Chapter 1: Backhanded Tactics
Civilisations come and go, as mankind knows all too well. At the turn of the 21st century civilisation revelled in a major discovery; a discovery that changed the world for good. Something so incredible it caused a war of power and that discovery was artificial intelligence; Computers that could think. The proceeding war between countries for control over the central AI; and deployment of nuclear weaponry eventually wiped out most of mankind.
By the end of the third millennium, Earth had changed. Global pollution, excessive wars and a perforated atmosphere had turned the planet into an almost lifeless sphere of toxic mud. Radiation is everywhere and most animals had either gone extinct or had mutated into bizarre monstrous creatures. The remnants of mankind seek protection from the desolate, scorched world and gathered behind the protective walls of giant cities. These few mega cities became the last lights of hope, in the darkness of Earth's final dusk.
We had launched ships to a nearby system, Irata III, in the hope of rebuilding our civilisation. Those of us that got left behind were left to deal with our mistakes. With the discovery of a third, technologically advanced city on the surface of Earth had been enough - even if only for a moment in time - to unite all of mankind in a joint prospect to find it.
After the first launch, an unknown source had attacked the first satellite as it launched. That was just over a month ago...
I was back underground in my research lab, the constant hum of computers surrounding me. Nobody ever came down here so I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted. Above me, the hissing noises of pipes fuelling up the rocket that was going to deliver the first of my babies to space. It was a daunting concept that I was going to be standing underneath the rockets as they launched, with all that was protecting me being a few hundred metres of solid concrete. It was the safest way, though. Since the initial attack everybody had got a little bit edgy, and I’d rather be down here by myself than up there, not knowing who to trust.
The alliance between all factions was tedious at times, especially since certain people had been trying to cause mistrust between factions. Making accusations with no proof; one person blames another for the attack and in turn that person passing on the blame. This time, NExT, Phoenix, and the Fallen Angels, were determined to make sure it didn't happen again. Around the backup launch site, at a completely secret location, there was Ground to Air missile turrets, the CityMercs had ground support in the form of soldiers armed to the teeth with the latest technology we had to offer. In the air, we had volunteers willing to risk their lives - if necessary to fly in front of any incoming artillery if needed be. The countdown had started...
This time it was completely unannounced, as the missile left the atmosphere in the dead of the night, people could see it from not only the Military Base, but Tech Haven, the Dome of York, and Neocron city itself. By the morning we had exothermically mapped the whole planet. We couldn't find a third city as such, but we did find a large amount of heat emanating from an area a few hundred miles north of the Military Base.
The first speculation was that this city was underground, but on the fifth sweep a Tangent Technologies scientist, working in tandem with a scientist from the Fallen Angels - concluded that this heat reading was approximately 500 meters off the ground, and was most likely a force field of some kind.
Many people never expected this treaty to work, but the fact a Fallen Angels scientist was working alongside a Tangent Technologies scientist was proof enough for some people - a perfect spectacle of what this treaty meant, arch enemies working together for the common goal.
It was too good to last, call me a sceptic, but I feel it’s better to expect things not to work than to believe they will and be disappointed. I was sitting in my office staring at a screen, half asleep. A blinking cursor pulses in the electric darkness like a heart coursing with phosphorous light, burning beneath the derma of black-neon glass.
A phone begins to ring, I hear it as though I am making the call. The cursor continues to throb, relentlessly patient, until --
Somebody picks up the call, "Hello?"
Data now slashes across the screen, information flashing faster than we read. The trace begins; "Call trans opt: received. 2-19-47 13:24:18 REC:Log>"
"We have located the city at 0600 hours, it is heavily fortified but we believe we have found a weakness in it's force field."
We're listening to the phone conversation as though we were on a third line.
"Have the resources been committed for the attack?"
The screen continues to pulse, the cursor throbbing as the seconds pass. "Trace program: running."
"At this point the resources are committed, but we believe that an all out attack is not the best option at this time."
The entire screen fills with racing columns of numbers. Shimmering like green-electric rivets, they rush at a 10- digit phone number in the top corner.
"You're not paid to think, I don't care what you believe is the best course of action at this time. Send all available units to the coordinates, let's take this city before the Resistance can act. Make it happen and there is a large bounty in this for you."
The area code is identified. The first three numbers suddenly fixed, leaving only seven flowing columns.
Slowly, each digit is matched, one by one, snapping into place like the wheels of a slot machine.
"With the technology available to us once we capture this city, we'll finally be able to rid ourselves of this scum that has plagued us so long. Have the Fallen Angels scientists been disposed of?"
Only two thin digits left.
"We routed toxic gasses into the sleeping quarters once they had gone to sleep. They won't be a problem."
The final number pops into place --
"Did you hear that?"
On the screen, a message pops up... "Trace complete. Call origin: #555-121-2560"
"This line, is it clean?"
"We better go."
I had traced the call back to a facility not located inside of the normal phone calling space. I had never seen the facility before, nor had I been there. However I guess before we continue I should tell you a little bit about what I do here.
For the last few years I have been working on technology beyond even the wildest dreams of the greatest science fiction writers. My device allows me to see, in 3 dimensions, any area on the planet. This all works by cross referencing image and telemetry data from 4 of our 6 satellites. I worked hard developing this technology, and upon it’s creation I realised the purpose of my existence. I wasn’t meant to be one of the most groundbreaking scientists of the modern world. This isn’t what this machine was created for…
The machine resembled a similar design to the ancient computer design of the mid 1980s – a full room machine with buttons and levers, obviously infused with 23rd century technology. This has been the fruits of my last few years of research, my last few years of hacking through Tangent’s systems finding out information regarding stuff they were working on. I was a kilometre underground in what was essentially a box. The room I was in was approximately 500 metres squared and it was dark, not particularly damp due to the air conditioning systems we had installed down here. The conference centre drew heat from the core of the planet and these ducts passed up one side of the room up to the surface. Cold air was drawn from the surface down to the basement and that made up another set of pipes.
The room maintained it’s own temperature and along another of the walls was a computer system controlling access to and from the building, network connections, satellite uplinks, database servers to store and manage all Fallen Angels resources, the Tech Haven Network – a similar system to the City Com network – was also stored on this bridge. In the middle of the room there was an array of very expensive, very comfortable anti gravity chairs. These represented the next evolution of the gravity lift technology we had created. They allowed you to simply sit in the air, providing the best support to your back and the rest of your body on an individual basis. In the middle of these stations was where I sat. This was my room.
Many people had asked me why I liked working in solitude underground, with little or no contact with the outside world for days or even weeks at a time. I personally liked being able to do my own little thing, whenever I wanted. Down here I was away from the harsh realities of what was going on up at the surface. After all – I had just detonated the most powerful weapon known to mankind, while sitting in comfort and sipping tea.
Three hours later, we're panning over the wastelands into uncharted territory. This part of the wasteland looks similar to what we have seen before but somehow different, as though we're treading on new ground. We had passed over the mid world ocean to get this far and were about a kilometre away from the source of the heat patterns. From our vantage point we could see a city of epic proportions. Dark, war beaten walls, gun turrets on the roof, and the spectacle of it all - two massive towers rising high above the city and into the clouds. Comparable to the World Trade Center Buildings in New York, of the ancient world.
"Attention all units. Attention all units."
The army of the City Mercs came to a halt, hanging on every word of their squadron leader. In the midst of the group of elite attack soldiers there was disdain. The City Mercs had morale values, and weren't happy about violating the treaty between Neocron and the Resistance, but the price had been right, the mission had already been accepted.
"This mission was never going to be easy. We have been told this stronghold is letting off energy signatures unlike anything anybody has ever seen before. I don't know what this means, nor do I care. We're better than these people and we're going to take this city by force."
A wave of suspense could be felt in the air, almost so dense that you could have cut it with a knife. Soldiers were lined up; camouflaged in yellow and green power armour, power armour that could have told you a story of it's own if it wasn't inanimate. These were the veterans of the modern world. Using weapons from times gone past, weapons of immense power. Everybody here was either holding a Plasma Cannon prototype, labelled 'the Cursed Soul', a Plasma Wave prototype, 'the Ravager', or the mightiest of rocket launchers. The Ceres Warhammer. Weapons that had been heavily used, you could tell by the burn marks around the barrels of the guns. These people meant business, and the attack was about to be launched.
"I'm not going to lie to you men; today some of you are going to die. But while they may take our lives, they can not touch our spirits! Are we READY men?"
"SIR YES SIR"
"Are we going to give it everything?"
"SIR YES SIR"
We switch out to a wide pan view, watching the CityMercs get gunned down one by one. No survivors. Using the latest technologies we had developed. The Neocron alliance thought they could beat us. They thought that they could use the treaty signed with the Resistance to gain access to our greater intellect. But we know better. Of the six satellites we had launched, only one of their functions was to provide geometric mapping. These six satellites built up the largest Ion weapon ever built, a weapon that could be launched from space. Finally providing the Fallen Angels and it's allies the opportunity to Free Society. As we all know... Only Free Minds Can Build a Free Society.
Katanya Nowakoska - PPU
Natalya Nowakoska - Rifles
Ciara Nowakoska - HC
Malevolence - Researcher