The Third XCOM Saga, part 12

March 12th, 2084…

  • The team responding to the Nanotech incursion consists of Dan, DJ, Krenzke, Beth, John, and Alex.
  • The factory floor is a broad, open space, built entirely from metal.  A handful of workshops and storage rooms are sectioned off, but the fight here will likely occur in the open.
  • Dan orders the team to move as a single unit, sweeping toward the north side of the building first.  It seems best to clear that area before heading into the more maze-like southern side.
  • The north wall looks clean.  A corridor leads between a workshop and the outer wall of the building, ending in an assembly area where robots dutifully assemble Nanotech’s products.  No sign of aliens yet.
  • A pair of humans run past the team.  Looks like robots aren’t the only ones that got trapped in the building when the aliens hit.
  • As we cross the factory floor, there are automatons swarming everywhere.  Though Dan has little concern for artificial intelligence, he informs the team to treat the machines as civilians and target accordingly.  No need to add SELF to our list of adversaries.
  • The team weaves through stacks of crates along the eastern wall of the building.  First contact is made with the aliens when Alex spots a lamprey 20 meters to the south.
  • A spitter joins it briefly before both disappear around a corner.  Panicked civilians race past us, obscuring our best lines of fire and movement.
  • The team moves southward, slowly and carefully.  More spitters move in and out of sight.
  • When Krenzke passes a stack of boxes, an alien egg hidden there begins attacking him with its toxins.  His retaliation shreds its fleshy shell and spills its contents onto the floor.
  • Alex fires three shots at a spitter, pausing to check his aim each time.  Two of them hit home.  John follows up with two shots from his Law Pistol, and the xeno crumples to the floor.
  • Bursts of energy begin flashing around the area the spitters are lurking.  It’s nothing the team has seen before.
  • A brain emerges from the dark and begins a rush on the team.  Fortunately, it has a long distance to cover, and DJ’s aim is true.
  • As the squad maneuvers into better firing positions, a blue attacks.  Clutched in one of its blunt “hands” is a gun like the one we recovered before.  It first bursts of energy that appear pink, purple, and black all at once.  Crates explode around the team, but none of the alien’s shots hit home.
  • John attempts to attack the gun-toting Anthropod psionically.  He can sense a mind there, but it’s confusing and alien.  He can’t make enough sense of it to affect it.
  • Alex settles the issue for him by putting two cannon shots into the alien that blow out its chest.
  • One of our missing spitters returns, racing around a labor robot.  Beth fires four shots, two of which tear into its flesh.  Dan adds a pair of plasma bolts to the attack.  Its body melts and splays under the attack, and the creature drops.
  • Rounding a loading area, Krenzke spots our missing spitter and lamprey.  A split second and several bullets later, the spitter is dead.
  • Well beyond the range at which it can spray bile, the lamprey races in circles, looking for a place to hide but finding none.  Shots rain down on it.  The beast takes an incredible amount of punishment before succumbing, its fleshy young crawling from the remains.
  • With the smaller, pink worms in an innocuous space, Alex is given clearance to load his cannon with explosive shells.  Two blasts bring an end to the battle.

Comments (1)

Sgt DanAugust 24th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

The smell of fresh cut grass filled DJ’s nostrils. The hot, humid North Carolina weather made the sweat pour from him. He mowed the lawn and couldn’t wait until he finished. Papa was going to take him driving for the first time as soon as he finished. He had to finish. Almost there. All he had to do push the mower down this strip, and now pull it back again.

He dragged Hernandez out of the dusty street by the scruff of his flak jacket. The hot, dry weather of Somalia made the sweat pour out of him. The smell of death, fear, and anger assaulted his nose. He couldn’t wait until he was out of this God-forsaken place. Machine gun fire riddled the area as mortars exploded. Antonio came alongside him and helped get their injured comrade under cover. They got into an adobe hut. He looked for Sharp and that goddamn radio. They needed air support. The roof caved in as a large, egg-shaped object crashed into the middle of the shelter.

DJ just looked at it with a Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot expression. It took a bit before he realized that it was alien. That’s when it exploded.

***

DJ shot up in bed, soaked in sweat. His mouth was wide as if he was ready to scream. Thankfully, he didn’t. He did not want to disturb his dad or brother. He flung off the wet sheets from his body and got to the small, private bathroom. He wore only a pair of red PT shorts. He stood in front of the sink and stared into the mirror.

Unlike his father he had no scars on his body. Modern medicine could remove man-made blemishes of the skin and keep it looking whole and healthy. The scars of the mind are not as easy to remove. In fact those wounds tend to reopen.

He found a t-shirt and pulled it on and slipped on shoes. He opened the door into the living quarters of the apartment. Light came from the bottom of Rufus’ room. He burnt the midnight oil on some project. Papa’s door was wide open. He slept soundly on the side of the bed that was his when Mom was alive. Some habits are hard to break.

Quietly, DJ slipped out of the apartment to his weapons locker. He pulled his weapons and the cleaning/ maintenance kit. He made his way to the rec room and began breaking down the weapon. Cleaning weapons were a means for him to cope with his PSTD. If Papa was in a frame of mind to talk, he could go to him. With Papa being swallowed up by his own demons that was not an option.

DJ continued to manipulate the clean weapon as he checked and double-checked each part for any dirt or corrosion. He missed the brotherhood he had in Africa. He knew he needed to find someone with which to talk. If he did not find a way to close these wounds of the mind, they would poison him. The day in the hospital with Papa came back to mind. For all their sakes he need to find a way to stay mentally healthy. But who could he trust?

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