First Contact

Sgt. Alden peered around the outcrop of rock on which he was leaning at the low building in front of him. His mind went back to the recording he had heard in the Comms centre an hour before-

'There seems to be a disturbance outside, I....I think I hear gunshots....clear the room everybody......(interference).....where's the.......Oh God, what IS that?.................(muffled shout from another scientist)......Dr. Olsen, are you alright? For God's sake, can't you............(silence).

Alden could just make out the body of a security guard on the floor to the right of the research facility building, the three Hab units standing behind. This was a remote scientific research station, very small, but regularly served with supplies from a light shuttle that called twice a month. The work was relatively unimportant, but all attempts were being made to gain greater knowledge of this Northern Hemisphere of the planet, discovered a mere 68 years before. The South was settled in many places, with some large towns and even cities. Large mining corporations, eager to exploit the vast riches that no doubt lay beneath the surface of this enormous planet, had set up mining camps, then huge facilities and refineries, taking advantage of lucrative licences issued by a government in a hurry to establish a stable world, and who needed resources to be supplied as quickly as possible to achieve their aims. The military, of course, were seconded all over the planet to address the paranoia felt in higher echelons that other greedy civilisations were eyeing this, their greatest prize.

Alden muttered into his comms mike; 'Jena, are you in position?'

Corporal Jena's voice came clearly through his earpiece, 'Copy that'.

'Moving now, three possible contacts detected in the area, all to our front at the moment, hold where you are'


The Sergeant looked back at his fire team and signalled that they were moving out towards the research building. As they carefully stalked up  to the west side of the building, Alden kept an eye on the screen of his wrist data unit. The three red blips were moving slowly towards them, converging on the clutch of buildings.

A bead of perspiration trickled down his temple- was the data feed correct? This planet still had some magnetic variations that the comms boys hadn't yet worked out. Was there someone or something waiting for them beyond the building? He whispered into his mike again: 'Jena, move into those woods to the north of the facility, and see if you can get eyes on anything that might be giving me these readings.'

'Moving now Sarge' came Jena's reassuring voice.

Another blip moved on the wrist display, and Alden realised that he had to make a move or they could be overwhelmed if these possible enemy forces moved around them. Making the decision, he motioned the fire team forward across the front of the building and swung around the corner to find the cause of the radar blips. Five figures wearing curious red-sheened body armour were crouching in the lee of the building, their unfamiliar weapons to hand. They wore no helmets, and their skin was a startling blue colour, surmounted with hair of an even lighter blue. All this information entered  Alden's brain a split second before he gave the order to open fire. His well-drilled team instantly poured fire on to the alien figures, and watched three figures go down instantly.

Recovering from their surprise, the red-clad monsters returned fire, their laser rifles scything at the troopers and dropping one. Behind them, Alden could see another squad of 'Reds' turning in their direction, weapons coming up to train on them. Before he could call a warning, this second squad opened fire at them, carelessly aiming through the remainder of their comrades, as if these lives were immaterial. Sergeant Alden felt the searing burn as a Red with a heavy laser targeted him and sliced through his armour as if it was just so much paper. As he fell forward he saw the other members of his fire team had fallen, smoke whisping from armour that had been cut open with ease. In his earpiece he could hear excited shouting, but could not make it out, and gently slipped away.

To the north of the facility, Corporal Jena had been listening to the firefight through his own earpiece, and when the cries of pain and fear crackled through it, he frantically called out to Alden and other members of the fire team, but received no reply. He led his own team across a clearing and took cover just inside the tree line to see if he could spot the enemy that had accounted for the lives of his comrades. He just had time to make out the positions of these unearthly creatures before he directed fire from comrades. He saw one alien figure stagger back and fall under the weight of fire, but the enemy seemed to have no fear of being caught in the open, and stood their ground, returning fire with grim ferocity, slicing the trees and undergrowth with searing beams of light. From the corner of his eye, Jena spotted the survivors of the first firefight skirting around the front of the building, re-appearing on the other side, to add their firepower to the assault.

 He watched as one alien hefted the heavy laser on to his shoulder and swung round to his bearing. He was no coward, but someone had to return and give a report to Headquarters. With a brief glance, he looked towards his fallen brothers, then took the remainder of his team and melted into the woods.

So, this is a 'dramatised' account of a solo game I had today- very simple and quick, using some expanded FUBAR rules kindly supplied to me by Vulture, and bolting on the solo/campaign rules from SA5150 with my own variations. The indigenous troops were all 'Regular', and the Aliens were Veteran, my thinking being that any expeditionary or scout force would be made up of good quality troops. Miniatures were from Rebel, Armies Army, and the casualty figure was from GZG. The Research building was from Critical Mass Games, the Hab domes from The Ion Age, and the grav sled from Old Crow. The game was played over my own hand made hex terrain from Warbases.

It was a quick and simple game, mostly to test out the amalgamation of these rule sets, but it was a bit of fun. I have a hankering to expand the background of my imaginary universe, with the threat from the ruthless 'Red Menace', and incorporate the story into similar AARs, but with more thought and detail- does anybody have any ideas or (polite) suggestions as to whether I should pursue this?
Obviously I am no Sci Fi author, but I feel I would like to build the story and introduce actual characters (well, apart from poor old Sergeant Alden- his race is run!).

Anyway, if you have struggled down this far, thanks very much for persevering, and if you have commented, thanks for that too!

Oh, and Happy New Year for next week!