Monsterpocalypse Monday #2

Living With the Monsterpocalypse

Chapter 2 – Fighting Fire with Fire

John Pressman, Big World News Network

Living With the Monsterpocalypse ​is an ongoing segment that shines a light on events leading up to and following the arrival of the Planet Eaters and subsequent invaders of Earth. Each installment sheds new light on the early days of this unfolding war against the monsters, with exclusive information obtained from the men and women who were there in the first days of the Monsterpocalypse.

Our first contact with the Monsterpocalypse was not an easy one. When the Onset Comet (formerly referred to as the Torison Comet, named after its discoverer, Miles Torison) broke up outside the perimeter of our satellites, fragments rained down on some of the world’s greatest cities. Our first sign that some malevolent intelligence was behind the attack came as fragments rode in low orbit so the pieces of the comet could spread across every major continent. London, Moscow, Beijing, Los Angeles, and Chicago would all suffer near-simultaneous impact, filling the skies with black clouds for nearly a month.

The entity called Gorghadra emerged from the Chicago fragment, the first of the Planet Eaters to rise from its hibernation. The brave soldiers of the Bravo and Foxtrot companies of the Illinois National Guard and the Chicago Police Department were the first responders on scene, with many of the National Guard serving in a relief capacity in Ravenswood, the region most adversely affected.

The National Guard and CPD tried valiantly to fight as Gorghadra took his first meal on our world. But their weapons proved insufficient. So too were the conventional weapons of follow-up attacks from JSF jets, tanks, and A-10 Warthogs. The biometallic armor of the Planet Eaters was nearly impervious to our weaponry. Like the National Guard and CPD, these soldiers gave their lives fighting the Planet Eater so that the civilian population of Chicago could evacuate the city.

When the wave of subordinate creatures began to emerge, the United States performed an act once deemed unthinkable; 36 hours AE (After Emergence), the president ordered a tactical nuclear strike on American soil.

It was not a success.

Other nations experienced similar defeats, forcing the worldwide military community to find a new solution if humanity would have a hope of survival.

The Globally United Advanced Research and Defense project (or G.U.A.R.D., as it came to be known) was perhaps the most ambitious scientific and military endeavor in human history. Experts in every scientific field, brilliant commanders, and soldiers of the highest skill came together under the umbrella of G.U.A.R.D. Research projects were unveiled and combined from the top labs across the world to develop new weapons.

Helping to fuel this development was the discovery that the Planet Eaters’ own crystalline hives could be harvested and refined. The potential energy within a kilogram of the crystal was greater than even that of advanced nuclear power. With this new source of energy, G.U.A.R.D. began development of a new weapon that would never have been feasible before; the superior mechanized weapons platforms (commonly referred to as “super mechs”).

Relying on the military wisdom of strength in numbers, G.U.A.R.D. set out to build two cutting-edge super mechs. Designated Liberty-class, they were the first of their kind, developed in conjunction on the same chassis and designed to complement one another’s strengths.

Laser Knight and Sky Sentinel. Both machines boasted advanced AI to provide the solitary pilot with support in battle, controlling smaller defensive armaments. Using the Planet Eaters’ own crystal as a power source, G.U.A.R.D. scientists created potent direct-energy weapons, improving on designs first implemented by the United States Navy and the Boeing Laser Avenger. Two-and-a-half meters of metamaterial armored plating protected the Liberty-class machines.

Two men—and several billion dollars of research, development, and materials—would be more than a match for the strength of a Planet Eater.

G.U.A.R.D.’s first deployment of the Liberty machines took place on August 16, nearly two full years after the Planet Eaters’ arrival. After consuming most of the greater Chicago area, Gorghadra and its subordinate creatures moved directly on Indianapolis, where the majority of Chicagoan refugees were relocated. Laser Knight and Sky Sentinel made contact in the vast farmlands north of the small town of Lowell, Indiana, supported by a full squadron of the newly developed G.U.A.R.D. rocket choppers and a platoon of G-tanks.

Using directed-energy weapons, the twin machines destroyed countless smaller Planet Eaters before engaging in direct combat with the monstrous Gorghadra. The combined assault overpowered the Planet Eater, forcing it to break contact and hastily retreat back to the abandoned city of Chicago. Perhaps it had never experienced fear for its own survival before.

We may never know what motivated Laser Knight’s pilot, Captain David “Beowulf” Leddings, to pursue Gorghadra into the city despite the protestations of his commanding officers and fellow pilots. What we do know is the outcome.

Shortly after crossing Little Calumet River into the Roseland district, Gorghadra went on the counterattack. Swarms of destructomites and explodohawks emerged from warrens dug beneath the city, overwhelming Laser Knight. Sky Sentinel, which was equipped for aerial maneuvers, was able to escape the ambush, but the terrestrial Laser Knight had no such method of flight. Gorghadra slammed into the machine, smashing it through the largest structures in south Chicago, driving it into an urban box canyon where the reach of its energy sword was rendered moot. Unable to maneuver in such tight confines, Laser Knight was pummeled by the great strength of Gorghadra.

After suffering near-critical failure, Laser Knight fell beneath the Planet Eater’s claws. Captain Leddings did not survive.

This was still a victory for humanity, however. Before Laser Knight’s video feed went offline, G.U.A.R.D. received a transmission that rekindled our collective hope. It showed a gash in the monster’s flesh, bleeding profusely. What was once untouchable by our mightiest weapons now showed a sign of weakness, and the citizens of Indianapolis were spared.

G.U.A.R.D. prioritized the recovery of Laser Knight. From the data gathered from its AI core, analysis of its sensory readings, and study of the damage Gorghadra and the other Planet Eaters dealt to the chassis, the organization’s engineers immediately set out to improve the design of the Liberty chassis, retrofitting Sky Sentinel with improvements to critical areas. Meanwhile, nations across the globe clamored for their own defenders, having witnessed for the first time that a Planet Eater could be driven back from its intended feast.

G.U.A.R.D. worked around the clock to answer this call. Refinements to the preliminary design ultimately resulted in the construction of Defender X, the champion and protector of our world.

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