This is a very short story about the colonial marines I wrote one evening, It's heavily based on Aliens Colonial Technical Manual by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, and introduces some of its facts, equipment and characters, plus ones I imagined or assumed.
0824 Hours, January 24, 2165 / 1 klick south of Forward operation base of the Marine Force Eridani, Helene 215 (82 Eridani II).
Corporal Adam "Moose" Rakunas finished his duty before dusk and sighted. he spent all the 3 hours of the evening laying a mine field in an aleatory pattern and then covering some parts of the field with mounds of bunny drop. The corporal knew that bunnies activated the sensitive anti personnel mines but not the anti tank mines, so his company has been using this to their advantage, because "Bugboys" knew this fact too and avoid trails with no bunny dropings.
-"If those bugboys finally learned our bunny droping trick after that ambush on Tokonigara, they're gonna avoid this route and look for another way. Wich lead them to our little surprise." -The corporal though.
Five days ago, an attack force of 3 cadres attacked a marine position near the town of Tokonigara with rifles and flamethrowers. Their scouts saw bunny shit spreaded on the field and their command officer ordered the charge. Ten soldiers blew to pieces when they stepped into the mine field. The rest shot and private Boone were hit by a 8.1 explosive round, but he suffered no lethal injuries. A PFC of Adam's unit, Gonsalves, took his M42A scope rifle and fired at their flamethrower's canister, The woman just stood still as disapeared into flames along with the rest of her squadmates.
-"Hotel Delta, this is Alpha Romeo. Welcome Carpet is set." -The corporal radioded base.
-"Alpha Romeo, Delta Hotel here, we received 5 by 5. come back for a beer" -Someone responded.
Adam took his gear and hurried up to the base, there weren't easy because of the jungle. A month ago, when the forward operation base was established, the dense jungle meant to camouflage the base from enemy aircraft and spy satellites also denegate a clear landing zone for the marines. They call for an airstrike and a AD-19 Bearcat strikeship made a clearing with a crater bomb enough for a Engineer corp's CS-14 Briareos shuttle land and delivered the supplies. This was only acomplished by the use of the corp's powerloaders. two of them have circular saws were the loader pincers must be, these exoskeletons were clearing a path while the other standard P-5000 models transported the crates all the way to the base.
-"Mission acomplished Captain." -said Adam, and snapped to attention. "All mines are set."
-"Good job, corporal." responded Cpt. Cantrell "The trap's set, let's sit and wait our guests." and he walked toward the Barracks.
Cantrell were a man right on his thirties, strict but relaxed, and sometimes he likes to join the men under his command when there's no duty. He walked toward his bunk where two soldiers were arguing there.
-"I told you, Brenda. This jungle freaks me out, it's not like the jungle of central America." -A spotter was arguing with the team's designated sniper, a gunnery sergeant named Brenda Casella.
-"Can you tell me why, Gonsalves? This jungle is exactly like those on Earth, just trees and vines, except it's yellow. but there's no wild animals here, not snakes, not jaguars, no spiders. There's nothing dangerous here except the Bugboys." -Responded the gunnery Sergeant.
-"That's because I haven't tell you about the legends of my hometown." -Gonsalves told Brenda in a dark tone.
-"C'mon, Gonsalves, we're on mid 21st century and you still believe on ghost stories and the boogeyman?"
-"the legend wasn't about ghosts, or a boogeyman. It happened in 1987..."
-"Man, that's almost 200 years ago." -Brenda said.
-"In Valverde, where I'm from, then just a small country in central America, exist the story about a demon who hunt men and makes trophies with them.it's called 'El diablo cazador de Hombres'"
-"A demon? Now I know you lost the rest of your sanity." -Brenda sighted.
-"Let him continue, Brenda." -Cpt. Cantrell interrupted her.
-"Oh' right captain, just because you told so."
-"Back then, a special forces of green berets, disappeared on a mission. Short time later, a team of commandos sent to find them disapeared too. Only two survived, the team leader and a woman, Anna. My ancestor." -The PFC said.
-"No way, Gonsalves. You're kidding." -Brenda told him.
-"She tell my great grandfather's grandfather that the diablo cazador de hombres killed both units, but this diablo, this demon, was not a supernatural being, but some kind of alien."
-"An alien? that's absurd" -Brenda was growing impatient -"In all these years in which humanity has colonized the stars we have not encountered any technological species, except those Arcturan poongtangs, and they barely are a menace."
-"You're right Brenda, remember those douchbags from the 2/9 batallion? I bet 50 bucks each if they dare to f*** one." -Cantrell said to Brenda.
-"F*** yeah. Rico, I think. He bets you 100 bucks if he fucked a male, an the bastard did it." Brenda said, now amused.
-"Anyway, C'mon Gonsalves, there's no alien life on this jungle, except those big cockroaches the bugboys ride like horses." -Cantrell now said to Gonsalves.
-"The acount says that this alien, this 'predator', use some kind of active cammouflage, thermal vision and hunts on warm places. And this jungle is hot as shit." -The private continue.
-"Ok, that's enough. I don't want to hear more of this nonsense. Captain?" -Brenda said finally.
-"Actually That's pretty much as a story I have, but this is from L.A." The captain was silent and finally say both.
-"Oh C'mon. You too Captain?" -Brenda ask.
-"My family were a family of cops by tradition, was my grandfather who change that to marines. Almost five generations ago my ancestor, a cop woman named Leona, survived the subway massacre back in 1997."
-"1997? How can you both know of your families six generations ago?" -Brenda was astoinished.
-"I think we're lucky our families liked the oral tradition and not the net." -Cantrell responded.
-"O' right captain, and what this subway massacre have in common with Gonsalves' story?"
-"Leona says the attacker was some kind of masked monster, who skin their victims and took their skulls. She survived because the creature lets her go. Later at the hospital, his squad leader, tell her that the killer was some kind of alien hunter, and he believes the creature have some kind of honor code, and that code was the reason it spare her. She was pregnant at that time." -Cantrell told Brenda, who was still skeptic.
-"So, you Captain also believes there's some kind of alien species which likes manhunting? why we haven't encountered yet?"
-"I don't know, maybe it's just a myth, many of Los Angeles population were from latin America, it's not strange that some inhabitants were from Valverde and told his descendants the local legends they learned when they were children"
-The captain was trying to make sense of the talk, which started to sounds kind of freaky.
-"That's fine for me, Captain. Gonsalves, c'mon, we have our guard shift starting now." -The sniper hurried up her spotter and both grabbed their gear and headed for the guard post.
0600 Hours, January 25th, 2165 / Just outside the perimeter of Forward operation base, Helene 215 (82 Eridani II).
The cadre was in position and Lieutenant Pang Ho San signaled them to advance. He and 4 other soldiers were crawling toward the marines defensive position. Not late before dusk, they have encountered a field covered in bunny droppings, Pang knew the trick and did not fall in the trap, so they sorrounded the field and approach west, crawling wearing the thermal masking ghillie suits for the rest of the night and now they are only a hundred meters of the perimeter.
Now it was Pang's time to crawl closer. his mission was to infiltrate the perimeter, plant a beacon on position, then signal back and an ASAT ground to space missile launched from an underground base will finish the job.
Right in front of him, there were fragmentation wire and beyond, the robot sentries, a man portable, automatic perimeter defense system, basically an automated turret. Pang Ho San cursed and started to cut the wire.
As a soldier for the Third Empire fighting in the long war known as the corporate wars, Pang could do nothing but blame the big corporations for this bloody campaign. In fact, he was not far from the truth. All started back on the 20's, when the 'Nostromo' a ship property of the Weyland company disappeared near the Zeta Reticuli sector, the company changed its Sol-Thedus comercial routes to the chinese arm. later on 2137, two more private ships, the 'Anesidora' and the 'Torrens' plus Seegson corporation's 'Sevastopol station' disapeared on the same sector, Seegson did the same. This change on the commercial routes put stress on the chinese and Korean colonies, whom had bitter opinions about the corporate policies.
That opinion came to become true when the recently merged Weyland-Yutani corporation stablished an office on Cristobal. There were some reports to the ICC by the colony administrator, a man named Hetos, that the W-Y operatives mistreat the colonists. The ICC only raised its shoulders and the corporate suits continued their operation unscatted. Hetos leaded a worker's strike and his people destroyed corporation property. The suits called in for the marines and the UAAC (United Americas Allied Command) 'restored the order' with CS gas and baton rounds. The acount were 500 colonial militia and 1500 colonists dead and buried on mass graves, the media coverage was only limited to four dead marines and 254 locals dead. This incident at Cristobal sparked a interstellar civil war between the Third World Empire and the United Americas Allied Command, with battles on Helene 215, Linna 349 and Tientsin (Eta Bootis A III), the capital of the Third World Empire.
Now Pang approached the effective line of fire of the sentry guns and switch off his IFF transponder and wait. Two marines patrolling the perimeter pass so close that Pang could hear their conversation.
-"Gonsalves, Stop, Enough I have with your 'Diablo' story, I don't want to hear you talk nonsense about the syntethics." -Brenda tried to be calm, but clearly she was not.
-"Told you, these robots were not trustfull, the corporation who built them, Cyberdyne, did not follow the three laws." -Gonsalves continued.
-"First, synthetics are built by Hyperdine, not Cyberdine, jackass. Second, Synths don't like being called robots, but Artificial persons, you hear? And third, A-2's are not like those creepy guys made by Seegson, the Working Joes, those plastic bastards really creep me out." -Brenda said.
-"Ha!! then you're distrutsfull of androids too." -Gonsalves said in a sarcastic manner.
-"Shut up, we're on duty. Take position and no more chat, please."
Both the sniper and the spotter took position on a sandbag nest cammouflaged by tree branches. Off course they didn't spotted Pang or any of his cadre. Pang signaled back to his men and the four switched off their IFF, and started to advance. But one of the soldiers, Private Xong, the rookie, crawled too close to a branch and its transponder was not safely packed. the branch switched it on, and inmediately, both robot sentries fixed on his position and fired. Xong died by the hail of bullets almost inmediately. The other three men and Lt Pang inmediately take cover, but they were spotted by Brenda and Gonsalves.
-"Over there" -Gonsalves signaled the line of trees.
-"Got'them!" -Brenda responded.
-"Captain, we got bugboys pinned down by the sentries! the f***ers were almost over us" -Gonsalves radioded the Captain.
-"Roger, private. Hang on, we're on our way!" -the sergeant responded.
Pang Ho san could do nothing as the rest of the marines sorrounded their position and take them prisioners, but he quickly hide the beacon. Maybe he can complete his mission after all. Better yet, as a prisioner he could be transported to a much more valuable target than this forward operation base, maybe a command post, or a starship, these are the trickiest of all, because they have stealth alloy hulls that made hard to lock on, and decoy ballutes. So he surrended without a fight.
-"What was your objective?" -Cantrell asked.
-"Pang Ho Sang, Lieutenant, 21st combat Cadre." -Pang responded.
-"Your Cadre, what you're up to, Lieutenant?"
-"We're only scouts"
-"I don't believe you. You're gonna tell me sooner or later.Pack the prisoners" -Cantrell say to a private wich was entering the interrogation room.
-"Yessir." -He snapped to attention -"Sir, you have a transmission from command post."
-"Thanks soldier. I'm on my way."
The captain exit the room and head for the communications post. If command post was calling he knew it was important.
-"Loose Moose this is Hotel Delta, come in." -he say to the radio.
-"Hotel Delta, this is Loose Moose. you have new orders Captain, pack your bag, you bought a passage to Newshine."
The reason why the Bugboys haven't taken out a valuable command officer or command post is that the field command post were not a building but a mobile one, on this case, the UD4L dropship 'Loose Moose', currently over Shinowa colony, a settlement 260 klicks northeast. The captain look through the windows towards the yellow jungle beyond and sighted. He wasn't questioning orders, if command want his unit leave the system and head for Linna 349, then he'll do it.
-"Oh right, marines. Pack your gear and the POW's, were heading to a well deserved vacations on a ski resort on Neusheune."
-"That's fucking great captain!, it's time to get rid of those flying bananas and this jungle." -a private cheers.
-"Watch your mouth marine, and now call in for those 'flying bananas', we need a ride to the Sulaco." -the captain ordered.
Pang Ho San heard the conversation and think "So, we're gonna take a ride on a starship. Now that's a target". And then carefully put the beacon inside an open crate right behind him.
February, 2165 / Conestoga-class fast attack transport U.S.S. Sulaco, in route to Linna 349 (52 Tau Ceti II).
Colonel Barton H. Susman, stood over a platform in the hangar bay, ready for a mission briefing. Front of him were the marine unit stationed on the forward operation base at Helene 215, plus three more units from Shinowa and Tokonigara.
-"Ladies and Gentlemen, you're maybe wondering why the brass brougth you here from your former post. Well, the Linna campaign it's not running as planned." -the colonel said -"Our tank brigades were ambushed on Highway two by enemy forces with new CDC-80 french tanks. Our HIMAT teams were not prepared for those kind of objectives and although we've only lost one tank, the main objective could not be acomplished until their detection gear on the Trobriands are neutralized."
The main objective of the 3rd tank batallion was to secure the towns of Newshine and Harare, but the new detection gear on the Trobriands, the large mountain range sorrounding the cities, could detect the Jacksons medium tanks from half a continent and the mechanized unit were soon ambushed. Command and Control now want to capture those installations, that's why they need the marines who would be deployed by reentry vehicles.
-"The Sulaco would make an orbital pass over the Trobriands and release you right on their front door. Thanks to the stealth capability of the ship, we have the surprise factor, don't wasted it, marines. Any question?" -The colonel continued.
-"Any enemy ships on the system?" -Cantrell asked.
-"Our last reports inform of the presence only two light attack ships. Nothing to be worried." -the colonel responded.
The Sulaco emerged from hyperspeed near Nene 246, the third planet on Tau Ceti, the ship used the gravity for desaceleration and take a route direct towards Linna 349, the second planet. Radar scans don't show any contact. the Sulaco then approached the planet and take an elliptic orbit just over the Trobriands, when it was almost over its target, the alarm sounded.
-"Alert! Alert! ASAT missile cluster launch detected." -The ship's computer voice sounded. "Prepare for evasive maneuvers."
-"You hear the lady, marines. move!" -The colonel shouted. "Somehow, the bastards detected us!"
From the surface, somewhere in the mountains, the detection gear picked up a mass, a faint gravitational field coming in. The thing could be a meteor of course, but the rebels at the detection post aren't taking any chances, the las attempt with Jacksons and Ridgeways made one thing clear. They're coming from above this time, they readied their ASAT's and then they received something else, the signal of a beacon from the same place as the gravitational field. This could only mean one thing, someone finally put a beacon on a starship. So they launched the missile.
The ASAT reached low orbit and detached ten high explosive warheads, and headed for the Sulaco.
-"Initiating defensive maneuvers. Point defense lasers firing." -Ship's computer anounced.
The port lasers fired and four of the warheads detonated, six others take evasive maneuvers.
-"Evasive maneuvers! deploying decoy ballutes." -the ship's computer continued.
From the dorsal midsection of the ship, two decoy ballutes -inflatable ballutes designed to look and give a thermal signature like those of the ship - were deployed. four of the rest warheads take out the ballutes, but the remaining two were locked on the beacon signal, so they didn't take the bluff. They hit the hangar and cargo bay of the Sulaco.
-"Emergency, fire on cargo bays! All personnel prepare for venting atmosphere on those sections!"
-"It's OK, vent those sections, We're already on our posts so the marines must be on their reentry vehicles." -The colonel ordered.
-"Venting atmosphere. Marines on their capsules. Deploying capsules." -the computer responded.
-"With a little luck the capsules look like fragments of the ship and could make it." -the colonel said to himself. "Get us out of here!