Chapter 4: Contact
I stood ready in the drop hatch with Nephila and Penny each of our suits sealed for the vacuum of space, me and penny shared the same basic styled helm will Nephila had a custom one to account for the extra eyes I’m sure. It was already 30 minutes since Cauldron and Paragon left. I was practically vibrating from my nerves, no relaxing this time. During this operation Nephila would be team leader. When entering, Penny would be taking point, followed by me, followed by Nephila. Soon after we got the call over our comms and Blare moved in, blowing a hole into the door and we were released, dropping down into the planets hidden base. Alarms sounded but we moved in as planned, As soon as we hit the second room we were fired upon but it wasn’t Solvendari. Strange ball like creatures hung from the ceiling with powerful arms and shot at us with what I assumed were feet or hands, a single large eye tracking our every move. Spotting the eye Penny through a flash bang into the room, we heard the creature scream in pain which Nephila and I used the chance to pop em square in the eye, letting there bodies hit the floor with a thud. “That's new, everyone stay sharp and shoot first.” said Nephila as we got back in formation and moved further in. The available room going further in was packed tight, not for us but compared to a Solvendari it seemed as such, Cauldron would have been a hindrance here. The thought passed my mind as we engaged more of those ball things, After the first went down I didn’t think they were anything other then guard dogs. Then they started using tactics and one even tried to fight Penny in unarmed combat, which ended with it being shot by me. Fighting these things was like fighting monkey’s in balls. They would roll, swing, and leap around the room attempting to make us focus on them and a hidden one would flank. Thankfully Nephila was able to still spot it and quickly take it down. Room by room we left bodies of those things but the deeper we got we didn’t see any Solvendari, I was both thankful but worried I even questioned if we didn’t just find a new alien species and royally fucked up first contact. We finally got to was seemed to be a lab of some kind and we just encountered a lone Solvendari and it was ready as soon as Penny stepped into the room, she was fired at with a blast of kinetic force. She was sent flying into me crushing the wind out of my lungs. Nephila was able to strafe and lay some covering fire. Penny recovered first, kicking me to the side and pushing herself to the edge of the hall to dodge some fire aimed our way. Nephilas threw in a Void grenade allowing us to enter the room. I took aim while the Alien seemed shocked his abilities were gone and shot twice hitting in the chest and once in the neck. It fell jerking for a few moments before to falling still. “Nice.” Penny said flatly as she swept the room for more enemies. Quickly scanning the room we see it’s full of medical equipment and there is a fresh trail of red blood leading out of the room. The aliens don’t have red blood. Reloading we moved furthering in following the trail. The trail ended at the body of a male who was left behind, the top of his head sawed off and his brain was missing, I almost puked but I fought and held it back. we quicken our pace to find who did this and once I found them I was left speechless. A room full of brains inside jars and in the middle of the room was the machine that looked like it was finishing the process. I lifted my rifle to shoot it but was pushed forward, “CONTACT!” yelled Nephila as a Solvendari in black armor and green aura dropped down in between us. A Blade of energy protruding from its arm. Nephila fired full blast into his back but the shots didn’t even hit the armor as a psychic shield prevents it. The alien slashes at Nephila but using her quick reflexes she dodges while Penny fires into its side piercing the shield but not breaking through the armor and with a flick of it’s wrist Penny is sent flying once more into a wall of jars, juice soaking her and the brain smacking across the floor with wet thunks. I watched as the shield regenerated this wasn’t an enemy I could fight carefully in this situation, using the opening Penny made, I lifted my hand and shot a bolt of lighting into his shield overpowering it forcing it to fall before hitting the armor which it took the bolts and dispersed the current throughout it’s surface and into the juices pooling on the floor, I received a Zap but I heard a scream of anguish from Penny, and it stared at me. Cursing under my breath I drew my sword thinking twice about imbuing it with my essence but I had no choice and moved in, aiming for it’s leg at the weaker looking sections but it was one step ahead clashing his blade against mine. I stared into its eyes through my helm, it gave a look of what I can only assume is surprise through it’s scarred face as I engaged in melee combat with it. As we fought it toss brain jars at me from behind knocking me off balance then moved in for the killing blow, but not before a small gem hit the ground and I felt sick and my sword lost its charge but it’s energy blade disappeared simply ending with a punch to my chest, it wasn’t light but I’ve had worse, Nephila was firing everything at it’s back now and I moved as quick as I could to get my gun but it move with me and proceeded to kick me with what I could only describe was the force of an angry giant, I was sent flying through the middle of the room breaking the freshly minted brain jar I saw penny run past me while I recoiled and heard the blast of a shotgun with hums of alien firearms soon after. When I got back to my feet they were laying fire down the hall. Our weapons were wearing it’s armor down but we couldn’t risk taking a hit by theirs. I rejoined the others and fired at it hoping our combined fire would be enough, but before we could find out a vortex of purple energy appeared behind it and second set of black armor appeared half way through the portal grabbing the one in the green. My eyes widened and I curse quickly reaching for my grenade I threw it down that hall, unfortunately it landed but didn’t go off in time as the green one was pulled through, “FUCK!” I shouted as Nephila got on the comm. “We got 3 solvendari confirmed one dead, the other two warped away. We found what we expect to be the colonists” “We’re gonna keep searching, keep an eye out Perry.” I tried my best to shake off this sick feeling but it wasn’t going away and felt pain building in my chest , looking over to Penny I checked her over “How you holding up?” “I’m sure to have bruises but nothing is broken, and my right eye is glitching out from your lightning and we are out of our void grenades, we should tread carefully.” I wanted to say sorry as Nephila reloaded and nodded her head “Finish clearing the room, we still might not be alone.” We reformed up and we’ve kept going through the base we didn’t find any more Aliens of either variety and shortly after we got comm that the ship detected another leaving orbit. We never did find the bodies aside from the fresh corpse and brains. But we left back to the ship under Paragons orders, Blare had concerns that the base was set to blow, so he sent in some seeker drones to check the place for any more dangers. Doc took his time patching me and Penny up, She had a few cuts, bruises and course her right eye but I had 3 broken ribs He gave me more of that Pure water and took some time to patch me up with healing spells. I wasn’t going to be moving fast for awhile but I was 100%, Doc told me to not take a hit like that again before informing Paragon that we are back in action. “Great, I want all of you to meet in the meeting zone, Blare found something and it’s not good.” Me and Doc looked at each other and nodded. “Penny lets go.” Doc ordered, after washing his hands. we went to the terminal area as a group meeting everyone but Blare whose image was being projected by the terminal as he was still flying the ship. “Alright everyone's here, Blare explain.” “Ok, I didn’t have time to look through everything but those brains are in fact human, and not clones each one is a different person. Though I’ll need Doc to be able to tell subtypes. The Solvendari were harvesting brains and disposing of the bodies for experimentation.” I sucked my teeth regretting that I let them get away as Blare continued. “It’s also clear that there is a suspected main base or several smaller bases like this one. The number off brains here was numerous but no were near the projected lost to colonist, even when compared to the other teams. While I’m on the topic of them, the Solvendari in black armor with green hue was seen at each location, but unless they are masters over time, I assume that instead of an individual the green ones are a separate force, as team 3 mentioned there greeny utilized ice instead of lightning.” Each one of us stood silent taking in this information. “Team 2 however was able to kill theres and recover the body it’s being transported back to Human space as we speak. That is all.” Paragon took back over “Command has also told us to recover the lone human body and, the brains with the solvendari Rookie killed. After wiping this place clean it’s to be destroyed and we are going to 7-B for reassignment.’ he paused and looked around to everyone “You all did good today. Keep it up. Dismissed” It was then I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding like a great pressure was released we got through this with minor injuries. I smiled and joined the team again to help collect what was needed, the whole process took 2 hours and we’ve had a fuck ton of brains. But we packed up and the place was scrabbled. Mission accomplished. During our time back Nephila kept her promise to herself, we had a dinner together as a team, Not gonna lie when I first heard it was odd, but now it seemed natural to the others, we sat close and she served a single impossibly large egg, it was the size of cauldrons helmet. “What is that?” She smile and slow cut the top off of it. “It’s a Prairie chicken egg.” she slowly cut each of us a piece of the top egg except for cauldron and herself then poured the warm yok over it. The remaining egg she blended and poured into two glasses which she gave herself and cauldron both with straws. I sat waiting looking out of the corner in my eye as I saw cauldron begin to take their helmet off, then I feel something tug my sleeve, it was penny. I regretfully look away and asked “O hey, um what do you need Penny?” She said nothing and just stared at me, I sat there nervously and started to look away but she tugs my sleeve again. “Ok, ok I’m sorry for zapping you..” Blinking twice she turn back to her food and started to eat, I was dumbfounded turning back I see Cauldron was already finished putting back on their helmet and Paragon smiling at me. “Damn it.” Thinking about it, there was still a lot I didn’t know about this team, they were good enough people but I felt that after this I had some leeway in asking some questions, and we did have 3 days.