A Fine Mess

CH. 1- Harsh Beginnings

The alarm sounded throughout Jurnada Research Base. The klaxons flared on all levels as security forces scrambled to the defensive line. An alien ship had landed outside the base perimeter and a dozen large humanoids were storming the base, killing any humans they came across without preamble. The seasoned elite marine force was nearly overwhelmed, not only by the strength and strange weaponry of this new enemy, but also by the sheer panic of the researchers who got in the way at the worst times.

Alpha Division quickly ascended to surface level; their orders were to hold back the invaders at all costs until the research has been secured and spirited away. The team of six took up positions outside the main access port and strained to see through the continuously blinding snow.

"Alpha Leader this is Alpha Six. No sign of intruders. Over."

"Alpha Three to Alpha Leader. All clear. Over."

"Alpha Leader, Alpha Five here. All's quiet on the western front. Over"

"This is Alpha Leader. Hold position and keep a sharp look-out. We don't know where these bastards will come from, so keep your eyes…AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!"

A loud scream cut off Lieutenant Grady's orders, followed by an explosion from his direction. Panicked, questioning voices erupted over the radio, and the second in command, Sergeant Victor, immediately took up the reins.

"This is Alpha Two to squad. Close formation on Evac. Protect the research team and guard egress. Alpha Two out."

The remaining team members quickly surrounded the escape hatch, guarding the scientists as they evacuated the facility. Sergeant Victor moved quickly and quietly to check on Lt. Grady. The soldier rounded an ATV and skidded to a stop in a smear of blood. All that remained of their commander was a steaming carcass; the skull was missing, and appeared to have been ripped out with the spine. The sergeant held down rising bile and began to relay back to the team when a shimmer was noticed not five feet away. As it approached the marine heard the sound of unsheathing metal; Sergeant Victor ducked and narrowly avoided decapitation. Quickly rolling to a crouch while simultaneously firing off several shots, the soldier turned and ran around the side of the launch hangar.

A stray bullet impacted with the apparition, causing a shower of sparks and revealing a nearly 8-ft reptilian creature, heavily muscled and covered in a form-fitting mesh, minimal armor and wearing a ferocious looking mask. The creature roared and followed the human, leaping to the top of the building it hid behind. It shadowed the human along the side of the building, watching it look back and forth for signs of pursuit. The hunter chuckled at this futility and leapt from the roof, landing in front of the soldier who fell back in surprise. The creature raised a short rod above its head. The soldier, backpedaling away from the monster, heard a catch release and watched as the rod became a six-foot spear. With barely enough time to roll out of the way, the soldier ducked as the spear descended to impale helmet and skull. The tip of the spear lodged in the ground, forcing the creature to pause and yank it free. Sergeant Victor took the opportunity, drew a 9" serrated bowie knife and quickly thrust the blade into the creature's thigh. The hunter roared and backhanded the soldier away, ripping the blade the human still held out of its flesh.

The impact threw the sergeant several feet away, landing dazed against the side of a munitions vehicle. Shaking away the stars, Sergeant Victor looked up in time to once again see a descending spearpoint, and leaned to the right to avoid it. This time the marine was not fast enough and the spear caught the soldier's side, tearing the uniform and leaving a four-inch gash exposed to the frozen air. The creature roared its triumph and moved in for the kill, only to meet the human's foot in its nether regions.

Sergeant Victor quickly rolled out of the way of the roaring alien and stood. The wound sustained was a constant agonizing throb, but the trained soldier pushed the pain aside. Turning to the creature once more, the marine barely had time to react when a whirling blade cut through the air, aiming to decapitate if not maim the already wounded human. The soldier spun on one foot and felt the weapon pass within inches. Completing the spin, the marine kicked out at the approaching alien, a high kick that landed squarely on the creature's breastbone and caused it to stumble back a few paces. Sergeant Victor took the opportunity to put some much-needed distance between them and took off into the blizzard, leading the creature away from the facility.

By now the hunter was livid. Its assignment had been to infiltrate the compound and destroy the human's bio-weapons experiments, but instead it found this one soldier that simply refused to die. No longer focusing on the mission, the alien had blood on its mind, and a special place picked out on its trophy wall for the head of this confounded human.

In the heat of battle, neither combatant realized how far they had traveled from the research base. The marine had intended to lead the creature away, but had lost track of where in an effort to simply escape. Before long they had reached the western mountain range, approximately two miles from the facility. The alien hunter's unwavering determination had pushed the soldier further and further from the security of Alpha Squad, and the marine knew that time was running out. Both were suffering debilitating wounds, but neither had time to tend to them. Tearing around a large snow-covered boulder, Sergeant Victor paused in the hollow between the rock and the mountain to contact Alpha Squad.

"Alpha Two to Alpha Squad, do you read? Alpha Two calling team, come in, over."

The marine heard only static, and wondered if the squad had escaped. Speculation was cut short by a deep growl, and the massive alien stepped around the boulder. The sergeant readied weapons, the bowie knife and a foot-long machete, while the hunter flexed its fingers around the haft of the spear. Both realized that this was the final battle. The soldier lunged forward with a feigned thrust to the chest. As the alien brought its spear around to knock the primitive weapons aside, the human locked both blades around the spear and used the arc of its swing to run up the side of the boulder. The hunter looked up in surprise as the soldier prepared to deliver a killing blow from above. Both leapt simultaneously, just as a massive explosion rocked the landscape.

At the onslaught of the attack, the head of the research program had activated a self-destruct mechanism deep within the facility, set to detonate a 10 kiloton explosive charge that would effectively eliminate any evidence of the humans or their bio-weapons research. Unfortunately they did not count on the detonation also setting off the military armaments in storage in the facility. The subsequent explosion was larger than anyone could have anticipated. The planet's surface rippled from the magnitude of the explosion, and the western mountains rumbled from the force of the blast, shaking centuries of snow from the alien peaks in a cascading avalanche.

The snow plowed into both fighters. It knocked the alien hunter sideways, sending it flying through a snow bank and onto the surface of a hidden lake at the base of the mountain. The creature impacted with such force that the ice cracked, sending it plummeting into the frozen depths. Sergeant Victor was thrown violently from the boulder and covered by the oppressive weight of the snow, the bowie knife and machete knocked away in the torrent. The sound of the avalanche echoed across the landscape, chasing the retreating report of the explosion.