#InTransitMonsters is a #firstdraft #novel about Technology as Messiah. Humanity is about to fall, and is forced to create monsters to save itself. Can these giant monsters succeed, or will humanity's old ambitions damn the species to extinction?
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Charlie (H Day +1)
I cringed under my helmet. Whiskey continued to work on the bunker for us, while the others scouted in pairs. They were establishing a perimeter.
@Kilo: The city looks intact from my position. It could have a great place to establish a HQ from.
@Whiskey: We could also build a few different sites across the surface. Like this bunker.
@Charlie: We need to know where the Enemy is. All we have are satellite images from Earth.
I turned around the corner into the Bunker proper. Whiskey sat on the ground. Her goetic nanos gave the room an air of blue sparkles. Surfaces glowed hot white. Each melted and cooled into panels, then each shifted around into their place.
"How much longer?" I asked her.
Whiskey pulled her helmet off. She gave me a wink and sat it down on the ground. She then she stood up. The Goetic Engineer strode over to a nearby metallic wall. She kicked it.
No dent. Just a dull thud.
"Pressurized. About five feet of solid granite and other materials." Whiskey whistled as she spoke. "And everything sized up for our use, too. Two rooms, this one and the sleeping quarters down stairs. Although getting the carbon into form is going to take longer than I like."
@Kilo: Foxtrot is on the other side of this city, Fotani or whatever it's called. I read her position.
That was good news. Foxtrot had scouted with Uniform. Along with what Kilo's pair and other teams that had reported in, they'd made good progress. It meant that almost 200 degrees around us were accounted for. At least everything within thirty klicks of us. Given another day or so, they'd have a decent perimeter. Sixty klicks of safety.
@Kilo: Whatever, it isn't like anyone lives there now.
@Charlie: We don't know that. Zeus Protocol didn't completely glass over Mars.
Whiskey gestured at my helmet. I shook my head. I didn't need to take it off. Not quite yet.
@Foxtrot: @Charlie, do you read?
It took Whiskey and me about thirty minutes to reach their position. I hadn't called for any of the rest.
"Why just us?" Whiskey asked as we crested the ridge over Fontana.
"I'm hoping we can figure this out before we make contact any Enemy spawn." I told her. "To be honest, I'm still kind of making this up as I go."
"Oh." Whiskey said. "You've been doing good so far."
"Uh... thanks, but you're kind of biased I think."
"Maybe. I just assumed Nasr had taught you some sort of secret leadership thing."
"I wish he had." I let out a long breath. "I don't think anyone else like that I'm in charge, Whiskey."
The two of us continued on.
"You can't keep avoiding talking to her about it." Whiskey said.
"I don't want... I'm not going to deal with it." I grunted. "If I leave it be, maybe it won't turn into anything bad."
"She collapsed a building on you." Whiskey pointed out. "She couldn't win her argument, so she knocked it down on you."
"Let's just... Whiskey, please let us push this off until later ok?"
I hated dealing with this sort of thing. I hated Nasr putting all this on me. I didn't like telling people what to do. I never could stand doing that.
"Sure." Whiskey said. "But you need to deal with it."
I shook my head as we approached the lone giant standing in the city of Fontana before us. I frowned at that. I had assigned Foxtrot and Uniform together. They shouldn't have separated. I had told her to wait.
@Charlie: @Uniform, where is Foxtrot?
@Uniform: Oh. You're here... Foxy... she decided to...
A building the distance exploded as a figure leapt from it. Then the figure disappeared in mid air. A distant boom echoed from the short-distance transit. I turned back to Uniform.
"To explore on her own, it looks like." Uniform's voice sounded resigned. "I told her to wait."
Tentacled things lept after Foxtrot as she moved. She could run, and she did so. She'd held the record for fastest runner in our entire group, around forty meters per second. Something followed her. No, somethings followed her. A lot of somethings.
I let out another grumble.
"I told her to wait."
"She wants to help." Uniform tried to explain.
"Help? By not listening?" I shook my head. "Now she's had our first contact with the enemy. Couldn't she just have waited?"
Foxtrot appeared closer, popping within sight of us. Still far off from their position. Her short distance transiting could keep the tentacled spawn from catching up to her. I checked my BrainSys. They were geological scouts. That kind of spawn were often found burrowing into sewer and utility lines. They would dissolve them, leaving tunnels that other spawn could use.
"Sewer Scouts." Whiskey pointed at a group of five that popped from under Foxtrot's feet. "She isn't running from one group, she's setting off new groups everywhere she goes."
"Great." I said. "Whiskey, we need some sort of weaponry. Uniform-"
"She's carrying something." Uniform said. "I can see... she has a normal with her. And a dog?"
I blinked and turned my eyes to Foxtrot. I focused my mind like Uniform had. Implants revealed what she'd seen. My BrainSys estimated that Foxtrot would reach our position in less than a minute.
Whiskey tugged on something under the sand. Her goetic sprites whirled over wreckage buried in the martian dirt. Metal creaked. It melted. A moment later Whiskey held up three axes. Their dark neosteel heads gleamed in the dim martian sun.
"Axes?!" Uniform exclaimed. "We need something more than that!"
"Not enough time." Whiskey winced.
"We'll have to make them work." I added. I reached for an axe.
Where the axes laid in the ground became alive with tentacles. Dozens of sewer spawn emerged from underneath us. The three of us tumbled as the morass of alien, mouthless centipedes grasped us.