OmniWar: Horsemen

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In the Cephei War of 2981, humanity fought the Cephei (a humanoid reptilian race) over territory. On one of the colonies, Theta 7, Private (Pvt.) Peyton Hanson, in his Phase type VII, Next (NXT) generation suit, ducked down behind a small embankment to avoid an explosion.

Peyton Hanson is a Myrmidon, like every other genetically enhanced soldier in the United Earth Command (UEC). The procedure enhances everything from durability to endurance. Reaction time is increased to the point where it’s nearly impossible to surprise them.

The suits, Guyver/Iron Man-like in appearance, are generalized for different bodies and worn from head to toe. Each suit increases strength, speed, senses, and armor with each type improving on the last.

The Cephei had suits as well, but they were not nearly as advanced as the UEC. Cephei suits only had armor to protect them. UEC’s provided that and a personal, rechargeable shield that could temporarily block projectiles as long as it wasn’t a melee attack or from a high powered rifle; those were one hitter quitters.

In Peyton’s case, he wore the war load out or WAR variant, one of many. Each suits’ helmet had a visor, differing between types, and a head-up display (HUD) showing information adequate to the scenario.

The suits utilized zero-space, with their own little, round, green nodes on the hands and forearms. It is similar to virtual computer space and actually limited to a degree, but is capable of housing all of a suit’s weapons and tools. The suit, weapons, or tools phase quickly in or out of existence depending on what the individual wants via neural interlink. It was only called ‘zero-space’ because the item took up no space in the real world when phased in.

Right now, Peyton needed a grenade to toss back. He phased one in his hand, armed and tossed it. His HUD displayed an incoming hi-priority message, when he accessed it, his Colonel (Col.) popped up on his visor as a small image, “Private, this is Col. Randolph, report back to base and find me for a mission of the utmost importance. Col. Randolph, over and out.”

It was dark, kinetic bullets and plasma bolts were flying in all directions with explosions here and there. Peyton carefully moved through the embankment among the ruins of a city, moving around bodies and Myrmidons still fighting. Once in a while, in the distance, he would see brief clusters of light beaming Myrmidons down or up. This was a feature of the NXT generation of suits. Instead of using shuttles to land, a transport ship or any military ship can beam up or down people rapidly. A teleporter on a ship sent a person down at a very high speed, slowing about two feet from the ground for a ‘soft’ landing. If someone wanted to go up they just needed to call and be outside with a capable ship in orbit, above them.

In the clear, Peyton dashed to the base. Inside, he phased off his helmet. He was young, had short black hair, hazel eyes, and an overall rugged look. On his neck and just behind the ears were small nodes, surgically attached and glowing green. These are what allowed Peyton to phase his suit in or out around his body. Every Myrmidon had these around the neck, behind the ears, chest, back, shoulders, elbows, hands, knees, and feet.

The base was busy with people trying to do their jobs. Peyton went downstairs and through a hallway. It was in a large room, the command center, he found the Col. right where he expected. Col. Randolph barked out an order to advance as Peyton walked up to him and saluted, “Private Peyton Hanson, reporting for duty, sir.”

The Col. wrapped one arm around Peyton and began walking, “Private, we have intel saying there’s a Cephei tank heading our way from the east. Now I don’t have to tell you the damage that thing can cause if it gets here; Which is why I’m asking you to carry a special load out and intercept that tank before it gets here. I could order you to do it, but this is an especially dangerous mission.”

Peyton didn’t hesitate to turn to the Col. and give a quick salute, “Yes, sir. Just point me the right direction.’

“Great!” Col. Randolph said, “Report to the armory on the double.”

“Yes, sir.” Peyton said.

The Cephei tank was heavily armed, several stories tall, and impervious to all but the heaviest of weapons. It moved at an average speed thanks to the five hover generators underneath, four around a central large one. It even had its own decks, filled with soldiers.

Peyton knew what was involved. When he got to the armory he quickly began to phase out weapons and discard them to make room until he had nothing but a few weapons, some batteries, grenades, and a lot of ammunition.

Kinetic weapons didn’t use gunpowder so you could double the ammunition, fire faster, and shoot just as far. When fired, the sound they made was like smacking two bricks together, and there was no flash. The projectiles, made of a composite, magnetic, hard metal, were chambered against a strong magnet, with a weak magnet on the other side. When the trigger was pulled, it turned off the strong magnet and the weak magnet pulled the projectile along a rail with more magnets of ever increasing strength propelling the projectile so fast that by the time it left the chamber it was as deadly as any bullet, maybe even more so. Plus, the ones on cannons were nearly undetectable without a special radar. Indicators on the weapon told the user what was needed, and it was powered by a replaceable battery.

An officer approached Peyton and shook his hand, “Call me Bill. Ready? It’s in the next room. Follow me.”

Peyton went to where the giant bomb was waiting. It was as big as a man. There was also a hoverbike. The room had some people chattering, few buttons, and a lot of holographic computers. Some people were on the computers, using their minds as the interface and pushing away at virtual buttons.

“You ever use one of these?” Bill asked Peyton of the bomb.

“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Peyton replied, “It’s an HX-22 bomb that can take out a few buildings.”

“Precisely,” Bill said, “Just place it next to the tank, set the timer, and get your ass out of there fast with this hoverbike. We couldn’t get a transport ship on such short notice, but with this hoverbike, you won’t need one.”

Peyton placed his hands on the bomb and hoverbike to let the nodes on his suit phase them in.

“Ok, you’re ready,” Bill said, “Good luck, Pvt.”

Peyton phased his helmet on and moved out. It was as if he was carrying nothing. Outside, he hastily moved across the battlefield. An explosion sent heavy rubble onto him and knocked him down. His comrades had taken cover; everyone’s shield protected them. Peyton easily climbed out and scanned around for any nearby Cephei. He didn’t see any and his comrades did their best to provide cover fire.

Peyton made his way to a small field where he quickly phased out his hoverbike and took off. The hoverbike moved swiftly with only a faint humming sound. He still saw the occasional tracer, plasma bolt, or explosion, and didn’t really know or care if any of it was for him. All he cared about at the moment was getting to the other side as fast as possible.

Once there, Peyton got off the hoverbike and phased it in. He had his HUD display a map of the area and show suspected enemy locations. One was nearby. He moved around through the ruins cautiously and had his visor go into thermal imaging mode.

Peyton could see four heat signatures grouped around the corner. He carefully moved into a position where he had a great vantage looking down on them. They were Cephei, Peyton didn’t know what they were up to, and they seemed hunkered down around a turret.

Peyton then noticed the Cephei position overlooked a wide area. It was a good position, too good to leave in enemy hands. All he had was his suit and the element of surprise. One grenade would do the trick, but then he might destroy valuable military intelligence. He phased out a KP7A2 submachine gun (SMG), jumped down on the Cephei beneath him and took him hostage. He quickly shot and killed one as the other two scrambled back and went for weapons. Peyton killed another about to take aim. The last Cephei wildly fired a three round burst at Peyton, one blast hit his shield and was absorbed. The other two blasts hit and killed his hostage. Peyton held his hostage tight and killed the last Cephei with his SMG.

Once Peyton was sure everyone was dead he dropped his hostage. He quickly checked the dead Cephei for any military intel and found a map. Peyton’s HUD translated everything on it. He was in one of many Cephei defensive fighting positions (DFP). The map also showed where the Cephei base was. It wasn’t far, near the edge, one city over.

Starting to cross Peyton’s field of view (FOV) was the Cephei tank. He started getting ideas - he could take out the tank or use the bomb to take out the base. It was a hard decision. If he could take out the base it would probably end the war, but then he’d be disobeying his order to destroy the tank. The thought of finally ending the war and saving human lives was too overwhelming. The base had to be eliminated.

Peyton carefully bypassed the tank, moving through the ruins. When he came to a road, he phased out his hoverbike and moved on. The map, now on his visor, allowed him to avoid any DFP’s. He eventually had to use a desolate highway to get to the next city. On an overpass, he could see the base among the ruins.

The Cephei base had some turrets, a few one-man patrols, and the occasional drop-off or pick up by transport ships, but that was it. Peyton made sure to stay out of the FOV of the turrets as he crept up. The Cephei were keeping things low-key, but the map showed this to be a major base of operations. He didn’t even have to worry about spotlights and his visor showed no mines.

As Peyton got closer, one patrol approached dangerously close. He hid in the dark and when the time was right, he grabbed the Cephei from behind and quickly snapped his neck before dragging the body in the shadows.

Peyton stood next to the base, phased out the bomb, and set the timer at just one minute. He phased out his hoverbike and went back the way he came as fast as possible. An alarm went off and several patrols fired upon him, all of them missing and never realizing a bomb was about to go off. When it did detonate, it completely destroyed the base and surrounding area.

The hoverbike flipped from the concussion. Peyton fell to the ground but was ok. He sat up to see the aftermath. Peyton could relax - No more base, no one was after him, or shooting at him. The hoverbike only sustained minor damage and that was from the flip. Peyton was able to get back on leave. There was no resistance on the way back and no sign of the tank.

When Peyton got back to base or what was left of it, all he saw were a lot of fires and light beams. The base was busy with people helping the wounded or searching for survivors. Shuttles came and went. There was no fighting so Peyton phased off his helmet and looked around. The base was in shambles, and in the distance was the Cephei tank finally being destroyed by bombers.

Peyton rummaged through the base where he saw people evacuating or being carried out on stretchers. He ran into a shaggy Bill trying to leave.

“The tank devastated us, but then the Cephei just stood down.” Bill said.

“It might have something to do with me taking out their base.” Peyton said.

“That’d do it,” Bill replied. “We can take our Myrmidons here and reinforce our lines elsewhere. Without that base, they should be easy to mop up. You might have just ended this war.”

Just then Peyton spotted an injured Col. being carried out on a stretcher.

“Be happy,” Bill added. “You’re a hero.”

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