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Until The End: Part 7

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 7

“Blaze! Sir!” The voice broke through the black of his sleep like a rock through ice. Blaze was dimly aware of a strong paw shaking him awake and somebody repeating his name. Slowly the fog of slumber receded, what was happening? The attack! Instantly he snapped awake, becoming fully alert, his eyes flicking open and his mind firing up like an old hover-bike having been pulled from the back of a dusty garage.

R318 was kneeling beside him, concern etched on his face in worried lines. His eyes were rimmed with the black shadows of sleep deprivation. Blaze pulled himself from his sleeping bag, shivering as he adjusted to the sudden temperature change.

“What’s the situation?” He asked, although he could guess.

“Best you see for yourself,” R318 replied quietly, too quietly. Blaze did not like the tone of his voice. Stuffing his foot paws into his boots and grabbing his rifle he staggered to the ladder, his body still purging the last vestiges of sleep from the corners of his mind.

The rest of the Dinos were either being woken up or kitting up, quickly moving to the walls. Blaze gripped the ladder and hauled himself up and onto the parapet; the sight that met his eyes was one to freeze the heart. Barrens marched towards the bastion, framed in the light of the new dawn; five thousand of them at least, if not more. Tanks rumbled forwards, blunt blue fronts and painted barrels pointing at the UCEF defenders. Flatbeds with mounted artillery thundered towards them, pulled along by giant caterpillar tracks. Blaze counted three super heavy tanks, moving fortresses of iron and steel, protected by energy shields and armed with an obscene number of guns. It was a full battle force, what they had fought off the day before must have been a mere vanguard. This was an army designed to utterly crush the bastion.

A cold hand gripped Blaze, icy fingers of fear digging into him; even with all his training he could not shake them loose. There were no two ways about it, the bastion would fall. He had twenty two Dinos left. Even if the other three fronts had fared better he doubted they had an excess of two hundred soldiers between them. The bastion had two or three times that number at best, maybe another hundred wounded Dinos. He reckoned there were roughly eight hundred of them all told; medics, technicians and the injured included. They were hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. The Barrens had tanks and heavy weapons; where as they had whatever was left of the bastions armament and that was more or less it. Unless the Barrens forgot which way to point their guns, there would be no victory for UCEF today.

Blaze knew there would be no reinforcements, no relief fleet coming rushing in to save the day. UCEF had been unprepared for the attack on Hayveon; the Barrens had taken orbital control within an hour of their arrival. The only UCEF cruiser had fled after taking its toll on the Barrens; the logic being that it was best the cruiser fought in a battle it could win rather than going to its death needlessly. That had left the planet itself vulnerable; why the Barrens had not tried to bombard them from orbit Blaze had no idea, but whatever the reason he was thankful for it. All that aside, it meant the Barrens had complete control of the skies. Nothing would be coming down to help, nor could they flee up; not that they had many spaceships left anyway.

This was it, they could not run, they could not leave the planet, they had nowhere to go and they were not going to win.

“Looks like this is it sir,” R318 said softly, as he looked at the oncoming tide. Silence hung over the defenders as their doom approached, all the Dinos were up now and their horrified expressions mirrored each other.

Swinging a pair of powerful binoculars over the oncoming army Blaze scanned the Barren advance again, searching for any possible weakness. There was none, it was an unstoppable wall with no cracks.

“Fellow UCEF soldiers,” Blaze began, gathering his confidence for one last speech. “We… face the Barrens and their war machines.” He took a deep breath. “We may not see another day, but we will fight to give others that chance! Every Barren who falls on these fields will be one less to attack our friends back on SSG world. We don’t fight for our own survival, but for the survival of those we hold dear, and by goodness we won’t let these Barrens take us out without a darn good battle! If there is one last thing I want, it’s to still be emptying my gun into the Barrens when I go down! Let’s make a last, glorious, stand of the defenders of Hayveon! FOR UCEF!!!”

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Look out for Part 8 of Matthew Gill’s story!