Chapter 1: Awakening
UNHM’s northern UBW military station, CPF room.
I don’t know where I am, I don’t know what’s happening to me…at least…I think that something is happening to me. I feel like I’m floating in water, except it doesn’t quite feel like water, its warmer…and more relaxing. I hear voices, some of them are gruff and some of them are light. One of them asks: “Is he ready?” Another one replies: “He had better be, or else we’re all doomed.” “What about the others?” says the first voice, “They will protect us, won’t they?” “They cannot act without a leader.” I get the feeling that they are talking about me. I open my eyes, which are blinded for a few seconds by a bright light, I slowly realize that the light is coming from the watery stuff that I’m floating in. A couple of people stand in front of me, “He’s awake!” The person from before Says, “Welcome to UBW-273846, X-179.” I move my hands so that I can look at them, they are long and gruff looking, and when I put them to the light, it almost looks like there are tiny gears in them…I get the feeling that there are. I realize that I’m breathing through an air infiltrator. The glowing blue water stuff is slowly draining from the tank that I’m floating in. Once it is empty, a door to my left opens. “Come on out, Harper.” Says the person that stands by the doorway. “Oh, so now we’re giving him nicknames, are we?” Says someone. “Whats with you today? Didn’t get enough coffee?” The person by the door says, than adds to me, “My name is General Mark Smith.” Smith says. “Where Am I?” I Ask, “Oh right, I forgot, you’ve got amnesia! Forgive me for my lack of explanation,” He clears his throat, “You’r affiliation is Prototype-179, if it comforts you to know what you are, you are a cyborg, a war machine built to serve the United Nation’s Human Civilization and lead an elite battalion called the X-Field Battalion against our enemies.”
“Army of the Koroshion Star System.”
“Standard enemy strength? Or more powerful?”
“I’m afraid that there the most powerful alien hostiles that we’ve seen in a long time.” Aliens can be powerful, stupid or weak. Most of them are ether stupid or weak, but some colonies such as the Aracknars, Bravenets, Portramars and us Humans are the most powerful forms of life ever to fly in space. And unfortunately some of these colonies are the ones that waged war on Humans in the Great War of Hailstron. The war of Hailstron was the biggest war in centuries, the whole universe was divided by one small incident, where a riot broke out at a small space station. 137 humans died that day, along with 126 aliens. But I have never heard of the Koroshion star system before.”Well then, if I’m supposed to lead a battalion,” I say, “I ought to meet them, shouldn’t I?” “Of course.” Says Smith, and leads me out of the room.
We come to another room that looks just like the one I woke up in, except there is are more than one tank… their are dozens. “Here we are.” Says General Smith. I look around at all the tanks filled with that same glowing blue water that I was floating in when I woke up. There are more people-no, cyborgs-in those tanks, too. “By the way, do you mind if I call you Harper?” Asks Smith, “Sure.” I say. It’s strange, I can’t quite remember anything from my past, and yet I can remember everything in the dictionary. And yet I also am not surprised by anything that Smith had said before. Strange, I think, Maybe I can remember protocol and stuff because I’m a cyborg? “Are are they all asleep?” I ask Smith. “Yes, but they shall wake up soon enough.” He replies. As he says it, one of the people in the tanks opens his eyes and stares at us. “Ah, apparently X-194 or as I
like to call him, Jay.” Smith walks over to some computers and starts punching in some buttons. Slowly Jay’s tank begins to empty of its contents. I walk over to the tank, open the lock and open the door. Jay stumbles out, blinking with confusion. “What…?Where…?Who…?” He mumbles. “Hello X-194…” Smith explains everything, “…And this is your new commander,
X-179 aka Harper.” He finishes.
“Pleased to meet you.” Says Jay.
“Ready to go blast some aliens?”
“You bet!” He replies. Smith chuckles. “Lets wake up all the others first.” He says.
Soon the room is filled with cyborgs, but they don’t look like what I imagined before I met Jay or looked in a mirror. I imagined parts of their faces to be metal with red eyes; but they all just look like normal people and what I find interesting is that they all have the same features, and what I find even more interesting is that we are… tall. Before, I had just thought that Smith was just a short man and that the scientists were even shorter, but then when I met the other cyborgs, I realized that Smith was actually normally sized, and it was just that the other cyborgs and I were inhumanly tall. We are about three feet taller than the average human.
Smith had explained everything already, so now Smith is leading them to the armory, with me by his side. We enter a room that does not look like the room where I woke up in. It has tall metal walls, which have, what seem to be metal benches, attached to them. On those benches are all kinds of gear; Helmets, armor, med packs, blasters,…Everything an army needed to survive. I pick up one of the helmets. Its red, just like all the other armor peaces, with a blue square visor and has what seems to be a rock at the top of the visor. “Is this X-field ?” I ask. “It is indeed. Built especially for your battalion, sir.” Sir, I can’t seem to quite process the word when its directed at…me. “Why don’t you and you’re men try the armor on?” Smith suggests. I step into the boots of the armor then fit the torso armor and the gloves on , then put the helmet on last. They fit perfectly, as if they were made for me. “This armor can take a lot of damage before you can get hurt and even then, it has special healing properties.” Smith tells us. I pick up a gun, my HUD tells me that it’s called a TB10-LW assault rifle. It also reads that it’s fairly light-weight and powerful,, “I like this thing already.” Says Jay. I turn to see that he is looking at the same kind of assault rifle that I am. “Yes, many soldiers prefer the TB10-LW,” says Smith, “the UNHM’s weapon factories just come out with a new assault rifle called the LIT07, some soldiers have already gotten the new prototypes, but others would rather stick to the originals. Better safe than sorry.” I strap my new rifle to my back with a bandolier. Then I take a small knife and attach it to my belt. I stand up and look around. Some of the people are holding guns-most of them TB10-LWs but some of them had their’s strapped to their backs like me.Then, something catches my eye, a…a sword. A glowing blue sword thing, with an iron handle. “I thought humans only used swords during the medieval ages.” I say. “We did only use swords during the medieval ages,” Explains Smith, “Until we found that they could be more powerful than guns, if used and made properly.” I look up and there is a twinkle in his eye. When he sees that everyone has their weapon of choice he says, “Attention!” Everyone looks up, “Your commander will now give the order of where to go.”
“The Training room!” I say instantly. Its like instinct. Immediately anyone who was sitting down is now standing to attention. We march down the corridor, towards the training room.
Chapter 2: Getting aquainted
I lay down on the mattress at the top of my bunk in the barracks. Everyone else is doing the same. Jay sits to my right, on the top bunk. His data pad is on his lap, and by the way his brow is furrowed with concentration, and his fast typing, I would guess he’s righting in a journal. I look at the sealing. “So, what did it feel like for you when you woke up in that watery stuff?” Jay asks.
“It was…relaxing, what was it like for you?”
“Same, it felt like taking a warm bath after a being outside on a cold rainy day.”
“So…do you think we’ll get to blast some aliens soon?”
“Hopefully…” He says. I sit up, propping my back against the wall, sitting on my pillow. My pillow is actually more like a hard lump of mattress. “What are you reading?” I ask, because now instead of typing very fast, he was reading something very intently. “A book on hostile aliens and the best ways to defeat them.” He answers. “Neat.” I say.
I pull out my own data pad and put it against my legs. “Send a link to me, will you?” I ask him
“Okay.” He replies. He types inn something, and suddenly a message appears on my data pad. I tap the notification, it reads: ‘Here it is, HABWD.-Jay’ I tap the link. As soon as I do so, the message disappears and a whole new page appears. I start to read.
By the time I finish reading the book, it’s seven o’clock and some people are sleeping. Others are reading their data pads, talking to each other or just staring at nothing in particular blankly. The dinner bells go off and everyone gets up and heads for the cafeteria. I pick at what looks like a chunk of meat with my fork. I look at the other people at the table that I’m sitting at. “What is this stuff?” I ask. “Dunno, but look what I got.” Says Jay at my left.
On his plate is a hollow loaf of bread cut in half, with some sort of lettuce inside it. “Look what I got,” says the person from across the table, “I get the feeling that that stuff will make me bounce up and down with joy for no apparent reason.” I completely agree with him, because on his plate is a mound of translucent jelly stuff. “I believe that that is called…jello, that doesn’t sound appetizing,” Says the person next to him, “by the way, I’m X-165, Caleb.” “And I’m X-231, Scorcher.” Says the person with the jello.
“I’m X-194, Jay.”
“So we’re introducing are selves? Well I’m X-228, Vincent, Vin for short.” Says someone to Caleb’s right. “And to answer your question…Harper? Or should I call you commander?” says Caleb.
“Harper is fine.”
“Okay. Anyway, that thing on your plate is called a burger.”
“Burger?” I ask, “Isn’t that a little bit of a weird name?” Caleb shrugs, “Its what they named it.”
“So, do you know what this is, wise guy?” Asks Jay. Caleb looks up at something above the place where we get our food. Than he looks down at Jay’s plate. I see what he is looking at. He’s looking at a small number tag on Jay’s food, that says: 142. Than he looks back up at what I realize is a big sign. I see a list of numbers, for each number theres a name. I look search for number 142, and when I find it, I’m totally stunned by the name. “Cabbage pie.” says Caleb. Cabbage pie? I wonder silently, What kind of a name is that?
We all slowly start to-warily-eat our food.
It turns out that Caleb, Scorch and Vincent all are near me and Jay’s beds. “How was the burger?” Asks Scorcher from the bottom of a bunk to my left. “Good.” I reply.
“I don’t know how you two can eat meat.” Laughs Vin from below me.
“Its fine when you don’t think about what it came from and how you got it.” I say. The lights out warning, blairres.“I can’t believe that we are supposed to get some sleep while that thing goes off.” Says Jay. As soon as he says so, the alarm turns off, the lights go out and there is peace and quite. We all burst into laughter.
Chapter 3: The first mission
UNHM’s northern UBW military base, training room, USA.
I fire my TB-10-LW at someone with armor that has glowing stripes all over it. My HUD says it’s called Phoenix armor. He has a weapon I’ve never seen before. A stunning bullet zips toward me. I try to dodge but it’s almost right in front of me…and than something strange happens, a blue shield appears in front of me, making the bullet disappear when it’s about to hit me. Instantly I feel myself being healed. “Aw, come on!” Says the Phoenix guy, “I wish I was in the X-field battalion!” Some how I get the feeling that he’s grinning like a madman under that helmet. I fire at him and he dodges, but I get his foot then I get his chest. “Haha!” I laugh when he grunts with impatience for his armor to unfreeze. I move on towards another Phoenix guy. I take out a pistol that I purchased and aim at a Phoenix who’s got his back to me, busy fighting another X-field person. I click the trigger. Pew. The Phoenix falls down, frozen. Just then a robotic voice says into a giant microphone, “Red team has the flag!” I remember that this a capture the flag game and not a team death match. I start to look for the flag holder.
I find that he’s desperately fighting against a Phoenix holding M-ZB2 with a TB10-LW . I freeze the Phoenix with my TB10-LW, But it’s too late. The other X-field person is frozen. “Here.” I say and take out a thawing pack from my backpack and attach a small glowing red box to his arm. He gets up and picks up the flag, which he dropped when he was frozen. “Thanks,” he says. “My name is X-230, Kex.” He raises his hand before I can tell him my name. “I know who you are, Commander-179.” He says. “Right,” I say. “Let’s get this flag back to base to base.” When we get there, Kex puts the enemy flag down on the table. It disappears, either the game ended or the flag just spawned back at the enemy base. "Red team scored! Red team wins the match." It appears to be that the game ended. On the way out, I pick up the units of money (Which look like memory cards from camera's) that have my name under them.
Outside, Jay, Caleb, Vin, Scorcher and I, lay in the grass. “So,” Says Jay, “How many hits did everyone get?”
“23.” I say.
“Haha! so nobodies beaten my record yet!” Yells Jay triumphantly. “What’s your record?” asks Vincent. “53.” Jay says, grinning. “53!?” We all shout in disbelief. “Yup!” He says loud enough for a Draco armored guy near by to here, “53! Did you hear that Ivan? 36!” “Yeah, yeah, I can do better than you though,” He replies and walks away. “Jay, how the heck do you find the time to meet other people from other battalions?” I ask.
“Lunch break, Free for alls, teaming up with other battalions,starting rivalries by always freezing particular people in T.D.M's.” He says plainly. “Let’s go to the armory.” Scorcher offers. I say, “Okay.”
When we get to the armory, we see Gen. Smith with in the doorway with his back to us. When he hears us coming, he turns around with same twinkle in his eye that he had when I first met him. “Well, well, well, if it isn’t my favorite battalion!” He says, “Come meet our newest legion!” Legion, I ponder, the UNHM is getting more and more advanced. I walk into the armory. Hundreds and hundreds of soldiers fill the room and their all clad in the same armor. My HUD says its called Thunder armor. All of them look stunned, like they walked into a training room expecting to see enemies and instead find dancing hippos and alligators doing the tango. Jay elbows me in the ribs and whispers, “Do you think thats what we looked like on our first day?” “Probably.” I laugh quietly. I walk deeper into the room muttering, “Excuse me,” or “Coming through.” Most of the soldiers just stare blankly at me. I reach the back of the room where most of the weapons are. “I think I’ll take one of these,” Vin says while looking at an M-ZB2, the same kind of Portable Cannon the Phoenix guy froze Kex with. “I saw a R.O.M.E armored guy get mowed down by a Pegauses person in a F.4.A once.” He picks it up with great difficulty. Vin and Scorcher (who had bought a new rocket launcher) hand in their units of money to a man with a gray jump suit on, by the door. I grab a few freezing grenades and a few real grenades, pay for them and follow the others back into the corridor.
At target practice, Caleb practices with his R700 sniper gun from a long range, while Vincent shows off his new MZ. Scorcher, Jay and I, Practice throwing the grenades I got from the armory. So far Scorcher has the best throw. Boom, I love that sound. Suddenly, a voice booms into the microphone, “ALERT! ALERT! All available units that have been trained for a month or over, pack your stuff and head for the docking bay! This is not a drill! I repeat this is not a drill!”
“Finally, some action!” Whoops Jay.
“You heard him guys, we’re heading to a real fight!” I say.
At the X-field barracks, hundreds of cyborgs clad in red armor, some with their helmets off, gather in one big cluster. I step up onto a platform, for commanders to make announcements, and say; “Okay people, we are about show those stupid aliens who’s boss!” Cheers fill the room. I wait until the room quiets down to say, “Now lets pack up and head to the docking bay!” I step down from the platform and walk to my bed. I don’t have many items to pack; my data pad, my weapons and a weeks worth food and drink.
Drop ships wait for us at the docking bay. We jump into them quickly. “I guess this goodbye then, Commander-179.” I didn’t even realize that Smith was right behind me. “Yeah I guess,” I say, “but we’ll see each other again, count on it.” We salute, then go our separate ways. I grab Caleb’s outstretched hand and he pulls me into into the drop ship. As the doors close, I take a deep breath and prepare myself for whats to come.
Chapter 4: The arival
Vacuum of space, near orbit of Malcust-38, UNHC drop ship.
Silence is such a peaceful thing; after two months of hard combat training, that is. Like many people’s, my visor glows blue in the dark, light or no light. About twenty people sit or stand with me in the drop ship. Some of them read their data pads, others just sit in the dark quietly. “Thirty clicks near orbit,” Caleb breaks the silence. “What assignment do you think they’ll give us?” Asks someone. “Well, apparently it’s an emergency, so it ought’a be something important,” I say. “Twenty clicks near orbit,” Caleb says. I’m not sure how long its been since we took off. A book on space ships reads that its supposed only take a couple hours, but it feels like seven years. Of course it says that too, but you don’t really acknowledge that. My TB-10LW is strapped to my back with a bandolier. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to use it. “Attention!” Says someone into the microphone in the corner of the ceiling, “This is Captain-846 of the Draco Battalion, We’ve just got word from the Imperial', We'll be landing shorty. Over and out!"
“Prep the ascension ropes!” I say.
Our drop ship stopes several meters above the ground, and we jump like acrobats. I land on soft earth. “Ew, is this stuff…waste?” Asks Jay. “Though cows are rare here at UBW, we still have large tanks of their waste in factories, for farmland reasons,” Replies Caleb in a very matter-of-a-fact tone. “My legs are sore from sitting,” complains Scorcher, then he snaps his fingers. “The designers! They should make cushioned seats!”
“Your a genius Scorcher, a plain out genius.” Vin says with sarcasm clearly in his voice. "Thanks!" Says Scorcher brightly. Someone attemps to call me. "Hello? This is Captain-846 of the Draco battalion, calling Commander-179 of the X-field battalion, are you there? Over." "Yes this is Commander-179, over." "Okay, I've gotten word from the Imperial again, they said to give you a message..."
"Why not just give it to me directly?" I ask.
"We are is directly below them, making us able to contact them, and the enemy is cutting off all conection between the Imperial and the other battalions."
"I see. So whats the message?"
"They said that your battalion will sneak up behind the enemy's front lines, which are being distracted by the Pheonix and Cygni battalions, and elimenate them. Sending coordinates, over."
"On it. Over and out." I hang up and look at my men. "Okay men, we have orders to head behind enemy while they'r distracted."
"Sir, yes sir!" We head towards the coordinates that 146 gave us.
We hear the battle before we see it. "STAND YOUR GROUND!" shouts someone, "TAKE THEM OUT! TAKE THEM ALL- AAAAHHH!" "Go, go, go!" I say. We run toward the sound of gun-shots, and find that the combind battalions are struggling to hold out against a huge hord of Speedlings, and when I say huge, I mean HUGE. Millions and billions of diggers slash and bite at the line of cyborgs clad in both Cygni and Phoenix armor, who brandish metal sheilds against them-occasionally opening a crack in their defences to slash aliens with a windblade or so that someone else can fire a Nova-27 or an M2456S . As we race down the hill, I see a Stalker leap over a Cygni's sheild. It nocks the Cygni down, he doesn't get back up. "Nathen! NO!" Yell several Cygnies. Wait a second, I think to myself, I've heard of Nathen. Nathen was the deputy of the Cygni battalion, and one of the greatest cyborgs that ever lived. But if the stalker doesn't kill him, than the stream aliens that comes rushing through the crack in our defence, trampling him, has. "RETREAT!" Shouts the commander of Cygni battalion.
At the camp in Ancient Vision, we discuss X-field battalion's mission. "The enemy is slowly surounding us. The only openings are here and here," The commander points at two areas on the map. "And Scouts have reported that the passage through the dunes has mine-bombs planted in that area," says the Phoenix commander. "Which leaves the bridge," I say. "Well then, its settled. X-feild battalion will sneak around the enemy's forces, while we keep them at bay," says the Draco commander. I walk out of the command tent, and jog toward the group of bunkers. Some of the troops outside of the bunkers are talking to other Cygnies or Phoenixes. Inside the X-field bunker, I find Vin, Jay, and Scorcher hanging out around the stairs that lead to the Caffeteria. "Where's Caleb?" I ask.
"He's on look out duty. The general was pretty impressed by his sniper skills for some reason." Answers Vin.
"Yup, General-132 came with the Andromedae Battalion for reinforcements."
"Cool." I can't help but feel proud for Caleb, after all, the General of one of the most elite battalions ever, had admired his skills. That's a good sign.
That night I can't sleep. I feel both scared and excited about being outside of training and out in the wide world. Finally I drift off into sleep.
I dream that Nathen is holding a Nova-27 infront of someone with Atom armor, in one of the bunkers. Then Nathen turns into Gen. Smith, then into Caleb, then into someone with Andromedae, then finally into someone with Draco armor. The Draco armored cyborg takes off his helmet. I stiffle a gasp, because the Draco that is pointing his Nova-27 at the Atom armored person, is Ivan, the person that had bet against Jay at the training base. And he's grinning an evil grin. "So! Someone has finally caught me! Oh, but look! He doesn't have a weapon, and I have!" He laughs cruelly, "And I intend to use it!" With that, he fires at the Atom. The Atom screams, and I shout, "NO!" But the dark bunker is already fading away.
Chapter 5: An uncertain future
X-field barracks, Malcust-38, UNHM
Someone is shaking me awake. I blink the sleep out of my eyes, and see that its Scorcher. He looks concerned. "Sir, are you alright?"
"You were talking gibberish and than all of a sudden, you shouted 'NO!'."
"Oh, must've been a bad dream," should I tell him happened in my dream? What was it about? I decide to keep it to myself, until I figure it out. I climb out of my bunk, and walk to the caffateria. I munch on a scone as I think about what I saw. Was it a vision? He certainly hoped not. After I finish eating, I get up, walk down to the stairs to the sleeping quarters, then out the door to the command tent. I nod to the general of Andromedae battalion, and he nods back. "Good morning commander-179," Says the commander of Cygni battalion, "Are your troops ready?" "Ready to fight sir." "Good, you may prep your weapons and head out than. Good luck." I thank him and walk out the door. As I walk out, I trip over someones shoe and fall over. "Omygosh, I'm so sorry! Are you okay?" Says the person who's shoe I tripped over, in a female voice. I get to my feet, and take of my helmet and say, "Its fine. Hi, my name is Harper, whats yours?" She takes off her helmet, to reveal a slim featured face, and blond hair, "C-576 Salina, pleased to meet you." "Uhhh, right... I should probably... umm... get the troops together." I say slugishly. "Try not to die," She says, smiling. As I walk away, heat rushing to my face, I realize, I should have laughed to that! ARGG! Harper you idiot!
Back at the bunker, I step into one of those boxes that commanders use for giving orders to his or her battalion. I speak into the microphone, "Attention all X-fielders! This is your commander speaking! All troops meet me at the top of Mt. Codak!" As I step out of the box, I see Jay with his arms crossed, and wearing a grin that made it looked like he just got his best birthday present ever. "So," He said, his grin widening, "Who was that, you were talking to?" I look at him quizically, then understanding wash over my face, acompenied with blush, "You mean Salina?" Jay whistles, "Oooooh! Salina! Even more romantic!" I blush again and gape, "You think-! Me and her-! Wha-!" He rolles his eyes at me and says, "Duh! I saw you two talking, and when you turned around, you were as red as Caleb will be when he relizes that he doesn't know every single thing in UBW!" I can't help but let out a laugh, "Really?" We are both laughing now. When are chuckling dies down, Jay and I run to Mt. Cadok.
As I count each soldier, I can hear roars in the distance. Malcust used to be a peacefull planet, but today its a war-zone. I stand on a high rock and say, "Alright men! We all no our mission, so lets go! For the UNHM!"
No one knows whats going to happen, and no one knows if we'll come back alive. But we do know that we are fighting for something, and that that something, is worth fighting for.
We hide behind several large bolders, behind the alien camp, as we wait for the alien army to move out. Finnally, after fifteen minutes, we hear the rumbling of hooves, claws, bristled spider's legs, the humming of wings in the air, and slow slimey crawling of slugish creatures, heading away from us. I turn on athe private commlink to all squad leaders. "Ok, ready? 1...2...3! GO!" We all leap around and over the bolders, and fire our weapons. The aliens are taken by suprise, or so we think. Then, suddenly, they devide into two battalions. The battalion in the front keeps charging, while the other alien battalion doubles back and charges us. I can imagine silence and someone heart beating, as aliens charge humans. Then that silence is broken as we make contact. Screams, yells, slashing, gunshots, biting, roaring. Chaos is upon us. Hell, has come alive, and is thriving on us. Blood. Havoc. Death. And then silence. The enemy is driven back. We've one. But with heavy casualties. Hundreds of cyborgs lay unmoving clad in red armor. I see some breathing heavily, unconssius. I call some medics.