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Until The End: Part 9

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 9

“Ugghhh,” Blaze groaned in agony as his eyes flickered open. His body burned with a pain akin to the feeling one would receive having fallen off a cliff; every one of his bones seemed to have been banged together and shaken about. The foul smell of singed fur assaulted his nose and as the ringing in his ears started to clear he could hear the cries of the wounded.

Spitting out blood, Blaze rolled over and forced himself into a crouching position, then staggered upright. Blinking and rubbing his eyes he took stock of the situation. A huge energy blast had struck the wall a few metres along from where he had been standing, blowing the whole section in, leaving a gap at least five metres across. Twisted and blackened scraps of metal now decorated the burnt ground. He must have been thrown clean off the wall by the shockwave, Blaze figured as he surveyed the devastation. Several others who had been closer to the blast had not been so lucky; Blaze averted his eyes. There was no hiding from the facts; there was no way they could hold the defences now. As his ears fully cleared the sound of battle returned, the constant clamour of energy guns and the explosions of artillery. They had lost this section, not only had their defences been blow wide open but they had suffered far too many casualties to man it.

“Fall back! To the bastion!” Blaze shouted, finding his voice again. Though it pained him to shout those two words it had to be done. There was no point in staying here now. R3318 ducked below the parapet and looked down at him, Blaze met his gaze sombrely.

“You heard him, everybody fall back!” R3318 repeated, gripping the edge of the walkway and dropping to the ground.

Blaze moved slightly unsteadily and retrieved his rifle from where it had fallen. There was a roar as the Dino with the heavy energy gun emptied its charge, then leapt down. There were only seventeen of them in total, a woefully small number indeed, although Blaze was relieved to see both R3298 and R3272 amongst the survivors.

“Go on ahead, I’ll join you in a minute,” Blaze ordered as the remaining Dinos made their way across the blasted and ruined defences towards the bastion. Three of them were wounded, two limping, the third clutching his arm. Other than that the rest seemed to be relatively unharmed.

“Sir?” R3318 queried, half turning to face Blaze.

“We still have a treat for the Barrens, remember?” Blaze remarked as way of explanation. R3318 grinned, an evil grin as he realised what Blaze was talking about, then jogged to catch up with the others.

Slinging his rifle over his back Blaze clambered up the ladder to the walkway; the rungs had been blown loose in the explosion and twisted in his grip. He crouched below the parapet, pulled out his hand held computer and selected ‘controls’ with a grubby paw.

The shooting had more or less stopped, the Barrens had realised the Dinos had fallen back and subsequently had given up shooting at the already breached defences. Cautiously Blaze poked his head above the parapet. The Barren advance had not faltered; their men were nearly into the last trench despite the toll inflicted by the UCEF gunners. Blue clad squads advanced, hunched over figures clasping rifles, scampering forwards while the rest of the army covered them.

Blaze flinched as a blue energy bolt struck the wall a bare metre away, giving off a harsh ringing noise.

“Missed me!” Blaze yelled defiantly at the oncoming horde.

He ducked down again and with grim satisfaction pressed the option ‘detonate’ followed by ‘yes’. He looked up again as the command processed. There was a deep blast followed by a bass rumble as all the explosives they had planted earlier detonated. All along the line of the front trenches clods of dirt and debris burst upwards, throwing Barrens skywards. Tanks toppled over, squads were torn apart and the order of the Barren army was thrown into disarray.

“That was for every UCEF soldier who fell to your foul guns!” Blaze yelled with a mixture of anger and grief. Too many had died and he knew so many more would. Therefore it was with considerable satisfaction he watched as the entire Barren army halted in surprise. It would not stop them, but it would hurt them.

Taking a last look at the results of his defiant act of destruction, Blaze clambered back down. At least if nothing else the explosions would have slowed the Barren advance slightly; every second he bought would give the gunners another second in which to shoot more Barrens.

Blaze picked his way through the debris and ducking low made his way to the inner defences. They would not bother trying to hold the inner ring; the number of soldiers under his command was too small. No, they would go straight to the bastion and try to hold the Barrens back from there. Pushing past the barricade, he moved inside and up to the armoured gate that led to the bastion itself. Once they were inside those walls, there was nowhere to run.

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Look out for Part 10 of Matthew Gill’s story!