Roaches In The Attic - Non-Retrieval (original version)
Roaches In The Attic, no. 1
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This science fiction novella was inspired by such movies as James Cameron's Aliens and Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers, as well as the book The Red Badge Of Courage by Stephen Crane. The story follows the plight of a squad of seasoned Space Marines stranded on a hostile planet. Least among them is the novice Spaceman Douglas, who is only beginning to see the atrocities of war, and who must quickly adapt to his environment if any of them are to make it out alive.
Like a plague they descended, dropping into the midst of the unprepared and frightened soldiers as dozens of bouncing, pummeling cannonballs. Plasma fire whines across the battlefield as skittish fingers pump on smoothly gliding triggers, hitting the alien creatures’ hard shells and deflecting the lethal beams in all directions, including back among our own troops. Howls of pain erupt from the mouths of mortally wounded men, only slightly eclipsed by the orders from their commanding officers.
Through it all, the balled-up insects roll toward where the concentration of soldiers is at its thickest. Then, displaying an uncanny and unnerving sense of synchronicity, the tumbling balls halt all at once and begin to unfurl. Their trademark clicking commences, a combination of sharp screeches and disconcerting snaps that causes involuntary winces and fuels an instinct of panic in some of the Marines. This noise, of course, serves to briefly stun the troops, as half a dozen jet-black limbs telescope from the rising monstrous bodies. Their two thick and thorny legs lift them to nearly an equal height as the men, and two pairs of arms simultaneously uncurl and clasp together, as if the creature were uttering some dark prayer. For a brief moment, a split second, it seems as if nothing is happening, until the first shockwaves hit.
Death comes quickly to the innermost circle of gawking and gaping spectators, as invisible beams of intense heat immediately incinerate or explode their bodies. The after-effects of the assaults consume a second row of the tightly grouped soldiers, bursting their hair and clothes into flames, and melting their hard plastic weapons in their grips. A high percentage of the frontline infantry, whether through panic or injury, or even simple confusion, is rendered ineffective.
(Partial notes recovered during the aftermath of the War on Betelren Six, Space Corps Outpost 02-27. The author’s identity is not known, and the date is Tuesday, January 20, 2060. This is the date of first contact.)
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