MetaLife – Chapter 1

–     Alice! Move!

Alice reacted to his captain’s voice by rolling to her side, quick enough to feel the projectile hitting the ground right where she was two seconds before.

The large, black, shadowed beast had a humanoid shape. It walked on two large legs more similar to the ones in a goat or horse, were the knees bent backwards. On top of those legs there was a short, wide body with a small head, and two huge arms longer than the two legs together. Using its arms, the beast was destroying everything around them, turning it into compact balls, and throwing those balls at them with a nearly perfect precision, almost ignoring all the shots from the essence burst amplifier guns.

Those guns, the main weapon of the MetaLife soldiers, charged themselves with the solders’ essence energy, and then shot it in concentrated shots which, while invisible to a normal human, looked like pulse guns coming from some cheap sci-fi movie: bright segments of energy which moved fast, but not quite at the speed of light. They were generally effective, especially against small-sized enemies, but they proved to be ineffective against that large beast. Their secondary weapon, reserved for close combat and special beasts, was called the essence blade and, despite the name, the weapon was actually shaped like a telescopic baton.

Essence had a strange property. In contact with the enemies’ bodies, the essence disintegrates everything it touches: like if the enemies and the essence were total opposites, their contact destroys both, making direct contact lethal for both sides. But unlike the enemies, reconfigured humans didn’t have the ability to use their own body as a weapon, and all they could do was canalize it through their weapons. In either case, the usage of essence by the humans, and also the enemies’ counterpart, had a slow regeneration, which meant with enough insistence, they could die.

The basic way to kill both humans and the enemies was to either destroy enough of the body that it can’t keep the integrity and dissolves into nothing, or hit one of the vital spots, which produced the same effect, but faster.

Going back to their current position, the group was facing a large beast, and none of their shots seemed to affect it, either going through it as if nothing happened, or being deflected by the beast’s outer armor. Their only solution was, then, to try and approach the beast, and attack it with the blade, trying to find a weak place to pierce the armor and hopefully reach its core.

–     We need to reach its back. Alice, Daniel, follow me. Dean, Eric, you go around the east and make as much noise as possible on your way there. Go! Go! Go!

Alice walked right behind Robert, her captain, and Daniel was last. They moved in a blend between running, crouching, and jumping, swift, silent and fast, which allowed them to reach the back of the beast undetected, while the other two were struggling to stay alive, and distract the enemy at the same time, which proved to be a complicated task to achieve.

Robert used his left arm to give an order to Alice, who quickly ran towards the beast. Without a noise, unnoticeable until it was too late, she jumped over the beast’s back, and quickly climbed to its neck. Then she reached the blade from her back pocket, extended it, and gave it essence, everything in just a few seconds. The creature noticed her too late, after she localized a weak spot in the armor, right after she stabbed the beast with the blade. The beast tried to reach her in its back, but its arms weren’t flexible enough, so it started to move around, forcing her to grab on the blade with her two hands, and hold on it.

The inertia from those movements was about to send Alice flying away, but then something happened. The blade started melting the armor, sliding down the beast’s back. The beast let go a strange noise, a low frequency scream that made the ground vibrate around them. Halfway down the blade reached an obstacle that stopped the movement, and Alice knew it was the core. She used the strength she had left to grab on the beat’s armor, and quickly removed the blade, to stab the creature repeatedly in the same spot, trying to break its core’s defense and destroy it. She knew she had hit the target because a sudden force blast sent her back, made her hit the ground with his back, luckily protected by the soldiers’ armored equipment. The hit was still strong, and she couldn’t move from the ground, while she saw the beast disappear in a strange explosion of shadow tones. Robert and Daniel reached her and treated her wounds with the first aid kid Robert was carrying. Then they helped her up, and told her Dean and Eric didn’t make it. All they could find was the remains of their armors, and the few belongings those soldiers were carrying.

The remaining three went back to their car, and drove into the MetaLife base, to give the report and rest their wounds away. On their way to their rooms, they met some other soldiers.

–     Hey guys, we heard the news. Sorry about those two, and good job on that B-class, it will sure give you a lot of points.

–     Yeah, sure… – said Alice – in exchange for two lives, nearly three. It wasn’t worth it.

–     Sorry.

–     I need to rest.

–     See you around.

She waited until they were far enough, and then talked to Daniel.

–     Some people should learn when to shut up – she said.

–     Agreed.

Alice walked with Daniel until he reached his room, and then he walked a bit more to reach hers. The room was small, with a bed, a fridge, a closet, and a door which lead to a tiny bathroom. Alice took a shower, and at the end she let the water run cold, something she only did when her mood was down.

She went out of the shower, dried herself, and lied in bed, naked until her last remaining strength faded away.

–     I hate this. I hate this world, I hate this life, and I hate those monsters. I FUCKING HATE EVERYTHING!

Hoping no one would have heard her, she let herself fall into a restless sleep, full of nightmares, fear, and pain for the lost ones. Everything the realm of the dreams had reserved for her every night. Over, and over.