Collington Splatterov (OSS)
Although the Captain is lower ranked than me, at Major, he is in the field and tells me that he will retain command. I have no problem with this since I don’t know what’s going on and after my experience in the tunnel, where everyone in my team died, I figure he is a better leader anyway; since he has quite a few men alive. Infinitely better than my zero.
I don’t really have time to even debrief from the tunnel and I’m still hyped on adrenaline when the Captain wants to see me. There’s Monolith fighters taking over the hospital to the north and they’ve got some kind of super weapon. Go there, suppress the Monolith fighters, recover the super-weapon. Great. Sounds like suicide and I’ve barely got through that tunnel of snorks with my hide intact.
We run up there, keeping low, but it’s before dawn and we’re unlikely to be seen. One of the men is put in position on the machinery building as sniper. The rest of us enter the west wing of the hospital and split up; presumably to spread out our targeting abilities. The Lieutenant says he’s in position and everybody get ready. Then the shooting starts and I don’t know what’s going on. There’s bullets firing everywhere. I’m hit numerous times and hide in a stairwell where the concrete is presumably thicker. I hear a strange weapon fire that sounds like a lightning strike. Then a powering-up sound of coils charging.
I bandage and use med-kits and try to shoot the Monolith from in the stairwell. They’re all like special forces and snap shoot with alarming accuracy. I wish I had my exo-skeleton armour is all I can think whilst I continually take hits from their weapons. I’m soaked in sweat by the time I’ve seen where the soldier with the super-weapon is. He’s up high and I think his first shot would have hit our sniper on the machinery building. The Monolith soldier spots me and I see him aiming so hide behind the concrete of the stairwell. The weapon fires, sounding like a lightning strike and I see a blue-flash from its shot. Whatever it is it made the stairwell shake with the slug’s impact and if I didn’t have a full mask I’d be choking on the concrete dust.
For all their firearms skill the Monolith have terrible urban warfare tactics. The try to flush me out or kill me with grenades but they all roll down the stairs and just make my ears ring. Then they try to creep up the stairs and surprise me but that’s when my grenades come into play. There’s only two left after that group are dead. Super-sniper and someone in the yard.
Tide is with me and I take a quick look for super-sniper from a lower floor. He’s watching the floors above where he saw me before and I duck back, put Tide to my shoulder and snap-shoot him. The first slug hits his arms so I shoot rapidly again, two, three, and the fourth hits him in the head. He drops off the roof of the hospital, thankfully with the weapon, but his body lands on top of the weapon with a crunch from both.
Yard-patroller sees me and opens fire with an assault rifle. Again I’m wounded and I race up the stairs as I stuff clotting-gel in the hole. I think I’ve lost a lot of blood and I feel very weak. I lose track of yard-patroller and wait, listening carefully. Suddenly I see his shadow. I can’t comprehend how quietly he is moving since there’s spent brass everywhere and pieces of concrete and shrapnel. I must be deafened from the grenades. Tide doesn’t let me down and I double-tap slugs into yard-patroller’s head.
I lie there for some time waiting for the sun to rise. Then I make my way carefully, in case there are more Monolith, to super-sniper’s corpse. The gun is damaged. It has big cooling fins and modules built into the barrel. I think it’s some kind of rail-gun. When I’m very close to it my anomaly detector flickers just a little and I wonder about its battery; having read that the only reason these aren’t all over the planet is that battery technology is not up to the current draw to power such weapons. Again, like a jackdaw, I loot the dead and head back to safety. I’m sure the Captain is going to be upset. All up 7 soldiers died.
The Captain is upset but he hides it well with concern about the weapon.
“Get it fixed”, he says, “and find out where it came from”.
Sure, I’ll just take it to the local rail-gun service centre and it’ll all be fine: but I don’t say that.
Too exhausted to do anything else I decide to sleep and as I’m heading downstairs I see Garry leaning against the wall.
I talk to him and he says he can take me to the station or even to the Skadovsk. The old rusted barge suddenly seems like home and I say let’s go. He doesn’t even charge me.
We get to the Skadovsk and I don’t know how I made the journey but I’m there. Cardyan may know something about this rail-gun so I head straight to him. I figure he can look at it all day and I’ll sleep. I ply him with two bottles of vodka, like normal, then show him the rail-gun. He really gets upset then incoherent, something about X-labs and number 23 or such. Then he passes out on in a mumbling mess.
Why does everyone lose it or die when I need them most?
Sleep is more interesting than answering that question, so I do.