid. Jack noticed it immediately. Greg.

Quickly twisting the technician so that he was grabbing him around the back, he promptly snapped his neck and started towards the figure. Then it vanished as a blur streaked past him. A solid thump sounded behind him as a startled soldier desperately grasped for his invisible attacker, his rifle clattering on the floor. He then went motionless as he slammed into the far wall at high speed. Before he could speak to congratulate him, he went invisible again as another patrol turned the corner.
Drawing his weapon the patrolman fired a short burst that made Jack roll to the side and scramble for the fallen sentry’s weapon just around the corner. Bullets ricocheted off of the walls behind him as he snatched the weapon and aimed it just next to the corner. Strafing slowly to the side to get a better look, a white flash appeared around the corner. As it was about to strike, another barely-visible blur intercepted it and sent the white-clad warrior sprawling into the wall, making a deep dent. A flurry of fists and flying elbows from Greg jolted every nerve in the Warrior’s body. Soon, the armor came away in tattered peels as a bruised and bloodied soldier crumpled before him.

“We’ve got to get out of here.” Jack said, still gripping the rifle.
Greg simply nodded and broke out in a brisk jog, motioning slightly to follow him. Nodding, Jack lagged behind him, checking every open doorway for more Warrior units. But, he noticed that they were going deeper into the robot’s infrastructure. Greg stopped and opened a closet. His doubts disappeared as he saw a rack with his suit.
“Put this on,” he said as he snatched the rifle away, “I’ll keep guard.”
Hurriedly, Jack pulled the torso portion on and the leg padding on. A high-pitched whirring came from the suit as it tested the DNA via scan. After a few moments, the whirring stopped as it grew accustomed to his body and became a second skin. He waited patiently for the suit to finish making its changes before donning his helmet and giving a thumb’s up sign. Then he pulled the gauntlets over his bare hands, flexed them and started following Greg. After a few long corridors of no opponents, he stopped at a heavily guarded latch and yanked it open, grunting with effort. The door clattered to the floor. Below, a sprawling battleground and above, the murky sky, alive with dodging aircraft, competing for dominance. The cold air whipped against the bulky suit.
Holding up a rappel cord, he thrust it towards Jack and took another for himself. They both hooked it up against an outlying pylon and then to their belt. After a quick prayer, they trudged towards the edge.

One… two…. Three… Go! They both launched out into the blackness as inertia gripped Jack with fear. A volley of tracers whizzed past them. After a few tense moments, he noticed the rappel line starting to go taut. He braced for impact. Just as he did, the rope jerked with such force that the wind escaped him immediately and it felt like all of his organs had turned to jelly as he was being yanked upward again, swinging back towards the robot. The “Megalith”, they called it. It was actually a fitting name.
The biting wind whistled past his helmet and flooded his air intake. The Megalith grew increasingly larger in size, dominating the skyline. His speed slowed, as he turned and started swinging back, still hundreds of feet above the ground. He opened up a channel for Greg,
“The rope is too short!” he shouted.
Greg replied, “Yea… I know.”
“Should we jump?”
“I don’t know about that…”
“Fine, if I survive, I’ll let you know.”
With that, he let go of the rope and plunged deeper into the abyss.
=====