*Many thanks go to Shadowhawk for his information concerning Terminators – their history and types.
Once the skyline of Houston, Texas was filled with the sleek, shiny outlines of an urban dream. Gleaming tall towers and majestic skyscrapers reaching up like a forest made of concrete, glass and steel.
But all that remains now are a few empty shells of buildings that were sturdy enough to withstand a ground zero nuclear blast. Twisted girders and steel frames now dot the horizon. There was rubble that was hundreds of feet high, a machine made mountain. Made with nuclear bombs.
All except one area which was cleared out by the machines to create a base here.
It was 2 in the afternoon but it was dark because of all the dust and clouds that now covered most of the globe. Normally in March in Texas is quite warm but the temperatures are 10 to 15 degrees below what it should be. There seemed to be no signs of life among the desolate ruins, until if you look carefully there seemed to be movement flittering here and there among the rubble.
The small squads of the Freedom Fighters of Humankind were inching slowly but surely to what used to be the NASA Space Museum. What sits there now is a Skynet base. It was a cleared out space roughly 10 acres square. The base itself was a simple single story square box of a building with 2 huge hangar like doors on the north and south end. The mission they were on is urgent but they had to move slow to allow their point men with their special detectors to pick up any sensors or traps lying in wait, Or other worse things besides sensors and traps.
Like the Silverfish or Stalkers.
The Silverfish was a robotic centipede that is 5 feet long whose sole purpose is to also infiltrate and take out gun emplacements, heavy machinery, bunkers or groups of men. It destroys by self-detonating itself, killing by concussive blast or by lethal shrapnel. The Stalkers are crude early models of Skynets early series of mobile weapons. Clunky ugly looking quadped robots that kill by spearing or ripping apart enemies with it's razor sharp piercing and blade weapons.
Fortunately they have not encountered any of the lethal Silverfish or the grim Stalkers. But even if they had The Resistance had long came up with little tricks against those buggers. John Connor has a special Electronics/Hacker Division (EHD) in his Army. It's part of his Research and Development branch. It's his second most important division of his resistance.
During the Lull Years (the period after the nuclear apocalypse and before Skynet's mobilization) Connor was not idle, he was scrabbling and searching for the key personnel vital for the survival of humankind. Soldiers, mechanics, doctors, scientists, electricians, programmers, network specialists, mathematicians, anyone in the technical and professional fields. The EHD is the culmination of his efforts.
He knew raw firepower and going toe to toe against soulless machines is not feasible. They had to figure out other ways of fighting the machines. Like infiltrating their computers or bases, trying to upload virus's to them, or trying to understand their new source coding. John Connor also put in an extreme importance, in fact number one priority on the research of reprogramming the machines so they can use the machines against itself.
All the squads have signaled a halt to their movement. They are merely the vanguard of a larger force behind them. They are 300 yards from the electrified fence shaped like a pentagon surrounding the base. Any closer and the turret sensors might detect them and start blasting with their twin mounted chain guns. Turret emplacements could be seen on each corner of the fence.
Some of the resistance fighters brought out their portable artillery, modified rocket propelled grenade launchers with extreme high explosive warheads that they will be using to take out the emplacements and possible hostiles.
When everyone signaled they were ready the commander of the attack force, one Captain Carl Mason gave the order.
"All units ready Sir!" the voice in his earphone spoke.
"Okay, This is Eagle one! Begin attack phase one! All units fire!" he yelled into his throat mike.
When he said that he got up and all the prone troops got up and charged for the fence. The turrets sensing them started blasting out but the range hasn't been calculated yet.
Two rocket trails for each of the turret emplacements converge on all of them. One is enough to take it out but the other one is for insurance. The turrets vanish in a flash of smoke and debris. A strange high pitch tone starts; the base alarm is going off.
"Come on you slugs! Move, move, move!" screamed Mason.
He could see the forerunners have set the satchel charges by the fence. All around the perimeter of the base the electrified fence was blown apart. The huge hangar like doors of the base are starting to open. T- 400's are starting to stream out. They are strange constructs like some futuristic robotic centaurs. The upper half looks like a metal skeleton and the bottom half is on tracks. The right arm is a chain gun and the left arm is mounted a flamer.
The lead T-400 is firing its chain gun but stops as its skull like head explodes. Captain Mason could hear the distinctive report of the .50 caliber rifles firing the explosive depleted uranium rounds into the T-400s in front of him. Sniper teams with the powerful .50's are providing cover for the assault.
But men still fell. He could see a soldier literally disintegrating getting caught in not one but two bursts of chain gunfire. He kept running forward in a zig zag pattern, not stopping. To stop or hesitate is to die.
A team has made it to the eastern wall and is setting charges against the building. The troops on that side hit the floor as powerful explosives crumbled the wall and the brave resistance troops charged in. He could see billowing smoke from the western wall indicating a hole was blasted on that side also.
The assault seemed desperate and suicidal, that's because it is. Intel from the EHD had deciphered snippets of information that Skynet is working on something big but they don't know what it is. The EHD is working 24/7 trying to figure out what it is. Only John and Kate Connor know. They will not reveal it because the horror might be too much for the already overwhelmed fragile resistance. Skynet is beginning its research of time travel. Connor is sending many of his troops to hit bases for clues and of course to cripple Skynet's operations while at it.
Gunfire, explosions, screams, the cacophony of noise is overwhelming. Captain Mason sees through the smoke a T-400 firing upward toward the hillside where some of the RPGers ( Rocket Propelled Grenadiers) are located. He could see the laser like tracers trying to find it's mark. Screaming he charged towards it firing his modified M20 assault rifle. Some of his armor piercing bullets punch through it's armor but most are deflected.
It looked towards him. It's skull like visage and it's red glowing eyes make it seem like some possessed undead skeletal demon. Captain Mason moved his aim higher. The T-400's metallic skull is getting rocked from his fire. One of it's eyes explode. It begins to swing it's chain gun towards him. But now some of the troops near him focus their shots at the mechanical menace and it is getting blasted with concentrated fire. It now starts to spasm and sparks are flying from it. It has been disabled, for now. The infernal things are very tough to take out.
He hears a hissing and instinctively dived forward. A spray of concentrated napalm flew over him and hit the troops behind him too slow to react. Screams and the sizzle of flesh are heard. Looking up the T-400 is practically on top of him. He rolled underneath the carriage to avoid being crushed by the treads. As it passes over him he removes a thermite grenade and gave a twisted it's top for a 15 second delay and puts it in a vent in the belly of the machine. As the T-400 rolled pass he got up and started running. When the thermite grenade exploded the super heat from the explosion cooked off the fuel and ammo in the T-400. It exploded in a huge explosion.
On his earphone he could hear screams and shouts of units calling for backup.
"This is Eagle one! Repeat this is Eagle one! Attack phase 2 initiate! Attack phase 2 initiate! Now!" he yelled into his mike. Acknowledgements are coming over his earpiece.
He looked back and could see more troops coming down.
That's when it started to fall apart.
All of a sudden whistling is heard. Mortar shells. They are landing among the troops coming down. What the hell?
Captain Mason is looking around. Where the hell are those coming from? Now messages are coming back the men inside the base are being pushed slowly out, the machines are striking back hard. Now he hears something that is sending chills down his spine. 3 HK's are on their way, ETA? 10 minutes. One HK can make mince meat out of his division, now three are on their way.
He hit the throat mike, "Eagle one here! Fall back! All units fall back!"
Now everyone is falling back, the ones further back stop to give the others retreating cover. But in the meantime the mortar shells are dropping practically on their heads.
"Goddammit! Someone locate and silence that mortar fire!" Captain Mason screamed.
The T-400s are coming out in force again. Several magnesium flares are thrown around to help the troops retreat, because the flares would blind and confuse the T-400's infrared vision.
Captain Mason could see scores of men and women are falling under the hail of counter fire and mortar fire. He just grits his teeth and while supporting an injured soldier on his shoulder he is walking back and firing his gun, screaming in hate at the machines.
Then all of a sudden there were huge explosions beyond the ridge. North, west and east the explosions went. The shrieking of mortars stop. The T-400 coming towards Captain Mason stop and looked around, it seemed to be wondering why there is a lull in the battle. Then it turned its attention back on the puny human before it.
It brought its chain gun up and pointed it at Captain Mason. A loud hissing passed over the captain's head and with a huge dull clunk it pierced the torso of the T-400. The machine's eyes lit up brightly when it looked down giving an impression of wide-eyed surprise. A hissing tail of the RPG grenade is sticking out of it's chest. Captain Mason also became wide eyed as he turned and dove over a trooper corpse into a roll next to another corpse and pulled it over him. The HE (high explosive) rocket propelled grenade exploded the T-400 into a million pieces.
Captain Mason opened his mouth wide to reduce some of the concussion. He also felt the shredding shrapnel as it pinged all over the place and felt the corpse being peppered with it. But the corpse didn't cover all of his body as parts of his legs were hit.
Then an unfamiliar voice came over on his frequency and in his ear piece someone yelled, "Yee ha! It's hammer time!"
Roaring could be heard and gunfire. Captain Mason is shaking his head and thinking to himself, that sound, no it can't be. Coming over the ridge are scores and scores of motorcycles. They are made up of all different makes just as the riders are all dressed differently. There were dirt bikes, sports motorcycles, choppers, tricycles, ATV's. They were all armed and firing while riding, screaming and whooping it up.
But they didn't charge in to fight. Mason was amazed that the motorcyclists were grabbing up survivors and taking them out of the area.
"Yo, dude! Hop on now or there isn't going to be much of you left if you stay close to that base!" a young man on a chopper said. He had a Mohawk style haircut that was dyed green and had many facial piercings.
Captain Mason didn't argue and got on the bike. Then he noticed 3 bikes speeding towards the base and each in succession tossed something that look like fire extinguishers into the base and speeding away. The .50s and other motorcyclists are giving them supporting and cover fire.
The cyclist stopped like about 500 yards away from the base turned his bike to look. Captain Mason couldn't believe the carnage executed in such a short time.
"Okay, check this out!" the cyclist said.
After about a minute a bright flash appeared then another following after that and another followed by a huge boom. Then the wave of concussion hits them and they are rocked back.
When the rumbling and the image of the flash fades, Captain Marsh looked at the Skynet base and gasped.
"My god! What did you do?" he whispered "What are those, nukes?"
The one story base was completely flattened , only a smoking crater remained.
The cyclist chuckles, "Nah, some new chemical explosive that's the bomb! Get it? The bomb! Hahaha!"
"Are you the leader?" asked Mason.
"You kidding? The boss is over the next ridge, you wanna meet him?" the cyclist asks.
Then he revs up his cycle and sped eastward towards another ridge, when he crested the ridge Mason gasped.
There were hundreds of cyclists there all revving their motors and screaming, cheering, all looking up towards a man on a motorcycle. Even from this distance he was a huge man. As Mason got closer he could make out more detail, the man was sitting atop a Harley Davidson low rider, he was dressed all in leather and had on jack boots. An M60 machine gun was draped over his knees. Bandoliers of the ammo are crisscrossed over his chest. He had on sunglasses even with the dim light on.
Mason saw he was a clean-shaven man with a strong face and square jaw. His hair was slicked back in a neat trim cut.
The cyclist stops near the impressive man and Captain Mason gets off the cycle. The biker salutes and moves off leaving Mason and the man alone.
When he saw Mason approach he asked, "John Connor?" in an accent that Mason couldn't place.
Injured as he was Captain Mason shook his head negatively then stood straight and saluted sharply, "Captain Carl Mason, 4th battalion Freedom Fighters of Humanity!"
The man stared at Mason for a few moments then reached up and removed his sunglasses. He was staring at Captain Mason seriously. Then he reached into a pocket and pulls out a cigar. Then striking a match against his thigh he lit his cigar. After taking a puff and blowing out some smoke he then broke into a grin.
"Captain Mason! Pleased to meet you! Archimedes Hammer at your service! But most people just call me Ark or just plain Hammer!" he said pleasantly.
Captain Mason's mind froze in shock. Hammer! Ark! Ark Hammer?
This is the infamous warlord Ark Hammer? Leader of the dreaded Hammer's Horde?
A soldier's shout broke Mason's chain of thought.
"Hammer! HK's 11 o'clock, three of them! Approaching fast!" he shouted.
Hammer put back on his sunglasses then said, "Alright Captain Mason, the fun's not over! Take cover, let me and my boys handle this!"
He then revved up his bike and it gave a throaty rumble then peeled off after the other biker.
Mason stood there staring after him thinking, "So that's Ark Hammer!"
To be continued…