Jurgen's limbs felt like they were attached to his armor and that the boundary between flesh and iron had vanished. The longer they were out of cover, the more he felt that every empty windows and crater in the roads was hiding the same monstrous horror that they had faced in the ruins. That wasn't counting the one that had gotten away. His mind flashed back to that enormous creature; its arms were thicker than his head and most of his body, its bulk armored entirely in a living exoskeletal shell, and the intelligence in its insectoid eyes undeniable in its ruthless efficiency.
They were not fighting some mindless beasts but some sort of sapient, cunning force that as far as they knew, controlled the ruins of Eos. As far as they knew, it had disabled communications and thus separated them from the rest of the squads. The immediate action was to try and regroup with the nearest one: gamma squadron, sent to investigate a government building that based on the downloaded map, just a few blocks down from the building they had just exited.
A number of quesitons remained on his mind: what was that rock they had seen earlier and were all of the more bestial foes they encountered from such things? The cybernetic component they had extracted from the first larger bioform; was it a control mechanism? Just how had these things cleaned the whole area out in what was possibly just a few days?
Did they have a fleet in the skies above? Eos was not a huge colony but it could not be steamrolled that easily.
Maybe whatever rumbled within the rubble of the city, making skeletal structures shake and winddows quiver, had been their ace in the hole.
The squad leader's weapon was half raised, his eyes scanning across the piles of rubble and jagged, pointed rebar and jutting furniture that emerged from it. In many places, there were not worn out carcasses of buildings but simply the fine, pounded dust and fragments they had been reduced to. Smaller particles danced and skittered about, moved by the rumbling that seemed to echo out of the structures that still stood and craters in the earth.
It was as if they were walking across a creature breathing and shuddering, waiting for the moment to cast aside its blanket of ruins. Every step with feet sinking into the rubble, trudging through as if it was a swamp, felt slow and dragging. Jurgen felt vulnerable and he was sure the rest of the squad would not disagree with that assessment. They had come out of the last fight with no deaths, maybe some cuts and bruises, but they had otherwise driven the enemy from the building. Only one of them had survived. After repeated scoring hits that would have slain any GDW soldier, it had crept away bloodied but far from crippled.
"Eyes sharp, this is ideal ambush territory." Jurgen motioned for the squad to start spreading out. They were moving acorss one of these patches of pulverized structure, where armored personnel carriers and power armored carcasses alike stuck ot of the soil like toys haphazardly left in a sandbox. The building this dusty patch had been had been reduced to the barest rebar and metal framing, some still containing chunks of concrete and material like twisting skewers. In a grotesque way it was almost like a forest with how tightly they were clustered, almost marking the shattered military hardware and the jutting cadavers like makeshift gravestones.
There was something unusual about this sand. In places it had been displaced, pushed off to the side, and the outline of some sort of large shape with curved limbs was drawn across it; almost as if horseshoe crab or some flat bodied arthropod had been dragging itself over it as opposed to crawling.
"It seems this might be a popular travel path for those... insects, whatever they are." He commented over the coms. He raised his weapon and it bumped against some of the metal; hardly ideal but surely it would not be any better for the creature they had wounded earlier, even if this was the path it supposedly had made.