Old Soldiers of Paragon ( A Story of the Invasion)




Sergeant Mike Humphries sat in the bar, enjoying his evening beer in the heroes hangout in Independence Port. An old Dawn Patrol hero who had emigrated and retired to run the small pub had been the first owner, and when he died it had gone to his daughter who ran it indifferently. The Cup and Cape was a hangout for old soldiers from all over Paragon, in what was arguably one of the worst neighborhoods in Paragon. It had faded into obscurity, and where once every military hero knew of it now it was just another dingy corner bar. The place had once been pretty nice (if working class) but in the last couple of decades Independence Port was now a place of drug houses, red-light stretches and ongoing battles between rival gangs, criminal organizations and other more dangerous elements – and never mind the damned octopus – all vying for the lucrative port and its access.Only the old-timers ever seemed to come here anymore and he, Captain Excelsior and Jungle Jim were all that remained of the ‘Nam generation. Ranger Jake was still in the Middle East, taking a second tour there, and the Korean vets Marksman and Freedom Fighter played darts as Dauntless (just call me Hank) dozed in a corner booth with a flat beer before him.

At their table with them was the gray haired Commando Joe of World War Two fame with the 1st Heroes Brigade and a wearer of the Congressional Medal of Honor. He had always seemed to fight the good fight, but he had been with the troops that liberated Auschwitz and after that something had gone out of him. Now, old and forgotten his medals gathered dust on the wall behind the bar, and no one remembered. Mike looked over to a dust covered photo of The Sand Kings on the wall by the medals case, at the unit photo in Cairo in 42 with the pyramids behind them mirroring their trademark pyramid unit patch, now yellowed with age, and shook his head. All good men, all long gone.In that he and the others all had the same thing in common – absolutely no one remembered soldiers after the war – they were all just standers in the crowd, saluting flags at parades, talking to each other about long forgotten battles or war stories, and haunting Golden Corral on Veterans Day for the free meal.

Suddenly, the unmistakable sound of weapons fire, the rattle of energy weapons and explosions sounded, and the old men rushed out. There, less than a mile away, smoke was rising from the Hospital near the War Wall entrance. In a flash, several bolted or flew there, to find police and two startled heroes in a battle for their lives against a substantial Rikti force, energy beams flashing, as strange deformed warriors charged into the building, killing patients, nurses, and doctors indiscriminately. Sergeant Mike suddenly found himself regretting his beer as he found himself face to face with a huge Rikti warrior with an energy sword, flanked by two others who he took down with a flurry of kicks and punches.

“Where the hell did they all come from?” At once, Sergeant Mike saw that this was no simple assault. And as his buddies fought, he bellowed.

“ Screw the Rules of Engagement, boys…we just walked into a war! Go hot! We gotta evacuate the civilians!” The others nodded- they were soldiers and held no illusions about killing, and unlike many of their counterpart heroes recognized that the usual niceties wouldn’t save lives, but cost them.

As the fight raged and the Rikti poured from their temporary portal in a flood, Rikti monkeys and bizarre technicians leapt out as well. Marksman went down in a flurry of Rikti who dog piled him, his last shots taking a few with him, as Freedom Fighter whirled and hammered with his fists and feet his own group of enemies. Dauntless stood in the door, clearing the waiting room of Rikti with blasts of energy. He yelled at Mike, over the gunfire.

“ Sarge, they’re going for the med teleportation node! They get that down, the med transporters will be offline!”

Even as he said it, Mike looked at the antenna array, only to see a Rikti team destroy it and more kept coming like a mob of ill-tempered crows.

“ We can’t hold! Take the building and evacuate the civilians!” Mike’s command stopped suddenly, as he went down to a well-placed swipe from a Rikti warrior that severed his arm at the shoulder. Stunned, he felt himself pulled to his feet, as a strong if withered hand yanked him up.

“ C’mon, boy, no laying about on the job, y’hear? Get up, soldier!” Mike blinked away blood, to see Commando Joe, wearing his old uniform jacket with the pyramid patch holding Rikti at bay with an antiquated Thompson SMG. His body may have seemed frail, but the old strength was there, as was his invulnerability as he shrugged off beam and slug, dealing mayhem. As Mike was staggered, he stumbled back, and a doctor gathered him up while Freedom Fighter and Jungle Jim worked their weapons furiously.

The old soldiers looked up at the force bubble the Rikti had erected, and Jungle Jim snarled, “They’ve cut the commo, the bastards, and there’s no way to get a signal out through the jamming! We gotta fall back to the war wall!”

“Sometimes the old ways are best, boy, get going, I’ll hold!” Jim looked at Commando Joe who glared back, his old face alive for once, and Jim nodded, directing the civilians. “ You heard the man, lets go!”

The old soldiers gathered all the patients they could and evacuated the civilians to the war wall entrance near the hospital. Jim looked out as they passed through to see Commando Joe still at it, and he bit his lip as he dragged Mike’s now unconscious form with him.

In the end, it wasn’t the bullets, the beams or the onslaught of monkeys and creatures that brought Commando Joe down. Holding for nearly ten minutes while the civilians made it to safety, the old Thompson stuttering its staccato bark he finally fell not to force of arms but to the heart attack that even his invulnerability couldn’t prevent, just as his doctor had been saying all these years. As he went down, racked with chest pains, he struck the old wristcomm he’d worn all these years, a memento he’d nearly forgotten. As Rikti warriors hacked his body to pieces the comm, a relic of the forties and so low tech the Rikti had no way to block the old Morse signal, clicked out its clockwork spark.

In the Freedom Phalanx HQ, where several heroes were gathered to organize the reports of yet more Rikti attacks, a receptionist bolted in, to inform Statesman one of the displays was behaving oddly. They poured out into the main hall where in a glass case beside several relics of World War Two from the Hero Brigade, a bakelite comm box flashed a red light, blinking, and Statesman stiffened and his fists clenched as the old memories rushed anew and he and Manticore heard the Morse chattering away its plea.


In less than half an hour, reinforcements arrived to relive the beleaguered forces, saving hundreds of lives as they evacuated the civilians. It was too late to save Commando Joe but he had, at the last, stood his ground just one last time.

As Mike would say later, old soldiers never die - they save the day.

Maemir - fire blaster from another dimension!
Susan Cray - Tech wizard and Goddess of the Electronics Wonderland
Scalp Hunter - when in doubt, shoot first - paperwork is billable.



Dood, very nice. Gave me goose bumps at the end.

50's (Only most important)
Zuraq (53 EM/SR Brute)
Stagmalite (50 Granite/Fire TanK)
(Couple of other's I don't care about.)