When the Coalitions of Ordered Governments, COG, top commando sqaud is returning home from a hard mission they expect an easy week of training the new recruits, Rooks, before a week of paid leave. That never comes.
This story follows the lives of Private Marcus Fenix, Private Tai Kalismo, Private Dominic (Dom) Santiago, Private Carlos Santiago, Corporal Michael Carmine and Sargeant Bernadette Mataki as they are thrown into the most dangerous mission of their lives. One that will
As the King Raven's blades whined over their heads the five COG Commandos sat laughing and joking about the mission they had just finished, even though they had all almost been killed by UIR reinforcements that had flanked them. Marcus Fenix stared out over changing landscape out the Ravens opened side door; the winding green fields were strewn with ugly black craters from mortar and rocket hits that had missed their targets. Fucking Command, at least they knew which end to light. He smirked as a small bubble of turbulence shook the Raven. “Shit! Can you even fly this thing Gridley?” Shouted Bernadette through the tac/com. The team laughed looking at the old veteran as she rested her head back against the headrest.
“Sorry grandma,” said Gridley through the speakers. “This is a prototype, first of its kind. Not like those old shitty Harpies from your day!”
“This is my day boy! And it’s Sarge!” she smiled.
As the atmosphere chilled Marcus looked at the rest of his squad, it was one of those old COG clichés he hated, but he really couldn’t think of anyone who he would rather run into a gun fight with than these soldiers, there were his family, and two of them might as well have been his brothers. Sat next to Marcus in the new helicopter was Tai Kaliso, their newest member. He was a huge Polynesian man from Ihorma in the South Islands with jet black hair tied back and platted into a long pony tail, deep philosophical brown eyes and tattoos, lots of tattoos. The dozens of solid black tribal patterns covered all most all of his skin on the right side of his body, all the way down to his belt line. His body wasn’t like most of the other Gears, his was lean and thin but every muscle was perfectly defined. This wasn’t the body of a soldier; it was the body of a hunter. His tribal tattoos were an initiation rite for his people, when a boy became a man he was tested to see if he was worthy of becoming a warrior and earning his place in his village. Tai had been the oldest of the chief’s children and had past his trails better than anyone had in over a hundred years.
Most believe he would have become chief, one day, until the UIR had attacked his island starting the ethnic cleansing of the land that they claimed they owned. They were merciless. They shot down every man, woman and child that got in their way or tried to run, this is when Marcus found him, Tai was killing his way through the UIR squads on his island with nothing more than a bow and a quiver of arrows. When the COG finally dropped troops onto Ihorma Marcus watched Tai from a small cluster of trees as he lifted up the final indie of a thirty man squad by his neck and choked the life out of him with one hand. Marcus knew then and there that this guy had to be in the COG because if the UIR killed him or worse, recruited him, they’d be fucked. That was nearly three years ago; Tai had agreed to join them and had been an invaluable member. They often joked that Tai was invincible, and by the number of times Marcus had seen him walk out of a full war zone without a scratch he was inclined to agree with them all.
Stood beside him holding onto the wall bar above the open doorway was Marcus’s best friend, Carlos Sandiago. The tall man still had blood on his shoulder from where he had stabbed an indie that had gotten too close, his blue COG armour was almost as mucky and scratched as Marcus’s. Before being recruited into the commandos Carlos and he were in the same squadron, Alpha-Five. When Bernadette was choosing her squad they were the only two she liked the look of out of a fifty strong platoon. Carlos had endless boasting rights over that one. He was a tall man with wide shoulders and a rash wrinkled face; thickly muscled arms and his tanned skin seemed to soak in the sunlight giving him a strange ethereal glow. A rough un-kept stubble covered his square jaw and a small scar ran across the left side of his neck from a bullet graze he had acquired years ago when they first joined the COG, and he still wouldn’t wear his helmet. Unlike his younger brother, Dominic, Carlos still retained a hint of his Mexican accent. The three of them had grown up together; Marcus was pretty much an honorary son to the Sandiago’s. His home was always a lonely place for him growing up; his parents were both scientists with the COG so they were away on expeditions for months at a time and even when they were at home they were working down in the laboratory beneath the basement. School was never a friend to Marcus, he was smart, smarter than most of the teachers. The problem had been the other children, they teased and bullied him for not having any friends, and during a fight with one particular bully Marcus knocked him out cold only to have four of his friends jump in. This is when Carlos intervened and together the two boys battered back the bullies until they were nothing more than bloody messes. They had been best friends ever since.
The others were the two veterans of the team; they lead it and gave the orders. Closest to Marcus was Corporal Michael Carmine. Michael was a tall man with a tinge of gray in his short black hair, which was if you ever got to see his face; he insisted he wore his COG headgear on every mission even though none of the others ever did. All Marcus wore on his head was his do-rag. Michael was a protective man who often went above and beyond the call of duty when it came to his team, a father of three boys he was instinctually protective over the much younger members of the team. He often told them that when the war is over to go find themselves a good woman and settle down, he was determined that his sons weren’t a part of this war. But after fighting against the UIR for nearly seventy five years, there didn’t seem to be any sort of an end in sight. Carmine was a beast of a man, his arms were as thick as tree trunks and Marcus imagined could rip the barrel off a tank if they wanted to. The standard COG plates, or armour, barely fit Carmines massive frame so he had customized his chest guard by adding extra plates between the two circular seals in the bottom left and right of the armour that held it all in place. Despite his fearsome appearance Carmine was a very friendly and approachable man, much like Tai. They both had a very likeable personality that appealed to a lot of people. However, whilst Tai was calm and meditative at all times, put Carmine in a battle field and he was a different beast all together. Put a gun in his hand... Marcus often felt sorry for the indies. They never knew what hit them.
Finally was their Sergeant. Bernadette Mataki. She, was a COG legend! Not normally for any Gear she was over the age of forty five, and in a profession where the average life expectancy after joining is roughly six months that said a damn lot about who she was. This woman took a platoon of forty Gears through the Battle of Shavad, lead them into the centre of the UIR command and took it and held it for several days whilst the other Gears pushed through before finally running out the last of the UIR control in the city. She was a tall woman was deep gray tattoos across her shoulders and biceps, she actually came from the same island as Tai and when the UIR started slaughtering the South Islands inhabitants she was the first Gear on the ground. A net of long grey dreadlocks fell into a roughly tied ponytail like moss growing from the bark of some ancient tree. Her Gear plates were mark two’s, one of the oldest models, in fact the armour was so old the COG had stopped producing it, but Bernadette refused to upgrade. Saying, ‘I’ll know when I need an upgrade when I get shot.” Together the five of them made one of the best commando squads in the whole COG army.
“Are we there yet!” shouted a gunner in the back gun turret of the Raven.
“Jesus Christ! I knew they were recruiting young but I didn’t think they started accepting kids into the Gears!” chortled Carmine.
“Very funny old man!” the gunner shouted back.
“Fucking rooks, think they know everything!” said Bernadette shaking her head in disappointment. “If you were in my squad soldier I’d have thrown you out of the chopper for that!”
“Good job I’m not with you then aint it grandma? Surprised you could hear me to be honest.”
“Gear what’s your name?” asked Marcus activating the tac/com device in his ear.
“Baird.” Replied the gunner.
“Well Baird I suggest you shut the fuck up before I come back there!” there was a frigid silence.
“Sorry I’m not into men.” said Baird. Rapturous laughter cracked open the cabin, Carlos, Carmine, Tai, Bernadette, even the pilots were laughing. “But thanks for the offer,”
“Shut the fuck up!” shouted Marcus jumping back towards the gunner cabin. Carmine jumped to his feet and thrust him back into his place.
“Calm it you guys.” bellowed Carmine in his deep rolling voice.
“Yeh let’s not get too worked up, remember we get a week’s leave after training the rooks! A whole week off!” said Carmine excitedly tapping Tai on the shoulder, the lean hunter looked at Carlos and nodded before standing up and looking through the door. Carlos set next to Marcus and wrapped his arm across his vast shoulders. “My parents have invited you to come stay with us, Mamma promises to make her world famous Jamon Iberico and Cherizo.” Carlos leaned inwards a huge stupid grin stretching over his mudded face. Fighting every urge to smile Marcus pushed him away and turned to look out the door. “I know that’s a yes buddy!” he grinned with a huge laugh. “Tai what are you doing on your time off?”
“Visiting some old friends back at Ihorma, I’m looking forward to fishing and spending some time relaxing back in my natural environment. I can’t wait to watch the sunset over the ocean whilst I roast chickens over a campfire on Pearl Beach.” He answered with a huge grin.
“You got a woman back home big man?” asked Bernadette with a wink
“No.” Said Tai, dragging out the one syllable word. “Not yet anyways
“Yeh see they’re not like you Bernie,” said Carmine. I can see where this is going. Thought Marcus grinning already. “They don’t have a fine piece of ass waiting for us back home, ‘Oh Colonel Hoffman, yes like that! Oh you bad bad boy!’” shouted Carmine between convincing girlish squeals and hip thrusts. Bernadette stared at Carmine with her cold gray eyes of such intensity that it chilled them all to the bone, Carmine lowered his armour head awkwardly. As Marcus averted his gaze away from Carmine he noticed that all of the others were doing so too, as if that her gaze would burn anyone asscociated with Carmine as well as his soon to be dead ass
“What was that corporal?” whispered Bernadette. You would have thought such a small whisper would have been drowned out by the sounds of the King Raven’s blades. But it wasn’t. The hiss seemed to echo around them all getting louder and louder with each reverberation of the compact cabin
“Oooo man...your fucked!” joked the gunner called Baird not even breaking the tension
“Nothing Sergeant.” Whimpered Carmine
“Damn straight it’s nothing Corporal! If you say anything like that again your boys will be growing up orphans. Am I understood?!” she said calmly. Marcus didn’t know what scared him the most, her eyes or the fact she was so calm and collected
“Yes ma’am!” shouted Carmine finding his nerve
“Good.” She said looking towards Marcus and Carlos. She winked swiftly and a small smile broke around the corners of her mouth
“What you doing on leave Carmine?” asked Tai politely noticing Bernadette’s cheeky grin
“Visiting my family!” he said excitedly. Even under the helmet Marcus could tell he was smiling. “I can’t wait to see my boys,” he suddenly slumped in his place. “Plus I need to visit Elaina’s...well...you know
“Yeh sweetie,” whispered Bernadette. “We know.”
“Hey Gears!” shouted one of the pilots through tac/com. “If I were you I’d take a seat. We’re going to be landing soon and it could get choppy...” over the tac/com was a small crackle of interference before the line became crystal clear.
“King Raven-Zero-Zero this is Jacinto tower, you are cleared for landing in Embry Military Base on heli-pad two-two-one. Welcome home Gears. Jacinto’s missed you."
Standing up Marcus latched his armoured hand onto the wall bar above the open door he stared out over the black silhouette of his home as it broke over the horizon like some kind of tiny formation of stalactites. The hundreds of skyscrapers were nothing but shells of what they once were, the UIR blitzed Jacinto hard during the Sky Storm but the tall gothic sky scrapers still stood proud against the flat expanse of Sera’s landscape.
“Welcome back Marcus.” Said Carlos tapping him with an open hand on the shoulder.
“Good to be back.” He smiled.