By: Emily Rudgers
In the war hardened lands of future Earth, humanity has been brought to its knees and tested.
The only possible saviors of the world being skilled soldiers whose abilities are put to the test.
This is the story of the remnants of unit 412.
Author's Note: Again I want to reiterate the warning I issued previously. If language, battle scenes, or mild gore descriptions bother you then please discontinue reading. Thanks to djkauf for editing. I don't know where this story is headed since I have intentionally been avoiding planning the ending. Be forewarned this may not end as a happy tale but even I don't know yet. Comments are always appreciated no matter which kind they are.
July 4, 2032
A jolt from the ground causes me to stir. I open my eyes and can only make out the edges of my surroundings. It looks pitch black outside so it must be the early morning hours. With another jolt I sit up quickly fearing I am in danger. My brain kicks into survival mode and I move to a squatting position.
I’m sitting in the bed of a hummer. Before I can think on how I got here a blinding flash of light flares off to my right. Moving my hand up to shield my eyes from the painful source I realize the source is a fire from enemy artillery. Usually only Honor Facpour carry such weapons due to the size but thankfully there aren’t many available otherwise we would all be leveled. As another blast falls it spews its contents spreading like water covering the ground and then bursting into a raging torrent of flames. I have to close my eyes for this one because it is much closer and the pain leaves me feeling like a flash bang went off in my face.
Blinking to clear the dots in my vision I unlatch the trunk of the vehicle. I jump down and take off into a run towards the nearest tent. Four white blurs of motion begin pouring out of the tent. They are all featureless like I am looking through an infrared scope. Two of them are carrying black cases, throwing them in a close by RV they run through the door and start the engine. The other two white masses run towards me. I go to pull my firearm at my side and find nothing there. I look down and realize I’m in civilian clothes instead of my gear. I get in a battle ready stance when one of the white masses stops to shout, “Come on, we have to get out of here before this whole place goes up in flames.” I recognize the voice as Kilp but can’t understand why she looks so odd.
Trusting her voice she pulls me towards the hummer I just climbed out of. We all hop in and take off with the spinning of tires in dry dirt. Looking to my left out the window I see two towering yellow masses in the distance that resemble the general shape of a Facpour. Their guns glow white from having been fired recently. The hummer jostles from side to side while we dodge a few incoming shells until we are finally out of range. The driver of the vehicle looks over their shoulder, “Look who’s finally awake, bout time you woke up. I’m tired of dragging your lazy ass all over this god forsaken wasteland.” It takes me a moment to realize that the voice is Red’s over the distortion of the car’s noise and distant blasts.
I try to speak but my voice comes through muffled. I reach up with my hand to figure out why and I feel no mouth. I panic in my search for a mouth and find 6 little tubes on either side of a hard plate. I start breathing quickly in panic until I feel a sudden rush of calmness enter my system. I look up at my two teammates sitting in front of me and my brain tells me these are the enemy and they must be killed because I am in danger. Kilp speaks up in concern, “Mast? You alright?”
I see her slowly reaching for her firearm. I react without thinking and smash her in the head with my elbow and then punch Red. Both are knocked out cold from my single blow. I reach up to the steering wheel and make sure we are moving safely while I pull Red’s foot off the accelerator and place it on the brake. We slow to a stop and I open the back of the Hummer as quickly as I can and run around the side. I see my gear sitting on the floor in the passenger side and start to gear up. My armor doesn’t fit right so I end up cutting some of the straps and tying them tighter until I get a loose fit. While I attach the circle blades to my side I see the sun starting to brighten the landscape. My vision switches from the strangle infrared to regular vision only with more clarity than I am accustomed to having. I hold the side of the vehicle to stablize me from the jarring change when the significance of my vision hits. Moving to the side view mirror I take a look. If I had not known better I would never have recognized myself. I looked nothing like how I used to. I looked like some alien creature that would be better suited in a Beag army than a human one. I looked nothing like a Beag but I was most definitely not anywhere near human.
As my mind got further and further from the thoughts of danger and needing safety I noticed the hard plate on my face start to soften and slowly a face began to emerge. My nose was vaguely human without a large nose bridge and the lower ends trailing down in three ridges towards a mouth. My mouth seemed wider and my teeth seemed to have rearranged. My canines were now in the very center and spreading four teeth in width with jagged molars in the back. Turning my head I see no hair but with the strange coloration of my skin and the layers of some hard tissue lying the way they do giving the illusion of a hair like substance. My hands look like something a dinosaur would have without the claws. Sending my hand down the back of my neck I feel strange ridges on my spine. I turn around to take a look but can’t manage to get my spine in the mirror well. I turn my upper body to try and look at my lower spine and am able to turn my top half most of the way around and can just look down. At least I don’t have a tail, I’m not sure I could deal with that.
Lifting up my shirt to check the damage I see a flat stomach with several thin lines running down. Lifting my shirt further I see two lumps where my nipples should be found. Looking at the hardened area the skin begins to relax much like my face did until I see small breast like tissue with alien nipples. Shaking my head in disbelief I have a thought. These look like something you would find on a girl. With that thought I panic and reach in my pants and find nothing. No penis, no vagina, just nothing. Pulling down my pants enough that I can see I notice it’s the same changing tissue and it starts to soften. Instead of the features becoming more apparent like the rest of the areas, I notice nothing really change as the tissue relaxes. Reaching down I probe the area with hesitation. It isn’t until I reach further back that I notice the change. I… have… a… vagina…. How is that even possible? But then how is any of this possible. Only a little while ago I wouldn’t have believed that aliens existed and now I’m living on a planet infested with them while I’ve turned into one.
Kilp begins to stir so I pull up and fasten my pants and belt. In fear of their reaction I start to feel panic rise in me again. I feel my body flex into the armored plating while I contemplate running. It’s survival out here. Where do I fall in the circle of killing? Not taking the chance I run back the way we came. Back towards the city, back to the fighting, and back to what I know.
Before long I hear the roar of the Hummer’s engine and I see a dust cloud drawing closer. I duck behind some rocks as they get close. They stop a little bit away and I hear Kilp through the window, “We lost Mast, he took off after knocking us both out. I’m not sure he’s entirely himself.” She pauses while the person she is talking to responds and then makes a fist and slams it down on her leg in frustration. “Roger that, Kilp out.” She pounds on her leg a couple more times until Red reaches across to settle her. “They want us to just leave him and if we find him to assume he’s hostile. I thought we were fighting to save humanity not erase it.” Red does a small nod but doesn’t say a word. With no other words shared they zip off becoming nothing but a dot on the horizon.
I was right to think they would want to kill me. This war quickly killed any trace of brotherhood originally found in the military. Losing so many close friends in such a short amount of time can do that to you. Eventually you shut off all emotion and just try to survive as best you can hoping whoever gives you the missions knows what’s best.
I start walking towards the city while I contemplate what I am now and what exactly I am fighting for.
In the afternoon I see the shapes of buildings starting to grow larger so I decide to pick up the pace. By early evening I arrive back in the city. It isn’t long before I stumble across a small Beag patrol complete with two warriors and two commanders. Normally it would be suicide for one person to try to take on two commanders, but a hopeless situation is exactly what I am looking for. I don’t want to be the freak alien; I want to go back to the days where killing wasn’t an hourly thing but something you tried to avoid. Squatting behind a concrete bench I prepare myself. Pulling out my rifle I fire and decapitate one of the commanders. One of the warriors takes off to get help and I choose him as my next target. I shoot out his hip causing him to fall forward in a crumpled mess. The remaining commander finally opens fire on my position so I duck down and scurry away from the bench into a building with an open window. I set down my rifle inside and pull out the circle blades. I move to the next room in the building as the warrior and commander blind fire in through the window. After they empty their clips I run out and dive through the window straight into the warrior with the blades extended in front of me slicing through its rib cage.
The commander has managed to reload in this time, clearly being a veteran. From three feet away he fires off six shots. I feel each bullet hit me right in the stomach and lower chest. The pain causes me to double over and crumple to the ground. The commander closes the distance between us and places the barrel to the top of my head. I hear it speak with uncommon clarity for a Beag, “weakling.” Then he fires off another shot.
I awake as a wave of coursing pain surges through my abdomen. My head feels like I have a really bad hang over and my abdomen feels like someone tried to remove my appendix with a butter knife. I push myself up and stumble to my feet. Looking down the road I see the commander kneeling over the body of the fallen warrior I shot. Picking up the blades from the ground I slowly, step by excruciating step, make my way towards the commander.
At the sound of my heavy footfalls the commander looks towards me and freezes in surprise. I pick up the pace and close the distance between us to only a couple yards until he responds and open fires on me. He hits me with another three shots in my chest and stomach but my body doesn’t register the pain. I slice with the blades and cut off his wrists and then knee him right in the stomach. He falls to his knees from the pain and grabs for his stomach with what would have been his hands. I circle around my prey letting it cry out in pain before I take my right blade and sink it straight through his neck.
I feel a rush from using my hands to kill my enemy instead of a gun. Bending over I take the commander’s blades and attach them to my belt with my own. I consider for a moment going back for my rifle until I feel a sense of distaste for using such a thing. I take off a piece of the commander’s leg armor that looks like it would fit better and try it on. Strapping it on proves to be a better fit and feels more natural against my skin. The rest of his gear is too bulky from him having a muscular upper half so I set off walking down the street away from the mess of bodies. While walking I look down at my stomach through the bullet holes in my armor. Where the bullets hit my skin looks more alien than ever but, no damage can be seen anywhere. I feel the back of my head where that bullet entered and feel the same hardening tissue from before.
With unfamiliar confidence I take less care in ducking into corners of buildings for fear a Beag is just around the corner. I smile at the thought of fighting a Facpour, just maybe I am the weapon that can kill them. If my own race doesn’t accept me anymore then I will fight for what is mine and only mine. And this city is mine.
I spot a group of Terrorlings with a couple warriors just before I decide to stop for the evening. I make quick work of the warriors but the Terrorlings prove to be an interesting challenge. The explosion of the first one from me throwing a circle blade killed several others but also managed to splash onto my arm burning me. When the pain stopped from the burning I noticed the same trend that bullet holes seem to give. I look more alien but no real damage is done. I then go close quarters with the remaining Terrorlings, using my speed to slice quickly and then shielding the blades from the acidic spray causing my back to take most of the impacts. With each successive blast I changed more and more. My back now has several rows of ridges and the skin has gotten even darker. The backs of my hands now have blade like claws that can extend while my inner wrist seems to be changing to form a similar claw on the inside but hasn’t gotten that far.
When I stop for the day I realize just how much I’ve changed and I can’t see a mirror to know how much my face has changed. While my strategy of barreling into combat and killing seems to work well, with each bullet that hits me or burn from explosions I find myself less human. I can’t let myself become a monster, or I will be no better than the Beag. Meaning it’s stealth tactics from here on out.
I sit in my blown out building flexing my claws growing bored. I don’t feel tired at all. Normally a long day traveling and fighting would wear you out enough to want to sit but now I feel on edge. Always ready to leap into combat at first chance. It isn’t long before I hear an exchange of gunfire in the distance. Before I can think, my body decides we are going and I find myself sprinting towards the sound.
With amazing speed I find myself flying through the city blocks. I run into a couple of Beags who have the same idea as me and pick up my pace to get ahead of them. I dispatch them with ease when they charge around a corner. Not a single shot fired just the whirling whistle and slicing of my blades.
Ducking through an old café I find a small group of Determiners only two or three strong fending off a large group of Beag. The soldiers are pinned down in a building that looks close to collapse from all the bullets chipping away pieces of foundation. With six Beag to my left and another twenty or so to my right I jump into the fray. I take out the first two Beag by charging out the café’s doorway slicing like mad. I take out another two before any of them realize there is something wrong. The last two on my side go down before a single bullet connects. I charge down the alley having crossed the street running towards the next block. I run around the block and find myself looking down the street with a few less Beag from well placed Determiner shots. I use the rubble from the collapsing building and various vehicles to get closer to my enemy.
Bullets whiz past my head but I am moving too quickly and out of sight for them to know exactly where I am. Using three cars that had rear ended each other as cover I manage to move towards the back of the Beags. Half of them are still firing at the building while the other half are firing several car lengths behind me. I move quickly and silently eradicate those using cover in the back. The others are none the wiser and manage to kill another handful before their brethren realize fewer shots are being fired. One of them turns only to be met with a clean cut through its skull. With only ten left all attention is redirected to me. I send off another two by going through a car and coming out on their side. I crawl back into the car as bullets rain down. I feel a shot hit me in the small of the back and another in my neck. The pain is instantaneous but so is my body’s response to block out the pain.
With Determiners shooting at their backs only five Beags remain but the warriors have charged into the building. Rather taking the fight from a couple humans than whatever I am. Several bullets fly out the doorway connecting with me in the arm and stomach before I make it to the door and butcher the perpetrators. I hear the remaining two running up the stairs when I hear the blast of shot guns and then silence.
Relaxing out of the bonelike face cover I call out to the people upstairs. My voice comes across garbled with an unfamiliar mouth structure and a new tongue. “Ah cuninc uk. Un cooc heh.” (I’m coming up. Don’t shoot me.) On my way up the stairs my vision turns infrared in the darkness of the building. I put my hands out around the corner showing I’m unarmed. I hear a sharp intake of breath from someone I can’t see yet. Slowly I walk around the corner with my hands raised and see two Determiners and the bodies of another four whose heat is dissipating from death. One of the remaining stands up and shakily motions with his gun for me to walk off to his right. The two of them spread apart making it more difficult for me to kill them my brain says before I silence that track of thought.
I can almost smell the fear on these two, though my age or older they fear what it is I’m capable of after my display. “Wh..wh… why did y…y…you…h… help us? Wh…what are you?”
Their fear is intoxicating and I find my mind wandering in its stimulating effect. They are in my city, killing. I say who lives and dies, not them. There is no place for these weaklings. I grab the shotgun out of hands of the guy in front of me and spin behind his body. The other shaking guy fires off a shot to catch me but only manages to kill his teammate. With his body as a human shield I charge forward and use the butt of the shotgun to snap his neck.
A satisfied grin crosses my face as I watch the heat drain from their bodies. As my overriding desire to fight and kill fades I collapse to my knees and rest my forehead on the body of my last victim. What have I done?
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.