After World War 3 almost decimated the Earth what was left of Earths leaders came together to form a united nation. They decided that piece was the answer for humanities continued survival. Military Forces were disbanded, and all weapons destroyed. Years had passed and a new age had come, an age of scientific advancements. This new era in technology soon introduced artificial intelligence and the world would thrive even more. AI became more integrated into society and common place. The world had become a utopia, a place where Humans and Ai could co-exist. There was no longer war only piece.

But that would all change! It had been five years now since the spaceship fell from the sky. The ship knocked out the satellite that controlled all the world’s artificial intelligence, AIs instantly became hostile. To make matters worse the spaceship contained an alien life form we would call the Crawlers.

Their purpose was to eradicate mankind. These combined threats pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. Many humans have been taken over by Crawlers, turned into fierce zombies known as Converts or ripped apart by hostile AI. The Crawlers arrived without warning leaving humanity unprepared and soon vastly outnumbered. Some humans tried to fight back forming small militias but to little avail. That’s when the armor crates fell from the sky, and the missions began. Only a few heroes would rise to fight back the darkness. Armed with advanced weapons and armor they would push back in the fight for humanity.

This was it, the one chance to save the world!  The Spartan Soldier stood atop a decaying building overlooking the once vibrant city below. His crimson cape billowing in the wind and his armor glinting in the setting sun. His helmet display visor showed a multitude of readings. Moving objects, some living and some not. Among the array of readings was a distinct set of vitals belonging to the K9 standing at his side. The dog’s name was Meeka. 


   Meeka was a mix breed of German Shepard and another unknown type. This left the K9 larger than most shepherds, with what now seemed like decades of service making her lean and muscular. She was one of the few things left of the time before the world fell apart.  Her unwavering loyalty made her a great friend and invaluable asset. The Spartan Soldier and K9 were more than just friends. Both were fierce, unyielding warriors at heart and true weapons of destruction.   

               At ground level the city streets seem bare, but the Spartan knew better. What appeared to be an abandoned overgrown city was still filled with Converts, Crawlers and rouge AI. They were like an infestation of cockroaches hiding in the darkness just waiting to swarm at the first sign of life. The Crawlers were fast multi legged spider-like creatures with a spiked barbed tail and large pinchers. The Crawlers would attach to a host by inserting their barbed tail into the host’s spine and using their pinchers would then peal back the skin of the face leaving a terrifying skeletal grimace. Both Crawlers and Converts in small numbers were harmless to the Spartan. He wore advanced armor and carried weapons that could quickly dispatch them, but a swarm of either one or a combination of the two could be problematic. The AIs were the biggest physical threat to him. They possessed superhuman strength and increased speed.  This made all of them formidable opponents and left Spartan alert and calculating.  One wrong move could be deadly even with his armor enhancing his own physical strength.             

    Spartan stood behind a broken and fractured wall at the end of a long decrepit street, Meeka alert at his side ears pinned back as she sniffed the air. The concrete on the road had started to crack with large amounts of vegetation pultruding through it. The once sleek and elegant buildings that lined either side of the streets were now covered in moss with vines starting from the ground and reaching towards the sky. At the end of the street stood a building.  Like the others it had seen the effects of time, only thing separating this building from the rest were the large red letters across the top reading Advanced Electronics Corp. The building was unassuming but special. Inside was a piece of equipment that could help save the world and Spartan was determined to retrieve it at any cost and nothing from this planet or any other was going to stand in his way. Taking a deep controlled breath Spartan stepped from his cover into the street. It was a straight shot, only a few rusted out grav-cars littered the street scattered about at random.  As he walked forward, he could already see shadows like specters starting to creep from the edges of the dilapidated buildings. Spartan had no time to waste he lengthened his stride his cape trailing behind him as he increased his speed to a full sprint.  Meeka ran beside him, her muscular legs like pistons propelling her forward. Even at his current speed he knew they wouldn’t reach the building in time.


        The shadows were now gone, replaced by their hosts as hordes of Converts slinked forward.  Their faces and bodies twisted and misshapen from the effects of the Crawlers. Scattered amongst them was a handful of AIs. Their humanoid frames only recognizable by their uniquely colored shells that protected their mechanical inner workings. These paint jobs were coincidently given to them by their previous human owners, the same ones they had terminated years ago. As Spartan got closer to the building, the hordes closed in. Despite the looming danger, he felt no fear. A fight was inevitable, but he didn’t care he relished it. The horde was upon them now, Spartan drew his power sword. He had used it hundreds of times before. It was perfectly balanced and like an extension of his body.  The blade was uniquely curved, unimaginably sharp and when charged could easily cleave through flesh or steel.           

     The first of the converts reached him and Spartan wasted no time dispatching them. Cutting most in half with a simple swipe of his blade. Meeka joined the fight, tackling Converts and driving them to the ground with hammering fury. Together they were a force to be recon with. They were halfway to the building now.  The pair moving in such a manner that the fight almost appeared to be choreographed. It was as if they knew what was going to happen next and fought with unbridled speed and brutality. The fight was going in their favor, but something was wrong.  Meeka and Spartan dispatched multiples of Converts but had not seen one AI in the mix.  At that very moment one lunged out from behind a mass of Converts metallic hands outstretched.  

Spartan spun drawing the auto pistol from the holster on his thigh. With no hesitation, he fired two rounds into the AIs head. In an immense explosion mechanical brains and green viscous fluid flew out the back of its metal skull splattering the streets. Two more AI followed suit. Coming at Spartan from different directions, one was stopped in midair, its head being severed from its mechanical shoulders, its spine arcing as it fell to the broken street.  The other was lucky enough to gain purchase clamping down on Spartan’s arm and creating just enough time for the horde to swarm. The horde was on him now, clawing at his armor. Their raged nails tearing at the bare skin on his arms. The weight of the of the horde was increasing by the second as one by one they piled on.  An ordinary man would have collapsed under such weight, but Spartan was no ordinary man; He had come to far to give up now and nothing was going to stop him.


       He was now almost completely pinned down by the weight. Spartan pulled his right arm as hard as he could almost dislocating his shoulder in the process. His arm came free from the AI’s grasp. The robot’s fingers scraped against metal as it ran across the armor on his forearm. Out of reflex, he immediately pressed the button on the middle of his left forearm vambrace. As if instantaneously, a pink energy blast was immitted. A large shield of energy emerged sending the horde flying in every direction.  Only one AI remained. Enraged, Spartan kicked his right leg forward catching the AI square in the center of the chest, the force so hard it buckled its chest plate. The AI was sent sailing through the glass doors of the Advanced Electronics Corp, shattering the reenforced glass. Spartan quickly stepped into the building shooting the felled AI in the head. Meeka following suit. Once they were inside, Spartan removed a plasma grenade from the back of his belt lobbing it at the remaining part of the door.The immense blast bringing down the steel frame and closing the building off from entry. This brought Spartan some time. Unfortunately, there was no element of surprise. Whatever was left in the building would now know of their presence.


         Spartan and Meeka headed for the stairwell.  The power in the city had long since gone out and the stairs would be the only way up. Spartan opened the door making sure to clear the first set of stairs. Meeka ran ahead. The stairwell was pitch black.  Only the Spartan’s power sword provided any light its pink energy charge creating an earie glow on the walls. The accent was long and arduous.  The two warriors having to fend off attacks from Converts and AI on nearly every floor. Combat did not matter to the two, they were relentless.  What mattered was with every step they got closer to completing their goal. The pair had finally reached the floor their intel reported the device to be located on.          

      The device was called an Inhibitor.  Spartan was not sure what it did, but he had spent the past five years collecting such parts. Like all the others it had to be of some importance. Spartan opened the door slowly preparing to fend off any attackers that might present themselves. Meeka was poised ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. The hallway leading to what looked like a bunch of research laboratories was empty. Some of the doors appeared to lead to other parts of the floor. Spartan was not sure if his information on the layout of the building was completely accurate, but it was all he had to go on. This was concerning.  For now, their path was unhindered, and they would take advantage of it. Meeka walked ahead. Her head held low as she sniffed at the ground. Her ears rotated side to side like she heard something, but the noise was too faint to be determined. Looking at the floor there was something odd about it. The tile on the floor was cracked and severely worn. It was like something heavy had been moving over it repeatedly wearing the tiles down to expose the concreate floor below. Although this was unusual, he didn’t have time to investigate further. They were at the last room now.         

        He walked to the doorway, having to forcefully slide the doors apart to make entry. As the doors cracked open, a large gust of stale air hissed out indicating that it had been sealed for years. The room seemed relatively bare except for one wall. On it sat a mass of screens and monitors with cables feeding down from them into a cylindrical device. Spartan picked the device up disconnecting it. As he finished with the last cable a notification alert flashed across his visor.  He turned over his hand and quickly flicked open his fingers. The sensors on his gauntlets palm projecting the image of a man standing in a lab coat. The man began to speak. His tone flat and informative. He said very little but what he said was enough. “Spartan 003 you found the inhibitor now return to ground zero.” Spartan nodded and just as quick as it had appeared the projection was gone. With the inhibitor in hand Spartan knelt and attached it to Meeka’s tactical vest.      

           It had been years now since they started the missions to collect these parts. He was told when assembled they could build a device that could help eradicate the Crawlers and neutralize the AI for good. Fortunately, he was not alone in the course. He had seen other missions come across his visor’s display.  Some from other parts of the world. It was comforting to him know that there were other soldiers out there like him. Warriors that would give up their lives to bring the world back to a semblance of its older self. Just as Spartan cleared his thoughts, Meeka started to bark as the sound of glass and guttural growls echoed thought the empty hallway. One of the labs glass doors had been broken. The force would have had to have been significant as it was sealed and reinforced. 

          Spartan ran placing his back to the door wielding his sword and shield, both now fully energized humming with power. He motioned for Meeka to go and the two stepped into the hallway. At the end of the hall was a mass of Converts and AI dressed in tattered lab coats. There were so many trying to file out one of the adjacent labs that they had crushed each other against the glass creating enough force to shatter it.  At a quick glance, Spartan could tell that this mass was the reason for the worn floor. The weight of the sheer numbers and pacing of the hall had eroded the surface; they must have been locked behind the lab’s maglock door once it had closed. There was no time to stop Spartan knew the only way through was force, dropping his shoulder behind his shield he ran at full speed barreling into the mass of bodies blocking their way. His shield hit with enough force to match that of a grav car.

The shield refracted the energy into a concussive blast clearing most of the path to the stairwell door. Spartan slashed and hacked the remaining Converts from the doorway. They made it to the stairs and started to descend. There was no way to block the door and now the horde had regrouped and flooded the stairwell.  The unorganized mass was enough to break away the railing causing them to plummet to the dark depths below. Spartan had made it down the second flight of stairs when he heard a loud noise. The combined weight of the Converts and AI stressing the structure of the stairs had caused them to crack. The stairs under Meeka suddenly gave way, making her fall.  Spartan dove catching her by her vest, but her vest was not made of the same advanced materials as his. The stitches began to rip, and the clips began to fail. The vest gave way and she fell.  Spartan could do nothing but watch his only friend fall into darkness. 

She was the only good thing he still had from the past and now she was gone! Rage, anger, and hatred filled every part of him as he knelt on the broken stairs, Meeka’s vest in his hands. The inhibitor was still attached.  She didn’t die in vain, but it did not matter now. The only thing that mattered was revenge and Spartan was going to get it. Yelling at the top of his lungs like a feral beast spartan lunged across the stairs and back into the horde.    LMS