Chose your own adventure: Ranger’s Battle

Tech slides back into cover. She’s covered in sweat and panting, but she gives a thumbs up to the rest of the team. Ranger’s still nowhere to be seen, but she’s out there waiting for the diversion to begin.

Three alarms sound off in the distance and a large swath of the encampment sweeps away to investigate.

“They’ll have detected a few of the fissure disruptors,” says Tech, putting in some modifications into your laser blaster. “Probably think they’ve shorted out due to overuse, but once they reach them they’ll phase back out making them impossible to dismantle.” She hands you back your blaster. “There, I’ve made it at least 200 times more powerful than before, so you should be able to do a little more damage.”

She looks over the edge toward the disruptors. She hands you a smaller pair out of one of the pockets that line her work pants. “You’re going to need those in a few minutes,” she says. She pulls out a small metal talisman and strokes it a few times with her hand. You enquire about it.

“It’s a charm,” Tech says. “Brings me luck. Soldier tossed it to me before we were separated back in the holding cells.” She holds it out in front of you just beyond your reach. It’s a small metal bar with a wavy pattern etched into it. The light from the fires around you flickers onto it and Soldier looks over from across the outcrop.

Tech puts it back into her pocket with a little smile.

“We knew each other during training,” she says. “We all work as squads while we’re in training with our skills complimenting one another, or at least that’s what the masters say to us. Soldiers and Techs, Rangers and Bruisers, and Warriors and Snipers,” she says counting the pairs on her fingers. “We were paired up, but unlike the other squads we were given special training and some mutations.”

Tech pulls back the hair on the left side of her head to reveal a small black rectangle on the side of her head. Dark wires extend from the rectangle and through her scalp in a spidery pattern.

“Cortical implant,” Tech says. “It gives me sight beyond anything a human could experience. I can see the blood pulsing through your veins, the electricity coursing through the laser blaster, and the temperature of the carbon dioxide you exhale. These details can be the most beautiful sight in the world,” she sighs. “It can also obscure things. I can’t see your face.”

She tells you the cortical implant cuts out extraneous details to keep her focused on the mission. She pulls out the charm again and looks at it.

As you sit up, three large explosions shake the outcrop. You pull on your goggles as wave of dust blows you over. Tech catches you and puts you back onto your feet.

Soldier scrambles over. “Looks like we’ve ready,” he says. “Ranger and Bruiser have gone up ahead to run distraction, we’ll make a run for the fissure exit.”

You stick close behind Soldier as Tech follows in the rear. You take cover behind another outcropping of rocks. As you watch, the arch demons start to move away from the exit toward the commotion coming from the explosion sites. Both have left, but a small guard remains at the exit.

Soldier signals you both to stay down as he disappears. You watch as he sneaks up on the forces and engages them. From the outcrop, you take a few shots at the enemy while Tech lights up a few more explosives she’d hidden around the enemy forces.

Silence falls over the battlefield while the war still rages on toward the arch demons. Bruiser rockets away from the imposing figures and heads toward the cliff face.

“Guessing the plan’s gone off without a hitch,” says Tech drawing you up. “We need to start climbing, now!”

Ranger crawls up the rock face beside you and Bruiser follows. Both Solider and Tech are below trying to set up fissure disruptor. The arch demons and the enemy forces are closing in on their position, but they start to climb toward you. Slamming her plasma knives into the rock wall and stringing supports from them, Ranger takes up position on the wall to provide firing support.

As fast as they climb, the two arch demons are closing in. Before you know it, they’re reaching out toward Solider and Tech.

“I can take one of them down,” Ranger yells beside you. “Left or right?”

Left, save Solider | Right, save Tech

— Page 15 —

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