Until The End: Part 10

On the far-flung planet of Hayveon Blaze, a plucky army commander, is fighting a seemingly hopeless battle.  In a universe where empires span solar systems, a great war has split the galaxy into three. UCEF, the Union of Creature Energy Force, is an alliance of aliens fighting for freedom and justice. But set against the Cosmaratic Empire and the Barrens, an empire with mind-controlled citizens, UCEF must achieve the impossible in order to win peace.

Part 10

Blaze looked up sadly at the huge gates; he doubted it would be long before the Barrens would be battering upon them. One of the two gates was slightly ajar, the massive metal door partially swung out to allow him inside. Fully opened they would be wide enough to take a pair of heavy tanks side by side, although Blaze knew the next tanks to pass through would be of the wrong allegiance. He jogged quickly up to them and slipped through the gap; the rest of his soldiers were already inside the bastion waiting for him, sixteen of them all told.

“Okay that’s the last of us, seal the gate!” R318 shouted in the direction of a Dino who was operating the controls. Almost instantly there was a grinding noise and the gate swung shut. With a series of solid thumps and clangs large metal bolts extended from the floor and locked into brackets, ready to brace the gate for the inevitable attack.

The bastion was a mess, that was immediately apparent. What had previously been an ordered courtyard was now a burning chaos. Several shells had fallen into the bastion itself leaving gaping craters. Buildings and barracks were built against the walls and in the centre a large command complex squatted. The courtyard formed a ring around the command centre, scattered with various other necessary facilities to maintain a garrison. However the precision and order of the base had been spoilt by the fires that roared in several of the blasted buildings and the layer of debris that covered the ground. A sickly smoky smell hung in the air, a mixture of burned plastic and cooked machinery. Blaze looked up to the top of the walls at the wreckage of the mounted energy turrets, clearly the Barrens had already picked them off. All the UCEF forces capable of fighting were at the walls or in one of the four corner towers. However, the fortifications were better than the feeble barricade Blaze had held earlier. Proper reinforced gun ports had been built, protecting the gunners considerably more than the parapet of the outer defences had.

“We heard the blast sir, good work. What are your orders?” R318 asked, saluting as Blaze entered. Blaze’s attention snapped back to him and the fifteen other Dinos still alive, they stood in a rough semi-circle all looking tired and on edge but none of them had given up or lost hope.

“Tend to the wounded and barricade the gate, find anything you can to reinforce it. I’m going to locate bastion command to find out what’s going on and how best to help.”

“Yes sir!” The assembled Dinos chorused and hurried to obey his commands.

Blaze strode towards the central building; bastion command was beneath it in a bunker. He hoped to find out a little bit more of what was going on and how best to use his troops. He reached the building and headed inside unchallenged, normally all entrances would have been guarded and protected, but every available soldier was out holding the walls. The corridors were barely lit, almost all power having been rerouted to the defences. Blaze continued on at a swift jog, heading deeper inside, leaping down the stairs three at a time to reach the lower levels.

At the end of the stairs he was confronted with a solid blast door, this one firmly shut. Blaze halted as he pulled out his computer and transmitted his access code. There was a pause, then the door slid open with a rumble and he stepped into the command room. It was laid out in the standard pattern, a large 3D projector in the centre with controls encircling it. All around the room separate terminals gave access to a wealth of information displayed above them on wide screens. A command throne sat opposite the door on a raised dais, a touchscreen on either side of it within arm’s reach. The ceiling was a tangled mess of cables and wires, an upside down snake pit. The air was hot and the insistent drone of cooling fans gave an irritating background noise to the room. The lights were low, even in here; the Dinos who worked in the half-light were hunched over screens trying to give order to the last defence of the bastion.

“What’s going on?” Blazed asked as he stepped into the chamber. The skeleton crew of five looked up at him from their manic work. “And where’s the boss, R112?” He added, referring to the Dino who was supposed to be in command of the whole base.

“He’s dead sir,” the nearest Dino replied simply but grimly.

“What?!” Blaze exclaimed incredulously. “Then… who’s been in charge?”

“We have sir, R112 was killed in the initial battle and we’ve been in charge since. We didn’t want to announce it for fear of the damage it would do to morale,” the Dino replied. Blaze’s mind staggered, no wonder bastion command’s orders and plans had been hazy. “We’ve been trying our hardest, but we haven’t been trained to lead sir, we were just R112’s underlings.”

“Oh… I see, so… now what?” Blaze stammered, still taken aback.

“Somebody needs to lead us, even if it isn’t for long…”

“So?” Blaze started, guessing where this was going.

“Err… how would you feel about a sudden promotion sir?”

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Look out for Part 11 of Matthew Gill’s story!