I felt the scorching winds from the nuclear blast pour through the side doors as it howled like a ferocious monster. I held onto the nets behind me for dear life as the Blackhawk shook before fishtailing back and forth as the pilots tried to get ahold of what systems they managed to revive. I suddenly saw strange purple flames erupt from the front of the bird as it engulfed the entire helicopter itself. This was followed by a drastic drop in temperature and a blast of static from the regular comms.
“All – … – situation – … ” One of the pilot’s voices came out cut up before the static was cut off by a deep, strange voice that deep and unsettling. It sounded like a demonic chant in a language I had never heard before. The purple flames disappeared and frost began to form everywhere and I could feel the blood that caked the side of me stiffening up. I leaned over to see what the hell was happening and became white as a sheet.
It was no longer the nuclear wastes of Washington DC outside, but some sort of strange sky instead. It resembled a moving mosaic of different sized triangles with strange runes floating cross them with figures flying around. “Dad?” I said into the headset, my voice breaking with a fear I didn’t even feel when I came face to face with an enemy. This was something primal, something I felt in my very fabric of being that I should not have been here.
“I know! I know!” His voice came, more composed, but I could also hear that same reaction in his voice. My remaining guard was just pulling himself off of the Blackhawk’s floor. “You okay?” I tried to distract myself from the strangeness happening outside the bird and tried to help him out of the spot he had been thrown into. “Yeah…” The soldier had managed to lodge one of his legs against the wall and his upper body against the front seats – only one of his legs made it out of the bird.
Even though I tried to help, I could barely scrape the top of his helmet as he tried to dislodge his foot from the new spot it had slid into when he moved. “REEEEEEeeeEEAaaaa!” A bloodcurdling screech shook the entire bird followed by dozens more as a figure covered in a black fabric that hid its face and body appeared behind the soldier. It grabbed his leg with a sickening crunch before tearing him out with ease.
This was followed by three more and the rattling sound of overlapping automatic fire. The shots killed or at least maimed the two I could see from my spot as they fell away and the third one pulled a man in black armor out. “Jacob!” I heard my father yell. I saw my father run into my view as he held onto the handholds above while shooting out at the monsters with his 1911. Counting in my head, there should have been him and one other man beside the pilots. I quickly tried to unholster my pistol before I felt the entire bird barrel roll and all the alarms from the cockpit blaring.
I felt my body being rattled side to side – back and forth – as the bird tried to correct itself both men were flung out the openings, leaving me alone in the bird. Just when I felt myself panicking; more monsters appeared at both openings trying to reach for me. Dark mummified hands reached for me, but too many of the monsters were trying to reach through the opening before more gunshots rang out, but this time, they were pistol rounds as they picked at the monsters. “We got you- Ah!” I heard the pilots screaming over the comms, disrupting the chants of whatever was on our regular comms.
Then blood sprayed over the cabin as the horde moved from me to the pilots, and unfortunately for them, ripping them out piece by piece I could only assume as I saw monsters flying away with body parts. The Blackhawk shuttered and began to go out of control before the purple flames from earlier engulfed the bird once more.
. . . . . .
I suddenly jolted awake only to be held down by something. In my disoriented state, the only thing that came to mind was the monsters from before, I lashed out with a high-pitched battle cry as I wildly swung my fists around. After a few seconds, the rest of my mind caught up after feeling nothing but cool air. Calming down enough to look at my surroundings, I found I was still buckled into the Blackhawk’s rear seat. The seat buckle had kept me in place.
Taking deep breaths to calm my rapidly beating heart, I managed to calm myself down only to have a wave of exhaustion wash over me.
My eyes hurt and my body felt bruised from the rocky ride early. “Dad?” I called out. “Jacob?” No response. I was hoping I hadn’t see what I did early, but I couldn’t escape reality. “Agent Jacobs’ and General Jacobs’ vital signs are offline.” A monotonous voice answered through my headset. My ears perked as I looked around. “Who are you…?” I asked back into the headset. “I am Live Intelligence Liasion, or Lil.” The voice was neither male nor female. “I am your personal AI commissioned for you by General Jacobs if that is a more suitable answer. “
I took a minute to process that before my shoulders started shaking…
“So.. Dad is…” Dead, was the question I was going to ask. For all his faults, for all the times he pushed me away after my mother died, he was still my father. I also wanted to ask about my stupid big brother but… The questions only became stuck in my throat like lumps of coal as tears began to streak my face in the silent, dark cabin of the black hawk. “Please gather yourself, Isaac…” Lil asked in an almost concerned tone. “There will be time to grieve later. We have to get you out of danger first.”
Danger caught my attention as I looked up and realized that moonlight was pouring in through the left side of the black hawk while shrubbery and wood were pouring in through half the right side. “So… what can you do for me?” I asked as I tried feeling around for the buckle through the dust that covered me. “I can give situation -” Lil was interrupted. “O, so this is how you communicate with others in your world?” A man’s voice popped in over the headset. “Unknown communications. Cannot trace the origin.” Lil answered immediately after the man finished with his question.
“Who are you?” I asked as I was suddenly released from the straps and almost slid to the right before catching myself. “There little mortal, I’ll help you.” The man laughed as I looked at the straps that were perfectly cut by some unknown force. “I am the god of this world. Now, answer my question.” The voice cut his laughter before his voice turned serious. I felt danger immediately and answered. “Y-Yes.” I felt up my body while keeping an eye out for the voice. No injuries other than the bruises.
“Interesting…” The voice cooed before going silent. “Lil, do you know where we are?” I asked as I hauled myself out the back of the hatch and was greeted by a trail of destruction raking across a mountainside. Turned up grass, broken rocks, and a few overturned broken trees led up to the Blackhawk with the tail laying only a couple tens of feet away. “I will make a deal with you. What do you say?” god came back. “I’d rather not, but for the sake of it, what are you proposing?” I asked as I stepped out of the wreckage, my muscles screaming in protest as I checked around for anything hostile.
“Well… I wouldn’t say it’s a deal now that I think about it. More of me telling you. ” The voice said with a twisted chuckle. “Then how are you making a deal with me?” I said with a snort as I checked the cockpit for the pilots. I instantly threw up as I saw the insane amount of blood staining the inside. “I am holding trials for people I deem of great strength to entertain me. I’m going to put you through them, otherworlder. Ready to test your mettle against magic and demons?” The voiced said with a not so asking tone.
“No! What the fuck?!” I yelled into the mic. I was already thinking someone was fucking with me until I looked up in anger and saw two moons hanging above. “I wasn’t really giving you a choice. If you don’t want to participate, just let the goblins eat you. But I am not that cruel of a god. Check your little device.” The voice cooed with delight as I saw figures moving in the distance. “Isaac, my systems have been breached. I have been given access to an unknown system that appears to be a shop of unknown origins. It had listed weapons and supplies for sale.” Lil reported to me whatever God had done to my Tact-link.
“I’ll leave it at that little mortal. Survive and amuse me… Or not.” The voice added that last part with an almost threatening insinuation. “I’ll give you a little gift. Lil, give him the update. I’ll talk to you later mortal, after I look more into your world.” With that, God stopped talking and silence came forth the stench of something disgusting. “Warning! Multiple hostiles approaching. Be careful Isaac, we’re surrounded with no escape route behind us! Please check your device!”
I checked the screen on my forearm and saw an overview of my surroundings with a little message at the top right saying “Temporary access to Satellite for this trial”. From the image displayed, the crash site was 30-odd feet from the edge of a cliff with no one there. In front of me where several impish like monsters slowly creeping up using the rock outcrops as cover for their advance. Each monster was haloed by a red square with nearly 40 monsters.
“W-what are those…?” I asked in shock. “Using new database, those are goblins. 4 feet tall, they’re known for their barbaric nature of eating anything and raping female humans to reproduce. They are considered vermin with the possibility to cause catastrophes when left unchecked…. New mission inbound, please standby.” Just from the description, I was already unholstering my pistol. I oddly felt calm though, like the experience before had already tempered me enough to deal with the stress.
I pulled out my magazine and checked the round count. “Full magazine.” I then slapped it back in and pulled the slide back enough to check the chamber. “One in the chamber.” I said before checking my ammo supply. I had five magazines left, each holding 17 rounds each. I was cursing myself for not buying the extended magazines now. “Just like bro said, better to have it and wonder why you bought it than to not buy it and wish you had. ” I laughed at myself for being stupid to save a few hundred dollars to spend it on new videogames.
“Contact!” Lil reported as the first goblin decided to charge at me form the nearest outcrop, nearly 30 feet to my right on the high ground. The moonlight was enough for me to see, but now I was regretting not getting a light attachment as I tracked him as he landed and stumbled towards me followed by three more of his friends. I fired six shots at the first one, missing three shots before the goblin just rolled like a sack of potatoes at me as I aimed at the next one with another five shots. This time I only missed once, but unfortunately, I was tagged by a club from the third one.
I felt like being hit with a 2×4 from a person who didn’t know how to use improvised weapons. It hit, but not as much as it could. I quickly kicked the little green monster in the face with my shoe and fired the rest of my magazine into the fourth one. The XM17 locked back with smoke rising from the chamber and the barrel as I tried to fire it again into the one that tagged me with his club. “Fuck!” I cursed as I dropped the magazine as the monster regained itself and leaped at me like a demon monkey from hell.
I had the magazine in my left hand and the pistol in my right. Taken off flat-footed, I fell backward and landed on my back as the monster managed to get on me. Without thinking, I stabbed the little runt in the left eye with the magazine with all the force I could muster. The magazine buried itself a quarter of the way in, sending the monster howling in pain
I ripped a fresh mag from its pouch and slammed it into the pistol. The force itself sent the slide forward, racking a round in and I unloaded at least six shots into the monster’s chest – basically until it slumped over, ending the threat. “Get up Isaac, get to higher ground.” The voice was sounding more and more human as time went one, taking on a more soothing female voice. “Mission given is one of the trials God spoke about. Mission parameters are to survive the Goblin horde. Bonus rewards for annihilating them all before sunrise. The time limit is till dawn.” Lil briefed me and brought up a timer reading 1 hour.
“Get to higher ground!” Lil called out as another set of goblins felt brave enough to challenge me. I got to my feet and circled around the Blackhawk and worked my way up the cliff’s edge until I found myself above the targets. Shrieks and grunts called out as I unloaded the rest of my magazine into the group of seven goblins hiding behind that outcrop. I didn’t stay to count the kills and continued up the slop until I reached the highest point I could nearly 100 feet away from the crash site below. I could see the rest of the mountain with rolling planes and grass-covered ridges and a valley further out with light coming from what I could only assume was a settlement.
I popped out the old magazine and put in a new one as Lil came back over the headset. “Registering a total of 9 kills. I’ve tallied up the enemy combatants to a total of 78.” I felt my heart plummet into my stomach. “You have a total of 41 minutes to survive, please don’t die.” The AI was actually starting to sound concerned. I laughed “Well, lets at least make my dad proud!” I said before looking back down to the beady red eyes below as they raced after me. “Let’s get to killing then….”