Archive for December, 2018

EARTHFALL 2: Knife Fight

December 21, 2018 Leave a comment

Andrews gets into the zone.

The grenade went off with a deafening roar, and Trumbull disappeared in a flash. Andrews missed most of it as the din of combat was suddenly supplanted by a constant ringing that filled his ears, as if he had been dropped into a field of echoing chimes. Distantly, he was aware of something warm and wet splashing across him as the world went suddenly topsy-turvy. His last coherent thought was that his rifle was slipping from his grasp, and then time stopped for a moment. His only awareness was of the spectral ringing in his ears despite the headset he wore. There was something lyrical about it, something hypnotizing. It drowned out everything else, including cohesive thought. Andrews listened to it for a time, unable to do anything else.

Get up, he told himself, but his body wouldn’t listen. Get up, get back into the fight.

Instead, he lay where he had fallen. In small, infinitesimally tiny increments, the outer world began to intrude into his lassitude. The rain was still falling, cold and sharp. He tasted something coppery on his tongue. Two points of pain began to make themselves known, in his right arm and right leg, where the body armor he wore offered no protection. The aches seemed faraway and unimportant, as inconsequential as the rainfall that pelted him. Andrews sighed, and basked in the tranquility of the moment even as a small part of his mind screamed at him to shake it off and get back on his weapon.

As his consciousness returned, he realized he was lying face down in the brush. A severed finger lay right before his eyes, and in response he wiggled all of his—all present and accounted for. Just the same, he was content to remain where he was. He heard a series of distant pops, slicing through the buzzing in his ears like a knife cutting into a chunk of hard butter three hundred yards away. The sense of detachment he felt was supreme. Even his body seemed distant, along with the battle that still raged around him, and beyond that, the rest of the world.

—Get up—

A series of loud reports cut through the hum in his ears. Andrews grunted and instinctively cast about for his rifle, but it was gone. He blinked, squeezing rainwater out of his eyes. Trumbull was in pieces, his head separated from his body, eyes staring sightlessly into the gray sky. Andrews was covered with strands of intestine and shredded flesh, courtesy of the grenade that had gone off only ten feet away. He blinked again, looking at the decapitated head, watching as raindrops rolled off the bridge of Trumbull’s nose and pooled in his eyes. The man’s left arm leaned against a bush six feet away. The middle finger on the hand was lifted just slightly, a dying testament to the man’s sour persona immortalized forever in Andrews’s mind.

—Fucking get up—

He rolled onto his right side and felt the pressure of his sidearm. He eased off it and ripped the weapon from its holster as the brush parted and a figure loomed over him. It was the little man with the blond beard carrying a battered AR in his hands. His head was wrapped in a green bandana stained dark by the rain, and his eyes rolled in about in his head in a queer combination of fear and bloodlust. He looked down and saw Andrews, and he grinned, exposing his missing tooth.

“Aw, shit!” he cried as he raised his rifle while stepping back.

Andrews raised his pistol and fired three times before the slide locked and the weapon fell silent. The man shrieked as each nine millimeter round slammed into his pelvis, driving him back. He squeezed off a wild round as he fell into the brush, tripping over Trumbull’s ravaged torso. Time dilated again, and Andrews’s next memory was of him on top of the runty little man, screaming as he plunged his knife into the man’s belly. He struck so deep that he felt the rub of the man’s ribs on his left wrist as he stabbed again and again, the blade sinking well into his opponent’s body cavity. The little man made a small squeaking noise as he tried to breathe. It was all for naught. Andrews had shredded his diaphragm, making respiration impossible. His eyes locked onto Andrews’s as he silently pleaded for mercy.

Andrews reared back and slashed his throat open with the blade. Blood splattered all across him, but the falling rain diluted it immediately. The light faded from the small man’s eyes.

A heavy hand descended on Andrews’s shoulder. “Captain, you hurt?”

Andrews turned toward the figure towering over him, knife in hand. Mulligan looked down at him, rainwater running off his helmet and visor, the pistol grip of his big AR in his right hand. He gave Andrews a little push with his left hand as he stepped back.

“Are you with me, Andrews?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Andrews replied, more out of habit than anything else.

Mulligan nodded toward the man Andrews crouched over. “Okay, so we didn’t kill him first, but he still had a happy ending from where I sit. You hurt?”

Andrews considered mentioning the pain in his right arm and leg, then shook his head. “Good to go, Sarmajor.”

“Great. Then if you don’t mind, stop fucking around with your knife and find your rifle.”


EARTHFALL 2: When SCEVs Roll Into the Fight

December 17, 2018 Leave a comment

Some tunes for what I’m finishing up here…rigs thundering across the landscape tearing the shit out of hostile forces with miniguns and Hellfires.