Part 1 - LandfallMature

Prelude.

It was once said that the gift of knowledge to humanity bore semblance with divine oversight against divine wisdom.

Clerics once whispered such words in an age forgotten, in an age when humanity fled from screaming wraiths and stood before an infinite chasm. They were faced with the choice to either cast aside their trepidation and leap forward into the abyss, or to remain and face the trials and tribulations of the Wrathful God.

The Clerics then spoke of an enigmatic event: the intervention of three great warriors, and the sudden disappearance of our ancestors. As we rebuild our civilization, the Clerics of my day only whisper legends of the great warriors and our ancestors' disappearance.

But I--only I--know the truth.

She was the third of the great warriors. Like the others, she came to be when she was called upon. She was there when humanity trembled, and guided their timid spears unto the hordes that the Wrathful God wrought to destroy them.

This is her story and our ancestors' struggles.

Part 1 – Landfall.

Third Genesis, Summer Solstice, Year 2798.

The cryopod blazed a scintillating, fiery trail across a sky of dust. Among the heavens the planet's violent summer sun glinted off the pod's surface in a blinding white sheen. As the internal temperature skyrocketed to three hundred degrees Fahrenheit, the lone warrior inside awoke.

She was neither below nor equal to those who could only exist beneath her perseverance. She neither hated her enemies nor loved her allies, and she asked for no allegiance.

The cryopod jostled in the dust, dense atmosphere; it shot down toward the desert world below with such speed that its last layers of heat shielding blistered and peeled away. In seconds, the inside of the cryopod became a blast furnace; the outer hull began to melt and exposed a glowing metal crash cage.

She saw fire crawl across the tiny shockproof glass of her visor. Even beneath the JAW-1221 combat armor's crystallized plates, inertia dampening gels and the bulletproof under suit, the intense heat still scalded her skin. A moment later, she felt the retro rockets thunder beneath the cryopod--a violent explosion that shook her teeth and sent cold lightning straight up her legs.

The flaming cryopod smashed into the barren desert at two hundred kilometers an hour. It crashed and skidded through the sand--then buckled and disintegrated into an ugly shower of glittering red hot metal. Injured as she was, consciousness struck through her mind like a lightning bolt. Instinct reasserted itself, thought patterns connected--and she burst through a mountain of steel and sand.

She ripped the protective crash cage apart, plowed a path through the wreckage and then gasped a sound more like the drawn whimper of a child as she dragged a full breath through the tactical suit's air filters. She opened her eyes, and the first thing she saw was a blast of sickly yellow sunlight beneath a sky of dust. She rose to her feet again, then limped away from the wreckage and kept her profile as low as possible so the Acolyte strain of the plague would not easily spot her. 

Since the struggle began seven years ago, the humans that survived had toiled to gather intel on the biological threat. Their attempts to understand as they fought the plague were futile, and as far as they knew, it didn't matter if they ever did. Their enemy never spoke, and was as numerous as it was ferocious. That was all the humans needed to know that this was a war of attrition—a genocide.

To stay on track with the evacuation plan, she reviewed her tactical situation. Fifteen minutes ago, she was in cryo storage aboard the Coalition vessel NSC Solstice. The Solstice, commandeered by Captain Wilkes, was one of three large assault carriers sent to recon the abandoned planet.

The instant the Coalition vessels arrived, however, all hell broke loose. The Coalition ships walked into an entire armada of bulbous large bioships that dwarfed at least two human assault carriers. Too outnumbered to a fight an enemy that healed physical damage, the Coalition vessels lost the fight in minutes.

While Captain Wilkes and the crew abandoned the Solstice in their Raven drop ships, they shunted her from the besieged vessel at the first sign of trouble while she was still inside the cryopod. After enduring the fiery ride to the surface below, the next logical step was to regroup and gather what numbers they had...before the plague found them scattered across the desert world.

She sprinted toward the rally point. As she ran, the ground began to rumble. The sky behind her heated to a dull red glow, and in moments an amber comet streaked from the horizon behind her. She heard the heavy roar of something big burning up in the atmosphere.

A starship was about to crash.

The fallen vessel sliced through the dusty clouds above her like a knife. Her heads-up display identified the Solstice, and marked each Raven drop ship as it perilously disembarked from the disintegrating vessel.

Seconds later, the Solstice exploded into a cascade of flaming debris; a blinding gash of light slit the sky as it arched over the desert and disappeared beyond the horizon ahead. She now charged at full speed toward the drop ships, ripping the desert on either side.

The End

18 comments about this story Feed