He's funny and b*tchy at the same time. I like his sense of humour.
Jonesy "Psycho" Breen
He's funny and b*tchy at the same time. I like his sense of humour.
Bet ya can't guess who I voted for.
Act II - Rescue
Memoir II: "So Who Are You Fighting For?”
"You ever seen the assholes out on the streets, rummaging around in the garbage for food? Seeing them scurry over a COG wreck to scavenge supplies? Those are the good ones, if any of the Stranded could be “good”. That’s who we’re fighting for? People who don’t even care about anything but themselves? I mean, they might be thieving bastards, but they’re still people, right? Right?
Yeah, right. Tell that to my daughter. Those animals stole her away during transit to a breeding ground and now she’s gone, forever. Damn Stranded aren’t going to have any mercy from me. Wish I could get my hand on the Hammer and finish the job the COG started when they roasted most of the planet to stop the Locust. Anyway, since I can’t do that, I’ll settle for shooting the bastards when Nyvar lets me. There’s enough reason to shoot on sight, already, in my opinion, but ‘Seph keeps talking about the future, making things safe for the children by keeping the population up. I wonder if what he thinks of the “baby farms”. He doesn’t have a daughter, so he wouldn’t understand about certain things, but I won’t hold it against him. He’s my best friend.
As much as I don’t really approve of sending my girls to a f*cking farm, where women have nothing to do but make new babies for the “war effort”, that’s better than the alternative. Dying to a grub bullet or boot as the things ravage Sera like a bunch of, well, locust. Heh, I’m still keeping my humor, even after all this? I must not be right in the head – ‘course, who could be after seeing their daughter. . .
I’m not going to go there, not now. Gotta keep my wall up or I’ll break down. ‘Seph needs me, so does the rook, Ty. I don’t know what Ven needs, but I’ll stick around for him, too, the lug. My family. Couldn’t ask for a better one out in the field, or, hell, even back at the barracks. Gotta look after my own family, too - Caroline and Rene. Rene seems almost a twin of her mother, mischievous and sneaky. Then there’s ‘Seph’s boy; Jason. And everyone here at base, including all those poor souls pumping out children at a steady rate. Heh, I gotta lot of people to protect, huh? Guess I’ll keep it up and do my best. That’s all anyone can ask of a Gear, right?
People need me. So I’ll fight."
- Memoirs of Corporal Syval Marov
Oooh, nice. Some background on Marov. I like.
Heh, someone voted for Parker?
Man, I'm totally...burnt out with writing. What's the deal? I have the entire next chapter laid out in my head but when it comes down to typing it up...I hit a wall of "meh". Someone cure my funk!
I voted for Jonesy, because I know everyone else will go for the main characters, or that -- wait, who voted for Parker!?
How dare someone vote for such a vile and loathsome character, who does add fuel and drama to the fire that is already taking place, but who dare'eth!?
Mmm, I'm getting the urge to write, now, RaKais.
As for the Parker debacle; does anyone thinks it's much of a stretch for him to be allied with the Locust's at this juncture? I tried sprinkling vague hints through the story thus far that he was working with them, but I dunno what anyone thinks about it.
Me, personally, I think that's kind of far-fetched, considering the Locust could care less about a human, unless it happened to be dead. I mean, I don't see any relations for that matter, between the two races. Not even when faced up against the Lambent. But that's just me.
My reasoning is he's exchanging not being killed for the know how to make the stealth generators for the Locust.
But I want to know now so I don't get too entrenched in a stupid plot; right now, it's definitely able to change pretty easily.
Well, if no one objects, I'm going to ahead and roll with it. While Locust haven't been willing to do anything but kill humans before (Aside from, possibly, Adam Fenix)...well, I'm sure if they're given reason they'll keep someone useful alive as long as they -stay- useful.
And Parker is very, very useful to have around.
Don't make me laugh, that Stranded swine.... useful!? As a paper-weight maybe, but that's also pushing it. Down with the vermin, I say they kill the little treacherous being at once!
'Bout time someone saw the light that I shine every day into these Forums regarding such vile, inhumane, barbaric cretins known as 'Strand' and 'Ed'.
If only Boss would see it like you.
I'd turn that light off, add a little chainsaw... and you get the rest. Cors' better not turn into a hippie stranded-lover, or I'll have you on the gallows, bloke!
"And then Parker saves all of them at the last minute, rainbows of sheer awesome deflecting the bullets while his Stranded people form up behind him to start a musical about unicorns!"
This thread must not be that popular. Seems like I only have three people reading the thing. :P
I'm still waiting for the next chapter. People are probably reading it, but not commenting.
I dunno. The view count is pretty low, especially compared with everyone else's stories. Even new threads are starting to catch up to this one.
However, I'm probably just descending into the writer depression everyone goes through eventually. You, RaKais, and SKORGE are keeping me going with all the feedback, so thanks a ton for that. I dunno what I'd do without you three. Well, I probably wouldn't have kept writing, now that I think about it.
It's probably because your piece stayed off the front page for a while doing whatever it is you were doing .
I think the only reason mine has a high view count is because I kept it on the front page.
Just keep at it!...
You don't want to fall behind
Chapter 11: Oscar Mike
“So, did you hear about Echo Three? I heard they lost their ‘bot four days ago. No one knows if any of them are still alive. Hoffman sent another team after them, but they haven’t come back either. I hope they’re okay. We’ve lost too many in this war already.” – Dom Santiago on the subject of Echo Three’s disappearance
Somewhere in the forest, 20 km from the Stranded Slave Mine;
“I like this armor.”
Syval Marov concealed a grin as he noticed his best friend, Joseph Nyvar, reach up and pinch the bridge of his nose. It had been a long, exhausting night. They had been trekking through the wilderness to find a new place to hide, as their previous location had been compromised. Unfortunately, the pilot, Jonesy “Psycho” Breen, hadn’t shut up about the “new digs” he’d been given.
Nyvar was back in his own COG standard issue, the bulky armor seeming more normal for the man than civilian clothes. Marov had to admit the he missed his own plates, but his commander needed him for “special reconnaissance”, so he kept the less protected recon armor. It was fashioned with a several plates on the chest and back, leaving the sides open to allow more maneuverability. The groin and sides of the hips held another few plates, with shin and thigh guards strapped around the leg, leaving the rest to the camouflaged underlay. Luckily for him, all that meant he didn’t have to put up with the clown the entire night, being forced to scout around with much less effort than a fully armored Gear.
“I’m so. . .glad for you, Jonesy,” Nyvar ground out. Marov’s grin grew even wider as he looked back toward the rest of the group. Jonesy, with Nyvar’s own set of recon armor, was strutting across the rocky ground with all the bluster of a kid with a new toy. The man’s pistol was strapped to his chest, under the camouflage cloak that hung down to the man’s waist; Marov thought that was a stupid place to put the weapon, but Jonesy was undeterred. The armor was meant for larger men and women, so the pilot’s lanky frame reinforced the kid metaphor in Marov’s mind.
“Just wish I could have one of those sniper rifles the lady has back there,” Jonesy complained. That was the seventh time he had “wished” for one of their weapons.
“I’d quit while you’re ahead,” Marov said, watching Nyvar slowly start to redden in the face. “You might get one of those weapons turned on you if you’re not careful. And I’m not sure I could stop Nyvar, even if I wanted to.”
Jonesy just returned the comment with a cheesy smile, playing it off. Marov marveled at that; the man was deserving of his nickname, to be certain. Of course, all the pilots had to be insane to fly through the Nemacyst infested skyways to drop off their Gear squads.
Behind the grounded pilot with the goofy expression and oversized armor were the rest of the team, all lined up in single file. Tyler Fais, bringing up a hand to his face to cover a yawn, had bags under his eyes from staying up and cataloguing the amount of ammo they had before they left the cave, which wasn’t much. His brown hair was tousled and gleamed in the early morning sun, the light steadily rising over the horizon. Ty was the newest member of Echo Three, joining their squad shortly before E-Day; still the younger man was in his late twenties and a veteran as much as anyone else on the team.
Next in line was Jason Nyvar, ‘Seph’s kid, at the tender age of nineteen. He was attentive to his surroundings, his eyes darting from one direction to another like he was expecting a Locust at any moment. Marov didn’t blame the kid - even though Jason had grown up with the Locust knocking at the doors of Jacinto, this was still his first mission. Although shorter than Ty, Jason made the difference up with a more muscled frame, taking after his father. His new COG armor suffered from a few scratches and dents, mute evidence of the action he’d already survived these past couple of days.
Marov knew the armor was going to pick up quite a bit more before they finished the mission, whatever that was at the moment. It seemed to have shifted somewhere during the course of the night, after Marov, Nyvar, and Naleena Viscar found the pit of Stranded slaves and their traitorous asshole of a leader, Parker.
As soon as he thought of Naleena, Marov frowned in her direction. He didn’t want to like her. She was Stranded, just as much as the animals who’d gotten his daughter had been. However, the woman was also skilled with a rifle and seemed to be loyal to Nyvar and the others. What was worse, Marov had found himself actually enjoying her company; she had a sharp mind and was an excellent scout, almost as good as he was. He snorted at the admission, wiping the frown off his face and stared at her, willing himself to feel something other than the affection he actually felt.
Naleena had her white bandana up around her face again, at odds with the few-sizes-too-big recon armor she was wearing and her raven colored hair. The now off-white cloth obscured all of her features aside from her focused, sky colored eyes. Marov idly wondered if she wore the bandana as a fashion statement or because they all f*cking stank like a dead grub fresh out of the sewers. He shrugged, assuming it was the latter and turned to Nyvar, a question forming on his lips.
“Why are we doing this again?”
“Because,” Nyvar replied, looking straight ahead with his unreadable face on, “they’re people, too, Marov. I don’t care what you think of them.”
“They’re Stranded, ‘Seph. Let ‘em die like the sorry bastards they are,” Marov scoffed.
“We’ve had this conversation already.”
“Yeah, I know. Maybe this time you’ll listen to me so we can complete the mission we were supposed to about three days ago,” Marov said heatedly, wishing Nyvar would forget about the Stranded slaves.
“Not a chance, Sy’. Humanity’s too far gone to just forget a bunch of people being held by the Locust. They’ll die if we don’t help them and in case you hadn’t noticed, there were women and children at that mine, too.”
In fact, Marov had noticed; he had just been trying to forget the sight of the little kids picking up rocks to load into carts for their mothers and sisters to push them around. It hit too close to home and he didn’t want to think about it. They were Stranded; they deserved what they got. At least, that’s what he kept telling himself.
“Besides, Parker was there, too,” Nyvar continued, looking worried. “He’s got too much information stuck in his head to leave him alive. I don’t want to have to fight invisible Wretches the rest of this damned war. Hell, if we gave him enough time, he’d probably come up with a way to cloak a Brumak.”
Marov shuddered, not liking that thought at all. It was bad enough they’d already run into Wretches, little monkey-esque beasts the Locust used like dogs, with cloaking fields. The things fizzled out in the light, the stealth generators not seeming to be able to cloak something bigger than the ‘bot’s the device was made for. That and the little shimmer they made as they moved were the only reasons Marov could see them at all.
“Fine,” Marov said, sighing and resigning himself to the inevitable, “but I want to kill Parker myself. I need some kind of fun after being shot at, betrayed, and almost ripped apart by a Berserker.”
He saw Nyvar smile slightly as his best friend turned back to the path. A smile tugged on the edge of Marov’s lips, too, glad he was still able to cheer up the dour Sergeant.
“Why don’t you go run around a bit, then? Maybe you’ll find a drone to poke with a stick or something,” Nyvar dryly replied, holding up his hand and swinging two fingers in a circle, the signal to check their surroundings. Marov nodded and looked back to see Naleena had already noticed and was moving up the side of the mountain next to them. Not to be outdone by some floozy who thought she was Gear material, Marov ran after her, only slightly out of breath as he ran up the slope after her. He hated aging almost as much as he hated Stranded.
“Still angry with Nyvar’s decision?” Naleena asked as Marov strode up beside her. He gave her a questioning glance, wondering if she knew what he had just been talking about. With a shake of his head, knowing he would never get a straight answer, Marov replied.
“No, this is my normal attitude. I just want to get out of this freezing cold forest and back to base, which requires us actually completing the mission we were given.”
“I can sympathize with that,” Naleena chuckled; the crinkling of her eyes accompanying the smile her bandana was covering. It faded as she continued. “But so can the women and children in that mine.”
“Not like anyone could let me forget,” Marov groused, reaching up to pull his goggles down over his eyes. The sun was shining directly in their direction, in between a layer of clouds and the horizon. It would disappear sooner or later, but until then, he’d keep the goggles on. “I guess they’re worth saving, if I get to make Parker’s head my new hood ornament.”
“I’m glad you’re being so reasonable about this,” she replied sarcastically. Sobering up, she kneeled down to examine something. Marov looked over her shoulder and noticed it was the imprint of a hoof; there were a lot of wild deer out here, which was surprising given the Hammer strikes destroying most of the planet. Suddenly, Naleena continued her previous thought with a more serious tone in her voice. “Actually, I really am surprised you’re this okay with it, though. I thought you hated Stranded, like me.”
“I do hate Stranded,” Marov said honestly, returning her candor with his own, puffing a bit as they went uphill, his breath misting the air in front of him. “But you’re not like them. You, I have to live with, soon as we get outta here and get you through Boot. Most of those bastards wouldn’t even try to do anything but steal and blame us for everything.”
Naleena didn’t reply to Marov’s dodging of the real question, falling silent and scanning the forest for Locust or signs the grubs had passed through. They didn’t spot anything aside from a rabbit dashing through the small drifts of snow and fallen leaves, causing a soft rustle. Marov breathed in through his nose, smelling the sharp bite of the cold air and the heady scent of the forest. He’d always enjoyed camping with his father, back before E-day.
“Why do you hate us?” Naleena whispered wistfully, surprising Marov from his memories. He shrugged in response, not wanting to think of his daughter or the unfortunate fate that had befallen her. He could almost hear her screams on the Frost’s air, the miserable season forever seeking to rob his warmth and chill his soul.
“I used to hate the COG,” Naleena said. Marov sighed, feeling a touchy feely moment coming on; not his favorite thing to endure in the middle of an enemy infested forest. Still, there didn’t seem like any way out. “They took my mother. Forced her into those breeding camps.”
“The Farm’s not all that bad,” Marov replied, thinking of the accommodations the women were given. Comfortable furniture and plenty of things to do as they waited out their pregnancies. “Got all the comforts of home and at least they’re safe. My own daughter’s in one of them. She’s expecting a girl in a month or so.”
“Doubtless fathered by some unknown soldier,” Naleena scoffed, sounding angry. “How old is she?”
“She’s twenty three.”
“At least she’s not a young girl forced to start early, then, like some of them have had to,” Naleena said heatedly, referring to the drugs the COG was giving the women to start their breeding cycles earlier and earlier. Marov was forced to admit that his opinions on the matter were much the same as Naleena’s, but he didn’t see any other way around it. They needed what little remained of humanity to grow.
“I don’t like what they’re doing either, darlin’,” Marov replied, looking down the slope at the rest of the team far behind them. “But it’s not like we have a choice. We’re an endangered species these days, case you’ve been living under a rock the last seven years.”
“So we sacrifice our humanity in the process? The procedures are monstrous.” Naleena paused and Marov heard her sigh. He was just about to retort that Stranded acted even worse, resorting to cannibalism like they did, when Naleena continued. “But, as you say, we don’t have much of a choice. Which is why I’m choosing to stay with you and the others instead of going off with Parker.”
“Oh, yeah, that would have been a bad idea, huh?” Marov sneered. “Your own leader would’ve led you right into a bunch of grubs as thanks for all your hard work. Seems like he’s holding to those wholesome Stranded values. Too bad you couldn’t make that shot last night.”
“Too bad,” she reiterated, the corners of her eyes crinkling in what looked like anger. “Not all Stranded are like him. Some of us are just trying to survive.”
“Look how well that’s done you,” Marov said quickly, regretting the words as soon as he uttered them. Naleena glared at him, pulling ahead and leaving him behind. Marov watched her form slowly become indistinct as the camouflage blended in with the deciduous trees all around them. He wasn’t so good at this PR bull.
Marov grumbled under his breath, moving quicker to catch up to the young woman, intent on apologizing. However, Naleena held her hand up in a fist, the signal to stop all movement, slowly reaching for the Longshot on her back as she crouched behind a tree. Marov’s eyes darted around as he tried to look around, not moving his head in case something saw him in the open. The key to remaining unseen was to act as though one belonged where they were; people saw what they expected to see more often than not, and movement would just alert them. Marov just hoped the fact was the same for grubs.
There. A single grub with a Longshot of its own lay between two bushes. He’d mistaken the thing’s pale white skin as another snow drift before. Luckily he had Naleena’s sharp, young eyes with him. The woman had finally pulled her weapon around and sighted through the scope at the Locust’s conical helmet. A moment later, the shell flew through the air with a sharp cracking retort, showering the grub’s immediate proximity with blood, brains, and pieces of the helmet.
“Report,” Nyvar’s voice came over Marov’s comm. He turned toward where the rest of the group was and reached up to tap the device, initiating the circuit and responding quickly.
“Got a sniper, ‘Seph. Naleena took care of him, but there might be m-,” before he could finish the sentence, another round cracked through the air, followed by an exclamation of pain in a female voice. Marov twisted around as fast as he could, watching Naleena fall to the ground in what seemed like slow motion. He cursed, breaking off the circuit and rushed over to the fallen woman, pulling her behind a tree where he thought the sniper couldn’t find them. Another shot ripped through the cold air into the tree above him, confirming his thoughts.
“Sy? Answer me, Sy. Was that another of your shots?”
“Negative,” Marov said, initiating the circuit again, warning his friends before they fell under sniper fire. “We have enemy snipers in the hills and Naleena’s down. I’m going to see what I can do to fix her up.”
“Sh*t. Roger. We’ll go hunting. Sending Sparks over to assist you.”
“Copy. Marov out.”
“Nal,” Marov said worriedly, looking at the wound. There was a hole the size of a half dollar just above her left breast and right under the clavicle, the Longshot round having penetrated the thin underlay of the armor with all the ease of a hot knife through butter. Blood was starting to sluggishly leak out of the wound and Marov didn’t know exactly what to do. Ven had been their medic, the rest of them only had the very basic first aid skills. Still, if he could fix machines, maybe people weren’t that different. He reached for her neck to feel her pulse as he spoke calmly to her.
“Listen to me. Do you hear me?” She nodded, grimacing in pain as she writhed. Good, she wasn’t in shock, yet. “Can you move your hands and feet?” Naleena did so, demonstrating that her spinal cord was still intact.
“Okay, I need you to stop moving. Stop moving, understand?” Another nod and she stopped moving aside from a twitch every now and then. He pulled out his combat knife and started cutting through the flexible underlay that held all the plates of the armor together, pulling it to the side when he had ripped it enough. The black bodysuit underneath the armor came apart faster, his knife making a large square around the wound, not wanting to totally destroy the suit.
As it opened to the cold air, Naleena shivered, causing another moan to escape her clenched teeth, her breathing starting to come faster and more insistent. He could hear air hissing in and out of the wound and knew that wasn’t the best thing in the world to deal with. The bullet must have penetrated her lung.
Marov saw her wince as he pulled out a bandage and push it on the wound, his fingers trailing blood on her dark skin. He started taping three of the sides as best he could, stabilizing her breathing somewhat as the airtight bandage did its work.
“You’re doing fine, Nal,” Marov said soothingly, watching as Naleena closed her eyes and breathed in a shuddering breath. “Just try to stay awake, okay?”
He reached around her and felt along her back in between the plates. Another, larger hole, the exit wound, was also leaking a steady stream of blood. He hoped the bullet not being in her was a good thing, but he knew he had to do something about it, pronto.
A beeping noise came from behind him, causing Marov to turn around. There, in mid-air, was Sparks, Echo Three’s JACK ‘bot. Marov was glad to have the little guy here, motioning it over before the sniper could take a shot at it and break it. Again.
“Hey, Sparks, she’s got an entry wound right here,” he said quickly, pointing at the bandage, “and an exit wound in her back. I’m not sure what I can do for her.”
Sparks bobbed in the air, moving over and holding out his appendages. He started by examining the bandage on her chest, booping with satisfaction at it. It looked up at him with one of its eyes cracked and held out an appendage. Marov pulled out all his medical supplies, the ‘bot taking it and applying bandages to the exit wound, beeping in what he thought was a worried tone. Minutes passed, sweat beading Naleena’s head as the ‘bot worked on her. Marov helped where he could, but Sparks seemed to have things in hand, so he reached up for his earpiece and contacted Nyvar.
“’Seph, this is Marov. You read me?”
“Roger that, Sy. Is she ready to move yet?” Nyvar said, sounding out of breath.
“No sir, not for at least another,” he paused, looking up at Sparks, who helpfully supplied a countdown on his screen. “Twenty minutes, safest. But she’s in bad shape, man. She needs a hospital.”
“Sh*t,” Nyvar said, sighing heavily over the mic. “Twenty minutes is going to be a problem. We’ve got a squad of grubs moving along the road a few miles back. Do what you can for her; we’ll try to keep ‘em off you.”
“Roger that. Good luck, ‘Seph,” Marov said as the circuit closed. “F*ckin’ hell. This isn’t what we need right now. Why can’t anything go right out here?”
He turned back to the ‘bot and Naleena, looking down at the young woman with trepidation. This reminded him too much of the way Nyvar’s wife had died. Growling, Marov kneeled down to the ground to squeeze Naleena’s hand. He wasn’t going to lose another member of his family to these grubs!
Oh tense! So much tension, I could probably make tension-angels in it :P
Again, your strengths are evident. Characterisation. Each character is so well written, you can't help but feel slightly attached to them. I admire how you've managed to do it with an entire squad of characters, seeing as in my fan-fic, I focus on the main protagonists and the other characters are just fillers.
I was quite surprised at Naleena being shot. But I guess that just mirrors the characters reaction to it. I could almost picture the whole "Where did that shot come from? You hear that Nale- Oh sh*t" type thing!
Love is indeed in the air for Marov! Oh cruel fate!
When did you add a poll????
Anyway, my computer has been acting up lately, but if its working tomorrow, I promise you that I will get caught up on this and Honor and Bone. School has made it almost impossible to keep up, but I'll read it if my retarded computer is working.
Fav. Character: Tie between Ven and Parker. Ven is awesome, but Parker is awesome too.
Anyway, I'll be reading this tonight.
Lol, I may have bit off more than I could chew. How the hell did you get out three chapters out in one day????? Hmm, anyway, I did read chapter 8 and 9.
Idk what your difinetion of short is, but Ch 8 that was not short. It was a good chapter though. Lots of character devolopment, and I likes me some character devolopment .
I am not sure about the part where you implied that Jason was stricken by the stranded girl(can't spell her name without looking it up). I get the thing with Ty, because the last 6 chapters have led up to it, but this seemed out of the blue and completely random. Do trained COG soldiers always fall head over heels at the sight of someone with an extra X chromosone? Regardless, was a good chapter.
Ch 9 was damn good. I have zero complaints. It had nice devolopment in the begining, Locust humor, stealth exacutions, and a HUUUUUUUGE surprise at the end. How the hell would Locust work with a human? I really hope you expand on this in upcoming chapters, because it really needs answering.
Will read the other 3 chapters soon, but for now, on to RaKias' FF!
Well, Jason -just- got out of boot and is...eighteen I think I said. And Naleena is gorgeous. Any young male would be affectionate toward her. Who knows if Naleena will pick the older and familiar Ty or the younger and muscular Jason. Or either of them, since she's going to be a Gear.
We shall see.
Edit: Not that I'm ungrateful at your compliments. I am, thanks for reading, Grub. You and the other three are who keep me going.
Next chapter might not be up for awhile. Got two exams to study for and two essays to do. Just letting you guys know.
Seeing as how my story has been lacking much action, I'm forced to conclude my next chapter must be an over the top, chainsaw hacking, Anime-amounts of blood slinging one. So look foward to it before the end of the week! Also, this is a bump to keep it on the first page.
Anime-amounts? What the 'eff does that mean?
And RaKais right, don't overset the pace just for some little action here or there.
You bastard..... a link to two advertisments..... I'll get you back. Expect nudes of me only wearing socks and a cowboy hat in your PM by sometime this coming year.
Yes. About some free advertisement site, and another I think was dollars for gold.... or party poker. I don't remember.