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Novelising AVP - Introducing Van Zandt

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Right, as promised, here's the first little teaser from my ongoing novelisation of Aliens vs. Predator. Here we're introduced to Major Thomas Van Zandt before the mission begins (and, predictably, goes very wrong). This guy is basically the reason I decided to add a sequence aboard the Marlow at the beginning of the story, I really liked him in the game but he had almost no screen-time. This way I got to enlarge his character slightly. Anyway, here's a few short paragraphs for you to read if you're interested!

Major Van Zandt entered through the door at the end of the long room, clad in his combat gear and holding a flamethrower by its carry handle in his left hand.

“As you were.”

He was considerably older than most of the other Marines aboard the Marlow, well into his forties, but even so there was no doubt who was in charge around here. And it wasn’t because the Marines respected their elders. It didn’t even have anything to do with the golden oak leaf stencilled on his armour to signify his rank – just from looking at him you could see Van Zandt was a tough bastard.

The arms protruding from the sides of his armour vest bulged out of his tight t-shirt, his biceps almost as thick as an average man’s thighs. A prominent USCM tattoo stamped just below his right sleeve proudly affirmed his one true love in the universe. The fingers wrapped around the weapon he clutched were part of equally massive hands, which looked like they commanded sufficient strength to strangle a synthetic to death. His eyes were narrow and alert, set in a face that was creased with lines but firm, having been chiselled and toughened by years of stoic command and more than two decades of faithful service to the Corps. His grey-white hair was brush-cut to a length of no more than a couple of millimetres, as was the similarly coloured, neat beard that covered most of the lower half of his face. Some of the Marines had christened him “The Albino” on account of his hair, although they’d never say anything like that to his face, for the truth was even the new guys had already developed a huge and genuine level of respect for the Major. He was the genuine article, a Marine’s Marine, the kind of on-the-field, leading-from-the-front officer who made them proud to be a part of the Corps – tough, determined and with no time for B.S. They loved the guy. If you wanted to throw a cliché at it, you could safely say they’d follow him into Hell.

Unlike the other Marines with their customized gear, the armour Van Zandt wore was there only to get the job done. The sole embellishment he’d seen fit to add was a sheath for a large combat knife, attached to the left shoulder strap on the front of his vest. The blade would be heavy, razor sharp and with a nasty-looking serrated top edge. There was no doubt he could kill you with it just as easily as the flamethrower he held in his hand. His legs, thick and muscular like the rest of his body, pounded the deck inside heavy-duty combat boots as he moved front and centre of the group, which had now formed into vague ranks facing him. He set his weapon down on a bench and turned to the men.

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