I’ve been hiding in this little plaza in the pouring rain for the past few hours. Three of these damned Imperial Drones are still flying overhead, and I don’t think they have pilots or fuel limitations.

If I would go out on the streets, they would probably kill me in seconds like they did the others.

It’s been a rough day-and-a-half. We were sent on a unlikely mission to hold this city against one of the Primer city-sized motherships, and as entire city blocks were leveled by the mothership’s terrifying main cannon, only a few of us made it out alive. We ultimately held the city, although it wasn’t because we were victorious, but because the mothership retreated and left ample Primer forces to clean up the city. I don’t think the aliens expected any survivors. We cleaned them up instead.

The green glow of the mothership cannon still illuminated the sky that night, as if the ground itself was still glowing from the sheer destructive force of the blast. The other survivors and I slept restlessly under the glow. At least the Strategic Intelligence Division seems pretty sure there’s no dangerous radiation or pollution in the ground from the blasts. Apparently the Primers are trying to scrub the Earth’s atmosphere of pollutants through micro-organisms that exist in their blood — I don’t really understand the specifics, but I think they might see humankind as pollutant too.

This morning the Primers returned. Maybe they expected to hear back from the remaining forces we defeated the day before, and the scouting force we faced was a couple of Teleportation Ships dropping those awfully rolling monster balls. Our morale was lower than our numbers, but watching some of the brave soldiers that barely made it to cover the day before pulverized under those gamma types took both our morale and our numbers even lower.

Headquarters routed us to another infantry unit with some powered Exoskeletons to help with clean-up, and we cleaned up a sizable number of Colonizers in some of the less damaged part of the city. For the first time since the night raid on the Industrial Area we felt like we were in control, and some of us even dared to sing in victory as another group of the human-like giants went down. It is still distressing to me to see creatures that similar to us regrow limbs or explode. I stayed with the EDF after the initial invasion to defend Earth, not to kill humanoids that look exactly like us. It was nice, though, to hear hope for a moment in the song. I even might have joined in and sang along for a moment.

I don’t remember, because of course, our hopes were immediately crushed. The Primers deployed a new type of armored Cosmonaught, these disgusting armored towering beings, and most of us didn’t even have time to register their terrifying new weapons before being torn apart by them. I made it to cover behind one of the Exoskeletons, but the pilot never got to respond to my ‘thanks’ — the Exoskeleton only withstood the barrage of lasers for seconds. I don’t remember how I made it out, and honestly, neither did most of the others.

Maybe those who perished this morning were lucky. Maybe this time, I was the unlucky one.

The afternoon only brought more Primers. More Monsters. Big teleportation anchors fell from the sky, the large ones the intelligence divisions has named Big Teleportation Anchors. A small squad and I managed to destroy three of them and wipe out most of the monsters, only to learn that Headquarters never expected us to hold the city. Apparently every other city that faced this onslaught was lost to devastating losses. It made me wonder whether we’re just sacrificial pawns meant to delay the inevitable. It doesn’t seem like anyone outside cares or believes in us either — the news is just about the unemployment rates, and when it is about the War, it’s usually about how humanity will be humiliated but resilient after we’ve lost. Seeing the horrible machines and creatures the Primers bring, I don’t think they’ll leave any of us alive.

There was another attack of the Beta type monster, the giant eight-legged, eight-eyed creature that shoot web-like substances. I’ll never get used to seeing those alien monsters. We held ourselves well until enormous mutants suddenly crawled over a building — they’ve been dubbed Kings, and they’re at least ten times the size of the normal Beta type. I was the only survivor, again.

I keep wondering if I am the luckiest or unluckiest man alive — I only joined the Earth Defense Force because I was getting a tour of Base 228 when the Primers first attacked. I was planning to be a security guard, not a soldier, but they gave me a gun as we escaped the base and retreated. That’s over a year ago. Ever since, I’ve been fighting — all over the world, Japan, Europe, America — ever since, people around me have died. I have been bitten, sprayed with acid, thrown from buildings, blown up, shot with lasers, covered in webbing, and crushed by robots. I am still alive. Many of us have died - brave Rangers and Wing Divers and Air Raiders and Fencers. We fought terrifying foe after terrifying foe. Whenever Headquarters said the tides were turning, the Primers turned the tables back on us.

First it was just the Alpha creatures. Our Wing Divers can fly, and the Alphas can’t. So the Aranea’s showed up, and trapped our Wing Divers in disgusting webs. After being on the run from the sky-scraper sized Erginus monster, headquarters finally deployed experimental EMC cannons, and as soon as Erginus went down, a similar creature named Archales appeared and destroyed the EMC cannons in seconds. We finally gain the upper hand one way, and the Primers always have another ace up their gross extra-terristrial sleeves. Before we knew it, we were fighting flying saucers and city-block sized walking robots instead of simple Monsters.

I don’t know how many of the original Earth Defense Force forces are still alive. Eventually, as our numbers dwindled, the governments decided to just hire anyone willing to risk their lives for some money in the crippling economies around the world. I don’t think most of the new recruits ever held a weapon. It’s better to fight, honestly. As someone pointed out on the radio earlier today, as they become more numerous on our planet, humankind’s numbers are dwindling. If nothing changes, soon, we’ll be the minority on Earth. Might as well try and take down some of them with us.

I was hiding when the call came in, and the rain came with it. Emergency Support Request — a new battle drone causing heavy casualties. I got to the site and quickly established contact with a unit that had gotten separated from their sergeant near the rail tracks. They recognized me — I didn’t recognize them — but they had clearly heard of my exploits. Maybe they’d been at one of the battles I’d been in. I don’t know whether it was the cave extermination, or the Mobile Forward Base. The stories about me tend to be bigger than anything I’ve actually done — but it gives a soldier hope, and that’s in short supply these days.

We managed to make contact with the Sergeant, who was happy to learn about his squad’s survival. He had intel about the Mobile Railgun that headquarters had promised, but apparently the vehicle had been abandoned nearby. Before he could finish relaying the location of the Railgun the drones descended upon our group. We had stayed too exposed on the rail tracks. We should have gone for cover.

And let me tell you: I’ve never seen anything like these drones — their armor is impenetrable, their weapons can decimate an entire squad of Fencers in seconds. Over the deafening sounds of the Imperial Drone cannons, I could just hear the sergeant order me to take a nearby semi-truck to the Railgun. He said it was our only hope. I ran, got in the truck, and started driving.

I don’t know what happened to any of that squad, but seeing I’m hiding alone here, I can only hope they didn’t suffer.

I spent the next unknowable amount of time driving through this foreign city, meeting up with small scattered groups of survivors — never more than one or two fellow Rangers. Every now and then, the truck would take a beating from a strafing run from the Imperial Drones, but it never broke down despite my panicked driving or the direct hits. The truck was an armor, not a sturdy one, but it felt safer than I would be outdoors.

For hours, every group of survivors I met would point me in the right direction of the Railgun, only to be immediately killed by another one stray drone cannon shot within minutes. By the third or fourth group, I dreaded meeting them — there was no more room in the truck, and the drones were chasing me. Running into my truck and I was certain death for these Rangers, but not finding the Railgun would just mean we would be stuck here until the Mothership -or worse, the enormous Archales creature- would return to finish the job.

I can’t remember how many groups I ran into. I remember there was a group of Fencers in the park. They’re how I know the Imperial Drone can decimate a Fencer squad in seconds.

The truck broke down with the Railgun in sight. I had to run the last stretch, drones firing at me from above as I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I was so focused on making it to the Railgun that if I had been hit, if my armor had given way, my dead body would’ve kept running for at least a few more steps. So many had died for me to make it to this Railgun — I could not fail them. They thought it would turn the tides of the battle, and I am sure it could have in the hands of a more practiced pilot.

I had never driven a Railgun before, and I can tell you that it is hard to maneuver, and the cannon aiming is incredibly precise and limited vertically. It’s not a great weapon against the Imperial Drones, which are nimble and can aim straight down from the skies. I wasted most of the ammo learning how to aim, and amidst an onslaught of drone barrages somehow managed to shoot all but three of those drones out of the sky. One or two of them might be damaged. I don’t know. Headquarters went silent. Maybe they didn’t expect any of us to make it out alive this time either.

Either way, I’ve been hiding in this little plaza in the pouring rain for the past few hours. Three of these damned Imperial Drones are still flying overhead, and I don’t think they have pilots or fuel limitations.

I will go out on the streets now, and they’ll probably kill me in seconds like they did the others.

If I make it, I’ll continue onwards to whatever the Primers throw at us next. If I don’t make it, and there is a mankind left to find this message, this was the story of what happened down here in this Japanese city I don’t even know the name of. We tried. We were calm and bold. We raised our guns. We sacrificed ourselves so that humanity can survive and live in a paradise. We gave our lives to defend our dearest Mother Earth.

We were the valiant infantry, the alpha team, and we lived our final days in passion and comradery.


A photo some Air Raider made of me earlier this month. I don’t know his name. I don’t know if he’s alive. I hope so. I hope anyone is still alive when this is all over.

This entire post is pretty much a description of the missions, narrative, and dialogue during my playthrough of Earth Defense Force 5, mission 63 to 69. Sure, it’s a game about shooting giant bugs, but I feelthere’s something incredibly compelling about how much work was done to create a story in a game that really doesn’t need it.