Read Battle Earth: 12 Online

Authors: Nick S. Thomas

Battle Earth: 12 (9 page)

BOOK: Battle Earth: 12
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"This is a monumental fuckup of a defence," stated Silva.

"We underestimated our attackers, that's for sure."

He knew it was the greatest underestimation he'd heard in a long time, to the extent that it even brought a smile to Silva's face.

"Where are we heading?" he asked.

"Sweep and clear, and if we can get to either the armoury or our copter to pickup shields, all the better."

"Copter is closer."

Taylor nodded and went ahead to lead the way. He took a bend and could hear movement, so he ducked back behind a support beam, holding his rifle up at the ready. The steps were lightweight, so he assumed they were human, but he wanted to be sure. Three crewmembers took the bend and stopped in horror at the sight of him. They were carrying Reitech carbines that they had drawn from the armoury, but without the exo-suits even the carbines were hefty loads to lug around.

"Colonel, what's going on?"

"We're heading for the hangar bay. Fall in and form a rear guard."

He went quickly past them, and they tagged on. Gunfire echoed out ahead, and Taylor took a corner to see the flank of one of the enemy firing its weapon. It was using some kind of forearm-mounted pulse weapon and carried a shield in its other. The Mech’s armour was sleek and compact, much like what Jafar used to wear. It was also jet black and made them appear as a shadow. He felt a tingle run down his spine, and he now understood why they were so terrifying.

Without any more hesitation, he lifted his rifle and took a well-aimed burst at the creature’s head. The first shot glanced off its helmet, but the second and third penetrated, and it dropped down dead before it could turn to face him.

"Not so bad," he muttered to himself.

Even before he had finished, another one of them took the corner with its shield held before it. Taylor fired a few shots, but nothing could get through.

"Grenades?" Silva asked as he ducked back for cover.

 
“This close to firing up a gateway? Hell, no."

"We need to live long enough to get that far," he added.

"We can't face them like this. We need to get to our gear."

He pointed off to another room next to them and a door they could see on the far side.

"That way! Move!"

He leaned out and fired a few shots for covering fire before following the others. Silva led the way through another few rooms and corridors until they reached the entrance to the hangar. Silva leaned in just enough to see two of the creatures pacing across the deck. He caught another glimmer of movement and could see it was Rains sitting just inside a side door of one of the copters. Two other crewmembers lay dead not far from the craft. Rains looked terrified. Silva looked to the nose of the copter he was in and could see the Reitech chain gun had a magazine loaded; he could only hope it had ammunition. Silva gestured towards the gun and signalled for him to put down fire before turning back to the group.

"Rains is gonna put down some fire from that nose gun, then we hit them, okay?" he said to the group, as Taylor peered around for a look with his own eyes.

"He starts that gun firing, and they're gonna hit back hard. No hesitation, you hear?"

Silva nodded in approval, but the sailors with them looked terrified and barely able to move. Taylor couldn't blame them. He remembered the first time he saw the Mechs, and these were a far more terrifying enemy than they were accustomed to. Taylor watched Rains climb carefully into the cockpit, but he stumbled as he dropped into the seat, and the creatures heard him. They turned to fire, but Taylor took it as his chance. He raised his rifle and fired a six-shot burst into the back of one of them. It dropped face first to the deck. The other turned on him quickly, and pulses smashed the frame beside him as he ducked back for cover.

A moment later, they heard the nose gun on the copter spool up, and then a split second later the almost deafening sound of the weapon. It began firing at such a rate you could not differentiate one shot from another. Taylor peered around the corner. The shots of the Gatling gun smashed into the creature’s shield and forced it back. Finally, the shield was torn apart, and it took the full brunt of the weapon. The Gatling gun tore a half metre hole in its chest, almost severing its body in two, and it crumpled dead to the deck.

Rains took his finger off the trigger and sat back with a sigh of relief before making his way back to the side door. Taylor approached the pilot, but as he got halfway, he felt a hand grab hold of his ankle. He looked down. The first creature he shot had locked him in a vice grip, and only his exo skeleton stopped his bones from breaking. The alien raised its other arm to fire at him, but Taylor smashed it away with his rifle and then stomped on its face five times until the helmet gave way and collapsed. He took aim at the seemingly lifeless body and fired three shots into the head to be certain.

"Damn they don't die easy."

Then they heard the intercom activate.

"This is the Captain speaking. Prepare to jump in five...four...three...two..."

Taylor half expected the jump to fail but was amazed on hearing the Captain say jump. He felt the bizarre gravity shift they always did as they passed through. Rains let out another sigh of relief.

"We're not out
of
the shit yet," said Taylor
.

Chapter 5
 

"We're through!" yelled the flight lieutenant.

Barclay activated an open channel immediately and put out his emergency message.

"This is Captain Barclay of The Baron. We have enemy combatants aboard and request immediate support."

A few moments later the Admiral's voice came over the line.

"This is Lasure. What the hell is going on over there, Captain?"

"Sir, we have an unknown number of enemy combatants aboard this vessel. We need additional support from Marine detachments immediately!"

The line went silent for a moment until finally Lasure responded.

"Maintain your position. We will despatch assistance to you."

"They better be quick," muttered Barclay as the transmission ended.

As he said it, they heard gunfire ring out from just outside the bridge, and the squad of marines quickly returned fire.

"I need some eyes on what's going on. Get me something!" Barclay ordered.

"Sir, video feeds are down. All we've got is audio comms, and I'm having trouble reaching a lot of the crew."

* * *

"We're taking heavier fire in engineering!" shouted Lang over the comms.

Taylor was passing a shield out to Silva and grabbing his own when he heard the message.

He froze for a moment and said thoughtfully, "Why would they still be going for the engines when we're already back at Ony?"

"They don't want to stop us. They want to destroy us," said Silva.

"If they reached the Aranui reactor and hit it with enough explosives, what would that do?"

"Nothing good," replied Silva.

"It would likely destroy the ship," added Jafar bluntly.

"We have to get moving, now!"

As he said it, Jafar opened one of the storage lockers on the side of the copter and pulled out one of the 50CMG ‘pigs’.

"Can you handle that?" Taylor asked him.

The pig was as long as Jafar was tall, and they could see he was straining slightly to carry it, but it would have to do. They rushed on towards engineering and could hear the echo of gunfire from various locations as they did so. They found two bodies of their own platoon and several more crewmembers lying dead nearby. There was no time to check if any were still alive.

A crossroads lay ahead, and as they reached it, one of the creatures stepped out before them. Taylor squeezed the trigger of his rifle almost immediately. The Mech took the first of his shots on its shield before advancing and barging him into the sidewall. Silva tried to take aim, but as he did so, Taylor drove his knee up into the creature and forced it back so that it could not bring its weapon to bear. The alien warrior’s forearm-mounted pulse cannon came around his shield, and he grabbed it in time as it opened fire. Pulses ripped into the corridor beside him.

He smashed down onto the weapon with his shield until it stopped firing, but the creature countered with a swift kick to his abdomen, smashing him back against the sidewall. But it opened up the creature to Jafar's line of sight. He pulled the trigger on the pig, and the high calibre rounds resonated through the corridor as five shots tore holes in the Mech. It collapsed at Taylor's feet. He was still clinging to the wall where he had been thrown, and blue blood had coated the front plate of his armour where the massive rounds had punched holes through his attacker.

"Little close, don't you think?" he asked Jafar.

"What are you complaining about? You're still alive," Silva asked.

"Those things are fast, too fast."

"From a world not far from mine. Good warriors. A small elite," said Jafar.

"Good, I don't wanna have to face many more like that. Let's keep moving."

He looked back to the crewmembers that had stayed back behind Jafar and Silva. They still looked terrified.

"How far to engineering?" he asked them.

"Just..just...not far now," one of them stuttered.

"All right, just stick with us and cover our asses, you hear?"

He turned and carried on. The sounds of gunfire up ahead soon grew louder. He knew they were heading for the right place and didn't have time to be cautious, and true enough they soon had the enemy in sight. They could see three of their own battling one of the creatures in hand-to-hand combat. Several others were dug in at the entrance to the engineering wing. Boxes were piled high with spare shields like a small fort.

Taylor immediately took out a grenade and went to activate it.

"This close to the reactor?"

"We don't clear this lot, then we're all dead anyway, Sergeant."

He activated the grenade and tossed it past the group that were fighting, and into the corridor the enemy were firing from. An explosion rang out that silenced everyone. It gave one of the marines an opening to thrust his Assegai into the one they had been struggling to take down. The room went silent for a moment as dust and debris began to settle.

The silence was broken by a shriek as if some kind of battle cry, and a group of the Mechs stormed out from the breach and rushed towards them. Taylor opened fire, as Jafar swung around the huge 50BMG and held down the trigger so that his shots strafed the charging group. His shots were the only ones to penetrate the shields. One of the rounds blew a hole right through a shield but missed the creature behind it; another put two shots right through, hitting the Mech dead centre. The shield had taken the velocity out of the blow and didn't go through the body armour.

Taylor armed another grenade and tossed it over the top of the charging horde in case any followed after them. As he had recovered, one of the Mechs descended onto him, and he held out his shield to protect himself, turning slightly to take the impact. The beast brushed off his shield and ran straight into one of the crewmembers behind him. The sheer weight of the beast crushed the man as it continued on to try and finish off the other two. Taylor raised his rifle and fired a burst into its back. The shots hurt the creature but didn't kill it. It snapped around and rushed at him. A blade extended out of its arm alongside its pulse cannon, and it thrust for him. He raised his shield, but the blade pierced through cleanly like an Assegai. It only missed his left arm by a few centimetres, and the tip had stopped in front of his face.

"Shit!" he yelled in shock. He raised his shield and pushed his rifle through under and fired a few rounds, but they couldn't penetrate the frontal armour of the Mech, and it pulled its blade free of his shield and thrust once again. He knew not to take any thrust now so tilted his shield and deflected the blow.

"Down!"

It was Jafar.

He ducked, and Jafar swung the hulking 50BMG and hit the Mech with it like a club. The Mech folded from the force of it as if being hit by a truck, but Jafar did not let up as it crumpled to the ground. He took hold of the gun barrel and raised it up, smashing it down like a pile driver into the creature’s head. The force of the impact smashed its helmet and fractured its skull.

Taylor turned around and saw Silva get hit by a pulse in the inner side of his arm. He cried out in pain and dropped his Assegai. Jafar lifted up the pig and held down the trigger until Silva's attacker was riddled with shots and fell. Taylor rushed at the last one with his shield held before him. The creature turned to engage, but he spun around it, smashing the lower edge of his shield into the back of its leg so that it dropped onto one knee. Before it could recover, he plunged his Assegai down into its collar and ran it down to the hilt.

He pulled out the blade, and it spewed more blue blood out across him as he looked at the carnage surrounding them. As many of their own lay dead as those of the enemy. He rushed to Silva's side.

"How is it?"

"Not so bad," he replied with a groan.

Taylor looked closer to see the shot had clipped the upper inside of his arm and gone right through.

"Gonna hurt like a son of a bitch, but you'll be okay."

"Great," he replied sarcastically.

"Colonel Taylor?" Barclay asked over the comms.

"Taylor here," he replied casually.

"Colonel, I have two US Marine transports requesting permission to come aboard."

"Well for goodness sake let them land."

No response came back.

"Can you walk?" Mitch asked Silva.

"I'm wounded, not crippled," he replied defensively.

Taylor reached down and helped him to his feet.

"Squad stays put. I'll take what I came with and head for the docking bays and try and organise this bloody mess."

 
Silva gathered up his rifle and winced, but he managed the weight despite the wound. Jafar still lugged the cumbersome pig, now coated in blood at the receiver end where it had caved in the skull of a Mech warrior. Taylor felt the familiar aches and pains that always came with a close quarters battle with the enemy. Far from letting it get him down, it was just a reminder that he was in the right place.

Taylor led them back the way they had come and walked over the same dead bodies they had the first time. The corridors were quiet now, too quiet. Taylor didn’t know whether to mourn the dead or be concerned of whatever was left for them to deal with.

“Don’t move!” a voice yelled.

Taylor recoiled back and raised his rifle.

“Identify yourself!” he shouted in return.

“Sergeant Whitaker, US Marine Corps!”

“Colonel Taylor…”

He couldn’t think of anything to tag on, but felt it was all the introduction he would need. He lowered his rifle, stepped out slowly, and found himself in front of four marines. Their uniforms were perfectly cleaned and pressed beneath their armour. The Sergeant looked close to thirty and like he’d seen his fair share of combat, but the others couldn’t have been old enough to have served in the wars until very recently.

“Sorry, Colonel, we couldn’t get a good eye on you before,” said Whitaker.

He reached the Sergeant and then saw there were at least another two-dozen marines behind him.

“Let us take over from here, Colonel,” said Whitaker.

“You in charge of these boys?” Taylor asked. He looked them over and laughed as he saw that almost half were women, “and girls,” he added.

“Yes, Sir.”

They all carried the same Reitech equipment he was intimately familiar with. They moved with purpose and experience.

“Let us sweep and clear, Colonel. You can stay put and protect the landing bay,” insisted Whitaker.

He watched Silva slump down onto an ammo box, and the two remaining crewmembers followed suit.

“Please, Colonel, let us do our job.”

Taylor hated being laid up. He found it difficult to relinquish responsibility to somebody else, but he could see they needed it.

“Your people ever faced Mech warriors?”

“Yes, Sir,” he replied quickly.

Taylor was surprised, but he knew he shouldn’t be.

“They aren’t like what you have faced before. Nothing like. Faster, stronger, better armoured; their suits are smaller and yet more resilient to our weapons. They are an elite that you would never wish to face.”

“We can handle it, Colonel,” replied Whitaker confidently.

“I hope so. We’ll hold here, but I’m having the Captain put this ship down on Ony ASAP.”

“Are you sure that is wise, Colonel?”

“What is aboard is dangerous, but they are few, and we are many. A situation we have rarely known in this war.”

“We’ve got this, Colonel.”

“Good luck to you.”

The fresh Marine platoon rushed on into the depths of ship. Taylor hoped they were prepared for what was to come, but he knew how exceptional the circumstances were. He lifted his comms unit.

“Captain Barclay.”

“Speaking,” he finally replied.

“Take us in and put us down ASAP.”

“Why?” he asked in amazement.

BOOK: Battle Earth: 12
9.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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