The jackals are moving in. You can hear their scraping and panting through the walls, as their claws and bumping muscles reverberate through the entire compound. They’ve taken over all but one small corridor, the small band of survivors have evaded them in all but this small bottle neck escape route. Now they are getting wise to the layout of the compound, and circling their targets, honing in on their last victims.
Running with the boy and the 2 women is Sergeant Jack, the sole survivor and leader of Alpha Numeric Squad 7, the trained space marine battalion dispatched to rescue the president’s daughter, wife and young son.
The war had just ended; scaled-back to be more accurate. The territory in which the alien force had ceded kept expanding into the unknown expanse of space. The exploration expedition out into space, the first team to attempt to map this region of space had bumped into an outpost belonging to the hitherto unknown aliens, and effectively kicked the hive. Once an automatic video report had been received of the team’s demise by Head Quarters, news immediately started flooding in of similar attacks from the neighboring colonies. War had sprung; waged by an alien race whose appearance, at first, looked as that of upright Jackals- only with claws the size of a child’s head, and composed of something more metallic in nature. So much was unknown about the creatures. However, what was known was that they had a propensity for seeking out human life, destroying it, and that they can be killed by the usual means: fire and artillery.
Sergeant Jack rounded the corner with the three survivors in tow. A body lay slumped to the wall here and, while looking behind him, he nearly slipped in the pool of blood. The sight elicited a wail from the two women, and a shocked gasp from the boy. “Let’s move!” commanded Jack.
The nightmare scenario had visited the quiet moon base late at night, and the jackals descended on the stronghold after taking out several others, in a succession of assaults. Their sequence of attacks could clearly be traced back to the unknown planetoid the first Expedition had stumbled into.
The view from the communication vid screen back at HQ had red lights, lighting up for every distress call sent stemming from the planetoid. The next one in line, the Commander could clearly see was the Moon base of planetoid Trop342, a tropical planet, still yet unexplored. Sergeant Jack and his team of Space Marines were dispatched as soon as it was realized the president’s family were residents at the compound on the moon of Trop342.
Jack was briefed, and the team on the way were briefed by Jack. Upon arrival – looming, over the compound they could see the shadow of what must have been the alien ship. From then on it was a race to meet with, and extract the three targets. Once the telescopic landing corridor sealed with the main entrance bay, they had filed in. Before having done so, a message declaring their arrival had been sent to the compound, with no further explanation as to the purpose. It appeared routine to Captain Holloway, who had been assigned charge of the moon base compound.
Captain, after receiving his curious orders to receive a team of space marines, and subsequently being told by Jack that the purpose of their visit was confidential, a strange foreboding seemed to creep in through the tight riveted panels of the compound.
He walked into one of many domes, for a smoke. This particular dome, which specifically recycled air wasn’t intended for smoking, but that’s what the men of the base tended to use it for. There were plants, and trees here- species apparently all that had been taken from the American North East. For Hollowy, having grown up in a quit New England town, it was quite homey. He lit his cigarette and waived out the match, making sure to put it in his pocket. Suddenly a rustling from the bushes about 100- 120 feet away from where he stood rapt his attention. His intuition and the chills on his neck were informative, so was the distant unfamiliar flapping sound off in the distant. It had sounded like a reciprocating fan, scraping or obstructed somewhere. Visibly now Holloway spied the leaves swaying as if being moved through. “What’s that!” he spat at what appeared to be an animal moving through some underbrush. Memories of back home, and his youth informed his brain of what must be a small body moving about. But he wasn’t back there, and now stood looking at a continually extending silhouette of about 6 feet.
At the same time the inlet ramp was sealed, marrying the Transporter craft with the base, where Jack and his team entered the base. At once Jack asked the on duty personal who greeted him with a salute where Captain Hollowy was.
“He should be here sir.”
“But he’s not,” said Jack, “where is he likely to be?”
The soldier looked a bit nervous for a tick before saying “probably in dome habitat 6 sir.” Jack shot him a queer look, to which the soldier responded to with “for a smoke sir.”
“Smoking’s bad” said jack as he walked forward, then turning on a dime “escort Junior Sergeant Benny here and Frick and Slim, you go to, to this dome habitat,” he directed to the soldier.
“Inform the good Captain what we’re up against have initiate evaluation procedure.”
“Yes sir,” Benny then looked at a wide eyed and glistening soldier who jolted out of his daze to briskly walk in a direction.
Benny and the two soldier followed the moon base soldier. “The rest of you,” Jack directed to the remaining marines, “come with me.”
The rest follows just as you’d expect.
Presently, Jack reaches the Transportation Craft. After their arrival the door that lead to the extension connector was locked. Jack turns to the keypad panel set in the wall and punches in the standard code. The door, which is bifurcated down the middle, jerks suddenly but then halts- a hitch pitched straining sound can be heard from within the wall; gears apparently jammed up and a belt spinning wildly. Lights flicker down the hall from whence they came, as a scratching and scrambling along the path can be heard on the metallic floor. Jack looks in this direction, with his large gun, strapped over his shoulder pointed as well. The beast emerges, grimacing in the shadow and flickering light- its body shiny and red. Its elongated mouth filled with fangs starts to open slightly as its body appears to have been fixed tensely in a prone position. Jack let’s a fire ball blast of incessant bullets into the monster. The bullets shred through the head and neck as it howls a horrific shriek.
The women and the boy cower, huddled in the corner next to the malfunctioning door- on screams during the barrage of gun fire.
Once the eruptions from the gun had stopped, and the monstrous, black bloodied beast had skunked to the floor, a quiet set in for a mere few seconds. Wide eyed in horror, and clutching at each other in wild anticipation. Jack, perking his ears up and looking in the directions of the sounds, could hear the by now too familiar scramble of claws and bulk of the monsters elsewhere. Then, the sound faintly echoing down the hall, in between FTTZZZ sounds from the broken light fixtures.
“After all that noise, you can be sure more are coming.”
Sobbing erupted from the young woman clutching her mother and brother on the floor. Jack looked down at them, then sorrowfully to the floor, then to the door only slightly ajar, but not enough- not even to fit the small boy through. He then looked at the key panel on the wall, with anger, “C’mon!” He erupted while at the same time raising the butt of his gun about to strike the panel.
Suddenly the two sides of the door sucked into the wall on either side, as the four felt the rush of air into the vacuum of the corridor. Not a minute too late Jack ushered the family into the corridor just as three more beasts threatened to emerge from around the corner.
Opening the door to the ship, all filing in and closing it behind them Jack then rushed to the controls in the front of the ship. A flash of memory occurred: the pilot Jim inside the cafeteria getting slashed in half by an exceptionally large variety of the monsters.
Jack began manipulating the controls as the three rescued party watched in rapt attention. “Look!” The mother screamed, pointing out the windshield of the ship at a gathering mass of the beasts just before them. Then, thumps from the sides of the ship, followed by faint scratching.
“Here goes everything,” Jack quipped before jerking back a lever, sending the ship into the air. “Get into a seat!” Jack yelled to the huddled group over his shoulder, as he himself latched a seat belt harness.
The woman helped the boy into a harness, then the girl and herself. “Good,” Jack said right before punching the after burner. G force thrust them back into the cushions of their chairs as the left the moon’s atmosphere.
Then, once floating through space jack set the coordinates for Head Quarters and initiated a scan of the outside of the ship. It came up nothing. Presently, Jack sighs with relief, wipes his brow and slouches in his chair. The mother, young girl and boy in the back unbuckle their harnesses and look appreciative at one another, tears in their eyes.
Presently, Jack queues up the caller, and taps the preset for command control at HQ. The call loads. Jack settles in, and prepares his summation of events in mind. The three loading dots continue to bounce, while no personal appears on screen. This has never happened before, it occurs to Jack. There are personal manning the communication stations around the clock. What he was looking at, to his mind, was an impossibility.
He continued to wait fifteen minutes- when suddenly an emergency screen appeared. The only message there being was: You are Being Directed To Terrestrial Space.
This Jack recognized from training, more than twenty years ago. For this to occur, he inferred, …he decided in that moment he didn’t have the energy, or required sleep to deduce, or process on a personal level, the possible explanation. The one, however, being readily surmised, was that HQ had been taken out, which meant the entire Confederacy had been compromised.
For now, Jack decided, it was time to sleep- as the Transporter drifted through space.