Prologue (v0.4) - The 20th Century
11:43 AM, 15th of June, 1940
Somewhere on a highway, just leaving Belgium, traveling towards Paris.
Spring had begun, the sun was shining, the
clouds were gently drifting across the sky and the birds were chirping merrily
away. At least, young tank commander Weber assumed that they were chirping
away, as he couldn’t actually hear anything over the deifying roar of the
engine in his Panzer II Flamm as the
driver shoved the throttle as far in as he could.
Weber, a fresh tank commander straight out of command school at the age of 22, was finally on his first mission, contributing to Hitler’s grand war effort. Though Paris had already been taken and Weber was unlikely to see any combat duty whatsoever within the next month, he was already scared out of his wits. The Panzer II he was in was merely a bodyguard for the two Sd.Kfz. 251 half tracked personal carriers tailing him, both of them full with members of the feared Schutzstaffel; the dreaded division of the Nazi military which answered only to Hitler himself. While most of the Nazi’s armoured vehicles looked like glorious combat machines, the Sd.Kfz. 251 made itself an exception, being an ugly box like thing with an open top and 2 truck wheels at the front for steering.
Tank Commander Weber was slowly beginning to relax, what’s the worst thing that could happen to him today? He was slowly coming to terms with the violent contrast of scenery: the peaceful sky and the gentle breeze mingling with the shredded roads, smashed barns, obliterated farmhouses, fallen trees and the mud. Weber hated the mud most of all. The past few weeks had seen much of northern France converted from a peaceful place into butchered battlefield, mostly at the hands of Nazi tanks.
‘Gah, why does the seating in this damn vehicle have to be so uncomfortable?’ Weber murmured to himself, shifting on the bones of his ass in a poor attempt to make friends with the steel seat he’d been perched on for the last 3 hours. Giving in, he stretched his back once again and tried to enjoy the warm wind against his face from out the top of the turret. Just about to close his eyes, Weber noticed a sharp discolouration against the blue sky, something that looked to be burning as it fell in his general direction.
There in the sky, was an object that looked as though it was coated in flame, though one couldn’t discern if it was on a set trajectory or if it was merely falling to the earth. ‘What on earth is that?’ Weber thought out loud, feeling the hair on the back of his neck rise up as realised that the object was going to land close to, if not on top of his small convoy. Too scared to even duck back into his turret, all Weber could do was watch as the flaming blob descended from the sky. What on earth could that thing be? A meteor? A weapon deployed by the allies? A crashing plane?
The object came to an abrupt halt, courtesy of the ground, about 200 meters off to the left of the convoy, making a surprisingly low amount of noise as it clambered into the mud. Unsure of what exactly he should do, Weber finally broke free of his fear and ducked back into the turret of his tank. He clicked on the radio and checked that it was on the same frequency as the twin SS halftracks that were on his tail.
“Uhh, excuse me Sir, I think I-… I’ll go take a quick look at what just fe-… fell out of the sky.” Weber stammered into his headset.
The voice he got in reply must have been the SS commanding officer; an icy cold yet still somehow angry voice: “Make it quick, cadet, we need to be in Paris by nightfall, we can’t afford another delay. We’ll continue without you. Make sure you catch up.”
A short, sharp cracking sound went through the earpiece as the radio was click off at the other end. Weber unplugged his headset from the radio, before plugging it into the tank’s internal communications.
“Driver! Take us over to that crash!” He attempted to bark into the radio, yet it came out almost like a desperate plea. The Panzer II braked abruptly, before traveling off the road, breaking through a wooden fence and a line of hedges to reach where the object had landed. ‘What the hell is that…?’
The object was half submerged in the ground, but it still reached a good 5 meters into the air, leaving it towering over the 3 man tank. It seemed to be egg shaped and it was quite obviously biological. The large, flesh like sack that comprised the majority of… whatever that thing is, seemed to have something in it, something moving, something alive even. The sack was held in place by a 5 spine like sections around the outside, joined somewhere under the ground and ending in a large plate like bone at the top, with only the protrusions from the top of the spines extending past that. Somehow, there was water dripping off the sides of the object, as though it had been frozen in ice until it entered the atmosphere, yet there was also another sort of gel like substance in places, some of the gel had caught alight in the re-entry.
Weber’s genius mind finally managed to kick in, the object was small enough that it should have burned up in the atmosphere, so the gel substance must have been a heat shield, intended to also warm up and defrost the rest of the object. ‘But why is it moving?’ Weber began to ponder, before he noticed something bad, something very bad. The fleshy membrane contained within the spines was beginning to dry out and was now starting to crack. Soon, whatever the heck was inside there would be all over the place. Just starting to question whether he should do something or not, Weber suddenly acquired a pulsing pain in the back of his head. It was as though a small creature inside of his skull was attempting to chew its way out, obviously in panic. That was when he decided, that whatever this was, it wasn’t going to be on earth much longer.
Sliding back deep into the turret of the Panzer II Flamm, Weber sighted in the biological menace and pumped in the trigger as hard as he could. The MG42 machinegun mounted in the turret tore into the fleshy space creature; the reply was an increasing pain in the back of his head and spurts of dark red blood oozing out of the side of the sack. Weber used his free hand to operate the remote controlled flamethrowers on each side of the hull, bringing them to bear on the target as well. Flames began spewing from the front of the tank, engulfing the object in fire. Something inside it let out a scream, as in a new born wolf pup had just been set alight. Soon the screaming was multiplied, as whatever was inside joined in on their fiery doom.
Though the MG42 ran dry after a mere 10 seconds, the fuel tanks for the Flamethrowers continued to belch out all 320 litres of petrol, taking a good long half a minute to exhaust their ammunition. The loader could be heard below as he scrambled to change the belt on the machinegun, though this wouldn’t be necessary. Whatever it was that came from the sky was now a pile of ash dug into the ground.
“Driver! Get us back on track!” Weber called over the headset. Hopefully, that was both the first time and the last time he would see something like that. Unfortunately for him, that’s not exactly what fate had in mind for the human race. There would be many, many fleshy birthing sacks filled with little horrors to come.
9:46 PM, 28th of November, 1941
A campsite inside the Kings Canyon National Park, California, USA
Anthony Patrone crashed his ass into the
camp chair he’d set up in front of the fire, almost bouncing back up at the
pains that met his sore body when it came into contact with the stiff seating
arrangement. After a too damn long day of hiking, Anthony and his two children
had finally set up their camp at one of the designated areas among the trees,
his daughter, Angela, seemed to like the tall trees, blabbering on about the
feeling of an ancient quest or some crap. Michael, on the other hand, Angela’s
brother, was still sulking about being dragged out of the house for the
weekend, leaving him with rather pissed off about not being able to attend his
friend’s birthday party. Michael had certainty not liked it when his father
merely shrugged his complains off with the statement “He’s got a birthday every
year, right? Just wait till the next one.” Yet here the three were, with a
tent, sore limbs and a fire. Fun, right?
Angela had pulled out a notepad she had stashed away an continued her crusade to doodle on every shred of paper in existence, while Michael had basically fallen asleep already. ‘Finally’ Anthony thought to himself, ‘Some peace and quiet!’, but he’d spoken too soon, he’d just jinxed his life. The tall trees were swaying gently in the wind, or maybe that effect was just given by the flickering of the two visible fires… ‘Hang on a minute…’. Anthony’s sore body and mind were jump started as he realised the implication of there being a second fire, even worse, the implication that the second fire was so high in the sky that it was able to light up the tops of the 60 meter tall giant redwood trees encompassing the surrounding area. He didn’t even have time to consider what the new fire could have been before it began to force itself through the forest at high velocity, courtesy of gravity.
The sudden crunching sound of branches
being torn asunder to make way for the huge, 8 meter high egg shaped fireball,
before all noise came to an abrupt halt, given that the egg was now stationary,
courtesy of the ground. The spatial object had landed a meagre 80 meters away
from Anthony and co.’s campsite, leaving Anthony in a panic, Angela in an
almost unnatural state of curiosity and Michael pissed off at his sudden
awakening. ‘Guess I better see what it is…’ Anthony thought subconsciously.
Angela was already unzipping the little 4 man dome tent in order to investigate
the new addition to her environment, but was met with force.
“Ay, you, stay in the tent, I’ll be back in a minute”
“But daddy! I wan-”
“No. I said stay. I’ll let you come if it’s safe. ”
With this response, Angela retreated back to the sleeping bag. While her curiosity was unmatched, her fear of danger was almost equal to that of a timid deer. Anthony, now satisfied that he could investigate this rude intrusion to his peaceful evening, drew out the long metal torch and clicked it on as he set off towards the smouldering wreckage of the impact site. After a few minutes of digging through both fallen and standing branches, he reached the edge of the shallow ditch the collision had caused. The ground was hard at this time, leaving the egg shaped structure of bone and fleshy membrane standing in its full glory. The 5 spine-like pillars of bone holding the object together hadn’t even taken a scratch from the landing, nor had the large, thick bone baseplate that had come into high velocity contact with the earth just moments ago. The only symptoms the object had acquired from its long fall to earth were the tall steam trails leading off of the sack like centre.
‘What in God’s name is this thing?’ he began to ponder, inching closer to the object. The exterior flesh was beginning to dry up for some reason, then an itching feeling started to appear in the back of Anthony’s skull. Not a painful feeling per say, but non to pleasant, as though someone was just scaping the bone on the inside of his skull with a blunt knife but never actually trying to break through it. ‘Heck with it though, what could go wrong if I got a bit closer?’.
The flesh finally dried up enough to split, leaving a gooey, odd smelling substance oozing out of the sack; it appeared to be a combination of some clear liquid with clots of blood throughout. Then the fear hit. The blood of what, exactly?
The next weird thing to exit from the flesh tonight, was what appeared to be a young mammal. The thing clawed its way out of the membrane, then attempted to come to terms with ground around it. The alien was only a meter high, if it stood straight on its hind legs, which appeared to be a more natural position for it to assume in contrast to using all 4 limbs to scuttle along the ground, as it was currently doing. It had a wide shoulder line and a surprisingly muscular body a for newborn animal, long limbs which ended in 5 digit hands, similar to that of a human, except for the addition of long claws which looked as though they may even be metal. The face was, at first thought, somewhat like that of a bulldog, but without a sagging mouth and the cute button nose, yet the skin was also tight.
However, out of all the observations one could make in a short period of time, the two most striking features were the fur coat, which was so black that it seemed to absorb the light around it, leaving the viewer uncomfortable at the appearance, as well as the eyes, which unlike the eyes of any creature of the earth, seemed to be devoid of all existence. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then this creature was defiantly devoid of all soul what so ever. The eyes were like peering into the abyss, yet you were met with nothing on the other side, merely Void.
The newborn thing had now come to its senses, proceeding to stand high on its hind legs and scanning the surrounding area. There were few things in sight to the eyes of this alien; a currently hatching birthing sack, its clan comrades emerging from said birthing sack, a strange landscape and last, but certainty not the least: dinner.
Anthony was coming to grips with himself after glancing into the eyes of the creature before him, but he was too late, he couldn’t run now, the alien locked eyes with him before stretching open its jaw. The jawline of the animal was long, seemingly hinged almost right at the rear of the skull, leaving this baby xeno with the ability to open its mouth so wide, it could probably chew dear young Angela’s head off in a single bite. It leapt, with an incredible speed, almost as though the creature was weightless, towards the hapless human in front of him. The last thing Anthony saw was the teeth, a dark silvery colour, just like that of the metallic claws the alien bore. Still unable to move, all Anthony could do was cry as the powerful jaw muscles clapped onto his face before biting hard, crushing the pitiful human skull and leaving the baby with a good flavoursome combination of nose, eyeball, human tongue, crunchy bone and mushy brain.
Nearby comrades of the alien had now caught onto the scent of their first meal, rushing out of the membrane, off the ground and through the mixture of goop and sludge in order to snag a bite out of this weird human thing. Yet, a whole 30 aliens had now emerged from the birthing sack, with more pouring out by the minute. The one still chewing on Anthony’s head was now the clan alpha, as he had made the first prey kill of the clan. This young creature understood that this lone human wouldn’t be enough to feed the 50 or so in his clan, so more prey must now be found. Stepping away from his dinner, leaving 2 smaller clan males to take his place, turned to his nose in order to seek out more food for his clan.
‘Ahhh, there…’ it thought to itself, both the scent and the psychic signature of more humans was noticeable, ‘that way, into the tall plants, more food!’ it thought, sensing the presence of two young humans only 80 meters away. The Clan leader then stood as tall as he could, towering a grand meter about the ground, before letting out a screech so loud and so piercing that it could have turned away a family of bears. Most of the clan perched up, looking to their leader for guidance, while a few finished off the last of Anthony’s body, attempting to pick the fabric out of their sharp teeth. The clan leader merely turned to the forest and began galloping towards their next meal, satisfied as he heard his fellow clan members join in on his hunt. For the next course of dinner? The poor adolescent humans in that fabricated orange dome structure…..
4:26 AM, 12th of January, 1942
Gadaffi Barracks, Jinja, Uganda
Corporal Archie McGraw couldn’t believe his
eyes. Just a few nights ago, a series of flaming objects fell from the sky. He
hadn’t thought a thing of it at the time, but now, death had come knocking on
the front gate of the military base. Here he was, in the middle of the car park near the front
admin building,sitting behind one of the expensive officer’s vehicles,
clutching onto the Lee-Enfield Cavalry Carbine Mk I as though it was the
only thing binding his existence to the world. He could hear the snarling of
the black creatures on the other side of the 2.5 meter tall fence.
What Archie couldn’t understand, was why he was still alive. He was awoken just moments ago by screaming in the bunk above him, screams of “It’s in my head! Get it out! GET IT OUT!!!” had shocked him awake, before the screaming was cut off by the loud crunching sound that one’s skull would make as if torn open by someone from the inside. Somebody else had clicked on the lights, revealing the state the rest of the barracks was in, before his head met a similar fate to that of the man in the bunk above Archie. The good corporal abruptly left his bed, finding that the 20 beds in the barracks contained men either screaming themselves to death, paralysed, fitting uncontrollably or with their head mauled from the inside out.
Naturally, Archie left the bunk building, only to be greeted with a drooling snarl from a creature just outside the fence. While the fence was only a few meters away from the building, the eyes of the alien seemed to be much further away, much more devoid than the empty space between them. He ran for his life, the base was under attack, he had to defend himself and defend his post. Even if he’d transferred to a colony distinctly so he didn’t have to fight the Nazi’s, he was left with no other options. After retrieving a rifle and 2 clips of ammo from the armoury, he promptly made his way to the front gate. If that gate went, so did the base. Upon his arrival, however, he was met with a sudden realisation. The pack of drooling animals on their hind legs, their black fur even blacker than the night, with claws of steel and eyes of nothing, were most certainly going to break down that gate.
The claws these xenos bore must have been made of some kind of dense metal, for they were making short work of the chain link fence with them. This was it. This is where Archie would die. Accepting that fact, he gave up his fear, knowing somewhere deep down in his heart that this truly was the end. But surely nobody expected him to go down without a fight. Using the bonnet of the car for stability’s sake, Archie leveled the weapon towards the biggest, meanest looking alien he could see. Even then obscured by the front sight post on his rifle, the eyes of this creature seemed to contain nothing, not even a shard of life. He wondered if he could really kill one.
The flash from the muzzle lit up the surrounding area for a moment, the .303 caliber rifle round left the rifle with a velocity of 744 meters in a second, more than enough to cover the length of the short car park before the sound even reached his ears. The 180 grain projectile entered through the eye socket of the xeno with little fuss, before removing a fist sized chunk of bone, brain and blood from the back of it’s now lifeless head. The sound hit Archie’s ears just as the corpse slumped to the floor. One down.... At least another thirty to go.
‘No, he won’t get another kill...’ thought the clan leader of this horde of xenos, impressed that the pitiful human had even managed to kill one of his clan. This human had stood up to their psychic assault and was now trying to stand against their brute force. The alpha snarled as he shoved his way to the front of the pack. ‘Time to end this and eat.’ he thought to himself as he gripped the chain holding the gate together, tearing it off in a graceful sweep of his arm. The pack surged forwards, eager to dig into their fresh food. Eager to devour this entire continent, human by human.