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Thread: First Contact (PG-13)

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    Default First Contact (PG-13)

    Well, this is my first ever fan fiction, so here's the scoop. First of all yes, this is about Pokemon, or rather my idea of what the real history should have been. Be warned there will be brief bouts of semi-graphic violence and some horror to this, so consider yourself warned. I'm also using this as practice to sharpen my writing skills, so any constructive criticism is welcome! And without further ado, I'll get the plot rolling.

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    First Contact

    • It was once said that although we live in a Pokemon world, we never found out where the Pokemon came from...
    • Some say that they are aliens, come to Earth from outer space....
    • In all of recorded history, no one has ever stopped to think that perhaps it was not them who were visitors from the stars...


    Table of Contents



    Interludes


    Common Military Phrases and Terminology

    Prologue: The Log

    A group of people sat in a cramped but mostly-empty room. It was in the shape of an oval, with white-painted metal walls, a low-slung ceiling, and patches of rust covering the walls and staining the floor. The space was lit by stark, sterile fluorescent lights recessed into the curving walls. Dust filled the air and there was a musty odor. There was only one entrance, a hole in the wall that was secured with a hatch, like that of a ship, not a door. Around the edges of the room there were black, ancient-looking computer banks, most of them dead and quiet, although on a few of them green and amber lights still twinkled dimly.

    Around these computers a swarm of technicians in lab coats were working feverishly. There were several folding tables set up in the limited space, with high-powered laptops upon them. Thick black cords connected the machines, with others that ran out through the hatchway and into the darkness that waited beyond. The scientists were obviously being cautious, frequently stopping to consult one another and occasionally glancing fearfully over at the other group of people in the room with them.

    There were only five others present, all sitting in collapsible chairs in a rough semi-circle around the center of the room. The group consisted of four men and a lone woman. They were dressed practically, with rugged-looking hiking boots, mountaineering clothing, and thick gloves. From their belts hung several red and white spheres, poké balls. The faces of three of the men and the woman appeared to be every bit as icy as the heart of the arctic, their cruel eyes staring with disdain at the scientists as they worked feverishly on the computers. Their faces were harsh and they had the inexplicable air of power about him.

    However this paled in comparison to the final member of the other group. He was dressed the same as his compatriots. He had the same look on his face, a harsh, ruggedly-handsome face with short-cropped brown hair that was just beginning to gray at the edges. But there was something about him, something in the way he sat or the way his eyes never seemed to miss a single action of the scientists, that made everyone in the room uncomfortable in his presence. An air of authority and contempt. He was the reason for the sweat beading on the scientists' faces and their extreme discomfort.

    After fifteen minutes of hard work, the techs came to an agreement and one of them, a younger woman, tentatively approached the leader of the other group where he sat, slightly apart from the others.

    "Sir," she said, her voice wavering slightly. "We believe that the message is ready now, we're ready to try again on your order."

    The man said nothing, merely jerking his head in an affirmative gesture. He didn't glance her way as she scuttled back to the safety of her companions, all of his attention was focused on the center of the room, as was the others'.

    Now I'll see if this whole endeavor has been worth the price I've paid for it. he thought haughtily.

    There was a moan, a squeal of mechanical protest as long-dormant mechanisms within the floor ground into action. A circular section of the floor irised open, and a cylindrical pedestal emerged. The lights in the room dimmed and then extinguished. There was utter darkness and silence other than the sound of everyone's breathing. There was a flutter of light above the pedestal, then another and another. A blinding flash of color and light played in the empty space and a hissing screech of static blared from hidden speakers in the room's walls, but this lasted only for a few seconds. After which the room quieted and the spots cleared from everyone's eyes and they beheld what was at the center of the room.

    It was a man. A man of light incarnate, a frozen fragment of a time long since past. His image twinkled slightly as dust motes floated in and out of the hologram. He looked to be in his mid to late twenties, was tall and athletic, standing about six feet, with a fair complexion and dark brown hair. His face was sharp and solidly built, with a long, deep scar cutting straight down across his undamaged left eye. He was clad in a strange, black and red uniform. An assortment of colorful ribbons and medals adorned his left chest, and an unreadable name tag hung on the right. From each of his lapels a pair of shiny silver bars twinkled. On one of his shoulders there was a red circular patch with a strange geometric shape with the letters "USNA MC" stitched in gold around the edge. However it was not the man's bizarre attire that held the audience's attention. It was his eyes, gray mournful eyes. One could tell instantly by seeing them that this man had been through hell; that he had seen horrors in his lifetime that few others could imagine. His eyes captured and held the attention of his audience, even the commanding man. Then he spoke.

    "Hello, whoever you are," he said, in a weary voice. "My name is Captain Joshua M. Miller of the United States of North America Marine Corps. I don't know who, if anyone, will ever hear this, but I owe it to myself and to the fallen to leave some record behind." He glanced upward at the ceiling and then back down. "I'd hoped to wait out for the possibility of a relief ship, but I can't rely on that. Someone has to know, some record has to survive, dammit," his voice got a little choked up. "I have to make sure that this survives. So that someone will remember their sacrifices, all the lives lost in the war for this godforsaken mudball. Everyone else has forgotten, their minds wiped and their memories destroyed, I'm the only one left, the only one who still remembers the hell we went through to survive here."

    He paused and took a deep breath to steady himself and got his emotions back under control.

    "First things first, this world, the planet upon which you currently live, breath, laugh, love, and die, is not your home. You belong on this planet as much as an earthworm belongs at the north pole, and yet here we all are." he laughed bitterly at that. "This," his image was replaced by a large blue and green globe. "Is where we come from, Earth. The cradle that birthed us all."

    Everyone in the room leaned forward slightly, looking at the globe intently. It stirred something strange and intangible within their minds. An ancestral knowledge that that was where they belonged. It was fundamentally different from all the maps they had seen of the world in school, yet somehow it felt right to them.

    "Beautiful, isn't it? Of course that's not exactly the way it was when we left." as Capt Miller's disembodied voice spoke the globe changed, the seas gained a green tinge, all of the rolling green forests were eaten away and replaced with vast deserts and wastelands, and the air took on a grayer color.

    "That's better." Capt Miller said sarcastically. "Of course that's what we get for fighting a world war and setting off a lot of highly contaminated explosions in the atmosphere. Allow me to explain. Start by setting the way-back machine to about, oh, a hundred years since I made this recording plus whatever time has passed since then. That makes it about two-thousand fifty-eight by our calender. The world was circling the drain fast: simply put, we were running out of oil."

    He looked out around the room at an audience he would never behold. To the side newspaper pages flashed by in rapid succession, each one talking about the end of the modern age and the decline of the supremacy of oil.

    "I don't know if you've made any great strides in the fields of energy since I've made this, but back in our time gasoline was the only way to go anywhere fast and cheap, so this was a bit of a problem. Luckily for my country, just the United States of America back then, this wasn't a problem as we still had vast stores of oil within our borders, which we drilled into as soon as gas prices started to go up."

    He laughed hollowly. "Well, we decided to sell the surplus to the rest of the world at inflated prices, and for a while we were living large as a new economic superpower, the energy crisis had been staved off, and everything was looking up, at least until someone pointed out that we were also running out of food."

    He grinned, an empty sort of grin, and gestured towards a picture of Earth that appeared next to him.

    "You see, feeding fourteen billion people reliably, even with large farms, is a bit of a challenge. As food shortages became prevalent everyone asked for some sort of answer to the crisis. Well, they got it in the form of a company called 'Omega-Corp'. These guys cooked up a line of genetically-engineered crops that could grow almost anywhere, were highly nutritious, and for an added bonus sucked a ton of pollution out of the air while growing. This seemed like the miracle everyone had been waiting for. Now we had food, energy, a booming economy, everything was going great, at least for us."

    He sighed and went on.

    "The rest of the world wasn't doing as well, and seeing us Americans living large while they were going through an otherwise global recession made them more than a little pissed at us, however seeing as we held all the cards economically and militarily there was not much they could do about it. So the rest of the planet gritted their teeth and tightened their belts. Now jump forward five years, the world was starting to re-build, alternative energy was on the rise, the population wasn't going up as fast and food, while still expensive, wasn't nearly as much of an issue as it had been. Omega-Corp, now a corporate giant, absorbed several dozen other major companies, and had its hands in everything from agriculture to space missions."

    He sighed again, taking a deep breath.

    "And this is where it all went to hell in a handbasket. Omega-Corp had been contracted by the United States Air Force to put an array of satellites into orbit. They told the public that they were just communication satellites, but in reality they were a laser-based anti-missile system called Guardian. When the rest of the world found out they demanded that we take the array offline immediately. We told them to get stuffed, and as a result the United Nations -a global co-op of every major country in the world- kicked us out and started arming for war. Peace talks inevitably broke down when some lunatic got into the conference with a gun and shot up all the representatives. Both sides claimed that the other had backed it, one thing led to another and before we knew it we had World War Three on our hands."

    He grinned, an animal smile, the smile of a hunter. "My dad fought in that war. It was officially known as World War Three, but I always preferred the slang name for it: the "Resource War". Because that was really what it was all about, fighting for the few resources we had left on the planet. Early in the conflict the United States annexed the two neighboring countries Canada and Mexico, forming the United States of North America; seeing as we were up against pretty much the rest of the modern world we figured we needed the extra manpower for the war. It started off small, several hostile countries fired sub-nuclear conventional ballistic missiles at us. We knocked those down with the orbital array, but the Guardian System didn't have the punch needed to destroy the launch facilities, so the Air Force's space branch decided it was time to up the ante."

    "We sent a remote 'Probe Mission' to the inner asteroid belt, which according to the propaganda was to set up a metal mining colony to ease the economic strain of the war. Well that was half-true, we did want the resources, but the 'probe' consisted of nothing more than a huge set of boosters and a guidance system. They strapped all of it onto the surface of a smaller planetoid and used it to haul the whole thing back into Earth orbit, drilled about a mile down, and blew it into pieces with a handful of nukes. The resulting shrapnel took out the bulk of the hostile satellites, while the USNA constellation was protected by the Guardian array. Much of the remaining rocks fell down to Earth's surface, but enough was left in orbit that the Air Force sent up guidance systems and single-stage boosters, attached them to the remaining rocks, and used them as kinetic-strike weapons against enemy installations."

    "They responded with an almost instantaneous nuclear retaliation strike, we shot every missile down but the explosions spewed radioactive material into the upper atmosphere and the prevailing winds carried it all around the world. Despite the escalation the war dragged on for five miserable years after that until both sides agreed to a cease-fire before we ripped the planet apart."

    "Now if you're thinking that things would look up from here you're wrong." Capt Miller said, looking out sharply at no one in particular. "Half a decade of unrestrained warfare had made a real mess of the environment, more so than the first two World Wars combined. We undid all the advancements we'd made in the recent year: what was left of the biosphere was trashed, the forests of the planet were devastated, the oceans were suffering massive algae blooms from the chemicals spilled into them and as a result oxygen levels were going down and fish were dying all over the planet. The upper atmosphere was full of radioactive ash and dust, which cooled the planet and screwed with things even more. A lot of guerrilla warfare and covert actions had taken out major food production centers. Most of the planet was suffering, there was massive infrastructure damage and millions were starving. How in the world Omega-Corp managed to pull off what happened next I'll never know, but I'm glad of it all the same."

    He glanced around, at things that were long-since gone. "Some science types convinced the suits at Omega-Corp to send a long range probe to within Mercury orbit. I think they were looking to set up some sort of close range solar harvesting array or something, but the fact is they found something out there, something that changed everything."

    Miller's body vanished, replaced by a bizarre-looking sphere with a bumpy, ridged surface. Capt Miller's voice went on as he reappeared. "This is known as Ryan's particle, something previously only thought of in science fiction. I don't know how it works exactly, but the gist of is is that enough of these things together and an electrical current could be used bend and warp space-time, allowing for faster than light travel via 'tunneling wormhole theory' or something like that. However they worked they were understandably very rare, the Sun churned tons of them out via nuclear processes but only a few escaped the gravity well long enough for us to scoop them up. Omega-Corp set up a massive and costly remote mining operation to collect them, and began gathering support for setting up a permanent colony on the nearby planet Mars using the star drive as a means to quickly shuttle people to and from the other planet. Only one little snag with that plan though: the 'phase-point drive' as they called it didn't work that far into a gravity well, the conflicting gravitational forces tore the test engine apart when they tried it out that first time. So the whole plan was shelved as a failure. Since the idea of creating a martian colony was now infinitely harder public interest in space waned over the next ten years as we focused on trying to rebuild Earth."

    His gaze turned grim as did his voice. "That's when we found this place. A long-range telescope spotted it, determined that it was in a stable orbit in the habitable zone, and remote spectrograph analysis indicated that it had an atmosphere that humans could survive in. When the public learned about this interest in space surged back into the forefront; the idea of a world that we wouldn't have to dump trillions of dollars into to terraform it made it hugely popular. Omega-Corp got the funds and support from the USNA to launch a massive mission to reach this new planet. The plans for the phase-point drive were dusted off, and Omega-Corp started building a starship in orbit capable of reaching this new world."

    Miller's image was replaced by that of a huge gray starship. It had a cone-shaped nose, a cross-shaped stern, and a huge midsection, with a bumpy, uneven hull. Miller's voice came again.

    "The USISV Javelin they called her. Not a very original name I know, but what can I say. It took them twenty years to build all two miles of her in orbit, but they pulled it off admirably. She was to be the first of five such ships, each designed to shuttle colonists off to this new planet. Since it was roughly two hundred and fifty-thousand light years away, even with the faster than light it was still a really long way to and from the planet, fifty years in-flight I think it was. They built her as a sleeper ship, they put half a million people in a self-induced coma to cut down on resource drain during the flight. I remember being chosen." his eyes misted over. "I went through three months of intensive training on what we should expect from the planet, how to cope with the stress of the alien world, a full psychological exam, the whole nine yards. Most of the first group were soldiers, engineers, psychologists, and farmers. Practical skills for setting up a far-flung colony and a life-saver based on what happened, but I'm getting ahead of myself."

    "The scientists worked out that we had to be around the orbit of Neptune before we could safely fire the main engines, so those of us that were still awake had plenty of time to listen to the broadcasts of Earth on the voyage out. Back home things were going downhill fast. The international community was outraged that the USNA was 'claiming an entire planet' as they called the mission. Tensions were mounting, especially with our old enemies from the Resource War. We went under and engaged the drive before we could learn if anything had come of it. I wonder if there'll be a relief ship sometime in the future, I wonder if we should have gone back then; the ship was carrying a state-of-the-art laser system for shooting down asteroids and a good chunk of military personnel and equipment. If something had happened we could have made a difference."

    He sighed, and looked down. Lines appeared on his face, and for a second he looked very, very old.

    "Well, whatever happened on Earth next it was out of our hands, we spent the next fifty years in hibernation on the flight out. When we woke up the ship was on its way in towards the planet and we were far beyond the reach of Earth one way or another."

    He looked back up.

    "And that's when the nightmare really got started."
    Last edited by Galaxy_Hunter; 8th May 2011 at 8:08 PM. Reason: MASSIVE changes, please read.

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

  2. #2
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    Hey there

    Your plot is AMAZING!!! This is another perspective to the pokemon world everyone is used to, and its incredibly attracting. That idea of human colonization + Pokemon unexplored world + wild, aggresive pokemon is quite a formula.

    On the downside, i found a little blurry the description of the room the first man is in, i think it needs a more description, no matter how dark the room is.

    I'm not really sure if there's any grammar mistakes, and I'm certainly not the one to point them out, but I think that part is pretty solid

    My imagination runs wild with all the posibilities this fic has, and i can say, I look forward to the next chapter.
    10th prestige Lv 55 Nightmare

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  3. #3
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    It definately has the most original plot I have read so far, and it was quite well written - it wasn't just a boring, long speech like things can become when writing dialog. I like how you started it - It worked well - in some fan fictions there can be weird starts to stories.
    He is wearing a uniform, a strange black uniform, covered in bright medals and adorned at the sleeves with alternating red and blue stripes.
    You only need one uniform here, you should of put "He is wearing a strange balck uniform, covered in...ect. Putting uniform twice makes it sound a bit funny.

    So far it is rather well written, although I can't really comment on use of action or description yet (As there has been none), but it was entertaining, and I'll be back to see how this story develops!
    A group of 10 special trainers have been essembled by Professor Birch in a unexplored land. Their mission - to find some special stones to stop Team Magma and Team Aqua from getting them so that the professors can start their indistrialisation of the place. Follow their adventures in "Regional Conflict - The Five Sacred Stones. Please read, and review :)Here is the link. http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=482753 Last chapter - Chapter 10: The Tides of Terror

    Please read my other fic, a Unova journey fic - Unova apprentices. - http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=498160

    VM me if you want me to review your fic.

    White is nearly done, and nearly all my generation 4 pokemon are on there.

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    "...although we may live in a pokemon world," Said a generic male voice, repeating the same lines every trainer had once heard at trainer's school. "there are still many mysteries to be solved."
    In this case, "said" should be lowercase.

    I love the plot idea! I've been fascinated with the idea of space travel for as log as I can remember, and it's interesting that you portrayed Pokemon as more dangerous creatures than anything. I'm excited for the next chapter.
    I will be offline from January 2013 to October 2014.

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    Chapter 3 and cooler banner coming eventually. :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoflLuxRay View Post
    Hey there

    Your plot is AMAZING!!! This is another perspective to the pokemon world everyone is used to, and its incredibly attracting. That idea of human colonization + Pokemon unexplored world + wild, aggresive pokemon is quite a formula.

    On the downside, i found a little blurry the description of the room the first man is in, i think it needs a more description, no matter how dark the room is.

    I'm not really sure if there's any grammar mistakes, and I'm certainly not the one to point them out, but I think that part is pretty solid

    My imagination runs wild with all the posibilities this fic has, and i can say, I look forward to the next chapter.
    Thanks . Yes, I intentionally left the room and the man's description a little blurry, I will gradually reveal more and more about where it is, what it's like, and who the man is later. I think it'll be a shocker...


    Quote Originally Posted by NinjaScepSneasel View Post
    So far it is rather well written, although I can't really comment on use of action or description yet (As there has been none), but it was entertaining, and I'll be back to see how this story develops!
    I plan on introducing the action in the next 2 chapters (it will be a bit graphic) and thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by GastlyMan View Post
    In this case, "said" should be lowercase.

    I love the plot idea! I've been fascinated with the idea of space travel for as log as I can remember, and it's interesting that you portrayed Pokemon as more dangerous creatures than anything. I'm excited for the next chapter.
    Duly noted, and yes space travel was always a fascination for me as well. The idea that we were the aliens came to me one day and my train of thought eventually caused me to think that if we were to land on their planet they might react with hostility. It's going to be a fun ride taking humans from enemy combatants to erstwhile allies/friends with the Pokemon.

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

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    Here is the (maybe) much-anticipated first chapter, I'll edit in a chapter listing into the first post later. Anyway, not much action in this chapter (that's next chapter sorry ) but there is a lot of explanations of the technology and setting that plays a big role later, so please pay attention.

    Without further ado:

    Chapter 1: Landfall

    Captain Miller's hologram continued.

    "What you are about to see, is the truth, the history of our species and the sins committed so we could stay here."

    He sighed.

    "In the war that followed, "The First Contact War' it was called, I saw heros and villains on both sides, I saw good men and good- well, aliens I guess- brutally slaughtered in the most horrific ways possible. We've all made mistakes, and I've gone through so much crap that I don't think I'll ever be able to sort out what's right and I don't want to. Consider this my legacy, the last record of human history left."

    His image faded.

    _______________________

    A spacecraft glided silently through the void. Even without anything else for comparison it was obvious that the craft was huge. The vessel looked like a bloated spear moving through space, with a narrow bow and massive cross-shaped stern cowling which concealed mammoth engine nozzles. It had a dark gray, metallic hull that was half-illuminated by brilliant white sunlight. The monotony of the ship's surface was broken intermittently by glowing red radiator strips, and the spiny, turret-mounted laser batteries. The ship had recently fired its main engines to put itself in an interception trajectory with the planet ahead and was slowly venting the waste heat. Before the vessel was the world that the ship was fated to meet. At this distance it looked like nothing more than a brighter-than-average star. Unfamiliar constellations dotted the sky on all sides of the darkened ship. This was not the solar system humans knew.

    Judging from the exterior the vessel had been in space a very long time. The hull was pockmarked by micro-craters and streaks of black carbon scoring; remnants of old collisions with space dust. On the bow, massive black letters spelled out the ship's name, Javelin, however the paint had faded over time until it was barely legible. There were no running lights to illuminate the dark side of the hull save for the radiators. For all intents and purposes the ship appeared to be dead. But this was not the case. On the the radio frequencies the ship was singing, pulsing out dozens of messages every minute to anything that might be listening, most were concerning the ship's origin and position, but a select few were aimed solely at the distant planet before it, broadcasting its presence and proclaiming its peaceful intentions. The ship's computers were waiting, with tireless enthusiasm, to hear a reply that would never come.

    The bowels of the ship were no different than the outside. The atmosphere was stale and cold, almost the same temperature as space itself. Nothing was on, everything seemed to be in a deep freeze of inactivity. There was no light within the ship, it was as dark as the depths of the void inside with no windows to let in the sunlight bathing half of the hull. The air was stale and frozen, with a thin layer of frost coating almost every surface in the pitch darkness.

    However the ship was not dead, far from it. The main computers, still standing a silent vigil over the darkened vessel and her sleeping passengers, were hard at work, preparing to complete the task that they had carried out diligently for years. They responded to the ship's proximity to the planet ahead by adjusting the ship's internal environment, returning it to conditions tolerable by humans. There was a hum, and the heaters engaged, banishing the cold from the inside. Next the air scrubbers came online, along with the lighting. The ship was suddenly lit up from the outside as navigation and running lights flickered on along the vast expanse of the Javelin's hull. Electronic displays, long since inactive, came back on all throughout the ship. Radiation levels were checked and re-checked throughout the ship to ensure there had been no unknown breaches in the outer shielding or the core walls that contained the fiery nuclear hearts of the spacecraft. A series of boosters fired along the outer hull of the spacecraft, spinning the ship and causing rotation to simulate artificial gravity. Finally, when the conditions were right, three stasis pods opened in a distant corner of the primary hibernation bay, releasing the advance crew from their long sleep.

    _______________________

    Captain Anderson fell to the decking with a wash of nutrient fluid. He reached up and grabbed an assistance bar as he tore the breather mask from his face and coughed up more of the clear fluid from his lungs. His slick hands almost lost their grip on it before he stood up to observe his surroundings. He was in his sixties, with steely colored hair and a mustache to match, still full of vitality and vigor, and heavily muscled thanks to the vicious workout routine he followed. It had been two weeks since his consciousness had returned, two weeks of him floating in the tank while the medical machinery had repaired the cellular damage from his long sleep. He had had nothing to do but stare out at the stark, cramped hallway filled with other sleeping humans and the recessed personal lockers. He had hated waiting, being powerless to do anything. It was in his nature; he enjoyed being in control. Now, however, he was free and ready to do his job.

    The two tanks to the left of his opened up as well, releasing Chief Stevens, the navigator, and Lieutenant Williams, their science officer. Lieutenant Williams was an Indiana native in her late twenties, athletic, and a devout ecologist and biologist. She had a pleasant, heart-shaped face framed by dark wavy hair with warm, almond-colored eyes. Chief Stevens was an aeronautical engineer in his forties from southern California, and the so-called 'pilot' of the Javelin. He had signed onto the mission fresh from getting his doctorate, however one couldn't tell that by looking at him; he looked like a stereotypical surfer: spray-on tan, blond hair, and an attitude to match. While they lay on the deck, gagging and trying to catch their first real breath in decades, the Captain went over to his storage locker to change quickly out of the damp stasis robe and into his navy uniform. He pulled out the retractable privacy screen and quickly slipped into his military-issued flight suit, designed to be comfortable and practical in the cramped interior of the vessel When he had finished he turned back to his now-functional crew where they stood blinking in the bright light and spoke to them in a slightly raspy voice.

    "Let's move people, we've got a job to do, and it doesn't involve just standing around."

    With a groan the two young crew members went to their lockers to get changed as well.

    _______________________
    Twenty minutes later the crew was floating down the main corridor to the ship's bridge. Many of the vessel's vital systems were located along the spine, the heart of the vessel. As a result the artificial gravity created by the spinning outer hull didn't apply there. They hovered down the shaft in silence, they all knew what was going to happen, why they were there. Eventually they reached the bridge. It was a small, cramped rectangular room squashed in between layers of armor near the nose of the Javelin. The captain's console sat facing forward along the lines of the ship, while the other two primary stations were forward in the room, each facing back towards the captain's chair to provide quick and concise communication between the commanding officer and their subordinates. Other consoles rimmed the edges and ceiling of the room, and a flat television screen dominated the far wall.

    The room's recessed lighting came on as they entered, and the computer displays activated with slight hums. The crew pushed themselves off of the walls and strapped into their respective seats. Capt Anderson slid into the soft, form-fitting leather with a sigh, whispering quietly to himself.

    "Yeah, daddy's home."

    He sat straighter in his seat and spoke in a louder voice.

    "Alright people, we're not here to just sit around, let's get cracking. Chief, give me a position check, make sure we are where we're supposed to be. Lieutenant give me a systems-wide shakedown, pressure, radiation, and fuel. Make sure we can still climb far enough out of the gravity well to get home. Then check the radio logs, see if anyone's bothered to say hi while we were on the way."

    "Aye-aye, sir!" they both said simultaneously and got to work.

    Capt Anderson pulled up a chart and checked their schedule. According to their chronometer they'd been in flight for just shy of years seventy-five years and they were still six weeks from making orbit. The next group of crew was slated to be awoken around that time as well.

    That's odd, he thought. Those are marines on the first contact team. Why not scientists?

    He pulled up their orders on his private screen. Let's see, 'Primary Directive 2-1', "The first contact team will consist of soldiers, with orders to scout and establish a forward command center on the ground." Let's see here... "In the event of intelligent native presence soldiers are to attempt peaceful negotiations. Soldiers are not to engage natives unless attacked first, if so they are authorized to retaliate by all means necessary." Well, it's not perfect, but at least it'll make sure we don't lose valuable scientific personnel if there are hostiles down there. Even so I don't think I should mention this to the L-T just yet. She was looking forward to being one of e first ones down there.

    "Sir?" asked Lt Williams hesitantly, snapping him out of his thoughts. "Pressure and radiation seals check out a-ok. The hull armor's been worn down a bit in places but is still well over a meter thick on average. Fuel reserves are running about where we expected, although the computers had to make a course adjustment because of some outlying planets we didn't see from Earth."

    "Copy that. Chief, where are we?"

    "Here sir." the large tv screen at the front of the room lit up and displayed an image of the alien solar system. It had five worlds compared to their star's eight, each orbiting steadily around a yellow dwarf star at the heart. There was a solitary asteroid belt, orbiting just beyond the second world of the system, their target. Their entry point from the phase-jump was just beyond the fifth planet of the system, and their course inward had brought them fairly close -a few thousand kilometers- to it. Capt Anderson would review the survey data from the fly-by later, he was more concerned with their destination. A gold-colored point appeared deep in the interplanetary space between the second planet and the asteroid belt, that was them.

    Capt Anderson sighed, leaning back in the zero gravity. They were right on schedule, yet he wasn't comfortable with the situation at all.

    Hell, who would be comfortable being in a position like this? he thought with a smile.

    Capt Anderson was a Navy squid, through-and-through. Ever since he graduated from Annapolis he'd been serving aboard submarines, until eventually he'd found himself in command of one, a behemoth of steel, one of the newest New York-Class boomers. Thankfully he'd not had to fire his missiles during the Resource war, but there had been some tense moments. Shortly after the cease-fire had been declared he'd been recruited by Omega-Corp to be the commander of their flagship, the Javelin. They had chosen him specifically over any number of Air Force personnel due to his experience and the ship being more like a submarine than a giant aircraft; it was enclosed, claustrophobic, and the crews typically went out on six month patrols that cut them off from any and all contact with land. It was a vessel he knew how to handle, at least after his training was completed.

    Capt Anderson pulled himself out of his thoughts. Whatever the circumstances, we're here and we will make the best of it.

    "L-T" he said. "Bring up the feed from the bow telescopes, let's have a look-see at this colony we're supposed to establish."

    She nodded and tapped a control. A star-filled image appeared on the main screen. The view focused on one slightly brighter-than-normal blue star in the middle.

    "That's it." she said. "Not much to look at, but we're still too far away to discern much."

    "Well, we've got five weeks people." Capt Anderson said. "Let's get to work, see what we can find out about this place."

    _______________________

    Three weeks later the planet was showing a defined, blue-white disk even to the naked eye. Telescopic observations had confirmed that vast oceans covered most of the surface, which were broken by numerous small continents and island archipelagos, some of which appeared to be volcanic. The planet had a lone moon much like Earth's, except slightly larger and less dense. Aside from their observations, the crew had spent much of the past few weeks conducting repairs on the numerous malfunctions the Javelin had developed over their trip. Today, however, they were all once again on the bridge, awaiting their first glimpses of the planet through the eyes of the probes they had launched earlier that week. If, however they detected problems with the new planet's biosphere or atmosphere the mission would get immeasurably harder.

    Lt Williams was staring intently at her screen when it lit up with data from the first probe to hit the planet's atmosphere. Capt Anderson floated up behind her and watched over her shoulder.

    "Well, L-T?" he said. "What do you have for me?"

    She checked the readings and flipped a switch, bringing up a new table on her screen.

    "Well sir, the good news is that the atmosphere is stable, similar to Earth's although the density is a little higher. However, it is well within tolerable limits. No harmful trace gases detected so far, but I will note that the oxygen content is significantly higher than on Earth, not dangerous, but enough to reinvigorate anyone on the surface. Other than that it'll take about fifteen minutes before the probe hits the ground and we can get readings on the local life."

    "It's very well-along, particularly for such a young planet." commented Chief Stevens. "It took, what, one billion years for the first bacteria to develop on Earth, and based on the age of the star this planet is maybe five or six hundred million at most and apparently has advanced plant life? That's impressive you've got to admit."

    'We can't compare anything we see here to Earth just because the planet is similar to it." Lt Williams replied coldly. "However, you're right, we never expected such an advanced biosphere. It's remarkably well-along for such a young world, and I'd love to get a look at some of the things that have evolved here."

    "I trust this doesn't complicate things?" Captain Anderson asked quietly.

    "Oh no sir," Lt Williams replied. "The planet's atmosphere at least is close enough to ours that large-scale terraforming won't be needed; we could survive down there just fine as it is. That means that there will be far less disruption to the native life when we begin colonizing it. What I'm looking for are harmful trace elements or unknown diseases that could be a problem." she turned to the screen again. "We'll find out soon enough."

    Twenty minutes later the first feeds from the ground came in, revealing the surface of the alien world. Unfortunately, the visual feed was clogged with static.

    "What's with all of the interference?" the Captain asked.

    Lt Williams brought up another screen on her terminal.

    "Looks like some sort of atmospheric distortion, it's interfering with communications slightly." she sighed. "Other than that the probe survived its landing, although I would have liked it to be positioned better. It's on the side of a mountain, somewhere in the northern hemisphere. I'm trying to clean up the visual feed, until then we'll have to rely on the other sensors."

    She frowned and stared intently at the readings.

    "That's odd, the probe's atmospheric samplers aren't finding any evidence of bacteria at all. That can't be right."

    "Could it be a sensors malfunction?" Capt Anderson suggested.

    "No sir, the diagnostic checks out fine. Maybe there aren't any microbes there, at least not ones we can recognize. But that doesn't make any sense, there has to be some simple life there, otherwise where did everything else come from?"

    "Can you at least tell me if a ground team can survive?" the Captain asked, not in the mood to discuss the origins of the alien biosphere.

    "Yes sir they could, there aren't any harmful trace gasses that I can find and radiation levels are well within tolerable limits. However we won't be able to calculate the impact our own bacteria might have on the environment. Ours could wipe out the entire biosphere or not affect it at all, I can't tell. Also just because the probe can't find any alien bacteria on the surface doesn't mean that there aren't any; just that we can't find them. I'd recommend breath filters for anyone we send down, at least until we get more data."

    "Good enough," said the Captain. "Switch to the main camera and let's see what the terrain is like."

    On the main screen of the ship's small, cramped bridge an image appeared. All three humans focused on the image. Although still heavily distorted by the interference, the landscape was visible. A rocky mountainside obscured half the camera, but the other side showed a beautiful green forest stretching to the horizon, occasionally broken by bright blue lakes and rolling hills. There was another mountain range rising out of a cloud bank far in the distance.

    "My God," Chief Stevens spoke after a few minutes of staring. "It's beautiful and so green. The old vids said that Earth used to look like this, but I never thought it could be true, especially here."

    "You know what Chief?" the Lieutenant said with a huge smile, drinking in the sight. "I think we just scored the galactic jackpot with this place, pure and untouched."

    The Captain retained his composure, even though he was just as awestruck as they were. Having grown up in a world of state-spanning cities, and having watched the last of Earth's preserved natural beauty vanish during the Resource wars when he was a young man, seeing another wilderness untouched by civilization had a profound effect on him.

    "Alright people we can't sit around admiring the view all day." Anderson said, shaking off the effects of the image. "Pan the camera around, I want to know as much as possible before we send our ground team in."

    The view began rotating, showing more forests, sweeping grasslands, and in the distance, a clear, azure ocean. The place looked like a paradise. While it was in a poor position to analyze the planet's biosphere, the mountainside offered a breathtaking view of the surrounding country. Eventually the camera came around to point back at the mountainside.

    "Pan it up," said the Captain. "Let's see how high this thing goes."

    Lt Williams nodded and tapped a couple of controls. On the screen the camera moved up-

    -just in time for the crew to get a glimpse of a falling boulder coming at the camera before the signal cut out.

    "What was that?" Chief Stevens asked.

    "Rock slide, probably." said the Lieutenant. "You can't expect that slamming into a mountain won't cause some disturbances. At least it wasn't a total loss; we've still got the collected data and our other probes will land within the next couple of days anyway."

    "She's right," said the Captain. "This is an completely unexplored world, we can't expect everything to go off without a hitch. There'll be other chances. In the meantime, begin thawing out Captain Cordo's company, by the time they're combat-capable we should have enough intel to keep them happy."

    "You mean the Captain Cordo? He's a living legend!" exclaimed Chief Stevens. "He and his company held their position in a ditch for three hours while their wounded were airlifted out. He helped win the single most pivotal engagement of the Battle of Venezuela! He-"

    "-Is about the hardest commanding officer anyone could ever serve under," Captain Anderson cut in, noticing how Lt Williams had gone stony-faced at his announcement.

    I'll talk to her about that later. he thought grimly before continuing.

    "And that's saying something for a marine. I only met him once, and he made one helluva impression. He's been stashed down in that hold for this whole trip, nothing to do but grind his teeth and wait. I wouldn't want to be in his unit when they wake up."

    _______________________

    With a gasp, Lieutenant Miller fell from his hibernation tube. He got up shakily, as around him sixty-five other marines did the same. They'd been awake for about two weeks, waiting while their bodies were slowly returned to normal by hormone injections and electrical stimulation of the muscles. Now he stood, as able-bodied as he'd been back on Earth when they'd left. He walked over to his locker directly across from his hibernation tank and unlocked it. He glanced at a small mirror, he was lean but not thin; athletically built, with steely gray eyes and short-cropped black hair. He slipped quickly into his space-fatigues, an exotic name for a simple olive-drab jumpsuit similar to those worn by Air Force pilots. It was designed for comfortable movement in zero-g. He paused a minute to look at a picture of his brother and his family. He wondered if they were still alive, he wondered if anyone on Earth was left.

    "Hey, L-T." it was Corporal Jenkins, one if his men. "Sir, how much are they paying us for this tour?"

    "Not enough to have to wake up to your ugly face." he replied, with a slight grin, shutting his locker.

    Meanwhile Capt Cordo paced up and down the aisle, shouting at marines who were taking too long to get active and hitting them with a short baton if they talked back. He was a big, heavily-built man of forty-five, and had the voice and temperament of an enraged rhinoceros. He was nearly bald, and looked all the more intimidating for it.

    "Come on people, lets move!" He shouted at no one in particular. "They ain't paying us by the hour to stand around and look pretty."

    Corporal Jenkins, who was a young man with a strong New York accent and a dry sense of humor replied sarcastically under his breath.

    "Oh, you think I'm pretty sir? I'm flattered."

    This earned him a crack on the head from Sergeant Chris, a heavy-set man and one of Lt Miller's Platoon Sergeants.

    "Knock it off," Chris said. "And get moving, we've got a job to do, so fall in."

    Once everyone was up and in formation in an adjoining cargo room, Captain Cordo called both Lieutenant Miller and Lieutenant Zeal over to discuss their situation.

    "Alright both of you," their CO said. "The bridge crew has been awake for several weeks, and they'll brief us on the planet's conditions. As my platoon leaders, you'll be briefed with me, then you can inform your men at your discretion. You got that?"

    "Sir, yes sir!" the two said snappily, sharing a knowing look. They knew that when their commanding officer said 'at their discretion' it really meant 'tell them everything that doesn't compromise mission security or else'.

    They followed him out of the general assembly area and through a tube to the central region. The outer hull of the Javelin was rotating, providing artificial gravity. This made loading the shuttles and moving cargo easier, as it was generally more difficult to control large heavy objects in zero-gravity. The outer surface of the craft was modular and equipped with heat shields, so some of the larger cargo that couldn't fit on a shuttle could be dropped straight onto the planet. In an emergency they could also act as escape craft. The modules all sat on top of the centrifuge, which sheathed the interior section of the ship. The inner hull of the ship lacked gravity, and contained far less space than the outside of the ship, which housed the majority of the equipment and personnel. The only things located in the central hull were the bridge, central computers and life support, engines, and other mission-critical stations. The crew floated down a hallway barely big enough for one person into the bridge where the others were waiting.

    "Ah, Captain Cordo," Captain Anderson said, saluting as they entered. "Welcome back to the Javelin."

    The marines steadied themselves against the walls and returned the salute snappily. Even in zero-gravity where people could theoretically make more efficient use of space, it was still crowded with six people.

    "Good to be back," said Captain Cordo gruffly. "Now where do we stand?"

    An image appeared in thin air, it was a hologram of the planet below projected from multiple ports in the bridge's relative ceiling. Red dots appeared on the surface of the planet, covering a vast swath of territory.

    "The ship is holding steady in an equatorial orbit, we've been here for about three days. We've gathered a lot of data since you were brought back." said Capt Anderson. "Unfortunately it's not as much as we would have hoped. We've lost about half our probes to freak accidents, which is a lot more than expected."

    "What kind of accidents exactly?" asked Lt Zeal, watching the main screen intently as it began showing the collected data on the environment. She was from Hawaii, had dark auburn hair and skin that never seemed to lose its tan. She was a year younger than Lt Miller with master's degrees in environmental and aeronautical engineering and was keen to know more about the new world they were going to.

    "Nothing that implies deliberate sabotage by alien life if that's what you're asking," said Captain Anderson. "So far, in fact, we've found very little in the way of large animals. The probes were all lost by things such as failure to decelerate sufficiently, or landing in a lake we didn't know about and sinking, or being blown into a cliff side by a gust of wind. You know, normal accidents."

    "You said you haven't found many large animals, but you have found something." said Lt Miller.

    "Well, yes," said Lt Williams, calling up some still shots from the visual feeds onto the main screen. "Some small avians as you can see here."

    A picture of a small, cream-colored bird appeared, it looked like it was pecking the ground in front of the camera.

    "Some insect-like creatures,"

    A different image appeared, showing a forest. On one of the branches there was a bright green worm-like animal.

    "And one of our ocean probes caught a glimpse of a school of orange fish."

    A shot of a clear blue undersea vista appeared, deep down in the distance there were several orange carp-like fish.

    "In short, we haven't seen any animals large enough to threaten us, although we haven't seen the entire planet yet." Lt Williams finished.

    "And it's for that reason that we want you and your men to go to ground in full combat gear and heavy armor." Said Captain Anderson. "In addition we haven't found any foreign diseases down there, but we're willing to bet that we just can't detect them. Until we can analyze some air and water samples in the labs on board the Javelin all personnel will wear filter masks and will be subject to decontamination upon return."

    Captain Cordo nodded in agreement. Even though their rank had the same name, a Captain in the navy was the equivalent of a Colonel in the marines, so technically Captain Anderson outranked him. Besides the Javelin was Anderson's boat and he would bow to his authority while on board no matter what ranks were involved. When they were on the ground however, Captain Cordo was God as far as his troops were concerned.

    "Alright, where's the LZ?" he asked.

    "Here," said Capt Anderson, pointing at a vast grassland flanked by a mountain range in the West in the northern hemisphere. "It's open, got a river nearby, and there are no low-pressure systems in the vicinity, should be a nice calm day. What we need you to do is basically reconnaissance, get us some samples for analysis, scout some good locations for colony construction, and set up preliminary defenses and buildings."

    The image of the grassland divided into four different-colored zones.

    "We've got four areas to cover, each is ten square miles. We'll divide the company into four squads and assign one to each area. When you've finished your sweep, return to the main ship with your samples."

    "Good place for a landing, but it's very exposed. There's not a lot of cover out there, so you'd better pray that you're right about there not being any large animals down there." Captain Cordo said with a menace that caused the older man to flinch in spite of himself. Then he turned to his two lieutenants. "Alright you two, go back and brief your platoons and assign squad leaders, we're wheels-up in twenty minutes."

    "Sir, yes sir!" They said, saluting and floating out of the bridge. Their commander remained behind, studying the data from the planet for a little while longer. Then he too floated away out of the bridge.

    _______________________

    Capt Anderson waited until they had all left before he turned to Lt Williams where she sat, stony-faced at her console. He sighed, it was best to get rid of the tension now.

    "Lt Williams, do you have something you'd like to say?"

    "Permission to speak freely, sir?" she said in a clipped tone.

    "Go ahead."

    "Sir, what the hell are we doing sending armed marines down for our potential first contact with an alien species? You know as well as I do that my team and I should be the ones to go! We were prepped for this and-"

    "And so were they, this has always been the plan Lt." Anderson said calmly. "They were properly briefed on what to expect from the planet and its inhabitants and given explicit orders not to go around destroying the place."

    "But-" she began, but he cut her off again.

    "I promise you and your team will get every chance after they've secured a ground post to work out of and a safe zone around it. So relax, I'm sure they won't break the planet while they're down there."

    "But what about the weapons they've got?" she asked, grasping at straws. "If the natives see them they'll assume we're hostile and attack, the marines will fight back and we'll have a war on our hands!"

    "What makes you think they'll even recognize our weapons for what they are?" asked Chief Stevens, cutting into the discussion. "We'll be just as strange to them as they would be to us. How would they know what they're carrying are weapons unless they've already invented something similar? And if that's the case they'll be able to figure out what's happening and be able to negotiate. Relax L-T."

    "That's the problem," she muttered, sliding back into her seat, barely realizing that she had risen out of it in anger. "I can't."

    _______________________

    "Let's go, get on the ready line marines!" Lt Miller shouted at his platoon in the outer loading bay of the ship.

    He was in the small armory adjacent to one of the primary shuttle decks, bedecked in green camouflaged armor, with a matte-black M5 assault rifle held in one hand and his helmet in another. His soldiers were busily strapping on the last of their armor and checking weapons. They had been briefed ten minutes ago and the bridge had just given them the go-ahead to proceed with the launch. His troops were outfitted with everything from sniper rifles to bulky plasma-jet flamethrowers.

    "Go! Go! Go!" he shouted as the last of his men filed out from the armory's narrow hatch and ran across the hangar deck to the ready line with him bringing up the rear, shouting as he went. "Move it out! Move it out goddammit! C'mon let's go! Move it out! Move it out! Move it out! One, two, three, four!"

    He stopped and paced up in front of his assembled troops looking over each one individually.

    "Nice, a regular bunch of stone-cold killin' machine if I ever saw 'em! Alright pack it in!" he gestured at an open hatchway in the dull gray floor behind them. "Get in there!"

    They rushed over and quickly slid down the narrow ladder into the primary hold of the shuttle that was docked beneath them. Roughly the size of a C-130 cargo plane the shuttle was a bulky, utilitarian vehicle, designed for vertical takeoff and landing and capable of spaceflight through the use of a self-oxidizing fuel. It was rugged and almost impossible to bring down. The Javelin's small fleet of shuttles were docked to her exterior in small, unpressurized bays covered over with massive armored doors to protect from space debris. A tunnel for transferring personnel ran from the mothership through the roof of the smaller craft and straight into its hold.

    Lt Miller slid down the ladder last, making sure to seal the hatches carefully behind him. He hit the decking of the cargo bay and looked around in the dim red light. His troops were taking seats in the collapsible chairs bolted to the floor among the massive crates lashed to the floor. Others were busy nesting their weapons in the netting that hung from the ceiling.

    "Alright, combat seating everyone, take your positions. Weapons stowed, now." he ordered, glancing around. "Everybody take a deep breath and relax. For now, we're just along for the ride." he turned to Sgt Chris who was in the hold with him. "Sergeant, you've got the men, I'll be up riding shotgun with Everson."

    The man nodded and turned to begin issuing orders of his own. Lt Miller walked to the fore of the ship and ascended the narrow ladder to the shuttle's cockpit. Their pilot, marine 2nd Lt Everson, was already there, running the pre-flight checklist.

    "Check, inner and outer hatches sealed." he listened for a moment, nodding, then spoke into his headset again. "Confirm, internal fuel oxidizers flowing, engines spinning up now."

    He took off the flimsy headset and stowed it in his seatback pocket and pulled the heavier flight helmet on over his brown hair. Lt Miller strapped himself into the pilot's seat next to him and then pulled his combat helmet on, plugging it into one of the ship's data cables. His HUD filled up with information and he nodded to Everson. The younger man jerked his head and hit a switch. There was a low hum through the shuttle's structure as the engines spun up to speed. Everson checked the engine readouts, nodded once and spoke to the bridge again. Miller, plugged into the comm network, heard them.

    "Bridge, this is shuttle two, clean startup and green across the board. Request that you open the garage door, over."

    "Copy that shuttle two." Stevenson's voice came back. "Standby, ten seconds."

    Miller switched to his squad channel and addressed his troops.

    "Hang on people we're about to disengage!"

    Out in the darkness of the bay a huge set of armored doors opened up, displaying a wheeling starscape. The shuttle shuddered gently and drifted away from the wall. Of course on the outside it looked gentle, to the people it felt more like a massive lurch that jerked them in their seat restraints.

    "Bridge, shuttle two here. We have clean separation. Request permission to leave the Javelin."

    "Granted," came Capt Anderson's voice. "Godspeed shuttle two."

    "Copy, don't worry sir, I'll bring her back in one piece. Shuttle two out."

    He grabbed the control joysticks and gently manipulated them. Short, ten milliliter bursts of propellant jetted from the shuttle's recessed attitude-control nozzles. Lt Everson carefully edged the shuttle put of the docking bay, using feeds from the exterior cameras to guide him. After several tense minutes he spoke over the internal speakers.

    "Alright, we're clear of the superstructure. Hang on, I'm gonna cancel our rotation now, may be a bit of a jerk."

    He tapped a switch and everyone was thrown violently to one side as jets fired along the sides of the ship. Immediately after it ended came the weightlessness and the queasiness. Miller adjusted his breathing and was starting to relax when Everson spoke again.

    "Right, forward acceleration in two, one."

    Miller was shoved back into his seat as the main engines fired, orienting itself down toward the planet.

    Grumbling as the thrust died and weightlessness returned, Miller ran a check on his marines' vitals. They checked out a-ok and he sank down into his seat, exhausted already.

    "Yo Lt," came Lt Everson's voice in his helmet. "Wanna see something cool?"

    Miller nodded and Everson flipped a switch to the side. In front of them the armored plating covering the forward window retracted, giving them a stunning view of the planet below.

    The sun was just cresting the horizon in the distance, illuminating a thin sliver of the world below. The thin layer of the outer atmosphere was shining a pale blue in the rising sun. The thin visible side of the planet was covered in a vast ocean dotted with smaller, green islands. Huge, intricate cloud structures towered high above the ground, shining white and gold in the sunlight. Intermittent flashes of lightning came from storms enveloping the night side. It was a beautiful sight.

    "Takes your breath away, doesn't it?" Ever son was grinning at him from his right. "Even back at Earth with all the clutter the size of the planet takes your breath away, am I right?"

    "Yeah," came Miller's awestruck reply. "Where are the other shuttles?"

    Three green circles appeared on his heads-up-display each marked with a serial number. They highlighted three separate fast-moving socks of light far ahead of their shuttle.

    "We'll all be entering the atmosphere in one hour sir." Lt Everson explained. "So for now just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. We'll be out here for a little while."

    He flipped the switch back and the steel plates fell back into place in front of the window.
    Last edited by Galaxy_Hunter; 19th May 2011 at 6:51 AM. Reason: Major Changes (again)

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

  7. #7
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    Very interesting. I like how you paid attancion to little details, like the microbes, and the earth changing. I got a bit confused with all the people on the ships though. Your description was good, but I noticed a few mistakes -

    A spacecraft glides silently through the void. A large, dull gray construct, the only signs of life one could discern from the outside are the massive radiator strips set at intervals along the hull. Glowing a dull red, they radiate off the waste heat generated by the vessel's deceleration burn two weeks ago. An alien sun cast pale light on the ship's pitted and scarred hull as it moves toward a planet up ahead, still barely a pinprick of light against a starry background. The stars, cold distant watchers, are arranged in unfamiliar patterns on all sides of the ship. This was not the solar system humans knew.
    You start off this part in the present tence and then change to the past. You need to change the first bit so that it is glided not glides.

    With a groan the two went to their lockers to get changed as well.

    A few days later the planet was showing a defined disk even to the naked eye, and the crew was waiting anxiously for data from the probes launched the day before. This was the moment everyone had been waiting for, they could already tell that the planet had an extensive biosphere as the planet had a definite green coloration to it.
    You need some kind of longer gap between to two parts - a _____________

    Overall, it was quite well written, but I really did get confused with all the different (Sometimes unexplained) characters. I can't wait for what's in store for them.
    A group of 10 special trainers have been essembled by Professor Birch in a unexplored land. Their mission - to find some special stones to stop Team Magma and Team Aqua from getting them so that the professors can start their indistrialisation of the place. Follow their adventures in "Regional Conflict - The Five Sacred Stones. Please read, and review :)Here is the link. http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=482753 Last chapter - Chapter 10: The Tides of Terror

    Please read my other fic, a Unova journey fic - Unova apprentices. - http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=498160

    VM me if you want me to review your fic.

    White is nearly done, and nearly all my generation 4 pokemon are on there.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NinjaScepSneasel View Post
    You start off this part in the present tence and then change to the past. You need to change the first bit so that it is glided not glides.



    You need some kind of longer gap between to two parts - a _____________

    Overall, it was quite well written, but I really did get confused with all the different (Sometimes unexplained) characters. I can't wait for what's in store for them.
    Fixed the tense error and added the gap. I also worked in some more descriptions of the major characters, although more details will have to wait until later. And as for the abundance of characters, let's just say that won't be a problem after the next chapter.

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

  9. #9
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    Kill yourself)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henerusic View Post
    Kill yourself)
    That's a negative attitude, and on Valentine's Day no less!

    I'm gonna have to say no to that, and that I don't think trolling will be seen as funny to the mods, or that attempted cyber-bullying will look good to the cops.

    I'm just sayin'

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

  11. #11
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    Ah... took me a while to get my eye here, but. I'm glad i did.

    Overall, it was well written, but I noticed a few mistakes that need correction (so weird for me to go on grammar).

    Quote Originally Posted by Galaxy_Hunter
    "Could it be a sensors malfunction, something to do with the mountain?" Asked the Captain.
    I was happily reading until I ran into THAT particular mistake, spread all over the fic. The problem with it, it's that makes no sense. "Asked the captain" should be "The captain asked" My grammar skills only tell me it's wrong, I just don't know how to explain the rule, my bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Galaxy_Hunter
    With a gasp Lieutenant Miller fell from his hibernation tube.
    A pause should go between gasp and lieutenant.}

    Other than those mistakes, I found none, and it was well written. I liked the description, and the plot, which is the main attractive of this fic.

    Good chapter, and good read. I certainly look forward to the next chapter, thanks for your time
    10th prestige Lv 55 Nightmare

    I still Like wafflezzzz...

  12. #12
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    Dec 2010
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    Reader you are warned: this chapter contains sequences of intense violence and semi-mild language while humans and pokemon try very hard to kill one another.

    Chapter 2: The Most Dangerous Game...

    "Hey, Miller"

    The lieutenant wiles with a start. He glanced at the chronometer they were five minutes out from the atmosphere. He couldn't believe it but he had actually slept.

    "What's wrong?" he asked, stretching in the low gravity.

    "Nothing, you just looked entirely too comfortable over there. Everson grinned. "Anything you want to say to your troops?"

    Miller triggered his intercom."Alright ladies listen up... We're going in, don't do anything stupid and keep your heads on a swivel. We're already heroes so just sit back, shut up, and enjoy the ride. Miller out."

    He closed the connection just as the shuttle began to shake and rattled. Lt Miller was pushed back in his seat with a grunt. There was a groan of expanding and protesting metal as the shuttle adjusted to the heat rapidly building up along the heat shield. The temperature climbed quickly as the ship violently tore it's way into the atmosphere. The radios were shut off as the plasma surrounding the hull cut them off from the outside world for several minutes at the worst of the deceleration.

    The shuttles had short stubby wings protruding from the sides of their boxy cargo holds, and had a wedge-shaped nose and a four-part tail. The massive engine nacelles were welded right onto the hull underneath the wings. The lower level of the shuttle was covered in ceramic heat tiles, which were all that stood between the delicate interior of the shuttle and the inferno raging outside.

    After fifteen minutes of relatively silent flight the roar faded away and the pilot spoke again.

    "Alright, hang on, there. We've got exterior pressure, switching to standard engines."

    There was a whine like that of a commercial airliner's engines and there was a feather-touch of force aft as they started thrusting.

    Miller was about to ask when they would be on the ground when he doubled over in agony. It felt as if a thousand red-hot nails were being pounded into head. When that abated he felt something that chilled him to the bone. There was an alien presence looming over his consciousness. An aggressive presence, that was dark and brooding and aware of him. He panicked, hyperventilating, and tried to get a scope of what he was facing. The mind he touched was vast and incomprehensible, even touching it briefly stretched his sanity to the brink. He tore himself away from the contact, and threw up a mental wall around himself. The suffocating presence vanished and he opened his eyes with a gasp.

    Miller was an empath, suspected to be a step away from a true telepath, he had scored very high on an ESP test. As such he could sense emotions and intent over a limited range. To have sensed a presence like that the source would have had to be close. Very close.

    He glanced at the chronometer, the contact had lasted barely half a minute, but it felt like a lifetime. Miller reached over and slapped Lt Everson's shoulder.

    "Woah sir, don't rock the boat or the pilot!"

    "Shut up," Miller snapped. "We should be out of the dead zone right now. Get on the horn and call the old man up top, something's wrong."

    To his credit Everson didn't stop to argue. He reactivated the comm panel-

    -and swore explosively along with Miller as a high-pitched screeching erupted from their helmet speakers. It was like nails on a chalkboard mixed with screeching white noise and the sound of a room full of wailing four-year-olds. Miller reached over and slammed his armored hand down on the comm panel, killing he sound.

    "What the hell was that sir?" Everson asked, shaking his head.

    "Jamming." Miller replied. "Powerful too, I-"

    The shuttle started to shake and rattle, far worse than on entry. The marines were all jostled violently around in their seats. It was like a giant was throwing them around like a toy.

    "Now what?" Everson said in exasperation. He glanced down at the instruments, did a double-take and muttered to himself. "No, no that's not possible."

    "What?" Miller asked.

    Everson pulled a switch and the armor covering the window pulled back-

    -to reveal a darkened, brooding sky directly ahead. Towering cumulonimbus clouds loomed ahead, pillars of blackened clouds twisting into impossible shapes, with lightning arcing across valleys between the mountains of cloud. Their shuttle was caught in the gust front before the storm.

    "What in God's name..." Miller began before their shuttle was buffeted by another gust. Everson was fighting the controls, struggling to keep them on course. Miller thought and came to a split-second decision.

    "Pull up hard and get us back to orbit now. We're aborting."

    "Sir, is that necessary?" Everson said. "It's only a storm-"

    "And it came out of nowhere right after we lost communications." Miller interrupted. "Call me crazy but there's something wrong with this. Get us out of here. Now!"

    Everson didn't reply, he yanked the joysticks back and pushed the throttle as far forward as possible. The high-purged whistle of the engines turned into a screaming roar as the engines maxed themselves of and went to full afterburners. Twin jets of flame erupted from the engines and the inhabitants were slammed back as the g-forces built up. Miller reached over with difficulty and engaged the intercom.

    "Listen up people, we've got a SNAFU on our hands; we've lost contact with command and the situation is going to hell fast. We're returning to the ship, over."

    He reached up to turn the comm off and noticed a red light flashing on the console.

    "Everson, what is that?" he gestured at the light.

    "Distress call!" he shouted over the roar of the engines. "One of the other shuttles is in trouble. It has to be close to be heard over the jamming!" he glanced at the display again. "Christ. Miller, it's Zeal's shuttle."

    Miller's blood froze. Not her... he remembered the mental contact from earlier and shuddered.

    "Level us off, slow to cruising speed and find them!" he shouted.

    "On it sir." Everson didn't question him about the order. It didn't matter if Miller had an emotional connection to Lt Zeal, the marines didn't leave any of their own hanging in the wind.

    "Got them sir, ten miles away and-" he paused and looked over at Miller, fear evident on his face even with the huge helmet on his head. "There's something else out there, I don't know what."

    "How big is it?" Miller asked. "And where?"

    "Can't tell," was the reply. "The storm's throwing our readings off. It's big whatever it is."

    "Where are the other shuttles?" Miller asked.

    "I don't know." he said, jumping a little as a lightning bolt flashed close to the ship; rain was starting to tap loudly against the skin of the shuttle, and the lights barely illuminated a couple dozen meters ahead of them. "They could be anywhere, but my bet is they bugged out when the jamming started."

    "Alright," Miller said, pulling himself tightly together. "We're going in. Find out where they're gonna set down and get us there."

    "Yes sir." he resumed struggling with the ships controls, fighting to get the nose down in the face of the powerful updrafts.

    "Listen up people." Miller addressed his troops one last time "This is now a search and rescue operation. Shuttle three is going down, we're jumping in feet-first to gather any survivors. Our radios are still down so don't expect any support from command." he paused, debating, and then said. "There's also evidence we may not be alone out here, so stay frosty. Do you get me?!"

    "SIR, YES SIR!" came the reply from below.

    Lt Miller buckled in and tightened the straps as the maverick pilot fought to get them down through the hurricane-force winds. They flew in silence for roughly ten minutes, eyes peeled through the blinding rain. Then, from out of nowhere, a huge black shape loomed in front of the shuttle, and it was coming right at them fast.

    "Holy mother-!" shouted Lt Everson as he yanked the controls up. The shuttle executed an upward spiral, avoiding whatever it was that had come up in front of them.

    Suddenly there was a low-pitched hum and every light and display in the ship turned off. Lt Everson gasped in horror as the sound of the engines died.

    "What was that!?" shouted Lt Miller over the sound of the storm.

    "We just lost the main electrical system, flight computers, engines, controls; they're all gone!" he flicked a switch. "Dammit, where's the backup? Start!"

    Miller felt a sudden swooping sensation in his stomach and he realized with dread that they'd lost their lift; the shuttle was in free-fall, and they were at least ten thousand feet up.

    "Dammit, start, start, start!." Everson was shouting. "Ha!" the cabin's emergency lights came on with a flicker and some of the displays came back on. The engines were still offline though.

    "Everson!" Miller shouted. "We aren't getting a response from the engines, try to glide us in!"

    He nodded and yanked on the sticks, grunting with the effort. Without the electronic system they could still fly, but the pilot had to translate his movements with the sticks mechanically to the hydraulics of the control surfaces, and in bad weather this was a bit of an effort.

    "Come on!" he shouted, staring at the pitch readout. "Get that nose up!"

    "Ground's coming up fast!" said Miller. They were barely five thousand feet up now.

    "Sound collision alarm!" Everson shouted, flipping the cover off of a red button. "I'm firing the emergency retro-thrusters in two, one. Firing!"

    Miller's seat suddenly tried to swallow him up as a series of single-use chemical rockets fired on the underside of the ship; a last-resort effort to bleed off their velocity. Then came an almighty lurch, dwarfing anything they had felt so far, and the sensation of sliding. He could hear equipment banging around in the hold and prayed that his troops' restraints held. Then with a squeal of protesting metal it was over.

    "Well sir," said Everson after he had caught his breath. "We're on the ground and alive."

    "Give me a systems check." came Miller's reply. "Find out if we can still take off."

    "Copy that, pressure seals check, gas seals check, fuel seals check. And as far as I can tell the hull's intact but we probably crippled the landing gear. What can I say, it could have been worse."

    "Could have been?" replied Miller in exasperation. "We lost our primary BUS in flight and our backup power is shaky at best. What happened?"

    "I don't know." Everson replied. "I'm not getting any response from the ignition sequence, main power's shot and I'm not sure if we can get it back, I'll need to check the circuits."

    "Can we lift off on the backup power?" asked Miller, unstrapping and getting up as he did so.

    "I don't know." Everson replied sheepishly. "It all depends on if I can get the flight computers back online and if we have enough fuel for a vertical takeoff, because the landing hydraulics are probably all smashed to hell."

    "Just get it done." Miller ordered. "And see if you can get through the jamming while you're at it."

    He slid down the narrow ladder into the cargo hold. They had obviously fared a lot worse during the crash-landing, but nobody was incapacitated. Half the lights were smashed, with glass littering the floor. A couple of the cargo containers had broken loose and they were clumped together at the back of the craft. The marines were already up and getting weapons slung. They all turned to him as he entered.

    "Alright, ladies, as you've probably guessed, we are now on the ground and more or less in one piece." he said, strolling up and down the aisle of soldiers. "Here are the facts. We know that some force on this planet has cut us off from command, and has neutralized our electronic systems aboard the shuttle. Lt Everson is attempting repairs but the fact of the matter is we're not sure if we can lift off again. Our mission is unchanged however. According to our last known position, Lt Zeal's shuttle went down several miles to the south. We're going to go there and retrieve any survivors. Privates Smith and Howard will remain here and assist Everson in the repairs. The rest of you are coming with me. Do we understand each other?"

    "We get you sir!"
    _______________________

    Miller waited in the cramped airlock for the air to finish cycling. The shuttle's main clamshell cargo doors would have been a faster way to get everyone out but then the entire cargo hold could have been contaminated with biological agents. So they had to wait, going through the tiny aft airlock three-at-a-time. The airlock hissed and the outer door slid open, revealing a clearing illuminated by weak yellow floodlights on the shuttle's hull. Miller jumped out first and took a long look around at the alien world.

    There wasn't much to see. The storm overhead was pouring out gallons of water every minute and visibility was reduced to only a couple dozen meters. Lightning flickered in the distance, followed several seconds later by a dull roar. In the intermittent light the soldiers could make out the silhouettes of mountains to the south, the direction they were going. Miller switched on his suit's built-in LED lights, cutting a bright swath through the sheets of gray ahead of him. At his back the airlock doors on the shuttle clicked shut as the next group of marines prepared to exit the ship.

    The clearing was a muddy crater, the terminus of a long swath cut through the otherwise virgin field of grass. The grass that covered the ground as far as they could see was a vibrant, deep green and stood almost five feet tall, enough to obscure the soldiers' vision. There was something unnerving about the vegetation, all the marines felt it. It might have been their being raised on a world with no plant life left, or it might have been the fact that something deep down in their minds told them the this wasn't right. The plants had a different, alien look to them just subtle enough to make them feel uneasy in the presence of something that should have been familiar.

    Around the edges of the muddy clearing, other marines stood guard, their green-plated forms merging into the underbrush until they were all but invisible. Their armor was divided into two parts, a soft, tear-proof under layer with artificial muscle fibers woven in to boost the wearer's strength, and hard sandwiched metal and ceramic plates, which gave the soldiers nigh invulnerability to gunfire and shrapnel. The armor also doubled as a life-support system and the helmets contained an advanced suite of electronics to boost combat performance. The whole ordeal was powered by a series of batteries that lay flush against the marines' backs.

    Behind Miller the airlock opened and the last group of marines exited the shuttle. He deactivated his suit lights and spoke over the squad radio channel, which still worked at extremely close range despite the jamming.

    "Alright, this is it people. I know this isn't what we planned on happening but nonetheless we'll take what we've got and run with it. Our objective lies several miles to the south in that mountain range. We don't know its condition or what hostiles may be between us and them. Effective immediately you are weapons hot, but only engage if fired on first. I want a tight sweep formation, five meter spread, no noise or light at all -use night vision. From here on out we are on radio silence; hand signals only. Understood?"

    "Hoo-rah." came the quiet answer.

    _______________________

    Lt Zeal staggered out of the smoking remains of the shuttle. She was bruised, but still alive. The same couldn't be said for some of her squad. Four marines, including their pilot, had died in the crash, and of the surviving nine troopers three had injuries that put them out of action. She cursed under her breath, looking back at their downed shuttle once again. She had no idea what had gone wrong. They had been on target with all systems go when suddenly the shuttle gave two almighty jerks and they started dropping like a rock. The computers registered total engine failure and subsequent restart attempts had failed. Their connection to command had been severed by what sounded like jamming or really bad atmospheric interference. The next thing she knew they were falling into a hurricane-force storm that had tossed them around like a rowboat on the sea until they had 'landed'.

    The ship had hit the ground at an angle, crushing one wing and tearing a hole in the side of the cargo hold. The ship had bounced, twisted in a a half-circle, and slammed port-side on to a massive cliff. The impact triggered a rockslide which buried half of the ship, shattered the window, and killed the pilot. Zeal had been hurt but still conscious enough to dive out of the cockpit before more rocks fell in. Now at least the worst sliding had stopped. She stood tall and took stick of the situation. The aft section of the ship was clear, and the survivors were gathered well away from the shuttle because the chances of fuel leaking were very high. It was raining and the visibility was dreadful even with enhanced vision, but she could tell that they had landed at the edge of a forest, about fifty meters away from the trees.

    Lt Zeal walked around the nose of their wrecked ship to go see if the forward doors were clear. As she rounded the corner she got the distinct impression something was wrong. She thought for a second and then it clicked: the entire multi-ton engine normally welded to the side of the shuttle was gone.

    No surprise, she thought, walking over to inspect the mooring where the engine had been attached. It probably sheared off when we landed, it wasn't designed for stress like that.

    Except the more she looked at it the more disturbed she got, the metal didn't loom sheared, it looked wrenched. Like something had twisted and torn the engine off. She shook herself mentally for being so stupid; nothing could have torn the engine off in-flight. She kept walking forward and froze. There, far forward along the hull were three deep, surgical-looking gouges. They were well away from anything that could have been ripped from the hull and cause a similar effect.

    Claw-marks?! she thought wildly. No, no, no that's impossible. Get a grip on yoursel-

    "Movement!" one of her marines shouted from their camp.

    "What position? She asked, sprinting back to the clearing.

    "Uh," the young private was obviously shell-shocked. "I- uh, can't lock in..."

    Damn, there should have only been veterans on this flight, I told them! Lt Zeal thought impatiently, grabbing the device from the kid's hands. There was an amorphous blob of motion, perhaps half a mile away, and getting closer.

    "Alright, eight hundred meters and closing," she said, thrusting the motion tracker back into the private's grasp. "Heads up everyone! We've got incoming and I don't think they're friendly! Multiple contacts, coming at us from the south, south-east. Everyone get hot, and brace yourselves. I want one four-man team to dig as many trenches as we can, I need whoever's left to get back in the shuttle and start unloading cargo containers, we'll make a barricade."

    "Ma'am?" the young marine was behind her now, and she turned to face him. "The forward doors are blocked, we can't get the containers out,"

    She glanced down at the motion sensor. They're getting closer, whatever they are.

    She grinned. "Private, we've still got some C4, right?"

    _______________________


    Back at the shuttle 2nd Lt Everson was trying very hard to both restart his ship and resist the urge to smash the controls with the wrench he was carrying. He sighed, and tried to engage the starter again. Nothing, just like the last fifteen times he'd tried. According to his readings the engine wasn't receiving the startup command, but was otherwise fully operational. The flight sensors were going crazy though. There was a clanking sound and a buzz-cut head appeared in the hatchway leading down to the cargo hold.

    "Any luck?" it asked in a gravely voice.

    "No private, still not getting a response from the main BUS or the ignition sequencer, it's like everything's been cross-wired."

    "What about the flight sensors?" the man asked, heaving his huge bulk out of the hatch completely."

    "Damnedest thing, the traditional, physical instruments work a-ok, but the electronic sensors refuse to read. They're all peaked, like we're plugged into some sort of magnetic field."

    "What could be doing it?"

    "A short in one of the subsystems is the most likely explanation." Everson sighed. "Only one way to find out though. Go back downstairs and start pulling the panels off of the forward bulkhead, I'll be right down."

    The private saluted and slid back down the ladder. Brute. Everson thought with contempt. He started switching off the electronics. If he was going to be poking around in the ship's guts he didn't want to get electrocuted for his trouble.

    Suddenly there was a loud banging and crashing sound from below, followed by two muffled thuds.

    "Hey, take it easy down there!" Everson shouted over his shoulder. "This thing's warranty expired half a century ago!

    He chuckled, but his mirth soon faded as he noticed an uncomfortable silence infecting the room. He turned in his seat.

    "Hello? Hey do you both, like, not have a sense of humor?"

    Silence greeted him. He unstrapped and walked over to the edge of the hatch. Black emptiness stared back at him.

    "Oh very funny, make the pilot come down to investigate the spooky sound and jump him when his back is turned. Real mature."

    He turned back to the console, and saw a small red light flashing on the surface,

    "What the..."

    It was the airlock indicator. Everson's blood froze.

    Oh, nonono...

    That indicator light only lit up when both doors were fully open, something that was supposed to be impossible.

    He turned back to the open hatch.

    "Listen, guys, if this is a joke it's not freaking funny!"

    More silence. Everson took a deep breath and walked over to a utility locker, keeping one eye on the hatch. From inside he pulled out an oxygen mask with a clear faceplate and a small bottle of gas, and a fifty caliber Desert Eagle handgun. He hefted the gun's weight in his right hand, feeling more powerful for it. He slipped the mask on and sealed it tight against his face. If the marines were just screwing with him, then they'd get what they deserved, but if they weren't, then...

    Everson shook himself, it was all a joke, it had to be. The marines had just found the right wire to cut to make him panic. Well a shot to that fancy armor of theirs and a bruised rib or two would teach them to pull a fast one on second lieutenant Charles Everson. He walked to the edge of the shaft and pulled out a magnesium flare. He popped it off and dropped it down into the hold. After watching to see if everyone walked up to the bright yellow light he dropped in after it, pistol at the ready, scanning the hold.

    It was even more cluttered than he remembered. The two privates had made a mess of things resetting the breakers and checking for damaged lines. Crates were scattered all around and the massive cargo containers were strewn everywhere. Everson walked around glancing over his shoulder every now and then to see if something was sneaking up on him. He couldn't shake the feeling that he was being watched.

    Suddenly something under his foot squished. He stepped back and peered down. He couldn't see; he had wandered behind a stack box and the light from the flare didn't reach where he was. Everson lulled out a flashlight-

    -and then dropped it in horror. Blood. The decking was swathed in it. And over in the corner was-

    Everson wretched and turned away; it took all of his training not to puke. The yellow light from the flare sputtered and went out. The hold was dark, but then a flash of light came from the rear of the shuttle. Lightning, the rear airlock was open. Everson walked over and saw the both of the doors had been violently forced open, the hinges crushed. Everson backed away slowly, he was going to barricade himself in the cockpit and await rescue. He turned-

    -and ran straight into private Smith, or rather what was left of him. Smith was suspended by his ankles -out of sight in the low light- from the ceiling. He swayed slightly. Everson fell on his backside and pushed himself away form the monstrosity before him, too scared to breathe. Blood dripped from Smith's outstretched hands. And his eyes...

    Suddenly the body jerked and was yanked back into the dark interior of the ship. From the darkness came a wet, tearing sound and crunching.

    Everson's training and reason fled him and he bolted put the only escape available: the airlock. He ran out into the pouring rain, his feet splashing mud up all around him. He ran, barely able to see where he was going. His heart thudded in his ears. His breath fogged the inside of his mask and he tore it away in disgust. The rich, earthy smell of the planet's air filled his lungs and he felt revitalized, running faster than ever. Eventually he came to the edge of a brooding forest and threw himself behind the first fallen log he could find. He cowered behind it, clutching the slick metal pistol in rain-soaked hands.

    He waited for a long time, hyperventilating. Eventually he realized where he was and what he had done, looking around at the trees in horror.

    Outside the ship, outside the ship. No mask. Crap, crap, crap. I'm gonna die, gonna catch some alien virus and bite it right here, either that or those aliens'll come and-

    No! Get a hold of yourself. Get up, keep moving, find Lt Miller, get back to the ship, and blow those suckers away. I'd like to see any alien stand up straight with a gut full of shredder ammo.


    He stood up and was about to get moving when he heard a low-pitched snarl from the trees. He turned and brandished his handgun, but he couldn't see anything in the rain. He wiped his face off and peered through the gloom. The sound came again, closer, and off to his right. He whirled, but again saw nothing. It came again, practically at his back. Everson turned, but beheld only dark forest and sheets of rain.

    He never saw the attack coming, he only knew that at one moment he was standing up looking off into the distance and the next he was on his belly, with a blade through his neck.

    _______________________

    Miller's team was slowly making their way through the dense forest at the base of the mountains. They were moving more slowly than he would have liked; there were no trails to follow and the underbrush was dense and unchecked. Thick, flowering bushes of all colors stood bedraggled and soaked with rain. Huge, pine-like trees towered for a hindered feet or more above the soldiers' heads, their growth attributed to the lower gravity. Smaller, leafy trees clustered around the larger trees' roots, their wide, four-pronged leaves channeled the rain onto thin rivers that flowed to the forest floor below.

    The marines were moving slowly, the rain wasn't as bad in the forest but the intervening trees coupled with a thick mist reduced visibility to barely five meters out. Fallen logs and moss-covered boulders dotted the landscape, further inhibiting their progress. The soil was being turned into a thick, black, tar-like mud by the rain, and it kept sucking the marines' boots in, making their journey slow and miserable.

    Lt Miller had just vaulted over a large fallen tree when he caught a glimpse of a marine with a fist in the air. Lt Miller matched the signal and brought his weapon to bear, watching the brooding trees warily as he did so. Quietly and carefully he edged closer to the marine until he was right next to him. The young Corporal held a small black device in one hand -a motion tracker, which used radar to paint a picture of its surroundings and then check for unaccounted for movement against the background. Miller grabbed it and held it close, his soldiers were represented by a series of green dots spread out over a circular area. And around the edges of the tracker's range was a massive blob of red, which was unknown movement.

    Miller's first instinct was to disregard this as interference from the storm, but something told him otherwise. He closed his eyes and lowered some of his mental barriers; he was looking to see if they were really alone. He felt... Hostility, anger, murderous intent on all sides, alien though it was he could still feel the gist of what was going on, and the point was that there was something else out there. His eyes snapped open and he thrust the motion tracker into the marines hands, signaling his marines to form a defensive phalanx, a circle of weapons on all sides. The soldiers formed up quickly, forgetting about stealth; when Miller issued the command he had practically told them all that they had been compromised. Soon they all huddled, a massive circle of soldiers bristling with weapons, peering out into the darkness for any sign of what waited beyond.

    They were not kept waiting long.

    It happened so fast Miller's helmet optics couldn't catch what had happened. There was a blur, and suddenly a marine vanished from the outside of the perimeter. Before he could do so much as blink it happened again and again, something was picking off his troops right before his eyes.

    "Goddammit!" he shouted, breaking the radio silence. "Marines, suppressing fire on the forest, we're under attack!"

    They complied without question, the roar of the automatic weapons fire drowning out all other noise. They didn't even have a target, they were merely spraying bullets in the hope that they'd hit something. His gun clicked dry and he slapped the shoulder of the marine in front of his and stooped down to reload. There was a whooshing sound that his helmet picked up and the man in front of him was gone, snatched away just as he had fallen back to reload.

    That could have been me! he thought with a shudder. Focus! Whatever they are they're using the trees for cover!

    "Incinerators!" he shouted over the roar of the gunfire. "Go hot! Burn the damn trees down, smoke 'em out!"

    He could barely see, but suddenly twin fans of golden flame spewed put from the formation. When they touched a tree the bark crisped then burned brightly, the inferno raging despite the rain's effort to put it out. The nearby trees, weakened as they were from the marines' fire, collapsed and fell down. The jets of flaming liquid reached further, igniting the underbrush and filling the air with smoke.

    Just what we need, more fog of war. Miller thought grimly.

    After a rough ten meter circled of burning embers had been immolated around the marines a screeching sound came from the surrounding forest, sounding like the high pitched squeal of a pig back on Earth.

    We sure kicked the hornet's nest with that. Miller thought grimly. Let's see what we're up against.

    "Cease fire, all units cease fire!" he ordered.

    The flames died away, the embers still glowing on the fallen trees sputtered and went out in the downpour.

    "Alright, I want ammo check, quickly people, they'll be making their move any second now!" Miller took stock of his forces, only fourteen left including himself; six he vanished during the firefight, killed or captured he didn't know.

    "Three mags left sir!" someone reported.

    "Two and a half with me sir!" came another shout.

    "Alright, listen up, on my mark give suppressive fire on the trees, incinerators; burn us a path back to the grassland, we'll get to the shuttle and hold out there." Miller glanced at his chrono, they'd need fifteen minutes tops to get out of the forest. "Standby, three, two, o-"

    There was a high-pitched whistling and several of his marines collapsed.

    "Down!" he shouted, going prone with this new development. He belly-crawled over to one of the downed marines. There was a neat hole blown through the front of his helmet, and several white spikes were embedded in the front of his armor. The rest of his marines dropped as well as a second volley of spikes quizzed overhead. Miller rolled and fired indiscriminately at the tree line.

    Show yourselves you bas-

    Something wrapped around his leg and he was bodily yanked into the darkness.

    "Oh crap!"

    He twisted forward and pulled out a combat knife from a recessed sheath in his shoulder armor. He reached down and hacked at whatever it was that was carrying him away. To his surprise the blade cut through it easily and he stopped. He stood up quickly -thankfully he hadn't lost his rifle- and surveyed the situation. He had been dragged twenty feet into a clearing in the trees and from the sound of things his marines were not winning the fight he had left them in.

    Suddenly the ground beneath him rose up, throwing him off his feet. He jumped back up-

    -to face what looked like the spawn of hell itself. The ground he had been standing on was actually a cleverly disguised trapdoor, held together with a white silk-like substance. The same kind, Miller realized, that made up the rope that had grabbed his ankle.

    Emerging from this underground burrow, however, was a monstrosity like something out of Dante's Inferno. It was basically in the shape of a spider, with four long, spindly yellow legs sprouting from the sides of a bloated orange body. Two yellow spikes, similar in appearance to the legs, sprouted from the swollen abdomen. The head was a tiny thing stuck to the front of the misshapen body, with two mammoth, milky purple eyes staring at him over a pair of pincers as big as bananas. The whole thing was roughly the size of a mid-size car.

    The moment the horror was free of its burrow it lunged at him with remarkable speed. Miller had started to bring his rifle up, and that was what saved him. The thing's snapping pincers closed on it instead of his neck. It wrenched the gun out of his grasp and flung it away into the darkness. Miller seized the opportunity and pushed himself under the thing's body, pulling out his knife. The thing turned in place, looking for him. The Lt stabbed upward, again and again, encountering resistance from the exoskeleton. The thing hissed and heaved itself up and then down, trying to crush him beneath its bulk. Miller's blade snapped under the strain and he rolled out from under it.

    The thing spun to face him, body held low to the ground to protect its wounds. Miller, out of weapons, raised his fists and adopted a wide-legged stance. The alien's head snapped up and there was a sort of slurping sound, and something wet slapped against Miller's forearm. Almost immediately the armor began to smoke and blacken; it was corroding before his eyes.

    Christ, I'll depressurize! he hit the ground and rubbed dirt on the damaged section, trying to neutralize the acidic spit before it got through the armor.

    The thing lunged forward right after the attack, Miller started to turn-

    -only to see the alien fall, bleeding a milky green substance from multiple gunshot wounds. Sgt Chris stood at the edge of the clearing, a smoking assault rifle in his hands. He ran over to the Lt where he was getting to his feet.

    "Are you alright sir? Sorry about the wait, kinda got hung up back there." Miller nodded affirmative and checked his left arm. It was damaged and scarred, but the seal was intact.

    "We need to retreat!" Chris was shouting. "Sir, we need to fall back and re-group at the shuttle! We're getting slaughtered out here!"

    Miller nodded and glanced around. His assault rifle was gone, as was his sidearm.

    "Take mine sir," Chris held out a compact nine millimeter handgun. "Follow me and stay lo-"

    His next words were cut off in a gurgling gasp as a massive scythe of bone erupted from his chest. A second one joined it, and Sgt Chris slumped forward, dead. The two blades twisted and the body was flung off of them into the trees. In his place stood a snarling beast even more horrible then the spider-alien. It was roughly six feet tall, bipedal, with a hard green carapace and a basic insect body structure; a bulging abdomen, thin thorax, and a head. However the thing's face was not insectoid, but reptilian, with a thin snout filled with small, pointy fangs and red, compound eyes. It had thick, stumpy legs, a small set of arms erupting from its chest ending in short, white claws, and from it's shoulders came a huge set of arms that ended not in claws, but wicked, chitinous blades. A pair of ragged-looking wings sprouted from the creature's back.

    "Sergeant!" Miller shouted, already horrified at everything, he snapped the pistol up, firing wildly as he did so. His first five shots missed, but the next seven were dead on, the small-caliber rounds plinking off of the thing's thick chest armor.

    Miller sat there, pulling the trigger on the empty gun uselessly as the alien lurched forward, and collapsed dead at his feet. One of the rounds had hit the alien's head, making a neat little hole right above the right eye. Miller sat there, hyperventilating, for several heartbeats. Left to his own devices he would have been there all day. Luckily for him his military training kicked in at this point.

    Get off you lazy arse, reload that pistol, and get back to your freaking squad marine! There's nothing you can do for the Sgt, and you're no good to the others dead. Get going and stay low!

    Miller was on his feet and moving before he realized what he was doing.

    _______________________

    He ran through the trees at breakneck speed, eventually coming back to their clearing. Five, five men were left out of twenty. He ran up to them, ducking under another volley of the spikes as he went. His marines hadn't been slacking off either, the area was littered with corpses, all of them alien. They were using them as makeshift cover, many of them were riddled like pincushions with the spikes.

    "We're hosed here, we're falling back to the shuttle!" he shouted over the sounds of the battle.

    "Hoo-rah!" the troops shouted.

    They turned, just as the northern sky lit up orange in a massive fireball.

    "What the hell!?" someone shouted, but everyone already knew the answer; it was their shuttle, they were cut off.

    One option left. Miller realized.

    "Make for the top of the mountain, men, move!"

    They turned and charged, weaving through the trees very carefully, ducking to avoid the volleys of spines. There was a grunt and a thud, one of his remaining troops had gone down. They got out of the forest onto a rocky slope covered with patches of ice. Miller took stock of his forces. Only two others had emerged from the forest, Corporal Jenkins and Private Jones, the medic. The three regrouped far up the hill and looked down. No one else came out, except...

    Hordes were pouring from the trees, wave after wave of insect-like alien monstrosities all clambering over one another to get to them. Miller glanced around, there was no cover, nothing to hold behind, and Miller was down to one magazine for his pistol.

    Wait, over there, a cave? there was a dark opening in the mountainside a couple dozen meters away. Shelter!

    "Marines, two o'clock, the cave entrance move!"

    They turned and ran along the mountainside, painfully aware of the razor-sharp spines whizzing passed them.

    What are those things? Miller thought as one of them clattered against the rocks at his feet. They weren't arrows, but...

    The ground in front of the marines exploded outward. A huge purple snake had burrowed up in front of them. It was at least six feet long. The face was narrow, and it had two disproportionally large yellow eyes on either side of it's skull. Below the head a huge flap of skin flared out like the hood of a cobra, revealing an intimidating pattern of orange and yellow.

    The marines got to their feet quickly and fired at the thing, but it had extremely thick scales and their shots didn't seem to phase it. The snake-thing reared its head back and then jabbed it forward. There was a whistle and spikes flew from it's mouth.

    Teeth? What the hell? Miller thought, glancing back. The insects were only ten meters away, and gaining.

    "Jones, frag him!" Miller shouted.

    A second later a small round object landed in the loose stones near the trunk of the alien. It paused, looking down, and caught a face full of flame and shrapnel as the grenade went off.

    Miller ran over to the other two and saw Jenkins lying on his back, a puddle of blood spreading below him. They were ten feet from the cave.

    "Private take him!" Miller shouted gesturing at Jenkins, dead or alive he wouldn't be left behind.

    They ran to the cave, Jenkins slumped over Jones' shoulders, with the aliens right behind them. As the private ran pell-mell into the darkness Miller stopped and turned to face the oncoming swarm. In one smooth motion he turned, unhooked his last two grenades from his chest plate, and pulled the pins. When the aliens were barely seven feet away he tossed them into the overhang above the entrance and dove in after the private.there was a concussive explosion, and a landslide started, burying the cave entrance under several tons of rock and sealing the aliens outside of the cave.
    Last edited by Galaxy_Hunter; 27th May 2011 at 6:27 PM. Reason: Adding minor details and fixing grammar issues.

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

  13. #13
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    Wowsers. That was amazing. You created a great sence of action that kept me gripped like no fan fiction has done before. Your characterisation was excellent, and it was relatively well written.

    There are a few problems however. Firstly, it was miles too long, and it was hard not to trail off because it was so long. Also, you need to wortk a bit on your description. Describe the settings before the actiony bits so that we know exactly what to picture [I]and[I] can enjoy the action. I know you did it in places, and that was fine, but remember we as readers need to be able to picture every scene.

    Secondly, some grammer things.
    Come on marine, pull yourself together! He thought to himself. You did this a thousand times in simulations on Earth.
    The "He" should be "he". You have done this in other places too, so make sure to change them all.
    2nd Lt James Everson was looking at him with a grin visible beneath the transparent heads-up display of his helmet.
    Whenever you refer to him, I think it should be "second" not "2nd".
    "It's no good sir!" Came the reply. "There's too much chop, can't set down on top of them without slamming into a mountainside!"
    The first word after dialogue is never capitalised apart from if it's a name - you need to change this in a lot of places (Don't worry, I made the same mistake in my fic)
    Examples of proper speech grammer -
    1. "Come on Pikachu!" Louie cried.
    2. "Watch out behind you!" he yelled, diving behind a rock.
    3. "I wouldn't do that if I were you." came a deep voice from behind them.

    Anyway, other than the few grammer ishues and description, that was easily one of the best chapters of any fan fic I have read on here. I can't wait for the next chapter.
    A group of 10 special trainers have been essembled by Professor Birch in a unexplored land. Their mission - to find some special stones to stop Team Magma and Team Aqua from getting them so that the professors can start their indistrialisation of the place. Follow their adventures in "Regional Conflict - The Five Sacred Stones. Please read, and review :)Here is the link. http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=482753 Last chapter - Chapter 10: The Tides of Terror

    Please read my other fic, a Unova journey fic - Unova apprentices. - http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=498160

    VM me if you want me to review your fic.

    White is nearly done, and nearly all my generation 4 pokemon are on there.

  14. #14
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    Whoaa haha...that second chapter was long! Length is fine if the action is compelling enough - which you did a good job with - but future chapters could still benefit from being split in two.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapter 1
    A spacecraft glided silently through the void. A large, dull gray construct, the only signs of life one could discern from the outside are the massive radiator strips set at intervals along the hull. Glowing a dull red, they radiate off the waste heat generated by the vessel's deceleration burn two weeks ago. An alien sun cast pale light on the ship's pitted and scarred hull as it moves toward a planet up ahead, still barely a pinprick of light against a starry background. The stars, cold distant watchers, are arranged in unfamiliar patterns on all sides of the ship. This was not the solar system humans knew.
    This passage was described quite well, but the glaring tense errors (indicated in blue; I didn't point every single one of them out) detracted greatly from what had the potential to be a beautifully descriptive passage. Either stick to past tense or present tense. If I were to tell a group of family/friends about my recent trip to the store, and I told them "I drove to the supermarket, buy ice cream, look for oranges, go to checkout, and went home," suffice to say everyone would be extraordinarily confused. They wouldn't know when exactly I did any of those things.

    Also, you seemed to use "construct" as a noun, which didn't make much sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapter 2
    When he got there the bugs were only fifteen feet behind him he handed Jenkins off to the medic and primed his last grenade.
    Between "him" and "he," something to join the two phrases is necessary. Either begin a new sentence or use a semicolon (or else a conjunction). Otherwise, the sentence is a run-on.

    Minor grammatical slipus aside...You did a great job with the last few chapters! Intense battle scenes and vicious Pokemon attacking the human "aliens" for reasons as of yet unknown! Loved it!

    Definitely excited for future chapters.
    I will be offline from January 2013 to October 2014.

    Greetings from the asylum of my insanity.
    Chapter 3 and cooler banner coming eventually. :P

    Dex: 128 created! ~ DA and LJ links coming later.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the advice, I'll fix some of the errors and post the (mostly) completed chapter 3 just as soon as my computer decides it doesn't hate the Internet anymore. Stupid piece of junk... Jk, it's awesome, but for some reason one day it decided to stop letting the wireless work, so I'm stuck using my phone until I fix it or get a cable.

    Anyways, yes I know that the last chapter was inordinately long, and I didn't realize how long until it was done. Unfortunately I didn't want to trim anything from it, and I can't really spill it over into the next chapter because it has a lot planned for it as well. However, unlike chapter 2, chapter 3 will be short(er).

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

  16. #16
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    Well hey, my Internet is back (for now) thanks to the geniuses at the Mac superstore. So before it quits on me again, here's the next chapter. It's not nearly as long as last chapter, enjoy!

    Chapter 3: Misconceptions

    "What do you mean, they've disappeared?" demanded Captain Anderson, pacing up and down the narrow area between the bridge's two forward command consoles.

    "All communications with the ground teams have been lost, sir." Lt Williams explained timidly. "Radio, high-gain, it's all blocked."

    "How did this happen?" the Captain paused in his pacing and turned to look at her.

    "I don't know how, sir," she said. "An electromagnetic field of some sort, a powerful one, it just came out of nowhere." She hit a switch and hidden speakers on the bridge blasted a horrible shrieking sound all throughout the confined space. After a few seconds she shut it off.

    "Well that's just great," Chief Stevens looked at them both. "That's just freakin' perfect!"

    "Is there a problem, Chief?" Captain Anderson said, glaring at him.

    "Well sir, it's just that this whole thing is a huge mess!" Chief Stevens was clearly starting to lose his composure. "We're out here at the aft end of the galaxy, risking our lives and the lives of every human on this ship, which may well be the only humans left in the universe! Lt Williams is supposed to be the expert here, she's supposed to keep us on top of the ball and look!" he gestured wildly at the screen at the forefront of the bridge. It showed a hurricane-force storm raging over the LZ.

    "Look at that!" he exclaimed. "She didn't predict that, she didn't prepare us for that, she didn't warn them! We've got troops down there, and for all we know they're just hanging out to dry because Lt Williams here f-"

    "Chief Stevens!" Anderson roared. "Restrain yourself immediately or so help me God I will personally throw you out the airlock and and keel-haul you!"

    Chief Stevens turned red in the face and he looked enraged, but he shut up anyway. Captain Anderson turned to Lt Williams and spoke in a calmer, even voice.

    "As much as I hate to admit it, he does have a point Lieutenant. We didn't see this coming, what happened?"

    He looked at the screen still showing the raging storm raging on the surface below and folded his arms.

    "I don't know sir!" she sounded very close to hysterics; Chief Stevens' words had apparently rattled her. "All of a sudden the atmospheric currents twisted all out of normal patterns somehow. They shifted, forming an instant low-pressure system, dragging moisture off of the the oceans and bringing it straight over the LZ."

    She looked over her shoulder at her Captain and he saw that she wasn't upset about what Chief Stevens had said, she was terrified of what was happening.

    "The amount of energy needed to do something like this would be the same as trying to move a mountain. Nothing like this could have happened naturally, not this fast at least and not on such a grand scale."

    The bridge went dead silent at that.

    "So you're saying that something down there, something that is perhaps, intelligent, manipulated the weather to cut off the ground team?" Captain Anderson said quietly, looking straight at her.

    She nodded. "It's the only explanation I have that even remotely makes sense. It's still crazy though."

    "No, no it makes perfect sense." Chief Stevens got up and walked over to her console, leaning over to look at her screen. "I mean there were far too many problems with the mission to be just a coincidence." he suddenly realized how awkward the situation was. He blushed and leaned back, muttering a general apology for what he had said.

    "Alright, you two can kiss and make up later." said the Captain. "Right now we need to get back in contact with the away teams and find out what the hell is going on down there."

    "Right," she said, turning red a little. "Well the radio and high-gain are blocked by the electromagnetic field. The burst-laser transmitter could get in touch with them, but without knowing where the teams are precisely we can't get in touch with them." she gestured at the stormy sky. "We can't find them visually, not through this."

    "No," said Chief Stevens, sitting down and typing commands into his console. "But there is another way."

    "What are you talking about?" both the Captain and Lt Williams asked.

    "We've got ranging telescopes set at intervals along the hull," he explained, working feverishly. "They're normally used to spot incoming asteroids and help the computer initiate the Guardian counter-measures. However, with a little finagling we could use them to find the ground teams."

    "How is a telescope supposed to see through that?" Lt Williams asked.

    "Not all telescopes work with visible light," he reminded her. "And here we go." he hit a control with his last statement.

    The main screen lit up with a false-color image of the landing zone. The map showed splotches of green and blue, streaked with yellow. Faint indications of terrain were visible. At the center of the screen was a large block of orange flanked by two red streaks.

    "That's Lt Miller's shuttle, courtesy of our infrared telescopes." Chief Stevens said proudly.

    "Chief, you're a miracle worker!" said Captain Anderson with a smile. "Now do us one better and find the squad."

    "Thank you sir, it will take some work to compensate for the hull's rotation but-"

    The screen suddenly flared up with a bright red splotch.

    "What was that?" asked Lt Williams warily.

    "Heat spike," he replied, stunned. "Either a fire or an explosion, I can't tell which, maybe both. One thing's for sure; the shuttle is gone"

    Both of the junior crew looked to their Captain, who was staring silently at the screen.

    "Find the others," he said quietly but firmly. "Find them and get them off the ground."

    "Sir, what about Lt Zeal, and Lt Miller?" Chief Stevens asked. "He might not have even been on the shuttle when it went up."

    "We can't know for certain," Captain Anderson replied. "even if they were alive, their only form of transport is gone, and the other shuttles likely won't be able to get to them in this storm. We've got to focus on those we know are still alive, if we can save the others, we will by all means, but we have to accept that we may not be able to rescue them."

    The last statement carried an ominous note of finality.

    "But-" Chief Stevens started to protest, but realized the cold logic of it. "Understood, sir."

    He turned and got to work searching for the other two shuttles, which had still been in the air when the communications blackout hit, so they had no idea where they had set down. He silently prayed for Lt Miller's squad.

    _______________________

    No sooner had the dust settled from their impromptu landslide then Corporal Jenkins began seizing and jerking on the cave floor.

    "Christ!" swore Private Jones, pulling his backpack off and kneeling by the man's jittering form.

    Lt Miller popped a magnesium flare, brightly lighting the cave for the first time. It was a dull, earthy brown with fallen rocks lying everywhere. There were a few columns and stalagmites scattered around. Twenty feet above their heads was the vaulted ceiling, dripping water from several cracks. Ahead of them there was narrow tunnel that extended off downwards into the darkness, beyond the light of the flare.

    Lt Miller knelt down beside the fallen soldier. The left side of his suit was soaked in blood. A twelve-inch fang jutted from between two of the armor plates on Jenkins' suit. It had sliced cleanly through the under layer of his armor. Lt Miller started to reach for it, but Jenkins stopped him.

    "Don't! Not yet, if you pull it out now he'll bleed out in seconds."

    Private Jones shined a light through the narrow Plexiglas visor on Corporal Jenkins' helmet and cursed. He started to undo the seals on the man's helmet. Lt Miller grabbed his arm, Captain Anderson's order about the environment and contamination in mind.

    "What are you doing?" the Lieutenant demanded.

    "The seizure is making him puke into his helmet," the Private wrenched his arm free and got back to work. "If we don't get him out of there he'll drown in it."

    Lt Miller nodded and helped to pull the helmet off. The Corporal's round face was pale and covered in the remains of his breakfast, bits of it were stuck in his short brown hair. His eyes were gazing wide and he was spluttering and struggling to breath.

    "Hold his head still!" the private ordered, pulling out a pen-light. He was only a private, but as a medic he was in charge of the situation.

    He flashed the light in the man's eyes and noted that his pupils were fully dilated. This suggested a neurotoxin of some kind. He searched through his bag and chose two syringes. One contained painkillers and low-grade muscle depressants designed to stop them from seizing. The other contained a strong anti-venom. He injected both of them into the Corporal's neck.

    "Please work." he whispered. He wasn't sure if the anti-venom would work against the alien toxin, it was based off of venom found on Earth. He could only pray that the cocktail would do its job.

    Minutes passed unchanged before the seizing stopped and the Corporal's breathing returned to normal. Private Jones checked his pulse and breathed a sigh of relief; it was faint, but still there. He looked to the fang still protruding from his side. The Private got out another syringe, one filled with a clear fluid, and grabbed the end of the fang. In a deft movement he pulled it from his side and injected the fluid from the syringe into the puncture wound.

    "Will he make it?" Lt Miller asked quietly.

    "Yeah, he'll make it." the Private gathered up his things and straightened up. "That is if any of use make it." he smiled wanly. "The medi-gel will stabilize him, although I'll need to do a full diagnostic later to see if there was any lasting damage."

    Medical jelly, medi-gel for short, was hailed as one of the penultimate achievements of medical science. It contained a cocktail of antibiotics, painkillers, and nano-machines suspended in a semi-solid nutrient medium. The jelly was bio-chemically engineered so that it instantly expanded and bonded to human flesh, forming an impermeable seal against blood and contamination. The nanites within the solution would then proceed to break down the nutrient solution, using the raw materials and shared intelligence to reconstruct the missing cells from the wound, albeit slowly. The upshot of this was that medi-gel could save someone from all but the most grievous of wounds and help keep them combat-capable until they could receive more thorough medical attention.

    The Private reached over and picked up the fang from where he'd dropped it. He pulled out a vial and squeezed the tip of the tooth while holding it over the lip of the container. He was rewarded with several drops of clear liquid. He corked the tiny bottle and put it in his pack. The venom would be valuable to later research.

    Lt Miller's mind drifted to his fallen team in the silence that followed. He could see each of their faces in his mind, many of them friends, calling out to him, accusing him. He gritted his teeth and forced order on his mind. There would be a time for mourning later, he had to stay strong, finish the mission and get the rest of his people to safety. To him that meant getting the hell off of this planet. He took a deep breath and straightened up.

    He looked around at the dim cave, the flare had reached the end of its twenty-minute lifespan. He popped another one and walked to the tunnel entrance, trying to see down it. He turned back and took stock of the situation. They had one working assault rifle -his- and their sidearms. Lt Miller walked over to the cave entrance where he had dropped his gun and picked it up. He turned it over in his hands, it was a compact design, based partially on the ancient M4A1 design. It was dusty and scratched, but functional. The targeting optics in the weapon synced up with his helmet just fine. He had three full clips for the rifle and twice as many for his sidearm. Both his and Jenkins' incinerators had been dropped in the forest.

    "Ammo check." he ordered the Private.

    The Private glanced down and then checked his pistol.

    "Two and a half mags total, sir." he reported.

    Lt Miller tossed a couple of his spare clips to them, the Private would need them more than he did.

    "What do we do now sir?" he asked, stowing the clips and slipping his pack back on.

    "We've gotta get out of here." he jerked his head towards the darkness that loomed from the tunnel. "And the only way out of here is down there, through the mountain.

    He nodded at Jenkins' prone form.

    "Is it safe to move him?" he asked.

    The Private nodded and picked up Jenkins' helmet. He cleaned it out with a sterilization rag and secured it on the unconscious man's head. He hefted Corporal Jenkins over his shoulders in a 'fireman's carry' and signaled that he was ready.

    Lt Miller picked up the still-burning flare, hefted his assault rifle, and headed down into the darkness, surrounded by a pool of bright yellow light.

    _______________________

    "Hold the line!" Lt Zeal shouted over the roar of heavy weapons and the screaming of the attacking aliens.

    She was crouching behind a large cargo container, one of five arranged in a semicircle around the rear of their crashed shuttle. The other five active members of her team were all crouched behind the other containers. Behind her those wounded troopers still lucid enough hefted sniper rifles, taking potshots at the attacking creatures while propped up against the rear of the ship.

    They had just finished cleaning up the spilled fuel and were tending to the wounded when the one-way burst-laser transmission packet came in. It was short and to-the-point: Lt Miller's squad was MIA and their shuttle had been destroyed. The other two shuttles were apparently under attack by unknown hostiles but details were sketchy. There was no news on their own predicament, Captain Anderson had used terms like "delayed extraction" and "problematic conditions", dancing around the point. Lt Zeal read between the lines: they were in deep and their rescue would be delayed, if it was even coming.

    It didn't matter to her that their extraction wasn't coming, she had a position to hold and wounded troops to defend. She had ordered all the cargo pulled from the main hold and set up around the rear of the ship. Luckily for them the majority of the cargo consisted of extra ammunition and explosive devices. It was the one thing that had gone right with the mission so far; they were well-supplied. They had laced the clearing around them with explosive traps and then pulled back behind their barricades and waited. It didn't last long.

    The first alien was spotted by Lance Corporal Cole at the edge of the clearing ten minutes after they had retreated. Their helmets' optics analyzed and augmented its silhouette and helped them see through its camouflage and the dim lighting of the stormy sky. It was a six-foot tall bipedal creature, green and looking like some horrible biological mash-up of two different species. It had a strange reptilian face, glowing red compound eyes, and it had two large arms that ended in curving, wicked-looking, bone scythes. However it also looked like some sort of giant bug, on its segmented torso there was a smaller set of limbs ending in grasping claws that flexed constantly, as if waiting to grad a hold of something. From the thing's back sprouted a pair of ragged-looking, membranous wings. It had a chitinous, knobby hide that shifted colors slightly as it moved. Adaptive camouflage. It was horrifying to behold, something about it just seemed off, like everything else on the planet.

    Soon they spotted more and more, all of them lurking just within the edge of the forest, staring silently. For several heartbeats neither party moved, then with a blur the aliens swept into the clearing. Several of them triggered the explosives, taking them out. The few that got through were felled by deft sharpshooting by the squad's snipers. That was the first wave, since then other creatures had showed up; more of the reptile-insects. Among the newcomers were giant orange arachnids, with a double set of fangs that dripped with a strange purple fluid. They towered over the battlefield on long spindly-looking legs and had short orange and yellow fur covering their bodies. There were enormous four-legged armored monstrosities that bore a very slight resemblance to terrestrial beetles. These aliens were four to five feet tall, some with massive pincers and covered with a dark brown, layered carapace. They scuttled around on four low-slung legs ending in claws. The pincer-bugs occasionally stood on their hind legs, revealing a large slit-like mouth filled with teeth and tiny, black eyes on their abdomens. The other species was covered an iridescent black shell with huge horns and glowing yellow reptilian eyes. These creatures walked on their hind legs, leaving their upper arms free to slash and attack. From the air came giant three-eyed moths, which released a strange dust into the air and screeched as they dive-bombed the marines.

    At least its gotten easier. Lt Zeal thought grimly, snapping back to the present.

    Her gun clicked empty and she slapped the shoulder of the marine next to her. He nodded and stood up, taking her place at the firing line while she reloaded. In a series of movements that were instinctive to her she ejected the spent magazine, slammed a fresh one home, and hit the charging button. The whole operation had taken less than a minute. She stood, waited for her HUD to give a firing solution, and triggered a short burst at a flying yellow and black-striped beast with spikes for hands. It fell screeching, its thin black limbs twitched several times, and then there was silence. The attackers had let up for the moment.

    Lt Zeal sighed, squatted down behind the barricade, and took the opportunity to study her rifle, checking it for damage. The rifles and suit computers were the only reason they had lasted this long against the aliens. Each suit used an invisible ionizing laser to 'paint' a target for the weapon's sensors. This also let the other suits know that the target was 'taken', allowing for greater battlefield efficiency. The computers also constantly analyzed their enemies' movements and communicated with the others on it, building target profiles on each type. They were then able to compute how fast a specific target was able to move and based on its path, where it would be in a few seconds. This allowed it to figure out exactly where a shot needed to be placed to hit the selected enemy. It displayed this point of the HUD, along with a targeting reticule for the marine's weapon. The system would also compensate for wind and moisture in the air, allowing for near-perfect shot placement. The system also tracked confirmed kills and remaining weapon ammunition. The suit computers could perform all of these calculations in less than a millisecond.

    A few minutes later a warning was shouted from further down the line, one of the lookouts had spotted more enemies approaching. She stood up and surveyed the battlefield. The insects had begun to pour from the forest again, there didn't seem to be an end to them. Lt Zeal and her squad were good and they had the best equipment available, but they were tiring. Many of them had hit stimulant packs at least once, and even Lt Zeal could feel the fatigue weighing down on her. She checked her clock when she had a moment and was shocked to discover they had only been fighting for half an hour. She gritted her teeth and stood back up. Half an hour or half a day, it made no difference to her. She would keep fighting until they either crushed her beneath the weight of their dead or she ran out of ammo and had to use her combat knife, whichever came last.

    _______________________

    Lt Miller and Private Jones hiked steadily through the darkness of the cave. Their flare had burned out long ago and they hadn't lit another. They chose instead to rely on their suit's built-in lights and night vision. It was a silent journey, neither felt like talking about what had happened, though each of them knew that they were both thinking about it. Lt Miller had just taken a sip of water from a tube inside his helmet when his audio sensors picked up the faint sound of running water. They jogged ahead and came to a large cavern, bigger than the entrance cave they had been in by far, and found their path blocked by an underground river. On the far side of the river was a wall and there were no other ways out of the cavern. The river itself flowed out of one tunnel to their right, and into the darkness on their left.

    Lt Miller leaned out over the water, trying to see where the river went, when he heard a faint rustling. He stood up and looked around slowly, making sure they were really alone. he turned to the Private to see if he had heard the sound, only to find him kneeling on the ground with Jenkins splayed out next to him. The Private was studying something on the ground. Lt Miller looked down and saw that the dusty brown cavern floor was covered in large streaks of white. To him it almost looked like...

    He straightened up and slowly looked towards the ceiling. His helmet lights illuminated a writhing mass covering the roof of the cave. Bats, hundreds of them lined the upper reaches. They clung to every surface with what looked like their tails.

    The moment the light hit them they all shrieked and took off, flying madly around the cave. Private Jones jumped up and whipped out his sidearm, firing wildly into the swarm. He took down several before Lt Miller could order him to stand down.

    "Hold your fire, hold your fire, Goddammit!" he shouted.

    Private Jones stopped shooting. A few seconds later the remaining bats flew screeching up the upstream tunnel of the river.

    "Sorry sir," Private Jones said, panting from the adrenaline. "They startled me."

    "No harm done," Lt Miller replied. "But we need to save our ammunition, those things were not a threat to us."

    He went over to one of the downed bats which had crashed by the riverbank. One of the ten millimeter slugs from Private Jones' sidearm had blown a hole through its wing. Amazingly the creature was still alive, breathing shallowly. When Lt Miller's light touched it, its skin blistered and it screeched faintly. The bat tried to use its good wing to haul itself away, but the exertion was too much for it and it collapsed, dead. Lt Miller took the opportunity to study it more closely. It was blue, with purple wings and oversized ears. The strange thing had no eyes, indicating its species had been living in caves for a very long time. The bat also had twin muscular tendrils for a tail, and a small mouth with four ivory-colored fangs obviously used for drinking blood.

    Lt Miller had just finished his observations when he heard another sound, coming from the tunnel upstream. He looked up it, expecting to see the swarm of tiny bats returning, and froze. Dozens of winged nightmares were coming for him. They looked like the small bats from before, but bigger and more aggressive. They had short, squat, blue bodies almost entirely taken up by gaping mouths filled with inch-long fangs and ending in small claw-like feet. Each had two small greedy-looking eyes that burned into his with murderous intent.

    Lt Miller started to bring his rifle to bear, but stopped, knowing it was no use. There were too many of them, and although he would get some of them more would get through. Somehow he was sure that if they got to him their fangs would have no trouble getting through his armor's soft under-layer, unless...

    He turned and shouted to Private Jones, who was standing ten feet away, staring at the oncoming swarm.

    "Private, into the river, now!"

    Private Jones turned and stared, but Lt Miller was in no mood for a discussion. He strode over to where the Private stood, picked him up under the arms, and threw him bodily into the river. He ran over to Corporal Jenkins, grabbed him, and jumped in the water just as the first of the winged horrors came into the chamber.

    Lt Miller and his unconscious passenger were quickly swept away by the raging water, which was much faster than he had expected. They were quickly brought under, and their suits switched to internal air. It was a dark and cold ride, their suit lights only illuminating flashes of dark brown stone through the murky water as they sped along. Lt Miller curled up as much as he could while keeping his hold on the Corporal. He had no way of controlling himself, and although his armor bore the brunt of the many impacts against the walls, he winced now and then and knew he would have several new bruises tomorrow. He shut his eyes and held onto the Corporal as they sped onward through the icy, enveloping darkness.
    Last edited by Galaxy_Hunter; 26th April 2011 at 2:25 AM. Reason: fixing grammatical errors

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

  17. #17
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    Cool as always. I liked how you put in the description of the Pokemon, and your diologue and characterisation was excellent, however, you still have many grammer problems to correct. Remember that after a speech, the first word isn't capitalised unless it is a name, and that full stops in speech should generall be commas if at the end of a piece of diologue. Also, you forgot one of your periods of seperation. Make sure you edit through for grammer and mistakes, and it will be easier to read. Otherwise, well done.
    A group of 10 special trainers have been essembled by Professor Birch in a unexplored land. Their mission - to find some special stones to stop Team Magma and Team Aqua from getting them so that the professors can start their indistrialisation of the place. Follow their adventures in "Regional Conflict - The Five Sacred Stones. Please read, and review :)Here is the link. http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=482753 Last chapter - Chapter 10: The Tides of Terror

    Please read my other fic, a Unova journey fic - Unova apprentices. - http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=498160

    VM me if you want me to review your fic.

    White is nearly done, and nearly all my generation 4 pokemon are on there.

  18. #18
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    Greetings and salutations!

    First off I have to say I really like this story so far, and this is the first time I've seen an fanfic take the pokemon world from this angle, so kudos for you! (If I'm wrong, someone correct me.) I'm not that great at this whole reviewing thing, particularly form the grammatical standpoint but other folks seem to have that pretty well covered anyway, so I'll just give more of an overall impression. So! Here we go!

    Lessee, Ch.2. So Rayquaza doesn't like the human interlopers, eh? Interesting. One thing I'm confused about though is why all the other pokes are attacking the landing parties. It makes sense for Rayquaza seeing as he's the lord of the skies, doesn't like space objects (namely Deoxys), etc., but why are all the ground based pokes so hostile? Did Rayquaza send out a psychic message or something, "These things are bad news, ANNIHILATE THEM!!" or something? Or maybe he got Mew or another psychic to do it. I dunno, it just strikes me as a little strange. We'll see as the story unfolds I guess.
    Also, sucks to be Lt. Everson. I am curious what poke got in though. The fact that it was able to override the airlock system and just open the doors without totally smashing them makes me think psychic type, but no terribly terrifying psychics come to mind at the moment. Unless that was the psychic messing with his emotions and perceptions at the very end there.

    Ch.3 one thing I really like is your description of poison sting (I'm assuming it's poison sting. Maybe I'm wrong and it's poison fang?). Methinks the humans are a little bit screwed if their fancy armor can't stop a little poison sting.

    Over all, I really like it. The flow is good, fast enough to keep the reader interested but not too fast so as they get lost in the action. You also are handling the switches between the different characters well also in my opinion.
    One thing that could use some work, as others have pointed out, is description. You're doing a marvelous job on describing the weapons and gear, but the rest of the world and characters seem a little flat to me. For the pokemon you describe enough that we can tell which one it is (ex. bone scythes = Scyther, beetle+pincers/horn = Pinser/Herracross respectively, etc.) but there's nothing specific. To be honest all I'm doing in my head is picturing a Scyther as drawn normally. Spice it up a bit; you could really do this in the humans' reactions to the pokes. This is the first time they've ever encountered each other and while these 'aliens' may remind them of creatures from back home, they are distinctly 'alien'. Emphasize that alienness more; for example with Scyther (since I'm on a role with it), what do the eyes look like? They can't just be the flat, triangular things from the anime; are they compound? Or are they more, surprisingly, reptilian looking? Do they glow with some form of natural infrared that the humans have never encountered before? Are they purple? Stuff like that. And you could add that in to the thoughts running through the humans heads fairly easily too.
    Also, how are they reacting to the planet itself? If I were stepping off onto the pokemon world for the first time one of the things I'd definitely be wondering about is why the heck is it so earth like?? Why do the trees here look almost exactly like the trees back on earth? I'd be a little weirded out by that, but your humans seem to just breeze over it. If it's mainly because of how focused an tense they are that'd make more sense, but even then after a while of trudging through an alien forrest on high alert their minds would eventually start to wander a little bit and notice the little things that just seem off.

    In short, description could use some beefing up, although it's decent enough now. No complaints as far as storyline go so far, or much else for that matter. Oh, and as far as length goes I thought the chapters were fine. I've read some pretty hefty fic chapters before (Sike Saner's Communication double-post chapters comes to mind. Good read if you have the time.) so these seemed fine to me.

    Hope that was helpful. Keep up the good work and can't wait to see more!

    -Yashe

  19. #19
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    Argh! I hate my computer, it stopped connecting again!

    Anyways, thanks for the grammatical advice everyone, I'll implement it to the best of my abilities while I'm stuck posting from my phone. On the whole "need for description" yes I am working on it and I readily acknowledge describing the scenery and characters as a weak point. I'll probably re-con in some character and evirons descriptions later. As for more thorough Pokemon descriptions, some I will update, however some of the more tense action sequences will have less. My reasoning for this is that the story so far has been told from the viewpoints of soldiers. Now when suddenly confronted by an alien enemy, they aren't gong to have the time to spend analyzing every detail of it. They're just going to get a decent look at it, then fight back. That being said I will add more description to them and in later chapters like "Landing at Fort Haven" I'll explore some of the more bizarre aspects of their biology.

    In other news: good job on catching the whole Rayquaza thing Yashe. (sorry, no quote, using a phone to post) He will play a big role later. (not saying anything more) Thanks again for the advice, and I'll update just as soon as I can.

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

  20. #20
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    This story is amazing! Seems like the marines already encountered at least one legendary Pokémon or maybe two? I know Rayquaza slashed off Lt. Zeal’s engines but I’m thinking Kyogre caused the storm. I’m curious what would happen if they encounter Arceus. I don’t think the god of all Pokémon would like human invaders. Anyway, this story is good and I’ll be waiting for the next chapter.

  21. #21
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    So anyways, still working in the next chapter, but what I have done so far is to update each chapter with some minor revisions and the addition of more descriptions. So please read it over, tell me what you think, and comment! Thanks, and 'In Enemy Hands' is going great. It looks like it's going to be the most action-filled chapter yet...
    Last edited by Galaxy_Hunter; 3rd March 2011 at 10:50 PM. Reason: grammer

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

    Landing at Fort Haven might not have been the smartest idea...

    We'll cross oceans and conquer all, as long as we're together.

    Credit for the awesome banner goes to EzzPeon of the Enchanting Shop

    Credit for the Team Pose goes to Gladeshadow of Dark Valley Request Shop

  22. #22
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    Great start! Obviously, Lt. Miller and the human race will survive on the planet due his logs and humans here today. the question is obviously, how is it going to happen? This story sort of reminds me of Avatar (not the last air bender) but one of the things i like the most are the discriptions, expecially the fights. Could you put me on the pm list?
    I have clamed... the mighty Thor. Oh wait it's Throh *Facepalm*
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    My fanfic: Island of New Sundai

  23. #23
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    I meant to review this yesterday, but I forgot. Now that I remembered, I'll try to do my best to review it:

    You've heard it quite a lot in other reviews, but I'm going to say it again: your opening description is almost painfully vague (and not in a suspenseful way). This would normally be forgivable as the rest of the fic is much better, but it is important for another reason. As the first impression readers get of the story, the opening needs to be very good. For some reason, a lot of authors like to have an overly vague opening that is actually counterproductive. Also, there are still some tense issues remaining in Chapter One and the prologue, but I forget where exactly and I don't really want to go back and find them. They aren't that much of a problem anyways.

    Secondly, I love the concept. You play the suspense very well, and if its possible to make a thriller out of Pokemon, you somehow did it. My only comment here is that the Pokeverse does not lend itself to this type of portrayal, which is the source of another major problem.

    The description of the bug Pokemon in the first combat sequence just didn't seem as epic as it could have been. Obviously, the actual descriptions from the games doesn't lend itself very well to either real physics or this type of story, and you don't seem to play to that as well as you possibly could. For instance, you could describe the Bug-types more in the sense of an alien species than something earth-like. I think it's been mentioned before, but it is still an issue.

    Another thing I noticed is that you did a very good job of introducing characters, even if they were meant to die about a chapter later. However, you tend to introduce information about a character in a short burst after they are introduced, which is honestly the only way to do it with characters who essentially only serve cameos, but comes off as problematic later. By later, I am reffering to technology. You have a bad habit of interrupting epic fight sequences for a technical description of the weaponry being employed. This may not be bad in the fact that the weapons need introduced, but it could possibly be done during non-fight sequences, like when a soldier is taking inventory of thier weapons.

    Overall, this is as epic as you can possibly make Pokemon. The whole time I was reading this, I honestly couldn't stop until the chapter was over (except for the prologue which actually killed my first attempt at reading it due to the intial detail), and afterwards I tried to think of what style this fic most closely resembled, and I wound up with a few insanely epic novels on the list. That is never a bad thing. Keep it up, and prove that this can be the greatest story in the forum.
    The Flash Drive of Champions: Backgrounds

    There are many reasons to journey in the Pokemon World. It turns out that banishment, Bond Villains, unbeatable rivals and being forced to attend one dance too many are among them.

    File 2.5 is up. Gela literally puts on a show for the world to see while elsewhen her world is shattered beyond repair.

  24. #24
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    Well, I was implementing the changes to the old chapters (thanks for the advice everyone, btw) and I decided to finish working on this chapter after I had finished. So here it is, 'In Enemy Hands'. It's long but hopefully not boring. Hold onto your hats: this'll be a wild ride.

    Chapter 4: In Enemy Hands

    Lt Miller rattled on through the dark, narrow passage. His eyes were shut tight against the bumpy ride and he was trying very hard not to throw up. He prayed silently that the tunnel didn't drop off suddenly or make a sharp turn that would pancake him. Suddenly he felt a swooping sensation in his gut and opened his eyes. He was momentarily blinded by bright sunlight coming in through his visor. When his vision cleared then he saw -with a perfect time-frozen clarity- a vast dark-green forest that stretched from the ocean in the west to the mountains in the east, the clear sky to the south where the sun shone through the thinning clouds, and the fifty foot emptiness below him.

    "Oh crap!" he shouted, losing his grip on the Corporal out of shock. The underground river flowed out of a vine-covered cliffside and thundered into a clear pool a hundred feet below with a mighty roar.

    Luckily for the marine his suit had detected the vast drop below him the moment he had shot out of the rock tube into the void. It released a specialized semi-solid substance into the under-layer of his suit, forming a jelly cocoon around his skin. This material would absorb most of the shock of the impact and make it survivable.

    Lt Miller hit the water with straight legs, minimizing the force of the impact, even so the shock rippled up through his body and rattled his teeth. He plunged into the churning pool, going straight to the bottom with a cocoon of bubbles obscuring his sight in the otherwise crystal clear azure water. He scissor-kicked off the bottom and broke the surface. Ten feet away from him, Corporal Jenkins floated belly-up, slowly turning in the current from the waterfall. Lt Miller swam over to him, relieved to find him uninjured, and started to slowly move towards the lake's beach while holding the unconscious man under the arm. The shore was a muddy embankment strewn with pebbles surrounding the clear pool surrounded by some tall grass and the murky, close-in trees beyond. The forest here was even teller than the one on the other side of the mountain, and it felt older. The darkness and mist that pervaded the inside of the woods held an air of mystery and power around it.

    Private Jones had already heaved himself out of the water by the time Lt Miller had arrived. He glanced over his shoulder at the officer wading out of the water, and collapsed in the grass just before the treeline. As Lt Miller stepped out of the water the Corporal shuddered in his arms and then spoke in a faint voice.

    "Oh, man that must've been one wild party last night."

    Lt Miller set him down in the grass as Private Jones ran over. Corporal Jenkins blinked in the bright light, then sat up rubbing his head through the helmet.

    "Hey Lt, you're here too? Alright, start talking, how much did I have last night?"

    "Too much," said the medic, checking his readouts. "Luckily it wasn't anything permanent."

    "My head's pounding," the Corporal muttered, standing up. "What happened?"

    "Oh you know," Lt Miller said laughing, slapping him on the back, feeling the tension drain away. He was relieved to finally have something good happen that day. "It was a late night, we were making dumb decisions. One thing led to another and someone stabbed you in the side with a giant tooth. You know, a typical Saturday night."

    "Was that a joke?" Corporal Jenkins asked, bending over and shaking his head slightly.

    "Unfortunately, no." the medic said in reply.

    Corporal Jenkins straightened up and took stock of their surroundings for the first time.

    "Where are we?"

    "We're on the other side of the mountain," Lt Miller said, pointing due southwest into the forest. "Lt Zeal's shuttle should be somewhere through there. Now if we just-"

    His words were cut off by an explosion overhead, part of the cliff face appeared to have shattered. Large chunks of rock were falling in and around the pool at the base of the cliff.

    "Now what?" said Private Jones with a sigh, readying his pistol.

    Lt Miller did the same thing with his sidearm; he had lost his rifle in the pool. Corporal Jenkins, who had no guns left, glanced around and grabbed a large boulder, hefting it overhead. They watched the debris, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Suddenly one of the larger boulders moved and stood up.

    It wasn't a rock, it was like something out of a nightmare; not even bearing a passing resemblance to anything back on Earth. The thing had a dark gray shell of rocky plates arranged in a rough sphere. From below the shell sprouted two thick tan legs ending in small claws. It also had two massive arms coming from the sides of the shell, each ending in three scoop-shaped claws meant for digging. A small triangular head with a large mouth protruded from the center of the rock shell, facing straight at them. Like the arms and legs the head was covered with a rough, rocky-looking hide which was scarred and pitted from old battles. The most disconcerting part about this strange monster was the eyes, or rather the lack of them. This thing looked to be completely and utterly blind. Even so, somehow the marines knew that it could sense them standing there. It raised its arms and bellowed in challenge.

    Lt Miller took one look at the thing and came to a decision in the blink of an eye.

    "Uh-uh." he said quietly, shaking his head.

    He signaled for a retreat, firing his sidearm at the beast as he did so. The marines ran for the cover of the forest, shooting back as they went, however their shots seemed to only enrage the creature. It turned to the cliff, pulled a huge boulder out of it, and flung it at the fleeing humans. They were almost in the cover of the woods when Lt Miller saw the rock coming in his peripherals and dove out of the way-

    -a second too late. The large piece of rock bounced off the ground once and slammed down on his right leg. Hard.

    Despite his endurance training Lt Miller howled in pain and tried vainly to push the rock off of himself. The other two marines heard him and ran up, barely managing to roll it off of him. The rock weighed at least half a ton. Behind them, the thing lowered its head and began to charge toward them, moving as fast as its short legs would allow. Lt Miller's wound was bad; the armor had been crushed and it was likely that his lower leg bones were completely shattered. Private Jones quickly doused the wound in medi-gel and put an instant-dry cement cast on his leg. The treatment would keep the bones in place and dampen the pain enough to move him. They each put an arm around him and started to stagger away, with the thing charging up the beach and roaring at them.

    They made it to the forest and started weaving through the trees, peering through the gloomy light that filtered down through the overlapping treetops. Their progress impeded by ditches, small streams, and fallen trees. They were slowed down by Lt Miller, who was barely stumbling along. He was limping because of his injury and hissing in pain with every jolt, despite the painkillers. The rock golem was unhampered by the terrain, smashing aside logs and even full-grown trees as if they were nothing more than cardboard.

    "Forget it," Lt Miller managed with a grunt, the next time they had to stop and help him over a fallen log. "I'm slowing you down too much, it'll catch all of us unless you ditch me. Go on, I'll buy you some time." he tried to pull himself out of their grip.

    "With all due respect; not a chance in hell, sir." Corporal Jenkins said firmly. "We don't abandon our people, and you didn't leave me behind when I was a burden."

    The young man hefted his protesting CO ungracefully over one shoulder, staggering a bit from the weight. They kept going, but the thing was still gaining on them, they could hear its rasping breath from close behind. After they had gone for a mile they pushed past a layer of thick fern-like plants and found their path blocked by a mammoth white rock covered in moss. They turned and started to go around it when the thing broke through the underbrush beside them and roared. The two marines brought their weapons to bear, with Corporal Jenkins using his CO's pistol. They intended to go down fighting. However before either side could make a move something happened.

    A haunting noise drifted through the forest, sounding like some sort of music. It changed tone many times, sometimes sounding like the rustling of tree branches, but higher pitched, sometimes sounding like the sound a whistle made of grass made, and sometimes the call didn't resemble anything the marines had ever heard. It was hauntingly beautiful. It died out after about a minute, and the foliage all around them suddenly shook and quivered, even though there was no wind. It spooked the marines a bit but the effect on the monster was far more profound. It suddenly lowered its arms and head slowly. It moaned, a pitiful noise. Then, incredibly, it turned and lumbered away, taking great care to avoid touching any of the trees as it went.

    The marines stood dumbfounded, staring at one another as the rustling died. It was Corporal Jenkins who first broke the sudden silence.

    "Ok, now what the hell was that all about?"

    "I don't know," said the Lt from his shoulder. "Based on what happened though, I'd say that that noise was some sort of threat or warning directed at that thing." he paused. "Or it was the call of something that's bigger than he is and he didn't feel like messing with it. Whatever it was, it spooked him enough to make it leave us alone."

    "Yeah," said Corporal Jenkins. "and whatever made that noise is between us and Lt Zeal's party."

    "It doesn't matter," said Private Jones. "If whatever made that call wanted us dead it could have just let the thing get us. I say we push on."

    He looked at the Lt, who nodded slowly, grimacing inside his helmet. they started walking around the rock, going more slowly to avoid jostling Lt Miller. Corporal Jenkins muttered under his breath as they went, watching the surrounding dark trees closely.

    "Unless of course whatever made that call wanted us all to itself."

    _______________________

    "Repeat, we need extraction now!" Lt Zeal shouted into the mike over the continued clamor of the battle.

    They had been fighting for well over an hour now. They had jury-rigged a burst-laser transmitter from spare parts from their shuttle, building it out between the wreck and the defenses. They were using the Javelin as a relay to try and get in touch with Captain Cordo's squad. He was the only one who still had a working ride off of this rock. Sergeant Chris's group had fallen fifteen minutes ago, although they had apparently put up one hell of a fight. Lt Miller and his group were still MIA, if they were even alive. Communication through the transmitter was one-way at a time; they could either transmit a packet or listen for one, not both. They had been alternating between the two every five minutes and were now waiting for a reply. Suddenly a scratchy, disjointed voice spoke through their speakers.

    "...taking heavy fire...unsure...extraction...may not be able to...copy?" the rest of the transmission was lost in static.

    "Say again, sir!" she all but shouted into the mike, but it was no use, the rig was dead. "Damn," she whispered, closing her eyes. "Get here soon Captain, we're in it deep."

    She went back to the firing line and surveyed the battlefield through her rifle scope. About a hundred of the various aliens lay dead or dying. The ground was scorched, no grass remained. In an effort to buy themselves breathing room the marines had dumped the remaining fuel out of the shuttle onto the battleground and set it ablaze. It burned quickly, consuming all the available cover other than theirs for a hundred meters in every direction. There were craters scattered around in the scorched earth from grenade explosions or missed sniper rifle shots. If not for the trees still standing, it would have looked like a scene from hell.

    "Is help coming Lt?" asked Lance Corporal Cole next to her, hefting a large shotgun.

    "Captain Cordo will be here!" she shouted back, wishing she could believe it herself. "Just keep fighting, make sure we're here to be rescued!"

    "Ma'am yes ma'am!" he shouted and resumed attacking.

    Lt Miller knew privately that Captain Cordo wouldn't come for them. He was gung-ho but not stupid. They were in a hopeless situation, and no sane Commanding Officer would risk his life and the lives of his troops to rescue someone in their situation. She wouldn't.

    "Lieutenant!" shouted a marine from farther left along the line. "I think you need to see this!"

    She got up ran over to where the marine stood, ducking a volley of sharp needle-spines from one of the spider-things. The marine who had called her over was firing a bipod-mounted machine gun one-handed into a swarm of the black horned bugs that were pouring from the forest. In her other hand was an active motion-tracker.

    "What is it Private?!" she bellowed over the roar of the machine gun.

    "Something on the scope, looks like friendly forces coming in from the North!" the female marine replied snappily.

    "What?" she asked, peering at the marine's motion-tracker. She started and then looked again; the screen showed the ID tags of several US marines approaching from one hundred and fifty meters out.

    It can't be... she thought, then straightened up and activated her helmet's binocular function.

    There! she thought after a moment of frantic searching through the murk and smoke. Coming through the trees, there's only three of them...

    "Units two and three, covering fire!" she shouted into the squad channel. "Cole, Sylvia, you're with me. We've got friendlies coming in hot, let's give 'em a warm welcome!"

    Her squad cheered, and the hail of bullets from the fort intensified. Lt Zeal and the two marines leapt from behind the barricade and ran to the forest, firing intermittently at any foes who glanced their way. They were almost to the forest's edge when the three figures ran out from between the towering trees. She saw that one of them was clearly injured, one of their comrades was carrying him. Lt Zeal and the escort effortlessly fell in with the other marines and started running back the way they had come, still firing in bursts. She took stock of the three who were coming in with them, Corporal Jenkins, Private Jones, and -she was happy to see- Lt Miller, who looked like his leg had been run over by a tank. She shrugged and kept firing, determined to keep the enemy at bay.

    _______________________

    Lt Miller's group had been running for fifteen minutes when the first sounds of battle had floated in from up ahead. Gunfire, explosions and screeching. The marines had looked at one another in dismay, straight from one fire-fight to another. Even though they hadn't seen any other life since the golem wandered away they were still on edge. They stayed strong though, and kept going. Soon their vision was obscured by what appeared to be a dense fog. Then they realized it was smoke; the battlefield was burning. Then they reached the clearing and saw firsthand the destruction wreaked in the battle. The other shuttle had crashed into a large cliff, and it was surrounded by large cargo containers. From behind these marines were firing in bursts at waves of insectile monstrosities pouring from the forest. The ground was blasted and scorched; craters, bodies, and blood lay everywhere. It was dark, but not raining; the smoke had thrown a black haze into the air, obscuring visibility.

    Running towards them across this blasted landscape were three marines, and to them the most welcome sight in the world. Lt Miller and his little group kept running, and the other marines fell in with them. They didn't let up until they were past the barricades, at which point they stopped and let their breathing return to normal. Around them the other marines cheered, even this small accomplishment was a huge morale boost for them after an hour of ceaseless fighting. Corporal Jenkins gently propped up Lt Miller against the back of the shuttle, then grabbed one on the sniper rifles that were lying around and took up a position on the firing line. Private Jones knelt by his CO, checking his hurt leg. Lt Zeal came and stood beside him.

    "Good to see you again Miller," she said with a smile. "We almost thought you had given up the ghost back there."

    "No, no," he said, slightly delirious from the pain meds. "You see we're on a rescue mission, and since we've found you, I'd say it's mission accomplished."

    She glanced around at the marines still shouting and shooting. "Good job."

    She turned to the Private. "How is he, really?"

    "His leg is shattered," he replied. "And he's swimming in painkillers. He should be fine if we can just get him out of here."

    She was about to say that Captain Cordo was probably not coming for them -if he even got away- when there was a roar from overhead. Everyone, including the aliens, jerked their heads up to see a mammoth gray ship fly overhead, cutting a swath of clean air through the smoke. It was the Captain's shuttle, supported by a series of small thrusters mounted on the under-side of the main hull. It set down just outside the defensive perimeter. The hatch on the back cracked open and Captain Cordo and his remaining squad jumped out, brandishing assault rifles. They started firing while the Captain turned to the bedraggled survivors and shouted at the top of his voice.

    "Come on, get off your lazy butts and get over here, can't you recognize a rescue when it's happening?!"

    Lt Zeal and Lt Miller's squads were dumbstruck for an instant, and then at once they started running for their unexpected saviors. Several stayed behind to help the wounded to the shuttle. Captain Cordo himself walked over and hefted Lt Miller's six-foot bulk over his shoulder with one arm.

    "What's the matter Lt Miller, gone soft on me?"

    "No sir, just took a bit of a hit back there." he replied as his CO carried him back to the shuttle. "It's nothing sir."

    "Shut up," he said, handing him off to Lt Zeal, who was waiting in the back of the shuttle, before turning to cover the last marines' retreat. "Marines, we are leaving! Last chance ride outta hell, take it or leave it!"

    Lt Zeal carried Lt Miller over to the front of the cramped cargo bay, past several groaning and injured soldiers, and set him down on the cot there, strapping him in. She turned around and saw the last of the marines piling in and hurriedly taking their seats. Captain Cordo was still outside, firing with literally one foot in the door. Lt Zeal ran up behind him and held out her hand. He saw it and slapped it away, starting to get into the shuttle on his own-

    -when the ground opened up and swallowed him.

    He was suddenly buried up to his waist in broken earth, struggling and shouting. Without thinking Lt Zeal jumped out of the ship and brought her rifle to bear, sighting in on the nearest bug. Except there were none, they were all fleeing: flying, running, or even crawling away, as if afraid of something. She slung her rifle and grabbed the Captain's arms, trying to pull him out. There was a jerk, and he sank even more. She let go in shock. There was something below the ground, and it was pulling him down to it. She reached out again, but the Captain shook his head and pushed her arms away.

    "Forget it, its got me whatever it is, and it ain't letting go without tearing my legs off. Get out of here, get back to the Javelin. Go!"

    She shook her head and started to grab him again, but he was jerked under even more, and a strange rumbling came up from below. The Captain gave her a look that even through his visor clearly said Go, now, dammit. She nodded and jumped back into the shuttle just as he pulled his combat knife from his shoulder sheath and started stabbing into the bloodied dirt with it.

    "I'm ready!" he was yelling. "Kill me now, but don't you think I'll be dying alone you sorry piece of-"

    Then the hatch door slammed shut and she was shouting at the pilot to get them into orbit.

    _______________________

    Lt Miller awoke from a drug-induced haze when the ship was airborne. He glanced around at the red-lit cargo hold and saw Private Jones sitting in a seat next to the cot he was strapped onto.

    "Hey," said Lt Miller. "Never though I'd be so glad to see your ugly face."

    The Private just shook his head slowly, looking at the deck. Lt Miller glanced around. He counted a grand total of twenty-two survivors including himself and the pilots. He closed his eyes again, then snapped them open and did a double take. He turned back to Private Jones.

    "Where's the Captain?"

    Lt Zeal answered him from her position by the rear airlock, looking at the floor. She dangled a set of dogtags from one hand.

    "He stayed behind."

    Lt Miller leaned back and closed his eyes again.

    The tough old SoB finally bought the farm, he thought, barely able to form a coherent thought. Well I hope he went down the way he wanted: with a weapon in hand and a curse on his lips.

    Lt Miller started to slip back into a painkiller daze when suddenly he felt a sense of malice at the edge of his awareness. This in and of itself was not usual, back when he was fighting on the planet it had been ever-present. Each of the aliens had given off a sense of aggression and anger towards them. This was different however, the sensation given off by the aliens on the surface had been diffused, unfocused, which suggested low intelligence. This was focused, determined, aware, and it was coming closer. Adrenaline surged through him, temporarily banishing the medication's haze.

    He reached down and started undoing the straps on the cot, when Private Jones noticed this he tried to get him to stop.

    "What on Earth are you doing Lieutenant?"

    Lt Miller ignored him and swung his legs over the edge of the cot. Sharp spikes of pain shot up his right leg and threatened to blot out his consciousness. He gritted his teeth and rode it out. He grabbed a sniper rifle from a gun rack nearby and used it as an improvised crutch to hobble towards the rear of the shuttle.

    "Lieutenant what are you doing? You can't be walking yet!" Private Jones was fumbling with the straps on his own harness, trying to get out and stop him.

    Lt Zeal got up first and stood in Miller's way.

    "Sit down, Miller, what's going on with you?" she still had her helmet on, but there was obvious concern in her voice.

    "Something's coming," Lt Miller hissed through gritted teeth. "We're about to be attacked!"

    He stumbled forward, but she caught him and helped him to his feet.

    "Is this one of your 'feelings'?" she asked seriously.

    He could barely breathe through the pain, so he settled for just nodding.

    "Alright," she said, grabbing her assault rifle and helping him into the cramped rear airlock. Behind her what few marines that were still lucid glanced their way but didn't say anything.

    She hooked them both into special harnesses that tethered them to the inside of the ship and contained parachutes just in case of an accident. It was tough; the room was barely big enough for the two of them. When they were suited up she hit the 'Outer Door Open' button and held on tight. The door slid open and a howl of wind tore into the enclosed space. They were very high up and the air was thin and cold. The two Lieutenants looked out the opening and saw nothing but vast empty air with several cloud formations in the distance. From this height they could see the curvature of the planet below.

    "See, nothing there, now can we please go back inside?"

    Lt Miller shook his head and closed his eyes, trying to zero in on the sensation. It was an inexact art that had taken years to develop. Even at its best it had limited success. He raised his left hand and pointed it where he felt the dark feelings the most strongly.

    "There," he whispered. "Look there."

    She sighed and grabbed the sniper rifle from him, handing him her assault rifle. She looked through the scope in the direction he had indicated, panning it around.

    "I'm looking and I don't see any-" she cut off in mid-sentence, because she did in fact see something, she just couldn't believe it.

    She saw through the scope of the rifle what looked like a giant dark snake, twisting and writhing its way through the air towards them. It was at least fifty feet long. Closer inspection revealed a massive triangular head adorned with huge bony crests and two beady yellow eyes staring out from deep eye sockets. It had an enormous maw filled with dagger-like teeth. The muzzle of the beast was adorned with a zig-zagging pattern of ancient scars: old battle wounds. It had deep green, almost black scaly skin, with a strange pattern in yellow that ran along the length of its body. At intervals along its great length were short little fins, arranged in groups of four, leading back to its stub of a tail, which looked like it had been bitten off, probably in a fight. It had no legs, only a pair of muscular arms that ended in three curving claws. Lt Zeal could see no wings or means of support for this strange thing, by all rights it should not have been flying. Still it came on, twisting its way through the air.

    How is it even breathing? she thought irrationally. There's practically no air here, nothing that size should be able to survive!

    "Do you see it?" Lt Miller asked breathlessly, snapping her out of it.

    "Yeah," she said. "Yeah I see him."

    "Well don't just stand there!" he shouted, hefting the assault rifle and sighting down the length. "Start shooting!"

    She did, the roar of the fifty caliber rifle barely audible in the thin air. They poured lead out at it, the occasional streak of a tracer round being redundant with their targeting optics. Something was wrong, they had fired several dozen rounds total straight at the thing and it was still coming, unfazed.

    "Are we even hitting it?" she shouted after he had finished unloading another magazine at it.

    "We are!" Miller shouted back. "The SoB just isn't feeling it for some- look out!"

    There was a flash, and a beam of intensely bright light swept by the ascending shuttle, missing it by meters before vanishing. The dragon-snake had shot it from its mouth.

    "What the hell was that?" she shouted when it had stopped.

    "Do I look like I know?!" he yelled. "We gotta take him out, his next shot won't miss!"

    "I've got an idea!" Lt Zeal shouted, hitting the control to open the inner airlock door. "Stay here and keep an eye on him. Tell the pilots when to dodge, buy us time!"

    He nodded and she slipped into the main cargo hold again. Opening both doors at this altitude had de-pressurized the hold instantly, but the marines were all still sealed into their suits. She walked quickly over to an overhead weapons rack and grabbed what she came for: an X-45 rocket launcher and a half a dozen rockets on a bandoleer. She was on her way back to the open doors when Lt Miller's voice came over the radio.

    "Pilot, jink hard left, now!"

    They obeyed without question and the shuttle lurched, almost knocking her off of her feet. It righted itself, and Lt Zeal thought she heard a faint roar from outside. The thing was getting close. She stumbled into the airlock and slung the belt around Lt Miller's shoulder. She got down on a knee and loaded a rocket into the back of the launcher. He eyed her as she stood up and aimed at the dragon.

    "This is your plan?!"

    In response she pulled the trigger, sending a bright streak of light riding a vapor trail towards the approaching creature. Either it didn't see the missile coming, or didn't have time to react to it. Whatever the reason the rocket hit it right in the center of its body and detonated with a flash. The beast spun and dropped while they cheered. They stopped short when it halted and began to slowly climb again.

    "Load." said Lt Zeal automatically, holding out a hand for a rocket.

    Lt Miller handed one to her wordlessly, still staring at the thing and trying to get over his shock. While she reloaded he sampled the feelings coming off of it. He didn't like them; the thing was pissed and in a fighting rage. Lt Zeal stood up and took aim once more. She fired and he focused with all his attention on the streaking rocket. It had almost reached the target when a beam of light lanced out from the dragon and intercepted the missile in flight, detonating it. The beam kept going, heading straight for the shuttle. Lt Miller opened his mouth to shout a warning, but it was too late. The beam pierced the side of the shuttle, melted through the hull, and hit one of the fuel tanks that was directly adjacent to the airlock. This sparked a limited explosion in the thin air. The blast filled the tiny room, knocking Lt Miller's head against the bulkhead. His vision narrowed to a point and there was a ringing in his ears. The next thing he knew he was being pulled back into the strangely dark hold by two marines, and he saw that the spot where Lt Zeal had been standing was a mass of twisted, blackened wreckage. The marines holding him were shouting that Lt Zeal had been caught in the blast.

    No, she's not dead. he thought dimly, losing consciousness fast as they strapped him down on the cot. She's not...

    _______________________

    Lt Zeal fell.

    The force of the blast had severed her safety line and blown her out the airlock door. She was in free fall, descending fast. Her mind was reeling, still trying to get a hold on the new situation.

    Focus! she thought. Threat assessment, where is that thing?

    She twisted around, the wind whipping her in circles. She couldn't see the dragon-snake anywhere, but she held off on pulling her harness' parachute until the last possible second to avoid attention. It came free without a hitch and she scouted for an LZ below her as she floated down. However she saw nothing save trees and mountains. She wanted to touch down on a mountaintop -she didn't trust the forests- however the winds forced her into the trees in the foothills. She tried to slow down as much as possible, but she still winced as she bounced from branch to branch before coming to a rest suspended ten feet off the ground.

    She tapped her wrist controls, trying to activate the armor's emergency beacon, but nothing happened. She tried again and then stopped, realizing that her HUD was gone and that it was dead silent inside her helmet. Her speakers and air pumps had stopped working too. She tried to restart her suit's systems, but nothing seemed to work anymore. After a moment she took her helmet off and let it fall to the forest floor below, figuring that without its technology it would just serve hamper her vision. She took a deep breath and inhaled the rich earthy smell of the planet. After a minute of getting used to the air, which made her feel giddy and energized, she pulled out her combat knife and cut herself free of the parachute, which was caught in the tree's canopy. She figured that a fall in the lower gravity wouldn't be as bad as on Earth, however when she landed she nearly doubled over from a pain in her stomach. She glanced down and saw a dark stain spreading around a hole in her armor. She went cold with dread. A piece of shrapnel from the explosion had cut across the front of her armor, slicing through the under-layer and her skin. She tried to stand, but she fell to the ground from the pain.

    Not like this, she thought bitterly. I won't go out like this, lying down, helpless

    She got up on all fours and started to crawl away from her crash-site, but she barely got a few feet before she collapsed from a wave of pain and dizziness.

    Losing too much blood, she thought weakly. Oh Kat, I don't think you're getting out of this one...

    There was a rustling in the bushes nearby. A small brown and cream colored fox-like animal emerged and stared at her. It had large, brown, warm-looking eyes and big ears. A small black nose sniffed at her cautiously from the front of its face. The small animal was covered in a layer of thick-looking fur. It sat down, still looking at her, and cocked its head.

    "H-hey, you're not so bad," said Lt Zeal faintly. "Guess not everything here is a monster after all..."

    The thing turned its head and yipped several times in a high-pitched voice. There was more rustling, and suddenly something else floated out of the gloom between the trees towards her.

    I-is that a-an angel? that was Lt Zeal's last thought before she fainted.
    Last edited by Galaxy_Hunter; 7th March 2011 at 10:10 PM. Reason: Minor Edits

    It's not the Pokemon that are the aliens...

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  25. #25
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    Woah, pissed off Rayquasa. You do NOT want one of those blasting your ship. Ok obviously the fox is an eevee. the other is floating as she thought it was an angel. hmmm... Anyway keep up the great work.
    I have clamed... the mighty Thor. Oh wait it's Throh *Facepalm*
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