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Foreground:Operation New Moon (battle scene)

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"Shit!" I spit as I trip.

I spin around as I drop, rifle raised and finger on the trigger. I lay there panting, scanning the bloodied walls of the colony houses. God knows what happened to the people who once owned all that blood. Blood on the streets, the walls, and hell, I'm sitting in blood!

Lucy coos uneasily in my left ear. Say what you want, but this lil' blue bird which is miraculously still on my shoulder is the best thing that happened to me since I got on this planet. I slowly get up, listening to Lucy as her coos grow softer. I slowly step back, and turn around. The area appears to be clear, but, God, this place is a bloody wreck! Whatever these things are, they gave it their best at raising hell and to great avail. Most of the cars have crashed and are soaked in blood. Fires burn freely and without limit in some of them, and the few corpses left have been mutilated beyond recognition. Hunks of meat in place of the faces that were apparently bitten off, and diced flesh where a torso would have been. Lucy is young, and she may be blind for now, but she can smell all of this.

I lower my rifle and take a moment to get my bearings. The rest of 3rd platoon should be rendezvousing at Wilkinson's Avenue, so I must be at Riker's. I find a sign and look closely at it, 'Hammer-stone Avenue'.

"Bugger!" I kick at the air, but my foot comes down on blood."Waaah bloody he... Oof!"

I groan as Lucy faithfully pecks at my cheek, urging me to get up. I'm seven kilometers from the rendezvous point, and surrounded by what may be the grandchildren of the Xenomorph Aliens and night will fall in about what, two hours? I'm just about done for! Even if I managed to find somewhere secure to hole up, I would have a hell of a battle to fight. Translation, I'd eventually go down, and Lucy would too.

Lucy chirps loudly and I jump to my feet. Something's coming, and she can tell me what. She chirps twice and pauses, then she chirps again. It's something new, something she hasn't smelled or heard before.

"This is... Actual. We are going down! I repeat... Does anyone read over?" The SOS crackles to life in my radio. "This is Raider Actual... Hard! We've got bugs on our windshield and they're still... We are going down!"

I'm about to respond when I hear the roar of a drop-ship's engines overheard. I instinctively look up to see a flaming Hornet-Class gun-ship zoom over head, heading, well crashing would be a better word, north-east and covered in those scorpion-like dog-sized bugs. The pilot continues to call out for help and I watch it as it disappears over the various apartment complexes and offices. Soon after there is an explosive sound, which is rewarded with the unified shrieks of God knows how many bugs. Not good, there are more bugs there than I thought there would be then.

"Shit! This is Raider Actual, we have just... Can anyone respond? We are under attack and need..." The pilot calls out over the gunfire.

I speak into my radio. "Raider Actual this is Echo Three-Two, where are you? Over."

"Oh, thank..." There's gunfire. "Thank God. We've crashed in Olive Street, how... Over."

"Sit tight Raider Actual, I'm at Hammer-stone Avenue I'll be there in three minutes! Over." I start jogging.

"I'd be glad if we had one! Over." He replies.

The faint sounds of gunfire soon register in my ears, and Lucy softly chirps. As I near the battle, both sounds grow louder and I start to grow nervous. With each step I take, I can feel my heart beating harder in my chest, driving the adrenaline through my veins. When I reach the crash-site, I feel my heart sink.

Without taking a good look, I can see that there is at least three score of these bugs charging the crash-site, and more coming from all other directions. My breathing shallows, my arms and legs start shaking. I can't do this, this isn't heroic it's just plain stupid! I'll be killed almost immediately! I...

Then Lucy's almost deafening chirps bring me back in time to hear the shrieking of a bug pouncing at me from behind. I spin around and pull the trigger. The bug recoils back in mid-air, and lands on its back. I aim at its under-belly and fire again. Its legs curl inward as two more bugs come at me. I open fire, shooting the first of the two in the head and blowing off a leg. Then I shoot the next one before it can close in on me.

I stand there for a bit, taking it all in. Lucy just saved me. She just saved my life! If it weren't for her, I never would have heard that bug, and it would've slaughtered me. The image of the bug ripping vicious, bloodthirsty fangs through my throat forces its way into my mind, bringing Death's regards. I slowly touch my trembling hand to my throat and swallow. If you ever got a good look at these things, how would you feel? I mean, they only have ridiculously large mouths lined with jagged and brutally sharp teeth, and only about eight spider-like legs with two wickedly curved claws on each. Then there's the double-tail with the giant spear-head shaped stingers on each end!

"Echo Three-Two where... Need assistance immediately... Come in Ec..." I hear the pilot calling. The terror in his voice is unmistakable.

I turn to face the crashed gun-ship, and soak it in. They. Are. Fucked. And I will be too if I try to help. Those bugs are just charging unrelentingly, claws digging into the asphalt. The mounted machine guns tear into them, crushing their beige exoskeletons and tearing off limbs and jaws, covering the streets with pale green fluid. The bugs just keep going, stepping over their dead as if they never existed, gaining ground with each passing second. In a matter of seconds, that lop-sided gunship will be overrun and the survivors, I don't think there'll be enough left to say they were even human.

I take a bitter step back. Then another. And turn around. I'm only human, I'm not a god, I'm plain old Bernard Samuels, just another Colour Sergeant in the Royal Marines. We'd all die, there's no too ways about it. Their arses are salt, and mine will be too if I don't get out of here. Lucy lets out a shrill cry of terrified warning.

"Bloody hell!" I shield my face as a wall to my left explodes.

I raise my rifle, waiting for the dust to clear. When I see the silhouette of the bugs I pull the trigger. Click! A wave of panic rushes over me as I drop the empty magazine and fumble with my ammo pouch, struggling to grab a fresh mag and load it. I step back as I fumble with the magazine in a desperate attempt to load the magazine and look up when I hear the hisses of the bugs. About twelve, twelve of these god-damned wankers are hissing at me, two front legs raised as they do. I keep stepping back, and slowly, and very cautiously load the magazine and chamber the first round with a some what welcoming chi-chink.

"Echo Three-Two! Please tell me you're almost... Bloody hell! Come in, lad! Echo T..."

I'm about to respond when further down the road, a huge bug bursts through the ground as if it were a Tanker from Starship Troopers! This one is about three times as large, has four massive eyes, a huge rhinoceros-like horn! It sports a more beetle-like appearance, given its blue exoskeleton, or armour, perhaps, and it is no doubt in a rage. Lucy picks up on this and shivers in fear, and out of the hole in the ground come dozens of bugs. But that big one, it doesn't care, it steps on them, impales them, and butchers them if they get in its way, and its way has me smack in the center. I keep stepping back, and the creature clumsily looks about and locks its eyes on me. My heart skips a beat, and charges straight at me.

I turn and begin to run when I see the swarm I was planning to evade, and slide to a stop. I turn back around in time to see the giant devour the smaller ones that had cornered me, sparing no mercy. Then I think of something really daft.

I spin around and open fire on the swarm, catching the attention of at least half of them, and unfortunately emptying my mag. Then I spin back around to see the behemoth bug charging me again. I turn back around and run straight for the swarm, I can almost see them eating away at my flesh. Quick as I can I pull a grenade off of my belt and pull the pin. The swarm has now directed its full attention to me, and is charging. I stop, sliding short of a frenzied slash which draws blood from my left forearm and toss the grenade into the swarm. I quickly jump back, and to my relief - and horror - a giant clawed leg comes down on the bug before me. 

I swallow. It was that close to crushing me. I fumble with my rifle's magazines, nervously switching the empty one for a fresh mag as the behemoth above me decimates its smaller counterparts who in turn beat a hasty retreat when the grenade goes off. I look up at its under-belly, rifle raised and ready, and tremble as I try to figure out what to do. Obvious choice is to just shoot the shit out of it and hope it doesn't move, but this thing is fast, I'll get what, two or three rounds off and then SPLAT! I'm road-kill. I nervously keep my eyes shifting from each of its legs and to its tails, as it growls. It's a low, rumbling sound like a truck engine that fills my ears.

As it steps about clumsily, I move with it, using its thundering steps to conceal my movement. Out of the corner of my eye I see one of the crash-survivors wave to me, and the creature immediately charges the gunship.

"What the...?" I whisper and raise my rifle. 

The survivor mans the machine gun and opens fire, and the bullets just bounce right off of its body! I mean, those are .507 calibre rounds and they're not doing a bloody thing! The behemoth's charge stops just short of the crashed gun-ship, and it thrusts its right tail into the man's chest. I watch, terrified, as it just rips him out and dangles him above its head. With the last bit of energy left in him, he raises the pistol in his hand to its eye, but the creature quickly bites his leg and yanks him off of its spiked tail, almost ripping his leg off. It quickly snaps down on his leg again and his corpse hits the street like a bag of concrete, snapping the neck in ways I never would've imagined possible.

I tremble as I stand, there's no way for me to hurt this thing, and running won't be an option. I only have a few seconds before it decides that a leg isn't tasty enough, and there's not a bloody thing I can do to stop it from thinking so! I feel Lucy shivering in fear on my shoulder. I watch as it swallows the leg and looks at the corpse. Then, it simply turns and walks away, the earth shaking vigorously with each step. I lower my rifle, and choke out a small, victorious laugh.

"You uh, you Echo Two-Three?" I hear from my radio.

I speak back into my radio. "Yeah, yeah that's... That's me!" I lick my lips. "Over."

"Where's the rest of your platoon?"

"Dead or seven clicks from here!" I respond. "I'm, I'm all you've got."

"Dammit, we're gonna need to bunker down, then! I'm trying to raise the London, but the signal's being buggered!"

I sigh, just when there might have been hope for us. "Anyway to fix that?"

"About a click or so south-west I saw an antenna, that might get us through."

I shake my head, "Anything I can use to make this easier?"

"We've got ammunition, and lots of it!" 

"All right, I'll see what I can..." My eyes land on the corpse.

The massive, bleeding hole that replaced the poor man's chest is lined with little ivory shards that were his ribs, and where his leg once was are arteries and veins still being emptied of their crimson contents. I can't take my eyes off of the corpse, off of the warning. His body bears the grim regards of Death itself, reminding me that I'm just a stone's throw from being the next meal.

"Come on, lad! We gotta be quick we don't have much time!" The pilot shouts.

I blink uneasily and give a twitchy nod. "I'll do what I can."

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