Chapter 27: Through Hellish Streets
“The mission went south the moment we entered that city. The Lambent presence was far larger than anticipated, we were cut off from radio communications and almost all the escape opportunities were out of our reach.”
“Huh, so even you expert commandos ran into trouble?”
“No denying that sir, but I believe you should know the trouble we went through for this mission. What did you find out about Lash from the data?”
“The science teams are still digging through and analysing the data. You boys did good, we’ll find out just what kind of sick and twisted joke this guy was playing.”
“What about the missing Gear? The one we pointed to you?”
“Our boys managed to get him as well. He’s safely in custody, awaiting trial as we speak.”
“Good to know we didn’t go into the hell-hole for nothing then sir.”
Epsilon Cobra and Colonel Hoffman, debriefing back at Haven
“Will you hurry up with those explosive charges, Quake?” Cobra shouted as he reloaded his Lancer assault rifle, having dropped two Lambent wretches and a Marauder. As he ducked behind a sandbag, fellow team-mate Geist managed to blast the head off a Drudge with a well placed Longshot round.
The Epsilon commando team had made quite a bit of progress since their last battle. They had moved further and further towards the site, though not so much to help out at the site, but rather, to find a means of escape. Hey, this was the COG’s mission, not theirs. The transport, from what they had heard, had arrived at the site safely. They had contributed their part to the mission, now it was time to leave and hand in their own assignment.
Though due to heavy Lambent Presence, the Epsilon had more or less been roped into helping the COG wherever they could. Right now, they were assisting the COG in creating a barricade.
The Demolition expert, Quake, was current arming some explosives on an archway bridge that overlooked a long street. He calmly and casually set the charges while heavy gunfire was raining towards him. It was quite an impressive sight, actually, seeing him not even flinch as bullets whizzed right past him.
Though to be fair, the Lambent didn’t exactly have a good track record when it came to accuracy. The ones that did, mainly the Marauders, were swiftly taken down by the other Epsilon.
“Some time today would be good, Quake!” Cobra barked.
“Almost there Chief, just got to set the timer just right…” Quake called over the gunfire.
Geist popped the head of another Drudge, preventing it from mutating into it’s tree form. The Drudge’s corpse violently exploded, sending a Lambent Wretch crashing into a nearby wall. Meanwhile, Medic Angel tended to a wounded Gear, who had suffered a bullet wound to the arm.
Cobra unloaded a barrage of Lancer fire into a small pack of Polyps that seemingly slipped by Quake and went straight for the others. They didn’t make it too far, as the Lancer rounds ripped them to shreds. Though one did slip past, Geist quickly stepped on it. A sickening splat was heard as it’s remains splattered onto his boot.
“… There, done!” Quake chortled as he completed the last charge. With that, he got up and deployed his arm shield and armed his Ripper LMG. Such things looked impossible to carry for an ordinary human, but Quake was an exception.
Quake back peddled and fired upon a group of Lambent, Mainly Drones and Drudges, which were swiftly torn to shreds by the Ripper’s shear fire power. Once he was back far enough, Quake retracted his shield and hopped over the Sandbag.
“How long till the explosives go off?” Geist asked.
“Oh, about now.” Quake replied.
Everyone was forced down as the explosive charged detonated. Lambent parts splattered everywhere and the archway came crashing down. Any Lambent not obliterated by the explosion was swiftly crushed by the falling debris.
There was a short pause as smoke filled the air, the four Epsilon commandos got up out of cover and surveyed the damage. Underneath his helmet, Quake was beaming.
“I love my job.” He smiled.
Geist gave him a quick backhand.
“Next time, a little warning would be nice, yes? Also, your rule of cool attitude will get you killed someday.” He hissed.
“Point taken, but the barricade is set right?” Quake stated.
The Gears they had been assisting quickly came to examine the newly formed barricade. They were quietly impressed, but a bit frightened of how up close and personal the Epsilon got to the action. Then again, they were Cyron, being afraid of Cyron units, no matter how helpful, was natural.
Angel helped the wounded Gear back up onto his feet and walked him to his comrades.
“You’ll be good, but I think you should be taken somewhere safe. Maybe even get you out of the city all together.” Angel suggested. “That’s my recommendation, but I don’t know what your CO will say.”
The Gear nodded and went back to his comrades. A different Gear approached Cobra to thank him.
“Appreciate the assist there guys.” The gear said. “That should hopefully cut off the Lambent from coming this way. At least for a little while.”
“You think you can handle it from here?” Cobra asked.
“Yeah, shouldn’t be too hard. We’ll just be mopping up stragglers.” The gear replied.
“Good, in the case, we’re moving on.”
Cobra signalled for his fellow Epsilon commandos to join him and leave. The gears watched as the four commandos left the scene. They could feel the gaze of gears upon them and read what their thoughts were. A mix of “what, that’s it? You’re not staying to help?” along with “Creepy Cryon guys.”
Whatever, the life of an Epsilon was a thankless one.
“I believe we shouldn’t keep stalling like this.” Geist noted. “I’m sure these Gears don’t have it too bad now. We should head for the site and use one of their evac Ravens to get out of here.”
“Though he said it rather crudely, I think Geist may be have a point.” Angel replied. “This data isn’t going to last much longer in the war zone.”
“Exactly, our job is done. Let’s report back to Hoffman.” Geist added.
Quake stepped in to add his own opinion.
“Are you really sure these guys are doing okay? They look like their struggling. Chief, you said so yourself, we’ll help any way we can, right?”
“Things are changing, the Lambent presence here is much larger than we anticipated.” Cobra replied. “As Geist says, the Gears objective is not ours. We’ll help them until we reach the site. Once we get there, we’re out of here.”
“What of the Gear? The one that was supposedly in Lash’s base?” Angel asked.
“We’ll worry about him once we get this data back.” Cobra said.
Quake looked at his three team-mates as they stared back at him. He wanted to keep helping the Gears, but they were right, they had their own mission to do. Should they fail? Lash would continue getting away with whatever sick and twisted work he and his Pariah were up to. Still, it felt kind of wrong, leaving them here to fend for themselves.
“Understood sir.” Quake said reluctantly.
The Epsilon continued to trek through what was once a gorgeous high end shopping district, now reduced to rubble and ruin. They could tell that quite a fight had broken out here, for the corpses of Gears and the splattered remains of the Lambent were all over the place. Cobra noticed an Onyx Guard covered in countless remains of Lambent Drones, suggesting he had slaughtered plenty of them before going down.
Good for him.
As the walked on, the sounds of fighting grew more intense. They could hear the rattle of APCs moving, the clumsy, heavy footsteps of the “Lambent Heavy” breed, followed by the loud noise of their Mulchers going full speed. Grenade explosions, the pop of heads, Lancer fire, all this noise going on at once, all around them. Thick smoke was also going up into the air, almost blocking out the sky.
At one point, the Epsilon were forced to navigate through an apartment block that had been ravaged by a fight between the Gears and the Lambent. Even with their masks and breathing equipment, it was difficult to get through, with the thick smoke in such a tight area. It was interfering with their breathers and was difficult to see through.
Finally, the Epsilon managed to break through the apartment and back out onto the streets. Though there was something unique about the particular street they were on. There was an upward path that lead to a hill with a wishing well on it, and from there, one could see a Regency Hotel… in particular, one that had been barricaded and converted into the site.
The four Epsilon went up the hill and observed the site. Even from the distance they were at, they could see something was wrong.
Geist got out his Longshot and looked through the scope, he could make out some sort of battle was going on there. Explosions and traces of gunfire could be spotted.
“The Site! It is under attack!” Geist gasped.
“That’s impossible, that place was heavily guarded!” Angel protested.
“Not enough, it seems. I cannot make out much from here, but whatever is attacking, is going there in full force.”
Cobra turned to Quake.
“Guess you’re getting your wish. We need to help them if we want our ticket out of here.” He said calmly
“Understood chief.” Quake replied, with a slight sense of relief.
The four Epsilon commandos got off the hill and began to work their way through the streets. Though just as they began to make progress, they were stopped by the sight of battle!
Two Onyx Guards were leading a group of Gears against another Lambent pack. It seemed as though the Gears were protecting a building, a garage of sorts? Obviously it was of the uttermost importance, because they were defending it with their lives!
The Epsilon watched, impressed, as the Onyx Guards easily sliced and diced several Lambent with their Chainsaw Bayonets. The troops they were leading were doing good as well. One Gear blasted a Drudge clean in half with a well placed Gnasher shot, while another two were operating a Vulcan cannon, slaughtering a large pack of Lambent Wretches and Drones.
Then, a blast of Mulcher fire struck and ripped apart one of the Vulcan operators. The survivor was forced to flee for cover and find a different weapon to use. A Lambent Heavy was lumbering forward with a pack of Lambent Drones and Drudges for support.
“Get to cover!” One of the Onyx Guards demanded. The gears quickly followed instructions and sought out whatever cover they could find.
“Well, seeing as how we are here…” Geist said. He then calmly equipped his Longshot and aimed straight for the Heavy’s head.
The Longshot round pierced the Heavy’s helmet and tore it’s face apart. The beast collapsed onto the ground and exploded, sending the Drones and Drudges sprawling.
Quake equipped his Boomshot and fired into the startled Lambent Pack, obliterating a majority of them. The rest were swiftly finished off by Cobra and Angel.
The Guards and Gears quickly turned around to greet their saviours.
“Hey, thanks for the save.” One Onyx Guard said. “Couple of more minutes, and we’d be done for!”
“No worries.” Quake replied, trying to be a bit more friendly. However, Cobra quickly got the scene back to business.
“What are you defending?” he asked
“Our assault transports. They’re being repaired as we speak.” The Onyx Guard explained. “The Site is under attack and we’ve got to get there!”
“Being repaired you say?” Cobra inquired.
“Yeah, but they should be done just about…”
Just then, one of the garage doors opened and a Gear mechanic stepped out.
“All set sir!” He called
Inside the Garage were two Silverbacks and two assault APC’a. Modified Armadillos with heavy Chaingun attachments.
“You think you could give us a hand?” The Guard asked.
Cobra looked at his team-mates, then back to the guard.
“I suppose so. Shooting down the Lambent could be quite cathartic…”
That is was!
The Assault APCs moved forward through the ruins of a road while the Silverbacks gave them support. On the gunner of one, Quake was merrily gunning down as many Lambent as he could spot.
“Man, am I glad we went on this mission!” He cheered as he obliterated a crowd of Lambent Wretches that emerged from a ruined Pizza place.
The Silverbacks were also doing their part, they stomped on any Polyps that slipped by and would occasionally deploy into their rocket modes to blast apart large packs of Lambent, or the odd Heavy that emerged.
Inside one of the APCs, Cobra, Geist and Angel sat patently as Quake massacred the Lambent with the Chaingun. The Gear driving the APC didn’t say anything, he didn’t wish to bother the Cyron Commandos or ask about their team-mates unusual enthusiasm.
“What’s your threat scanner saying?” Angel asked Geist. Geist examined his Radar’s threat scanner rather calmly.
“Well, we have heavy lambent presences all around, but Quake seems to be dispatching them quite easily. The other APC and the Silverbacks are doing quite well too.”
Geist looked up to see that Cobra was deep in thought, not really responding to anything.
“Any thoughts you wish to share?” He asked.
“Just thinking… what could have broken through to the site?” He pondered. “The night lights should have kept the Lambent at bay, and the Savage Locust are too primitive to get past it’s defences.”
Cobra then turned to look at his team-mates properly.
“There is one thing though… do you remember that one Lambent… the rather big one?”
Oh yes, how could they forget that towering monstrosity?!
“What are saying sir…?” Angel gulped.
“Do you really think the Night Light deterrents are going to stop something that big…?”
Just then, the APC came to a violent halt, sending the Epsilon sprawling. The driver of the APC also almost crashed into the steering wheel.
“Driver, why have we stopped?” Angel asked.
“Something up ahead… it just trashed the court!”
Geist opened up his threat scanner, he could make out two threats up ahead. One normal sized and one rather big.
“Quake, get down here, I need a good vantage point!” Geist ordered.
Quake came down off the turret and down the ladder to the sitting area of the APC. Geist quickly went up and armed his Sniper rifle. He looked through the scope and spotted one of the threats. A Locust Theron of sorts? He couldn’t quite see because of all the dust.
“I got you, you little…”
Geist fired, but the Theron seemingly stumbled out of the way at the last moment, the bullet only narrowly missing it.
“Blasted b*tch! I missed!” Geist snarled.
Though Geist missing his mark was the least of their worries. For the Theron had been wandering near the ruins of what looked like a park clock. Something had reduced it to rubble… and it was slowly emerging from the rubble.
Geist checked his threat scanner again, the big threat? It was right in front of them… and he could see what it was…
“Oh sh*t…” Geist gulped
Rage emerged from the ruins of the Clock, furious that his quarry had gotten away from him. The Emissary of Anger snarled as he dusted off the rubble and got back up. He scanned the area, hastily searching for that no good Locust.
He couldn’t spot him anywhere, but he did, however, spot some new targets. Human machines.
They weren’t quite what he was after, but they would suffice as good stress busters!
“Cobra, we got company!” Geist called down.
Cobra, Angel, Quake and the Driver all stared in shock as they looked at Rage. Rage looked back at them with a violent zeal.
“What the f*ck is that beast?!” The Drvier shrieked.
“One very angry Lambent!” Cobra yelled “Get us out of here!”
The Drive didn’t need telling twice, despite the fact that they would be fleeing the objective, he didn’t wish to face such a giant alone. The Drive reversed, then swerved into a different direction. The other APC could see this and followed closely.
The two Silverbacks valiantly tried to fight off Rage by unloading their Chainguns into him, but the Emissary of Anger simply charged through them, smashing them to pieces and slaughtering the pilots.
“Quake?! You want to take the gun?!” Geist shouted.
“You got it!” Quake yelled back.
The two swapped places. When Quake got back onto the Gunner seat, he could see that they were fleeing down a side road, passing numerous old newsagents, florists, haridressers and cafes. It must have been a mini market at some point. Not that it mattered now though, as right now, all Quake could focus on was what was right behind them.
The other APC was following them and firing upon the charging Rage, but Rage swiftly crashed into the APC, sending in serving into a building. Rage followed up by bashing the APC into scrap metal. Quake could only shudder as the monster reduced it to pieces.
Rage quickly changed his target and began to charge towards the APC containing the Epsilon. Quake armed up the Chaingun.
“Hiding your ugly face behind a mask, huh? Don’t blame you!” Quake taunted. Probably not a wise move.
Regardless, Quake unloaded a volley of Chaingun rounds into Rage, mainly aiming at his head. Rage was forced to protect his face with his arms. The sheer volley of rounds, along with the injuries his arms were sustaining, was successfully slowing him down!
The APC was forced to swerve quickly down another road, one that lead to what looked like an old, abandoned power station. Rage couldn’t control his speed and crashed into a wall. When he regained his composure, he continued to charge towards the APC, sustaining more injuries to his arm.
Just as he reached the APC, the Driver swerved it away from Rage, sending the massive Lambent crashing into several abandoned trucks. There was a small explosion as pieces of the trucks went flying.
“Not bad.” Geist complimented to the Gear.
The moment was short lived, as Rage emerged from the wreckage, a bit beaten up, but still standing. Quake was quick to cool down the Chaingun so he could unload another round of hot lead.
However, Rage sniffed the air and looked at the power station. How kind… the humans had lead him to his prey.
He looked back at the Epsilon APC and watched with amusement as Quake got ready to open fire.
“WORTHLESS…” Rage uttered.
The Emissary grabbed one of the smashed up trucks and tossed it straight at the APC.
“INCOMING!” Quake shrieked.
It was all too late, for the truck smashed into the APC, sending it crashing into a nearby wall.