Hudson ran alongside the brick wall, slowing down as he approached the intersection that held the Meld canister. He approached the building corner and poked his head out, scanning the street for any enemies. Seeing no signs of movement, Hudson turned towards Medusa, who gave him the thumbs up. He checked the safety of his shotgun for the umpteenth time, took a deep breath, and sprinted towards the Meld canister. His earpiece started to crackle the closer he got to the canister, when he heard Medusa shout from behind him, “Contact on the roof!” followed by the sounds of plasma fire.

Out of the corner of his eye, Hudson saw a green flash, and looked up to see 2 Sectoids on a nearby rooftop firing down on him. He instinctively dove for cover, hitting the asphalt hard as plasma peppered the ground behind him. He could hear LMG and rifle fire from the squad’s position, and looked up to see the head of one of the Sectoids disappear in a spray of green blood. The fire drove the other’s head down, and Hudson took the reprieve to get back up and take cover behind the canister. As he got closer, the crackling got louder in his earpiece, and once he was leaning against it was unbearable. He ripped it out of his ear, and nervously leaned out of cover to look up at the rooftop. Not seeing the Sectoid, he quickly slung his shotgun over his shoulder and drew his pistol, aiming it up at the rooftop. After a few more moments of stillness, the Sectoid’s head suddenly popped back up and the squad opened fire, eliminating it instantly.

“You OK?” called out Medusa.

“Yea, I’m fine,” replied Hudson, holstering his pistol and searching around for the switch on the Meld canister. He finally found one that looked similar to the one on the first canister, and hit it. Instantly, the canister cooled, and a yellow crystalline structure emerged from the top. Carefully, he brought his earpiece back up to his ear, and was relieved that the crackling had become bearable.

“Mendiola, Achus, cross the street,” called out Hudson, and immediately both soldiers sprinted towards Hudson. He kept his shotgun pointed down the street, suspecting that the gunfire would draw reinforcements, but as the soldiers crossed behind him he saw no signs of movement.

“Move!” shouted Achus, and Medusa started to cross the street. As he crossed behind Hudson, there was the clatter of a door banging open, and 2 Sectoids spilled into the street.

“CONTACT!” shouted Hudson, instinctively firing a blast from his shotgun. It was a lucky hit, blowing off its lower limbs and sending the other scrambling for cover behind a dumpster. Mendiola fired his rifle at it before it slipped away, but it was too late. Hudson saw a skinny limb blindly reach out and fire, sending plasma sailing overhead. He kept his shotgun trained on the Sectoid’s, but the steel was too thick to penetrate.

To his left, he heard Medusa cry out, “Going to the roof!” and Hudson glanced over to see him clambering up a drainpipe. Hudson kept his shotgun pointed down the road, but when the Sectoid fired once more, he was forced to duck behind the canister. He unhooked a frag grenade from his belt and primed it, lobbing it towards the dumpster. It hit the ground and rolled barely past the edge of the dumpster, spraying green blood all over the wall when it detonated. He glanced up to the roof and saw Medusa aiming his LMG downwards as Mendiola pulled himself up over the lip of the roof.

While his shotgun was still trained on the dumpster, Medusa said over the radio, “You can relax, Chariot 4, that Sectoid can’t hurt you anymore.”

“Oh Thank God,” muttered Hudson, leaning against the canister. He loaded fresh shells into his shotgun, while Medusa continued to talk. “I can see most of the block from up here, and it looks clear. We’ll move to the other side if you guys want to wrap around.”

“Roger that Chariot 3. We’ll wrap around.”

Hudson crossed the street to join Achus, and both men started to move along the wall. The crackling from the canister started to fade, but was quickly replaced by more, signalling a nearby canister.

“I think there’s some more Meld nearby,” muttered Achus.

“No kidding,” replied Hudson. He ripped out his earpiece once more, and in front of him Achus suddenly crouched. Hudson followed suit, and watched Achus slowly poke his head up and look through the window, and then gestured that he spotted 2 more enemies. The two soldiers slowly crept forward, doing their best to stay under the windows, when there was a sudden burst of automatic fire. Achus and Hudson started to move a little quicker when a Sectoid suddenly ran a few feet directly in front of them. Both men shouted in surprise and Achus fired a rifle burst in reflex, killing the Sectoid.

“Jesus,” muttered Achus, while Hudson stood wide eyed behind him. After a few minutes of silence, they continued to move forward until Achus reached the corner of the building and peered around. As soon as he did, Medusa’s voice immediately came down from the roof. “Hey! Don’t you guys know how to use a radio?”

Hudson looked up and saw the squad’s gunner leaning over the rootop and shouted back, “Meld is nearby, can’t hear anything.”

“Well, it’s all clear. No more contacts in the area. Meld’s around the corner to go and grab.”

Achus and Hudson stood up and moved around the corner, and was immediately greeted with the sight of the Meld canister a little further down the road. There was a dead Sectoid nearby, and Achus jogged over to it and hit the switch, converting it into its crystalline form.

“Why do you think this thing jams up the comms so much?” asked Achus.

“Dunno,” shrugged Hudson, putting his earpiece in, “We should probably talk to engineering about it, though.”


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