Ghastling Wars Ch. 01byleaky_one©
Chapter 1: Death of a Friend
+ The 27th Year of Copernicus
+ Planetary System: 129542
+ Earth Defence Ship - 'Sargasso' (Heavy Carrier)
+ Current Assignment: Cleansing of Ghastling Hive Asteroid 111
+ Soldier: 542
The dream was back. Once again she was surrounded by her dying troops. Their crimson blood sprayed from ruptures in their power armour and flowed like a red rain into the zero pressure confines of the Ghastling hive asteroid. Energy pulses filled the air as alien weaponry poured into the human raiding party, trapped as they were in the dead-end network of passages they had been so easily tricked into choosing.
A neural shout over the Netweb grabbed her attention for the briefest of seconds. Soldier 591 was hit; a killing shot. Although they lacked actual names each soldier was linked to a virtual identification symbol to which was attached emotional stamping. 542 almost felt a physical blow as her lover's signature flashed into her skull. The image was blood red and listing badly to one side. The icon screamed pain!
As an Echelon Elite, soldier 542 was bound to care for all the troops in her command. However her link to 591 was so much deeper, the two of them being bunk buddies for several years until 542's genetically coded leadership skills had established themselves. At this time she was separated from her tube bred brethren. However, this had not stopped the two of them from being lovers, their chances for sex few and infrequent. This, if nothing else had heightened their passion for one another.
In a blinding rage, soldier 542 immediately triggered every weapon in her suit's formidable arsenal. The Ghastling corridor In front of her vanished in a rolling wave of energy dispersal; red explosions sweeping into black clouds as debris from the roof overhead collapsed. Her suit's limited AI screamed warnings at her. Heat overload, power reserve fluctuations, limited breaches in the armour and possible core contamination, they flashed up visually on her heads-up display and also via her neural shunts. She ignored them all.
Coded messages forced her armour into motion, spinning around before adopting a power assisted headlong run down the wide passageway which was cut directly through the native rock of the asteroid. It took 15.257 seconds for soldier 542 to arrive at the rearguard's position. She didn't even need to see the disaster in front of her to know that the situation was critical.
Dead and dying humans littered the passageway, which had now broadened into a small cave. Her command AI feed fed tactical data directly to her brain analysing the position of the bodies, the scars on both armour and the surrounding rock a tell tale history of violence. Grief threatened to overwhelm her as one by one the virtual icons of her fallen troops appeared in her skull, each representation emotionally overlaid with feelings of despair, loss and remorse.
One by one, the symbols representing friends and some part time lovers, turned black and faded from virtual existence. The artificial telepathic bond they represented had now each terminated at source. The last resort of any human suit armour was to wipe the core brain and the resident artificial host to prevent any loss of key data to the enemy.
The last icon rotated into 542's brain so dark in its redness as to be almost black. 542 fought back the urge to vomit in her suit. Between her legs she had already voided her piss into the black absorbent plastic kept there for such a purpose. The dying symbol belonged to 591. Without a moment's hesitation she sent a neural request for positioning coordinates of the signal. Her suit responded with glowing green tactile projections forming an overlap on her internal screen. A suite of other information flooded over the sides of her display, most of them a warning red.
The human troops had been bred for war but they had also been given an enormous capacity for love and affection. Command Copernicus had decreed that all human troops would be female. Although they could never breed, the instincts and genetic traits of their sex would instil a level of control and moderation into them that their male counterparts solely lacked. Unfortunately in extreme circumstances what would have amounted to a blind fury and killing rage in a man, more often and not led to an emotional overload in the females.
Now was possibly such a time. Salty tears were in her eyes as she bent down in her power armour to pick pitifully at the scarred remains of her friend's blasted suit. Her AI was still screaming its warnings, classing the whole location as a red-one death-trap. Her mission and duty now lay in returning immediately to the waiting evacuation ship and informing control of the situation. The asteroid's mass and complex density blocked most out going communications including for some as yet unfathomed reason, Quantum Tunnelling. For now, 542 ignored her AI.
The remaining link between 542 and 591 fluttered and for a second threatened to die completely. An instant later and they were once again connected; this time fully and without interference. Both warriors set their bandwidths wide open to fully utilise the maximum transmission rate over the link that now joined them. Information flowed through the ether; a mass of data which in olden days would have leapt of the Terabit scale. The sheer scope of human feelings, hopes, dreams and desires passed over that link; a lifetime's memory and ultimate futility encapsulated in a seconds worth of neural coded data.
591 had always seemed special. Now as warrior 541 accepted the feed from her dying lover she gasped at the secrets being revealed. Not only were 591's physic levels much higher than she had been led to believe, but her Tech ability out-stripped that of most of the purpose bred technicians who crewed the carrier.
Even as she absorbed her lover's life she could feel her own internal software re-writing itself. Complex algorithms started to change her Netweb interface, her firewall defences rebuilding to a newer and infinitely greater resistance setting. Her neural suit interface changed too; the HUD layout morphing as she watched in dismay at the unfolding chaos of icons reasserting themselves. Power indicators dropped out of the red along with a host of warning markers. The constant urging from her AI vanished as was replaced by a calmer and different voice. For a split second 542 smiled as she recognised the styling in the voice patterns, for they were that of 591's.
Standing, 542 surveyed the scene of the massacre. The Ghastlings that had caused this slaughter where nowhere to be seen. A deep-scan probe down the adjoining passageways came back empty. Staring back down at her feet she stared at the fallen figure on the floor. A host of emotions flooded through her skull.
542 awoke, feverish and thrashing in the light energy field that held her naked body in the zero gravity of her small cabin. For several seconds she could not comprehend where she was. A dull washing memory came crashing down upon her as she remembered her dream. Once again she could almost feel the strong forceful grip of the fighter's acceleration as the surveying humans from that mission had fled the Ghastling asteroid. It struck her then that it was the residue power from her sleeping energy field that had disturbed her, no doubt as a result of her violent thrashings during her sleep.
She sent an instruction to the cabin's processor to release and restore a semblance of gravity to the room. As her feet gently came to rest on the floor she gave a shudder as the haunting realism of her dream came back to her. She knew she needed a distraction to free her from her ghosts and her bladder was burning as well. Ignoring the toilet cubicle, 542 walked over the laundry hatch and ordered it open. Moving her shaved pubic lips up to the black space beyond she then started to pee; squirting her piss shower into the hatch designed to take her dirty clothing.
She played with her pee stream sending it squirting it backwards and forwards inside the open chute enjoying the sensation immensely. Golden water sports had always been a favourite fetish for her and 591 during their love making sessions. 591 had called her Nikki, wanting an actual name to whisper in her ear as they made love. 542 had never returned the favour not seeing the need. The virtual connection they shared had always seemed so strong that physical distractions such as names seemed to have little importance. In retrospect she was now saddened by her decision.
Finishing her toilet into the laundry chute, 542 stepped back. That hadn't been enough! She still needed a bigger thrill to dispel the dream. Shaking her head from side to side she wandered over to the seamless far wall and instructed the ship to open the clothing compartment. The options it presented were limited but she smiled as she selected the one item. The outfit was a one piece coverall, incredibly thin in design. Its white material was almost transparent and as she climbed into she admired her image in the now reflective surface of the once fake cabin window. The outfit fitted perfectly highlighting every toned muscle, every slender and perfect curve from the wide groove between her bum cheeks to the roundness of her perfectly shaped breasts.
Happy in her choice of attire she turned to face the door. With a deep sigh of futility at the state of her life she coded it open and stepped into the corridor beyond.