OPERATION BLOODY HEART
“So they think they can modify our genes?” asked Achus.
“Modify our genes with alien juices,” corrected Hudson.
“They think they can modify our genes with alien juices using the Meld?” asked Achus.
“Don’t forget the cybernetic enhancements,” offered Mendiola.
“Right, sorry. So they think can swap our DNA with alien DNA and then turn us into RoboCop? All with the Meld? After playing with it for a week?” asked Achus wearily.
Medusa laughed and said, “Yea, sounds about right.”
“God damn mad scientists,” muttered Achus.
At the front of the squad, Mendiola held up a hand to signal a halt. Achus immediately dropped to his knee, casting a glance through the wrecked wall of the building. The UFO had been shot down over a small suburban town in Japan, demolishing most of the buildings in the area. The squad was moving through one of the wrecked buildings, keeping an eye out for any wounded- mercifully, they hadn’t found any civilians dead or alive, which hopefully meant the evacuation order went out in time.
“I’ve got eyes on something, uh, big and blue. Does anyone know what a UFO looks like?” said Mendiola. Achus moved forward, joining him at the window, and saw a tall blue structure that towered over everything else. Small pieces of smoking blue debris were scattered about its multiple entrances, but otherwise it seemed intact.
“Holy hell, I can’t believe it survived the impact.”
“I know, right? Stuff’s made of Wolverine’s bones. And there’s another canister right next to it,” said Mendiola, pointing. Achus’s eyes were drawn to the glowing Meld amongst the debris, and whispered to Mendiola, “Let’s keep it moving, then.”
Mendiola gestured for the squad to keep advancing, and lifted himself through the window. Achus was right behind him, gingerly stepping through the window, being careful not to slip on any rubble. He followed Mendiola, snaking their way through the wrecked city as the UFO came into clearer view. There was more debris strewn about, and despite the major structural damage, it still seemed functinoal. There was a large opening that afforded Achus a view directly inside the UFO, which was still brightly lit.
Up ahead, Mendiola started to say something, but was immediately cut off by the sound of plasma fire. Achus saw green plasma splash against his right arm as he shouted and fell to the ground.
“Contact, contact!” shouted Achus, throwing himself against a nearby wall.
“Where?” shouted Medusa. Achus scanned the rubble frantically, trying to find where the shot had come from, when he saw movement behind free standing staircase. He saw a Sectoid dart out from behind it and fired, but the shot went wide.
“2 Sectoids to the northeast!” shouted Achus.
“We’ve got them, pick up Mendiola!”
Achus glanced over at where Mendiola had gone down, and saw that the soldier was moaning and grabbing at his arm. He slipped out of cover and ran towards Mendiola, when he heard the steady sound of Medusa firing his LMG, followed by the mewling of a Sectoid. He reached Mendiola, and hooking his arms under his armpits, started to drag him backwards into the shell of a house. The soldier was still moaning, and as Achus dragged him across the broken bits of brick, he started to yelp in pain.
“Sorry buddy, gotta get you out of here,” said Achus, getting him behind a wall. He heard Hudson shout, “2 more!” and followed by the blast of Hudson’s shotgun. Achus knelt over the wounded soldier, looking at the plasma burns covering his arm. The burns were extensive and looked painful, but nonlethal. Mendiola was still squirming and moaning, and Achus unhooked the medikit off his belt, priming it. He pushed the nozzle into Mendiola’s burns and squeezed the trigger, smothering the burns in the medical compound. Mendiola eyes grew wide and he started to say something, but Medusa suddenly cried out, “Rocket out!” and there was the scream of a rocket firing followed shortly by detonation. The building Achus was in shook dangerously, showering dust all over him and Mendiola. By the time the dust had settled, Mendiola had sat up on his own.
“Sorry about that. That really, really hurt,” he said.
“Which part?” asked Achus. As Mendiola made an impolite gesture towards him, Hudson called out over the radio, “All 4 contacts down. How’s Chariot 5?”
Achus watched as Mendiola stood up and tried to pick up his shotgun but found his arm useless, so he settled for unholstering his pistol. “He’s down to a pistol, but he’ll live.”
“Good deal. We’re coming your way.”
Mendiola flexed his fingers, wincing, and said, “I feel pretty great, all things considered. What’s in that stuff?”
“Mixture of analgesics, stimulants, and coagulants. It’s a short term solution, though, stuff will fade eventually. You’ll be out of commission for awhile.”
Medusa and Hudson both entered the building, much dustier than Achus had left them. Medusa took a glance at Mendiola and said, “Are you good to go?”
Mendiola nodded, and Medusa said, “Alright. We’ll approach the UFO, and once we get close enough, you’ll break off and round up the Meld. Careful of any nasty surprises they may have left.”
Hudson started out towards the UFO, and the rest of the squad trailed behind. From where they were, Achus could see directly into it, and once they were close enough, Medusa signalled for Mendiola to break off. As soon as he did, though, a green light appeared inside the UFO that quickly started to grow in size. Hudson threw up a hand to signal a halt, and after a few more moments, a full sized being was present inside the UFO. It quickly dashed towards the UFO bulkhead, taking an unmistakable firing position.
“New contact!” shout Hudson, firing a blast from his shotgun. The shot went high, hitting the UFO hull harmlessly. The new alien returned fire, shooting a rapid volley of plasma that drove everyone to nearby cover. Achus dove behind a piece of debris, awkwardly trying to roll into a firing position, when he heard Hudson call, “Frag out!”
A few moments later the grenade detonated, and Achus was able to take a knee and aim his rifle at the UFO. The grenade had demolished the UFO hull, leaving the bright green figure fully exposed. Taking careful aim, Achus fired a burst from his rifle, hitting the alien. Immediately, it started to disintegrate and fall backwards, and completely disappeared before it hit the UFO deck.
Silence settled over the field, and Achus suspected that was the last bit of alien resistance present. He still kept his rifle up, wary of any potential ambushes, when Medusa called out, “I think that’s the last of them. Let’s check out the UFO.