In The Bleak Blackness...

It was dark and hot in the troop carrier, but the marine didn't mind. It didn't bother him being shoved in the carrier shoulder to shoulder next to his fellow marines—he knew he was fortunate to have been important enough to be stationed in the structured section of the transport. Others were not, and he could hear them banging around as their carrier brought them ever closer to battle. These were the moments he felt most alive, right before battle. It's what he knew he was built for—every piece of him, specifically put together to be the most effective killing machine he could possibly be, to serve the glory of his creator, to mete out His justice against His foes.

 

Something troubled this marine, though—while he was prepared to lay his life on the line in any way that he might serve his Creator, he couldn't help but wonder if his actions and those of his brothers actually made any significant impact in this great war they were fighting. It seemed to him that in war, when a battle was won or lost, there might be some indication as to the condition of the war—if they were winning on a grand scale, or losing. But here, there were only battles. So many battles, and for what? To capture a few valuable points? He wasn't even sure what made these places they captured valuable—to him, they seemed to be mere randomly chosen spots on the battlefield. But though he had questions, it was not his job to ask them. It was his job to pull a trigger and make sure whatever was on the other side of his gun wasn't there when his finger left the trigger. He sighed, put on his helmet, and prepared for deployment as the troop carrier came to an abrupt stop.

 

The top hatch on the carrier opened, and his fellow marines started piling out, a handful or so at a time, some on their own. Hero and nameless soldier alike flashed by him, all people he had served with in untold numbers of battles against robots, demons, aliens, and other unsavory types his Creator deemed unworthy to live. They made their way into familiar formations: small squads of heavy weapons, large groups of men armed to the teeth, groups of tanks rolling by, and for some inexplicable reason, a few men on armored motorcycles, like something out of a 1980's action movie. He could feel the pre-battle jitters coming, but suppressed them. He was certain that no matter what he saw this day, he would face it with the same grim determination he always did—or at least, that's what he thought until the enemy started to appear. The ground began to open up into great ugly fissures which spewed what seemed to be molten organic matter which cooled into hideous scabs upon the earth. This was nowhere near as disgusting or terrifying as what was to come.

 

The marine and his brothers readied their guns and prepared for the enemy to issue forth from the bowels of the planet—they had seen these types of phenomena before. Imagine their surprise, then, when instead of hideous slavering alien mouths, mounted upon glistening bodies with an inordinate number of legs and claws, they saw strange, pastel colored horse-like creatures climbing out and smiling at each other and giggling in such a way that made “saccharine” seem bitter. The marine was confused, and a quick look around confirmed his brothers had as little of an idea of what was happening as he did.

 

This hesitation would cost them their lives.

 

The strange horse-creatures ceased giggling and began uttering horrible ululating screams as they descended upon the marines. Only too late, the marine realized that this must have been some trick—that the aliens must have come up with some disguise, but before he could contact the troop carrier, he was trampled and eaten by one of the abominations.

 

High above the battlefield, two teenage boys and one young girl loomed, taking in the carnage below them. “Hey man,” said one boy to the other, “you know, I was against you letting your sister proxy in her My Little Pony figurines for this fight, but I think it really adds something to the game.” The other boy laughed. “Ahh… I love the smell of friendship in the morning.”

 

On the battlefield, the marine and his brothers emptied magazine after magazine at these foul creatures, but nothing seemed to stop them. They cried out to their Creator, begging for mercy, pleading for release from this Hell, but the only thing that came to them was the giggling of a young girl as she moved her pony horde ever closer.

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