Promotion sucked. Sure, the gear was better, but the missions nearly killed Jenny each time he did one. He’d been created as an organ replacement for some fat old rich man, and now he was mostly replaced. From the waist down, he was cybernetic. Medics had saved what they could of his legs after the console fell on him, but that was little enough. So they just chopped everything off and gave him mechanical legs.
Then his first mission after promotion, he’d lost his left arm. Cybernetic replacement. Then part of his face in backblast from an explosion. Course, if he hadn’t been promoted, they’d have shot him to save energy. Organ replacements were cheap. Organ replacements who’d survived as much combat as he had weren’t.
JNY-35197 was on his third mission after being promoted. He figured he’d lose his other arm on this one. Deep strike with a team of seven humans and two Devastators. Jenny’d never seen more than one per team before. That meant ugly. Real ugly.
It also meant juggernauts. Lots. The humans on the team all had brand new power armour that would shred alien battlesuits by the dozen. Jenny had gotten point duty, and with it a flechette shotgun. Clouds of bolts tore infantry to pieces. Did shit against armour though.
No Command on this mission. Too dangerous to transmit, they’d said. Bastards had turned off the suit radios. No talking to anyone. So the team hand signalled. Well, the Devastators just nodded. They didn’t have hands.
Jenny paused. He was half a klick ahead, five from destination. And there was bugger all here. Just a damn plateau in the distance. One damn plateau in a bloody plain. He zoomed in, closing his human eye. A fortress. With a space port. And they had ten men. Command was mental.
He waited for the others, then explained in short gestures. They got it. Another suicide mission. Even the Devastators paused for a second. Then they started walking. Jenny cursed, hitting one of them with the butt of his weapon. It didn’t even slow.
The other humans were running. He followed. Hell was about to arrive, and Jenny wanted to be far away. Heading around the fort. Fast, not stealthy. Suits should protect them though.
The boom shook the valley. The Devastators had opened fire. Three spaceships evaporated in the opening salvo. The rest went up in the next round. Then the fort began spewing juggernauts and firing back.
Jenny stopped watching and hit the deck, crawling to the others. They conferred briefly. Damn. Had to go in. He lead the way towards the back side of the fort. The front side was pockmarked slag. And dying. One Devastator was still firing. Probably not for long, but they’d done their job. Time for the organ replacements to make it work.
A tap on the back and he sprinted the last hundred metres. Slapped a demo charge to a wall and dove aside. Aliens would notice the blast. Humans hit the opening, weapons firing. First room cleared, no casualties. Second room, a couple alien dead.
A flechette shot cleared the third. JNY-35197 chuckled. He liked the new toy. Kept him alive longer. Rooms four, five and six were empty. Seven bagged a human. Two repeater bolts to the faceplate. Unlucky. Another run of clear rooms. Jenny cursed. Speed was keeping them alive, but that was going to run out.
It did. Fire erupted through the wall. A juggernaut in the inner courtyard was targeting them. He didn’t have anything to fight back. Neither did the others. So they fled.
Didn’t help. AP rounds got three humans. Half the team gone. They ducked further into the building, heading down. Maybe they could get underground, hole up and plan.
Nope. Jenny ate a shell coming round a corner. Armour deflected most of it, but it still stung. He fired, ripping the room apart on full auto. Killed everything. Then the gun whirred. No more ammo. He had one mag left. Better make it last.
Explosions behind. Grenades. A glance showed two humans with him, not three. Another organ replacement gone. Three rooms later, his mag was at half. Damn battlesuits didn’t stop coming.
A tap on his shoulder. One of the others gestured for a hold, then led the way in, shooting selectively. A computer room. Maybe. Looked a lot like the cockpit of that dropship. Jenny took one entrance. The human who had led in fitted something into a slot on the console. So that was why they had come here. Jenny shrugged. Was going to be damn hard to get it back out.
Repeater bolts erupted through the door. He rolled back, landing prone and firing. Quarter of a mag left. An eighth. And empty. Jenny shouted, then threw a grenade through. That held the battlesuits for a moment.
The other two humans grabbed him, and they ran, snapping shots where they could. Armour blocked most of the bolts. A couple hurt. One pitted Jenny’s cybernetic arm, and it shorted. Shoddy manufacturing for a battlefield unit.
They ducked and wove through corridors, a damn maze. Jenny sighed. He was going to die here. That damn juggernaut would get the organ replacements as soon as they fled.
A left turn. Daylight. He sprinted, putting extra energy into his new legs. Ugly, but faster than he used to be. The plain was a ruin, burning fires and slag. The Devastators had flattened the space port, leaving behind the wreckage of ships. The three humans used the carnage as cover.
They’d made the end of the port when a shell ripped apart the trailer. The juggernaut had arrived. The next two shells missed. The third sent the humans tumbling, shrapnel cutting through armour. Neither of them could move. They’d almost made it.