It’d been a shit morning so far. I’d had a rotten night’s sleep with vague dreams that were trying convey some message that I didn’t understand. Breakfast didn’t sit right with me, my stomach wasn’t really cooperating despite my implants trying their best to regulate it. I was sitting on my bunk, feeling the depressing weight of the attack corvette around me and thought about the black inky void peppered by stars outside.
My guts churned again, oh Lord, not more cramps.. please.. my breasts felt heavy and my nipples were sore and somehow itching at the same time. I dry heaved, oh no, this was going to be a horrible day. After a while, the implants managed to regulate some of it, giving me back at least a semblance of self control. But my mind was already going into the dark places, I could feel it, I could feel everything blacken around me.
And why not? The universe was such an ugly place after all, such a dark and unforgiving thing that was filled with horrors that you could almost not imagine. I sighed deeply and hung my head down, letting my hair obscure my vision, I hated the world and everything in it. My body ached, no.. my entire being ached, body and soul. I tried to meditate a bit on the nature of the soul, but it just wasn’t happening. It all felt so gray and pointless. The world was always going to be like this, nothing was ever going to change. Why were we out here in space anyway? What was the point of anything?
A noise alerted me to someone standing in the doorway of my quarters. I looked up, wondering who was unkind enough to disturb me in my misery. I probably looked pretty haggard since the CO was smiling at me in a compassionate way.
“We’ve found another base that wasn’t accounted for.” he said with a level tone of voice.
I got up on my feet and saluted him “Sir, yes sir! Ready to deploy on your word!” I really was struggling to feel the enthusiasm. Hell, I was struggling to feel anything that wasn’t the inky void of depression.
“Move out!” he said and nodded and headed down the hallway.
I sighed and got dressed and headed to the launch bay where my Mark 14 suit was located. The techs were preparing it already. I gave them the sign of the higher order as per custom and they all smiled as they returned it. I was placed inside the suit; the canopy above me was lowered into place as the systems adjusted to my body, integrating me with it.
“Sigma Sigma Thirteen Echo Test” I said mechanically, suddenly become aware again of the massive amount of cold metal around me, this time not of the ship, but of my trusted combat suit.
“Echo test OK Sigma Sigma 13” base answered through the transponder. The voice sounded a bit tinny, they were going to have to fix that. I made a note in the suit’s maintenance recorder about it as they lowered the suit into position.
And then I was blasted off, I mused about how the inertial compensator could never really take the edge off the massive G’s that you felt as you were fired into space. I gritted my teeth as the suit headed into orbit, fuck, this was worse than ever. I now fully wished that I would die on impact, that something would go wrong with the systems. I muttered to myself the prayer of the order as I started entering the atmosphere proper now. But it felt like I was droning out my own death sentence, oh please let it be just that.
About ten minutes later, the suit started picking up telemetry data, identifying land features, outlining the base underneath me. The same thing as always, nothing would ever change. I wanted to claw myself out of the suit, I didn’t want this, I just wanted to be left alone. Why me? Why this?
The shell around the suit popped off as it landed on the ground with a thud. It arose on it’s two legs and the arms deployed while the systems came back online, one by one.
“Sigma Sigma Thirteen, please confirm landing” Base said in my left ear now, dammit, why wasn’t this shit ever working properly?!
“Sigma Sigma Thirteen, landing confirmed. I am the spear of justice.” I answered back, not even feeling any of the holy words as I should properly do in a moment like this.
“Sigma Sigma Thirteen, You are cleared to begin, releasing behavioral locks.”
I stood there in the suit as it kept identifying targeting data, I breathed heavily as my perception of the world around me changed. I nodded to myself. Yes.. yes this was the turning point as always. I started shaking with a mixture of fear and awe. The Lord’s vision was coming to me.
I walked up to the gates as I felt my mood swing into excitement and then perfect harmony. It was all going to be alright, I was going to make everything fit into place. I nodded as I looked at the weak gates, yes, this wasn’t going to even be a problem for me. I really felt now like I was the instrument of the Lord’s justice.
My breath now came in short excited panting as I activated the weapon systems, I felt so deeply happy and harmonious. I turned on the external suit speakers and uttered the holy words “Heathens of base 55 Echo Delta, you are hereby being blessed with the Octagon order’s light.” as I slammed my fist into the wall, breaking it down.
The defensive turrets activated and started firing at me, I laughed with wild abandon as I ignored their low yield fire. There was no way they were going to interrupt this holy moment. I felt a bit sad for the operators who were trying to struggle against the light. Why were they fighting against the divinity? I was going to save all of them after all.
With a few more hits, the gate crumbled as I stepped inside, now feeling the Lord’s power radiate through me in waves, oh the total rapture and exhilaration was embodying me. I smiled an angelic smile as I saw the paltry soldiers forming into squads around me. I reached out my hand and my mounted armaments fired, turning a good chunk of them to my left into bloodied mist. I nodded with satisfaction, yes, a most holy bloodied mist it was.
I stood there for a moment watching the carnage, feeling the message reverberating through me.
“CAN YOU FEEL THE RAPTURE?!” I screamed through the speakers as I moved inside, their screams were my confirmation that I was doing the right thing. I sighed happily as I turned yet another five of them into bloodied meat chunks, my heavy armaments of holy penetration firing with the beautiful golden light.
Another soldier in a smaller suit tried to rush towards me as I grabbed it by the chest, my hands crumpling the metal underneath my fingers, digging into the innards of cheap metal as it was just made out of clay. I laughed as I lifted him up and at a the same time, my angelic wings extended from my back, bathing the area around me in a holy golden light.
I threw him into the wall, exposing yet more of the base as I stepped forward and my instruments of high caliber radiance turned the rest of the heathens into nothing more than flesh and blood scattered around the area. When all was quiet, I knelt down and touched my bloodied suit’s hand to the outside of my cockpit and uttered the holy prayer.
“May the Supreme octagonal Lord have mercy upon your souls, illuminating them with His light.” I prayed, tears starting to form in my eyes as I’d never been happier than this before. I was so enraptured by the totality of the moment that it took me a while to get out the rest of the words. “As it was ordained in the beginning of time, the Lord’s light will reach you all. It will cleanse your souls and burn away the darkness and transform you into the holy beings that will serve Him forever in the perfect paradise. Glory to the Lord.”
I got back up seeing yet more telemetry data on my HUD, indicating that there were more people inside. It was most likely a trap, but at this point, I was absolutely certain that I was the instrument of salvation for them. I tore open the doors and entered the structure proper, heavy gunfire greeted me as the turret’s slugs slammed into my suit’s force field.
“WHY DO YOU ALL RESIST THE RAPTURE?” I yelled as I kept laughing uncontrollably between firing bursts of heavier yield to simply melt the turrets into piles of blessed slag that glowed with an orange light. I stopped for a moment to ponder the piles of slag running down off them and thought to myself that I’d never really considered just how cheerful the color orange really was.
I giggled as I resumed firing until there were no more turrets left and oddly enough, no more soldiers either. My soul soared as I tore open the last door, reaching the back compartment of the base. Beneath my suit on the floor, huddled together were 42 people that were all looking really haggard, dirty and most of all scared. I would often see this as I liberated bases and garrisons. They always had that same look in their faces, that fear of the light. These poor wretched people didn’t deserve being like this. No, remaining like this.
I raised my guns and smiled “Let the light bless you” as I started firing with my guns blazing a holy wave of destruction from left to right. I saw people’s heads explode into mists of blood, chunks and viscera, some of it got onto my cockpit, almost like a blessing in itself. I kept firing as they tried to run, but ultimately it was just bodies moving, being destroyed, turned into the constituent parts they once grew from. My holy eruptions reducing all the sin and corruption into beautiful red that coated everything inside the small space. One of the smaller ones tried to run between my legs and I caught her under my articulated foot and felt the claws dig through her torso as I twisted my leg, crushing her beneath me. Her screams turned into gurgles as her eyes lost focus of the world.
I smiled and lowered my gun and turned the rest of her into a red smear. Then as the already amazing feeling of rapture soared through my soul, I felt myself enter the golden light and then I faded away inside of its perfection.
When I came to again, I was back on the ship and the blessed technicians were helping me out of my suit. I wanted to hug and kiss them all, we’d done it, we’d liberated yet another encampment of the darkened ones. When I was free of the suit, I hugged the closest tech and kissed his hands, they all reached out to me, smiling happily as I touched all their hands, feeling the oneness of being the chosen ones. In the back I saw the CO approaching with a wide grin on his face, as he got up to us, he stood for a moment and then applauded us all as we all basked in the happiness. He then motioned to me and the others moved away in awe. This was it, this was going to be the mission report.
“You took out 142 heathens in total, most of them were soldiers, but a lot of civilians as well, including both women and children in the ages between 4-10. You certainly did the Lord’s work here soldier. You will be commended for this later as it is noted into your record along with your new rank of Radiant Paladin.” he said, smiling radiantly as he hung the golden octagonal symbol of my new station around my neck.
“No survivors?” I whispered, smiling.
“No survivors, they were all perfectly judged.” he replied with a satisfied nod.
It was all too beautiful, I sank to my knees and cried, it truly had turned out to be the best of days in the end.
Praise be to the light.