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The dreadnaughts of the Kharaa, the Onos are tanks – highly armored and very powerful. They are so large they cannot use crawlspaces and many of the narrow passages found on human ships and bases. This does not limit their effectiveness very much – the Onos is the highest level response to any threat, requiring large amounts of resources to gestate, but paying off with truly awe-inspiring strength.
Though it can seem like a joke (and one in poor taste, considering the devastation this species has caused), the name "Onos" does actually come from the phrase "Oh no." Early on in the conflict with the Kharaa, a Frontiersmen squad was fighting to regain control of a solar array in the Eleme system. Sporadic audio contact had been maintained with the squad by an experimental broadcasting spike, driven through the station's hull. In the besieged marine base, heavy turret placement and reinforcements had allowed them to hold off wave after wave of attack. Time stamp 65.05.43: Through the sound of gunfire and grenades, the screech of leaping Skulk and swoosh of acid rockets, a faint roar is heard. The alien weapons fall conspicuously silent. The turrets stop. The roar is heard again, much closer, much louder. Then four marine's, almost in unison … "Oh no". All hell breaks loose, contact is lost. These "Oh no's" mark the first contact with this species.
"The grillwork – 'round 20' by 20' of 6" metal bars – blew off its welds and slid, still upright, digging grooves into the silo's floor with an ungodly squeal and hail of sparks. It tripped on our arms factory and fell diagonally against the curved wall opposite, forming a kind of lean-to over our base. I had hit my jet pack at the first noise, and was hovering thirty feet above the scene. I angled onto a catwalk. Sollis and Deej had dived to the floor (no small feat in heavy armor), narrowly avoiding the metal. They now stood up, firing their HMG's down the hallway. The Onos ran straight at them, bullets pocking into its head plate, falling flattened to the floor. I unloaded a clip from my LMG into its back. They couldn't dodge in that armor – the Onos suddenly doubled its speed, and they went sprawling, Deej taking the blow to his shoulders, smashing onto his back and going down under its hooves, Sollis getting a tusk to the midriff, throwing him in an amazing cartwheel that terminated halfway up the grillwork in a jumble of bent armor and broken limbs. I reloaded and emptied another clip into its back. Sollis slid, inert, down the grillwork to the Ono's feet. Deej's armor was literally flat in places, inches thick, like he was made out of clay. The Onos walked over to our infantry portal and rent it in two with its tusks. I reloaded and emptied another clip into its back. It walked over to our armory and butted it with its head, bending its top, screens shattering and smoke trailing up. I reloaded and emptied another clip into its back. The Onos walked around to the left of the grillwork and seemed to consider it. It crouched down, crawling awkwardly under the diagonal opening, then suddenly stood, sending the grate toppling back against the other wall. It looked down on our command console. Our commander, Roswell, came in over the comm line: "Andre – I dropped another CC in the Steam Ramp. Maybe they won't notice it. Get there and get a portal up, stat."
The waypoint came up on my HUD. Steam Ramp. 60 meters away. The Onos started to slam against the CC. I counted to three and slipped from the catwalk, bursting my jets just feet above the silo floor to break my fall. I leaped again, skimming through the bent teeth sticking from the archway where the grill had been. I heard a moment of gunfire as Roswell was ejected from the CC just before it was destroyed. Then I was off into the red glow of the tunnels, with two clips of ammo and a horde of beasts between me and one small chance at turning this around."