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Until The End: Part 20

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 20

Blaze swiftly parried a Barren sword thrust before delivering a solid blow to the man in question. His mind was still catching up with what he had just heard and his situation was taking his immediate attention. He drew his sword back and held it level in front of him, ready for his next foe.

“Then we shall pull back to these caves, we have a far better chance of defending a caving system than this courtyard,” Blaze replied. Although his curiosity was peaked, what was it that the Dino was on about, why could he not make sense of it? His words suggested he had found something more than a simple cavern.

But he did not have time to contemplate the matter; the Barrens were starting to set up heavy weapons along the walls so that they could fire down upon the Dinos in courtyard. The Dinos had now been forced into a rough circle, with the Barrens pressing in on them from all sides. The ground was littered with the fallen, although the majority were clad in blue uniforms. Nevertheless every Dino soldier lost was irreplaceable, whereas the Barrens seemed to have a never ending flow of reinforcements arriving.

“Back to the complex!” Blaze boomed over the ring of metal on metal. He passed his sword to his gun paw and grabbed a canister from his belt. Flicking the catch off he fumbled for the button, pressed it and then threw the canister upwards. There was a soft explosion and a thick blanket of smoke expanded outwards, enveloping the battlefield in its suffocating embrace. Within seconds everybody’s visibility was reduced to next to nothing, save for Blaze whose visor could still pick out targets and friendlies amidst the sudden confusion. The Dinos pulled back like eerie ghosts through the mist, retreating towards the door that led into the bunker complex and dispatching any Barrens that got in their way. Right on cue the door slid open with a rumble, altering the relatively blind Dinos to its exact location. Blaze clanked through the smoke catching any Dinos who were blundering in the wrong direction.

“That way,” his voice grated as quietly as he could, pointing a Dino at the now open door.

The roar of gunfire penetrated the smokescreen as the Barren heavy gunners opened fire, pouring blue energy blasts down into the confusion. Blaze winced as he saw multiple Dinos fall to their vicious assault. He himself staggered slightly under the barrage, but his armour held strong. The lads at Dino Industries sure knew what they were doing when they had made his PASHAS, he thought with a faint smile.

Switching his sword back to his right paw he brought his gun to bear, returning the attack. The Barrens however had found good spots providing them with plenty of cover; all the same his retaliation was enough to make them duck.

The Barrens were closing in now, heading for where they assumed the door was, cautiously advancing, bayonetted guns held forwards. The smoke was beginning to clear, but thankfully almost all the Dinos had found the door into the bastion and had staggered in; several stood by it guiding the stragglers to safety.

Blaze swept his sword from side to side, throwing Barrens out of his way as he stamped towards the bunker complex. Suddenly a burst of white hot pain flared in his right leg and he staggered, something sharp had bitten through the joint.

“Ugghhrr!” Blaze grunted, throwing himself sideways to avoid the follow up attack of whatever it was. He landed in a crouch, but his right leg gave beneath him, several of the power cables had been cut and he had lost strength in that limb. With a crash and a gasp he toppled to the floor, shattering concrete beneath his armoured bulk. His visor warned him of extensive damage to the joint.

A Barren emerged from the smoke, clad in elaborate armour and twirling a sword, crackling with deep blue energy.

“So we meet at last, rabbit,” he hissed malevolently, speaking the last word with disdain.

“Landrel!” Blaze’s voice replied viciously as he pulled himself up. This was the Barren commander; he had certainly heard of him, he had been the one responsible for the destruction of Nayack. Now he had come to take Hayveon.

Landrel lunged at him energy sword spinning, aiming for Blaze’s neck. Blaze stumbled backwards still only just finding his footing; he felt the crackle of energy as the blade hissed past, bare millimetres from his throat plate. His armour plating protected him from conventional weapons, an energy sword however was another matter. While the zarnk plates would in theory turn the blade away, it had the potential to cause considerable damage and he could not risk that. Fast as a whip the Barren turned his swipe into a downwards sweep, aiming to cripple Blaze’s other leg. Blaze brought his own sword across clashing with Landrel’s in a shower of blue and green sparks.

He was dimly aware of Barrens closing in and a voice shouting to him from behind. The Dinos were in the bunker, but he could not possibly turn to join them; Landrel was a blade master to rival even the mighty Jadelith. Carefully he took a step backwards swinging his huge blade to keep the Barren commander at bay. But his right leg gave way again, sending another spasm of pain up his side and bringing him to one knee.

“Going somewhere rabbit?” Landrel sneered.

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Look out for Part 21 of Mathew Gill’s story!