Incidents by Rich
The sun had hung on the horizon for an unmeasurable amount of time. The small party had eaten twice and slept once. The terrain had changed several times, and now resembled a temperate rainforest of the type found in the Pacific northwest. They could hear movement but couldn't see the source; between the forest and the dim light they were lucky to see each other.
Progress was slow, because the truck could barely make it's way through the dense forest. They'd become concerned that they might run out of fuel, but it didn't seem as though they were actually using any - the engine kept running but the fuel level never changed.
Seeing light up ahead, they stopped and dismounted. Doreen and Roger stayed with the vehicle, while Tamiko and the Luds went forward, moving from tree to tree and staying low. They covered about 100 yards and came to the edge of a clearing.
In front of them were several acres of fallen or uprooted trees. The space between the trees was carpeted with neon pink grass, and several creatures were crawling on hands and knees, chewing on the grass and moaning softly.
The creatures wore human clothing, but weren't human.
One of the creatures was approaching the giant trunk they were peering over. Tamiko looked at the Luds, who just shrugged. She smiled, then slid over the fallen tree and crept closer to the creature. They were supposed to be gathering information, and this was information just begging to be gathered.
She got within ten feet before her target even realized she was there. Before it could move, she seized it, tossed it over her shoulder, and sprinted away, leaping over the tree to where her teammates waited.
Big Lud tucked the thing under his arm, with his other hand over its' mouth. They quickly returned to the truck with their prize.
Doreen and Roger were happy to see them; less happy to see their captive. The creature just whimpered, jerking it's head from side to side. The lower part of its' face was human, but had no nose, ears, or eyes. Instead the forehead was filled with a cluster of purplish protrusions, which may (or may not) have been sense organs.
It wore blue jeans, a tee shirt with a picture of Taylor Swift, and one running shoe. In it's back pocket they found a wallet with about forty dollars, a Visa card, and a drivers license. There was also a picture of a young man with his arms around a very happy-looking young blond woman. The young man had a tattoo on his left bicep which read "Doug & Brenda".
They all looked at the creature's left arm. It had the same tattoo.
"I don't know what this is," said Fitzpatrick,"... but I think it's name used to be Doug."
At the Meander Creek Reservoir
It was a little before midnight when the attack came in.
The demons came silently, or at least tried to - thousands of monsters can't really move quietly, and motion sensors should have detected them anyway. But they didn't. The first wave came out of the lake itself, hundreds of eels-with-legs swarming onto the road and overwhelming the Gurkha patrol on watch. It was the sound of their weapons fire that alerted the Rangers.
Captain Forsyth was on overwatch along the shoreline, with one lance of Pumas. They opened fire immediately, but couldn't really cover such a wide frontage. Luckily, Terry arrived with the Osirises before the eel-things reached the shore. Concentrated laser and PPC fire fried the creatures easily, but there were more behind them.
Sonya was asleep when the "Boots and Saddles" call came in. She was still half asleep when she rolled out of bed and hit the floor on all fours. She snatched up her weapon, vest, and boots (in that order); then hurried out of her motel room.
Her room was on the second floor, and she'd parked her Piranha in the lot directly in front of the balcony. She didn't bother with the stairs; she just vaulted the railing, did a paratrooper's roll* when she landed, and climbed aboard. She listened to the sitrep with one ear, while alerting her team, bringing her mech online, and donning her boots. Two minutes after the call came in, her lance was racing to the causeway; behind them came a swarm of GEVs.
They arrived to chaos. The eels had been only tip of the spear. Behind them came uncountable numbers of indescribable things. They covered the ground as far as Sonya could see; they filled the lake, and swarms of flying creatures smeared the sky. Her heart sank. She didn't think they'd be able to kill them fast enough to hold them back, but it wouldn't be for lack of trying.
Maria's strike force arrived next, coming up from the south. She sent her Sha Yus to the southern tip of the lake, to guard the flank. From there, they could fire into the flank of the horde coming across the causeway.
Sonya couldn't have described the creatures on the road; she couldn't actually see
some of them. Her vision blurred when she looked at them. Luckily, she didn't have to see them accurately to shoot - they were big
targets, and there were so many that she couldn't really miss.
The Gurkhas hovertanks pulled up, their autocannon firing beehive rounds which shredded the flying monsters. Most of these went down easily, but a few creatures, which resembled zeppelins with teeth, survived multiple strikes, slowly dropping until they hit the water of the lake.
In only minutes, her mechs' temperature was reaching dangerous levels. She led her lance forward into the reservoir. Standing up to their knees in the water would dissipate some of the heat, and buy time until critical failure. She knew it wouldn't be enough.
A barrage of inferno missiles heralded the arrival of the Mad Cats, and cleared the causeway briefly. As the road filled up again, Fetterman's heavies strode on to the battlefield.
Fetterman took his stand at the end of the bridge. Firing along the length of the road, his gauss rifles could punch through five or six of the monsters with every shot. On the downside, it took multiple shots to bring some of them down. A few of these things were bigger than Fetterman's Fafnir.
Some of them left the road, splashing through the water to get at their enemy. One of these things, which looked like a walking pyramid, made it to shore, got in among the lights and knocked down Forsyth's mech. Terry charged it, distracting it for a moment; then Terry's mech was knocked down as well. The creature loomed over the Osiris, then smashed it into the dirt. It turned to do the same to Forsyth's Puma. At close range, one of the 'Cats hit the thing with a full volley of infernos. It's screech as it burned was loud enough to break windows in Warren.
Stalking out of the darkness came a shapeless armored mass that dwarfed even the pyramid creature. At the front was something that might have been a head, studded with spikes; and from the spikes lightning flashed. The lightning struck like a hit from a PPC. A marauder had an arm blasted away. A Defiance fell with a leg shattered, and a Mad Cat went down when one of it's missile launchers blew up.
Fetterman poured shot after shot into the thing's head, shattering spikes and smashing armor. The pieces blown off were nearly two feet thick, but still the titanic monster kept coming. It was only yards away when a lightning bolt hit the Fafnir dead on. The mech stopped moving, and they could all see flame shooting from its' head.
Before anyone could react, a tiny figure rose into the air, riding on a jet of fire. The jumpbelted girl landed on the creature's head, narrowly avoiding the spikes, and raised her two-handed greatsword like a spear. Then she drove the blade downward, striking to the hilt at a gap blown in the monster's armor.
Everything was still for a few seconds. It seemed to take forever for the creature to collapse, and when it finally hit the ground shook. Jenny jumped free, then jumped again, this time to the head of the Fafnir. She climbed through the flames, and appeared seconds later with a scorched body in her arms.
* I know this sounds impossible, but I actually saw a classmate do it in college; he jumped off a commons room roof, rolled, and walked away unharmed - and he was stone cold sober at the time (and so was I, btw).A/N:
It couldn't stay easy forever, could it ?