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Chapter 1- Dawn of the Rising Sun

It was hardly noticeable.  A quick glance indicated a splintered sihllouette.  A long stare revealed much more.

General Miles Jagdtanker, a young officer, observed a damaged human space station from the bridge of the human corvette Relentless.  The ship was part of one of hundreds of naval strike forces assigned to protect this quadrant of the galaxy, where Mihril was rich and plentiful.

The general's mission was to land on the damaged space station.  The Orbital platform had been silent on the Fleet Communications array for two solid weeks.  Fleet Command needed to know why.

Miles Jagdtanker was approached by Admiral Lance Bridges, who had decided to make Relentless his flagship. Bridges was a respected naval officer with years of experience in humanity's farthest realms.  He addressed the young general calmly.

"You and your team will be down on that station in 30 minutes.  I need your men ready for anything.  Absence from the comm for two weeks cannot be a good sign."

Jagdtanker nodded. "They'll be ready ASAP.  It's time to get our new suits onto the field."

The new Prototype suits had been out for a month now, but the special forces squad under Miles Jagdtanker, D.C. team, was the first to get the new state-of-the-art Perseus armor.  It was fitted with Mark V thermoregulators, night vision retinas, an avant-garde user interface, nanobot-managed armor plating, and even special electronic protection against EMPs.

Miles took the elevator down to the Relentless's Special Forces garrison, where the new Perseus suits could be seen in all their shining glory.  His team was in the process of suiting up, and Miles greeted them individually.  He then stepped into the SSP, or Super Suit Pod, and the mechanical arms inside reached towards him.  They connected the Perseus armor pieces to nanobot-regulated links on his bulletproof jumpsuit quickly and effortlessly.  After donning the combat suit, Jagdtanker stepped out to deliver the mission briefing.

Chapter 2-  Freefall from Heaven

General Miles Jagdtanker scanned his team of elite commandos as they formed in a circle around the garrison computer.  Sharkface, named for his distinctive helmet, addressed the commander eagerly.

"Whaddya think of the new armor?  I got these shark decals on myself."

Miles swept his head around to observe Sharkface's custom suit.  Some of the armor pieces were hardly recognizable as Perseus armor.  "Very menacing and impressive Corporal."

Demo Man, Racinrot and Laser Perseus stood at attention around the garrison console.  Miles delivered the mission briefing swiftly.

"There's a space station down there that has been quiet on the net for two weeks now.  Our mission is to sweep the platform and find out what happened."

"SIR YES SIR!!" was the unanimous response.

Jagdtanker stepped up to the garrison console and projected himself holographically to the Relentless's bridge.  

"Admiral, Special Forces are a go."

Bridges was quick to respond.  "Then get down to the hangar bay and prepare to drop!  We're not using pods this time General.  No, we are going to use the Blademaster and Perseus to their fullest orbital capabilities."

Jagdtanker led his men to the elevator, which led straight down to the hangar bay. In the bay Thunder-clad engineers moved heavy munitions to load advanced fighter ships, which were in turn piloted by troopers in Strike armor.  They stepped into the capsule and were whisked down to the hangar.

Sharkface glanced around at the others.  "Who's ready to jump?  'Cause I sure am!"

Laser Perseus shrugged. "I was still gettin' used to the drop pods."

"What are you smokin'?  Those pods are nightmare coffins!" snapped Demo Man.

Racinrot stood at the elevator entrance with General Jagdtanker as the rest of the team argued about orbital jumping and drop pods.  "We are clear to the hangar in 5...4....3....2....1."

The elevator touched down in the hangar bay, and the Special Forces quickly strolled out.  They prepared their Float and Blademaster packs and stood at the hangar gates that separated them from the endless vacuum of space.

Demo Man spoke up.  "On second thought sir, I don't want to be called Demo Man anymore.  I'd like to be addressed as Tanker."

Miles Jagdtanker almost dismissed him.  "It sounds as if you've stolen part of my surname, but consider it done."

Admiral Bridges returned to the intercomm moments later.  "Special Forces team, prepare to jump in t-minus 10...9...8..."

A force field projected between the hangar and the men, as the two layers of deployment gates steadily unlocked.

Laser Perseus shifted his center of gravity. "Here we go!"


"Go go go!" screamed Jagdtanker into his helmet communicator.  He and his team launched their jetpacks, increased thrust, and descended from the heavens.

Racinrot was spiraling in a repetitive, uncontrollable somersault.  Laser Perseus fired a grappling hook from his shoulder utility barrel and pulled Racinrot back into alignment.  Laser charged his thrust to re-accelerate them. 


"No problem."

Jagdtanker adjusted his communicator to modify his voice.  He was counting on this one deception, to convince the space station workers below that he was an maintenance inspector, not a Special Forces commander.          "Prepare for touchdown!  ETA 40 seconds!"

Sharkface listened quizically to Jagdtanker's message.  "Uh sir, you have a bit of a European drawl there."

"Yes, yes I do Sharkface."


"For good measure."

The platform was becoming increasingly larger underneath them.  Miles Jagdtanker scanned their descent with his UI.  He delivered the order.  "Kill speed."

The Special Forces team extinguished their thrusters and flipped up to land.  Jagdtanker and Sharkface were quick to land, followed by Tanker, Laser Perseus and Racinrot.

Laser glanced over at Racinrot.  "Enjoy the ride?"

Racinrot walked up to the space station entrance and typed in the authorization code.  "Not one bit."  Racinrot peered throught the station airlock.  Now what have we here?"

Chapter 3- Adversity from Hell

The team filed in behind General Jagdtanker into a dimly lit hall.  "Something's not right.  The reception office should have greeted us by now.  We should have heard... what the?!"

Jagdtanker noticed a blood smear on the floor.  Trailing from it was a spray of the maroon liquid.

"Everyone arm up!  Something very bad has happened to the station crew, check every angle!"

Jagdtanker pulled out his NOVA-27, which had a black wolf sihlouette decaled on it.  Slowly he lead the others throught the hallway, until he came upon one of the station personnel.

It was one of the platform crew members, clad in a Titan suit.  It was caked with dry blood, and gashes were all over the armor plates, with chunks of the suit missing.  The massive gashes in the armor resembled... bite marks.

Sharkface backed up in alarm.  "Definitely not killed by gunfire!  No, this is the work of a monster."

As the team backed away from the corpse and into a clearing underneath the station glass, slithering and hissing began to resound.  From everywhere.

"Form up and fire at will!" ordered Miles Jagdtanker in alarm.  "Set shields!"

The team activated their personal shields and formed into a defensive ring.  Out of the glimpse of his eye Tanker noticed a flurry of legs, wings and teeth.

It was a trail of... monsters.  They were living nightmares, hideous creatures with spindly limbs and jaws full of massive fangs.  The flying ones launched fireballs in volleys at the encircled humans, who watched in muted horror.  Jagdtanker drew his windblade and NOVA-27.

"Disperse!  Don't stop running for any reason!"  he yelled as he sprinted into a horde of the things.

Spraying his laser rifle and swinging his plasma blade haphazardly, monster blood splashed out and various body parts exploded off the things.  Tanker and Sharkface sprinted furiously, firing concentrated shells into the hordes.

Racinrot and Laser Perseus jumped across the station clearing with their jetpacks, firing from above and neutralizing the monsters' aerial assets.

Jagdtanker somersaulted into the air off a bent rail, and grabbed ahold of one the flying horrors.  The thing screached in anger as the commander swung from it's legs and fired at the other airborne creeps.  Slicing off one of the thing's crisp wings, Miles then stabbed it between its two sets of compound eyes.  Propelling himself with his Blademaster pack, he jumped atop another of the flying creatures, and redirected the creature's fiery aim towards the monster's brethren on the ground. 

Sharkface and Tanker were battling a Rhino-like monster below.  The hulking beast charged towards Sharkface in an immense rage.  Tanker vaulted off a wall and into the air as Sharkface dodged the thing, forcing it into a corner.  Dazed, the rhino beast swept around to face its attackers.  Sharkface shoved his machine gun into the terror's open jaws and unloaded a full belt of ammunition, just as Tanker leaped onto the beast's back and slashed it across the spine repeatedly with a Windblade.  After thirty seconds, the monster dropped dead, splitting in half, with dozens of bullet holes littering the back of its head.  A blood pool twenty feet in diameter quickly formed around the dead monster.

Despite their valiant efforts, the team was eventually cornered, their backs pinned to the railings and glass that protected the station from space.  Jagdtanker switched his voice relay to normal and contacted command.

"This is General Miles Jagdtanker!  We have encountered hostile alien monsters aboard the station!  Among the crew there are zero survivors, I repeat, zero survivors!  Requesting immediate evac!"

Admiral Lance Bridges responded with a startled tone. "Aliens??"

"Yes sir, there are aliens on this station, we have engaged them furiously, but they just keep coming!  We need an evac ASAP!"

Bridges raced to the intercomm and spoke quickly.  "We need a strike team down to the space station ASAP!  The Special Forces team has encountered hostile forces and is in need of an immediate lift!"

Down in the hangar, Strike pilots powered up thoroughly-armed gunships as Titan troops raced aboard with heavy weapons.  Projecting force fields, the Relentless deployed a dozen gunships and descended toward the platform.

Meanwhile the Special Forces team remained pressed against the station glass, as they struggled to keep the aliens from devouring them alive.

Jagdtanker took out a grenade launcher and pushed back a horde of aliens.  Gesturing to his team to spread out, he armed his NOVA-27.  Jagdtanker shot the glass separating them from the void of space, and immediately the computerized alarm voice warned, "Warning.  Severe atmospheric breach.  Breach seals offline."

Using the powerful hydraulics of their super-suits, Jagdtanker and his team gripped the railings as the aliens were torn out of the hull and split open into bloody strips of flesh.  Moments later the Relentless's gunship fleet appeared, firing into the space station's power coils.

"Out the breach everyone, move it!"  Jagdtanker flipped through the air and was launched into the surrounding void.

The rest of the team followed suit and jumped into the nearest gunships, where they were helped inside by Titan troopers. 

Chapter 4- Highest Torch

Jagdtanker and Sharkface sat inside a gunship and conversed with the troopers inside.  The gunships sweeping from every direction, firing missile and gatling rounds at the alien-infested space station.

"We need to destroy the platform!  It's the only way to neutralize the hundreds of monsters inside!"

A corporal turned to face Jagdtanker.  "We don't have the weapons on these birds to take it out, but we can call for a hail mary from Relentless!  Admiral's gonna' have to give us due clearance, though!"

The commander held out his hand for a communicator.  "Patch me through to Admiral Bridges, I can get a railgun strike ready!"

The corporal handed Miles the communicator as Sharkface stared intently out at the orbital platform.  Some of the aliens were perched outside the glass in the void, curled up in gray spheres, glaring at the gunships.

"This is General Miles Jagdtanker!  We have received the evac, and we're requesting a railgun strike to obliterate the station!  There are hundreds of those things in there!"

Admiral Bridges thought about the request, maybe for a second.  "Alright General, I am giving clearance for a railgun strike.  Disperse from platform orbit immediately."

"Yes sir, we'll be out."  Jagdtanker motioned for the Strike pilot to disengage and bug out.  Admiral Bridges ordered the other ships to follow suit.  The gunships initated afterburners and conducted flash dockings inside the Relentless.

Two minutes later, the Relentless appeared a mere mile away from the station.  It turned forty-five degrees to starboard and projected the bow railgun forward.  Admiral Bridges gave the order, and a bright beam of blazing light erupted in a shock wave that could be felt throughout the corvette.  The space station crumpled instantaneously in a mesmerizing flash, and exploded outward in millions of twisted pieces.  

After the research probes and scientists had collected blood samples and sanitized their armor, the special forces team reported the mission details on the bridge to the admiral.

Admiral Lance Bridges was standing at the bridge helm next to Captain David Radsworth.  He had been slightly disturbed by the reports of the alien attack, and had thoroughly questioned the special forces team.

"So you were swarmed by how many of these things?"

Jagdtanker shifted in his armor.  "We couldn't count sir.  There were too many."

Captain Radsworth spook up and dismissed them.  "That will be all general.  You are dismissed."

Jagdtanker led his men out in single file.  Tanker approached the general after they left the bridge.

"Let me guess Tanker, you were thinking about your nickname?"

Tanker nodded.  "I thought about your surname thing, so I think I'll be called.... Paladin!"

Sharkface rolled his eyes inside his helmet.  "This better be your last twisted nickname."

Paladin inspected a clip.  "Don't count it."

Miles intervened.  "Alright everyone.  We need to unwind.  I figure we could do a few training exercies to take our minds off of the aliens and everything else.  Who's up for crushing some rebels?"

Racinrot and Sharkface murmured in agreement and spoke simultaneously.  "Why not?"

Jagdtanker led the team into the elevator and set for the Training Floor.  It took up an entire floor the length of the ship, and it featured advanced holograms, force field projectors, and everything else needed to create artificial, but extremely realistic environments for combat simulations.  

The floor was separated into several areas, allowing multiple squads to train simultaneously.  But only the special forces team had constant access to their very own section. 

The team stepped out of the elevator and into their training room, which was located in the middle of the floor.  Jagdtanker debated with his squad on the training modes, which had nothing related to aliens so far.

"Who wants to do Building Infiltration?"


"Aerial Hijacking?"


"Forest Onslaught?"


Jagdtanker configured a jungle map that included virtual vehicles and an abandoned base.  He added thirty rebel soldiers, and adjusted the difficulty to 70%.

"Lock and load everyone!"

The squad stepped into the virtual environment, and the simulation program in their armor instantly activated.

Jagdtanker led his team to a corner in the massive room and commenced the simulation, which immediately spawned a dense jungle biome.  The virtual rebels could be heard in the distance. 

"Let's move everyone."  Jagdtanker tossed a grenade to their far left, and the team bolted for a virtual cave.

Chapter 5- Twisted Awakenings

Jagdtanker and his team dashed for cover in the simulated environment.  A cave offered the most immediate refuge from the simulated rebels.  But Jagdtanker was still distracted from the alien encounter, and after a brief recounting of the savage atrocities, he had gained enough momentum to render him unstoppable.  The general tripped over a pile of rocky outcroppings and charged straight into a boulder. The impact was only moderate and had not damaged his armor in any way, but he was knocked unconscious.

Miles Jagdtanker awoke to find himself in a different world, not in the training simulation room, but in a ruined city.

He bore the colors of the United States of America on the shoulder pauldron of his old armor model, and he found himself crouched behind a wall.  The men next to him were firing now-outdated assault rifles at a squad of rogue militia.

He turned to take a shot, and he received a pistol round to the head.  It was only a grazing wound, but it knocked him back to the ground and he blacked out, fond memories of the American icons flashing before him before doing so.

Another flashback flickered into view.  Jagdtanker could see aliens, aliens in every bizzare shape and form, some dead and mangled, others hissing and snarling, spewing acid as they trickled towards him.  Jagdtanker attempted to jet to safety, but he was swiftly shot down by a massive plasma orb, and began to burn. 


"Sir, are you okay?  Snap out of it general!"  Laser Perseus woke the dazed commander in the simulated cave.

"How many fingers am I holding up?" Racinrot indicated two raised fingers above Jagdtanker's head.

"Sixty-seven?"  Jagdtanker used his helmet communicator to enhance his dazed voice.

Sharkface managed a laugh.  "Let's go sir.  I was able to put railgun shots into a few of the rebels."

Jagdtanker rose steadily and braced himself with a rock.  "Let's finish this round men."  The general charged out of the cave and tossed his Windblade into the trees, slicing a Rebel sniper sim in half, and curving back in a boomerang fashion.

Sharkface took point and rushed into a clearing.  Firing his chaingun in sweeping motions to cut down the rebels, his reflexes numbed until he was struggling to see where any rebels were coming from.

"Argh, can't... see..."

Staggering along, his computer program indicating his impaired abilities all the while, Sharkface collapsed at the bank of a simulated river.  A beacon marked "Eliminated" flashed above the chaingunner.

Racinrot and Laser Perseus flew above the simulated jungle at high speed, dropping their share of grenades in an effort to flush out Rebel sim troopers.  Racinrot had managed to gain more precise control of the jetpack, and after taking a brief second to observe his improved flight performance, a Rebel sim armed with an RPG shot him down.  The computer program took control of Racinrot's jetpack and killed the thrusters, sending Racinrot plummeting to the ground.  Had he not been shot by a virtual RPG shell, and had he not been caught by tractor beams to prevent a freefall, Racinrot would have likely fallen to his death or blown to oblivion.


Laser Perseus watched in horror as Racinrot was eliminated from the simulation.  Taking evasive manuevres, Laser Perseus landed in the abandoned base and sprinted into the armory.  Destroying the simulated access pads to the weapon lockers, Laser Perseus tediously searched through the weapon inventory.  After a few minutes, he grabbed a Black Disc and M-27B1.  Turning around, he came face to face with a Rebel sim wielding a cutter.  The sim trooper grappled with Laser Perseus, the special forces member weakening with every moment.  Firing a Black Disc into the sim's chest, the sim collapsed, right as Laser Perseus blacked out and was marked as Eliminated by the simulation prgram. 

Jagdtanker, now hiding behind some bushes, received a notification that his men had been eliminated from the simulation.  He decided to end the round.  

"Computer, relay simulation code 9117."

"Affirmative."  stated Jagdtanker's computer system.  "Round over."

Chapter 6- Haunted Encounters

Racinrot and the others awoke in the ship's medical bay.  Jagdtanker had them teleported there after observing them in their weakened state.  The commander listened to a report from a doctor.

"Your encounter with the aliens has had some lasting effects.  Assuming you came into contact with alien acid, you were poisoned and subsequently weakened.  And we've analyzed the conditions of your team, including dizziness, impaired motor skills, sudden loss of focus, blurry eyes and fainting.  We've concluded that the encounter had some psychologcal impact on you and your men as well as physical.  Your training simulation almost immediately following the alien attack may have triggered said conditions."

Jagdtanker sighed. "Ironic, because we wanted to do the training simulation in order to clear our minds of the aliens.  Plus, none of us recall feeling any acid burns while we fought the monsters.."

"The poison cannot be felt by nerves, which is why it was able to surprise your bodies with sudden hindrances.  Now I'd like to suggest you all remove yourself from training simulations for about forty-eight hours, and also take hourly medicines to ward off further psychological incidents."

Jagdtanker nodded.  "Understood doc."

Back on the bridge, Admiral Lance Bridges conferred with Captain David Radsworth.  They were discussing additional alien reports.  Captain Radsworth read off the details for the admiral.

"Additional reports of alien attacks have been confirmed in a mihril mine, and across the Western hemisphere, specifically at a training outpost, a ruined stadium, the rocky canyons of Boreas.  Of course this list does not include the encounter our special forces team had on the orbital platform."

Admiral Bridges looked over the data thoroughly.  "Relay the report of our alien attack to Fleet Command."

"Already done admiral."

"Good.  Read off the casualty lists of the other attacks."

"At the mihril mine, at least a hundred miners and soldiers have been confirmed dead.  At the training outpost in the desert, all military personnel present were killed.  At the stadium, fifteen soldiers and four civilians dead.  In the Boreas canyon, all military personnel present were killed.  And of course, on the space station, all station personnel: scientists, soldiers, and crew... all killed."

"This is the beginning of a war captain.  A long, death-ridden war, and during it's course we will have to wipe out every single alien monster in existence."

Captain Radsworth raised his brow quizically.  "What are you suggesting sir?"

Admiral Bridges took a long, deep breath, and paused for a moment. 

"Captain, we are going to take the fight to them."

Sharkface was at the front of the line in the mess hall, arguing with one of the lunch ladies about the sudden change in menu.

"You didn't even consult any of us about completely re-desigining the menu?!  There were good items on that board!"

The lunch employee was talking a mile-a-minute, trying to get Sharkface out of the way.

"Look, we needed to make room for new items!  We had to get rid of all the junk food, people were complaining!"

Sharkface put his hands down and leaned towards the mess hall employee.  "People were complaining about the rotten excuse for a caserole you kept serving!  They didn't protest the quesadillas, cheeseburgers, Caesar salad-"

"I am gonna have to ask you to step out of line if you're gonna argue over the new menu."

"Menu?!!  This is a nightmare!!  First of all you replaced the chicken tenders with these sticky "protein bars" that taste absolutely awful!"

"Please step out of line!  There are hungry customers I gotta' serve here!"

"Alright, but just you wait!" Sharkface warned her sternly.  "I am going to have a word with the nutrition officers here and get this stuff out!"

The cadets in Viper armor behind Sharkface exchanged thorough whispers.

"Was that a??"

"Yep, Spec Ops."

"But there's no way-"

"Ah, well, he seems like a pushover."

Sharkface strode over to the lunch table where the rest of the team was seated, where Laser Perseus motioned for Sharkface to sit down. They were eating, or rather, gaping at the inedible new protein bars.  Jagdtanker was absent. 

Paladin sipped a root beer.  "At least they didn't get rid of ALL the good stuff."

Sharkface slumped onto one of the table benches.  "But so many good foods... gone!"

Racinrot gave Sharkface a pat on the back.  "The key is to PRETEND it tastes good.  I haven't eaten one of these yet, so I'll show you how it's done."

Racinrot shoved an entire protein bar into his mouth and for a moment pretended to munch eagerly on the ration.  Two seconds later, he was struggling to cough the inedible item into a napkin and wash it down with his root beer.

"Ech, see??  Perfect!"

Sharkface shook his head disapprovingly.  The digital billboard screens in the giant cafeteria flickered to life, showing Admiral Lance Bridges' face.

"Attention to all combat personnel! Our special forces team has encountered hostile alien monsters aboard the nearby space station.  We will address this new threat accordingly."

Everyone in the cafeteria swiveled around to glance at the spec ops team sipping root beers.

The admiral continued.  "There have been multiple accounts of similar attacks on UBW herself, and there have been multiple casualties.  Fleet Command has recently provided every ship in the fleet with new simulation programs, to allow us to counter the aliens. Regarding the Marines aboard, we will have a mandatory simulation run in ten minutes.  The Air Force will have their simulation afterwards, and following them are the Navy.  We are excluding our spec ops team from these simulations, as the medical team has informed me that their alien encounter may have caused some medical issues."

Everyone swiveled to stare at the spec ops team again.  Paladin almost rolled his eyes and Racinrot glanced around them nervously.

"This is the beginning of a war everyone.  We will be ready for that war.  Suit up, and report to the training floor."

Almost everyone left immediately following the admiral's announcement.  The spec ops team stayed inside to finish their root beers.

"Well this is just great."  Paladin sighed, gulping the rest of his drink.

Chapter 7- Awaited Returnings

Jagdtanker and the other's waited in the spacious special forces garrison by the computer.  The long facility was full of empty storage lockers and Super Suit Pods, all belonging to the remainder of the special forces group aboard Relentless.  The well-equipped special forces group equalled ninety men and women in total, but they had all been temporarily re-deployed on other ships in the fleet to help train cadets.  Today they were finally returning to the corvette.

Racinrot eyed the garrison doors intently.  "Well this is exciting!  The others are finally returning after all these long months!"

Paladin turned to face him.  "They were only gone for two months."

Racinrot took off his helmet to polish it.  "Those were a long two months Pal."

Laser Perseus shifted in position.  "I wonder how Veronica was doing."

The hangar doors opened as the elevator descended into the garrison.  The special forces teams filed out of them and rushed to greet Jagdtanker's team.

Major Veronica, who commanded Moscow Team, was first to talk.  "So you met some aliens, general?"

Jagdtanker nodded.  "Yes, and it was a very unpleasant experience."

Veronica shook his hand.  "So glad to see you, sir.  The recruits were getting on my nerves."  She strode over to her team's garrison section, and hugged Laser Perseus on the way.  Sharkface rolled his eyes and Racinrot and Paladin observed the reunited couple.  

Next Major George and Major Ralph of Paris Team and London Team came forward.  Jagdtanker and the others were busy telling the other spec ops members about the encounter with aliens, and received much feedback.

"Glad you made it back sir!"

"Must've been a nightmare in there."

"I'm going to kill those things!"

Eventually the spec ops teams tired of interviewing Jagdtanker and his squad, and assembled at their respective areas.  Jagdtanker commanded D.C. Team, which was located on the central port side of the garrison.  Clockwise from his team were Moscow Team, London Team, Paris Team, Berlin Team, Rome Team, Warsaw Team, Ottawa Team, Stockholm Team, Amsterdam Team, Sidney Team, Tokyo Team, Beijing Team,  New Delhi Team, Manilla Team, Rio Team, Mexico City Team, and Cairo Team.  As the squads coversed among each other, Admiral Lance Bridges stepped out of the garrison elevator.

Jagdtanker quickly rose and turned to face the admiral.  "Officer on deck!"

Everyone else in the room quickly dropped whatever they had been doing and saluted the Admiral Bridges.

"At ease, everyone.  I know you have probably all heard of D.C. Team's encounter with the aliens.  General Jagdtanker and his men are currently on sick day, having received some trauma during the mission.  As for the rest of you, you are to report to the spec ops room on the Training Floor.  We are conducting simulations to help prepare everyone to counter the alien threat.  These simulations will last until you are all eliminated.  Good luck."

"YES SIR!!!"

Major Veronica lead Moscow team through a simulated Boreas canyon.  She intended to find a concealed camping spot on high ground, and she saw it.  Sprinting quickly, she darted around rocky pillars and up a rocky hill, gesturing for the rest of Moscow to follow.  At the top of the iron-red slope was a small cave.  Veronica slipped under cover, and lying on her stomach, she pulled out a railgun.  Her teammates set up defense around the cave and watched for movement.  The other teams accompanying them on the simulation were London, Tokyo, Cairo and Warsaw. 

Veronica turned to face her team.  "Alright everyone, we fight until we're eliminated.  And I intend to make sure Moscow gets the highest combat score."

Mark, the team chaingunner piped up.  "Even higher than D.C.?  They've always had the highest score!"

Veronica nodded.  "Well it's our turn, so we better step up our game."

Mark eagerly shoved a fresh belt into his chaingun.  "Don't worry Veronica, D.C. won't be adding tonight's simulation to their score anyway."

Veronica turned to her railgun's scope.  "Let's exploit that then.  Here they come!"

Hissing and snarling sounds resonated through the air as the aliens erupted out of the dirt, spewing acid and fireballs.

Veronica cringed as she observed.

She opened fire with unreal precision as Mark and the others poured shells into the monsters, which exploded into bloody pieces.

Jagdtanker was having D.C. Team read through some information on their data pads.  Fleet Command had Research and Development assemble an analysis of the different alien species, a list through which the exhausted team was now scanning.

Racinrot pointed at the alien called the "Speedling".  "I probably killed fifty of those!"

Laser Perseus looked over at his data pad and found the "Energy Fly".  "I remember killing about twelve Energy Flies."

Paladin and Sharkface scrolled through the list and found a maroon-colored, brutish alien called the "Rhino".  They recalled encountering one on the orbital platform, having shortly after sliced it in half and fed it a few hundred machinegun rounds.

Laser Perseus sighed in boredom.  "I wonder how Veronica is doing."

Racinrot pat him on the back.  "She's probably fine, slaughtering simulated aliens as we speak."

Sharkface turned to face Laser Perseus, a quizzical expression on his face.  "How in the heck did you manage to get her anyway?"

Laser Perseus grit his teeth non-threateningly, and then proceeded to answer the question.  "Well, I noticed she occasionally made these mistakes during simulations, so whenever I saw her make any errors, I fixed them for her."

Jagdtanker interjected.  "Give an example, Laser."

"Well, one time we had a simulation fighting rebels at a decommissioned nuclear power plant.  She was nearly eliminated by a sniper, but I took it out and acted as her spotter for the rest of the simulation." 

Sharkface rose an eyebrow.  "Is that all?"

Laser opened his mouth to speak but Moscow, Cairo, Warsaw and Tokyo Team all entered the garrison, fresh from simulations.  He stood up as Veronica led Moscow Team to their section.

"Veronica!  You're back.  So, how were the simulations?"

Veronica swept around dramatically.  "Well, we were in a heck of a lot of trouble.  The other teams were fighting for their lives, and as they were surrounded, I made a thoughtful and bold decision.   I decided to rescue the other teams, and we fought our way through the canyon, hacking and slashing, and we saved the other teams!  It took about an hour for those aliens to eliminate us all, but we fought to the-"

Mark shook his head as he interrupted.  "Sir, that is not what happened.  At all."

John, another Moscow member, seconded Mark.  "You did find out that the other teams were surrounded, Banshee.", he spoke softly, using Veronica's nickname. "And you did decide to lead us through the canyon to rescue the other teams.  But we didn't get to the other teams, and we most certainly did not make it through the canyon."

Mark nodded.  "True, we TRIED to get through the canyon, but we were all eliminated simultaneously after five minutes."

Veronica laughed.  She was unusually loose and casual for a commanding officer.   "Alright guys, I get it.  We didn't do so well."

Chapter 8- The Date

Laser Perseus had taken Veronica to the cafeteria for breakfast.  Sleep had come fast to all the spec ops teams after their exhausting alien simulations.  The two had a table all to themselves, while their teams, D.C. and Moscow respectively, sat at another table, conversing amongst themselves.

Laser Perseus was eating scrambled eggs with biscuits.  Fortunately the breakfast menu was left unchanged and did not include any inedible rations.  He looked up from his plate to speak with Veronica.

"So, Ronnie-"

"Don't call me that."

"Yah, sorry.  Anyway, how was training the recruits?"

"Well, it was okay.  For the first five minutes.  I admit that I got a little impatient when I saw a few of the cadets holding the weapons all wrong.  So I corrected them."


"Oh, I yelled at them, pulled the weapons out of their hands, showed them how to hold them correctly as I shot down targets, then I gave them back to them."

"That seems quite intimidating."

"Well, they definitely were a little scared of me.  And later I met some other recruits, and they were all like, "Wow, you're a Spec Ops trooper!'"

"Doesn't sound so bad."

"Maybe not, but those kids in Viper suits never stop asking questions.  Eventually I just had Mark and John answer them."

"What else happened?"

"Oh, I helped the cadets during the simulations.  And by help I mean eliminate them all to show how it's done."

Laser Perseus stifled a laugh.  "That doesn't sound helpful at all!"

Veronica laughed with him.  "I probably scared them all real bad."

Laser Perseus sighed as he ended his laughing. "You're great Veronica."

Veronica smiled.  "You too Laser."

Sharkface shook his head as he watched Veronica and Laser Perseus converse.  "Those two lovebirds..."

Ray,  who was part of Moscow Team, nodded in agreement.  "Those two are hardly alike!  Plus, how can they be dating when our teams are enemies-"

D.C. Team and Moscow Team glared at Ray in unison.

Ray continued nervously, "What I meant to say was, friendly competitive rivals!"

John rolled his eyes. "Nice save Ray."

Sharkface shook his head.  "Seriously, I just don't get them!"

Paladin pulled out his data pad.  "SEAL Team Atom was deployed to the planet to fight off the aliens yesterday.  I guess we're next." 

Jagdtanker inspected his windblade as he spoke. "Well, we better be ready."

The next morning began with a lively occurrence.  Admiral Lance Bridges stood at the helm of the Relentless, and was broadcasting a speech to the rest of the naval flotilla.

"We have been threatened many times throughout our history.  Divided by rebellions, political conflict, but those adversities pale in comparison to the threat impressed on us today.  These alien monsters will slaughter our people, plunder our resources, burn our worlds!  All that stands between those horrors, and destruction, are the men and women of our armed forces, yourselves.  We call upon you all to serve as our vanguard, our shield, our hope for survival.  Let us meet the demons and send them all to the fiery depths of hell!"

Everyone in the flotilla watching the admiral's speech roared in approval.

The admiral continued his speech. "Today we will descend upon the battlefield, and will cut a swath through the alien hordes!  We will fight until every last man, woman, and child has made their last breath, until every starship we have is burned to scrap, and until every bullet and ounce of laser ammunition has been fired!"

The admiral's speech was met once again with immense enthusiasm.

"Now lock and load!  In one hour, we will fight!"

Chapter 9- Fire and Lightning

"All units, prepare for deployment!" Admiral Lance Bridges was busy overseeing the rest of the flotilla as the ships scrambled their gunships and fighters.  The Spec Ops battalion was divided into it's many squadrons and the personnel distributed piecemeal amongst the standard infantry.  General Jagdtanker and D.C. Team boarded a heavy gunship already occupied by a platoon of Marines.  

The pilot activated the thrusters and jettisoned out of the hangar.  "Glad to have you aboard, general.  Once we breach the atmosphere we'll drop onto the plains.  The Army has been fighting the creeps off for weeks now, and the aliens have managed to penetrate multiple outposts along the front lines."

Jagdtanker held onto one of the support rails inside the dropship as they cruised towards the planet.  "Understood trooper.  Just get us down there."

The pilot saluted the commander as the ship penetrated the atmosphere. "Yes sir!"

Signs of battle were already visible from the surface.  Smoking craters scarred the lively grass plains, and rocket cars rushed across the field in lances of three, colliding with alien forces in violent, explosive clashes.

Jagdtanker unlatched the side doors and gestured in the direction of a battered outpost.  "Put us down on that base over there."

The pilot nodded and shifted course. "Roger that." The gunship swerved steadily towards the outpost, stopping to hover directly above the damaged roof.  "You'll have to jump commander!"

The general engaged his jetpack and leaped out the side doors, landing softly on the cracked roof of the outpost.  D.C. Team followed suit, with the Marines unreeling lines and sliding down.  Jagdtanker activated his Windblade and leaped through the massive hole in the outpost roof, motioning for the others to follow.  Sprinting out of the base, Jagdtanker noticed fighter ships jet in from cloud cover, descending to strafe the battlefield.  The jets were greeted with eager plasma volleys from alien slugs, resulting in multiple fighters plummeting out of the sky, billowing smoke and fire.

Sharkface shook his head.  "That just ain't right.  Nothin' shoots those jets down without plasma missiles."

Laser Perseus observed the battle intently.  "'Face, those creeps already have plenty of plasma to pack."

Jagdtanker turned to face them both.  "Let's cut the chat down and clear the field."   He then proceeded into the tall grass enveloping the open field, sword at the ready.

Sprinting past the stationary rocket cars, D.C. Team mowed down every alien in sight.  The squad was making excellent progress, forcing a wide swath of death and destruction through their path.  Rampaging unchecked, the other special forces teams from Relentless had already been fighting across the plains, allowing the Marines to advance with the artillery.

"Don't stop for anything!" Jagdtanker charged through a battered plasma slug, blowing the monster to pieces.  After emerging from the mutilated carcass, the general collapsed mid-sprint, a massive stinger protruding out of the chest plate.  The projectile had managed to penetrate through a gap in the advanced armor, stabbing through the chest, continuing through the rib cage, and jutting out Jagdtanker's right flank.

The rest of D.C. Team sprinted through, continuing to slaughter the demons, until Sharkface noticed their fallen commander lying in a pool of blood.  Desperately trying to reach Jagdtanker,  Sharkface cut down the multiple waves of aliens rushing to devour the general.  

Meanwhile, snipers from SEAL Team Atom noticed the commotion and trained their railguns at the monstrosities enfilading around General Jagdtanker.  The remaining members of D.C. Team pulled back to cover for Racinrot, who rushed to patch up their commander, now silent from prolonged shock.  

"Get a dropship, now!" Racinrot screamed, trying his best to work on Jagdtanker without moving him.  He scanned the massive wound through which the massive poison stinger impaled, and poured liquid foam into the surrounding armor crevices.

Repulsed by the monstrosities, the Marines around the elite troopers were forced back from a hail of acid and fire.  Ttwo dropships emerged from cloud cover and laid supressive fire ahead of the battered soldiers, decimating a firing line of aliens.  Racinrot gestured for a medical platform to be hovered over to Jagdtanker.  Sharkface's golden galting cannon was losing ammo fast, so he resorted to a cutter blade, retreating steadily into a second gunship.

"Get to the gunships!"  Racinrot motioned for the Marines to pull back, and fired a volley of plasma at incoming energy flies.  Paladin rushed to cover but was caught by a fireball from one of the flying insects and collapsed, back engulfed in flames.  Racinrot collected Jagdtanker and the Marines, and shouted to Laser Perseus to get inside.  Laser Perseus ran to the already airborne dropship and leaped towards with his jetpack.  A plasma slug noticed him and fired ahead, hitting Laser with a charged plasma ball and detonating his jetpack.  

"NO!" Racinrot attempted to jet out and save his crippled squadmates, but was pulled back by the Marines.

"We have to get out of here Lieutenant, there's nothing we can do!", yelled a trooper.

The dropship carrying Sharkface and the other Marines was swarmed and shot down by a swarm of energy flies.  Racinrot and the others could hear the tortured cries of Sharkface and the soldiers as they plummeted down in a hell-wrought inferno.

Chapter 10- Witness

On the bridge of Relentless, Admiral Lances Bridges and Captain David Radsworth monitored the battle screens as an analyst read off the casualty reports.  

"The Marine contingent has taken 57 percent casualties, approximately 54 percent of which are KIA and 3 percent are lying wounded in transport ships or on the battlefield."

Captain Radsworth shook his head grimly.  "Continue."

"Seal Team Atom has taken 30 percent casualties, all of which are wounded and accounted for.  Andromeda Commandos have been sent in to medevac additional casualties."

"What about our 901st contingent?"

"10 of 19 teams are confirmed MIA.  3 are confirmed KIA.  Berlin, Moscow, and Cairo are gone, sir."

Bridges sighed.  "And D.C. Team?"


"Where's the rest of the flotilla?"

"Still providing reinforcements, Admiral."

"Then tell the rest of our squadron to hold at all costs!  We lose the plains and we lose the entire southern hemisphere!  But do not send any more 901st personnel down there."

"Yes sir!"  Captain Radsworth relayed the order to the other squadron ships in orbit.

"And Radsworth, have General Andromeda reassigned.  I need Shadow Corps to relocate and recover the missing Spec Ops Teams."

The medevac dropship was in the thick of a storm.  Lightning flashed around them, scrambling the ship's navigational systems.  Jagdtanker's bleeding was fortunately reduced, but he was still in critical condition.  Racinrot worked constantly on his health while Marines rendered surgical assistance.

"Put some pressure on that wound." he instructed a medic. 

Racinrot sighed.  "Laser, Paladin, Shark... They're all gone."

A Marine looked at him. "Uh, I'm sorry, sir."

Racinrot turned to look out the dropship viewports.  "I just hope they aren't the only ones."

Captain Radsworth forwarded a set of files to Relentless's sister ship, Undaunted.  The special forces commander onboard, General Andromeda, watched from a hangar computer terminal.

"General, this is Captain Radsworth.  I've forwarded a set of scanning files to your suit.  They have the IFF codes of all 901st personnel listed MIA."

General Andromeda sealed his state-of-the-art Andromeda armor.  Between the two space defense contractors that developed, the Perseus and Andromeda were designed as the answers to each other.  Both had almost the same features, the same composition.  The only significant differences were cosmetic.

Andromeda spoke in a bold Russian accent.  "Don't vorry Captain.  Ve vill find our comrades."

Signing off the computer terminal, the general stepped into a dropship and sealed the bay doors.  The fleet of Shadow Corps dropships set off for UBW, speeding away from Undaunted.

Sharkface awoke to the emergency warnings blaring in his damaged Perseus suit.  Peering out his scraped helmet visor, he found himself buried under a charred dropship fuselage.  Pushings aside the rubble, he staggered to an upright position and collapsed again.  Crawling through the brush, he looked up to the sight of a limp body lying in front of him.  Sharkface grabbed the figure's wrist, and scanned it for an ID.

Sharkface's user interface informed him: "ID: Lieutenant Paladin, paramilitary task force.  Faint, vital signs."

Sharkface struggled to roll Paladin onto his back.  "C'mon man, wake up!"  Sharkie shook Paladin's helmet, but received no response. 

"I've gotta get you out of here.  We need some cover."  Sharkface stood up, grabbed Paladin's suit by the shoulders, and proceeded to drag him behind a rock. 

"This is Corporal Sharkface of the 901st SS!  Requesting immediate evac!"

At first, static.  A few agonizing moments later, though, Sharkface got a response.

"Roger that Sharkface, this is Eagle Zero-Niner.  We have your coordinates and Shadow Corps is on the way."

Chapter 11- Exodus

Lt, Gen, Miles Jagdtanker

901st Special Forces Battalion

Orbital Dropship, stratosphere above the Boreas Canyon -

I woke up in pure agony.  I saw Racinrot leaning over me, handling a scalpel and a laser pointer.  His eyes widened and said, "General, how are you feeling?"

I dodged the question.  "Ughh, what happened?"

Racinrot looked up and glared into space, then back down at me.  "We were pressing the advance when one of those scorpions spiked you through the chest."  A marine nodded grimly, and walked over, holding a 2 foot long, bloodied spike.

I blinked for a moment, exhausted.  "Where's the rest of the team?  Paladin, Sharkface..."

Racinrot shook his head.  "They were shot down and overrun as were making the evac.  You've lost a lot of blood sir.  The dropship is too damaged to make atmospheric exit, so we're headed to a military base in the north.  We've got to get you to safety."

I closed my eyes for another moment, then opened them slowly.  "My blood, that's not the only thing I've lost."

Lt. Gen, Alexei Andromeda (Алексей Андромеды)

Shadow Corps

Orbital Dropship, troposphere over the Plains -

I received a transmission from one of the fighter escorts and went to listen.  "Vhat is it, pilot?"

"This is Eagle Zero-Niner to Shadow Corps.  I've received a distress call from a 901st operative on the plains, requesting immediate evac.  His teammate is in need of medical attention."

I responded promptly.  "Relay his coordinates.  Tell him that Shadow Corps is on the way."

I also checked the list of 901st personnel, and found that Moscow Team was presumed KIA.  I do not believe that one bit.  My daughter Вероника will not be killed so easily.

Master Sgt. Curly1234

901st Special Forces Battalion

Hangar 3, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

Sergeants FRiiSk, Rvzx, and I had just completed the brutal operator training course on Titan in Sol. Sys., and we were sent a week afterwards to some human colony to repel aliens.  The Admiral of the Fleet, Lance Bridges, was waiting for us on the flight deck.

"Gentlemen, welcome to the Relentless."  The admiral saluted us, and we returned the gesture.  "You'll be serving with the 901st Special Forces Battallion throughout your tours.  Unfortunately, the entire unit was sent down to the planet, and is in complete disarray!"

"Disarray?" I asked curiously.

"Wounded, missing, or dead.  901st commander Miles Jagdtanker is receiving emergency medical treatment and expected in our recovery ward.  His medevac is unable to make an atmospheric exit as they've run out of fuel.  We've taken extensive casualties sergeant, and I won't allow any more operatives to be lost.  Get acquainted with the 901st barracks.  You are free to tour the cafeteria and simulations deck but do not step off my ship.   Understood?"

We saluted in mute shock.  "Yes sir!"  What could so much damage to our unit?

Chapter 12 - Attention to Detail

Cpl. Rvzx

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st Special Forces Barracks, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

I had not expected to witness such a hopeless situation in this war.  Our military forces had state-of-art technology, some of which had been expected decades later.  Whatever these monsters are, I'm not so sure I want to face them.

FRiiSk, Curly and I discharged our Strike suits into storage lockers and donned three new Perseus suits.  The armor hummed to life with an orange glow and they fit well.  I was immediately presented with a set-up process by a virtual assistant.

"Greetings Sergeant First Class "Rvzx".  I am Aly.  I will be your assistant in the propulsion of your Perseus suit.  Please select a default language..."

Staff Sgt. Paladin

901st Special Forces Battalion; elite mercenary

Great Plains, UBW-594244 -

I became weary to my suit's alarm system blaring.  I had suffered minor injuries, but my suit had been bashed.  Dragged along the ground, I looked up to see Sharkface pulling me along. 

"This is Corporal Sharkface of the 901st Airborne!  Requesting immediate evac!"

I observed the transmission through my suit's communicator, and waited for Sharkie to finish his medevac request. 


He looked down in surprise.  "Don't worry buddy, we're getting out of here!"

I laughed.  "Alright then."  I suddenly looked around, worried. "Where's Laser?"

Sharkface froze in his tracks.  "I... forgot about him!"

I felt this sudden rush of adrenaline.  "You left without him??"

Sharkface started panting.  "I'm sorry Paladin, I just saw you lying there all battered, and my first instinct was to get you out."

"Well, I'm fine, get Laser!"

Sharkface looked over at the wreck of dropships,  and back down at me.  "Wait here."

I looked at him sarcastically.  "Yep, I'll be walking just fine by now."  My legs were completely numb, and I wasn't sure what had happened until I noticed my user interface.  Three fractures, fortunately none were compound."

Sharkface turned to leave and ran back towards the wreckage. 

Cpl. FRiiSk

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st Special Forces Barracks, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

I think it's fair to say our suit configurations took half an hour, maybe longer.  We spent a lot of time checking out the different features; the voice modulator, the different assistant personalities... all in all it was like getting a new toy.  A big, super-expensive, super-deadly toy.

Rvzx kept chatting up his assistant, "Aly".  Based on his conversation material, I think he'll propose to her in a few hours.  Curly was out on the simulation deck, testing his assault rifle.  I personally don't like the things, in my opinion assault rifles are outdated.  I much prefer lasers over ancient metal shot.

"Rivzix, are you gonna marry her yet?" I joked playfully.

He scowled lightly at me. "Shaddup, Frisky."  Then he turned back to Aly, "So, Aly, how have you been?"

Cpl. Sharkface

901st Special Forces Battalion

Great Plains, UBW-594244 -

I tore through the wreckage of a dropship and found several dead Marines.  One was still alive, but in critcal condition.  I pulled him out from under a broken winglet and continued my search.  More perished Marines, but no Laser.  

I walked over to the other dropship and pryed open the bay doors.  More Marine survivors, but no sign of Laser.  I helped the troopers up, directed them to their comrade, and then told them where Paladin was.  I quickly scanned the surrounding terrain.  There, I thought.  I noticed a short trail of smoke flowing from the grass.  I pulled out my Cutter and hacked my way through, and located the source of the smoke.

I was horrified.  It was Laser, his jetpack was on fire, and multiple scorpion barbs were protruding from from between his armor plates.  His helmet visor was cracked, and blood could be seen through the breaks.  Anxiously, I looked up for the medevac, and noticed a trio of dropships emerge from the clouds, fighter escorts soaring above. 

"Eagle Zero-Niner, this is Corporal Sharkface!  Marking the LZ with orange smoke!"  I popped a smoke grenage to mark the LZ, and then ordered the Marines to gather Paladin and their wounded.

"Roger that Sharkface, we have visual."  Eagle Zero-Niner and his squadmate made two passes to confirm.

Chapter 13- Next Strike

Maj. Veronica Nikolayev (Вероника Николаев)

901st Special Forces Battalion

Boreas Canyon, UBW-594244 -

I don't remember how long I've been running.  Maybe an hour, half an hour.  These things don't stop coming.

My team was dead.  Mark, John, all of them.  Shot to pieces, burned, devoured... it doesn't matter.  What matters is that I don't look back. 

Except to shoot, of course.  Speedlings, energy flies, panthers (emphasis on the panthers), all sorts of those demons were after me.  There was a trail of acid and blood behind me as I switched between my railgun and my Morpheus shotgun, alternating for different ranges.  

I needed an extraction, cover, anything.  I had seen several fighters jets make passes, but they never slowed enough to let me transmit.  I didn't have a jetpack on, so I was left to flee on the ground.  But it was only a matter of time before I slipped up and went with the rest of Moscow Team. 

I spotted some pillars ahead and started to sprint, weaving through them, zigzagging to hopefully get out of the aliens' visual range.  Behind the pillars were some higher terrain.  I scanned the area and found a hill.  Maybe I could stop and request extraction, and finally get somewhere safe. 

Racing up the hill, I activated my communicator.  "This is Major Veronica Nikolayev of the 901st SS.  I am in need of immediate evac!  Sending coordinates now!"  I transmitted my location and waited a few moments.  A dropship pilot was on the other end.

"This is Bandit 0-1, you're in luck major, we have some other 901st operatives and are near your position.  We'll be down in two mikes."

I noticed that the aliens were emerging from the pillars and were making there way to the hill.  "Please hurry Bandit, these things are everywhere!"

1st Lt. Racinrot

901st Special Forces Battalion

Orbital Dropship, troposphere above the Boreas Canyon, UBW-594244 -

I was tending to the general's wounds when the pilot told me he had received a transmission from a 901st operative stranded in the Boreas Canyon. 

I ordered the marines to hold Jagdtanker's injuries while I went to up to go speak to the pilot.  "A 901st operative?  Who is it?" 

"Major Veronica Nikolayev.  She's in need of immediate evac and the things are everywhere!"

My eyes widened. "Well get us down there, we need to get to her."

The pilot frowned. "It'll take a couple of minutes, lieutenant.  But we'll secure the operative."  He then transmitted to Veronica.  "This is Bandit 0-1, you're in luck major, we have some other 901st operatives and are near your position.  We'll be down in two mikes."

I heard Veronica's tense response over the communicator.  "Please hurry Bandit, these things are everywhere!"

I told the pilot to descend on my mark.  I then turned back into the dropship's bay.  "Secure the general and seal his wound.  We're making a rapid descent!"  I ordered the marines to get Jagdtanker's wound patched and to lock his stretcher in place.  The troopers then buckled into their seats.  I declined to sit down and firmly held a rail.

Turning to the pilot, I gave clearance. "Mark."

The dropship abruptly changed course, descending in a rapid spiral towards the ground.  The powerful magnets in my armor's boots and gloves kept me from being thrown around the craft.  I waited for what seemed like an hour, as we neared the surface...

Maj. Veronica Nikolayev (Вероника Николаев)

901st Special Forces Battalion

Boreas Canyon, UBW-594244 -

As the aliens neared me, scaling up the hill, I stowed my railgun and pulled out my Morpheus, blasting away as the distance between me and the monsters decreased.

Where is Bandit?? I thought to myself.  The aliens were now much to close for my liking.  I pulled out my railgun, took out three columns of the things, then swapped back to the Morpheus as they continued to stream in.

A big, menacing, Super Panther suddenly emerged.  C'mon,' 'where is evac?  Like some fiery, piercing rain, a volley of plasma tore through the panther's skull, lacing hroizontally him with charred, smoking holes.  The aliens behind it received similar treatment.  I looked up to see the evac ship, a bass hum emanating from it. The dropship's open bay revealed a platoon of marines, firing down in tandem.

A 901st operative emerged from behind the soldiers and called down to me.

1st Lt. Racinrot

901st Special Forces Battalion

Boreas Canyon, UBW-594244 -

"Veronica!"  I called down to the major.  "Glad to see you in one piece!"  I jetpacked down and cleared a wave of aliens before Veronica, just as the dropshiip touched the ground.

Veronica stowed her railgun and we retreated back towards the craft.  "Likewise.  Thanks for the pickup, lieutenant."

We boarded the dropship hastily, and as soon as we stepped in, the bay doors shut, and we ascended.  Veronica scanned the contingent of troops aboard and looked startled at the general.

"What happened to General Jagdtanker??" she asked.

"A super scorpion barbed him through the ribs.  If he had seen the thing through the grass, the scorpion would have been ruined."

"And the others?"

"Sharkie, Paladin and Laser were shot down in their dropships as we made our retreat."

"Laser- he's gone??"

"I'm sorry Veronica.  We'll just have to hope they escaped like you did, and are somewhere out there now, calling for evac.  But we have to get the general to a medical facility.  His cybernetics are damaged."

Veronica was staring solemnly down at her Atom boots, then quickly looked up.  She whispered to me, "General Jagdtanker is a cyborg??"

"He is."

"How- "

"Had a nasty incident back in the UHA Civil War.  Shot twice in the head."

"And he survived- "

"Albeit without any strong emotions.  Fortunately for us his neural implants are intact, but his ribcage needs nanotech to complete repairs.  The closest cybernetics will be in New Paris, 30 kliks out."

Staff Sgt. Laser Perseus

901st Special Forces Battalion

Boreas Canyon, UBW-594244 -

It was dark in that suit.  I know I was critically injured because the alarms wouldn't stop blaring.  They flashed red every two seconds, informing me of fractures, burns, and other damages to me and my armor.  I was hardly able to stay awake.  I was in too much shock to feel any pain and was falling into slumber every other minute.  The numbness made it impossible to even tell what position I was lying in.  My ears were ringing chronically, my vision was always changing in clarity... it was too much to process.  But then, I could hear some very different sounds.  Footsteps, and voices- human voices.  They neared me ever so steadily.

Lt. Gen. Alexei Andromeda (Алексей Андромеды)

Shadow Corps

Boreas Canyon, UBW-594244 -

I stepped onto the ground of the Boreas Canyon, at the edge of the Great Plains.  A half dozen battered Marines were waiting for us, sitting on a boulder.  I adressed them warmly.

"Comrades, please.  Enter the transports, you are safe now."

The men filed into the head dropship to be received by Shadow Corps.  I gestured for my lieutenant, Master Sergeant Riley, to join me outside.  I noticed two 901st operators prone next to a broken sihlouette.

"Comrades, we received your distress signal."  I looked down and grimaced at the sihlouette, a 901st operative in ruined Perseus armor.  The suit was charred, cracked, and sprouting scorpion barbs from it's back.  Checking his vitals, I called over to a medic.

"Bring a pod, this one is critically hurt!"

As the medic behind me hurried forward with a hovering medical pod, I turned back to the other two 901st troopers.  "Forgive me for withholding a proper introduction.  I am Lieutenant General Alexei Andromeda."

One of them, with a shark's face painted over his helmet, stood up to shake my hand.  "Corporal Sharkface.  Glad to see you sir."  Sharkface gestured to his comrade.  "And this is Lieutenant Paladin."

Paladin saluted to me.  "Mercenary attaché."

"I see."  I told him.  "We'll secure your comrade.  You two board a transport, I have orders from Admiral Bridges to collect 901st personnel."

"Our general was being medevaced when our craft were shot down.  He's on another dropship." Sharkface told me.

Chapter 14- Holding the Line

Lt. Gen. Miles Jagdtanker

901st Special Forces Battalion

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

I awoke to the sound of our dropship landing.  The Marines unlatched my stretcher from the back of the vehicle's bay, and then proceeded to guide the hover-bed into a building.

Accompanying the marines were Racinrot and Major Veronica. 

"They'll get you patched in no time, sir." Racinrot reassured me.

"I'm sorry this happened to you general." Veronica informed me out of concern.

Eventually I was taken down an elevator and into a lower hospital ward.  The Cybernetics Floor.  Rolling me into a room.  The doctor asked Racinrot to forward my medical file to him.  Scanning over my information, the physician ordered two nurses to retrieve Delta-class cybernetics.  He then turned to Racinrot and Veronica.

"I'm going to have to ask you two to leave.  Cybernetic surgeries are extremely... delicate."

Maj. Veronica Nikolayev (Вероника Николаев)

901st Special Forces Battalion

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

So the doctor asked Racinrot and I to leave, and I didn't mind.  Racinrot told me earlier the extent of General Jagdtanker's cybernetics and how he had acquired them.  Besides, the aliens were bound to attack this city sooner or later.  Racinrot and I hight as well keep overwatch.

We were on an observation platform near the medical facility.  There were plenty of other wounded military personnel here, streaming in from the the Great Plains.  Some received minor injuries, while others were so badly wounded they were shielded from view in medical pods.  I then took a time to study the cityscape in New Paris. 

Every city on UBW-594244 has a different heritage.  Designed to envision Earth culture, the governments expended their resources to erect new cities.  They then moved a sizable colonial population to the city and allowed their influence on the new world to expand.  That's what they did for the other planets too.  Despite our unification in the United Human Alliance, the old nations still wanted to be set apart, to retain their individuality.

The colonial cities were designed to be rough copies of their Earth counterparts, and naturally, in New Paris, an Eiffel Tower was visible a few miles away.  The governors of these replica settlements were instructed by their leaders to fashion them from the greatest monuments to the smallest details.  I had been to New Leningrad in the Northern hemisphere of the planet and enjoyed the scenery.

New Paris' governor, Philippe de Lafayette, appeared behind us, accompanied by a GIGN officer and two SEALs in Atom armor.  We turned from our overwatch to face him, and he adressed us in that graceful French accent.

"Operatives.  I am Governor Philippe de Lafayette, and I understand you have returned from zhe plains?"

We saluted.  "Yes sir." 

"Ah, what a grand mess.  We 'ave wounded and dead streaming into zhe city by zhe hundreds, and zhe aliens are sure to follow.  The GIGN has collected intelligence on zhe matter."  Lafayette turned to his GIGN aide.

"We 'ave thermal scans of aliens approaching from all directions.  They number in zhee thousands.  We expect zhee first waves in approximately thirty minutes."

Cpt. AbsoluteZero12

SEAL Team Atom

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

I was standing guard behind Governor Lafayette as he and his GIGN aide briefed the two 901st operatives in front of us.  I opened up a private communications channel to my SEAL buddy next to me, and idly chatted.

"901st, huh?" he asked.

"Yep.  One of those new 'Special Warfare Attachment Groups'." I told him.  "The government puts them with any spec ops force, they get tactical information, and report back."

"So, they're like babysitters?"

"Not really, I would say more like 'observatory sidekicks'."

"I've heard they're actually pretty good."

"Well, I'll have to see it to believe it.  These guys are only three years out of concept boards, and two out of the operator course."

"So they've got our training, but no experience."

"Exactly.  Command sent them on a tour to operator schools around the alliance a few weeks ago, to show them off, and for those 901st guys to watch the cadets."

"Maybe for a course review."

"Probably."  I turned to my partner. "What info do you have on their files?"

"The guy on the left goes by Racinrot.  He's a medic, hails from Australia.  The one on the left is Veronica Nikolayev.  She's a renowned scout sniper from Russia and General Andromeda's daughter." 

I gestured to our railguns.  "Seems like she could roll with us, then.

Chapter 15- Urban Assault

Lt. Gen Miles Jagdtanker

901st Special Forces Battalion

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

I awoke on the medical stretcher.  Looking down, I noticed my armor was mostly fixed, and on a metal platform floating next to me were vials of contaminated blood and the bloodied scorpion barb.

The doctor looked down at me.  "Glad to see you back, general.  We've removed the barb, given you the necessary transfusions, and replaced your cybernetics.  If you were fully organic, I'd keep you in to rest, but since you're obviously no ordinary human, I'll render some brief physicl therapy, then let you rejoin your unit."

With that, the doctor had me test my muscles and cybernetics, and had me walk around a bit.  After that he released me from the ward and I was escorted out by GIGN.

The Frenchies saluted me and we made our way up through the elevator.  Looking at the elevator access pad I noticed the hospital went 21 levels underground and 7 up.  Upon leaving the hospital I noticed various troop transports landing, carrying both fresh soldiers and the wounded and dead.  Sirens were blaring, so I asked the GIGN aides what was going on.

"Sir, hostile forces are inbound."

Staff Sgt. Ghost Warrior 1701

Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta

New Paris, UBW- 594244 -

The United Alliance had JSOC scrambling special mission units all over the planet to regroup at New Paris.  The Great Plains had been reported lost, and the aliens were funneling north through the Boreas Canyon toward New Paris.   If this city fell, the entire planet would be in jeopardy. 

I jumped off the dropship, gesturing for my fire team to follow.  "Alright, those things will be on the city walls soon.  We need to cover the streets while defenses are being fortified.  Let's move!"

We made our way through the subways, which were being used to ferry civilians to New Paris' air base.  For now, that zone was secure.  Taking a rail train, we made short progress to Champs-Élysées.  The army had rocket cars lined up in wedge formation on every road, ready to lay fire support.  I also noticed plenty of infantry, with every small-arm in army ordnance present.  901st SS, GIGN, Seal Team 6, and my own SFOD-Delta.

I ordered my team to set up on the roof of a building.  "We need to hold at all costs!  Keep your trigger fingers frosty, and light 'em up!"

Maj. Veronica Nikolayev (Вероника Николаев)

901st Special Forces Battalion

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

We collected General Jagdtanker and made our way to Champs-Élysées, where most of our ordnance and manpower had been built up.  There was quite a lot of firepower on that road, and I only wish we had more of it.

General Jagdtanker was discussing defense strategy with JSOC and New Paris' leadership over a holographic display.  

"We should keep our air support back for now, until zhe situation is dire..." I heard Gov. Lafayette say.

A JSOC commander was next.  "No, we need to concentrate our air power for the entirety of the fight."

General Jagdtanker placed his input. "I noticed several of our jets take straight passes at those things only to get shot down.  We can't afford to make direct runs, we need heavy gunships to offer pylon fire."

They went down a list of tactics and decided on a fairly thorough plan.  Mass the infantry in straight rows with laser rifles and gatling guns, one behind the other, to lay down volley fire.  Support them with sniper teams scattered on rooftops,  and clear hotspots with periodic fire from heavy gunships and rocket cars.

Jagdtanker finished his transmission and went to join Racinrot and I.  We were hovering in an attack gunship manning a gatling gun, spectating over the scene with the bay doors open.

"Well, we have our defense tactics outlined.  Now we just need to make them work."

I assured our commander we would do everything in our power to hold the line.  "We will not break under these things.  We will defend!"

Lt. Gen. Miles Jagdtanker

901st Special Forces Battalion

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

I had just finished reviewing battle tactics with JSOC and NP leadership, so I reviewed our plan with Racinrot and Veronica, who were manning a gatling cannon on our gunship.  

"Understood, sir." Racinrot told me.

Veronica was eager for the task, and informed me of her resolve to defend our line.  "We will not break under these things, we will defend!"

"And that's just what we need Veronica..." I paused, hearing multiple gunship shells strike the ground.  The monsters were at our door.

The bombardment lasted for several minutes, then stopped.  Afterwards, as the smoke settled, the sounds died down, we heard them.  Clanking along the metal streets, we heard their vibrations pass along the roads, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap...

The aliens emerged with a mass of speedlings and panthers leading the charge, hissing and snapping as they approached.  The troops on the ground cut them down in a long volley, as the second wave appeared immediately behind them, reinforced with energy flies.

You could hear the plasma and laser fire exchanged all around the city.  Clanks and explosions abound, Veronica opened up on the aliens with the gatling cannon as our gunship shifted firing angles.  Racinrot and I layed our own fire with laser rifles as the things flowed in, their dead bodies piling up on the road.  The rocket cars laid an artillery barrage on the pile of corpses, reducing its size and giving our men a clear line of sight.  Sniper teams finished off the stragglers.

But not all the roads were as heavily reinforced.  Southwest of our current position, fortifications were on the brink of collapse. 

I directed our pilot to relocate us.  "Take us southwest!  The lines are breaking!"

"Yes sir!"  Our gunship immediately turned around and headed southwest, where we heard significantly less firepower.  It turns out the defensive line had been pulled back toward the city center, leaving the aliens to swarm a series of sniper positions.

We descended, with Veronica gunning down the aliens on the gatling gun.  "Down faster than quarter vodka!" she exclaimed.  Our pilot turned his head to the side abruptly.

"Get down!"  he screamed!  Startled, we looked out and noticed a Super Panther flying through the air, straight towards our gunship.  Veronica swore in Russian and fired sporadically at the beast.  The panther leaped up and bit down on the gatling gun, hanging onto it and clawing the bay doors for a foot hold.  Veronica was thrown off the gun and against the opposite bay doors, as Racnirot and I were knocked onto the deck. 

"MAYDAY, MAYDAY!!!  We're going down!  Brace for impact!" the pilot screamed in terror.  The gunship immediately began spiraling down, spitting fire and smoke. 

Cpt. Absolute Zero 12

SEAL Team Atom

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

Apparently command thought it was fine to pull the defensive line back a quarter mile and leave my team stranded on the rooftop.  I was sure the aliens would swarm our emplacement until this gunship showed up, gatling cannon blazing.  These 901st operatives were aboard, and I had a strange feeling I'd seen them before.

"Look at that boys!"  I gestured toward the gunship.  "We're saved!" 

And then, in some cruel jinx, this giant Super Panther leaped off the ground, straight at our fire support.  It grabbed onto the gatling gun with it's jaws and hung on, clawing the ship as it spiraled down in a pillar of smoke.  The panther had the foresight to leap off as the gunship hit the road, screeching on metal and spitting fire. 

My teammates looked at me, to which I ordered them to secure the lower levels.  Fortunately the building was only five stories, and after emerging from the lift, we rapidly sealed the entrance.  "Alright, back to the roof.  Cut 'em down."

As we turned to leave, the entry doors blew open in a fiery explosion.  Speedlings and panthers rushed in to fill the gap.  I ordered my teammates to retreat.

"Covering fire!  Fall back!"  With the breach, we split our team in two, half of us going up the elevator, and the other half sealing the upper floors.  I went with the security team and barricaded all access points.  We then made it to the control room on the third floor and activated the manual override, sealing any doors we had left unchecked.

"We need extraction, I'll put a transmission through and see if we can get a ride." I told them, switching to another channel. "This is Captain Absolute Zero of SEAL Team Atom!   We're cut off in hostile streets and we request immediate evac!"

The response was pitiful.  "Negative captain, all forces in New Paris are engaged, you'll have to hold until we free up our assets."

Chapter 16- Firestorm

1st Lt. Racinrot

901st Special Forces Battalion

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

I awoke inside the ruined gunship, which was tilted on it's side.  I noticed Veronica to my right and General Jagdtanker to my left.  Peering out the bay doors, I heard the aliens were streaming away from us, presumably into a nearby building.  Railgun fire could faintly be heard inside.

Jagdtanker stood up.  "We gotta' move, now!"  He ripped open the cockpit door and found the pilot and copilot, dead from impact.

I roused Veronica, then stepped underneath the destroyed chaingun.  Looking up into the sky, a pair of purple jaws suddenly emerged inches from my face, snarling and roaring.  

"Whoa!!"  I yelled, stumbling back and firing my laser rifle.  The super panther clawed its way into the wreck and landed right next to me.  It turned, swatting me with it's paw and hurling me against Jagdtanker, throwing us both into the cockpit. 

As the monster stalked ever closer, I noticed Veronica just behind it, wielding a Cutter.  Sniffing the air, the panther turned around and pounced at the major.  Veronica barely ducked out of the way in time as the panther thudded against the back of the ship.  Dazed, the alien shook its head, and Veronica attacked. 

She jumped onto the thing's back and held it by one of its horns, slashing with her sword.  The thing turned and bucked, snarling and roaring in rage.  The panther tried desperately to shake Veronica off, but she would not budge.  In a last ditch attempt, the monster ran forward and attempted to slam Veronica against the gunship fuselage, but she stabbed her cutter hilt-deep into the panther's eyes, leaping off. 

The alien hissed in pain one last time, then collapsed mid sprint, slamming next to the cockpit where Jagdtanker had observed, awe-struck.  Veronica calmly reached over and pried her blade out of the monster, its ruined eye socket spurting blood.

Jagdtanker rose to talk to her.  "Well Veronica, that was spectacular."

She shrugged.  "My father and I used to hunt tiger-morphs in Russia.  This thing is just a little bigger."

"Veronica, remind me again." I asked her. "What is a tiger-morph?"

"It's like a tiger, but genetically modified.  Like a super-cat."

Governor Philippe de Lafayette

New Paris Administration

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

I could not believe the news.  Alliance officers and men had panicked in the city's soutwest quadrant and pulled our defensive line back a quarter mile.  They had left behind sniper teams in the wake of the alien advance, and I tried to convince JSOC to send over a transport to extraction.  They only told me that their assets were 'predisposed' and engaged. 

I expressed my concern to the rest of the New Paris administration.  "Je ne vais pas brin ces hommes!  We NEED to exract those snipers!  Send in the GIGN!"

New Paris' Gendarmerie chief spoke up.  "The commandos are currently engaged, but I can pull a fire team out and send them down."

"Faites-le!"  I said.  "We will not write of the day when we left men to be devoured by monsters!"

"And governor!  JSOC says the lines are holding, they'll shift a Delta Force team to extract the sniper team." the Gendarmerie chief added.

"Well make sure our GIGN get there first!"  I ordered.

Staff Sgt. Ghost Warrior 1701

Special Forces Operational Detachment- Delta

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

"Gamma 0-1."  I heard the JSOC commander transmit to me.  "This is ARES actual, Champs is holding, Gamma Team has new directives."

"Copy that ARES, what's our next task?" I asked the commander.

"The southwest portion of the city is under heavy siege.  There are several sniper teams in the area that require immediate extraction, you are to retrieve those shooters."

"Affirmative ARES, we'll get it done."

I turned to my team.  "Command needs us to evac sniper teams in the southwestern portion of the city!  We're being moved ASAP!"

Leading Gamma Team out of the building, we immediately boarded a gunship.  Relaying my orders from command to the pilot, we turned southwest.

"ARES, this is Gamma 0-1, we are inbound to the sniper teams!

Cpt. Jacques Marion

Group d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

My men and I received orders from Governor Lafayette to relocate to the city's southwest corner, where our defenses had pulled back a quarter mile, and left sniper teams stranded in buildings.

"Venez, les gars!  We must extract sniper teams in the southwest of the city!"

I ordered my men into Gendarmerie combat buggies, complete with all-terrain suspension and mounted gatling cannons.  I put Private Cailloux at the wheels, Corporal Benett in the side passenger seat, and Private Marchoux on the gatling gun, and I sat on the observer seat next to the cannon.

"Vite!" I instructed. "Drive!"

Our trio of combat buggies accelerated from zero to sixty in no time flat, tearing down the road.

Lt. Gen. Miles Jagdtanker

901st Special Forces Battalion

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

After boosting Veronica and Racinrot out of the gunship wreck, I jettisoned myself out, landing in front of them.  I wasn't sure if I was the only one using my jetpack, or if mine was the only one operational.

"Awaiting your orders, general." Veronica stood patiently, holding her railgun.

"We'll cover you, Miles." Racinrot assured me.

I pulled out my LIT07 and inspected it for damage.  It looked fine.  "Alright, let's go." 

We rushed from behind the dropship, turning to see swarms of aliens clawing at the doors of various buildings.  Some had been breached, and out of those buildings we heard laser and railgun fire. 

"Into that one!" I jetpacked into the air, firing my laser rifle and landing on top of an unfortunate plasma slug.  I slashed him with my Windblade and jumped off, cutting down rows of Speedlings.  Veronica shot down a swarm of Energy Flies with swift, accurate railgun fire, while Racinrot swapped through various weapons and flanked the mob.  

Once we had sufficiently decimated enough aliens outside, I motioned Racinrot and Veronica to follow me into the building.  We engaged in thorough CQC, tearing apart aliens at short range and even point-blank.  Several doors had been blown apart in sealed position, an indicator that building's the manual override had been activated.  Once we were on the second floor, we heard the railgun and laser fire again.

Cpt. Absolute Zero 12

SEAL Team Atom

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

"Don't let up!"  I encouraged my men, preoccupied with dealing with breaches on the second floor.  While some of my team were on the roof, blasting aliens from afar, my half of the team was blasting the things as they creeped down the hallways.

The monsters neared ever close.  Snapping and hissing, I heard different sounds behind from behind them.  Gunfire.

Not ours, I could tell it was being omitted from a different location, because it was echoing down the hole.  The alien column in front of us was vaporizing from the rear.

"Hold your fire!"  I ordered.  As the firing and snapping died down.  Three 901st operatives appeared, sprinting over the charred bodies of the things and towards us.

"Are you extraction?" I asked.

The lead operator approached me.  He was clad in full Perseus armor, sporting a Blademaster jetpack and sheathing a Windblade.  "We WERE extraction, sorry to dissapoint.  We were here in a gunship, providing cover fire, when a Super Panther brought our ship down."

"I saw that thing pounce on your craft."  I noted.

"Well, here we are." he extended an armored hand.  "Lieutenant General Miles Jagdtanker, 901st SS."

I shook it.  "Captain Absolute Zero, SEAL Team Atom."  I looked over at the two 901st operators behind him.  "You two look familiar..."

The second operative, also clad in Perseus armor, introduced himself.  "First Lieutenant Racinrot."

The third one sported Atom limbs on a Perseus suit.  "Major Veronica Nikolayev."

"I remember you two from the hospita, when Governor Lafayette gave the mission briefing."  Racinrot and Veronica exchanged confused glances.

"Well..."  General Jagdtanker cut in.  "I see that we need to pull out of here.  Is this your whole team?"

I shook my head.  "I've got some men on the roof with railguns.  I'll have them take the stairs and meet us in the lobby.  But first we'll need to deactivate the manual override."

"Where is it?" Jagdtanker asked.

"Third floor, sir."

"Let's hit it.  After that we'll pull out and head back to the line."

Chapter 17- Extraction

Staff Sgt. Ghost Warrior 1701

Special Forces Operational Detachment- Delta

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

"This is ARES to actual, Gamma 0-1 pull those sniper nests!"

"Understood ARES, we're at the southwest quadrant and we have visual on the nests!"  I affirmed our location and ordered the pilot to take us down. 

I noticed a trio GIGN buggies close in on the sniper nests below.  The commandos dismounted and rushed into the center of a row of  three buildings.  The building left of the center one was heavily damaged, spewing smoke and fire.  The building on the far right was intact, and I could hear railgun fire emanating from it.

"Take us down to the far right building!"  I ordered the pilot.

Our gunship swooped over the street and hovered in front of the building entrance.  We leaped out of the ship and sprinted into the building.  Making our way up to the top floor, we luckily found no aliens waiting for us.  It wasn't long before we found the snipers.  Their squad leader was relieved to see us. 

"Thank goodness, it feels like we've been here hours!"

I assured the sniper leader that his would be relocated to a secure position, BEHIND our lines.  "Our gunship is just outside the building!  We'll need to double-time it to make the exfil!" 

I told him.  Sprinting down the stairs, we emerged into the first floor to see aliens swarming through the recently breached entrance.  I could hear our gunship pilot transmit to me. 

"Gamma 0-1, this is Mockingbird 3-2, first floor's overrun, you'll have to make a window exfil!  I'm hovering over the western balcony on level 2!"

"Solid copy Mockingbird, we're on our way!"  I swfitly sprinted back up to the second floor, shutting the stair access door.  "Up the stairs,  go go go!"

We reached the balcony suite, and barricaded the doors.  Mockingbird came into view, and we jumped one-by-one off the balcony and into the gunship.  Climbing in last, I looked back to see the aliens emerge from a fiery breach, just as Mockingbird turned us away.

"ARES, this is Gamma 0-1!  We've secured a sniper team and are en-route to the LZ!"

"Solid copy Gamma 0-1, well done."

Cpt. Jacques Marion

Group d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

"Alright men, looks like Delta took care of the other team.  Let's secure the snipers and get out."

Corporal Benett approached me.  "Captain, zhere is laser fire emanating from that building over there!  And there is a destroyed gunship lying over there!"

"Must be another sniper team!  Benett, you lead the others into this building, Cailloux and Marchoux with me!  We'll secure zhat one over there!"  I pointed toward our objective, leading the two across the street, past the wrecked gunship in the road.  The Gendarmerie drivers drove back up the road, ready for my signal.

Maj. Veronica Nikolayev (Вероника Николаев)

901st Special Forces Battalion

New Paris, UBW-594244 -

"General, we've deactivated the manual override!  Doors should be free now!"  I informed Jagdtanker that the control room had been accessed.

"Glad to hear it Veronica.  Let's get out of here!"  he gestured for us all to follow him down the halls.  We tore apart stragglers as we fast-marched down the building, clearing our escape route.  Laser fire could be heard from the ground floor, certainly not ours.

"Looks like our lucky day everyone."  General Jagdtanker pulled out a shotgun, sprinting down the stairs to the first floor.  I unsheathed my Morpheus, following suit.

As we emerged into the lobby, we noticed piles of dead aliens scattered around.  Three commandos in navy blue Strike armor were visible.  

"Captain Jacques Marion, GIGN!  We're here to extract you!"  the lead one gestured toward us.

"Boy are we glad to see you guys!"  Absolute Zero rushed down the stairs toward the GIGN team.  

The GIGN leader walked over to General Jagdtanker to inform him of the situation.  "Our extraction vehicles are a few minutes out!  We'll need to hold until zhey get here!"

With that Jagdtanker motioned for us to take defensive positions.  "You heard him everyone!  Set up shop and cut em' down!"

I pulled out my railgun and hid behind the reception desk, crouching next to Racinrot.  It did not take long for the things to appear.  A few laser flies emerged outside, and I eliminated the swarm with a few accurate rails.

"Nice shooting Veronica, you're a natural!"  Racinrot complimented me.

"Thank you!"  I acknowledged his friendly gesture.  Thankfully he could not see me blushing inside my suit.

Lt. Gen Miles Jagdtanker 

901st Special Forces Battalion

New Paris, UBW-594244 - 

The lobby was actually quite defensible, despite us being on equal ground as the monsters.  Remembering all my sabre skills that I had honed over the years, I pulled out my Windblade, taking care not to expose myself to alien acid our friendly crossfire.  Standing behind a vending machine, I slashed plasma at the aliens, cutting them down from afar. 

I noticed a soda was lying in the vending machine's tray.  Reaching in, I inspected it.  My suit told me the soda's internal temperature was fourty degrees Fahrenheit, obviously cold.  The label indicated that it was root beer. which tastes amazing.  Clipping the soda to my belt, I resumed the fight.

The lobby was a maw of gunfire; rails, steel, and lasers.  I could hear the GIGN buggies in the distance, and soon they were in view.

Tearing down the street, they opened up with mounted chainguns, mowing down our attackers with ease.

"Hold your fire!"  I ordered.  "Friendlies!"

I led everyone out, with the GIGN covering our retreat.  As soon as we all boarded the buggies, we careened back up the street, fresh alien columns streaming after us.  I threw them a few slashes from my Windblade, then took a long sip from my root beer.  Ice cold.

UHA Commander ARES

Joint Special Operations Command

Imperial Bunker, UBW-594244 -

"All Alliance forces in New Paris, defenses have held, the enemy is falling back.  I repeat, the enemy is withdrawing, regroup and mount a counter-offensive."  I broadcast the message and received a flurry of transmissions.

"This is Delta leader to ARES, the monsters are pulling out!  We're tearing 'em up!"

"Eagle Zero-Niner reporting, tactical airstrikes confirmed on numerous hostile strongholds."

"This is the GIGN!  The streets are clear and we've sealed the line!"

"Bandit 0-1 calling in, thermal scans show tangos heading south."

"SEAL Team Six to ARES, baddies are down!"

"Mockingbird 3-2 calling in to report that the ground is clear.  The things are bugging out."

Adm. Lance Bridges

UHA Navy

Central Bridge, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

I was giving another announcement to the flotilla over the transmission system.   "Alright everyone, I have some developments.  Flotilla 14 is going to be the standard ferrying group for troop transport down to the planet.  That means you'll be seeing plenty of other soldiers from other branches, so show them how it's done in our flotilla."

"Hoorah!"  was the unanimous response.

"I must also inform you that the Alliance is holding a major simulation event on Titan back in Sol.  They'll be going over new tactics and strategies that will be implemetned against the aliens, and it's a pretty big deal.  Now, I have been given permission to send fifty personnel from each ship in Flotilla 14.  Those fifty will include ten each from Seal Team Six, the 901st SS, Shadow Corps, the Marines and Air Force from each ship.  Men and women that are wounded or suspended for displinary action will be considered ineligble.  I want the officers to identify and select the right guys to participate in the War Games, or else I'll have to resort to a lottery."

Staff Sgt. Laser Perseus

901st Special Forces Battalion

Medical bay, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

I watched the admiral give his speech from my stretcher.  I couldn't move, thanks to all the horros the monsters inflicted on me at the Battle of the Plains.  Acoording to doctors, my back muscles were worn out and torn, my ribs were broken, I'd lost lots of blood, I had first-degree burns all over my torso, and alien acid had left me asleep for days.

"Wish... I could be in the simulations."  I croaked weakly. 

Sharkface and Paladin lay to the left and right of me, respectively.  While we wore our jumpsuits, confined to our stretchers with the majority of the 901st, others stood around in armor.  Jagdtanker and Veronica had their helmets off.

Veronica had wavy blonde hair, her eyes a deep violet.  She held my hand.  "Don't worry Laser, you need to recuperate.  You are in no shape to be physically active."

I sighed.  "True."

General Jagdtanker looked at me, his spiky, jet-black hair in a faux hawk, and his eyes a bright gold.

"Unfortunately, I can't allow you to participate Laser.  Your wounds are the most severe."

"Well most of the 901st on Relentless are wounded, dead, or on station elsewhere, so it shouldn't be hard to find candidates."  I heard Paladin say.

"Alright, I've received an additional message from the admiral.  Says since we are the battalion's lead group, I get to select the announcer/ leader for our faction as well."  Jagdtanker announced.

"Sounds good."  Veronica replied.

General Jagdtanker turned to Veronica.  "I've given this a lot of thought major, but I want YOU to be the 901st announcer."

Veronica was taken aback.  "I am honored, sir."

The general then turned to the others.  "Racinrot, you're going with her.  Rivzix, Curly, FriiSk, you too."

"Well that leaves five more slots, so..."

As Jagdtanker said that, bright blue orbs emerged from the candidate's helmet visors.  They dissapeared in a flash of light, into the walls.  A few minutes later, five figures in armor emerged from the elevator, and they lined up, introducing themselves.

"Cody, Veronica's PA."

"Madeline, Racinrot's PA."

"Alyson, Rivzix's PA." 

"Sarah, Curly's PA."

"Harper, FriiSk's PA."

Saluting the general, they awaited his response.  Jagdtanker turned to us, puzzled.

"I'll need to ask the admiral if he'll take full PA's for this simulation."

"Wait sir, you're not participating in the simulations?"  I asked him.

"Unless the admiral says otherwise, I'll be here on Relentless to keep the 901st together."  Jagdtanker then turned to his communicator.  "Uh, admiral?  I have a question.  Does this simulation accept full personal assistants?"

Chapter 18- Weapon Overhaul

Lt. Gen, Alexei Andromeda (Алексей Андромеды)

Shadow Corps

Hangar 2, UHAS Undaunted, over UBW-594244 -

It was a lot of work, collecting all those operatives.  The 901st company on Relentless was not the only one affected in the battalion, Undaunted's 901st were hit hard as well.

I had talked to my daughter earlier.  She said she was fine, and I embraced her. 

"I knew your training in Russia would be vital." I told her.  "Not to mention your time as a Spetsnaz athlete."

"Thank you, father."  she replied.

Now she was on Relentless, no doubt having heard the admiral's announcement about the "War Games".  Since I was commander of Shadow Corps Air Force Pararescue, I was given the position of choosing our simulation team, as well as the faction anouncer/ leader.  I lined up my men.

"Riley, you vill be the announcer.  Tomahawk, Vodka, Hammer, Borsch, Shirley Temple, Diesel, Centurion, Javelin and Petrol vill accompany him.  All of you to the training floor, comrades we must be prepared!"

Lt. Gen Miles Jagdtanker

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st simulation deck, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

I walked with our war games team to the 901st's simulation deck.  I sent them off to participate in the new, updated versions of the alien combat programs.  I waited alone, outside, when Admiral Lance Bridges stepped out of the elevator and towards me.

"Sir!"  I saluted.

"As I said before general, we'll need real 901st operatives to participate in the War Games, so I'll see to it that our least wounded men are pulled out of recovery."

"Understood, admiral."

"Anyway, that's not why I came down here to speak to you.  My colleagues in the upper military echelon have  realized we have severely underwritten your command."

"With all due respect sir, I'm perfectly fine commanding a smaller unit."

"In any case, we are putting you in command of not only your 901st, but the 7th Armored Corp.  The Army has been mobilizing our tanks since New Paris, and they want you on site at Imperial Bunker in three days."

I was pleasantly shocked.  "I'm grateful, admiral."

"And since your Special Warfare Attachment Group is meant to be commanded by a lower ranking officer, I am promoting major Veronica Nikolayev to lieutenant colonel, to aide you in your leadership."

"She's currently simulations, sir."

"I am aware general, and I will present her promotion when she comes out.  On another note, you're on the news."

The admiral tapped a screen next to the elevator and activated the display.  The UBW News was on, and the reporter was describing the battle of New Paris, and he was on-site.

"The battle was a follow-up to the military's disastrous counteroffensive on the plains.  Now, the monsters have retreated, for now.  This all due to the efforts of tier-one special forces, conventional units, as well as the GIGN and New Paris police force.  There are rumours of another unit deployed here as well, that played a major role defending the city fortifications and rescuing sniper teams.  Military brass has released the name of the commander of that "other unit", Lieutenant General Miles Jagdtanker.  Trained at West Point in the United States back on Earth, general Jagdtanker has fought in the Alliance's Civil War and was also present for one of the first encounters with the aliens.  I'm Michael Warren, back to you Greg."

"Thanks Michael, Earth leadership has sent their regards and thanks to the units operating on UBW.  The American and French presidents have both conducted speeches concerning the battle at New Paris, we're going live to them now in Alliance HQ in New York."

The US president Deborah Thompson, was first.  "It is my honor, to have heard of selfless acts of valor committed by our soldiers to this alien invasion... and I must also note our general, Miles Jagdtanker, for rallying special forces..."

Mrs. President then wrapped up and the French President, Beaumont de Gaulle, presented.  "I am proud to have learned that our fellow countrymen on UBW-594244 fought valiantly to repel the monstrosities..."

When the speeches wrapped up the camera returned to Greg.  "The top brass has just released that they are mobilizing the 7th Armored Corps, a brand new tank unit.  And it is rumoured that general Jagdtanker will be in command of the new unit."

With that the admiral flicked off the display.  "Well you heard it, you and your battalion are famous now, without leaking classified intelligence."

"I'm honored, sir."  I replied, proud of myself.

UHA Commander ARES

Joint Special Operations Command

Imperial Bunker, UBW-594244 -

Mrs. President appeared on the communication relay.  "Commander, I am aware we are shifting the 7th Armored Corps to UBW-594244."

"Yes ma'am."

"And I am also aware that we are putting General Jagdtanker in command of that unit?"

"As soon as the corps is mobilized, Mrs. President."

"And how soon can we get the new armor upgrade kits to the troops?"

"The armor upgrades will be ready in a few hours, sir."

"Excellent, commander.  I am pressured by the rest of the Alliance council to provide the military resources for the planned global offensive on UBW.  I will be monitoring our progress."

"Understood, President Thompson."

With that Mrs. President signed off.  The armor upgrades she mentioned incorporated brand new technology.  New nanobots, a mihrilium-based substance that would buff armor, and Advanced Intelligences as upgrades to Personal Assistants.  The first armor kits would reach Navy Flotilla 14.  General Jagdtanker and his 901st SS were needed.

Lt. Col. Veronica Nikolayev (Вероника Николаев)

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st simulation deck, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

"I'm being... promoted??" I exclaimed excitedly.

"Yes Veronica, you are now a Lieutenant Colonel." Admiral Bridges said.

"Thank you sir."  I saluted.

He saluted back, then walked into the lift, and left.

"You earned it Veronica.  Meanwhile I've been given command of an armored corps.  The 901st is transferring to Imperial Bunker."  General Jagdtanker said.

"I see.  What now?"

"Well Veronica, you heard the admiral.  We can't use Personal Assistants to fill in."

The dissapointed armor suits holding the PAs slumped somberly.

"But they're free to assist.  Anyway we need human participants, so we'll pull the 901st with minor wounds out."

"Is there any other news, general?"

"There should be new armor upgrades ready soon.  The supply ships have been bringing containers of upgrade kits, we should probably retrieve them."

Staff Sgt. Paladin

901st Special Forces Battalion; elite mercenary

Medical bay, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

"Staff Sergeant, these are your contractors from Infinity Defense Corps.  They want you to participate in the War Games, as announcer of the mercenary faction."

Admiral Lance Bridges was standing with two contractors from Infinity Defense, my private military employers.  The contractor on the left addressed me.

"Well Paladin, your injuries are healed, and you are the best candidate to be our faction announcer." 

The contractor on the right spoke next.  "We're here to bring you down to UBW.  We've assembled a simulation team and we need you to re-orient yourself."

The admiral had something else to say.  "But first we've got to get your armor upgraded.  Upgrade kits are waiting in the barracks."

Chapter 19- Mind Sync

Lt. Gen Miles Jagdtanker

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st barracks, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

I held the armor upgrade kit in my hands.  The other 901st personnal around were doing the same.  For some reason Racinrot gave me his personal assistant, Madeline.  Said something about her being "a real feisty valley girl."

I put down the upgrade kit and stepped into my Super-Suit Pod, which removed my armor and left me in a jumpsuit.  It bore an italicized 'J' on the background of a German cross. 

I stepped out of the pod and tapped the SSP display panel for an upgrade.  The pod said, "Please insert upgrade kit."  To that a tray unfolded in the back of the pod and I placed the upgrade kit on it.  The pod doors closed and the SSP began to work its magic.  Scanning the box, the SSP downloaded the upgrade files, opened the box, and worked on my armor in a flury of robotic limbs.  After about 30 minutes, the pod opened up and my armor appeared.

My Perseus suit looked brand new, shiny, and with buffed up armor segments.  "Upgrade complete."  the SSP said.  The armor disassembled as I proceeded back into the pod, and the pieces folded over my jumpsuit seamlessly, reassembling again.  

I was greeted by Madeline, who had a more realistic appearance than before.  "Hey Miles, ready for a refresher course?"

"Sure."  I was a bit taken aback by her use of my first name, but I could tolerate it.

"The armor program and myself have been totally re-done.  Apparently the suit's pilot has to mind-sync with the 'Advanced Intelligence', moi."

"Then let's do this, Madeline."

"Ookay then, preparing to sync.  In three, two, one-"


901st SS; Advanced Intelligence

SSP mind-sync -

Oh my gosh, it was totally insane.  It was like, this vortex of colors, swirling around endlessly.  I'd see random images here and there, mostly shapes like circles and triangles.  It didn't last long, I was getting dizzy.

Lt. Gen Miles Jagdtanker

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st simulation deck, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

"Uh, Madeline?"


"Why did I see a bunch of triangles and circles in a wirly vortex of color?"

"Like, I don't know, I saw those things too!  Anyway, we should be synced now."

"We should probably check the controls."

"Oh my gosh, yeah!  I was totally gonna' say that, did you like, read my mind?"

"Probably.  Let's get to the simulation room."

Well, I certainly wasn't bored by the way Madeline talked.  It actually kept me alert and awake as we entered a simulation room on the 901st deck.  So we scrolled through the different scenarios, and decided on a rebel one.

"Yeah Jag!  Shoot 'em through the head!"

The simulation commenced, and we appeared in some industrial area.  I was standing in a factory, prone behind some crates.  Rebel guards paced the room.  Objective: destroy the factory.

"Well general, looks like we'll need some stealth and CQC work done.  Three contacts, two yards."

Peering into the maze of industrial hardware, I waited for the trio of guards to pass.  I swung around and grabbed the guard at the back of the line, pulling him back behind the supply crate.  Snapping his neck, I slit his throat and shoved him to the ground.

"Next!" Madeline exclaimed giddily.

Lt. Col. Veronica Nikolayev (Вероника Николаев)

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st simulation deck, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

I mind-sycned with Cody, and we were spawned in a ruined city.  Our mission, escape the dwellings and reach the extraction point (gee that sounds familiar).  Anyway, I pulled myself out of a ruined gunship (also familiar) and appeared onto a street.  Speedlings were scattered piecemeal, and they all honed in on my position.  I held my Morpheus with me, sprinting through the street. 

"Cody, where's extraction?" I asked.

"Two kliks south, in our current direction.  I recommend we take the high ground."

I took his advice and jumped off a car, grabbing hold of a balcony.  I climbed up, scaling the side of the building, grabbing any ledge I could find. 

"Veronica, I'm detecting hostile airborne signatures inbound.  Hit the roof and prepare to jump!"  Cody warned.

I reached the roof and stood up.  Almost instinctively, I pulled out my brand new Windblade and turned around, slashing plasma from my vantage point.  A swarm of energy flies was cut to pieces.

"Calculating the safest rooftop path.  Follow my directions."  Cody displayed a set of arrows on my interface and I followed, leaping and sprinting over the buildings as the horde of monsters trailed from the ground. 

Staff Sgt. Sharkface

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st barracks, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

Well, I was promoted.  Which is pretty nice.  I was also chosen for the War Games, 'cause I'm not hurt too bad.  Same thing with Paladin for his private company, but poor Laser has to sit out.

Anyway, the scientists be makin' some real nice stuff, 'cause them armor upgrades was sick.  My armor still has the shark decals, but it's the real deal, badder than before.  And the scientists gave us some swag AI's too.  I got the suit upgraded and mind-synced with the new AI.

"Yo, what's your name?" I asked.

"My name is Mia."

"Yo Mia, what kind of stuff you be doin'?"

"Well, I can alert you to threats, communicate vital information in real-time, and inform you of system issues, all at high speed."

"This interface is sick by the way."

"Thank you, Sharkface."

"I been' hearin' 'round that General Jagdtanker be commandin' tanks on UBW in a few days.  Command be putting all them weapons on the table, huh Mia?"

"I suppose." 

"Now why don't be running some sims, we be running and gunning in our new armor, whaddya say?"

"Of course.  It is important that we check the controls."

"Alright, les' go!  We be headin' out!"

Staff Sgt. Paladin

Infinity Defense Corps

Stratosphere above the Great Plains, UBW-594244 -

Well the contractors wanted me down ASAP, so once I got suited up and mind-synced, I had to leave.  I bade farewell to Sharkface, and told Laser Perseus to say goodbye to the others for me.

So now I'm in a dropship, heading down to the New Leningrad on the surface.  Infinity Defense is "borrowing back" my services from the 901st SS as a mercenary attachment.  I looked out at the devastation on the plains.  Smoke and fire still rose off the grass, and several wrecked vehicles could be seen strewn about.  Medical vehicles and dropships could be seen scouring the plains.  Hopefully these War Games will teach us enough about the new tactics to be able to prevent another catastrophe like this.

1st Lt. Racinrot

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st barracks, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

I had remained in the barracks, testing the new system in the suit.  The armor itself was tougher, and the armor's program had many new feautures.  I must also note I received a new AI, who was certainly more reserved than Madeline. 

The others walked in; Jagdtanker, Veronica, and Sharkface.  "So how did it go?" I asked.

"We did well.  Madeline certainly kept my situational awareness up."  Jagdtanker said.

Madeline herself added her input.  "Oh my gosh, yes!  Jagdtanker is sooo good!"

"Cody is remarkably resourceful."  Veronica stated.

"Yeah, and Mia here be layin' them assists like a boss!"  Sharkface exclaimed.

"Well, I guess we ought to wind down.  The 901st is being redeployed to Imperial Bunker and the simulation teams are headed out in two days.  Let's chill."

Staff Sgt. Laser Perseus

901st Special Forces Battalion

Medical bay, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

Well I had recovered enough to be able to use a mobile stretcher.  I decided to head to the 901st barracks, where everyone was doing their thing.  I told them all that Paladin had to join his compan'y simulation team, and that he said bye.  Then I joined them, and all had their own ideas of relaxing.

I was lying on my stretcher, watching Veronica play that 21st century classic, Call of Duty MW3.  She was getting all the kills, running and gunning like a pro.

"Yeah, game winning kill!  Boo-ya!" she exclaimed.

"Watching you get M.O.A.Bs is really hot, Veronica."  I told her.  She blushed.

General Jagdtanker was listening to these nice beats and dancing to this 21st century pop song, "Gangnam Style".  Apparently it's in Korean and was one of the most popular songs of all time.

Racinrot and the new Moscow Team members, Curly Man, Rvzx and FriiSk, were all checking out the new features in their armor.

Sharkface was holding an arm wrestling tournament in the back, where several 901st were watching.  He was currently the undisputed champion.  "Yeah man, let's go again!"

All the others were in a giant pvp simulation on the 901st simulation deck.  I recall all that going on for about four hours, then everyone hit the bunks.  Veronica and I were last to retire, and she pulled my stretcher to the side of her bunk, holding my hand as we fell asleep.

Chapter 20- Deployments

Lt. Gen. Miles Jagdtanker

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st barracks, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

"Alright, has everyone collected their stuff?"

I received a flurry of nods.  The simulation team was headed for Titan, and the rest of the 901st was bound for Imperial Bunker, where I was scheduled to take command of a tank corps. 

"Then we best get moving.  Simulation team, you're up, let's get everyone to hangar 3!"

"Understood, general!"  Veronica said.  She led Racinrot, Sharkface, Moscow team and the other simulation participants into the elevator and headed up.  Laser Perseus would be the only member of D.C. Team that would be accompanying me to Imperial Bunker.

Madeline stood in a miniaturized hologram on my shoulder.  She was displayed wearing a tank top in snow camo, a black skirt, and gray boots. 

"Gosh general, this is huge.  And the rest of the battalion is headed to UBW also?"

"Indeed, Madeline."

"Feel free to call me Maddie, Jagdtanker."

"I'll keep that in mind."

Lt. Gen, Alexei Andromeda (Алексей Андромеды)

Shadow Corps

Hangar 2, UHAS Undaunted, over UBW-594244 -

"Alright simulation team, are you fully prepared for these War Games?" I asked.

"Yes, sir!"

"Dylan, make sure to do Shadow Corps proud!"

"Understood general!"  with that the simulation team saluted.  I saluted back.

"Good luck, everyone."  I waved them off and they stepped into the orbital dropship.  The dropship left the hangar and flew into the alliance's simulation ferry, a massive cruiser which dwarfed the Relentless and Undaunted.

Staff Sgt. Laser Perseus

901st Special Forces Battalion

Hangar 3, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

Everyone was in the hangar now.  Army transports waited to take the 901st to Imperial Bunker, and the simulation team was boarding another dropship, headed for the giant simulation cruiser on our port side.

Veronica hugged me tightly and kissed me on the cheek.  I think I was the one that blushed that time.

"Farewell Laser.  I'll see you again."  she blew a kiss, then went to join the rest of the simulation team.  Everyone else in the 901st looked on, in a combination of amusement and "aww"s. 

I could hear Madeline in the background.  "Aww, isn't that adorable??"

Looking back I saw Jagdtanker nod, a smile on his face.  All the dropships carrying the simulation teams departed, flying into the giant cruiser.  The cruiser closed it's hangar doors, slowly turned thirty degrees, and boosted away, gone in a flash.

Jagdtanker gestured for everyone to board the Army transport.  "Alright everyone, let's go.  Laser, with me."


901st SS; Advanced Intelligence

Stratosphere over the Magnus Ocean, UBW-594244

Ok, so it was kind of a long trip.  I was getting bored, so I decided to get some music up.

"Hey Jag, what was that epic song you were listening to earlier, you know, like the one in Korean with the cool dance?" 

"Gangnam Style?" the general replied.

"Yeah, Gangnam Style!  Can you like, play it now?"

"Alright Maddie."  With that, General Jagdtanker went up to the pilots and asked them if they could put some music.

"Sure thing general, what kind of music?" the copilot asked.

"I'm sending it to the system now."  Jag pressed a button, and after a few moments Gangnam Style started playing on the speakers.  I projected myself on the general's shoulders and started dancing.

"Well Maddie, you actually learned the Gangnam Style dance."

"Oh my gosh, seriously?"  I asked.

"You're doing it perfectly."

"Well, it's totally fun!"

The rest of the 901st passengers started dancing too, and I caught some of their reactions.

"This is awesome!"

"Why didn't we hear about this before?"

"Who's the dancing AI?"

Laser Perseus did the hand motion of the dance on his stretcher, and Jag did the whole thing, the lasso, the reins, everything.  After the song finished everyone requested for it to be repeated, which I totally agreed with.

Staff Sgt. Sharkface

901st Special Forces Battalion

901st barracks, UHAS Relentless, over UBW-594244 -

"So what kind we be doin' in these War Games?" I asked Racinrot.

"Well, we'll be testing the new anti-alien tactics that command has devised.  We'll also be working to improve organizational structure between the different forces." he said.

"Man they be putting all the guns on the table for this war.  All those aliens be droppin' when we're through."

Veronica stepped in.  "Alright, do you all remember our simulation review back on Relentless?"

We all nodded.  "Well, just remember what we need to improve on.  Racinrot, make sure to keep the wounded attended to.  Sharkface, keep your accuracy up.  The rest of you, you all know what needs work."

"With all due respect Veronica, that gatling cannon be rocking all over the place, that recoil is mad!  You know the accuracy on those things."

"I do, but you should either maintain constant movement or remain in a static position."

"Understood, they be seein' how I do with the gatling!  Boo yah!"

Panther Commander


Underground beneath the Great Plains, UBW-594244 -

I ran into the tunnel with a pack of my brothers.  Our master sat in the shadows.  He looked upon us in dissapointment.  

"Master, the humans are learning!  They have defended New Paris successfully!"  I exclaimed.

The Master glared, his voice booming. "I know.  You have failed.  But the humans are indeed becoming more adept.  They move their troops, enhance their technology, prepare the defenses.  It is time for phase two.  Alert The Maelstrom.  It is time to strike!"

"At once my liege!" I snarled.

The master opened a portal and I rushed in, howling with glee. 

To be continued in... SWFF- Rise of the 901st SS: Maelstrom