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Until The End: Part 22

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 22

Blaze staggered back under the next flurry of strikes. He imagined he could feel the scythe of Grim himself resting on his shoulders, any moment would be his last and death would take him. He was running out of ideas.

Then a mad idea occurred to him; in a last ditch attempt Blaze roared, switching the volume of his speakers up to maximum, hoping to stun Landrel with the sheer noise.

“YAHHH!” His voice boomed out in a scream of vocal defiance. His suit’s sensors filtered out the deafening sound so he could not hear it; however it made Landrel and the majority of the Barrens reel. It bought him just enough time to swipe at the slightly dazed Landrel and force him to back off. But it would not stop the inevi…

“Sir turn and run!” A voice shouted from behind him. Without even thinking he pivoted on his good leg to face the bunker complex, ready to sprint before Landrel could leap on him. As he span he noticed a metal sphere roll and bounce between his legs. He had a split second to realise what was about to happen, just long enough to dive forward.

A thundering explosion shook the courtyard as the grenade detonated behind him with such force he was punched to the ground. Even through his suit he felt the heat of the blast, his PASHAS alone kept him alive. Blaze almost landed flat on his face, barely catching himself with a thunderous crash of metal plates. His visor was screaming red at him, unsurprisingly warning of damage to his back armour.

A roar of heavy energy gunfire split the air and Blaze expected the worst… but he was not blown apart. Lifting himself up he saw a Dino with a heavy energy gun standing on the bunker complex roof, braced against a cooling vent. To Blaze he was an angel of salvation sent to rescue him from certain death, pouring down righteous vengeance upon the Barrens. The Dino emptied the charge on his gun at the Humans, then swung the weapon over his back and leapt down. It was the Dino Blaze had met several times earlier in the battle, how he was still alive and how the Barrens had not seen him, Blaze had no idea.

Blaze staggered towards his saviour grinding his teeth and doing his best to ignore the pain in his right leg. The Dino ran forwards, grabbed Blaze’s gun arm and half pulled, half dragged him towards the complex door.

With a crackle of multiple energy guns the Barrens began to return fire, the survivors having just about recovered from the sudden onslaught; energy blasts peppered Blaze’s back like hailstones. But the Barrens were still in disarray and once more his PASHAS protected him. Still stunned from the blast he barely even registered the distance closing between himself and relative safety. Then strong paws were pulling him inside and he stumbled into the dark corridor of the complex.

Instantly the door slammed shut and sealed behind him, energy bolts already striking it. Blaze fell to his knees and closed his eyes as his mind caught up with the events of the last thirty seconds. He was alive! The Dino had rescued him! He was safe… for now at least, until the Barrens breached the door… which would likely take them all of two minutes. Blaze snapped back to attention, voices filtering into the whirlpool of his mind.

“Sir?”

“…sir are you okay?”

“We thought we’d lost you.” Helping paws pulled him up again.

“Ugh… thank you soldier, what is your name?” Blaze’s voice asked as he looked upon his rescuer. The Dino wore a standard red uniform, torn and burnt at the elbows and shoulders, his paws were grimy and he had a cut down one side of his face; but his eyes were alight and his grin very real.

“R 3482, heavy weapons specialist,” the Dino replied with pride.

“Thank you, without a doubt you just saved my life,” Blaze said in gratitude. “Now, we don’t have time for frivolous chit chat, let’s move! If anybody has explosives rig them to the door for when our friends in blue arrive, otherwise everybody move deeper into the complex!” Blaze commanded as he once more got in control of the situation. The Dinos snapped to it, a couple squeezed past Blaze and placed something by the door, the rest jogged off down the corridor. Blaze limped after them, resting his left paw on the wall to support himself; his sword once more magnetically clamped to his back. Blaze had not seen what had happened to Landrel in the confusion, he did not know if the grenade had killed him, or if R 3482’s volley had, but somehow… he had the feeling the Barren was still out there.

A hundred metres later and he reached the main room, the centre of the complex, granting access to the command bunker below and the rest of the above ground sections. The room was dark, lighting having failed during the shelling of the bastion. A flight of metal steps in the centre led down into the darkness of the lower levels. Tables had been upended and the contents of the room rearranged to form makeshift defences. The Dinos who had made it from the courtyard and walls were gathered there, illuminated by a few handheld lamps and torches. The soldiers were tired, battered and worn out, but not broken. The battle had been horrific, although Blaze could visibly see their spirits lift as he limped into the chamber. Their commander was still very much alive and breathing.

“The caves, where is the entrance?” Blaze asked, opening a channel to the Dino who had found them.

“Good to hear from you sir!” Came the relieved reply, “storeroom L3, in the far wall, I’m… there now,” Blaze nodded to himself.

“Everybody to storeroom L3! Those who have heavy weapons hold chokepoints and corridors, keep the Barrens back for as long as possible but don’t sell your lives!” Blaze ordered.

“Yes sir!” Chorused the two hundred or so surviving Dinos; guns were charged and orders issued by the remaining squad commanders. Despite everything, the defeat at the trenches, the fall of the outer defences, the breaching of the gate, the battle of the courtyard, they were still alive, UCEF was not finished yet.

“We head for the caves!”

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Look out for Part 23 of Mathew Gill’s story!