Well, Steve finally talked me into keeping one of these. I’ve never been one for writing much, but what the hell? He is right about one thing at least, soldiers in the past kept journals for the generations that followed. Who knows? Maybe those that’ll follow us can learn something from what we write.
Where to begin? I guess I-Night’s the best place to begin. We’d gotten together for our weekly game night, this time at Pete’s. Man, that was a year ago; seems more like ten. At some point we’d gotten the message that the shit had hit the fan. As it turned out – as you already know – we’d been invaded by aliens. And by ‘us’ I meant the world, not just the US. That first night is still etched in my mind, probably will be for quite a time to come. I won’t bore you with all the details, just suffice it to say we got by with a little bit of fighting and a whole lot of luck.
Over the past year we spent a lot of our time hinding from the invaders. The short ones Steve started calling ‘fins’ due to the thing on the back of the suit they all seem to wear. We’d found out on that first night that they don’t breathe our atmosphere; instead they need methane. (Steve’s the one that made that particular discovery, and he looked surprised about it for a couple of weeks, until his eyebrows grew back in).
The ‘skinnies’ are the one with those force-shields. Those things are just plain nasty, both in a fight and out of one. These fuckers like to eat our dead, and when they can’t get that I’ve seen them gut and eat a fin. No one left behind takes on a whole new level of meeting when dealing with these guys.
The ‘bugs’ showed up later. Called that because of their appearance, these things are fast and skittery, plus they fly. Hitting one on the move is near-impossible, at least for me, but you rarely find them sitting still. The dinks (that’s the generic term for the invaders; don’t know where that came from) like to use these in paratrooper fashion, and for quick strike-and-move engagements. More often then not they’ll lead you into a skinny ambush, so caution needs to be taken at all times when chasing them.
Anyway, so a year later we’d eventually joined up with the 3rd Pennsylvania Militia. Powers is a decent enough leader, and I’m glad we have Lane and the rest of the Marines. Me and Steve wound up in Washington’s squad – Steve’s always butting heads with the Corporal, but I think Steve does give him the credit he deserves. It’s just that the Corporal’s a professional soldier and doesn’t appreciate being saddled with command over a bunch of civilian militia. But as long as you follow orders and act like a soldier, he’s easy enough to get along with, plus he takes care of his soldiers. I got no beef with him.
Our latest mission is to find a recon squad that went missing, including Pete and Corey. Steve had heard about it and wanted to volunteer right away (he was obviously forgetting the first rule in the Army, namely ‘never volunteer’). I gave him a hard time about it but was of course ready to go (again, never leave anyone behind). It tokk a day, but eventuall we were given the go-ahead and set out with two other guys, Conners and Myers. They’re two good guys, if a little young. Conners is a jock, Myers a geek, but both have been fighting the dinks with us for a good six months and I trust ’em to have my back.
The mission was to get into York and locate the missing squad. The first night we’d bedded down at an abandoned Amish farm. The owners were gone, but they’d left some preserves behind – that was like finding gold! We’d missed check-in that night but as it turned out none of that mattered, since we’d forgotten to requisition a field radio, and we’d already marched further than the radios we did have had range. Chances were, that’s what happened to the guys we were looking for too.
When we got into the city, dink presence was more and more prevalent. At some point, Steve was checking the radio and happened to make contact with Corey. Corey was bottled up at the mall we were near, but the fins and skinnies in the area were busy looking for him. We started moving toward his location while keeping an eye out for dinks. Good thing, too, since we ran into a squad of ’em sitting on an intersection with one of those emplaced guns they use. One quick ambush and 7 dead dinks later, we were back on our way to help Corey.
We got to the edge of the parking lot surrounding the mall, only to discover Corey running as fast as he could with a pack of fins on his ass. A banshee tried to strafe him, but Steve took that out with his M21, which also scared the fins into retreating. Those guys are rough when their morale is up, but if you can shake it they tend to turn tail in a hurry – unless they got leadership with ’em.
Corey reported that his squad had been captured, but he’d managed to escape and was trying to get back to the 3rd when he was cornered in the mall. We had two choices: report back and get more backup, or continue on and do what we could. Going back just meant the likelihood of Pete and the others dying got bigger so we chose to move on. We hit a comic store to keep Myers from bitchin’, and then spent the night at a church in town. A priest was still in residence there, Father ‘Bob’, and he told us there were some survivors in the area. The dinks didn’t bother ‘em much, so long as they kept their heads down. Doesn’t sound right to me, but I’ve been killing dinks for so long now I can’t imagine them living in peace with anyone.
The next day, we headed back to the mall to see if the shooting Corey’d heard while he was in there happened to be someone from his squad. It wasn’t. Turned out to be a young woman, Jessica; a survivor armed with a shotgun who was looking for her father. That meant she needed to get further west if her information regarding his whereabouts was accurate, but she decided (for better or worse) to hook up with us in the meantime, at least until we could get her back to the 3rd where she might be able to get some help. Until then, she’s willing to help us find our people, and she’s handy with her gun. And we can always use more help.
As I write this journal down, we’re sitting on a ridge overlooking a dink ship – not one of the mother ships, but big enough to carry a shitload of dinks. The squad we’re looking for is supposed to be inside. Now all we gotta do is figure out a way in, how to find the missing squad, and how to get out again without dying.
In other words, we’re fucked.