Here is my Xmas present to all of our readers. The story of Ruins takes place on a off-world colony in 2019, and this story was written from a different point-of-view. Instead of seeing the BR universe from today, I took the story from the POV of the 1980's, when the script was written. Also, I used the timeline developed by Aarron Brinkley of www.bladezone.com.
here is the link: http://media.bladezone.com/contents/timeline/
It was finally dark over the ruined city of Kazantsev, and the Lieutenant breathed a little easier. He scanned the streets and buildings around them, looking for any sign of the enemy that had cut them down with that damned 23mm ZSU-23-4 tank.
Despite, his starlight scope revealing nothing, he knew that they were out there. He panned the scope, which he had pulled off his now-dead sniper SLR rifle, down to the street level. Reds never give up! He remembered his drill sergeant’s words. But there was nothing out there, only the burned hulks of Toyota Hilux’s, Soviet made GAZ-66 trucks, and Land Rovers, with scatterings of rumble from the collapsing building. He could relax for a little while …
Surrounding the young Lieutenant on the fifth floor of this shattered office building were the survivors of his Replicant strike team. The Soviet 23mm shells had ripped the Spinner APC vehicles to pieces, along with the bulk of the team. They had fought from the crash to this office building, and now they waited for any rescue attempt or the Reds finishing them off. But he was aware that the Soviets were afraid of the Replicants…after all Tyrell wouldn’t sell them any skin-jobs…and maybe that was keeping the Soviets at bay
In the darkness were the five artificial humans, as he gazed in the dim light of Ara’s twin moons, at their dirty faces, he said their names silently…Big Joe…the big “A” level…Brandy…Aurélie…Sonny…and David.
“Alright, ammo and equipment check! Sonny you’re watching our six.” He ordered. Sonny slipped out into the hallway and watched the stairwell. The Reps obeyed the simple command, and pulling from their load bearing harnesses of supplies that they managed to get from the burning Spinner wreckage.
“We’ve got three G11’s, one LMG11, but it’s only got one box magazine, your PDW version, and Sonny’s G3 along with our sidearms, sir.”
“Grenades?” He asked
“A few impact, and two WP, sir.”
That wasn’t good, he thought. While the Hecker & Koch 4.73x33mm caseless rifles and light machinegun were very good, the Lieutenant feared they would not be enough firepower to get out of the city. Their mission to rout the seasoned Soviet defenders out of the refinery was now gone; only survival was left.
He checked his own kit while he was seated and his back was against a thick wall. There was his caseless H&K personal defense weapon, and his massive the Pläger-Katumate .44 revolver. With a swift action, the LT pulled out the bulky weapon that had been developed to give police one shot kill ability on a skin-job. If you tried to pump a ticking-down Rep with 9mm, than you would not live to regard your decision. He liked the look of the PK-D; it was big and flashily, along with making a terrible noise when fire, but it sucked in normal combat conditions. The Reps were not allowed to carry the weapon, only normal human security and military personal could carry them off-world. With a slide from his thumb, the cylinder was released, and he checked if all five slots were filled.
“The comms, LT?” Asked Brandy, in her sweet voice.
“Sorry, the Reds have the area blanketed with enough EM to jam everything.” She made a face a retreated back to her position, trying to keep low.
“Orders, sir?” Asked Big Joe.
“I’m thinking damnit!” the LT snapped. “Why don’t you use that A-ranked brain and think of a way out!” Despite the darkness, the LT could see the hurt in the eyes of the massive Nexus-6 combat model.
But, he ignored the slave, and scanned the cityscape out of the cracked concrete wall. In the distance of the darkened shattered city was the heavy fuel refinery.
That was whole reason he was even here on Ara in the Gliese 674 system, to command or “handle” Skin-jobs for the Colonial Security Solutions contacted to the Cardozal/Huebrer mining corporation. The LT pulled out a canteen and shook his head; at least the Reps know they’re slaves…
It had not always been like this for Lt. Edward Harrison, the CSS had told him that this assignment was not going to be another Victoria 70, Centaur, Arcadia 234, or even Tanhauser Gate. No, here on Ara, it was to be a cake-walk while baby-sitting the Reps at base. Then the breakdown of relations over refinery changed all of that.
Ara’s deposit of heavy fuel was original claimed by the USSR, during a probe fly-by. However, they lacked the heavy lift technology to bring the fuel to market, so, with the UN’s help, the USSR and Cardozal/Huebrer Mining Corporation entered into an agreement. It was hoped that this would led to melting of the Cold War.
The miners in the pits and strip mining operations were Replicants, and the Russians saw what their isolation was not getting them. Several came up missing, and Tyrell demanded full accounting of where their skin-jobs were, and even threatened the Cardozal/Huebrer with terminating their contract for their slaves. Without Reps, Ara’s heavy fuel would not be up for sale, and they had bet the company to make this deal happen.
The Reds refused to allow CSS personal onto their base, then after a shooting incident the two sides have been leveling Kazantsev for control of the refinery ever since. He had read in the Independent Sentinel newspaper that the stock for Cardozal/Huebrer was down, and that the only way to the save the company was to push the Soviets of out the refinery.
It wasn’t more than a week later, that the entire CSS Replicant combat teams got the call to hit Kazantsev hard.
Harrison shock his head, he was here on this delightful rock to make some money. He had been a tilt-rotor cavalry commander during the 2016 Chilean War, leading soldiers into hell over and over. When the enemy’s AAA was getting too many pilots, they were forced to ask Tyrell to design some Nexas-5’s that could fly the complex machines. After that, Harrison was in command of both humans and skin-jobs. When the war ended, so was his employment, but his experience was wanted on Ara…being platoon handler of some Nexus-6 combat models.
“We’re crap on a cracker, if we don’t get out of here!” Hissed Aurélie, as she moved along the wall, being careful to avoid the intense beams of the search-lights. Harrison was just grateful that the Soviet thermal scanners were so inferior, or else they would be trading lead with them.
“Maybe we should make a deal with them.” Big Joe uttered above the LT’s panicked breathing.
“Maybe the Soviets wouldn’t sell our sisters into those pleasure clubs.” He looked directly at Harrison with hawk-like fierceness. Before Edward ever set foot on Ara, Joe had been in love with another “A” level Six, and the CSS handlers feared what effect that would have on one of the best Rep platoon leader, so, they took his lover to another Cardozal/Huebrer camp. The rumor around the skin-job barrack was that she was sold into a private military pleasure club…a life of prostitution.
“The Soviets are just as bad, Joe-”
“They did not have people like us, Lieutenant.” Joe stroked his G11 while correcting Harrison. The Handler knew that he had landing some points with that one and he didn’t have time to debate the whole geo-political situation on-world to this skin-job while his hold on the Reps was slipping.
“Tyrell wouldn’t even sell you skin-jobs to the Reds! They’re just using PSYCOPS to get some of you to defect so they can use you!”
“You are grasping at straws, LT.” He sneakered.
“They massacred the entire armored Spinner flotilla Joe! That 23mm hacked some your fellow skin-jobs up!” He was anger and scared. He had never had to be totally alone with the Replicants before, and he always believed if he was, than they would chop him to chucks.
He rubbed his tired eyes, maybe I’ve been reading too much KILL…
Since they were so emotion stunted, and the situation so alien to them, Harrison feared that their child-like emotion state would wreck havoc, and they would all be Soviet target practice. Harrison shot up from the dirty floor directly into the face of the massive man.
“Joe,” he whispered into the predator face of the big man, “we lose it out here, we’re dead, you, me and them.” Joe peered around the shoulder of the human, into the eyes of his soldiers.
“You don’t know, LT-”
“I don’t know what, Joe? That I don’t what it is like to be born into a situation you cannot change. I have lived eight of your lifetimes! You help me now, and your last act can be to save these people from a life of mining!”
He hated to call these things, that Tyrell cooked up in those genetic assembly plants, people, but he needed Joe to get the rest of the unit moving toward escaping Kazantsev. Harrison was painfully aware that the Reds would shoot him, and take the Reps down into the strip-pits. But the real issue was the second-in-command of this Rep platoon, David. These were not Harrison’s Replicants; in fact, he had never seen most of them before they were shot down.
During the flight from the base to the city, his handler had shared that David was less than a day from retirement. Edward firmly believed that once David seized up, the entire unit would be disheartened and then dead.
“Harrison, we are going to make our own way.” He flatly said. In that moment, the handler weighted being a POW or taking to navigate the ruins of the city.
“You’re fooling yourselves, the Soviets will work you to death.” He said while checking his weapons.
“Is that any different than you?” He pushed back. Harrison was tried of the Reps testing him and his leadership. With that he pulled off his scoured helmet, tossing it across the littered room.
“Fine, if you want-” Without warning, Harrison’s face was sprayed with warm blood, and screams flooded the small space. The human fell completely on his back with a hard slam, and he torn at his face to clean off the blood, all while cocking his PDW.
“SNIPER!” Screamed out Brandy as she bolted to the twitching body of Big Joe.
“SHIT! BIG JOE!” Cried out Aurélie.
“STAY DOWN! DON’T RETURN FIRE DAMN IT!” Edward barked. The skin-jobs lowered their German caseless weapons.
“There is a Dragunov out there!” He pointed to the other crumbling Soviet-style heavily constructed monstrosities.
“Is he…”Brandy’s voice was smothered in tears. Harrison rolled over to the titan corpus of the Nexus-6 combat model. The 7.62mm round had butchered throat to the point, that only a thin flap of skin held the head to the body…like seppuku?
“What do we do, Lieutenant?” That sniper’s bullet had done what Edward could not; bring his unit together under his leadership.
“Not a damn thing!” He hissed. “Stay down, and away from the windows or any other open space!” He signed for them to crawl out of the front room and down the hallway, away from the sniper’s eye.
For an hour, the remains of the team waiting in the hallway, Sonny had his big rifle trained on the stairwell and the main entrance, while the rest were still in shock. Harrison had seen his share of death and killing during the Chilean War, but to be talking, then have someone‘s head explode in front of you is another thing.
It was started to get cold on this rock, and Harrison tightened up his field jacket against the open conditions of the top floor. His adrenaline spun down, leaving him cold. He dared not to start a fire with all of the loose paper floating around, the Soviet would see that, and send in their shock troops to execute him. At this point, he fooled himself into believing that the Soviets were convicted that they nailed the lone survivor of the attack, and they were back at base celebrating. But he couldn’t risk it.
No, he told himself, cold is better than dead…a little better. Walking around was risky, with the search lights cutting brilliant shifts of intense menacing light and that sniper was still out there in the rumble. He tore into a foil-wrapped field ration pouch, trying to use calories to keep himself warm. All the while ignoring what the Reps were saying to one another.
“What is the plan, Lieutenant?” David asked in a salty tone while lording over him. The sudden and violent death of their leader was adding to the stress, and Edward had to figure a way out before the unit cohesion broken downcompletely. He didn’t care anymore about heat/light discipline, with a nervous hand; he took out a hard pack of fat Boyard Papier Mais cigarettes. With a shaking hand, he pulled out a yellow stubby cigarette, and lit it. With a moment of joy, he simply smoked, like it was last pleasure on this god-forsaken rock.
“Sir, the thermals-”
“I don’t care, David!” He moved away from the young human, and left to finish is Boyard in peace. Once the sin was done, David crab walked back to the still seated LT.
“We have to be out of here by morning, you agree?” David looked directly at him, that was a habit that the skin-jobs did that Harrison never cared for.
“Yes, however being on foot is much too dangerous with the sniper teams about, and the APC Spinners are trashed.” He paused and repacked his Boyards, “we got to search the streets for a heavy duty truck.” While he and David were in another more interior room, Brandy and Aurélie moved the decapitated body of Joe into another room with a blood trail coloring the dusty floor. Now there are four of us…
“The Soviets know where we are.” Edward spoke grimly
“No doubt.” The Rep spoke, but did not peel his eyes from the body of Big Joe.
“They’ll be here in the morning with AKs are the ready.”
“Last stand, sir?” Harrison looked at the ticker rep with a funny expression.
“No,” he shook his head, “we’re getting the hell out of here.” He crouch down and walked to Sonny in the corridor.
“I got a mission for the two of us, the rest of you,” Harrison pointed to the three Reps. “Sit, stay, we’ll be back.”
He darted around the fifth floor of the broken office building, with Sonny covering him with his G3. Harrison did not want to be another notch in that Red’s sniper book! Every vehicle on the street seemed to be burned up, and he cussed wildly when he saw the shake-n-bake job on all of the vehicles. If they were still here in the morning, his brain told him, the entire CSS assault on Kazantsev would be a complete slaughter.
“We’re never going to get out of here.” He moaned under his breath, as Sonny watched. Fighting in built-up areas was a brutal affair, soldiers used whatever was on hand to move up a few feet, and every street in Kazantsev bore those scars.
“Lieutenant, train your scope on that alleyway, one klick north.” He peered over the window frame and in the grainy green glow was a seemly untouched Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG military truck!
“Jesus H.Hubbard!” He nearly shouted. “Now, if that big German’s got gas...” He wondered aloud, hope was starting to filter through his tried body.
“Someone is going to have to go out there and check, LT.” Harrison nodded to Sonny’s suggestion.
“You volunteering, Sonny?” He needled.
“I’m a slave, sir, not stupid, or quick.” Sonny’s words gave the LT the prefect candidate. When they arrived back in the room, Harrison cast an eye on Aurélie. She was a lean, tall pretty thing, with legs like a cheetah. He had cast a greedy eye toward her in the Rep barracks, and he could have ordered her to please him…but something always stopped him.
“Aurélie, on me.” She moved from her defense position, and crouched next to him on the floor, her dark large eyes locked on him like an Owl sweeping in for the mouse.
“Sonny ID’ed an UNIMOG truck down an alley way one klick straight north of us. For what we can tell, it’s intact.” He peered around at the other skin-jobs, “but we need to confirm that.” They all gave their handler a grim look. They had already seen many of their own go down out there… He thought.
“Sir, there has to be a better-”
“Shut up, David!” the lieutenant snapped his neck to the Rep. “She’s going, so we can evac outta here, before the Reds make me into a greasy spot!” A cold hush fell on them, as Aurélie started to strip out of her tactical gear.
“Got be fast.” She whispered to herself. While she worked her way down to her fatigues, Sonny showed her where the Mercedes was.
As the thin Rep started down the staircase, David fished out his VP70 9mm pistol, and offered to Aurélie, who shook her delicate head. “No thanks, it’ll only slow me down.”
“And what if some big bad Russian comes to air you out?” Mocked Brandy.
“I’ll push his eyes in.” She jetted out two of her thin long fingers in a kung-fu grip like motion, producing laugher all around.
“Aurélie,” the LT pointed at her, “check the UNIMOG, make sure it able to run, check the battery-”
“Sir, I’m not a ‘C’ level!”
“Move your ass, skin-job.” He growled at her. She mocked a salute and moved down the stairs. “Sonny, you got her?” He called out down the hallway.
“Yeah, over-watching her.” With his stripped sniper scope, Harrison watched her bound out into the shattered boomtown. The city was a collection of prefab miner homes, some shops, but the town was dominated by the pipe maze of the refinery and launching pads. The odd thing was, as the handler observed the gracefully running of the Rep, was that he could see fields of green just beyond the concrete. Not like back on-world…
“She’s at a brick pile.” David broke Harrison’s thoughts. He pulled the starlight scope back to see her looking at a path to the alleyway.
The sharp cracking report of RPK light machine gun echoed through the valley, lit up the street, snapping dust all around Aurélie.
“We got no choice!” Edward commanded to David. The tall Rep hammered out some caseless toward the muzzle flashes, and then Brandy and Sonny followed with covering fire of their own. It’s done now…the Reds now know how many we are and where!
Harrison had to admit that it felt damn good to unleash some caseless at his enemy, and while the thick metal blanket of fire kept the Russians heads down, Aurélie bolted out of cover and disappeared into the inky blackness of the alleyway.
“She’s there!” The LT signed for cease fire. “Reload! And get ready, they could be coming!” Brandy left the room, and took a covering position over the stairwell.
In those moments, the Handler did not feel like he was command a bunch of toasters, but they felt like soldiers to him.
“LT, Aurélie is signing.” He lifted up his starlight scope, and saw the long lean Rep flashing the sign that the UNIMOG was good.
“Lieutenant, may I make a suggestion?” Asked David.
“We should leave now, while Aurélie is already on-station with transport.” It seemed suddenly like whatever god there was on Ara, was smiling on them now.
“Brandy, Sonny, we’re leaving.” Each of them wore a shocked but excited expression.
“On me.” The Replicants formed up on Harrison, and there his human eyes saw David trying to hide a limp arm. He ignored it.
“Aurélie’s got the UNIMOG warmed up, and the Soviets are busy under cover, we should run our asses out of this death trap and to the vehicle. Covering pattern, nothing fancy.” He ordered.
“David, join me.” Harrison crawled over to the body of Big Joe, and released the G11 from his chest rig and some extra magazines. The coming situation, Edward realized that he would need the punch of the rifle.
“You’re limp, explain.” He looked sheepishly away.
“My inception date is today.” That shocked Harrison, most of the time, CSS wouldn’t send out ticker Reps that close to retirement. Cardozal/Huebrer must be desperate to get this shit over on Ara.
“David, there isn’t a damn thing I can do for you.”
“I know, just let me cover the unit to the truck.” Harrison nodded and handed him another long 4.73mm magazine.
They rushed out a massive break in the dense walls of the building, at a dead run. Harrison and Brandy tossed white phosphorus grenades to throw up some smoke, as the others shot at anything.
Harrison pushed himself through the junk in the road, while Soviet AK’s started to hit around him. With a final push, the Lieutenant ducked under cover, and reloaded.
“DAVID’S DOWN!” Harrison cracked his head to Brandy pointing at the tall skin-job laying in the middle of the road, near a burned out GAZ-66 truck.
“BRANDY! SONNY! GIVE ME SOME COVERING FIRE!”
They sprayed the area where the Soviet fire was coming from, and Harrison ran low to the motionless Replicant lying in the open street.
Harrison practically slid into the downed soldier, while banging out caseless fire.
“Are you okay? David? DAVID!” The Reps eyes blinked heavily, and his arms behaved as if they were separate from his body.
“David! Get the hell up!” He pulled the Rep up, but his legs gave out.
“Damn, that’s a tired line, skin-job!” Harrison had little choice; he opened the cab to the OD truck.
“Grab your G11!” But David’s right hand could not close on the carrying handle. With a desperate last act, Harrison slammed the skin-job into the vehicle. It was the only cover, but now they were trapped.
Harrison went to work checking the Rep for any wounds, and discovered none. He’s close…the human thought as he noticed the full-body shakes and floppy limbs.
Soviet 5.45mm rounds raked the truck and cracked the massive wind-shield, but Harrison just stared that the failing skin-jobs.
“David…” Words failed him, as he watched his hand twitch, dropping the G11 on the floorboard of the Soviet heavy truck. He scooped up the weapon, reloaded it, and pushed into the Reps other hand.
“Can you fire with the left one?!” He screamed over the crack-crack of the impacting rounds slammed into the windshield. David nodded as best he could with the breakdown of cellular ATP energy production.
“You’re locked and loaded.” Then un-holstered his PK-D and laid on the lap of the man.
“For when they get close.” He smiled weakly, to the nearly expressionless face of the Replicant.
“Get…out…L…T…” He gasped. Harrison bolted out of the GAZ-66, and ran for the Mercedes UNIMOG with Soviet lead snapping at his heels. But above that, there was the steady fire of a G11.
“Harrison, get your ass in!” Cried Brandy. With a savage crack on the manual transmission, Sonny thrashed the old OD vehicle forward under a hail of fire. Brandy sprayed the area around the GAZ-66 with machine gun fire, as Sonny wrestled the massive wheel, turned in the great German beast back toward the CSS compound.
“Anyone see David?” The LT yelled over the roar of the fossil fuel engine. Aurélie pulled up her field glasses.
“Flashing of a big pistol,” she looked down at the flopping holster on Harrison’s right hip. “And Reds are danger close.” Harrison threw himself down to the metal rusted floor and collapsed against the canvas side.
“It’s over.” He huffed. Not a word was spoken between them on the ride back to the base. All eyes were locked on the disappearing Soviet truck, and the soldier they left behind.
When Harrison finally finished with the debriefing and the psych-evaluations, he sat down in a quiet corner of the hauler private mess hall, and opened a copy of Independent Sentinel newspaper. While slipping a strong brew of coffee, he cracked the business pages, and checked the stock price of Cardozal/Huebrer mining corporation and Colonial Security Solutions, both were down.
“Harrison,” called out the field commander for the CSS personal across the chow hall.
“Sir!” He shot up and saluted the man.
“Sit, son, you earned the coffee.” He sat down across from Harrison.
“The on-world suits are screaming for another strike into the boomtown, you up for it?” Harrison swallowed hard and recomposed himself.
“But, sir, we lost most of our APCs’ and combat Reps.”
“Naw,” he wickedly smiled, “Tyrell was real generous, and got some top-of-the-line combat models Sixs’ from Mars to here on a fast transport.” That made Edward sick; he never wanted to see that hellhole again! “They’ll be here in a week.”
“Sir, do you want me on the assault?” The commander made a deep laugh that rocked his toned shoulders.
“Hell boy,” he smacked Harrison on the back. “You’re the only one that’s been in that heap of shit town! You’re the damned lead strike commander, that’s a bump in pay, privileges around the base,” He laughed again.
“Hell, you and I will be in the same pleasure club!” All of this was too much to bear for the shattered nerves of Edward.
He sat down a folder and an electronic keycard, “just remember to ask for Gloria, she’s real sweet.” With that, the commander swaggered away and left Harrison struggling not to throw up.
When he was out of the mess hall, Harrison took out a piece of paper and wrote his resignation, and checked the schedule for a shuttle back to Earth.