Doom Millenium

1: UAC Headquarters

“Are you sure it will be safe?” William Muse, UAC Chief Executive Officer asked the men gathered around the table. Muse was a good-looking man, his black hair touched with gray, his eyes the blue of a clear summer sky. His face was a familiar one on the tridees, especially in the rebuilding efforts UAC was conducting on Earth after the Great War.

“Sir, we are sure it is safe,” Jonathan Meade said. Meade, a burly man that looked more like a boxer than a scientist, was the head of Gate Research for UAC. “As I said, by increasing the bandwidth and varying the modulation, we can prevent an incursion.”

“We cannot have a repeat of what happened here,” Muse said. “We are already close to bankruptcy funding the rebuilding efforts.”

“Sir?” Regan Conrad asked, raising his hand. Conrad, a young man with thinning, blonde hair and wearing wire rim glasses was head of the UAC astronomical section.

“Yes,” Muse said, nodding to Conrad.

“Sir, we have discovered a system in the Hekara quadrant that we feel has some great potential.” Conrad tapped on the touch screen in front of him and a hologram of the system appeared above the center of the table.

The hologram showed a golden sun and nine orbiting planets. An asteroid belt separated the inner four planets from the outer five. All four inner planets were mottled blue, green and white. Four of the five outer planets were rocky planetoids and in the outermost orbit, a large gas giant, much like Jupiter.

“The system, Beta Hekara,” Conrad continued, “has a main sequence sun, slightly larger than our own. The life zone of the system contains four habitable planets. The four rocky planets and asteroid belt look to be good candidates for our heavy metal mining operations. The gas giant could provide the lighter elements.”

“This may be an opportunity for us to get back on our feet,” said Samuel Brackeen. Brackeen was President of UAC and possessed a shrewd business sense. Muse made it a habit to listen to Brackeen.

“If we could set up a gate in Beta Hekara, it would be a very good revenue stream for us,” Brackeen said. “I know that many people would jump at the chance to move to a colony world to get a fresh start, to forget about the past.”

“Our plan is to send a gate to the system,” Meade said, ”then link it to a gate in orbit around Mars.”

“When can you get ready to go?”

“We can be ready within the month,” Meade said.

Muse looked out the window at the cranes that littered the skyline of the city. UAC did need a new revenue stream. The current budget had more red than black. It was worth a look at least. “OK, let’s do it.”

2: Gate Launch

Meade stood in front of the huge display of the Main Gate control center, hands linked behind his back, gazing at the massive ring of silver metal that glinted in the naked sunlight as it orbited Mars. The Beta Hekara gate bristled with instruments while servobots flitted around the gate making last minute adjustments and attaching the cables that connected the gate to the ion powered tow ship.

“The last of the cables are being attached, Dr. Meade,” Jonas Frien said. Frien, a gate engineer and Meade’s assistant, looked scrawny next to Meade, but Frien, a survivor of the Great War, was no lightweight. Frien carried a scar along his jaw, a souvenir from the war.

“Very good,” said Meade, not talking his eyes off the display. “Looks like we are right on schedule.”

“Yes, Sir,” Frien said, nodding. “All systems are Go. Once the gate umbilical is attached, we just need to do a final systems check, then we are ready to launch.”

Frien looked up at his superior. “Are we doing the right thing, John?” The scar writhed like a snake and Meade knew that Frien was reliving the past; reliving a nightmare that he could not escape.

“I am not sure we have much choice,” Meade said. “Earth is still in ruins and we need those colony worlds. Besides, the science is sound. It’ll be okay.”

Frien nodded and turned back to the readouts on his control console. Meade watched the servobots connect the cables to the tow ship, the ‘bots looking like tiny spiders spinning a giant, glistening web.

He suddenly remembered the yellow and black spider that had made its home in his garden on summer when he was a boy. He had watched the spider catch butterflies, gnats and mosquitoes, wrapping the squirming bodies in cocoons of sticky webbing. When the spider was hungry, it would unwrap one of its tiny packages and methodically suck the life from it.

During that summer, he had watched the spider build a white knot of a nest that hatched a brood of yellow and black babies that numbered in the hundreds. He had watched as the babies swarmed over the mother, devouring her, before they spread out into the garden to start the cycle again. He had been both fascinated and horrified at the spectacle.

“The umbilical is attached,” Frien said, jolting Meade from his thoughts. “All systems are Go.”

Meade took a deep breath and nodded. “Very good.”

“All right, people, this is what we have been working toward,” he said to the room full of technicians. He nodded to Frien.

“Starting launch sequence,” Frien said.

The unmanned tow ship, a huge steel can filled with deuterium, fired its ion engine and the ship began to slowly break orbit. The monofilament towlines, a kilometer long, began to tighten and the gate began to move. The ship would slowly accelerate, dragging the gate behind it, eventually reaching .8 lights on its long trip to Beta Hekara.

“How are we doing?” Meade asked.

“Looking good,” Frien answered.

Meade watched the slow-motion dance of ship and gate with pride. This was the culmination of a lot of hard work and if all went well, a new beginning for the human race. He knew they were doing the right thing and he trusted the science.

Yet, there was still that memory of the spider in the back of his mind and a feeling of unease that he couldn’t shake.

3: Beta Hekara

It had been a long trip to Beta Hekara and Meade was relieved that the gate had made it into the system intact. There had been a few times on the trip when he thought their efforts had been in vain, the rouge comet that nearly collided into the tow ship came to mind but through ingenuity and hard work, they had guided ship and gate to the system.

“Approaching separation point,” Frien said. Both Frien and he were older, and maybe a bit wiser. Meade was glad that his part in the mission was ending. Looking at Frien, he sensed that his assistant felt the same.

“Begin separation,” he said, turning to the wall display. The image on the screen was from the point of view of the gate falling into the system at .8 lights. The spidery webbing of the towlines glinted in the bright, yellow-white light of the Beta Hekara sun and converged to a tiny, silver spec, the tow ship, in the center of the display.

One by one, the towlines detached from the gate and disappeared as they were reeled into the ship. As the last towline disappeared from view, the spec began to move off the screen as the thrusters pushed the ship into an escape orbit into interstellar space. The gate would pass close to the Hekara sun where the gravity of the large star would slow it enough to put the gate into a large elliptical orbit.

“Gate link established,” Frien said. During the long transit of the Beta Hekara gate, UAC engineers had built the Main Mars Gate. “Thirty seconds to drop off point.”

Meade switched the display and studied the huge gate orbiting Mars and the large ship poised to pass through it. The ship was a construction platform loaded with the necessary components to build a third gate, the main gate that would be a permanent link between Sol and Beta Hekara.

“Commence your passage,” Frien said into a microphone. Meade watched as the construction ship, looking like some kid’s crazy erector set project, passed through the gate and vanished.

Meade switched the display back to the Beta Hekara gate, and saw the construction ship emerge in the system, then dwindle to just a spec as the gate left the construction ship behind on its journey around the sun.

“Successful transfer,” Frien said, his face showing relief.

Meade sighed, turned to the group of technicians in the Main Gate Control command center and gave a thumbs-up. “Good work, all of you,” he said as a cheer erupted in the room. “We made it!”

4: Centrux

“So, when are coming to Beta Hekara, Johnny?” Miles asked.

Johnny Rowe shrugged into the comm-display. “I don’t know. I put in for a transfer, but it hasn’t been approved yet. Soon, I hope.”

“This is quite a place,” Miles said. “I love it here. The colony worlds are going gangbusters and the mining facilities are hauling in all kinds of stuff. I have put in a request to join the colony on New Earth. I want to get some land, raise some crops and have a family.”

“Now, that’s a scary thought,” Rowe said smiling. “How was your leave?”

“Unbelievable,” Miles said. “I took a fishing trip on Allison’s World. Caught a couple Long-Noses. Man, do they put up a fight.” Allison’s World had little land and no land animals. The vast oceans though, were full of life.

“Can you eat them?” Rowe asked.

“Yeah, pretty good too. They taste sort of like juicy chicken.”

Rowe laughed. “Everything taste like chicken to you.”

“I’ll send you some pic—“ On the comm-display, Rowe could hear muffled explosions, followed by the sound of emergency klaxons.

“What’s going on?” Rowe asked.

“I’m not sure. It looks like—“ The display went dead.

Klaxons went off in the Control Center. Rowe scanned the computer displays on his console, and then punched up the watch officer on the comm-link.

“What’s going on, Johnny?” The officer asked from the mess hall.

“You better come up here, Sir. We have lost the link to the Centrux gate.”

“On my way.”

5: UAC Headquarters

Muse looked up from his desk as Major Tom “Big Tom” Dalworth strode into the room. The nickname was apt. Dalworth was a bear of a man, and some said, just as mean. Muse believed it, after reading over Dalworth’s service record. He had been decorated numerous times in the Great War.

“Please, have a seat Major,” Muse said.

“Thank you, Sir.” Dalworth sat stiffly in the plush, leather chair.

“I’m sure you have already heard we have lost contact with the Beta Hekara system.”


“We don’t know what happened. Luckily, the original gate is still operational and within range of the Centrux station. We have been able to link to it, but we still can’t raise anyone at Centrux.”

“Do the colony worlds or mining stations have any information?”

Muse shook his head. “They are in the dark as much as we are. A ship was sent to Centrux from New Earth, but the colony hasn’t heard a word from it since it docked with the station.”

“So, you want us to go in and check out the situation.”

“Yes. You’ll be in command. Pick your team and be ready to go in sixteen hours.”

Dalworth nodded and stood. “If there isn’t anything else, I’ll assemble my team, Sir.”

Muse stood and held out his hand. Dalworth shook it firmly. “Be careful, Major. We don’t know what is going on. Hope for the best but expect the worst.”

“I always do, Sir.”

6: Departure

The dropship hovered in space a hundred meters from the gate awaiting clearance from Gate Control. In the Beta Hekara system, the original gate was nearing the Centrux complex. Gate Control wanted to drop the Marines as close to Centrux as possible. “Five minutes till gate entry,” the pilot said over the loudspeaker.

The inside of the dropship was cramped. The Marines, strapped in crash couches, faced each other across a narrow path that ran the length of the ship.

“You ever been through the gate, Major?” Skeeter nervously asked Dalworth.

“No, this will be the first time,” Dalworth said.

“What’s wrong Skeeter? Scared of the mean ol’ gate?” Monroe asked. “Want me to hold your hand when we go through?”

Laughter erupted in the bay and a smile tugged at the corner of Dalworth’s mouth.

“Would you, Monroe?” Skeeter asked. “Here you can hold onto this.” Skeeter offered his middle finger to Monroe.

When the laughter died away, Maddog, a burly marine that looked like his nickname, leaned forward and said, “I hear some strange shit goes down in the wormhole.”

Monroe rolled his eyes. “Maddog, you are always bringing up the weirdest crap. You need a girl friend or something.”

“I mean it,” said Maddog. “I talked with this freighter Captain and he said that while he was transiting to Beta Hekara, he saw the devil himself.”

“And last week, you said that Atlantis was rising up out of the ocean,” Pipes said.

“It will too,” Maddog said defensively.

“Hey, if the devil wants to show his ugly face, it’s all right by me,” Monroe said, tapping the .50 caliber handgun strapped to his side. “I’ll introduce him to Betsy, right between the eyes.”

“We have gate clearance,” the pilot said over the loudspeaker. “Hold onto your panties. Here we go.”

Dalworth leaned forward as the ship entered the gate and looked past the pilot out the forward viewscreen. The sight was a strange one. It looked like the ship was falling down a long, glowing tunnel. He tried to see some detail in the blue-white glow, but his eyes wouldn’t focus on any one spot. The effort gave him a headache, so he closed his eyes and leaned back into his couch.

“What the hell,” the pilot said over the loudspeaker as the dropship lurched violently. Alarms blared and the lights blinked off. After a second, the red glow of emergency lighting winked on. The ship continued to rock violently as the pilot struggled to regain control.

“Look!” Maddog shouted.

Dalworth looked forward again and the view gave him a chill. The glow of the tunnel had changed to a blood-red color. Shadows flitted around the dropship like bats in a cave.

“What the hell is going on?” Monroe asked, looking out the viewscreen. A clawed hand suddenly reached through the wall of the ship, grabbed him around the chest and pulled. He screamed as he began to slide through the wall.

Dalworth ripped off his seat belt and lunged at Monroe in one smooth motion. He clamped his large fist around Monroe’s hand and pulled, but the creature was stronger and Monroe slid out of his grasp and vanished through the wall.

“Away from the bulkheads,” Dalworth shouted. The Marines jumped from the couches, looking around wildly.

“They’re coming through the walls!” Skeeter said pointing. Maddog screamed as a pair of clawed hands reached down from the low ceiling, grabbed his head and pulled him upward.

“Hand to hand, knives only,” Dalworth shouted. They couldn’t risk punching a hole in the ship with arms fire.

“Here they come,” Pipes said as arms reached through the walls. Dalworth slashed at the hand reaching toward him, the sharp knife digging deep into the brown-furred arm. The arm retreated into the wall.

The pilot screamed as a creature sitting on the front of the ship pulled him through the forward viewscreen. Dalworth saw the creature rip out the pilot’s throat and toss the body aside. A chill raced up his spine as he recognized the creature. It was an Imp.

It’s happening again, Dalworth thought. A clawed hand appeared in front of him and he slashed with his knife, working the sharp blade in a figure eight and shredding the claw.

“Major!” Skeeter clutched at Dalworth as a pair of clawed hands pulled him down through the floor of the ship. Dalworth reached for the young Marine as something struck him hard on the head, knocking him to the floor. Skeeter looked at him, his eyes round with fear, as he disappeared through the deck.

Dalworth, his head spinning, tried to stand but an arm reached around his waist and began to pull him down. He drove his knife into the arm encircling his waist and twisted. Bone snapped and hot blood jetted into his face as the arm loosed it grip on him.

Another clawed hand reached from behind and gripped his throat, squeezing, the claws digging into his flesh. He twisted, trying to break the iron grip as darkness danced at the edge of his vision. He clutched the hand around his throat and pulled. The clawed fingers loosened for just a moment, then tightened again.

At least I’ll die with my men, he thought. The darkness closed around him.

7: Beta Hekara

Dalworth could hear a loud hissing noise as he floated in darkness. “Let me rest in peace,” he thought. He bumped into something soft and opened his eyes.

A face, eyes bulging, stared back at him. He screamed and pushed away from the body, looking around wildly. He was in freefall aboard the dropship. He grabbed at the bulkhead and steadied himself. His throat burned.

He pushed over to the body and looked at the face. It was Henries. Dalworth scanned the ship, but he was alone except for Henries and small globules of blood that floated toward the back of the ship. Dalworth recognized the hissing sound. The ship was losing air. He pulled himself forward to the cockpit.

The cockpit was empty and the control panel was dark. The ship was dead, no engines, no radio, no heat, no grav generator—nothing. The emergency lighting was running off the battery, but it was getting dimmer by the minute. He could see his breath in the cold air and soon it would be as cold as space itself.

He looked out the forward viewscreen and could see the Centrux complex floating just a few hundred meters off the nose of the ship. He turned and stared at Henries body. There would be a time to mourn his men, but not now. He had to get off the ship.

He pushed himself to the back of the ship and suited up. The spacesuit had a jet pack and enough fuel, he hoped, to get him to Centrux. He twisted the manual release on the escape door and bracing himself, opened the door. A flood of air rushed past him and Henries’ body popped out into space. Take care buddy, Dalworth thought as he watched the body spin away into space.

He stepped out the door, and fired the jetpack, aiming at the landing bay on the Centrux station. “Someone is going to pay,” he said to himself. “Someone is going to pay.”

Author's Note

This was to be the back-story for a megawad that never made it to completion. Did you catch the Bladerunner reference?