*Happy 22 anniversary to the DooM series*
Chapter VIII – War Machine
A quiet hum was all that could be heard of the engine from within the bridge of the Echelon. She was cruising at a Mach-five, the ship’s computer estimated the time to arrival was twelve minutes. The marine was using a tiny energy emitter to give himself a badly needed shave, he swung his chair toward an adjacent terminal and studies the inventory of the ship’s armory. There were pistols, machine guns, chainguns, two BFG 9000s, and an experimental battle-mech; “Wow”, the marine said to himself. He had only ever seen the blueprints for these war machines, he never saw one for himself. He couldn’t wait to test it out. It was eleven feet tall, heavily armored with shoulder mounted chaingun and grenade launcher, it had sharp looking wings used for flight, which also can be changed into a sword for a specialized fighting mode. It was shining metal with clawed digits on the hands and feet that retracted when not needed. The marine put the Echelon on auto-pilot and abandoned the bridge for the armoury. He had to get the battle-mech ready for combat. He abandons his mega armour to operate the mech.
Miles ahead, the soldiers he was assigned to rescue were under constant attack from an endless demonic battalion. Streams of plasma would fly one way, while fire, electricity and rockets flew back. The survivors had been fighting the hordes back for days and kept having to retreat because the mountains of corpses they made was constantly threatening to trap them. The surrounding landscape had deteriorated rapidly. The sky was red, trees were burnt, the dried earth had deep cracks in the ground. Suddenly the Echelon appeared in the sky, accompanied by a loud bang. The survivors, undaunted, continued fighting. The ship maneuvered to a lower vantage. The marine, suited in the battle mech, was riding a cargo elevator to the top of the ship. Controlling the ship from the mech’s computer, he moved the Echelon towards the fighting, its defence systems were set to commence firing automatically.
The marine found himself looking down at the ground, vertigo was apparent in his mind. He studied the mechs targeting data, selected the largest group of aliens, then warmed up the chamber of a BFG he attached to the fixture of the discarded mini-gun. The chamber reached its maximum force potential and he let the energy bolt fly. He extended the wings of the battle mech, jumping from the surface of the Echelon, he glided toward the carnage. At that moment, the BFG bolt reached the ground and detonated, sending body parts shooting from the center of the explosion. The marine was gliding toward the ground, the commander of the survivors on the ground signalled the battle-mechs radio unit. “Sweet Jesus, its fine to see you. I don’t know where you got that battle-mech but I’m just glad your here”, said the commander. “All in a days work, do you have critical targets?” “My technician is sending targeting data to your ship’s tactical systems”.
The marine studies the targets. The BFG took out a large number of the monsters but more were approaching, in greater numbers from outside the blast radius. The marine fed commands to the Echelon to target weapons on the largest group of demons. The big, beautiful ship used the zero-gee thrusters to perform a cartwheeling maneuver that swung the ship towards the demons with its plasma cannons facing out. The ships plasma cannons charged, making a loud high-pitched whine that could be heard for miles. Then, large blobs of plasma impacted against the first in a battalion of Hell Barons. They didn’t know what hit them, the plasma instantly melted the Barons to soup. The ship began circling the charred blast radius of the BFG bolt, melting hundreds of monsters each moment. The battle-mech dove through the air, towards a garrison of Pain elementals and Mancubus monsters. He flew above them and pulled up, while squeezing the grenade launchers trigger. Bombs of exploding napalm scattered across the field of demons.
The Mancubus exploded into burnt, stinking flabby chunks and cybernetic parts. Pain elementals melted grotesquely as the burning napalm seared their flesh. From above, the Echelon maneuvered at unthinkable angles, while blasting streams of plasma that was charged to tens of thousands of volts. Entire sections were scorched from the battlefield, while enemy fireballs and rockets deflected against the ship’s shields. The battle-mech would swoop in every so often with another bombing run, while the survivors on the ground continued firing with chainguns, plasma rifles and railguns. No one had noticed it yet, but several Cyberdemons were slowly approaching the loud battle. A few streams of plasma came too close for comfort to the survivors, their commander signalled the marine for an ordinance strike on a group of Arachnotron that broke ranks to flank the survivors. The marine handled the mech’s thrusters while he charged the BFG. A moment before it would have exploded, he released the mammoth blob of energy at the offending robotic spiders.
As the blob of energy sailed along, the mech’s targeting computer alerted the marine to five approaching targets of considerable mass. As the marine scrutinized the data, trying to identify the threat, the BFG bolt detonated, bathing the atmosphere in a green glow. The commander came over the mech’s radio, “Thats a fine piece of work, soldier. If we’re going to evacuate, I suggest we do it now”
“Stand-by, commander”, the marine replied.
Squinting at the targets on his computer, he identified the approaching Cyber-demons. “Negative, Commander. My computer reports several immense aliens approaching. I’m sending you my targeting data”
“Roger that, marine, standing by”.
Among the deafening sounds of flying plasma and explosions, Commander Thompson studied the hovering image in the light projecting from a holographic data-disc. A group of giant Cyber-demons were marching toward them. She barely noticed the words “Oh s***”, leave her lips. She and her men had seen the insides of many demons, but never the legendary Cyber-demon with her own eyes, only in intelligence reports from her scouts. The Echelon could only deal with Cyber-demons one at a time, it wouldn’t take much for the other four to permanently put her out of commission, and without her, they were doomed. The Commander had a weapon that could save them, but it had never been tested. It was the Commanders last resort, the gravity vortex device. The weapon was a metallic coloured rectangle on track wheels, used for remotely moving the device into position. Once initiated, specialized liquid molecules would simulate the crushing effect of a planets gravity upon a specific location. In theory, it could reduce a skyscraper to scattered piles of its most basic molecules. It’s designed to tear a target to chunks, then into bits, then tear the bits to molecules; then hopefully they’ll be able to shut it down before it starts tearing apart the scorched face of the Earth.
Arachnotron and Revenant quickly emerged from piles of steaming corpses. The Commander responded over the radio, “Marine, we have a contingency plan ready for this scenario. We are deploying a dangerous untested weapon. You are advised to command the Echelon to the coordinates provided for imminent rescue procedure. Time to weapon activation is eight minutes, starting… now.” The marine had been busy charging the BFG chamber when he got the rapidly spoken message. Quivering bio-energy hurled toward a frantic mob of many different aliens.
From their great distance, the Cyber-demons fired their rockets toward the Echelon. The marine was already in the remote piloting program for the ship. He fired the starboard thrusters and the ship hovered to the side as three rockets sailed past it. Using the zero-gee thrusters, the ship swung in another impossible cartwheel maneuver, the ship came to a hovering stop and the plasma cannons fired. The plasma impacted a few rockets that were targeting the survivors. He then input the rescue coordinates to the auto-pilot program. He disengaged the mech’s hovering thrusters and slowly, he began to fall. He swung his guns towards the the raging mob of snarling monsters and squeezed the triggers, spending as much of his reserve ammo as he could before jettisoning the weapons from their fixtures.
He was falling faster, he activated the specialized fighting mode from the mech’s computer. The wings on the back of the battle mech made mechanical whining sounds and folded in on itself, it then made a wrenching sound as it twisted and made a triple bladed sword. The mech automatically grabbed the sword and a pistol from a hidden holster. The targeting controls turned around, revealing another console behind it. The monitor turned from the dull green targeting data to a wide screen of vivid colour. Just before touching down, the mech automatically burst the thrusters, hovered above the ground for a half a second before completing his descent. Gripping the control sticks, he swings the sword around, decapitating several Mancubus, he then began making wide vertical slices through Revanent and Vagery. Vagery were all around him, they gestured their hands to invoke a telepathic attack against the battle-mech. The marine could feel the strength of the psychic attack pulling against his war-machine. With their telekinetic ability, they were trying to pull vital components, but the structure was too strong. The marine proceeded to slice them to pieces. He ambushed groups of aliens at a time, slicing upward with divine composure; arms, blood and organs spilled through the air and coated the mech. He dashed toward another mob of monsters, firing the giant mech-pistol. The huge pistol round bored out huge cavities from the aliens, often killing two in one shot, their corpses flew backward. He tucked the sword close and charged into a group of snarling, large-jawed demons and swung the sword violently. Their demonic body parts flew through the air followed by ribbons of blood.
A green blob of plasma hit the mech in its side, he didn’t notice, but the attack registered on the mechs sensors. He leaped the mech into the air, then fired the hovering thrusters and pivoted toward the attack, more green plasma was sailing toward him; a battalion of Hell Barons was marching closer. He aimed the pistol for the Barons’ heads and fired slowly. The heads erupted into a blossom of gore. On the other side of the battlefield, the survivors fought their way to the Echelon. The gravity vortex had five minutes to activation. Within the cozy battle-mech, progress of the weapons deployment was shown on the monitors.
He activated combat-auto-pilot and began entering a series of commands to the mechs computer, then resumed manual fighting. A warning alarm came through the computer, “Thank you for activating the self-destruct mechanism. it is recommended for your safety, that you abandon this battle-mech in six minutes”. The marine continued hacking and slashing his way through the hordes of monsters as the survivors rushed to the ship for rescue. The Echelon’s artificial intelligence detected the survivors and accommodated them by maneuvering toward them, lowering the access ramp and opening a patch from it’s shields to admit them entry. The relieved survivors quickly ran through the gap in the energy shields and easily boarded the ship. Commander Thompson dashed straight for the bridge. Outside, the demons died in great piles, the Cyber-demons were almost in range, the secret weapon rolling toward them. From within the bridge, the Commander consulted her holo-disc as soldiers manned the vacant stations, only twenty seconds until the weapons activation and that crazy marine was still out there, she thought to herself.
A large scanning terminal dominated the center of the bridge, it was a flat grid on a table that emitted the holographic scope of the scanners on the ship. Large knobs were set in the terminals control panel, used for tuning and focusing the scanners imagery. She approached the terminal and switched to the aft view and used the knobs to focus on the marine, he was slashing the sword savagely against groups of aliens that fell in fives and tens at a time. Whatever that kid is on, I want some, Thompson thought to herself. The marine’s destruction was a display of unbelievable intensity. One of her soldiers regarding the terminal, asked “Where on Earth did he learn to fight like that!?”
“I have no idea…” the commander replied.