Chapter 1: The Door to Darkness

A.U.W. 3082

Lieutenant Michael Faye peered through the scope of his Sniper, tuning out the nervous chatter and whine of machinery as Pioneer 1's military forces slowly made their way through the mysterious ruins. Everyone who had gone before their team had never come back out. This made Michael nervous, but he did his best not to show it. A good soldier didn't freeze of in fear in the middle of a battle… But still, he couldn't shake the bad feeling he had about these ruins. Something evil was in here, something terrible…

Deputy Commander Heathcliff Flowen, leader of the force, approached him. "Lt. Faye, have you spotted anything yet?"

He shook his head, not even looking towards his commanding officer as he continued to keep watch. "Not yet, sir. It's strange… There doesn't even seem to be any traces of the earlier teams that were sent in… Just what got them? And where are their bodies?"

"I don't know…" Commander Flowen murmured. "But it does have me worried." He brushed his white mustache with one hand, a grim look on his face. "Continue to keep watch. Whatever got the science team could come after us."

"Don't worry, sir. I'll—" A scream of terror cut him off, coming from the front ranks. Michael pointed his rifle to the front, his heart racing as he saw a pit there in front of the ranks. What had scared them like that? What could make grown men and women scream like little kids…?

That was when he saw it. A monster began to crawl out of the dark pit before them. Its body seemed to cycle through life and death, its flesh shifting and changing, mutating even as it pulled itself forth from the darkness. It was so horrible, so monstrous, that Michael's mind couldn't comprehend it accurately.

"Fire! Fire!" Commander Flowen shouted, his sword in hand. Photon bullets leapt forth, joined by the missiles from the Garanz assault mecha. But "IT" wasn't even fazed. "IT" crawled forth with eager anticipation, cutting a swath through their forces. Michael stared wide-eyed as soldier after soldier fell. He was so numb with shock that he didn't even see how most of his comrades died. Their dead and mangled bodies only hinted slightly at their terrible and sudden deaths…

"Fall back! Lieutenant, provide us with covering fire, but do your best to stay out of that thing's reach!"

Michael snapped out of his daze, immediately firing off rapid shots at "IT". The Photon bullets did nothing more than draw its attention to him. He wasn't able to move as he felt and ancient and terrible evil enter his mind, going through it as if it were reading a book.

"You are not the one…"

"IT" towered over him, its flesh rippling as a massive hand gripped him around his waist. He was lifted into the air, his Sniper falling to the ground with a loud clatter.

"But you will suffice…"

"IT" pressed him against its rippling flesh, and immediately Michael could feel the flesh crawl forward onto his body, as if its flesh was alive also. An excruciating pain spread forth wherever the flesh touched him, and Michael began to scream in pain and agony. His struggles only quickened the process, his body now being pulled into "IT". With a final scream, darkness filled his vision, and his soul was ripped from his body by the dark force that had slumbered in the ruins for 1000 years…

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Danielle Sterling stood at her door, straining to listen to the conversation her father was having with his colleague. She couldn't tell what it was about, but she knew it was serious.

"Whatever was in there was incredibly strong and nearly wiped out the entire force. Flowen barely escaped, but he now has this strange new infection that we believe is from the life form that killed the unit. Dr. Osto will soon send you a sample of this D-Type Factor to you, since he believes its uses as a catalyst in creating bio-weapons will be unparalleled to anything else," the unfamiliar voice spoke.

"Bio-weapons? Perhaps… I will carry out my own controlled experiments on it. We may finally make a breakthrough…" Her father trailed off, discussing some scientific jargon that just made Danielle more confused. She quietly shut her door, making her way to her bed and lying down on it. Confused thoughts swirled through her head. Her father had grown very secretive about his research and wouldn't tell Danielle a single thing about it. It was a boring life, with him always obsessed with his work and not caring about her. She yearned to get away and do something exciting instead of always sitting around…

"When Pioneer 2 gets here, I can go back to Mom, and she'll be nicer to me than Dad is…" she whispered to herself, repeating what she would always tell herself over the years. They would be here in two years… Just two more years…

Danielle sighed, turning onto her side and closing her eyes, thinking about how much fun she would have being back with her mother. It didn't taker her long to doze off, dreaming of her mother and being with her again as she often did.

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Rico Tyrell sat on the edge of her bed, her head down, tears trickling slowly down her face. Heathcliff Flowen was dead. Her mentor had died suddenly and mysteriously. She had just seen him not long ago, and now he was gone…

She wiped her face, her glasses lying on her nightstand. But she didn't put them on as she looked out her window at the full moon above. The soldiers didn't tell her the details behind his death, making her suspicious. What exactly had happened? Lately, the government had been keeping a lot of secrets from them. Rico and a few others had noticed strange reports about the food consumption and the size of the Central Dome. While the public was oblivious to this, she and her friends immediately knew something was going on. But they couldn't really look into it, seeing as how this was a government matter.

The government has always been corrupt… I bet the Alliance of Nations back on Coral is having some major problems now… There's always war and corruption when it comes to our government, it seems…

Rico let out a frustrated sigh, wiping the tears from her face. She could only imagine how her father would react to this news, hearing that his close friend and the one who he told to watch over her was dead.

"Two more years," she whispered softly. "They'll be here in two years…" Rico shook her head slightly, her mind racing through her thoughts as she pulled the covers over her. So many things had happened. She would get to the bottom of this, no matter what it took.