May 5th, 2058
Dear Mom. We've been in retreat for decades now. This is our last line of defense. The trenches have been dug. The artillery is ready. We are expecting the ADF to attack sometime next week...and if we fail...they have a free road to the capital. If we fail it's all over. In any case, I love you and if I don't make it...well I don't think we'll be separated for too long. Both the Captain and the Lieutenant have pledged their lives and the Colonel has already declared it. "No surrender. No defeat. If we are to die we will do so with victory in our minds". Goodbye mom. I'll...see you on the other side.
May 12th, 2058, New Mexican Border
It's late in the afternoon and the sun is setting. Besides me are my brothers in arms, all young beastmen like me ready to die for the country, even if they're visibly afraid. We just finished fortifying the first line and it's time to gear up. Scouts reported the enemy was coming. The battle for New Mexico starts tonight. fifteen regiments have been called towards this front and we are the shield. Three hundred Hammerhead tanks...one hundred and fifty tank destroyers…three thousand machine guns...and ten thousand men. We are all that's to stand against the 19th ADF Army. I hear a whistle and turn to the direction where it sounded off, where I can see Captain Theodore Wilson. "The Butcher". Some call him a hero...others a monster. Me? I call him Capitan. He stands above the trenches, his armor died in black. On the armor's chest plate I can see his many medals, at least 6 of them being major military decorations. He wears the latest Mk.4 armor. Heavy, but the first true model of "powered" armor. His helmet's visor shines a deep bright red as it connects to his nervous system, giving him real time assessment of everything around him, servomotors aiding in his armor consisted in a mix of overlaying plates over a larger full body plate of armor, all in a jet black color scheme under a great coat with the proud flag of the HDD and the regiment on the shoulder, a white dragon. He speaks up, his voice modulated by his helmet, giving it a menacing and nearly robotic sound.
-"Get your gear, have your last meal, say your prayers. Tonight we fight for the survival of the country. Remember. NO RETREAT! NO DEFEAT! WE FIGHT TO THE VERY LAST TANK, THE LAST SHELL, THE LAST BULLET AND THE LAST PUNCH! IF WE LOSE THAN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND LOVED ONES WILL BE A FUCKING PELT! VICTORIA AUT MORTE!"
With that last war cry, we all cry out, the collective roar of every single soldier being heard across the trenches.
-"VICTORIA AUT MORTE!"
I start heading towards the bunks, making the trek through the concrete and dirt, looking at those i pass by. A group in prayer, some to God, others to the Dragons. Some clean their rifles. Some write their last letter. I already wrote mine...I step inside my bunks and enter and open a foot locker, taking out of it a sort of body suit. It's grey with black lines running across it. I put it on and then head towards a sort of coset. However, opening the closet reveals several wiring connected to my set of power armor. It looks similar to Captain Wilson's but without the medals and the coats. Several sections of it open up, allowing me to place my limbs within me as it closes behind me, encasing me within the mask. I then put on my helmet, which as soon as it makes contact with the rest of the armor, closed the face mask, sealing my head within a metal tomb with two visors to see through. The armor connects to the body suit, which in turn connects to my nervous system, makin me feel a tingly running across my body, as wires, sensors and other pieces of technology connect me to the armor, until it starts to feel like its a second skin...a skin of pure carbonite armor in black a black and gray color scheme. As per protocol I clench my fists, calibrating the armor's systems...not that they needed to be, as they're already all set up. I picked up my rifle, not the usual L-11 rifle we'd been using since the start of the war. No, this was a brand new design made by Whistler Munitions, an up and coming military contractor since 2030. First time they actually supply us. The rifle was a bullpup design and, for a change, magazine fed. An actual ballistic weapon. The magazines were massive too, something I quickly noticed when I picked one up. The rounds were just a big bigger than your standard .50 BMG. The rifle itself was about forty five inches long, with a bulky design the trigger selection and the safety were just where you'd expect them to. The rifle's body covered almost the entire length of the barrel, a sight rail standing on top with a red dot not unlike the old holographic sights that the humans use and a vertical grip on the weapon's front. I picked up the rifle, noticing how it was much heavier than the previous one at about fifty or so pounds, compared to the L-11 which weighed about as much as a human AK. The weapon is painted in a gray color, contrasted by some black bits, noticeably the receiver, trigger and grips. Despite this what was most identifiable was the shark mouth that was painted on the end of the weapon's body, a crimson red mouth lined with teeth and a set of killer eyes and, reading an inscription on the side of the rifle I can see "Mk.1 Shredder 13x75mm AR. Made by Whistler Munitions''. Shredder. Hmm. Catchy name. My pistol appears to have gotten a similar treatment, now much heavier than then the ML-3 laser pistol. This thing weighs about twelve pounds, with a design similar to a USP-45, but being more weighted towards the front, and obviously, bigger and bulkier. Right under the ported barrel I can see a laser/flash combo and on top a reflex sight. This one is more simplistic than the Shredder, being in a black coat of paint, a single inscription reading "Mk.1 Stryker 11.2x45mm Pistol by Whistler Munitions". 11.2x45...Jesus.
I walk outside, feeling the breeze of the wind hitting on my metal "skin", as I gaze around, watching everyone preparing as the sun goes down, the last beams of light shining elsewhere, leaving darkness to take this place. The last thing I can see are the tank turrets in their dugouts, before the total darkness engulfs the battlefield. This ever present darkness is then illuminated, but not by flame or light, but by my own armor, which turns on the integrated night vision within my helmet, the fields of execution dyed in a green tint as I look left and right. Just then I hear a voice over the radio.
-"All units, artillery fire commencing"
The previous silence if the skies floods with the sound of guns, the new 250mm howitzers shaking the ground itself as they play the symphony of death, that music stretching across for miles as the barrage is constant. All the guns fired, one at a time, so that by the time the last one had fired, the first one was ready to fire again, so that this orchestra of explosions and raining shells never ceases. A second instrument starts to join the musical, as in the distance we can hear the screaming of the ones hit with the artillery, leading us to aim our rifles in that direction, preparing for the onslaught of incoming enemies. Craters start to fill the ground and, in the distance, we can hear the AA guns firing, holding back the enemy air support. Amidst the fog of smoke, a form starts to take shape, imposing and menacing...a tank, adapted from the M1 Abrams to have a turret firing beams of devastating energy, instead of a 155mm shell. Sweat runs down my head as I open fire along with the rest of my comrades, my mind not able to do anything but remain in awe as the bullet fires out of the barrel, the roar of gunfire being overshadowed by a sort of explosion. Self propelled bullets flew out and towards the tank, penetrating some of the armor on the tank, but not making it all the way through. The tank is lit up with a hail of fire as metal heats up, gaining a faint orange tint where the bullets hit. My dulled senses from the initial awe of the gunfire return to me, my ears ringing as the tank is set ablaze, the tank destroyer behind the line having opened fire. The shouting of men can be heard behind the fog as more tanks start to push themselves into view, human soldiers behind them opening fire with their laser rifles in their hands, firing forward at our trench as they charge, bayonets affixed. I turn my rifle towards them, opening fire, feeling the recoil. The heavier rifle, while still comfortable to handle, now actually hard recoil behind it, squeezing the trigger gave me feedback as the primer was ignited and the round was flown out of the barrel, one after the other.
The poor asshole who led the charge got hit by my burst and his torso would practically explode into a fine red mist, shrapnel directed out his back and into his comrades, tearing flesh from bone and leaving horrifying imagery behind. The whole trench is set ablaze, but not with fire, with the flashes of guns firing. Tracks are moving, guns are firing, men are screaming and dying, as between us and the enemy position an awful sight of a sea of corpses starts to form, enemy vehicles squishing over them as the humans keep coming, like a never ending wave. I reload my rifle, a motion that now seems as familiar as getting dressed or cooking breakfast, chambering a round in and peaking over the trench with one of my squad mates, but as soon as we do, a blinding light strikes my comrade, making him tumble back down.
I get down myself, heading over to my screaming squad mate.
-"Man down!"-I shout, crouching down by him. He was shot in the head, his helmet completely scorched and dented forward and his visor no longer existent. I press a button on the back of the paper armor's helmet, disengaging his systems and decoupling the helmet and the back opening up, allowing me to remove it without first raising the face plate. I gasp and stare in horror as I look at my fellow beastman's head, bloody, glass shards impaled into his crusted over eye sockets which no longer held any eyes, as those had burned away, blood seeping through the spots the glass went in through, parts of his snout and nose shattered entirely. I reach for the largest glass to try and take them, but as soon as I even touch them he screams even louder, the gurgling noises that accompanied his voice shaking my very core shaking down to my soul. My hand shakes as my mind is lost in shock and awe…
-"M-M-M-MED!-"-I begin, stuttering heavily as my heartbeat raced faster than it ever had before, my voice suddenly cutting up as something hits me…
Everything feels still for a minute... peaceful...vision blurry...my ears are ringing...then it all starts to come back. I raise my head and my senses start to return, the ringing in my ears starting to go away and being replaced by the muffled sounds of gunfire. Looking behind I can see dirt covering the place I once was, a small crater right in front of the trench itself. I get up, looking to the dying man next to me...now less dying and more dead, yet his last screams still haunt me, as if he was still there, clinging onto life. I look at my hands, my armor's gauntlets soaked in blood and mud, shaking.
-"CHAAAAAAARGE!"-I hear coming from the north, from this modern day No Man's Land, followed by machine gun fire.
I don't have time to take a breath after that, as when I look up I can see a human jumping down onto the trench rifle in his hands and murderous eyes. I reach for my sidearm, but by then he's already coming down on me, his bayonet glowing with sparks of electricity leaving it. It's over...or so I thought. I hear a loud "BOOM" and with it the ADF soldier is suddenly hit and gets flung back with immense force, his body thudding down onto the mud. Looking to my left I can see Captain Theodore Wilson brandishing a Stryker pistol, just like me and a trench sword in the other. He looks down at me.
-"GET UP, PRIVATE! NONE OF US IS AUTHORIZED TO DIE WITHOUT A FIGHT! THE ENEMY IS IN THE TRENCH!"-He shouts, firing 3 more shots, each of them meeting a target that came from my right.
I get up, grabbing my rifle again and as soon as I do, more humans jump onto the trench from no man's land, making me open fire on them with the Captain…
Meanwhile in Houston, Texas
Two beastmen walk down a hallway of Whistler Munitions' headquarters, one of them the owner of the company, Whistler, whilst the other a m reptilian figure, his boots leaving dust wherever they stepped, his coat dirty and tattered, as if he just got back from fighting.
-"I'm losing this fight, Whistler"-The figure said, sighing.
-"I'm aware, Ryder. But bitchin' 'bout it ain't gonna do nothin', lad."-Whistler replied, ever the charismatic as usual.
-"I need 'her', and I need 'her' now"-Ryder said.-"I've already lost Colorado and Utah. Guns alone won't change that. I need something to challenge their air superiority. The pilots have been trained, the crew selected and they're ready to depart. Whistler, 'she' either flies now or she won't fly. Ever"
Whistler stopped dead in his tracks, sighing.
-"Fine. She be already at the launch bay. Just needs some checkup"-He reluctantly said, stopping by a door. Ryder stops as well and looks at him.-"What 'bout the Shredder? It be successful even after ye started tinkerin' it up?"
-"Are you seriously still mad about that? I told you it was too light...but yeah. It's being successful"-Ryder said, starting to walk away.-"I'll see you around, you scottish bastard. Tell your lads to raise the anchor"
May 13th, 2158
I stand...we've fought all night...smoke covers the field...the sight of the dead covers both No Man's Land and our trench. I no longer walk in mud and dirt, I walk over the body parts, blood and guts of our fallen, our dead and dying and our many dead enemies...but the fighting isn't over. I stand on my knees above a human, my hands wrapped around his neck as I squeeze hard, his windpipe audibly crushing and his eyes popping, blood gurgling as he coughs blood onto me, his life fading from his eyes. Someone has me from the side with a shovel, but that does nothing, as I'm in power armor, thus I get up and punch him, the human's helmet flying off as he takes the hit and stumbles down, starting to crawl away as I approach, only to have me stomp on his head, the weight of my boot crushing his skull into small tiny bits, blood spraying all over the place. This brutal close quarters fighting went on for a few more minutes, until silence flooded the trenches. It's over...for now…
I pant, gazing over the dead battlefield, craters filling the land, fog covering the ground we fought for. I fall to my knees and look down at the flooding trench. Looking up I can see Theodore pacing back and forth, his finger holding the right side of his helmet. He seems pissed. After a while I get up and start to walk in his direction, my feet almost dragging along the mud and blood, my hands dripping that crimson essence of life and my helmet having a good amount of splatter on it. When I approach him, he punches the trench's wall.
-"Fuck"-He said, sighing.
-"What's wrong, Sir?"-I ask, standing at attention whilst he sighs. He then places his left hand on his helmet and starts to gently rub it.
-"Everything's quiet…"-he begins. It's quiet? So what? Isn't that a good thing?-"So either our AA in the reservoir and Tierra Amarilla got fucked or We fucked their air force. The other officers are fucking dead, the guy with the most ammo has three and a half magazines left and we're down to one hundred men, two tanks and one anti tank gun and only one of our MGs has ammo. Thank fuck we still have the artillery…"
-"So we're fucked...?"-I ask, looking down, despair taking ahold of me. I'm going to die...I'm never gonna see my mom again...I'm going to die in this fucking ditch…
-"We've been fucked from the moment we entered this trench"-He said, his face plate rising and showing me a wolf like head, with a wild and long hair running behind him, white, staining with blood as it touches his back. A large scar runs along his face, from his upper left forehead, across his snout and to his lower right face, diagonal and deep. His eyes are golden and slitted and two massive canines protrude from his upper jaw. He would reach into his coat and grab a cigar, lighting it up and taking a deep breath, smoke coming from his nostrils. He sighs, before looking at me again, before pressing the side if his helmet and speaking up.-"That don't mean we should quit…Men of Homeland. No. Beastmen! We've suffered, yes...we've fought, yes! But remember the cause! We fight so that the ones that can't don't have to! You may be thinking this battle is lost...and you're fucking right! It is! But we are not going to retreat! WE WILL FIGHT! WE WILL RESIST! WE WILL CHEW WHATEVER THEY THROW AT US AND SPIT IT RIGHT BACK OUT TENFOLD! WE ARE MERELY ONE HUNDRED! THAT IS ALL WE HAVE LEFT! ONE HUNDRED THAT WILL FIGHT FOR MILLIONS!"
A corporal walks over to me and whispers in my ears.
-"I'm getting outta here. I ain't got any fuckin' ammo. I'd tag along if I were you"-He said, before starting to walk away, over the trench to fuck off, when suddenly he drops dead, a round going cleanly through the back of his head, the shot coming from the Captain who held the pistol.
-"AND KNOW THIS! THERE IS NO SALVATION IN RETREAT! I AM NOW IN COMMAND…AND IF MY MEN ARE TO DIE, THEY WILL DIE AS COMRADES I'M PROUD OF HAVING! MAKE NO MISTAKE, WHATEVER YOU BELIEVE IN, GOD, FATE, THE DRAGONS...THEY HAVE ALL DECIDED YOUR FUTURE! YOU ARE TO DIE HERE AND I'LL BE FUCKED SIDEWAYS IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO DIE AS SOLDIERS. I AM CAPTAIN THEODORE WILSON. MANY IF NOT ALL OF YOU KNOW ME AS THE BUTCHER AND NOW YOU WILL KNOW WHY! DURING THE BATTLE FOR ARIZONA I KILLED OVER 200 FRIENDLY TROOPS THAT ATTEMPTED TO DEFECT, INCLUDING 6 OFFICERS AND I WILL NOT HESITATE TO DO THE SAME HERE! I AM NO LONGER ORDERING YOU TO FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY, I AM TELLING YOU TO DIE WITH HONOR AND THAT'S WHAT YOU SHALL DO OR I'LL BE FUCKED IF I DON'T USE YOU AS A PERSONAL SANDBAG! PICK UP A HUMAN RIFLE IF YOU HAVE TO, FOR YOU ARE NO LONGER ALIVE SOLDIER, YOU ARE A DEAD BEAST WALKING. VICTORIA AUT MORTE!"
I stare in awe as the corpse falls down, before whispering to myself.
-"Victoria aut Morte…"
5 HOURS LATER
I look over the trench, firing a rifle I picked up off a dead human. My shots hit true, but humans have specialized armor, as prior to today they had been facing similar gear to their own, energy dispersing as the humans are hit, leaving only the miniscule particle to hit the armor. Chest plates scorch and enemies get flung back but don't die, not with the first shot at least. The humans advance further and further as artillery blasts away at enemy forces. The two tanks have since ran out of ammo for the main gun and only fires coaxial, the loader in the turret firing the other MG, tracers flying everywhere and lighting up the morning sky. Suddenly the tanks' turrets stop firing, the MG gunners soon running out of ammunition and promptly getting blasted, brains and bone flying as their armor isn't as strong as ours. We hear a valiant warcry, but soon they are overshadowed by the sound of propellers and thrusters...air support. I sigh, looking down the sights of the rifle as lasers fly off into the incoming wave, which moves from cover to cover, stomping on their own dead and trampling them. The one hundred we began with are now merely 70 and counting down.
The Captain was near me and I could see him grimace as his rifle ran out of charge. My own rifle isn't too far from it either way and I don't think many others are either. The sound of propellers gets closer and closer, our final moments approaching with them. The Captain picked up his radio.
-"This is is men! An afterlife of glory awaits! CHAAAARGE!"-He shouted, a valiant war cry echoing throughout the trench as the men prepared to charge...when suddenly… BOOM.
Dirt is thrown yards into the sky in massive amounts, bodies flying as they are torn asunder, the flame of an explosion larger than any artillery shell. It came from the sky behind us. From the mist a shape starts taking form, a massive hull, larger than any airship to this date, massive guns facing forward. It strides proudly into the battlefield, as silence and stillness settle in, only broken by the sound of it's massive engines. Soon it stands right in the middle of no man's land, high up in the skies. On its side there are words written: HNS Daedalus Queen "Nova".
It's guns start to face down and open fire into the human trench, each shell leaving a scar in the land that would likely take years to repair, bodies literally being torn apart by explosions, machine guns start firing away en mass at enemy aircraft, tenths of flashes being constant along the ship's length, human gunships falling down from the heaven and crashing into No Man's Land.
-"ONWARDS! CHARGE!"-The Captain reiterated, as he jumped over the trench, soon followed the remainder of his men, those that had ammo using it as they rushed onwards, bayonets affixed.
Amidst the confusion, humans start to get slaughtered, be it by artillery, by the ship or by the incoming wave and as panic settles in, they start to retreat, trampling over their own men, dead or alive. Chaos firmly settles amidst the gray battlefield, now scared and gray, the grass long since dead, trees blown out of the ground, roots splayed out across the air. Screams flood my head as the dying humans desperately flee into their defensive lines, only to watch them burst into flames when the ship fired upon them.
Not an hour has passed and the humans have surrendered...my armor is drenched in blood...bodies litter the fields of battle, now covered in hills created by the shells that landed there. I look at my hands, dripping in blood. It's over...I can go home...