Author's note: Written during NaNoWriMo 2017. This fanfiction repurposes Turrican story elements, levels and characters fairly liberally, and introduces several OCs. In the process, the "lone warrior" aspect of Turrican games is somewhat underplayed, the story takes fairly heavy influence from works like Top Gun & Starship Troopers, and there is fairly absurd humor dealing with the preservation of some thousand-year old works, so approach with caution. But hopefully you enjoy!
Thanks to T & M for inspiration & contributions, mentioned in the later chapters!
Thanks to Manfred Trenz & Factor 5 for the best action game series of the 8 / 16-bits!
Thanks to Matthew Reilly for a certain scene which was paid homage to!
Though the United Planets Freedom Forces' starship Avalon 1 had been Bren McGuire's home for the past weeks, with the lights down to emergency level and most of the systems out of commission, its corridors had suddenly transformed into a grotesque nightmare, danger potentially lurking behind every corner.
Bren gripped his phaser gun hard. There was a degree of safety from knowing it had still roughly half of the power cell left, in addition to the two fresh ones in his pockets. But he was aware how woefully under-powered the weapon would be in a fight against an overwhelming enemy.
The bio-engineered half-mutant-half-machine horde certainly was one. They had poured out from the super-battlecruiser that had seemingly materialized out of nowhere, and wiped out – as far as Bren was aware – everyone else who had tried to fight them.
There was a T-junction coming up, and he stopped to listen. Nothing, except the almost painful pounding of his heart.
It was clear, at least for the moment.
He had survived the onslaught by playing dead, and it was possible all the enemies had already left.
However, he could not take that chance.
As the main power was out, the enemies did not even need to fight him: the Avalon 1 was crippled, and he would slowly die as soon as the emergency power ran out, taking the life support systems down as well.
Bren advanced and turned right, which was the way to the ship's armory.
Bitterness crossed his mind as he thought of the advanced Turrican fighting suits stored in their powering-up cradles, completely unused during the invasion. Though they were state-of-the-art, putting one on and activating it was still far too slow, so the crew had just defended themselves with what they had at hand at the moment, including handguns and standard projectile- and phaser-proof vests.
Several systems should have caught the invading horde: auto-turrets both on the outside and the inside, singularity generators, moving laser grids that would slice any organic matter and even most metal into neat cubes, EMP generators and neutron beams.
But somehow they all had failed.
The battlecruiser had used some unknown technology to disable them all, and the invaders had proceeded to cut through the airlock, followed by their leader, the fearsome towering robot-emperor they referred to as the Machine.
Bren still felt disgust as he thought of the Machine's steel boot stomping on his pretend-dead body. It would have crushed his chest with just a bit more force.
But the Machine had apparently been satisfied with the carnage already, and had retreated back into its cruiser. It was possible Bren had been spared just to deliver a message, to tell the UPFF high command that this was an enemy too impossible to fight against, that mankind would just have to submit.
Fuck! Bren cursed inwardly. Too much had already happened for that to be possible. All the lives lost, all the colonies and space stations ravaged.
He could not of course dictate UPFF policy alone. But by now it was clear that he would rather choose death in war than slow death by submission and slavery. And the rest of mankind should make the exact same decision.
The Turrican suit activation procedure would make a lot of noise. It would certainly alert the enemies if any remained aboard. But right now Bren felt an almost fatalistic defiance.
Enough running and hiding.
Let them come to him. Then, they would taste the power of the suit ... or kill him where he stood. Either would be fine.
Bren knew he needed to keep his emotions in check better. Again.
If he died, all of his training would go to waste. One less to defend all of human civilization against this horde. Who knew if he was just the tipping point? He did not think of himself as a hero in the truest sense. Certainly, he did not imagine that he would be the sole force of reckoning and change. No, just hard statistics. Every man and woman counted.
He entered the armory.
At the back wall, the imposing, gleaming steel Turrican suits waited in their cradles. Most importantly, there was a promising green light on each of them, telling that there was still enough backup juice for activation.
Maybe activating one would mean one less hour of oxygen or something – Bren was not sure of the exact amount – but it mattered little. The suit had an air regenerator mechanism that would provide days' worth of oxygen in any case. Enough to get the ship powered up – if the repair droids would still work – or to call for help and hope for another UPFF vessel within short-distance FTL range to come to his aid.
Or – to even go after the invading force with a Katakis class fighter, which were stored in the hangar bay.
That would be a certain sign of a death wish though, something the instructors had warned of during the Turrican training.
Wearing the suit could make you think you were invincible, while you only were near-invincible. Walking that fine line was what being a Turrican was all about, and they had examined that thoroughly in the simulated scenarios. But Bren could not be sure of how successful it had been in the end.
After all, simulation was simulation, while only reality mattered. And in reality you only had one shot. Sometimes the right choice would be all guns blazing.
Fuck. Too much thinking already. Bren climbed the few steps to reach the cradle in the center. With a light mechanical whir, it rotated and the suit began to open, calibrating itself for Bren's physique.
Bren looked to the displays on the left and the right, which showed complex diagnostic information. The diagnostics procedures had been drilled in their minds relentlessly during the early training too, yet now Bren felt all of them recede into a haze. Once in the suit, it would provide information in a far more concise manner, suitable for digestion in the middle of war.
Bren could not shake the feeling, no matter how reckless, that war was what he wanted now. Both as part of his duty to the UPFF, and on a deeply personal level. The Machine would certainly not lay a boot on him for the second time.
Bren laughed to himself, and the laugh echoed eerily from the armory's alloy walls. That was not just an idle boast, but cold reality: the suit could be programmed to explode upon operator death, often taking out multiple enemies with it.