- "History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."
- ―General Dwight D Eisenhower
I used to be a soldier.
This one thought echoed through Ben Miller's mind as he was dragged to a camp that might as well have been an execution podium in the middle of the ruins of New York City.
Ben was a tall man, about six foot two, two hundred pounds. Aside from his obvious height, his most distinguishing feature was his lack of a left arm. He was an Iraq war veteran,a US Marine who specialized in the disarming of live bombs. In other words, he made sure his squad didn't get blown to hell and back.
In 2005, his unit was sent in on a rapid entry. What they didn't know was that this small militia threat was actually a terrorist setup to take out the only active Marines force in the area. No sooner had his squad entered the building did it blow up in their faces, killing his Sarge, taking his arm, and inflicting minor wounds on the rest of his squad.
Miller was given an honorable discharge and given a prosthetic arm, for all the good it did him. He went on drinking binge after drinking binge, until he managed to get a steady job as a bank clerk in New York. Hardly the kind of job you'd expect an ex marine to take up, but his life hadn't been so bad. Not until the war, at least. When the civil war broke out, his son went off to war, under his encouragement. His wife left him because of this, and his son was killed in combat with those bastard states that had allied themselves with the Zemka.
And so, when the war ended, and he was working in the vaults under the bank, and that's what saved his life. The bank collapsed in around him. It took him a full twenty-four hours to force his way out. He had managed to find an old hollowed out building in the NY ruins to call home, and survived that first year by using his old Heckler & Koch USP to kill wild animals. After a year, his artificial arm became rusted, and he had to amputate it. However, over those two years, four other people, two civilians, an operation desert storm vet and a policemen had gathered at his safe house. They plundered the city for weapons, rifles, pistols, anything they could get to protect themselves, and maybe even stick it to them.
It hadn't worked. They'd been taken on by a four man squad of the aliens. Not the Canadians or Mexicans, or even the few remaining American rebels. No, these were the big, multi-species aliens with the black armor and the visors.
They were lucky they could kill one, much less all four and survive.
They all had lost their lives but him. He'd taken a shot to his stomach; not critical, but enough to put him out of action for the rest of the battle. Now, as he was thrown in front of a Spider like Zemka, with eight legs and two arms, he knew he was going to die.
In a strange way, he wasn't upset to die. One of his men, George Heralds, had come up from Pennsylvania after a small raid on a Zemka force. His ten man squad had had to retreat and move base, so George had to go walk about.
According to him, it was a three hundred man resistance.
Well, America isn't as dead as the world thinks it is. Sure, we're blocked from communication to the outside world. He thought to himself, as the spider pulled out a black metal cylinder with a small blade coming out the top side. He hit a small emplaced button in the metal, and a large, gleaming black scythe that the sick Zemka bastards used for personal executions burst forward. But we're not dead yet. And I'm not dead yet, you stupid son of a bitch!
Miller fell back and grabbed a Zemka sidearm from the aliens belt. He fired with his good arm at the alien who brought him their, a seven foot alien that must have weighed a ton, but felt an electric surge run from the black metaled pistol and up through his body. He fell to the ground, body numb, as the spider approached.
No, America isn't dead yet. You may have convinced the world otherwise, but we still have a small spark of hope. You can think trusting America to your aliens is enough....
The spider raised his scythe into position....
...but they won't be.
With that, the spider severed his head from his body.
Joe Billman gave the hold signal to the other four members of his five man special operations squad.
Joe Billman was a former united States Ranger sergeant. He was half the reason the Pennsylvania Rebel Corp had been so successful. He was a veteran from the Afghanistan campaign and a special operations veteran from the civil war. At the time of the bombing, he and two of his then five men squad were taking out an underground remaining resistance camp in a city known as Scranton. With them, they had managed to take in refugees, train them, arm them, to a point, with what few firearms they could spare. Today, however, they would become the only resistance group in the nation, and possibly in the world, to hold modern weapons in mass.
With Joe was his Spec Ops squad; Tim Kelth, a former member of the Marine Corps, now the squads bomb defuser, sporting a Benelli M4 Super 90 shotgun, Bill "Twitch" Heltum, a former member of the Philadelphia SWAT unit who used to be known to have an itchy trigger finger, now the team sniper, sporting a Remington 700, Ken Stallion and George Finik, the two men left from his original squad, Ken was the team hacker, George the team medic, and they both sported M16 Rifles. Joe was also sporting an M16 as well, but one sporting a grenade launcher, just in case things got messy.
The squad was about to take a bunker based in the Williamsport ruins that was controlled by Zemka. Each man had Flash grenades and frags at their disposal, and the men carrying M16s had grenade launchers attached. They expected the fighting to be close quarters, but they had no idea what kind of Zemka waited inside.
Joe gave the command to stack up, and motioned for Tim to take lead, followed by Finik, Joe, Ken, and Twitch. Tim set a C4 charge on the door and stacked back up again. He checked his shotguns ammo, then blew the charge.
Tim and Finik were in first and took out the unarmored guards at the doors before he had the chance to let off a shot. They moved to and kicked down the next door, coming into, to their surprise, a large hangar.
Whatever planes or tanks that had once been here was gone. All that remained was what looked like a barracks station. This was both good and bad. The good news was that this meant not only weapons, but a chance to look at the workings of the unusual black armor and weapons of the enemy. The bad news...
The bad news was that they were now staring at a legion of unarmored alien faces.
Sure, they were unarmored, but that meant little to none when you'd never seen the enemies faces before.
Or dozens of different faces.
Or how they could be killed.
The squad rushed to cover, waiting for the enemy to open fire. They'd managed to get down stairs and take cover behind ammunition crates before he realized the holdup.
Each alien had put a pair of gloves on their hands, feet, or wherever their apposable thumbs were, before they took up their rifles or pistols.
This confused Joe, but only for a moment. Blasts of Blue laser fire were whizzing past his head before he had adequate time to ponder it.
"Fairly unprotected bunker my ass!" Tim yelled over the laser fire, and put a hole in a large lizard like alien the size of a pro wrestler with his Shotgun.
"Fucking bastards were waitin' for us!" Twitch cursed, reloading his 700, "Who the fuck got the Intel for this?"
"Thats what we get for listening to scavenger rumor." Joe said, ducking his head and unclipping a grenade. "Heads down now!" Joe threw the grenade in between a row of lockers where another ape, an arachnid, some kind of flightless bird, and a rat like creature waited. He watched the brilliant shades of blood wash over the surrounding lockers. "Move up, into the lockers!" He yelled, and started to move.
A half armored triceratops looking creature took cover behind an alien looking ammunition box and began to lay fire with his rifle. Joe jumped behind the line of lockers, and layed fire around the corner, using a full magazine to fire in the creatures general direction. Only then did he switch magazines, and peeked around the corner.
The creature had taken three shots to the crest above his head, and several in his beaks and horns. Still, their was no blood from the beak or horns, and only small mucus-like blood falling down his crest. Obviously, he had to switch tactics with this one. The creature was dazed, but far from dead.
He moved up, placing aim on the high chest of the dinosaur like creature's high chest, and put a three burst shot into it. The creature fell to the floor, finally dead. Joe had began to move up to do put a death check shot into its chest when he saw the scale of the battle.
His team had moved up, and was using the locker area as cover to shoot down the aliens, who were taking position at the far end of the bunker garage. There were about twelve aliens left, two of which were now fully armored, and three of which were armored up to the head, but without a helmet. Joe ran for cover, taking down an large crab like creature along the way. As he took cover, he swapped magazines and switched his M16 to grenade launching mode. He peak over the locker rubble, saw a group of five aliens together, and let off the shot.
Five more went down screaming, along with one fully armored and two half armored Zemka. Six remained.
As Joe took cover and switched his M16's grenade launcher off, he saw Twitch let two shots off from cover. As he came back up, he saw the shots were two heads shots, and red and purple blood had splattered all over the garage doors. Joe let off three shots into the head of a half armored Zemka. At the same time, Ken popped up and took out two more himself.
One Zemka remained, a monster of an alien, Joe estimated eight feet, and carrying a rifle his allies held in two hands, but he held in one hand as easily as a human would a Desert Eagle. In his other hand was the small black cylinder that extended into those scythes the Zemka were so found of using to dissect human's heads like a gutted frog. The armor he wore would either ricochet the bullets of it or leave a minor dent. The only solution they'd found was grenades.
Joe checked his belt. He'd and his squad had come in with three grenades each, because he hadn't been expecting this kind of Resistance. He'd used two throughout the attack, and one wasn't going to stop this bastard. "How many eggs we got?"
"I'm out, sir." Tim said.
"Me too." said Ken.
"I got one." Twitch put in.
"Yeah, just this one left, sarge."
"All right, pass 'em down the line. Cover fire, people!" He yelled, as the team opened fire. He loaded the first grenade and aimed his sights.
As he let off the first egg, the alien jumped to the side, laying laser fire as he ducked and rolled out of the way of the first egg. Joe took cover and loaded up his second grenade, popped up and fired, only to have the grenade blown up by a volley of laser fire. Hot shrapnel left slashes across his face as he took cover once more.
"Everyone okay?" he said, counting injuries. He was the only one with a wound that was even close to serious, a hot gash across his nose that had cut deep into the bone. Everyone else had minor cuts on their faces.
Joe loaded his third grenade into his rifle as the rifle fire started up once more. He aimed over cover, and sent the egg flying directly at the Zemka's chest. The Zemka quickly activated his scythe and caught the grenade with it's scythe blade, sending it flying back to the lockers. Joe got up and tried to get away, but was swept off his feet and thrown into the far wall by the power of the explosion.
When Joe came to, he saw the giant Zemka holding Stallion by the collar, waving him around like a toy doll. The alien's deep, husky voice boomed throughout the room.
"Who are you?"
"Stallion, Ken, Sergeant first class, United States Army!" He boomed.
That a boy. Joe thought to himself. Even with the Marines damn near extinct, it was always good to keep the old protocol from days past alive, especially the old Prisoner of War Code of Conduct.
The Zemka let out a guttural growl. "Your military no longer exist, human. Tell me who you work for, or I'll slit your unworthy throat!"
"Stallion, Ken, Sergeant first class, United States Army!"
The alien roared, and threw Stallion clear across the room. Joe realized this was his only chance. He quickly loaded his last grenade into the barrel and let it off.
The alien must have saw the movement in his heads-up display (HUD), because he had begun to jump away when the grenade went off. He was thrown off his feet and onto the floor, chunks off black metal flying like throwing knives from his body armor.
"Is everyone alright?" he called out. A chorus off "Yes, sirs!", answered his question as he went over to the alien. He went to kick the alien laser rifle away from the limp alien, who's armor was now cracked and brittle across his body. As he did so, however, an electric current surged up his boot and burned the soles of his boots clean off, numbing his skin. Finik came rushing over to him from Stallion's side, who had received no major injuries, to check his foot.
"Foots okay, the static off the metal looks like it only numbed you. I've heard that the black metal the Zemka use send static charges through skin, but nothing like this."
Something clicked in the back of Joe's head. He raised himself off his back, and looked over at the alien. "Twitch, get me a pair of those black Zemka gloves from one of the lockers."
"Trust me. Finik, hang back with us. Stallion, Tim, move out and check the rest the armory and the back rooms, double time."
Twitch came back and handed a pair of black gloves. The material felt like thin leather, with unusual padded fingers. He put on the gloves, and held his breath as he reached for the helmet of the alien Zemka.
He slowly exhaled as the bucket slipped off, without incident.
The alien was ape like in appearance, with thick, black fur covering his face. A pale brown spot with little to no hair surrounded his slit nostrils and mouth. Piercing green pupils shown in the aliens eyes.
The alien growled something in his own language, and spit on Joe. Joe drew back, just in time to see the Ape Zemka pull a small black cylinder with a red liquid shown from a slit in the side. This was a Zemka grenade.
"Back!" he yelled, jumping out of the way as the red explosion engulfed and killed the alien.
When he rose to his feet, he saw him and Stallion scurrying into the room. Stallion and tem went to check on the other two when they saw him getting up on his own two feet, and noted that everyone was alright.
"What happened?" Tim asked.
"The alien committed suicide rather than continue to be our guest."
"How rude." Twitch said with a grin.
"You boys find anything in the back?" Joe asked.
Stallion gave him a wide grin. "You should definitely see for yourself, sir."
The two men brought the rest of their team through a hallway and into the back room of the complex. Inside was a shooting range, manly US army built, but with a few Zemka additions. Then Stallion gestured into the armory for the shooting range.
Inside was your general US equipment; M16s, M4 carbines, Sniper Rifles, Benelli M4 Super 90 shotguns, and some more foreign and outdated weapons like the AK-47, a few Uzi's and Skorpions, AUG rifles, G36's, and a few P90's. They even had anti-armor Javelins and old Rocket launchers, as well as a massive store of grenades and explosives. Joe was about to congratulate his men on the find when he turned to see something beyond his wildest dreams.
Their, on a make shift rack on the wall you enter in, was a series of different laser rifles, ranging from Machine gun lasers, pistol lasers, Carbines, and even a storage of the weird liquid grenades. Right their with them, as well, was about twenty sets of advanced Zemka armor and thirty sets of human Zemka lesser armor.
Joe stood, mouth gaping, at the find. He couldn't find the words to say anything of this amazing discovery.
"Sir?" Tim said.
Joe quickly composed himself, but still couldn't keep the wonder out of his voice. "Stallion, contact HQ, tell them that we recommend an immediate move of bases from their to hear. Tell them to get our best Science and technology experts, however limited they may be, over here to analyze the armor and weapons." He turned to his men. "Gentlemen, I think this find may be the one thing that will give us the edge over the Zemka."
But for the moment, Joe thought to himself, as fatigue pressed in to take over his adrenaline, I think I should rest. We've earned it.