Nomads

I use my blog to communicate with fans, work out some theories, and hone my writing. In the spirit of mastering the craft I am going to write a serialized story. I’m aiming to try something a little different so I’ll try first person and go for futuristic bent.

“I’m sorry, Raven, I’m so sorry.”

I just stood there, staring at the bloody mess with the words crashing down upon me. My seekers puttered around at chest height, scanning, but I was oblivious to the streams of data that their analysis called up. Some part of me, I knew from long experience, was already collating and storing that data for later use. The machine part, I hope.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The air smelled like blaster fire, overpowering even the smell of blood and burning flesh. Two bugs, rippers, lay smoldering against the wall. Their thick black carapaces were melted by blaster fire, their insides cooked. They were big, I wasn’t sure if that meant they were old survivors, grown strong off the flesh of their enemies, or if they were from a mature hive. At that moment I didn’t particularly care. A mental command sent one of my seekers forth to check the perimeter. Now would be a bad time to be surprised.

The two rippers were part of a larger pack. I saw evidence of a spitter, a pool of noxious bile, and a lacerator’s bony discs on the killing ground; I did not need seeker analysis to know the signs. Besides, we knew the bugs were coming, that’s why we’d come, after all.

“I’m sorry, Raven, I’m so sorry.”

The other corpse on the ground, further into the room, was one of ours. A Nomad scout suit, Mercury Class. I would recognize the paint job anywhere. Patterned after some ancient animal that probably only existed in databases; a leopard. I used to joke with Jessup that taking a callsign based on what looked like an overgrown housecat suited him. The room blurred. I could almost see his face again. The suit was mangled, twisted and broken. The body inside was worse than that.

Nomad scout suits were built for mobility. They packed a punch, but were at a disadvantage in places where they could not run, jump, and fly. Once the field was breached they had minimal armour. The mercury class was an advanced model, but very few Nomads could go toe to toe with this many Scourge and survive, especially without drone support. I saw the fist spikes had popped on both of  Jessup’s arms. Both of them were covered in goo. He probably fired the blaster and then dropped it; It was to heavy for such a small suit to use in close quarters. Screaming and swearing, he would have waded in. At first, the bugs would have trouble catching him — the Mercury was blindingly fast. He would have struck again and again, dancing around them. But despite Jessup’s skill, his end was assured, the bugs were thorough and the terrain was bad. The pack would have close around him like a noose. I forced myself to think: why was he here?

“I’m sorry, Raven, I’m so sorry.”

Our Nomad team was working the DF7-AF233 Falcon, long range picket, when Fleet Command picked up a distress call. The Falcon was the closest ship with an operational squad and craft that could make planetfall. We made landing near the distress signal, but found nothing but old ruins crawling with bugs. I ordered the squad to take up defensive positions. Jessup had been scouting, working the outside, when his seekers had spotted something. I wish I knew what. The scourge might seem like overgrown insects, but they were smart enough to jam a Nomad who strayed too far from his team. Jessup’s drones were strewn out over a kilometer and a half, a trail of metal crumbs leading to the pace where he died.

I looked around. It was a ruin just like any other. Any curiosity I might have about ruins were buried under sorrow. And then it struck me. The planet’s atmosphere wasn’t favourable to human ecology. It never had been. These weren’t just any ruins, they were alien ruins.

Since the Diaspora, Fleet Seven had encountered precious few alien races. The sectors of space that we had wandered through since I was young were ravaged by the scourge. We occasionally found evidence of lost human colonies, but any evidence of non human civilizations was rare. I’d seen a ruined city and this little outpost here already. I looked around. The architecture was strange, squat and bulky.

“I’m sorry, Raven, I’m so sorry.” Jessup’s last words rolled through my head. There had to be a reason he’d run out here. Jessup had a cool head. I looked around. A sudden discovery. A two kilometer chase. A trail of drones. A desperate last stand.

“You were leading them away from something…” I said.

“Boss…?” Shrike only used voice when she was spooked.

“You found Jessup’s missing drone?” I knew the answer already.

“Yes… I… You have to see this,” said Shrike. “Marking the location.”

I took one last look a Jessup. Nomad Leopard. I switched on broad coms.

“Report. This is Nomad Raven, in command of Squad Bright Sword, DF-N665. Nomad Leopard, Jessup Port, has been killed in action against the Scourge. Marking the body. Raven out.”

Notes:

Seeker: A spy drone. Nomad operators have 4-6 drones under their control.

Scourge: A hostile alien race that Fleet Seven has clashed with. Nomads refer to Scourge soldier forms as bugs.

 

 

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10 comments on “Nomads

  1. […] Link to last week’s chapter. […]

  2. […] Link to the first nomads, link to last week’s chapter. […]

  3. […] Link to Nomads 1, Link to Nomads 7 […]

  4. […] Link to last week’s nomads, link to the first nomads. […]

  5. […] Link to the first nomads, link to nomads 9. […]

  6. […] Link to the first nomads, link to nomads 10. […]

  7. […] Link to the first nomads, Link to nomads 11. […]

  8. […] Link to Nomads One, Link to Nomads 12 […]

  9. […] Link to Nomads 1, Link to Nomads 13. […]

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