By S.D. Bingham
In a Universe that is plagued with war, there is a constant need for resources that power anything and everything. Any areas that aren’t under the protection of the Daystars or subjugation of the Darkstars or Titans are sights of endless contested battles that last for years or until one side gives up…
“All right rookies, most of our Division is being deployed for this operation but we…we’ve got the best zone to recon,” said Captain Turuth, his borderline sarcastic tone getting a knowing smile from his Sergeant and Lieutenant.
The group of soldiers were on-board a transport that was currently dormant in the hangar of a Resistance ship as they traveled towards their destination. The squad was a mix of races made clear by the fact that each member had a different shaped helmet than the next. Everyone was stood around a circular table with the ‘Rookies’ on one side and Captain Turuth on the other side facing them with Sergeant Udeena and Lieutenant Sathriss standing at his flanks.
Captain Turuth reached down pressing a button producing a holographic image projected up to the general eye level of those present. “Our squad is being deployed here…,” started Captain Turuth as the image started to zoom into the planet till it stopped at a particular area that appeared to be a quarry, but had a canyon that led into the southern area of the quarry.
“You have to be kidding me. We’re being sent out there!”
“Why what’s wrong about the area?”
“You don’t know? The natives called it Dathu Kinyan but to us it’s Death’s Canyon!”
“The Resistance decided to evacuate the populace when the fighting escalated.”
“Why evacuate the pe-”
“That’s enough with the history lesson, we’ve got business to attend to,” said Captain Turuth looking at the two soldiers with an annoyed expression.
“We’ll be landing here,” continued the Captain as a small blip appeared at the bottom of the canyon. “It’s the only viable landing zone with the energy spikes being too much of a concern to land in the quarry itself.”
“We will be moving through the canyon using the remaining buildings to reach the Resource HUB in the center of the quarry,” said Captain Turuth as the image zoomed in flying through the canyon, passing over the ruins then stopping in front of a large building that appeared to be more structurally sound.
Suddenly an alarm blared out across the entire ship sending the soldiers into an alert state. “Grab your weapons and get yourself seated, we’ve arrived,” said Captain Turuth.
The planet in question was a constant sight of chaos mirroring the war between the Daystars and Darkstars across the universe. While neither Daystar nor Darkstar personally set foot on the planet, the Universal Resistance and the Fallen Kingdom fought each other here for several thousand cosmic yearsIn order to have continuity throughout the Alpha Universe, one planet was used as the staple for the Cosmic Time line. This planet (named Urth) was believed to be at the center of the universe. It has an annular solar rotation of 365 days.. It wasn’t until a series of reports came in detailing the Fallen Kingdom’s apparent retreat that Admiral Gyas gave the green light to deploy the 18th Division to secure the resource areas across the planet.
The moment the ship landed the squad marched out with precision, their weapons up and aimed scanning the area quickly for any hostiles. With no signs of any nearby hostiles, everyone gathered to Captain Turuth as the man spoke.
“Sergeant Udeena, I want you to gather three of the men and take the right buildings, me and Lieutenant Sathriss will take the rest of the soldiers through the left buildings.”
“Yes sir,” nodded Sergeant Udeena as she motioned for three of the men to follow her before she silently and quickly moved into position at the nearest rightmost building.
Captain Turuth moved his own men in position and with a small signal to the Sergeant, the two groups started to sweep through the buildings. Not missing a beat, both groups moved through the buildings almost in sync with each other as both teams were moving between buildings at the same time.
However, as they continued, there was a sudden burst of fire from the Sergeant’s area. Captain Turuth raised his hand stopping his men before he pressed a finger against the side of his helmet.
“Sergeant what’s happening?”
“We’ve got stragglers, one of the soldiers took them down…it appears some of the Fallen were left behind.”
Captain Turuth said nothing more and merely motioned for everyone to continue forwards. However, as they entered the last lot of buildings, the air around them seemed to distort till suddenly a wave washed over them and an erratic screech tore into the soldiers’ helmets. Screaming in agony, everyone struggled to pull their helmets off and throw them aside, gasping for breath the moment their helmet was off.
Several of the soldiers looked at their helmets as if they were going to kill them whereas Captain Turuth and Lieutenant Sathriss moved to the shattered windows, cautiously looking out. Captain Turuth quickly motioned with his hand for Sergeant Udeena to stay where she was.
“It’s the energy spikes, they’re interfering with the technology,” started Lieutenant Sathriss.
“Why would they interfere?” question one of the soldiers.
“You’re forgetting soldier that the resources that we get from here gets processed into the energy that powers most of our technology. We aren’t all blessed by the Daystars and their Star Energy,” said Lieutenant Sathriss.
“My main concern now is that we’re not able to communicate with the others through the radio nor can we contact with command till we’ve neutralized whatever is causing these spikes,” said Captain Turuth.
Returning to the window, Captain Turuth began a series of hand gestures informing Sergeant Sathriss on the other side that they were going to have to regroup on the approach to the Resource HUB. However as he did this, neither he or the Lieutenant noticed one of the soldiers becoming nervous and suddenly sprinting towards the door. By the time either of them noticed, it was too late.
“Don’t go out there!” yelled Captain Turuth, but it was too late. The moment the soldier stepped out, his head suddenly flung backwards and his body crumbled to the ground.
“Sniper,” said Lieutenant Sathriss bluntly grabbing his weapon and keeping his back to the wall, cautiously gazing out of the window. Keeping his guard up, Captain Turuth peered around the gap and motioned once more towards the Sergeant, pulling out a sphere from his belt indicating what he had planned.
Turning to the soldiers, Captain Turuth could see they were still reeling from seeing one of their brothers die right in front of them. Letting out a muted sigh he addressed them.
“Sergeant Udeena and I will be deploying Energy Shields as we move to the building, but we need to run for our lives. Whoever is up there firing isn’t pulling any shots, you hesitate and you die.”
Ensuring everyone was ready, Captain Turuth returned to the gap and nodded over towards Sergeant Udeena. The two started a count down and once it reached zero they threw the orbs out into the open. In an instant both spheres were hit by sniper blasts to seemingly no effect as the spheres burst open projecting two shields.
Both groups ran for the shields attempting to reach them before the sniper could fire at one of them. Captain Turuth’s group made it but one of Sergeant Sathriss’s men was killed.
“We can’t be caught in the open, the sniper will kill us dead in a second,” muttered Sergeant Sathriss watching several sniper blasts hit the energy shields. Everyone looked at each other as they caught their breath. Captain Turuth and Sergeant Sathriss prepared to deploy the next pair of shields when one of the soldiers spoke.
“I guess the legends are true then…”
“They say that nearly a hundred and twenty cosmic yearsIn order to have continuity throughout the Alpha Universe, one planet was used as the staple for the Cosmic Time line. This planet (named Urth) was believed to be at the center of the universe. It has an annular solar rotation of 365 days. ago, a small spec ops team was sent to secure the area after a lengthy battle ending with both sides obliterated. Their team was ambushed by the remnants of the Fallen…Resistance Intel said everyone died except for the team’s sniper who fled into the main building.”
Everyone looked up at the Resource HUB in silence contemplating what had been mentioned. Though before anything more could be said, the energy shields the groups were hiding behind started to flicker indicating their power was nearing depletion. The Captain and Sergeant threw more spheres ahead closer to the main doors and the moment the energy sprung up, the group made a dash for them.
It didn’t work out.
The sniper acted quickly and fired quick bursts hitting two more soldiers, killing them instantly. A third shot was aimed towards Lieutenant Sathriss but he reacted in time and instead, the shot hit his shoulder.
“Shit that blast was powerful,” groaned Lieutenant Sathriss crouching down behind the shield attending to his shoulder. Sergeant Udeena looked over at the remaining soldier and sighed seeing the young man was shaking.
“Keep yourself calm soldier we’re fighting a war, people will die.” Sergeant Udeena didn’t want to be too harsh on the man but knew she couldn’t be too soft either. Her words rang true as they were in a war and people are dying all the time. Every man and woman who enlisted knew this.
After a few minutes and once Lieutenant Sathriss had bandaged his shoulder, the now small group made their way up to the Resource HUB’s main doors. They were too close now, so unless the sniper was going to stand up and fire straight down, there wasn’t any danger.
Reaching the door, Sergeant Udeena attempted to open it but nothing happened. “The door’s locked down. I’m going to have to bypass it to gain entry.” As Udeena got to business tearing off the control panel beside the door, the others stood guard.
There was nothing but silence for awhile till the ground and the building started to shake slightly, growing more intense every second till a large ship suddenly flew overhead and towards the canyon.
“A Fallen drop ship!” yelled Captain Turuth, watching as the ship hovered over the mouth of the canyon as Fallen soldiers dropped down from the ramp. The group raised their weapons and started firing upon them, defending the Sergeant as she continued her work.
As they fought against the Fallen it didn’t escape their notice that the sniper was firing again but this time against the Fallen.
“Got it,” said Sergeant Udeena as the door slid open. Grabbing her rifle she joined the others firing at the Fallen and slowly they retreated into the building, locking the door behind them.
The room they entered was huge, making the outside seem deceptive towards its actual size. There was nothing in the room, the only thing that grabbed the group’s attention was the massive hole in the middle of the large room and the sound of machines roaring from deep inside it.
Approaching the railing, everyone looked down discovering that the hole went down into a dark abyss just barely making it possible to see the machines dug into the sides of the hole.
“These machines are old…I’m amazed they’re still functioning,” said Lieutenant Sathriss trying to speak over the sound of the machines.
Captain Turuth frowned suspiciously as he turned his attention from the hole, to all the pipes and wires that were spread across the room leading from the hole and up to the higher levels of the building. Motioning for the others to follow, Captain Turuth led the way around the hole and towards the flight of stairs that started at the left side of the room.
“So rookie, what else do you know about this legend?” asked Sergeant Udeena.
“All I know is the stuff every other person knows, rumors.”
“Still I’d like to know.”
“Well most rumors depict the lone survivor as being different each time. One tells about him being the only immortal on the team. Another claims he was an Usurper Elite. Another even goes so far as saying he was a Daystar in disguise, helping the Resistance directly during their hard times.”
“The last one seems very farfetched to me…”
“Very much so yes, but despite all the different rumors, they have a thing in common; the lone sniper remained in the building he fled into, spending the rest of his life defending it against the Darkstars.”
Sergeant Udeena went to speak again but a motion from the Captain cut her off.
Moving to the top of the staircase, the group came to another locked door. Moving up to the console beside it, Captain Turuth cautiously raised his hand to it but stopped just before his hand pressed against it. The console hummed silently before it beeped and said one word “Resistance,” and the door opened.
Signaling the others to keep their weapons ready, Captain Turuth walked through the doorway and entered the second floor of the building. The moment they set foot in the room, the entire place lit up revealing the whole area to be trashed. Anything that was there was torn apart. Once everyone was through the doorway, the door closed blocking out the sounds of machinery completely.
“Search the area,” ordered Captain Turuth as the four soldiers split up across the room. The rookie moved in the direction of where his sense-heightened nose was picking up a foul stench. He almost wanted to gag as the smell got worse the nearer he got and when he reached the source he instantly backed away, “I’ve found something!”
Captain Turuth and Lieutenant Sathriss quickly jogged over and withdrew back slightly when the stench reached their noses. Getting closer, the duo saw the source, a decapitated, rotting arm. Without saying a word Captain Turuth pulled out his UKAIS and activated it.
“What may I do for you Captain?”
“I need you to scan this arm, report to me what you find.”
“I’ll get right to it Captain.”
As the UKAIS shifted into its diagnostic mode, the trio returned to searching till the Sergeant beckoned them over.
“What you got Udeena?” asked Captain Turuth.
“It’s an Audio Log…”
“Does it still work?”
“I believe so, it may be odd to say but I get the feeling we’re meant to listen.”
Sergeant Udeena looked at the others for confirmation and after everyone nodded, she pressed down on the device activating it.
“My name is Garv Alkius and I am the only survivor of a special ops squad sent out to secure one of the Universal Resistance’s main resources points. I believe I went into detail about it in my previous logs so I’ll spare the details now…but there have been new developments. The Fallen Kingdom has started to deploy heavy weaponry with their attacks so I’ve had to redistribute some of the facilities energy power to send out periodic bursts of energy that so far, has interrupted their weaponry…”
“That explains what happened to our helmets, but how come we didn’t pick up the energy spikes till recently?” questioned Lieutenant Sathriss.
“…I’ve also had to address the deteriorating defenses down at ground level. I’m certain that I’ve been successful at keeping the Fallen back but I can’t understand why the defenses are crumbling…I’m going to have to keep an eye on them and see if I can learn what is happening. Alkius out.”
Everyone was silently drawing in what they had just learned but their thoughts were broken when the UKAIS came hovering over to them.
“Captain I have diagnosed the severed limb to the best of my ability.”
“What do you mean ‘best of my ability’?”
“I mean that the limb was quite old and damaged making it difficult to gather the full results of my diagnosis.”
“Very well, tell us what you found.”
“From my diagnosis of the arm I discovered that the arm bore red marks just under where the arm was cut indicating that something was tightly wrapped around it before dismemberment. The bone was snapped and the cut was done by a blade. But what concerns me is that the arm was corrupted, assimilated by Darkstar parasites.”
A concerned look washed over the group but it didn’t diminish the confusion that each one of them had.
Turning to the UKAIS, Captain Turuth spoke, “UKAIS I have another job for you, I need you to search your information database for any and all records on ‘Garv Alkius’.”
“Right away Captain.”
“All right guys, lets get moving to the next floor,” said Captain Turuth leading the way with his UKAIS hovering and humming beside him. The stairway was identical to the last but as the Captain went to unlock it, the UKAIS beeped in.
“Captain, there are several ‘Garv Alkius’ in the database, do you have any distinct key words that could provide a narrower search?”
“Indeed I do, look for the one that has enlisted in the Universal Resistance, that should do it.” The UKAIS said nothing and went back to its search.
The next floor was the same as the previous with the place being trashed and lighting up the moment they stepped on the floor. This time they instantly noticed a second Audio Log resting under a table. Picking it up, Lieutenant Sathriss placed it on the table and activated it.
“Things have taken a turn for the worst…I discovered that the defensive deterioration down at ground level are due to Darkstar parasites….they’ve literally been eating their way through the wall breaking it down with their foul existence. One of them got through. I didn’t notice at first when I was performing repairs so it took me by surprise and bit my right arm. I killed the wretched thing but it’s done its accursed purpose. I’ve had to use some wire, wrapped it around just below my elbow, cutting the blood source so it can’t continue assimilating my blood…
…I know I’m going to have to cut it, I can feel it going numb and that means the pain is going to follow. But before I do that I need to finish something…I’m not going to be able to snipe down the Fallen forever, I’m only mortal and I sure as hell can’t fire if I’m going to lose my trigger finger. Alkius out.”
“I guess that explains the dismembered arm…he went through with it,” muttered the soldier.
“What I’m curious about is what he was talking about near the end, what was he planning to finish?” said Captain Turuth. Suddenly the UKAIS lit up again and it started to move.
“Captain Turuth I have located information on Garv Alkius and its surprisingly expansive. Shall I give you a brief detail?”
“Yes please, but detail any information that may be important.”
“Garv Alkius is a Dravconian, orphaned at a young age, Garv was adopted by a Xerian couple and as he grew up, Garv became one of the few non-Xerian’s to be taught their knowledge of technology mechanics. During his early adulthood he enlisted in the Universal Resistance and has quite the record spanning twenty cycles. At the peak of his career, he was hand picked to join a Special Ops Team as its Sniper. There are some classified files about his mission but it’s abruptly cut short ending with Garv being declared ‘possibly Missing In Action, likely Killed In Action’.”
“Thank you UKAIS, you may return,” said Captain Turuth holding out his hand so the device could deactivate.
“I guess we’ll find out what Garv Alkius’s fate was when we enter the last floor…” added the Captain as the group departed the floor and headed up the final stairway. The process was exactly the same but when the floor lighting lit up, they were greeted by a different sight than before.
Seated at the window was a sniper rifle held up by a makeshift stand and was firing on its own accord at the Fallen outside. Devices were attached to the rifle which in turn were attached by several wires each all leading down into the floor. What caught the Sergeant’s eye was a pipe that was attached to the back of the rifle where the energy magazines were inserted. Every so often she could see a line of small thin lights flying up the tube and entering the gun, realization dawned on her and she let out a disbelieving chuckle.
“The damn guy’s got his gun wired to the building…he’s using the mining machines and energy processors to give his rifle a constant supply of ammunition.” Lieutenant Sathriss took note of a device standing on the windowsill beside the barrel of the rifle.
It was a set of visors on its own little stand that looked like it had been dismantled and put together again. Multiple wires led out from it into the rifle and it moved left to right robotically and every so often the sniper rifle would jolt to a certain direction and fire. Much like the Sergeant, he let out a disbelieving chuckle.
“And he’s got a targeting system picking up anything that moves in the distance, no wonder the Fallen never physically got in here…they never could get close enough.”
The Captain’s attention was on a UKAIS that appeared half buried in the floor and like the visors, it was clear to see that it had been dismantled and put together afterward. As he approached it, the UKAIS suddenly shot up from the floor and started to scan Turuth from head to toe before he hovered back a bit and started spinning rapidly.
However the spinning suddenly stopped and a full body hologram of Garv Alkius appeared out of the sphere’s optic. The first few things the Captain noticed was that the man’s elongated jaw was scarred and burned and his right arm was missing from the elbow down.
“Greetings I am Garv Alkius…or well a memory or technically…recording of me. What you are seeing here is my plan that I had created when it dawned on me that I couldn’t really do this forever and it at the time…it appeared that there was no indication that the Resistance would be capable of reaching this building without confronting the Fallen Kingdom.
I modified the UKAIS to only activate when it scans a known Resistance soldier, hopefully it worked…I mean I managed to keep it attached to it’s database that is constantly updated but I can’t say for certain right now if it will work as I predicted. It’ll be a long time before anyone hears this.
I used my knowledge, taught to me by a pair of Xerians, to create a system that would essentially allow me to continue defending this place. I don’t think the machines in this place have ever stopped and a lot of the resources were being stocked up without use. I connected the magazine compartment of the rifle to the processors below so that a steady stream of energy can be sent into the rifle whenever a trigger is set off, indicating a needed reload. In terms of the spotting system…I’m quite proud of it if I’m honest as it took me a long time to get it functioning. However, I must apologize because if you are watching then it means that you’ve been attacked by it…I was never able to keep the system locked on targeting only the Fallen.”
“Uh guys you might want to come over here…” called the soldier looking down at something huddled behind a pile of rubble. The trio walked over and stopped the instant they saw what had alerted him. Lying against the rubble was a body, mostly decomposed and missing a right arm.
It was the body of Garv Alkius.
“This is my legacy, my final wish if it can be granted…if the Darkstars are no longer sending their Fallen to attack this place…remove the rifle. Remove it and take it to whoever my next of kin is. I don’t know how many cosmic yearsIn order to have continuity throughout the Alpha Universe, one planet was used as the staple for the Cosmic Time line. This planet (named Urth) was believed to be at the center of the universe. It has an annular solar rotation of 365 days. it’ll be but I have a son and he likely will have a son…if it cannot be granted then leave it, try and calibrate it to target only the Fallen…allow me to continue my mission.”
The four soldiers looked at one another in silence as the hologram continued to speak only turning their attention when the UKAIS let out a hiss as it closed falling back into its place in the floor.
“What are we going to do?” asked the soldier.
“We’re going to ensure Garv’s legacy lives on,” answered Captain Turuth getting a nod of agreement from his Sergeant and Lieutenant.
There are many tales about Garv Alkius but after this day the actual story was told, diminishing the rumors and instead replacing them with the following knowledge…
Garv Alkius was a Mortal and fought even beyond his death.
Continue the series by S.D. Bingham with the next installment Mortal Resistance 5: Deadly Reunion