Gears of War: Alpha-One is a short story by EightyOne. It is the first fanon story he has ever written, and the first story he written for about four years, and so apologises if it's not very good!
Have you read it yet? If so, what did you think? Was it good, not so good, the most painful experience you've ever had? Tell me (so you'll never have to suffer again!) by leaving hate mail on the talk page. Thanks.
Gears of War: Alpha-OneEdit
Jarrows felt like the world had collapsed beneath him. His head pounding and spinning, he pushed against the bar across his chest. Far away, someone was coughing and spluttering. To one side, left or right had become meaningless, a strip of dim light appeared. It grew wider with a mechanical groan as the bar relaxed.
Jarrows stumbled out of his grindlift. His surroundings spun madly around him. Up and down, left and right, swapped places around him. He closed his eyes, trying to shut out the sickening sense of vertigo. Deprived of sight, his ears took over his senses. A dull fuzzing, and whooshing. The far off cough again, growing closing. Retching, and gagging.
Jarrows opened his eyes again, and this time the world seemed more ordered. His vision steadied, and focus returned. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a man, to his right he thought, down on all fours bedecked in battle armour. Suddenly the far off spluttering was at his side, and he heard Carson vomit.
“It’s OK Carson, let it all out”. He put his arm on Carson’s back and looked around at the grey rock and light that surrounded him. “Shit” was all he could manage. A voice a few meters away, really a few meters away, his sense of distance was coming back, called out to them in a commanding voice.
“Jarrows, Carson. Are you OK?”
“I’m OK, I think, but Carson’s being sick”
“Carson, you got it all out of you?
“I think so Sarge. I…” Carson retched once more. “…I just – Shit”.
“It’s OK. You’re not the only one. Just try and relax. Ed, stay with him”.
Sergeant Hughes walked over to the other three grindlifts that had come down. Four gears stood or sat there, all disorientated, exhausted, and terrified. A box of ammunition, taken down with them, lay open at their feet. Lancer magazines were being passed around, as were Gnasher shells and a few frag grenades. Two small medi-kits, for all the good they would do, rested on the ground.
“Michaels, go and sweep the rocks on that ridge. Look to see if there are any other squads nearby. Cockburn, go with him. Lewis, any luck with the radio?”
“Still nothing Sarge. All I’m getting is static and there’s nothing incoming from Command or any other squads.”
“Shit. Lewis, you and Sullivan go and secure the entrance to that tunnel. I don’t anything nasty coming out of there.”
Hughes looked back at Jarrows and Carson, the latter being helped to his feet. The boy was too young and too weak to be a gear. He was better than many though; at least he tried to be a good soldier. It was no wonder so many died. And here they were, down in the hollows of Sera, in the home of Locust. They were already in Hell. How long would Carson last? How long would anyone last? At least he had Jarrows with him. He was a good soldier; hard and intelligent. He had his weakness, but rarely messed up. Dependable, that was it. Although a good corporal, he wasn’t much of a leader, but was a solid fighter. The COG needed more soldiers like him, but they got rarer every day. It was, Hughes thought, a miracle that Humanity had lasted fourteen years. Unless something changed soon, they wouldn’t last another one. The Chairman thought this assault would be that something.
“I hope he’s right” he thought out loud. “Jarrows”
“Get some ammo then scout out that tunnel with Lewis and Sullivan. Carson, how’re you doing?”
“I’m OK Sarge, I’ll be fine”
“Good kid. Get some ammo and get some ration bars in you, you’ll need the energy. I’m going to see if I can get anything on comms”.
Hughes pressed his finger to his ear. In order to have any chance of success, squads needed to link up with each other to form an effective fighting force. Lack of radio would make that considerably harder. “Control, this is Alpha-One, are you receiving?” Nothing. “Control, this is Alpha-One, we have successfully deployed in the Hollow, are you receiving, over”. Silence. Where they too deep for surface contact, or was there something blocking the transmission? Without Control, they had no link to Command and no way to coordinate their attacks. Without Control…Hughes didn’t want to entertain the idea. He hadn’t come here to die.
Jarrows, Lewis, and Sullivan had come back. “The tunnel’s collapsed about one hundred meters in. It’s a dead end”. Jarrows was precise, giving numbers and descriptions to what other gears reported without. It helped build a picture of the battlefield in any commander’s mind. Hughes put his finger to his ear again. “Michaels, Cockburn, report” Hopefully the radios would work at short range.
The messages were choked with static. At such short range, that could only mean two things: equipment failure, or… “…Seeders…”
The one word was clear though the interference. Seeders. Huge two headed monsters that spat out nemacysts and jammed radios, with hides so tough Lancer fire bounced off them. On the ground they were formidable and dangerous. Underground, they would surely be far worse.
“Stay where you are, we’ll come and find you”
“Stay where you are, repeat, stay where you are”
This time, only static returned.
“Do you think they heard?”
“It doesn’t matter Sullivan. We need to get to them quickly, grab what you can and let’s get over that ridge”.
Hughes, Lewis, Sullivan, Jarrows, and Carson headed over the ridge, abandoning their grindlifts. Moving through an outcrop of rocks, they looked out at what lay before them. A huge cavern, with a stream flowing though the bottom, spread out as far as the gears could see. Looking up, there was a huge doom of rock where the sky should have been. Strange blue glowing plants were dotted around; on ledges, by the water; not in any pattern, but in a natural chaos. Bat like creatures fluttered around, not the jumpy, jerking flight of Kyrll, but a smooth glide though the air. Small grey insects scurried away from the heavy footsteps of the gears, crawling into tiny gaps in the rock walls. Had it not been for the Locust, someone would have called the place beautiful. An ethereal light glowed all around, casting shadows with the rocks and glistening on the water. There was no sound, except for the stream. It was a silence that would normally be described as tranquil, but to the gears was only eerie. Not too far away there was the neon glow of a gears armour, crouched behind a rock. As the five men drew closer to Michaels and Cockburn, they heard a guttural, gurgling noise in the distance; the unmistakable sound of a seeder.
“I hate that sound”
“At least you can’t smell it yet. Look on the bright side Lewis”, Sullivan responded.
“There ain’t no bright side down here”
“Well sure there is, it’s not dark now is it?”
“Why is there light down here?” Carson asked.
“No idea, but hell, be thankful there is”
“It’s the imulsion” Jarrows said, typically brief.
Life, Jarrows explained, needed a source of energy to exist. On the surface that was sunlight, collected by plants, eaten by cows, which were eaten by people. It all came back to the sun. Underground though, there was no sun. His father, a scientist, had told him that imulsion glowed because of some complex set of chemical reactions. He couldn’t remember them, even if he had understood them, but light was energy even if it came from juice. There could be a whole separate evolutionary path down here, whatever that meant. Imulsion glowed, plants glowed; everything in the Hollow shared light. “That’s how it’s light down here”, he finished, “or something like that”.
Hughes didn’t know if Jarrows was telling the truth or if he had made it all up. Regardless, it shut Sullivan and Carson up. Everybody needed to be concentrating on their mission, not thinking about the natural history of the Hollows. “Jarrows, Michaels, check your radio sets. Make sure the frequencies match up.” They did. “Damn, all I want right now is a working radio”. He fiddled with the tiny dials in his ear. Maybe if he adjusted the modulation…
“All squads this is Alpha One, does anyone receive?” He tweaked the dials, trying to get the static to settle down. If the seeder was blocking long range communication to command, then short range should work. It was just a question of getting it right. Suddenly, a voice barked down the earpiece. Hughes thought he recognized it, but kept fine tuning the dials, trying to get a clean signal. “Everybody, switch your modulation to 105, I think I’m getting something”
“…Tai!? Dizzy?...Dizzy you there!? Ah shit, Control this Delta, do you read?”
Finally, contact. It was a relief to them all; at least they weren’t the only people down here.
“Delta, this is Alpha-One. We’ve lost contact with the surface. We’re limited to short range radio, but we’ve got a line on a seeder”.
“Roger that Alpha-One, good hunting”
“Alright then” Hughes barked at his men, “We need to get to that seeder and take it out quick. Let’s move, double time”
The gears jogged toward the sound of the seeder. Hughes started formulating a battle plan. They had no heavy ordnance, no Hammer, only frags and small arms to take on the seeder. Hopefully the seeder would be stationary, like on the surface, and would be guarded by only a few grubs. If not, tactics would have to change. They continued moving forward, the sound getting louder and more ominous. Suddenly, the faint smell of rotting flesh teased the noses of the gears. It got stronger and stronger, filling their throats. Even Lewis, Carson, and Michaels, who had left the helmet faceplates attached, felt it choking them. They rounded a corner in the rock and saw, only two hundred meters away, the seeder.
It was gigantic. Above ground, where most gears only ever saw one half of its body, it looked huge, but down here it was massive. It had eight legs sticking out from its middle. They were long and spindly, but thick enough to seem strong. Each ended in a viscous claw that scraped at the ground. The two massive mouths gurgled and spat, emitting a putrid stench, poisoning the air around it. It seemed to twitch and convulse, moving in an unnatural and unnerving way. One end of the creature was armoured in black plates covered in spines and chains. The other was fleshy, grey, and scaly. This end, the squad could only guess, was the head end of the beast. It had rows of razor sharp teeth sticking messily from all different angles, so pointed and twisted and curled that it could barely close its jaws. Back slightly from the edge of the mouth were dark pits, which presumably contained eyes. “Holy shit”, was all anyone could muster.
Around the monster were about ten drones. Most stood back from the creature, looking around the hollow, perhaps watching for any humans who would dare to come too close. A few held onto chains attached to the seeders armour, keeping as far from it as they could. They had panicked looks on their grotesque faces, as far as Locust ever looked fearful. The seeder pulled and strained at the chains, making the drones fly forward and then stumble back. Crops of rock surrounded the scene, offering some cover to anyone foolish enough to attack.
Crouched behind rocks, out of sight of the drones, Hughes took a deep breath and assessed the situation. Upon seeing the creature, all his battle plans had disappeared. How could the seven of them possibly take on something like that? They had to though; they were gears. Hughes lined up their options in his head. He wished the Lieutenant was here; tactics were his strongpoint. They had grenades; they would be the most effective weapon against the seeder. The drones; they would have to be taken out first. Surprise; the Locust didn’t know they were about be attacked, and the rocks offered a good flanking position.
“Alright boys, here’s the deal. Lewis, Michaels, Sullivan; you’re going to attack from those nearest rocks with me. Jarrows, Carson, and Cockburn; you three flank around to the left while we draw fire. Target the drones first. Don’t waste frags, we’ll them for the seeder. Remember to maintain your intervals and fire in controlled bursts. Above all watch the seeder; aim for the fleshy areas, the legs, and the eyes. Once enough drones are down just frag the thing. Understand?!” The grim silence spoke approval. “Good, let’s do this”, Hughes barked.
The gears broke cover and sprinted towards the rocks. They slammed into them as a drone roared out. Shots flew over their heads. Bits of rock chipped and flew as bullets hit them. Hughes lifted his Lancer over his cover and fired. The gun spat bursts of bullets at the Locust. Caught between the shrieking seeder and the gears, they dived forwards into rocks of their own. Jarrows, Carson, and Sullivan dived between cover, working their way around to the left of the Locust. The seeder gave a mighty roar and reared up, throwing one of the drones thought the air. Hughes popped out of cover and fired at the nearest drone. Tiny explosions of blood and flesh ran up the creature’s chest, and it yelled in pain. Hughes ducked down just as another drone appeared in his peripheral vision. Again gunfire skirted the rocks he hid behind. To either side he heard the Lancer fire of Lewis, Michaels, and Sullivan.
Jarrows rose up above the crest of his cover and looked around. He instantly acquired his target, and fired into the side and back of a drone. Seeing it drop to the ground he switched and fired at two more. To his right Carson emptied an entire magazine spaying fire at the Locust. He ducked down to reload as Cockburn blind fired at the seeder. The creature roared and thrashed, unsure of which group of humans to attack. Jarrows popped up again and fired at the exposed drones. The impact of the shots threw one backwards. Another turned and fired back a Jarrows. He ducked, but not quick enough.
Two bullets smashed into his chest plate. He felt the air being forced out of his lungs. Gasping he fell to the ground, arching his back, trying to breathe again. It felt like someone had stamped on his chest. In the background he heard Carson calling to him. He opened his mouth to call back that he was OK, that the bullets hadn’t penetrated, but no sound came out. Cockburn grabbed his arm and pulled him up onto his knees. Taking in a sharp gulp of air he managed “I’m OK”, and lifted his Lancer over his head to return fire.
“Lewis! Drone to your right” Hughes yelled. Bullets flew everywhere. Whistling through the air, clipping rocks, sending shards flying. The seeder was going berserk. Whether through fear or anger, it was screaming and thrashing. Suddenly it charged at Hughes and his three men. It swiped at the rocks with its legs and claws. Sullivan dropped flat to avoid the seeders attacks and fired back with his shotgun. Seeing the chaos, two drones jumped over their cover and began charging the four men. The seeder stabbed at Hughes, moving shockingly quickly for a creature of its size. Hughes revved the chainsaw and forced it into the leg. Blood, flesh, and splinters of claw sprayed everywhere. The seeder shrieked and leapt back. Hughes fired at the exposed underside of the creature, just as he saw the two drones rushing his position. Sullivan popped up and fired at the nearest one. The blast from the shotgun tore through and shredded the drone’s entire right side, ripping its arm off. The second drone mantled the cover between Hughes and Michaels. As it landed it spat a volley of gunshot into Michaels’s stomach and chest. Screaming, he flew backwards. Hughes stumbled back and fired at point black range into the drones back. His Lancer clicked with the distinctive snick of an empty chamber. The drone spun round, gun raised above its head, ready to crush its enemy’s skull. Hughes looked up at the hideous creature, snarling and roaring, a mass of grey muscle and malice. A shotgun at arm’s length appeared over him. Suddenly the top half of the drone disappeared in a mass of blood. Limbs and chunks of flesh flew backwards and what was left of the body crumbled. Sullivan began reloading his shotgun.
Jarrows meanwhile watched the seeder recoil from Hughes’s cover. It screeched and thrashed about, one leg limp and bloodied. “Shoot at its head!” he yelled. He pulled the Lancer’s bolt back and let it snap forward. Rising the gun he pulled the trigger and spewed bullets into the seeders fleshy head. The rounds merely bounced off the beasts hide, but the creature became even more enraged. Carson popped up and fired just as Jarrows emptied his magazine. He ducked down to reload, and saw Cockburn swinging a grenade. He popped out of cover and hurled it under the seeders body. The sound of the explosion was deafened by the scream of the seeder. It reared up and let out a piercing screech, filling the entire chamber. Cockburn switched to his Lancer and began firing. Suddenly the seeder turned, roared, and charged towards him; mouth open, teeth snarling. Cockburn stumbled back, but not quick enough. In an instant it had grabbed hold of him, biting down and crushing his body. Cockburn let out a terrified scream and struggled helpless in the creatures jaws, pieced by it savage teeth. The seeder shook its head from side to side, ripping and tearing. “Shit its got Cockburn!” Carson yelled. Jarrows screamed back “Shoot its eyes! Shoot its eyes!” Gunfire came from all around, smashing into every exposed section of the seeder. A grenade exploded near its rear end, tearing and searing flesh. The seeder crunched down on Cockburn’s body as he screamed, and bones snapped and splintered. It gave one last thrash of its head and threw Cockburn’s mangled body away
On the other side of the seeder, Hughes watched in horror as Cockburn was snatched. Yelling orders to those nearby, to shoot or throw frags or just do anything to make the seeder drop him, he fired wherever he thought would do damage. To his right Sullivan hurled a grenade, which tore a chunk of meat from the seeder’s armoured end. The seeder screeched and shook its head, then spat Cockburn out. Across all the noise and chaos, Jarrows could be heard yelling to grenade the creature’s mouth. Lewis and Sullivan were both firing into the wound on the seeder’s rear. On the other side Carson was firing at the animal’s eyes. Hughes grabbed another magazine and slammed it into his Lancer. He pulled the rifle up to his shoulder, squeezed the trigger, and forgot all about burst firing and conserving ammunition. The rifle shook and stuttered, spewing hate and fear and bullets into the massive bulk of the seeder.
Jarrows took the only two grenades he had and twisted the chains together. Looking out of cover he chose his moment and threw. The frags arced through the air and dropped into the seeders open mouth. Despite all the noise: the gunfire, the shouts, and the screaming of the seeder, a faint beeping cut through the air. Suddenly an explosion ripped though the seeders throat and head. Blood, flesh, and gore showered around. The creatures scream turned to a gurgling choking sound. It stumbled and staggered, crashing about without any coordination or purpose. The gears fired into the massive pulsing wound, shredding the exposed flesh. The seeder flailed around, the monster that was terrifying a few seconds ago was now terrified itself. Its movement slowed and weakened, and it collapsed onto its side. The legs stuck out at angles, limp and twitching, as the creature groaned and writhed.
Hughes and Lewis stepped out of cover, Lancers held ready, and moved around the seeder cautiously. Michaels’s body lay still and cold on the ground, and Sullivan was watching the creature intently. Over to the left, Carson and Jarrows crouched over Cockburn’s body. Like the seeder, he was just still alive; twitching and groaning. “It’s alright Cockburn, it’ll all be over soon” Jarrows said softly but grimly. Hughes looked on, all sense of leadership deserting him. Slowly he put his finger to his ear. “Control, this is Alpha One, do you receive?”
“Alpha One is this control. We are receiving. Do you read?”
“Confirm Control, we read you loud and clear”.