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28 September 2012 @ 05:33 am
FIC: Shock and Awe  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: Shock and Awe
Part: 1/1
Rating: PG
Configuration: /
Warnings: furry aliens
Word Count: 3.200 / 3.200
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Characters: Alexej, Eion
Summary: In the summer of 5043, when the Felid Confederation of Tribes was under attack, the Phoenix Empire came to their aid, dropping young imperial marine Captain Alexej Sirenkov right in the middle of things...
Feedback: Yes, please!



---
June 5043, somewhere en route to the Swansgard system


“Listen up, showgirls!” Alexej yelled right after he had squeezed himself and his bulky armor into the small drop shuttle where his platoon was waiting. “This is not a drill!”

Instantly, all eyes were on him.

“I repeat, this is not a drill! In less than 20, we’re going to see some serious action, so listen!”

Alexej could literally see his words sink in. For the first time since the end of SWII, their unit of Imperial Marines would be deployed in anything but peacekeeping missions. For most of the thirty men and women under his command, this would be the first real fight in their whole career. And all this less than a week after he had been promoted to captain. Damn, the tattoo on his left arm that the whole platoon had paid for was still smarting.

“Alright.” Taking a deep breath, Alexej tried his best to sound as if he had grasped any of what he would be telling them now. “As far as I know, we’re on our way to rendezvous with the Excalibur, and -”

A wave of disbelieving shouts stopped him in mid-sentence, laughter, excitement and insults in equal measure.

“You heard right, we’re joining the brand-new flagship of the fleet on her first combat mission.” he continued once the noise had calmed down enough. Though he didn’t feel as excited by the fact as his crew did, for a very good reason. “The Empress is aboard the flagship, and in command of this operation.”

All laughter in the shuttle died in a single heartbeat. If the Empress was involved, this was not a humanitarian mission. This was about killing people.

Suddenly, everyone was mercilessly aware that some of them wouldn’t be returning.

“We’re piggy-backing a jump to god-knows-where, together with the better part of the Imperial Fleet. Apparently, there’s some alien Confederation we’ve never heard of, but we’re big-time friends with. And one of their colonies is under attack by yet another bunch of aliens we’ve never heard of, either. So far, so simple.”

Handing out a bunch of brassards showing a five-clawed star on green, he gestured his soldiers to take one each.

“Our new alien friends will be just as surprised about us showing up as we are. So we’re gonna wear their crest, and make sure it’s visible at all times.”

Unrolling the two print-outs he had been given in his earlier meeting, he held up the first one for all to see.

“Now for the difficult parts. See this alien with the fur, the teeth, the claws and the tail? The one that looks like a mix between an angry tiger, your mom-in-law and the marine next to you? Yeah? Those are our friends.”

Alexej slapped the image to the bulkhead in front of everyone and waited until the buzz had subsided. Their new friends sure didn’t look too friendly, but then again, it was probably going to be a mutual feeling.

Next, he held up the second print. It showed a surprisingly human figure, wearing sleek blue army fatigues sporting some kind of circular logo.

“These are the enemy.” Alexej waited a moment for the disapproving chatter to die down before he continued. “We don’t have much intel, but apparently they’re technologically more advanced than we are.”

Once again, he was met with disbelieving stares all around.

“You heard that right, they’ve got more and better tech than us.” Grinning, he added: “But they haven’t got our numbers, nor our training. The only action they have seen was when they massacred our furry friends who have barely developed interstellar travel. They are bullies, not soldiers.” With a certain fatherly pride, Alexej noted how most of his men suddenly sported a grim set to their jaw. Going against an advanced enemy wasn’t too popular, but only until you realized you were going in to protect the underdog. Especially if it was the cool-looking, honorable underdog, of all things. “So yes, it is gonna be a hard and nasty fight, but we should be able to take home a smashing victory.”

“We’re going to kick in some heads!” someone yelled from the back of the shuttle, earning a round of cheers.

“We’re going to do much more. We are going to annihilate them.” Alexej added firmly. “The Empress wants this to be a shock-and-awe operation. We’re going in with everything we have, and we’re going to rout them out before they even have time to call home. Is that understood?!”

“Sir, yes, Sir!” the whole shuttle yelled in response.

“Good.” With a feral grin, Alexej took his helmet out of its nook where he had put it before leaving for the briefing. “Our orders are simple. Go in, assist the local forces, kill the intruders. No strategy, no holds barred.”

This time, his orders were met with loud hoots and cheers, much as he had expected.

“This is -”

“Everybody, this is the Excalibur, Megara speaking.” A smokey woman’s voice interrupted Alexej’s little speech, apparently directly coming from the flagship through the internal speakers of their shuttle. “Prepare for jump into combat zone and immediate dispatch of all subordinate units in five. Megara out.”

“Well, you heard the lady!” Alexej shouted. “Get ready!”

With efficient, well-trained moves, his platoon worked through their gear one last time, fastening their safety-harnesses, securing their helmets. It would be an honor to lead these men into battle, Alexej realized. And there was nothing he’d rather do.

“Alright, showgirls, just remember what the Empress said! If it looks like a monster, it’s a friend. If it looks like us, it’s the enemy!” he called out before sitting down himself, locking his helmet onto his armor. “This is a time to kick ass and make new friends. Time to be heroes.”

“HOOAH!”

---
June 5043, a remote colony of the Felid Confederation

“Strike!” Falling back behind the rocks that gave them a modicum of cover, the soldier shouldered his gun and gave Alexej a wide grin. “I think I got that bastard for good, captain.”

Alexej gave him a short nod and dared another look over towards where they had cornered their enemy. And apparently, the soldier had been right. About sixty feet away, half-hidden between two low-roofed white houses, he could see the alien warrior crouching on the ground. His formerly impenetrable energy shield was gone, only occasionally sparking small hexagonal shards, floating through the air like crystalline blue leaves blowing on the wind. His fatigues were smoking, and he definitely didn’t look like he was in fighting condition any longer.

“Good shot,” Alexej commented. “Let advance and see -”

But then, the figure on the ground moved again. Apparently with the last bit of strength, the alien pulled some smooth, rectangular device out of a pocket, setting some controls.

Immediately, Alexej had his blaster ready, but his sidearm was only moderately useful at the distance. It took him three precious shots to put down the alien for good, giving his enemy the chance the hurl the device towards the entrance of the complex he had been attacking.

“Fuck!” Alexej snarled as he realized that he had only one option left.

The complex of houses was apparently used as shelter by several of their new-found furry friends, who had been barely holding out when Alexej and his troops arrived. If that device was really a grenade, and judging by the surprising firepower that one single alien had packed in his tiny, sleek blaster, the explosion would flatten most of the building.

Alexej didn’t even waste a word, instead started to run as fast as his powered ceram-steel armor would allow him to. Not even thinking, he covered the distance in a mad dash and jumped at the grenade with a low roll. Grabbing the grenade while rolling past it, he used his momentum to get back onto his feet and hurl it away, down along the street with as much force as he and his armor could come up with.

And not a second too early. The grenade was still trundling through the air when it exploded in a ball of white-hot fire, the force of the blast knocking Alexej off his feet and forcing his shield into an angry, broad-impact flare.

Picking himself up from the ground as fast as he could, Alexej looked around. Apparently, the houses were much sturdier than their looks would have made him believe. A few windows had been blown out and some roofing had been torn off, but nothing more than that.

Alexej was just about to take a deep breath and turn back to his comrades as a tell-tale click to his right instantly caught his attention.

Dropping down onto one knee, he spun down, his handgun ready, looking right into the muzzle of an archaic but effective looking gun in the dark doorway he had just been protecting.

“Is it dead?” a deep, rumbling voice asked from the shadows, quite obviously referring to the alien on the other side of the street.

Alexej gave the body on the ground a look and a thought. With a shrug, he shot once more at the alien on the ground. It didn’t even twitch. “Now it is for sure.”

The rumbling sound from the doorway might have been laughter, but Alexej wasn’t too sure. Slowly, a hunched figure emerged, much broader than a human but not really taller, with white-striped fur and dark leather armor that looked rather official.

“Put your weapon down.” the alien ordered, and Alexej didn’t see any reason not to follow suit. After all, they were here to make friends.

He only hoped the rest of his men would come to the same conclusion.

Calmly, he put down his blaster and raised his hands.

“Can I take off my helmet?”

“What for?”

“So we can talk face to face.”

The alien only shrugged in a surprisingly human gesture. So Alexej unlocked his heavy helmet and clipped it to the waist of his armor.

“You look like one of them,” the alien said with a one-sided and obviously disgusted snarl that looked rather impressive considering his fangs. “Why’d you fight him?”

“I am not one of them. Maybe we come from a similar race, but we’re on your side, believe me..”

Looking back and forth between the dead alien on the ground and Alexej, the furry alien thought about it for a moment. “You definitely didn’t fight like one of them.”

“Definitely not.” Alexej replied with a broad grin. “And it seems you could use a few more experienced fighters on your side, don’t you?”

“Indeed.”

Before the alien could say anything else, Alexej put his fingers to his mouth and gave an ear-splitting whistle that made the furry alien flinch.

“Come out, showgirls!” he yelled loud enough for all his team to hear. “Regroup!”

Within moments, his men emerged from between the buildings and where ever they had taken cover, gathering behind him in formation as neatly as that was possible in the small square.
Straightening, Alexej slammed his heels together and gave the crispest salute he could come up with. “This is Captain Alexej Sirenkov of the Imperial Marines and his platoon reporting for duty, Sir!”

Just a second later, the rest of his platoon saluted with equal precision, the sound of more than two dozen ceram-steel boots echoing down the road like a gunshot.

As the furry alien just stared at them blankly, Alexej offered: “I think we are the reinforcements you ordered.”

“I didn’t order any reinforcements. I’m just a police officer.”

“Well, someone did. And now that we’re here...”

Taking a deep breath, the alien finally let his gun sink down. “We do need help. And right now, I even take some furless, tailless, butt-ugly strangers like you.” Hesitating for a moment, he added: “I am Eion, Warden of this town.”

“Alexej. Pleased to meet you.”

Now frowning, Eion asked: “How come you speak our language so well?”

“Actually, we don’t.” Giving his new friend a lopsided grin, Alexej tried to remember what his officers had said during the briefing about a Prime aboard the Excalibur who’d facilitate some sort of low-level telepathic translation, but the more he thought about it, the less he felt able to explain. “We brought some kind of magic, even I don’t really understand how that works. We just understand what we say, even if we speak different languages.”

“Magic, huh?” Eion seemed unenthusiastic, but apparently didn’t doubt Alexej’s explanation. “What is this world coming to? First aliens, now magic...”

“Eion?” A high voice suddenly interrupted their conversation. Looking down, both Alexej and Eion were looking at a knee-high version of the local aliens tugging at the hem of Eion’s knee-long trousers. “Eion, can I go look at the dead alien?”

“What? No! Get back inside!” Apparently, Eion was just as surprised at the interruption as everybody else.

“Please?”

“I said no! Go back inside to the others.”

“No.” the kid replied with a mewling sound that apparently meant that it was not willing to discuss this point.
Defeated, Eion just rolled his eyes and tugged the kid closer to his leg where it wrapped his arms around like it was the most natural place in the world.

“Excuse the small ones.” Eion said with what looked like an apologetic smile. “Where were we?”

“Reinforcements.” Alexej prompted, but his eyes were still on the young alien clinging to Eion’s leg. “Is it one of yours?”

“What? No, ancestors forbid!” Laughing, Eion shook his head, affectionately tousling the youngster. “No, he’s just one of a whole gaggle of them back in there. For whatever reason, me and a few others ended up defending the pre-school.” Giving a deep sigh and a wry smile, he added: “What a blessing we decided to fight.”

Out of the blue, the huge alien took a step forward and hugged Alexej, a gesture that was at once universal and and yet so very human.

“You guys came just in time, you know that?” Eion said, giving Alexej the distinct feeling that the alien was a little embarrassed to be this emotional. Sobering up quickly, he let go of him again, saying: “We shouldn’t be standing around here. Others will be needing help as well.”

“Absolutely. Where do we go?”

“Of those villagers who didn’t come here when the attack began, most have fled into the forest, I think. Better chances. There were five invaders, as far as we could see, and four of them followed our people into the forest, one stayed here to sweep out the village.”

“Then I’ll leave a few people here to protect the school, and take the rest to see what we can do for the rest of your folks. You coming with us?”

“You bet.” Looking down, Eion added: “As soon as I get this little burdock out of my fur.”

Laughing, Alexej nodded and turned around.

“Alright, showgirls, listen up! Flores, you and your squad stay here and make sure everything stays calm. The rest, switch to melee equipment and get ready to march out.”

“HOOAH!”

Visibly encouraged by their little victory, Alexej’s men didn’t waste any time. Guns of all types and calibers were stored away,secured to compartments of their heavy armor. In their place, a veritable forest of melee weapons appeared - mostly lightweight monoblades and collapsible tangforce contraptions. But there was also a respectable number of full steel swords and hybrids; one woman even brandished a heavy, double-bladed double-handed axe.

When Eion returned from inside the building only a few moments later, he stopped dead in his tracks. Slack-jawed, he surveyed the ferocious display for a moment, then broke into infectious laughter. Herding his comrades out and towards the humans, he needed a few moments to calm down.

“Holy Daolaa, I like your style.” he finally said, pointing out some of the weapons to his friends. “You Imperials may have been born with no fur and no claws, but you sure don’t let that stop you from anything.” Eyeing Alexej’s ceramsteel sword and tangforce buckler, he shook his head in unabashed wonder. “Damn right, you fight nothing like them. Come on, friend, we’ve got a planet to rescue.”

Grinning widely, Alexej only nodded. So far, all mission objectives accomplished.

---
August 5049, Malicorn

“Uncle Alex?” Stretching herself to put the framed paper photograph back onto the board above the fireplace, Shalice cocked her head, her tiny nose crinkled with curiosity. “Did the cats really build you a statue?”

“What? No!” Startled, Alexej looked up from floor next to the couch where he had been searching for the last missing coasters, quite taken aback by his girlfriend’s six-year old daughter. Shalice was a bright girl, but usually rather quiet around him. Their relationship had made great progress this morning, though. Their pillow-fight a few moments ago had only lasted seconds, but had managed to lay waste to most of Alexej’s living room. They really should have cleaned up the worst mess before her mother returned, or they would never hear the end of it. “Who told you that?”

“Mom. She said the cats built you a huuuge statue ‘cause they were so grateful. And now, whenever one of them is afraid, they pray to you for courage.”

“No, honey, no.” Smiling, he stood up and walked over to his little darling. Taking her up into one arm, he picked up the photo again. It showed Alexej and Eion and some other marines, dirty and smiling and with felid kittens clinging to them like barnacles. “They’re not cats, they’re Felids. It’s their race, like we are humans.”

Shalice just gave him her ‘boring’ look, but seemed to be curious enough for a change to wait for him to finish his story.

“And Eion and his people were very grateful, but not only to me, but to all of the Imperials for rescuing them.”

“And that’s why they built you a statue!”

“The have built a statue of an imperial marine, yes. But not of me, and it’s nothing special.” Setting down the photo again, he took Shalice onto his other arm. “The Felids have a place in each town where they set up statues of people the feel grateful to, like their friends and family, their chieftains and their teachers. There’s really a lot of statues, and they go there to pray like we go to church.”

Still wrinkling her nose, Shalice craned her neck to gain another look at the photograph.

“Do you think we can go there one day and have a look at your statue?”

“Sure, I think. Why not?”

“That’d be nice.”

Apparently, Shalice now considered the conversation over and slipped out of his arm. Calmly, she picked up one of the pillows that was still lying in a corner of the room and continued cleaning up the mess the two of them had made earlier.

Casting a last glance at the old photo, Alexej gave a sigh. He’d really like to go back one day and see how things had turned out there, to see how the kittens were doing now as grown-ups. But a part of himself dreaded the moment nonetheless.

What if that statue really did look like him?

 
 
 
debbiemethosdeb on September 29th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
loved it ,I am looking forward to the cat people(I'm a cat person).can't wait to see where this is going to lead.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 30th, 2012 12:28 pm (UTC)
Think of this snippet as a teaser trailer for the upcoming, yet unnamed storyarc of the Malicorn Cops. :D

Pretty much looking forward to them myself. Thanks for commenting!
idolme922idolme922 on September 29th, 2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... a very interesting peek into another time in their lives. As usual, impecably written, interesting and fun!

Thanks for this! Alana
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 30th, 2012 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, dear. This was just a little snippet that just HAD to be written, and it was nice to get back into this universe after RL and GW2 kind of cut my writing time very short. But now that the evenings are getting longer and the garden doesn't demand so much of my attention, there'll be more to read soon.

HUGS!
hab318princesshab318princess on October 27th, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
lovely glimpse into Alexei's early adventures
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 28th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you, dear! Beryll is currently writing the story this is the teaser trailer for, and we're already having a whale of a time with it. Coming soon!
BerthaBlueberthablue on November 19th, 2012 10:43 am (UTC)
Mmm, the delciousness of missed fic being found in my bookmarks :D

I love seeing Alexej in action! Giggled at the cat people - I'm pretty sure I would have reacted exactly the same way as Shalice did :D
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on November 19th, 2012 10:45 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it!

You'll also get to see how Mauve reacts to them - the fic Beryll is currently writing features the return of Eion, though that pales in comparison to the image of a chained and growling Alexej... :D
BerthaBlueberthablue on November 19th, 2012 10:53 am (UTC)
In my head, filtered in terms of general excitement, your response looked like this:

commenty words commenty words Mauve commenty words commenty words return of Eion commenty words commenty words CHAINED AND GROWLING ALEXEJ

My filter is very excited about this prospect :D
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on November 19th, 2012 11:25 am (UTC)
Yeah, mine actually too. :D

I know it's unfair that I get to read the chapters before you do, but I can tell you it's hilarious. Mauve in full super-slut mode, Alexej in more chains than clothes (though he's only wearing a collar) and Andrea in black leathers....

Me happy.
Beryllrynthjan on November 19th, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
ACTUALLY he does not wear any chains. Just a very functioning shock collar which gets used here and there... Just so you don't cry false advertising later on. He does growl a lot though... *pokes growling Alexej with a stick* Come on, growl for Bertha!