Guess We’re Heroes
team of scientists discover intelligent alien life, and start a
dangerous race to capitalize on the opportunity. As the decades pass,
however, first contact fades from living memory, and is mysteriously
absent from any official historical records. For the next five
centuries humanity ventures out to the stars, their various political
factions leaving no shortage of problems for an enterprising crew to
make a living off of. The mercenaries of Specialized Support
Contractors were only looking for small jobs befitting their
fledgling company, but soon find themselves forced into the limelight
when their employer’s ambitions place an ancient alien weapon in
their possession. Digging deeper into the origins of their cargo
brings even more heat from vested interests who want the truth of
humanity’s first contact with alien life to be kept secret. With
entire planets caught in the crosshairs of a looming interstellar
war, any choice the mercenaries make could have catastrophic
“What about you?” Kell asked, leaning in close to Mei. “Did you take my stim pen?”
“I don’t use stims, I sleep like a normal person,” Mei said, turning her head away from Kell’s bad breath and taking a step back.
“Well then where is it?!” Kell screamed.
“I took it,” Julia said, walking up to the rest of the group and stopping a few meters away. “And I destroyed it, because it made you nearly kill our prisoner.”
“I don’t need peptrothol to kill,” Kell said as he reached for his pistols, but he barely had them out of their holsters before Julia had her pistol drawn and pointed at his head.
“Everyone calm down,” Bernard said. “We’re standing next to several tons of high explosives, if one of you misses it could kill us all. It’s a miracle these things didn’t blow up when we took the hangar.” Mei knew that the warheads were highly unlikely to be set off by a bullet, let alone one with as little power as those fired from a handgun, but she saw no need to bring that up; if Bernard could prevent a fight with a misconception, why get in the way?
“I can work with that,” Kell said, pretending like Bernard’s warning was the reason he put his guns away and not the fact that he had been too slow on the draw. He took out his oversized combat knife and twirled it around a few times. “Shall we?”
“What?” Bernard said. “No, that’s not what I—”
“If you insist,” Julia said, holstering her pistol and deploying her bayonet.
Julia took a defensive stance and studied her opponent; he was fighting for pride, not any tactical objective, so if she could hurt him badly enough to make fear replace his anger, she could quell his revolt without killing him. Kell rushed towards her and opened with a feint slash at her face, then made a sweeping kick at her knee. Julia brought her bayonet up to parry the knife and stepped back to dodge the kick. As his leg passed her, she brought her blade down and slashed open the back of his calf. Kell gritted his teeth at the pain, unable to shrug it off as easily as he normally did with the help of his stims.
“Beginner’s luck,” Kell snarled and charged again. This time he threw one of his smaller knives as a distraction while he stabbed his main knife towards the gap between the breastplate and shoulder plate of Julia’s armor. She was too slow to dodge the thrown knife completely and received a deep cut on her cheek as she sidestepped it, but she recovered her balance before Kell could stab her. She grabbed the wrist of the arm holding the large knife and swung Kell around so the momentum of his charge slammed him face-first into one of the cargo crates.
“Had enough yet?” Julia asked. She was doing well so far, but even with Kell’s reflexes slowed from his withdrawal, it was still difficult for her to stay out of reach of his knives, and she figured that provoking him would make him sloppier.
“I’ll have had enough when your guts are covering the deck!” Kell shouted, blood streaming down his face from his broken nose. He drew another knife with his left hand and charged again, this time stabbing with both weapons, one at the gap in the armor at the shoulder joint and the other at Julia’s waist just beneath the breastplate. Julia tried to parry the attack from her left with her armored forearm and the one from her right with her bayonet, but only had limited success; she stopped the smaller knife, but the larger one dug into her elbow just past the forearm plate.
Deciding she had learned enough of his fighting style to not focus primarily on defense, Julia pivoted to go on the attack. Her left arm was slower after the hit to the elbow, so she kept that side of her body turned away from Kell and slashed repeatedly with her prosthetic right arm. Kell parried and dodged several strikes, using his larger knife for defense, and landed a few hits on Julia’s right arm with his smaller knife, but the blade did little more than scratch the surface of the metal limb.
Once Kell’s focus was entirely on her right arm, she brought the left back into play and caught his wrist again as he repeated his tactic of blocking with the large knife and stabbing with the small one. Before he could twist free, Julia impaled his forearm from the unarmored inner side and slashed upwards towards the elbow, then released him and took a quick step back to evade a potential counterattack. Blood gushed from the massive wound as Kell collapsed to the ground screaming, doing what little he could to apply pressure and slow his demise.
Fluster’s love of writing began with creating stories for tabletop
roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, and D20 Future,
and has since evolved into the (slightly) less chaotic formats of
science fiction and fantasy novels.
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