I decided to write a little short story related to the Gears universe. With the little we know about it at the moment I did my best to avoid stepping on toes, so it's set several miles away from ground zero on Emergence Day, and follows a soldier named Jonas. This is part one, enjoy:
The loud booming echoed unfiltered through the crisp midnight air, and the lights flickered momentarily. Jonas stopped in his tracks and stared intently at the light on the ceiling above him. Must have been a power surge or something he told himself, not really believing it but continuing on his patrol nonetheless. There it was again, the booming. What…the hell? Another raid? No, it couldn’t be, not so close to the last one. He slung his rifle over his shoulder and peered out the closest window, looking off in the direction of the sounds. He pulled his helmet off quickly with a satisfying click from the safety release in an attempt to get a better look. Just then the last remaining lights in his sector flickered and burnt out. “Well ****,” Jonas rasped under his breath as he took a few seconds to get his helmet back on in the darkness. He heard the booming echo in the blackness one last time, and then there was only silence as the ominous sound receded. Jonas decided it was a good time to report back to the outpost and made his way to the ground floor. He started down the road at a steady pace. His suit was equipped with crude night awareness lenses and it became increasingly difficult to maintain a good view of his surroundings with such restricted vision in this near total blackness. Flipping off his helmet once more, this time he threw it to the side of the road, he’d just let his eyes adjust to the darkness. The army didn’t pay him enough for this crap he grumbled to himself as he made his way through the industrial part of town. It had been hit badly by a bombing raid last week, he was on roundup duty today, checking for survivors. The mere shock of the bombs must have accounted for half the damage sustained, these were old buildings and he was sure that if anyone had been lucky enough to survive the blasts they would be buried in a pile of rubble by now.
As if meant as a wakeup call from the state of deep contemplation that had set in on his patrol, a series of shrieks and screams came out of nowhere. Falling instinctively behind the shell of a burnt out car he shoved the butt of his rifle into his shoulder and brought the sights close to his face, squinting to make out any movement ahead. Nothing came. The screams had subsided. He set his rifle down next to him, letting it lean against the overturned car, careful to do so slowly as to avoid making any sound. He switched on his radio and was welcomed with a stream of loud static. The soldier frantically fumbled to turn it off, cursing his own stupidity. He had thrown his helmet away; the main speakers were housed in the helmet. When he had switched on the radio the auxiliary outboard speakers were activated. Well, whatever had made those booming sounds had been enough to panic somebody, and whatever it was probably just heard him. But what if he was just being paranoid? If it wasn’t a bomb that hit maybe there had been some sort of other attack, and these people were screaming for help? After all, his orders were specifically to help any survivors in the area, maybe they had been buried in the rubble. Jonas quickly grabbed his rifle with one hand, jumped to his feet and started jogging in the direction the screams had originated.
The first round struck him in the left thigh, penetrating his standard issue combat suit as if it were paper, while the second round was successfully deflected by the sturdier chest plate of the suit. What happened next was all a blur, as the primal survival instincts of man made themselves manifest in Jonas. Rolling left with the force of the first bullet he slid headfirst into a narrow alleyway and fumbled with his rifle which had been clutched in a death grip throughout the ordeal. Bringing the rifle up to his shoulder once again he shuffled back behind what must have been a dumpster before the bombs hit. The most horrible thing he saw in his sights was not an enemy however. His full magazine lay on the street where he had been hit. ****, where was his other mag? With his left hand he reached down to his belt and hastily ripped another magazine out of his ammo pouch and jammed it into the rifle. He readied the weapon and the metallic grating sound of the cocking action seemed to dissipate slowly in the atmosphere as he waited in the dark, cold alley. Hearing a rattling sound behind him he turned awkwardly in the narrow space and let off a short burst. But there was nothing behind him. Still, he couldn’t remove his finger from the trigger let alone turn back around, he was frozen stiff and his knuckles whitened from his hold on the weapon.
He was awakened from his state of paralysis by something that felt as if it weighed as much as a small car smothering him completely from above. He struggled to get up, there was no breath left in his lungs and his eyes were going red from the strain as their vessels ruptured underneath. There was a growl as the thing on his back shifted its weight forward slightly, as if repositioning itself. A few feet ahead he could see a gun, but it wasn’t his. It wasn’t like anything he had ever seen. The problem was not that it was of some obscure construction, but Jonas had been trained well as a soldier and could field strip just about every modern firearm there was, and even some antiques. But whatever this was, he had never seen before in his life. It had no stampings, no way to identify what company or organization had produced it. What kind of weapon was not important though, what was important was that this beast that had toppled him over was now unarmed. He could feel his rifle, that was for sure. His gun was defiantly thrusting into his abdomen, and he prayed that it didn’t somehow go off as he was pressed against the barrel by the immense weight on his back.
Finally the creature decided that it didn’t need a weapon to kill whatever it was standing on, and violently grabbed for the soldier’s neck. The creature was intent on squeezing what remained of the life out of Jonas. Shaking his victim’s head around like a bobble head figure; it was astonishing that it didn’t snap the man’s head off. But Jonas wouldn’t tolerate such behavior without something to give the creature in return. He lurched upwards a bit from the concrete to gain his footing, and then surged up and back, sending the beast toppling backwards. Unfortunately Jonas fell with him, his injured thigh unable to properly support his weight. Still dizzy from the asphyxiation he had endured moments earlier he tried to lunge forwards for one of the guns that lay on the floor of the narrow alleyway, but the creature had already recovered from the fall and hurled itself at Jonas. Suddenly remembering the knife buckled onto his shoulder strap he pulled the blade out of its sheath and thrust himself towards the monster. The creature came down heavily and the two hit the ground with a thud. Jonas pushed and twisted the blade, which had struck the beast directly in its unprotected throat. It tried to release a menacing roar but could only seem to manage a gurgling cough as blood mixed with saliva and ran down its chin. Getting up from his back he pushed the beast down, staring intensely into its emotionless eyes and let all his weight bear down on the pommel of the knife.
The creature went slack, its eyes staring at something in the distance that did not exist. Jonas got up from his knees and the blade slid cleanly out of the beast’s grey, fleshy neck. He leaned against the wall and tried to get his breath back, staring down at the crumpled monstrosity at his feet. As the adrenaline receded from his system he winced at the sharp burning pain in his thigh. Looking down he noticed that not all of the blood that had pooled on the concrete beneath was from the beast. He attempted to fasten a makeshift tourniquet from his belt, but he was never very good with first aid and it didn’t seem to help at all. He grabbed the creature’s weapon and slung it over his shoulder, picking up his own rifle in the same painful crouch. Peeking around the corner first to make sure nobody was watching him he quickly retrieved the magazine he had dropped and placed it in his ammo pouch, which was on the belt now wrapped around his left thigh. Whatever the **** that thing was, he wasn’t ready to find out if it had buddies in the area, and decided to backtrack the way he had come. At first he thought it would be smart to avoid the street and move from building to building, but that was impossible he realized. Most of the buildings in the area had been reduced to rubble, which meant he would make a hell of a lot of noise trying to limp his way back. He’d have to risk it out on the streets.