Tag Archives: mighty samson

Samson : Note 1

I was born in a test tube. Can’t say I feel any particularly way about it, maybe some base distaste for being a crime against nature from the day I was slated to be conceived.  I have no brothers and especially no sisters, for I am a clone and the term brother couldn’t begin to describe what it feels like to be around one of me. Humans talk about love, love for family, love for strangers. But they don’t know respect, understanding, knowing someone not by word or action but by smell and thoughts unspoken. This “respect” is fostered in the litters in which we were born. 24 man-made souls, from 872 capital ships, raised over a period of 14 years, and taught all the basic essentials of life, mostly what we are, what we are meant to do, and the meaning behind doing so. The meaning is the most important, not because having a purpose in life is important, but because that’s what you’re suppose to understand to avoid being weaned from the litter. Out of 24, seven of us are bound to wash out and those bound to wash out rarely turn the age of 10.

“For we are the glory of mankind.

We fight in their footsteps and through the mouths of angels.

We bring the rains of hell upon the foul things that pollute the motherland with their very existence.

We make life short and bleak for those who fester under the sun and below rocks and even under the sea if there is yet more evils to be found there. ”

And so on and so forth until our lives are ground into dust by the reclaimer protocol that claims our corpses when the enemy has finally slain us. It is, as we like to say, a brutish existence not becoming a softer toned men. Softer tone being that of our human handlers, some too anxious to join the battlefield in glistening armor and flaming sword. We try to discourage the spirit the best we can in those that seem a bit too, “into it”, as the softy’s would say, so at least only those fully trained and ready in body and soul can stand in the darkness and freedom as we do, as we have been born for.

Some of our a soft tone handlers, most from divisions not considered to be part of Noah but part of a greater slice of the government with many branches that my kind are vaguely privy to, would often go through great pains to personally ask why us Samson’s, lauded for our great intelligence, seem content with our “grim fates.” Why we don’t rebel? Which even now, several years into this war, is a primary concern of those who distance themselves from the institution that is Noah.

I have answered this question a few times. Usually with a wizened laugh, stating their concerns are drowned under several facets and sufficiently buried underneath several layers of reasons and understanding. The soft tones have misconceptions about the nature of intelligence, inherently so being very much far removed from what is necessary for survival. For humanity intelligence is merely the sum of facts gathered purposely under a keen mind. In mans natural habitat, the universe simply yields results and the only wall to overcome is the ignorance of the unknown. But for the rest of us, archiving facts means little, and nothing “yields” unless savagely broken. To know, to study, and to ultimately overcome an intelligence keen enough to evade your pursuit, or better fight back, is the greatest show of mental prowess. So they (not all) inherently misunderstood what it means to have a firm head on ones shoulders, at least from our perspective.

Now you can blame our ‘nature’ on the weaning, or our indoctrination from a young age. Maybe its the genes, though no one can deny we were bred to be aggressive, if not eager to spill and cause mayhem. Each layer of reasoning has its toll, though I’ve never meet a Samson to complain about it. The assumptions that we’re either happy to be used or seething with bitterness, is a misconception. To rephrase, we are tools, that much is obvious, but we do not take orders for the love or hate of it. It’s not the adrenaline that rides our veins, or any particular high or thrill that ultimately allows us to swallow the heavy pill of our fates. As a Patriarch is a man, not of science, math, or reading, but of necessity, if not mere students of disciplines long forgotten to time and the Exodus, we Samson’s are students of war. And like any good student, it is not the pleasure, or the ease that drives us, but the necessity of the subject in question. Because someone must learn it, we are merely the volunteers.

Can anyone imagine? Full war-time production of Samson’s can reach, 20928 at any given time, with a six-month delay between batches for each ship can only contain at max 3 litters of potential troops. Not including the ones who are weaned, this method of thinking, some may call even twisted, is shared by each and every one of them. Through potentially 20928 life experiences, or 62784 souls at max capacity. This is why we are clones, not brothers. Clones can differ in behavior, temperament, thought process, and can even deal with variations in environment, but eventually…. you are what you are. And if the core is right, ultimately they’ll avoid getting weaned, and the soft tones will declare another victory for the glory of man.

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Chapter 5

“Primed and ready!”

The first bug dies in a burst of napalm.

“Not enough”

Is there hope? No room for gambling, since the odds are already less than zero. No, as long as I’m not downwind I can keep the odds at zero … of course I’m covered in swarmling blood, feces, and other material … so it probably makes no difference. But who cares.

So a bug approaches low from the corner of my eye. I lunge at him; first smashing it under the forward momentum of my goliath armor before rolling to my feet in an instant to burst down, one bug, three bugs, twelve bugs in time to turn around and roast two dozen more. Not enough; the explosions attract more bugs, the corpses attract more bugs, I attract more bugs. How long ‘til I’m swarmed?

Am I in hell? The demons don’t care. Brother, sister, living, dead? Eat, attack, lung, gorge, buffet their stomachs until their wings are forced to unfold. It makes no difference: one blind sides the other, and buries its face into the loser’s underbelly, chewing and ripping its way inside. The loser fights back, smashing his assailant’s head three times with its claw and cracking its armored back, but it makes no difference. Natural selection in full display and we evolved from this? The ones I cut with the sword become food to his brother; the ones I burn with the torch are feasted on by his sister. I’m chest high in death and goo, as the wanderers and the curious come at me by the hundreds and soon thousands.

No escape. I duck under the leap of a swarmling, cutting it in half as I twist away from his raining organs. I recognize one heart in the mix – funny what you notice in crisis situations – before I bash the nozzle of my II into the gaping mouth of a fast-approaching swarmling. My timing’s unreal! As it tugs at the metal, I shove the barrel deeper into its mouth and swing the creature into his brothers, who take no notice of him as he is quickly trampled under the weight of the armored sea. The swarmling I just cut in half gets beset on by his brothers as it struggles to regain some sort of balance. And the battle moves as I move, forward and away, but never far enough.

The fight goes until the ground is soppy with the lickerish they call blood. It sizzles and pops with each release of napalm. Swarmling blood at boiling point releases gasses that rapidly expand the swarmling’s body until the pressure becomes unbearable for the rigid insect body. This process is aided by the four hearts that pump blood into the swarmling’s seven foot body at extraordinary speeds, a necessity to keep all of the organs and extra organs filled with nutrients and the keep the muscles oxygenated.

One bug rears up on four legs, allowing his other four to act as claws capable of punching dents into the pride and joy of human war engineering. I could already see the complaint form I would file as I dodge the first swing with a step back, twist around to let the swarmling behind me lunge at my attacker, and then watch them tackle and fight each other as they suddenly found better things to eat. I lit the dueling pair on fire as one finally got the advantage over the other after a 0.512 second life-and-death duel that saw the loss of 3 limbs, the snapping of one mandible, and multiple puncture wounds that must have caused the failure of four to five important organs.

“Endless.” I cut down three swarmlings in a frenzy of haphazard swordsmanship.

“Axe-Hand,” the name of a Samson I’ve gotten to know since my 10 years of being assigned to the 122nd mixed infantry, “Why do you insist on taking melee weapons when range combat is safer and more effective?”

He looks at me and shrugs, “Well, when your tech boys invent a gun that doesn’t run out of ammo, I’ll leave my axe at home.”

I rip a female swarmling from her head to egg-sack; some eggs are large enough to hatch, pop, and spill out into the ground, some crack on impact, while others bounce. I take a moment to step on one, taking note of how hard they become when exposed to fresh air. The Sword of David, or SoW, sizzles with the blood of the slain. I drip sweat despite the suit’s best efforts to keep me cool. My vision takes a lapse as my conscious slips for a precious moment. I feel the sudden weight of a swarmling, I shrug it off, another swarmling, I knock it aside, I stumble forward feeling dehydrated for the first time in my life.

Too much! The smell alone; of the living, the dead, and the burning, is too much! Oh mercy, if anything was to kill me right now it would have to be whatever manages to seep through the air filter. The smells are poignant even to my soul. Of all the creatures on God’s green earth, the cockroach, despite its order in the food chain, is the one insect that elicit the most hatred. And now I see why as I smash one with a back hand swipe of my sword hand. It stumbles without a head, but turns toward me despite having no eyes to see, and claws with every limb. I shove the sword inside its mid-section and let the blade rip out its side, effectively folding the creature’s carcass upon itself. I take another backhanded swipe as something approaches from behind, it’s cleaved in two with no effort, I choke on bile as its inwards spill mere inches from face.

But carnage doesn’t stop and neither will I. With a turn I let a cartridge of napalm go before doing an odd one-handed reload procedure that required me to hook the II between my shoulder-blade and elbow, swipe a fresh cartridge, and jam it in when I let the Industrial Incinerator fall. How I manage to do that while on the run I have no idea, but I burst down a group of swarmlings before they approach within 50 yards of me and twist sideways to torch a flanking party without missing a beat.

I dive and roll to send a few bugs sailing over me, experience with humanoids must have taught them to aim for the chest. Or to be more exact, “experience” is more like the genetic memory of the ones that survived long enough to breed. I wonder what this experience will teach them. It’s probably not the fear of fire. I press and swing the flamethrower into mob, blood and liquefied guts shortly follow. I take a step and meet a swarmling, I cut it down, avoiding its claws as it twitches, and nearly step into the fury of another bug before I incinerate it out of frustration. “Too many!” and I’m exhausting my supply of napalm. I could have insisted on getting some smokers or mountain poppers, but I only managed a SoW because they forgot to remove it from the scabbard.

“Think!” I look around, forcing my eyes to see past the smoke and my own tears to see the chaos unfolding before me. I see a vision of hell; of chaos and death eating death, raping death, and spilling forth more death. I won’t sleep after this; if I survive, I simply won’t sleep. Who thinks of rest in this vision of hell? When life is obscenity that causes the eyes to bleed? But here stands the reaper man armed with lance and fire, surrounded by smoke and abominations, baked in the blood of the profane things. The smell dries and drips down the naval cavity, allowing me to taste hell.

“Enough!” As my adrenaline levels spike, letting the heart explode while everything becomes a blur of red and orange, black and yellow, screeches and roars, both human and demonic. Hell burns and I step through the carnage into the bosom of more beast. Why don’t the demons flee before the reaper man? The question taunts a response from hell’s denizens; they collapse on me from all sides, mandible click and chip at steel, both arms are trapped before the tide that sweeps away forty tons of war machine.

But who am I if not the reaper man? They meet fire, if only for a second, before the cartridge ejects; but I’m not defenseless. One meets my elbow as I pull out the fresh catch of napalm while another meets the back of my right hand. They attack from all sides and there is no end to this sea of black in site. The swarm is focusing on me now; the dozens is now hundreds and soon thousands.

“Come try to eat me demons!” because it’s reassuring to shout at things that don’t speak English. They come at me in one push, but I’m ready this time and lunge into them like 40 tons of inedible space hull approved steel. Their bodies of flesh and fat shatter under my weight; the armor that evolved to handle the hardest blows any living creature is capable of producing splinters like dried wood.

I drive my SoW into a swarmling before it can rear itself up to my height, disarming myself for a second to reach for another cartridge. I twist with my hips to avoid one lunge before shattering the exoskeleton of another attacking swarmling with my right knee, snapping three mandibles off the face and driving the fourth into what’s left of its compound eye.

I catch a shallow breath before driving my elbow into the mid-section of another bug, knocking it off-balance, as I pull the cartridge out of my ammo pouch, only to hammer the same fist into the face of a diving swarmling, sending it sprawling.

I even bash my head into swarmling just as it rears up to claw at me, forcing its body to cave inward due to the pressure, while I complete my reload. I dive to ground, rolling past and under swarmlings as they dive for me, before resting at the spot where I left my sword. I clenching it with my left hand; I spray the fire of man into the crowd, scorching the blood soaked ground along the way.

“Primed and ready!” The SoW rips through three swarmlings in one swift horizontal slash that parts mid-sections, heads, and legs from body. I twist and high-step to avoid being weighed down by the bugs. I wade through them with fire, and check my six with blade in hand. The barely living that I leave behind crawl desperately to their next meal before being eaten by healthy and hungry; the cannibalism won’t stop! Even I’m just another swarmling to them. Baking in their stench for god knows how long now … some have probably tried to mate with me …

Then that thought goes away with one thrust of my SoW. The bug is skewered from the side, I lift and toss him as he screeches, his brood devours him before he meets the ground. I have to keep moving, but hell seems to have no exit. The nest is stupidly large, the mounds seem to go on and on for miles. God help me, I’m going to die here.

I let out a jet stream of napalm, making sure to cover a wide area, as the bugs come dangerously close to surrounding me before letting go of the trigger at the worst possible second. Before I can raise a hand, a swarmling comes and nearly tears my overworked helmet from head with a quick swipe of his front claws. I only manage to twist my head in time to avoid his blade embedding itself into my visor. The crack impairs my vision for a second as I stumble in wake of the hit. I flail the II frantically to ward off the approaching swarm while my sword hand zims and zips through empty air. I get my bearings in a breath before a swarmling latches itself onto my back. I twist and turn violently in the hopes of shaking it off, but its legs are wrapped tightly around me in full embrace.

In rage I break three legs to no effect. It pecks and rams its head against my helmet in a vain attempt to find an opening. But that’s not entirely true there is a self release button around the back of the neck…

And that’s when I took a running leap into the air twisting myself mid-air in order to land squarely on my back. Smashed beneath my goliath armor lays the one swarmling that made me piss my pants. I roll and push myself up to my feet, thanking whatever divine providence saw fit to allow me to get up unmolested, before coming face-to-face with a swarmling’s moving mouth parts. Two pairs of mandibles click to my helmet as it attempts to pull me down.

“Oh look, we’re kissing!” I land an uppercut with my sword hand that ruptured it so fast into the air that it forgets to take its lips with it. With callouse efficieny swing through four and burn down several dozen in a long screeching ark of fierier death in my rage.

“Not any closer …” then I notice a ridge not so far away from where I’m currently standing and compel myself forward two meters in an outburst of joy.

“How did I miss that little detail when I looked over the Swarms’ nest? Was I heading for it the entire time? Does it matter?”

“Say goodbye to the reaper.” Then I notice a mound’s worth of swarmlings moving in unison; ignoring their imperative to eat each other in the face of a meal that smells like mother of all meals – me.

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Chapter 4

The thing about falling from 40,000 feet is that you die. Not from the fall, I’m confident this won’t even break my legs, but from what’s waiting for you when you reach the ground. Naturally I’m implying that there are things in this life worse than going splat from a 40,000-foot fall. Well… maybe I have to survive one to know for sure….

0.51 seconds till I go splat

Two tons of metal should never be allowed to free fall to the Earth without a solid plan. Fact is dropping from “bomber” height is routine for Samsons; though their ability to survive the fall is not entirely due to their ridiculous muscles and bone structure. No, a special shock-absorbing jell, that accounts for multiple layers of both the Goliath and Samson’s armor, allows this impossible feat. The relationship is simple, if not farfetched: as the jell absorbs the energy of the fall, the energy moves rapidly through the armor, generating heat as it travels up. The heat rapidly changes the jell’s state from solid to gas, as large quantities of kinetic energy travel up the armor. Gas is vented out immediately, as the jelly filled layers rapidly expand to accommodates the increasing volume of gas. This same gas is then expelled, once the jell filled layers hits pressure based external facing vents.

Or that’s how it’s supposed to work.

0.33 seconds till I go splat …

After the venting process is complete, the remaining shock travels though the numerous layers of fibers muscle; several layers inside layers of wire, that mimic actual muscles, allow the David inside to move the Goliath with ninety percent of his own strength and without the assistance of the various power systems. Through the muscle fibers, energy is fed into the shock motors; their spinning burns the excessive energy while generating reserve energy. Even then, what does manage to penetrate past the muscle fibers and landing jelly naturally triggers the David’s adrenaline glands, which brings another one of the Goliath’s system into full focus. As the human body pumps adrenaline and endorphin to cope with the pain, the Goliath Armor prepares its first injection of the superman serum. Derived from a Samson’s own adrenaline glands, Noah scientists found the chemicals and hormones inside a Samson several times more potent than anything similar in a lab. Potentially addictive in large quantities, its main side effects are increased strength and improved reflexes, along with pain resistance and improved fight-or-flight responses. Landing would simply jar the brain too much without this simple drug.

0.0001 seconds till I go splat …

When I was five years old, I took the Academy test. The line was long and my parents looked nervous. I was a commoner then so at the time, Patriarch, Noah, Wise Men meant nothing to me. I was five and I wanted to spend my day playing video games. So when my turn came up, I refused to take the test. So my dad yelled and my mom yelled and the Patriarch instructors prodded me, but I just “didn’t wanna.” I wanted to go home; it was hot and smelly with all the people and the kids still in diapers. And besides, I had better things to do like beating level 9286 of Tetris. Faced with the prospect of never knowing my full potential, my dad for the first time took me by the ear and put a world of pain on my bottom that left me unable to sit without fidgeting for the better part of two days.

0.00001seconds till I go-

Ka-boom …

The ground splits, my legs turn to liquid, and the world becomes a brown and yellow haze. The headache follows next as the teeth rattle out of my gums, the armor is pelted with newly displaced rocks and the air smells of sulfur and methane. I heave in one breath, thanking God that the air is filtered as the super-heated landed gel releases itself in a burst of vented steam. Not disoriented, not hurt, I lift my leg gingerly; I can still walk and that’s when I finally look down. Buried under the dirt is a black carapace; the cracks in it seep a mixture of brown, yellow and white goo. The color of its blood and the remnants of his organs are liquefied.

Scattered all around are the remains of the creature that once occupied the same space as where I stand. It being a swarmling, obscenity given proper form: long by at least 8 feet, plenty legs on either side, and a sideways mouth rowed like a chainsaw with teeth and possessing two sets mandibles, one cracked from my landing. And it wasn’t alone; I feel more than see or hear the movement all around me.

“KREEEEEEEEEEEEEACCCCCCCCCCTCH”

I turn to face it.

“KREEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAACHTCH”

My II lets out a jet stream of napalm at the seven o’clock position as I turn. I’m alone in the crater, more screeches, more scuttling, the dust hasn’t cleared, and then-

“CRRRRRRRRRREAAAAAAAATTCCCCCCCCCCCCCKTCK”

And the smoke parts before the bullet of armored flesh, otherworldly fast for a hundred pound of insect. It doesn’t bother to dart out of the way as I swing the II to check its advance. It doesn’t know fear, nor does it have any concept of prey and predator. No, in its mind there is only “full” and “starving,” which makes it the purest binary machine in nature. Oh, and it explodes when set on fire. Ignoring the fire or any thought of self preservation, it pushes past it before exploding.

Taking a step back, I admire my second kill before I’m hit hard from behind. Stumbling, I regain my balance before being hit again from the opposite side. Unable to down me, they shake off the daze before resuming the attack. I take note of how few of them come to attack me. A relief, but not reassuring; the stench of a fresh corpse will attract more of them, but only the curious, the wanders, are paying me any attention. For now anyway; eventually the mounds will displace themselves as millions start to inquire about the funny smelling tin can, and when that happens, the Goliath armor won’t hold against a million set of claws and teeth.

I avoid the attack of one as it rears up on its four legs.

“Cockroaches don’t do that.”  A swarmling is for all intent and purposes a seven-foot-tall cockroach (females are nine to ten feet tall with egg sack included) with eight to ten legs and four mandibles. The first set of legs are its claws: short, hard, and sharp. They can dent steel, and are ideal for rending flesh as quickly as possible with as many strokes that are necessary. Its other legs aren’t specialized, except its back legs that are capable of holding its weight, and are generally sturdier than the other pairs, which alternate between fast travel and tearing into flesh with its jagged edges.

Unlike other insects worthy of extermination, the swarmlings are thankfully not self aware; unfortunately, their weaknesses end there. The Swarm numbers in the billions, possibly trillions, worldwide. Those black hills I mentioned earlier are their homes.  The “mounds” are not constructs, but thousands of swarmlings eating and mating in one spot. Each mound contains over one million swarmlings. I was dropped in a nest containing dozens of mounds.

Three more explode, five more explode, and then a dozen screech and roast before my II. The curiosity phase is rapidly ending; the shadow of one mound disappears, and the smoke gives away to a black tide that approaches from all sides.

“Say hello to the reaper man.”

And I charge forward, guns literally blazing as the Industrial Incinerator becomes a dragon consuming swarmlings by the dozen. But it’s not enough; they come crashing in, biting at shoulder pads, helmet, ripping away the cape and trying to rip apart my arms and legs. One swarmling tugs me by my left ankle with such ferocity that I smashed my head against the carapace of the adult swarmling, cracking it in the process. My II was on full automatic as I blindly shot in any direction with one hand, while my left hand smashing heads, claws, and anything in-between. I was drenched in brown blood as each explosion drenched me more and more in swarmling body fluids.

Then the napalm cartridge ejects without warning and at the worst possible time. I jam the trigger in desperate plea to save my soul before finally realizing the dragon has gone silent. I reach for another cartridge, but the lack of an attacking hand gets taken advantage of in an instant, knocking me flat.

Within seconds, I’m twisting and turning within the mass of bugs. Claws and teeth attempting to dig their way through my armor to get to the sweet flesh inside and rapidly my world stops making sense as the air becomes too shallow to breath. The world has become black, brown, white, and yellow, and it makes no sense. Below me is the swarm, above me is the swarm, and when I look ahead I see the ever moving machinery of a swarmlings underside moving tirelessly in the darkness.  Nauseating! The stomach churns away a response that I barely bite back.

So on all sides is moving wall of armor and carapace and I can’t move. The slip and drip of blood, feces, the insides of their stomachs, and god knows what else surrounds me, and I can’t move. “Can’t move, can’t breathe, can’t think,” and something punches into my armor. I force my fist through the armored flesh and undersides until I reach the handle of my side arm, and with one swift stroke I hear the ’Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaakkkccccccccccccck’ of a dozen bugs bucking the blade in agony.

A space opens for a second, so with empty flamethrower in my right hand and blade in my left hand, I pushed and slash to proper footing but not escape. The swarm has made a mound on top of me, an orgy of blood and mating is all around me, but the lack of air will get me killed first as my filter is taxed beyond usability. Out? I slash widely and haphazardly at the world around me, dispersing my anger into this cruel dark world devoid of light and air. I find space to move my right hand properly and hook my II before the chance is lost. The space closes, within moments, but with my newly free right hand I strike out blindly, and grab onto what I assume is something’s mouth because I feel thousands of rows of teeth grinding at my gauntlet. And pull. And push. And pull. And Push. Forward, I move my sword with purpose, as the blade cracks through armor and carapace like chewing through tender meat. Forward; with the barely-conscious swarmling as my shield, his brain bashed into a dozen times and his second or third brain only capable of making his claws and legs fight me out of muscle memory.  The head finally comes off as I crunch the flailing body as I press forward. No I charge, using a cross guard, I bull-rush into mound; using my two-ton body to make the wall armor flesh yield to my will.

But is it good enough? The smell, the air, the weight of thousands, more like millions of swarmlings pressing my feet into the ground, slowing my step, slowing my breath, my consciousness …

“NO!” And I take another step, but the momentum is gone and my armor is being assaulted on all sides. Not even a swing of my sword will clear this, it ends here.

“Too many … Was never a soldier … Can’t breathe …”And then I lunge forward, god help me, and I break into fresh air at least. Coughing up blood and bile, I automatically switch my sword out for a napalm cartridge, plug it into my II, and unleash on the new mound, killing thousands of swarmlings as the mound collapses in on itself and into the fire. The smell of that many dead swarmlings nearly takes me off my feet. It was that bad. I couldn’t breathe for a moment because the smell drafted right into me. Tears ran uncontrolled for the first time and my god why was I laughing even as my eyes burn despite the filter. Then the sound of too many legs scuttling in too close to my ear cleared my mind of all other thoughts, but the one thing to remember about the swarm.

“They are always attracted to the smell of their dead, Andrew.”

“And why would that matter, don’t we kill them all anyway.”

“In war yes, in battle no.”

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Chapter 3

How do you project the will of man, what is holy and just, upon the unholy and the abominable? With a big gun? Easy answer, but you wouldn’t pass the first class of tactics 101 thinking like that. Big guns require either big men or big enough platforms; in which case, guess which one is cheaper than the other? Simple answer: if genetic engineering matched the expansion of weapon research, – both arts running in perfect parallel of the other – then warfare, now infused with man’s ego, would look much different. We may have never invented firearms. But thank the ignorance of man that we invented the hydrogen bomb long before we invented computers capable of mapping the genetic code of millions of species.

This isn’t a course on, “Why we have Samsons,” but an explanation for the Goliath in the age of large guns capable of piercing, roasting, and flailing a man alive. It must be considered, with great gravity, that the best of mankind is being sent to do battle and expected to return home all the same. We engineer the defense of these assets with the utmost resources made feasible; assuring ourselves that the life of one David is worth many times the combined martial prowess of a full battalion of Samsons.

In this think tank comes the Goliath; not just a two-ton life preservation suit, or merely plates of armor slapped on top of already near-indestructible skin and hardened muscle as the mighty Samson, but a full-combat suit that brings the wearer to superhuman levels; combining high-grade armor, machinery, and regular injections of stimulants and hormones to keep the David as battle-ready and fatigue-resistant as possible.

“I’d thought you’d drop me on top of the closest swarm mound,” having confirmed a thousand times that the big red dot we were approaching was not a swarm mound by heat, historic, and live data. In fact, passing one gave my curiosity the extra push I needed to overcome my intense hatred for conversations with Patriarch Gecko.

“Oh you are. That red dot is only your next assignment.”

“Are you serious?”

“Very. Assuming you survive of course, your first supply drop will be a week from now at that location.”

So I’m still a military asset to these people.

“Surprised?”

“No.”

It hadn’t occurred to me that Noah wouldn’t agree to treat me like common garbage to be disposed of casually. Well no, they would agree to that: sending me down with one of the highlights of human engineering to be torn apart for the Wise Men’s leisure. Not so much.

“Getting their money’s worth huh?”

“What was that?!”

“Nothing.”

Black dots in the horizon tell me the time to drop is near. The correlation between the rows of black hills and the absence of any sign of life since I started staring at the display map of South-West North America, does not go unnoticed. The amount of kilometers between the Swarm and the next indigenous population are measured in the hundreds.

“You make light of your sins Patriarch Matchworth.” He pitches the ship sharply to the right, and then rolls to the left. My poor balance and loose grip nearly sends me plunging to the earth below.

“Son of a —-“

Another sharp pitch followed by a barrel roll in the opposite direction.

“My, my, are we getting angry?”

The Michael takes a sudden nose dive; I let go of the handle bar, cursing my idiocy for not strapping myself in to one of the six available seats, when I go crashing into the back of the Michael before sliding into the door of the captains compartment. I reach for the door slide, when I go sliding in the opposite direction when the plane banks. I scramble to my feat as the plane levels, reaching for the II holstered on my back.

“Are you angry yet?” Silence, “Still mocking us I see. I always knew something was wrong with you boy. Two hundred years of cryo wasted and for what? FOR WHAT!!? You’re nothing more than a cow with horns.”

I lower the II.

“Prepare to drop in fifteen seconds.”

I look out the open door and see the lush green, the gentle tops of hills, and the mountains that line the distance further west. But not the black, as if the brain refuses to acknowledge something of that scale and horror could exist in a world so peaceful and serine. The black hills almost look natural, unless you refuse to consider what they represent.

“Remember this Matchworth, you have no brothers in Noah.”

I nearly bite my own tongue to hold back the desire to argue. Gecko makes sense, I am not a Noah.

“You have 5 seconds to decide to jump yourself. Five.”

I back up a little.

“Four.”

And bolt for empty space.

“Three.”

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Chapter 1

“Murderer,” they mutter. Some whisper as if saying the word too loud will spread some airborne disease. Maybe it will; in the countless centuries or maybe even millennia since the ARK ships floated in the dead womb of space, we Patriarchs– or whatever form of government that established order before– never had to proceed over a murder. Even to my own ears – the accused, the guilty – the word seems so … alien… yes, alien would be right word to describe it. The act by itself; the 40 millimeter bolter round to the chest, leaving a hole you can stick your hand through and a mess that is still being cleaned up to two weeks later ….that felt all too familiar. Primal even, which makes this mummers farce of a trial even more annoying, but a trial they must have. A swift execution maybe? Was that what I was walking all too swiftly to? Is that what all my brothers, sisters, and fellow Patriarchs came to see?

I turn the corner. The curious eyes end as I walk into the central command cathedral. The new eyes are hard and stern and belonging to the Wise Men. Though all Patriarchs have a say in our government, it is the Wise Men who set the topics that we vote on if the matter requires one. Increasingly, more matters seem too small to bother the larger body of Patriarchs; details that haven’t been missed by most Patriarchs, but haven’t caused much protest– yet.

“We should close the whole department.”

“To what end?”

“Are you mad? We are in the middle of war.”

“The end of a war; the Samsons are efficient enough to suffer the burden of this conflict without spoiling the minds of Patriarchs with this bloody business.”

“The Samsons will win us the war, sure. But soldiers need commanders.”

“Bugger the Samsons, we can settle this decisively from the comfort of our seats.”

“And we ruin the only inhabitable planet in the Milky Way?”

Arthur Dreadfoot’s last words ended the debate before it truly began. I heard these arguments before – the longer versions – but in the end Noah has always been the necessary evil that holds our war for Earth together. But to what end? Awe, I’m afraid I won’t be here long enough to find out though as the room stands at attention when the oldest of the Wise Men take their seats. A smile crosses my face as I watch our forerunners take their rightful seats of honor amongst us. Seats made during the lesser generations, before Patriarchs numbers swelled. The True Men, or Adams, are the first to enter the cryo and are the ones that remembered when our ARKs hobbled along space, maintained by the unlearned masses too stupid to read and write let alone maintain the very systems that allow us to breathe. It is a wonder how we managed to stay alive in the countless centuries before a true Patriarch system was maintained.

Being tried by such men is too much of honor. I bend the knee out of respect and disgrace, my sin feels less natural and I less smug.

“Patriarch David Matchworth, 92nd Noah Commander of the 122nd Samson mix infantry, you stand accused of the brutal slaying of Patriarch Kevin Steward of the Library of Earth Natural Archive and History, using standard-issue Goliath Slayer …” kicked like a bitch without plate armor to absorb the shock, “… death by gunshot wound through the chest. Do you plead guilty?”

“Yes.”

“Can you speak of the motive, if any, for this senseless crime?”

“For the good of all things holy, decent, and human”

“Elaborate.”

I take note of the speaker. She doesn’t look past the age of 40, but those eyes, those eyes told a different tale. A thousand years? Maybe two? Inhumanly old and sure, not hard, not cold, or even judgmental; just sure that I am wrong and she is right– not opinion, but straight fact. I hated those eyes, but understood the logic behind them. Too old; I am 217 years old, six cryo’s and one of them a long cryo at least by the standard of someone my age and rank. Are her eyes my fate as well?

“He wished to communicate with the godless demons below.” I nearly croak. I forced my voice to come out sure and true; the first lesson I learned 205 years ago when I was learning the basis of Newtonian physics– no one believes a shaking, stuttering voice and I have taken that lesson to heart; even now where most men will break into tears under the eyes of the Wise Men or in the presence of an Adam.

“A Patriarch attempting to communicate with the savages on the surface!? Are we to believe this madness? Should we give you a medal for your bravery?”

She mocks me.

“If you had knowledge of Patriarch Kevin Steward’s intentions to travel to the surface with such a foolish idea, why didn’t you simply report to us?”

He accuses me.

“He was stealing a shuttle.”

I silence them for a moment, though not a long one.

“Then arrest him. Surely a man of your prowess can subdue an untrained man in single combat?”

“My martial prowess doesn’t grant me superhuman facilities, especially without armor. It was a split-second decision to kill him before he closed the door, as the place you found Patriarch Kevin’s body should attest to.”

“Who goes patrolling the ARKs hangar with a loaded Goliath Slayer? Did you recently become a David?”

“I was coming from the target range when I saw Patriarch Kevin moving toward the hanger bay, so I followed him until I could ascertain his purpose.”

“So you stalked him with a loaded weapon until you found a good place to dispose of him with minimal witnesses.”

“I confessed to the murder.”

“A whole day after you committed the crime.”

“I was in shock,” a lie, “our people haven’t killed our own since …”

“Enough. If you knew of Patriarch Kevin’s intentions you should have told us first, obviously you knew his plans beforehand or else you wouldn’t have followed him. You also felt he was serious enough to actually commit the folly or his trip near the hanger bay wouldn’t have raised alarms. So why didn’t you make the obvious choice, if that was the real reason to have killed Patriarch Kevin in cold blood?”

The truth is, Kevin wasn’t alone in this fool hardy plan, but he was the one who voiced his opinion to me, believing that laughing together 200 years ago was going to earn sympathy for his cause. He wanted me to come with him. Even when I pointed the gun inches from his chest, he still argued for his “humane” approach to this conflict. Conquest was a bloody business, we all knew that, but with the Samsons, well, we didn’t have to know firsthand how bloody it can be. Maybe if we did, we wouldn’t be so quick to exterminate all of the works of the Scientist with such zeal. Kevin argued a point that anyone in Noah knew already, but only mattered when we judged the difficulty of a campaign. We all knew that they were intelligent, as he often pointed out. Sentient species occupy the surface of our motherland, not mindless beasts that should provoke no more sympathy than a cow being maimed for beef. The ‘gifts’ the Scientist left behind to inherent the Earth are but distorted versions of what used to be humble animals we learned about in Earth biological history. But Kevin … he believed that these creatures were redeemable. The bugs, no, he agreed they must die, but what crawled with two legs instead of six could be reasoned with.

So what did I do when my friend of 200 years past decided that he must steal a shuttle and travel to the surface to “come in peace,” taking with him whatever experimental devices he could smuggle to help translate the clicks and growls considered a language by the savages below? What did I do when he waved away the danger of presenting our technology to the aliens? When he waved away the idea of presenting this plan to the Wise Men so they can give him an armed escort and contingency plan, in case something inevitably goes wrong – “when you get careless,” I remember pointing out. Oh yes, I could have brought him before the Wise Men and they would have laughed and hollered about the foolishness of this “mission.” They may even convince Kevin to concede his point, no doubt, letting him go to his own quarters, thinking all is well, dropping their guard, my guard.

And that wasn’t going to happen. It was treason, against the state, against humanity, against all god-fearing creatures still alive in this cold dead universe. They may say and rightly that the study of the martial, of war and its history, has awakened some deep primal desire for blood mayhem that encompassed much of our early history as humans young in this universe. That the Davids were irredeemable men too filled with blood-lust to rejoin a humanity that survived the emptiness of space for millennia without spilling a drop of blood. Noah will probably be broken down and its memory left only to archives, and that may be for the ultimate good of mankind.

Once the war is over.

But when there is a war, a war that demands the sacrifice of faceless soldiers who are bred for battle and nothing else, then why should we Patriarchs risk the balance between victory and defeat by endangering our one advantage against the demons endless numbers? What right did Kevin have to risk undoing the work of countless men never to have children or live past the age of 30? Rights even the masses that waste space on the ARK ships are afforded, even though all they do for the betterment of mankind is empty their bowels in the designated holes and pop more screaming mouths to feed.

“I’ll take your silence as proof of your guilt. That you committed your crime in cold blood with no just cause.”

I keep my silence; truly what else is there to say? The fools would have never tried Kevin for treason, even if one of the Adams was among their number!

“It is by our right, for the betterment of mankind and the future of humanity, to punish you in proportion to your crimes.”

“However,” a different voice takes over, a grey hair sitting above ageless black eyes. A face that was once dark brown is now a shallow brown leaning to a type of grey because of all the years in artificial lighting. He almost looks his age, if the human lifespan elongated unnaturally over a period of a thousand plus years could even be remotely represented in the long grim face of this man.

“The normal precedent for your crime would not satisfy this court. Life internment would just waste the valuable time of a Patriarch, and no doubt a man of your cunning could easily gull a commoner into slacking his guard just enough to allow your escape, if a commoner could be trusted with such an important task. Some Wise Men suggest we use a Samson for your guard … that is unwise. There is also a matter of what cell would we waste to keep you? Hmm, truly there is a dark corner somewhere on this ship unsuitable for even a commoner to live in. But I ask of you here, my fellow Wise Men, should we debase ourselves to subjecting a Patriarch to inhumane conditions?”

I watch the heads shake in silence, some more bitter about agreeing with the grey Adam than others.

“Nevertheless, there is a precedent to be set here; if imprisonment is not practical, should we partake in your sin Patriarch David Matchworth? Murder one of our own? Find a humane way to end your sin? By our hand I think not. I say nay, we leave your fate to the sword, as you lived by. For killing a man, a Patriarch, not in war, or defense, but in cold blood, with gun in one hand and sword in your heart, this council banishes you to the surface,  to spend the rest of your days amongst the godless and abominations. We grant you the rank of David, a rank of honor given to Patriarchs that wish to face the enemy with pistol and lance in hand. You will meet the surface as a David in Goliath armor, armed with the holy flames of napalm with two tanks to sustain your wrath. Understand that this is a mercy, afforded to you by a merciful court that heard your arguments and pleas and judged righteously. When you die by the hands of creatures as abominable as your sin, do know that even your death is an honor, for you to die as a David, and that your soul is cleansed, as you slay the demons of mankind with flame and steel. “

“Any last word before the court, Patriarch David Matchworth?”

“Oh joy.”

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