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Two months passed in a blur. I remained the youngest recruit at Project Aegis, even as more and more people were brought in. The attacks continued, with a ferocity and vigor that were terrifying. The angels destroyed lives, infrastructure, communications, and production. All across the globe, people reacted differently to the ‘divine’ assault. Terrorist groups continued to believe they were doing ‘God’s Work’ by attacking targets they somehow connected to angelic assault. Anyone who fell, to them, was a sinner worthy of the attack.

Sadly, it was a global phenomenon. In the States, we had homegrown terrorist groups who claimed to believe in Christian love, while gleefully murdering sinners. It was sickening. The world was going to hell.

But Project Aegis was going to hold it back.

Or so they kept telling us.

“All right people, listen up!” Sergeant Major Bishop yelled at those of us sitting in the briefing room. We quieted down immediately. “As you no doubt remember, two weeks ago, there was another attack in France. There were twenty-seven casualties.” The screen behind Bishop came to life and was filled with images of wreck and ruin, images with which we were more than familiar. Dead lay strewn about like toys. Among them were men and women dressed in military uniforms.

“What was not revealed to the media at the time, however, was that the European version of ‘Project Aegis’ had decided to get involved. They have now graciously, by which I mean ‘under extreme pressure’, decided to share the following clips of footage taken by various CCTV and helmet cameras from the event. It took quite a bit to get these videos hand-delivered from overseas, now that they can’t just transmit them to us anymore. Roll the clip,” he said.

The screen showed an image in a mall or shopping arcade of some kind. People moved through it with little care or notice of their surroundings. When the screen went blurry and static stole the image for a second, we knew the entity was manifesting. The static faded revealing a large, bulky angel, wearing silvery armor with a lion’s head. His massive hands were covered by thick gauntlets and his wings were sheathed in some sort of articulated metal that flowed over each feather.

The bastard glowed with monstrous beauty.

Instead of falling in a panic, or worship, the people in the mall all drew weapons from under coats or in shopping bags. It was a freaking ambush! The only reason I didn’t cheer was that I had seen the media footage: I knew it was not going to go well for them.

Images flashed on screen from different angles as we saw the soldiers fire their weapons at the entity. I’d like to think it was shocked, but none of the images seemed to focus close enough on the face, and what the hell does a shocked lion look like anyway? The bullets sprayed across it as it was caught in the crossfire. Flashes of light sparked in the air around it. There was some kind of… after image that appeared around it as the bullets deflected away from the creature. The camera images kept leaping around, but I swore I could see something, like a glowing bubble around the damn thing.

It stood there for several seconds while the soldiers threw everything they had at it. It was not enough. The angel moved to the nearest soldier and smashed him across the face, spraying blood in a wide arc. From that point, it was just a slaughter. I could not fault the soldiers’ bravery: they did not run screaming but tried to withdraw in an orderly fashion. The image jumped around as one after another, the soldiers and their cameras were destroyed by the angel.

When the clip stopped, the room fell to darkness. None of us spoke; we were all trapped with the same thought. They were training us to go up against those things. What the fuck hope did we have? I might be super strong and fast, but bullets bounced off of it. I did not have that kind of edge.

“Lights,” Bishop called. “Now, you’ll recognize the enemy as the one that’s been dubbed ‘Le lion français’ or to us, ‘The French Lion’. He manifests primarily in the French region.”

Since the angels began appearing, trends were noticed. The same angels appeared repeatedly in the same relative geographic area, as though they held territory of some kind or were connected to it somehow. It helped us keep track of their appearances and the powers they routinely demonstrated. Some, like the one I call Mercy, were rarer in reappearing than others. Mercy had only been seen twice before the New York attack before they turned on us. After that, there was only a single other incursion in which it was believed she’d made an appearance. One day, I hoped that she would do me the favor of appearing again, so I could kill her.

Once I figured out how of course.

“As you could see,” Bishop continued, “The French ambush was a disaster, like every engagement with the enemy so far. However, this time, the battle was not without benefit. Roll exhibit ‘A’.”

A still image appeared on the screen, the angel under a fusillade of gunfire. I could almost see the details of the field around him, outlined in stray bullets. “Highlight image,” Bishop said. A line was drawn around the angel, around the impacts that the image caught.

“This line represents what appears to be an energy field of some kind around the enemy that protects it from small arms fire. As yet, we cannot ascertain the strength of the field or whether it will stop more powerful weaponry. Eye witness accounts from two of the Seers that survived this battle ascribe… well, I’ll let the Seers explain it.”

August stood up from a desk in front of the room and nodded to Bishop. “Thank you, Sergeant Major,” he said. As usual, he was dressed immaculately in a grey suit that suited his blue eyes, I thought. He looked older, haunted. I did not think he’d had much sleep.

“Ladies and gentleman, I’m about to describe something that you cannot see but I need you to believe me when I say it. Around these entities is some kind of energy that we cannot record on film or video image, at least not with the equipment we have used so far. However, I am assured from several different eye-witness reports, that the Changed can see the field.”

We all took a moment to stare at each other. Another power? I put my hand up. “Yes, Private Delaney?”

“What do they look like?”

“That’s an interesting question,” he said, before looking over my head, “Could I get display four please?”

A new graphic appeared over the body of the angel. Around it was a nimbus of light. Contained within the nimbus were what appeared to be floating designs, characters of some kind, though I did not understand them. “Based on descriptions we’ve received, this is the closest approximation we can create.” He gazed up at the screen. “I’m told it’s quite accurate.”

None of us had seen an angel twice. We counted ourselves lucky. The Seers stayed far away from the action, predicting their appearances. We stayed on base training and being tested. They became more and more accurate each time, but the army was not yet willing to commit to launching an obvious ambush like the French attempt. Seeing the results of the ambush, I’m glad they had held back.

“The fields vary between entities,” said August. “Could I get the next image?” A new field appeared around the angel. This one was strange, with ribbons of light circling it, inscribed again with those strange symbols. Again and again, August flashed images based on descriptions they’d received. Most fields appeared as a simple glow, just varying in colors or brightness. Only a couple appeared as distinct as the ribboned one.

“We have yet to discern if the appearance of the field is significant or merely decorative. The existence of the field strongly implies that the entities are not native to this earth, as some still maintain. The technology required to create such an effect is well beyond any known science we possess.”

Shaking my head, I grimaced. I could not believe there were still people who claimed that the entities were nothing more than high tech terror weapons being deployed by rogue nations. But I guess that was easier than believing aliens or actual angels were trying to kill everyone.

August continued. “The field has been nicknamed the ‘Logos Field’, due to the writing of sorts that seems to move about and within it.”

I’m sure I was not the only person who just stared back at him without comprehension. “Um, ‘Logos’, as in ‘the Word’?” he added.

“Thank you, Mr. Riley,” Bishop said, as he took the stand. “Now that we’ve seen this field in action, and have its effects on film, we are studying and working on ways to circumvent it. When we attack the enemy, it will be with a lot more than conventional weaponry. We’ll see if it can stand up to explosives and other, more specialized munitions.” Smiling that wide grin of his, he nodded. I think in his mind, we had already taken care of the problem somehow.

“Dismissed,” he called out.

If he had answers, I hoped he planned on sharing them soon.

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A note from Localforeigner

And now we begin the second arc. I hope that everyone is enjoying the story. If you have any questions, comments, or input, I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment, PM, or review if you are moved to do so!


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About the author

Localforeigner

Bio: Though born in the United States, I am now living in bonnie Scotland. Been writing most of my life and though I have some non-fiction (gaming) published, I have never had any of my fiction published in any format. I've written a few novels before but never tried sharing them with the world. My interests are primarily fantasy and urban fantasy. I appreciate any feedback, good or bad.

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