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First BloodEdit

Daniel looked at his not-so-thick-as-they-made-it-out-to-be suit, then at the display that said he still had 1440 rounds of ammo in his Gauss Rifle. He clicked a button from within his suit, and the reflective visor whirred down, covering his head. He checked the digital display flashing across the visor. 99% energy, and charging from the arrays of photovoltaic filaments strewn about throughout the NeoSteel. "Battle ready." Who knew what might happen anytime now. They had to be prepared - something they hadn't had the need to do for over a year now.

"Battle ready," reported the other three marines rather unhappily yet eagerly. Christopher looked at Sarlena apprehensively, and she had a worried expression as well.

"Then let's head on out on our bikes," ordered Daniel as he led the way to the garage and opened its door.

Oh geez, I so don't want to leave the security and blissful life of this station, thought Michael as the others got onto their parked Vulture-brand hoverbikes. Each of the four squad members had their own vehicle, though just like the combat suits, they weren't individual-specific. They quickly chose got into one and ignited the engines.

These 'bikes' were actually small cars, of course made for military purposes, rather triangular and pointed in the front. There were seats for two, one behind the other, and the LED dashboard showed the results of continuous scanning from on-board detection systems.

Michael wondered what they would be running up against. Too bad Daniel couldn't be clearer with what he thought he saw... Maybe, just maybe, he was right. If they were going up against people as well, the submachine guns would come in quite handy... But if their main foes were going to be creepy monsters of the night, then he didn't know if any of the weapons they had at their disposal would come in handy. That their combat suits were tough enough to make a dent in a wall in melee battle probably didn't mean much, and the land mines that came with the hoverbikes were almost definitely going to be useless on such a mission. But the thought of finally getting around to using those high-powered fragmentation grenades - the Vultures' other armament - got his adrenaline racing.

Nearby, Daniel was just as charged with adrenaline, but for a different reason. For weeks they had nothing to fight against, and they so eagerly wanted some activity. Now, there was some activity, and they had become worried about it as well. Daniel didn't know if this was good, or bad. Good would be something that wasn't a big issue and ended soon. Bad was what he expected this would turn out to be: just like in his nightmare. Or so he thought... Gosh, Daniel, make up your mind, at least.

"All right, let's go!" he announced. The team of four hit the accelerators and within seconds went zooming off at their maximum speed, 150 miles per hour, the engines on the rear flaring to life and propelling them a constant several feet above the ground. It was at times like these when the hover-bikes' hovering systems came in handy; after all, traversing rugged terrain would be an incredibly rough ride at that speed even with shock absorbers. But since they weren't on the ground, they could move incredibly fast and still travel without a hitch.

Just as the combat suit and the speed-bike were pieces of modern technology, so were the plenty of other military equipment at their disposal. But Daniel didn't know what would be needed in case battle broke out: mechanical combat walkers, starfighters, even capital ships might be necessary. Though looks could be deceiving, those creatures that he had seen on Air Los Andares had looked particularly menacing from the glimpse of them that he had been able to see. Just how so, they were about to find out.

What the hey, thought Daniel, as the images of the aliens flashed through his mind again, along with the images from his nightmare, which he could at least partially recall now. They seemed somehow... too similar to be a mere coincidence, though he couldn't be sure, and he wanted to blot it from his thoughts. What the hey.

The foursome had been trudging in their CNLCS-300's for almost ten minutes driving extremely fast on their hoverbikes before arriving at the outskirts of a nameless civilian settlement. Judging from the ten houses, the population couldn't be over fifty. Not bad for a Mar Sara settlement, actually. Daniel, the only corporal and hence the de jure team leader, had changed itineraries mid-journey when his sensors had picked up a small group of red (unidentified) dots heading in that direction.

"Okay, so the moment we intercept them, none of you open fire; we don't know if they're sentient or not, only that they're perhaps dangerous. This is the first alien spaces humanity has encountered, so let's not botch this up, okay? We will try to establish first contact and if we don't make any progress with that, then, and only then, are you to open fire," announced Daniel to his squad via comlink.

"Affirmative, corporal--"

“Oh no, I think we’re still too—“ Late never came out, as Sarlena, from atop a rocky outcrop, stopped speaking to gaze at the village below. There were five to six carapaced creatures rushing to and fro, wielding their sharpened, scythe-like claws with unbridled ferocity. Dog-sized, these... xenomorphs possessed swift hind legs and rushed about at a dozen miles per hour, and that was in close quarters. There was no telling how fast they could move out in the open; they looked akin to wild blurs while in motion, and they seemed to never stop moving.

“No wonder we lost the race,” Christopher noted with a sigh, eyes wide open and horrendous anticipation as he leapt out of the Vulture speed-bike.

Even as the four stopped to watch, a little girl rushed away from the village, screaming with her hands flailing over her head, closely pursued by one of the aliens. She was probably only ten, which reminded Christopher of Michael's joke involving the difference between pretty and cute several days ago.

“Run!!” he shouted to the girl, fearing for her life, while his weapon remained idle. There was no way the little girl could get away on her short feet, and the aliens were closing in on her rapidly. Michael frowned and, realizing that someone had to take action, took up his Gauss rifle and saw the pair in his weapon’s cross hairs as he set the attack mode to single-shot. By then the alien had almost caught up, and it seemed that a single leap would end the chase, but it had yet to get to this conclusion. The two were running unevenly, and the continuing motion meant that the center of the cross hairs kept going from the girl to the alien and back.

“What are you waiting for?” demanded Sarlena, readying her own rifle, realizing the high likelihood that the single shot would hit the wrong target.

An either shocked or determined Michael pulled the trigger. A single report boomed forth. Despite months of being on the job, they all still shut their eyes. This was an actual engagement, not shooting into an abandoned wasteland the way training used to be. A moment later, Michael opened his eyes, to see a spurt of crimson liquid erupt into the air where he had shot.

With barely a sound, the girl fell stiffly on her face, unmoving, and the briefly stunned alien menace tripped over her instantly dead form before regaining its balance within a single second and turning around to gaze, with its red, hellish eyes, at Christopher, who gasped and readied his weapon.

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