"Your only concern should be surviving all this..."

Hassan was likely dead by now. Moving quickly through another dusty corridor, with the batteries on his night vision goggles and torch almost depleted, O'Neil felt himself nearly overcome with dread, trying not to think about whatever was stalking him through the corridors of this old Russkie base. He was the last survivor of a squad of a dozen hardened special forces soldiers, picked off by these...these...damn creatures. But Hassan had probably given his life so that he could get out, and damn, he was going to get out.

He remembered the faces he had seen, back in that desert valley, a mere few hours ago; it felt like a few years now. He hadn't been able to read all of them, but he could tell that most of them were brave, determined men, now dead at the hands of these things. Was he really going to run like a coward? Leave them forgotten and unavenged, in this corner of Afghanistan? Not even to get a mention in any newspaper or news show? That just wasn't right. He was going to at least try. Fuck it, he thought; he didn't even know where he was running to anyway.

Ahead of him was another rusty metal door, with some incomprehensible Cyrillic labeling; O'Neil still had seen no clue of just what had forced this place into this state, and he found himself not caring in the slightest. Even if Hassan had taken one of the creatures with him, that still left at least one. Pausing to catch his breath, he took a moment to look around him. What looked like another storeroom, larger than the previous one, or a garage; parked among the stacks of rotting crates and containers around him was a tank, a T-72. In front of it, what looked like a disassembled Hind.

Shutting the door behind him, O'Neil opened one of the containers; it contained various old Red Army weapons, still in pristine condition after all these years. Why had the commies abandoned all this stuff here, to lie under the earth for two decades? Didn't matter. He took off his body armor vest and helmet, leaving them on the ground. He needed more movement, and that stuff hadn't stopped the other guys from being torn apart by those fucking creatures. Taking grenades from the containers, he adjusted their pins, and then took his radio from his vest, cutting it open and taking out the wires. He wasn't going to simply wait for the thing to come and meet it all guns blazing, no. This was going to require a little imagination.

Once he had finished assembling his little surprise, he ran over to the tank, grabbing a fuel canister lying by its side, and ran over to the door, pouring out some of the contents onto the floor. Those things were damned sneaky, he thought, but let them sneak by on wet Soviet tank fuel. He wondered how much time he had left, but didn't try and rush it. One mistake here, he thought, and he would be the one to see this team finished off, dead in the line of duty with nothing to remember them by. Finally, he moved away to a vantage spot, and waited.

A few moments passed, as the light of the torch he had laid down began to gradually fade away. Had Hassan really killed the remaining monsters? If so, why hadn't he shown up? As sweat began to trickle down his back, he suddenly froze as the door creaked open. In this poor light, he could barely see anything, but then he didn't expect to.

Something stepped onto the wet fuel he had left on the floor, and his eyebrow raised as blue sparks crackled above it, as something began to gradually materialize out of thin air. Yes! As a clicking sound came from that direction, sounding almost bemused, O'Neil fully popped out from the hatch of the T-72, grabbing the PK machinegun mounted atop it, and swiveled it in the direction of the semi-visible creature as the torch light finally faded away.

"Fucking lizard." he breathed, before squeezing down on the trigger. The room was illuminated in bursts by the flare of the muzzle, as spent cartridges were spat out onto the hull of the tank. Screaming wildly, O'Neil thought out Charles, the Canadians, the Brits...he had barely known them, barely talked to them, but already they felt like family, family these damn creatures had taken away. As he continued to blaze away, he suddenly stopped as three little red dots crept along the tank's turret.


O'Neil leapt out of the tank just as a blue pulse shot out from the shadows, ripping into its armor like tissue paper and tearing into the side of the turret. Rolling onto the concrete floor, O'Neil got up as the room was now lit up by the burning of the tank, with more flame than smoke. Looking up, he could see the creature perched on one of the stacks of crates, looking down as if amused. Producing a serrated shuriken-like disc, it threw it down at the grenade trap he had set up, causing him to wince as the thing tore it to pieces. Damn thing was smarter than he had thought. Desperately looking for an idea, he looked in one of the boxes he had opened up, and his mouth spread into a grin.

From atop the crates, the creature jumped down, clicking triumphantly to itself as it was bathed in the orange glow of the fire, moving to where O'Neil had been hiding, extending its wrist-claws. Advanced sensors in infra-red could make out floor that had been warmed up by living flesh, revealing footprints and body flesh. All seemed to indicate that the prey was hiding behind the stack of crates in front of it. Moving forward, the creature slashed at the stack, causing it to topple down, then paused as O'Neil emerged from the shadows ahead, sporting an RPG launcher, taken from one of the crates.

"Bitch-rapin' time." he grinned, looking almost demonic himself in the yellow light. Then, raising the launcher, he pulled down on the trigger, sending the RPG shooting forward right into the creature as it stood as if in shock. O'Neil winced as the explosion and blast warmed his face uncomfortably, before dropping the RPG and waiting for the smoke to clear. Had he killed the fucker? The ones before were tough, but could even they had survived this.

A pained growling came from ahead, as O'Neil stepped through the smoke. Evidently, it could. Stepping on the splinters of smashed crates, he found the thing lying at the foot of a container stack, its chest scarred and bleeding bright green blood, and its metal mask cracked and charred. Clicking angrily to itself, it began to struggle off the mask, as O'Neil watched intently. Finally, to see the real face of these damned fuckers from outer space, or from hell, or whatever. He took a deep breath as it finally tossed the mask aside, and his mouth opened. Staring right at him was some sort of hideous crab-like visage, with clicking mandibles, sunken yellow eyes, and jagged tattoos right across its large forehead, as it roared a challenge of defiance towards him.

"You." spat O'Neil, as the creature rushed at him. Stepping back, he saw an AK-74 by his foot, from one of the crates, and scooped it up as he sidestepped out of its path, avoiding being disemboweled by its serrated-wrist blades.


Aiming the assault rifle, he emptied up into the creature's back, as it roared in pain. Spinning around, it leapt forward and sliced the forward half of the rifle in half, only for O'Neil to body slam right into it, producing his combat knife from his belt and digging it right into its chest.


Howling in agony, the creature stepped back, seemingly overcome by its wounds, before collapsing to the floor, its back against the wall, looking up at him with a scowl that read fury. Chuckling, O'Neil began to walk towards it, brandishing his knife.

"Yeah, that's what I said. Now, what to do with you, pussyface? Whatchya gonna do?"

The thing croaked something at him, as if trying to say something; it took O'Neil a few moments before realizing it was trying to vocalize something in English. A mercy plea? A final fuck you?

"Nice...night...eh?" it growled, before finally it began to manipulate what looked like a miniaturized computer of some kind on its wrist. Raising his eyebrow, O'Neil's eyes widened as suddenly alien symbols began to count down, accompanied by beeping.

"Oh, fuck you." he breathed, before sprinting out through the door, as the thing made a cackling sound after him, echoing through the corridors as he ran through, trying to get as far away from it as possible. Turning a corridor, he suddenly found himself looking at the entrance, dead ahead-oh, thank god, he thought. Running forward, the ground juddered under his feet as an explosion came from what felt like nearby, just as he burst out into the sands of the valley-the sun was rising, spilling sunlight among the rocks and boulders surrounding him. As he felt a rush of heat on his back, he froze as one of the black helicopters descended before him, throwing up sand with its rotors, as the rumbling behind him intensified.

"RUN!" he heard a voice from the helicopter cry. "GET INTO THE CHOPPER!"

Hell, he thought. Sprinting forward, he leapt into the troop bay of the helicopter just as fire and dust burst out from the base entrance. Looking down as the helicopter began to ascend, he watched as the entire rock hill began to crumble into the ground like a wet sandcastle, flooding the valley with dusty and smoke. Millions of years, gone, just like that, he thought. Now, turning towards the cockpit, the only thought on his mind now was answers.

"Thanks, I guess." he yelled over the sound of the chopper turbines. "One thing: who the fuck are you?"

"A friend." rumbled the pilot, in what O'Neil guessed was a central European accent. Austrian? "Do not worry. I know just what you faced down there."

"Really?" asked O'Neil. "Now where are you taking me?"

"To people who could use you."

"I see." laughed O'Neil, looking over his shoulder. A smokestack was now rising from the valley, into the Afghan morning sky. He had followed Hassan's advice; if only, he thought, people could be told what he and a dozen other brave men had gone through last night. With that, he sighed, and looked forward as the helicopter headed forward towards the morning sun.

Washington DC, United States of America

Seated alone in the Oval Office, Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States, flicked through some of the morning's newspapers. Most dealt in some way with the mysterious communications blackout that had affected Helmand province last night, accompanied the deaths of at least a few dozen Coalition troops; on the plus side, the Taliban had also been just as hit by it, allowing the US and her allies to make extra gains.

That said, however, Obama was relieved that only he and a few others knew just what had really happened last night. What had in one night hurt the Coalition more than the Taliban ever had. He had been fully briefed on this when he had assumed office; that had been the first blow to his optimism, he thought, before he had even began to take on the economy and healthcare. If only people knew the burden of the secrets men like him needed to keep, he thought. They'd know that there was more pressing danger than terrorists or unemployment.

However, the threat had been dealt with. Not without cost; but if it was all for the greater good, than it was worth it. His predecessor, apparently, had made a deal with a particular body for precisely such an event, and he had seen no reason to undo it. Now, he was going to see a representative of this body, which had picked up the only survivor of a special forces team that had directly engaged the...anomalies that had made their incursion into Helmand last night.

"Mr. President," an aide opened the door. "He's here."

"Good. Let him in."

Obama put down the newspapers as a well-dressed man entered the room, carrying a briefcase, and assumed a friendly smiled.

"I must thank you for making such good time." he said. "I must congratulate you for last night."

"Of course, Mr. President." the man smiled. "We at Yutani always aim to please..."