Drifters

Steve's log 1

“Nations sometimes flourish by denying the crimes that brought them into being. Only when the original invasion, occupation, extermination or usurpation has been safely thrust into the political unconscious can sovereignty feel secure.” ~Terry Eagleton

We were gaming at Pete;s house when I got the call from my wife. Leslie told me to go look at the TV. I asked why and she said, “We’re under attack!” Pete, John, Corey, and me all went down to Pete’s basement and turned to CNN. We saw Washington DC was being destroyed by what looked like blasts of lightning. The reporter was telling us to stay in our homes. Well fuck that.

We went into motion, Pete started scrambling to find us his meager gun collection while me and Corey raided the kitchen cabinets for food, water, soda, knives, can openers, etc. Pete handed me a pistol and a rifle and I loaded the rifle and gave it to John. John has at least a little bit of training from the Army. Some people banged on the front door and Pete ran them off. Then my truck got blasted and all that was left was a small crater. We talked it over and decided to make a run, the 30 miles to my house.

My house was build in 1766 and is made of 30" stone walls. It can withstand a significant blast and will stop most bullets. It is a literal fortress, plus I am a prepper and was ready for this day to come. We decided to take two cars, in case one got taken out. I hopped in my Pete while John ran around busting out the tail lights. We were going to do this in darkness and we would run without lights to keep from being a target. It was then that some asshole jumped in front of the car and begged us to take him. I popped a shot past his head and said, “NO” but he had a kid and a pretty wife and Pete gave in. They piled into the car and away we went. I led them across the back country roads until we got to Fallston. There we ran into some Army boys and they waved us by.

As I looked to the sky I noticed the huge space ship hovering miles away from us. It was terrifying. We kept trucking and finally hit a point near Jarrettsville, where a big rig was jack knifed across the road. I hopped out to investigate and some little fucker started shooting at me. Now when I say little I mean he was like 4’ tall and blue and not human. When I say shooting, well he was using a ray gun of some sort. I dove for cover behind Pete’s car and a blast took the rear corner panel off. I then popped up and shot the bastard in the chest. He grunted and fired back. I saw he had armor, changed my point of aim to his head and BAM he was falling over dead. Fuck that alien piece of shit. I looted him and the guys all came to see. Pete took a grenade off the dude’s belt and I tossed the raygun to John. The blue dude was wearing some kind of breathing mask and heavy armor. I got the rig started and pulled it aside. We were back on our way.

The Blue Alien

Seven miles later we saw a burning pickup and as we blasted by we then saw the blue lights up ahead. I popped the skylight open and Pete handed me the big gun, his .357 magnum. I told him to floor it and don’t stop. He did as told but hit a slick patch and lost control just as we saw half a dozen of those fuckers leveling guns at us. I remembered the grenade and took a pock shot for one on the belt of an alien. The horseshoes I got lodged up my ass pinged in delight and I nailed the little bugger. The explosion was spectacular. Had I seen the shot in a movie I would have screamed, “NO WAY!!!” but I just pulled it off.

Eventually we made it to the house and I broke out the prepping gear. We had weapons, food, clothes, and everything we might need. I forgot to mention the guy we rescued got hit during one of the fights and was dead. So now we were stuck a with a woman and a seven year old kid. I was not happy.

Maybe half an hour later we saw aliens landing by the creek. A half a dozen were headed to the house. I set Pete and Corey and the chick with rifles on the second floor and John stayed with one on the first. I slipped out the back with a 30-30 and a spotlight. The plan was that I would distract and the guys would then nail them with everything they had. It worked but not as expected.

50,000 candlepower is some bright shit and I hit the aliens with the spot light and lit up the night. They opened fire on me as I heard a barrage of gun shots erupt from the house. I ducked behind a tree and could hear the shots nailing the tree. I cut the light and ran. Somewhere in the dark I tripped over an animal and it bit me. Turns out it was my dog. Now where the hell was he all night? We made short work of the aliens and decided to have a little alien autopsy. The skinny alien has organs like us. They are located in different spots but now we knew where the lungs and heart are located. I told everyone this is the target zone. and we got it clear and good.

The Skinny Alien

The next alien was encased in that armor. He was like the one that I shot on the road. I got a reciprocal saw and started cutting. There was some sparks and BOOM!!!! The fraker exploded. I got singed good but nothing serious. scared me more than anything. It was then that I noticed the woman wasn’t around and her kid was following me. Turns out that she got wasted during the ambush. Great.

Well now our location was at risk, we made some hasty decisions. Rest a little and then pack and move. We need to see if we can rescue family but I think Baltimore and York are probably fried like DC. What the hell am I going to do. Maybe I should just shoot the kid and save him this hardship. I just don’t know. I do know this. I will fight. I will fight. I will fucking fight!

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Steve's log 2

“We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.”
Winston Churchill

A year has gone by since my last entry. I guess I should have kept the battery charged on the IPad but I have been too busy to worry about that. After I-Day we spent several weeks on the run. Fighting when we had to and hiding more than anything. John proved that his Army training was still good but with him and Corey, we had issues when we had to move fast. Their weight got in the way and slowed us down. Jack and Zeus hit it off and I think the kid may have stolen my dog from me as I rarely see the dog anymore and when I do it is when Jack is around. The kids proved to be a better asset to our group than I would have given credit. He took to the guns like a natural and he seems to have no compunction about killing aliens. I like him and hope that he survives this war.

We eventually hooked up with some Army personnel down near the 5th Regiment Armory. I knew Command Sergeant Major Grimm, an old friend of the family, and he got us hooked up with a group of survivors that wanted to fight. We were not accepted right away but after seventeen missions they seem to have accepted me. The only real problem is Corporal Washington. He is one of the Marines attached to our group and he really dislikes everyone who isn’t a Marine. The real problem is I keep going on mission with him and my style of craziness does not mesh with his Marine orders.

We have mainly been hitting the Fins and the Skinnies but every now and then we run into some other alien life form. Their energy weapons work real good against them but I still prefer my .357 revolver and a good longarm. I took an M21 rifle off of a dead soldier and that is my gun of choice in this crappy war. I have to assume my grandkids and wife are dead. My old neighborhood was blasted and there was no sign of my mother or sister but there is always the chance that Dad got them out of there. If he did, then they will be up on Iron Mountain and holed up with the hill people. I have given up looking for those who may or may not be alive. Survival is all that matters now. Survival and vengeance against these alien pieces of shit.

Steve's M21 Steve's S&W 686 w/ Crimson Trace Laser Sight

Zecharia Sitchin always said that the Anunnaki would return in 2013. I guess he was right. These aliens might not go by that name or they might, we may never know. Whatever the case, he was dead on about an alien invasion in 2013. I need to rub that in Pete’s face when we have a chance to relax. We are getting ready to move out again so I need to cut this short. If anyone reads this journal, then know this. We will win because we are human and American. I understand the concept of surrender and I spit on any who would say, “Lets surrender, give peace a chance.” Fuck those bastards. Say something like that to me in a place with no witnesses and I guarantee you won’t walk out of that place again. Hopefully I will be able to keep up with the journal now that I am getting a routine.

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Steve's Log 3

We’re our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.
Tom Robbins

Word came down that the recon patrol Corey, Pete, and two others were out on, was missing. I asked around and found out they had been sent into York and vanished. According to Masters we need to start moving towards Philly and York is along the way. The guys were looking for a place to move the group that is safe. Perhaps a mall or government building or church. We got alot of people and no safe way to move. Masters thinks we need to get to Philly and use the stadium for a base. I am not sure I agree with him but he is a spook and maybe he knows something we don’t.

I volunteered to go rescue the team and John, Connors, and Myers agreed to go with me. John asked why I didn’t ask Cole and all I could say was that I am scared for her safety. I know we are going into a fight and I would be devastated if she got shot.

Thirty miles and two days later the rescue team made the outskirts of York. I started trying the HT Radio and after a while got through to Corey. He was holed up inside of Dicks and surrounded by fins. While we were talking someone started a firefight in another part of the mall. I told Corey to check it out but to stay hidden. I ordered the team to move out double time but John balked at this and gave a good argument against it. As a compromise I suggested an Airborne shuffle and we moved out. A few blocks from the mall we encountered a road block. Dinks had a fixed gun emplacement set up and about eight or so fins and skinnies were on watch. We split up. John and Myers took one of my grenades and moved in for CQC. I took Connors and we moved in to about eighty yards and then we got to the roof. When we saw the grenade go off we opened fire. I peeled the head off of a skinny and nailed a fin but he managed to stagger around the corner of a building. A second explosion went off as a fin dropped a grenade and the fight was over. We regrouped and moved out.

As we climber the hill to the parking lot of the mall, we heard two gun shots. We dropped prone on the hill top and looked towards the sound. We saw Corey running full tilt with a dozen or more fins behind him. I got on the radio and started yelling at Corey to let him know where we were and Connors stood up and started waving his arms as he ran towards Corey giving him some direction. It was then that John saw the Banshee flying our way. It was still out about 500 yards and closing fast. It looked like it was setting up for a strafing run and Corey wasn’t going to make it to us.

I raised the m21 and took aim. John dropped to a knee and offer his shoulder as a brace. 300, 200, 100. At 100 Yards I fired and so did the Banshee. I think my shot went off a split second before his and as his guns lit up he dive bombed into the parking lot and exploded. The fins turned and ran back into the mall.

We retreated quickly heading to a comic store about half a mile to the East. John and me went to that store often back in the day. Now it was partially blasted. The pane glass windows were busted and the roof had a small hole in it. Myers and Corey looked like they were having a wet dream. They both ran inside and started tearing into boxes of comics and game dice. I grabbed a Bat’leth off of the wall and teased them a bit before handing it to Corey. That fraker looked like he had creamed his pants. Connors was bitching about how we were going to die and something about us being a bunch of geeks. I laughed and took a copy of Expedition to Castle Ravenloft that John handed me. I figured I could run the adventure when we got back to camp.

We needed a place to search for the others and we needed to grill Corey about where they were. He told us they had been captured but we all know the enemy doesn’t capture us, they kill us. It didn’t make sense. He couldn’t remember where the ambushers hit them and all he could say was that he ran and hid. I was a little miffed with him but he is my friend and I am well aware of his shortcomings.

Before we left on this mission, Masters gave me a secret side job to perform. He wanted me to pick up a ring from some church in the City of York. I knew the place and figured why not but he demanded secrecy. I played along as it is always good to have the spook on your side. Now I remembered and told the guys that I knew a place we could hole up for the night and get some sleep. I took them to the Church of St John.

The Church was located in a spot that had been missed completely by all of the bombs. The neighborhoods around the church were demolished but the church looked untouched. I was feeling the hairs on my neck raising. When the doors opened and a priest answered, I nearly shot him. Ever the diplomat I spoke to him with the respect and reverence that can only be shown by one who is a Catholic. Though I don’t practice any more I know the proper way to act. He invited us in and offered us a place to sleep. He said he didn’t have food to offer so me and John pulled out Rhubarb preserves and pickles and offered them to him. He was very thankful.

After we settled in a bunch of us asked for confession and then we settled in to sleep. I snuck off and found Father Bob and laid on the BS thick. I told him about my mission for God. I told him that I was having visions and reams of a ring and that I didn’t understand them but knew this is where I would find it. I told him of a great battle and an arena and so much other BS I can’t even remember. Well Bob seemed like he was waiting for someone to lay this load of crap on him and he took a chain with a ring off of his neck and handed them to me. I really don’t know what to say beyond the fact that I am good. So fraking good that I could probably sell an Eskimo a block of ice on a winter day. Father Bob told me that the ring was entrusted to him and that he hoped it would help end this war. I put the chain on my neck without even really looking at it but I was able to see that it was some kind of Signet ring. Maybe it belonged to the Pope.

In the morning we were all well rested and some old fat woman served us eggs and bacon and grits and sausage and pancakes and coffee. We were in heaven. Then Father Bob asked us to leave and we did. I don’t know why I haven’t told John and Corey about the ring. Maybe I will but for now I feel the need to keep it quiet.

After discussing the options we decided to return to the mall. When we got there the Dinks were all gone and the place seemed empty. We started gathering supplies and even found a few shotguns that we are going to return to the camp. Then we hear a shot. We approached with caution and found a young woman and a few dead Dinks of different species. After some mistrustful words we came to an accord and the woman, whose name is Jessica Tempus, is now going to join us when we head back to camp. She is trying to get to Gettysburg to find her father, a famous scientist names, Frederick Tempus. I never heard of him.

Now is where this story gets derailed and crazy. We heard a noise and took up defensive positions. Then a voice out of the darkness, “Hello”. I engaged the voice in conversation and discovered it was an older Brit with a young black girl. She was hot but I tried not to get distracted. He showed me ID identifying himself as a member of the 3rd Penn Militia. MY sphincter squeezed so tight that I nearly shot the fucker. I demanded to see the ID again and for some reason, though I distrusted the guy, I couldn’t help but trust the ID. It was insane and yet there I was talking to the guy like he was an old friend. He demonstrated an alien devise that told him where our friends might be. We talked for a while about odd things and he started asking about where the beach was and we realized that he thought he was in Venice Beach. The he started asking about the year. Then he seemed to get it and became very grave looking. It was about this time that the girl started grilling Corey about Klingons and his Bat’leth. I caught her name as being Martha but nothing more. I decided to try the old silver tongue again and stepped in real close to the guy and demanded his help. He suddenly seemed to recognize me and he pointed to Jessica and told me to protect her at all cost. She was the key to saving the world. He then said “Cheerio” and him and the girl walked off into darkness. When we heard the tell tale classic sound of a TARDIS in motion the arguments began.

Now I know that couldn’t have been the Doctor but WHO was he and how did he know what he knew. I really think I am going insane but if I am, I can tale solace in the fact that John and Corey and Myers all agreed that the dude was in fact THE DOCTOR which of course he couldn’t be. We agreed as a team to omit this encounter from any official reports.

Now we are heading off to check out the place 2.5km to the east where The Doctor told us to go. Does this sound crazy to you? It sure feels crazy to me.

The Streets of York PA

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John's Log 1
Home-Line Invasion 1

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.

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Steve's Log 4

“This is some rescue. You came in here, didn’t you have a plan for getting out?”
Princess Leia

The entrance to hell probably seemed more promising than we were looking at. We saw a crater in front of us. About 50 yards into the crater was an alien device that was quite large. Around it was three emplaced guns and more than a dozen dinks. As we observed we also noticed three banshees on patrol that would come and go from time to time. The dinks seemed to be guarding the device, which as we observed, would lift dinks up into the air like an elevator with no box. It seemed the dinks used this as their way, into and off of the ship overhead.

The ship was big, maybe a 1000 feet long, maybe bigger. We figured it must hold at least 3000 dinks inside. A scary proposition for half a dozen people. We worked out a plan of attack. John would try to sneak in close and take out one of the emplaced guns while I would set up to snipe the other positions. He then would turn the gun onto the remainder of the dinks. Finally, once we had them reeling, I would order a charge to clean up the rest.

Things started out good. John got in and took out three or four with his knife. He climbed into the copula and signaled the attack. I took down the second turret and started dropping dinks. Maybe three or four seconds into this, the dinks exploded into action. A group charged me while I saw a skinny with a long gun taking a bead on John. I dropped the skinny and John turned the turret my way and blasted the group on the charge. Somehow I missed on sneaking up on us and he nailed Connors with a needler. Connors went down and exploded moments later. I turned over and shot the fin who made the kill as Myers unloaded into his corpse.

I turned back to cover John as he was diving for cover. A skinny was using a sniping rifle of some sort to take pock shots at him. I shouted and the skinny looked at me. As he turned to shoot I waited. When his gun was just about focused on me I peeled off his head. Stupid fucking skinny should have ducked.

We regrouped and assessed the situation. Connors was dead. I told Corey to hide the body and then to move to a way point about 200 yards from the crater. I told him to take our heavy gear and wait for us until we returned. He grumbled but did as he was told. Then Myers, John, and Jessica joined me for the sickening flight up into the alien ship. As I looked out over the world and felt my stomach turn, I could help but think that this was the last thing I would ever do. I was nearly right.

The size of the ship was immense but resistance was light. We took out squad after squad but never really faced any forces in mass. The new aliens, the big ones, lets call them Rippers, seemed scary. They used Lightsaber and they never seemed to show fear. We killed a couple of them and were feeling good about our success. It was then that a fin snuck in and popped Myers in the back with a plasma bolt. That little fucker ambushed us good. His next shot hit my M21 and blew it in half. John and Jessica opened up but this one was smart and took cover. I threw a plasma grenade but it landed short and nearly fried the team. As everyone took cover I could hear the dink powering up for a power shot. I yanked out my .357 and took aim. As he popped out I shot and took off half of his head. His shot hit the Ripper’s body I was hiding behind and burned me a bit.

What seemed like hours later we found the prison block. While searching it I got shot in the back. I remember falling forward and turning to see a disembodied Lightsaber swinging at me. I dove for cover, drew, and fired. I hit something, a force field maybe. I shot again and dodged another blow. This time I fell to the floor and this time the Lightsaber hit me.

I don’t remember much after that. I had visions of World War One and Captain Kirk and Spock fighting Nazis. I awoke a week later. We had saved Pete and the Girl and were now holed up in an old house. Father Bob provided us with a doctor who got me and the prisoners fixed up. After three or four more days we said our thanks and hit the road. I was still pretty fucked up but we needed to go.

Back at camp we were received as heroes. Seeing Sam brightened my day and getting some real rest with her at my side is doing me worlds of good. Now we need to decide. Stay with the militia, or go off with Jessica and save her father. The smart thing to do is stay with the group but I keep thinking about that strange encounter with The Doctor and his words of warning. I think we have to go for the rescue. Sam is pissed with me for even thinking about going on another mission. I think I will drag her along and keep her safe.

The Dink defense committee

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John's Log 2
Home-Line Invasion 2

It is not the going out of port, but the coming in, that determines the success of a voyage.
Henry Ward Beecher

Looking down into that crater was a bit depressing. The ship looming overhead didn’t help matters, but I didn’t have to look up if I didn’t want to… not that that would get rid of the shadow we were sitting in, but you get the picture. Myers figured there’d be nearly 3000 dinks in the ship against the six of us planning on infiltrating, so that works out to what, 500 to 1 against. Can’t be sure but they might be better odds than we’ve had since this whole thing began.

We waited for it to get dark(er), when my job was to sneak down and do some blade work. I don’t like doing that, it’s a bit up close and personal for me, but if we were even gonna have a chance this beginning bit would have to be quiet. Well I managed to get close enough to kill two sleeping fins, but I had to rush a nearby skinny that was still alert. Obviously I managed it, since I’m writing this log now. Then I climbed up into the dink machinegun and signalled Steve that I was in place. Even though I was waiting for it I never heard the shot. Later I was told he’d shot two dinks before one of ‘em finally noticed. When they did all hell broke loose, so I opened up with the gun I was sitting at. Wasn’t long before the shooting was over… 14 dead dinks but we’d lost Conners. Not a trade in our favor, you ask me.

Next we boarded the ship, using the dink ‘boarding ramp’. At the bottom of the crater the aliens had set up a big disc, about 20m in diameter. You step on it and a few moments later you get lifted up to the ship overhead. Luckily for us there was no welcoming committee; I suppose they’ve gotten a bit overconfident since they’ve been kicking our asses for a year now. We’d arrived in some sort of cargo room, at least based on the number of dink crates around the room. There were lot of big doors around the perimeter, and with no way of determining the way to go, Steve just picked one. Oh, at this point I should say that there were only four of us: Steve had had Corey stick behind to cover our escape route and to protect the stuff we didn’t bring in with us to save on weight. That brought the odds up to 750 to 1, slightly worse but still better than most times (at least I believe).

What followed was a series of passages and rooms that we snuck through when we could, and fought in when we couldn’t. At some point we lost Myers when a fin shot him from behind. My fault really, I should’ve been taking rear guard while Steve took forward; we’re the only two that have had any military training and should have acted as such. I shoulda known he wouldn’t be paying attention to our six.

Eventually we arrived at the prison block; big cathedral-like room with 4 big cells lining each of two walls. The odd thing was the room wasn’t locked down, and there were no guards. Sure the cells were behind some sort of forcefield but it still didn’t feel right that there were no guards. And my fears were soon proved, as a shot from a dink pistol caught Steve in the back. I couldn’t see the attacker, but Steve seemed to as he spun and shot at something. I tried to cover him but didn’t have a target… until Steve hit something. It was just a haze in the air at first, and then a dink energy sword popped into place in mid-air – the fucker was invisible! GREAT, the dinks are like predators – well, at least these new guys are. Steve’s taken to calling them rippers, and I can’t blame him since the one we were facing now cut him up. Somehow Steve got a lucky shot in and took it down, but not before it had managed to gut him but good.

Steve was out of the fight at this point, but he wasn’t dead yet. I did what I could but first aid has never been my strong point, and Jessica knew even less than I did. One of the cells was holding Christine, one of the scouts from Pete’s group. She did know a little about medicine and managed to stabilize Steve, but had to shoot him up with so many pain killers that he was talking about alien nazis before we even left the cell block. (The dinks were holding her gear in the big room there, but none of her weapons; she took Steve’s pistol to use durin gour escape.)

The next few hours became a whole lot of sneaking. We had no doubt the dinks knew we were there, but there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of them on board. The girls carried Steve between them while I took point – we were moving so slowly that Steve woulda been going crazy if he hadn’t already been delirious. The next big room was another cell block, this one with Pete. This time I was watching for the invisible dink, though, and took it down with an over-charged blast from the pistol I’d picked up, followed by quite a few normal blasts to make sure. Then we got Pete out and started to make our exit; Pete informed us about Mitchel’s death at the hands of the rippers.

Getting out went a lot smoother than getting in – all we had to do was follow the trail of bodies back to the cargo bay. Getting down to ground level took a little doing, but we eventually figured out how to reverse the beam so that we’d be lowered safely. Then we hooked up with Corey and made as much haste as possible getting out of that area. We had to duck a few patrols, but eventually made it back to Father Bob’s neighborhood. They helped us out – at great risk to themselves – and a local doctor managed to get Steve fully stabilized and healed up. That took a little over a week, though, during which I did some looking around and managed to police up a car with some gas for our return to the 3rd.

After that the trip was mostly uneventful, even if we were little cramped in the car. Two days later we were back at base camp and getting debriefed. We’d saved three of the four we been sent to look for, lost two of the four that went out looking for them, and also picked up a new face to add to the survivors. Some grisly mathematician might score that as a ‘+2 points’ to our side, but I figure each loss is one less soul fighting for survival of the race.

Now Steve’s talking about moving on the help Jessica find her father. That’d mean leaving the militia; I don’t like the idea of leaving them with two or more fewer shooters, but he seems to think that Prof. Tempus might be able to help turn the tide in our favor. Apparently some words from Masters seems to enforce this idea – I can’t say as I didn’t hear them. I can say this, though: Jessica backed us up when she didn’t have to, even went into that dink ship with no more reason than saving human lives. I think that kinda bravery deserves some recompense, so I think I’m gonna go take my shot at convincing the Old Man to change his mind.

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Steve Log 5

“What if you could find brand new worlds right here on Earth? Where anything is possible. Same planet, different dimension. I’ve found the gateway.”
Quinn Michael Mallory

Well now we are in over our heads and it is my doing. Let me go back a few days and start from the beginning. We had been back to camp for about a week and me and John were fighting over the coffee. I had managed to find four pounds of the stuff and was rationing it. John got into the stash and started making superbrew. He ran through two pounds in a week. I was fucking insane with anger. If he wasn’t such a good friend I think I might have shot him over it.

During the week I managed to talk to Washington and Gunny and eventually the Old’ Man about my rescue plans. Before I could solidify plans I had to perform guard duty. No big deal, just boring as hell. That is until I heard the artillery in the distance. Within moments the entire camp was exploding with action. The Dinks hit us hard, bringing on three or four of them for every shooter in the camp. Our defenses held strong. We took the brunt of the attack and gave it back to ’em. I saw Washington moving in on a gun emplacement and saw he was going to get killed. I popped up fast and charged, blowing through a magazine and giving him the cover he needed to close with the gun. Then he yanked out a m92 and dropped three dinks with three shots as I moved forward and dropped a grenade into the lap of the gunner. We hit the ground and the gun went up in smoke and flame. I looked out over the carnage and saw Sam was in a tight spot so I went to her aid. Together we dropped two Rippers and then turned onto a pack of Fins. The battle was terrifying and glorious. Pray for war Mutha-Fucker!!! Pray for Fucking War!!!

Following the battle we took in our losses. Three. I don’t know how we did so well but it was like the Old Man had some kind of precognition. We were prepared and the Dinks felt our lead and died by the dozens while we lost three. HUA!!!

I then got to work on assembling the team for our rescue mission. Borman, Bryant, Scott, Cole, Tempus, and myself. Not a bad team at all. We were planning on leaving early and Washington decided to throw a wrench into the plan. He put me and Pete on night watch. During the night Masters came to talk to me. He kept talking about how I had potential. How I could have been somebody, how I had betrayed him by demanding to go on this mission. We exchanged some heated words and I felt he was threatening me so I kicked him in the nads. It felt good to hit him. I never trusted that fraker but now I wanted to kill him. I could feel the blood boiling in my veins. He told me that I was going to be famous. More famous than anyone who ever lived and he did it in a way that made me feel a bit of apprehension, maybe even fear. I decided right then and there, that if I ever saw him apart from the 3rd, I would kill him. I have never planned to murder someone but now I feel I must. This war has changed me. As we came off of watch we departed camp and headed southwest.

Our first day was slow and hard and we decided to crash in a barn. The next two days went fast until we ran into a straggler. A woman named Christina who was some kind of art thief. She fed us and shared some kind of code that she said I should memorize as I would need it one day. She was heading off to NY to rob the Met. In the night she vanished.

The very next day we made it to the cabin outside of Gettysburg where Dr Tempus lived. While searching the deserted cabin we heard noise. A bunch of Nazi’s in a halftrack were coming up the road. Fraking Nazi’s!!! I was feeling like my mind was going to explode. It just didn’t make sense. We argued about what to do but then decided to head up the hill into the woods behind the house. We found a secure spot to hide and me, John, and Pete went back to see what the Nazi’s were up to. We saw the lights in the house come on and the Nazi’s all went inside. As the sun set, Pete and me decided to get a closer look. I low crawled into a spot about 20 yards from the cabin and proved cover for Pete. He snuck right up to the window and looked in. I could tell something was wrong. I stood and ran for the woods. I yanked a grenade off of my vest and threw it through the window. The explosion shook the ground and then the Nazi’s went into action. I hugged the ground and looked for a shot. Two potato mashers came flying out of the cabin and landed next to Pete who didn’t seem to notice. I yelled at him and then rolled away as bullets ripped into the spot where I just was. I heard the blasts and felt the heat. Dirt fell from the sky all over me. Another machine gun burst came closer this time. I pulled a Willie-Pete off of my Tac vests and stood. I pulled the pin and threw it through the window. Bullets pounded around me and I felt a thud into my chest. I charged. No pain, the vest absorbed it. As I hit the edge of the house another bullet thudded into my armor. I fired a round and peeled the face off of one of the Nazi’s. The some giant of a man grabbed me and stuck a knife into my gut. The armor absorbed most of it but the tip made it through and I felt a hot wet sickness in my gut. I jerked back and shot him. Bullets started pounded the wall next to me and I saw the Half Track machine gun was firing in my direction. I dodged around the corner of the house and ran inside. A nazi SS officer shit me as I came in. Again. my armor saved me. I raised the rifle and put the bullet through his fraking monical. I am not sure what else happened. No one else was hit and someone took out the halftrack. We had won.

Sam tended my wound and the guys joked about how I was a bullet cushion. We got to checking out the gear and they were armed with guns made by H&K but these were Schmeissers, a Luger, and even a Kar98. And they appeared more modern than their WWII counterparts. It made no sense. Even the potato mashers didn’t appear right. Pete got on about trying to figure out the electricity. No generator and the meter was dead but the place had power. After a steady search we found a hidden door to the bunker.

The decent was easy and we found Dr. Tempus’s secret lab but no doc. After a search of the lab I found a key fob for a vehicle which I pocketed and an odd remote control. I hit the buttons on the fob and got nothing. Then I tried the big button on the remote control. John fell through the floor. I don’t mean a trap door. The floor turned black and John fell into the black hole. I pocketed the controller and we freaked out. I found a long pointer and inserted it into the blackness. Nothing. Then we made a search for rope but couldn’t find any. Corey found a 20’ length of chain so we used it. Corey held onto the chain and I climbed into the black hole. It was hard. When the pulling began to yank at my feet I lost my grip and fell into the darkness. A long sickening fall that filled me with fear and dread.

I landed in the sand. The sun was out. It was hot. Where the Frak am I?

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John's Log 3
Home-Line Invasion 3

I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.
Douglas Adams

Well, Steve’s goin’ around all puffed up again. The dinks hit us a few days ago, and to hear him – and a lot of the other guys – talk about it, you’d think we were the Spartans holding off Xerxes’ army at Thermopylae. In truth, just over 100 dinks attacked, but they had armor and artillery against our 60 or so. Still, Powers did a great job at leading us and kept our casualties to a bare minimum – I still can’t believe how it went down. The dinks suffered more losses than we did, but not to the tune of some of the stories that were going around. At best we killed maybe 15-20 of them before they backed off – or were pulled back for some reason. Don’t really know, and don’t really care. All that matters is the fact that the Old Man and the Gunney kept us alive. ‘Course the 3rd’s gotta move, now that the dinks definitely know where they are.

You may have noticed I said ‘they’. That’s ‘cause we – me, Steve, Pete, Corey, Sam, and Jess – kinda went off lookin’ for Jess’s father. We had the Old Man’s belssing to go, which suited me just fine since I don’t know if I could have deserted, despite all the things I’d been saying beforehand. Still, it felt kinda weird leaving the 3rd behind right after getting hit like that, but Steve seemed pretty certain that Jess’s father could be a big help to us all.

The trip west went smoothly enough. One odd thing happened though – while cutting through a small town we heard someone rootin’ around in a store. After checking it out, it turned out to be some woman named Christina, who happened to be on her way to NYC to loot some museums. Pete and Steve both took a shine to her instantly (she was a good-looking woman), but they also seemed to be distrustful of her – which of course meant I couldn’t relax since I didn’t know if either or both of them would do something crazy at any moment. She did share some beef and wine with us, and I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. When she wasn’t around in the morning everyone else seemed kinda spooked, but I figured she’d just snuck out at some point in the early hours of the morning.

Eventually we arrived at the Prof.‘s cabin. Nice place but kinda small, though more than enough for a single person. We looked around but it was obvious the Prof. wasn’t home. Jess mentioned he had a bunker somewhere on the property, and we were getting set to search for the entrance when we heard the vehicle approaching from outside. Pete took a look and then took another one. We were being approached by Nazis with a half-track… we’re talking full-on WWII uniformed Nazis. ‘Course Steve wants to set up an ambush right away and Pete’s backing his play; I actually had to talk them into slipping out the back and avoiding the fight. I mean, we had nothing to gain by jumping them then and there, and everything to lose. At least they saw the reason in the argument, especially when Sam and Jess backed my arguments. So we slipped out the back and into the forest, where we set up a small camp. Then Steve, Pete and myself slipped back to observe.

The Nazis… look, don’t think we weren’t confused by their presence. We figured they were some supremacists living in the hills and were out doing a bit of scavenging of their own. The weird shit happened later, but I’ll get to that.

The Nazis entered the cabin, leaving two two-man patrols outside wandering the perimeter. They turned on the lights in the place – something we didn’t even think about doing since there’d been no power anywhere for a year now – and that got Pete all curious. He and Steve moved up on the cabin while I hung back. Pete actually made it up to the cabin wall and looked in a window, and then he just started high-tailing it back to the trees. Next thing, all hell breaks loose as Steve throws a grenade and starts the show! Christ! So we’re in another massive furball, only this time against other humans (well, kinda). Nobody could see anything since it was dark (even with a full moon), and when it was over we were standing and the enemy wasn’t. I’d had to torch the half-track with a plasma grenade I’d picked up, but it was either that or let the gunner in it mow the guys down. Steve’d been hit a few times in the armor and had taken a coupla shallow knife wounds. Wanna take bets if that’ll slow him down in the next potential situation we run into?

Then we started discovering the weird. The germans had schmeissers, a luger… all the crap you see in the movies. Only these were all sporting the H&K logo. The half-track had a fuel-injection engine, plus a DVD player. If these were prepper supremacists, they were some of the best outfitted ones I hope never to encounter again!

When the rest of the team showed up we got back to finding the Prof.‘s bolthole. It took a little doing, but Pete’s and Steve’s savvy soon got it narrowed down to being under the cabin. It was Steve’s uncanny luck that eventually found it – he’d gotten frustrated during the search and kicked a wall, which then ‘clicked’ and opened a small cubby-hole with the hatch. It took Corey’s strength to pop the thing open, and then we went inside. It was dark at first, but motion sensors or something soon had lights turning on. It wasn’t a huge place, but woulda been luxury for the six of us to rest up in. The professor wasn’t there either, but we started looking for clues to where he might have gotten to. We were in his lab looking around when the trap caught me. I was watching Jess trying to figure out some of her dad’s calculations when the floor just opened up from beneath me.

I fell longer than Id have thought possible, all the time feeling like I was twisting and turning. Then it got bright and then I slammed into the ground – though not as though I’d just fallen the thousands of feet it felt like I had, but more like falling from about ten feet. I rolled over and then I saw it – overhead was some sort of vortex, evidently what I’d just fallen out of. I got up and looked around, saw I was in some kinda desert, and then looked back up at the hole in the sky. It was 10-12 feet above me – too high for me to jump. So I looked around and found a place to sit down; after all, the team’d be trying to get me outta this spot, right? At least that’s what I thought.

About ten minutes went by and then a body came crashing outta the thing. Steve had apparently followed me down the rabbit hole. It wasn’t too long before the whole team was crashing down around us, followed by the vortex closing up. So, here we are, in some sort of desert with minimal water and food supplies.

Looks like it’s gonna be another long day.

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Steve's Log 6

“I just gave up one day. Around the time the news about toxic shock came out. I thought, Fuck me, man, I give up. Come and get me.”
Anne Lamott

Death. I often contemplate dieing and death. This war has changed me. It has made me harder, angrier, and more resigned to the fact that I and everyone I love will die. It isn’t a matter of how but when. Realizing this fact of life has made me lose my fear of Death. I don’t worry about it like I use to. These days I pray for it. I pray that when it comes, that is will be a good death. That it will have meaning and serve some purpose. I pray that I will die winning this war. All of those years I sat at home praying for war and now I got one and I am not lucky enough to be fighting the damned spics or an honorable enemy like the Russians. No I am stuck fighting god damned aliens. Being born of the forth of July did not prepare me for living through Independence Day.

Now my death is near and it sucks. “Lethal dose of radiation poisoning” is what the doc told me. Not just me, but Corey, John, Sam, Pete, and Jessica. We all have maybe a year with the drugs they gave us but cancer is killing is quick. Death. It gets us all and this is not a good death. This is the death that cowards deserve, not people like us. I am pissed. I asked the doc about the how it will go and she told me that the drugs they had given us slow the effects and reduce the overall pain. We get a dose every day. Miss one dose and you will likely die within 48 hours. I have noticed over the past few months that I am weaker, more tired, and wake up every morning with an infernal cough that lasts for half an hour or so. The cough is sometimes bloody. My nose bleeds seem almost daily. Diarrhea is constant and my stomach never stops hurting.

I suppose I should record the how this all came to be. We were in the secret lab of Dr. Tempus, Jessica’s father. I had found a remote control that opened a portal to another place. John fell in and I followed to rescue him. One by one everyone joined us. A suicidal bunch we are. We found ourselves in a dessert. Not like the Sahara but dried cracked mud for as far as we could see with occasional tree trunks that had been burned with intense heat. The temperature was comfortable if not chilly. We could see a mountain to the North and started heading for it. It was alot further away that we ever could have realized. Three days we walked and our food ran out. Our water ran out. We were dieing slowly. Exhaustion was eating away at us and we were not talking.

I think it was Jessica that saw it first. A fireball in the sky. It got bigger and bigger and then just as it seemed it was going to hit us, it struck the ground a few hundred yards away. We were knocked off of our feet and then rubble and debris fell upon us battering our aching bodies. We got up and found a crater, 40 yards across. John went in and yelled that it was a meteor, or maybe a bio-organic pod. Pete and John started cracking jokes about Superman. We all smiled. Then the rock started releasing gas. We retreated as the gas crept along the ground. Pete took a wind reading and we moved up wind from the crater. What happened next was insane. A giant robot stood up and Jet fighters showed up and started fighting it. We ran. When we got captured by the Japanese Army, we didn’t even fight back. We were out of our element and couldn’t understand anything except that they had lots of guns and they were all pointed at us.

After getting tied up and taken back to their base, we went through decontamination. Then we got shots and pills. Then a doc told us we were dead men walking. I felt like rolling over and shooting myself in the face. I got to experience a transmat that took me to the other side of the world and now I was going to die of radiation poisoning. How fucked up is that. Radiation as a killer is worse than nearly anything I can imagine. We were assured we would live for a while. Several months of living in slums we learned the culture and language. Japanese really isn’t that hard. We were treated well because they thought we were US Army Special Forces sent to help them fight the dinks. I didn’t correct them. Finally we heard the news of a radiation cure. The Japanese government had found a cure but it would require astronauts to go get it. They wanted 2,000 volunteers. We all signed up.

A little historical note is important here. The Nips got hit by the Dinks differently and worse than we did. The dinks have been dropping radioactive meteors and nuclear bombs all over Japan. This caused all of Japans nuclear reactors to meltdown and turned the entire island into a radioactive dessert. In one year they went from thriving to barely surviving. Somehow their navy was able to fight back. The dinks didn’t invade here like they did us. They just bombed and sent in giant robots. It seems to me that the aliens hitting this part of the world are a different breed than the few we encountered in America. Based on my understanding of things, the entire population of Japan has received lethal doses of radiation and is dying. The Navy had something called scramjets that they have been using to battle the dinks in the upper atmosphere but it seems they have lost nearly every engagement. Still they continue to fight.

Several months of training and we learned the jobs we would do. My training consisted of a small amount of technical stuff, learning the layout of a ship and how to deal with things like decompression, and lots and lots and lots of close quarters tactics classes. We worked for weeks in the class and then in the corridors of an old ship, running through anti-boarding actions. I learned SWAT-like tactics for clearing a room, hostage rescue, and all out assault. I really likes the MED-7. That is the Military Explosive Device # 7. A grenade that is kind of a blend of the Dink’s Plasma grenade and a flashbang. It explodes four seconds after it is armed and gives off a deafening sound and 200,000 lumens of bright light. In addition to this, it lights everything within 2 meters of the blast on fire. The only thing I don’t like about it is that once armed it sticks to the first thing it hits. I got to use a whole bunch of these bad boys in training and can’t wait to hit a ripper in the chest with one.

Following training I was put into the Elite Tactical Unit or “Kamikaze Squad” as everyone called them. John, Corey, and Pete went to the hangers as technicians. Jessica got a spot on the bridge and Sam was sent to the kitchens. The ship was like a WWII battleship. It was big and cramped and had two hangers housing 16 fighters each. When it came time to launch we learned the name of the ship. Cosmoship Yamato. I nearly shit myself. Then we got out uniforms and I saw the traditional uniform of the anime of the same name. I guess the Japanese do have a sense of humor.

We launched and after dozens of battles we are half way to our destination. only 844 of the original crew are still alive. Half have died of the radiation sickness. The rest due to dink attacks. It is strange fighting dinks in space. My job is with guns so I never fight, we train and wait for our chance. Finally it came. A planetside mission.

The ship’s food stored had been hit by a missile and we were low on food. The planet we were orbiting had animals. We were going hunting. Fourteen volunteers. Six from the suicide squad and eight others which happened to be Pete and Corey’s squad. On the way down to the planet we were cramped into a Armored landing craft. It was good seeing my friends but John started posturing and acting like I was the enemy. I was about to ask him what the fucking deal was when he cold cocked me and dropped me into darkness. When I awoke, the entire compartment was covered in unconscious and barely moving people. Some slanty eyed Korean piece of shit from John’s squad was the only one standing. I learned later that our two squads had a hell of a fist fight. I have no idea how or why it started, only that my good friend hit me for no fucking reason. I confronted him about it and he blabbered some nonsense. I think he was still reeling from the fight. I was pissed and punched him. He pulled a gun on me. Then the Sarge stepped in and broke it all up. Good thing to. I was ready to shoot him too. This is what dieing does to people. Everyone of us in that ship was dieing. We were all dead men walking and we knew it. It makes you lose your sense of focus. It makes to into an idiot.

I was very excited. We were on another planet. How fucking cool is that? We were astronauts and we had traveled to another planet. I have always wanted to see another planet and I was getting my chance. It was just like a sci-fi book. I forgot about the fight and started enjoying myself. This was fucking cool and I was having the time of my life.

The hunt went well and we killed a bunch of herd animals. The meat tasted strange but it was food. John’s squad heard screaming and went to investigate. I took Kotimo and followed. We found a cave and heard what appeared to a women screaming. We went in. Just me, John and Corey. Inside we found a spider the size of a god damned truck. It went for John. Corey shouted a warning and John dodged. Then we opened fire. It leapt at me and Corey and we stood like rocks firing on full auto. At some point our guns ran out of ammo and we discovered it was dead. I think I pissed myself.

We didn’t die today so maybe tomorrow will be our chance. In the meanwhile I need to plan the next game of Dungeons and Dragons. I got a good group of guys interested in playing and when they can make, John, Pete, and Corey will sometimes join us. I am preparing to run Expedition to Castle Ravenloft and am going to make it with a real twist. Instead of Strahd the evil vampire, it will be Strahd that is asking for help dealing with witches. Then if the players succeed, Strahd won’t become the vampire but if they fail, he will and they will have to come back to destroy him. I need to sleep, this day has been long and my jaw is killing me. Fucking John needs to snap out of his craziness. It’s almost like he is drunk. I am getting to bed.

The Giant spider whose body was about the size of a Deuce and a half

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John's Log 4
Yamato 1

Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.
Irving Berlin

I’m an ass. I’ve been so caught up in the news that I’m dying that I haven’t been paying attention to everyone else around me, and how they’re dealing with the same news. Every single soul on board the Yamato was given the same news I was – death by radiation. Yet I seem to be the only one going around acting like an asshole. That’s going to stop.

Let’s see… it’s been a few months since I wrote last; that’s not entirely my fault though. After falling through the hole in the sky and windong up in a desert (which turned out to be Japan), we were captured by the JDF and given the news I outlined above. They’re fighting the dinks here too, only I don’t think they’re the same dinks we’ve been dealing with. See, the aliens here are plying war in giant mecha, and the Japanese are fighting back using the same technology. Steve can talk all he wants about how we got sent to the other side of the war… ain’t NO way thats the Japs had this kinda tech before the invasion!

Anyway, after almost dying as we crossed the desert, we eventually got picked up by the JDF. They mistook us for US Special Forces (thank Christ they didn’ tknow different). We spent a few days inrecovery from our trek across the wasteland, and then a few months in what was essentially Navy boot camp… only this Navy don’t float. No, this Navy flies through space in a converted WW2 battleship called the Yamato, under the leadership of Captain Henry Gloval. Is there really any wonder why my head is splittin’ open at all?! And Steve still insists that we’ve been teleported to the other side of the world. What the hell is he smoking? And how did he even get it here?

After learning the Japanese way of doing things, and learning the local lingo, we more or less got press-ganged into joining the Expeditionary Force being sent to attack the alien home planet. Yeah, records’ll show we volunteered, but that’s only ‘cause we’ve been told the only possible cure to the radiation sickness is to be found on the dink homeworld. You ask me, dying slow and safe or dying quick and dangerous is no real choice at all.

Most of us wound up in the hangar crew (lord knows why, since I don’t know shit about fightercraft). Steve wound up in the ‘suicide squad’, a group of gung-ho soldiers who plan to go out taking it to the enemy. Suits his current outlook if you ask me. The first time his squad and mine got sent on a missionm he started talking shit about he and his being elite and me and mine being wrench monkeys; I put him down hard, but didn’t last much longer myself in the donnybrook. Hangar squad won though, so I felt a little vindication – still, that’s just another example of my asshole’edness.

The Yamato made a bunch of jumps, and we’d been in a bunch of scrapes with this place’s dinks. A whole lotta people died, but unfortunately a person gets used to that – at least on the outside. Inside you get all torn up, only there’s no real place to let it loose, so you internalize it as best you can and carry on. Anyway, on this one skirmish with the enemy, the food stores and galley on the ship got wasted. I was feeling stir crazy so I volunteered the hangar squad to go planet-side to look for food. We got paired with Steve’s squad, and the primary result I went over above.

We did some hunting, with me as big chief dickhead, pushing the squad around. I swear I’m gonna make it up to them somehow – they’re a good bunch, and deserve better. So we bagged some local wildlife and got to butchering. We made a real mess of it, but we ate well that night. The meat was ohmygod good, but it didn’t taste like beef (or chicken); this stuff tasted like blueberries. Kinda tasty, and kinda unnerving at the same time. Still, it was the first fresh food any of us had had in a long time.

After we’d all eaten is when we heard it – a scream coming from a nearby cave. We knew it was going to be a trap; after all, the only humans around were the ones sitting around our fire. Still, there’s something about a female scream that touches on the soul of a male – something not easily ignored. It was decided that myself, Steve, and Corey would check it out.

The cave system was pretty clean – mostly sandstone, with very few water deposits. I’ve always been interested in spelunking, but this was definately not the time to indulge. Hell, even if I’d wanted to, the caves were pretty boring really; no real elevation changes and only one point where the ceiling got low enough to make us crouch. After that point, we found it.

Lying in the middle of this cave was an old tape casette player – obviously on a loop, and the origin of the scream we’d been hearing. I’d even stated to the guys that something had felt weird about the scream – it hadn’t altered in pitch or volue since we’d first heard it, and it was repeated at a fairly constant interval (no one had bothered timing it). As I leaned over to shut it off, Corey gave a yell that saved my life. I didn’t stop to think (a year fighting aliens will do that for you); I just dove for cover, expecting to be shot or something. What I wasn’t expecting was the truck-sized spider that landed beside me.

I confess: I pissed myself. I don’t have a huge fear of spiders, but monsters are an entirely different matter. Man, this thing was like that spider in The Incredible Shrinking Man, only I hadn’t done any shrinking! I don’t know, maybe the warm fluid running down my leg got me acting; first I tried to jump on the back of the thing (I figured it couldn’t attack me there), but it was too big. Then next thing I know I’m hosing it down with my MP5, and watching my bullets bounce off the thing’s shell. Then I heard the click of my weapon running dry, then everyone else’s gun hitting empty. Somehow, somewhere along the way the thing had died – I couldn’t really tell you when, but I can tell you that I did suddenly rediscover how to breathe.

So now I sit here writing this all down. The docs all give me 6 months at best to live – IF these dinks don’t get me first. But I have a new perspective on life and what it means to live. First thing tomorrow I start to make amends with my squad. After that, I start dealing with my new circumstances; after all, what’s the worst that could happen? Death? I’ve been dealing with that for over a year now – the ’verse is gonna have to come up with something new to knock me back into the hole I just climbed out of.

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