So, ya’ll remember that video game I was hinting at doing some writing for? Guess what - I can finally talk about it! The game is called Gearstorm and it’s a military sci-fi survival game. If base-building on an alien world infested with space-zombies is your thing, or might be your thing, check out the kickstarter. Also, keep reading cause I’ve got something special down below.
Anyway, Gearstorm is made by my friends over at Iron City Games. They’re a gutsy two-man game dev company and they’ve been inventing new wheels (like Unreal engine terrain generation algorithms) to put on this crazy game for almost five years now. So I really hope they succeed.
But today isn’t just me advertising my friends’ game, I come bearing gifts in the form of free fiction for you all! While working on the lore of the Gearstorm setting, I got all inspired and wrote some fun short-stories set in the world. These helped us get a feel for the game back when it was little more than rag-dolls and zombies.
So, without further adieu, I give you the start - the last day at the ICA.
Note: This is a Gearstorm short story set in 2213 AD- during the fall of the International Colonization Authority’s Tetragon moon base. You can read more about the Gearstorm lore on the Gearstorm Wiki.
"The Phage are finally here aren't they?" Sergeant Major Reiner asked, looking at the red-orange glow seeping under the curtains of his hospital room. The water in a glass by his arm trembled from the rumble of distant explosions.
"We can't stop them," said Doctor Julia, a tall woman wearing a lab coat with an armored vest on over top. "We just lost the last of the Liger tank divisions. Command says that we've maybe twelve hours left before they break through the trench line. The end won't be long past that point."
"I can't believe we're in the twenty-third century and we're going to be done in by a zombie outbreak," Reiner said. "This should have been easy to beat."
"Well," Doctor Julia said as she looked over his medical readouts. "To be fair, they are fasting-evolving bio-mechanical zombies who are hell to vaccinate against." As if to underscore her point, Reiner glimpsed something gigantic as it hurled an entire tank clear of the Moon's light gravity.
He wanted to clench his fist, but the drugs kept him relaxed. He barred his teeth instead. "I hope the morons on Earth are happy. Looks like their stupid world-war really did manage to bring about the end of days. Is it too late to carve 'I told you so' on this side of the Moon with a laser?"
Dr. Julia laughed, it was the hollow kind only used by the doomed. Then she took a shot of whiskey before opening the metal case she'd brought into the room. Reiner eyed her as the doctor began prep work on a series of military-grade transport syringes.
"What's that for?" Reiner asked. "If you're gonna do me in before the end, I'd prefer it if you left me with a pistol instead."
Her eyes scanned the empty air in front of her, reading the augmented reality display only she could see. "That's the grand finale. And it'll be a machine gun if I can score you one. This..." she paused again, filling one needle from a bottle, "...is going to be liquid hope."
"A berserker drug?" was Reiner's best guess. His broken back wouldn't be a problem if he was on the right nano-juice. Though his lifespan past four or five hours would be.
"Also not out of the question," Julia said, approaching with the first needle. She didn't ask his permission. She just grabbed his wrist and stuck a vein. "Congratulations Tiberius Reiner, you're the most genetically perfect, by which I mean least-flawed, human male I have access to. In a thousand years or so, your clone might be the last human male as well."
He flinched at the monster needle sucking up his blood. "So we made it in time?"
"Yup." Julia said as she put the graphene syringe up, only to jab him with the next one. "We're launching the Vanguard as soon as all the necessary personnel samples are on-board. I'm going to visit Corporal Sato and Doctor Harvey after I'm done with you."
Despite his own certain doom, Reiner had to smile. He might be a mutineer with a broken back, but it had been worth it. The plan he'd been crippled for was going forward and just in time, too. A heavy rumble passed through the hospital wing, causing the lights to flicker wildly.
"I thought we were too low on fuel to launch the Vanguard," Reiner said, his mind going to the implementation of 'operation: save us from ourselves.' Throwing the staff of the International Colonization Authority into cryo and jetting off in their mostly finished colony ship had been the plan until they'd learned of the fuel shortage.
"We were," Julia replied. "But we've been gutting it for the last three months while you've been in here. She's empty except for DNA, a clone stamper, and the materials needed to make a few people with basic gear."
Now the electrodes they'd kept attached to Reiner's head all week made sense. They were backing up his mind, recording his skills, knowledge, and languages. He'd wondered why, since the recordings couldn't be used to transfer his consciousness or anything. No one was getting new skill map cybernetics in these final days either. If they were going to make clones of him though. Well, that made sense.
"A clone stamper?" Reiner asked with a raised eyebrow. "Those are super illegal and we cut off contact with Earth a while ago. How'd we get one?"
"I made it and it's not illegal when there's no more pesky laws holding me back," Julia replied, proudly. She finished up her extraction and locked up the metal case. "The Vanguard will get it to Apollyon and it'll print out... yous. Well, you and a few other choice specimens of humanity we've lucked into having here at ICA."
"So we're all still going to die to the phage then aren't we?" Reiner asked.
Julia paused at the door, weaving slightly with drunkenness. "Yup. But at least we're firing off the factory to make Adams and Eves into the stars. Mankind will die, but we won't stay dead. I hope."
Reiner let out a sigh. He'd had his dreams for a minute there. "Glad I could help. So when are you delivering my machine gun and battle drugs?"
Julia pushed back her messy black hair and winked at him. "After the launch. Maybe I'll bring a pair of guns even. One for each of us."
"Well, at least the end of the world's gonna be a party," Reiner said.