Casualties of War Part 3
Posted By: Tom Murphy<email@example.com>
Date: 3 February 2002, 9:17 pm
Suddenly, in a blur something leapt out from the leaves landed on its two feet. It was Captain Hawke. He smiled at us and said, "A little jumpy guys?"
"Geez captain, I almost shot you." Keyes said.
The captain laughed slightly and then started telling us what he had seen, "The building is north west from here and the next hour or so through the woods ought to be easy. My thermal heat reader detected nothing. So... let's go."
We stayed somewhat scattered through out most of the journey because we knew a line formation or a tight formation were very weak. Huge trees flew up around us on all sides creating a sort of smoke screen so blinding it was almost impossible to see. Mist was floating up from every single puddle and there was a constant drizzle of rain falling down on us. Every step we took sent watery mud flying all over our clothes, leaving our legs dirty and wet.
Strange birds flew over our head screaming signs of warning and the captain took the lead with his thermal heat reader held out far in front of him. Quickly and silently he lifted up his right hand for the signal to stop us. I stopped moving stood absolutely still. My eyes shot from one dark tree to another until I realized I had stopped breathing.
I let out a deep breath and whispered into my earpiece, "Captain, what's going on?"
He lifted up his hand again putting up to fingers this time and then tapping the device he held in his hand. He lifted up his shoulder to show he didn't know what they were. Then he whispered something back, "They could be animals of some kind, remember we are aliens on this planet, proceed with caution."
We started walking again, this time more slowly and more quietly. Then in the distance came a sound. It sounded somewhat like a voice, deep in tone and it could have been a laugh. We stopped moving. I kept listening intently for another sound. Then I heard more, it sounded like gibberish spoken while you had something caught in your throat.
Two deep, gurgling voices were speaking out through the forest, obviously to each other. Then the captain talked whispered something into the earpiece again. "Arthur, get up on that hill to the left, and turn on the thermal heat reader on your rifle, see if you can tell me how many and if you can snipe them. Everyone else, wait for further instructions. And Arthur, move quietly!"
I began a crouching run to the hill and had and immediate flash back to the battle that started this all. My feet sunk into the mud with each step but I kept running. I dodged the bushed and clumps of dry leaves or any twigs lying on the ground. I tried every way I could not to make noise. When I had reached the top I lay down on my stomach and propped the rifle in front of my shoulder.
I hit the switch to turn on the screen and glanced at it quickly. There were three green, red, and yellow blobs about forty yard in front of me. I brought my eye to the scope and moved the cross hairs back and forth until I found my target. I could only see one of them; the other two were hidden behind a tree. "There are three there, captain, I only have the chance to snipe one from here. But captain, this thing isn't like any human I've ever seen," I whispered.
"What do you mean, private?" Captain Hawke replied.
"...It's blue, and its face is, well, weird. It seems to have a snout and a human face at the same time. It eyes are gold and, wait, another just came out, it smaller and its orange and gray. Its about the size of a five year old."
"Well... what about their weapons?"
"Um, one has a curved weapon with a green top, sort of in the shape of a U, and the other has a weapon with lots of little spikes on it. Pink spikes."
"What the Hell?!"
"Should I fire?"
"At will, private."
I took aim at the bigger one first and aimed directly for his head, he had it thrown back in a laugh, because the smaller one had just said something to him. I gently pressed the trigger down and the bullet shot out with an almost silent whiz and the larger one almost immediately fell over backwards. A purple substance, which must have been the creature's blood flew up into the air along with mud and water.
The little one threw his arms up and began screaming something and running around in circles. I quickly took aim at him and fired. He fell over sideways sending little mud and water up.
The third jumped out and started running in between trees and yelling something. I took a quick and sloppy shot at his chest, and he glowed a rippling white and yellow for a short while. I reloaded and while I was doing so, the thing leapt behind a tree.
"I couldn't get him," I whispered into my earpiece, "The third one, that is."
"We'll get him," the captain replied almost immediately.
I zoomed out a little bit with my rifle so I was able to see all the actions. The eight of the soldiers suddenly came charging in off the left, firing their automatics. The captain was first, with his weapon. The bullets left the nozzle so quickly there was almost no sound at all besides a small whiz.
Pieces of the strange animal went flying in all directions, and his arm was pounded into oblivion by the bullets. It fell bloodily to the ground, screaming loudly. The soldiers lifted their weapons above their heads and started cheering.
I got off the wet ground and started walking over to them. "How'd ya' like that rifle, son?" the captain asked me.
"It was incredible," I told him honestly.
"I told you it would be," he said and started laughing. He looked at the blue one, and saw that the bullet had ripped half his head off. "Nice shot. All right soldiers, we need to check out these weapons, and of course these bodies. Obviously they are the highest, or one of the highest forms of life on the planet, because they had weapons. There's a chance that whatever cult they are in has them dress up like this, 'cause that's just the way some people are."
He walked over to the red one, which lay dead on its stomach in a puddle of its own purple blood. "Captain how do you explain this blood?" Smith asked, wiping some of it from off his hand and onto his shirt.
"I have no idea, private. I've never seen anything like this. "Damn it... what the hell is this?!" He stared at the body a moment, as he sat there crouched down on one knee, then said, "I don't think we're dealing with any sort of human here."
"So what do you plan to do? Keep going?"
"Our mission is to find out anything we can about these aliens. We could stop now and bring these bodies back home, or we could keep going and bring something a million times more valuable home. A living body. With something like that, we could translate an entire language, we could learn about weaponry, and their planet and species. The knowledge from even one of those tiny orange things has incredible potential."
"Sir, how do you know they have a language?" one of the soldiers asked. I didn't know this soldiers name, and if he had ever talked before now, I was asleep during it.
"You heard them laugh didn't you? Humans have a language and are the only animal that laughs. Even on the alien planets, we have found a few strange species, which appear to have a muddled form of language, and we have heard them laugh."
"Whatever," the soldier replied, shrugging.
My ears were now completely alert to any sound, even the sound of my breath began to startle me. As we trudged on through the dark and wet ground I began to notice the rain getting light and the canopy the trees made above us growing thinner. It was obvious we were coming out of the jungle.
"Almost there," Captain Hawke informed us. "You stay here again and let me scout ahead for a little while. I'm going to find out about the buildings defenses and see the best place to try and infiltrate it is. From there we'll try to send a few messages back to home base, Earth, about our victory. Cross your fingers soldiers, this time it might not be me jumpin' through that bush."
He left us in an eerie and surreal silence that echoed through the trees. The bird noises had ceased and I had stopped my breathing because the wait was so intense. My stomach jumped up and down and seemed to vomit inside it self.
Then, the silence broke from somewhere behind as we turned around and pointed our guns at where the sound came from. A loud inhaling, and then an even louder exhale. Like a dog except longer and deeper breaths. One after another, the sounds floated into our ears. "That you, sir?" Julius asked worriedly.
A pink ball flew across my sight so that I could barely see it, and slammed itself into Bob. He let out a single cry as his face melted away into a bleeding pulp. He fell over backwards, steaming.
"Holy shit!" a soldier yelled.
"Run!" Keyes said, and began following his own instructions. The rest of followed suit and began running full speed leaping over logs and jumping over puddles, stepping left and to avoid the huge trees.
We started coming out of the forest and saw a huge white building with a satellite sitting on the top, pointed toward the two moons. That was it. "Let's go find Hawke and get the Hell outta' here."