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Broadcast Intercept (decrypted): 23/08/2023 09:35

39.5 MHz (gov/nongov shared, land mobile)

Apparent signal source: CELL Field Command, Battery Park Interceptor: Anonymous (via Edward Eddie Newton, Radio Free Manhattan)

Voice 1: is Cobalt Seven. Think he came this way. Spreading to search.

Voice 2: Yeah, uh, this is Cobalt Four. We got camera footage from the containment fence. Moving fast, man. Never saw anything like that before.

Voice 3: Fuck are we fighting here? Is he one of them?

Voice 4: Thats need-to-know, soldier. All you need to know is dont take any chances. Lethal force, soon as you get eyes on.

Cobalt 4-A: You believe this mess, man? They took out everything: the EMAT teams, the doctors, our guys. Theres nothing left.

Voice 4: Stay sharp, people. Quarantine protocols. You see anything move in there, you kill it.

Dead Air47 seconds. Following exchange appears to have been broadcast accidentally, possibly due to a jammed transmit switch.

Cobalt 4-B: So you think he took down that Ceph ship?

Cobalt 4-A: How the fuck should I know, man? I look like a Squid to you?

C4-B: Im just saying, it wasnt us. And if he did shoot it down, well...

C4-A: Well what?

C4-B: You know. The enemy of my enemy and all that.

C4-A: The enemy of my enemy doesnt go around blowing the shit out of his own guys.

C4-B: There is that.

C4-A: Shit, man. Past few days, theres lots of enemies to go around for everyhey, is that?

C4-B: What?

C4-A: Over there, on the waterfront up on the roof. That a Squid?

C4-B: Yeah, one of those fuckers

C4-A: grunts, or

C4-B: No, look, theres two of them.

C4-A: You sure? Looks

C4-B: No, man, look, theres definitely two. They just look like one big motherfucker because theyre in close like

C4-A: What are they doing up there?

C4-B: Theyre fighting, man. Theyre fighting each other...

C4-A: What the fuck. Why would

C4-B: Dude, the smaller one. I think its human.

C4-A: Thats just exoskel. Theyre all blobs inside.

C4-B: No, man, Ive got him scoped, hes definitely

C4-A: Holy shit, thats our guy! Thats Proph

C4-B: Cobalt Oversight! Cobalt Oversight! We have eyes on Primary! Repeat, we have eyes on

Signal squelched at source.

Transmission ends 23/08/2023 09:38.

So this is how it is. No cutesy musical sign language, no guys with bumpy foreheads saying Resistance Is Futile or Kneel Before Zod, no sexy alien hive queens keeping our hero busy with butt sex while her minions turn our children into veal cutlets. No small talk at all, unless you count the sound it makes when it sees me: kind of a stuttering hollow croak, like a cheap voice synthesizer trying to gargle.

And then ET brings it, motherfucker.

In that first second Im surprised by how human it looks. Sure, the legs have too many joints and the arms dont have anymore like segmented tentacles with hands, like Doc Ock from Spider-Manbut theres two of each, right where theyre supposed to be. Kind of a helmet on top with two compound clusters of orange lights where youd expect eyes. Its all metal, though, so Im thinking either robot or armor.

And then it fires, point-blank, and Im flat on my back and I should be dead but Im not. In the next second its on me like a fucking panther and I can see the meat inside all that metal: grayish, translucent, like a jellyfish. Dim brownish orange blobs deep inside that have to be organs, four thick fleshy tentacles flailing out the back. And one part of mes thinking What the hell kind of armor leaves your guts exposed, but another parts thinking Those guts are the last thing youre ever gonna see, assholebecause Im already down, man, without firing a shot, it caught me flat-footed and flipped me like a bug on its back. And it should be game over right there, but then it just

Hesitates. Bobs its head, or whatever you call that wedge-shaped thing with the lights. We almost get the sense its sniffing the air, trying to get a fix on some strange new smell. And that little hesitation, that one or two seconds gracethats enough for a comeback. We grab that fucker by the horns, we jam

I, of course. I mean I.

I grab that fucker by the horns, I jam my pistol into the gray goo and start firing. The thing pulls away, makes this whistling soundcold, winter-wind soundand Im back up just like that, the alien brings its weapon up again but I block, I jab, I dont even think about it. The suits got its own reflexes, force multipliers, motion multipliers. Turns a flinch into a right hook. It barely waits for me to move before responding, I could almost swear its moving me. I lift that alien motherfucker over my head and pitch it off the roof like I was throwing a Hacky Sack.

So much for the bogeyman, bitch. So much for the monster under the bed. So much for the thing in the closet.

I dont know what Prophet was going on about. This suit is fucking awesome.

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