Welcome to another episode of my Firefall Fanfic. Due to Briggs’ upstanding work aiding the preliminary base in Antarctica, Accord Command has shipped the Lieutenant Colonel across the world to another recently discovered Melding Pocket located in Sargasso Sea. With a bustling Accord encampment already underway, Commander Clark assigned Briggs to oversee a covert excavation operation in the area. Perhaps there is more to the Accord’s presence in Sargasso than advancing the warfront?
Lieutenant Colonel Alexis Briggs – Unofficial Report
From frozen wasteland to tropical jungle, my latest foray into the Melding has taken me to the former Caribbean basin at the end of the Atlantic Archipelago, Sargasso Sea. Unlike the harsh desolation of Antarctica, Sargasso Sea is vibrant and full of life. That “life” however, consists of Toxic Varants and Sargasso Threshers, inhabitants who are far from friendly. Dominated by shades of green, towering fauna coils into the sky eclipsing the entrance natural light; gaseous pods cling to exposed rock faces while luminescent flora dots the ground. Each natural edifice, although beautiful, exudes an underlying essence of danger.
Known as prime thumping territory, ARES Operators often flock to the wild lushness of Sargasso for rare and lucrative resources. Beyond the allure of riches in the form of minerals and metals, the rain forest houses a much more cherished treasure, a crashed Chosen Dropslip submerged within a local waterway. Although top scientists have their theories, in reality, no one knows what cargo sleeps below the murky waters. If the Accord is willing to fund an entire excavation effort to discover the secret, they must be eager to find something valuable. While I share their hopes of grandeur, something makes me feel wary about this expedition…
Day two of the Darkslip excavation and everything is moving like a well-oiled machine. Even though I’ve just arrived in Sargasso Sea, the extraction appears to be going just fine without me – battleframe garbed men and women hustle to and fro as a series of Mag Lift Generators chug along in the background. Nauseous from the arcfold to Sargasso, the repetitive pounding of the lifts’ magnetic hammers, effectively adds a headache to my list of symptoms.
Essentially creating a hole through the fabric of space and time, whatever scientific madness allows travel through the reveries of a science fiction novel, though convenient, is immensely harsh on the body. While the process takes only a moment, within those few agonizing seconds, time seems to stand still. You can almost feel something clawing at your mind, dark incomprehensible whispers thrashing with foul intent as your body stretches at faster-than light speed; it’s something you never quite get used to.
Walking toward the epicenter of the excavation site, I approach a group of operators stacking a series of crates in hurried imprecision. “What’s in the boxes?” With an elusive glance in my direction, the foreman is unable to contain his annoyance.
“Scan hammers, what’s it to you?”
I suppose that I’ve gotten used to the royal treatment, most Accord members know who I am; especially with the flashy new job title of Lieutenant Colonel. “Oh uh nothing, I can see that you’re busy so I’ll get out of your hair,” the words roll off my tongue as my eyes dart to his glistening bald head.
Grumbling under his breath, the man’s furrowed brow transforms into a fully-fledged scowl, “Is that some kind of joke?” The downward trajectory of this conversation is beyond discouraging.
“Look, who is in charge here? I was sent by Accord Command to oversee the Darkslip extraction.” The workers stop what they’re doing and glance back and forth at each other. A few shrugs accompany the silence and the question falls upon deaf ears.
“No one is in charge,” an ARES Operator steps forward, toothpick dangling from his mouth, bouncing precariously with each word. “We all work together to get a piece of the pie, and this job has the potential for one giant pie.” The attempt to simulate the metaphor with his hands fails miserably. Recovering from the botched gesticulation, he returns his arms to a crossed position.
“Wait a second; Cole, Cole Marston, is that you?” Clad in roguish stubble and shaggy russet hair, the man before me barely resembles the clean-cut visage from my memory.
A childish grin spreads across his face, “It’s about time you recognized me.” The military formality melts at the sight of an old friend and we clinch in a rowdy hug. Officer Marston, or at least, that’s what I knew him as, was a member of the Centauri Accord in the days before the Melding and the Chosen. The legendary Admiral Orestes Nostromo pieced together isolated factions like the Centauri Accord and Brazilian Armed forces to form the world’s first de facto government after the Arclight crash. Marston could have accepted the opportunity to join the Accord as a high-ranking officer just as I did; why would he drop his titles and accolades to enter the ARES Program as a civilian?
“I haven’t seen you since Beijing, how did you end up all the way out here?”
A long pause precedes the confession. “Well, when the shit hit the fan with the Arclight, I gave up the honorable service for the pursuit of coin. Suits me better don’t you think?”
Although the title conjures images of altruistic heroes and humanitarian duty, the vast majority of Accord soldiers are more like glorified mercenaries. Given battleframes in exchange for small monetary stipends, regular citizens – teachers, farmers, and shop clerks make up the brunt of our military force; charged with carrying the burden of war, death, and most certain destruction at the hands of the Chosen.
“So…you’re a modern-day pirate now?”
A smirk creeps through his serious posture, “Hmph, if I’m a pirate, I’d say that you’re some sort of ninja.”
“Yeah, whatever you say. Let’s go get a drink.”
After an opulent display of spontaneity washed down with more than a few Wiki Wackers, I meander back to the comfort of my temporary office and drift into a catatonic state. Warmth envelops my body as I delve into a dream world far beyond the eternal hardships of Sargasso or New Eden. The Arclight never fell, the Chosen don’t exist, and mankind celebrates a new golden age of prosperity. The corners of my mouth curl in response to the cerebral elation.
As the dream hits its climax, the thematic bliss begins to change. A dark, swirling cloud casts a grimacing shadow as the fantasy enters the terrain of nightmares. The words “YOU ARE FORSAKEN” begin to echo in earsplitting repetition, shaking the very foundation of the unconscious realm. Amid the internal chaos, I can feel my deadened countenance stiffen. Shades of red and orange color the unconscious ecstasy with an odd hue as my eyes unhinge, and flutter open. Detecting the cascading glow of dawn’s light dancing against the military cot, I lay motionless with a sobering reminder to well, stay sober.
“What a weird dream.”
At the first sign of light, the Sargasso encampment begins to come alive. The thin walls transmit nearly every footstep, every muffled conversation, and every hum of mechanized motors. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and make the aesthetic shift from striped pajamas to officer’s uniform. One final glance at the mirror perched on an adjacent wall, and an exhausted woman returns my gaze.
“Man I look like hell. Drinking on the job probably wasn’t the best idea.” Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I exit the room.
When the door opens, the sun’s rays illuminate the verdant tree canopy in small pockets. Sprinkles of pollen float about in natural wonder, shimmering with hues of amber and gold. The picturesque display stops me in my tracks as I pause for a second to take it all in. For an instant, all my worries and troubles seem to melt away, but that moment is decidedly brief. Bursting downward through the clouds, streaks of orange dart across the sky as something slams into the earth beside the easternmost Mag Lift. A whoosh of air from above is followed by a violent tremor below.
I crouch to the ground, grasping the door frame to steady myself. Operators scattered throughout the encampment holler in confusion as the wailing sound of alarms envelop Sargasso. A myriad of dust taints the scene with a sandy haze, adding to the mass bewilderment. Wandering near the water’s edge, I spot Cole and his company of soldiers.
“Alexis, what’s happening?” Cole’s words barely permeate the chaos.
“I’m not sure but you need to get your squad together now.”
As the dust begins to settle, a jagged, triangular silhouette takes shape within the crater. As if vacuum sealed, a large metal panel lowers with a sudden rush of air. “It’s a giant Chosen Drop Pod!” An operator warns from a distance. A chilling roar pours from the opening as a Chosen like none other emerges from the shuttle.
Image Source: 
Originally written for Red 5 Studios during my time working there as Web Content Editor.