There's sand all over the place, it fills every joints, every cracks in my alien rifle and every piece of wreckage, the mighty winds blowing off plasma fires like candles all around me. You wouldn't believe how I went from space station to sand storm, but I'll tell you anyway because if you're still around, you must give a shit somehow:
So far, I have yet to get in an honest head on fight with the fuckers attacking us. I dodged a few shots, fired a few back, scavenged some gear, but it's all just been on the fly so far, just pot shots and suppressive fire for the checkpoints we passed by as we went, before and after the elevator shaft, but now, we're in enemy territory, used to be the Australians were bunked down in this sector, but they left to group with the brits and Canadians three levels lower. They left a few operators back, to keep watch, and most of these still report no contact.
I was after a single of them, one who went dark after requesting help, so we just take up the standard patrol routine, splitting up in groups of five to search every corridor and watch every corner.
We breach rooms in by-the-book sweeping maneuvers, advance with eyes on every angle to avoid ambushes if possible, we're doing our jobs like the pros I keep making us out to be and we're not fiding that sniper. No goo either, so we keep looking; he's got to be around, right? Can't just have vanished, right? Right…
Well, we never find the sniper and he quickly gets thrown way down on our priority list when Psycho mentions that someone somewhere had the brilliant idea to look out a port hole…
And we're falling.
Falling is the word he used, I shit you not, and for almost two seconds- an eternity when you're plugged to a quantum computer- I wonder how the fuck you can fall in space.
How the fuck do you think? At terminal velocity and on fire is how, and that station isn't meant to be toasted then hugged by planetary bodies, it's meant to float and house a thousand marines.
There's twice the amount of EEPs, Emergency Escape Pod –which is kind of redundant, 'cause you don't need an escape pod unless there's goddamn emergency- the original occupants would need, but it's… twenty five times less than what we'll require to get everyone out.
Alien ship it is. The PHSs were slow to get moving, too damn confused and weary of each others to fully collaborate, but no one here wants to go splat and everyone agrees taking the ship is the best way to avoid that.
We need a leader. Psycho gets everyone's vote, mine included, though mostly everyone agrees mine doesn't count.
And so we all head for a single NavPoint, way back the way we came, and we drag any KPA, PLA and AAA we find on the way down.
We end up rear guard for the whole damned force, effectively a Nanosuit Corps run by some brit, except without the tanks and ships and shit…
So, the Koreans, Chinese and my rag tag bunch of mercs fall back by stages; KPA falls back first and set up vantage points in corridors, around corners and behind bulkheads, using their better NOM adaptors to power their cloak and strength modes, effectively laying down pinpoint accurate fire from the shadows.
Chinese suits have faster speed modes, but are not as strong or resilient as most, so they hold back while we cover them, hold the line as the other two relocate and haul ass out of there as soon as we're all set.
My men have the thickest armor and most advanced hardware all around but the fewest numbers, so they keep the middle ground, draw most of the attention when the KPA is relocating or the PLA is backing up, but other than that, we're just there for display.
The thing with Nanosuit 2 isn't truly 'Thicker' armor, but a totally different approach to armor mode, using energy dampeners, scale/spike/Kevlar-like nanotubes and an active current passing through the CryFibril and causing is to harden on impacts while remaining quite flexible.
We effectively become walking IFVs for a whole minute. Less, depending on the enemy firepower, and our suit is actively developing new countermeasures every time we get hit, meaning the longer we survive, the harder we are to kill. PLA and KPA have the old armor mode that focuses on healing and hardening on impact, making them somewhat resilient to small arms, but not impervious.
Their only advantage is that they can run this mode constantly, while we must recharge every minute or so, becoming as vulnerable as a grunt coated in Kevlar.
I don't know what it's like for the front guard, but in the rear, it looks as though the aliens just understood what we're trying to do and are desperately trying to reach the ship before us. Or they asked their CIC for our location and one of our boys intercepted the transmission. 'We're in your ship, killing your dudes.'
That would be fun. I'd shoot the dumbass, but the joke would still be hilarious.
So, yeah, we fall back, sector after sector, hallway after hallway, spraying rounds and arrows on the robots and keeping them at bay with energy weapons. Easy and we're moving too fast for it to be a real ranged battle.
It's essentially running away with style, all things considered.
I've seen the boys shoot arrows like there's no tomorrow and can't say it did them much good, so my own bow stays stowed the whole time and by the time I realize I can easily whip up shockers or explosive warheads from available ammunition, we're all stuffed tightly in a… I'm not sure about that, actually. It's dimly lit with green, sickly looking neons, it seems all made out of stone and my olfactory filters fail to spare me the equally sickly smell of this place. It reminds me of heated steel, copper or silver with hints of burnt plastic and vinegar. Nothing alive about that smell, nothing healthy either, it's just wrong.
What happens next? What do you think? We're all crammed in an alien space ship, half a million super-soldiers with six hundred of us with actual degrees in something –I'll let you guess which ones- and not a single soul that knows the first thing about flying this space ship. What do we do? Huddle all together, jack our suits at max strength and armor and shit our pants as we hit atmo.
The tremors start soft enough, like a gravel road on that shitty bike you had as a kid, but it soon grows closer to that shitty rollercoaster you could swear was losing bolts and we all hold on harder.
I remember the last time I entered an airplane, the stupid shit the flight attendant would say: 'In the event of a water landing…'
Water landing? How do you do that? Must take quite a bit of skills to land on water!
'Your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device.'
If my seat cushion gets ripped off the six inches bolts securing it to the floor, I'll most likely be a flotation device myself.
'The captain has turned on the seatbelts indicator…'
For someone supposed to be flying an air liner, this 'Captain' is a real interested in what I'm doing back here. Who made him captain anyway; he's essentially a glorified bus driver!
'In the event of a sudden change in cabin pressure…'
Roof flies off!
That's pretty much what happens here; roof flies off and we all huddle tighter. I can't get a hold of anything, though, so I hold on to one of my men, who's holding on to the corner of the bulkhead.
But his suit's energy has run out and I'm being sucked off my feet by the sudden rush of air. There's a chance he could hold on with his human muscles, but I'm not taking it, my last action won't be to kill one of the men under my command.
So I let go and fly off with the roof a split second after it is gone.
'If you ever get sucked out of the ship at cruise speed… Well you're fucked. Have a pleasant flight.'
I should be piss scared; I'm in lower atmo, the ground is just a sheet of blobs and thin lines and the whole god damned space station and alien ship are falling down all around me, though they are on fire and I'm not, so I guess we've decelerated enough that friction isn't gonna kill me, but I'm not scared, fear is a chemical impulse and SECOND can easily edit it out.
SECOND highlights twelve pieces of wreckage that could potentially protect a living PHS from impact and I use my zero-g propulsors to reach the biggest one; the goddamn alien ship's roof –actually six decks of pyramid-like rock tumbling around on fire.
It's spinning and there's only one access hatch, on the side of the thing. I'll need to time this right to go through the wall of heat and into the manhole, something an average guy sure a shit couldn't do, but I'm jacked to a glorified calculator, it's easy as Pi to me.
I just need to time it so my suit's armor mode turns on long enough to get me through the fire, but not too long, not to fuck with my drag and drift…