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[{(Chapter One: "Better things to fear now.")}]

"Watch your language, vixen."

"Piss off, nonuts." Azazelle spat as she ground her cigarette into the ground with a booted paw. She barely spared her watchmate a perfunctory glance, walking back to her official post as though she were going to beat the hell out of it. The strapping young lad standing at the post opposite hers sighed, watching her. She looked over her shoulder and saw him. Her lips drew back in a feral snarl as she flung her canteen at him.

"And quit staring, you freak!"

A scowling PFC Grey barely dodged the flying canister, sighed, and then, shaking his head, wandered away from his post a bit.

"So...'Azzy'," Grey enunciated with considerable contempt, "Why are you so rude to everyone? You act like the world owes you something."

The black-furred vixen leaned against the wall, looking her watchmate right in the eyes, level-on, even though he was in a reinforced suit of power armor and she was wearing merely a heavy suit of ballistic armor.

"The world DOES owe me something. You were born, not whelped."

"I thought you 'zoomorphs' were supposed to be superior to us 'normies'. S'what you've always said."

She whipped off of the wall like a tapestry caught in a sudden wind and before he realized he was under siege, he felt a cold circlet of steel, the barrel of her sidearm, on his throat. They matched eyes, and stayed like that for some time before she let off, holstering her gun with a toothy smirk.

"You'd have died without firing a shot. Now tell me we're not superior."

Grey was unimpressed. "I never said you weren't. But what makes being a 'morph such a disadvantage?" This brought a disdainful snort from his companion.

"As much as I hate to admit it, Grey, you're not a complete fucking dumbass. Figure it out. Everyone hates us. All you humans fear us, because we're better than you."

"We don't fear you."

Azazelle smirked and shook her head as she walked out to the edge of the small mesa they were standing on, her inky fur almost solid in the sick red hue of the sky. She could see the horizon lighting up with explosions, the malicious aliens burning up what was left of Los Alamos.

"Besides, there're better things to fear now," PFC Grey called out to her. "Come back to your post."

"Oh, eat me, asscan." She kneeled at the very edge of the mesa, surveying their surroundings. "It's not like there's anyone left to come get us anyway."

"You don't know that. Don't say that."

Azazelle sighed, and stood, walking leisurely back to her post, picking up her canteen (which had bounced off of the wall behind PFC Grey) on the way. She unscrewed the cap from the metal container, and took a healthy drink, wiping her muzzle with the sleeve of her ballistic armor, and setting the bottle aside. She leaned against the wall again, regarding Grey with a bored look.

"Now you're the one staring."

Azazelle rolled her eyes, suddenly very interested in either her crossed arms or her cleavage, one.

Grey eyed her curiously for a moment, before directing his gaze at the huge steel doors to the elevator which would take them below, to the outlying barracks. It was a stupid idea, he remarked mentally, to put them out here. Six soldiers at a time, in centrifugally-placed guard stations, buried deep within the earth, disguised as mesas. He wondered at the logistics which were behind the idea, but considered that it was probably a good thing, since it gave them a place to take refuge while the main base was demolished by the hellish invaders. He started to ponder what he'd do next until Lance Corporal Darque de-railed his train of thought.

"I hate being on watch with you. You're so goddamn boring." He looked at her, scowling as she stepped out of the small overhang of the doorway, stretching her back, her arms outstretched over her head. "At least Bartido is nice to look at, even if he is even stupider than he looks. You're not even cute enough to make up for your lack of intelligence."

PFC Grey frowned. "That was uncalled for."

"So was your birth."

Grey shook his head and chuckled. "You know, I don't think anyone ever wondered why you got kicked off of Phobos." This earned him a cold silence as she crossed her chest with one arm, holding the elbow of her other arm, which rubs her neck.

After a moment, she responded, very softly. "I didn't get kicked off Phobos." Her watchmate looked at her curiously, puzzled by this strange change in her demeanor as she looked down at her watch. She turned to her left, picking up her dented canteen and her rifle, then walked towards the door.

"I got kicked off Deimos."

Grey watched her walk in the door, then furrowed his brow, and walked in after her. She avoided his gaze as he boarded the heavy-duty elevator, and he decided not to pry.

[{(Chapter One End)}]
Azazelle Darque - Foxmorph - Lance Corporal
Coming from a mysterious and broken past, she is very bitter about her race and her previous life. Noone really even knows if that's her real name, as nobody by that name was ever shipped to Deimos. She was apparently a much higher rank, but got busted back down to E-3 when she was removed from the Deimos research facility to the Los Alamos research base on Earth. A jet-black werefox, she has an excellent figure and her fur is always glossy and brushed - she rarely lets herself get disheveled; even so, she's not a priss by any means. She's wicked-vicious in unarmed and melee combat, excelling with knives and, interestingly enough, chains, and her aim is impeccable. Some say she's the first cybernetically enhanced zoomorph, but there hasn't been any evidence to support it other than her violently volatile disposition and supernatural speed. Her preferred sidearm is a Thor Heavy Industries TH13 17mm bullpup pistol, with the optional full-automatic mode and twenty-five shot magazine, and her primary weapons are a Stoner 5.56mm LMG (modified to remove the stock and shorten the barrel) with a specially modified M203 underbarrel grenade launcher, and a Winchester WA8200 4mm railcannon. She can usually be seen in a tight-fitting jumpsuit, or her standard-issue heavy combat armor. All of her attitude lies within and all of her equipment lies upon a slender frame which stands well-over two meters tall - perhaps 220, 225CM - and masses perhaps 120KG.

Elias Grey - Human - Private First Class
Elias' service in the military was predestined the moment he was born to rich parents, his mother a diplomat and his father a high-ranking career military man. He originally rebelled against them, running away to become a lawyer, but he wasn't quite cut out for law school, and unwilling to take a menial job in the service industry, went home and entered military service. Normally, he'd have started out as a commissioned officer, but since he severed his ties with his parents, he ended up (much to his chagrin) in a low-ranking enlisted posiition. He reestablished communication with his father soon afterwards, however, who, while unwilling to get his son advanced, was able to get him a 'cushy' job at Los Alamos. He's not especially skilled in anything (even though he does have lots of useful skills), really, although being around guns his whole life has made him a pretty good shot, and growing up with two older brothers made him a scrapper. He prefers to tromp around in his THP77 heavy power-armor (ending up looking a lot like a marine from Starcraft), which has a 7.62mm rotary cannon mounted in one arm, an exotic plasmasabre in the other arm, and a ten-shot rocket pack on either shoulder. Elias is normally quite unimpressive, perhaps 172CM and 75KG, but he is pretty wiry, and quite strong for his mass. A caucasian of British descent, he is very fair-skinned, and his hair is brown, much like the shade of milk chocolate, and the shade of his eyes.

[{(Chapter Two: "I hate this place almost as much as I hate them.")}]

PFC Brookshire groaned as he heard the high-speed elevator hit the bottom of the shaft. They'd only been there a day, and already he was fed up with her ego and her attitude - and he knew he wasn't the only one. But, since she was the ranking non-com, he could do little more than groan. He watched the door, his boots put up on the table, leaned back in his chair. He tried to smile as the door opened, and PFC Grey was the first out, giving PFC Brookshire a curt nod before walking to his quarters. Joseph started to get up and walk to his quarters, but he was stopped by Corporal Darque.

"Hey Joey. C'mere."

"What, Darque?" He looked irritated, and she frowned.

"Don't be a shit."

"Don't be such a bitch, and I won't. Sir.."

She growled, and grabbed his collar, snarling into his face. "Don't start with me, Brookshire. I'll take you topside and toss you off this fucking rock." She threw him back down on the ground, and he landed painfully on the metal surface. Teeth gritted, he stood, and brushed himself off, trying to regain some shred of dignity. She snorted.

"Get everyone assembled and ready to leave in an hour." He looked at her quizzically, angrily, and she quirked a brow questioningly back at him, which earned her a grudging nod. She smirked, and walked to her quarters, touching a furless finger-pad to the biosensor by the door to open it. She surveyed her quarters, and then stepped inside, careful of her luxurious tail.

"I hate this fucking place." She slipped out of her combat gear, putting her armor on the auto-cleaning rack built into the wall, and her combat harness directly below it. She sniffed once, and realized she was quite rank, mentally commenting that it was rather nice that her armor stopped any sort of scents from coming out or in, then unzipped her jumpsuit in the front just as there was a knock on her door. She started to zip back up, and then sighed, merely opening the door. "What?"

PFC Grey recoiled slightly from her stink, and looked up at the vixen's face, and then down, and then down, and blushed slightly, now out of his armor, too. She rolled her eyes.

"What, Elias? Did you come to ogle me or did you have something important to say?" Now it was his turn to roll his eyes.

"I just wanted to see if you wanted to talk for a minute." She cocked her head slightly and looked down at him, uncharacteristically self-consciously pulling one side of her unzipped jumpsuit closer to her center and frowning slightly.

"Ah...no. Later, maybe." She shut the door abruptly, in his face, and then leaned against it, shaking her head.

What the hell was that about?

Azazelle spared little thought on the matter. She shed her uniform quickly, letting it crumple messily on the floor, and then stepped over to her shower, turning the water on to a very hot setting.

"Fucking desert. I hate dust."

A quick feel the water revealed it'd be a moment before the temperature picked up enough to really clean up with. She closed the shower door, and laid out a clean uniform, complete with clean socks and even underwear, a privilege she rarely indulged in. She smirked at something, and then stepped into the shower, wincing slightly as the searing water soaked into her fur.

"No shampoo. Figures; cheap-ass human military quartermasters." She sighed, applying the harsh bar soap to her fur. It'd been a few days since her last shower, and she'd trekked several miles across the northern New Mexico desert since then. The cheap soap would tear up her fur, but right now, it felt good to wash the dirt, sand, and sweat out of her fur - it could've been kerosene for all she cared. She moaned softly to herself.

Aliens or demons? It's like a goddamned videogame. I always hated video games. Andrzej used to play a lot of video games. I bet he'd know what to do here.

Azazelle mused idly about her younger brother as she cleansed her calves. He was probably dead now, she supposed. Not that she cared, or at least, not that she'd let herself care.

She did care, in retrospect, and she knew she did. But caring is worlds different from relevance. And she knew it didn't matter. She'd watched the demons (Demons? Aliens are less frightening.) tear apart her only friend in the world on Deimos, and she knew why they sent her here, and why this team had been assembled. Because they were the only ones who would be able to stop the invasion.

She turned off the water, and leaned against the wall, wiping her muzzle. Anyone who looked at her would never know she was crying, but it annoyed the hell out of her either way. A blow-dryer remedied the issue.

After over 50 hours of dead heat, the red, silken panties felt cool against her bare skin of her loins. She murred to herself softly, and slipped into her kevlar-laced "uniform", the jumpsuit that all heavy infantry wore under their armor. She always liked the way it conformed to the wearer's body, and for some reason, she mused, it felt especially appropriate now. She fluffed her hair as she walked over to check the timer on the armor's hypersonic cleaning unit - 12 minutes. She started to check her weapons when she was interrupted with a knock at her door. Sighing irritably, she opened the pastel-green door (Just like everything else in this installation. I swear the military has a hard-on for this crappy green.) with a touch of the biosensor, to be greeted with a saluting PFC Brookshire.

"Sir, private first class Brookshire reporting for duty as requested, sir!" Azazelle frowned slightly, and gave a mock salute, turning around to sit on her bunk.

"Don't call me sir, you shit. You know better than that. At ease." PFC Brookshire stepped into the room, shoving his hands into the roomy pockets on either side of his armored jumpsuit, more to keep himself from trying to strangle the jet fox. "Where's your armor?"

"It's being washed." She gave him a look which was both quizzical and annoyed.

"You haven't been on duty in like 18 hours. You couldn't have washed your armor before that?" He shrugged.

"I didn't."

Azazelle growled, holding the pistol she was cleaning in one hand, very tightly, and the tool kit in the other, clenching both so fiercely that the tool kit crumpled in her paw, and the sidearm groaned with the sound of bent metal. A tiny rivulet of blood ran down her lip as her wickedly-shaped teeth clenched in barely-contained rage. She calmly set the destroyed weapon on the bed, next to her, and then the tool kit on her other side, and stood, speaking to an extremely blanched PFC Brookshire, her voice quiet and even, but with a slight tremulous tone, the only indication of her anger.

"Joseph, if that kind of drag-ass, lackluster, careless behavior gets me killed when we make our incursion to LANL, you'll have only yourself to blame."

Joey took a step back, away from her, and after hearing and processing what she said, he snorted once, scowling. "I hope some freakish monster kills your furry ass. Then I won't have to listen to you bit-" He caught himself, and then took another step back, watching her. He knew she was going to tear him apart, limb from limb.

But she didn't. She merely stood, watching him for a moment, then coughed once, and sat down on her bed again, tossing the ruined tool kit and sidearm into the waste bin by her bed after ejecting the magazine from the pistol. Her voice was barely a whisper when she said, "Fine. But if I do get killed, you'll die too." He frowned, defiantly.

"I can defend myself." She shook her head, her response almost official, totally impersonal.

"Go get in your armor and make sure everyone else is ready, especially that Bartido jackoff."

Brookshire watched her for a second, then turned around, walking out. "Whacked-out freak." Azazelle looked up at him as he left, growling again, but said nothing until he was out the door.

"I hate this place almost as much as I hate them."

[{(Chapter Two End)}]

Joseph Brookshire - Cyborg - Private First Class
Joey is the stereotypical white trash kid. He was born and raised in a lower-middle-class white human neighborhood, and like Elias, he followed his father into military service. He got his first cybernetic modification as soon as he joined up, at 16, and never looked back. In the four years since then, he's gotten many and varied modifications, including extensive muscle augmentation and replacement, as well as an expensive, experimental "move-by-wire" system, which he is testing for the military. He is extremely strong, fast, and agile, for his admittedly modest bulk and physical fitness, mostly due to his mechanical augmentations. He stands an imposing 180CM tall, and masses over 140KG, although this is largely due to his extensive cybernetic modification. With light blonde hair and fair skin, he looks extremely Nordic. Joseph was originally in light drop, but he gradually became too large and too heavy to fit in a drop pod, and instead of moving to a position in an armor unit like was originally suggested to him, he opted to join the heavy infantry. He typically forsakes the heavy power armor favored by the large majority of heavy infantry for the lighter, more manuverable 'turtleshell' armor, much as Azazelle wears, and though he's skilled with virtually any weapon, he prefers high-caliber automatic rifles and also high-explosives. Joey wasn't even stationed at LANL - he only met up with the rest of the group recently, as he was on his way TO LANL, via military helicopter, when the vehicle he was riding in was shot down. He managed to get away from the burning wreckage with all his parts and all of his equipment, and was picked up by Azazelle and her unit on the way to the outpost.

[{(Chapter Three: There's a lot of things you don't know about me.)}]

Azazelle slipped on her combat harness and secured it down, around her armor, and then holstered both her sidearms, all three of her submachineguns, and slung her railcannon, carrying her customized M249 in one hand. She wrapped her lucky chain around one arm, securing it to the little hook she'd added to her armor's sleeve, and then finally, hung the belted 40mm ammunition for her grenade launcher around her neck and one shoulder. It rested snugly under her pack, the last thing she put on.

She looked herself over in the mirror on the wall. Her facefur wasn't brushed, she noticed, but decided that at this point, it probably wouldn't matter in a few hours anyway. She primed her LMG and then stepped out of her room, into the main area, her armor's helmet under one arm, her LMG in the other.

There was a flurry of activity when she entered the room. Everyone had gathered in the central area, and when she stepped out of her quarters, they all stood, saluting. She hardly returned the salute, her hands full, and smirked. "At ease." It was good to be the ranking non-com.

"Most of you have realized that we're about to try and make our way into LANL." She surveyed the room with her eyes, looking for responses, and she got only affirmative nods and grunts. "Most of you have also realized that you will probably die." Utter silence. "We're not doing this because we want to, and we sure as hell haven't been ordered to do this. But I'm ordering you to do this." Time to drop the bomb, Aux.

"LANL, disguised as a public facility, is actually a major weapons research division of the United States DoD. Most of you already knew that - that's why there are so many of us uniformed-types here. But what you don't know is that LANL is also the control center for the US's K-Sat system."

"K-sats? I thought those were outlawed by the UN?" Azazelle looked annoyed, and cast her gaze at Private Bartido. "So were shotguns. What's that you're carrying?" He looked down at his Beretta M3P, and then blinked, looking at her. She rolled her eyes, and continued.

"If the creatures get ahold of our killer satellite system, then there won't really be anything we can do to stop them. We have to capture that facility." This elicited a laugh from PFC Brookshire, which earned him a hard glare from his CO.

"Azzy, look, we know we're badasses and all, but you expect a team of us six to go in there and clean this place out? It's SWARMING with demons by now. There's no way. We don't have the firepower or the ammo." She let him finish, and then set her helmet and LMG on the table, leaning way over it, close to him. He could feel her hot breath on his face, and leaned back slightly. She leaned in even closer, her voice quiet, but still loud enough for everyone to hear.

"You have a better plan?" He watched her, and then looked around to see if he had any support in his mutinous rebellion. All of his compatriots seemed awfully concerned with other affairs, like cleaning that one little niche in their armor, or stripping their weapons. He looked back at Azazelle, who was ever-so-slightly smirking, now.

"Fuck yeah, I've got a better idea!" He stood, shoving his chair back with the back of his knees, and Azazelle stood, matching his height easily. "How about we take those APCs downstairs, haul ass out this joint to Morgan AFB, and get some fuckin' backup?" He inclined his head defiantly at Azazelle, who shook her head piteously.

"You dipshit. You fucking moron." She looked up at Joey, and then snarled, "IF WE DON'T CAPTURE LANL SOON, THERE WON'T BE A MORGAN AFB!"

PFC Brookshire recoiled from the inflamed Zoomorph, and winced at the volume of her outburst. He looked around again, and all eyes were fixed on him. He was about to launch a retort at Azazelle when PFC Grey cleared his throat.

"She's right, you know. I don't know how she knows all that, but I've seen classified reports and there ARE k-sats up there, and it wouldn't suprise me if the controls are in LANL. It's one of the last places anyone would look, and it's a perfect explanation for why the...invaders would attack here first. Otherwise, why?" Brookshire looked over at the power-armored Elias, and sighed, then glared at Azazelle.

"How DO you know all this shit, anyway?" She shrugged.

"Wouldn't you like to know? Sit down, you stupid shit." She motioned pointedly to Brookshire, and then the floor, and after a moment, he took his chair, sitting sullenly in it.

"Here's what we're going to do."Azazelle sat back down in her chair and sighed slightly, running an armored paw up each side of her muzzle. "The two skids downstairs will get us there a hell of a lot faster than our feet will, and they're armored, so we don't have to worry about small-arms fire." Bartido cleared his throat, and Azazelle looked up at him inquisitively.

"I uh...I heard some of the uh...invaders have, you know, rockets and autocannons and stuff."

Azazelle shrugged slightly, and fidgeted idly with the zipper on the front of her jumpsuit before looking back up at him and smirking. "Then you'd better hope you're riding with a good pilot." The others exchanged glances and swallowed nervously.

"Anyway, like I was saying, this is a suicide mission." She shook her head, sitting up, putting her arms on the table, and taking off her glasses to rub the space between her eyes. "While technically, I have the authority to order all of you to come with me, I'm not going to do that, because I know so-...most of you don't like me, and besides that, you still think you might have some kind of future left. But let me tell you this. If we don't complete this mission, we're doomed. As a people."

She sighed once again, putting her glasses back on. "Who's coming?" She looked around at her fellow soldiers. PFC Grey was the first to respond, standing and saluting relaxedly.

"I'm in." Azzy nodded slightly, and then Kibur, the bear-morph, grumbled, from his corner of the table. "Wotthehell. Count me in too. I got nothin' to lose." Another curt nod from Azazelle.

Private Bartido stood also, saluting rigidly. "I am ready to die for my country." Azazelle shook her head, smirking a little, and then nodded. "Good." She looked at Private Firesk, and PFC Brookshire. "Altaxis?"

Private Firesk looked up from cleaning her gun, at Azazelle, and nodded, shrugging. "Thought it was a given." She went back to maintaining her weapon. Azazelle nodded again, then cast her gaze at PFC Brookshire. "Joey?" He didn't even look up, staring sullenly at his hands, interlocked in his lap.

Azazelle coughed, once, into her hand, watching him, and getting no response, leaned way over the table, sitting forward in her chair, her voice quiet but firm. "Joey, you don't have to go. You can take the micrograv to Morgan and get us some backup. To be frank I wouldn't really mi-"

"I'll go." He looked up at the inky vixen and shrugged, looking around quickly. "What the hell does it matter at this point? Y'know? Fuck it. Let's go." He stood, grabbing his helmet off of the table and walking toward the back of the room as Azazelle sat back in her chair. She looked at the rest of her compatriots, who slowly stood, filing towards the back of the room, to the service elevator which would take them to the garage below the facility. Elias stood, looking at Azazelle, who was taking her time putting away her glasses in a special shockproof case, and stowing them in her pack.

"I never knew you wore glasses." She stood, putting on her helmet nonchalantly, like she was going on patrol, and then nestled her LMG at her hip, looking squarely at Elias as she walked past him, towards the elevator where everyone else had already congregated. "There's a lot of things you don't know about me, Grey. Get used to it." He chuckled, and followed the shapely black shape into the elevator.

[{(Chapter Three End)}]

Altaxis Firesk - Cyborg - Private
Altaxis and Joey have a lot in common, but whereas Joey was born into poverty, Altaxis' father made sure his family wallowed in it. They were white trash and they all knew it, and her father reveled in it. She grew up in a trailer in Alabama with four brothers, all of which were bigger than she was. Her father was a drug dealer, her mother a prostitute. Every single one of her brothers was dead or in jail by the time she was 20. When she was a very young girl, Altaxis made a decision that she would always do the right thing, and this has brought her to a very successful life. She did relatively well in school, despite her family life, and won a scholarship to a minor local college. She entered the police academy there, and joined her local police department at the tender age of 19. She served with the S.W.A.T. team there for two years before deciding to join up with the military. She is extremely patriotic, and verymuch caught up in the Marines' mentality. She was originally in Light Drop, but a series of serious mental medical issues nearly got her kicked out of the service. Instead, they dropped her to E-1 (from E-10), and put her in an obscure little unit stationed in northern New Mexico, at LANL. Altaxis isn't particularly large, standing merely 165CM tall, but she's very sturdy, as her time in the military service has offered her a lot of time to work out, putting her at a very solid 90KG. She definitely stands out in a crowd, thanks to her incredible muscle tone, and her firey orange hair and eyes, a mutation. She prefers to use unarmed and melee weapons in combat, as she's not just a wonderful shot, but in situations where she has to fight long-range, she prefers to use weapons with high ammunition capacities and high rates of fire, such as submachineguns and assault rifles.

Kibur Al-Fahrad - Bearmorph - Private
Kibur knows well what it's like to grow up without any friends, because he did. Born homo ursa to middle-class bearmorph parents in suburban California, he grew up between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. He couldn't hang out with the middle-class kids because he was a 'morph, and he couldn't hang out with the other 'morph kids because he wasn't poor. But, his father was a very strong man, and taught him to be strong as well, and he stuck it out. He was a mediocre student, and when he got out, he applied to several colleges, but was not accepted at any of them due in part to both his relatively limited financial condition and to his lackluster performance in school. Disgusted, he reflected on himself and his nature for awhile, while working at a construction job to have spending money. He made a few friends while onsite, and one of his new friends, Raymond, was joining up with the Marines to escape problems in his past. Kibur, never one to fight anyone or anything, was shocked when his friend asked him to join up with him. ("At least there'll be somebody I know, man!") He told Raymond that he'd have to think about it, and talked to his parents, who, being very supportive of their son, told him that they would be delighted if he joined up for four or two years, since it would be an excellent opportunity for him to make plans for his future - and after he got out, he could go back to school! That made up his mind. He called Raymond the next day, and that evening, the two were on a bus to basic training. After his two year stint was up, Kibur decided to stay in the Marines - hey, it's peacetime anyway, and it's not such a bad job. Now, he sorely regrets his decision. Kibur's been in real combat twice, during the L.A. Insurrection of '19 and the Three-day Riot in Washington State in '20, and he did very well. He still doesn't like killing, but has no problems defending himself. Not that a 250CM, 240KG humanoid bear SHOULD have problems defending himself. He likes to keep his brown fur trimmed short, but has never been one to fuss about cleanliness. He is handsome and attractive, if one is attracted to 'morphs, and many a female has lost themself in his deep black eyes, but for whatever reason, he's never been able to get himself excited about anyone, male or female. For a time, he wondered about his sexuality, but he came to the conclusion, after much soul-searching, that he's simply not interested in sex.

Raymond Bartido - Human - Private
The bastard child of a Catholic priest and a Mexican policewoman, Raymond was illicit from the start. Even at an early age he was a little hellion, and all through junior high and high school, he was involved in gangs, drugs, and the like. He wasn't from terribly wonderful stock to begin with, and heavy drug use during his teenage years has left him virtually lobotomized, intellectually. Still, he follows orders very well, and is in excellent shape, physically. He realized his life was going nowhere when two of his best friends died in an inter-gang turf war, so he hooked up with Jones & Adams construction, but was still being plagued with problems from his past. He decided to join up with the Marines, and the burly Mexican asked his newfound best friend to join up with him. Since, it's been roses for 'Manta', as people who actually respect him call him, but they're few and far-between. At slightly under 190CM and just over 95KG, he's pretty rugged, and his rough past trained him well for military life. He's a decent shot with most any firearm, and he's an excellent fighter in hand-to-hand combat. He excels with knives, especially. He has had his eyes set on Altaxis for awhile, but she's not interested, and he's not interested in Azazelle, who is apparently interested in him.

[{(Chapter Four: "I always did like the whine of jet turbines.")}]

"Hey, Corporal. Which floor are we goin' to?" Azazelle looked over at Private Bartido, and then at the control console by her arm. She'd never been in one of these, either. It's color coded.

"The garage floor. Look at the chart." She indicated the chart on the wall behind Raymond. "Which one is it?" He turned, and looked.

"The red button." Azazelle looked down, and then smirked, and took a step to the side. "Hit it." Her squad looked at her oddly. "What?"

"You're right there! Why don't you hit it?" Azazelle scowled, and growled back. "It's not my job."

Elias rolled his eyes, and reached past Azazelle, pushing the button with an armored finger. Azazelle looked at him, and he smiled fakely, standing back in the corner. Raymond frowned, and shook his head. "Perra loca..." Azazelle
smirked over at him, and replied. "Crazy like a fox, perhaps?" Private Bartido looked up at her, and blinked, and she laughed.

Afterwards, the elevator ride down to the garage was heavy with a pregnant silence. The elevator itself made several disconcerting creaky noises, as it had spent quite some time in disuse, but it slowly revved to life and the crochety electric motor started to lower the elevator and its occupants to the garage level. Even with all the motor's complaining, the passengers remained silent, awkwardly so.

Just as they reached the garage level, Kibur looked up from inspecting the joints in his armor. "Can any of you fly one of these things?" All eyes on the werebear, Azazelle replied. "I can." He nodded. "Who's flying the other one?" They looked at each other in uneasy uncertainty. Altaxis was the first to speak, after a hard swallow.

"I, uh...I used to fly skids in the LCPD. Nothin' like this, but I could probly figure it out." Azazelle cocked her head curiously at the flame-haired female, who abruptly looked self-conscious in the face of her entire team. Elias looked around a moment, and then ended the uncomfortable pause by stepping to the front of the elevator. "Then it's settled. Altaxis and Azazelle pilot. Joey, you take gunner on Altaxis' skid, and Ray, you take it on Azazelle's skid." He cast a sidelong glance at Azzy, who nodded, just as the elevator's motor started to wind down and the door opened.

Lo, and behold the gates of hell, my children, unto which you shall be cast. Kibur smirked inwardly as he stepped through the door behind the others. "Take your pick, Firesk." Altaxis looked over at her CO and then at the two sleek skids. All desert camo, with painted-over canopies, and one with four slender turbines, two on either side of the fuselage, the other with a single massive jet, the two skids lay dormant, resting on the ground, nose-first, winglets retracted. Both skids had a smallish turret on the top, one mounting a high-caliber rotary cannon and a missile launcher, the other boasting a large-caliber railcannon and a rapid-cycling pulse laser. "I'll take the version 12 skid." Azazelle smirked, walking over to the single-jet skid. "That's fine. Depleted uranium at Mach seven makes my day."

A simple press of her palm against the canopy opened Altaxis' skid. She stepped into the pilot's seat, up front, and idly inspected the controls. "Mm." Azazelle climbed into hers, as well, as Joey and Raymond took their respective seats in the gunners' harnesses in the back. The heavily-armored Elias and the massive Kibur contented themselves with the two seats behind the pilots; each taking up both seats. "Azzy...you sure we're under the weight limit for one of these things? If I remember right, they're for light infantry." The werefox shrugged, taking the DNI plug in two armored fingers. "They're rated to carry up to 1000KG. We should be good." Elias shrugged also, and then reached up to close the canopy, blinking as he looked down and saw what his CO was doing.

Azazelle flinched as she put the DNI plug into her digijack and PFC Grey watched in wonder as the vixen slid the chromed plug into her neck. "So you are cybered." Azazelle looked over her shoulder at her second-in-command and smiled, and unusually friendly smile. "Are you really suprised?"

"I never would've guessed." She smirked.

"Hmmh." Azazelle cut on the radio in her skid. "Firesk, you copy?"

"Firesk here. Gettin' this thing all figured out."

"Good. You know how to start it up?"

"Yeah. I think this is the same model we used to fly in the LCPD."

The garage filled with the rumble of two agrav generators, stimulated by the microfusion reactors buried deep within the skids. Both vehicles slowly lifted off the ground, and then the pilots extended their respective skids' winglets. "I'm opening the gate. You ready to go?"

"Yeah- Joey's just gettin' situated in the turret."

"Tell him to watch his fire. I don't care for 71mm rockets, nor 20mm chaingun rounds."

"Roger. Let's blow this popsicle stand."

Azazelle opened the door, and then spun up her skid's solitary turbine, a throaty roar which shook the whole garage as Altaxis' voice crackled over the radio. "Having fun, Corporal?"

Azazelle smirked to herself. "I always did like the whine of jet engines." Reminds me of home.

[{(End Chapter Four)}]

The RG01 design is an older design which has prevailed mostly due to it's amazing ruggedness and also the prodigal speeds that it can attain. While it lacks mobility compared to other skids, the single huge Mercury Industries turbine that powers this skid can propel it to 250kph in a matter of seconds, and gives it a top speed of over 800kph. The RG01 was also the first skid to incorporate the AFGF lift system, or advanced forward gravitic field, by which the antigravity magnetic field which lifts the skid from the ground is projected in front of the skid, so that it will automatically lift itself above most obstacles. The ultimate revision of the RG01 design, the RG01-10A, mounts one forward beam laser with a total output of 2.4GW, and then in a turret mounted on upper-back of the fuselage, rear of the canopy, mounts a Stoner M2022 rapid-charging 9mm railcannon, and a 900MW quick-cycle pulse laser from the Hasegawa combine. This skid mounts more armor than most light attack vehicles, and it's not uncommon for the RG01 series to take large-caliber rockets and explosive shells and survive to fight another day.

The RG04 design is a very recent release from Rumarov Gravitic. A very similar design to the older RG01 chassis, the RG04 sheds the massive turbine of the RG01 for four much smaller jets, mounted in pairs on either side of the fuselage. These smaller jets use a technology known as dynamic thrust adjustment to compensate for lateral differences in drag and also to assist in turning to create a much more manuverable skid than its predecessors. The RG04-12 is actually a lower-end model of the RG04 series, and all of its weaponry is based on tried-and-true 20th-century technology. Still, the equipment is functional, comprised mainly of a forward-mount 30mm autocannon, and in the sleek turret, a 71mm link-feed rocket launcher, and a 20mm tri-barrel rotary cannon. Like its older cousin, the RG04 mounts the AFGF lift system, allowing it to cruise smoothly over small obstructions.

[{(Chapter Five: I don't think I'm the only monster around here.)}]

Heat lines and dust clouded the pilots' view as the two skids blasted out of the garage, dropping to ground level as they flew across the New Mexico desert. Camouflaged, they wouldn't be very conspicuous normally, but at 400kph, nothing is inconspicuous.

"Firesk, kill your afterburners in 3. We don't need to be going that fast; we'll be there all too soon as it is," Azazelle commanded over the radio. "and there's no need to advertise our approach."

"Roger." Both skids slowed considerably, pulling in closer to each other.

[{(More soon, I promise! Sorry for the long break!)}]

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Everyone hates us. All you humans fear us

The signature says it all.

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Unfortunately for me, your story has proven itself:

/me curses your apparent ability to write (and with good punctuation and spelling, no less).

Your series just might give mine a run for its money! I grudgingly admit defeat--I knew I couldn't be in the winners' circle for long...

Again, my compliments on a job well done and a story that--for once (no offense, Bigbadgangsta and any others that might be offended by the following comment)--provided a wonderful read. However, I must get this off my chest:


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I say work on this at home as well.

Or at least when you're not busy doing strange things with beverage containers.

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I say work on this at home as well.

Or at least when you're not busy doing strange things with beverage containers.

This is a story I dont wanna know.

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Damn straight! Liam! Getcher bitchass over hyah!

I swear, if you don't stop...

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Who's Rick? And what story did he write? I'd like to see his work if you think it's better than mine! Of course, I don't mean to sound arrogant, if I somehow got that message across. I'd just like to get some inspiration so I can write that much better.

BTW, thanks for the kind comments!

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Who's Rick? And what story did he write? I'd like to see his work if you think it's better than mine! Of course, I don't mean to sound arrogant, if I somehow got that message across. I'd just like to get some inspiration so I can write that much better.

BTW, thanks for the kind comments!

Rick is "wildman".

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Shut the hell up Liam. I haven't seen anything you've written so until your testicle-less little ass produces something, I don't wanna hear it.

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Shut the hell up Liam. I haven't seen anything you've written so until your testicle-less little ass produces something, I don't wanna hear it.

In other words, Liam... "Shut up, nonuts."

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Shut the hell up Liam. I haven't seen anything you've written so until your testicle-less little ass produces something, I don't wanna hear it.

That was a good laugh, but honestly, don't wanna hear what? I said I liked Tek's stuff better. And I'm just being amiably arrogant when I talk about my Doom fiction yet-to-be-seen. I'm sure it won't break any amazing boundaries...

On another note...


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Damn, Katarhyne! I think someone needs a hug...

/me hugs Zaldron
Oh...your skin is smooth...I mean um...go lock threads in the DOOM III forum...

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I think deadnail's going to get another assbleed now.

It's definitely interesting so far... Maybe I'll have to try my hand at writing a fairly long story.

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Marvelous. I await more. I could easily see you main character jumping onto a Cacodemon, breaking one of it's horns off, and jabbing it in the eye, just to see it writhe.

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Who's Rick? And what story did he write?

I have a new series at Doom Center. Look for the link "Tomorrow's Yesterday" in the articles section.

I have posted several stories here, and you can probably find them if you do a search.

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fuck, I forgot to read it.

Smoothe move, X-Lax.
You may be a fast newbie, but you're not fast enough.

he is not a newbie, just a new zealander. :P

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I like it mondo Kat. The spelling and all that jazz are peachy...

More! More! MORE!!!!!

the doom novels are getting boring... ;)

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