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Of Fire and the Void: A orphan's introduction to soldiery
Posted By: SeverianofUrth<residentpark@aol.com>
Date: 7 May 2004, 11:55 PM

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      "James, damn it, come on!" Henry yelled at me. I was then trying desperately to hold onto a stolen rifle as I ran, tripping a little in my scavenged boots.
      "Come on, James, let's go!" Henry again yelled. He stood in the doorway, his frame illuminated by the bright light outside. I panted, my left boot falling off as I ran as fast as I can, the rifle somehow managing to stay inside the crook of my arm (it being way too big), ammunition falling from my coat-pockets.
      Henry ushered me outside the door, where I staggered, more bullets falling out, my breath coming in gasps. I wheezed, lungs bursting; I had never by then ran so far. Henry slapped me in the back.
      "Good job, kid. You might make the gang if you keep it up. Let's go before the jarheads come." He ran then, holding in his arm effortlessly three fully-loaded assault rifles. It somehow seemed so strange then, to see this lanky, skinny guy of sixteen in a threadbare coat running like the wind in oversize sandals; I ran after him, tripping and falling, my fat frame bulging in grotesque places, the rifle shaking perilously in my hands, and my sole remaining boot clopping independent of my foot.

      By the way, this is the city of Liverpool; I am living with the Red-Keeneedy gang, whose members consist of those who were orphaned because of the ongoing war. My parents are gone; probably dead. I've been living harvesting weapons from abandoned military caches, where we sell them to civilians interested in owning a gun just in case the aliens barge in their door. What we don't tell them is that the guns might just as well as blow up in their as they are to shoot; telling the truth, I found, is bad for business. And my name, as you might know, is James.

      Me and Henry reach the house by dusk, the skies full of whirling Pelicans filled with the brave, scared soldiers. My brother is in one, I hope; but he is probably dead. Probably dead. If someone went missing, they went "probably dead." If someone got lost, they were-
      "Damn, James, you're daydreaming again." Henry slapped on the back of the head. "I swear, one day you'll trip on some mines and die. It's not like I'll care,
but still-" He didn't finish. I didn't ask him to elaborate; I'd rather not know how much he cared for me. Ignorance, I've found again and again, is a bless. Instead, I asked him:
      "So what are we eating today? I thought Peter found us some cans, or whatnot."
      "Cans? If there are cans, you know we're not going to eat them. Why-" Suddenly the alarms began ringing; a horrible klaxon sound that tore at my ears. I dropped the rifle I had by then managed to nestle comfortably in my arms, and covered my ears. Henry, similarly affected by the sound, grabbed me by the hem of my coat and pulled me along to safehouse.

      "The Covies?" Francis, a boy with rather large ears, asked. Boss nodded.
      "Ya didn't hear the warnings? Covies, my little friends. Yonder blue headed-fucknuts." He gesticulated vaguely to show what he meant.
      "Well, we got nothing to be afraid about. WE got guns, and hey, we managed to live so far, right?" Henry said, and everyone clapped him on the back. He grinned. He, of course, did not mention the little selling point we 'forgot' to mention to the customers.
      "Henry's right, we people got nothin' to be scared about, with nobody." Boss said. Everyone nodded again nervously. Boss continued. "Hell, we got-"
      "Freeze!" A helmeted figure burst from the locked door; scoped rifle in hand, light glinting off from his visor, he was... scary. From the suddenly wafting smell I knew that someone had pissed their pants.
      More followed the helmeted figure, all armored. They clustered around the doorway, weapons up, until one said, "These are just kids, captain."
      "I don't think so, soldier." One of the helmeted figures said. "The scanning showed definite signs of Covenant infiltration here... Shielding, cloaking, re-imaging. One of these kids are not what they seem to be." He motioned one of the men forward. "Caparzo, start energy-scanning. Kids, line up against the wall. If you haven't done anything wrong, none of you have anything to fear." This statement, of course, caused even more fear. I saw Henry lock his hands into a fist. His fingers clutched the back of his neck tightly.
      "Alright, kids, line up. Caparze-" Then it happened.

      Henry suddenly went still, seemingly frozen; then he melted, like quicksilver, his form wavering and hurting one's eyes, then he suddenly became a alien.
Where stood a lanky sixteen year-old stood now a 8-foot Alien, a elite, I think it was called, filling the room. It dashed aside one of the kids (Bruno, I think) and slammed him against the wall; then it swung the now-limp body into the soldiers, knocking two of them aside.
      The soldiers started firing. Their bullets seemed to glance off some invisible armor the Elite seemed to have, and they ricocheted around, until lodging in flesh or metal. The soldiers were all right; but the kids were not.
Flesh tore, limbs ripped; blood gushed forth. But the soldiers didn't seem to see; they kept firing, until at last one bullet tore through the giant's muscles, then another, then a swarm of lead. It fell screaming, the limp, now-headless body of Bruno still in it's grasp.

      I had hid then, curled in a fetal position behind the stacked metal boxes. I got up when the screaming ceased; blood was everywhere, most red, a little blue. Only Boss was alive, and he was shuddering. The soldiers were now helping up the ones who had fallen.
      "God-damn, sir. The children..." The soldier waved his hand over the chamber. The captain nodded.
      "A pity. Take the corpse. We'll leave the kids here until we can get some medics over. Or some babysitters." He motioned for them to leave. The soldiers gave me sympathetic glances. But they left anyways, leaving behind corpses of my former-comrades. They took what used to be Henry.

(Part 2 coming soon.)