Previous: Chapter 4
Contains vulgar language. Proceed at own discretion. You have been warned.
Blackout: the only thing known about the status of the soldiers is told by the sounds of all-terrain vehicle engines operating. But everything sounded muffled and with a delay. Neil opened his eyes for just a second and saw very blurry figures wearing the armor of his squad. Blackness took over again.
A metal platter dropped on the dirt floor, with the sound awakening Neil, who was now only in casual clothing. He found himself chained to a stilt in a military tent. But the chain did not draw his attention for long, as he saw the metal platter was holding a meal. The body cuffs only allowed his hands to reach just far enough to grab the platter. There were no utensils, but he did not care. He buried his face in the meal, eating it very fast. He whimpered over the delight of having food, after such an extended period of time in the barren desert.
Once he was finished, he took note of the three silhouettes standing outside of his prison tent. They seemed to be armed and were chattering in a foreign language. He then changed his attention to the advanced restraint system around his body. He tested its capabilities, but proved it was too strong for him to break free from. That's when a fourth silhouette appeared, getting closer to the tent, with the footsteps growing louder.
The tent's flaps were pulled apart and a man had entered. He spoke English, but with a very heavy African-like accent. "Welcome."
Though Neil had eaten, the food needed to be digested. As a result, his demeanor was still very weak and trembling. "You guys are poachers, a-a-aren't you?"
"Oh, the guessing game? Well, you're kind of correct. Now it's my turn. You four are military, a-a-aren't you?" He said in a mocking manner. "We don't just illegally hunt animals, we do it for survival."
"Look, I can understand that desire."
"You understand nothing! We care about one another, so we stick together to raise resources in a developing continent, whether it's siding with the law or not! You're a military man. You just seek self-glory."
"You better save your sappy stories for someone who actually gives a shit. I don't care if your militia is good or bad. I just want to get the Hell out of here."
He man snarled. "Oh, would you prefer that we toss you and your friends back into the desert?"
"Now you listen to me." The man lowered closer. "I only care about those who are with me. The only reason we picked you up was because some of my men were compassionate enough to let you four live. If you ask me, I am only interested in your weapons. They will make a fine addition to our collection. And you know what else? I'm feeling a bit compassionate myself at the moment, so I'll let you live. Maybe a bit more living time is just what you need to change your mind and join our cause. But until then, how do they say it in your country? Oh yeah! 'You're my bitch!'" He left the tent and spoke to the guards in their language.
No one else had entered the tent since then. After 30 minutes, people were heard rushing onto their vehicles, weapons ready. It wasn't seen, but based on the sounds, it can be concluded that a squad had left on a supply run. It got fairly quiet once they left. Neil then heard a familiar breathing pattern.
"Neil!? Is that you?"
"Yes, it's me."
"Are you chained up too?"
"What do you think?"
"I don't know, I thought the leader guy would give you a grand tour or some cliché shit like that. Since you're our leader and all."
"This isn't a T.V. show, Ali. Anyway, where are the others?"
"They're not in my tent. I think they kept us all separate. What are we going to do?"
"I don't know." One of the guards got antsy and yelled at them. "I don't think we should talk anymore."
The days went by and the man hadn't visited the tent again. Only a guard would enter the tent to bring food and to reinforce the body cuffs. One day, a man outside shouted a word: "Creedlings!" After that word was heard, the sounds of gunfire filled the outside. Neil grit his teeth as he sat there helpless, only to listen to the sounds of battle. After about 3 minutes, other sounds were heard. *CRACKLECRACKLECRACKLE* It was now apparent that aliens had joined the fray. Not even a minute in, and a spider-like silhouette approached the tent. The flaps were torn off and a Speedling stared at Neil.
"NO!! NO! NO! NO! NO!!! NOOO!!! GET THE FUCK AWAY!" Before the Speedling could charge, it was tackled by a Creedling. Neil sighed in relief, only for an Energy Fly to enter the tattered tent. *KRRIIIIKRIIII* It pointed its tail and fired a heated energy ball. Neil quickly ducked and the energy ball broke his body cuffs into pieces. Neil was on the ground and looked up as the Energy Fly was shot down. Neil attempted to release the broken cuffs from his hands and feet, but was intervened by a Plasma Slug. *REEEEEUUUUUUUUR* It lifted its face and fired a plasma sphere. Neil quickly rolled out of the way as the silt he was once chained to collapsed. The tent then fell onto the Plasma Slug, blinding it. Neil got onto his feet and made an escape before the Plasma Slug could remove the fallen tent from its face.
Now he was faced with the battle. What a sight it was! A three-way battle between militia, aliens, and hostile animals native to the planet. He witnessed a man killed by an Energy Fly. The fly flew away and Neil rushed to retrieve the corpse's weapon: a primitive submachine gun. As he studied it, a Manowar had floated towards him. As it prepared to attack, Neil quickly discharged the weapon, ending its life. He ran past cover, shooting individuals from all three parties as he reached the other prison tents. He entered the one containing Ali.
"Neil! Get me out of this thing!"
"Hang on!" He stepped outside and drew the attention of an Energy Fly. He hurried back in as the Energy Fly followed. "Now when I say 'duck', you duck!"
"What are you talking about!?" The Energy Fly flew into the tent. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?"
Ali ducked and the Energy Fly's attack destroyed his body cuffs. Neil proceeded to shoot the alien dead once its service was completed. "You're insane. You know that?"
"Come on!" Neil ran out and Ali followed.
Ali grabbed a shotgun from another corpse. "They sure do have vintage weapons."
"Where is William!?"
"I think... I think in that tent over there!" He pointed. They hurried and found that Ali's guess was correct.
"Holy shit, guys!" Said William in excitement. "Help me out of this thing!"
"Ali, help me pull this thing!" They both pulled the cuffs away, releasing a lock and allowing William to escape. "Now let's get Christian!"
"What about a weapon?" Will asked.
"Here!" Neil tossed him a pistol. "NOW MOVE!" They ran, but stopped abruptly as a large spider walked across the battlefield.
"Oh man, I REALLY hate Crifaa!"
They arrived in a fourth tent. Christian was also chained up. "H-H-HEY! HELP!"
Neil and Ali tried to pull the cuffs apart, but something was wrong with this one. Their attempt had failed. "Crap! I don't have a key!" Neil said.
"I got your key." Said William before he shot the lock off, freeing Christian.
"GOD DAMN IT, WILLIAM! YOU COULD HAVE SHOT ME!"
"But I didn't." He winked.
"Go to Hell!"
"What now?" Ali asked.
"We're getting the Hell out of here!"
"But our equipment!"
"We'll come back for it! JUST RUN!"
They hurried out of the militia camp. Normally fighting these kinds of creatures was their job, but they had their own lives to save first. They ran, leaving the camp to fall to pieces.