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doom - evil unleashed 0.4

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The Beginning to the End – Part 4


I was heading straight to the marines' quarters. Nearly one week had passed since I sat in the guardhouse talking with Andrews, but our conversation still floated somewhere in my mind. His concern about the Phobos moon was beginning to bother me too.
Entering the room, I saw Andrews lying on his bunk next to mine. He was still awake.
"Can't ya sleep?" I asked.
He looked at me with that worried look of his. "Nope"
"What's keepin' you awake?" I asked curiously.
"I don't know" he replied. "I just feel strangely uneasy – as if something's gonna happen tonight"
"You sure it ain't the lousy dinner which is bothering your stomach?"
"No" He answered quitly.
"Well, I don't think there is anything to worry about. I think you should get some sleep, so that you'll be ready for guard duty tonight"
I lay down on my bunk, giving Andrews a reassuring look. The truth was that his uneasiness had me worried too, but I was able to hide it – no need to make my buddies too concerned.


Private Johnson was on guard duty in the communication room. It was close to midnight and he had just been pulled out of his bed to do his shift.
"This is the most boring piece of crap they could possibly assign me to do!" He yawned staring at the many computer panels, with colored, blinking lights. "Nothing ever happens here".
He felt extremely sleepy, and his shift had only just started.
"One hour" he thought.
"Oh God, I'm never gonna make *one* friggin' hour!"
He rubbed his eyes, trying to stay awake, when suddenly an aggressive beeping noise kicked in and a bright, red light started to flash rhythmically.
Johnson sat up in his chair, no longer feeling sleepy, and stared at the flashing light. It took him a moment to realize that the red flash combined with that God-awful noise, was a notification of an arrived SOS message.
He pressed a button on the control panel in front of him and he could see the words: "incoming message from: Phobos Command Control Station"


The sharp, beeping sound tore me out of my sleep. I sat up wide awake, noticing how the interior of the room periodically flashed red. For a moment I wondered what the heck was going on. Then I realized that this was a 'Red Alert', which meant that all troops should report immediately to the Assembly Hall in full combat suit and with readied side-arm.


I flung my locker door aside.
Attached to a couple of hooks was my personal combat vest – a khaki-colored assault vest combined with a life-support system on the back of the vest. The vest was impervious to most low-caliber projectile-based weapons, but still offered good protection against more powerful weapons. Next to it was my base-belt with my side arm – the mx215, which fired 9mm standard rounds, but only held 10 bullets per clip. I grabbed the shiny, black pistol, checked if the clip was full, checked if it had a bullet in the firing chamber and holstered the gun when I had readied it. After that I slipped into the combat armor. The light weight of the armor and the feel of its shoulder plates touching my bare shoulders as well as the feel of the pistol against my hip made me strangely excited - even more so than when I had to wear the armor and pistol for guard duty, as I could feel that we were going to get a task, which probably included something with the likelihood of combat, seeing as there was a Red Alert situation.
I grabbed my combat boots from the bottom of the locker and after putting them on, I attached the leg armor to the boots. The armored plating was composed of the same material as the combat vest and offered protection for my lower legs.

Finally, I picked up my combat helmet and slipped it onto my head. It was a combined combat helmet and NBC mask with an air-filtering system in front of my mouth combined with a radio microphone. The helmet not only protected my head and allowed me to communicate with my squad, it also had a tiny computer inside the helmet, which could analyze the combat situation and provide suggestions for an effective course of action, as well as display a map view over any areas, which the computer had recorded. It worked by displaying either map or text on the inside of my faceplate. Also the faceplate had a Heads Down Display, telling me how much ammo I had and how badly damaged my armor or life support system was.

I was ready before my buddies.


I sat inside the cramped cabin of the landing pod with the guys in my squad, wondering what was in store for us. The interior of the pod was currently lit by a dim, orange light, which meant that the pod would only be safe to leave if one was wearing a space suit. It would turn to red once the pod was launched and green when it had landed safely.

I thought about the uneasiness that Andrews had felt before I went to bed. He had been right that something nasty was happening on Phobos, or at least it had happened now. But we had no idea about what had really transpired.

Our briefing back on Mars went through my head again.


All troops stationed at the Martian base facilities were gathered in the Assembly Hall.

The Colonel explained the situation in a cool voice as if it was just a routine situation.
"Something has happened on Phobos, but we don't know exactly what" He told us, going straight to the point. "We received a mostly incoherent message from Phobos requesting military reinforcements, but it was cut off very abruptly, so we don't have any other info for you as of right now"
This was where I realized that Andrews' fears had come true.
"Shortly after this transmission, Deimos disappeared from our screens. Personnel at other stations on the planet report that there's no trace of the moon, neither on their screens nor on the sky anywhere"

There was complete silence. I already began to think that this situation was totally absurd – how could a 12-mile long rock vanish like that? Colonel Hauser continued the briefing.

"So here's your orders: Investigate the base on Phobos and find as much info about what has happened - I'm sure that you may find clues as to what happened to the Deimos moon as well as what happened on the Phobos moon.
Kill off any opposition, should you encounter hostiles.
Reestablish contact with Mars H.Q.
And lastly, rescue any survivors you might find. We'll probably send you to Deimos afterwards if we find out where the damn rock is. Any questions?"
Noone said a word.
"One last thing: we don't know what we're up against so stay frosty and be prepared for the worst!"

"Like the bastard cares about us!" I thought in a moment of bitterness. The Colonel was on my list of hated Officers.


The Colonel's voice seemed like ghostly echoes in my mind. I briefly closed my eyes, thinking about the missions that I had accomplished in the past. I could hear radio chatter in the cockpit and I knew that we were closing in on the Drop Zone. I realized that we were only about a hundred marines against an unknown enemy and that made me worried.
I wasn't worried about my own safety. I had been in many hairy situations before, where all odds seemed against my fellow SSDU marines and me. But I was concerned about my buddies.
Only the Captain, who was in charge of this operation and I were elite soldiers, the others were just regular marines, who had no experience in being outnumbered.

"Why are two elites put together with regulars?" I thought bitterly.

Our squads were going to be landed on different Landing Zones and would enter the base from these zones. Our LZ was at the Hangar & Shipping Installation at the outmost corner of the Phobos base.
"All right marines, heads up!" Our squad leader yelled. "Brace yourself and prepare for drop, we're approaching the DZ. And let me make one thing clear: I don't wanna hear any complaints about sickness from you crybabies, is that understood?"
"Sir, yes Sir!" We all replied in chorus.

The bay doors on the side of the troop transport craft slowly opened, the sound escaping in the empty void of Space. I could feel that the air inside the pod got colder and I braced myself as well as I could.
"Zulu-squad ready for drop!" Our squad leader yelled in his radio and the pod began to vibrate, then shake viciously and the next moment we were on our way. The launch usually made one's stomach churn.
I was used to it as I had tried it several times before, but I think my comrades all got a little sick. The pod hurdled downward with insane speed and we could feel how the outer hull of the APLP turned hot as Hell, as the landing craft broke through the outer layer of Phobos' artificial atmosphere.
Shortly afterwards the pod landed safely at our LZ – the Hangar & Shipping Installation of the Phobos base. The craft shook when it landed on the landing field next to the building, then calmed down as the engines were turned off.

We were now in territory unknown to most of us, including myself.


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