Chapter 1: Point Lookout
Bullets fell like razorhail, slicing through the gear soldiers like warm butter, and reducing their bodies into diced chunks. Gears were being killed everywhere, and their scattered body pieces laid throughout the rubble. Sergeant Michael Syton was stationed behind an overturned sports car, bullets richocheted off the bumper. One stray nicked his shoulder, but his armored plates deflected the piece of metal into a wild frenzy. Third close call of the day, Syton thought.
He glanced at his surroundings and noticed most of the gears had wisened up and taken cover behnd various objects. Or most of them were dead, either way people weren't dying as much. Syton thought it was such a waste, throwing gears at Locust forces, condemning young men to death. The COG would say defending the Seran race takes sacrifice, that comes at the cost of life, but at this rate everyone would be dead.
Syton's comm crackled in his ear, the voice of Tango-9's leader erupted into the speaker. Tango-9 was posted on forward observation duty last night, and they were the first to make contact with the locust armada, that was seven hours ago. Now the first beams of morning sunlight glistened off the dark red blood.
"This is Sergeant Vega of Tango-9, were retreating to the outer perimeter, we are requesting ATP support, over."
The ATP cannons, which stands for Anti-Troop Personnel, was specially designed to deliver a blanket of shrapnel that provided a shield for retreating COG gears. The purpose was not to cause massive amounts of damange, but to keep Locust forces distracted. Even grubs don't want a face full of shrapnel.
Syton felt the fimiliar sensation the ATP cannons discharged during their firing process. The feeling made Syton grin and he turned behind himself and gazed through the milky fog at the glooming structure in the distance. Point Lookout was just barely visible. Syton could barely discern the features, but he could still see the cracked walls, the thousands of spent bullet casings, and the dark blood that was splattered like a bad paint job. Despite Lookout's undignified appearance, the base was a beacon of hope throughout the gear forces.
Point Lookout was the only remaining Gear stronghold that separated the Locust horde from COG command operations of the western front. For the gears who fought at Lookout, it is a symbol of survival and Gear strength, while to the Locusts who fight it, Lookout is a legend.
Syton glanced to his left and saw Tango-9 materialize from the lingering fog. All four of them appeared, each sporting dents and burnt armor plates, clear evidence they were involved with heavy locust forces. Sergeant Vega removed his helmet, half of it reduced to a smoldering mess. Incendiary grenade, Syton guessed. Some nearby gears offered the men some water and rations, but they refused, with the massive jolts of adreline coursing through their veins, hunger was the least of their issues.
Off in the distance Syton heard a lancer explode into a riveting burst, and gears screaming through the comm system, requesting reinforcements. Syton felt the ground rumble beneath his feet, emergence holes, Syton assumed.
Syton directed his squad to a nearby house, half crumbled, so they could get a better vantage point on the Locust forces. He men, consisting of Privates Duke Pearce and Logan Reece, dashed through the rubble and mantled into the building. Syton followed quickly. As he entered the building, Syton was greeted by his longest surviving friend, Sergeant Julian Oran of Charlie-6.
"What's the news, Sy?" Julian asked. "Same shit, just ten years later. Grubs breaking through, gears dying, and I'm not getting paid anymore."
Julian was less than humored by Syton's response, mostly because it was true. The Locust forces had essentially conquered the western front, and COG forces were retreating everyday. Plus the gears who stay and defend these helpless outposts are expected to live three days before getting killed, which surprisingly enough, has increased in the last weeks. Probably because everyone is already dead, Syton thought. In the ten years that have gone by since E-Day, the COG government began to take money set aside towards the payment of gears, and invest in potential resources to fight the locusts, the result; thousands deserted.
The COG government argued that living is the new currency and every day a person survives, is a day well paid. Bullshit, Syton thought. The stranded are living in the most desolate regions, like Char, but they manage to pull together a life without fighting the Locusts. The stranded had no support since day one, ecxcept maybe some rusted Mk. 1 Lancers and a few grenades. That proved true Seran survival, gears on the other hand are killed becuse bureaucrats are attempting to buy time, until a possible answer to defeating the Locusts presents itself.