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Prompt #437 - First Line


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From: Cadet Cruise

 

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“Where did they want to meet us, again?"

 

Gunshots broke out in the distance. Jerry looked his the GPS unit. "We're in the right place. Sounds like my brothers squad has run into trouble."

 

Corporal Agli said, "Again?"

 

Jerry just shook his head. "Again. I swear if there's trouble in a thousand klicks, my brother and his squad will find it."

 

The gunfire intensified and then there was the deep bass boom of a plasma rifle. Then there was quiet again.

 

Jerry keyed his mike and said, "Voodoo lead to Uniform, what is your status?"

 

Gary's voice replied, "Uniform lead to Voodoo, we were almost lunch again. We ran into a pack of gremlins. I think we're being stalked by something we haven't seen yet. The rest of the wildlife if bugging out. We'll be at the rendezvous point in about ten mikes and don't be surprised if we've got something nasty behind us. Over."

 

Jerry cringed. The reptiles they had called gremlins ranged in size from as big as a cow up to the size of a house.

 

Jerry said, "Roger that. You get here and we'll have a nice fire trap set for whatever is stalking you."

 

Jerry turned to his squad and said, "All right, listen up. Uniform squad is coming in hot. I want to set a fire trap. Set up along this ridge line and dig in."

 

He watched with pride as the ten boys of his squad spread out and started digging like a pack of rabid gophers in the sandy loam of the ridge top. There's nothing like a little motivation to shape up any unit. They had come a very long way in their cadet cruise to hell.

 

Two short weeks ago they were a bunch of kids on a cadet orientation cruise aboard the Basilone. That was before the ships number three fusion plant blew and the boys were stranded on an obscure, restricted world with a biosphere comparable to earth's Cretaceous period. The twenty-two cadets were stuffed into an Assault shuttle with the auto-pilot set to land. If it wasn't for the Alliance Marine survival gear and their training, they would all be dinosaur crap.

 

Jerry and his twin brother Gary had become squad leaders by acclamation. They had been genetically engineered and raised to be soldiers from birth by Mil-Tech. They were liberated when the Corporations lost their war against the Alliance goverenment when they were eight and adopted by a nice couple on Sutra Prime. Now they were sixteen, Cadets in good standing and desperately trying to keep the other kids alive long enough to be rescued from this hell hole.

 

He checked the magazine on his pulse rifle, got in the prone position behind a log and took out his field glasses to survey the approaches to the ridge line. It was clear for five hundred meters down the slope to the tree line of the jungle below. A few klicks behind the jungle was some of the nastiest swamp any of them had ever seen and it went on to the horizon.

 

It wasn't long before he saw two guys from Uniform squad sprint out of the jungle and find cover. Four more sprinted out of the jungle and took cover further up the ridge providing cover for the rest of the squad. The final five emerged from the jungle came out, moved further up the ridge, took cover. As soon as they were set, they began leap frogging up the ridge stopping every hundred meters or so to cover their squad mates.

 

Jerry keyed his mike and said, "Uniform lead, I have eyes on you. Come on up the hill."

 

It only took a few minutes for Uniform squad to make it to the crest of the ridge. Gary got his squad spread out and and sat down beside his brother behind the log sweating and breathing hard. He took a hard pull from his canteen.

 

Jerry asked, "You guys find anything?"

 

Gary shook his head. "Nothing but bad ass bush and nasty creepy crawlies. Look, does it seem like something is moving in that bush to you?"

 

Jerry looked closely at the jungle with his field glasses. "Yeah. There is something moving out there. There's way too much motion in that brush for the wind to be causing it all."

 

As they watched the jungle, they could see shadowy shapes moving under the canopy. The local bird analogs had already bugged out.

 

It was like the critters were waiting for some critical mass and then they boiled out of the jungle. First in the hundreds. Then in the thousands.

 

Jerry looked at the little horrors with his field glasses. They were black, six legged, about the size of an average dog and they were equipped with an impressive set of talons and fangs.

 

Gary said, "Uhh... what are we doing?"

 

Jerry put his field glasses up and said, "We are leaving, most Riki-tic!"

Edited by jamessavik
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