Two Worlds – Chapter 334

Sonya Berg

Location: CWS Agincourt, Sol System, United Commonwealth of Colonies

“Shit,” it was a statement as much as a word, and it reverberated across the bridge.

“Shit,” Sonya repeated as she got her first good look at Earth.

Sick Bay had become too crowded from the wounds Aggie took in the battle, so the least wounded, like her, got the boot. Most crew would just return to their quarters, if their quarters were still there. There was a lot of twisted metal wreckage from the alien’s powerful laser barrages that left much of the once-mighty battleship unrecognizable. She was sure they’d be hot bunking until they figured ship out. The plan was to dock at one of the many yards scattered around the Earth, Luna, or even Mars.

<That’s going to be hard,> she looked at the wreckage that surrounded humanity’s homeworld.

There was always a certain amount of space junk orbiting an industrialized world. Satellites became obsolete and just sat up there for a while until someone needed the space and took them down. It was worse for Earth than most places, with hundreds of years of crap sitting in various orbits, but the world’s governments had banned together to clear out the junk. It was one of the few things the Blockies and Commonwealth agreed on; if only to put better weapons and surveillance equipment into orbit.

Now, everyone would need to start over again . . . from scratch. There was not a single piece of intact infrastructure orbiting Earth. It was impossible for her to comprehend. There had been more than satellites in orbit. There were industrial hubs, fleet anchorages, and civilian habitants. Millions upon millions of people had called those places home. Now . . .

She swallowed the bile working its way up her throat as the ship’s sensors came into IOR range. The bio-devices distributed by the traitorous Gold Technologies ran off the power generated by the human body, but if a person was dead, they had enough power to run for a little longer in the hopes of being retrieved. As Aggie came into range, the sensors started to ping active IORs and triangulate their location. All of them were in orbit around the planet.

IOR IDs started to flow down the side of the bridge holo-tank and felt her face pale. The list just kept going and going and going. She had to look away after a moment, and the rough cough of the ship’s captain told her he was similarly affected. They were too late to help those people, but could help the ones still on the ground.

Aggie’s tactical department was hard at work assigning parking orbits, fields of fire, and areas of responsibility to what remained of the detached force that had helped win the battle by attacking the alien’s flanks. They were hours ahead of the main fleet, so it fell to them to start sweeping for threats and establishing communications with survivors.

The battle might be over, but the hardest part had just begun. She pinched the bridge of her nose between her fingers and took a deep breath. She’s been knocked unconscious during the fighting when the flag bridge exploded, and that looked like the only sleep she’d be getting anytime soon.

“Energy discharge!” someone over in the tactical department yelled, just in time for Sonya to see a brilliant beam of light fire up from the planet’s surface and hit a battlecruiser that was settling into position.

It was clear the beam weapon was nowhere near as strong as what was mounted on the alien’s starships. If that was the case, it would have gone in one side and out the other of the battlecruiser. This laser just punched a good-sized hole in one side. She saw debris and people expelled from the ship before the ship’s systems locked down the damage compartments. A second later, the battlecruiser returned fire. Its own energy weapons, and solid projectiles from its railguns stabbed through Earth’s atmosphere to kill whatever had tried to kill it.

“Keep your heads on a swivel people,” Aggie’s CAPT relayed. As the senior CAPT, he was in charge of this gaggle until someone with more rank arrived.

Technically, Sonya might be in charge, but she was injured and didn’t have the tactical experience. She was more than happy to offload the responsibility. As the warships turned to the difficult responsibility of tracking and destroying the enemy troops on the surface, her thoughts turned to the people she knew were on Earth: Eve, her unborn grandchild, and even Mark Cooper among dozens of other friends and acquaintances. She did not have high hopes.

Taking advantage of her access, she took over an unmanned console and went digging. It took her over an hour to find the bunker complex in the Smokey Mountains where her grandchild’s identifier had been logged into an OBGYN storage unit.

Then she used the ship’s sensors to take a peek at the GPS coordinates. What she saw made her knee’s shake, so she used her ADM’s code to send orders to gunnery and the infantry troopers getting cocked, locked, and ready to rock. There were a lot of places that needed reinforcement, and even more defensive installations that the Commonwealth would need to retake from a dug in enemy.

<I already lost one friend today,> she quickly shook her head to clear the mental image of Michael Ward’s lifeless eyes. <I’m not going to lose any more if I can help it.>


Mark “Coop” Cooper

Location: North American Eastern Seaboard, Smokey Mountains, United Commonwealth of Colonies

Sweat poured of Coop’s face as he kept on fighting. A small mountain of Roaches littered the hallway along with a pair of BAMFs. The big fuckers didn’t go down easy. Just about all of the normal grunts were wounded or dead. A bunch had been trapped in the various retreats when then had to blow the passageways, and they’d have to wait to confirm them KIA until they dug their way out. Three quarters of the HI troopers were also down.

He tried not to look at the still smoking hole in the chest of the SSG who’d been fighting by his side only a few minutes before. If the poor bastard had dipped instead of dodged, they’d be alive; but the dodge put him right in the path of a beamer . . . and that was all she wrote.

Coop wasn’t looking too hot either. His hip actuator and a servo in his knee were shot from the last fight, so he was dragging one leg like a cripple. It was as good as a death sentence come the next fight. He couldn’t maneuver with the speed he needed to fight against a BAMF. He’d be a decoy to draw attention so Eve could take them down.

His girlfriend’s armor was scarred and blistering in spots. Enough bleed-through was getting though the shields to nearly cook them alive in their LACS; thus sweating like a whore in church. They’d live . . . for now, as the LACS AC did its best to cool everything down.

Coop stared at the solid wall of rock that was already starting to turn red from the heat of the alien’s weapons blasting through. “Give me an ACE report,” he coughed. His throat was so dry.

“We’ve got enough ammo for one more fight. Just about everyone is dead, and everything we have it just about shot to shit. That good enough for you?” Eve shot back.

He bit back a reply. Everyone was stressed. Impending doom would do that to you, and he didn’t want his last few conversations with Eve to be in anger.

“Love you too,” he replied on a private net.

He heard her long exhale as she took a calming breath and let it out. “Yeah. Today could have gone better.”

That got a laugh out of him. It was the understatement of the century. The wall was glowing a vibrant orange now, so everyone shut up and got ready. They had one piece of mobile artillery left, but only a couple rounds remaining. Instead of wasting the precious rounds, Coop was going to hit the first fucker through the hole with his 250mm spine-mounted cannon. It wouldn’t punch through a BAMF’s shield, but it would knock it on its ass, and give the artillery piece a stationary target to hammer into oblivion. Eve would take follow-up shots with her smaller 125mm cannon, but the plan usually went to shit within the first ten seconds. Roaches were fast, and they could take down the remaining troopers by getting around the flanks and diverting attention from the BAMFs. Enough hits from a Roach, and even Coop would go down, and that was if they didn’t chuck some anti-armor grenades at him. Those hadn’t been a threat to the MOUNTs, but the weaker LACS were susceptible. He’d already seen how that turned out at Harper’s Junction, and he didn’t want to relive that experience.

“Get ready,” he didn’t need to tell anyone. Shields were powering up, and anyone vulnerable enough to be hurt by the back blast in the short corridor was getting the hell out of there.

<This is it,> he sighed, content that he’d done everything he could.

After this last fortified position was the command section of the bunker. There was half a company’s worth of officers and clerks, but they’d last about two seconds against a BAMF. On the floor below them was everyone else. The bunkers they’d stuffed them in like sardines were nuclear antimatter hardened, but that didn’t mean shit. The BAMFs and Roaches would pry the doors open and slaughter everyone. This really was it.  

Coop didn’t wait for the ugly-ass BAMF to stick its head through a hole to open fire. When the first chunk of molten rock sloshed off the wall, he opened up. The high explosive round smashed into the magma, and its shape charge blasted it right into the ET’s faces. He heard the roar of something as molten rock sprayed it, and grinned.

<One last fuck you,> his LACS reloaded the cannon on his spine.

Firing early also allowed him to get off a second shot, and that was exactly what he did. It made the hole the enemy could get through bigger, but it was a worthwhile trade to bring some pain down on them.

The smoke and debris weren’t even close to clear as Eve opened up her 125mm cannon, and they both got the hell out of the way. There was way too much shit in the air for the sensors to pick up anything, but nothing was better than something. The roar of the artillery piece opening up might have busted some eardrums if the command staff didn’t have their helmets on.

It took longer for the big gun to reload, so Coop sprung the trap. He couldn’t move fast enough to really fight, so he gave the enemy an easy target. Eve stood by ready to blast whatever attacked him, but he was positive his life was going to end in the next thirty seconds.

That time came and went. The big artillery gun fired twice more into the breech, and then everything went silent. After a few minutes, Coop limped forward to the hole, which was nearly as wide as the normal hallway was. He had his blade out, and ready to cut someone if they jumped him.

There were a few roaches down in the hallway beyond, and BAMF looked like it had taken one of the artillery rounds to the dome with a weakened shield, and its brains were splattered all over the walls. Other than that, there was nothing.

“It looks clear,” he radioed back hesitantly.

“Stay frosty,” Eve’s voice was hard as ice. Getting killed because you weren’t paying attention was one of the most embarrassing ways to die.

They stood guard on the hole for another half-hour before someone from the command staff bothered to tell them it was over. The enemy was in full retreat. They were trying to consolidate and hold strategic areas against the coming human reinforcements, and that meant the Smokey Mountains bunkers wasn’t worth a damn to them anymore.

<Is that it?> Coop wondered as the LCDR set up a watch rotation that allowed him to get some sleep.

He’d believe it when the last of the invading aliens’ bodies were right in front of him, burning on a funeral pyre, as a big fuck you to the assholes who’d invaded humanity’s home.



Two Worlds – Chapter 333

Mark “Coop” Cooper

Location: North American Eastern Seaboard, Smokey Mountains, United Commonwealth of Colonies

Coop was rudely awakened by his face hitting the cold, concrete floor. “Ugh, what the fuck,” he grumbled. A lesser man would have broken his jaw from the drop off the bed.

He tried to look around but the lights were out. Since they were deep underground that meant complete and total darkness. It had been a long time since little Coop was afraid of the dark back in the PHA, and he was only afraid because the dark corners of the public housing usually held tweakers or gangbangers out to do something bad for his health.

A fear of dark places was rational. Despite being a pilot of the most advanced combat mech in the Commonwealth, Coop shivered as a tendril of fear worked its way up his spine. He was injured and alone in a dark place. He still had no idea what the fuck was going on with Eve. There was still better than a fifty percent chance she was dead.

<Man the fuck up,” he chided himself, and shook his head to clear out the fear as he worked his way onto his knees.

His body still ached, but it was infinitely better than before. The most annoying feeling was the full body itch that seized him. It was an itch he knew he couldn’t scratch. He curled his hands into fists to avoid the temptation, and was thinking about what the hell he should do when the door burst open.

The LCDR, in full scales, looked down at him through her armored helm. “Good, you’re up.”

He still didn’t know what had woken him up, but it was something big enough to toss his ass onto the floor. “Okay,” he answered simply, and accepted her offered hand.

His room might be pitch black, but they’d strung lights across the hallway of the bottom levels. It was enough to work off of, and enough to see everyone was in a panic. The support staff were in full armor, and judging by the awkward movements, it didn’t look like they’d been in their armor recently. The scales were sized for the person to allow for maximum mobility, but if you hadn’t worn them in five years, and put on a few kilos . . . it led to some serious chaffage.

The LCDR led Coop past an impromptu barricade that wouldn’t stop an ET’s wet fart. The two logistics specialists held their IARs like they hardly knew which end the bullets came out of. Not that the flimsy 1mm rounds would do shit against a roach, much less a BAMF.

Mid-step, the ground lurched beneath him. He grabbed the LCDR for support, and the two of them nearly went crashing to the ground. “They’re getting closer,” there was a tinge of acceptance in her voice mixed with fear and exhaustion.

“Sounds like we need to do something about that,” Coop replied, glad he’d busted his head against the floor and woken up before the party was voer.

It was one thing to die, but it was another thing entirely for some fucking alien to kill him while he was passed out in bed. “Do you have a gun for me?” he asked.

At the moment, he was in CMU bottoms and bare chested. He might be one of the biggest, toughest human beings in the base, but without a gun he might as well piss into the wind and hope the ET’s were allergic to his dick.

“Even better,” she pushed past an armored guard that looked happy to be in the rear with the gear and not getting his head blown off.

The heavy door yielded to her code and hissed open. By her tone, Coop was expecting another fucking MOUNT. Instead he found himself looking at a LACS. Sure, it was the hulking mass of a V4A, the same LACS he’d worn when with the SRRT, but the firepower in the latest generation LACS was still far below what a MOUNT had to offer.

“We got this in one of the last shipments to arrive. I don’t know shit about it, but people tell me you do,” she gestured at the LACS with a shrug.

“I do,” he gritted his teeth and yanked up his CMUs. He winced at they knitted over his new skin, but he sucked it up. He didn’t have time to fuck around. “Help me into this, and point me where I need to go.”


Eve Berg

Location: North American Eastern Seaboard, Smokey Mountains, United Commonwealth of Colonies

A beamer sparked off Eve’s shield as she dived away. It hit the energy barrier for a second too long, and punched through. Thankfully, it sliced past her leg, and despite a few internal temperature warnings on her HUD, there was no damage. That wasn’t the case for the three troopers who didn’t move fast enough.

The squad level shield was already down, so all they had between them and the high-powered lasers was their scales. The directional armor melted like butter under the enemy’s attack, and sliced through the three soldiers. They lost various parts of their body in the process. Her armor’s computer read that two of the three were still alive, their armor doing everything in its power to save them, but the bottom line was the defenders were pulling back. Eve couldn’t grab them, so even if their armor did save them, the BAMFS would crush them before moving on.

“Hit the charges!” she yelled.

A moment later, a shockwave slammed into her, nearly knocking her to her knees. Dust and pebbles peppered her recharging shield, but it was clear . . . at least for a minute. She picked up her pace, and passed a gaggle of soldiers retreating with wounded comrades in their arms.

“How many more?” she asked over the net as she spotted a pair of HI troopers at the next intersection.

“Two more fallback positions until we hit the medical wing,” the armor with SSG markings sounded completely exhausting. “Docs are moving everyone as fast as they can, but they aren’t going to get anywhere near as much supplies out as they could if we bought them another hour.”

“We’ll have to make do,” she replied dryly; even if that mean that people who would otherwise live would die from their wounds instead.

“What do we have at the next position?” she moved on to the next task on her to-do-list.

“The usual,” the SSG led the way to where layer upon layer of shields were being set up and charged.

Twin heavy cannons were waiting at a bend to be rolled out. They were the next best thing to mobile artillery they had. The heavy rounds had a fifty percent chance of penetrating a BAMFs shield if they timed a perfect one-two punch. There were the three HI troopers and half a company’s worth of soldiers getting set behind portable barricades. Before fucking aliens invaded, this would have been an impregnable defensive position that the Blockies would have to throw an entire battalion at to overrun. For the ETs all it took was a couple BAMFs.

“Charges?” she asked.

“Being set,” the SSG pointed at a pair of Sapers drilling holes through the walls and planting shaped charges. She couldn’t tell if they’d actually killed anyone with the charges that were using the burry themselves and buy time, but they didn’t have a choice.

“Good, we need to . . .” a blast knocked her on her ass, and white lances of light stabbed into the hall. The sappers were cut down where they stood, and a BAMF snarled and charged.

In hallways meant for humans, the BAMFs took up the entire things with their bulk. It was intimidating as fuck, but it also made it impossible to miss. An ant could walk down the hallway on the bullets the Commonwealth soldiers opened up with. It was full of led, and the boom boom of the artillery firing at the charging BAMF sounded like God bitch-slapping the world.

Her ears were ringing despite the armor’s sensory protections, and then the world fucking exploded. The rounds hit in their perfectly synchronized one-two punch, and the BAMF’s shield failed. Bullet’s ripped into the creature’s armor, but it kept coming. Eve unloaded her own 3mm plasma tipped rounds right into the fucker’s face, but it just wouldn’t stopped.

“I got this,” a voice she never though she would hear again announced as a hulking metal shape shot bast her.

A whirring sound started up as a big V4A lacks activated the chainsaw feature on its blade and met the BAMF’s charge head on. The biggest LACS in the Commonwealth’s inventory was a little bigger than the BAMF, and they looked like two titans struggling for dominance. Metal fists and blades hammered into the two combatants. The ETs sparked off a shield at full power, while the LACS cut into the alien. The BAMF roared in pain as the LACS’ man-made strength drove the whirring blade deeper into its body.

Then a leg slashed out, and the LACS was suddenly on its back, holding back a knife with both its hands. The chainsaw blade was forgotten as the alien struggled to end the boyfriend she thought was already dead.

<No fucking way!>  

A scream roared out of the depths of her very soul, and before she knew it, Eve was charging across the space. The BAMF barely had time to look up, before she hit it with a textbook tackle. The big alien rolled off Coop, but now she was on top of it, with nothing to fight. The alien’s dagger slashed and it sliced through her shield and three cm of duro-steel armor like it wasn’t even there. She grabbed for the knife hand, and then Coop was there. The whirring sword was in his hand, and he was driving it toward the BAMFs neck.

The big alien tried to buck her off, but she held on with the skill only a woman could. Knowing it was too late, the BAMF still roared and fought to the end. Even as blood spewed out of the thing’s stump of a neck, the big fucker still twitched and fought.

Even encased in armor, she could tell Coop was breathing hard. “You’re alive,” she reached out and touched him to create a connection.

“Barely,” she could feel him grinning behind the armored helm.

“If we make it out of this alive, I’m gonna fuck you so hard . . .” she left the rest unsaid.

“Well, now that I have something to look forward to,” Coop replied flirtatiously.

“Sir, ma’am,” the SSG’s voice interrupted their reunion. “You better get the fuck back here.”

The two LACS troopers were a good twenty meters from the Commonwealth’s lines, and in the other direction, three roaches and a second BAMF were pushing their way through the collapsed tunnel the first BAMF had beaten them through.

“Move!” they both yelled at each other as they surged to their feet, made for their lines, and opened fire at the aliens all at once.



Two Worlds – Chapter 332

Eve Berg

Location: North American Eastern Seaboard, Smokey Mountains, United Commonwealth of Colonies

“They’re coming,” someone whined over the general net.

No less than three NCOs jumped all over the poor guy, calling him everything from a chicken to a limp-dick motherfucker. The bottom line was that the soldier needed to get ready to fight, not whine like a little bitch.

Eve couldn’t hold it against the PVT. She, and five other officers and NCOs, stood at one of the two entrances to the bunker’s main bay. A few hours ago, she’d been gearing up in this place in her MOUNT; ready to kick ass and take names. Now, her MOUNT was buried in the very rubble that stopped the enemy from getting in and killing them all.

<Not if I have something to say about that,> she bucked up, getting her shit together just like everyone else.

There wasn’t a single person there who didn’t know someone, or a dozen someone’s, who’d died in the defense of the bunker over the last month. It didn’t matter if they lived or died, this mountain and the area around it would always be a graveyard of brave men and women who stood between people and aliens.

<It’s nearly game time,> she took a deep breath and focused on the wall of rock one hundred meters in front of her.

The gray stone was glowing an ugly red, and the ETS would break through soon. The Commonwealth infantry had a surprise waiting for them. The thought made her grin, even if it didn’t stop them, she knew they knew they’d been sucker punched.

“How’s it looking at Bravo,” she asked the other half-dozen HI troopers assigned to the second entrance.

A video feed popped up on her HUD and she saw the two walls of rock looked pretty much identical. The enemy was timing their assault to hit them on both flanks at once. It was smart, and what she expected from the ETs. But they’d expected that too and would hopefully turn it to their advantage. AI’s crunch the numbers and put a countdown on the defenders’ HUDs.

<Less than a minute,> she took the time to pray. She wasn’t much of a believer, but if there was someone that could grant miracles; now was the time. Everyone else was probably doing to same.

“Breach!” the announcement came simultaneously from both sides of the bay.

Molten rock sloshed down like magma, and white beamers slashed into the bay. Everyone was behind portable shields, cover, and another level of portable shields just to be safe. The initial enemy volley didn’t kill anyone, and it allowed the bunker commander to hit the big red button they’d hardwired to their surprise.

Overpowered shape charges had been lined and angled to hit the ETs when they breeched. Dozens of plasma-tipped explosive rods detonated and fired toward the enemy at supersonic speeds. It hit them hard, and in a confined space, was more deadly than it would be in the open.

She heard BAMFs go into a berserker rage as roaches in stealth mode got caught in the explosion. The smaller aliens were simply roasted alive as the small tunnel reached the temperature of the sun. The BAMFs did better, but shields failed under the god-like pressure, and a many found themselves walking pincushions for a few moments before they died.

Despite the destruction, it was a numbers game. They’d likely killed twenty BAMFS, and who knew how many roaches, but the enemy had more where that came from. That was what Eve was there for.

“Fire,” she yelled.

In a synchronized motion, the dozen HI troopers in the bay took a knee, angled their spine-mounted cannons at the openings, and fired. A dozen thermobaric warheads rushed to meet the remnants of the enemy’s assault force. Advanced shields or not, that was one hell of a punch, and despite being a hundred meters away, and bracing like her life depended on it; Eve and the troopers were thrown across the room like yesterday’s garbage.

She barely heard the boom as the warheads brought hell down on the enemy. Next thing she knew, she was blinking stars out of her eyes as some grunts tapped on her helmet.

“You good, ma’am?” a SGT asked.

“What . . . yeah,” the LACS medical systems were already kicking in and bringing her fully back to consciousness. “We’re alive,” she laughed to herself.

The defensive plan had a twenty percent chance of bringing the mountain down into the bay and killing everyone there. It was deemed an acceptable loss if the enemy then had to dig their way through all of that rock. Thankfully, the bunker’s superstructure had held and channeled the blast into the enemy. The hundred meters of tunnel had been completely filled in, and the enemy was likely facing more dead and injured.

They hadn’t defeated the enemy, or even one, but they’d stalled the bastards. <and no one died.> after all that destruction, reading the casualty list was a surprise.

“Ok, people,” she didn’t waste any time. “Let’s booby trap the shit out of this place and fall back to the secondary defensive line.”

They weren’t willing to duke it out with BAMFs in the bay’s more open space, so they’d blow it to hell, and make the enemy come to them . . . down the tunnels . . . in a neat single file where they could focus their fire. Lots of people would die, but it would buy them more time. That was the name of the game; hold until reinforcements arrived.

The grunts went about getting things rigged while the HI troopers shook themselves off and started to fall back. They needed to reload and set up the fall back positions. No one had any illusions they would be able to hold the secondary position as long as the bay.


Sonya Berg

Location: CWS Agincourt, Sol System, United Commonwealth of Colonies

In sick bay, Sonya didn’t fight the ship, but she still had her IOR admiral’s access, so she saw how the Battle of Sol concluded.

<A fucking bloodbath,> she shook her head.

Ward was dead, she was sure of that despite the hibernation bag the medics had tucked him into. Gilmore was offline. His ship hadn’t been outright destroyed, but it had been hammered to a pulp. The enemy knew that was where things were being coordinated from, and they’d gone for the throat. Rumor had it the high Admiral was still alive, just out of contact. Until he could get transferred to another ship, someone else was in charge.

Sonya was just thankful it wasn’t her. Right now, it was her job to bite down on this plastic contraption.

“I’ll go on three, one . . . two . . .” the doctor gave a mighty yank, and the piece of the bridge that had found a comfy home in her leg was yanked out.

“Motherfucker!” she screamed into the plastic mouthguard.

Surgical assistants swooped in with medical nanites, a blood transfusion, and fresh skin to be sprayed into the opening. It was a barebones surgery, but Sonya couldn’t blame the medical team. Half the fucking ship was dead or injured, so there was no time for delicacy if they wanted to save as many people as they could.

“I’m going to give you a sedative to let everything settle,” the surgeon didn’t even wait for consent before jamming an injector in her thigh. “Relax. Hopefully, everything will be better when you wake up.” The man’s grim face wasn’t very reassuring.

The drug hit her fast, but she fought it for a moment. Long enough to scan the med bay. Cots and gurneys covered every possible cubic foot of space allowed. The doctors had a pathway to get to everyone else, but aside from that, they were packed like sardines. They’d even brought in bunkbeds three people high, and stacked patients to the ceiling. Most people were out cold, so there wasn’t a lot of screaming and moaning associated with the injured, but the smell of blood and antiseptic was overpowering.

She tried to push back the overwhelming stench as she accessed her IOR and surveyed the damage reports. Thirty five percent of the human fleet . . . over seven hundred ships – mostly battleships – were gone. Tens of billions of tons, and millions of people were finely dispersed matter. Another fifteen percent of the human fleet was combat ineffective. Like Gilmore’s flagship, they’d had the shit kicked out of them. Ten percent had minor-to-moderate damage, but were still functional. The remaining forty percent were relatively good, but only the ships at the very rear of the formation had avoided any contact with the enemy. Still, the combined might of humanity’s spaceborne power had been severely degraded. There was no way they could survive another assault.

<And all to kill two hundred enemy ships,> she shook her head.

The aliens had fought to the bitter end. They’d rather die than surrender, and they took their pound of flesh with them to whatever their afterlife was.

<Now we have to retake a planet,> she shook her head, but there wasn’t any way to stop biology.

Earth had been on its own for a while, and there was no telling what was waiting for them. Aliens that wouldn’t surrender, billions murdered, people huddled under mountains waiting for help they were convinced would never come.

<This is going to be a shitshow,> was her final thought as she drifted off into dreamless sleep.

Two Worlds Chapter 331


Two Worlds – Chapter 331

Eve Berg

Location: North American Eastern Seaboard, Smokey Mountains, United Commonwealth of Colonies

“Here you go, ma’am,” the SGT finished leading Eve to a corner of the supply hub.

Even several stories below the main entrance to the now-buried bunker, she could hear the ET’s digging to reach them. They were like fucking ticks burrowing into the mountain to suck out the blood that was the human survivors.

She shook off the image. “Thanks,” she replied, but the SGT was already gone.

No one knew how much time they had left to prepare, but they were milking every last second to take as many of these fuckers with them as they could. <At least they won’t have that fucking mountain,> she shivered at the memory of the mobile artillery platform blasting the Commonwealth defenders into ashes . . . and then blowing up the mountain she was standing next to.

<On step forward, two steps back,> she looked at the equipment in front of her.

It was more than a little ironic her life had come full circle. In front of her was the V2 LACS, which, in her modest opinion, was now an obsolete piece of trash. Still, it was better than facing a BAMF in her skivvies. She did not envy the soldiers moving around in scales. They might as well be wearing tissue paper.

<Juts like riding a bike,> she suited and booted.

The armor came alive around her, and by the grace of god it had undergone some updates. It was able to link to her IOR, so she was able to get the data streamed directly into her vision instead of staring at a HUD. Still, it didn’t have the sensory feedback the MOUNT did. In a MOUNT she felt everything. She was the machine. A LACS was just armor she was wearing.

She ran a few diagnostics before she started moving around. It had been a while, and while it might be like riding a bike, one wrong move, or a reaction a second too slow, and she was dead. The scales rippled across the six centimeters of protective armor over the carbon nano-tubing and ballistic gel. She checked to make sure the pockets of repair nanites were online and ready respond to the armors needs. Although, if a BAMF beamer punched through her, those nanites wouldn’t be able to patch the hole in her. Her two shoulder mountain weapons were pathetic compared to the monstrous armaments on her MOUNT. Her missile launcher held a measly eight missiles, and none of the punch of the micromissiles despite their greater size. The swatter was the same as the MOUNT but it was a useless against this enemy. They didn’t use missiles, and duro-steel bullets didn’t stop lasers. She could use it to harass the enemy, but not much more.

The big guns of the LCAS, the 125mm spine-mounted artillery tube was risky underground. The explosions could do more harm than good, so that was a bust in most scenarios. Thankfully, someone had welded an area shield to the armor, so she’d survive a glancing blow from the beamers. The biggest change of all was her primary weapon wasn’t integrated into her armor. Instead of the graviton cannon, which worked wonders against the enemy, she was stuck shooting 3mm plasma-tipped rounds. It took dozens of hits from the weapon, in the same spot, to even break through the shield. A feat the grav-cannon could do in two; and put the BAMF down with a third, final shot.

More than a little dread worked its way into her gut as the systems came back green. She had to give the grunts and HI troopers she’d fought beside props. They knew going into this fight they were outmanned and outgunned. They kept fight and dying anyway. She honored and respected that.

“This is Valkyrie,” she linked into the communications net the defenders were using. “I’m good to go. Where do you need me?”

“Good to see you back online, Warrant Officer Berg,” the base commander replied. “We need you in the main bay. That’s where the focus of their attack will be, and that’s where I need you to hold.”

“Yes, ma’am,” she put one metal boot in front of the other. “I’m on my way.”


Sonya Berg

Location: CWS Agincourt, Sol System, United Commonwealth of Colonies

Sonya tasted blood. She snapped back to reality, and consciousness took hold of her. It brought with it pain and suffering. <What’s going on?> her brain tried to piece it all together as she looked for something to dull the pain.

Aggie and the rest of her escort had gone toe-to-toe with the enemy fleet. Their flanking maneuver was meant to put pressure on the enemy. Make them weaken their forward shields, so the main fleet could take them down easier, and as a bonus, get some of the lighter support vessels past the enemy lines and into orbit around Earth. If they could make contact, they could start orbital bombardment of vulnerable enemy positions.

She remembered the ships closing. Even at three hundred thousand kilometers, the enemy ships seemed massive on the holo-tank. Their greater tonnage, more powerful weapons, and heavier shielding were a ship captain’s worst nightmare. Facing them in battle, even with massive force superiority sucked.

She wanted to spit, to cleanse her mouth of the iron taste but her helmet was secured. When she tried to remove it, it gave an alarming beep. The visor was cracked, but still intact. The updates looked funky as the crack broke them up, but the message was clear enough: there was no breathable oxygen.

She took her first look around the flag bridge. The first thing she noticed was the very large hole coming in from the top right, and exiting out the bottom left. Everything around those entry points was black and scarred. Somehow, an enemy beam weapon had gotten through the shields, through the hull, through the extra shields and armor plating around the flag bridge, and left an exit wound out the other side of the ship. She said a silent prayer it hadn’t hit anything more important and turned Aggie into finely dispersed matter.

She gulped, swallowed the blood despite her stomach’s protest, and pushed herself to her feet. Immediately, her body rebelled. More information scrolled across her broken HUD, and it informed she had a broken leg. Nanites had sealed her CMUs to prevent her dying a slow death in her sleep, but she needed medical nanites. She reached down from her chair to the base where a medkit was supposed to be stored. She patted around in vain for a few seconds before realizing the base was gone. Another second, and she realized she wasn’t sitting where she was before the enemy gutted them. She’d been at the tactical console on the side of the bridge. Now, she was in the rear. Whatever follow-on explosion happened; the result was tossing her like a rag doll across the bridge.

<It’s better than being dead,> she did a mental assessment, and concluded on top of her broken leg, she was suffering from the mother-of-all whiplash. Thankfully, her CMUs stiffened as medical programming activated to stabilize her neck and spine. She’d live, it would just be painful for the moment.

“This is Admiral Berg, anyone still alive out there,” she might not be a combat commander by trade, but she knew she need to assess the situation and make a plan.

She got a lot of static in reply, and was nearly sure the local comms relay had been blown to shit before she got a response. “Sonya . . . fuck . . .” the ID said it was Ward.

“Mike,” she unbuckled herself from her chair and carefully followed the waypoint the Aggie’s AI provided her. “Thank god you’re alive.”

“Barely,” the other ADM grumbled, and she soon saw why.

The Human Fleet’s second in command had suffered a similar fate to hers. His chair had been casually tossed around the bridge by the gods of war, and he’d ended up buried under a pile of other loose equipment. Unlike her, he looked like shit. A jagged piece of something had pierced through him. It wasn’t too big or thick, thank god, but being impaled was still being impaled. It couldn’t feel good.

He did have the good fortune of his chair base coming with him, and the bottom was popped open with a used medkit sitting open beside him. The ADM had treated himself as best he could. He’d sprayed new skin around the wound and injected all the medical nanites. Those were keeping him alive, and fighting the blood loss.

He was almost certainly high as fuck, because if Sonya was awake with a piece of duro-steel sticking through her, she’d be screaming her head off. The other ADM was calm and collected.

“I can’t see the holo-tank. How do things look?” he asked when she finally reached him.

Sonya looked over, but it was offline. More than that, it looked like the alien energy beam had cut right through the communication’s device. It was charred, melted, and still smoldering wreckage. When stuff like this happened, command was supposed to automatically shift to the next in the chain of command. Since they were still alive, that had probably happened.

“Everything looks good,” she lied as she linked with his CMUs. His vitals were bad despite everything medical technology had already done.

“Sick bay, I need a medical team to the flag bridge STAT. Admiral Ward is down and his condition is critical,” she ordered. She hoped the ADM didn’t hear her.

“That was a hell of a fight,” the ADM coughed, and blood splattered the inside of his helmet. “Always nice to have a good fight. The Blockies weren’t a real challenge anymore,” he might have chuckled, but it sounded more like gasping for air.

“Hold on, Mike,” let me get another medkit. Medical nanites could work wonders if you pumped enough into someone.

She hobbled over to her chair base. It looked about like she expected it would, ripped to shit, but the medkit was still secure in its compartment. She hobbled back over and started sticking needles and the little machines around her old friends wound.

It was only when she was done, that she realized all she was getting was a flatline response. She pulled out the automatic defibrillator and let the little machine try to restart the old ADM’s heart. The medical team arrived two minutes later, and they looked like they’d been elbow deep in injured spacers. Everyone was covered in some degree of blood.

They gave the ADM the expert attention that a man of his rank deserved. They pulled out one of the few body bags that was supposed to put his body in a form of suspended animation. She’d read the reports, and knew the Hegemony-produced devices worked wonders. She hoped for the best, but in her gut, she knew it was too late. Admiral Michael Ward had already given his life for the Commonwealth.

She just hoped it was worth it.