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Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)
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Thread: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

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    Default Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    (Version 2: Original paced in a spoiler tag below.)

    Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta


    “Humanities survival depends on its heroes,” Sergeant Benedict said as he straddled the walkway of the troop carrier, trailed by a cameraman.

    Jake gripped the shoulder bars of his seat and listened to the legendary soldier. His heart pumped and his hands trembled as the troop carrier burst through Klendathu’s atmosphere. Sergeant Benedict paused before a poster of himself.

    “We must be victorious,” he continued once the cameraman had caught up. “High Command is counting on us – on you – to defeat the Arachnid attack on Outpost Delta.”

    Jake tried to swallow. Outpost Delta was under siege and he and his fellow recruits were the emergency reinforcements. Opposite sat Trixie. He watched her inhale, count to four on her fingers, and exhale. Jake did the same.

    It could have been worse; they could have been assigned an officer as fresh out of boot-camp as themselves. Instead, they were assigned Sergeant Benedict, Hero of the Federation. How many recruits got a hero for squad leader?

    An alarm buzzed and an orange light whirled.

    “We land in two minutes, First Squad," Sergeant Benedict called out. “Have courage, fight hard – the Federation expects no less of you.”

    Hydraulics hissed and the bay door retracted. Sunlight swept inside with a roar of wind. Jake shielded his eyes as the heat stung his cheeks. Outside, he saw a gulf of blue frame the desert canyons of the Arachnid home-world. Another troop carrier flew into view with thrusters ablaze. The ship’s bay opened and inside Jake spied Second Squad. They clutched their shoulder bars with faces bright in the sunlight. Their stare returned his own.

    From below a crackle roared upward. A blue hue grew over Second Squad and in an instant, their craft exploded.

    Rock plasma burst through the ball of flames. A projectile launched from the abdomen of a giant Arachnid.

    Jake flinched and shielded his face. Around him, First Squad gasped. Shrapnel clattered over their hull and Sergeant Benedict stumbled away, eyes wide. The cameraman dropped to a knee and framed the shot.

    Sweat beaded under Jake’s helmet. Training could only prepare a solider so far. He tightened his grip on the shoulder bars and looked to Benedict. The Hero of the Federation wiped his face and straightened his collar. He closed his mouth when the camera refocused on him. Sergeant Benedict was not as broad-shouldered as in his poster depiction, Jake noted, nor was his chin as square.

    The troop compartment flashed green as a second alarm wailed.

    “Get ready troopers.” Benedict wiped sweat from his brow. “You’re about to land. Remember, you are soldiers of the Mobile Infantry.” He looked square into the camera’s lens. “But you too could be a Hero of the Federation.”

    The carrier’s descent slowed with a rattle. Jake looked through the exit and saw the walls of Outpost Delta rise around them. Gunfire snapped and a defence turret thrummed. Beyond the walls he heard the incessant click of legs and mandibles.

    The craft landed with a thud.

    “Go, go, go,” Benedict shouted as the recruit’s shoulder bars retracted. “Get armed and get to the walls. The Arachnids already attack. Outpost Delta must not fall.”

    Jake jumped to his feet and pulled open a weapon rack. He grabbed the assault rifles and handed them out to his comrades. Opposite, Trixie pulled at the shutter of a grenade rack.

    "It's jammed.” She thumped a hinge. “Shrapnel’s bust the latch.”

    “Forget the grenades.” Sergeant Benedict turned his profile to the camera. “A true soldier needs only courage and a rifle. Go, go, go, recruits. To the walls.”

    Jake passed Trixie a rifle and led her to join First Squad. Heat and dust hung in the compound as the waft of sweat and blood clung in the air. An ammo-bearer pushed past Jake and clambered up a ramp to join the veterans.

    “To the walls,” Sergeant Benedict shouted again from the carrier.

    Jake took in a breath and crossed the compound with his squad-mates. They reached the foot of a ramp and paused. Bullet casings rolled down the slope with a clink. Jake held a bannister and felt the reverberation of the bugs attack. He tried to recall his training. Keep your distance, aim for the nerve stem.

    Jake let go of railing as a fighter bug – twice the size of a man – leapt onto the wall. Chitin scratched metal as the insect skittered towards a defender. The Arachnid thrashed a set of razor-sharp legs and severed the man the instant gunfire tore it apart.

    “Oh, God,” a recruit cried. “The bugs are getting over the walls.”

    “Hold your nerve, recruit.” Jake stepped before First Squad. “You heard Sergeant Benedict – Outpost Delta must not fall. Come on.” He turned and charged up the ramp.

    Trixie pumped the barrel of her assault rifle. “You heard him troopers, to the walls.”

    Jake reached the palisade as First Squad huddled up behind him. He raised his rifle to his cheek and took aim. He paused.

    Before him squirmed an ocean of chitin. Legs clicked and mandibles chomped. The fighter bugs – countless – swarmed into a horde. They crawled from cracks and leapt from fissures to drive towards the walls. Legs hacked and slashed through a haze of dust. Squeals rang aloud as the defenders shot them back. They came again and again to fall in a heap of blood and guts – a heap that rose higher against the walls.

    “We’re doomed,” a recruit cried.

    Jake looked along the wall. A bug had clambered onto the turret tower.

    “We must save the turret," he said to Trixie. “Its the only firepower that can hold back the swarm.”

    Another bug leapt onto the wall, legs raised like a crab as it sliced the air.

    “It’s no use.” Trixie pointed down to the heap of dead bugs. “They have a breach.”

    Jake shook his head. “We’ve got to clear it, no matter what.”

    He grabbed an ammo-bearer who ran past.

    “Grenades,” Jake shouted. “Give me all your grenades.”

    “Have em’, rookie.” The ammo-bearer shoved a satchel into Jakes's hands and raced down the ramp.

    “Cover me, Trixie.”

    Jake shouldered his rifle, gripped the satchel and ran towards the heap. He heard Trixie’s gunfire snap overhead. As she reloaded, a bug sprang onto the platform with a chomp. It squealed and ran at Jake.

    “Get down,” Trixie yelled.

    Jake hit the floor and bit his teeth. Gunfire rang over his head. He heard a squeal and felt the splash of blood. He opened his eyes to see the bug slide off the wall. As he went to smile another bug leapt before him. He dropped the satchel and unholstered his rifle. The bug swiped and slashed his arm. Chitin chipped bone. Jake winced at the pain. The Arachnid skittered over him and he kicked his legs to scramble away. The mandible chomped above his scalp.

    A chorus of gunfire rang aloud and the arachnid burst apart. Jake blinked as worms of entrails slid off his helmet. He laughed and turned to see Trixie had led First Squad to his defence. They cheered and threw up their hands when he climbed to his feet.

    “Keep going,” Trixie yelled. “Wreck that heap before the next wave.”

    Jake drew in a breath, ignored the pain of his arm and grabbed the grenade satchel. He staggered along the wall, climbed onto the turret tower and leaned over the railing.

    Below, the Arachnids scaled the bloody heap. Jake bit the pin of a grenade and tossed down the satchel. The bundle landed with a slop. Jake turned, crouched and spat out the pin. The satchel exploded.

    The walls shuddered at the explosion. Around him, blood and guts fell with wet slaps.

    When the air had cleared, Jake grabbed the turret and took aim. The Arachnids wavered as the heap sank into a soup of entrails. They squirmed and hissed, but came no closer.

    The defenders' gunfire ceased and they turned to Jake. Cheer and applause erupted. Jake pushed back his helmet and held his rifle high.

    “You got guts,” Trixie said as she jumped onto the tower beside him.

    “Thanks.” Jake looked at his wound. “If it wasn't for you my guts would be everywhere.”

    Trixie laughed and slapped his back.

    “Get ready for Fed Net,” she said as Sergeant Benedict appeared with his cameraman.

    Jake wiped a fleshy lump off his shoulder as the cameraman crouched before him.

    “Brave soldier of the Federation,” Sergeant Benedict said as he stepped in front of Trixie. He shook Jake’s hand. “The Arachnids will never win against such courage.”

    The sergeant shuffled Jake towards the railings and posed for the camera. Behind them, the Arachnids had fallen silent.

    “What’s your name, son?” Benedict whispered.

    “Jake.”

    “Jake,” Sergeant Benedict said to the camera, “...is a true soldier of the Mobile Infantry.” He patted Jake on the back and flashed a smile. “Perhaps tomorrow he too will be a Hero of the Federation.”

    The sergeant’s praise faltered as a tremor rocked the outpost. A burst of dust and rubble erupted from a gape in the canyon. Behind a curtain of sand a tanker bug emerged. A great mass that dragged its hulk from the depths. Rocks crumbled beneath its feet as sunlight bent over its black carapace. Behind the giant, fighter bugs shivered into a frenzy.

    “Holy Sky Marshal,” Sergeant Benedict exclaimed as he hugged the railing.

    The tanker bug rose with a stomp. Between its mandibles a spark ignited into a flame.

    “Trixie,” Jake shouted as he grabbed the turret. “I’m almost out, get ready to reload.”

    He pulled the trigger and fired at the giant as Sergeant Benedict fled down a ramp.

    “Get outta here,” Trixie yelled at his cameraman.

    The turret thrummed as gunfire pounded from each barrel. The rounds ricocheted off the bug. The hulk pressed forward.

    “Jake,” Trixie yelled as the bug's flame sizzled into liquid fire.

    The giant lifted its head and bellowed from its abdomen. Molten fire shattered over wall’s defenders. Their screams rose and fell, stifled by cooked lungs. Jake clenched his jaw as First Squad disintegrated into globs.

    “Quick, Jake,” Trixie shouted as the bug turned towards them.

    Jake held his breath and aimed instead for the bug's abdomen.

    The rounds curled through the air and pieced the Arachnid. The hulk staggered with a shiver. Fire hissed from its thorax.

    “That’s it, Jake. Shoot its guts out.”

    Jake fired again, his knuckles white as the sun baked his neck. The rounds struck again and the tanker bug sunk as liquid flame spewed over rocks. The arachnid swayed and convulsed.

    “Oh, no.” Jake let go of the trigger.

    The giant arachnid teetered and collapsed against the compound. The wall creaked and buckled and tore apart.

    Jake and Trixie gripped the railing and looked into the compound. The wall lay in ruin around the smouldering giant.

    Jake turned to the canyon. The fighter bugs squealed, clicked their legs and raced towards the breach. Outpost Delta was lost.

    “Retreat," Sergeant Benedict screamed as he climbed out of a crate.

    “Quick, Jake." Trixie pulled at his shoulder. "We've got to get back to the carrier."

    Jake pushed himself from the turret as the click of legs skittered into the compound.

    “Its too late,” he said as he saw a bug leap for the carrier. “Load the turret.”

    “We can't stay and fight, Jake. The craft won't wait."

    A rattle of gunfire echoed as the pilot defended the craft.

    “Take off,” Sergeant Benedict screamed. He shoved past the cameraman and scrambled into the troop compartment. “Take off, take off.”

    “Go,” Jake said to Trixie. “We’ve lost the compound but we mustn't lose the Hero of the Federation. Get to the craft, this turret only needs one gunner.”

    Trixie hesitated.

    “Load the turret and get out of here.”

    Trixie clenched her jaw. She grabbed a cartridge and slotted it into the turret with a clunk. She looked at Jake.

    “Go,” he said. “Before its too late.”

    He took aim at the bugs as Trixie placed a hand to his back. She turned and left for the craft.

    The bugs burst through the breach and squealed as Jake fired. Below he saw Trixie run across the compound. He swivelled the turret and shot down a bug that leapt for her. She ducked and weaved and scrambled inside the carrier.

    He heard her call to the pilot as she banged the hull with a fist. Thrusters flared, dust bellowed and the craft rose. Arachnids swarmed beneath to stab and slash. Jake let go of the trigger as the carrier climbed to safety.

    Stood at the bay door he saw Trixie cast him a salute. Behind her, Benedict wailed as he pulled at his hair. Trixie turned and punched the sergeant into a seat.

    Jake smiled. Outpost Delta was lost but he'd saved the Hero of the Federation.

    He threw down his helmet and saluted the craft as the Arachnids raced up behind him.


    The End - Thanks for reading, thoughts and feedback most welcome.


    Version 01
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    “Humanities survival depends on its heroes,” Sergeant Benedict said as he straddled the walkway of the troop carrier, trailed by a cameraman.

    Jake gripped the shoulder bars of his seat as he listened to the legendary soldier. His heart pumped and his hands trembled as the troop carrier burst through Klendathu’s atmosphere. When the turbulence calmed, Sergeant Benedict stepped before a poster of himself.

    “We must be victorious,” he continued once the cameraman caught up. “High Command is counting on us – on you – to defeat the Arachnid attack on Outpost Delta.”

    Jake tried to swallow. Outpost Delta was under siege and he and his fellow recruits had been hastily drawn-up as reinforcements. He inhaled, counted to four, and exhaled. It could have been worse; his squad could have been assigned an officer who was also fresh out of boot camp. Instead they were assigned Sergeant Benedict, Hero of the Federation. How many recruits got a hero as squad leader for their first mission?

    An alarm buzzed and an orange light lit up Jake and his squad-mates as they sat with their hands clutched to their shoulder bars.

    “We land in two minutes, First Squad," Sergeant Benedict said over the wail of the alarm. “Have courage and fight hard – the Federation expects no less of you.”

    Hydraulics hissed as the bay door opened to a roar of wind. Sunlight swept inside and Jake shielded his eyes as a wash of heat stung his cheeks. Through the exit he saw a blue sky hang over the desert canyons of Klendathu, the Arachnid home-world. Outside, Jake saw another troop carrier fly into view with thrusters ablaze. He saw its bay door open and he squinted to see Second Squad huddled inside. They too sat with their shoulder bars gripped in hand, their faces bright in the sunlight and with eyes that stared back at him.

    Jake saw a face he recognised but he could not smile. From below he heard a fizz and crackle roar towards them. A blue hue grew over Second Squad and in an instant their craft was struck by a barrage of plasma; a projectile fired from the hulk of a giant Arachnid below.

    The troop carrier exploded into a burst of fire and smoke. Jake flinched and shielded his face as the recruits of First Squad gasped. Shrapnel clattered over their hull like hail. Sergeant Benedict stumbled back against his poster, his eyes wide as the cameraman dropped to a knee to capture the explosion.

    Jake felt his heart hammer as sweat beaded under his helmet. Training could only prepare a solider so far. He gripped his shoulder bars again and looked to Benedict. The Hero of the Federation pushed himself off his poster and straightened his collar. He closed his mouth when the cameraman swivelled back to record him. Sergeant Benedict was not as broad-shouldered as in the poster depiction, Jake noted, nor was his chin as square.

    The troop compartment flashed with a green light and another alarm sounded.

    “Get ready troopers,” Benedict said after he cleared his throat. “You’re about to land. Remember, you are soldiers of the Mobile Infantry,” he looked into the camera lens, “but you too could be Heroes of the Federation.”

    The troop carrier’s descent slowed and through the bay door Jake saw Outpost Delta rise up around them. He heard the rattle of gunfire, the thrum of a defence turret and the drone of the Arachnid swam echo from beyond the defensive walls.

    The craft landed at the centre of Outpost Delta in a swirl of dust. Jake let go of his shoulder bars as they juddered and retracted.

    “Go, go, go,” Benedict shouted as he pointed at the exit. “Get armed and get to the walls. The Arachnids already make their assault. You must not let Outpost Delta fall.”

    Jake jumped to his feet, pulled open the rifle rack and passed each soldier a weapon as they disembarked. Opposite him another recruit, Trixie, pulled on the shutter of the grenade rack.

    "It's jammed,” she called out as she banged its hinge. “Shrapnel’s bust the latch.”

    “Forget the grenades,” Sergeant Benedict said as he turned his profile to the camera. “A true soldier needs only courage and a rifle. Go, go, go, recruits. To the walls.”

    Jake passed Trixie a rifle and followed her into the compound together with First Squad. The air was thick with heat, dust and the smell of sweat and blood. He heard radios crackle, the wounded wail and officers yell. Ammo bearers ran back and forth, medics clamped wounds together and on the walls, veterans fired into the canyon.

    “To the walls,” Sergeant Benedict shouted again from the troop carrier.

    Jake took in a breath and followed Trixie and First Squad across the compound. They reached a ramp that led up to the perimeter wall’s palisade. Bullet casings rolled towards them as they climbed the slope. Jake could feel the railing shudder as the walls clanged to the assault of the bugs on the other side. He could hear their squirms and squeals and he tried to recall his training. Keep your distance, aim for the nerve stem.

    The clash of chitin against metal rang aloud as a fighter bug, twice the size of a man, leapt onto the walls. The insect skittered towards a defender and with a thrash of its razor-sharp forelegs, severed the veteran in half.

    “Oh, god,” a recruit cried as the Arachnid squealed and turned towards First Squad.

    The bug rose on its legs and darted for the ramp only to shudder and splatter to a hail of gunfire.

    “The bugs are getting over the walls,” another recruit cried as he turned back down the ramp.

    “Hold your nerve, recruit,” Jake said as he stepped before the squad. “You heard Sergeant Benedict – Outpost Delta must not fall. Come on, First Squad, we can do this.” He turned and charged up the ramp.

    “You heard him,” Trixie said as she pumped the barrel of her rifle. “To the walls.”

    Jake reached the palisade as First Squad scrambled behind him. He raised his rifle to his cheek but held his fire as he looked into the desert canyon below.

    An ocean of chitin squirmed and clicked beneath a cloud of sand. The fighter bugs writhed into a mass as they crawled from cracks and leapt from fissures. They drove in waves towards the walls with forelegs poised to slash and stab. Squeals rang through the canyon as the compound’s defenders shot them down. They came again and again, to fall into a heap of dead that rose up to the palisade.

    “We’re doomed,” a recruit said as he saw the pile bridge the compound's defences.

    Jake looked along the wall. To the far side he saw a bug clamber onto the turret tower and slay the gunner.

    “We must save the turret," he said to Trixie. “Only its gunfire has a chance to hold back the swarm.”

    Another bug leapt onto the wall, its legs raised like a crab as it stabbed the air.

    “It’s no use, look.” Trixie pointed to the pile of dead bugs the Arachnid had leapt from.

    Jake shook his head. “We’ve got to clear that breach then, no matter what.”

    He grabbed an ammo bearer by the shoulder as he ran past.

    “Grenades,” Jake shouted. “Give me all your grenades.”

    “Have em’, rookie.” The ammo bearer shoved a satchel into Jakes' hands and ran back down the ramp.

    “Cover me, Trixie.”

    Jake strapped his rifle over his shoulder, held the satchel to his chest and ran towards the tower. He heard Trixie’s gunfire snap over his head as she killed the bugs ahead. As she reloaded, another jumped onto the platform. The Arachnid chomped its mandible, stabbed the air with its legs and ran for Jake.

    “Get down,” Trixie yelled as the bug skittered over him.

    Jake ducked, his heart froze. Bullets rattled over his helmet and he bit his teeth. He heard a squeal and felt the splash of blood as the bug ruptured to gunfire. Jake opened his eyes and let out a breath, but as he climbed to his feet another bug leapt before him. He dropped the satchel and aimed his rifle but the bug slashed to strike his arm. Jake felt a pain burn as chitin chipped bone. He dropped his rifle and fell beside the satchel as blood welled from his wound. The Arachnid crawled over him like a spider, he kicked his legs and tried to scramble away. He could hear the click of its legs and the chomp of its mandible near his head. He closed his eyes and felt a spray of blood.

    The Arachnid fell dead and Jake opened his eyes to see himself drip in green entrails. He laughed and turned to see Trixie had led First Squad to his defence. They cheered and threw up their hands when they saw him climb to his feet.

    “Keep going,” Trixie yelled. “Blow up that heap before the next wave.”

    Jake drew in a breath, ignored the pain of his wound and grabbed the grenade satchel. He ran to the turret, clambered up the stairway and jumped over the gunner’s severed remains.

    The canyon rumbled as the Arachnids clambered again to climb the pile of their dead. Jake bit free the pin of a grenade and tossed the satchel over the wall. It landed on the pile with a thud. Jake crouched and spat out the pin as the satchel exploded. The walls shuddered as a shower of blood and guts landed with a wet slaps.

    When the air had cleared, Jake grabbed the turret and took aim. He saw the Arachnids waver and come to a stop. They squirmed and jabbed their legs at the air but came no closer to Outpost Delta. Jake leaned over the wall and saw the pile had been blasted apart, the breach was cleared.

    The defenders' gunfire ceased and they turned to Jake with cheers and applause. Jake pushed back his helmet, smiled and held his rifle above his head.

    “You got some guts,” Trixie said as she climbed the tower to stand beside him.

    “Thanks.” Jake looked at his bloody arm. “If it wasn't for you, though, my guts would be everywhere.”

    Trixie laughed and nodded behind him.

    “Get ready for Fed Net,” she said as the cameraman clambered up the steps with Sergeant Benedict.

    Jake wiped a chunk of green flesh off his shoulder as the cameraman zoomed his lens.

    “Brave soldier of the Federation,” Sergeant Benedict said as he stepped in front of Trixie to shake Jake’s hand. “The Arachnids could never win against such courage.”
    Sergeant Benedict shuffled Jake towards the railing to pose for the cameraman. Behind them, the canyon swelled with the halted Arachnids.

    “What’s your name, son?” the sergeant whispered.

    “Jake.”

    “Jake,” Sergeant Benedict said to the camera, “is a true soldier of the Mobile Infantry.” He patted Jake on the back. “Perhaps tomorrow he too will be a hero of the Federation.”

    The sergeant tried to smile but a tremor caused the turret tower to sway. The compound shuddered as a burst of dust and rubble erupted from a crack that gaped in the canyon. From it a tanker bug rose to drag its great hulk onto the earth. Rocks crumbled under the giants feet as sunlight shimmered over its black carapace. Behind the hulk, the fighter bugs began to shiver into a frenzy.

    “Holy Sky Marshal,” Sergeant Benedict exclaimed as he gripped the railing.

    The tanker bug rose on its legs and between its mandibles a spark ignited into a flame.

    “Trixie,” Jake shouted as he grabbed the turret. “I’m almost out, get ready to reload.”

    He pulled the trigger tight and fired at the giant as its jaws glowed with flames. Behind them, Sergeant Benedict fled down the stairs.

    “Get outta here,” Trixie yelled to his cameraman.

    The turret rattled as gunfire pounded from each barrel. Jake squinted as he aimed for the bug's head only to see each round ricochet as though it had struck stone.

    “Jake,” Trixie yelled as the bug's flame ignited into liquid fire.

    The bug lifted its head and with a bellow from its abdomen, blew the molten fire over the defenders on the wall. Screams wailed and bodies crackled. Jake saw First Squad disintegrate into globs as veterans wreathed like ants caught in a flame.

    “Quick, Jake,” Trixie shouted as the bug turned towards them.

    Jake clenched his jaw and aimed instead for the bug's abdomen.

    The rounds curled through the air to strike the Arachnid's underside. The hulk staggered with a shiver as a jet of fire hissed from its thorax.

    “That’s it, Jake. Shoot its guts out.”

    Jake fired again, his knuckles white as he felt the burn of the sun on his neck. The rounds struck the bug's abdomen again and it sunk on its legs as it erupted with a bang. Liquid flame spewed over the rocks as the bug swayed and convulsed.

    “Oh, no,” Jake said as he let go of the trigger.

    The Arachnid teetered to one side and fell onto the compound wall with a crash. The palisade spilt and twisted apart as the perimeter wall buckled and collapsed. Trixie fell to the floor as the turret tower swayed and creaked.

    When the tower steadied, Jake held out his hand and helped her back to her feet. They stood beside each other and looked into the compound. The perimeter wall was torn into ruin, its defenders dead as the giant bug’s abdomen crackled and sparked.

    Jake looked to the canyon. The fighter bugs squealed and clicked their legs as they raced towards the sundered walls. Outpost Delta was lost.

    “Retreat," Sergeant Benedict screamed as he climbed out of a crate and ran for the troop carrier.

    “Quick, Jake," Trixie said as she pulled at his shoulder. "We've got to get back to the carrier."

    As Jake pushed himself from the turret, he heard the click of legs run into the compound.

    “Load the turret,” he said as he saw a fighter bug run towards the carrier.

    “We can't stay and fight, Jake. The craft won't wait."

    The sound of rifle fire echoed from the compound as the pilot defended the craft.

    “Take off,” Sergeant Benedict screamed as he shoved aside the cameraman to scramble into the craft. “Take off, take off.”

    “Go,” Jake said to Trixie. “We’ve lost the compound but we mustn't lose the Hero of the Federation as well. Get to the craft, this turret only needs one gunner.”

    Trixie hesitated.

    “Load the turret and get outta here.”

    Trixie clenched her jaw as she grabbed a cartridge and slotted it into the turret. She went to speak but Jake beckoned her away.

    “Go. Before is too late,” he said as he took aim at the bugs again. He felt Trixie place a hand to his back before she left for the craft.

    Through the breach the bugs squirmed and squealed. Jake fired at the Arachnid's that crawled over the dead giant. Below he saw Trixie run across the compound. He swivelled the turret and took aim at a bug that leapt for her. She ducked and weaved and scrambled to safety inside the carrier.

    He heard her call to the pilot as she banged the hull with a fist. Thrusters flared and the craft climbed into the air. Arachnids swarmed around the carrier, their legs singed as they stabbed and slashed at the underside of the craft. When the carrier had risen to safety Jake let go of the trigger.

    Through the open bay door, he saw Trixie cast him a salute. Behind her, Sergeant Benedict still wailed as he pulled at his hair. Trixie turned and punched the sergeant back into a seat.

    Jake smiled. Outpost Delta was lost, but at least he'd saved the Hero of the Federation. He threw down his helmet and watched the craft rise into the sky as the Arachnids raced up behind him.
    Last edited by C-Beams; November 12, 2018 at 10:47 AM. Reason: Rewrite - version 2
    My Creative Writing - CBeamsStories.com

  2. #2

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    A nice and refreshingly fast sci-fi story of the type that I like.

    Its good to see that the so called 'Rookie' was the one who showed sucidel(Auto correct is messing up this particular word) bravery in the end to save the 'Hero' .

    Though i wouldn't love to be in Jake's position by the end of the story howmuchever the glory.
    To anyone concerned. I am leaving twc. Bye and best of luck.
    And Pike thanks for supporting me always.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Thank you. It was fun to write, despite having to re-draft it three times.

    And if you ever get the itch for a Starship Troopers type of game, check out Infested Planet.

  4. #4
    The Wandering Storyteller's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Hi C-Beams I'll be getting around to giving feedback.

    Do you require any inline critique?





















































  5. #5

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Oh sure, critique would be appreciated. Cheers!

  6. #6
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Great story, you captured the excitement and terror of serving in the Mobile Infantry. The banter between the soldiers and the action is done well and this feels like an authentic Starship Troopers tale.

    When I saw which planet they're on, I remembered what happened on that planet in the first Starship Troopers film and thought 'uh oh, they have no chance!'. I wonder if you intended readers to have that reaction (I wondered if this reduces the tension in the story - but maybe any story about the Mobile Infantry in action in this war is likely to have a similar outcome). I enjoyed the twist about the identity of the Hero of the Federation.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Hey Alwyn, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Yeah, the scene in my story stays very close to the films outpost scene. This was largely just as a way to help me write the story. Sci fi is not something I usually write and I felt more comfortable sticking close to the imagery left in my mind from the film. Fanfic is good in that way; it helps reduce the creative burden so one can concentrate on other aspects to practice. My aim with this story was to practice theme and character arc (and also plot structure when I realised my first drafts were broken in this way.)

    That said, there are some drawbacks to sticking close to the original material. For instance, in the first draft I wrote of this story, I tried too hard to try and get all the details of the bugs and the outpost exact. That led to heavy descriptions which made my story devolve into 'told' and not 'shown' and it read in a very sluggish manner. In the end I decided to be more vague and leave the reader to fill in most of the imagery details. I think that worked better. But in my writing, I do tend to be very vague in appearance details. This is something I feel I need to improve on. I've yet to find how to make a character visually rememberable without bogging down the prose in irrelevant details. Any tips on this would be great!

    What I was really trying to do in this story was to practice theme, plot structure and the character's arc. For instance, propaganda and false idols is what I had in mind for theme. I tried to achieve this by showing the fanaticism towards the 'Hero of the Federation', Sergeant Benedict. I wrote the end of the story so the main character thinks he did well by sacrificing himself to protect Benedict. Yet, hopefully, the reader could see this was misguided, as Sergeant Benedict is a wimp and someone who is simply propped up for the Federation's propaganda.

    With the character arc, I tried to show the main character, Jake, as someone who begins nervous and unsure, yet grows into a more brave and decisive individual. I was concerned that the character transitioned too sharply in this way. I tried to use his admiration of Benedict as a link in this transition (when he stands in front of the wavering squad to repeat Benedict's words "Outpost Delta must not fall." ) Perhaps I needed more of these 'links'?

    The plot structure for this story was a big hurdle. Twice I had to re-draft because I saw how the plot was not going to wrap up in the way I wanted. In the end I decided to properly outline the story and to do so on a 'plot graph' (like Freytag's triangle.) This helped immensely and I learned that I am not really someone who can just sit and write a tale without preparation. Sometime ago, I really delved into the planning of a story, outlining extensively. But I found most of my best ideas emerge when I am well into the first draft which results in the need to re-outline all over again. That's tedious, so I decided to write 'on-the-fly' instead. That has worked just fine up until this story where I kept getting stumped on the plot structure. Now I am trying to find a more fluid system of outlining. There is something you may have already heard of, the Snowflake Method. I like its principle of developing a story in layers, bit by bit. Although it is still too rigid for me. A good starting point though.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    I'll be delivering my crit very soon.





















































  9. #9

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Quote Originally Posted by San Felipe View Post
    I'll be delivering my crit very soon.
    That's great. Looking forward to it. I will be rewriting my S.T.A.L.K.K.E.R story as well as this Starship Trooper story soon; using the improved prose techniques I have learned from participating in TotW. Your crit will be very welcome.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Hey C-Beams,

    I've finally managed to get around to reading this (though a week later than I planned to), and I've got some thoughts that might be of interest to you.

    First of all, I was not as enthused about this one, but only because it is not in a style that I like as much. It moves fast and has a lot of action, which is simply not my usual taste. This is not a critique, or anything for you to be concerned with, but I always think it's worth reminding writers that someone might not like your piece simply because they don't like the genre/tone/pacing/etc., without that saying anything about the writing itself. So, to be 100% clear, though it's not my cup of tea, I think what you have done here is quite good, and has the right sort of structure and detail that one would (possibly even "should") expect from a Starship Troopers fanfic. After all, Tolkien-style description would be jarring to have in something that has Rico's Roughnecks as a background part of the universe.

    I also think you made good use of some opportunities in ways that built up to larger points you had in mind. For example I thought this bit right near the beginning was particularly good:
    Quote Originally Posted by C-Beams
    Sergeant Benedict paused before a poster of himself.
    Without laying into it heavily, or even laying into it at all, we immediately get the impression that Sgt. Benedict is a pompous a**, who is super involved with himself. This sets up his later cowardice quite nicely, by showing that he has a show-off personality, but not really a warrior ethos. There are other little moments like that that do a good job building character without saying a word that is obviously about that individual.

    On the other hand, there are a couple little scenes where I feel like you missed opportunities, or could have taken advantage of the imagery more. For instance, when Jake blows up the pile of bugs and Trixie comes up to him you wrote
    Quote Originally Posted by C-Beams
    “You got guts,” Trixie said as she jumped onto the tower beside him.
    I felt like it would have fit very nicely (and subtly built their relationship more), if you had added something where Trixie flicks a bit of bug off of his shoulder while she says that. It gets you a little pun on her behalf, showing a sort of lightness about them both and also building more the idea that they are "real" soldiers (when facing terrible things they can still laugh and make jokes, unlike Benedict who cowers behind walls).

    Another thing I would have loved to have seen (but this is certainly not something necessary) was a reference to Aliens in the bit where the other soldier thinks they're doomed. You wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by C-Beams
    “We’re doomed,” a recruit cried.
    But I thought it would have been awesome to get a reference to Bill Paxton's punk-a** by having the line instead be '"We're all gonna die!" the recruit wailed.' Again, not at all necessary, but that is the sort of light sci-fi references that I would expect in a fanfic (I may very well be an outlier here though).

    As a final comment, I'd like to address a question you pose above:
    Quote Originally Posted by C-Beams
    But in my writing, I do tend to be very vague in appearance details. This is something I feel I need to improve on. I've yet to find how to make a character visually rememberable without bogging down the prose in irrelevant details. Any tips on this would be great!
    One possible technique I find really cool, but a bit harder to get right, is to describe an individual by describing how they seem, and not how they are. I don't know if you read anything from Neil Gaiman, but I find he does this often, and does it exceedingly well. When introducing some new character, you can tell us how the protagonist views that newcomer, whether he or she is seen as strong, cowardly, talkative, etc. You can say things like "He created an impression of darkness" or "Her smile radiated trust, but her eyes failed to match." Such things don't really tell us anything about what the person looks like, but it allows us to create images that make sense for ourselves, and moreover allows your readers to create a huge variety of descriptions for themselves. That can also be an easy way to sneak in character elements without having to get at them via plot or action. The tricky thing about that is that it can sometimes seem like you are just doing a lazy character build there, which requires you to be somewhat more clever about how and when you throw those descriptions in there.

    Another way to go about descriptions (without actually describing) is to do the (very clever) thing you've done above with the Sgt. You don't say what he looks like, but when he's next to the poster you make some comparisons. We still don't have a clue how that dude looks (hair color? eye color? weight? ethnicity?) but each reader will be able to slap on their own personal view of a blustery coward and they'll be seeing exactly what you want them to see. So that is also a way to go about things.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts about it, but they are just my thoughts. What do I know
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  11. #11
    The Wandering Storyteller's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Right don’t know why this has taken me so long but let’s do this!

    I've done 451 words on part 1. I'll post the other two parts.

    “Humanities survival depends on its heroes,” Sergeant Benedict said as he straddled the walkway of the troop carrier, trailed by a cameraman.
    1) The as word is annoying, consider getting rid of it.
    2) Straddling where? Are they on a helicopter?
    3) Where is the Cameraman to be exact?
    Jake gripped the shoulder bars of his seat and listened to the legendary soldier. His heart pumped and his hands trembled as the troop carrier burst through Klendathu’s atmosphere. Sergeant Benedict paused before a poster of himself.
    1) Examine – legendary solider. You need to build up a sense of him then you can establish that he is legendary
    2) How – the heart and hands trembling?
    3) You should involve a buckling sense. The spaceship or troop carrier needs to do a lot more. Make that the part of your story.
    4) What is Klendathu – give it an idea, an identitiy.
    5) Why is Sergeant Benedict – pausing – you could two sentences describing his haughtiness.
    “We must be victorious,” he continued once the cameraman had caught up. “High Command is counting on us – on you fellow soliders – to defeat the Arachnid attack on Outpost Delta.”
    My suggestion:
    ‘Come back with glory, or end up being the Arachnid’s dinner! High Command is counting on us, you scoundrels, you rotten bastards, to defeat the Arachnid attack! Who is with me!’
    If you listen to the Doctor who soundtrack it gets you in the mood.
    Jake tried to swallow (His fear?). Outpost Delta was under siege(How under siege, give it some sort of a description here.) and he and his fellow recruits were the emergency reinforcements(How much experience have they had? You need to make this distinction clear) .
    Opposite sat Trixie. He watched her inhale, count to four on her fingers, and exhale. Jake did the same.
    Great sentence but it needs work. Because who is besieging the Outpost? Is it a bunch of a Daleks? Imagine if it was a band of History’s worst armies. Then you could have the reader fearing. Daleks eliminate everything that is non-dalek. If they’re emergency forces, they know what they’re going to face is the equivalent to Mordor’s Orcs. You have got to make it more urgent.
    It could have been worse; they could have been assigned an officer as fresh out of boot-camp as themselves.

    Emphasise this. Are they crack troops? Are they like Confederate troops fighting out a last desparate stand against overwhelming Union squads? Are they reflecting on the fact that they were at the start of the war winning? Or not?


    Instead, they were assigned Sergeant Benedict, Hero of the Federation.(Yes but what does that tell us about him? Establish his character first.) How many recruits got a hero for squad leader?
    With the alarm and orange bell, you could add it onto the top.

    “We land in two minutes, First Squad," Sergeant Benedict called out. “Have courage, fight hard – the Federation expects no less of you.”

    Have courage fight hard

    Good choice, but you could make it more urgent.

    'Courage you rotten bastards! Fight as if your bloody lives depend on it! The Federation expects no mercy! Leave no mercy! Spare none!'

    Etc.





















































  12. #12

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Wow, a double whammy of critique!

    Many thanks to you both for taking the time to read my story and write down your thoughts. I will reply in a couple of days once I've had time to absorb and reflect on each post. Thanks again.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Np, the story's quite a lot to crit it in one post, so separate posts may help you identify the crucial parts. Hope it helps!





















































  14. #14

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Apparently its been just over a week since you posted your critique. Sorry for my snail-paced response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    First of all, I was not as enthused about this one, but only because it is not in a style that I like as much.
    No problem. I like your comments you mentioned about pacing (style) in my Stalker story thread. Since then, pacing is definitely something I keep well aware of now. Regarding this story, the pacing is fast and I think the story works better. Like you said, 'Tolkien-style description would be jarring.' It wasn't a deliberate choice mind, so kind of a fluke. I'll be more aware of my style choice in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    I also think you made good use of some opportunities in ways that built up to larger points you had in mind. For example I thought this bit right near the beginning was particularly good...
    I am glad that worked. If I recall correctly, I had propaganda in mind as a theme and I wanted to show Benedict in the light of the characters eyes first (a hero), then reveal to the reader how he really is (a coward.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    On the other hand, there are a couple little scenes where I feel like you missed opportunities, or could have taken advantage of the imagery more. For instance... if you had added something where Trixie flicks a bit of bug off of his shoulder
    Good catch. I defiantly should have done what you said to better establish their relationship. It would have made their separation at the end more meaningful. In future I will write more in-depth outlines to try and ensure I do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    Another thing I would have loved to have seen (but this is certainly not something necessary) was a reference to Aliens in the bit where the other soldier thinks they're doomed.
    That's a cool idea and would have been fun to write in. I did try something similar when Benedict exclaims 'Holy Sky Marshall' instead of 'Oh God' or something. (Sky Marshalls are the top of the military command chain in the Starship Trooper franchise)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    As a final comment, I'd like to address a question you pose above...
    That is very interesting. I have not read any of Neil Gaiman. Not yet at least. I like your idea to use a characters behaviour as a way to describe them. 'allows your readers to create a huge variety of descriptions for themselves.' Sounds like a very subtle and effective technique. Cheers, I'll try it.

    Thanks again for taking the time to critique my story.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Hey San Felipe, here's my reply...

    Quote Originally Posted by San Felipe View Post
    “Humanities survival depends on its heroes,” Sergeant Benedict said as he straddled the walkway of the troop carrier, trailed by a cameraman.
    1) The as word is annoying, consider getting rid of it.
    Yeah, I agree. There is something about the word 'as' that I find dislikeable. I don't know why. I feel the same about sentences that have too many words ending with 'ing'.

    Quote Originally Posted by San Felipe View Post
    2) Straddling where? Are they on a helicopter?
    'Sergeant Benedict said as he straddled the walkway of the troop carrier, trailed by a cameraman.'

    3) Where is the Cameraman to be exact?
    As above.

    Jake gripped the shoulder bars of his seat and listened to the legendary soldier. His heart pumped and his hands trembled as the troop carrier burst through Klendathu’s atmosphere. Sergeant Benedict paused before a poster of himself.
    1) Examine – legendary solider. You need to build up a sense of him then you can establish that he is legendary
    2) How – the heart and hands trembling?
    3) You should involve a buckling sense. The spaceship or troop carrier needs to do a lot more. Make that the part of your story.
    4) What is Klendathu – give it an idea, an identity.
    5) Why is Sergeant Benedict – pausing – you could two sentences describing his haughtiness.
    1. I disagree on this point.
    2. Adrenaline. Perhaps I did not establish enough tension to make that clear.
    3. I agree. Some description of the craft struggling in it decents would of added to the tension and perhaps better explain why the main character is trembling.
    4. Klendathu is the Arachnid homeworld. I was forgetting that not everyone reading this fanfic would be aware of these details. My bad.
    5. Benedict pauses by the poster of himself. I wrote this as a way to show his vanity. He continues talking in the next line when the cameraman catches up with him.

    “We must be victorious,” he continued once the cameraman had caught up. “High Command is counting on us – on you fellow soldiers – to defeat the Arachnid attack on Outpost Delta.”
    My suggestion:
    ‘Come back with glory, or end up being the Arachnid’s dinner! High Command is counting on us, you scoundrels, you rotten bastards, to defeat the Arachnid attack! Who is with me!’
    The idea in that dialogue line is to be a clue on his cowardice. He says, 'We must be victorious'... 'High Command is counting on us'... but he gets to the part about actually fighting he states it is the others who will have to fight, 'on you fellow soldiers – to defeat the Arachnid attack'


    If you listen to the Doctor who soundtrack it gets you in the mood.
    I'll give it a listen, cheers. I do like listening to music to help capture the write mood I want in my story.

    I'm going to have to finish my reply here as I'm writing out of time. But thanks for your critique and sorry for my slow reply. Cheers.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    You as the author know what’s best for you, I will comment more on story structure now. I think giving feedback this way can help. So take what you need from what I said and ignore the rest that you don’t need.





















































  17. #17

    Default Re: Starship Troopers Short Story - The Hero of Outpost Delta (Fanfic, 2600 words)

    Quote Originally Posted by San Felipe View Post
    You as the author know what’s best for you, I will comment more on story structure now. I think giving feedback this way can help. So take what you need from what I said and ignore the rest that you don’t need.
    Comments on the structure would be great, thanks! I do appreciate you spending your free time on my writing.
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