Disclaimer: I don't own Timesplitters: Future Perfect. Though I wish Crytek would get a bloody move on to make the fourth, or at least a re-boot of FP ...
Time to Split – 2401
The year is 2401. Mankind stands on the verge of a mortal struggle with an evil alien race called the Timesplitters. A lone ship streaks towards Earth. Onboard are nine stolen time crystals. The plan: to go back in time, destroy the crystals at their source, and end the Timesplitter War before it even begins ...
The ship bucked and shook in the turbulence as it entered the atmosphere of the barren, rusty-looking planet. Its pilot gripped the controls tightly, determined to keep the fighter on a steady course.
"Unidentified craft, please state identity."
"This is Sergeant Cortez," the man said, in a deep voice.
"Sergeant Cortez! Hold on a sec, Sarge, I'll patch you through to the General."
A moment later the gruff tones of the General said "Sergeant Cortez."
"General, what's going on down there?"
"It's the 'Splitters; we're under attack. Do you have them?"
Cortez glanced at the case on the seat next to him. It was clamped shut, but through the window on the lid he could see the glittering green crystals that he and his comrade had fought so hard to retrieve. "Got 'em right here, General."
"Good job," the General barked through the radio.
Suddenly, warning lights flashed, filling the cockpit with a deep red glow. The thick, crumpling noise of an explosion filled the small spacecraft as an anti-air battery scored a hit on the right wing. Sgt. Cortez heaved on the controls, desperate to stay in the air, but he was in vain.
On the ground, a beast of some sort was drinking the blood of a recently deceased soldier. Suddenly it looked up, watching the smoking fighter tumble out of the sky. It appeared unconcerned, and went back to its feeding.
The world was upside down to Cortez. Above him was the scorched, buckled debris of the fighter, and the dusty floor of a shallow canyon. Below, an orange sky dotted and streaked with dogfighters, and of course, the wreckage. A couple of soldiers were running along about ten feet above him. He could hear faint snippets of conversation over the sound of blood pumping in his ears.
" … Hey, there's Sergeant Cortez! And he's alive!"
"Say, why's he hanging upside-down? Come on, Cortez, on your feet!"
It was then that Cortez realised he was dangling from a confused tangle of cables and straps. He struggled, but suddenly tumbled from the web and landed heavily on his head.
"Ouch, that's gotta hurt!" shouted the first soldier, running over to help him up. It did hurt, but Cortez was made of sterner stuff. "You OK, Sarge?"
Cortez nodded. He had the feeling he had lost something precious, but couldn't remember quite what. On his back he had strapped the case containing the crystals. "Come on, Cortez. We need to get you back to base," said the soldier again, "Whatever you did really stirred up the 'Splitters!"
"Here, take this weapon," said the other soldier, handing him a pistol and a handful of power cells that constituted for ammo. "We're gonna need all the firepower we can get. Come on, move out!"
They met up with a couple of soldiers who were heading for the crash site. One pushed a button on his helmet. "General, this is Private Hicks. We've found Sergeant Cortez. Returning to base."
"Great work, soldier. Get him safely back to base. Those crystals may be our last chance."
"The rest of us are spread out along the route to cover our retreat," shouted Private Hicks, answering Sergeant Cortez's unasked question.
It was not long before they reached a fissure in the canyon, plugged not far from their position by another downed fighter. Before even Cortez could react, black-clad men poured from hidden positions along the clearing, blazing away with their own pistols. These men were obviously not regular soldiers; they wore tight black suits with numerous sheathed knives on their thighs and backs. At first glance they had no faces, but it soon transpired that they were merely wearing full-head masks, also in black, with a faceplate dominated by a strange gold motif of a single staring eye radiating sunbeams.
Cortez and the soldiers instinctively ducked into the little cover they could get from the rugged cliff-face and chunks of wrecked fighter.
"Who are they? They're not 'Splitters!" barked one of the soldiers, leaning out to take a shot. A stream of blue energy lanced from the handgun, but it went wide.
Cortez rolled away from the wall, and, holding the gun in a two handed grip, scored a couple of perfect head shots. Seizing the initiative, another couple of soldiers followed suit. The black-clad ambusher collapsed under the incandescent volley.
"Hey, Cortez, are these friends of yours?" asked one of the soldiers, who fired a handful of shots into another hostile on the other side of the gaping fissure.
"This way!" shouted Private Hicks, signalling a gap in the wreckage that enabled the soldiers to drop down to the other side.
No sooner had they reached the other side when more of the strange warriors opened fire, but they too were gunned down. Cortez ran ahead. About two hundred yards on was a handful of soldiers struggling to stem the tide of the warriors. One ducked behind a rock just before a searing stream of rapid fire autorifle shots. Cortez fired at once, taking out the plasma autorifle-toting grunt before he could realise he was being shot at. Several grunts noticed him and shot at him. Cortez winced as a shot hit him in the leg. A couple of soldiers caught up and added their own shots to the frenzy of plasma.
"Say, where's Corporal Hart?" asked one of the soldiers, as Cortez reached for the fallen plasma autorifle. He loaded it up with the spare ammo the grunt had been carrying.
"Corporal who?" asked someone else.
A huge explosion lit the sky ahead. A huge ship was falling as in slow motion, ponderously blazing a trail through the sky. The Timesplitter mothership was coming down. Cortez and the squad sprinted for the cover of a nearby canyon. As they reached safety, Private Hicks glanced back.
"Damn it! That's the seventh time we've repaired the bridge!"
Not far ahead, a soldier rounded the corner only to get gunned down by a storm of plasma.
"Miller?" someone shouted after him. "Damn it, we've lost Miller!"
He turned to face the new arrivals. "Oh, Sergeant Cortez, great timing!" He indicated the corner. "We're pinned down here and we can't get through. Take this sniper and clear out the enemy!"
Cortez accepted the sniper, crouched, and peered around the corner. In a corridor set high up in the cliff was a pair of the black-clad thugs. They soon noticed they were being watched, and levelled the autorifles at the speck at the other end of the valley that was Sergeant Cortez.
Cortez, however, maintained his composure, and fired the sniper rifle. A single laser beam, a needle of bright orange in the thick atmosphere of the planet, shot straight and true. It missed the thugs, instead burning through the thick metal casing of a fuel canister.
The resulting explosion enveloped the scene in a flash of bright purple light. The bodies of the black soldiers were vaporised in the cloud of caustic fumes billowing from the mangled casing. "Great shot, Cortez!" shouted Private Hicks.
The squad, no longer pinned down by plasma autorifle fire, headed up the valley. "The base is just up ahead," explained one of the soldiers.
Suddenly, several soldiers screamed "Timesplitter!". A grotesque creature landed in front Cortez. It was a brown, fleshy colour, similar to the rocks. Its body was vaguely humanoid, but only in the way that a gorilla is, and galloped on all fours. Its face was little more than a wide, gaping maw stuffed to bursting with inch-long fangs, and was framed by four long, goring tusks on either side of its jaw and on its forehead. It had no discernable eyes or nose, but all Cortez cared about was killing the foul animal.
He fired several shots into the Timesplitter's body, but it had sheer resilience on its side, and it smacked Cortez across the jaw with a fist like a ham that had sprouted a pair of wicked, hooked claws. Cortez was sent sprawling. He rolled over to see the 'Splitter leaping at him, ready the disembowel him. In a sudden act of defiant desperation, he shot the Timesplitter in the chest and head. It screeched in pain and was bowled over by the force of the shots.
Cortez picked himself up, vented the excess heat from the plasma autorifle, and set off, the soldiers in tow like a faithful flock of sheep.
The canyon opened into a large plateau, dropping off to the east into a sheer cliff. A rocky ridge cut their position from the stark metal gate of the Space-Time Marine HQ. A sudden cry of pain alerted their attention to a soldier leaning against the wall, a Timesplitter tearing at his throat with frenzied determination. Cortez pumped several shots into the creature's skull. Someone cried for a medic, but it was too late.
"Cortez, man that gun emplacement!" someone barked. Cortez occupied it not a moment too soon; 'Splitters were flooding over the cliff. Cortez strafed fire left and right, for the Timesplitters kept disappearing and reappearing, hurled deadly bolts of lightning as they went. The only giveaway to their location until the camouflage wore off was a faint ripple in the air.
"They're coming out of the walls! THEY'RE COMING OUT OF THE GODDAMN WALLS!" a soldier screamed, indicating the south walls of the canyon. Indeed, for the sudden appearances of the 'Splitters (Berserker Splitters, Cortez remembered), they could well have been popping out of the walls. For what seemed like an eternity, but was merely thirty-seven seconds, Cortez pounded the 'Splitters with fire until they were little more than shredded carcasses.
"Reinforcements have arrived," someone shouted, "Cortez, hold your fire!"
Cortez released the controls of the turret. Normal people would have probably fainted under the onslaught, but Sergeant Cortez was a Space-Time Marine, not to mention one of the best: dispatching Timesplitters wherever they rear there ugly heads was his speciality.
Cortez and the soldiers advanced around the rock ridge. Suddenly, more Berserkers clambered and leaped over the cliff-lip. Cortez wheeled left and right, peppering the ground with fire only to find that the 'Splitters were behind him.
"Shoot anything with teeth bigger than its face?" someone shouted, although it wasn't much help.
The situation began to look desperate, but suddenly lances of sniper fire massacred the foul Berserkers where they stood.
"We're getting fire support from somewhere!" someone said, seeing Cortez's confused expression.
"Come on, Cortez! Get the crystals to the base, the General's waiting! We can hold them off here!"
Cortez ran for the base, taking his precious cargo with him. No-one noticed the black, hooded figure standing on a balcony on the southern cliffs.
The General was a tall man, with cropped white hair and an air of authority. A sudden whooshing noise of the doors made him turn. A large, bulky man entered. He was wearing dull grey body armour and combat trousers, not unlike those worn by most of the human army. His head was completely bald, and he wore a strapless pair of goggles with black lenses. All that indicated he had eyes were the glowing red dots in the middle of each lens. He bore marks of the struggle to return to the base.
"Ah, Sergeant Cortez, you made it. Have you got the crystals?"
Cortez showed him the case. "Got them right here."
He stepped into a lift and motioned Cortez to follow.
"Now, we've found that time crystals leave a kind of energy residue where they are used," announced the General. "We're planning to send you back to find these residues. I know it's not much to go by on, but it's the best shot we've got. Ah, we've arrived," he said, as the lift pinged to a halt. The doors slid open.
"Oh, Cortez. Meet Anya, our chief science officer."
A slight young woman stood on the other side of the doors. Her uniform was a blue and tan skin-tight affair, and she stared at the case in Cortez's hand.
"Are those ..?" she asked in awe.
Cortez lifted up the case and opened it. Nine time crystals, looking like crystal lightning bolts, lay nestled in foam inserts.
"Excellent, put them in the time machine!" Anya said, somewhat excitedly, as though she never thought that the moment would arrive.
Cortez handed the case to a waiting soldier, who took it and began locking them into their brackets arranged in a circle in the centre of the room.
They walked over to a large chair surrounded by computers. One showed a map. "The largest concentration of that residue is right here," the General continued, pointing to a spot on the map.
Cortez stared at the map. It showed Scotland. But where the General was pointing was ...
"That's in the ocean."
"It is now. There was an island there, but it was destroyed in a battle in 1924."
"We're going to send you there, just before the battle," Anya concluded. "Here, hold out your arm," she added, striding towards Cortez with a circular object, which she clamped to Cortez's right arm.
"An uplink to the time machine. This way, we'll be able to communicate with you."
"I'm sorry, Cortez. But I need to send the best on this mission, and that's you," said the General consolingly.
Cortez sighed, but merely nodded, stepping into the middle of the circle of crystal brackets.
"OK, get to the island, find the crystals, and destroy the lot. How hard can it be?"
"Good luck," Anya said, and seated herself at the console. The floor opened up, leaving the bracket and pillar in the centre. The bracket began to spin, as did pylons in the bowels of the time machine. Faster and faster, until Sergeant Cortez disappeared in a haze of blue ripples.