Chapter VII – Echelon
Spirals of portal energy suddenly appeared. The marine’s trained eyes knew the best moment to fire, plasma impacted the Imps as soon as they appeared, several were laid to waste in the first moments. More portals opened around him, his sight was blinded by more flashing green energy. Hissing demons threw fireballs and slashed with their claws. He flooded the corridor with plasma, dodging projectiles. Another wave appeared and closed in on the marine, he burned them to a crisp, one by one, the Imps fell to blackened pieces. The pentagrams faded and silence fell over the area, save for the sound of sizzling, burned meat.
Cautiously, he continued down the passage, he quickened his pace when the security door to the hangar bay became visible, approaching the doors controls. He scanned his confiscated security badge and accessed the manual door release. The doors clanked and then slowly lifted upward. The broken PA system buzzed awkwardly about some protocol or something. The beam of his flashlight stretched deeply into the hangar bay, revealing silent darkness.
The marine steps inside. “Hey you ugly freaks, come and get it” the marine shouts, his voice reverberated throughout the hangar. Silence returned his call. Since his flashlight barely lit the whole area, he lit flares and tossed them about as he walked. The hangar was soon bathed in a red glow that revealed the huge ships. The hangar was about the size of a retro sports stadium of the late twentieth and twenty-first century. It was a large dome that retracted apart, down the middle. It was currently closed, no doubt a futile defense against the aliens. There was the exit behind him and two others on the other sides of the hangar and a control tower coiled by a grated staircase it in the central area. Two rows of computer terminals flanked the sides of the tower, the terminals glowed with the words “System Failure”.
As he began searching the docked ships, he heard a familiar hissing sound. He turned to the sound and beheld the sight of several Cacodemons descending from the shadowy ceiling. He gripped his plasma rifle and shoots a long burst into the air, the energy burned their flesh. More Cacodemons appeared from behind larger ships. In a mechanical fashion, the marine bursts his shots at the bloated aliens and carefully dodges their wads of hazardous electricity.
‘Clumsy freaks’ inflected the marine, he’d chewed through hundreds of these aliens in the past week and figured out their typical attack patterns. One by one they fell into a smoking pile of charred remains. Another attacked and got a massive hole burned straight through it. It splattered to the floor, spewing its organs. He burnt through two more, reloaded and fired another set of long bursts. Their numbers were thinning when suddenly, whispering could be heard and ribbons of green glowing light appeared throughout the area. More monsters are about to appear!
He continued firing, his shots impacted the bodies of the aliens as they exited the portals, more burnt heaps fell to the ground. He spun around and saw that monsters were behind him, and there were a lot. Large-jawed demons were charging toward him. The last time he saw this many demons in the same place was in the badly infected halls of the cybernetics lab on Phobos, or at least he thought it was the cybernetics lab. The lab had been partially transported into the hellish dimension and meshed with the demonic growth that resides there. He levelled his plasma rifle and fired on the rapidly approaching horde. The demons soon turned to burnt chunks and ash. He spun around, another horde was coming at him. He squeezed the trigger and sprayed the hot plasma in a wide sweep, more demons went down in smouldering chunks. Turning again, he didn’t even wait to see what was there before firing. Smoke rose up from the charred demon corpses. He dashed behind the block of terminals and reloaded. He peeked up from his cover and took a few pot shots at the Cacodemons. Balls of flying fire and power slammed against the terminal.
He grips his shotgun and fired both shells at a time at the aliens. He leaped over the terminal and grabbed a demon and tore it’s limbs, he then kicked another into the wall of the tower, winded, it fell to the floor. More portals opened. He fired again and then tore the flesh from another, the floor was red and slick with blood. He ran to the other side of the area and fired again, he heard the sound of a demon’s death cry. He dodged behind another terminal and reloaded, he fired a few times on a horde of aliens. They died out before they hit the ground. More portals opened, he was suddenly surrounded. He was moments from becoming demon lunch, he dropped the shotgun and reached for the chainsaw. It was a small package that unfolds with the flick of a wrist, it roars to life with the same action.
The hungry sounds of snarling demons came from all sides, he swung the chainsaw. The demons charged in, a large pair of jaws bit down on the moving blade. The saw split the demon’s jaws, he flicked the saw out and the demon died with blood fountaining from its head. He swung the blade around and sliced through two more, strange organs fell to the floor and blood splattered against his visor. A horde charged from the right, He kicked a fallen barrel and it rolled toward them, he drew his pistol and fired on the barrel, bloody body parts flew through the air. He holstered his pistol with a professionals flourish and heaved the blade toward more growling sounds.
He stopped and looked around, a horde of at least four dozen demons suddenly spilled around the corner of the tower. He turned the corner while gripping an HE grenade, popped the cap, tossed it around the corner, then ran up the flight of stairs. A loud boom sent blood and parts flying past the base corner. The center of the explosion was a mess with pools of blood, organs and severed members. He reached the first landing and a Cacodemon hung in the air, along the guard-rails, hardly a meter away. The marine marched toward the alien and thrust the chainsaw through its single eye and pushed upward, sending up a shower of blue coloured brain and blood. He folded up the chainsaw and the purring engine putted into silence. The area was almost cleared, some demons and Caco’s remained. The marine set the sight of the plasma rifle onto one of the bloated freaks when he heard the grinding sound of the large Northern door opening.
Bright white light flooded through the door, two tall bodies emerged and made a horrible sound as they threw up their arms in an intense gesture, fire glowed in the space between their hands. It threw its hands forward and huge tongues of fire sailed toward the marine. The fire shot toward him and he dove out of its path, the space he was standing in was engulfed. The creatures were Arch-vile, a humanoid demon of great strength and pyrokinetic psychic attacks. They growled frighteningly as they quickly stalked the area, behind them, a swarm of Lost Souls bustled into the room. The Arch-vile moved into a position in front of the control tower and threw another wall of flames hurling at the marine, a screaming swarm of Lost Souls followed. He jumped to the flight of stairs below him, narrowly missing the burning attack.. The marine hit the landing hard and had to drag himself to his feet, then blasting the Lost Souls.
Glancing down at the aliens, he saw that the Arch-vile were performing strange gestures above the remains of a large-jawed demon and Caco, what followed was an unthinkable sight, the alien rose its arms to the air and a bright light appeared between its hands, revealing its pale, powdery skin. The remains began to glow, blood swirled around and pooled toward it as the flesh grotesquely stitched itself together. It levitated between the Arch-vile’s clawed hands for a moment, the resurrected aliens opened their eyes and began charging. The whole process had a sickening soundtrack, the marines stomach turned as he watched the gruesome resurrection.
He shook off the nauseating sensation.
‘I am not having this’ he thought to himself as he reached for his shotgun and leaped from the stairs to the floor. He landed with both feet and levelled the shotgun. The aliens were closing in quickly, the marine he blasted the first demon. Blood, brain and bone briefly blossomed in the air, then another. A demon approached from the right, the marine turned toward it and shoved the twin barrels down its throat and squeezed the trigger, beautiful, flowering gore filled the space between its ears. The marine stepped closer, reloading smoothly, dodging the occasional stream of fire. The Arch-vile continued to resurrect, but their numbers were dwindling faster than they could work. The Marine continued to fire, reloading the super shotgun with slick efficiency. Boom! Click-clock-click Boom! Click-clock-click Boom!
He pointed the shotgun at an Arch-viles throat and fired both barrels, the neck was almost completely blown through, the broken, bloody flesh crawled with morbid activity as it regenerated itself. The marine reached for the chainsaw and gave it a flick, it roared to life and he finished off the arch-vile. The rest of its neck came off easily, the severed head thudded to the flood. The other Arch-vile was about seven meters away, the marine stepped toward it, chainsaw purring. A Lost Soul screeched toward the marine, he grabbed it from the air and threw it into the Arch-viles face, it momentarily lost its focus. He unloaded the shotgun one barrel at a time, the alien staggered and held its arms out to attack again. The marine gripped his chainsaw and pressed it against the Arch-viles neck.
As the blade passed through its flesh, the saw becomes briefly jammed by the monsters rapidly regenerating flesh. With the saw spinning in its throat, it held out its arms and spiraling tongues for flame materialized between its pale hands. It was preparing for a point blank fire attack. The marine looked into the bulging eyes of the alien, it was grinning devilishly. The marine twisted the chainsaw and forced it up, through its skull. Its head split, bone and brain flew through the air and blood soaked his armor. The Arch-vile’s death cry resounded through the hangar as its body fell to the ground in a messy heap.
*Hawwwk, Patoo* The marine spits into the Arch-vile’s remains. “This is my world”, he shouts.
Alien corpses were splattered along the North side of the tower, blood dripped into the many puddles on the ground from the tower and the ships. He went back to evaluating the ships nearby, demonic chunks squished under his feet. He soon found the biggest ship in the place, it stood on huge docking moors. It had front and rear scanning hardware, heat & motion seeking missiles launchers and a heavy forward plasma turret.
He aimed the flashlight at the side of the ship, the spot of light streaks across the name ‘Echelon’. “Beautiful” he says. He activated his armours computer and transmits his command codes to the ship. The airlock door opened and a shining staircase descends. He climbed into the ship and the depressurization procedure began. He exited the airlock and jogged through the shining chrome corridors to the command center. His clearance opened the secure doors, he walked onto the bridge and dropped into the pilots chair.
“Good afternoon, Captain.” said the ship’s computer. “Welcome to the Corporate Space Vessel Echelon, a ship-wide diagnostic is in progress. Reactor systems online, defense systems online, command systems online. Diagnostic has deemed that ship is fit for deployment”, it said proudly. He chose the primary power setting and fired up the reactor. “Computer, activate the hangar doors”, he said. “Error. Station reports a massive power outage”, it replied. The marine actually forgot that the spaceport was running on rapidly evaporating emergency power. He sunk into his seat and contemplated his problem for a moment. “Huh, well I didn’t want to go that way anyhow”. He activated the defence systems. The shield emitters fired and the plasma coils warmed up. He targeted the centre of the domed ceiling and fired. The ship’s weapons erupted in a flurry of plasma blobs that slammed against the ceiling.
The patch of ceiling soon became red-hot under the barrage of plasma. The Echelon’s impressive weaponry made the patch of ceiling red hot and molten material began raining down, bouncing against the ship’s shields. The plasma began punching holes into the patch, the marine fired the rear missile launcher. Three missiles jumped from the rear of the ship up to the weakened ceiling and exploded on impact, debris flew out in all directions. The marine smoothly piloted the ship through the opening in the ceiling and made his exit with the powerful space vessel. In the distance, the Echelon rises to the air, the engines fire and the ship tears across the sky.