The thunderous cacophony of pulse rifle gunfire around me had already become muffled and stale to my oversaturated ears. Distant. Uninvolving. While my military focus had been so intense just moments before I took cover behind this wreck of an old Buick...my concentration had suddenly broken down on me without warning, taking a momentary break from the chaos and leaving me to fend for myself in the hostile warzone of Old Chicago.
I watch as small chunks of debris fall into the puddles and mud all around me. I double check my ammunition levels, simultaneously running a diagnostic on my cyber-synthetic suit to make sure that I had enough fuel and power to jump back into the battle with my teammates once I gave my mechanic parts a moment to cool down and recover. No time for emotion. No time for fatigue. 'Get up, Roland!' I told myself. 'GET UP!!!'
"God's Gift!!! Are you online???" Came a message from HeriTech. She sounded stressed out, but her cyber armor seemed to still be fully in tact, so her communications came through loud and clear. "TALK to me, Roland!"
Catching my breath, I answered. "'God's Gift' is online! I'm a go!"
The others in our small platoon sound off as soon as they heard that I was getting back into position.
"This is battle suit, 'Exorcyst'! I'm definitely a go!"
"Battle suit, 'Attrition'! Fully charged and ready to go!"
With a few loud blasts of heavy gunfire in the air, "Zion, aka 'BLASTphemy' is online! Let's rock, baby!"
"'Hell-Razor', clocking in! I'm a go!"
I knew that I was supposed to be team leader for this mission, but there was something about the overwhelming cluster of daylight Nosferatu vampires in this sector that had me worrying for the loyal members of my urban platoon. There were WAY too many for just the six of us to handle alone. This mission required more than just enough strategy and skill to spontaneously wiggle our way out of this situation...it required a level of pure dumb luck that hardly seemed worth the risk for a random search and rescue mission. Especially since we had no idea what we were looking for here. The 'God's Eye' initiative just kept us looking for hostiles to neutralize while bringing back as many legalized civilians as we could back to base. Our detail wasn't given much more info than that.
Still, with my weapons locked and loaded, and my cyber armor fully recharged, I was prepared to do what I was sent here to do...and I linked up with the rest of my wrecking crew to continue the charge forward.
"Does anybody have an elevated view of the situation? Somebody talk to me!" I hollered into the com in my suit.
Hell-Razor answered with, "It looks like we've disturbed a nest! They're pouring out of a hole from the underground! State Street subway tunnel, a city block North from here. I'm counting 30...40...they just keep coming! All of them sunblocked! It's not looking good here!"
BLASTphemy shouted, "Bring 'em on! They didn't make these guns and this ammo just to have us looking pretty! Let's send these vampire scumbags straight to HELL where they belong! I'm moving in!"
I shouted, "Do NOT engage! I repeat, do NOT engage! Just hold the perimeter for now! Wait on my order!" I tapped a few buttons on the arm of my suit to get a holographic map of our surroundings. "This says that the detected distress signals were just a few blocks West from our current location! Who's got visual?"
HeriTECH answered with, "I'm not detecting any warm bloods at all, sir! Are you sure the intel was accurate on this one?"
"The Watchers said there were humans in the area that needed rescue! Right here! Keep checking your monitors! If they can be saved then we need to extract them from this zone immediately! I need answers, people!" I shouted, but before I could finish delivering my commands, I found myself standing in the shadows of a three large monsters pouncing down upon me from an elevated position...eager to rip me apart.
You never know what you're going to face or how you're going to react once one of those creatures has targeted you and charges at you top speed. Bearing its crooked, misshapen, fangs, its muscular arms and legs propelling it forward like an angry gorilla. And that sound...that awful sound they make. A bloodcurdling screech that sounds like it hurts their own throat even more than it does our ears. There's nothing more terrifying than a nest of Nosferatu vampires, no matter how big or how small. Nothing else in this world.
The year is 2118...and what ever civilization that my great grandparents were a part of here in Old Chicago? It long gone. And it has been for almost a century now.
The Daylight Wars of 2092 were just the beginning. The disclosure of the hidden population of vampires in our major cities, underground populations of murderous parasites, infiltrating every nook and cranny of our societal infrastructure, was a shock and horror that society couldn't bear. It was a revelation that many were not prepared for, and they met the lack of awareness with bitter hatred and 'snap judgement' executions. There was a brief period where it looked like both species could coexist in peace until a compromise could be figured out...but the peace talk didn't last. Ignorant and aggressive actions on both sides of the issue ruined it for everyone. But, then again, how can I disagree? How does a field full of cattle discuss peace with the butchers in charge of sending them to slaughter? They FEED on us! That's what they do They need human blood to survive. There is no substitute, and they can't just drink a little bit of nourishment and let go. In order for them to live...we have to die. So humanity came to the conclusion that in order for us to live...THEY have to die. It was that mentality that led to the first few major conflicts in the Daylight Wars. Mankind had to fight for its survival, hoping to return to the top of the food chain after the vampire threat had been eradicated.
Once the V's were exposed, and the 'puppet show' peace talks had come to an end...the mass exterminations began. We hunted them down and wiped out their numbers during the day...while they retaliated by wiping out our numbers at night. The soldiers of vampire-kind are strong. SO strong! Those who are born into darkness are faster than we humans are. More powerful. More agile. And despite that power often being hidden behind the face of your average teenager in most cases...they are not to be trusted. Vampires possess a plethora of magical abilities that we can't predict, and therefore have no protocols in place to defend ourselves if it comes down to a one on one confrontation.
To keep from being powerless against them, science stepped in to design our cybernetic battle suits. Flexible metal that gave us freedom of movement and access to different weapons in the field, but also strong enough to take some serious punishment while we were out there in the city ruins. Our enhancements, hopefully giving us the edge to compete and match the supernatural extras being used against us. I can't say that I don't get surprised every now and then though. Those vampires...they're all so different. Tricky. As usual, technology has no way to keep up with the speed of nature. For every puzzle we solve, their dark purpose creates twenty more. It can be terrifying.
The beginning of the war between species was inevitable. In fact, the killer commands were given much sooner than the world was expecting. In this day and age, the ridiculous masquerade that there is a separation of church and state has become extinct. There's no need to bother with the illusion anymore. Both operate as a single unit and do all they can to wipe out the filthy burden of sin while providing what's 'best' for the rest of us. When the vampire war was on the brink of being a reality...the escalation took place in a matter of weeks. The church used its influence and manipulated the faith of its blind followers to begin the massacre. And the government used its influence to manipulate the non-religious with repetitive slogans and propaganda, questioning people's 'patriotism' and loyalty to the state if they didn't join in the horrific acts taking place. Then both sides used the media as the flammable kindling and kerosene to fuel the fire for both sides. Planting the seeds for a vampire holocaust and letting the loudmouth voices of the internet tend the garden until the fruits of an all out war were just ripe enough for the picking.
Sickness. When you really look at it...it's just another form of socially acceptable madness.
It all happened so fast. My parents filled me in on what the history books said...but seeing as most cities, including Old Chicago, have been deeply infested with their kind for so many years...not only in peace, but practically undetected by mankind...I can't help but to doubt my faith from time to time. I can't help but to wonder if our floating fortress in the sky, the 'Global Outreach Directory' (G.O.D.) is doing the right thing by rescuing human refugees from the disaster filled cities below, while ordering troops to wipe out the current evil that has burrowed so deeply underground. Nothing escapes G.O.D.'s watchful eye. Nothing.
The United Church Of America gave me focus. Purpose. They gave me a list of adversaries that could not be tolerated, and told me that I was doing good work in the world when I fought against them and worked to erase them from reality. But...am I really?
Looking up at these monsters falling down upon me at this very moment...I was forced to ask myself...
..."If I died for this cause today, right here, right now....would I really understand what I was fighting for? Is the vampire infestation really our biggest threat? Or is it the people who tell us what to be afraid of and how to angrily wipe them out of existence the true monsters in this scenario?"
It's a conflict that I keep to myself. In a time when religion and politics are one and the same...questioning your faith makes you a terrorist. Such things are intolerable. No political figure can get elected unless he pleases the church, and once elected, laws are put into place to allow those same churches do whatever they want. I sometimes wonder if vampire life is different. If maybe...they have a different perspective of the way things should be.
My mother used to tell me that such thoughts would get me imprisoned or shot if I spoke them out loud. So I kept them quiet my whole life. But silence doesn't equal absence of thought...and those feelings stay with me. Maybe they always will.
But that's not something that I'm going to worry about right now.
Right NOW...I've got hostiles dropping down on me from an elevated position. It's time to put in some serious WORK!
I didn't have enough time to draw the 'God's Gift' electro swords from behind my shoulders, so I instead fired off pulse rifle rounds from my weapon and fell backward as I watched the howling creatures being sprayed above me! Each cyber outfit came with its own unique defense, seeing as bullets don't really do anything significant to these creatures, unless you count a few wounds and just enough pain to piss them off when they get back up. But rounds of ammo are the only real long distance options that we have. And ammunition can be sloppy, especially when doing an extraction for human survivors. There's always a chance that we'll end up killing the very people we're trying to save in the crossfire.
During the earliest peak of the Daylight Wars, while our scientists were building combat armor and cyber enhancements...their vampire minds though of a way to breed a small but manageable army of Nosferatus. Deformed creatures with a taste for flesh as well human blood. Hulking creatures that shook and twitched when they moved, often falling and rolling on the ground when they walked. But dammit if they weren't fast!STRONG! Mindless nightmares, lost in an insatiable bloodlust. They never sleep. Never tire. Bred to withstand the sunlight to guide the V population during the day. But vampires never knew how rapidly these new creatures would multiply. How vicious they would become. Feeding on G.O.D.'s rescue teams, feeding on the humans left behind, feeding on the vampires themselves. The Nosferatu have become a boogey man for us all, winning their own war while the rest of us argue over who's winning ours.
"We've got more incoming!!!" HeriTech reported. "We've got a fight on our hands, here, Roland! Please advise!"
I rolled to the side as three of the bloodthirsty creatures hissed and spat mucus at me. Getting to my feet, I drew for my swords and turned the energy burn up to eighty percent. With guns, only a shot through the heart will do. And even then they don't die until days later. A heart shot is a hard one to make under pressure. We needed to hurt them. Sever limbs to incapacitate them. In order to fight a vampire, or any one of their monstrous forms, you've got to get up close and personal. And as I heard the rising hum of my electro swords t alert me that they were battle ready...I started to feel safer already.
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