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Until The End: Part 26

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 26

“Sir, it opens up!” A voice shouted from the vanguard of the UCEF force.

“Move in and hold position!” Blaze ordered, picking up his pace slightly. Sure enough the tunnel they were in opened up into a vast chamber; Blaze froze mid stride at the sight that met his eyes. A dull green luminescence lit the cavern, the light given off by what appeared to be growths on the walls; they cast an eerie light upon the giant chamber, which in itself was in a truly peculiar formation. Huge columns of rock stretched from floor to ceiling like overgrown stalagmites and shelves of stone jutted out at numerous points, creating what looked like multiple floors in a multi-story hovercar park. Weird bridges and ramps spanned the gaps and linked the shelves of rock like walkways in a city. The edge of the cave was honeycombed with openings, passages leading deep into the core of Hayveon. The combination of surreal architecture and green lighting gave the scene an ethereal feel.

“What in the name of all that flies is this!?” R3318 exclaimed in consternation as he took in the otherworldly cavern. Blaze was, for once, utterly lost for words, out of everything he had been expecting, this was not even close. He had anticipated a system of caves, maybe a large cavern, but not this, not a sculpted stone city.

That being said, with such a prospective maze of tunnels before them, they could quite easily evade the Barrens. Even if their foe brought vinar scanners down, the mass of stone would completely block signals, rendering the UCEF forces invisible. It was possible that they could hide down here, potentially finding a way to the surface… perhaps, dare he hope, they might actually survive. There was just a dim flicker of light at the end of the metaphoric tunnel, a slim chance that they could escape the Barrens and live to fight another day. Maybe this was not the end, for the first time in days a faint smile of real happiness crept onto Blaze’s weary face.

However it vanished in the next second.

“What was that?” Somebody exclaimed, their torch flicking. Blaze’s head snapped round, he hastily cycled his visor through various modes in an attempt to see whatever ‘that’ was. Nothing showed up.

“Weapons forwards! Wounded back!” Blaze ordered grimly, realising it inevitably was not going to be as easy as he had hoped. Never taking his eyes from the cave, he carefully knelt down and lowered the Dino he had been carrying to the floor.

“Thank… you,” he wheezed, looking up at his saviour, “for not letting me down.”

“I won’t let any of you down,” Blaze’s voice replied, leaving his charge in the care of the Queaksys, then stomped forwards unclamping the sword from his back as he did so. The rest of the able bodied Dinos were making their way to the front, guns held at the ready. There was a moment of shuffling as they formed a line, all fully alert, then silence.

“Over there!” Somebody shouted pointing to a tunnel on his right. Blaze just saw a blur of movement as something vanished into the dark. They were not alone.

“Hold your fire! Don’t shoot unless there are obvious hostiles!” Blaze warned. “These may just be indigenous animals.” Such a theory would explain the smell, perhaps there was some alien species that lived in these caves… but… it would have taken some serious digging to build this cavern, surely, no animal could dig a cave such as this?

“There!” Another exclamation; something was certainly on the move. He did not like this. Barrens he was fine with, they may be brutal but he knew what he was dealing with when facing them. Chasing shadows was not his idea of fun. Suddenly his plan of retreating further into the caving system did not seem like such a wise one. It would be truly ironic indeed to escape the Barren army only to be killed by something else.

There was another tense silence, everybody searching the cave with wary eyes.

“Sir… what is it?” A Dino whispered nervously.

“I think we’re about to find out,” Blaze’s voice replied almost prophetically as he panned his gun from left to right.

“Do you think they’re hos…”

“Kleeeaaaakkk!” An almighty shriek echoed throughout the cave as suddenly they appeared. From every tunnel, every hole and every dark space a swarm of skittering scuttling creatures emerged, a living tide of purple carapace. Most were roughly the size of a Human, but there were others, giant spindly things towering well above their brethren. As one they surged forwards bounding towards the Dinos led by a gigantic alien behemoth. Caught as it was in the light of their torches Blaze could bear witness to it in all its hideous glory. It was roughly insectoid with four long, thin, shell covered limbs ending in fists with blades for fingers. Its body was vaguely oval in shape and held well above the ground. An angular head jutted out from under a spiked shell and a vicious fanged maw hung open. It had six eyes, all staring intently at him, three on each side. It towered above the majority of the creatures, easily three metres tall, its underside coated in a ribbed exoskeleton. It was a thing of lucid nightmares.

Blaze reacted with a speed that was the product of years of training.

“Halt or we will be forced to open fire! We are UCEF and we mean you no harm!”

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Look out for Part 27 of Mathew Gill’s story!