Chapter 1: Rude Awakenings

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

Reads: 391
Comments: 1

The nameless soldier woke for the first time from a cold breeze and the tap of a single raindrop on his head.  The windswept alley he’d woken to was littered with trash, but was absent the requisite alley cat.  Above, gray clouds pregnant with rain framed concrete buildings—their roofs cleaved off by what looked like the hand of a malevolent, childish god.

I’m a he, thought the soldier.  And: Goddamn right.

The second thought was in a different voice than his own, which confused the soldier.  Am I schizophrenic?  How do I know this term?  How long have I been alive?

So many questions, another voice commented, distinct from the second.  So little time.

The soldier with no name turned his head, sensing three presences about to turn the alley’s corner.  Shit, already?

“How?” No-Name asked himself, picking up a futuristic rifle that laid beside himself—fitting his hands as naturally as he had been literally born with it.

No time for that, son, said the second voice.  It’s the damned enemy!

A man-sized mantis turned the corner, raising a weapon with dexterous claws, sweeping the alley with the muzzle, searching.  Behind it came two spiders, each carrying multiple weapons in their hairy grips.  

What?

When, quipped another voice in No-Name’s head.  Why?  Why for?  All that jazz.

The mantis saw No-Name and shifted its aim.

No-Name aimed and fired without another thought, beheading the mantis; the rifle in his hand purring electrically.  

Christ!

The spiders fired at No-Name as the mantis fell backward, their weapons hissing and tearing at the air, but missing high and wide each.

I’ve been called worse, No-name heard in his head as he found a second trigger on his rifle and squeezed it.

An electrical-fired grenade launched from the rifle’s underslung tube, exploding between the two spiders, pulping them instantly.  The shrapnel and concussive force didn’t faze No-Name as it swept past him and around the alley.  There was even a tink of metal hitting metal as a piece of shrapnel bounced off No-Name’s body armor.

No-Name looked down, seeing black armor all the way down to his feet.  Raising the hands that had just crafted such good killing work, he flexed fingers composed of chainmail mesh and hard armor plating.

Wow, No-Name thought in his own mental voice, armored to the teeth.  But for what war?

A chaingun burped in the distance, drawing No-Name’s attention away from his body.  Friendly, he could somehow tell.  

No-Name leapt over the steaming corpses of an enemy he knew no name for, either, and ran toward the sound of a friend in need, apparently.

The wind howled as No-Name pierced through it, running at a pace even he knew was faster than any human could manage.

I don’t know what’s going on, No-Name thought, but I could get used to this.

You’re going to have to, one of the voices said.  We’re in this for the long run.

Before No-Name could question the voice in his head, the chaingun, much closer this time, burped one more good long time, then fell silent.

Shit, No-Name thought, that’s not good.

No-Name rounded a corner, finding himself under an overpass, where the sound of the chaingun came from above.

Fifteen feet, give or take, one of No-Name’s other voices measured.  Bet you can jump it.

“Well, let’s find out,” No-Name said aloud, then jumped.  He was amazed as he cleared the overpass wall and came down on the other side, on the flank of an armored, four-wheeled vehicle, and a group of insectoid enemies that were swarming over it.  No-Name counted eight lookalikes, and one big beetle.  All were armed with various weapons, which left No-Name to wonder exactly what kind of ‘enemy’ this was.  

No time, one of No-Name’s voices said.  Launch a grenade into the mass, then pick off the stragglers while they don’t know you’re there.

Exactly what I was thinking, No-Name thought back to the voice, and fired.

The grenade round pulped five of the enemy lookalikes in one go, and a quick sweep of No-Name’s rifle ventilated the remaining three before the enemy host could react.

The beetle, as big as a rhino, leapt off the hood of the vehicle, shaking it, and came down firing at No-Name.

No-Name side-stepped right as the beetle’s shot singed the air to his left, firing his own rifle into the beetle’s torso, making it bleed yellow and green pus.  But the beetle wouldn’t go down.

Tough mother—

The beetle charged, pincers spread wide at No-Name’s torso.  No-Name grabbed a pincer in each hand, resisting the beetle’s killing squeeze for a second, sliding back on his feet with the beetle’s force, then overpowered the creature’s attempt, breaking off both pincers and shoving them back into the beetle’s head, killing it instantly.

The beetle toppled over on its side, leaving No-Name at twelve enemies dead in a matter of minutes.

“Wow,” No-Name said to himself.

Yeah, one of the voices agreed.  Better check on the crew.

“Agreed.”

No-Name bounded over the bodies and up on top of the armored vehicle’s hood, peering inside the chaingun turret.  Something glinted in the darkness below, causing No-Name to jerk back as a pistol round shot through the space his head had just been.

“Ho,” No-Name called down the turret.  “Friendly.”

“Jesus-Fucking-Christ,” some deep voice cursed. “Down, Rathens.  Down.”


Submitted: January 25, 2016

© Copyright 2022 Jack Motley. All rights reserved.

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Comments

zanybelle

A very cool story Jack, I like the unusual intro which just throws you into the story. Hope this novel is nearly complete. Thanks for reposting! :)

Mon, January 25th, 2016 9:17pm

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