— WARNING — STRONG LANGUAGE, VIOLENCE, AND GORE INVOLVED, ONLY OPEN TO THOSE 14 AND OVER — WARNING —
News: Yeah, that’s right… Four freaking months of dust and topics piling up on this thing. My God, has it really been that long…? Anyway, although I doubt anyone still here cares about this story, I couldn’t help but feel like I was cheating this forum. It was the first I was really ever into, the first I started getting into graphic design, the place where I learned some spriting skills that proved invaluable later on with Flash, the place where I first posted Bravo for rating and reviewing… Yes, it’s been awhile, and yes I realize nobody cares anymore, but I’ve kicked this carcass in the gut and the ball is rolling again. I finally finished nine so I decided to post it here again.
If anyone wants me to just stop this and leave, then I’ll do it, no questions asked…
Gold Leader Productions Presents…
I can never forgive myself for what I did in those few moments. I should never have pulled that? Never mind? So, we were stuck again between a rock and a? urgh… A hard place? We? we had to get that transmission sent, but it was becoming clear that the odds were stacked against us? And the? strange things? we saw didn?t help either?
The Corporal stood there with his arms limp while the door behind them was being slowly torn apart by the attackers. His eyes were not fixed on anything in particular since he wasn?t even thinking about that. In fact, he didn?t think about anything at all, or at least he tried not to. Being a marine he was supposed to be a heartless killer; there was no room for sorrow and grief in warfare. But this was completely different. This was no war, no contest of might; it was merely hell in its truest, most evident form.
And to Sam there was no way to escape it. No matter how hard he tried to convince himself otherwise, he instinctively knew that they were going to be killed. His air of invincibility had been dispersed, his shell of overconfidence broken. And in all respects he was afraid. Afraid of what had happened, afraid of what was happening now, and afraid of what most likely would happen. It bothered him tremendously.
?Damnit, Sam, what the hell do we do? Where do we go? Say something!? Eddy yelled at him. ?Yeah, Corporal,? Jimmy said, ?I don?t want to die, and I don?t think you want to either.?
That was it. That was his fallback position, his rock from which he could draw his resolve to push forward. He didn?t want to die. He raised his head and looked at the others. They were looking right back at him, for guidance, for salvation. They didn?t want to die either, and it was his job to make sure they didn?t. His primeval urge would be his fuel. His instinct would push him forward.
He was ready.
Sam bent over and picked up his forgotten side arm. The pistol didn?t look like it normally would. To him it was a beacon of fear and hatred, but as much as he wanted to cast it away for what it had done, he knew that the only way to pull through was to use it against his enemies. He shoved it down is leg holster and let it sit snug. Then he stepped over to where he had dropped his rifle, not even realizing that he did so during that whole ordeal. The memory was just a blur now, almost like a figment of his imagination, and he intended to keep it that way. His fingers closed around the handle. It felt strong and firm in his hands, as if it was right there beside him, ready to get the job done. He checked the ammo count and discovered that it was at four rounds remaining. Clicking the clip release, the metal container flew out at hit the wall behind him, bouncing back and hitting him in the leg as he shoved a new clip into the rifle. But when he reached back he noticed that there were only two clips still hanging on his ammunition belt. Their latest firefight had drained a good portion of the team?s supply which would need to be replenished quickly. And so, his first order of business was ?to get more bullets.?
He looked over at his comrades, all of whom seemed frightened and panicked except for Marak. The marine was still slumped in the corner in as much as a daze as Sam was just in, but he had not yet recovered from the ordeal. Despite his job description, Sam still had an ounce of compassion still left in him. He walked over and lowered his free left arm towards Mark?s head, putting it in front of his visor just to make sure that he saw it. The broken man looked up at him, his face unseen below his armored helmet. ?Come on Mark,? Sam said softly, ?We have to move.? Marak looked at the outstretched hand and stared at it for a few moments before firmly grasping it. Sam yanked him up to his feet and put a hand on his shoulder. ?Let?s make it out of this one alive, shall we?? Despite Marak?s watery eyes and broken spirits, he managed to grin under that helmet. ?Works for me,? he muttered.
By this time the door had a clear opening which was just large enough for zombies to stumble through. Luckily for the marines, their poor motor functions didn?t let them get very far. Miller was filling the opening with his rifle?s lead, stemming the flow of the abominable creatures, but he knew that it was futile to hold them back forever. ?Sam, we?ve got a real problem here,? he said while beheading one of the hapless zombies. ?We?ve got to keep moving forward before these guys box us in on both sides.? Sam nodded in an affirmative and looked over at the other door. ?Eddy, unlock that and check outside. Take Marak with you.? Private Grafton understood and walked over to the security access panel nearby. He punched in a three number code and released the door locks. It automatically opened into a hallway lined with oozing flesh. ?[i]Yuck[/i],? Eddy proclaimed, ?I hope we don?t run into more of this stuff?? Slowly and hesitantly, he stepped onto the soft, warm material. His feet were cushioned by the blubber, having a sort of comfy feel to it. ?Hey, it isn?t that?? The flesh began to tremble and move around. ?Wha? What the hell did I do?? Sam took a look around and saw the copious flesh reverberating in motion, as if in response t Eddy?s intrusion. ?I think you set off an alarm or something. We?d better move quick? Is that area clear?? ?Yes sir.? ?Good, move out, you take the lead.? Eddy ran through the passageway and over the rumbling organ with Marak in tow.
Meanwhile Sam turned his attention to the besieged door. Miller was doing a fantastic job holding them back, but he was expending a lot of ammunition and this delaying tactic would only work for so long, so the Corporal decided to relieve him. ?Kevin, take Jimmy over here and follow Eddy and Mark. I?ll cover your retreat.? ?You sure?? Miller replied while firing randomly into the opening. ?Yeah, go, I?ll catch up later.? ?Whatever you say, Lead?? Miller stopped firing and grabbed Konenburg by the arm. ?C?mon newbie, we?ve gotta move!? ?Who are you calling newbie, leatherneck?? Jimmy replied as they went out the door. Sam raised his gun in preparation of the coming assault.
He really didn?t have much time to prepare as the zombies seemed to be coming out of nowhere and fast. One zombified security guard poked its ugly mug through the door and blurted out a half-hearted yell. ?Shut up, you Goddamned prick!? Sam yelled back while spreading the zombie?s brains across the wall with his gun. His rounds were doing the trick well, their pointed tips shearing through body parts and heads, easily immobilizing the attacking zombies. Another zombie tried to crawl through the door, this time being obviously overweight. Uh oh. The last time I fought a guy like this it wasn?t so easy? And he was right. Even the penetration power of the bullets could be stopped by the sheer mass of this kind of zombie. But this time he knew exactly what to do. Just as the zombie got its footing past the door, Sam sprayed its feet with lead, sending the hell spawn tumbling over flat on its face. He then rushed over and placed his foot on its back, pinning it down. Then, with a grin of guilty satisfaction, he peppered the body with as many bullets as he could, turning its head and torso into an unrecognizably bloody pulp. Sam could feel its twitching cease beneath his boot.
As even more zombified people came through the busted doorway, Sam began to back off towards the door to his rear. Then, as he ejected his next clip, he reached back and noted his final collection of ammunition. Sam needed to restock, but where was he going to get it?
Morton? He didn?t dare look at the corpse, feeling he?d be defiling it somehow, like he did before?
Sam shook the thought from his head. Morton?s body still had ammunition on it, ammo which Sam needed desperately. It wasn?t like Morton needed it anymore anyway. Keeping his eye, and trigger, on the door, Sam stepped over and crouched down by Corporal Morton?s slumped body. The large wound where the bullet had entered was in his peripheral vision, but he tried not to notice it. His hand slowly crept over to David?s former ammo belt and popped it loose. He pulled it back while flaying yet another approaching zombie with rounds. Belt firmly in hand, Sam quickly backed off to the door behind him and was going to hit the lock button when he caught sight of David?s body. He couldn?t help but feel ashamed for what he had done, but he was determined to reconcile it in whatever way he could. Looking back up from his thoughts, Sam came face to face with the glazed eyes of a jawless zombie. He quickly punched the lock button and the door slammed shut before the creature reached him. Sighing in relief, he looked down the long fleshy corridor before him. He had a long way to go.
Private Edward Grafton sprinted through the hallways as fast as he could. He didn?t want to risk slowing down because something was chasing after him and Marak. Eddy was at a lack of words to describe the new demon. It was big, pink, had gigantic jaws and robotic hind legs, and was basically very scary. If someone told him that description was too vague he would have punched their face in. As if he wanted to take a closer look at that thing. The pink demon was very big, and thus it had a hard time squeezing in between the hallways. But despite its size it was very agile, easily keeping up with Eddy and Marak?s panicked gait. Its huge jaws could easily fit, and crush for that matter, a human head and probably devour a whole body while it was at it. In summary it was menacing, terrifying, and above all very dangerous. As the two ran down the hallway Eddy grabbed Marak?s arm and yanked him to the left and through a door. He spun around, shut, and locked it quickly and then ran away from its general direction. ?Where the hell are you going?? Marak yelled after him. ?Doesn?t matter! Just get away from the door!? Before he could ask the question why, the door behind Marak suddenly burst open. Like an explosion ripping through a wall, the pink demon rammed right into the door and literally went through it. Marak screamed in terror as it came within biting distance. And then it just stopped. Mark?s eyes slowly opened to quite a sight. And what a sight to behold! After coming through the door the demon actually got stuck between the bars of the door fixture. It was just too damned big to fit. Mark couldn?t help himself as he burst out in hysterical laughter. ?These demons may be from hell,? he tried to say among bouts of giddy mirth, ?and they may be pretty damn scary, but they sure aren?t damned smart!? Eddy took one look at it and joined in the fun by laughing his ass off. But as they chuckled in amusement the pink demon growled and roared as it flailed around in an attempt to break free. ?Oh, uh, I guess we can?t just leave it like this huh,? Marak said. ?Yeah,? Eddy replied, ?Let?s clean up this mess.? He reared his rifle and fired into the demon?s face, causing many bullet wounds to fill up its skin like paint on a canvas. But even after an entire clip was spent, the creature was still not dead. In fact, it didn?t look like it felt harmed at all. ?Well, what do we do know?? Marak inquired. After a couple of moments of intense thinking, Eddy?s face slowly began to form an ear-to-ear grin. ?[i]I?m bad[/i],? he said. He walked right up next to the sprawling demon. Even at this close range, the fact that it was immobilized kept the marine from being frightened. ?Hey, boy,? he said mockingly, as if addressing a household pet. ?You hungry, huh? Want to eat me, huh?? The demon growled viciously; large globules of spit flying from its gaping orifice. Eddy took the growl as a yes. ?Ok, then, you want to eat me, right?? he said while reaching towards his ammo belt. The demon intensified its growls, roars, and spit. Finally his hand reached what he wanted. Eddy pulled the grenade off of his belt and held it by the trigger release. ?Marak, get back,? Eddy warned. Marak nodded and quickly took cover. ?Now then,? Eddy said to the demon, ?Want to eat my arm?? He raised the grenade up towards the creature?s mouth, just close enough so that it could bite the grenade. ?Here you go.? It took the bait, reaching out and chomping on the end of the high explosive grenade. As it pulled back to swallow it Eddy twisted the cap at let the grenade go. The monster?s mouth enveloped it and the grenade just seemed to disappear, but its high pitched whine could be heard clearly within the demon?s stomach. ?You should have chewed your food, asshole!? Eddy hollered as he ran away to duck in cover. The whine reached its highest pitch. In an explosive extravaganza worthy of a fireworks show, the pink demon exploded in a violent shower of red blood. Flakes of burst skin and entrails made large arcs in all directions, painting the room in a disgusting mix of blood and guts. Once Eddy was sure that the rain of bowels had stopped, he got up from his defensive position and surveyed the results. It was terrible. Except for the bits and pieces currently peeling off of the roof and walls, there was basically nothing left of the pink demon, save for the mechanical back legs. They sat there motionless except for the occasional electrical spark. ?Whoa ho ho!? Eddy said enthusiastically, ?Check that out!? The legs suddenly burst into flames, causing the Private to flinch. ?Heh, yeah!? Marak responded. ?Talk about having a fire in your hole,? Eddy said, ?Well, now that?s that then isn?t it?? Miller dragged Jimmy along the metal corridors with haste, but Konenbrug?s resistance was slowing the marine down. ?Come on, let me go!? the security guard said in protest. ?Quit your whining. We need to find Corporal Marak and Private Grafton before they get themselves killed.? ?Well with you so preoccupied with holding me, I wouldn?t be surprised if [i]we [/i]got killed!? ?Just shut up and follow me,? Miller said in an annoyed tone, releasing Konenburg from his grasp. ?So, where to now, leatherneck?? Jimmy inquired, obviously sarcastically. ?Do you think I know?? Gunshots suddenly rang out from down the hallway. He couldn?t tell how far away it was, but Miller was sure that it was Marak and Grafton doing the shooting. Or at least [i]he hoped so[/i]. ?Let?s go check it out?? ?Hell no, I?m not following you?? ?Shut up newbie and follow me!? ?I?m not following you to your doom?? ?I?m the ranking officer here right now so?? ?I don?t take orders from you!? Miller?s free hand clenched into a fist. This security guard was getting on his nerves, even if he [i]did [/i]pull a couple of bullets out of his gut. As Jimmy continued to talk about how they were facing inevitable doom because Kevin was so stupid, Miller prepared to sock him in the gut, just to shut him up of course, when the room shook violently. Loose floor gratings rattled noisily and hanging lights began to sway to and fro. ?What the hell was??? ?Shut up, Konenburg, and let me listen!? Private Miller?s ears took in the sounds and gave him a good idea where it had come from. He didn?t know exactly where because the sounds were echoing through the winding hallways, but thanks to his combat training he still had a general idea. After all, how big could this place be? A minute of flat out running left them breathless, and the sight they saw when they reached the origin of the sound took any breath they could have had left away. Something had blown up into a million pieces; the evidence was splattered all over the place. Two, robotic hind legs seemed to be all that was left of it. As the two began to walk towards this rather awkward phenomenon, the legs suddenly caught fire and began to burn. From the doorway near the exploded creature came some laughing and a voice distinctly saying, ?Well that?s that then!? ?That doesn?t sound like zombies to me,? Jimmy said quietly. ?No shit, shut up,? was Miller?s brisk reply. Miller raised his rifle and rounded the door opening, trying to ignore the goop he was stepping in. The two marines inside raised their weapons in surprise. ?Who?? Hey!? Eddy said, ?Don?t go waving that gun around! Wait, uh, yeah never mind.? Miller pulled off his helmet and grinned. ?Heh, right.? Marak stepped forward and froze. ?Hey, wait just a damn second. Where?s Sam?? Jimmy looked around in confusion. ?I thought he was with you?? ?We left before he did, idiot,? Kevin rebuked. ?What should we do?? Eddy asked with a hint of concern in his voice. ?Well,? Marak said, ?we could radio him, but if he?s running from something like we were then he probably won?t have time to listen. I think we should find a good place to hole up. You know; few access points and plenty of ammunition. We?ll tell him our location and wait for him there.? ?But what if he doesn?t?? Jimmy tried to ask, but before he could finish Marak once again grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. ?[i]He?ll make it[/i]?? he said in a low, menacing tone.
I really didn?t know what I got myself into when I chose to take the rear like that? I was alone? by myself, and worst of all? I had no idea where everybody else was. I still don?t know why, but my communications gear had been messed up? I couldn?t call for help? I was? alone?
Corporal Holmes was beginning to get worried. He?d tried to raise Sergeant Kelly on the comm. link but to no avail. After that he tried his team, but all he got was static. Right now he was moving at a jog; just slow enough to keep an eye out for any activity. He had seen many strange things before, but the oddities of this place totally blew him away. Just walking through the ominous, dimly lit corridors was enough to freak even the most hardened combat veteran, but it didn?t stop there. For one there was the flesh, a bizarre organic compound which was slowly growing and encompassing the entirety of the UAC base on Mars. It would rumble and vibrate at the mere touch of Sam?s boot. He didn?t know why, but he had a feeling that he was tripping some type of alarm whenever he made the flesh quiver. Surely it was all connected together and had an obvious link with the demons here. But if it was an alarm like Sam had guessed, then that meant that? He was being watched. His stalkers knew exactly where he was because of this crap, but unfortunately he couldn?t avoid it: it was [i]everywhere[/i]. Every couple of corridors or so would yield to a wall of organic material oozing out from gratings in the floor or from air vents above, and at the rate it was expanding it wouldn?t take long for it to truly envelop the entire base. As he stepped onto another pile of the flesh he felt it quiver underneath. Looking down at its revolting surface, Sam had the tremendous urge to open fire on it. After all, if the demons already knew where he was then it wouldn?t hurt would it?
He smacked his helmet forcefully. What the hell was he thinking? If anything it would draw more attackers. He was suddenly reminded of how he almost opened fire in boredom just an hour ago. Only this time the consequences would be much, much worse?
Sam quickly stepped across the surface and hopped off of it at his earliest convenience. The less time he spent on that stuff the better. But as he kept moving forward, he noticed that the pile was still moving, even after he had left it. What?s it doing? he thought. All of a sudden the lights went dark. From along the corridor ahead a bright shaft of orange light seemed to shoot down through the roof and hit the floor. Upon contact with the metal plating the light began to spread out into separate sections which seemed to just stick to the floor. Coiling together, they made the shape of a pentagram.
As the Corporal brought his arms to bear on the symbol, yet another shaft came down and impacted on the center point of the unholy star. Out from the intense light came the hideous form of an imp. It wasted no time in turning its attention towards the marine and bellowed its mind bending screech. Before Sam could pull his trigger the demon formed a fireball in its hand and thrust it towards him. He dove to the right, narrowly avoiding the projectile?s path. It hit the wall of the corridor instead, causing a large scorch mark to imprint on the metal. Corporal Holmes, now on the ground, opened up on the imp. Some of the bullets missed their target, but the others made contact with disastrous results. One of the creature?s arms was blown clean off of its body while its chest became riddled with bullet holes. Sam grinned in satisfaction as it wailed in pain.
His grin quickly faded when it suddenly lunged at him. Its jump had an extremely long range, and at this distance much of the force was absorbed by the marine himself. Its one remaining hand landed on Sam?s left shoulder, the sharp claws easily cutting through the little armor there was and shearing away his flesh. He cried out in pain as he shoved the barrels of his UAM-20 into the face of the creature. He pulled the trigger, expecting a rather colorful end to the marauding imp. Instead, the gun simply clicked.
Sam would have kicked himself had it not been for the demon currently sitting on top of him. How could he have ignored the beeping of the gun when it ran out? What had happened to that instinct he learned during weapons familiarization? It didn?t matter now, however. With the gun lacking any ammunition the best use for it now was as a club. And so, Sam began to bludgeon the creature?s head with his rifle. There were several resounding cracks but the imp kept on going.
To be honest, the marine was wondering why he was still alive. Apparently the missing arm evened out the competition which suited Sam just fine; in any normal circumstance a man would be easily torn apart by a creature such as this. But there was still work to be done. Though damaged, Sam used his left arm to hold back the imps one good arm while he bludgeoned it with his rifle. Unfortunately the demon still had a neck. Leaning forward, it tried to bite at his face but was stopped when the soldier quickly dropped his rifle and used his right hand to grab the demon by the throat. At this point he knew it was a stalemate and that it would be broken sooner or later; and possibly by the demon. Pondering possible methods of attack, he came to realize that it would be futile to win in an even fist fight with this thing, even if it was missing an appendage. His only course of action was to distract it long enough so that he could grab a gun and use it. He still had his pistol, and it would surely be fast enough to draw and fire, but even the advanced weapon had limitations and would fail to be effective against the muscular imp. There was also his plasma rifle, but right now it was strapped to his back and would take time to field and arm. His last choice was to reload his rifle, but he had to get to it first. As the demon flailed about in an angry rage, Sam decided to give it something else to think about by giving it a swift kick to the crotch. His boot came to an abrupt halt on bony skeleton. Aw shit! What? Are these things neuter or something? Sam had to find another way to turn the tides of this struggle. He reasoned that he could briefly let go of the creature?s neck and use his right hand, but only for a second or two. Staring into the eyes of the hell spawn trying its hardest to kill him, Sam came up with a plan.
In an almost comedic maneuver, Sam briefly let go of the imp?s neck and jammed his fingers into the demon?s eyes. His fingers squished the jelly-like eyeballs of the imp and actually went past them and into its skull. Pulling his digits out dislodged several of the demon?s eyes, leaving them to dangle down by their nerve connectors.
As expected, the imp screeched in terrible pain and began to have violent convulsions. Adding to the chaos, Sam landed a punch across the demon?s face, prompting it to roll off of him and to the left. Seizing the opportunity, the Corporal quickly pulled a clip off of his belt while he lunged for his gun. A second later his assault rifle was primed and ready. Turning it on the sprawling imp, he had no hesitation in pulling the trigger this time. A hailstorm of rounds literally chopped the imp into pieces. The blood spewing from the creature hit Sam?s armor and quickly dotted its entire front, giving the marine the look of a butcher. Releasing the trigger, Sam watched as the smoke lifted from the tri-barreled gun. He propped himself up against the wall and clutched his left shoulder. Cringing in anguish, Sam looked over at the still twitching carcass of the imp. ?You started it,? was all he could say.
Several minutes had passed since Sam?s encounter with the imp. His right hand was clenching the wound on his left shoulder while his dangling left hand managed to grip his rifle. He was attempting to clot the wound by applying pressure, but the hole the demon?s claws had torn was the size of a baseball and was leaking generous amounts of blood. If the Corporal lost too much, he?d be incapacitated: delirious beyond conscious action and thus defense. The last thing he wanted was to be a sitting duck while zombies waltzed over and ate him alive. Bruised, beaten, and above all tired, he continued to limp down the halls, desperately trying to ignore the gaping chasm in his shoulder. Sam put his mind to work by criticizing the armor which had failed to protect him time and time again. It was inherently weak, so much so that modern rounds could pierce it at the right angles. This made him think for a moment. If it couldn?t hold back bullets, the only thing it was ever meant to be defending against, what good was it? Was the armor just for show? It did have a self-sealing feature which would allow the wearer to venture out onto the surface of Mars for a few minutes, and it also applied pressure to certain body parts to maximize their performance, but it terms of protection it was severely limited. Not only that, but it even lacked armored sleeves, so even though the imp?s claws had pierced the armor on his shoulder, it could have had the same affect just a few inches away on his bare arm. The whole thing was pathetic; it was no wonder he never trusted the UAC. The blood was draining fast, in fact a little [i]too [/i]fast. The Corporal was hoping that he didn?t have a severed artery. If he did, it wouldn?t be long before he would collapse due to blood loss. As he continued down the halls, he began to feel the effects already: blurred vision and light headedness. Sam was running out of time. He increased his pace to a sprint as he darted down the halls. Rounding a curve, he heard the distinct sound of shattering glass followed by gunshots and the clattering of metal on metal. Praying that it wasn?t a security zombie, the Corporal switched his gun from left hand to right and stormed into the room.
Before him lay several dead zombies wearing scientists? uniforms who were torn to shreds by what looked like rounds from a UAM-20. The fact that one was still flinching made the Corporal anxious. Looking to the right he saw the remnants of a large glass viewport which was broken into thousands of pieces, their pointed ends littering the floor. The office beyond was torn to shreds, books and computers having been thrown about in some kind of struggle. Large sections of walls were painted with copious amounts of blood, spattered in a pattern indicating that whatever bled was violently thrown around the room like a rag doll. Whatever had happened here was done already, but where had the fire come from? Sam heard the slightest of sounds to his left and immediately pointed his gun in the general area, but seeing what had made the sound humbled him and he lowered his weapon.
A marine who he was unfamiliar with was slumped against the wall on the opposite side of the office with his gun spent and lying motionless on the floor a few feet away. He was badly injured, obviously due to the fact that he was missing one of his legs. Torn veins and flesh seeped from his broken thigh and spread into a pool of blood which was growing each passing second, and though the man was still breathing, nothing else on him moved, making him seem completely lifeless. Sam walked over and crouched down by his fallen comrade. He twisted the latch on the marine?s helmet and pulled it off. Even after his helmet was removed, the man seemed to be ignorant of the Corporal?s presence. Then he suddenly looked at the marine next to him and stopped moving. Sam just stared into those cold, lifeless eyes for a few silent moments, and they stared right back. He could not put a fine point on what he was feeling at that moment. He did not know the man he had just seen pass away, but he felt tremendous remorse anyway, and for a complete stranger as well. Yet another life had been taken, and for what? The marine?s life was ended for nothing. It was brutal and meaningless; there was no reason why he had been killed, only because some demon thought it prudent or even enjoyable to do so. The Corporal now knew what he was feeling: resentment and determination. This hell, this madness, had to be stopped, and it was his job to do so.
Before he left, however, he noticed that the fallen marine?s helmet was still fully functional. He quickly grabbed it and tuned the frequency on the communications gear to that of his team. ?Bravo, it?s Corporal Holmes. Come in, Bravo, repeat?? ?Yeah, we heard you, Sam,? Eddy?s voice said over the comm. link, ?we were wondering if you were still?? ?Where the fuck are you?? the Corporal swiftly said, interrupting Private Grafton. ?What? Oh, yeah, we?re pinned down in Alpha Sector 2? We?ve taken up a position in the local security depot. We?ve been waiting for you here? Jimmy kept saying that it was pointless and that you were probably dead so I socked him in the gut. But you might want to hurry, there?s a gaggle of zombies trying to break through a checkpoint over here?? ?Then stay there,? Sam replied, ?Don?t write me off until you see me die. I?m coming for you. Over and out.?
Sam turned the helmet comm. system off and dropped it. Looking back at the fallen man, Sam couldn?t help but feel that he deserved better. He reached out with his fingers and shut the fallen man?s eyelids. Standing up, he saluted the body, gripped his rifle, and continued forward, prepared for anything that stood in his way.
Sam hated himself for ignoring his wound, but there was no time for that. His team needed him, [i]now[/i], and they couldn?t afford to wait. Alpha Labs Sector 2 was the home of the Molecular Fuel Storage Compressor, a device which processed and stored the hydrogen fuel used for inter stellar space ships. The entire sector was devoted to that single machine, and a good amount of space was taken up by it and its maintenance shafts and catwalks. Some of the machinery was exposed and proved as a severe hazard: if Sam happened to fall off of a catwalk or touch something he wasn?t supposed to, he was liable to have a limb chopped off. Either that or be fried by raw plasma or something. He was running at full stride now, knowing that every second he spent waiting would mean another zombie or demon that could kill his team. In his somewhat delusional state brought on by a lack of blood, he was barely thinking about his own welfare, as his wound was still taxing his already fatigued body. Nevertheless, he pushed forward, disregarding himself for the sake of his comrades. The place was noticeably dark. Any details one could make out from the immediate area were effaced by the sheet of darkness which was broken only by the slight beams of light emitted from a computer panel or occasionally a working light fixture. This cloak of invisibility probably worked in Sam?s favor; there was no doubt that the carnage he had already seen was present here as well. And the less he saw of it the better. He opened a door that led into what appeared to be a control room. It was as black as pitch, save for the few bright computer screens on the desks nearby. Sam had an awkward feeling about this particular room. Something wasn?t right, but he couldn?t put his finger on it. Something fell to the ground with a dull thud and Sam instantly snapped to attention and trained his gun towards the noise. Realizing that he was running blind without a reason, he switched on the night vision feature on his helmet. The sound had come from a headless corpse that fell from its chair and onto the floor below. The Corporal slowly lowered his gun. As he sighed in relief, he felt something try to wrap itself around his neck. Jerking back in surprise, he came face to face with a zombie. Lacking a jaw and illuminated in bright shades of green by his night vision, the hell spawn proved to be a frightening sight. With a panicked yell, Sam latched onto the constricting arms with his left hand while he began to twist around in an attempt to throw it off, but the creature continued to grip his neck, squeezing progressively tighter as he fought with it. As the two romped about the room they caused quite the clatter. During the whole mess, Sam was silently hoping that their noise wouldn?t attract even more zombies. The Corporal landed his right elbow in the zombie?s face, in fact directly where its jaw should have been. Because his suit lacked sleeves, he felt the disgusting goop dripping from the zombie?s orifice and removed his arm as fast as he could. [i]This fight isn?t going so well[/i], Sam thought as he continued to pummel the creature in the chest with his elbow, [i]I need to end it fast[/i]. Sam flipped the stock of his gun up and began to bludgeon it, but it was of no use; the zombie stuck to him like hard cement. Suddenly the zombie?s head moved to the side and began to try to bite Sam?s wound. Despite having no teeth with which to do so, it still irritated the still bleeding hole and the Corporal yelped in pain. Regaining reason over the pain for a split second, he realized that the zombie?s head was leaning forward enough for him to shoot at it. He reached his right arm around and pointed the trio of barrels at the oblivious hell spawn. With a gratifying crack, the rounds of his gun tore a gaping hole in the zombie?s face and shot right through, only to hit the wall on the other side. The creature slowly began to ease its grip and Sam threw it off and to the ground. Spinning around, he pumped the carcass full of even more lead, just to make sure it didn?t sneak up on him again. Sam exhaled deeply and began to regain his composure. He noticed that he was shaking from head to toe due to shock, but whether that was because of his situation or because of his physical condition he did not know. He shook his head in a vain attempt to snap himself out of it and began to take his leave, starting for the door at the end of the room. Inside was a short corridor that led to another door. As he moved through the passageway, he suddenly felt sick to his stomach. Desperately trying to hold back the gags, he began to sway to and fro. The door at the end of the hall opened and a great shaft of light blinded him, the effect only worse due to his night vision goggles. Pulling his helmet off, he stumbled into the room and saw a marine looking at him, obviously startled by what he saw. He was saying something, but the Corporal couldn?t quite make it out. Sam tried to ask him what was wrong, but for some reason he couldn?t find the words to say. The marine before him began to stretch and blur, and the world began to spin violently. As the ground rushed up to meet him, Sam?s world suddenly fell into darkness.
It was all a blur. He could discern nothing from the chaos that was enveloping him. There were disembodied screams, moans, yells, screeches, howls, and all sorts of noises blending into a cacophony of madness. Colors of all kinds were blending and splitting at a seemingly instantaneous rate. Everything was in total anarchy. But then the colors began to change. Blues and greens turned to reds and yellows, and purples turned into a deep brown. The sounds became more intense and there were more screams of obvious terror and pain. Shafts of red licked up towards the sky and there was a massive heat that boiled his very soul.
And for a single moment there was horrifying clarity? The world came rolling back like a semi smashing into a brick wall. The horrible anarchy he?d just seen had disappeared and the surrounding environment was suddenly, and painfully, forced into focus. His body shook violently in spasms he could not control and he felt his mind hastily running through dozens of thoughts, most of them questions. ?Easy, Sam,? Private Grafton said as he hovered over his commanding officer who was slumped on the floor. ?You were pretty screwed back there, but Jimmy here,? he said, motioning back towards Officer Konenburg who was having trouble tearing apart some ammo crates, ?managed to save your guts.? Sam kept flinching and looking in all different directions spasmodically, still not in tune with his current state. Eddy just sighed and continued to talk. ?You lost a shit load of blood, Sam, so you were basically out of commission, but we couldn?t just leave you here unconscious so we pumped you full of enough stimpacks to launch you back to Earth.? The Corporal apparently got this part of the message and quickly looked over to his left arm which was speared with a needle. He anxiously tried to reach his other arm around to grab it but couldn?t find the strength or coordination to do so. He looked back up at Eddy who was kneeling in front of him, helmet off and lying on the table behind him.
His short, crew cut hair was glistening with countless beads of sweat which had accumulated all this time. His face was that of obvious concern, but there was something beneath it that Sam just couldn?t divine. Some kind of fear which was buried deep within the Private; an immense fear somehow held at bay by Eddy?s very personality, his light hearted nature perhaps. Amid the haze of thoughts that were coursing through his brain, he tried to think of how the marine did it. How he could impossibly hold such a fear at bay and allow him to function as if it never existed was beyond Sam. It couldn?t have been his military training or his self confidence since neither had done anything for anyone he?d run into so far. So what was it? What kept him from breaking down?
Jimmy slammed an ammo crate down onto the table nearby and yanked the hatch open. Eddy glanced over and admonished the security guard, saying in a muted but panicked voice, ?Cut that out! For all you know they can hear us!? Jimmy shook his head as he pulled several clips out of the box. ?Private Grafton, if these creeps knew where we are all the time anyway, I really don?t think being quiet will make much of a difference.?
Something rumbled in a vent overhead and Eddy shot the guard a glare before grabbing his rifle and checking out the vent. He stepped over a bloody carcass which belonged to a scientist and pointed his UAM-20 up at the vent. He waited silently and patiently for any signs of further activity. When the vent rustled again his finger was quick on the trigger, firing off a good dozen rounds before he eased it off. A muffled moan was heard above and red fluids began to slowly seep from the holes Eddy?s rounds had punched. ?Fucking bastards are still using the service passages? Just like the guards are still quick to fire? I seriously hope we don?t run into?? The comm. unit in his helmet crackled to life and Sergeant Kelly?s hardened voice came bellowing over the speakers. Eddy slowly backed up, grabbed his helmet from the table, and put it up by his ear.
?Private Grafton,? Kelly said in what sounded like a half hearted yell; a typical tone for the Sarge, ?What?s your status?? Grafton, still wary of the oozing vent above him, replied, ?We?re fine,? in an indignant tone. Kelly gritted his teeth on the other end of the line. ?Grafton I don?t have time for your shit right now. What?s the status of Corporal Holmes?? Eddy hesitantly glanced over at Sam. ?Alive, but barely.? ?Is he able to proceed with the mission?? ?How the fuck should I know?? Eddy mumbled under his breath. ?What was that?? Kelly snapped. ?I don?t know,? the Private responded irritably, ?ask Konenburg, damnit.? Kelly?s angry grunt could be heard just before the transmission was cut.
Eddy put the helmet down and began to walk towards the vent again, almost tripping over the body in the process, as Jimmy stopped unloading the box and began to listen to Kelly?s orders. Satisfied that the zombie which was probably stuck up there was dead and done for, he backed away and looked down at Sam who seemed to be at least a little bit more awake and aware. The Corporal stopped grunting and looked up at Eddy with a sudden expression of worry. ?Wait?? he said, ?Where? Where?s?? ?Marak and Miller?? Eddy completed the sentence. ?They went ahead to scout out a security checkpoint leading into Alpha Sector Three. They?ll inform us if anything is waiting to surprise us up there.? Sam slowly nodded as he brought his back up against the wall. ?Eddy,? he tried to say, ?How? How the hell am I going to? keep going?? Eddy, with no real answer, regrettably shrugged. ?No idea Sam, but we?re not going to leave you behind,? he said in assurance. ?Unless of course you?ve got to take a nap while we?re out there,? he added with a grin. Sam grinned back, even though he could only understand half of the joke at the time.
Marak let the door slide open before he shoved his tri-barreled gun inside. The room ahead was eerily quiet and seemingly devoid of movement. Besides for the flickering console of a computer going haywire, it was incredibly dark. A vent leading to some pipe system or another was releasing an orange haze of smoke and a work desk sat against the wall nearby.
With his helmet equipped with night vision, it didn?t take him very long to see the headless body lying spread out in the middle of the room. The slight darkening of color on the surrounding walls and floor panels indicated that the body had bled out all over the place, meaning it was savagely attacked.
But in any case Mark decided to keep moving forward. Walking down the room he made a left into a doorway and saw a machine at the opposite end. It was more or less a conveyor belt which was transferring tubes of florescent blue material from one undesignated place to another. Recognizing the containers, Marak instantly identified this as part of the MFS Compressor, a device which compressed the hydrogen fuel used by space ships for ease of storage. He didn?t see the main compressor unit, however, but he was sure that it was somewhere nearby.
?Come on, Miller,? he said behind his back, ?we have to keep moving. That checkpoint can?t be much farther now.? Private Miller with his back to Marak came stepping through the doorway. ?All clear behind us,? he said, ?anything up there?? ?Negative,? Marak replied, ?Floor?s clear? Uh, watch your step.? Miller started to glance over in confusion but quickly got the idea and turned back around. ?Right,? he muttered.
Marak approached the conveyor belt with Miller in tow. Despite the wound and accompanying bandages beneath his armor, Kevin was surprisingly agile and still fully capable of doing his job. It made Mark wonder how Sam would be if or when he recovered.
Pushing the distracting thought from his head, Marak pushed forward and spied inside the room with the conveyor belt. It was a complete mess, with storage containers and ejecta from various impacts strewn about. More disturbing was the pile of limbs shoved in the corner of the room.
And of course the zombie feeding on them.
Without hesitation Marak opened fire and fried the hapless zombie, tearing its own limbs off and adding them to the pile. It moaned and grunted through its cut and exposed throat for a few seconds before slumping and ceasing any signs of movement, let alone life. The sudden outbreak of fire startled Miller who abruptly jumped around in time to see the zombie get pumped full of lead. ?Jesus, Mark,? he said with angst, ?I almost thought we were the ones being shot at!? Marak looked over his shoulder and shrugged as Miller shook his head. ?Look, next time you should??
He couldn?t finish his sentence before a door at the opposite side of the room suddenly slid open, prompting the two marines to instantly point their firearms in its direction. Almost firing, they slowly put their weapons down as they saw the technician drop his stolen security pistol and put his hands in the air. ?Don?t shoot!? he cried out. Marak turned back at Miller who gave the technician an exasperated look. ?And you said I was scaring you,? Marak chuckled.
Corporal Marak turned back towards the relatively young and frightened technician and resumed his formal, stern look, despite the civilian?s inability to see it beneath Marak?s facemask. ?Identify yourself,? he said in his strict military tone. ?Uh, ah? Matthew,? the man stuttered, ?Matthew, uh, sir!? He threw a poorly executed salute and tried to stay standing straight, but his fearful face and uncontrollable shaking prevented him from looking militant in any meaning of the word. Marak?s stern demeanor suddenly gave way. ?Goddamn, son, just? Just stand down.? The technician looked confused for a moment and then forced his hand down.
?What?s the situation here, Matthew?? ?Matt,? he replied, ?You can call me Matt.? ?Alright, Matt,? Marak continued, ?What?s going on here? Is there anyone else here with you?? The technician quickly nodded. ?Yeah, there?s a group of people back in the maintenance room down the hall? What the hell happened here? What are those? those? things?? Marak paused for am moment, trying to think of something to say, but coming up with nothing his simply let his head drop. ?I don?t know?? he finally responded, ?I have no idea what?s going on. But we?re trying to fix it.? The technician?s face suddenly turned to one of irritation. ?Fix?? he said angrily, ?How the hell are you supposed to fix this?!? he yelled as he pointed towards the remains in the corner of the room. ?Calm down, I?m just saying??
?Matt? What the hell?s happening out there?? a voice said from down the hall. Marak and Miller both jumped forward and took up positions on either side of the doorway. ?Holy shit!? the man said as he threw his wrench on the floor and made a run for the maintenance room. Miller sighed, chuckled, and then looked up at Marak with a grin. ?I can?t believe it?s harder to talk to people than it is to frag zombies.?
It took awhile before Sam realized he wasn?t even suited up. He sort of regretted coming out of his daze when he saw it lying in the corner of the room, a streak of blood below it making its way to his current location. It was a good thing he wasn?t awake for that operation; he could still feel the stinging pain although it was severely dampened by the stimpack. The room was a wreck, in more ways than one. In one instance it was in shambles; Jimmy?s prying along with the apparent struggle inside had scattered debris around, mostly spent cartridges and shells which seemed to coat the floor. In another instance it was the scene of a horrid battle, with swaths of the ever so present red liquid scoring the walls and a number of carcasses, both human and zombie, lying about. It was obvious that this was the site of the last stand of the local security forces, a given since most of the bodies wore the uniform. But judging by the corridor outside it looked like there were just too many hell spawn to handle; missing it in his lightheaded blood-ridden state, Sam had unknowingly stumbled over the remains of a dozen or so zombified civilians. Yet another happenstance he was grateful for. While Eddy busied himself by taking as much ammo as he could for his rifle, Jimmy availed himself to a UAM-12 Shotgun. More or less a riot gun given its security related background, it was small and lightweight, lacking a stock as well. But despite this drawback it had surprisingly little recoil, allowing the user to fire it with one arm if need be. Konenburg grabbed some shells and put them into his ammo pouch on the back side of his belt. Taking what was left he shoved them inside the shotgun and jammed down on the pump, a resounding clunk affirming that the weapon was ready for some serious business. Sam tried to get on his feet but stumbled backwards and hit the wall hard. Eddy just chuckled as he reloaded his rifle. ?Come on, Sam, you?re in no shape to move right now.? Sam glared at him. ?If I don?t move now I won?t move later, and I?d rather die with you guys then get left behind.? Eddy?s jovial expression suddenly turned sullen and he looked away. Trying again, the Corporal managed to get a footing and stood up with his back against the wall. Glancing over at this ruined equipment, he realized that he needed a fresh set of gear. He walked over to a supply cabinet and tore it open, only to find it stripped of supplies. ?Yeah,? Jimmy said after he heard the doors open, ?These poor bastards used just about everything they had. Still didn?t save them. And now it won?t save us.? Sam groaned and replied, ?Did you see any armor around here?? Jimmy looked over from his work. ?Somewhere I?m sure. Try the lockers; they?re all coded with the numbers seven, seven, two.? Sam stumbled over to the line of lockers and punched in the three digit code on one of them. A slight hiss was heard as the magnetic locks released and the door was made accessible. Sam frowned; there was nothing in there except some fatigues. Moving on to the next locker he found a suit of armor which looked like it hadn?t been touched for ages. Luckily for him it was still fully functional and combat ready. He pulled it out and let it drop to the floor behind him before moving on to the last locker. The number pad was smeared with blood which streaked down to a disembodied arm lying on the ground below. Sam cringed and moved it aside with his boot. Not thinking much of it besides for someone?s last attempt to get to some gear, Sam punched the code in and released the door lock. As he yanked it open he almost lost his balance as a spider demon lunged out at him. Screeching horridly as it tried to bite his face off, the demon was a horrifying sight for the marine, especially since its razor sharp teeth were literally centimeters from his face. Instinctively he grabbed its legs and pulled them back, giving his face an inch or so of clearance from its gaping maw. Eddy turned around in time to see it force Sam to the ground. ?Oh [i]shit!/[i]? he yelled as he spun his gun around and blasted the creature apart in a wave of flesh. The Private quickly ran up and grabbed Sam?s arm as if to pull him up, but he was already trying to scurry away from the locker, all the while yelling, ?Goddamnit, [i]get out of here![/i]? Confused, Eddy glanced up into the open locker. A hole was bored through the wall and into the inside of the locker, just big enough for the hoard of spider demons on the other side to rush through in single file. With a panicked yell, Private Grafton unleashed hell on the opening, dropping Sam in the process. The gap was suddenly filled with a couple pounds of lead as the UAM-20 shot its deadly cargo into it. The rounds bounced around inside, turning the tunnel into a makeshift blender which shredded the spiders inside. Releasing the trigger after the gun whined that it was out of ammo, Eddy saw that even more spiders were coming through; a seemingly endless column of death. Casting his gun to the ground, he ran for the door. With all the strength he could muster, the Private slammed the door shut and pounded on the keypad, initiating the maglock and holding the spiders at bay. The door rattled violently as the spiders tried to barge through the thick metal doorway to reach their prey on the other side. Breathing heavily, Eddy looked back at Sam who simply sat wide eyed and breathing just as coarsely. Without looking he simply muttered, ?We?re in deep shit now?? Matt opened up the door and found himself staring down the barrel of a shotgun. ?Put that fucking thing away!? he cried out. The security guard holding it looked at him for a moment, as if to confirm that he wasn?t a zombie, before he lowered his weapon. Matt groaned and pushed his way through the security guard and into the cramped maintenance room. It was small and dimly lit; a classic example of a room someone would not want to be locked in. But there was only one entrance, making it very defensible and thus rather secure. There were seven people inside, two of them being security guards and the rest being frightened civilians. They had been cramped inside of this tiny service room for half an hour now, protected only by the shotgun and pistol that the guards had brought along with them. Marak and Miller followed, the security guard behind them staring at them intently. Marak dismissed the guard?s rather disturbing behavior and surveyed the rest of the survivors. They were tired, scared, and above all restless. One of them immediately stood up and screamed, ?When are we getting out of here? When are we leaving?!? Marak told the man to sit back down. ?I?ll call for a rescue team to come and pick you up?? ?What? Aren?t [i]you[/i] the rescue team?? another asked. Mark shook his head and continued. ?No, we?re here to send off a distress call?? ?Then send it already!? a third man protested. ?It?s not that easy. I can assure you we?re doing all that we can??
?The hell you are!? a scientist barked. ?You damned leathernecks are all alike. You just want to save your own hides! You don?t give a damn if we all die here! You?re just in it for your own worthless butt aren?t you?!? ?Sit down!? Marak yelled back, but the crazed scientist would have none of it. He suddenly tackled the nearest security guard, ripped the pistol from his hands, and took aim. ?Get us the fuck out of here!? he screamed. Within a moment the man had been thrust back into the pipes which lined the wall. His lifeless body tumbled down and hit bottom with a dull thud, a red blot on the wall marking where the bullets had broken through his chest. Shocked, Marak turned around to see the smoke rising from Miller?s gun. ?We said we?d call for help,? he grumbled at the crowd, ?Now let us do our fucking job already!? He briefly looked at Marak with a cold expression before saying, ?Let?s go,? in a solemn tone. Though Mark couldn?t have possibly known what kind of expression Kevin made under that helmet, the bitter feeling it intended was practically hanging in the air.
Marak took one last look at the terrified crowd before stepping out the door, knowing full well that no one would ever come to save them.
[size]DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction created wholly by myself. It is unofficially backed by my “unofficial” design company so the copyright involved is strictly directed at me. I do not own the copyrights of ID Software’s DOOM series and all materials invloved, but I retain copyrights on the contents of this story. It is non-profit and made specifically for the enjoyment of others. The copy, sale, and distribution of this product is strictly prohibited. Distribution may be made only with my consent and permission.
DOOM: Bravo Copyright GLP 2006[/size]