Our Spring magazine is finally here! Click here to view and read our new articles!

Until The End: Part 16

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 16

“To the gate!” Blaze’s voice boomed as he pointed his sword at the target. He charged along the walkway towards the raised section, desperate to stop the Barrens from breaching the defences. His heavy boots beat a thundering tattoo on the concmetal. There was a static roar of gunfire; the men who had taken cover from his first attack had turned and started shooting at him. Rifles flashed and a hail of energy bolts struck Blaze, but he did not break his monstrous stride.

The Dino he had rescued shot one of the Barrens in the back and Blaze’s sweeping sword blows took care of the other two. Madly Blaze raced up onto the raised section, so he was directly above the Barrens. Joining the other Dino he leant over the parapet and hammered his trigger, sending a volley of energy blasts into the Barrens below, who were busy placing the fatal explosives. To his dismay the blasts pattered harmlessly against a flickering blue energy shield, a protective bubble cast over the demolitionists by a small personnel carrier.

“Bring that shield down!” Blaze’s voice boomed from the speaker as various other UCEF soldiers ran to join him behind the remarkably still intact defences. Somehow the parapet wall and barricades above the gate had survived relatively undamaged… so far.

There was another roar of gunfire and a stream of blue energy blasts raked the defences as several heavy gunners opened fire, forcing the UCEF soldiers down. Blaze straightened up to take a shot at one of the gunners and almost instantly a thunderous energy blast struck his shoulder plate. He staggered back under the blow as the impact shook him. His visor informed him he had suffered damage. Cursing he ducked back down again, he would have to be careful, while the shot had not done anything serious whoever had fired it posed a real threat to him unlike the men with standard rifles. The Barrens were clearly protecting the men below ferociously; they were not going to give the Dinos a chance to attack them. Thankfully the Barrens on the walls had not managed to gain a foothold, despite a good proportion of the UCEF forces drawing back to above the gate. For now the Dinos held the walls.

“Bring the parapet wall down on top of them!” R3318 shouted. “An energy shield won’t stop a ton of falling concmetal!” A grin spread across Blaze’s face. He would have promoted R3318… had it not been for the fact he would never get a chance to do so. Instantly the Dinos ran to the parapet wall and began hacking and smashing at it with various energy weapons, ensuring they never strayed above its protection. Blaze joined them in trying to break the reinforced concrete; he swung an armoured fist at the wall. There was a resounding crash and Concmetal shattered, the impact of the blow jarred Blaze’s whole arm, but he struck again. Fragments broke off and cracks spread. He struck again with another bang of metal on concrete, this time it began to give, pieces breaking off and tumbling down to land on the Barren’s shield. Blaze rammed his shoulder into the wall and pushed with all his considerable might. R3318 and the others did likewise and with a tearing thundering noise like an avalanche the whole parapet wall broke away and fell. Blaze very nearly toppled over with it, but quickly pulled himself back and watched the devastation.

The Barrens below just had time to see the giant slab of falling concmetal before it hit the shield, overloading and breaking it instantly. With a booming thud the shattered wall section struck the ground, crushing multiple Barrens and striking others down with scything shrapnel. Instantly the Dinos opened fire; bereft of their shield the Barrens were left as vulnerable as sheep before a pack of wolves. They fell in moments, gunned down, explosive charges falling from dead grips.

“Back from the edge!” Blaze’s voice instructed as Barren gunners elsewhere began to take advantage of the fact the Dinos no longer had a parapet to hide behind.

It was purely by chance that Blaze’s gaze fell on the personnel carrier and he did so just in time to see a Barren inside press something. A deafening explosion shook the bastion, louder than a score of simultaneous thunderclaps. The ground beneath him rippled with the force of the blast, cracks spider-webbing across it. Everybody, even Blaze, fell over as all the Barren’s explosives detonated. The commander had decided to blow them, despite the fact not all of the charges had been placed. Even through the protection of the PASHAS Blaze’s ears still rung and his head swum.

“Off the walkway!” The words sounded distant, as if he was hearing his voice from underwater. Heaving himself up and trying to clear his ringing head Blaze hurried to follow his own instruction as sections of the walkway collapsed. Blaze hoped they had stopped the Barrens before they had managed to rig too many of their bombs. “Down to the courtyard! The Barrens will be going for the gate!”

Blaze quickly laid down a suppressive fire as the Barrens who had clambered onto walls got to their feet and began firing upon the exposed Dinos. The Dinos in question scurried for cover, heading for the broken stairs that led down to the courtyard.

The section of walkway above the gate was lost, the blast had wreaked havoc upon the structure, it was neither tactically sound nor safe to stay upon it, especially since they had sacrificed the parapet wall. He knew it would leave it open for the Barrens to grapple up, potentially giving them a breach in the defences which they could exploit, but he had no choice. If the Dino had not spotted the demolitionists or R3318 had not reacted when he had, the Barrens would have succeeded in blowing the gate down. It had cost them, but the alternative would have been far worse. However it still remained to be seen how much damage the blast had caused, regardless, the gates would be weaker now… at best.

_______________________________________

Look out for Part 17 of Matthew Gill’s story!