Short Story: Final battle in the sixth war of the Twin alliance against the army of Work and the Hunters of Badafut (The title is a working title only)
Ferad wiped sweat from his cloudy grey eyes to look back at his bright targeting screen. Works long serpentine-like fighters streaked across his green reticule, rarely slowing enough for him to get a decent shot of vibrant green plasma out. He glanced at his stocky Dwarven cannoneer sergeant Deran , screaming orders from his beneath his command screen setup. Spittle shooting across the room to whoever had the bad luck to mess up. The sergeant's brown hair was matted to his head just as everyone else, his fierceness showed more than what he truly felt, what everyone truly felt. Desperation. The fiercest of the dwarves beserk long-fighters were being pushed back, just as everyone else, to the fortress world of Timbuktu. The last defense station of the alliances joint homeworld. If one looked hard enough they could see Terra's green forests beyond Timbuktu. Now the enemies war fleets were so close to stamping out the alliances command. The attack had come as a shock to all, the Works and the hunters had snuck by three alliance systems and had taken four of the planets in the alliances home sytem before a defense could be properly scraped together.
Ferad was snapped from his reverie when the cannoneers control room was shaken by a mighty blow from one of the hunters larger ships energy pulse round broke through their shield and struck a crippling strike on the cruiser. Warning sirens started blaring and Deran ordered everyone to set their computers to expend all remaining rounds at enemy capital ships. When this was accomplished all started heading to evacuation shuttles to head for nearby ships to replace fallen crew from the other ships. Ferad ran to his designated evac' ship under the blaring sirens alongside men, women, dwarves and dwarfs, the Dwarves engineering counterparts. Ferad looked for his friend Quereng from the command deck desperately but to no avail, Ferad hoped he was okay. When he reached the towering, spirelike silver evacuation ship he ran to the ships cannons with the other Men and Dwarves Who ran the ships defenses.
As he sat down to continue the battle from the new position he noticed that the other evacuation ship had already launched but towards the enemies vessel. With a sick twist in his gut he turned to his sergeant to ask what was happening to see sorrow replacing the fierceness of Sergeant Deran's eyes. "They are boarding the enemies capital ship. We're right aside them, that's why we were blasted to pieces." A wistful look filled his eyes, "If I did not have such responsibility I would join them in their blaze of glory." Gerad nodded sagely, two hundred crew members used to fighting in ships, not gun to gun, against the enemies marines that were surely rushing to the point of boarding. A blaze of glory it would be, a short one at that. Turning to his station he set his lasers to high power in preparation to fight the enemies heavy class fighters, swarming their ship. Then in a moment, there was a flash, and the ship burst to pieces under the punishment of the enemies flagship. The one they had unwittingly engaged carrying the Garish Lord of the hunters, and it did not suffer small cruisers to live after an engagement.
Quereng nervously glanced at his captains unreadable face, they had just witnessed his ship torn apart by enemy exploding rounds and most of his crew was now dead. Quereng's eyes watered as his thoughts turned to his own feelings, an image of Ferad was savagely thrust from his own mind to preserve composure. Now was not a time for weeping, it was a time for destruction, and glory, maybe some revenge. Somehow the long thin ship managed to enter the enemy ship via an maintenance dock and land. Their luck ended there. When the ramps were down the crew was met with a hail of fire from enemy marines that had somehow already entered the hangar. Many brave crewmembers died rushing out from the ship to set up perimeter walls to provide a little cover for the others. This brave sacrifice was wasted however few of the two hundred on their own evac' ship even managed to get a shot of at the enemy.
Captain Fili's eyes swept the small defense frames that had been set up, his crew desperately trying to put up a fight and die with honour. He watched as his pilot Quereng was shot through the arm and chest and fell heavily. He felt like an evil person to send these to their deaths just to create a diversion. Hopefully his own death would atone through its game changing outcome. His personal guard, Therek, responsible for guarding him, captain of the Lightswimmer, and the dwarf engineer Meriad prepared to blast the hole into the floor underneath the ship away from the combat. His guard Therek shook his ancient, wrinkled grey head, doubtful of the plan but also doubtful there were any alternative ways to die in a meaningful way. Fili looked at his team, also doubtful, he had by no means the best or brightest of the captain guards(or fittest for that matter) and the small, mostly insane dwarven engineer hardly added to the mix to make a crack team. However, for the circumstances, it would have to do.
Soon the charges were set and the floor caved under in. The small group put down anchored ropes and descended down to a narrow, grey transport station obviously used for material transfer and no more. Fili stretched his lanky body to glance up one last time to were the last of his crew were fighting and dying and shook his head bitterly, turning away. Meriad the unusually small, red haired dwarven engineer, unable to contain herself, turned to Therek whispering loudly " "Ha! Well it's pretty stupid of them to build a station right under a hangar if you ask me"" Therek sent her a stern glance to quieten her. On the inside though, he was glad at least some of them were incapable of grasping the horror of war. Turning to his young lanky human captain Fili he started respectfully "Sir if we have any hope of your plan working we have to move now, the engine rooms are not far. We might make it before they discover us, but only if we move now." The captain turned slowly, as if with sudden fatigue. "Your right of course, Meriad, summon a transport in the most non suspicious way possible." Meriad nodded, eyes bright and set about busily opening various panels along the drab grey station platform.
The shooting above stopped, and, in an instant, all was quiet. Fili turned to Meriad and whispered crisply, "Do it in a faster manner if you please" "I'm hurrying! Gah, don't get your pants in a twist, a transport is gonna to be here soon. I just gotta reroute all the other transports in this area so we don't crash into them alright!" Meriad finished with a scowl. Therek shook his head wearily wondering if Meriad would ever develop a sense of respect. Not much of a chance for that though, he thought grimly. He quickly put such thoughts away from him, glory was in meaning of one's actions not ones death. He turned as a small drab, greenish tinted grey transport pulled in to the station. He eyed it suspiciously and was about to protest to the size when bolts of plasma started issuing down from the hole they descended through.
Very quickly, they were whizzing down the dark tunnels, Therek clinging uncomfortably to the back, the captain mostly upside down in the cargo area and their small dwarven engineer cackling manically as she navigated down the tunnels at a breakneck pace. Captain Fili was seriously wondering how, of the 30 some mechanical engineers from his ship he wound up with the one committed, apparently, to the consumption of every psychedelic drug invented. More scary to consider was that she might not even consume drugs and this was just her state of being.
Captain Fili's reveries were cut short as plasma bolt started thudding into the back of their vehicle. Therek hanging of the back was terribly exposed and since Meriad was busy navigating to the engine room on her handheld display, he hoped at least she was. He had to get Therek himself. He leaned over the back with plasma bolts shooting past their wild, bucking vehicle and pulled Therek into the cargo area.
Therek nodded to him thankfully and unslung his Mk1-6578 heavy blaster and along with Fili using his own captain pistol, started trading fire with the Work's behind. Therek quickly showed that while his age might have degraded his physique there still was a good reason for him being a captain's bodyguard. He easily scored hits on the other ship, A small patrol type cruiser with three small gibbering yellow Works in it. The squat work pilot had a rather determined look in his small evil looking red eyes and they were gaining steadily despite Meriad's pushing of their own ship. Captain Fili was constantly frustrated at his inadequacy to hit anything but the wall, while being awed by Therek's masterful shooting skills. Meriad shouted back, "I know you guys are having fun trading pot-shots but I happened to have downloaded their communications while at the station and their setting up blockades on all exits." Fili had known all along that there was no chance of the enemy being stupid enough to allow three rookies have any chance of wrecking any of their ship. He wasn't going to give up just like that though, he would fight until he dedded.
Therek let out a roar of triumph as he scored a hit in the middle of one of the Work's foreheads splashing greenish pink blood across the tunnel. Therek turned to his captain and answered the question already on Fili's lips. If you get me close to the ship behind I can capture it and then I'll do my best open a path through any blockade setup." Before Fili could thank him for his selfless sacrifice Meriad chimed in, " Well ain't that just great! Now don't forget, all but you have maybe 70 seconds to do that before you hit one of those blockades...maybe. I also won't be able to make that ship of yours detonate'able seeing as how I somehow only have enough to get through whatever giant door they're bound to have guarding the engine's wire room."She smiled brightly as she finished and decelerated to get closer to the other ship. "Fili wondered how she could be so untouched by war's horror yet be so gruesomely morbid at the same time.
A moment later Fili felt a sudden burning sensation in his abdomen and he gasped from the sudden pain. Looking down he saw that one of the Works had gotten lucky and shot him in the stomach, through his nano fiber body weave. Some help that was he thought wryly to himself. Therek had not noticed, so busy was he with dispatching the ever nearing second Work. Therek grinned triumphantly as he turned to his captain having dispatched all but the driver. His grin turned to a look of horror as he looked at the raw melted wound in his captains stomach. Fili smiled feebly and said as loudly as possible I better be the pilot for the other craft." Therek nodded understandingly turning back to his small skirmish he waited a few more seconds for the gap between the ships to close and he leaped as best he could to the larger craft. Despite his clumsy jump he was able to block the works clumsy haymaker, the work over extended and tripped on his rifle that he had dropped on the transports floor. Then with a small push Therek had him over the windscreen and out of the transport. Quickly adjusting the flight direction he pulled the ship alongside Meriad's and setting it in cruise, pulled Fili inside and set him in the driving seat. Fili nodded at him, no words were needed. They were all about to die anyway. Therek jumped back into Meriad's ship just as he saw the first viewing lights of enemy ships nearing them. Fili pulled his transport in front of theirs and managed to get enough distance in front so that Meriad would have time to dodge any debris. Therek watched as the first enemy fire hit Fili's ship, it barely shuddered, a boon of its greater weight. An boom echoed through the transport tunnel as the enemy ship, a small speeder type Therek reckoned from the twisted hulk that bounced off of the ceiling directly over head to land in their trail. Apparently the hunter had thought turning was an option. Huehuehue.
Therek looked up at to see how many more hits Fili's ship might take, to have his eyes greeted by the site of seeing his captain throw his fist in the air just before his ship wrapped itself around the front of a troop carrier. The impact managed to knock out the carriers engines and it bit hard into the floor of the tunnel. Meriad managed to just barely swerve out of the way of the twisted wreck of the captains ship that went flying by. " Well that's just perfect! Now what are we supposed to get through those blockades with?" Therek was to consumed with sorrow to hush Meriad. She was going to continue but she quieted when she saw a single tear trickle down Thereks scarred face. "If it makes you feel any better that was their only troops between us and the engines we're home free. We can die the way you want to." Therek managed a smile and decided to sit quietly and reflect for his final moments of peace.
When they docked at the station beside the engines and Therek jumped out and ran, zigzagging towards the door leading in. He quickly overloaded the power pack in his rifle and blew a hole in the door. He pulled out the pistol and rolled into the room ready to fire. The crew was cowering behind various desks and rails so Therek decided to let them live, for now. Meriad quickly ran in behind him and turned, instinctively towards were the wiring room would be on a alliance vessel. Therek allowed himself a small smile and called to her without taking his eyes or his pistol, of the crew. "The wiring room is in the back left corner Meriad."
Without answering she turned around and headed over. When she arrived at the door she yelled to Therek, "They don' even have a lock on this thing." As she yelled this he heard a bolt whistle through the door. Cursing himself for forgetting that more would be arriving he acted quickly. "Everyone up and out the door!" He yelled at the cowering at the green skinned, squat mechanics. When they failed to comply immediately he shot one in the shoulder and yelled in a harsh voice "NOW!" All quickly began scrambling towards the door clogging it with bodies. Many of these became dead bodies moments later as an explosion rocked the entrance. Billowing, acrid smoke entered the room filling the ceiling. Therek cursed loudly and fired a few quick shots at the dark shapes that were starting to rush into the room. "Meriad! perhaps you should hurry up" He heard back an answer in a more frantic tone then he was used to, "I need at least two, no, three! More minutes to overload this thing!" Therek didn't bother answering, he was already busy putting as many shots as he could into the exposed, but advancing hunters. He shot one in its green eye spurting silvery blood on its black furred companions. A feral snarl ripped from its shaggy snout as it fell heavily to the ground dropping the grenade it had been about to throw. Dropping the grenade… The thought barely processed fast for Therek to get his small, bulky body behind the alloy half wall he had sheltered behind. The blast ripped through the air faster then sound, throwing any loose objects amok around the room. Then as soon as the blast had started sound stopped. Therek peeked over his cover to survey the wreckage.
Being in line with the doors opening the sniper sitting outside had a perfect angle on Therek, and there were none of those brutish hunters in the way. Sitting in the shadows outside watching the Dwarve surveying the damage, the black furred hunter licked his jowls in anticipation of the kill. The split second before he fired the Dwarve turned his head to the back corner of the room, a question on his lips. The hunter didn't miss, entirely, he managed to knock the old dwarves eye out through the side of the head. He scowled in fury as he heard the Dwrave cry out in agony, obviously still alive.
Therek clutched the hole were his eye had been, feeling the searing pain, and fighting it down as any good warrior did. He didn't bother trying to look with the other to see if he could spot the shooter, he was too old to be that dumb. Meriad, hearing his cry called out to him, admirably not stopping her work. "what happened do'yu get shot? Are you alright?" Therek answered in a pained voice, "I'm fine just get that engines to overload so we can finish this. Therek put his hand at the top of the half wall and fired some shots at the door area, hopefully the hunter would keep his head down. Therek groaned and wondered how they had even gotten this close to achieving their goal. He supposed the sheer absurdity of the plan had caused the dreaded lord of the hunters to even consider them a threat. That was his last thought, in this dimension at least, his mortal body had been engulfed in flames.
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