The Fiction Issue #2

The Fiction Issue #2
Gears of War: Aspho Fields

Karen Traviss | 30 Sep 2008 12:12
The Fiction Issue #2 - RSS 2.0

     Boomers were so big and powerful that they could carry small artillery pieces. They were also as dumb as planks, nowhere near as smart as drones, so one way to beat their sheer power was to outthink them and get close in so they couldn't use their weapons.

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     As long as they don't rip your head off first, of course . . .
     Marcus shot up the stairs two at a time, running on some childhood map that was obviously still vivid in his memory.
     Dom had spent much of that childhood with him, but he'd never been here. Maybe it hadn't been a happy place for him.
     "Yeah, I thought that's what you meant," Dom said.
     "Close quarters."
     "He'll break our fall."
     Yes, Marcus meant jump, too.
     What the hell am I going to do if he gets killed?
     Losing the kids had been bad enough. But when Maria went missing, Marcus had somehow held Dom together, whether he realized it or not. The guy was his friend, and his last link to happier times. He wasn't replaceable; not in a ravaged world like this. The only upside was that everyone, absolutely everyone, had lost family and friends. You didn't grieve alone. You were understood.
     I'm not going to let him get himself killed.
     Marcus, oblivious to Dom's worries, kicked open a door at the top of the stairs. The two men stared into pitch blackness.
     "Lights," Marcus said, sounding as if he was talking to himself. He always did, from the moment Dom first met him. The corridor had no natural light. "Why can't they give us a damn flashlight? Okay, this passage runs past the management offices and opens onto the mezzanine by the elevator."
     "What if they changed the layout since you were last here?"
     "It's a protected historical building. They had to preserve the internal walls."
     It was the kind of obscure stuff Marcus was good at remembering, and it always came in handy. After fifty yards, feeling their way with their hands against the walls, they turned hard right. Dom could see a bright rectangle ahead. The corridor filled with the noise of an intense firefight.
     "Doors onto the mezzanine," Marcus said. It was just an empty gap now, without even the hinges left intact. "You okay?"
     "Fine."
     "You think I've got a death wish."
     "No." Well, maybe . . . sometimes. "Hey, we do this together, okay? We always have, always will." Dom held up his fist, fingers extended. "Okay . . . one, two . . . three."

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