Review - The Annotated AvP: The Story, part 5

Hoping for some quality writing this week? Well, you’re shit out of luck. It’s the last Monday of the month, which means it’s time to critique yet another chapter of the Aliens versus Predator fan fiction novel I wrote in grades 7 and 8. This week we’ll continue to follow Corporal Andrew Harrison and his USCM comrades as they venture through Alien-occupied territory toward safe haven. Prepare yourself for overly detailed descriptions of facility layouts.

Shugi drove the APC down the tunnel access route. The tunnels were used as safe transport between the POC and the Forward Observation Pods. Without a dropship, this was the only way to get to the Pods. Luckily, White Team would have their dropship ready once they got out of the tunnels.
“There’s something about these Aliens that wasn’t said in the briefing,” Harrison said to Duke and Shugi.
“Which is?” Duke asked.
“These ones are smarter,” Harrison explained.
“How is that? They’re animals,” objected Shugi.
“Do you notice when I turned on the security, the security didn’t activate?”
“Easy to explain. The system was completely fried,” said Duke.
“But how come when I hacked the Local Nexus, the Aliens started to come only then?” Harrison asked. Shugi and Duke went silent.
“These things wanted to make sure there were humans actually here, so they rigged a booby trap.”
I like the idea that these super-predatory extraterrestrials are so lazy they would make the effort of rigging an electronic tripwire rather than, you know, waiting in the shadows and keeping an eye out. Though Aliens don’t have eyes, so I suppose that might be rather difficult…

The APC went up to the minimum five metres in front of the first gate, which would open automatically. Instead, nothing happened. Shugi backed the vehicle up, and tried it again. Nothing. Frustrated, he jumped out of the APC and went up to the gate keypad, pressing the activating button rapidly. Still nothing. Now furious, Shugi started to vigorously kick the door.
In the APC, McCain looked out the front windshield. 
“What the Hell is going on,” he asked.
“This goddamn door won’t open!” Shugi yelled.
I actually find this sequence disproportionately hilarious for some reason. For an elite squadron of marines they lack anything resembling professionalism.

As he looked around the area, he noticed something was behind an outcrop of rock. He could see the tail fin of a dropship! “Over here!” he shouted, and the group ran over to it. It was White Team’s, and in perfect condition, too.
As the ramp came down, the muzzle of a pulse rifle was shoved in his face. It was Johnson. 
“We come in peace,” McCain said, trying to calm her.
“Sorry,” Johnson apologized. “I thought you were one of those damn lizards.”

Why was I so insistent on referring to these creatures as lizards? I was probably going through a phase where velociraptors were the coolest things ever (this was before I found out they had bright plumage) and since Aliens were basically space-velociraptors it made sense that these things would have scales. The follies of youth, and all that.

“We need to use the dropship to get to the Pods, fast,” Harrison said.
“Sorry, but one of those Aliens ruptured the fuel tank. It’s useless now.”
“Then what do we do?!” Duke angrily asked.
“Go through the tunnels. There’s a service shaft down those stairs behind the dropship,” Johnson explained, pointing at the now revealed staircase.
“The tunnels are sectioned into two parts: the airlocks and the garages. There are two airlocks per garage, on each end. Security stations in the garages can be used to open the airlocks. A single man should be able to pull it off.”
Make no mistake: I knew some of those levels like the back of my hand.

“I’ll go,” Harrison volunteered.
“You’ve got more balls than brains, son. Exactly what this assignment calls for,” McCain said. “Do it fast.”
“Yeah,” Duke started. “If you don’t come back, I’ll tell your parents that you died like a man.”
“Duke, you’re going with him,” McCain ordered.
“Dammit,” Duke groaned.
I kind of like to imagine that McCain is trying to get his least favourite men killed. And is drunk off his ass while doing so.

And imagine he sounds like Jim Lahey.

And now the fun part: the tedious process of opening and closing airlocks.

He and Harrison made for the stairs, and headed into the service shaft. After opening a door and climbing a ladder, the two were in a garage. As Johnson said, there was an airlock at each end.
“The first control station should be right around here,” Jones said over the radio. Harrison looked around, and saw a thin-hexagonal shaped hallway entering a control station. The two went into it and looked for the gate console.
“I wonder how these guys got ambushed,” Duke mused. As he walked toward the gate console, Duke tripped over something. He looked down and saw something: the dead body of Carter, a corporal in White Team.
“They got them while they were standing still,” Harrison trembled. He pulled the level on the first gate console. The main gate opened, letting the APC in, along with the airlock at the other end.
Suddenly, a wild hybrid appeared!

As the two started to walk out of the room, an Alien launched forward out of a ceiling shaft, nearly inner-jawing Harrison. It dropped to the floor and they got their first good look at it. Unlike the other Aliens they had previously seen, this Alien had reddish scales and a smooth head. It had no back spines, stood on all four legs, and panted like a dog. That’s when it hit Harrison. It was an Alien bred within a dog, better put, a Dog Alien.
It used “Well, duh.”

Duke pulled out his pistol and fired at it. A bullet went into its chest, killing the beast with minimum acid spray.
It wasn’t very effective.

The two took no chances this time, puling out their pulse rifles. Harrison could hear the Aliens somewhere down the corridors, but they stayed on track. 
Suddenly, a pair of Aliens (a Dog and a Warrior), jumped into a corridor that the Marines had just exited. Harrison whipped around and slammed the door keypad nearest to them, shutting the Aliens out. Outside the door, the Dog clawed hopelessly at the metal threshold. The Warrior, however, motioned the Dog to back up. The Warrior reared its head back and shot a glob of acid from its throat, which started to burn through the door.
In a few seconds, the door had finally dissolved. The two Aliens charged through the threshold, straight at Harrison. Duke gunned the Warrior down, and Harrison did the same with the Dog.
“Good shot, boys,” McCain said over the radio. “You’ve got two more control stations to go, then we have to travel down a cavern which will take us about, oh, an hour.”
“Thank the Lord we have the Reverend Jim Beam to keep us company, am I right?” the major added, the clinking of ice and whisper of pouring bourbon audible over the radio link.

"Sexy Aliens and their sexy acid blood."

As Harrison and Duke entered the new corridor, they stopped short. A huge shadow loomed over the corner. Something big was behind it.
It revealed itself. It was an Alien, ten feet tall, with a wide head. It was the biggest of the Alien minions: a Royal Guard.
“Holy!” Duke shouted. He emptied his shotgun into its chest, knocking it to the ground.
“It’s dead,” said Harrison. They stepped over its limp body and walked down the corridor. While they weren’t looking, the Guard got to its feet, almost snickering at how good his playing possum was. It roared behind their backs, and Duke and Harrison swerved around to see the Royal Guard back from the dead.
“What the Hell?!” Harrison exclaimed. Again, Duke fired shells into the beast. Finally, it slumped over, dead. “That was interesting,” Harrison joked. Duke just stared at the dead Alien, amazed.
Amazed, perhaps, at that tactic’s seeming utter lack of usefulness. Also, Duke’s “Holy!” isn’t his attempt at casting a Final Fantasy spell, but 12-year-old me’s means of circumventing actual swearing. I had no qualms about showing this hyper-violent saga to my teachers, but I squirmed at the thought of having them read anything with cursing in it. What might they tell my parents?

Before Harrison and Duke can be swarmed by even trickier Aliens, their fellow marines show up in the APC.

“Let’s go guys,” Shugi said. “We don’t have much left to drive in. As the two Marines walked past the vehicle, ten Aliens crawled out from a ceiling vent and jumped on top of the APC.
“Holy crap!” Shugi exclaimed. Inside, Jones grabbed the turret controls and started to fire the weapons. After three of them were killed, the Aliens really retaliated. One grabbed the turret and held it in one direction, making the weapons useless. The others started to claw at the vehicle roof, making dents. 
Decker shouted to Harrison and Duke, “Go! We’ll handle this!” Johnson opened the hatch and lay down on her back, pulse rifle in hand. One by one, she blew away each of the Aliens.
Only to be horribly mutilated by the acid blood that must have rained down on her, I’m certain.

Jumping over the smoking remains of the Royal Guards, the two Marines entered the last control station.
Inside, there was a Marine working on a panel. It was Bong, a White Team soldier.
Believe it or not, innocent lil’ ol’ me had no idea what ‘bong’ meant. I just thought it sounded funny.

“You’re still here?” Duke wondered aloud.
“Yeah, I’m the only one the things didn’t catch,” Bong explained.
“We’re going to activate the next gate, so get to the APC!” Harrison ordered.
“About this gate console, it - “ he was cut short as two hands burst out of the bottom of his computer, pulling the Marine under. Harrison and Duke were horrified as the sound of Bong being devoured echoed throughout the room. Harrison fired under the console, mixing acid with human blood.
Alas, poor Bong. We barely knew him at all. God only knows why, but I decided to give some random NPC who gets killed in the above manner some matter of characterization. To this day, I don’t know if ‘Bong’ was his given name or a well-earned nickname, but if it was the latter it’s just another strike against the USCM’s complete lack of discipline.

Quickly, Duke rushed over to the gate console and pulled the lever. This time, not only did the gate open, but also a message was played from the computer.
“Warning, FOP security systems failing. All protection offline.”
“What the Hell does that mean?” Harrison asked over the radio.
“That means,” McCain began, “that the Pods’ security systems have been shut down. And there are Aliens circling the place.”
“Let’s hope to God that those things don’t know it’s off,” Harrison said.
“Otherwise, they’re in some deep crap now.”
“Get to the APC!” Jones commanded, using the vehicle turret to kill some Aliens. Duke and Harrison ran to it, frustrated by what had just happened. They climbed into the APC, and drove out into the dark cavern to the Pods.
It would take them a whole hour to get through the gloomy cave to the Pods. In those 60 minutes, the Pods were sitting ducks, surrounded by bloodthirsty Aliens.
Wow, that is a terrible security system. I don’t think I even made that part up; it might have been straight from the game! Ah well. What have our marines’ actions inadvertently wrought? Join us next month as we learn about the collateral damage (a-ha!) and try to stomach the alien language I came up with.

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