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"A generation that has taken a beating is always a generation that deals one."
―Otto Von Bismarck

"What have you got for me, Guys?" Joe asked as he entered the hanger that Stallion, Kelth, and the resistance scientist, Freddy Collins, used as a makeshift lab.

The resistance had taken about a day to move its science equipment down to Williamsport. They had taken the suggestion to move operations seriously, and were still deciding if it was necessary.

In the meantime, ever since the supplies had arrived that morning, Stallion and Collins had been working nonstop, tinkering slowly and carefully with Zemka equipment. They'd been doing hands on testing with armor as of three o'clock that day, when he was in last, and discovered little other than the confirmation that the metal could not be touched without the proper alien padding.

Now, at two o'clock in the morning, it looked as if they had moved onto alien weapons. The odd variations of black metaled weapons were laid out, some dismantle, others practically blown apart.

"I've got a whole hell of a lot for you, sarge." Stallion said with a smile, gesturing back to Tim, who threw a Zemka Helmet into his gloved hands. Stallion handed him a pair of black padded gloves, and then the helmet. "Put it on. Don't worry, its padded."

As Joe lifted it over his head, he was surprised to see it fit almost smugly over his head. Once it locked into place, a Lifelike HUD appeared in front of his face; not the green hue of US army HUDs he had seen, just crystal clear. Down at the bottom of the HUD was live views of every side. So that's how they knew our every move. Other symbols were on the HUD, but they were all in alien script. "This come standard?" he asked through the helmet, wincing at the metallic tinge in his voice. It made him sound just like the Zemka.

"See for yourself." he said, handing him another helmet. This one was rather small on him, and as he fit it on, he was beraded not by the simple human-like HUD, but a red image. It hurt his eyes so much he immediately threw it off and away from him. "Why is it so different? I could hardly look at it, much less fight in it."

"No two HUDs in the armory was the same. It may be because of the massive alien forces, or just a tradition of hand made HUDs. Either way, its a hell of a discovery."

"Yeah, it sure is. But that's the least?" he asked in confusion, as Stallion put on patches of armor on his arms.

"Yessir, most definitely the least. Collins, get that fucking dummy out here." Stallion picked up a laser rifle as two three dummy's were stacked in an empty section of the room. "Now, when you discovered that the gloves counteracted the electricity in the armor, I decided to try an experiment." He raised his rifle, and fired the hot orange laser bolts out of the rifle, which was a completely alien design, a curved butt with two sharpened pieces of blue metal on it, probably for close quarters melee action. After the three burst shot was done, he shouldered it. "As you can see, it tears the shit out of our armor. As with the helmets, most weapons are custom built, a couple designs for each species. But this baby is mass produced. Probably the most common weapon. As I said,. it does well against us..." he said, and put another round into the second set of armor, a Zemka human set. "And does some damage on the lesser human armor."

"I'd bet to keep them in line." said Kelth from the table, were he was examining bullets and had black powder in front of him.

"Yes. However..." He finished the rest of the alien clip into the full alien Zemka armor. "Does nothing to Zemka armor."

"I figured as much, you wouldn't carry laser weapons without a way to counteract friendly fire."

Stallion motioned to Kelth, who came over with a sigh, picking up the gun. "The makeup is simple. Its effectively heated chemicals their shooting. I call 'em Nova bolts. Not sure why. They just don't got that color to be called plasma, and it ain't no Star Wars lasers..." He trailed of as Joe cleared his thoughts. "Yeah, yeah, well, these mass produced rifles have magazines with the chemicals in it, which is pushed trhough the magazine, up to the barrel, superheated by a gas conduits, and sent out as Nova bolts. Nasty shit, sir." he said, tossing the gun aside and picking up a small black cylinder. "This is a bit more interesting. Its got a lot of similarities to potato mashers."

"World War two German grenades?" Joe said in confusion.

"Much more advanced, though. Its got the essential makeup of a modern human frag, but it was somehow enhanced with the aliens chemicals, burning and blowing up its enemies with it. Its something alien, sir, and frankly, without knowing shit about the aliens materials, I ain't got a fucking clue how. But their is one thing I do know. It was made hastily, as if the aliens put no thought into it."

"Since when do these aliens hastily make anything?" he said, as it suddenly dawned on him. "No..."

"Its a leaky theory, sir, but I really do think the idea of a grenade was new to the Zemka. It would explain the armors vulnerability to grenades, and the shortcuts they took in this thing."

"It would explain a lot."

"Yeah, well, I think the most surprising discovery is over here." he motioned him over to where he was experimenting with the bullets.

"As soon as I found out about the metal, I dismantled a set..." said Collins.

"And burned it into powder." Stalion said, a bit of disgust in his voice.

"We began to experiment with it, and quickly found out that the powder was stronger than anything on earth."

"You burned a valuable piece of enemy weaponry for that?" Joe said, face turning pure red with anger.

"Just wait, sir." he motioned towards the bullets. "After we raided into Collins, I got a grand idea. I wanted to see what would happen if we made this metal into a bullet." he stood up, took an M4 Carbine from the table. He loaded three bullets into a magazine and snapped it in. Then he fired on the alien Zemka armor.

Joe's mouth gaped. The bullet not only penetrated, it cracked the armor all around it, went through, and out the back.

"I think we may have found their vulnerability." said Stallion with a smile.

"One problem. We don't have the manpower or the resources for rapid reproduction."

"Well," Joe said with a smile, "We should get to work then, shouldn't we?"




After a few hours of sleep, Joe sent Twitch out of the base for recon around the city.

Joe, being Joe, made it more like an order to Tim for him to go hunting.

Twitch found it almost odd that after the US had been burned from the skies, that so many animals had survived. Maybe their instincts had saved them, but it nonetheless confused him. As the Humans in the area dwindled, plants grew over the cities, and animals not far behind them. He felt odd, in full combat gear, walking around with an old M14 that had still been in active service, barely, and with a Skorpion on his belt, out here looking for deer.

The area had been fully scoped before, from end to end. They had been their for four days now, and the men had done a full search. So, he took Joe's orders more as a chance to get out. After all, he'd been working twenty four hours straight when the Sarge had ordered him to get some R & R.

He crouched in the knee high grass to take a breather and stared out at the ruins that had once been his apartment complex. When the land had been nuked, most pf the people he knew had been in secure structures or underground, and half these people hadn't even seen what had happened. Hell, as far as everyone in his squad, and the whole damn resistance, knew he was in the basement of the SWAT building in Scranton.

The truth was far different.

Tim hadn't been born in Williamsport, or in Scranton, their old base, for that matter. He was from a small town in eastern Pennsylvania, near the city of Hazleton. Unlike the others in his squad, he had no military experience. However, when he turned eighteen, he went to college at Luzerne County Community College and received a degree in Criminal Justice. He then left his home and went to Williamsport, were he became a Policemen.

In 2018, at the age of twenty-three, he was offered a position in an Eastern Pennsylvanian SWAT unit. He spent about a year in regular service before the face of the SWAT, and the world, for that matter, had changed.

When the Zemka landed, things stayed the same for about five months. After that, SWAT had been changed into an in-country Anti Terrorism Organization. By 2022, the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio had left the United Sates to become the Zemka Rebels in the country. Nebraska was the first battle of the war, were the United states took a portion of Nevada before the barbed wire, tanks, and fighters set up permanent positions.

From then to about 2025, both the rebels and the United States were dealing more with problems on their own land than with each other. Still, the armies entrenched, and battles were fought. By the end of that year, the United States had lost Northern California and its land in Nebraska to the pro-Zemka forces, while the Rebels had lost Southern Nevada, Southern Utah, Soutern Illinois, Southern Indiana, and a small portion of Ohio that bordered west Virginia. So it stayed, like World War 1 trench flashback but with better weaponry.

Twitch had dealt with a lot of terrorism in Pennsylvania. The state was very important to the pro-Zemka rebels and the States alike. Many skirmishes were fought between the army that took up bases along the ridge of Western Pennsylvania. Without an outlet to take Pennsylvania, pro-Rebel Pennsylvanians were hired for terrorist acts. He became known for being an excellent defuser of the highly advanced bombs the Zemka Rebels would plant. Take Pennsylvania, and New Jersey would fall with ease. The two states were the key to not only isolate the states to the north, New York all the way up to Maine. It also opened an easier road straight through Baltimore to Washington as opposed to carving from their area in Ohio through the remnants of Ohio controlled by America, Through west Virginia and Virginia, and all the while with the chance of being attacked in the back by the armies at Pennsylvania. No, this state and New Jersey were the key.

In 2027, the face of the war changed. The Canadian government was overthrown in March of that year, and sent aid to the pro-Zemka rebels. Quite quickly, The Rebels took California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and a portion of Missouri. The Rebels themselves handled the attack on Pennsylvania at the same time, driving through western PA until being stopped, finally, mid state by the Marines.

Things got nasty for the next few months, lines changing every week, as The United States tried to get a hold of enough of a force to drive them back. Every battle ready ship in the Atlantic and the Pacific were brought either to New York harbor to stay in defense, or to Pearl Harbor either via the islands under US control in the Pacific or via the Panama Canal, all gathering at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii for the Pacific attack. all dispensable Marines and Rangers that weren't vital to the bases they were at were brought back by plane to Fort Hood in Texas. They didn't just abandon military bases, even ones like the bases in Germany or Japan that weren't vital to the USA's defense, because they knew if they won the war they'd need every god damn last one of 'em, but security was reduced.

In late 2027 the offensive began.The Navy bombarded the defensive instillation along the West coast from offshore, then sent the mass of Navy SEALS they had gathered into take key instillation's, while Navy personnel took smaller towns and three army brigades that had been gathered at Hawaii took major cities. The Rangers and the Army made a simultaneous assault on the mid country with less effect outright, while the Marines, the remaining Naval personnel, and another three brigades of the army assaulted Western Pennsylvania.

Within the next month America's assault was a strong one, meeting heavy resistance and yet gaining ground. Within a year the Canucks realized they were in a losing situation, and pulled out, leaving the flailing Rebels to fight a war with only Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin on their side. By January Twenty-seventh, 2028, the Zemka Rebels were defeated, and plans went underway for the US to help other fledgling governments, and somehow take the battle to the Zemka in orbit.

Instead, two days later, they were blown to hell.

On February twenty-eighth, a Zemka rebel that hadn't been imprisoned took the mayor of Williamsport hostage. Tim's SWAT squad was set into save the mayor. He dropped through the window into the office, and knocked the door into the back room where the mayor was being held. He turned quickly, his squad right behind him, saw the two in the back of the room, saw what he assumed was the targets head, and shot. Looking back now, he knew he had fired without seeing deep.

He had fired blind.

The rebel had died, sure, but at the cost of the Mayor taking a bullet to the heart. He had killed the Mayor, and had it not been for the fact that America had been bombed into oblivion the very next day. SWAT had immediately fired him and he was told that he was only free to roam the streets because he had been a member of SWAT for so long, and he had a spotless record before this fuck up.

So, naturally, he hadn't been down in the armory when the attack happened. In truth, he was drunk off of his ass, driving at eighty miles an hour down the interstate towards Scranton, swerving the whole way. When the lasers hit, he swerved off the road into a ditch plowed by a laser blast, crashed, ruining the engine of his car, and leaving him unconscious for two hours. He joined up with Joe's squad in Scranton, and became one of the first fully trained members. Joe said he never saw a man with no military experiance ever take to Spec Ops so fast.

He knew he couldn't tell his team. The trust of the squad would be broken, and someone would get killed. He couldn't let them happen. He would not let himself let done another squad. He worked hard, day in, day out, to please them, and make things go smoothly. He enjoyed it, and he felt he was atoning for his sins. So when Joe had hinted at him taking a day off, he actually protested, to which Joe made it sound more like an order.

So, even though their was little to no chain of Command in the resistance, he did as commanded.

Movement up ahead. He aimed down the sights of his M14 rifle towards the movement. He quickly realized it was a black bear. That was odd, he hadn't seen any of the large predators in over a year. It was a sign that nature was beginning to flourish again, and not all of it had been killed out.

To bad Humanity in America had all but been.

The fact nature was returning in mass made him wonder if, and if so then how many, people are still out there.

Some days he didn't beleive anyone outside the area had lived. Others he had a sense that Americans had survived everywhere, in small numbers. At the moment he just had an overwhelming feeling his group was not alone.

Twitch raised his M14, aimed down the sights, and shot the Bear in the head. He got up from the grass and moved over to his victim, checking the size and weight.

For the first time since his fuck up in SWAT, he actually felt as if he had a future.

With that, he began to gut the bear.

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