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Fly me to the Moon
I didn’t think I’d be this disgusted, being inside a “space whale”. The touch receptors on my exosuit gloves let me feel exactly what I’m touching; so far not a fan. Having to describe the texture of the floor would be between moist toilet, and lukewarm pasta sauce.

Master Chief Collins, can you read me?”

“Yeah, you’re still loud and clear.” Hearing a familiar voice is a good feeling when you’re alone and knee deep in some real alien shit, even if it’s Lopez’s. He was assigned my operator for this mission since the Nina is currently the closest vessel to Aqua Fount.

“Judging from the schematics given to us by Kgothma, the armory should be two klicks from your position.”

“Roger” I think back to him, the radio system in these suits interfaces with the mind directly. Every time Lopez speaks it feels like I have a sweaty Latino man tongue punching my brain. Can’t say I like it, but again, better than being alone. Actually, I guess I shouldn’t say I’m alone. Right now I’m hiding in someone’s backyard garden in a residential district of Aqua Fount. Using my binocular vision I can see a group of arorem and humans mingling across the street at some kind of party. Being seen would end extremely poorly, but I’m not worried about the citizens here. The worst they would do is crowd around me asking what I’m wearing and why I’m ruining someone’s nicely tended garden. The problem is if my target finds out, he’ll flee and I have no chance of catching him on his home turf.

Four hours have passed and I’m still waiting for this party to disperse. Not an issue, I’ve waited for days in thick brush without an exosuit before. The cuts and bug bites left my stomach bright red and tender for weeks. Zooming back into the party I can see the arorem are all drinking some mysterious blue liquid, the humans on the other hand are just drinking a clear, gooey solution. The urge to hurl comes soaring up my throat and stops just before entering my mouth. I remembered that the water for the people of the Balesh is drained from gigantic cysts….and they were drinking it! I don’t think the Baleshi are inherently bad or creepy, but god damn between the flesh walls/floors and drinking cyst water, it was enough to make a man want to take a never ending shower. After successfully pushing down the itch to vomit, I resumed watching carefully.

Another four hours went by and finally the party ended. Doing a quick scan of the street and houses told me I was clear to finally make my move. I ran swiftly along the backside of the flesh covered houses making sure not to trip on any unidentifiable matter.

“Lopez, which house am I looking for? They all look the same over here.”

Lopez let out a light scoff before replying. “The left most building, five hundred meters to the east. I thought we already went over this, sir.”

How badly I wanted to throttle him, maybe if he was in my position he wouldn’t have such an attitude. He’ll never get the chance though since he chooses to act like a princess, pretty much making it so no one would ever endorse a promotion. After acknowledging I had received the information I returned to radio silence. The house in question was fast approaching and I had to make sure I was ready when I burst in. Truly all of these places looked the same, all pimple shaped. The blood vessels on the outside were clearly visible through a nearly transparent membrane, jiggling every so often. The structures would pulse one right after another, like a stadium of people doing the wave, but with meat sacks. By the time I was done thinking of different ways to describe these pustules, I was already at the designated location.

The door was left hanging wide open. I quickly jumped inside with gun drawn, expecting a greeting of some kind. Instead I was met with the lack of any lifeforms. I made my way quietly past huge wooden furniture that spotted the living room. Machento were truly terrifying creatures. Normally gentle natured, they were still mammoth and incredibly strong. Every hallway was a potential threat of being blindsided by an eight foot giant. These exosuits are incredibly strong, but I don’t know if it’s strong enough to protect from a four armed murdering machine. It was useless trying to use a bio scanner in a giant living organism, and x-ray doesn’t seem to work on the organs of the Balesh; I was blind. After searching for a little longer I found the staircase I was looking for.

The armory was a lot bigger than I thought. Wall to wall were explosives, guns, and all kinds of sharp objects. I was ready to call back to Lopez when a sudden force ripped my rifle from my hands and tossed me across the room. I managed to catch myself before being flung headfirst into a locker. Standing across from me was the Machento I was after. Tall, green, and ready for a fight.

Vasso Gra’al, your operation here is over.” I belted out, trying to sound defiant to mask my fear. I’ve never fought someone this large before.

“Did that whore Jejhan Kgothma send you? People say I’m the meddling one, but to go as far as contracting the UNSF for help, treasonous!” The circuits in my rifle sizzled and popped as Vasso crushed it between two of his hulking hands. I pulled out my knife and immediately entered a defensive stance. Vasso took out a glass vile and heavily snorted the content into his lungs.

“My mind is now as sharp as the sharpest blade. You may try and take me human, but I will destroy you.” What an odd way of speaking, he must be crazy to think he could outsmart a computer controlled exosuit. Tired of waiting for me to act, Vasso charged, knocking over row after row of weapon lockers in his wake. As I jumped out of the way one of his hands grabbed me by the ankle. He proceeded to swing me downwards like a sledge pounding in a stake. On the way down however, I managed to change the grip on my knife and position the blade at the back of his neck. The force of pulling me down caused the blade to slip through the back of his neck and clear out the front, half decapitating him. That didn’t stop me from hitting the floor. A loud crack echoed the room as my body smashed against the floor. The suit managed to absorb most of the force, but I could tell my back was broken. The near headless body of Vasso crumpling next to me.

I laid on the floor in muffled screams as pain overtook me, the damage to the suit put the pain suppression system offline. I must have spent an hour regaining my composure. I thought for a while on how I was going to destroy this room and escape. In my lucid state I managed to come up with one of the stupidest ideas yet. I turned on my tracking beacon and grabbed one of the explosives littered about.

“Master Chief, what are you thinking? They might find your location with that beacon on!” Lopez yelled directly into my mind.

“Hope you find me first, then” I replied as I launched the grenade at the far wall. The explosion ripped the surface wide open, exposing the vacuum of space. Like a slide at a water park, I slid along the ground before being launched into the dark, the contents of the room following close behind. As the distance between me and Aqua Fount became greater, I had only one thought. “You better not sit on your ass for this one, Lopez.”