Colonel Tarver alerts everyone, “Alright ETA 1 minute! Armstrong get them into jump-off position!”
Armstrong signals to the squad, "Yes Sir, let’s go, everybody, let’s go, move – move! My squad quickly gets into position. The Meglev transport dramatically begins to slow, and then finally comes to a dead stop. The door slides open and the squad files out into a concrete tunnel. Armstrong continues to move them along, "Alright people, let’s double-time it! Move, move, move!
"Tarver and I follow at the rear. He glances over with a concerned expression, “Whatever happens, just stay close to me.”
“That was my plan Colonel, I’ll stick to you like gum,” he wanted to smile, but he seems truly taken up by what we are about to face, just as I am.
Tarver leads the combat team down a corridor. Suddenly these fantastic tiny bots begin launching from an opening on the shoulder of Tarver's body armor. The swarm swirls about flying into the ventilation ducts and down corridors recording digital data of physical structures around them.
Colby's mouth is open, “Did you see that? That's sweet!”
Excitedly Taylor screams, “I-I can see visuals, like I’m flying!”
“Your receiving transmissions from the Recon bots,” Tarver informs us.
Armstrong and the squad members secure corridors as these Recon Bots travel through the vast tunnel system. Suddenly they transmit visuals that are is absolutely mind-numbing. It’s like looking into a swarming nest of giant bugs, and they’re heading right towards us.
Sergeant Armstrong is further up the corridor at point sharing his Recon Bot visuals. “Sir, we have confirmation, hostiles approximately 75 meters away!”
Tarver looks over his shoulder at us, “They’re making a sweep this way! We’ll intercept and give them a little welcoming party!”
Tarver and I quickly move up to form the beginning of the fire line. Tension builds as we wait for these things to show themselves in our kill zone, a wide shadowy concrete tunnel. This 20-foot wide area will compact our hostiles into a small target range ensuring maximum kills.
Boyer unfolds robotic legs from his large plasma cannon, “There you go you sexy thing, let's show off those gorgeous legs.”
Colby,“Holy shit, the damn thing even has legs!”
Taking a couple of deep breaths, I ready for my first big firefight, this will finally test my training and mental fortitude. I don’t really know how I will react to actual combat. But deep in my heart, I know that I will support my squad. I know my dad would be very proud of me, he prepared me well. My heart is pumping faster, I can feel sweat building up in my hands. The grips of my assault rifle feeling a little slippery. Should of worn gloves or hand wraps like the others. Suddenly a what appears to be a large mantis rounds the corner probing, probably a scout. It’s large glossy eyes easily give away its position.
Tarver looks over to me, “Lieutenant, I give you the honors.”
"Yes sir, I have it in my thermal sights,” I squeeze off a pulse of light, striking the large head. The top of the Mantis neck instantly looks like end of a lit cigarette. The insect like body tips over with a thud-then silence, “I got him!”
The echo of thousands of clawed feet scratching across the cement floor of the tunnel get louder and louder. My heart starts to pound as ear piercing screeches suddenly ring out. Giant insect like bodies flood the tunnel clumped together.
They move incredibly fast, Tarver primes the fire line. “Hold steady, hold steady.....”
“Light them up!” Tarver commands, he steps forward with his weapon blazing.
Rapid weapon burst light up the dark tunnel, mantis bodies shred to pieces, strange green blood splatters across the walls and floor. These giant bugs are leaping across a quickly growing pile of enemy corpses. Boyers melts scores of them into a big heap, as lavender twisting rays of light fingers out of his cannon.
Tarver, using his new-found exoskeleton super strength easily grabs a creature by its neck and snaps it like a twig and tosses the 300 pound dead bug away like it weighed nothing.
It soon becomes obvious these bugs are no match against the Titans. Fanning our weapons we continue to blow them away as they leap over the rapidly growing pile of Mantis bodies. One manages to land on Taylor knocking her down. The creature rips at her with its deadly sharp talons on its front legs. I pick it off her with one well placed burst of fire, the attacking creature rolls away, pieces of it flying everywhere.
Taylor quickly jumps back to her feet. She was very lucky. Her rib cage would have been torn apart, but the gashes on her armor show how she manage to stay alive. We finish off what’s left of them.
“Damn, that was intense,” as I drop my rifle to rest position.
Armstrong is beside me, “Nice shooting Lieutenant.”
“Thanks Sergeant,” I graciously accept.
Taylor glares at me, and grumbles, “I would have taken it out.”
Colby snickers, “Yeah right, you’re caught sleeping.”
Taylor returns a jeering look at him.
I held my ground with the others and did not waver, and somehow I feel a little more part of the squad. First blood is a primal right of passage for a warrior. Colby moves forward checking the dead, he plugs a couple more rounds into a dying mantis.
Meyers high fives Colby, “Alright dog!”
They’re all waving their rifles around and cheering, like we’re at a sporting event. All except Tarver, perhaps the only one with his head screwed on right. I try to calm them down, “Don’t get too cocky, it’s going to get a hell of lot rougher.”
“How would she know, this is her first fire fight,” Taylor grumbles to Garcia.
Garcia slaps her shoulder, “She saved your ass, get over it.”
Wow, look at how she’s glaring at me, maybe saving her only made things worse. But I did say my job was to keep everyone of them alive.
Tarver moves forward wading through the sea of dead bug bodies. 3D graphics of scanning biological waves are pulsing out before him, “I’m getting no more readings, we got them all!”
Tarver waves the Titan squad forward, “Let’s move, docking bay just 40 meters ahead.”