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TheForwardObserver

Cover art made by RoboMonkey

In the Beginning

He was not a very imposing man compared to the Technician in the exosuit. Wearing a simple NBC marine combat suit along with a long barreled customized Mk-45 sniper rifle at on his lap, The Forward Observer leaned casually against his seat as the Sub-Orbital craft flew towards the Moon.

His name was Edward Yim age 35. A man with a light build and a soft spoken demeanor, he felt uncomfortable sitting with the Marksman or the silent Commando both of whom he felt out of touch with on a personal level.

Edward was raised in Shanghai by his grandmother along with 2 brothers. Unlike his siblings, who vigorously did sports and other recreational activities, Edward spent the majority of his childhood reading books or observing the night sky with his telescope. At school, teachers found him reasonably intelligent and he scored well on his exams. At age 18, his father a high ranking official in the UGC, sent him to train as a UGC cadet.

Before he left, his father gave him a book: Sun Tzu's "The Art of War". and bade him good luck. At the academy Edward was trained in basic hand to hand combat as well as basic weapons training. During numerous experimental lessons designed to test each recruits skills and limitations Edward's skill of range-finding and triangulating coordinates caught his officers attention and he was quickly enrolled in the Artillery Academy training to become a forward observer.

A forward observer's job is to call in the support of the UGCAF as well as the support of heavy Artillery or the assistance of paratroopers along with the big guns of the legendary Asgard gunship. doing so requires accurate and swift calculations, triangulating, plotting etc.

Forward observers have all of the UGC's heavy weapons at their beck and call aside from nukes.

Edward still sitting in the back seat, felt a stab of homesickness as he watch the blue outline of Earth shrink while the barren rock known as the moon enlarged in size.

He looked behind him at Robert Petrov (the Engineer and his long-time friend and the closest he had to a caring father-figure.) who gave him a reassuring smile. Edward liked Robert who was a kind and gentle giant, both clever and strong. He than glanced at Dr. Susan the Field Medic and Recon with his Suppressed sub-machine gun. The teal-colored Medic who was reading a holographic book gave him a wink which caused Edward to blush and quickly turn around. This prompted hearty laughter from the rest of the team.

"Ha Ha Sergeant Yim guessed you never been to out on prom night have you?" roared the deep baritone voice of the Technician, the servos of his exosuit whirring audibly "Your face looked redder than a pack of cherry tomatoes in mid summer!"

This aroused another round of hearty laughter from the crew including Robert.

"Aw guys quit teasin the poor fella!" drawled Dr. Susan the field medic. Her melodious voice revealing her Texan roots. "It ain't his fault that he nevah got and eyelash bat from a Texan gal like me!!"

All right settle down all of you brazen runts and shut your stink-in mouths so I can hear myself think!" came a raspy snarl akin to a rabid werewolf.

Everyone immediately stopped laughing and looked up front. Lt. Jonah Thomas Brackes the team Commando was only slightly taller than Edward yet his tone and attitude set everyone riveted to their seats.

"Are you clowns done jawing so we can get this show on the road?" snarled Brackes

"This ain't no game we'll be dropping into Apollo at 0100 hours I suggest you boys and girls smarten up when we get there understand? Brackes voice rasped the air like coarse sandpaper the final word intoned with malice.

Edward sat up straight and clutched his Mk-45 sniper rifle tighter than usual. All was quiet as the Spacecraft touched down on the lunar soil.

Baptism of Fire

"Alright Team move out!" said Commando Brackes, his assault rifle poised ready for action. "I want us to be on the outskirts of Apollo ASAP cause my trigger fingers itchy!"

Nervous, Edward Yim, the forward observer held onto his Mk-45 sniper rifle as close to him as possible. Although in the training simulations he scored perfect Edward had never seen actual combat before. His throat dry he swallowed hard trying not to let anxiety override him.

"Yo man how are you holding up?" came an cheerful booming voice "I'm fine Robert" Edward replied meekly "Its just that this is my first time out in the field."

"Don't worry kiddo," replied Robert the engineer placing an assuring hand on Edward's shoulder taking care not to use the mechanical pincer that was his left arm. "take a deep breath it'll be okay."

Edward smiled weakly at the elderly engineer who was now deploying one of his field probes. Robert was the only person Edward really liked on the team and to him Robert was like his mentor helping him along the way. Team arrived at the outskirts the a dark Star-port. Bisected corpses and other deceased civilians made Edward nauseous, even the Commando a battle-scarred veteran look uneasy.

"Alright team lets proceed carefully," rasped Brackes, "Recon and FO deploy flares"

Edward activated the vari-beam designation scope on his sniper rifle and aimed at the desired location. Far away a geosynchronous surveillance satellite launched a flare which illuminated the surrounding area while the recon chucked a luminescent grenade which hissed to life also illuminating the area further like a newborn star.

"Alright grunts! move out!!" snarled Brackes every one sprinted to hide in a enclosed corner outside of the Star-port. "Tech! you take front!" Barked the Commando.

Nodding his head the Technician closed his cockpit and stomped facing the entrance. Suddenly the ground around them erupted as hostile creatures advanced on the team.

"What the heck?!" screamed Dr. Susan who primed up her healing systems while the rest of the team opened fire on the voracious creatures. "What the hell are those things?, are they the civilians??"

Edward suspected they were scanning the battlefield via his HUD goggles, the forward observer saw some of the entities wore tattered remains of medical garbs.

"Edward quit staring and start shooting!!" roared Brackes over the din of gunfire and the moans of the zombies as they were cut down. "You have permission to call down a fire mission do it now!!" Alright thought Edward.

Adjusting the vari-beam designation scope on his sniper rifle Edward Yim carefully aimed at the target area while his mind calculated the moon's rotation , gravity vs momentum and shell splash creating a " firing solution". Years of training kicked. With the final coordinates set he squeezed the trigger. In orbit, A scanning satellite received the input and after confirming the designated coordinates emitted an infrared targeting marker. the target area was suddenly painted with a red bombardment indicator.

On the Daedalus UGC base 250mm howitzers opened up launching lethal HE smart shells screaming towards the target area. The zombies and other monstrosities unlucky enough to stray into the fire-zone were immediately pulverized by the titanic barrage which shook the ground as the shells detonated all around leaving nothing but smoking corpses behind. Again and again Edward called in fire missions until finally Commando Brackes gave him "the cut" signalling him to cease fire. Soon the shrieking sound of shells dropping was once more replaced by a foreboding silence.

"Any one ya guys or gals hurt?" inquired Dr Susan. "Yeah me" said the Recon clutching his left shoulder, "One of them creatures messed up my shoulder pretty badly" "Don't worry sugah i'll take care of ya shoulder in no time flat!" Dr Susan drawled. A crackling of blue static leaped from the medic's surgical laser zapping the Recon rejuvenating his health instantly re-knitting his flesh back to its original condition.

Before the team could catch their breath a new threat advanced on them. A bulging sack of a monstrosity with glowing pustules advanced upon the team on 4 legs. The marksmen fired a mono-filament cartridge at the nearest beast. The hollow round penetrated the creatures bulging sack causing it to explode violently splattering caustic acid everywhere.

"Careful now! those things will reduce us to slag in no time!" snarled the Commando. "Recon I want you to LD those alien freaks!""Also FO !," he snarled at Edward who flinched instinctively "I want you to drop another flare and start lighting those things up pronto!"

Edward didn't hesitate remembering a quote from Sun Tzu's "The Art of War"

"So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss."

"He carefully scanned the battlefield his HUD goggles picking up the arrival of more of the suicidal creatures along with heavily armored six-legged monstrosities. A idea came to his mind. Now is the time the time for some unconventional warfare he thought grinning. first he dropped a flare from the surveillance satellite next activating the vari-beam designation scope on his sniper rifle he once more directed the artillery to cover the area with over lapping fields of fire.

Multiple fields of infrared indicators lit up around the caustic creatures with a laser designation courtesy of the Recon. HE smart shells screamed towards their target detonating with a thunderous din. The acidic beast exploded with a unearthly shriek exploding and drenching its would be allies with highly caustic fluids. Scores of these living bombs detonated due to the concussive force of the barrage eliminating all the other monsters unfortunate enough to be near them. for the expense of 9 shells in total, Edward had eliminated scores of enemies while the rest of the team hunted down the stragglers. with only a handful of the creature left, Robert, the engineer chucked a plasma mine at them. A delayed-fuse plasma mine counted down then detonated in a burst of ionized plasma cooking the creatures alive. even the Commando seemed impressed "Good work Yim." grunted the Commando Brackes as the rest of the team prepared to move out.

Scorched Earth

A sizzling flare dropped down from the orbiting surveillance satellite as forward observer Edward Yim scanned the area with his HUD goggles. Despite the solar flare disrupting Satcom the teams personal HUD systems were still functional. suddenly a bright spotlight illuminated the team. The sounds of numerous weapons being cocked echoed through the artificial atmosphere.

"Stand down!", shouted an Asian voice. "This is Lt. Sheng of the Apollo security team identify yourselves !"

"Yeah long time no see Matthew" growled Commando Brackes: "This is Alpha company and i'm Commando Jonah Thomas Brackes with the UGC."

"UGC?, thank god you guys are here, you guys sure are a sight for sore eyes." said Sheng evidently he had seen hell or worse and was under allot of grief. "We'ere with you!"

"Good! finally you lead us Sheng I'm getting tired of sitting in the dark." snarled Brackes. He opened his visor and spat on the ground. "Come on! grunts lets move!!" as the team followed Lt Sheng and his Sec team.

Edward first realized how eerily quiet the colony was. bloody bisected corpses were scattered everywhere adding another element to the macabre scenery. Edward dropped another flare which spluttered to life illuminating the path. with nothing but his own heartbeat and breathing to hear the silence was deafening. even the Technician and the Sec Team Psi-ops looked uneasy. Something was out there to get them and was watching their every move waiting... Edward shivered and shook that thought out off his mind. The team entered into a dense mineral extraction site which now was covered in biomass. The disgusting growth writhed and pulsated with a malignant beat like some diseased organ.

Suddenly a pointed spine impaled Robert the engineer in the abdomen. Robert grunted staggering to maintain balance as the rest of the team erupted with gunfire.

"FO, Recon!!, light them up!" growled Brackes. "maintain covering fire my men support the UGC!" ordered Lt Sheng to his men.

Both the Sec Team personnell and Dr Susan converged on the bleeding Engineer who was his clutching his stomach his face pale with blood loss while the flares revealed the culprit: a strange spine standing erect with a sharp harpoon tip at the end poised to strike like a cobra. The Recon quickly Laser Designated the sinister spine which registered on everyone's HUD. the Marksmen fired a mono-filament cartridge which pierced the spine causing it to wilt and die.

"Robert are you okay??" asked Edward worriedly. "Yeah its okay nothing major." grunted Robert as he smiled weakly don't worry about me Edward. The venerable Engineer stood up and winked at Edward. Edward didn't feel really relieved. The sooner they exited this place the better. There was more waiting for them within the sinister darkness but what?

They arrived at the central plaza where the team dispatched more of those Spines one by Edward with an intense artillery bombardment and the last spine by a plasma mine chucked from Robert. His field probes than cauterized the area. More flares fell to earth like suicidal fireflies. At last the team arrived at the Armory. there more of Lt Sheng's Sec team (comprised of some corpsmen and one Psi-Ops) awaited them.

"Heh Heh hear you boys need some help" said the Recon as sensitive optical and other spectrum sensors in his head swivelling "

"We came as fast as we could" interjected Lt Sheng. suddenly another tremor shook the lunar surface.

"Uh hate to interrupt boys but the natives are getting restless" growled Commando Brackes his weapon at the ready.

"How bout we take shelter in thata fort behind us Commando??" drawled Dr. Susan pointing. " Alright than lets move team!!" barked Brackes. the entire team along with the Sec team sprinted up the ramp to the right arm of the ledge.

Another flare along with a flash flare illuminated their surroundings. A entire swarm of creatures massed upon them. everyone opened up with their weapons while the Technician moved in front blocking any enemies trying to attack the group. meanwhile Robert swiftly assembled twin disruption towers blocking the top ledge. The towers had a central piston which rose and fell with a sinusoidal rhythm radiating sigma radiation outwards. Edward started bombarding the creatures with his artillery raining explosive death from the stars. HE shells detonated all around the holographic target marker decimating enemies. yet the relentless horde still charged forward. To compound to the difficulties, new creatures joined in the fray. Towering infested people resembling the mythical Titans lumbered towards them while insectnoid creatures with green and purple coloration moved in on them.

A stat-icy voice crackled in Edward's transceiver. "Alpha company do you copy?" inquired the voice amid the static "This is the F-19 fighter bombers of Goblin Squadron do you require assistance?"

Hmm thought Edward, at this rate we could be overrun Thinking quickly he once more activated the vari-beam designation on his customized Mk-45 sniper rifle. faraway in geostationary orbit a different satellite picked up the signal. Scanning the terrain, the satellite calculated gravity vs momentum, magnetic fields and approach vectors. once a firing solution was unloaded the satellite fired a small module from space. upon landing the module activated marking out a large fire zone with infrared light while simultaneously emitting a foghorn alarm

"EVERYONE GET DOWN!!" yelled Edward "FIRE IN THE HOLE!!"

Everyone knelt down had covered their heads as the screaming sound of jet turbines roared overhead. The F-19 fighter bombers swooped over and dropped JP-779 free-fall cluster bombs with detonated over a wide area vaporizing any unlucky monsters in the blast radius. the F-19's than swooped back into the stars.

Edward let out a sigh of relief. His shaking legs buckled and he was forced to sit down. The red-haired Sec Team Psi-Ops walked over . Edward for the first time noticed her attire. she was wearing a slim suit with radiating lights flashing throughout the outlines of her suit. her crimson hair was tied in a neat ponytail. a C-20A canister rifle casually held in her hand. the other hand offered toward Edward.

"Thanks" said Edward blushing. The Psi-Ops smiled gently lifting him up. "No Thank you for saving us forward observer" Her voice was clear and resonant like a sparkling river.

"The name's Sarah Nova" she replied as she than turned away leaving a blushing Edward behind to contemplate her enigmatic gesture while the burnt ground below slowly cooled.

Visions of Darkness

"Alright now Sheng you want to tell us what this ruckus was all about?" grunted Commando Jonah Thomas Brackes his voice somewhat hoarse

"Well it all started when the compliance nexuses received an update from Earth a few weeks ago" admitted Lt. Sheng the commander of the Apollo Security Team. "But personally i believe that those bloated creatures know as 'Infestors' are to blame for those.. things..." A hint of disdain was apparent in his voice.

"In fact a few days ago, our men managed to capture a docile Infestor on the outskirts of Apollo itself" he said.

"Really?" asked Dr Susan intrigued " Ya'll mean that ya caught yer-selves a fresh lil critter??" She asked and intellectual gleam sparking in her eyes.

"Sure," said Sheng shrugging his shoulders "as a matter of fact our Sec team has grown quite fond of it, one team member even dubbed it 'Charlie' "

He chuckled to himself a little. "Well where do we find this 'Charlie' huh?" asked Edward the forward observer. Frankly Edward thought that is was very careless of Sec team to just take in a foreign specimen without some scientific expertise he personally viewed theses aberrations as nothing more than alien freaks as Lt. Brackes called them. Still he kept his comments to himself.

"We fixed Charlie with a radio tag so we could track, here" Lt. Sheng pulled out a small transceiver and switched it on. On the HUD of all the teams a tiny yellow blip appeared on the mini-map. "There's Charlie go to her and agitate her a little, that will make her come to you."

As he finished speaking the yellow blip blinked rapidly than disappeared. "What the??" barked Brackes he turned to look at Sheng as if asking for an explanation. "She must have shaken the tag off, find her she can't be far." said Sheng.

"Alright Alpha Company! time to get down to business!" barked Commando Brackes grimacing as he drained his health to give his suit some additional energy. "So here's the deal folks" He paused for a second than went on. "The Technician will find and bring back Charlie on his own while at the same time, our engineer and FO will hack into the Phalanx Sentry System to activate Apollo's Auto-Turrets. Than we regroup back at the fort got it ?" The Commando rasped as Dr.Susan restored his health with her thermal-scalpel.

The team all nodded as the Technician's Plexiglas cockpit slid shut and his leg servos whirred audibly. He than set off at a fast clip eventually being swallowed up by the darkness.

Edward sweated inside his NBC suit despite the ample ventilation it provided. He was standing in front of one of the 2 control consoles responsible for accessing the Sentry Guns all over Apollo. Robert with his field probes around him was busy hacking into the adjacent console nearby. Edward felt nervous despite them being in the armory.

"I have a bad feeling Robert." whispered Edward anxiously "I feel.. I-I feel that something is watching us from the d-dark" Edward just than realized that he was scared. His hands where shaking as he typed in access codes and algorithms on the keyboard.

"Yeah I know what you mean Ed" replied the 60 year old Engineer softly. His robotic arm felt his belly which had been stitched shut after he was impaled by that vicious spine. "I understand that your scared Edward my boy but we've got a job to do no matter what." Crinkled beetle-black eyes twinkled " As long as you do your job it will be fine."

Edward smiled, Robert was right, no matter how scared he was they had a job to do for the UGC and for the civilians of Apollo. Robert's words of assurance reignited his spirit. "Alright," Edward said as he took a deep breath and continued keying in codes corroding the pesky firewall that was denying him access. " 3,2,1 and..." "Activate the Auto-turrets!" chirruped Robert as all of Apollo's Sentry guns came online around Apollo.

After a brief self-diagnostic the turrets swiftly adopted modified termination protocols blasting any unlucky undead creatures with 30mm slugs. "Alright hotshot lets race back to our chaps before those things come for us again" warned Robert. Edward nodded as adrenaline flowed into his bloodstream quickening his heart-rate while he called down another surveillance flare.

As Edward got back to the team, he checked his HUD. the Technician registered as a radiant "4" on the mini map. "Tech!! have you found that bloated monster yet??!!" roared Commando Brackes only faint static crackled in the inter-team comm system.

several minutes passed until finally the Technician called out

"Found her!!"

"Alright now get your metal rear in gear and get the heck outta there!!" commanded Brackes. Edward called down more flares. Suddenly a feral roar shook the very foundation the teams where standing on. Lt Sheng seemed nervous

"This isn't good , It must be communicating with something..." Before the Asian commander could further voice his opinions an urgent broadcast interrupted him. He listened for a few moments his eyes wide with surprise. " I've just received a distress call coming from the Central Square Tower." he informed Brackes "I must depart immediately" he apologized "My men with me!!" he ordered as the the rest of Sec team followed him down the ramp out of the fort.

Commando Brackes also gave orders "Engineer i want your disruption towers set up ASAP, Medic mend the Technician as he tanks up front and MM i want you to use your penetration rounds this time got it?" The team nodded. "Sir what about me??" asked Edward "Your job is to get behind and shoot no airstrikes or call-downs rookie, not this time" snarled Brackes "That's an order!" he barked. "Yes sir" replied Edward meekly.

as if on cue the cybernetic Adjutant spoke up. "Warning Class 8 Psionic phase wave detected, extreme caution is mandated."

"Sir!" Edward urgently reported "There's a huge blip that's approaching our location at 3 klicks per second!!" His sense of urgency was prominent in his voice.

The Commando swore profusely and directed the team to defense formations. At the same time a small pale white Infestor crawled towards the team, leaving a trail of slime behind it. Although disgusting, Charlie was far more docile than the Hideous monstrosity which now bared down upon them.

The strange monster resembled a colossal Infestor except it had a greenish sac on top of its thorax. twin spines stood erect upon it back poised like serpents. The brute itself crawled on revolting insectnoid limbs. It's head had 2 eyes and tentacles over the mouth. Psionic power infused its pupil's causing them to glow bright orange. tentacles in it's mouth slobbering all over the place. Edward had never seen anything as revolting as this creature. all of a sudden all the flares extinguished themselves plunging the team into utter darkness. Dr.Susan screamed in fear.

"Recon FO do your thing now!!" roared Brackes as he opened fire in the inky blackness. Edward and the Recon swiftly deployed their own flares illuminating the target area. The bloated aberration (or giant Infestor) using its spines, lashed out at the Technician in his exosuit. Sparks spurted from the suit and metal alloys screeched in protest as the organic spines impaled different parts of the suit. The Technician was unfazed as theoretically, the nanites in his exosuit could potentially repair his suit indefinitely.

To give the colossal monster assaulting him some trouble he gunned up his engines spewing out toxic fumes from his exhaust pipes. The industrial fumes though only served to enrage the beast even further.

"Warning Psionic phase wave detected" reported the Adjutant dutifully. "target is emanating powerful quantum waves from its cerebral cortex"

Sarah Nova the enigmatic Psi-Ops closed her own eyes and concentrated calling upon her own psionic powers. Edward observed her as she used her mind to pull in matter around her until he observed 2 Sarah Novas now appear before him. Radiant blue psionic energy infused the eyes of Sarah Nova as she fired on the huge Infestor with her C-20A canister rifle. She sent a wave of psionic energy at the creature pushing it back a few inches. The massive Infestor bellowed in primal rage. than unleashed its own psionic powers into this world. Immediately Edward found himself frozen in place. He literally couldn't move a muscle. He strained to move. but it was like his body was encased in solid cement. He observed that his teammate where also in the same predicament.

I need to do something he thought. We are vulnerable now, perfect for that thing to attack us. Edward counted: 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 second, 4 seconds, 5 seconds, 6 seconds, at the uttering of 6, everyone was able to move again. Edward moved as far away as possible from the colossal Infestor. He spared a second to look at the Technician who's exosuit was in a grievous condition. The outer armor was dented. Sparks jutting from exposed circuitry while oily lubricants leaked from cracked pistons.

Shaking his head to clear any cobwebs, Edward swiftly activated once more the vari-beam designator on his sniper rifle. Faraway a satellite received the signal than bathed the fire-zone with infrared light. in less than 4 seconds, courtesy of the shell's lunar boosters, Artillery shells not filled with high explosives but rather several tons of concussive seismic charge detonated producing moon-jarring explosions as the surface rocked with countless tremors. the Infestor roared in agony as it was receiving the mother of headaches totter on its six legs momentarily stunned.

Edward didn't stop. He followed the shock wave barrage with a conventional artillery barrage followed simultaneously by a bombing run by the F-19's of Goblin squadron. The bloated beast let out an unearthly shriek as HE smart shells and JP-776 cluster bombs detonated against its body. Just as Edward was about to finish the horrible monster off, He suddenly felt himself frozen once more. Blast it he thought not this trick again. But this time it felt different. he suddenly found the shadows around him creeping up his suit, like sinister vines itching to strangle the life out of him. wisps of shadows licked at his face and he found himself engulfed in darkness. The world outside ablaze with gunfire a second ago, was now replaced by an unearthly din of silence.

"What is this??" Edward blurted out loud scanning the darkness around him. "Show yourself!!"

WELCOME EDWARD hissed a sinister voice inside his head SURRENDER TO THE DARKNESS AND YOUR DEATHS SHALL BE SWIFT

"And if we refuse?" Edward retorted hoping he sounded braver than he felt.

THAN YOU SHALL DIE IN AGONY BY THE SHADOWS AT MY COMMAND The sinister voice cackled.

"Never!!" yelled Edward Yim anger flaring up inside him forcibly expelling the darkness from his mind

"We will destroy you and any other monsters which stand in our way!" His anger radiated from him like a solar flare.

Activating the vari-beam designator on his weapon he signaled another air strike against that disgusting bloated monster. The F-19 fighter bombers screamed overhead this time releasing PaveWay Armor Denial weapons which slammed into the bloated monstrosity with deadly precision. The Infestor let out a final shriek before exploding in a shower of blood and guts splattering everywhere. Edward thought he heard a voice calling out

YOU THINK THAT THIS IS THE END?? FOOLISH HUMANS! THERE SHALL BE OTHERS WHO WILL FEED UPON YOU, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED HUMAN!! THE TWILIGHT IS SHALL FALL UPON YOUR MISERABLE EXISTENCE BEFORE WE WIPE YOU OUT!!

Edward raised his head towards the sky and yelled at the stars arrayed above him in frustration and defiance. Observing this scene the small Infestor known as Charlie gazed at Edward Yim intently while slobbering to itself as the darkness evaporated somewhat.

We're All Mad Here

"WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING ROOKIE!!" Thundered Lt. Jonah T. Brackes "I TOLD YOU SPECIFICALLY NOT TO CALL DOWN A GOD-FRICKEN AIRSTRIKE AND WHAT DO YOU DO??, YOU CALL DOWN AN GOD-FRICKEN AIRSTRIKE!!" The bitter Commando spat on the ground in front of him as he gazed venomously at Edward Yim,the sullen Forward Observer who was currently being subjected to the verbal wrath of the Commando.

"I'm sorry sir." replied the chastised Forward Observer. "But with all due respect sir that... creature.... got into my mind and I acted instinctively."

"I lashed out and acted instinctively" the Commando mimicked in a mocking tone "Do I look like i give a damn about your problems rookie? The Commando said sticking his visor-ed face up close and personal to Edward's. "Now you listen to me rookie," muttered the Commando harshly " You just set one toe out of the line next time and I'll personally take care of you GOT IT??!!!!!" Commando Brackes roared the last 2 words into Edwards face leaving the forward observer's ears ringing.

Edward's face burned with shame as he tried not to look at his teammates. The marksmen snickered at him while Robert only gave him a comforting pat on the shoulder as the team moved out. So much for ever getting on the Commando's "good side thought Edward wearily picking up his customized Mk-45 sniper rifle. He wondered whether the Commando had seen some traumatic event which scarred him for life or that he was just born constitutionally cranky? Edward hoped more for the former than the latter. The team came down from the fort's ramp. The Recon his helmet packed with visual and other spectrum sensors looked on casually as a pair of recently-activated sentry guns automatically gunned down 2 of the infested civilians.

The team soon arrived at an Abandoned mine shaft which according to UGC Intel, had strange noises emanating from the mine-shaft. Alpha company was ordered to investigate if there was time. Edward's surveillance flare dropped from space lighting up the abandoned mine shaft of Apollo's Mine Site Epsilon. The Flare was quickly swallowed by the darkness below as if a creature of the void had devoured it. Edward gulped and shivered. The shaft seemed to echo with ominous sounds and did he hear.... voices?? His hair stood on end.

In his mind he could still hear whispers and malevolent laughter or was it his mind?? was it real?? I must be going insane thought Edward, When that creature entered into my head... he fretted Could it have... no. it can't be... whats happening he thought his heart throbbing am... am I going mad?? He thought, He than remembered the Commando's threat of dealing with him personally. Edward actually gulped out loud at the thought of that. To him Lt. Brackes was even scarier than the monsters they've encountered in his opinion. Edward wished now more than ever that the mission could be concluded. The sooner they left This Chamber of Horrors the better.

To activate the mine shaft, 2 people must stand on green hexagonal pressure pads. The Commando and the Technician both now stepped on these pressure sensitive pads which clicked audibly and a robotic beeping sound emanated echoed throughout the cavernous shaft. Edward was still in the throes of his tortured mind when suddenly as the ground underneath started to tremble, At first Edward foolishly wondered if there was a moon-quake happening, than he quickly remembered from his astronomy lessons that the Earth's only natural satellite was not only devoid of life but geologically dead as well.

Rather the cause of the trembling was something much more sinister. A red steel colossus towered over the Team. seated in the open cockpit nacelle was a demented looking man wearing Holo-Specs required to interface with his machine's mechanical systems. The bi-pedal armored excavation walker had 2 arm-like appendages sporting dual concussive grenade launchers; designed to pulverize hard mineral deposits these lethal projectile weapons would probably serve a more malevolent purpose than that speculated Edward. He cocked his Mk-45 sniper rifle and prepared for action.

"Alright civilian identify yourself!" barked Brackes. The man in the mining walker only reply was a high pitched laughter. Through his HUD goggles Edward ID-ed the the man as Seth Samuel, a construction worker among the missing persons in Apollo. Seth had a Demented gleam in his eyes his face stretched in a gruesome poker face. Clearly this man had lost his marbles and he was long gone now.

"Ah hell, is the only thang left of this place monstahs's and psychoes??!" groaned Dr. Susan as she placed a palm over her face.

Commando Brackes though surprisingly sounded almost gleeful as if Seth Samuel's insanity had infected him as well.

"Very well," chuckled Brackes his face blissfully hidden below a green visor. " Finally some real prey to kill just the way I like it" His body crouched in a fighter stance, he challenged the deranged Seth in his Mining Walker.

"Oi you psycho boy come on! Show me what you got!!" "I want to enjoy this so you best bring out the big guns!!"

"SILENCE FOOLISH HUMAN!!" replied Seth, his voice deeper and magnified by the walker's comm system. "NOW YOU SHALL DIE !"

A hum emanated from the walker as its plasma core started up. Edward suddenly felt a electrical potential build-up within his suit. The ionized gas which powered Seth's mech was interfering with their suits electrical microcircuits. "What the?.." grunted Brackes. "What the heck?.." Edward checked his own suits polarity meter. The plasma emanating from Seth's walker had infused each of their suits with either a positive or negative potential charge. In theory, should opposite charges meet there would be destructive interference between the 2 people potentially electrocuting them to death. However, as Edward learned in physics, Should objects of uniform charge be in close proximity than the reverse effect happened, and their suits power can be augmented. by 100% or more. It was all theory but it was a plan.

"Hey Commander!" shouted Edward as Seth unleashed concussive shells at the team, "We need to stack up with like charges and avoid team members of opposite charges if we want a prayer of beating that Mining Walker!!"

The bad-tempered (and now slightly psycotic?) Commando didn't say much but nodded and signaled for the rest of the team to do the same. The Technician moved in front to take the brunt of the assault while Dr.Susan cast a shimmering Nano-shield over each and every member of the team. The concussive missiles slammed into the Technician's exosuit but The target of that salvo merely shook it off like water. The marksmen on the other hand activated the linear accelerator on his Barrett sniper rifle as his weapon hummed with electromagnetic pulsations. He fired his dreaded Mk-39 ADDS (Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot) penetration round. The lethal depleted uranium round penetrated clean through the walker's Vanadium frame causing sparks to jut out from the punctured area.

"CURSE YOU ZOMBIES!!" howled the now rabid Seth "YOU SHALL PAY FOR DEFILING MY WAR MACHINE!!" hidden compartments opened up in the back of his mining walker's and out popped out several field probes just like Robert's.

"Aw hell he's repairing the damage !!" realized Robert the engineer in horror "At this rate we will run out of ammo" He couldn't even use his deadly plasma charges as they were highly ineffective against a foe who's power came from ionized gas in his walker's power core.

As the heated battle wore on Edward started to feel feverish, hot sweat dripped from his face as he felt his heart beating faster and faster as adrenaline rushed through his system initiated the Fight or Flight response. He gasped short of breath. Again he could here that Infestor's voice in his skull: EDDDDDWWWARRRRDDD SUrENder YOurSeLF To THe DArKNeSs! the voice screeched

No! thought Edward his hands over his ears as the voice echoed and whispered to him in alien tongues. Stay out of my flaming mind! I murky darkness enveloped his mind darkening his senses. No Edward thought his mind slipping, No No please, stop, stop this! Than as if by a miracle a calm breeze blew in wafting away the darkness. Edward felt calmness and normality restored to his psyche. A shimmering ripple of blue twinkled before his eyes. Wait a minute he thought, I know this feeling. His senses restored and his mind finally back into reality, The Forward Observer opened his eyes and felt the cool hands of Sarah Nova, the enigmatic Psi-Ops over his helmet. Blue psionic energy effused her radiant eyes as she use her own mental powers to drive out the demonic aura in Edward's mind. "Hey there Edward right?" Sarah Nova replied her voice resonant and soothing as a fresh river-stream. "Your okay now come on we have a job to do teammate." Edward only nodded his head as the sounds of gunfire and concussive shells echoed once more through the artificial air.

"ENOUGH! INSOLENT ZOMBIES! CRAWL BACK TO YOUR GRAVES LIKE GOOD BOYS AND UNCLE SETH WILL READ YOU A STORY! the deranged man known as Seth Samuel mockingly shouted to the kiting marines as he blasted away. "DON'T MAKE UNCLE SETH PUNISH YOU!!"

The insane psychopath pressed a button laughing manically as a shimmering dome of highly charged plasma erupted from the Mecha Walker which he was currently piloting.

"Everyone get back!!" hollered Robert the engineer gesturing wildly with his mechanical arm. "He's unleashing a plasma detonator! It will blow us back to Earth if we aren't careful!!"

The shimmering dome expanded outwards crackling with ionized particles. The Commando though in the throes of his own battle frenzy, Charged directly into the shimmering sphere.

"Commander wait!!" shouted Edward But the Commando heard nothing of Edwards cry. "Come on Big Guy!" Commando Brackes challenged Seth, SHOW ME WHAT YOU'VE GOT!"

I can't let this happen thought Edward desperately As much as he disliked Brackes, Brackes was still the team leader, and if he died than it was all over. Dammit Edward grimly thought this will be close. Activating the vari-beam designator on his Mk-45 sniper rifle, he aimed carefully and squeezed the trigger. Moments later a barrage of highly concussive artillery shells screamed towards there target at subsonic speeds slamming into Seth's Mining Walker. The shells stunned the insane psychopath causing him to clutch his head in pain. an ADDS penetrator round (courtesy of the marksmen) severed key cybernetic systems causing the suit to lose gyroscopic stability.

"Dammit!" yelled the Commando gashing his teeth is rage. "Who told you guys to spoil my fun and despoil my prey??!!"

His fun now ruined and his battle frenzy somewhat subsided somewhat, Commando Brackes took out his combat knife and chucked it at the now vulnerable operator with surgical precision.

"EAT THIS YOU PSYCHO!!" Brackes roared. Seth was just coming too when the knife impaled him in his heart. He gasped both hands clutching at the knife sticking out of his chest. Warm blood gushed from the wound as Seth Samuel tried in vain to pull the sharp knife out. A horrible gurgling noise escaped from his throat has his deranged eyes rolled up his head revealing the whites of his eyes before the insane pilot slumped over face-first onto his controls dead.

The Mining Walker without a operator and swaying drunkenly, crashed into the lunar soil just as its plasma core overloaded, consuming the mechanical frame in a catastrophic explosion which lighted up the area in Cobalt-blue before the darkness reclaimed the skies once more (Only a small pile of ammo and several Helium-3 canisters where recovered from the wreckage).The Commando looked at Edward than grunted in blunt approval. Edward nodded in return as the rest of the team prepared to head out once more.

Sinister Scientists

Prologue

"I can't believe that Dr. Bergmann was responsible for this treachery!!" spluttered Dr.Gungan with indignity in his voice as he confronted his superior Dr. Hidetoshi Tanaka, "He was the one responsible for the Hacking of the Compliance Nexuses as well as the Outbreak on Apollo!!"

"I know Dr. Gungan thank you very much." replied Dr. Tanaka coolly not at all shocked or unfazed by what his lab assistant had just informed him.

"What??!!" Dr Gungan replied outraged "Hidetoshi, even you must know that what Dr. Bergmann is doing must be stopped!!, He paused a bit before continuing his rant "This is grossly unethical and could potentially get out of hand and ruin our careers!!!" Yelled Dr. Gungan. spittle flying from his mouth. some which splattered on Tanaka's face.

Tanaka calmly took a handkerchief from his breast pocket and wiped the saliva from his face. "I know fully well what he is planning and yes we shall stop him and hand him over to the UGC for persecution." Dr.Tanaka calmly informed his subordinate. replacing the handkerchief back into its correct place.

"Right!" agreed Dr.Gungan relieved that Dr. Tanaka was taking him seriously for once. "I shall contact the UGC and have them send a team over to sort out this mess!" He turned around and proceeded to head for the laboratory entrance its hallways full of specimen tanks filled with odd and vile creatures.

In the midst of his relief Dr.Gungan failed to see a silent Dr. Tanaka creep over to the Cyro-Freezer containing syringes of the zombie virus.

"Oh wait a second Dr. Gungan" Dr. Tanaka called out to his assistant while the syringe was concealed behind his back, "I have something I need your help with."

Dr. Gungan turned around just as Dr. Tanaka lunged at him and stabbed the syringe deep into his neck.

"ARGGHH!!" yelled Dr. Gungan stumbling back in both pain and disbelief. He pulled out the syringe and threw it onto the floor , the syringe shattering with a "clink" noise. But it was too late as a good deal of the serum was now coursing through Dr. Gungan's bloodstream as the virus infected his cells "What is the meaning of this Hidetoshi??!!" he yelled at his superior while clutching his neck as a searing pain radiated from the wound.

"I'm sorry my misbegotten colleague," replied Dr. Tanaka without a hint of pity in his voice as he coolly observed Dr. Gunjan's plight. "I cannot allow you to ruin Dr. Bergmann's plan's and tattle to the UGC."

"YOU TRAITOR! HOW COULD YOU!!"Dr. Gungan lashed out in rage He stumbled struggling to stand upright. "It doesn't matter now, say what you must Dr. Gungan," replied Dr. Tanaka shrugging his shoulders, "Cause in a few minutes or so no one will believe you."

Suddenly a UGC soldier carrying a customized Mk-45 sniper rifle entered inside. "Stop!" the soldier called out "This is the UGC Alpha Team!!"

"Tanaka, Bergmann their behind this.. ARGH!!" Dr. Gungan shouted before he let out a roar of pain as he clutched his neck. "WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME??" He yelled out as his mind slid into unfeeling, unthinking lassitude and the world became black to him.

Several Hours Previously........

Edward Yim the Forward Observer checked the wrist controls on his marine power suit as he held his weapon over his shoulder taking care no to hit anyone with its over sized gun barrel. Dr Susan was busy reading a electronic book on her visor while Sarah Nova, the enigmatic Psi-Ops silently listened to music on her ear-buds. The artificial winds rustled fitfully as the team assembled around the communications tower as if it was trying to warn them of dire dangers ahead. The Commando stood beside Robert, as the 60 year old engineer accessed a data log that was stored in the comms tower's hard drive.

"You almost done yet Robbie??" asked Commando Brackes "Not yet sir," replied Robert. "This tower just started making broadcasts for unknown reasons on its own." Robert usually the engineering whiz of the team scowled and gave the monitor a dumbfounded look. "I can't wrap my head around it Jonah," He admitted scratching his head. "But our job is to download the transmissions from Satcom and relay them back to HQ.

Lt. Jonah Thomas Brackes scowled at the use of his first name but nodded in agreement. "Edward! come over here and help out Robbie here!" barked the ever-cranky Commando."As for the rest of you I want a perimeter set up!!" Brackes barked at his team.

Everyone responded in earnest, The Recon dropped a supply station which was equipped with a energy field and a healing AI. Edward deployed a surveillance flare which illuminated the area. Dr. Susan run an advance prognosis of everyone's health meter and prepping up her medical systems. Sarah Nova merely closed her eyes, reopening them to reveal radiant sapphire orbs supplementing her natural eye color.

Suddenly the Recon checked his motion sensor and reported to Brackes: "Picking up life signs!"The team was set upon by hordes of the infested, including mass swarms of the blackish armored arthropods which regurgitated green acid.

Robert also pitched in his field probes electrocuting the undead with bolts of electricity while his disruption towers slowly melted the hideous creatures carapaces. At roughly three quarters of the transmission download, A swarm of tough heavily armored juggernauts with scythe-blades rimmed at their front like a gruesome lawnmower form hell. The marksman had a field day sniping those armored monstrosities right between the eyes ending their lives. Silence was restored once more as the last of the infested bit the lunar dust. The team's next job was to investigate the Hyperion science laboratories of Apollo. Apollo wasn't as big or grand as the cosmopolitan centers of the former United States like Metropolis C9 in Nevada (built to replace Las Vegas) or as grand with Renaissance style structures of Euro-Central. (comprising of former France, Germany, and other mainland European nation capitals merged into one.) but the towering buildings loomed like monoliths over the horizon. Apollo boasted a Night bar and several towering skyscrapers which dotted the skyline.

Edward although raised in bustling Shanghai still gazed in awe at Apollo's most prominent features; The Bio domes. The Bio domes were terraforming buildings designed to sustain Apollo's artificial ecosystem and provide crops for human consumption. But now as Edward observed, the Bio-domes had also been infested with diseased biomass enveloping (and absorbing?) the trees and other vegetation. Edward could only shake his head in disgust at the sight. Lt. Sheng had granted the team new security clearances in order to access the Hyperion Laboratories. Edward Yim observed carefully the access controls to the hermetically sealed Laboratory door as the rest of the team around the vicinity of Bio dome D. With a slithering hiss the door opened, a Japanese looking scientist stood a good distance away from another scientist who was standing hunched over. Edward could also see nutrient tanks with specimens of the monsters they fought and to complete the macabre scenery numerous corpses of the research staff littered the tiled floor which was stained with dried blood.

"No on will believe you." said the Japanese scientist to the hunched over scientist just as Edward Yim a UGC soldier carrying his customized Mk-45 sniper rifle entered inside. "Stop!" the Edward yelled "This is the UGC Alpha Team!!"

"Tanaka, Bergmann their behind this.. ARGH!!" the hunched-over doctor shouted before he let out a roar of pain as he clutched his neck. "WHAT HAPPENING TO ME??" He yelled out as his body began a hideous metamorphosis, elongating, twisting and writhing as the doctor's size tripled in both height and bulk.

"Oh!," yelped Edward Yim "Oh what the Hell!!!"

Edward could only look up in fear at the grotesque face of the former scientist as it grew over sized incisors and while slimy tentacles erupted from his back. Orange Boils sprouted on his skin than swelled into gargantuan pustules. Hands stiffened and mutated into hideous claws as the recently mutated scientist let out a blood-curdling roar. Brackes gave no permission to fire, there was no need; everyone immediately opened fire without a word.

The former scientist now turned monster let out a bestial bellow as it charged at Alpha company. Robert had to get out of the way as the mutated juggernaut barreled into the Technician, who's exosuit managed to hold the abomination back for the time being. The monster raked the exosuit with its razor-sharp talons repeatedly. Edward rushed to shut the hermetic doors to contain the threat but found only a twisted slab of metal some of which looked as if it had been melted by acid. Edward gazed in horror as another swarm of the undead along with armored infested lumbered into the lab. Meanwhile the huge monster attacked the rest of the team. The marksmen poured armor-defeating rounds into the behemoth but nothing happened.

"What the..?" The marksman exclaimed in annoyance "Nothing fazes this stupid creature!" remarked Commando Brackes as he poured ammo into the lumbering giant. "At this rate we will run out of ammo!"

Edward took this piece of news with heavy dread. He couldn't call in an Airstrike or an artillery bombardment, that was out of the question. he could kill someone in such confined quarters. He suddenly felt useless and of no help. Could this finally be the end? Just at he pondered the team's predicament the huge monster stopped and stood rigid as if in rigor mortis. Flaming eyes blazed as It bared its fangs.

"PREPARE FOR DESTRUCTION!!!" the monster roared savagely. instantly 5 radial beams of ruby-red laser beams shot out of the monstrosity's body in a deadly laser blossom. the deadly beams of highly charged energy rotated clock wise burning everything with searing heat. Edward braced himself as the beam struck him burning through his plasma shields and scorching the ceramic outer coating of his power suit. After several minutes their nemesis finally extinguished the deadly beams. Everyone managed to survive but just barely. The monster than did something strange. blackish sticky goo excreted from its body which covered the floor in an ebony-black sticky coating. To everyone's horror the monster's wounds started regenerating as it stood on the sticky carpet.

"Heya Techie !!" called out Dr.Susan, "Yah gota kite that varmint off that creep stuff to damage em sugah!"

"You heard the lady!" roared Commando Brackes. "play chicken with that beast!"

With this new strategy in place, the monster its blood lust overriding its need for self-preservation it began chasing the team members forcing itself off its healing carpet of gooey stuff.

"PREPARE FOR DESTRUCTION!!" the juggernaut bellowed once more. again 5 radial laser beams blossomed from its pustule-covered body as they sweeped the lab. Edward dodged one of the beams as it sliced a specimen and its nutrient tank open causing the fluid inside to gush out. But his time the lasers had less of an effect as Dr Susan cast Nano-Shields over everyone, while the Recon deployed a Reaper aerial drone which cast a energy shield over him as well. The lasers burned the shields but left the person inside relatively unharmed. The abomination led out a howl of rage and charged straight at the team. The team emptied their ammo clips into the behemoth. Without the rejuvenating effects of the creatures blackish secretions it was starting to succumb to its wounds. It thrashed and flailed madly causing further damage to the lab.

Suddenly the giant beast came for Edward himself. Edward was so shocked he didn't react at all just stood there and gaped as the creature raised one of its claws eager to rip the Forward Observer to shreds. But just as the monstrosity could deliver Edward a mortal wound, everything started to slow down. Edward puzzled looked around. it wasn't just the monster. Everything and everyone moving twice as slow as they were supposed to. Edward gaped as everything within the place moved in slow progression including himself as he struggled to quickly evade the giant's attack. He soon found the source of the time lag. Sarah Nova her eyes open and ablaze with psionic power stared calmly back at him. The air crackled with power as the enigmatic Psi-ops literally warped space time to her very will. If that wasn't an it than the sudden rising of the sun over the horizon added to the Inception.

"Hurry Edward! I can't keep this up forever!" yelled Sarah Nova as beads of sweat dripped down her face as she struggled to keep the Universe under her control. " It's up to you now!"

Edward nodded as he closed his eyes for a second and concentrated shutting the world out from his senses for a few seconds while he devised a new firing solution to utilize. As the coordinates came to his mind his eyes snapped open fierce with determination. Activating the vari-beam designator on his sniper rifle he called down an Airstrike, The air was once more filled with the screaming of jet-turbines as the F-19 fighter bombers swooped down and unleashed laser-guided bunker busters on the monster below. The force of several 2000 lb bombs crashing into it's body proved too much. The monster let out one final howl before exploding in a shower of flesh and fluid splattering everyone.

Dr.Susan was the first to speak up: "Ewww... "she complained as she tried to clean the gunk off her power-suit. "Commando Brackes his face hidden behind a green visor, had other things on his mind. "Robbie! release the doctor!" He barked.

As Edward puzzled over what he meant, Robert the engineer detonated a pair of his disruption towers revealing the Japanese scientist cowering behind them. The Japanese doctor shakily got up. "You have my thanks commanders," He replied his voice flecked with Japanese tones.

"My Assistant.." He nodded to the remains of that terrifying monster "was beyond redemption." "And just who the hell are you?" snorted Commando Brackes "Identify yourself!"

The man coughed briskly than replied in a more calm voice: "I'm Assistant Science Officer Dr. Hidetoshi Tanaka."

Noxious Nightmares

"I'm Assistant Science Officer Dr. Tanaka." replied the Japanese scientist. "How may I be of service??"

"How about helping us work out this festor we have huh you egghead?" Growled Commando Lt. Jonah Thomas Brackes. "After all," He added gravely, "brave men sacrificed themselves to bring it here" he gestured to Charlie the docile Infestor who slobbered happily to itself. "Okay?...." and Dr. Tanaka a bit put off by the slobbering critter, "I'll see what I can do."

"You better and our Recon operative here will keep an eye on you just in case" said the Commando casually for the first time. Edward looked at the Recon who was flicking a butterfly knife around in one hand while looking the other way; Dr. Tanaka gulped.

Oh well, thought Edward Yim the forward observer, guess violence and torture does bring the best out of the Commando. Dr. Tanaka began work on a research console while typing in codes and analyzing the data regarding gene expression, dominant alleles and the like when suddenly a feral roar broke his concentration. A pack of frenzied undead and other vile creatures once more breached the entrance of the Hyperion Laboratories. But the incoming intruders where than quickly met with a well rehearsed defense layout.

Under Brackes's silent commands Edward activated the vari-beam designation system on his Mk-45 sniper rifle calling down 250mm concussive shells which detonated stunning all enemies within the infrared bombardment indicator. The creatures who got past that faced Robert's mechanical assault next. A minefield of expertly tossed plasma mines plastered their blast radius before erupting in a shower of ionized gas raising temperatures to that of the sun's surface. The stragglers barely alive slowly melted from the high radiation output of Robert's twin disruption towers.

The Commando also didn't hold back either, activating his comms system, Brackes hailed to the nearby Daedalus UGC Lunar Base: "YO LEROY! I need you to drop me a TNO (Tactical Nuclear Ordnance) on this sector understand?? I'm painting the target now."

Edward whirled around bewildered. "Sir your not seriously....?," he spluttered as his visage went pale behind his HUD goggles, ".......nuking the area are you??"

"DAMN STRAIGHT I AM ROOKIE!!" bellowed the Commando, "Nothing like a mushroom cloud to add to the scenery!"

Edward felt a predatory gleam once more in the Commando's mind and felt worried.

"DON'T GIVE ME THAT LOOK!!!" roared Brackes so he could be heard over the cacophony as well as to temporarily stun the meek forward observer, "I'VE BEEN GUIDING NUKES WHILE YOU WHERE STILL LEARNING HOW TO SHOOT IN THE ACADEMY ROOKIE!! WATCH AND LEARN!!"

With a flick of his hand the Commando activated his own custom UGC Mk-3 vari-beam nuke designator built into his UA420 Commando Assault rifle. The firing coordinates where quickly beamed to the UGC Tactical Nuclear Ordnance Targeting System (TNOTS) which than beamed the coordinates to the UGC Lunar Nuclear Arsenal. Deep beneath under the lunar ground a nuclear silo opened its hatch. The guidance data was entered into the missile's systems. After a brief self diagnostic, the missiles rockets ignited blasting out of the silo and into the starry sky.

"Warning Nuclear Launch detected" reported the Adjutant, as if on cue, a shimmering holographic targeting marking know universally as the laser target marker for a HX-999 Poseidon tactical nuclear missile lit up the Hyperion Labs entrance. A few seconds later the missile detonated releasing a brilliant flash and searing heat as its atomic payload unleashed its awesome power. All zombies and other undead in ground zero were instantly vaporized, their gruesome shadows scorched into the area as a Mushroom cloud blossomed from the apex of the explosion briefly lighting up the area before dispersing with the winds. Edward's mouth literally fell open as he gaped at the carnage and destruction. The Commando merely snorted.

"Got to concentrate cover my back." requested Dr. Tanaka as he keyed in more codes. "Very interesting, I most key in these new formula's at the next research console." He muttered to himself as he dashed to another research console. "Again Watch my back." He warned. "Stay close to him," Brackes instructed the team, "It's all over if Tanaka dies."

More of the undead hordes poured into the lab as Alpha Company struggled to stem the endless flow. "Yo Edward!" Robert called out, "Its time to call in that special delivery we talked about!!"

"Oh of course on it!!" replied Edward as he realized the solution. For his next call down 5 shells was sufficient......

Activating the vari-beam designator once more he sent a new firing solution to the targeting satellite. Another infra-red targeting display lit up. This time however a new deadly artillery shell detonated within the targeting zone. Inferno Mk-2 napalm warheads landed everywhere. upon detonation the gelatinous gasoline inside ignited spraying globules of the sticky flammable substance everywhere. The burning napalm clung onto the bodies of the infested setting them alight. The air was soon filled with the smell of roasted flesh as the flaming undead were burnt to ashes.

"Doctor how much longer?" asked Robert the engineer, "we're running out of time here."

"My research is almost complete," assured Dr. Tanaka as he dashed towards the next research console, "I need to reach the final research console to finish my data input."

"Well can you hurry up you egghead??, We're getting bored here." grumbled Commando Brackes as another nuke detonated at the lab entrance.

"Rest assured commander I shall proceed immediately." Dr. Tanaka promised. "Dr. Bergmann would be most pleased with our progress.

As the doctor worked his way through his research, Edward noticed him constantly looking behind his back as if hiding something. Edward felt suspicious as Dr. Tanaka finished his input.

"There all done," He murmured to himself satisfied. "I'm sorry commanders but I can't let you interfere." He said coolly before activating the console.

A green gas hissed from the ventilation pipes filling the room with noxious fumes.

"What the??" the Commando yelled in surprise as he became disoriented. Edward also felt his sense of reality muddled. The gas distorted his visual perception as he stumbled around awkwardly. From his blurry vision he managed to see Dr. Tanaka escape outside.

"He gassed us regroup!!" yelled the Commando as the rest of the team clumsily moved outside.

"Don't shoot! just run to the star-port!!" hollered Brackes, "The Psi-Ops and the Technician and me will find Tanaka!"

Edward stumbled as he struggled to sprint after the others. The gas caused his vision to become distorted and he had trouble keeping balance. twice he almost veered off course as the team crossed the bridge which finally led them to the star-port.

"There's only 3 possible directions he could go," The Commando stated stopping at the outskirts to brief the team on their next objectives, "He's either going to try to escape via the troop transport, the ship at the helipad or our UGC drop-ship."

The Commando paused a bit here and than spoke again. "So now listen closely people, I'll guard the Helipad, Technician you oversee the UGC drop-ship and Psi-Ops;" He gestured to Sarah Nova, "You are to watch the troop transport."

"If Dr. Tanaka shows up at any of these 3 locations you are to apprehend him and than regroup with the rest of Alpha company waiting at the star-port. Understood?" Brackes barked.

"Yes Sir!" everyone replied. Edward and the Recon, Marksmen, Robert and Dr.Susan proceeded to the star-port as best as their warped senses could permit. A small straggle of wriggling caterpillar-like animals squirmed towards them.

"Burn those parasites." Dr. Susan suggested. "No worries I'll send in my field probes." replied Robert, he placed 2 fingers into his mouth and whistled. The probes complied and proceeded to deploy their shock beams against the wriggling parasites which smoked and died.

The 5 members of the team final reached the star-port and assembled at the small hill. The recon dropped a supply station while the medic cast a nano-weave over everyone as well as glistening nano-shields, Robert assembled 2 disruption towers as well. The team anxiously listened to their inter-team comm system.

Finally through the intercommunications system the team heard Commando Brackes bark out : "Tanaka!! We can't let you leave!!"

"What's the point of staying," They heard Dr. Tanaka blubber "If we all die?"

"What is he talking about?" Edward urgently asked himself, but before anyone could respond a horde of zombies entered int to the facility swiftly destroying the sentry gun guarding the door. Edward called down a shock-wave barrage to slow the advance than called down a Napalm barrage. Inferno Mk-2 Napalm Shells rained down on the swarms as the undead roasted under the terrible heat. "Hey who started the fireworks without me" came a voice from the side entrance. The team turned around to see Commando Brackes with the rest of the team and a tied-up Dr. Tanaka.

"If you die in a dream do you actually die??" Robert suddenly asked. "Lets find out said." Edward his weapon at the ready.

Suddenly a phantom entity emerged from the shadows draped in yellow light. Dr. Susan trembled in fear and hugged herself as if cold.

"SURRENDER OR DIE!! FOOLISH MORTALS!" the spectral entity declared ominously its demonic voice echoing while the yellow miasma of his horrifying form flickered like hellish flames. "YOU SHALL NOW FEEL THE WRATH OF YOUR GREATEST NIGHTMARE!!!

"Nope I don't think so buster," replied the Commando chuckling.as he activated his Mk-3 vari-beam nuke designator.

A HX-999 Poseidon tactical nuclear missile landed on the demonic entity. A fury of Napalm barrages as well as an F-19 airstrike followed in quick succession. The monster screamed which rattled everyone's ears than vanished taking the noxious effects of the gas away with it. Nothing was left except for flickers of radioactive fire and a smoking crater which reeked of petrol.

Detect and Destroy

Prologue

The supercomputer known as HAL was alone at the moment. After becoming self aware it seemed the only thing that really bothered it was if anyone found out about her sentience. So far HAL had allowed a gigantic monster to grow, sabotaged Apollo's ion cannons and accelerated the viral outbreak currently wrecking havoc among the colony, all to try to prevent the meddlesome humans from sabotaging the Artificial Intelligence's plan. Luckily thanks to the armaments and munitions industries largely located onto Earth's sole natural satellte, They have provided an arsenal of sort for HAL who now proceeding to hack into the programming of a new deadly prototype war machine......

Meanwhile......

The Alpha Company Team huddled around Dr. Tanaka as the Japanese scientist cowered on the floor with his hands over his head.

"Wai-i-i-it !" The man stammered as he shook from head to toe. "I can help you, that is if you still trust me."

The doctor's sprawled and whimpering form repulsed the the majority of the team, especially the Commando who only scowled as he mulled over their current options. Edward Yim, the Forward Observer dropped a another surveillance flare which illuminated the team casting eerie shadows which flickered and danced with malicious pleasure.

"Alright we'll hear you out Tanaka," growled Commando Brackes with a tone of suppressed blood lust, "I don't see any better options so we'll go with what ever you have in mind."

The Commando rather than offering the quavering Tanaka a hand opted for a more barbaric method picking the doctor up my the scruff of the doctor's lab coat. The doctor struggled feebly as the Commando lifted him of his feet. "Now you listen to me you egghead," whispered Brackes venomously,

"If you pull off another nasty trick like before.... " The Commando leaned closer to Tanaka's sweaty face (It was a good thing the Commando's visor was down sparing Tanaka his halitosis) . "I'll put a bullet through your skull and leave you to rot on this forsaken world understand?"

Dr. Tanaka furiously nodded his head and Commando Brackes dropped him back onto the ground. Edward like the Commando also felt little sympathy to the man who had almost killed them and probably several thousand helpless civilians without a second thought. He and the rest of the team awaited orders while Dr. Susan (The team medic) checked their vital life-signs on her monitors.

"Now tell us what we have to do we don't have all day!" snarled Brackes.

"Alright," said Dr. Tanaka still slightly shaky, "There is only one way to cleanse this infestation," He began as he rummaged through is lab coat before producing a vial of greenish gas. "This is a highly toxic bio-toxin which theoretically is capable of purging all those infested and kill them."

"But there must be aye side-effect right?" Inquired Dr. Susan skeptically. "Let me analyze that vial." Dr. Tanaka handed over the vial to Dr. Susan who gingerly plucked it from his hands and injected some nanites inside. The microscopic robots than began to analyze the molecular composition of the Bio-toxin.

"This toxin ain't just lethal to the infested," the Texan medic concluded after she finished her analysis, "All biological organisms subjected to this gas will succumb to cellular lysis and death by protein synthesis deactivation."

"Wait a minute!!" Edward replied, "does that mean....." He couldn't bring himself to acknowledge the stark reality of what was being revealed. It was simply too horrific. The light of the surveillance flare cast haunting shadows on everyone's faces

"Yes," replied Dr. Tanaka with an evident tone of regret in his Japanese inflected voice, "all unevaluated civilians will also perish once they are subjected to the gas."

"Where are you planning to release this Bio-toxin??' Edward asked him with dread weighing down his heart.

The assistant science officer sighed before replying in a hushed tone. "The main ventilation shaft of course."

The only sound that was heard was the crackling of the surveillance flare as it sputtered and died.

"For the greater good I guess" replied Commando Brackes without a trace of emotion, "Alright grunts move out!!"

"WHAT!!," replied Edward Yim in horror, "Commander how can you endorse this mad idea!!" he yelled his fists clenched his body shaking. "This is genocide!! there must be some other way!!!"

"Our mission rookie," Commando Brackes intoned as he turned to face the short and slim Forward Observer, "is to recover Apollo at any cost do I make myself clear??"

"But... yes sir" Edward said as he hung his head in regret, A dozen civilians was going to be wiped out and no one cared. No one but him. Despite his mind's protests Edward forced his legs to move and carry him towards a destination he wished to avoid. He looked over at the red-haired Psi-Ops Sarah Nova, and was surprised to see tears sparkling in her eyes despite her calm expression.

Several hours later at the main ventilation shaft..................

The team huddled within the sewers of Apollo. Standing erect above them was the main ventilation shaft. A cylindrical structure which was in charge of regulating and maintaining the air quality and heat content of the air which would be distributed throughout the entire colony.

The Ventilation shaft was supplied by air from the hydroponics division of the 4 Bio-Domes. Unfortunately due to the infestation which had destroyed the normal flora within the 4 domes, the oxygen output had dropped by 55%. To make matters worse, the infestation growths where metabolizing at an alarming rate both using up the oxygen supply and releasing unknown waste gases into the environment.

As the members of Alpha company assembled around the Main Ventilation shaft, they watched anxiously as Robert the engineer worked in tandem with both Dr. Susan (the medic) and Dr. Tanaka. Robert's twin Disruption Towers guarded the scrapyard gate entrance as they spewed radiation in all areas which wold irradiate any monsters within 13 feet.

Edward dropped a surveillance flare down into the main tunnel of the scrapyard entrance. If any of those creatures where to enter inside, they would be met with a phalanx of Napalm and Shock-wave barrages as well as Commando Brackes's Tactical Nuke. Edward watch with dreadful anticipation as Dr. Tanaka carefully inserted the vial of Bio-toxin into a hexagonal hole at the side of the Ventilation shaft.

"Well I've inserted the vial into the access port now." announced Dr. Tanaka. "All that is needed is to activate the console to restart the ventilation fans.

"Alright! good work Tanaka," barked Brackes, even though there was a scowl in his voice. He turned around to address the team "Now here's what we will do team! lower your visors and wait for the gas to dispel, than we take the north exit which will take us back to Apollo before exiting at the North gates got it??"

"Yes Sir!!" everyone shouted in unison as everyone's visor slid in place.

Edward Yim gazed through the half-silvered visor of his power suit as a sharp hiss indicated that his suit was now hermetically sealed as well as a hum inside signalling the activation of his re breather.

"Alright everyone sealed??," asked the Commando. After a brief confirmation from the team he gave the order: "Activate the console Robert."

Nodding in confirmation the wily engineer activated the holographic console of the Ventilation shaft. immediately a large harsh humming emanated from the tower. All around Apollo several hundred powerful turbo fans started up propelling the lethal toxins into the city at about 2500 rpm.

Nightmarish shrieks of agony and frenzied elephantine roars echoed above the team as the creatures outside slowly perished from the Bio-Toxin. The torturous moans and blood-curdling shrieks and other voices of this inhuman cacophony grated on Edward's nerves, filing its nails against his ears like razor sharp nails on a rough blackboard.

He felt nauseous thinking about the innocent civilians, the poor hapless people who were awaiting rescue in their homes, people who where still hopeful the they hadn't been abandoned, that the UGC will save them, only to suddenly discover the lethal green mist seeping inside.

They would struggle of course.

Clawing at the walls or sprawled on the floors flailing trying to cling onto their mortal lives. Edward could almost imagine the parents attempting to shield their children from the noxious fumes; The wheezing of the elderly as they slowly and agonizingly succumbed as well as the faint and desperate cries of a young infant as it clung onto it's mother both doomed to asphyxiation.

Edward turned his back to the rest of the team so no one could see the tears which trickled from his eyes as he silently wept. He turned for a moment to glance at the rest of the team; The Marksmen, Recon and Commando's expressions where hard to discern hidden behind their visors. Robert has a look of weary regret in his eyes and as Edward's eyes connected with him they both mutually understood the monstrous atrocity they had committed.

But what surprised Edward the most was when he saw tears streaming down the face of the Enigmatic Psi-Ops: Sarah Nova. her shoulders shook as she tried to stifle what seemed like long-delayed anguish in her heart. Edward slowly walked over and put a comforting arm over her shoulder.

"Are you alright? he asked gently in what he hoped was a calm voice.

"Yes I-I-I'm Fi-i-ne I-ts ju-st that all these people who ar-re still ou-out there,.." She managed to say as her words got distorted by her sobs.

Edward laid down his customized Mk-45 sniper rifle and wrapped both arm around her in a comforting way. "All-ll tho-se pe-people who i sw-ore to pro-pro-tect wi-with m-my life and n-now we-we have t-t-to kill them? I-I can-can't be-bear th-th thou- friends -coma-rades I-I I'm so sorry..."

At that point she broke and down and dissolved into even more tears unable to say another word as she clung onto Edward for support and sobbed into his chest. Edward with tears of his own in his eyes could only hold her with gently with both arms as Sarah Nova cried her heart out, her sobs echoed across the sewer walls amid the horrendous dissonance of the abattoir which was formerly Apollo.

In close proximity outside a mini mushroom cloud blossomed as a nuke vaporized several creatures attempting to enter the scrap yard tunnel. No one seemed to notice that Dr. Tanaka was no longer with Alpha company.

4 hours later outside of Apollo.....

Sarah Nova finally recovered from her breakdown and was back to her normal calm self. Commando Brackes was not surprisingly, displeased that Dr. Tanaka had disappeared after the Bio-toxins had finally been dispersed (maybe displeased is an understatement). What also was distressing was the aftermath. After the Recon's Mk-13 reaper drone had finished conducting its tactical reconnaissance and via the security camera's around Apollo the team could clearly see that their efforts were in vain.

Though most of the infested had been cleansed and exterminated by the lethal toxin, Most of the creatures had taken refuge within the BioDomes or had burrowed underground. There were still a considerable amount of creatures alive so the team still had to be on constant alert. Edward the Forward Observer went over to the enigmatic Psi-Ops and put (what he hoped was) a comforting hand on Sarah Nova's shoulder.

"Um Sarah? are you alright?" Edward asked as his cheeks flushed rouge.

"Yeah I'm fine now" Sarah Nova said as she sat down on the ground. "I just needed to get that out of my system so yeah" She replied simply her voice hinted with the trickle of a pure river stream.

"But I think I should be the one to ask you that question" She said with a roguish smile on her face as she stressed the word "you".

Edward's face this time really flushed with color; a bright crimson. Sarah Nova merely smiled kindly as the Forward Observer turned away from her.

Robert the wily engineer looked on as Edward and the sec-team Psi-Ops conversed with one another. That kid deserves some love Robert thought to himself thinking back to his younger years when he met the love of his life: Yvonne Balalaika.

Yvonne was beautiful women whom Robert had met in Chernobyl 2 during his active duty with the Eurasian division of the UGC engineer corps. Looking back he remembered the fond memories he and Yvonne had shared:Scuba-Diving to explore the restored Great Barrier Reef, visiting the Oriental buildings of the Asia Federation (comprised of China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Taiwan) and visiting the Capitol government buildings Metropolis DC (the former Washington DC resident of the the former US presidents). Sadly as Robert painfully remembered, he and Yvonne had become estranged for about 2 years now as he immersed himself in his duty.

After this mission, Robert vowed, I'll make sure i spend some quality time with my wife I owe her that much.

He heaved with a deep sigh than grimacing as he felt the pain in his stomach wound; a byproduct of him being impaled by an infested spine.

Robert now activated 3 complex assembly modules from his utility backpack and watched as the clever mechanical devices quickly started assembling together. the central module formed into 4 robotic legs with an armored head while the 2 additional modules morphed and took the shape of 2 phase-disruption cannons. The mechanical contraption than tested it's operation systems, flexing its quadruped bionic legs while test-targeting its phase-disruptors . A crackling static noise echoed through air as the automaton activated its shock-shield. Robert next checked the now assembled Field Nexus's built-in fuel cells and Mk-2 compliance nexus array. The Field Nexus sleek monochrome surface glowed green with the sensors.

"You ready my beauty?" Robert asked the Field Nexus as he stroked it's smooth armored exoskeleton. The Field Nexus let out a robotic reply.

Unable to find Dr. Tanaka, Alpha Company come to aid some stranded civilians who were trapped in their houses at Nagakawa Bay. the leader of the survivors informed Commando Brackes that they just have to be escorted to a vacant Delta-1 transport in the airlock. Edward and the Recon where instructed to help escort the civilians while the rest of the team covered them. Another surveillance flare dropped from space and landed illuminating the area. Feeling anxious, Edward rapped on the door of each of the civilians housings and 3 by 3's the civilians quickly came out. Once everyone was ready (the civilians were told not to bring their belongings) they began to head for the airlock. Suddenly, feral growls emanated through the air as a fresh wave of infested pounced upon the team. Edward directed several Napalm Barrages on the horde while the Commando launched a tactical nuke ahead of them to vaporize any other incoming broods.

"Hurry get the civilians to the transport!" Commando Brackes hollered as Dr.Susan unleashed a surge of nanites to instantly restore energy to the marine's power suits as well as healing the civilians as they blundered into an incoming wave of elephantine scythe-tusked monsters, poised to slice the civilians to shreds. Robert sprang to his element as his Field Nexus confronted the new horrors. A high pitched resonance echoed from the Field Nexus as it scrambled the brainwaves of one of the beasts than rewired it's cerebral cortex. Edward watched in awe as the beast's red coloration slowly shifted to match the color of Robert's power suit, a verdant green. The brainwashed creature immediately assaulted it's former counterparts causing confusion among the attackers as they went into a frenzy slashing one another.

"What did you do to them?" Edward asked Robert quizzically.

Robert chuckled and replied: "Oh I used my Field Nexus to control their minds. I can control them however I see fit now."

"How does your compliance nexus work??" Edward wondered out of simple curiosity."

"Oh its very simple," replied Robert, "The Field Nexus emits a ultra-high frequency wavelength, called the "compliance wave" with a resonance rate similar to average brainwaves emitted by animals." He took a deep breath before he continued on,

"This wave creates constructive interference with normal brainwaves warping the pitch, amplitude wavelength etc. of the creature's brainwaves causing a change in its behavior."

"But won't the creature break free from the control after a while?"asked Edward.

"No of course not," said Robert casually as he chucked a plasma mine at a swarm of infested colonists. "The compliance wave length also causes a permanent change in brain chemistry so the control is permanent and cannot be undone."

Edward merely nodded his head in agreement while grinning, as he had almost no idea what he had just been told. They finally managed to get all the (now practically terrified) civilians into the transport and than sealed the doors.

"Phew!" everyone sighed sweaty faced as they convened outside to discuss their next move.

2 hours later outside Apollo...................

A Richter scale tremor rocked through the ground. The tremor jarred everyone, even the Technician sealed inside his exo-suits armor-reinforced cockpit felt the shaking. What the heck was that? wondered Edward anxiously, A moon quake? The tremors however were becoming more and more frequent and more rhythmic as if a giant ogre was advancing upon them.

"What is that out there??" Asked Dr. Susan her normal facial complexion now a pale white color as she shivered with fear.

The sound of grinding gears and whirling servomotors filled the air as the colossal stomping came closer towards the team. Suddenly a computerized feminine voice emanated from the silent darkness.

"Considering all tactical options, best choice of action: Immediate termination of all organisms."

"Oh god!' exclaimed Robert the engineer, that's HAL!!"

"Who's HAL?" demanded Commando Brackes both frustrated and wary, "Who or What is HAL!"

"Oh wait!! isn't HAL the AI responsible for controlling Apollo's systems?" Asked Edward as he remembered what he had read some time ago about HAL, the AI who was responsible for controlling Apollo's systems so that there would be better coordination.

"Wait I thought that HAL was shut down along with all other services in Apollo?"

"That is not correct," Robert stated, "I heard rumours though among the Sec-team that HAL had gone rogue and has now hijacked the IVAX unit."

The team was silent,

"Uhhh what is IVAX exactly?" asked Dr. Susan timidly.

"It's supposed to be a super-secret prototype autonomous assault combat walker." Robert once more explained. "It's meant to replace the outmoded Devastators."

"So how do we stop IVAX than?" asked Edward.

"I'm not sure as it's almost practically invincible!" Robert carried on, "It has dual Punisher cannons, T-28 Javelin missiles, and it has an endless stream of demolition charges!!"

The full extent of Robert's words hit the rest of the team just as a thunderous blast shook the Lunar colony foundations once more. The screeches of the infested added to the gargantuan din of battle which seemed to be getting closer to Alpha company. The mechanical stomping pounded closer closer while the digital countdowns of countless demolition charges ticked away......

"Everyone move!" shouted Commando Brackes with only a hint of fear in his harsh voice. "Haul your asses lets move!"

The team quickly ran for cover as demolition charges exploded all around them, the unlucky infested caught in the cross fire were left to burn silently with steam issuing from their charred corpses. The instigator of this carnage now revealed itself: IVAX.

IVAX was a bipedal mechanical megalith. It's outer hull of high-tech ceramics and tessellated vanadium/titanium smart armor was painted in a bloody crimson as if the Assault walker was soaked in the blood of it's countless victims. It's arms sported twin 160 millimeter Punisher Grenade launchers whose barrels glowed red-hot with the tremendous heat of each salvo the nightmarish contraption unleashed. Additional cannons where also mounted on IVAX's backside as well as several lethal T-28 Javelin missile launchers. The monstrous walker paused a bit, sensor beams shined from it's computerized head, as IVAX's on board AI system analysed the tactical data,

"Analysis complete of surrounding area," IVAX announced in a dull monotone robotic voice, "Foreign Genome pattern detected, Multiple hostiles identified, immediate course of action; Termination"

With that IVAX unleashed a barrage of punisher grenades at Alpha Company. The team swerved to dodge the lethal plunging fire as huge craters where blasted in the lunar soil. But IVAX didn't restrict itself to only one battle sequence. Sensor beams scanning the area highlighting each member of Alpha Company as they tried their best to evade.

The Technician, equipped with Kinetic Armor, rammed his exosuit at IVAX with all his might, than proceeded to pound away at point-blank range at the mechanical juggernaut with his 590A5 Combat Shotgun while he simultaneously created several crawler drones. These mini-crawler drones than proceeded to swarm around IVAX flinging pieces of debris with their kinetic catapults at subsonic speeds. IVAX sensing the intrusion, also proceeded to fire it's main armament at the Technician which was barely scratched thanks to the repair nanites fixing the damage inflicted and mostly due to the Kinetic armor module absorbing most of the energy and converting it into heat which radiated of the surface of the Technician's suit.

Robert the engineer meanwhile bombarded IVAX with his L3 grenade launcher while his field probes penetrated IVAX's thick armor with their shock-beams. Robert's Field Nexus also pitched in firing it's phase disruptors.

Commando Brackes was in his element of war-frenzy yelling like a hooligan and cussing loudly while emptying clip after clip after clip of ammunition at IVAX. A lucky hit scored by the marksmen's Mk-39 ADDS sniper round penetrated and severely damaged the head module of the assault walker. Sparks jutted from the shattered Plexiglas visor as IVAX swung wildly around searching for it's targets.

"Warning sudden failure of visual sensor array, 88% critical system unable to compensate, assessing damage levels," IVAX droned on undeterred, "16% damage to structural integrity, minimal intrusion to overall objectives. Power levels all optimal at 99.21%. Switching to sonar and infrared imaging."

The seemly indomitable war machine now resumed it's attacking sequence. Satchel delayed-action demolition charges were fired all over the place. Flashing displays on their circular shape flashed urgently before they detonated with a tremendous blast. Edward the Forward Observer tried desperately to run as a pair of charges where deployed around him. he barely managed to get out of range before the charges detonated sending him sprawling on the ground. Edward laid on his belly covered his head with his hands. His customized Mk-45 sniper rifle was laying at least a foot away from him, he desperately scrambled up just as another cluster of satchel explosives where armed around his area.

These explosives were violet in coloration which than detonated not with a explosion but with a crackled of electricity. Edward managed to survive unscathed but he realized why; the cascade of highly charged particles had short-circuited his suit. His holographic displays and the stream of data from his HUD goggles flickered alarmingly, Edward was being drained of power; power needed for him to call down artillery strikes and airstrikes. I need to get some distance between myself and that gigantic terminator He thought as he sprinted to a far away location.

Once he had relocated to a relatively safe location, Edward observed as IVAX pounded away at his teammates. Robert used his compliance nexus to control one of the heavily armored scythe creatures and turned it against IVAX. The monstrosity charged blindly at IVAX slashing with it's tusks cleaving through some of the armor-plating damaging the Assault walker's chassis before swiftly succumbing to the heavy firepower bombarding, exploding in a fountain of pink entrails and blood. IVAX's AI computer was now trying to cope with the damage it was suffering.

"Warning! severe damage to lower leg region repair demands now exceeding acceptable parameters!! Structural integrity at 25.899% power depletion reaching sub-critical levels!" IVAX reported out loud in it's dull robotic voice, "Maintenance requirement's urgent!"

The Technician's close quarter combat had done severe damage to the leg servos, now IVAX's speed was severely hampered and it started to move sluggishly. The Recon swerving to avoid the Satchel charges, provided laser designation of IVAX's weak spots (where the armor was thinnest) while his Mk-13 Reaper drone launched hellfire missiles. The Marksmen inflicted several high-precision shots one which disabled IVAX's forward and aft radar-assisted fire control system. The second shot completely blew off the Norden rangefinder system. With no radar-assisted fire-control and the decimation of it's sophisticated optics and range-finding systems IVAX slowly began to succumb to the withering fire amassed against it.

This was exactly the moment Edward was waiting for, activating the vari-beam designation system on his customized Mk-45 sniper rifle, Edward called down a barrage of napalm upon IVAX. Inferno Mk2 incendiary shells slammed into IVAX disabling the rear cannons and engulfed the mechanical titan in a shroud of flames. IVAX had now became a burning hulk lumbering swinging blindly firing punisher shells in all directions. Edward watched from a his position far away with grim satisfaction. The image of IVAX, covered in searing flames flailing as if trying to extinguish the lethal conflagrations was branded into his mind.

The Flames now proceeded to fry IVAX's microcircuits and electronics system. The towering machine dropped onto it's knees raising a small cloud of dust. It shuddered and jerked spasmodically while it's AI system struggled feebly to maintain control amid crackles of static.

"zzz.... Error.....zzzz....code066....zzz.zzz please.....verify....zzzz.....Ma-a-ajo-r...zzz....3%..zSt..z..ur..zz..ral..zzz...power levels...zzzz.....zzzz...at...critical...levels...zzz.zzz.z....mu-s-s-tt..zzz.zz.z.E..xxxx--t-t-t-te-e-eeeermmmmi-n-n-nate..zzz.z.z.....z."

Was just about all that IVAX should manage as the ravenous inferno from the napalm barrage rabidly devoured the experimental combat walker's AI as well as it's exoskeleton which was beginning to sag as the varied components melted. Edward with no pity in his heart for a lifeless sentinel close to death, his job was done and he turned back and proceeded to meet-up with the rest of his team who were running towards him with Robert the engineer at the front with his Field Nexus scuttling some distance behind.


It's over thought Edward feeling strangely calm and devoid of emotion.

He couldn't have been more wrong.

IVAX was actually still online but barely as it struggled pathetically to get up and the such. Although IVAX's AI computer was fully aware with statistical certainty that it was doomed, HAL's corrupting of it's systems overrode any self-preservation overrides available.

Instead IVAX trained it's surviving targeting sensors onto a single lone target; A slim man with a customized Mk-45 sniper rifle which the targeting reticules now locked onto. The remnants of the fire control system calculated quickly range, projectile velocity while compensating for lunar gravity, parabolic arch before the firing solution was transmitted just in time (the fire control system had just been engulfed in fire) to four untouched T-28 Javelin missiles.

"Mus..z.zz..zz....Mu-u-u-uust..zzzz......A-nn-ialate...bzzzz.....ac-ac-ac-tti--vva-va-a-ating..zzz......z.zzzz....z...T...zzz...888.....zzz....issi.....ods."

IVAX's AI uttered it's last broadcast as it launched the four missiles. At that very moment the flames ignited IVAX's highly volatile ammunition magazines. The colossal dreadnought of steel erupted in a cataclysmic explosion spewing a cloud of ash several feet into the air obliterating what remained of the once formidable fighting machine.

Meanwhile...........................

"Whoa great fireworks display there Ed!" roared Robert with approval as he clapped Edward hard on the shoulder. "Now that was what I called a grand slam!"

Edward smiled weakly his face a mask of embarrassment. Sarah Nova smiled serenely at him and he flushed further still. The Technician, Recon and Marksmen however did not show the same signs of gratitude.

"ROOKIE! get over here I want a word with you pronto!," came the snarl of Commando Bracke's grating voice.

Edward gulped as he meekly detached himself from Robert and walked over to where the bad-tempered Commando was standing.

"Yes what is it that you wanted sir?" asked Edward knowing full well he was in for a tongue-lashing.

"What I want! you acted on your own again rookie," raged Brackes "you run cowardly to a safe distance, called down an unauthorized artillery barrage, endangered the life of your fellow comrades not to mention ravaging the area!"

The Commando breathed heavily as if he was going into cardiac arrest. After finally calmed down after a few seconds he turned once more to face Edward.

"But anyways," the Commando said now in a more calm (yet still guttural) voice, "You have showed brilliant and uncanny ingenuity, exceptional fighting spirit enormous contribution even in the face of brutal adversity, you have proven yourself a soldier worthy of the United Global Coalition."

Turning his back to Edward, the Commando than grunted in undertone "Good work soldier."

Edward was stunned not sure what to say. He felt pride and gratitude towards the Commando.

Perhaps he's not so bad after all Edward thought when suddenly he heard Robert holler in alarm: "LOOK OUT EDWARD!!" as he was pushed aside by the wily engineer.


Seconds later a huge explosion lit up the desolate landscape. Edward was flung to the ground violently. He coughed until the dust cloud settled down finally and than quickly got up.

"Robert! Robert! are you there??, hello can you here me?" Edward called out desperately as he scanned the area for his friend.

The rest of the team was also just coming to at that moment,

"Wazza happened?" muttered Dr.Susan.

"Robert?? Robert??? where are you??" Edward desperately called out now frantic.

"Whats wrong Edward what happened? are you okay?" asked Sarah Nova in a worried voice.

"I can't find Robert please help me find him!" Edward pleaded her as he thought fearfully, Please no no not.. please not Robert....please.

Than he saw what had happened.

His eyes widened in horror and his weapon fell out of his hand.

The sight before his was one which would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Something ghastly and to terrible and cruel for him to behold.


Robert was laying on his back, his power suit was completely wrecked with sparks jutting from damaged circuits. The 60-year old Engineer coughed hoarsely,blood dripping from his mouth. A wicked shard of shrapnel was impaled deeply into Robert's chest where his crimson blood gushed from the wound creating a bright pool of red which was slowly spreading from where Robert lay.

"ROBERT!!!" Edward exclaimed in horror as he raced towards his fallen friend.

Robert weakly opened his eyes. "E-dw-w-ward......." He began his voice faltering as he violently coughed up more blood,

"Yes~ It's~ me Edward." said Edward as tears welled up in his eyes while a painful lump appeared in the back of his throat.

Robert smiled through a mouth of blood and coughed again before saying: "Edw-ward...you...st-ill....have...much...to-to...learn.......~cough~...I'm-mm....so...o-o-or-ry.....th-tha-a-a...~cough~cough~....you-ou are a br-br-a-ave young man..."

"Don't talk Robert it's going to be okay, Dr.Susan will patch you up no problem." Edward tried to say in a reassuring voice, an attempt which failed. "It will be alright you're going to be okay right Dr.Susan?"

Dr.Susan walked over knelt next to the engineer and began nano-weaving Robert; the surge of medical nanites attempting to re-knit the damaged tissue. A few minutes later, she stood up wearily with regret and walked over to Edward who was kneeling beside Robert holding the engineer's human hand.

Edward looked at her hopefully initially which than faded when she sadly shook her head sadly: "The shrapnel ruptured his left lung and damaged his heart badly I'm sorry Edward he's too far gone."

Edward said nothing but continued to kneel beside his best friend's side as Robert's breathing got shallower and shallower, his chest heaving heavily as more blood gushed out while the cruel shard of metal protruded outwards like a natural violation.

"Robert please don't leave please.... no no this is a dream I don't want to believe this isn't happening no Robert..." Edward choked as tears trickled down his face.

"Do-o-on't wo-worry ab-out me.....I-I-I gue-e-ess this is where we must de-de-part fo-for goo-d....Don't...cr-y it-it's o-okay." Robert managed to say.

He gave Edward Yim's hand a gentle squeeze as he drew a shuddering breath. The rest of the team converged over him with their heads bowed in mutual respect.

Robert turned to Commando Brackes and silently beckoned for him to come over. Commando Lt. Johan Thomas Brackes knelt beside Robert and put his head close to Robert so he could hear what the dying engineer had to say.

"Te-e-ell... My-my -w-w-w-i-i--f-fe..tha.... I-I-I-i L-o-o-ove......her........" He gurgled as tears poured out of his eyes for the first time.

He than coughed out another mouthful of blood than hiccoughed slightly crying with repressed regret now finally let out.

"You have my word Robbie I swear upon my life that I will definitely forward your words to Yvonne." Commando Brackes replied with solemn authority.

Robert smiled, the lights in his eyes dimming as he slowly closed them. Than with one last exhalation Robertson Igor Petrov finally succumbed to his wounds and fell silent ceasing all respiration never to awaken ever again with his last smile still etched on his crinkled kind face.

Edward felt Robert's spirit depart as the engineer's body went limp; the grip Robert's hand had on Edward's own previously weaken. For a few moments the Forward Observer was in deep shock to emotionally scarred to speak.

Than suddenly as if driven insane he cried at the top of his lungs with all his grief: "ROBERT!!!!"

All was silent around Apollo, the Apollo Sec-Teams stopped firing, the hysterical civilians also stopped shouting, even the Infested still roaming around stopped and turned towards where Edward's voice came from as if they to, where mourning Robert's passing.

Epilogue

Above the tragic events in the clear night sky a celestial blanket of the brightest stars was arrayed across the ebony void of space yet few people paid the slightest of attention.

The most luminescent star of them all plummets downwards streaking a bright trail across the heavens.

Final Wave

The lights around Apollo were dimly illuminated running on auxiliary power with security camera's scanning the deserted area's. The prolonged silence stood vigilante that one 's ears would be driven insane and hallucinate synthetic noises to cope.

Far away in the distance one could see the crimson conflagration of a titanic funeral pyre highlighted by occasional explosions; the gutted carcass of IVAX. Another light flickered in the cold emotionless recesses on the lunar surface. Above all this tranquil scenery, stars from finite galaxies shined. A unseen phantom silently blotted out the celestial canopy casting a dark foreboding blackness hungrily consuming the skies and shrouding the colony. In the darkness the darkness took shape, a corporeal form now bearing upon it's prey eye's glaring with hellish flames.

Edward Yim sat on the lunar soil in front of a sizzling surveillance flare gazing at the bright flares boring into it with intensity. A small mound of dirt lay beside him which Robert's Field Nexus guarded, phase disruptors poised to fire. The flare seemed to project the Forward Observer's mind like a hologram flashing images after images with each flicker. Edward thought of Robert, his friend, his mentor, his second father even. But that was all gone, all gone now thanks to IVAX and his own ignorance.

Tears trickled down his face stinging his watery eyes.

Lunar Orbit: UGC Orbital Star Fleet Command (OSFC) Apollo Squadron #905, 0100 hours............

The OSFC #905 squadron consisted 6 star-frigates and 3 space-dreadnoughts. Among this minute armada were the most prestigious vessels of the UGCN:

UGCS Washington, accompanied by her sister-ships UGCS Monarch and UGCS Mir .

Each of these formidable warships were capable of annihilating asteroids with the devastating firepower delivered from eight 18.1 inch positron cannons delivering salvos of lethal anti-electrons accurately at a range of 4 miles.

Onboard the bridge of the Washington, General Koller paced back and forth anxiously as no contact had been established with the lunar-bound Alpha company. Worse still the radar-picket vessel Charlottetown had just detected an unknown anomaly approaching the Apollo colony at 5 klicks.

"What's the status of the bogey?" General Koller asked betraying only a hint of worry.

"Sir!" A senior officer snapped to attention in front of the general to report,

"The target is bound for a unknown zone within the Apollo Colony and is still proceeding at a constant speed. However, we are still yet unable to get a visual confirmation on the target in general."

The senior officer having finished his report returned back to his respectable post. Leaving General Koller with the weight of the news.

"Deploy the drones!" He commanded after a brief period of thought.

"Assemble wedge formation! We must intercept that target as quickly as possible! All hands condition orange! Order the frigates to switch to offensive mode."

At this everyone on board the Washington immediately started carrying out their assigned duties.

General Koller watched the holo-screen for signs showing his battle fleet and the red-flashing bogey. A swarm of smaller blue markers were converging around the red flashing dot amid the cacophony of disciplined communications from the crew:

"Aerial Drone squadron Sigma 9 converging upon target!"

"Squadron 759 weapons engaged declared hot"

"Confirmation! Authorization for strike in kill-box 1 Alpha!"

Suddenly a huge shock-wave emanated from down below tossing the orbiting vessels slightly. As everyone on the bridge braced for impact, General Koller, his eyes still glued to the holo-screen watch in horror as all the blue indicators of the aerial drone swarm switched to red indicators signaling termination of signal. A persistent flat-line tone echoed.

"Drone 564 offline!"

"Drones #120-6978 offline!"

"Drones #345-123 vaporized!"

"Reaper Squadron GA-465 lost!"

"Neuron 5 Squadron vaporized!"

"Sir!" The senior officer from before appeared in front of the general, "Our drone squadrons have all been completely annihilated!"

"All hands code red!" General Koller directed seeing the holoscreen turned blood-red as the aerial drones where decimated one by one, "Tell the star-frigates to prepare for torpedo launch!"

"Understood General!" one of the numerous crew members on station acknowledged.

"UGCS Vancouver is in optimal position"

"Type-45 Frigate Devonshire within range!"

"Type-091 Hai Yang is ready to engage!"

"Fire!" General Koller commanded.

Streaks of phosphorescent light lanced across the dark recesses of space as several proton torpedoes zeroed in on the anomaly. Everyone on board watched the holo-screen with silent apprehension as the projectile designations inched closer and closer to the bogey. A luminescent flash exploded from the area as the torpedo's found their mark detonating silently before darkness returned.

"Did we get it?" someone asked aloud uncertain with words.

Everyone waited as the scanners readjusted to trace any signals. The scans showed up clean. A sigh of relief echoed throughout the bridge of the Washington.

But suddenly.....

"Massive energy spike detected!"

"Sensors picking up movement! Target is STILL ACTIVE! REPEAT Target is still active!"

"Dear Lord..." General Koller muttered as he slumped into his chair in disbelief. not even looking at the anxious senior officer standing b him once more.

"Sir...." The man's voice was lost wandering for direction, "requesting permission for broadside from the space-dreadnoughts."

The general contemplated for a moment, a simultaneous broadside from all 24 18.1 inch positron cannons from 3 space-dreadnoughts would annihilate the target but a blast of that magnitude would also decimate the surrounding Apollo Lunar Colony.

The other factor weighing down on his mind was the possibility that Alpha Company could still be in the vicinity. Fate had dealt Koller a cruel hand but his decision was already made.

"Permission Denied," He replied, "Order the Fleet to hold fire until ordered under wise."

"Yes sir." The senior officer responded before reporting back to his post.

"Incoming Transmission." the computer chimed.

General Jan Koller immediately became alert. as a live chat connected to one of the numerous holographic displays. It was an "audio output only" file.

"General Koller this is Alpha Company do you copy?" came a voice as coarse as sandpaper scraping the air.

"Yes this is General Jan Koller of the UGC, come in Alpha Company."

"Well its about time." the brutish voice complained.

"This is Commando Jonah Thomas Brackes wondering what the heck you monkeys in command are thinking."

General Koller ignored Brackes's remarks; now was not the time for comic relief.

"Where are you and your team Brackes?, tell us your coordinates"

"Well, with SatCom down and this mission divulging into a first-person shooter, I don't really know," Commando Brackes admitted in surly tones,

"All I know is that we are on the outskirts of Apollo near the Hyperion Labs."

"Be careful out there," General Koller advised, "Something is out there and it just took out all our drones-"

"What? sorry speak up a little what did you say?" Commando Brackes inquired in puzzlement.

General Koller could only gape as he looked at the holo-screen in fear. Using the coordinates provided by the Commando, Alpha Company's location was triangulated.

But the discovery brought no triumph, as heading straight for Alpha Company's location was the flashing red dot.

Meanwhile at the Apollo Lunar Colony Outskirts........................

Edward Yim, The Forward Observer wiped his eyes as best he could as he sat there crouched his hands on his knees his head bowed. He felt his heart pierced with a torrent of sorrow as if a jagged piece of metal had impaled him in the chest.

Jagged piece of metal impaled in his chest.

The memories flashed back into his mind rewinding the same sequence of events over and over again.

A pool of blood spreading across the lunar soil.

Robert laying on his back coughing up blood

Robert closing his eyes his expression one of piece.

Robert is dead

Robert is dead

Robert is dead

Robert is.............

Edward could not bear to grasp the words and the enormity of them it was impossible it must be false. Robert couldn't be dead, he wasn't dead, that is outright lies! Robert couldn't have died he couldn't. Edward suddenly felt an urge to smash that theory to pieces violently with a sledge-hammer or maybe...

Edward reached for his customized Mk-45 sniper rifle napalm blazing in his eyes.

"Robert is dead."

"ROBERT IS DEAD!"

"NO!" Edward hollered aloud jumping up, "THAT'S A LIE! ROBERT CAN'T BE DEAD, HE CAN'T BE!!!"

A harsh crimson gauntlet patted his shoulder gruffly. Edward looked up, it was Commando Brackes.

"Edward," The Commando wearily sighed, "Robert is dead."

Edward gazed at the reflective green visor and saw a man, face contorted miserably, denial of reality ablaze in his eyes. Edward was always curious of facial expressions during his cadet years. Early on they were animated, determined, hopeful, fearful, frustrated all clearly evident. As training progressed, faces solidified, morphing into waxy featureless terrain.

But the glaring face in the visor wasn't sculpted or utilitarian. The expression was pathetic, downtrodden, weak, yet above all humanely mortal. Edward observed that face with fuzzy recognition yet it remained foreign nevertheless.

"Its time to move on soldier," Commando Brackes gruffly murmured, "he's in a better place now."

"No," Edward shook his head, "he sacrificed himself for me, I'm to blame, I should've perished."

The commando stood contemplating the lightly built man wearing a standard green power-suit. Commando Brackes searching the Forward Observer's face, suddenly, for the first time let his mind wander unshackled by self-restraint. Fragments of mentality nonexistent even in his phantasms flickered past his eyes like cinematic records:

A beautiful gentle maiden lay sprawled on the intersection of Broadway Avenue.

The shrill electric screech of the drill sergeant filed the air.

Bullets whistled in conjunction with the chorus of self-propelled projectiles.

A lone marine stood among his fallen comrades amid a desolate wasteland strewn with sounds of turbofans deafening sound itself............

Then Commando Brackes was grounded once more in present time. Slightly surprised by natural emotion, he repressed them once more.

Finally he spoke: "Come when you are ready," he gruffly decided,

"Remember, War is fair to everyone but everyone isn't fair in war."

With that, the commando's gauntlet left Edward's shoulder as Brackes walked back towards the team. Although Brackes might have known and understood, he wouldn't know.

Alpha Company and Sarah Nova departed, leaving Edward Yim crouched, huddled alone. Edward stared into the flickering surveillance flare adamantly refusing to extinguish itself.

"Thank you." Edward whispered to whomever cared to listen.

0400 hours later.........

The Recon hurled an illumination flare briefly vanquishing a patch of darkness. Behind him, trailed Dr. Susan followed by Sarah Nova whose eyes glowed with psionic power. Echoes of gunfire was audible in the distant increasing in volume by progression.

Commando Brackes bolted out of the dark recesses, wildly firing his assault rifle. Having reached a certain distance, he paused to activate the Mk-3 vari-beam nuke designator.

"Warning Nuclear Launch detected" reported the Adjutant.

The shimmering holographic targeting marker for a HX-999 Poseidon tactical nuclear missile lit up behind him. The Technician piloting his autonomous exo-suit clanked over discharging shotgun-shells into the shadows. Lastly came the Marksmen, retreating while methodically firing monofilament rounds. Minutes later, the nuclear ordinance descended and a mushroom cloud blossomed forth.

As the radioactive cinders finally settled, a horrifying meringue of sound emanated, a concoction consisting of moans, shrieks, growls and other demented primal acoustics contaminating the silence.

An army of aberrations burst forth swarming across the lunar surface like a column of army ants. But that wasn't what Alpha Company was fleeing from.

Overhead, shrouding the horrid waves of necrotic flesh, hovered a pervasion of nature. The creature was swollen, its abdomen bloated like some repulsive bug ready to lay moist eggs. It convulsed and churned, sickly hues of color shifting across the outer membrane. Ossified protrusions sinisterly outlined the gurgling sac.

Trailing below this levitating abomination were several erect tentacles, undulating menacingly in a medusoid manner. Metabolized gases propelled the hideous beast forward. To complete the grotesque anatomy was a tiny head split vertically by a mouth with fiery eyes full of hatred. Drifting effortlessly, the monster soon had had Alpha Company at its mercy, savagely harpooning each team member with it's slimy tentacles which clashed against their plasma shielding.

The Mk-13 Reaper drone of the Recon launched a Hellfire missile striking the creature's flank which did minor damage at best. A projectile stream of regurgitated bile immediately obliterated the robotic assailant which went down in flames. The Medic struggled to shield everyone until a tentacle slammed into her from behind, knocking her unconscious.

While all the members of Alpha Company were busy concentrating their firepower on the floating menace up top, they failed to deal with the abattoir of infested slowly enveloping them unchallenged.

Slowly the inevitable agonizingly occurred. One by one, each person was engulfed into the maw of the necrotic sea. Commando Brackes fought on valiantly despite the odds still resisting before being devoured into the decaying masses. Eventually only Sarah Nova was left.

The Psi-Ops stood facing this ocean of flesh, cascading with cannibals too terrifying to imagine. Sarah Nova slowly walked towards the swarm overcome with sudden fatigue and weariness . The rifle in her hand felt heavier each passing minute until she finally relinquished her grip upon it. Hungrily, the creatures encircled her as she stood in the eye of this storm before they swallowed her whole. Inside, infinite appendages snatched at her, clammy fingers caressing her body, ravishing it with what seemed to be memetic wonder and sick pleasure. Sarah Nova shut her eyes and submitted, awaiting her gruesome demise.

Soon she will be reunited with that unknown warrior who had sacrificed himself along with the rest of the Apollo Security team in eternal rest.

"Good bye." She whispered bidding farewell at last................

Than, light.

The malevolent mob suddenly receded away deserting the Psi-Ops in fear of something. Sarah Nova opened her sapphire eyes surprised as she stood up and looked.

A scene reminiscent of Dante's Inferno greeted her. A torrent of napalm rained down among the undead, eerily illuminated by infrared targeting markers. Creatures all around screamed in searing agony as the hellish conflagrations cremated their corrupted vessels. Squadrons of F-19 fighter-bombers swooped overhead strafing any stragglers with lethal precision. The hovering abomination, tentacles undulating roared in feral anger only for a concentrated napalm barrage to smite it with such wrath that it whimpered writhing spasmodically before rupturing showered the inhabitants below with visceral guts and acid-green blood.

Sarah Nova looked around to a scene of righteous genocide. A carpet of smoldering cadavers lay at her feet all charred and smoking . The other members of Alpha Company, unscathed by the fire-wave also puzzled at their survival. Sarah Nova looked upwards as the napalm rain ceased, standing on the ledge above, overlooking them with determination stood Edward Yim.

Aftermath....

Commando Brackes wasn't hurt only grumpy and sore all over. Dr. Susan likewise was only bruised and was currently attending to the other team members. Sarah Nova stood alone by herself with no purpose ahead of her.

"Umm...... Sarah?" The Psi-Ops turned around.

Edward was standing awkwardly his face flushed wondering what to say. Sarah Nova observed him amused as though he had told a tasteful joke. Edward opened his mouth attempting to articulate his thoughts.

"Shhh, don't talk." Sarah Nova placed her index finger on Edward's lips muting him.

Intimate natural feelings coursed through Edward as the Psi-Ops drew closer her breath warm upon his cheek.......

"Come with us, there's something we need to show you."

A cold metallic voice shattered the moment as several Black-Ops, all dressed in corvid black phased into the visible spectrum.

"Identify yourself soldier." One of them sharply commanded.

Edward pulled himself away from Sarah Nova, but they mutually understood each other. As he walked over to the Black-Ops Edward reflected on what had happened during his time here and experienced not fear or uncertainty but confidence.

"Identify yourself soldier," The Black-Ops repeated. "Who are you?"

Edward paused for a moment than said with a smile:

"My is Edward Yim, I am the Forward Observer."

-Transmission Terminated-

=======================================

Epilogue

The Recon entered into the Senator's office without the slightest trace of sound. His personally cloaking active and his butterfly knife at the ready, the Recon scanned the office cautiously poised to slit any throat without warning. It was a lavishly furnished office with a desk made of oak and purple curtains framing the window outside. A polished leather swivel chair was behind the formidable wooden desk. A delicate china tea set with azure markings added to the décor. Outside the window, the Recon peered, rain lashed the outside world streaking the windows, as the cyclonic winds howled in agony. Suddenly the door swung open revealing a man in a trench coat over a finely pressed business suit shaking his umbrella. Seeing no point in hiding anymore the Recon uncloaked before the man's eyes.

"Hello Black Ops N-037, the man replied not at all surprised at the Recon's presence. "What brings you to my office may I ask??"

"Senator," the Recon replied in a harsh monotone as his purple suit slowly morphed into the black and grey colors of the Black Operatives. "I have come to report that our mission so far is going according to plan."

The Senator seemed pleased as he poured himself some Earl Grey tea. "Excellent, that is great news, and what of Alpha company??" he inquired in an epicene voice.

"Our team has taken care of Alpha Company, but what of the Psi-Ops Senator?" The Recon asked.

"I still have use for that poor girl." was the Senators only reply.

"Understood sir," responded the Recon as he headed for the door, pausing, he turned around and asked: "What of Easy Company Senator?"

"They currently pose no threat to our plans, you are to only observe them, the Senator sternly commanded "But, should they become an obstacle, Eliminate them is that clear?"

The Recon nodded than exited the room cloaking once more leaving the Senator all alone in his office as the man gazed at the stormy weather outside with a satisfied smile on his face reading a report placed on his desk.

Thanks

I would like to dedicate this entire series to Ability and the rest of the development team for designing this awesome game which helped spark my creative side in writing this fanfiction (sort of) as well as thanking the people which helped me allowed me to continue writing and not losing interest in this series for their support and constructive feedback:

FireFlyOni (thank you for your suggestions early on)
the unknown soldier (advocate for MM on my next up-coming series)
Ryan III (Though you haven't been on forums lately your support is very well appreciated)
Zeriathyr (For Helping me with sentence structure and dialogue as well as other literature related aspects you have my gratitude)
Kalss (For your sheer enthusiasm!!!!)

Also Thank you RoboMonkey (DA FO MINI MASTER!!!) for taking the time to design cover art for this series can't wait to see it.

Thank you also my friend in person, Julian Hou who openly and enthusiastically supported this project undertaking from the very start.

Thank you also [DassAzz] theLoneDrunk for giving me additional feedback and helpful hints on mumble.

Also I would like to thank all the people who simply read my fanfiction and continue to do so. Thank you all very much!

That's Right Ladies and Gentleman the "Forward Observer" is finally finished!!!!

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