View Full Version : Emergence - Gears Of War

09-06-2010, 12:50 AM
Prologue: Mad World

The sun beamed down upon Ionian on the crisp morning of November twelfth, the soft breeze kissing the faces of those moving about the town square in all matters of business. A few clouds dotted the crystal sky, floating lazily above as children lay on their backs to create shapes with their imagination and tease one and other about their innocent discoveries and enjoyments. A chorus of laughter rings out from one of the many buildings surrounding the monumental square, in this case, a small French style bistro where the comedy act had just started. Young men and women moved about, shopping and socializing as they went about their morning routine. Older generations sat on benches or shared ice cream as those who were more bitter would mutter at the children running and playing. A couple sit at the edge of the great fountain that dominates the square's center, in honor of those lost during the horrible Pendulum Wars, and share a kiss as music from the bistro floats out into the air and dances among the sweet scents and smells of the market outside them. It was a glorious day, filled with laughter and joy, until it happened. The ground shaking and cracking like dry paint off of an old wood house, the cobblestone of the square tearing apart like a giant piece of Velcro, people screaming and running as the hole appeared, small at first, until it became large enough to swallow the fountain whole. The screaming stopped, just for a second however, as everyone looked at the demons that came pouring out of the gates to hell. It is a Mad World.

Chapter 1: All Around Me Are Familiar Faces

The gleaming amber eyes shifted behind the swirling clouds of smoke, their owner cackling in a deep throaty roar as a blinding light split the smog and flashed as Gears Sergeant Cody Shaer jolted up in his bed covered in a cold sweat as the dying images of his nightmare faded into the warm, muggy air. He shook his head clear, wondering why these strange dreams of monsters and demons had started appearing in his sleep. He looked over his shoulder at his wife who lay curled up in the bed sheets, snoring softly, oblivious to the horrors that had danced and tormented him moments before.
He carefully maneuvered himself out of the bed, cautious not wake Stephanie, and started towards the bathroom. He stared at himself in the mirror, the fluorescent light reflecting of his face and chest as he turned the tap on. He heard the rustle of sheets as the third splash of cold water reached his face. Grabbing the towel, he turned to Stephanie who stood in the doorway, leaning against the frame. He dried his face, patting it softly with the towel. "Good morning sweetie." Cody mumbled through the towel. He tossed it onto the counter and leaned in and kissed Stephanie.
"Good morning honey," she replied, "you want some coffee?"
Cody nodded. "Yea, please. And some toast too if you're having."
"Alright dear." she cooed as she turned and walked back into the bedroom and down the stairs towards the kitchen.
Cody smiled, watching just briefly as she walked away, her silky night gown just barley down her mid thigh. He turned back to the sink and reached into the cupboard, bringing out his razor and shaving cream. After applying the cool cream, he shaved with a practiced hand and in a mere seven minutes, his goatee was once again the only facial hair he owned. After rinsing off the excess cream, and running a quick comb through his hair, Cody slipped on a pair of grey sweats and black wife beater and went downstairs to rejoin Stephanie for breakfast. As he reached the bottom of the stairs however, something small and warm latched itself onto his shoulder. Reaching behind him, Cody grabbed onto his daughter and pulled her overtop of his shoulder, dangling her upside-down in front of him. "Morning princess." he said in a formal, butler like tone. Alyssa giggled and blushed, her emerald eyes glittering with joy.
"Morning daddy."
"How is her majesty this morning?"
"Fine, but I want French toast."
Cody laughed. "Alright, we'll talk to your mom about that one." he finished as he carried her on his shoulders into the kitchen where Stephanie was already at the table sipping her coffee. Cody placed Alyssa down on the counter and turned to Stephanie. "Her majesty is requesting French toast." he said trying not to laugh.
Stephanie smiled. "I think we can arrange that" she said as she passed Cody a plate of toast and a cup of coffee.
"Thanks." Cody said as he started on his toast, occasionally sipping his coffee in between bites. He pulled the paper from the other end of the table towards him, unrolled it, and opened up to the first page. "Hey Steph? Looks like Ionian is hosting a carnival next week, we should take Alyssa."
Stephanie called out from upstairs, "Alright, I'll check my schedule, I'll be down in a minute, I need to get her majesty into some clothing for the day."
Cody laughed. The joy of five year olds he thought to himself as he took another swig of his hot coffee. He continued reading for another three minutes, finishing off his coffee and toast when the phone ran. Cody looked at the display screen, waiting for the caller ID tag to pop up. Three rings after, the name Gears HQ Ionian appeared, and Cody picked up the phone, clicking the "talk" button. "This is Shaer." The calm, monotone voice of some no name HQ operator came across the line.
"Sergeant Shaer, this is your reminder that you must be at your platoon barracks at 1030 hours today in preparation for the parade down Athens Road."
Cody decided to play nice this time around as he responded "Yes thank you, I'm aware," and hung up the phone. He never quite understood why HQ always called and reminded everyone about the parade that took place every year, everyone new. Cody, as he finished his coffee, took his cup and plate to the sink, dumped both of them into it with a clank, and started for upstairs to get changed. As he arrived at the base of the stairs, Alyssa came racing down in front of Stephanie, screaming something about French toast. Cody quickly jumped out of the way as she shot past, Stephanie pausing only for a second to smile, shake her head and say "Kids" before she followed Alyssa into the kitchen. Cody watched them disappear around the corner, and then started up the stairs back towards his room. After closing the door behind him, Cody stripped off his sweats and shirt and opened up his drawer and pulled out his clothing for the day ahead. Sliding on his Kevlar body suit, he was careful to make sure each button and zipper was fully closed and locked before pulling out a pair of track pants and hoodie. After sliding on both, he threw on a pair of socks and grabbed an old red baseball cap before grabbing his COG tags and throwing them over his neck. Cody double checked everything, thinking aloud to himself. "Alright, Kevlar, tags, wallet, keys, phone, amour and lancer are at the base, oh shit, can't forget that." he mumbled as he slid off his wedding ring and looped it onto his COG tags. Due to the amour’s gauntlets, Cody couldn't wear the ring while he had his amour on. After checking everything again, Cody turned and left his room, returning once again downstairs to say goodbye to his wife and little girl. Cody walked into the kitchen to the smell of French toast and maple syrup, with a hint of berries mixed in with it all. He smiled as he bent down and kissed Alyssa on the head. "Alright princess, I'll see you at the parade, keep an eye out for me." he said as he stood and turned to Stephanie. "See you soon honey, I love you."
Stephanie beamed. "I love you too baby." she said she they exchanged hugs and kisses. Cody turned and walked towards the garage, a sudden tingling feeling striking his gut like a lightning bolt from Zeus. He paused, listening for something, anything that could explain it, but there was nothing. Cody shrugged and walked into his garage, his home gym standing guard in one corner, his motorbike resting in the other. He pressed the button and watched the heavy door slowly lift itself up and open, the bright sun advancing into the darkness and blasting out every shadow. Cody pulled his bike out into the driveway and clipped on his helmet, slipping down the black tinted visor to blot out the sun. After a quick fuel check, Cody turned the key, and the monstrous engine roared like a lion as Cody span the throttle and shot down the driveway, power sliding left and zipping up the road towards the freeway, his neighbors waving and watching him fly by, his bike flashing in the sunlight as he turned the corner, and disappeared. Little did Cody know, it would be the last time he saw home for some time.

Cody Leaned into the turn as he exited the freeway, reducing his speed as he whipped around the bend and onto the street below, heading towards the Gears HQ in Ionian. As he reached the straight, he yanked on the throttle and rocketed towards the base, buildings and people flashing by as he zipped down the road, dust flying up behind him in his wake. After what seemed like minutes, the front gate to the base appeared through the heat waves ahead. Cody released the throttle, slowly as he reached the gate, finally bringing the bike to a rest outside the guard house where a fully armoured Gear, Lancer and Snub Pistol holstered, came out of the shaded gatehouse. He wiped his forehead as he approached Cody. "Morning sir, clearance please?"
Cody nodded, and reached into his pocket to pull out his wallet. After a quick search through it, he produced his Gear ID card which he passed to the guard. "Anything else for you?"
The guard glanced at the card and compared the picture with the man on the bike in front of him. After a quick nod, the guard passed back the card. "No sir, that's all. Enjoy the parade."
Cody took the card back with a nod. "Will do." As the gate opened, Cody eased on the throttle, slowly proceeding through the gate, around the round-about and towards the parking lot. He couldn't help but break a smile as he saw the all the floats, APCs and Tanks that had been done up for the days event. He pulled into his spot, killed the bikes monster engine, and dismounted, glancing back once at the parade vehicles before entering his platoon barracks. As usual, he was first from his squad in, but that was how Cody liked it. Lead by example was how he was taught, and a squad leader who was always prepared and ready was important to a professional and effective squad. He dumped his hat and sweater into his locker, and stripped off his track pants until all that remained was his Kevlar body suit. Cody peeked at his data screen on his locker shelf, checking the weather for the day. After observing that it would be extremely hot and sunny, he opted to take of the Kevlar suits sleeves and leggings, leaving just a body suit. Reaching down into his locker, he pulled out his amour trunk and lifted it up onto his cot. With practiced skill, he unpacked everything he needed for the day, boots, lower amour, torso amour, forearm guards, gauntlets, and harness, putting each on in order until he was fully suited and geared up. After stashing the now empty trunk back into his locker, and throwing his clothing in with it, Cody pulled out his gear. His combat knife was sheathed and attached to his chest, both his frag and smoke grenades were taped and policed in their appropriate pockets, and finally, his Snub Pistol and Lancer, both loaded with extra ammo were put into place. Cody had just finished shutting his locker when the barracks door swung open again, to show his squad striding in. Cody moved towards them, Lancer over his shoulder as he stopped just before them. A taller Gear with dark hair, and a slight scar down his right cheek snapped to attention. "Sir!"
Cody laughed. "Easy Mike, it's just parade detail, but I appreciate the warm welcome."
Mike clasped Cody's hand and embraced him. "Fuck you sir, good to see you brother, that six weeks off killed me."
Cody nodded as Mike moved to his cot. A darker, hulk of a man stepped forward to meet him. "How's it going Garcia?"
The large man grunted. "I'm good sir, good to see you."
Cody nodded and patted him on the back. "You too Stan, get your shit together."
Stan gave a slight nod. "Hoo-rah sir."
Cody watched as Stan went over to his locker and noticed the new tattoo across his left arm. "Crazy kid, he's going to run out of room if he keeps inking himself up like that. What do you think Pepper?"
The last Gear stepped beside Cody. "Yes sir, for sure. Do you want me in full gear as well today?"
Cody turned to her. "Of course, full medical gear too, we need to look good don't we Stevie?"
She nodded, slightly brushing her blonde hair out of her face. "Alright."
Cody turned back to see Mike, fully geared with his Sniper ready attempting to help Stan into his amour. He laughed. "Mike! Tell Garcia he needs to go and get something a little more fitting before he's back in active duty!"
Mike laughed and gave a thumbs up as he assisted Stan in pulling on his torso amour.
Cody started for the doors, checking he had all his gear before exiting the building and walking towards the platoon commander Colonel Williamson. As he reached him, Cody snapped to attention and saluted. "Sir! Requesting orders sir!"
The Colonel checked his clipboard, glancing up at Cody, and then back down again. "Shaer, Shaer, Shaer, here you are. You and your team are on APC number four. Look pretty and wave today, the candy will be at your feet to throw to the kids."
Cody finished his salute "Thank you sir," and strode over to APC four. After a quick check on the Geobot programmed to drive the parade route proved to be good to go, Cody mounted the APC, pulled back the roof to expose the interior, and checked that there was candy below the seats for the children who would soon be cheering and yelling as they drove down the street. A clank alerted him to someone boarding behind him and when he spun to see who it was Mike was clambering in, his sniper rifle on the floor in front of him as he vaulted the door and landed inside. Cody picked up the rifle and handed it to Mike. "Nice entrance, here."
Mike took the rifle as Stan came in next, followed by Stevie, her amour emblazed with a red cross. "Thanks."
Cody turned to his team as they stood in a clump at the back as Cody picked up a sheet of paper attached to the candy and read aloud the plans for the parade. "Alright alright, listen up, nothing much you wouldn't expect here, don't fire your weapons, look happy, throw out the candy, wave, be really light hearted sons of a bitches and have a good time."
Everyone laughed as Cody crumpled the paper and tossed it on the floor. "We leave in ten boys and girl, let's have a good time today, for once."

Chapter 2: Worn Out Places; Worn Out Faces

The rumble of the engines from the dozens of APCs, Tanks, and flat bed truck floats was drowned out by the cries and cheers of a collage of people plastered down the sides of Athens Road. Children huddled the front of the groups or sat on parent’s shoulders as the procession of Gears moved by, soldiers waving and throwing out candy and other assortments of goodies for young children while recruiters walked alongside passing out recruitment pamphlets and information leaflets. Cody stood perched upon the APC like a hero, one leg up higher than the other as he held his Lancer up in the air with one hand and waved with the other. He glanced back at Mike who was in a similar pose to his rear, waving the left side of the street. "Gotta love this Mike, being out like this, it gives them hope."
"Yea, for sure." Mike replied as he tossed a handful of candy at a bunch of kids who had started chanting "Gears! Gears! Have No Fears!" Mike laughed, "These kids are great!"
Cody nodded inwards to himself as his radio cackled. "Gears! You are cleared to leave your vehicles, just keep up with them, over."
Cody looked back at Stan and Stevie who both shook their heads and kept on waving. He turned to Mike, but he was already gone. Knowing he was already behind, Cody dove off the APC and rolled once he hit the pavement, spinning and brining his Lancer to bear as he moved alongside the APC like he was on a convoy protection mission, checking his angles and looking professional. He revved his chainsaw bayonet and sliced through the air before cheering and high fiving with Mike as they moved to their sides of the street. Cody propped his Lancer up on his shoulder and reached out his hand, high fiving the children as they cheered. A boy with sandy hair and freckles called out to Cody.
"Sir! Sir! Do you fight bad guys?"
Cody laughed and took a knee so he was at the boy’s eye level. "Yes son, I fight the bad guys."
The boy looked on in awe, his gaze shifting from Cody's face, to his Lancer, to his amour, and back again. "What about the boogyman? What about the monsters under the bed?"
Cody chuckled. "Anything that is nasty son, I'll be there to protect you and everyone else in Ionian from it. That's what us Gears do."
The boy just stood and stared as Cody ruffled his hair, stood, and moved on, high fiving kids and waving to all. Not five meters from the boy, Cody found who he was looking for. Stephanie stood by the rope looking fabulous with Alyssa on her shoulders in her sundress. Cody reached them and leaned over the rope to kiss Stephanie. "Hey baby," he said smiling before looking up at Alyssa, "hello there Princess."
Alyssa smiled wide, pure joy glowing from her face. "Hi daddy!"
Cody patted her on the head and spoke. "Daddy has to go now, I can't be long. I'll see you back at the house Steph."
Stephanie smiled, a single tear sliding down her cheek as she beamed. "Of course dear, go out and have your day."
Cody pecked her on the cheek and jogged to catch up to his APC where Mike was passing out candy to both sides of the street. As Cody joined him, Mike threw him a bag. "Here! Pass it out!"
Cody laughed and turned to his side of the street, throwing out candy to the children and watching their faces beam and glow as their heroes, the Gears paraded on, all shiny and proper. After finishing off their bags of candy, Cody and Mike re-mounted their APC to find Stevie and Stan now waving in the spots they had previously stood. They moved to the rear of the APC as Cody's radio snapped back on. Although this time, the voice on the other end seemed more panicked, more flustered almost, as if they had been running a race.

"Gears! Heads up! We have seismic activity in you're area as well as other locations around Ionian. Possible earthquake, but it's really big, over."
Cody looked at Mike with a cocked eyebrow. "Mike?"
Mike shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
Cody keyed his radio. "HQ check on that last transmission, did you say earthquake?"
The operator came back on. "Negative, negative, we have reports of hostile contacts coming out of the ground, over."
Cody looked up at Mike, Stevie and Stan now crouched in the back with them listening intently. Cody grabbed his Lancer, checked the magazine, and yanked the charging handle. "Gears, load up, something is not right here. Up on the APC, stay sharp and above all, protect the civilians."
Everyone nodded as they jumped up onto the APC, weapons at a low ready position and eyes scanning. Cody was about to call back to Colonel Williamson when he came up on a megaphone two APCs back.
"Attention all civilians! There is a situation developing that could be a threat to your safety! We need everyone to calmly follow the instructions of our Gears until the situation is taken care of. Gears! Defensive formations! Direct the civilians away from the road!"
Cody jumped off the APC, barking orders before he even hit the pavement. "My squad! Clear the sidewalks! Get the civilians back! Mike, post up, get some cover fire online, Stevie! Stan! Get them back god damn it!"
Cody looked back to see the other Gears dismounting behind him, the APCs and Tanks slowed to a halt as some Gears jumped into them, bringing the combat machines fully online and loaded. Cody turned back and started shouting at the civilians that timidly moved away. "Let's go! Get back! Get Back! Move back to your vehicles and proceed home to await further information!" Cody's radio hummed to life.
"Sir, I'm in position on the roof, ready to provide support."
Cody was about to answer when the ground started shaking violently, bricks and other building fixtures started crashing to the ground as a horrible grinding sound, like steel on rock blasted through the air that had been filled with laughter and cheers but moments ago. The screeching sound lasted for another second before a massively large boom resounded off the walls of the buildings as the seventh APC and a Tank were swallowed up in a massive sink hole that blasted up from underground. Cody rolled to avoid a falling clump of bricks when he heard gunfire coming from the rear end of the parade convoy. "My team! Form up! Mike, what's going on!?"
Stan and Stevie ducked down behind the APC next to him as Mike came on the radio. "No idea sir, there’s way to much dust and smoke. Wait, I see, holy fucking hell! Sir! Multiple contacts attacking the rear of the convoy! They need some help big time!"
"Rodger, keep me posted." Cody finished. "Alright, let's move!" he yelled over the roaring noise as he ducked his head and ran forward, passing by dead and wounded Gears and Civilians alike, some from the original blast, others from falling debris. The trio of Gears charged towards the battle, the smell of gunpowder and blood reaching their noses as they approached the battle. Cody dove down behind a smashed car that had been parked during the parade. He peered over and watched as the dust settled and the battle could be seen. A giant hole had emerged from below, wide enough to swallow the APC and the Tank whole. A dozen or so Gears were down behind cover, returning sporadic Lancer fire at what had come along with the giant hole. Dozens of human shaped, almost reptile like beings charged the Gears firing some type of burst fire rifle as they ran towards them. A few at the back looked bigger, with more amour, and fired what looked like crossbows with exploding bolts. These monsters were accompanied by very large ones that fired what looked like a type of grenade launcher. Cody turned to Stevie and Stan. "Alright, I don't know what the fuck they are, or what they want, but they are going back down that hole, end of story. Let's roll!"
"Let's kick some ass!" Stan grunted as he cocked his Lancer. Stevie just nodded, looking grim.
Cody span out from behind the car and targeted the closest beast, squeezing the trigger and sweeping across it's chest. The bullets from the Lancer slashed across it's chest spraying dark blood across the road making patterns in the dust. The creature stumble back, clutching it's chest as Cody reached it and with one fluid motion, kicked the roaring thing onto the ground where it lay, screeching and clawing up at him. Cody aimed for it's face and spat "Back in your hole fucker!" before blowing it's brains out onto the pavement. Cody looked up in time to see one of biggest things aim one of their launchers his way. He dove as the barrel flashed and a highly explosive round rocketed towards him. Rolling to his feat, Cody saw the dead creature behind him explode as the round detonated, spraying body parts and blood into the air. He was about to call out when a Longshot Sniper round ripped through the air and smashed the grenade launching thing's head into pulp. Cody keyed his radio. "Thanks brother."
"Don't worry about it, heads up, more movement down low." Mike barked as he reloaded his rifle.
Cody was about to reply when something smashed up from the ground, blowing more dust and debris over the road and obscuring Cody's view of his enemies. Cody ducked in time to see Stan, covered in blood, and Stevie dash out to join him behind the wall. Cody looked at Stan who had blood all over his amour and face. "Garcia! You're hit!"
Stan shook his head and lifted his Lancer to show the bloody chainsaw bayonet. "Nah sir, one of the bitches go to close."
Cody nodded and turned back to the hole and gazed upon what had come up to join the fight. Cody shook his head as he stared at something straight out of a horror film. A giant spider like creature had emerged from the ground and was reared back, screeching as it slammed its claws down at the Gears dug in behind their cover, ripping through the brick wall and slashing the soldiers. The creature roared, smashing its massive claws down, tearing through APCs and Tanks that tried to turn and fire upon it. Mike's voice broke roar as Cody's radio came on. "Sir? That thing is the size of a house! We need to pull back!"
Cody weighed his options. Stay, be a hero, and die, or leave, come back after and win. He keyed his teams radio channel. "Everyone! Pull back to our APC! We're getting the hell out of here! We got no where near the amount of firepower to take this thing down! Pull back!" He screamed as he started moving backwards, Lancer dashing in his hands as he fired towards the creatures and the hole where they had come from. After unloading his clip, he turned and sprinted after Stan and Stevie, bullets walking up and impacted the pavement behind him as he ran, zig zagging left and right to avoid being shot.
"Sir! Dive left! Dive left!" Stevie called out from the APC just ahead as Cody rounded the corner diving. The grenade shot detonated where Cody had been moments before, ripping a hole through the wall and sending bricks tumbling onto the road.
Cody stood, and fired over his shoulder as he ran into the APC, slamming to door behind him. "GO! GO! GO!" He yelled at Mike who started the APC and roared off down the road. Cody stood, reloading his Lancer as Stan grabbed a shotgun from the wall rack and refreshed the chamber. He and Stan stood, watching the back of the APC as it sped off down the road, Stevie kneeled behind them on the radio to HQ. Cody was about to turn to her when three of the creatures dove from a roof and latched onto the APC's back door. Cody fired, his rounds tearing into the arm of one as it clawed forward, inching towards its prey. Adjusting his aim, Cody fired into the thing's face, sending bone and teeth and blood flying through the air as the lifeless body released it's grip and fell from the back. Cody turned in time to see the second beast attempt to climb into the APC before it was torn in half by a shotgun blast from Stan who was screaming something about being unstoppable. Cody turned back to finish of the third one. It was gone. Spinning quickly, the creature had Stevie's Lancer raised above her head, chainsaw spinning and was about to bring it down when Cody yelled and charged it. The beast turned, bringing it's saw down as Cody did the same. The two Lancer's interlocked, their chainsaw's battling each other for position while their operators worked to keep the rifles in line. Cody pushed forward, almost overpowering the beast right before it surged back and pushed it's Lancer close to him. After the creature pushed forward, Cody kicked out one of it's legs, knocking the beast down to it's knee and causing it to drop Stevie's Lancer. It stood, attempting to grab Cody who was to quick for it. Bringing the saw back up, Cody spun it around, blade side up as he rammed it into the beast's chest, sawing through bone and muscle and spewing blood through the air. Cody ripped the blade up, tearing off the creatures head before kicking it off the side of the APC and onto the road.
Cody helped Stevie up and passed her back the Lancer with a nod and sat down at the back of the APC, his mind swirling with thoughts and horrors as he tried to believe what had just happened. He was mid thought about the civilians that had been killed when his gut wrenched and his eyes watered up. His shoulders shook as tears dropped onto the deck of the APC. Stevie was about to move to him when Mike grabbed her from the drivers seat of the APC. Stevie looked at him questioningly when Mike whispered. "His family was at the parade."
Stevie nodded as Mike turned back to the road. She sat down and turned on her radio to check in with HQ while Stan stood watch out the back of the APC and for the moment, Cody melted into the cover of the APC, tangled in his own world of hate, pain, and horror.

Chapter 3: Bright And Early For Their Daily Races

Mike swerved the APC to avoid a burning car as he rocketed down the road as the squad of Gears tried to get back to their HQ to figure out just what the hell was going on.