Call to Arms

Posted: October 1, 2010 in Creative Writing, Stories
Tags: , ,

The building shook as the giant disrupter turrets fired for the third time since the battle had been joined. Dust drifted and swirled through the air as I stumbled to the ground, my las gun clattered across the floor and my face smashed into the stones.


“Having a nap Cap?” One of my men grabbed my arm and hauled me roughly to my feet. Blood flowed freely from a broken nose and two teeth dropped cracked from my damaged mouth.

“Just get to the hanger Roy.” Gaining my feet I led my team onwards, the sounds of the fighting raged high above the planet like thunder in our ears and secretly we all wished to crawl into a dark hole and wait for the inevitable end. This was an invasion on a scale we never thought possible.

In the early hours countless cruisers and battleships of the Elveti Empire had dropped cloaks, armed countless of weapons and launched hundreds of thousands of fighters and bombers into the planet’s atmosphere. Claxons, sirens and the sound of a scrambled defence had raised my squadron of pilots from the depths of sleep and called us to our final action.

Thousands of bombs were falling onto the ground far above our heads. More dust swirled through the air and cracks ripped through the underground bunkers concrete roof. One of my men found his head cave in as a hunk of rock let go of its tenuous hold and gave in to the unforgiving hold of gravity. His body crumpled to the ground and we left it there, jumping over his sprawling legs and pounding down the corridor as quickly as we could.

The hanger was empty, broken droids littered the ground and our precious fighters lay empty and abandoned, fires blazed from three destroyed aircraft and the smoke filled the large room. The enemy had landed. The fight was gone from the skies, the dizzies had stopped their fire has had the photon and missile defences. It was down to the ground troops now, god knows we weren’t many but we had to do something. There is no honour in dying with a las bolt in the back.

“Spread out in a line men, three paces between you all. I want those rifles up and eyes moving. If something moves, anything, kill it.” My men spread out as well as the most elite infantry unit, their guns held high ready to fire, fingers clasped almost lovingly across the triggers and senses strained to the max. I flipped on my comm system and patched into the nearest command centre.

“Delta Control this is Eagle 3 Leader Captain Bracewait. We have found our hanger attacked and are proceeding on foot. Requesting orders. How copy? Over.”

“Copy that Eagle 3 this is Planetary Commander Lozark speaking.” The static burst through my brain like a stampede but the words were distinguishable and I focused on my orders. “We have tracked a small contingency of enemy infantry tracking a kilometre east of your position. Your orders are to set up an ambush in the royal district and neutralise this force before they reach our armour depot. How copy?”

“Copy that Commander we are moving out and will check back with you on completion of the mission. Over.”

“I wouldn’t count on us being here by then Captain. If we do not speak again good luck and take as many of the bastards with you as possible. Over and out.”

“All right men let’s move.” We crept slowly forward, eyes roving restlessly through the clinging, burning smoke.

The first bolt spat out of the smoke shrouded darkness before we could even blink, the man just three paces away on my left had his entire upper body explode in a shower of blood and shredded muscle. More bolts spat from the smoke, whipping through the air just millimetres from my face, I could feel the stinging heat as they spat harmlessly into the dark behind us. I aimed my gun into the smoke, a flash of purest white shone from the blackness and without even thinking i pulled the trigger.

The long stream of las bolts lit up the smoke, horrific images danced and twirled through the smoke and as my men added their bolts to mine the air was lit up as bright as the noon day sun, the heat of the lasers began to burn the skin of our exposed hands and it took all our will power to keep the trigger pulled back. Only when my power pack had run dry and its warning light was blinking red did I release the trigger. Nothing stirred from the darkness ahead, no bolts whipped forth to bring death to my team and so slowly we inched forwards once more.

A soft wail filled the air as I stepped into the shadow of a destroyed fighter, with a new pack in my rifle and hatred and anger filling my very being I flicked on my rifles torch, the light illuminated the darkness below the fighter and I struggled to keep from retching in my pilot’s helmet.

The wretched beast withering on the ground in front of me may have once been seen as a man, maybe even a handsome one but a full barrage of lasers had ripped him in two, his upper body was burnt away leaving just his neck and head smouldering. His lower half had evaporated leaving just one foot and a small portion of thigh lying pitifully on the stones. What I assume was a mouth gaped open and then closed every few seconds. One intact eye looked at me with a deep longing that broke my heart. The other eye had melted in the attack and lay in a small puddle by the broken, twisted face. I drew my knife and with a quick breath plunged it through the unblinking eye and into the grey mush behind. A small ragged breath of relief escaped the torn man before the eye rolled up into what remained of the skull.

“Report men,” I whispered into my vox unit. Four acknowledgments came in for dead enemies, each one clasping a deadly bolt pistol. “All right men continue onwards. Keep vigilant.”

As we stumbled through the debris light slowly began to filter through the smoke to beckon us onwards, onwards to a hell from the deepest depths of the human mind. The light came from the chemicals and bombs that had flattened the entire planet and had begun to eat away at the atmosphere just to ensure nothing at all survived this invasion. A great hulking shape moved slowly through the air above me and with a sinking heart I saw the jewel of my empire being torn apart. The Royal Levithan, Gauntless, was smashed with countless explosions as the enemies bombers and cruisers set to work. Hunks of metal the size of countries fell from the dying Levithan and burnt up in a bright orange fire as they crashed through the atmosphere.

My men said a quick prayer before we put the greatest sign of our defeat behind us and set off, somewhere just ahead lay a team of elite enemy warriors and their deaths would be our glory song.

Small fires spat and hissed across the broken landscape. Where once mighty magistrates, palaces and theatres had stood nothing remained but crumbling heaps of stone and charred bones. Crunching through small stones and tiny scraps of bone my team moved quietly and quickly across the open ground to the only place that still remained of the Royal sector. The economic centre was a hub of activity in peace time. Countless trade ships came to the centre and filled the coffers of the Emperor to bursting point; my planet had been a trading metropolis rich beyond any other planet in the known universe. But the Emperor had grown greedy. Much to the dismay of the planetary defence force more and more centres had sprung up with mine after mine without the turrets, fighters and men to defend the huge wealth.

“And now we pay the price!” I spat on the marble and gold encrusted floor of the centre, my men nodded their agreement each one knowing exactly what I had been thinking. I split my men into two teams, each of just six men. My team took the top floor the other, led by Sargent Roy, took the bottom. We took the centre quickly, flashlights probing the darkness fingers poised and ready to send burning death whipping into the enemy. But no rifle fired, the centre was empty.

“All clear Cap,” Roy’s deep voice filled the Vox headset and after acknowledging his report I ordered him to meet me up top.

With my team re-assembled we decided to set up an over watch position in the centre while the rest of my men would disperse amongst the rubble and wait to ambush the approaching enemy unit. Roy was the best sniper I had my disposal so he and I stayed up in the outlook position rifles ready while the rest of my men hid amongst the broken ruins of our empire and waited for the end.

****

The enemy came like a pack, howling swords of eternal damnation held aloft, the ice blue electric bolts of its power pack lit up the night. I shall forever be proud of my men they did not run, they did not waver. They did what they were trained to do, they took a breath, aimed and fired. Las bolts split the howling pack in two.

But it wasn’t enough. Great swaths of the enemy fell but many more were left to fill the gaps. This was no small unit of enemy scouts. This was a regiment, a regiment of the Elveti Emperors personal Guard no less. Our deaths had just become assured, these men would not stop at anything, their hellish blades would rip our limbs from our body, our heads from our necks and send our souls screaming into the blackness of death.

My men died in seconds. Their screams joined the howling swords and I felt my stomach churn in fear. This was the end I had never seen coming. Far from the comfort of my fighter and the roar of the engines, I would die in a grubby ruin outnumbered and in fear. But I would at least go with my rifle spitting its defiance.

“Looks like it’s just me and you then Roy.” I fingered my trigger, aimed through the sights and emptied my power cell. The rifle beside me stayed silent, no burning sensation hit the right side of my face and I felt the fear take on a new level.

“No sir I think it’s just you who is left.” Roys voice tickled the hairs on my neck and a tear trickled from my left eye, smearing the soot and blood of battle from my cheek. The nozzle of the plasma pistol was pushed roughly into the nape of my neck, the cold of the steel was chilling against the adrenaline and fear fuelled heat of my body.

“Please…” The charred blackened stench of my own skin filled my nostrils for a split second before the world flashed white. I saw below me the arrayed men of the Elveti royal guard, their swords were plain steel now, the heads of my men skewered deep upon the blood slicked metal. The pale, loathing eyes of the guard were staring up at me as the traitors plasma bolt ripped through my head as if it was butter. My eyes dropped, melted, from their sockets, darkness descended and I rose to the heavens far beyond the hell of the invasion.

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