2: Ok so you want a story? You got one... Had to edit it a little to remove the harsh language (mods would have had a field day with this one, haha) but enjoy.
DEMONS OF WAR
By Lifeshield (real name removed)
Inspired by and based on Gears of War
Welcome to Blood Company
It's not often you hear a Locust Grenadier begging for its miserable life as your foot comes crashing down upon its reptilian skull. Shards of bone flying and reddish-orange blood spurting messily onto the ground of which it had rested in anticipation of the Grenadiers forthcoming death. Its large eyes squelching underfoot as they were squashed into a gooey mush. Yet for the first time in four years of service, Second Lieutenant Selket Arkasha actually felt sorry for the enemy. Maybe there was more to this war than the meets the eye. Hidden agendas. We all know that many wars stem from political intrigue, and corrupt backhanded deals that are only ever brought to fruition by public scandal. In essence, though, there was only one thing that was ever certain from any war. Death.
Kill or be killed. That was the code that most humans had learnt to live by on Sera. Those that didn't live by the code learned their lessons the hard way, either in death or by other horrors suffered at the hands of Locust torture camps or Stranded bandits. Sometimes death is a reprieve. A rest from the tiring labours and terrors of war. A respite from the bloody and brutal mental torture of fighting beside dead people. Brothers and sisters whom you have come to love and hate, have created pacts with, come the next morning one will mourn before moving onto the next battle with a single thought in the back of your mind. Am I next? Sometimes Selket would just look up to the sky and wish the ground would swallow her whole, then another round would crack past her ear bringing the Second Lieutenant out of her intrepid day dream and back around to the harsh reality of life on Sera.
Life on this planet truly does suck!
The harsh reality of life on Sera was that humans lived in fear of their lives. If the Locust didn't kill them with bullets and explosives, then the Lambent would with Immulsion fuelled anger offering no reprisal. No feeling or emotion. Just one thing in mind. Your death. Attacks would come out of nowhere and with there being no truly safe haven, there was little time to relax, little time to rest. You slept with an eye open and a hand on your personal weapon. Which was a rule that had saved not only Selket's life but most of the lives of Zulu Six, an eight man COG squad of Blood Company, whose sole purpose was to deal with high priority tasks and whom were assigned to Selket as her personal bodyguard. Their mission was to escort her to Anvil Gate, a COG fortress which overlooked the plains of Kashkur and protected the silver mines, and city, of Anvegad behind it.
Selket's eyes opened to a seven foot tall Locust staring right in her face. The half moon reflected off its skin as it snarled, illuminating the distant trees behind it. Fortunately one can smell the Locust from a mile away, something which had alerted Selket to the Locust presence among their camp while she was sleeping. The Locust was not quite so fortunate however. A sharp kick to the leg and a double barrel shotgun blast to its face ensured its quick demise and was most definitely a wake up call for the rest of the squad. The unmistakable boom caused Corporal Mike Ashton, the squads specialist in heavy weaponry, to jump to his feet in a half asleep state unsure of his surroundings just for a second or two. The Locusts skull had exploded like a watermelon, peppering the ground in small fragments of brain covered in blood. The body fell back quivering, blood spouting from the gaping hole at the neck where its head had previously been. It wasn't a pretty sight, but then again shotguns were never meant to be pretty weapons. Selket screamed for the squad to stand to as she got to her feet reloading her weapon, which was smoking furiously, the smell of sulphur overcoming the stench of the now lifeless Locust. As she brought her weapon around to bear onto another Locust she struck a flare and threw it down ahead of her. Its red flame flickered against the slightly reflective skin of the Locust thundering toward them, and illuminated the foliage and rock jutting up from the ground around them.
Corporal Mark Hainsworth, the squads second in command, had his helmet torn off by a thunderous blow from a Locust Grenadier. He was then beaten to an almost lifeless pulp with it as the Grenadier bellowed an almighty roar. His crimson coloured blood smearing the helmet more and more with each brutal blow. He was finally finished off with a round to the head. The rear of his skull exploding out toward the ground, covering it in blood and brain alike.
Private James Lemming, fairly new to the squad, was struggling against one particular Drone. Their weapons knocked away, both stood toe to toe wrestling with each other, the Locust's hands clamped firmly around the Private's wrists. The Locust ferociously kicked Lemming in the chest. A kick so powerful that both of Lemming's arms were ripped off in unison by the force. Still holding the Private's arms by the wrist the Drone threw them at the COG, as he lay on the ground screaming in agony. Blood poured out like spilt milk from the stumps on his shoulders where his arms had once been. The Locust then drew his sidearm, a Gorgon Pistol, and put three rounds into his chest. The end of the Privates screaming seemed more haunting than the harsh, shrill, noise the screams had generated before.
The rest of the COG squad had formed a rather crude defensive perimeter around Selket. An act of bravado and desperation more than tactical strategy. Lancer chainsaws revved, smoking as they grinded through splintering bone and splattering flesh, carving the Locust in two as they met and severed limbs from bodies. Gnashers boomed across the dimly lit night as 'shot pelted bloody masses of Locust grey matter across the plain. Hammerburst and Gorgon rounds cracked past the COG, illuminating the area in an almost strobe like effect, some rounds pinging off their hardened armour. The roar of the Locust echoed around them. The skirmish was loud, terrifying, and horrific. As were most skirmishes with the Locust. It seemed to last an eternity but in reality only lasted for around ten minutes.
"Die you son of a..." An enthusiastic Corporal Bruce West, the squad medic and wise cracker, screamed as he hacked his Lancer chainsaw into the shoulder of the last Locust Drone, revving and revving as the blood caked his face and armour. West's face twisting into a sickening maniacal grin. The Locust was already lifeless, yet its limbs were still twitching as the chainsaw cut through its entire body, making a bloody mess of its vital organs, tearing it apart from shoulder to hip before falling to the floor in two pieces amidst a sea of blood. "Have it!" He spat onto the mutilated pieces of the Locusts body. Ashton put his hand on Wests shoulder and looked down at the fallen enemy. They had both been quite lucky at one point, a Locust frag grenade had landed at the feet of Ashton and West but refused to go off, surely someone up there was watching over them. There was simply no way either one of them should have survived.
Selket surveyed the scene of the confrontation. She counted nine Locust dead, including the one who's skull she had just put her boot through after it had been downed by West with rifle fire. There wasn't much left of them, their bodies mutilated by the business end of COG Lancer chainsaw attachments and Gnasher shotgun blasts. Several limbs lay upon the ground in beds of blood, awaiting to be collected by their owners. They would never come. COG weapons were efficient and effective. They didn't do a pretty job, but they got the job done.
Ashton found their appointed sentry Corporal Samuel Alban, who was an obnoxious yet skilled engineer, lying dead in a pool of his own blood. Judging by the tracks around the body, he had been approached from behind and taken out silently. His throat had been sliced wide open from ear to ear, it wasn't a pretty sight. The Locust had also somehow taken out the Sentry Turret, an automated weapon capable of tracking moving targets and taking them out with an electric mass of energy that would shock, paralyse, and eventually fry the brain. Stealth was an unusual tactic for Locust to use. They normally weren't very subtle. They weren't a large group either, they were lightly armoured, and carried mainly light weaponry. This seemed to be a more tactical team. One with leadership, cunning and guile. They were clearly equipped for a hit and run raid. One with a purpose, a sole purpose. It seemed likely that kidnapping Selket was their goal, after all she was the high priority Blood Company had been assigned. The Locust were brutal, and savage, but they were certainly not stupid.
Selket looked down upon one particular Locust, noticing a set of COG tags around its neck. She bent down to grab them, her gloved hands smearing away the blood that covered its neck from the large gaping wound in its chest where a Lancer had erupted through it from behind. Once she had hold of them she sharply tugged upon them, snapping the chain.
She swept her shoulder length jet black hair back behind her ear. Her bloodied fingertips brushed past the hook shaped scar on her tanned right cheek, which she had gained unwillingly during an encounter with a couple of Stranded men. An encounter she would rather forget, that she would never forget. She was lucky to get away with her life, though that was pretty much all she had managed to walk away with. In fact she had barely managed to walk away. It had been a long time ago. She had been only eighteen at the time. Just a child in the eyes of some, but she had to grow up fast. Sera was not a forgiving planet. Humans were a desperate race. Some desires were seemingly more important to satisfy than others. The encounter had left her unable to bear a child, and in need of a place to focus her anger, she enlisted within the COG establishing herself as a Squad Leader before being battle commissioned to Second Lieutenant and then being assigned to Intelligence.
She looked at the COG tags, wiping away the blood from the pressed letters and numbers, in an effort to see if she recognised the name of the soldier that they had been stolen from. Her deep brown, slanted eyes gazing over the metallic cog shaped pendant. Of course, it was very unlikely that she would know whose they were but one just never knew.
"Grab only what you need, travel light, we're moving out in five!" Sergeant Durkon Liebahn, the Squad Leader of Zulu Six, ordered to the remainder of the group. He looked at Selket whom was still pondering over the COG tags she had collected from the fallen Locust. "You too, move it!"
Selket put the COG tags into her pocket so that she could hand them in later at the COG outpost. Maybe a relative could be informed of the poor soldiers fate. She then turned toward the handsome, yet aged and battle worn Sergeant, nodded her head in acknowledgement and then quickly began to go over her kit. She made sure to grab food, water, and ammunition. She intended to grab some spare communications kit also.
"Leave that extra coms kit!" Durkon's order to Selket was sharp. He then addressed the rest of the squad. "We'll destroy any kit we leave. If we don't need it, don't take it, that includes spares but not including batteries. We take those," He looked over to West who nodded back in return. "Food, water, ammo. Throw the rest into a pile in the centre there," he pointed just in front of Selket, "and get a move on!" He was on edge. Durkon didn't want to be there any longer than was necessary. He felt vulnerable, and had lost three good men without really knowing why. All he knew was that Colonel Victor Hoffman wanted Selket. That was it. No questions to be asked. Just follow orders and be done with it. It was bulls*it, but it was part of the job. Sometimes a necessary part. Sometimes it was better not knowing. Sometimes knowing got you into all kinds of ****, and Durkon knew that first hand. What he did know however was that Selket was of a lot of importance for some reason. The Locust simply could not get to her, no matter what the cost. She could handle herself pretty well it seemed and she was certainly no stranger to combat. However she was still the responsibility of Zulu Six, and Blood Company always got the job done. No matter what.
Navigating the contours of the plains that preceded Anvil Gate was a nightmare on foot. It was blind luck to not step in some form of hole in the darkness. The group didn't need to worry too much about going through foliage, as they could've mostly navigated around all that by sticking close to the broken road. A direct route along the road, however, was out of the question. There would be far too many eyes watching the roads, and not only Locust. Zulu Six had to stick to cover along the way keeping their silhouettes hidden against the moonlit sky. Durkon began to wonder if traveling on foot was such a good idea after all but vehicles created too much noise though and drew far too much attention, as did large units. This had lead to the choice of using a small squad that could get around more easily unnoticed. Ravens were a no go for a majority of the route thanks to Locust anti air artillery. They would need to be in range of Anvil Gates artillery for a safe pickup. The squad had already passed two downed Ravens wrecks within the past day, one of which was still smouldering, the smell of burnt flesh was one that lingered among the COGs senses. Durkon knew that if they had attempted the same method of travel they would have suffered the same fate. They stood a much better chance of getting there on foot, under cover of darkness, or at least so they had thought. Now their presence had been alerted to the enemy, now they had become hunted, their time was running out. The squad needed to move on before the Locust arrived reinforced. Once in range of Anvil Gates artillery and snipers they would feel more at ease with the extra support.
As the last of Zulu Six strode past him Durkon looked over to Selket who was still rummaging through her belongings.
"Come on damn it! We haven't got all day!" The frustrated Sergeant shouted over to her. He was getting impatient, and didn't like that he had lost three good men for an unknown cause. Not to mention the impending risk of losing more men. Some guys he had served with for years now. A tight unit. Brothers until death. She looked over to him holding a data disc up in her right hand.
"If this falls into wrong hands then your men would have died for nothing Sergeant," She stated. It was a bitter pill for the squad leader to swallow, but he withheld from biting it. He just wanted rid of the damned b*itch. The less his men were at risk the better. At the moment they were a high priority target.
"Just hurry up ok?!" Durkon snapped, pointing his finger at her, then turned to join the rest of his squad resting his Lancer upon his right shoulder as he walked away. Selket quickly packed the data disc into a little leather bag that had a chain strap attached to it and secured it around her neck placing the bag within her armour to protect it and hide it from view. She picked up her weapon and sprinted quickly to catch up with the rest of the squad.
Durkon insisted that their tracks were covered upon their exit from the hide. He knew it wouldn't make much difference, the Locust Reavers, if they were sent, would pick them up eventually anyway but they needed as much time as they could afford to give themselves. They waited until they were at the maximum remote detonation distance for setting off the charges which lit up the night sky for a couple of seconds by the flash that they caused, a thud could be heard in the distance echoing across the plain, then it all went dark and silent. From there they marched onward toward the riverbed where they used the river to hide their tracks as they marched downstream for around two kilometres. The river was cold but fortunately they didn't need to worry about getting wet as their inner clothing was waterproofed by design. After what seemed an eternity wading knee deep downstream the squad emerged out of the river. Durkon ordered the newly battle commissioned Corporal Jim Bowers, who had only just recently joined Blood Company and Zulu Six, to establish their location. Once the Corporal was happy with where they were Durkon gave the order to begin marching on a new bearing toward Anvil gate.
"Selket on me! I don't want you out of my sight until you are in the Colonel's hands!" Durkon ordered. Selket quickly shuffled up to the Sergeant and fell in behind him tapping twice on his shoulder to silently inform him she was behind him. He turned slightly to view her, a bleak smile upon her face, and grunted in disapproval. "Try to keep up, ok?" Selket ignored his belittling comment. She had the power to pull rank if she wanted, but knew the argument wouldn't get them anywhere. This was Durkon's squad, they answered to him, and rightly so. She had pulled his file before the operation. He was a highly decorated man but also had a number of judgments against him for fighting and arguing with officers. She was initially surprised he hadn't been executed for some of his grievances. He could have been running his own Battalion by now had he rolled over and played dead. Despite his misdemeanours high command felt he was of better service to the COG alive than dead. Selket didn't doubt that for a second. He was instead transferred to Blood Company where he got the jobs no other unit would want to do.
After an hour of forced pace marching along the plain they took a quick break for water at the hulk of an abandoned, and now rusted, APC which lay just off the left hand side of the road. It had a track blown off and all of its weapons and computer equipment stripped from it, though by whom was unknown. The partial remains of a deceased Stranded, of unknown gender, were just a few feet away from the broken vehicle. It looked like the remains had been there for quite some time. The plains to the right of the road veered up slightly forming a long, gentle, ridge. Several trees and bushes could be seen at the peak of it, silhouetted against the moonlight. As the weary squad took on some water it gave them time to reflect back on the past encounter. A chance to collect their thoughts for their fallen.
Bowers, the newly promoted Corporal, wept uncontrollably as he sat himself down inside the APC. His shoulders heaving up and down as his sobs echoed within the hulk. Noticing his emotional state Selket moved over to him, placed her hand on his shoulder and offered him her water bottle. This seemed to anger Bowers rather than comfort him. The near seven foot tall giant of a man jumped to his feet in a flash, slapping the water bottle out of Selket's hands, and grabbing her by the throat pinned her against the inner walls of the hulk. The top of her head collided with the roof of the hulk within the confined space.
"They died because of you!" He yelled pulling his Snub Pistol from its holster. "YOU!" He cocked the weapon and pointed it at Selket's temple. His face was red with rage, tears streaming down his face. His grip on Selket's throat tightened as she struggled for breath, his large ape like knuckles whitening and his eyes widening with rage. She scrabbled at his hand and arm, before lashing at his chest and face with little effect. "Why them and not you!" He screamed. Selket's eyes started to roll back almost lifelessly into her head, her mouth wide open begging for oxygen, her arms began to feel heavy and she began to give up her struggle. As she approached the point of unconsciousness she fell suddenly to the floor of the hulk, gasping for breath, seeing white specks flashing in front of her eyes. Bowers lay semi-unconscious in front of her, Durkon standing above him with the butt of his Lancer ready in case he needed to hit him again. He turned to Selket.
"Are you ok?" He asked, genuinely concerned.
"Yes" She croaked. "Thank you." Selket coughed dramatically, rubbing her throat where Bowers hand had previously been violently placed.
"Don't thank me, just stay out of their way in future, for your own safety and theirs," Durkon ordered the rest of his men to restrain Bowers, tying his wrists with cable ties and making his weapon safe. "We've lost three good men already. I don't want to lose another over you, understand?"
Selket left the remains of the APC and stood outside in the cool breeze of the night. She could hear Bowers, still sobbing, as Durkon comforted him. She knew she had brought a huge weight of responsibility down upon these men, knew that they were putting their lives on the line for her, for the information she carried. She knew that morally she should tell them just what they were dying for. That she may have the means to an end to the war . It would give them hope. She also knew that the more people who knew about it the more chance the enemy had of getting a hold of their information and using it against them. It was a risk she just couldn't take. It put her in the bad books, made her the black sheep, but she could handle it. She had to handle it. The future of humanities existence depended on it.
Selket snapped suddenly toward the sound of brush breaking in the distance. She stood quiet, her heart pounding as adrenaline started to fill her body. She stared hard in the direction of the noise but couldn't see anything. She heard more brush snapping. It was evident they were not alone. She ran over to the APC where the rest of the squad had begun formulating a quick plan of action from their current position.
"I think we've got company," Selket stated. I can hear something moving around out there for definite." Durkons jaw tightened as he took in Selket's information.
"Stand to Zulu Six. Don't let any one of those Locust bastards take another one of our guys, you all understand? No one!" He looked down to Bowers, taking out a rather large combat knife from its sheath on his chest and cutting the cable ties that bound his hands. "On your feet Corporal!" He said, handing the big guy his weapon. Bowers looked at Selket but said nothing as he stepped out of the APC and into the darkness. "Stay in the APC." Durkon ordered Selket as he followed Bowers. Selket crouched down and moved toward the entryway of the APC hulk, looking out for any signs of the enemy. Zulu Six had adopted positions behind various options of cover afforded to them by the rocks, wreckage, and foliage of the plains. Private Juri Hansen, easily the squad's best marksman who had won many awards for excellence in sniper school, had taken position in what was once the APCs turret with a Longshot, a manual bolt action, high powered, anti personnel sniper rifle. Durkon quickly scurried back to the APC and handed Selket a radio pack.
"Try and reach Anvil Gate, see if we can get some support, anything!" His voice was stern but calm. Selket acknowledged him and proceeded with setting up the radio kit as quickly as she could. "And stay out of sight!" He warned before dashing back out into the darkness Lancer in hand. She had the radio working and the correct codes in place for secure transmission, she picked up the handset and spoke into it.
"Anvil Gate, this is Zulu Six over?" She waited a few seconds for a reply but none came. She repeated herself. "Anvil Gate this is Zulu Six over?" Still no reply. She turned the radio off and attached its amplifier before switching it back on and attempting to establish contact with Anvil Gate again. "Anvil Gate this is Zulu Six over?"
"Anvil Gate over," A radio operator's voice, calm and clear, spoke over the radio. A sense of relief washed over Selket, as well as one of joy. They were finally not alone out here. That joy was short lived however as the crack of Hammerburst rounds whipped past the APC, some hitting the side which echoed within what was now an almost hollow shell. The sound of Lancer return fire very shortly followed, and what ensued was pure and utter audio chaos as both sides exchanged fire.
"Contact! Wait out!" Selket then immediately shouted up to Hansen for an assessment of the situation.
"Multiple Locust bearing down on our location. I count at least thirty Drones, and five Theron," He shouted down to her.
"Damn!" Selket muttered to herself as she grabbed the radio handset to relay the information to Anvil Gate. "Anvil Gate this is Zulu Six. Sitrep. Grid two, four, seven, three, nine, eight, two, three. We are under attack by minimum three zero Drones and five Theron. Possibly more. Requesting immediate assistance, enemy too close for artillery, over?"
"Wait out," Anvil Gate replied. This was where it got tense. Waiting for an answer with the possibility of being told in as polite a manner as possible to shove a grenade up your a*s and kiss it goodbye. At least that's what they may as well say if they deny a request for aid. Selket peeked her head outside only to quickly snap it back in as a round cracked off the hull of the APC. The unmistakable voice of Colonel Hoffman crackled over the radio.
"Zulu Six is the package still secure? Over!" Yes thanks for asking if we're ok, Selket thought to herself.
"Affirmative!" Said Selket. "But not for long if we don't get some god damned assistance asap, over!"
"ETA on assistance fifteen minutes," replied the Colonel "keep your heads down, out!"
Selket placed the receiver down, and grabbed her weapon. She was about to step outside the APC, despite Durkon's orders, when she heard the sound of something falling behind her. She turned to see what it was. Hansen had been shot. He lay on the floor of the hulk writhing in agony from his wound, a rifle round to the left shoulder. Selket quickly moved over to him, assessing his injury. He clutched his shoulder with one hand applying pressure, looking up at Selket with his ice blue eyes, as she expertly and quickly applied a field dressing and a painkiller.
"Just stay still," She said. "Help is on the way." Without another word she quickly jumped up into the hulk's turret, picking up Hansen's Longshot on the climb up and, after taking a brief look at the battle that unfolded in front of her, looked through the scope. What she saw in the distance made her lower her scope in dismay and curse. They had a Berserker.
"S*it! A Berserker? S*IT!" She shouted to herself. She looked down to Hansen in disbelief. He smiled back at her. Rounds cracking past her head. Hansen laughed slightly, only to stop because it caused him pain, though a small smile still remained on his face. For him this was a typical day in the life of a Blood Company soldier. The painkillers kicking in probably had something to do with it as well, they worked fast.
The unmistakable sound of a single Raven could be heard in the distance. Durkon knew it would be coming in fast and low, most likely with some form of package as it simply would not risk a pick up while the area was hot. The rest of Zulu Six had been using Incendiary grenades and suppressing fire to keep the Locust at bay but it would not hold them for long. They were running out of ammunition. Their time was running out! Whatever assistance Anvil Gate had planned for them had better be good, Durkon thought to himself has he popped off another few rounds at some Locust Drones hiding behind distant rocks for cover.
He looked over to Hansen to see that Selket had taken his place, firing down at the Locust from her vantage point. He held himself back from running over to the hulk and dragging her down. Despite orders he needed every gun he could possibly get, and without someone up on that Longshot they would be hard pressed without the long range support to pin down the Locust. To make them fearful to pop their ugly heads up.
The Raven was transiting a Silverback, a mechanized suit loaded with weaponry, and had finally reached their location. However as the Raven pilot quickly turned his craft to drop its cargo, firing down on the Locust below, a Boomshot grenade hit the underside of the Ravens hull causing the Silverback to crash violently to the ground. It landed next to the APC, on one side. The injured Raven pilot in a final act of defiance veered the damaged Raven toward the Locust, flipping the bird, before crashing down between the Locust and the COG battling for their lives in the middle of the plain. A broken twisted heap of metal, its flickering shadow looming over Zulu Six from the incendiaries burning the ground behind it. No one, it seemed, survived. Durkon's heart sank. Even if they radioed for more help there just wouldn't be enough time. Once the Berserker got into the fray it would most likely be all over. They were simply overwhelmed and outgunned.
The Locust were slowly advancing upon Zulu Six. The advancing strike force had not suffered many casualties. The Berserker could be heard behind them, its piercing scream all but instilled fear and dread into their hearts. Selket fired a round from the Longshot into the head of a Theron. It's head popped apart in dramatic, bloody, fashion much to Selket's satisfaction. This however caused several Locust to focus fire on the APC. She had no choice but to withdraw back into the hulks shell as rounds rattled against it. A Boomshot grenade thundered off the side of the hull. It wouldn't hold up against many more blasts like that, not in its rusted condition. She glanced outside of the APC and saw the Silverback laying on its side. She wasn't sure if she could get it on its feet but one thing she was hopeful of was that its weapons would at least work.
Amid a hail of rifle fire and grenade rounds whizzing past her she bolted for the Silverback, sliding into cover behind it as rounds ricocheted off rocks and metal alike. The rockets, much to her dismay, would be unusable, as the Silverback was laying on the same side of the mounted rocket launcher, but if undamaged the gatling gun should still be operational. Quickly she flipped the power switches for the Silverback, its computers flickering into life, while mechanized parts whirred into operation. She moved the arm which housed the gatling gun, aimed it at the Locust, and opened fire. She wasn't prepared for the recoil at first but quickly became accustomed to it. Blood and limbs were sent flying through the air as the large rounds smashed through the Locust, tearing them apart piece by bloody satisfying piece. Selket's blood curdling battle cry could be heard over the deafening torrent of gunfire, an endless screaming yell as battle rage washed over her.
Durkon couldn't believe what was unfolding in front of him but he was the sort of man who took the cards that he was dealt in life. He ordered his men to advance on the Locust as the gatling gun of the Silverback cut down cover and Locust with relative ease. As if spiritually pushed by the teams sudden bravado Hansen had also somehow managed to get back into the APC turret placement and began firing at the Locust, albeit at a much slower rate of fire than before due to his injury, the sudden turn in battle lifting the spirits and the morale of Zulu Six. They charged forward to finish the fight, the Locust were ready to receive them but their numbers had been severely cut down and they were no match for Zulu Six's ferocity and refocused mentality.
Durkon ducked underneath the swipe of a Drone and smashed the butt of his Lancer into its jaw knocking it onto its back. He revved the chainsaw attachment and thrust it into the Drones chest as it screamed and kicked, lashing wildly as its blood sprayed upward like a geyser. Another Drone tried to catch him off guard from the side but West saw to it that it never happened, holding his Gnasher in one hand as he aimed it at the Drones head and pulled the trigger. Its head exploded gloriously into tiny fragments, while its body was still staggering, its weapon still firing. West pulled out a frag grenade and ran up to the headless body. Knocking away its weapon he slammed the frag grenade into the bloody stump where its head had previously been and kicked it away with force, the resultant explosion taking out another two Drones in a bloody shower of meat. As he chambered another round into the Gnasher a Theron rushed at him, preparing to strike at him with the Torque Bow it was holding. Before it could get to him however a round cracked past West's ear, and flew through the Theron's head, blood spraying out from the exit wound, its eyes rolling back into its skull as it slumped down onto its knees and then fell forward to the ground motionless. West looked over his shoulder to the direction of where the round had come from, the APC, and saw Hansen making an ok sign to him. West turned and got back into the battle, smiling in the knowledge that the proverbial eye in the sky was watching him.
The Berserker had finally entered the fray, shrieking and screaming at the COG, rounds bouncing of its impenetrable skin. While Zulu Six focused on dispatching the remainder of the Locust strike force Selket turned her attention to the Berserker, firing rounds into it. Doing nothing. It was the first time Selket had seen a Berserker, the oversized female drones of the Locust, this close with her own eyes. It stood two metres high, and was the width of a Boomer. She had the overall impression of a Drone on steroids. Standing in a pool of the Ravens fuel, that had leaked from its tank, the Berserker smashed the wreckage of the Raven with one giant fist, sending it flying over the disabled Silverback, skimming just a foot over Selket's head. It roared, smelling the smoke filled air around it for its human prey, and looked toward Selket ready to charge her. Its blind eyes staring blankly, yet evilly at her, poised for an easy kill.
"Have some of this!" Hansen screamed as he threw his final Incendiary at the Berserker, igniting not only the Berserker but also the leaked fuel around her. She screamed in agony, her arms waving in pain, as she howled she breathed in the fire. Her howling soon stopped. She struggled to breath as her lungs had been subjected to first degree burns. "Shoot her now!" He screamed to Selket. She opened fire on the huge beast, the rounds penetrating her body, tearing her apart. Selket did not let go of the trigger. She poured round after round into the Berserker, her body jerking with every round due to the recoil, until it slowly began to fall like a giant hitting the ground with a large thump. The Berserkers body was still burning. Selket was still firing. She did not stop firing until the gatling gun had overheated and refused to fire any more, the barrel glowing a bright pinkish red almost igniting the torrent of smoke exhaled from the end of the barrels.
She looked up to Hansen and then surveyed the battlefield before her. The remaining Locust at this point had been killed or retreated having seen the Berserker fall. Slowly crawling out from behind the Silverback, double barrel shotgun in hand, she warily walked toward the Berserkers fallen body.
"Is it dead?" Selket shouted up to Hansen, who shrugged before popping off a round at an unfortunate Locust that was fleeing the battle, its head exploding into giblets as its body tumbled into the brush. As if to answer her question the Berserker sat up. What was left of its nostrils flaring and snorting as it wheezed to try and get some oxygen into her still burning body. Slowly it managed to support itself enough to get back onto its feet, it's arms outstretched as it growled.
"FIRE IN THE HOLE!" Durkon took aim with a Torque Bow he had scavenged off the corpse of the Theron Hansen had earlier dispatched and fired. Selket raised her arm up to protect her face as the Berserker, still smouldering, exploded into pieces from the explosive charge tipped bolt that pierced her skin with a final earth shattering howl. The force of the blast knocked Selket off her feet causing her to land in an untidy sprawl on her back a couple of feet away from where she had previously stood. As the dust settled Zulu Six cheered as a collective. Somehow they had managed to fight through hell and back, without suffering any losses. Bowers walked over to Selket, the lumbering giant towering over her small, in comparison, frame. He offered his hand out to her, which she took without hesitation, and helped the second lieutenant to her feet letting go once she was upright and stable. He didn't say anything to Selket, but he didn't have to. He just looked into her eyes and nodded.
Durkon looked over at Selket, and also nodded, in approval. Hansen could still be heard screaming obscenities at the molten chunks of the Berserker. Durkon looked up at him, motioned with his hand, and Hansen fell silent.
"Hansen needs medical attention. It's not life threatening but I would suggest you see to him as soon as possible," Selket advised the Sergeant. He turned toward her.
"Ok," He replied before barking an order to West. "West get over to Hansen, he needs attention on the double!"
"Yes Sergeant!" West rushed over to his comrade aid, who laughed and joked off his injury despite Wests initial concern. While the rest of Zulu Six were gathering arms and ammunition, checking the Locust for any survivors, Selket went with to the APC to gather the radio equipment. She picked up the handset and pressed in the send button.
"Anvil Gate this is Zulu Six. Sitrep over!" She called into the handset.
"Send over!" Hoffman replied. He had clearly been waiting in the whole time in nervous anticipation of the situation. His concern could be heard in his voice, even over the radio.
"We have defeated the Locust and are back on route, we have one casualty, Raven is down with no survivors, Silverback disabled, over!" After what seemed like an eternity Hoffman eventually replied.
"Stand fast Zulu Six. We are arranging a pick up at your location. Out." Hoffman ordered. Immediately Selket left the APC, ordering West to keep his ear to the radio, and relayed the information to Durkon who was stood next to a pile of Locust weaponry.
"Thank you Second Lieutenant," He replied. It was the first time that any of Zulu Six had referred to her by her rank. As she turned to return to the radio he called out to her. "Hey Selket!"
"Yes?" She asked as she turned around, walking backwards slowly, the sound of several Ravens could be heard in the distance. The sun was slowly beginning to rise giving a slightly eerie orange glow to everything that reflected.
"Any time you want to request a transfer to Zulu Six, you'd be more than welcome to join us." Durkon rested his arm around the shoulder or Bowers, who had his elbow resting on the shoulder of Ashton. They all looked at each other, a slight smile was on Ashton's face, and they all nodded in agreement. Her bravery had earned their respect.
"Once this operation is over I'll keep that in mind Sergeant." Selket smiled also, then turned away quickly and headed to get the radio packed away ready for transport assuring everything was packed securely.
As a Raven touched down for pickup, the other Ravens circling around them observing the ground below, Selket pondered over the idea of transferring to Zulu Six once the operation was over as she made her way to the Raven. Her hair blew furiously in the down force of the Ravens rotors as she was about to step onto the Raven. An outstretched hand greeted her, which she took.
"Well I'll be damned, you made it!" Selket looked up to the source of the familiar voice and replied politely.
"Thanks to these brave men who put their lives on the line for me, yes I did," In her exhaustion, and tiredness, she almost forgot who she was talking to and quickly added the appropriate formality.