The Engineer

Grayer clouds moved in, even though that didn’t change anything. The clouds were always gray, Just as the ice remained frozen and the air remained cold. The environment was relentless as always, but so was the emptiness of a single glacier. A single, perfect square poked a hole in the side of a glacier, going completely through it. It had remained that way since there was no water to heal it. It looked like it might have caused the glacier to crumble because it was so huge, but it didn’t. For now it remained, but one of these days, either the glacier or the hole would win, and nothing could change that fact. However, the hole was what had attracted a small group of people and their “project” to this frozen wasteland.

Aereka quickly made the last adjustments on some wiring before giving the thumbs up on her end. She pushed herself out from under the chassis of the armored vehicle. It was massive, spanning almost forty feet in length. It almost looked like a big box on treads, with a small bubble on top and a slanted cockpit coming out the front. She stepped backed and admired her handiwork. It felt good to be doing her trade again. When the boss had finally pulled this team together, she could start working on some engineering, and maybe even get out of this frozen and stagnant hole, but she never expected to work on this. A fully outfitted research transport, armored and armed for combat, if worse came to worse. 1,200 cubic feet of scientific death was dream come true. She smiled and pulled her handheld Data Receiver. A series of graphs and charts appeared, surrounding a diagram of the treads. They all read in the green. The “Mammoth Armored Transport”, version 2.3, stood on the ice, ready to go. Six other engineers and her boss appeared from various parts of the transport and got ready to watch. They held their breaths, like little kids on Christmas morning.

Aereka’s boss gave a thumbs up to the pilot. A low baritone growl hummed out of the transport. The growl grew louder and the treads began to move. The transport didn’t budge. Confused, all the engineers looked at their Data Receivers. Aereka’s lit up green. The treads and axles were moving, only working at 7% of their capacity. The transport showed no sign of moving. Over her Communication System she heard, “Hold up!” The growl faded into oblivion. Aereka pulled her coat tighter around her and walked over to the transport, annoyed.
“All right,” her boss growled through the com-system and his layers of clothing. “I want to know what the problem is.” He looked around until he faced Aereka. “Aereka!”

“Yes, Sir?” she responded immediately.

“How were the treads?” he snapped.

“They read in the green. The axles had a friction-energy consumption of .9% and the treads were unaffected by any variables in the axles.” Her boss turned away from her and glanced around the crew. His eyes settled on Tsavine, the young man responsible for the suspension system.

“The suspension read at 11%,” he said. “We took off enough armor to build a new tank.”

“Yeah, but at least it moved,” the boss retorted. The boss glanced around one last time. “Everyone in the Mammoth, now!” he yelled. No one thought twice about disobeying that order. The engineers piled inside the transport, a nice, warm and cozy place compared to the lifeless waste outside. They began taking their seats in the cabin and removing their coats.

Aereka’s long blonde hair fell out of her coat as she took it off. She also removed the facial cover and goggles from her face. Everyone’s skin had a red tint to it, she noticed, because of the red interior lights. Her boss came in; his rugged face was covered with coarse gray hair, and he glanced around the myriad of faces with his one eye, his other one a trophy to some war. He glanced around the room and left just as quickly as he had come in. Aereka glanced around the cabin. She was the only female in the crew, and the others on the crew were her age or older, and they had more experience with these kinds of projects.

A few moments later, the hum of the engine returned and the transport began to move forward. A cheer erupted from the engineers; their hard work had paid off. The boss came back in and glared at Tsavine.

“What’s the reading on the suspension now, Tsavine?” the boss asked calmly.

Tsavine glanced down at his Data Receiver. “16%,” he replied. The boss walked over and slapped him upside the face.

“I told you the transport could only move at 15% or higher you numbskull! The next time you screw something up, I’ll make sure it’s you who doesn’t move!”

Aereka shuddered. Sure he could be harsh, but he was the man who made this possible. It was his curiosity that was piqued by the hole that pierced the glacier, and he had set out to investigate it. He just needed them to help him actually achieve his goal.

Aereka got up and began to move around, removing the covers on the windows of the cabin. Natural light flooded the cabin as she did so. Through the windows, they could all see the glacier and its hole, surrounded by mountains. The glacier was only two miles away, but since they hadn’t been out on the ice with this vehicle before, they planned to take at least an hour in case they needed to pilot their way around some unstable ice. Aereka rejoined her fellow engineers in the chairs. She closed her eyes, hoping to enjoy some time to doze after a long morning of schematics, tools, and yelling. Her eyes were closed, and she began to drift, when a buzz pierced the silence. Fear gripped her and she bolted upright. Everyone looked out the window in the direction of the noise.

That was the most recognizable noise in the world. This noise signaled doom for all, an interminable depression that could never be broken. The boss walked into the cabin; even his lone eye broadcasted the fear that everyone had. He was the bravest man they all knew, and if he was scared, they should have wet their pants hours ago.

“Everyone,” he grimaced, “Take defensive positions.”

The transport stopped and everything was in chaos. Coats flew and people yelled. The boss yelled the loudest, trying to get everyone organized. “Tsavine, take the turret. Aereka, Kjone, Oukre, and Seove, I want y’all covering us from the windows. Horatio and Ryvan are on me. Let’s go! Go! Go!” The M-37 assault rifles were passed out, the latest in the generation of the M-16 rifle. The windows were opened as Tsavine scrambled up a ladder. The three oldest men hugged the wall next to the hatch door and Aereka took the window to the front-left of the transport. There were several loud clicks as rifles were loaded and prepped for combat.

Everything was still again, leaving only the drone of the buzzing. Tsavine flexed his hands, and everyone breathed heavily, adrenaline already getting ready to flood their bodies. Then, a ship appeared. They all knew what it looked like. It was nine feet tall, just enough room for the cockpit, engine, and half the height of their vehicle. From the top, if they could see it, it looked like a horseshoe with the round end filled up. The two prongs gave the entire ship the appearance that it was a claw trying to grab them. Between the prongs and the cockpit, on both sides of the ship, was a hunk of metal, square in shape and large in size. The ship rocketed over the frozen landscape, only a dark gray-blue blur.

“Transport!” someone yelled, and immediately, the air was filled with the rapid pa-pa-pa of gun fire. Bullets flew towards the transport, but none connected. The ship swerved and dived, avoiding all the lead that flew at it. Then it stopped, hovering several feet above the landscape. The gun fire ceased; it was too late to keep it from delivering its gift. The clicks, clacks, and chucks of refreshed the hungry guns. The prongs opened up and let the two metal chunks fall to the ground. Then, the ship disappeared over the horizon, just as quickly as it had appeared. Ragged breathing was the only sound again. The metal, which had the same color of the ship, sat there.

Red slits appeared on the metal.

“Juggernauts!” The guns opened fire again, hoping to end this nightmare before it began, but it was too late. The hunks of metal came to life, limbs pushing out from the body. They began to flex, testing the mobility of their short limbs, which ended in stumps. Their oval heads were sunken into their body, almost even with their shoulders. Silvery pieces of metal began to separate from the main body and began to orbit the metal slowly, as if they were satellites of a large planet. These rectangular pieces of metal gave the Juggernauts an air of unearthly power. The bullets would have ended this quickly, but just as the bullets began to reach the Juggernauts, these pieces of metal froze, and then rushed toward where the bullets were to hit. Bullets ricocheted off them.

Aereka continued to fire, but in her mind, she panicked. Juggernauts? But why would they be here, and in such small numbers? The last time we had to fight them, they were trying to break into the refuge, and there were only nine of them, but those alone took out half of our soldiers! The bullets continued to ricochet off the armored behemoths. They each stood at least eight feet high, wider than two men and more powerful than twenty of them. Four pieces of black metal floated from their stumps of hands, rectangular in shape, and orbited them. They slowly came to together, touching at the ends to for a claw-like hand in its rightful place. A red glow appeared, then, a flash of light.

The transport shook violently and Aereka was thrown across the cabin along with everyone else. She landed against the wall, pain developing in her back and head. Her vision was blurred and people were yelling in a foreign language. Three figures ran out of the transport, revealing the white landscape for a moment before it was gone. When her vision finally cleared, she ran back to her window. Horatio and Ryvan were distracting one Juggernaut while the boss tried to sneak up behind it. The Juggernaut’s metal hands reformed into long blades, which began to glow red. Despite its massive size, it moved just as fast as anyone. Aereka focused her fire on the other Juggernaut, which had planted itself in the ice. Its hands glowed, discharging massive energy blasts that shook the transport.

The barrage of gun fire was slowly taking effect. The pieces that were blocking the gun fire slowly became dented then left and returned to their orbit around the Juggernaut. Then, the thing jumped. Aereka watched it as it covered at least thirty feet in a single leap. The transport rocked as it landed on the roof of the transport. It landed in front of Tsavine, who continued to fire at point-blank range.
“Come On!” he yelled. “You ain’t got nothing on me!” He could see the bullets hit the metal flesh of the Juggernaut, causing sparks to fly. The thing didn’t even seem to flinch as the bullets hit it; rather, its eyes radiated death. The Juggernaut’s hand smashed through the glass of the turret and pulled Tsavine out. There was another flash of light. Tsavine didn’t even scream. He was either brave or stupid, probably both.

Ignoring the rest of the engineers, the Juggernaut leapt off of the transport to assist its partner. Its hands quickly re-formed themselves into blades. Horatio didn’t see the mass of metal death coming for him. He screamed as the glowing blade slashed his body from shoulder to hip, across the body. Blood splattered the ice. The boss gave a primal war cry and jammed his gun into a gap in the Juggernaut’s armor. The gun fired and the thing’s blood splattered across the boss’ body. An unearthly shriek filled the air as the Juggernaut fell to the ground dead, its slits still glowing. The other Juggernaut, seeing its dead comrade, fell into a bloody rage. It ran past Ryvan, slicing him open, and lunged at the boss.

“Boss!” Aereka screamed. She pushed the hatch open and jumped out of the transport. She sprinted at the Juggernaut, gun spitting fire. It didn’t even turn to face her. The thirty feet to the Juggernaut seemed like a million miles as its blade came down towards the helpless man. Then it stopped. Aereka stopped, skidding on the ice, and her gun clicked rapidly as her finger clutched the trigger. The Juggernaut turned to face her. A smoking dent was on the right side of its face. It ran at her instead, leaving the boss behind. She turned to run back, but tripped. She tried to crawl away but couldn’t. She fired her gun but it clicked again. She didn’t have time to reload. It was closing in on her. Red slits sealed her doom. It was so close she could see the scratches on the metal of its body. The hum of the black blade grew with each step. This was the end. She closed her eyes.

Death didn’t come. She opened her eyes, afraid of what she might see. It was frozen, arm raised and ready to deliver death. Aereka paused for a moment. They would never stop when having guaranteed kill, but then she noticed that blood was dripping on the ice. It fell backwards and the boss was standing there. He was cleaning off his prized army knife. He reached down to help her up.

“Next time,” he said, “No heroics.’

“Yes, Sir,” she replied.

“I’ve already lost three men today, I don’t need to lose a fourth. It’s bad enough I have to tell their families that they died at the hands of some extraterrestrial scum.” He spat at the lifeless armor.

“We’re not kids,” Aereka replied. “And this happens all the time. It’s not like we haven’t seen this before, Boss.”

“Yeah, but I promised I wouldn’t let them die on a test run of the Mammoth. I’m such a fool to think that.” He turned on his heel and began to walk to the Mammoth. Aereka stared at the lifeless metal before her. The shimmering pieces of metal that once danced around the armor now clung to it. Curious, she bent down and plucked a curved piece from its shoulder. She could feel its smooth curves, slick beneath her fingers. Her skin tingled as she touched it. It’s probably energized somehow, she thought. She quickly grabbed a few more pieces, putting them in separate pockets, trying to avoid any unwanted reactions between them. The she turned and ran to the transport, just before the boss shut the door on her.

She climbed and rejoined who was left. The pilot, Praje, was in the cabin with the rest of the crew. The boss turned to all of them.

“We’re going back,” he said. “If that was a scout force, then we can’t risk investigating the hole without being ripped apart. Repairs for the Mammoth will start at 0630 hours tomorrow.” Praje returned to the cockpit without a word. Everyone else sat down and tried to calm down. The stench of death and fighting still hung in the air. The transport turned around and began to head towards the base of a nearby mountain. As they reached the base, a thin line appeared in the rocks. Soon, a massive doorway to beneath the mountain appeared. They went through, and door closed behind them.

The underground city of Neo-Denver was named after its namesake, destroyed long ago. Buildings spanned from the floor to the ceiling, varying from heights of thirty to forty feet. Sunlight was reflected through mirrors and man-made vents that were specially designed to help plants grow. People, pets, and small vehicles roamed the rocky streets. Just after the front gate was the militia encampment; Tanks, shield-walls, and entrenched weapons guarded the entrance to the underground haven. The transport took its place among the other armored behemoths; its growl echoing through the cavern even after the engine was off.
Aereka jumped out. The air didn’t disturb anything down here; everything was clam and secure, quite unlike the frozen world above. The other engineers climbed out of the transport behind her and began to walk in different directions, some towards home, others toward the barracks. The boss was grumbling something about debriefing to the mayor’s high and mighty carcass. Aereka followed him and Kjone, who now had to take up second in command, to the barracks.
When they entered the barracks, they headed straight for the Operations Room. It was a small room, enough for about twenty people to stand in without touching anybody else. A holo-map laid flat on a table, small flags sticking out of it to signify important locations in the valley. A single man was waiting there. Young, rugged, and handsome, just like all the other young men in the city, he awaited the crew’s return. However, according to the boss, he was just some stupid punk flaunting himself as if he were a great man, which he wasn’t.
“Mayor Skjet,” said the boss.
“First Sergeant Williams,” he replied, “welcome back. From the look on your face, I’d say that something went wrong?”
“Shut up!” Williams roared. “If it wasn’t for you or your confounded safety issues, I would still have three young men on my team!”

“How is this my fault?” Skjet queried.

“Don’t play dumb! We could have been out there sooner and back quicker if you didn’t restrict my time on the surface! And you didn’t send any support with me to begin with. You practically sent us out there without protection!”

Skjet’s face became distorted. “The order of the city is in my hands. If I let everyone have their little ‘this’ and ‘that’s’, I would be an ineffective leader. You’re beginning to undermine my authority.”

“Screw your authority! How can we hope to survive against something we don’t understand?” He grabbed the bottom of his shirt and lifted it up. “You see this?” he questioned, fury emanating from his words. “That was the twelfth shot fired by the aliens.” He pointed to his left hip. The skin was red and raw, throbbing with his heart. Here he goes again, Aereka thought.

“The only reason we survived that day was because we knew we were outmatched. Day after day we retreated, losing more and more of my comrades. But, some of us got smart. We noticed patterns in their attacks, flaws in their weapons, weaknesses in their armor. We didn’t run anymore. The chased us to the mountains, and we stopped there. We dug our heels in and fought. But the only reason we are here now is because they had an ace up their sleeves. They froze the entire world over and they landed everything they had. We retreated one last time, underground. We built cities to support our survival. We didn’t give up though. We still hoped to find their bases and destroy them.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “It’s pathetic that it only took thirty years and one generation to screw up everything we planned. There’s your briefing, Mayor,” he spat. He exited the room, followed closely by Aereka and Kjone, who were trying to suppress full blown laughter. It was always cool to see Williams rant at somebody besides yourself, because he was good at ranting.

“So, Sir,” Kjone asked, “what now?”

Williams stopped. He sighed. “Y’all can do what you want now. I want the armor repairs done quickly enough so that we can get back out there. Y’all can do whatever until then.” He walked away, stumbling a bit from fatigue.

“Great man,” Aereka said.

“Indeed,” Kjone replied. He walked towards the transport. “Hot-headed, aggressive, yet caring. Very contradictory.’ He stretched his arms as he walked and said, “I’m going to work on the Mammoth. I don’t need help, so you can tinker in the garage if you want. You know where the tools are, so just don’t blow yourself up.” Aereka grinned. She always loved working in the garage. She made everything from tiny robotic figures to small scale models of the generators that powered the city. But this time, she had a more interesting project. She quickly pulled the metal from her pockets and ran to the garage. She grabbed some scratch paper and began to write out everything she knew about the metal, as well as some tests she might conduct. The garage was the last building that remained lit in Neo-Denver.


Aereka opened her eyes. The table was stuck to the wall, just like everything else happened to be. She lifted her body upright and tilted her head to a normal position, and everything took its normal place on the ground. On the table in front of her, she had built a small suspended apparatus. One of the metal pieces she had acquired was flat on the table, unmoving. Directly above it floated a small ball of titanium alloy. The ball then had two other pieces of metal orbiting it, just like they did when they were on the Juggernauts. She had reached a couple of conclusions. The metal had some strange gravo-magnetic field: It could pull objects toward it, but they never came within a certain distance of the metal. Also, the roles of “planet” and “satellite” were interchangeable between the metal and the other objects.

She finally looked away from her notes and at her chrono-watch. 0612. She had enough time to grab some breakfast and get back in time for repairs. She got up.

“Morning,” Williams said expectantly. He was standing in the doorway, arms crossed and a disappointed look on his face.

“Sir,” she gasped. The apparatus was still on the table. “I know-“

“Don’t say anything,” he interrupted. He sighed heavily. “You know how much trouble this would cause.”

“Yes, b-“

“Skjet would have you banished before you could blink, and no other refuge would accept you. You’d be an outcast and fodder for the aliens.”

“Sir, let me explain!’

“You don’t have to,” he replied. His face grew a little lighter. “I won’t let you get banished, especially with that thing on the table.” Aereka was confused. “It never occurred to me to try and study the metal itself. I thought that it was the suit, but now I see it’s not.” Williams walked over to Aereka and put a large hand on her shoulder. “I think we should get the whole crew in on this. Just imagine the possibilities if we find a way to counter this defense, or better, learn how to use it. Aereka, after we examine the hole in the glacier, we are going to find out how that metal works.” Aereka grinned.
“Now clean this up,” Williams said. “Skjet will be here in a minute and I don’t want him to ruin this project too.” Aereka quickly gathered up the apparatus, taking it apart and putting it into her pockets. She had just finished gathering her notes when Skjet walked in. He had a stern look on his face.
“You’re on prohibition for three weeks,” he said. “That includes your entire team and your ‘Mammoth’ transport.” Aereka knew what was about to happen. She quickly escaped the killing zone before Williams opened fire.

“WHAT!?” Williams screamed. “Of all the fool things you’ve done! You’re just like the last of my generation, too scared to do anything worthwhile. You know that’s why they created a whole new culture. The new naming style and philosophy. It’s all just STUPID! You’d think…” His voice trailed off as Aereka got further away.
She now stood at the front of her apartment building, her materials and notes were still in her pockets. She sighed and went inside to start tinkering. It would probably be better than sitting around doing nothing.


Since they were on prohibition, the entire crew worked on Aereka’s project. They spent almost the entire time studying and experimenting with the alien metal. They had all agreed to call it Terranium. They didn’t discover anything about its properties, but they did manage to find ways to use it. When two pieces were pressed together, their gravo-magnetic field expanded to include a radius of almost four feet. Using that property, they managed to create a small generator, more powerful than one they had. It used the pieces in an electro-sphere along with magnets to generate the energy that was supplied by it. They managed to mass produce these, thanks to consistent attacks against the city, and they were then attached to the newly dubbed “Rail-variant Machine Gun: .35 caliber”. The RM-35 was an old 50 caliber machine gun that they re-outfitted. They replaced the barrel with four separate magnetic prongs, giving it an ironically alien look. The clip chamber was made smaller and directly powered by the Terranium generator. These Terranium generators were also implemented on the Mammoth.

Terranium was also useful for fixing electronic devices. Small pieces could replace the wiring, and they improved the electric current causing the output of devices to increase. The best part was that when Skjet wasn’t looking, they improved the city with Terranium.

When the three weeks were finally up, they headed out to the glacier again. This time, the turret had been removed and two RM-35’s had been mounted on the sides of the transport. The scanners and computers were improved, and rappelling lines were ready for scaling the glacier. Everything was ready when they reached the top of the glacier.

Aereka gripped her pocket for good luck. Inside were two of the original pieces of Terranium she had collected. She gripped the RM-35, on edge. They had made it, but the fear of an attack was amplified because of last time. Seove had the privilege of exploring the hole that had captured William’s interest. She sighed and waited for the time to pass. One minute, five minutes, thirty minutes, an hour all passed by with excruciating slowness. Seove and Williams went back and forth between the hole and scanner that were up on the ridge of the glacier. The constant talking and whines of the rappelling lines kept the silence away. At one point during this time, Aereka thought she heard an alien transport, but she dismissed the thought when no aliens appeared.

Aereka began to fall asleep and did. She was peaceful until she heard yelling, violently shaking her into reality. She opened her eyes and Oukre was there.

“We have Juggernauts,” he said. “Eight of them in the valley below. Boss and Seove are already trying to slow them down. We need the RM’s repositioned.” Aereka didn’t stop to think. She immediately detached the tripod from the side of the transport and hauled the RM near the edge of the glacier.

“Don’t just stand there,” Williams was yelling. “Fire!” Aereka pulled the trigger.

The RM sang with a quick, loud Shing! As each bullet was launched at extreme speeds. The Juggernauts, however, were just as fast as last time, and the distance between the guns and the aliens was longer. Four of the Juggernauts began to scale the glacier while the others ran up the side of the mountain, the long way to the top. Aereka concentrated her fire on the Juggernauts on the side of the mountain. She knew that if they were left as they were, they would have caused trouble later.

Aereka gritted her teeth. She tracked the Juggernauts as they ran. One stumbled. She instinctively aimed and fired at the helpless target. In a few seconds she could see the blood splatter against the rocks, even though she was hundreds of feet away. She grinned. Her experiments had paid off. They had a weapon that could easily counter the Juggernaut’s defense system.

“Seove!” Williams shouted in panic. Aereka groaned. One man down. She continued to rain death onto the Juggernauts, who had begun to return fire. Energy beams missed her by inches, but she refused to stop firing. Another one was hit by a RM round and faltered. The storm of metal killed it a few seconds later. The Juggernauts were now on the glacier, only four hundred feet from where Aereka stood. A red beam of light struck the ground in front of her. Ice exploded, and she was knocked backwards, emptiness grabbing at the side of her body. She quickly rolled away from the edge of the glacier. She got on her feet. She was defenseless. The RM was several feet away. The gray-blue metal of the Juggernauts was getting clearer. She couldn’t run to get the RM with dying. She began to panic, but then she remembered the Terranium. Please work, she thought as she grabbed the two pieces from her pockets and pressed them together.

The field expanded, she could feel her hair and clothes begin to pull in motion with it. There was a brief flash of light. An energy beam raced towards her, and then it began to dance around her. The gravo-magnetic field had worked. The beam danced in dizzying circles around her. Ice exploded once again. She watched in horror as the glacier shattered beneath her and gave way to air. She panicked pressed the Terranium together even harder. She froze in mid-air. I wasn’t expecting that to work, she said to herself. She looked around her at the chaos of the scene. Williams and Praje were shooting Juggernauts off the glacier’s side with little success. Oukre and Kjone were fending off the last two Juggernauts on the glacier. Aereka was straight across from the hole.

It was a lot bigger up close. She estimated that it was sixty feet in every direction except where it went completely through the glacier horizontally. The gravo-magnetic field then began to move toward the hole, dragging Aereka along with it. Slowly but surely, she going towards the hole. When she was above solid ground, she tried to pull the Terranium apart so she could get out of the air. The pieces didn’t budge. She frantically pulled harder. Nothing. Panicking, she let go of the Terranium and watched it as it continued its journey to the center of the glacier.
They began to glow as it neared the center. It was a dull red at first, but then it became a blinding yellow. The air around the Terranium became swirled and hazy. Aereka, knowing this couldn’t be good, ran to the edge of the hole. There was a flash of light behind her, and the ice fell away. The force of blast shot her out of the hole and into empty space. Then gravity took effect, and then Aereka saw the ground greet her with open arms.


When Aereka came to, she knew she was back in Neo-Denver. The surface didn’t have air this still. Her vision was fuzzy, but she could hear two men shouting, their voices supported by the staccato of gun fire in the background. She was lying on a cot in the barracks. She blinked a couple of times to clear the last of the blur from her eyes. Skjet and Williams were standing at the foot of the cot, arguing.

“You should’ve listened to me!” Skjet was yelling. “It’s my responsibility to keep this refuge safe and-“

“No! It’s your responsibility to keep the city in order! It’s MY job to keep the city safe, and you still haven’t realized that!” Williams roared in return. “You’re ‘safety first’ attitude caused this!”

“Wrong! If you had at least listened to the voice of reason and stopped her from experimenting with that alien garbage, then we wouldn’t be in this situation!”

Aereka sat up. “What happened?” she groaned, hoping to draw their attention away from their argument for a few seconds. Both men turned and looked at her. Williams spoke first.

“Apparently, the aliens hid a deactivated Warp Gate in the glacier. Why? I have no clue, but they put the hole there so they could access it eventually. Apparently they designed it with Terranium in mind. The gravo-magnetic field caused the system to start up. The activation of the gate itself is what caused the explosion. It seems the aliens have done more than what we could’ve hoped with that little piece of metal.”

“Whatever,” Skjet sighed. “The point is, you brought a thousand aliens to our doorstep. Thanks to you, we have a full blown war on our hands!” Aereka paused to think. The RM-35 worked well against the Juggernaut’s defenses. All of the electronics systems in Neo-Denver were much better than they ever were. One little mistake and all the benefits were thrown down the drain? She shook her head.

“You are wrong,” she said.

“What did you say?” Venom dripped with each word that came from Skjet’s mouth.

“You’re wrong. I may have activated that Warp Gate or whatever it is, but our team used the Terranium for more than that. The RM-35 can take a Juggernaut down faster than our standard equipment, and we have a stockpile of them in the northern warehouse at the edge of town. Our generators will last forever because they are powered by Terranium. Don’t you get it? I may have activated that Warp Gate and brought war to our home, but I also gave us a fighting chance of not just survival, but taking back our home: Earth.”

Skjet reeled back. Williams grinned. “I always knew there was a reason I liked you.” He turned to Skjet. “If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a war to win.” Aereka giggled at Skjet as Williams left, her laughter oddly accenting the din of war in the cave.





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