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Until The End: Part 18

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 18

“They’ve got tanks coming!” A Dino yelled from the walls, before throwing himself flat, narrowly avoiding a withering hail of energy blasts.

“Here we go,” R3318 said calmly, eyes affixed on the gates.

“After we blow the spaceship, open fire! Then when I give the word, we charge!” Blaze ordered. There was a tense pause as everybody did a final check of the charges on their weapons and tightened their grips on whatever melee implement they had found.

Blaze turned his gaze back to the UCEF forces in the courtyard; at a quick estimate he reckoned there were roughly one hundred of them and possibly the same again around the walls. So many had fallen.

The gates shook as some tremendous energy weapon pummelled them, pieces of the walkway above shattered and fell down with deep bass thuds. Then followed a massive explosion that shook the bastion and time seemed to slow. The gates buckled, swayed and then, as if moving through some dense liquid, toppled. The left gate gave first, shearing away from the hinges and falling down, the heavy zarnk door striking the floor with a resounding crash, closely followed by its right counterpart.

A cloud of dust billowed up, obscuring the breach like a dense snowstorm. Blaze’s visor penetrated the smog and peering intently he could make out a large Barren siege tank, soldiers swarming round it. They rushed forwards, the tank in the lead, its thick caterpillar treads pulling it over the twisted gates. The Barrens had breached the bastion. Blaze opened a channel to the Dino in the command bunker.

“Prepare to blow the spaceship on my mark… NOW!” He ordered as the tank rumbled to within ten metres of the rear of the spaceship. Unable to see through the smoke and airborne debris the Barrens were unaware of the trap they had just stumbled into.

There was an almighty explosion as the energy core of the spaceship detonated in a mini supernova. A searing white flash temporarily blinded Blaze; a massive fireball blossomed from the ship and hurtling pieces of superheated metal shot out like lethal darts. The spaceship had been placed so that the engines faced the gate. Because all spaceships were designed in an attempt to protect the crew in case of engine accidents, the blast went backwards funnelled by bulkheads and armour plating inside the ship. The result was an inferno of energy and fire that obliterated the Barren’s vanguard force.

The siege tank caught the brunt of the blast, it was picked up and thrown backwards, such was the force of the detonation. It too then exploded as its own energy core detonated. All the men who had rushed in were either incinerated or cut to ribbons by hurtling shrapnel. The strain of the two blasts was too much for the walkway, already weakened and damaged, it collapsed in a cascade of falling masonry, burying what was once the northern entrance to the bastion. A huge column of dust was thrown into the scorched air, adding to the smoke already obscuring the carnage. Pieces of flying metal and segments of spaceship bounced and ricocheted around the courtyard, but the Dinos had all taken cover knowing in advance what was going to happen. As soon as the last bits fell to the ground Blaze pulled himself up.

There was a moment’s pause as the Barrens reeled from the sudden explosion, but it was only a moment, then they came rushing in. The first man scrambled over the heap of fallen concmetal and debris, followed by another ten, then a score more, hostiles arriving as a growing flood. Blaze realised that they truly did plan to simply swarm the bastion with countless men.

“Open fire!” Blaze roared as he jammed the trigger sending a volley of energy blasts into the oncoming Barrens. The Dinos immediately followed suit and a hundred energy guns blazed. He watched in satisfaction as the Barrens charged out of the thick smoke and into the courtyard, into a wall of gunfire; green energy blasts tore them down. As each successive man ran in he was gunned down by the defenders. The roar of the salvaged spaceship weapons sounded, adding their fire to the defence. Thankfully for the UCEF troops the fallen debris had also prevented any further Barren tanks from making it inside.

Blaze cast a glance round, deeming the situation to be momentarily under control. The Barrens could not get in faster than the Dinos could mow them down… and the Dinos were only too happy to do just that. Retaliatory fire from the Barrens was limited and short-lived. He paused… if he were the Barrens what would he do? He would attack the walls again. He checked the parapet and surely enough a volley of grappling irons had just arrived.

“Watch out! Barrens on the walls!” Blaze warned as he turned his gun upwards to pick off the first wave of attackers. They could not hold them off on both fronts, while the breach could be held, the walls were another matter. They had only just managed the first time and that had been with all of them fighting on the parapet. With their forces split and dwindled they could not last. Not to mention the fact that the bulk of the Barren’s army had now reached the bastion.

But what did it matter? They were certainly taking their toll, Blaze thought as he watched yet another Barren fly backwards off the parapet. They were bleeding the Barrens and that was what counted.

Look out for Part 19 of Matthew Gill’s story.