Outer Planetary Genocide

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Humans have finally made it to Mars. What they found in its depths could further humanity forever. Studies were made on a space colony. However... Not everything went according to plan.

Submitted: August 09, 2018

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Submitted: August 09, 2018

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Outer Planetary Genocide

In the Lost Colony



 

Nine. Nine brave souls. They stood in the vast, green valley. Mountains in the distance. The wind blowing heavily. The RSF rocket launch facility just ahead. Each one of them, wearing the same blue jumpsuit. All awaiting their commander. Evan wiped his brow, sending water onto the grass below. Markus put his hands in his pockets to keep them from shaking. Tiffany bounced up and down nervously. Lexus twirled her blond hair. Milla gazed up at the blue, cloudless sky. Steven fiddled with a picture of his wife and kids. Marla picked at the dirt. Carl stretched his arms. John laced his fingers over and over. A long, jet black car drove into view. It purred to stop next to them, blasting John and Carl with dust. A man stepped out. He was wearing a long white and black business suit, dark sunglasses over his eyes. He put away a kleenex. He walked with determination, in front of the nine soldiers.

“ Good morning gentlemen and women.” He began. His voice deep, and very serious. “ As you all know, this was most likely the last time you will ever see your families. I hope you’ve said your goodbyes. Ahead of you, is a rocket that will take you to the AR Colony, just over Mars’ orbit.” He paced back and forth as he spoke. The soldiers stared at him, dripping with sweat. “ That colony has had some… issues, that need to be taken care of. Your mission, is to eliminate the threat, evacuate the survivors, and… if possible, take some data back with you.” The man pivoted, facing the soldiers. “ But! Your number one priority, is always your own safety. We cannot, and will not risk losing more of us to these damned creatures. If there is no other solution, then god damn it get out of there and back here!” He pointed at the ground. “ Once you land in that colony, you are not safe. Lemme repeat that. You, are, not, safe. Now, I don’t wanna make you go crying back to your mommies, but this isn’t a video game either. This ain’t Halo, or Call Of Duty. No, this is real life. This is real research we could be in danger of losing. If we let those things go out of control on that space station, who knows what would happen.” He straightened up, the soldiers following suit. “ So then, soldiers. Take one last look at this earth. Everything around you. Because it could be your last. Take a good solid look at the people who are currently standing next to you. They will be your partners, your soul mates. You need each other. Both in the fireteam, and out of it. Get used to each other. You signed up for this, together.” He turned, facing the sky. “ Those… things, have to be stopped. We don’t know what went wrong, that’s your job.” He turned to them again.“ Are there any questions?”

 

The nine soldiers didn’t say anything. Evan raised his hand. The others gasped softly. The wind swept his blond hair, his blue eyes filled with hope and determination.
“ I have one, sir.” The man in the suit whipped around, smiling.
“ Evan! What is it?”
“ Sir. This, research. What happens… if our mission fails?” The commander looked at Evan, rubbing his dark chin.
“ Well, in that case we have to move on. Nothing anyone can do if we lose all of our progress. But you all are here to prevent that. Save the ones who are still there, and come back with something, so we don’t have to start over with nothing. And get rid of the infestation as well. We don’t want it coming down to us.”

“ Yes, sir.” Evan gulped. So did the others. The commander got a call on his phone. He put it to his ear and listened for a moment.

“ Yes, thank you.” He turned back to the soldiers. “ Welp. They’re ready for you to take off.” He saluted. “ Good luck soldiers. Up there, you represent humanity. Give ‘em hell.” The nine men and women saluted back.

“ SIR YES SIR!” They all shouted at once. They all clambered into the car, and were driven to the rocket launch site.

 

 



 

Evan opened the door to his team’s cockpit. It was quite small. Three seats, with a small section in the back for their exo suits to be held. The suits were already there. Each in a glass casing. The control module, white and shiny, built into the front, with a large glass window giving way to the open sky. Evan crawled inside, gazing at the suits. They were all black, with streaks of red and white lining them. On the front was an AR symbol, in green. On the backs were small tanks, filled with oxygen, and small pockets containing the R pucks and a slot for their rifles and pistol. The helmet had a built in comms system, allowing easy communication to other comrades and the military if need be. The legs had thin wings, that when activated opened up and released pressurized energy. This allowed the user to dash quickly in almost any angle. Evan gazed at them, in awe. He’d only seen such designs in media. He could hardly believe he was going to wear one in real life. He heard someone else enter the cockpit. A man with dark brown hair, and green eyes. Markus joined Evan next to the suits.

“ Really are something, aren’t they?” He asked. Evan nodded.

“ Definitely. This almost doesn’t seem real.”

“ It’d be better if it wasn’t right?” Markus chuckled. Evan smiled.

“ For the ones up in the colony, yeah.”
“ It was the aliens, right? From inside Mars?”
“ I think so, that’s what the briefing said.”
“ The briefing barely gave us shit honestly.” Markus sat down. “ They just said a bunch of flowery things to make us come all the way out here.”

“ I guess so. But here we are anyway.” Evan sighed, sitting down as well.

“ But hey, we’ve been in the military long enough. We got this. Right?” Markus gently punched Evan’s shoulder.
“ Yeah, right! I just wonder what the hell is up there.”
“ We all do, that’s what’ll be happening. Once the others get their slow asses up here.” Evan let out a small chuckle.
“ Probably just taking their time.”
“ We don’t got time, damn it.” Markus laid down. “ But if it lets me rest for a bit then sure. Who’s flying?”
“ Tiffany.”
“ Oh right. Wasn’t she supposed to be on Fireteam Dragoma?”
“ It wasn’t Evona?”
“ I know it wasn’t Briona.”
“ Then it has to be Dragoma.”
“ That’s us, so where is she?”

 

A third person climbed into the cockpit. She had black hair, dark eyes and equally dark skin. “ Don’t cum your pants, I’m here.”
“ Hey Tif, and how did you know my secret?” Markus asked.
“ That’s gross, come on.” Evan said, smirking.

“ No grosser than what we are about to be doing.” Markus said.

“ Pretty much. Let’s just hope we don’t bring them back with us.” Tiffany squatted down.

“ That’d suck.” Evan agreed.

“ So when do we equip these bad boys?” Tiffany asked, motioning toward the exo suits.

“ I think once we get there.” Markus said.

There? Isn’t that a bit late?”
“ I guess, but it’s what they tell us so, eh.” Markus shrugged, Evan doing the same.

“ Right, well, it’ll be so legit to be a space warrior.” Tiffany said dreamily.

“ Sure it will.” Evan said.

 

The three of them waited around fifteen minutes before Evan got a call on his comms phone. It was the commander.
“ Break time over everyone. Shut your doors and prepare for launch!” They all shot up, scrambling into their seats.

“ Start her up man.” Markus said.

“ I wonder how fast we’ll get there.” Tiffany said. Evan pressed some buttons. The rocket began to roar to life as he and the other two teams started their section up. Over the comms, a countdown started. Blast off in five, four, three… Markus fiddled with his hands. Tiffany rocked her feet, staring outside. Two, one, go! The whole rocket started to raise into the sky. As it reached the clouds, it increased speed. Soon all three teams were out past the atmosphere, and had left planet Earth. The stars shined bright in the far off reaches of space. The moon shone grimly, as they blew past. They advanced on Mars at incredible speeds. No one could say anything but watch. They had all done simulations, but that didn’t prep them for the real thing. Mars’ red, desert like surface penetrated the dark. The once thought to be barren landscape, now holding the darkest creatures mankind has ever known. A large, grey space colony hovered just outside of its orbit. Its windows dark and dead. The rocket slowed to a halt as it reached the arrival center. Evan pressed a button to his left, and a small bridge extended outwards, consuming the rocket. It was moved by large rafters to the docking bay. It came to halt with a menacing screech. They had entered the colony.

 

All three members of Dragoma stayed absolutely still.

“ So, are we moving?” Tiffany finally asked.

“ Better get our power gear on first.” Markus said.

“ Good idea.” Evan crawled out of his seat. “ Any idea on how to open these cases?” Markus came over, placing his hand on a small hand recognition pad. It beeped green, and they opened.
“ Like that. All you need are magic fingers.”
“ Can your magic fingers do our mission for us?” Tiffany asked, joining them.

“ Guess we can see.” Each soldier equipped their suit. It was hard, in such a cramped space. Once they had done so, they filed out of the cockpit door, stepping out onto the steel bay floor. Evan stretched, looking himself over.

“ I feel great, wow.” He said.

“ I know right? These alien thingies don’t stand a chance.” Markus said.

“ A bit tight, but I can handle it.” Tiffany said.

“ You guys look good.” Lexus came over, placing a hand on her hip. The other members grouped with them, all in their suits. Only way to tell the difference was their faces.

“ I feel ready to kick some ass.” John said.

“ Yeah, shove my fist up their disgusting throats!” Carl agreed.

“ Guys, chill out.” Milla said. “ We are here to complete the mission. We cannot risk goofing around.” |
“ Who are you the commander? Dang.” John said.
“ No, but we need someone to keep us from getting ourselves killed. These suits are of aid to us. They won’t carry us through this.”
“ She’s right.” Marla was leaning against the wall. “ We shouldn’t waste time either. There could be people in here, dying as we speak. Come on.”
“ Alright alright.” Markus put his hands up. “ What are the teams again?”
“ Me, you and Tiffany for Dragoma.” Evan spoke up. Everyone turned to  face him, making him stutter a bit. “ Lexus, Milla and Steven for Evona.”

“ And me Carl and John for Briona. Got it” Marla said. Evan nodded.

“ Everyone ready?” They all did a mix of nodding and sighing. “ Then let’s move. Stay on the comms, let us know if anything happens. Move out. Dragoma will take the food center first.”

“ Briona will take the housing center.” Carl said.

“ Then Evona will take the research place.” Steven said. Evan nodded.
“ Good luck.” The nine soldiers split up, and went their separate ways.




 

Fireteam Dragoma stepped through the arrival lounge. Tables and sofas where visitors would come to wait were turned over, ripped apart. Long claw slashes torn through them. An entry clerk station window was smashed, the inside stained with blood. The whole room was stained with blood.

“ God damn. What the hell?” Markus said.

“ Where are the bodies?” Tiffany asked. Evan inspected the blood.

“ This is fairly recent. The bodies must have been taken, or…”

“ Or they were eaten.” Markus decided. He looked around the ripped up sofas. “ These look so comfy too.” Across the room, Tiffany made a gagging sound.

“ What? What is it?” Evan asked, approaching her.

“ I-it’s…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. Evan looked over her shoulder at the ground. A disembodied head of a woman lay there. Eyes rolled back in its sockets, flesh of the throat hanging out the bottom. Evan put a hand on Tiffany’s shoulder.

“ Let’s...keep moving. We’ll find ‘em, I promise.” Tiffany nodded, trying to stay confident.

“ Hey guys, over here.” Markus waved his hand, motioning for them to come to a door next to the clerk’s desk.

“ Is it open?” Evan asked. He and Tiffany came over to him. Markus gave the door a hard bash.

“ Nope. Shit this place is solid.”

“ Not solid enough.” Tiffany said softly.

“ I think I have an idea, stand back.” Evan took his pistol out from its holster. He set it to laser mode. He aimed at the door, and pressed the trigger. Instantly a small red beam hit the metal door, melting into it. Evan made a circle large enough for them to get through. Once he finished, he turned to Markus.

“ Care to try now?”

“ Sure I-”
“ No I got it.” Tiffany interrupted. She ran ahead, and barreled full body into the door. It fell inward, causing her to fall onto the floor of the next room.

 

Tiffany got up.

“ Told you.”

“ Nice.” Markus stepped in around her, Evan following. They were in a hallway. A door further down read restrooms. Past that and to the left, Housing and Food and Dining.

“ Let’s quickly check the bathroom and then head for the eating area. Briona should be in the housing anyway.” Evan told his comrades.

“ Oh the bathroom? Man that’s so weird.” Markus said.

Really? Don’t talk about weird when we’re here.” Tiffany told him.

“ Alright fine, I’ll wait for you two out here then, see if anything comes.” Evan moved past him.

“ Not funny. But okay, Tiffany?”
“ S-sure.” She hurried into the bathroom after Evan. They looked around. There was more blood covering the walls and flooring. A body of a small child lay torn apart in a back stall. Flies buzzing around him. The doors were completely ripped off. Thrown against the wall, cracked in half on the ground. The toilets were spewing a soft river of water. The sink dripped with blood and an intestine hanged off of it. Evan put his right hand to his ear.

“ Hello? Fireteam Briona, this is Dragoma, do you copy?”

“ Yes, this is of Carl of Briona, what’s up?”

“ We’ve inspected one of the restrooms… It doesn’t look good. Neither did the arrival lounge.”

“ Oh… me and the others are in the care, or housing center. Seriously looks like an insane asylum in here.” Evan could hear someone pick up and drop something heavy in the background.

“ Yeah… What did you find specifically?” Evan glanced at Tiffany, who was leaning against the bathroom wall, hand on her face, inhaling deeply.

“ Uh…” It took a moment for Carl to answer. “ Blood, blood, more blood. Every piece of furniture absolutely wrecked. Oh and there’s an arm.”

“ Are you being serious?”
“ Yes! Marla’s touching it.” His voice got more distant. “ Hey, why are you touching it?” Evan heard Marla give some sort of retort. “ Whatever, don’t contract an std alright? Anyway, what’s your status Evan?” Evan explained what he’d seen. “ Oh, seems about the same as us, except no claw marks, just, acid stains.”
“ Acid?”
“ Yeah, I don’t get it. How many are there?” Evan looked at the faded ceiling, silent for a moment.

“ I… dunno. Just stay safe, we’ll meet up soon.”
“ Got it. You too.” Carl cut the comms.

 

He turned to Tiffany, holstering his pistol. He motioned for her to leave the bathroom. They met back up with Markus in the hallway.

“ Hey, what’d you see?”
“ The same thing.” Tiffany said.

“ Oh, well. Should we keep going?”

“ Yeah, to the dining center.” Evan said. He pointed to the door with the eating sign. “ We might find something in there.”
“ Alright.” Markus followed Tiffany and Evan to the door. It opened easily, with a high pitched creaking. The cafeteria was ruined as well. Every table was either flipped over, smashed, or ripped. The chairs broken against the wall. The food stand’s glass shattered, food scattered across the ground. The body of a man in a white uniform was propped against a railing, his chest split open. The team took careful steps around.

“ There had to be at least more than a dozen of them to make this much trouble in only a day.” Markus said, inspecting the food stand. Shelves were on the floor, cups everywhere.

“ I know they had around twenty eggs.” Tiffany said. “ They said there weren’t that many in that cave lake they found.” Evan noticed something on one of the tables that was still standing. He walked over to it, looking downward. It was a medium sized Ipad. Stained with blood, the screen flickered, still showing a news article. Evan picked up the device with his gloved left hand, holding it up to his visor. One part of it caught his attention. The three species, as have been discovered as of early 2045, are the following: ( Names given by the scientists, may or may not be placeholders.)
Toni, human like, with big claws.
Arni, arachnid like, with acidic mouths.

Marki. Spherical, gives off some aura.

These creatures are still being researched. As so, not much information is yet to be known… It then continued on to talk about the food and housing selections. Typical advertising fair. Evan set the ipad back down.

“ Well, they have weird names.” Markus was right behind him. Evan jumped.

“ Jesus, don’t be so quiet!”
“ Sorry!” Evan waved him off.
“ We should move on, we need to find them.”

“ How are we supposed to kill three whole species in here?” Tiffany asked. She was looking at the blood stains on the wall.

“ We just gotta do our thing, that’s all.” Markus said, fingering his rifle.

 

Suddenly all three of their comms starting buzzing. Evan picked up immediately, the others doing the same. It was fireteam Briona.

“ Hello?! Dragoma are you there?! Were being-” It was Marla’s voice. She sounded panicked. She was cut off as something slammed against the wall next to her. Evan could hear gunshots as something entered the room.

“ Marla?! Marla can you me?” Evan asked loudly.

“ Big spider- acid spit-” It was cut off again.” Evan remembered what Carl had mentioned.

“ Briona get out of there and regroup at the cafeteria! Do you copy?!” He could only hear more gunfire. There was a hissing sound. Someone screamed in agony. The comms were cut. “ BRIONA!” Nothing. Evan lowered his shaking hand. He looked at his comrades. Tiffany was wide eyed and Markus was pulling out his rifle.

“ Let’s go find ‘em.” He said. Evan nodded. He took out his rifle, and started for the door to the housing center.

 

Before he could make it to the door, the whole room shook. Something began to bang on the door from the other side. Evan raised his hand and waved, motioning for his team to spread out. Tiffany got out her rifle, almost dropping it. They all stared as the door was ripped open. Four, large, humanoid figures stomped into the room. They were a dark red color. Armor like skin covered their body. Their faces only had small mouths and tiny eye holes that were pitch black. Long tails slithered along the floor behind them. Their fingers and toes consisted of sharp, pointed claws, around a foot long. In total Evan guessed they were around eight feet tall, barely scraping the ceiling. The Toni looked at Fireteam Dragoma. At first nothing happened. Markus made the first move.

 

He open fired at one of the Toni. The bullets penetrated the skin, however it’d take a lot of firepower to put it down completely. The four creatures roared. The one that’d been shot charged at Markus fast. It grabbed him, its claws digging into his suit. Markus moaned as he was lifted into the air. The Toni raised its other hand. Evan unloaded his whole clip into his head. The Toni hit the floor, dropping Markus. The other three were upon them. Evan rolled to the side, missing a swipe. He ran to the opposite side of the room trying to put a new clip into his ammo socket. He’d barely done so as the Toni was upon him. It ripped the gun from his hand, sending it sprawling across the floor. Evan ducked between the thing’s legs. Crawling behind it. He punched it, doing nothing. The tail tripped Evan, and as he fell the thing caught him. The Toni began to gouge its claw into his chest, drawing downward across his side. Evan yelled. The Toni was shot in the side by a small laser. Tiffany was firing. The Toni, distracted, started for her. This gave Evan time to reach for his own pistol. He desperately jammed it inside of the creature’s mouth, and pulled the trigger. They both hit the floor. Evan got up. Three of the Toni were dead. Markus was cornered. He was firing at his on comer, but he’d be dead before he could break the body armor. Evan sprinted at Toni, leaping onto its back. He grabbed the head with both hands, turning it toward Tiffany. She used her pistol and fired into the thing’s mouth. It dropped dead to the floor.

 

Evan offered his hand to Markus, who was sitting down on the floor. He waved him away.

“ I gotta heal up first man.” He said. Markus reached for his back, pulling off his R puck. A small yellow and black disk. He pressed it to his chest, and pressed a white button on its surface. It began to glow, as it dispensed health fluid into his body. Markus exhaled as relief washed over him. Evan did the same, putting his puck to his side, feeling the fluid enter his body. Tiffany was somehow unscathed. She’d stayed back during the battle. She tried to contact Fireteam Briona.
“ Hello? Briona do you copy?” No response, only silence. “ Hello? Briona, are you there, please respond!” Nothing. “ Fuck!” She sighed deeply, attempting not to cry. Markus stood up.

“ Look at these things man.” He walked over to a body. “ They don’t even seem real.” He stomped on its head, squishing it down.

“ They’re as real as we don’t want ‘em to be.” Evan said. “ Also, I wouldn’t recommend stepping on them, we don’t need you to be Isaac Clarke.”
“ Says the one who literally strangled one.”

“ Only to save you.”
“ Eh, it’s whatever. We can discard these suits once we go back home.”
“ Are you guys worried at all that Briona might be DEAD?” Tiffany said loudly.

“ Did they not answer the call?” Markus asked.

“ NO! You’re such a-” Tiffany had to stop herself. Evan stepped between them.

“ Come on guys, fighting each other won’t help. Let’s go find Briona right now.”

“ How are you so calm?” Tiffany asked. Evan looked at her. She could tell through his visor that he was trying his hardest not to break down also.

“ I-I… We need to stay calm, for the whole of us… Please.” Markus put a hand on his shoulder.

“ Of course. Let’s move.” Evan and Tiffany nodded solemnly. Markus stepped through the whole in the door leading to the housing, followed by Evan and Tiffany.

 

The hall going down to the housing center had another restroom stop. The group didn’t bother. They didn’t have time. They didn’t have to worry about opening the next door, since it was melted open already. The sides burned with green acid. Each soldier lifted their feet in carefully. Another, longer hallway. Similar to a dorm floor. Multiple doors, each labeled with a number from one to fifty. Odds on the left, and evens on the right. Almost every one of them was burned open. The team split up, checking different rooms. Each one had the same things. Acid melted everything inside. The beds, the tables, desks, toys, consoles, TVs, trash cans. The floor was corroded. It was as if the place had been flooded by lava. Tiffany called Evona.

“ Fireteam Evona, do you copy?”

“ Yes, this is Lexus of Evona. What’s your status?”

“ Terrible. We lost comms with Briona, and we can’t find them. We had an encounter with the aliens.”
“ So did we. Weird… Floating things. We couldn’t do much to ‘em. About six of them, just floating like gravity didn’t matter. We had to retreat back to the arrival center.”
“ G-good, is everyone on your side okay?”
“ Yeah! Steven and Milla are a bit shaken up, especially after hearing Briona.”
“ You know?”
“ We were on the call also.”
“ Oh… Well, what’s your plan?”
“ Not sure, you?”

“ We’re trying to find Briona. Did you manage to find anything in the research center?”

“ A little bit. Steven spent a lot of time digging around.” Tiffany heard Steven say something in the background. Something about space tech being hard to decipher. “ We didn’t really get much until those things burst out of the fucking vents.” Tiffany looked up. There was a vent above her, open.

“ V-vents?”
“ Yeah, it was…” Lexus sighed. “ I dunno, I’m beginning to wish we hadn’t done this.”
“ That makes two of us.”

 

Evan joined the call. He was leaning against the melted doorframe of room thirty six.
“ That’s good you are all still here. Evona. Meet back up in the research center. We can stick together and get the data we need.”

“ Okay, that’s fine.” Lexus said. Milla joined the call.
“ G-guys..?” She asked softly.

“ What is it Milla?” Evan asked.

“ Did you… find any survivors?”

“ No… not yet. Briona was supposed to, and so far we haven’t.” Markus entered the call.

“ Guys, you’ll want to see this.” Evan and Tiffany cut comms, walking quickly to room fifty five. An entire group of ten human bodies were scattered around the room. Acid leaking inside of them, blood spilling out. Some of them were Fireteam Briona. John was propped against the wall. Carl was hugging three children. Marla was behind a bed sheet with five other people. Tiffany stumbled back into the hall, tears pouring out. Markus shook his head in silence. Evan pounded his fist on the wall.

Damn it! We were so CLOSE!” He shut his eyes, feeling tears of his own stream out. Markus put a hand on his shoulder gently.

“ Evan… I know. But… We can still make this worth it.” Evan raised his head, staring at Markus. Markus was trying to stay strong, faking a smile. Evan righted himself. He knew complaining about this wouldn’t change anything. There was still one part of the mission they could accomplish.

“ Okay…”

“ I’ll go get Tiffany.” Markus left the room. Evan went to each soldier’s body, taking off their comms piece. Each one had their names inscribed on it.  He stuffed them inside of his pack.

“ You won’t be forgotten. I swear it.” He saluted. Then he put his hand to his ear.

“ Evona. Meet with us at the research. Briona is… dead.” Before anyone could respond, he cut off.  After an insufferable minute of respective silence, he left the room.

 

Fireteam Dragoma exited the housing facility. They found themselves on a long open stretch. A steel walk around going the circumference of a center glass tower, with a single growing tree in the middle of a little grassy island. A plaque in gold read: Never Forget Our Home. Several doors lead to restrooms, and shortcuts to previous locations. A locked gate to the research facility was at the other end of the stretch. Tiffany looked up, noticing that the air vents were open in here as well. She gripped her rifle tighter.

“ Guys, those vents. They might come from there.” Evan and Markus nodded.
“ We’ll be careful then.” Evan said. They began forward, slowly. They made it halfway in peace. Their footsteps squeaked along the floor. The stationed buzzed in a low hum. Then a crawling could be heard in the vents. The team froze, readying their guns. Evan and Markus placed themselves near the glass, and Tiffany across from them along the wall. The crawling in the vents got louder and louder. Thump, thump, thump, thump thump thumpthumpthump. A large, spider like creature dropped out of the vent in the middle of the team. It was a dark blue, with eight legs, no head. Its face inside of its torso. It had a small mouth that could shoot out a clean stream of acid. On its back was a larger opening. Allowing it to release a wider range of spray. It looked at the soldiers, its mouth gurgling a light green liquid. Foam dripped from its  mouth and behind. Two more Arni dropped down from the vents behind it. The team was surrounded. Nowhere to run. Tiffany looked at Evan, who looked back. His expression told her to stay calm, and that they would get out of this. For Briona.

 

Evan got a plan. He raised his rifle, quickly shooting at the Arni to his left. The bullet hit the ground next to it. The arachnid thing reacted fast, spraying out acid at him. Evan dove into Markus as they both hit the ground. The acid melted the glass, making a hole big enough for them to go through.

“ Get on the other side of them and shoot their ass.” Evan told Markus.

“ Got it.” Markus said. Neither knew if they were right, but it was all they had. The two men ran into the tree’s circle. The three Arni followed, spraying acid. More of the glass melted in the tower. Tiffany aimed her rifle, shooting at the Arni’s top. The bullets bounced off.

“ No you have to fire at its ass!” Markus yelled. The Arni gained on them. Evan leaped over one, getting a little bit of poison on his leg. He rolled over, wiping it off on the ground. His suit was burned a small bit. Markus jumped up, grabbing a branch and swinging over another. Acid hit the tree, the wood tearing away.
“ The ass, alright then…” Tiffany focused on the middle Arni’s behind, pumping it full of lead. The thing let out a scream like high pressurized gas. It dropped to the floor dead. Another one turned to face her, spraying out acid. Her right shoulder and arm got hit as she ran out of the way. Tiffany gasped as she tried to wipe the stuff off, rubbing it on the glass. Markus shot down the second Arni, running to her side.

“ Tif! Shit.” He quickly grabbed a shard of glass, trying to wipe away the acid. He only got some of it off before it too was melted. “ Hell is this stuff?!” His comms went off. He pressed the side of his head. “ What?”
“ Dragoma this is Evona…! We’re in the research room an...” It was Milla, she sounded as if she were tired.
“ Good we’re just on the other side of the door we need help!”
“ We’re being surrounded by those things again….Need back up....” She seemed to fall asleep, and it cut off. Evan boosted over the last Arni. The thing let out a wave from its behind. Evan boosted again, straight up. It had dodged the attack, but his thrusters were overheated now. He’d need to wait a few minutes before he could dash again. He landed on top of the thing, hugging it. The Arni whirled around, trying to throw him off of it. Evan threw his rifle at its head, but missed. He jammed his pistol inside of its behind, pulling the trigger. He climbed off and  picked up his rifle, leaving the pistol in the body.

 

Evan stepped over the other Arni to reach Tiffany. Her right arm had gone limp, as acid leaked inside of it. Markus had an R puck on her, to keep her from passing out from the pain. However she was still disoriented.

“ That arm’s gonna be useless now.” Markus decided. “ Shit.” Evan bent down, inspecting his comrade’s injury. “ Also I got a call from Evona, they need help.” Evan put both hands to his visor, as if to cover his anxiety and potential breakdown.

“ Then someone needs to go help them.”
“ I will.” Markus got up, already heading for the research entrance door. “ You get Tiffany up and running.”

“ What about your puck?”

“ I don’t need it, mission is almost over anyway.” Markus opened the door and stepped in. The steel grey gate shut behind him. Evan heard gun fire… and then nothing. His whole body shook, his nose dripped, his eyes watery. He wanted to lay down right there and cry until death. But he couldn’t. Tiffany was still here, with him. Evan raised his head to see her. She was slumped against the glass, her right arm green and liquidy. If the mission didn’t kill her, the acid would.

 

Evan took off the puck slowly. Immediately she began to inhale sharply from pain. She tried to clutch her arm, but that made it worse. Evan realized that taking her into the next room was suicide at this point. She was in too much pain to do much of anything. Her face constrained with concentration and sweat. Her eyes closed tight, her body scrunched up. Tiffany was dying slowly in front of him. It was almost as if he could see the acid leaking into the rest of her body, melting her organs and veins. To someone passing by, it may not look have looked so bad. You wouldn’t know it until you had it flowing inside of you. Evan stood upward, holding up his rifle. He trained it on her head. Tiffany’s eyes opened, barely looking at him.

“ F-finish...This… For us…” She muttered. Evan’s hands trembled as he held the rifle. He closed his eyes, still moist, and pulled the trigger.

 

Evan put his right hand to his comms.

“ Hello? Is anyone here, anyone at all?” Nothing. Everyone else should be in the room next to him. He began to move toward the research room door. Each foot felt fake, as if it shouldn’t be happening. Perhaps this was all a dream. He’d wake up in his room, and be able to go back to the army. At least there he wouldn’t be tortured by his comrade’s deaths, out in space where he was alone.

“ This is their damn fault.” He told himself aloud. “ They could’ve sent more of us up here. Why didn’t they? Cowardly bastards.”Evan knew he should’ve fled the colony. He might still be able to get out alive if he did. But no, he could still finish one part of the mission. If not for the people, then for his comrades. Finish this, for us. He was determined to.

 

The gate opened easily. Evan had his rifle up and aimed, ready to fire immediately. He had prepared himself for what he’d see. But that didn’t stop it from hitting him. Fireteam Evona hadn’t been ripped apart, or even melted to death. They’d been intoxicated. There were nine control panels laid out evenly in front of him. Most of them were broken and blood splattered. Lexus was along the floor. Milla was laying on top of the far back right panel. Steven was face first against the glass window that stared out into space. On the outside they looked completely fine. Evan didn’t see anything else in the room. He walked over to Lexus, and took off her helmet. Her skin was entirely blue. Her eyes cloudy and grey. Whatever had happened, it had shut down their internal bodily functions. He took off her comms piece and stood back up, sighing heavily. He gathered the comms of Milla and Steven. Evan noticed that one of the panels was still active. Middle left. Evona had already started to transfer the data into a small burn drive disk. However the process had failed when the team was attacked. Evan moved toward it carefully, trying not to make any noise.

 

He’d managed to start the burning process again. It was estimated to take around five minutes for all the info stored.

“ Okay, not bad.” He said to himself. He stood guard, rifle in his arms. He clung to it, since his life depended on it. Evan smelled something weird. This confused him since, he should not have been able to smell anything in his helmet. Yet he could still smell it, faintly. It reminded him of sewer gas and a methane gas explosion. He resisted the urge to rip off his visor and clutch his nose. However if he did that, then the smell could get worse. He remembered Lexus stating about the gas that the aliens had around them. He kept his helmet on. The door adjacent to the one he’d come through was open, how did he just realize that? It wouldn’t be hard for something walk in on him. Which they did.

 

Eight of them floated into the room slowly. They were whitish brown, spherical, made up of flesh. They had small yellow eyes and no mouth. A thick layer of blue gas swarmed around them. They moved toward Evan seamlessly. As if gravity didn’t matter. Evan’s helmet was the only reason he wasn’t dead already. The disk had three minutes left. He couldn’t leave without it. He backed against the wall, holding up his gun. The Marki spread out, forming a barricade around him. They waited, did nothing for a moment. Evan shot at one out of desperation. It didn’t even flinch. A small bit of flesh hit the floor, but it still acted perfectly fine. He emptied his whole clip into it, and yet it did nothing. There was no way he could kill all of them before they got to him. The Marki started again, advancing on him slowly. They knew he had nowhere to go, and they were taking their time. The gate Evan had entered from was ripped open, and two more Toni stepped in. They eyed Evan hungrily. They too didn’t move, perhaps knowing he was trapped anyway. Evan looked back at the timer for the disk. Two minutes.

 

The Marki got closer, making a small semi-circle around him. Evan looked around frantically. His eyes trained on the window glass wall to his left. He chucked his rifle at it. The wall shattered. Evan held onto the panel. Surprised, the Toni, and Steven’s body, were sucked into the void. The Marki were dragged towards it, but a metal sheet closed down before they could be sucked out also. This did however disorient the ball like aliens. Their eyes spun around in their body. The disk timer read one minute. The marki found him again and restarted their move. Evan waited, as they got close. Just as their formation has resumed, the timer beeped. Evan ripped the disk from its socket, and ran.

 

He collided with a Marki, grabbing it and pushing it out of the way. They were heavier than lifting weights. In doing so he’d gotten a face full of the blue gas. Evan figured the stuff had to’ve gone through the material of his visor, since he was nauseated as he ran into the other hallway. His vision blurred, his head throbbed with pain. He could barely make out a sign that read: This way: Departure Station ahead. Right: Housing. All he had to do was make it back to the rocket and leave. As he stumbled along, the Marki chased after him. They couldn’t catch up with him, but they did block his way back. The door to his right melted as more Arni crawled out and shot at him. Evan ducked down, somehow dodging the sprays. He boosted over the spider like aliens and continued on. More acid came at him from behind. Some got on the back of his legs. It felt like he had dipped his feet in a volcano. Evan blinked away tears as he painfully bolted for the door. He nearly bashed the door open and headed for the rocket. Two Toni were on top of it, tearing their claws into the machinery. Evan didn’t have time to argue. He opened the hatch and fell onto his chair. As he started up the engine he could see the Arni and Marki scramble into the room. Acid covered his windshield. It was a multilayer glass, making the melting process slower than usual. Evan opened the hatch behind him, ignited the rocket’s engine and backed out of the station.

 

He flew off. His goal was earth, but his mind was muddled. Pain gripped his body, making it hard to think and move straight. He headed for a big red thing in front of him. The rocket careened toward Mars. As he got closer and closer to the planet’s surface, Evan leaned forward, his eyes threatening to close shut. The gas was messing with his mind, making him unaware of what he was doing. His feet lost all feeling. He didn’t exactly feel it when the rocket hit Mars.

 

Evan opened his eyes. He felt like he’d just woken up from an insane drinking party. His nerves were non-existent. His mind felt like mush. His feet were heavily scarred and his flesh showed through, the acid still sitting inside of him. He was lucky it was his legs that were hit, and not his torso. The cockpit was in shambles. An alarm beeped over his head. The chairs and window where smashed. Sand spilled in through the front window and covered everywhere. His exit door was jammed. Evan climbed through the window hole, agonizingly clawing his way into the sand and out onto the surface. The rocket stuck into Mars like like a spoon in a cup of ice cream. All Evan could do was lay on his knees. Air breezed around him harshly. The dunes swayed with the wind. Small avalanches of sand rolled down the hills. Evan fumbled open his pack, taking out the comms of his friends. He also took out a government transceiver. A small, black radio like device. Evan fell back onto the sand, staring up at the stars. He laid the comms on his chest, and pressed a button on the radio, putting it to his ear.

“ Hello…” He said.

“ EVAN!” The commander boomed. “ God damn it what happened? Everyone’s comms cut out except yours.”

“ It would’ve been nice to have more help…”
“ Help? What do you mean help? I didn’t hear anything from you guys! Evan!” The commander was yelling at him. Evan could hardly think enough to respond.

“ They’re all dead. But I have…”
“ What?”

“ Data…” Evan could hear the commander suppress a relief sigh.

“ Good job soldier, now we can relay that back and-”
“ Commander. Why didn’t you send up more of us?”
“ What?”
“ We could’ve used the help.”
“ Evan, we didn’t know what would happen. You never sent in a distress call.”
“ Hmmm.” Evan stared at the peaceful stars. Atop the hills a fair distance away he could make out figures emerging. “ I need help.”
“ What? Where are you?” The commander asked. Evan laid the radio down. “ Evan!”

Shortly after, the commander had tracked Evan’s location to Mars, and sent out a pick up team as soon as he could. Evan was brought back to earth the next day. When the vital scans were ran, they came out static. The data from the disk was implemented into the scientific government database. A funeral was held for all nine soldiers that went aboard the space colony. Each coffin was given a medal of honor. Evan’s however, got a golden trophy from the commander himself. On it read: For the bravery and sacrifice of one man, for our civilization’s future. The commander gave a speech to all who were listening.

“ What we have gained from this expedition will benefit all of mankind. We can study these creatures, figure them out. The potential we have now, with new lifeforms on another planet is closer than it ever has been before. Who knows what this newfound information will reveal to us. Where this could take us. But it’s all thanks to Evan and the rest of the nine soldiers. Lexus, Milla, Steven, Marla, Carl, John, Tiffany, and Markus. Who volunteered on this mission of urgency and uncertainty, to enter the space colony and further humanity’s expansion forever. Although none came back alive, their legacy will live on. Every new move and discovery we make, will be in their name. Since they made it possible. God bless you brave souls.” He saluted, and the millions of viewers saluted also.

 
 


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