Drake Squad – Mercenaries at Large – Part 1

by holojacob

Drake Squad Mercenaries at Large-small

“Well, shit,” Twinkie said, staring at the sprawl of wreckage before him. It was like someone had just shot his dog. Or his cat, he supposed. He’d never had a pet before, so he never had to deal with losing one. That was a good thing, because he was sure it felt like this.

The Raspberry, once a proud and sleek vessel of war, now occupied a kilometers-long stretch of the lunar surface. The groove from their “landing” disappeared beyond the horizon. He walked up to the Raspberry’s nose, put a boot on it, and rested his arms on a knee.

“Sorry, girl,” Twinkie whispered. He sucked in a lungful of cool, dry air and let it out slowly. His face felt hot. He linked with his pressure armor and lowered the temperature half a degree Celsius.

Shrike walked up behind him, the long barrel of his sniper rifle resting on a shoulder. His pressure armor was covering a universal woodland camouflage, not exactly the best pattern for the stark, gray lunar landscape. A black visor masked his face.

“You okay?” Shrike asked on a private channel.

“Fine.” Twinkie said. He sniffled. “I’m fine.”

Shrike nodded. “Any crash you can walk away from, huh?”

“I said I’m fine.”

“Sure you are. I never said otherwise.”

Shrike knelt down. He took out one of his knives and prodded at a mess of cables and circuit boards.

“It’s amazing what will survive a crash,” Shrike said. He held up the knife for Twinkie to see. “Souvenir?”

Twinkie looked down. A pair of fuzzy blue dice hung from Shrike’s knife. They weren’t too badly burnt either.

“No, thanks,” Twinkie said.

Shrike shrugged his shoulders. He flicked the knife, launching the fuzzy dice into the line of wreckage.

“She was a good ship,” Twinkie said.

“No doubt,” Shrike said, standing up.

“A great ship,” Twinkie said. “The best.”

“Yeah, that too.”

Twinkie sighed. He forced himself to look away.

The Raspberry had crashed into a wide plain that dipped slightly in the center, perhaps the remnant of an ancient meteorite impact. What was left of their ship had slid across the plain, coming to a rest near a derelict structure of some kind: a big dome covered in laser slashes and small craters. From the shallow angle of the dome, Twinkie thought the structure extended far below, like he was seeing the tip of an iceberg.

Jane stood near an inset metallic airlock at the dome’s base. She turned as he approached. A suit of heavy diamoplast armor encased her large frame. She held the massive bulk of a railgun in her arms.

Twinkie switched to the squad channel. “Jane, you okay?”

She gave him a thumbs-up.

“Good man,” Twinkie said. “Woman. Whatever.”

If Jane cared, she didn’t show it.

“All right, so where the hell are we? Any ideas, Agnis?” Twinkie looked around. “Where’s Agnis?”

Shrike pointed to a cylindrical piece of debris open at both ends. It looked like the thrust vectoring assembly from one of the Raspberry’s engines. The assembly was large enough for a slim adult to fit in.

“Agnis?” Twinkie walked over. “Agnis, what are you doing in there?”

“G-go away!”

“Say, what?”

“I’m not coming out!”

“Don’t be silly,” Twinkie said. “Do you know where we are?”

“Yes! That’s the problem!”

Twinkie crouched and looked inside the thrust assembly. Agnis was curled up in a ball, clutching her sniper rifle. Her skintight bodysuit was currently set to hot pink.  Images of sparkling glitter fell down her ample curves.

Twinkie raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”

“We’re in the NOL,” Agnis whispered. Every syllable dripped with menace.

“The NOL?” Twinkie asked. He looked at Shrike.

“Hell if I know,” Shrike said. “I’ve never even been to the moon before.”

“It stands for No One’s Land,” Agnis whispered. “It’s a bad place to be.”

“And why is that?”

Agnis leaned forward. “There are things out here. Beneath the surface.”

“Things,” Twinkie repeated blandly.

Agnis nodded. “Things.”

“Could you be, oh, I don’t know? A little more specific?”

“The NOL is haunted.”

“Uh huh.”

“We don’t know what they are, exactly. Most people think they’re self-replicating machines leftover from the First Great War.”

“Right.”

“I’m serious!”

“Of course you are.”

“People who go into the NOL never come out!”

“Right.” Twinkie grabbed her wrist and pulled her out of the thrust assembly.

“Hey!” Agnis stumbled out. “I’m being serious, here! We’re in a lot of trouble!”

“Sure, Agnis. Sure.”

“You don’t believe me!” Agnis said. She switched her bodysuit over to an adaptive lunar pattern.

“Look, it’s not that I don’t believe you,” Twinkie said. He paused. “Actually, scratch that. Yeah, I don’t believe you.”

Shrike raised his sniper rifle and sighted down the scope. “Guys?”

“Problem?” Twinkie asked.

“Ship coming in low over the horizon.”

“Is it what shot us down?”

“No,” Shrike said. “Bigger.”

“Friendly?”

“Don’t think so.”

TO BE CONTINUED …

Link to Part 2

Picture Credit – H.P. Holo at Holo Writing

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5 Responses to “Drake Squad – Mercenaries at Large – Part 1”

  1. First you abuse space marines and now we need a swear jar! 😉

    Love Shrike! Really well done.

  2. I enjoyed this.

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