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A note from neo Koh

updated 16/01/2020

The ship shook as several of the spore seeds slammed into the aft and dozens of spores got vaporized by the plasma exhaust of the engine. The point defense gunners did their best to prevent the spores from hitting the ship but still, some made it past the defensive laser fire.

"Damage report?" Captain Blake called out.

"Unknown at the moment, Sir!" Ford replied as he checked each status on his screen. "I think they hit the engine block."

"Get on the comms! Warn Engineering that they might have trouble and alert the Marines." Blake yelled.

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Chief Engineer Matt Peterson ended the call from Bridge and turned around to face his team. "We got some hitchhikers on our tail! Open the arms locker and get armed. Inform the Marines."

The engineers and techs looked at each other with frightened faces. "Chief are we gonna fight too?" Someone yelled. "I didn't sign up for this!"

"So you wanna roll over and die? If those swarm things get in here, everyone is fish food for them! Now stop your whining or I swear to god I'll space you guys instead and save the swarm the trouble of eating you!" Chief Engineer Matt bellowed at his crew.

"Sir! Heard that you have some trouble?" Marine Sgt Collins of Section Four entered Engineering Block B with his team of six other Marines.

"Yes, those Swarm seem to have boarded the engine block. We need to hold them off. If they destroy the engines, we ain't going nowhere!" Chief Matt replied. "I'll assign some guys to guide you around the engineering passages." 

He turned and yelled at the guys. " You and you! Yes, you! Grab a weapon and join the Sarge here! You are their guides. Go!"

"Jenkins, Royce, and Dean. You three stay and guard the main hatch. The rest on me, move out." Sgt Collins led the rest of the section behind the 2 engineering crewmembers deeper into Engineering B.

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Marine Officer In Charge of the UNS Singapore, 2nd Lt Frank Lee was standing outside the Bridge hatch. He flipped out his readout, glanced at it and returned it back to his pouch. "Staff, you fought these things before right?" He asked Staff Pike softly.

"Yea, fought them several times, on Himpra, same as the Cap, and two fleet boarding actions." Staff Pike replied while checking his gear.

"What is it like?" Lt Frank asked curiously. All he knew was from videos and training simulations. He just got this posting directly after finishing officer cadet school. Command sent him here to learn how to command a platoon in the rear lines before planning to send him to the front.

"Bad. Really bad, don't let them get near you. Their claws can rip your MK XI Armor into shreds, not to mention other than armor piercing rounds or large caliber weapons nothing can pen their carapace. They are almost impossible to stop." He dug out a magazine from his ammo pouch containing the ceramic rounds and shook it. "These? It's not gonna do much to them. But the trick is to shoot them when they get near you and open their mouths." 

He loaded his rifle and slung it. "Sir, you need to show the troops that you are confident." He reached out and stopped Frank from opening his pouch to take out his readout. "That's the 11th time you took it out, Sir. Keep calm, don't show your fear."

Great. How am I going to do that? Thought Frank. He caught himself reaching for his readout again and instead forced his hand back and gripped his rifle instead. "You think they boarded?"

"Sure as hell. These things, they don't stop. They feed on you so they can create more of themselves. If we don't fight them, sooner or later, mankind is gonna be extinct." 

He braced himself against the bulkhead with one hand as the ship groaned and shook from the maneuverings. "They are coming. I can feel it." 

He looked at the rest of the troops milling outside the reactor room. "We have to make sure they don't get past us if Collins and his section fail."

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The narrow service corridors lined with pipes and cables only allowed Collins's section to advance in a single file. 

"Keep some distance, don't cluster fuck together!" Collins warned his men as they followed the lead crewman to where the ship computers detected the intrusion.

Pvt Leeds was following the techie in front of him. He looked at his readout and pulled the techie to a stop. "Wait, we are about 30 meters away from the target." 

The techie dressed in a white environment suit with a blue strip indicating he's from Engineering looked frightened. He raised his weapon, a compact personal defense weapon chambered in 5 mm, and nervously fingered the trigger.

"Hey techie, what's your name?" Leeds asked as he signaled the men behind him to stop and hold.

"Lawrence, Spaceman apprentice of engi- ARGH!" A scythe-like blade suddenly burst out of his chest turning his white suit red as he turned to reply to Leeds.

"Shit! Contact!" Pvt Leeds yelled as blood splattered onto his visor. He scrambled back and fell on his back as he watched Lawrence twitching in agony while a creature from nightmares appeared.

The warrior drone lifted Lawrence towards its maw and bit down, severing the head and part of the shoulder of Lawrence and started chewing.

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Pvt Drake grew up in a sprawling metro hub on the outskirts of LA. The war had started and with the new law stating that young men had to enlist, he decided to join the Marines. Travel to exotic planets, find aliens and kill them, the Marine recruiters said. Complete your term of enlistment and get a nice pension they said. He grew up playing CoD XV and other shooters, fancying himself a pro shooter. 

Yet despite all the time in VR games, the reality was different as he went through four months of grueling training in death worlds and airless moons. And he really wanted to kill some aliens.

And now one of the aliens stood over his section buddy snacking on the techie that brought them here. He flicked his safety off and fired at the warrior drone. Reddish puffs of smoke erupted over the head carapace of the drone as it lowered its head to protect itself. 

A couple of shots blew what remained of the techie into a bloody mess. He watched his rounds impacting uselessly on the armored torso of the alien and decided to pull back instead. He grabbed Leeds's harness at the grip bar behind his neck with one hand while firing at the creature. "Back! Get back!"

Leeds kicked his heels as fast as he could to scramble back as the drone discarded the gory remains and dropped into a crouch. He brought up his M7A1 and fired point blank at the drone while he felt someone grabbing his harness and pulling him back just in time as two scythes slammed down where he was a second ago, leave a twin gouge on the steel deck.

"Shoot the mouth!" Someone shouted in the rear. "Get back! It's too narrow here!"

"Fuck!" Drake cursed. Shoot the mouth? Easier said than done! I got my hands full trying to pull Leeds back! I can't even aim straight! "Fuck!" He swore. "Leeds you fucking owe me one! Shoot that scum's mouth!"

Drake dropped his rifle which automatically retracted back to his harness. Using both hands he dragged Leeds all the way back.

"Die mutha fucker! Die!" Leeds screamed as he unloaded his whole magazine into the drone. Several shots punched through the razor-sharp teeth due to his firing angle and tore the soft tissue within the drone apart. 

Taking critical internal damage, the drone jerked and vomited a mass of bloody gore and purplish ichor before collapsing.

"More incoming!" Leeds yelled as he noticed shadowy shapes behind the corpse of the first drone. "Fuck!"

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A note from neo Koh

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neo Koh

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