Once a Glemmie, always a Glemmie Part 2
They found the remains of Battery One several kilometers east of their last known location. They were spread out across some large boulders on a riverside, ritualistically marked and positioned. The team spread out and searched for more evidence, in two man teams.”What the hell is this shit? They did the same kind of thing with the transport crew. Their animals right? How…” Ace said while scanning along the edge of the river.”There were some reports of semi-intelligence, like gorillas.” Bordons responded, also scanning the riverbank.
“That was just a myth to scare the enemy, wasn’t it?” Ace stopped, removed his helmet, and wiped the sweat from his forehead. His neural plugs on the back of his neck glinted in the sunlight.
“Has your processor finished hacking through that data?” Bordons tired of this conversation, which he had with himself not an hour ago.
Ace shouldered his rifle, and removed his Neural Access Pad, and plugged it up to one of his jacks on his neck. The NAP came alive, scrolling through data. “Looks like it. Hold on…”Ace paused as his mind sorted through the cache of data.
His voice changed as it read off the important information. “Medi-Labs Corporation – Pyrodine Ordnance Concepts, Project Brain Boost. Artificial Evolutionary Programming Project, Top Secret. Clearance…” he paused again as he scrolled down. “… Beta Test on Pyros 4 of the Terosh System. Field test of new ordnance and new tactical decisionary software, full Glemmladine Unit. … Prototyped with new AEP Neural Interfacing….” He stopped again…” What follows is a bunch of tactical plans to test out these prototypes… boring stuff.”
“You were right, they were way off. Terosh is a corporate system light years the other way. What do you make of their prototype data, what the hells does that all mean?”
“From what I understand, they were testing out new AI programming to enhance the beasts decisionary processes. Make ‘em smarter animals, to eliminate the need of the Command Un….” A booming explosion off in the distance cut him off. Heavy fire followed.
“Home Nest, this is Battery 3, we are under…” Another explosion, this time visible from where they were. It was across the river. Silence was all that followed.
Bordons spoke again into his comlink “Battery Two move in on their position. We are moving in from the South. Don’t shoot unless you see them…” How can they be picking us off like this? It’s like they know our tactics.
They both broke into a sprint, maximizing their cover as they went. No other shots were heard or fired.
At the attack site, they found only one body. The other had been dragged off. Private Jeran Illsmore lay dying with his left leg severed by a blade of some kind, his rifle emptied. Blood poured from his mouth, from obvious internal injuries. A blood splatter mark on a tree trunk above him showed where Illsmore was thrown. His back was probably broken as well.
“They came out of nowhere…” Illsmore gurgled… “Like they were expecting us…” he coughed up another wad of blood. The medic, Corporal Hamron Elliard, worked hard to relieve the man of his pain. He had already assessed he was a lost cause.
Bordons listened, but was bothered by something about Illsmore. He wasn’t sure why, but something about this situation bothered him.
Illsmore fell silent. The medic looked up from the body, at Bordons. Battery Three down. “Ace, scan that data for the type of ordnance and testing these things were going through. What weapons systems… and special training.”
“Am I looking for something?” Ace removed the NAP again and plugged it up.
“Hand-to-hand testing. Were these Glemmies intended to be close-combat units?” Bordons examined at Illmore’s stump, inspecting the clean almost-perfect cut.
“Close combat, sir? These things were too big for that. They were never intended for that kind of combat…” Private Lang “Scanner” Nagashi from Battery Two piped up. He was called Scanner because he was the only one in the group that went through Psi-testing. He had shown some signs of extra-sensory perception, but they never manifested in the testing. His talents were ruled “indeterminate”.
Bordons didn’t respond. He waited for Ace’s response. “No sir, no close combat. All heavy ordnance – missiles, plasma lasers, heavy slug-throwers and a few prototype-energy weapons. Heavy stuff, sir. Would take a lot for us to take them out. Also mounted with standard armor compliment.”
“Scanner, collect whatever supplies you can from the body, then take care of it. Be sure to get his tags. Elliard, you help him. Ace and I will patrol. We’ll stay in contact at all times.” Bordons lifted his rifle and looked at Ace, who looked confused.
“These things attacked at close combat with Battery Three. They used a finely sharp blade, probably mono-edged. They weren’t mounted with these weapons, and never trained for them. Where did they get them and the training to use them?”
Ace had no answer.
“There are some unanswered questions here.”
“OK, Cap. Illsmore is under.” Bordons heard over his comlink
“Head to Grid Coordinates Gamma 8-9-1-niner. Meet us there. The Satellite had a hard time getting an image there, and we figured we might check it out. I want us all in on this one.”
Ace and Bordons had made it up the river to a waterfall. The site was majestic. They had found little sign of a Glem-unit. Bordons was baffled by the creatures’ abilities to cover their tracks, and use the alien terrain to their advantage. It was almost like they were on their homeworld. But he knew this wasn’t possible. He knew exactly where Glem was, and they were no where near it.
“Cap. Over here” He heard Ace’s call off to his left. It awoke him from the mesmerizing effect the falls had on him. He walked over to his second, who stood near some foliage-covered boulders. He was busy cutting away at the foliage.
“I spotted something odd about these boulders, sir.” The vines and brush fell away to reveal, not boulders, but the remnants of a stone structure, ancient by the look of it. It was about 20 meters in diameter, and very jagged. It appeared as if it were a foundation to a tower of some kind. “I thought so…”
Bordons looked surprised “Is there any record of this world having ruins or any civilization before?”
“Scouts to this world weren’t all that thorough. They just labeled it a backwater world. Apparently there wasn’t enough of these ruins around to pick up on satellite. ”
Bordons inspected the structure further, looking at the holes and the damage to the stone. “These are impact damage. Very old, but you can still make some of it out.” He walked around the ruins. No marking of any kind, nothing… “There was a battle here, probably part of some war…”
“Cap, you sure? That’s a lot of guessing to be making when you are not even a Xeno-Arch.” Bordons once had a dream to be a Xeno-archeologist, before the war. Bordons didn’t answer his second in command. He had disappeared behind the ruins. “Cap?” Ace said with a worried voice.
Suddenly, something came flying out of the ruins, covered in dust. It clanked hard near Ace, who was suddenly in attack posture, combat ready. It was something round and metal, very old. Bordons crawled out of the ruins moments later.
“Sorry, that thing was cumbersome.” Ace picked it up. It was a helmet of some kind, huge by their standards. It had several dents from age, but the most prominent damage was the impact hole in the forehead area. Whatever wore that at one time took a really bad shot to the head. “Try convincing me that’s not a combat helmet…”
Ace looked in amazement at the artifact. He placed it down gingerly, trying to ignore
the implications of the evidence. “I think it’s time to go…”
Grid Coordinates Gamma 8-9-19 was a location they were to check out regardless of what intelligence they gathered while on planet. It was a secondary objective. Bordons had already assumed it was probably connected. The few tracks they were able to find seemed to culminate in that direction. They also found more signs of ruins and artifacts along the way. Small, and unnoticeable, if you didn’t know what you were looking for. They were an occasional rock formation that was too structured and items like that. Still sparse, but to the refined eye, enough to show there was a civilization, at least near the river.
“Home Nest, this is Battery Two, we are on the edge of the site. Awaiting your orders.”
Bordons spoke softly as the two of them cautiously crept through the underbrush near the rendezvous point. “Ease back and wait. We’ll come to you. There are signs that we are not alone here. Stay frosty, and set up defensive positions.”
“Cap, I should tell you something…”
“What is it, Scanner?”
“I’m…. hearing things….”
The way Scanner said it made him turn cold. He thought back to the times when Lang’s “indeterminate” talents saved his own life. He didn’t care if Psi-League didn’t see them, he did. Bordons gripped his rifle and Ace flashed him an inquiring look.
Gamma 8-9-19 was just ahead, over a hill. Meeting Battery Two took only five minutes. They all sat at the foot of a hill over which lead to Gamma 8-9-19. Bordons sat with Scanner, discussing his feelings.
“I don’t know, boss. Just voices, whispers, ticks, and knocks… very faint sounds. And one other things…” he paused “…I have a deep foreboding feeling we shouldn’t be here. Something or someone is trying to warn us away.”
“Cap, you should see this…”- came a voice from atop the hill. Ace was surveying what was beyond using his binoc-scanners. Bordons crawled up to his prone position in the brush at the top of the hill. He was surprised to see that the hill took a suddenly deep and slopping dip downward into an open area several kilometers wide. “Can’t figure why the Sats never picked this up” Ace handed him the binocs.
Peering through them, he looked in amazement. Through a haze coming from the swamp, the open area began to take shape. Set against a mountainside, several large ruins stood covered in swamp foliage. Tower, pillars, buildings large and small. The largest was a pyramid-shaped structure, almost completely intact, shoved up against the side of the mountain. Roads could be made out going in and out of the city of ruins, the swamp almost covering them all. Nothing moved in the city, not even indigenous life. It was a wonder that the satellites didn’t pick it up.
Bordons waved up Battery Two. When they arrived, he addressed them all, “Something tells me the Glem-units are down there. We’re gonna stick close together, but in teams of two. Stay in contact and watch your scanners. Set to motion sensitive, the hell with homing in on their beacon. Something else is going on here.”
The ruins seemed more expansive while walking through them than they did from atop the hill. A thin layer of swamp covered the cobble-stoned courtyards and walkways. As they entered, they passed under the ruins of a large archway, symbols and glyphs barely visible from the weathering.
Scanner continued onward as ordered, but he appeared distracted and at times in pain. Where are those Psi-testers now? thought Bordons.
Ace had point, and the others had fanned out, moving along a path of maximum cover. They had attached their scanners to their rifles to maximize effectiveness. Other than surrounding natural movement, the scanner was silent. The jungle had fallen quiet, the ever-present calls of local birds and animals only feint echoes from the jungle kilometers away. Nothing lived in these ruins.
Ace stopped at the remnants of a wall, pulling away the foliage. The others caught up slowly. “What are you doing, Corporal?” Bordons said in a hushed but urgent voice. Entering the ruins had made his uneasy from the beginning.
“I wanted Scanner to get a look at some of these glyphs and writing” Lang was also the group linguistics expert. “It might provide some answers.”
Scanner peered at the wall, squinting as if it hurt his eyes. “They are louder, sir… the sounds, the voices….” He dropped his rifle and fell to his knees. Elliard came to his aid.
Bordons looked at the wall, curious himself what he could make out. What he made out chilled him to the bones. “Ace, tell me what that looks like…” He pointed to a mural on the wall, carved into the stone. Most of it was obscured, but what they could make out showed what could only be assumed as citizen of this alien city, standing over the dead carcasses of his enemies. He was some kind of warrior of a species unknown to them, perhaps clueing in that these ruins were some kind of military base. He was armored, holding a standard and a weapon, and had something resembling a fleet of ships flying over his head. Beneath him were the bodies of aliens… not of his species, however, but of one all too familiar… Glemmies and they were wearing armor and carrying weapons.
“What the…?” Ace.
“They were…. the enemy…” a voice came from behind Bordons. He turned to see Scanner slouched over in the medic’s arms, bleeding from his nose. The voice was not Scanner’s, but it definitely came from him. “He’s unconscious.” The medic reported.
A mechanical sound broke the silence. Three weapons were instantly charged and at ready. “Doc, stay with Scanner. Ace, east, I’ll go west. Keep in touch. Find a vantage point and tell me what you see.”
Bordons walked a few dozen meters, before finding a wall he could climb to get his view of things. The view was quite disconcerting. He could see through his binocs, two Glemmie units on the move towards them from two different flanks. But something was different about them. They were wearing something over their “standard armor compliment”. It was ornate alien armor, and it perfectly fit their massive features. They also carried an array of melee weapons he had never seen before – twisted alien swords and daggers.
“Cap?” came Ace’s voice across the comlink “I got 3 coming in on my flank. How about you?”
“You got me beat by one. They look different to you?” Bordons watched as they came closer.
“Yep. They got themselves some new toys. Your orders?”
“You, Elliard, and Scanner fall back to some cover. Look for a good structure.
I’ll be close behind you. I’ll lay some of the mines, first, to confuse the issue. Convert your undermount to rocket launcher. It’s going to take a little to tale these guys out.”
“Yes, sir. You got it.”
Thump-ssshhhhh Thump-ssshhhh – The Glemmies suddenly fired simultaneously long-ranged missiles…. “They keyed on our frequency!! Incoming!!…”