These days I've been playing freeware strategy games. With the exception of UFO: AI, all are RTS games. One tops all the rest however. With its impressive audio and graphics (for its time), Ground Control, an RTS game that is unique in that it doesn't involve base building, has gotten me hooked for weeks now. Below is a Ground Control RTS game short story I wrote.
This one goes out to Martin and Peachy, Filipino writers extraordinaire. :D You guys still are two of my inspirations. Merry Christmas you geniuses! (This is by no means polished so be gentle. :P)
The object she was staring at spun untiringly, spitting out clods of soil in its wake, reminding Sheila Harvey of the automated farming machinery tending her father’s farm back in Saturn IV. Those farm bots had always fascinated her. This one however was definitely not a farming machine. Lt. Harvey cut short her reverie. Just a few meters ahead of them, the treads of a main battle terradyne spun furiously, eating the ground at a desperate pace. It --- along with three other tanks belonging to the elite Crimson Claws legion --- were leading a caravan that was fleeing a scene of carnage that was outpost Charlie Baker-401.
Sheila nervously scanned the skies. Still no sign of enemy aerodynes but several airborne heat signatures showed up in her helmet’s telemetry equipment.
They barely registered.
A bad sign, she thought. Minutes ago, afterburners had screamed, propelling the massive, metallic raptors across Krig-7B’s skies and heat signatures had registered a fierce red in Sheila’s Jaeger sniper-class helmet. Crayven Corporation and the Order of the New Dawn’s aerodynes had swirled across the orange skies, exchanging laser fire that singed the air, leaving the battlefield reeking of ozone. Now though --- “They’re idling and have switched to patrol patterns,” Sheila said simply, trying not to think of how many aerodynes they had lost, “the religious nutheads now have air superiority.”
“Damnation,” was all Joyce could reply.
Crayven Corporation and the Order of the New Dawn’s aerodynes had swirled across the orange skies, exchanging laser fire that singed the air, leaving the battlefield reeking of ozone.
They scanned the skies again. Still nothing. The caravan had entered a narrow valley that was flanked by rolling hills.
The Order’s anti-tank units had weapons that were more efficient.
“Keep alert people,” Sheila spoke into her mic, “If I were a Dawnie, I’d set up an ambush here.”
All eyes scanned the surrounding hills and skies as the caravan roared through the valley.
“Pretty lights! Pretty lights!” One of the children excitedly pointed. It was Carlisse, the 5-year old daughter of the Mitchells, factory workers who lived near the command bunker the Jaegers lived in.
“Shut the kid up,” Joyce muttered, still scanning the hills. All fell quiet again as her mother hushed little Carlisse. “Anytime now,” Sheila nervously thought, envying the wide-eyed children who thought this was all a field trip. “Anytime n---” Sheila’s head snapped up, horror draining her face of all color. “Pretty lights!” the child had exclaimed! With a single stride she crossed to the Mitchell’s side of the truck. She looked through the vibraglass and sure enough ---- “TEMPLARS!!” Sheila barked. “JAEGERS!! DEPLOY!!”
The driver needed no further commands. The medic truck’s hatch dropped open and Harvey jumped out of the vehicle. She could hear explosions at the head of the caravan.
Above, about a kilometer up and closing fast, another volley of Retribution missiles were streaking towards the head of the caravan, slivers of silver destruction that were trailing blue and white lights ---- lights that Carlisse thought were pretty.
She swung her Gauss rifle at the group nearest her. “One,” Sheila whispered and squeezed the trigger. Her K516D spoke and a figure --- tiny at this distance --- toppled and went tumbling down the hill. With her scope, she zoomed in on the targets. Now she could see the Templar’s shoulder-mounted anti-armor missile systems, their voluptuous bodies, and their crimson tresses billowing in the winds.
There will be crimson on those equipment when this is over b****es, she thought.
“Two,” she whispered again and another one of the lithe forms ragdolled down the slope they were perched on. This time, two of the remaining trio responded by aiming their GrU-6s at her and firing a fusillade of screaming death at her direction. She smiled. At this distance, she could still take out two more and run for cover before the missiles hit. She aimed again. “Thr---” She stopped. Through her scope, she saw one of the figures point at the medic trucks. With cold precision, all three aimed their GrU-6s at the civilian vehicles.
“Dogs!” she whispered vehemently. There was no time to run if she was to save the civvies.
“Three. Four.” She popped the last two in rapid succession. The last one was still calibrating her equipment.
“Sheila!” She could hear Matthew scream a warning at her. The missiles were so close now, bathing her surroundings with a white light.
“SHEILA!!!” Lt. Matthew Joyce shrieked. He was running frantically towards her, waving his arms.
In the few seconds it took her to stand up, look at the salvo of death hurtling towards her, and then stare at Lt. Joyce’s eyes, she smiled and did a salute.
“Pretty lights” she murmured softly.
And then the world disappeared in a fury of cleansing white and coruscating blue.