A Chronoverse Short
Written by Xial in 2014
Sometimes, it’s all about being in the flow of battle.
One must be able to set aside thoughts of peace and let that internal rage engine fire up with the fury of beasts scorned, and be prepared to wade into battle, forging channels through gouts of sanguine essences.
I feel that it’s difficult, sometimes, to let go of that level of sentience that allows one to walk above that base instinct, to be above the need to kill or be killed.
The chemicals help.
Once more, I am sent into battle, clad in hexadronum armor and wielding another hundred fifty kilogram implement of death, the barrel of my sliverbore assault gun rotating rapidly as it sprays small fragments of technetium downfield. It’s a dirty, dangerous thing to do, but this mission was flagged as ‘salt the soil’. If the slivers of metal didn’t manage to kill the poor bastards, the radiation poisoning surely should finish them off.
Normally, I am above this. I’m a quiet person, prone to loving others around me, happy to help, to heal and nurture.
The heat of the fight, however, brings those baser instincts forward, and all I can do is bellow into my helmet as the HUD glows in amber, overlaying an objective map over my right eye, and providing tactical data to the left. I have enough ammunition in this assault gun to level tens of thousands without even stopping to reload.
The coils attached to my boots help to provide additional power to all of my suit systems as I stomp my way forward slowly, pushed back by the sheer velocity and volume of my assault gun.
All around me, the stench of death, of sickness and pain saturate the air. At some level, I know I honestly cannot smell it through the suit, being sealed thoroughly inside the three centimeter thick body armor and helmet, but the chemicals help.
I must be a horrifying sight to these lousy suckers, a giant among their ranks, laying waste to countless souls, the painted jaws on my helmet ‘opening’ to an endless abyss, that mouth painted with a black so dark and foreboding that it seems that light gets lost around it, surrounded with sharply designed glowing teeth. That rude red glow may be the last thing some of these poor blights upon the soil see, and for some reason that I cannot understand… it makes me glad.
Occasionally, my HUD lights up with a feedback light, drawing my attention to some seemingly impossible angle, and I just calmly turn about on my heels, letting go of the aperture opening switch of my sliverbore, but keeping the barrel rotation lever depressed. A roar resounds in my helmet, and it sounds familiar. It’s my voice as I wish a horrible death upon a father, or a son, or in a few cases, a daughter or mother. I cringe a little until that sound disappears.
The chemicals and the decimating output from the sliverbore’s barrel help.
The world is a sanguine haze, and only I can part that cloud, bathing the world in poisoned blood as I stalk forward. I can barely make out the multiple alerts lighting up in my HUD, even with the neurolink doing its best to draw my attention, trying to move me to safety.
Several somethings pling off my armor, and hard, knocking my left shoulder back, knocking my dorsal to one side, slapping my foot roughly, and even hitting me right between the eyes. The deadglass lens system is perhaps what saved my life, even as the lead-based round smashed against the glass and shattered.
It was a magic laced round.
Deadglass simply doesn’t fuck around with that namby pamby magic shit. It eats it like I eat breakfast. It was very interesting, watching that piece of ballistic work smash against the glass, changing colors and turning into so much dust. It made me thankful that that layer of deadly glass was suspended away from my own flesh, even as I watched it devour the very essences that surrounded that slug that tried to put me down.
However, the fact that someone tried to put me down with a shot placed squarely between my eyes only exacerbated the situation, the accelerant flooding my system with additional rage and energy. I could feel time dilate around me, and that base instinct surfacing with a mental rush as my eyes also dilate.
A loud THUMP accompanied the dropping of 150 kilos of plasteel and technetium to the broken plascrete under my feet, only to be followed by the drawing of a pair of paddles attached to my lower back. These paddles overlaid my hands, these giant hands of mine, and locked into place with a solid click-clank. It was only a couple of seconds, according to the wallclock on my HUD, but it was also accompanied by a few things.
The coils on my legs started to glow, linked to the boots, and now unencumbered by the extra weight of the sliverbore assault gun, I launch with a footplant, a twist, and the unmistakable report of a coildrive boot rapidly spooling up and thrusting nearly five hundred kilograms of enraged shark at the nearest target. The paddles on my hands glowed ominously as I reached the first target, grabbing the poor sod by their skull in one hand.
I know I whispered something to the screaming defiant fucker in my grasp, but I know it couldn’t have been remembered or recalled. I squeezed this person’s head in a gauntlet-covered hand, turning their skull into so much mush despite the helmet that tried to protect this bastard from my rage, before flinging the remains at the next target, only twenty meters away.
That body hit the ground under the impact of a body moving several meters per second smashing into them. My throw is comparable to a freight train delivery, and that asshole was the station. Next stop? Crushed Ribcage Central at Punctured Lung Avenue.
Oh, world, the chemicals helped.
The other two targets were far enough away that I’d have trouble throwing something or reaching them, the snipers perched up on a building.
I did what any self-respecting living war machine would do when faced with a seemingly impossible situation.
I pointed my gun fingers at them.
The toropolo cores in each gauntlet began to sing in their amber-blue hue and tone. Each core spooled up power from the auxiliary coildrive buffers in my boots and suit, my fingertips glowing with bright blue and amber points, arms shaking as power is transferred from buffer to tips.
I bellowed one word as I pointed.
The world went milky white as I pulled the trigger on my gun fingers, the charge unleashed from the toropolo gauntlets sufficient enough to bore a three meter hole into each building approximately where my targets were.
Blinded momentarily from my own firepower, the HUD directed me via neurolink connection to safety, pulling me back toward my sliverbore assault gun. I barely registered picking up the weapon and walking backward toward the rank and file of the troops I had been supporting.
The cooling wash of the purging nanites helps in bringing me down from the accelerant-induced rage. The scent of blood starts to fade, bringing the roaring lust for dealing death back under its plasteel-toed boot and pinning it down firmly to keep it in check.
The thanks I receive from my much shorter squadmates just feel hollow, but the hands clapping me on my lower back, the shouts, and the thumbs ups from the crew come for several seconds as they wander forward into the remnants of the fray.
We’ll extract from this theater shortly, but the thoughts, the screams, and the scents, no matter how fake they were, will linger on in my head forever. I’m not going to forget the feeling of crushing a man’s skull through a helmet, either.
I was bred for war, but all I long for in secret is peace.
… and a tiny, colorful pony.
~End Journal Entry and Encrypt.~