The beginning of No Mercy


New member
Here's one of my ideas for the opening movie of No Mercy (or whatever the next game would be).

"Oh, God."  Layla stretched, then paused to look at the thin, hard man she'd known only as Joey, but whom she'd counted as her closest friend, for over two years.  "I can say that, right?  Oh God?"

"Oh, yeah," he said.  She looked over his shoulder to see he was reading an electronic copy of some book the Resistance had somehow smuggled onto the moon--Starship Troopers, by someone named Heinlein.

She turned away, the book already forgotten as she ran her hands over the plain top she wore.  "God.  God God God.  Jesus, Buddha, Allah.  Deity Of Your Choice, it feels good to get out of that prison uniform.  Have I mentioned that?"

He smiled, flicking a page.  "Only about three hundred times in the past few days."

"Huh.  I'm falling behind.  Well, it does feel good."

"That it does."  She liked how his voice sounded, now that he was free to relax.  He'd always been so tense in the mines.

Layla tried reading over his shoulder some more, but found herself with too much energy for the task.  "I wonder where the Silencer is," she said, pacing the room.  "I wanna say thank you again."

Joey smirked.  "He's never gonna say 'you're welcome'."

"I dunno."  She chose her words carefully.  "I think if I keep thanking him he might learn some manners."

He turned back to his book.  "Don't do it."

"Do what?" she asked, turning a suspicious gaze on him.

He glanced at her, and sighed, apparently at her expression.  He carefully set the digibook down, and said, with the air of what she imagined a college lecturer would be like, "You're attracted to a powerful masculine figure who saved your life and who doesn't seem to reciprocate your feelings.  You think you can get him to respond.  But he doesn't think the way others do.  I'd advise you to abandon your pursuit."

Her mouth opened and closed silently for a moment.  "And who are you to tell me this?" she finally said, trying to sound indignant, trying to ignore that this was a man she'd trusted with her life since coming here.

Joey smiled humourlessly.  "I was an accredited psychologist who published an analysis of President Gauthier's psyche, based on the decisions he'd made since taking power and several core rules of human psychology.  For some reason, shortly afterward I was rounded up in the middle of the night and sent here."

"...oh."  She turned away to cover her blush.  "Well, I wonder where he is anyway."

"He's hunting."  Distracted by their conversation, they hadn't noticed someone else enter the room.

"Ah, Colonel," Joey said, waving his book.

Shepherd nodded, returning the greeting, then said, "The Captain acts about like you'd expect a Silencer to act.  The only definition of 'recreation' he knows is 'duplicate'."  He took out a bottle of water from a nearby fridge.

"Still think he's worth dating?" Joey said, waiting until the Colonel had a mouthful.  He and Layla enjoyed the resulting spit-take.

Guardsman Hennel ran.

He wasn?t late, but if he didn?t hurry, he could end up a different kind of late.  It was dangerous for Cartel and Consortium troops on the moon these days.

There was a clank of metal on metal.

The guard spun, rifle at his shoulder with a speed that surprised even him.  ?Who?s there?? he called out.  There was no response?but he was certain he saw something in the shadows.  ?Who?s there?!? he screamed.


He held absolutely still for a long moment, trying to see if he could get the shadows to coalesce into a real shape, but there was nothing.  Slowly, he backed away, and then tore off again when that didn't provoke any more movement.

Aside from stumbling through an area where the artificial gravity was on the fritz (which actually helped, requiring much less energy to move at an even greater speed), there were no other distractions.  His lungs were burning by the time he staggered to the meeting place.  He took thirty seconds to compose himself.  Then he took another thirty.

Finally, when his heart didn't sound like a rifle on automatic, he pushed into the room.  There were half a dozen men all told.

"You look like you just ran a minute mile," one stormtrooper grunted.

"Is this it?" the guard asked.

"Just for this sector," another stormtrooper said.

"Were you followed?"  Unlike the other two, this man's voice was unfiltered by a vocoder, because he didn't have a full-closure helmet--just polarizing goggles and ear protectors.

"I'm...not sure," he said.

"Not sure?" the elite guard growled.

"I couldn't tell for sure!" he said.  He knew that if they decided to kill him--not that they expected him to; they needed all the help they could get ehse days--he wouldn't stand a chance.  "But I checked.  Multiple times!" he added, since it sounded better than "whenever I heard something".  "And I didn't see anything!"

"You can't trust your eyes!" the elite guard snapped.  "Not with them."

Hennel was confused.  "Who?  Rebels?"


"Silencers? What do they have to--"

"The Rebels have one!"

"How is that possible?"

"I don't know! I'm not sure where he comes from, how he got here, why he joined the Rebels...  I'm not sure how he does half of what he does.  I'm not even sure if he's a Silencer; I just know he wears the armour and he's killed everyone who's gotten in his way."

After a moment, the first stormtrooper who'd spoken asked, " how do they hide in bright red--"

"I don't know! They just do!"  Even the guardsman seemed surprised at his own outburst.  There was a moment of awkward silence.

"If they're so badass," an elite stormtrooper not wearing his helmet said, "and if they followed us, this one prob'ly woulda killed us by now."

The elite guardsman relaxed.  "Point.  All right, we're all here.  The plan is as follows..."

It was basic enough, but clever.  The moon normally had two freighters either on station or in transit at all times, with more being lent if demand or production (or both) were up.  When the Rebels began their campaign approximately two weeks previous, they destroyed the freighter Icarus as it was preparing to orbit the moon.  That left the Daedalus.  It would have lifted off and possibly even come back with supplies for the moon by then, but within three days of the Rebels' push they had destroyed an ore separator, slowing production to a crawl; even running di-cor, big starships were too expensive to use with less than half their cargo holds filled.  Within a week of the destruction of the Icarus, the Rebels had destroyed LMC HQ and taken over Darkside.

They had not, however, done much to secure the Daedalus.  By feinting at other sectors, they would at least draw the attention of the Rebels' leadership, which could prove decisive in getting the freighter out of range of the base's defense cannons (which would of course be within the sectors they feinted at).  A platoon of troops, a freighter, and at least a small amount of di-cor could be brought to Earth, then, as the Rebels had no way of giving chase.

"So who's playing decoy?" Hennel asked, suspicious.  The others all turned to stare at him, as if surprised by his astuteness.

"Of those here, only me."  That brought everyone up short.  "Not every elite guard will be taking place in the attack, but those that survived are all staying here.  We have to give credence to the attack.  And we have unfinished business."  There was more silence as people realized we had not referred to WEC troopers in general.  The Silencer had walked through probably a couple dozen of his compatriots when he'd blown up headquarters, and still they wanted to get at the Rebel.

"This group, except for me, will meet at 0530 tomorrow morning in storage bay seven.  You will be given a more detailed briefing there by Major Kilner of the enforcers."  He nodded at the sole Enforcer in the room.  "If for any reason he is not there by 0535, you will instead be lead by Captain Mathias."  He handed a datapad to the elite stormtrooper not wearing his helmet, who looked surprised but gratified.  "Questions." 

"What if Kilner and me don't show up?" Mathias asked, grinning.

"Improvise," the elite guard said.  "Anything else?"  There wasn't.  "All right, get back to your safe--"

To Hennel, everything from that point seemed to slow down.  A door opened on the other side of the room opened.  Fire and thunder cut down the elite guard first, then the enforcer, slow to lift his heavy weapon.  The guard saw a flash of red in the doorway, and that was all he needed--he bolted for the opposite door and started running again, terror and the sounds of explosions and screams behind him giving him newfound stamina.

Back in the room, a smoking, fearsome beast of a weapon was lowered.  The man in red armour stepped towards the body of the elite guardsman.  Plasma shields made a helmet not strictly necessary , but a few weapons were so lethal they simply overwhelmed them.  The red mask bent, angled to face the ruined mass of the guardsman's head, and said, as if testing the words, "Thank you."  After a moment to consider the mess he'd made of the room, the Silencer reflected that it felt good to go on a planned offensive again.

He left the room opposite the way he came and stared after the sole survivor.  The Reaper would be useless at this range, but even now his sidearm would take him down.

But that was not the point.

He remembered with some fondness (and discomfort at the initial drop, naked in snow-capped peaks) the six months he'd spent in the Andes.  You could catch a predator--or you could goad it into a lair of its prey animals, and flush out a week's worth of meat--and with the right prey, enough fur for a coat.

The prey changed, but the hunt didn't.