Mission 11

OPERATION DEVIL’S CROWN
UFO RECOVERY
SOUTH AFRICA

Mendiola navigated the space between ruined buildings, hearing his elbows scrape against either one wall or the other. He looked down the dented armor of his arm, feeling the phantom sensation of his elbow scraping against stone, and pushed further down the narrow corridor. He moved slowly, listening to brick crunch under him, when two Mutons suddenly burst into view, taking cover and aiming at Mendiola.

Instinctively, he tried to move to one side but was blocked by the building wall. Not wanting to bring it down on top of him, he tried to duck to the other side but found the same problem. Resigning himself to the fight, he levelled his minigun towards the aliens and shouted, “CONTACT!”

The first plasma volley raced towards him and he bent his knees, lowering his body. The plasma splashed against his arm and he hissed in anticipation of the pain, though all he could feel was heat washing over him. He felt the strange sensation of the electromagnetic shield automatically adjusting to the plasma, and when the second volley came his way he saw the blue flicker of it being drained of its energy before splashing against his torso. The hit was followed by real pain and he winced.

He fired his minigun, hosing the Mutons’ cover with ballistic rounds as it was reduced to little more than dust and rocks. As the cover degraded he kept his focus on the Muton on the left, watching its armor get chipped away until it fell into a puddle of its own blood. As the belt ran dry, he realized the squad was in no position to provide support and he called back, “Need smoke here!”

Bringing one massive mechanical arm around, he flipped open the ammo box on his firing arm to remove another belt when he heard the tink of a grenade rolling on brick. Slowly, the alley started to fill up with smoke and he lowered his body as far as it would go, though the cybersuit didn’t allow for much.

“Chariot 5, you alright?” asked Thakilla over the radio.

“Yea,” replied Mendiola quietly, “Got a Muton up ahead. Moving up.”

Mendiola moved awkwardly down the alley, his legs moving ungainly as he tried to stay low. The smoke swirled all about the alley, cutting his vision down to what was directly in front of him. There was another sound of plasma fire and he stopped, the green plasma lighting up the smoke as it passed overhead. He pushed forward, out of the alley and into the street. As the smoke billowed out of the alley and along the asphalt, his massive frame emerged from out of cover and found the Muton crouched behind a broken wall a few feet away. The alien fired another volley at Mendiola as he stood up and charged towards it, catching the last volley directly into the torso. With his large, loping steps he close the distance with 3 easy strides until he was towering over the alien. He brought back the arm with kinetic module, engaging the thruster on it. The hardened metal slammed into the Muton, its armor collapsing under the force of the blow. Green blood and metal splinters sprayed all over Mendiola as the Muton was driven into the ground. Mendiola stood over the Muton’s body, ready to strike again, though it didn’t stir. Mendiola took a quick glance around the ruined buildings, examining the windows and rooftops, and said over the radio, “Area’s clear.”

There was the sound of running footsteps as Mendiola looked down, seeing the scorch marks that spotted the cybersuit. His torso had been hit particularly hard, the plasma burning all the way through the armor had hitting his body underneath, which helped explain the pain. Instinctively, he tried to bring his hand up to touch the wound but his mechanical limbs proved too inflexible.

Mister Coach crouched behind a nearby pile of rubble, shouting, “You look pretty rough, Sergeant!” to which Thakilla replied, “God dammit rookie, shut up and watch your sect- oh, hell Mendiola, you’re actually hurt.”

Mendiola grunted as Thakilla ran towards him, examining the wound in his torso, muttering to himself. “Wow, Matt, you’re bleeding.”

Mendiola grunted again and said, “Didn’t know. Can’t actually see it.”

“Here, I got you,” replied Thakilla, unhooking the medikit on his belt and putting the nozzle inside the armor. There was the hissing sound of the medical compound being injected into the wound, accompanied by a burning pain. Mendiola winced, but the pain quickly subsided.

“How do you feel?” asked Thakilla.

“Better.”

Thakilla nodded, and from somewhere down the road there the sound of plasma fire. Mendiola immediately scanned the buildings, looking for any signs of movement, when he spotted a Thin Man standing in the second story window of a building. Nearby, Mister Coach fired a burst from his rifle and hit the Thin Man as it disappeared into a cloud of smoke.

Mendiola raised his minigun, noticing the small sliver of UFO hull in view at the end of the street as Thakilla leaned against a nearby wall. Another Thin Man moved into view, accompanied by 2 Floaters. There was the crack of Ravenshaw’s rifle, immediately piercing one Floater’s armor as Hellbilly shouted, “Contact, up high!”

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