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the forgotten city

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Chapter 0 - Prologue

My name's Eriram Damaulke. To all my fellow inmates here at Terra Prison, they usually refer to me as Sarge. I used to be a subsargeant in the Interdicted Worlds Militia. Then I came back to the home system. Like the rest of my fellow IWM members, we're considered criminals by baseliners. Figures. We go out, modify ourselves to adapt to strange planets, stranger suns, and new and more dangerous enemies, and the tenth-generation products are considered pariahs by the very people we're trying to protect.

Normally, they keep us on a pretty tight schedule here. The whole planet's a prison - we produce enough food for ourselves, plus all the baseliners out in the rest of the system, from the recently terraformed Venus out to the Galilean moons. We get news from the rest of the system, heavily doctored, of course, and it's become a mental exercise to determine what's real, what's bullshit, and what's just wishful thinking. There's a lot of the latter two, and not much of the first. Can't be getting the hopes up too much of the new flatlanders, can we?

Anyway, things are different today, I can tell. There's just been a landing on the planet, and it's not one of the typical convict-transport levicrates.

"All right, fuckups! Listen up! This will be your first and only chance to get off this Buddha-forsaken rock you call home. We know that all of you ARE military, you ARE trained, and that most of you ARE enhanced. We also know that you ARE the descendants of those people who survived the original invasions, and of those people who have made their lives into a crusade to wipe out the invaders to the last individual." Not "last man", thank God. This bastard's too slick to make that mistake here.

"We will be taking exactly one of your platoons' worth - one hundred men - and sending them through a newly created Gate. We have very little faith in your being able to do anything that our soldiers could do." Hah. Their "soldiers" aren't much more than pitifully-trained excuses for policemen. Four hundred years of peace would do that to you.

"You will be supplied with the latest and greatest in TASC weaponry." Right. The Terran Air and Space Corporation, descendants of the UAC, was the biggest producer of malfunctioning CRAP we'd ever seen. We'd tried to use one of their cropdusters, then scrapped it two weeks later and went back to spraying pesticides by hand.

"If any of you come back, you will be returned to the..." Come on, fucknut, spit it out. "...the Interdicted Worlds of the Marasai Alliance." Good. I knew you could do it. "You will also be given ten kilos of gold, to be used for exchange." Fat lot of good that'll do in a post-economic society. "And two wives." Now that's more like it.

"We will be drawing names by lottery." From the crowd, the obvious respons comes: "Shit."

Most of us head back to the housing. Some of us have made some pretty decent below-ground houses, while others of us are using scrap metal to build other structures. I got lucky. I've got probably the biggest "house"... eight hundred square feet... and every single fuck around here begrudges me that. Especially Yona.

Oh, wait, there's one person who doesn't mind... but she's my roommate. Platoon Oversergeant Shauna Mills. We've been together ten... no, eleven years now. And I can remember the day we met, too...

I was busy fixing a short-hop aircraft, trying to replace the exhaust manifold. We'd heard there was a transfer from the Aerospace Defense over to us, the "groundhogs". We didn't realize she was going to be a freakin' convie--er, I mean, one of the Seraphim. They're just odd enough that I don't quite get them, what with their genetic convergence... no wonder they get called "convies" all the time.

...and more to come...

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Gimme more, you sick, twisted SOB!

Though it's only a few paragraphs long as of now, I'm sure it'll be something really great. Looks like Katarhyne's got some competition...

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Good intro and setting up the plot. Imaginative and promising. More!

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A Jovian moon base.
The lights flicker on and off, illuminating the immediate area in a rectangle of light and then shut off for a split-second, then flip back on. In the distant corridors echo the heavy breathing of the things that took over the base.
Bodies everywhere. These guys didn't stand a chance against Satan's First. Dismembered corpses slammed through spikes. Soldiers who've had their heads ripped completely from their bodies. Slitted throats. Gouged eyeballs. Blood splatters the walls.
And you.
You're going to have get through this Jovian base-turned-Hell hole.
How's that sound?
BTW, Katgut, excellent start.
Give me more damn it!!

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