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Until The End: Part 17

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 17
Blaze followed the last Dino down, jumping the final metre to the courtyard floor. With a feeling of apprehension he scanned the gates to assess the extent of the damage caused by the blast. They had at least stopped the Barrens finishing the job, a good deal of their explosives had not been placed, the gates had held… but they had suffered. The left gate was buckled and the right had broken from its housing along the top, neither would survive a serious attack. The cold hand of fear gripped him; they had not stopped the demolitionists quickly enough. It would not take the Barrens long to hit the gates with larger weapons and finally bring them down, breaching the bastion.

“Everybody take up defensive positions, when the Barrens come through we’ll blow the spaceship on them, then get in close!” Blaze instructed as he eyed the small ship that sat by the gate. The guns previously mounted under the nose had been torn off and the craft unceremoniously dumped in its final position. It was a shame such a fine vessel would meet such an ignoble end but, he thought, if they were going to be overrun anyway they might as well make use of everything they possessed. The ship itself was about twenty metres in length, barely larger than a fighter but more than big enough to make a sizeable explosion when its energy was detonated.

The gates shuddered as heavy energy fire struck them. Blaze grimaced; the Barrens were not wasting time. He turned his eyes upwards to the walls, the fighting was still fierce, but less so than before. The Barrens seemed to have stopped grappling up so no more reinforcements were arriving. Clearly the wall attack had been a mere diversion, Blaze deduced. The Dinos still on the walls were swiftly gaining the upper hand, aided by occasional gunfire from those down in the courtyard. However the Barrens did not appear to be overly bothered by the minor UCEF victory.

“I want all heavy gunners on the complex roof and somebody take those ship guns! This courtyard needs to be a killing ground!” Blaze ordered, indicating with his sword the roof of the command bunker. The Dino with the heavy energy gun he had met earlier leapt down from his perch and headed for the roof, lugging the weapon with him. Several others joined him, a couple picking up the salvaged guns from the spaceship before clambering up the ladders to crouch on top of the bunker.

The rest of the Dinos were now sheltering behind anything they could find; crates, upended drums, or simply lying in bomb holes. Their guns were aimed expectantly at the gates. Blaze stamped over to R3318 who was crouching behind a broken lifter vehicle.

“Not looking good sir, they’ll just swarm through the breach when the gates go down, we can’t possibly stop them, not with this number of soldiers,” R3318 reported, although his voice lacked fear.

“I know. When the situation gets bad we’ll retreat to the bunker,” Blaze replied simply, he had accepted the fact there would be no victory.

“May I just say sir, it’s been an honour,” R3318 said, looking up into Blaze’s armoured face with sincerity. Blaze saw in his mind’s eye a similar situation play out before him, where he had been the squad commander looking up to his superior. That had been at the end of the battle of Moruda seven years ago. His squad had been cut off from the main army by Barren commando teams and they had given up all hope of getting out alive. Then the legendary Red Corsair and his boys had shown up. The Red Corsair was the name given to the leader of the red division of the UCEF army, him and his platoon had thundered in saving Blaze and his soldiers. He had seemed like an angel to Blaze, albeit a fiery gun totting one. Blaze echoed the words the Red Corsair had spoken to him that day…

“You are a fine soldier, especially to have survived all of this,” those words had filled young Blaze with such pride.

“Aye, still, it isn’t over,” R3318 replied quietly. Blaze snapped out of his reminiscing.

“No, but I can’t think of a more fitting end,” Blaze retorted. He was sad that R3318 would not get the chance to progress through the military hierarchy, as he had. R3318 tightened the grip on his rifle and shuffled, oblivious to Blaze’s melancholy thoughts.

“I agree, fighting to rid this universe of these wretched Barrens!” R3318 spat with vehemence. Blaze nodded, peering through the drifting smoke at the gates. There were another couple of bangs and the ringing of energy blasts striking metal. The gates shook again as another couple of tank shots hammered them; pieces of concmetal fell from around the supports.

“Get ready!” Blaze roared, he sensed it was about to begin again. The fighting on top of the walls was over; the last Barrens had been beaten back and no more seemed to be coming. Those survivors still on the walls were just regrouping. An expectant hush fell over the UCEF defenders, everyone tensed like compressed springs just waiting for the Barrens to make their next move…

Look out for Part 18 of Matthew Gill’s story.