Cpl James had a good dream, with a pretty girl, living the good life while still schooling in university, when the Swarm invaded and turned the dream into a nightmare. The faces of Shawn, David and the rest kept appearing and taunting him no matter where he ran or hide before catching up to him and turning into a Swarm warrior drone, its limbs gripping him tightly and drawing him into a deadly embrace.

Screaming, he jolted awake suddenly and flailed around, bathed in a cold sweat before remembering he was buckled up in a crash seat. He took several minutes calming his racing heart down before trying to get out of his restraints.

Where are the lights? He got out and stepped on the deck, thinking that he must still be under the effects of the drugs as he felt the ship was slanted. He looked at the rows of marines and crew members strapped to their seats and realized that it was the side effects of the cryo shot, the ship was slanted. Has the gravity generator broken down? He removes his helmet and a strong smell of ozone and burnt plastics instantly assail his nose. He coughed violently and turned on his flashlight on his harness.

The light beam lit up the compartment, showing people strapped to crash seats mounted in two rows against the wall. Spending some time. James checks his teammates' and the crew members' vitals and found them all alive but still sleeping.

Trying to open the hatch of the compartment, he found that there was no power and has to manually crank the door open. As he stepped out to the deck, he could see several beams of lights as other members of the crew are moving up and down, rescuing people and trying to organize things.

James waved at a crewmember with a medical patch on his sleeve and called out. "Hey, medic? I got about thirty guys in here. Can you check them out?" The medic took a quick look into the compartment and took out a marker and started to mark something on the bulkhead next to the hatch.

"Power's out for now. No comms no network." The medic explained as he marked some medical lingo on the bulkhead. "Got it, I'll be right back with more help. By the way, head to the forward flight deck, everyone is gathering there." The medic said and rushed off down the hallway.

As James approached the flight deck, he notices it seem brighter and a chorus of voices could be heard and the air feel cleaner, less smokey. Stepping onto the flight deck, he was surprised at the sight he saw.

The launch bay doors laid open, displaying a view of the evening sun. Orange purple skies and clouds stretched as far as he could see. He stood there watching the view then he realized that they had landed on Blake's World. He noticed the foliage looks bluish-green, instead of green but other than that everything looks suspiciously Earth-like. Even the smell of the sea from the breeze.

James walks to the edge of the open bay doors and peers off the side, he found that the ship or what is left of it is wedged directly into a cliff hill. The forward bow appeared to be buried into the hill while a trail of destruction could be seen behind the aft section. Wait how did we land? I thought the plan was to drop supplies from orbit and not the whole ship? He rubbed his short crew cut hair and sat on the edge of the doors, feeling the sea breeze and watch the sunset into the horizon. Whatever. I am alive. He smiled at that thought.

"Hey corp?" Pvt Mills stumbled over and flopped himself down beside James. He took several deep breaths and said, "Join the Marines, see new planets eh?" Behind him stood Pvt Bartley,

"Pretty." He intoned before squatting down behind James and Mills.

"You alright man?" James noticed Mills's complexion wasn't very well. "How's the rest?"

"Ribs hurt. I feel like a truck had sat on me." Mills brushed it off. "All up, Staff Pike says to take it easy first while he and LT go find out what is going on."

"Well, we are all that is left of Section 2." James turns and looks at the crew standing or sitting around the bay doors. "Except for Raman," he added.

"What do we do now corp?" Bartley asked in his deep voice.

"What we need now is some beach balls, suntan lotion, and babes!" Mills interrupted and gave a wide grin. "By the way, this feels like some survival VR game I was playing back awhile ago. You land on this planet with nothing, then you try to survive by rubbing sticks for a fire, to hunting animals, chopping trees and growing crops."

"Shut up." James rolls his eyes. "We are not that primitive to that extent to need to rub sticks for a fire. Anyway, just take a break for now till we get new orders."

"Thought the higher up's plans was to orbit and drop instead of crash landing this hulk? Mills asked.

James shrugged, "I woke up and we are all here. Maybe the computer crashed us? I don't know."

"Safer to crash land than do orbital drops," Bartley said.

Both James and Mills turned to stare at Bartley. "No shit?" Mills said sarcastically. "Why didn't I thought of that?"

"Stop that." James sighed. "Knowing our drop lift amount, yes, crash landing is better to get us all down in one piece rather than in pieces."

"Well, I guess we all made it is a good thing? I hope no aliens here want to eat us." Mills said as he flopped on his back. "Hey Big Guy, wake me when it's chow time yea?" He said to Bartley.

"Alright," Bartley answers back and sat down on the deck.

James wondered at that, will there be aliens here too? Will they be hostile like the Swarm? He took a last look at the scenery as the dying light of the sun turned everything into darkness before laying back against the deck and close his eyes in thought.


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neo Koh


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