Episode IV the Escape | Nature | Violence

Episode IV: The Escape The hideous hissing sound grew louder, Tal’neda knew that to linger would spell

their doom, her helm’s display switched and she could see the outlines of slinking forms pouring towards the medical bay door. Her armor seemed to tense and become more solid as the psycho conductive material reacted to her mental commands preparing for battle. The door was torn asunder and within seconds dozens of the beasts leapt inside the room, meeting the graceful form of Kel’jaga first. The long halberd like weapon carved blue arcs in the air as an eerie psychic flame engulfed its already deadly blade, tearing through the beasts with each sweep. Sickly purple blood sprayed the walls with each of Kel’jaga’s attacks, and limbs and shattered chitin dropped to the floor in a grotesque rain. But the aliens did not seem deterred, half a dozen replaced each that dropped dead and it seemed as though they would overwhelm the valiant defender. Suddenly the beasts stopped moving, there was a visible tension in the air, muscles strained and tendons pulled but to no avail; it was as if time had frozen about the beasts. Kel’jaga clenched her fist slowly, a blue flame erupted from her shoulders and started to burn about her form as her powers were brought to bear on the aliens, slowly the sound of struggling creatures was replaced by that of shattering bone and exploding muscles, as though a giant unseen hand was crushing their bodies to pulp. Tal’neda reached for her belt and grabbed a small cube which she then flung at the direction of their assailants, the cube flew past her companion and then exploded, sending a thick webbing to seal off the two women from the rampaging beasts that would return. ***** The air was tainted by the smell of death, a thick scent that seemed to penetrate any sort of defense to overwhelm sensations, destroy any remnant of hope and paint the harsh reality with vivid yet grim colors. In the distance gunfire broke the silence of the night, the occasional flash and explosion as the few remaining defenders struggled to hold the cityscape in vain. The interior of the bunker was in no better condition than the surrounding ground, blood sprayed the walls, signs of stray rounds that flew through the vision slits and found refuge in the plasteel walls, everything adding to making the atmosphere within so heavy one would cut through with a knife, had they the willpower.

Half a dozen men sat along the walls, half heartedly, weapons slumped against shoulders, some set to rest against the bench. Heads were lowered, no words were uttered, save the heavy breathing as their suit’s systems filtered the air to ensure their survival. To their dismay, there was nothing that could hold back the smell, their own body odor, the sweat of three weeks of endless fighting, tears from the loss of their companions, some would say that fear itself had started to take form and join with the heinous congregation of scents. Tylea slowly rose to her feet, taking heavy steps towards the vision slits and gazing outside, the sight was no better than last time, shattered buildings, butchered men, husks of tanks and ships littering the surrounding. They were caught off guard; the enemy jumped within range and instantly sent a fusillade that obliterated most of their defenses before they had time to respond, a massive invasion force dropped to the ground, like a deadly rain, pelting their cities with fire. Most of the planet was lost before the defense could mount a reaction, only the capital city, Meanora, was standing by the end of the first day. What followed was three weeks of endless struggle as the defenders tried to hold ground, but they were vastly outnumbered and outgunned. Inch by inch the city fell, the outer rings of the city were slowly abandoned as defenses drew further inside. What now remained of the glimmering city was a grotesque image, as though painted by death itself on a grim canvas. The last groups of defenders had formed a very thin line around the governor’s seat, waiting for the inevitable last attack. Wave after wave of enemies had been pushed away but with each attack the line was drawn thinner, until now that it was almost shattered. “How long?”, one of the guardsmen asked, his voice was a breathless whisper. Tylea shifted her shoulders in an indifferent shrug, turning and almost dropping to a seat. “What does it matter?”, she replied, leaning her head backwards and taking a deep breath, her features twisted as the scent reached her nostrils, she exhaled swiftly as though trying to spit the smell away. In the distance, they heard a thundering noise, followed by a high pitched whine that resulted in a massive explosion, shrapnel from the artillery round and the bunker itself was sent into all directions as it was torn asunder in a ball of flame…

***** Kel’jaga regained her composure, her effort to halt the aliens had strained her considerably, she leaned a bit more on her weapon and its coils now seemed to move around her body to embrace and comfort her. The webbing that had been placed between them and the aliens was pushed time and again as the beasts fought to tear it but it was holding, for now. She turned to the side inspecting the room, Tal’neda had slumped the human over her shoulder, it was time for them to depart. They nodded to each other and Kel’jaga rose to her full height, slicing the very air before them, an agonized moan that could resemble lost souls screaming for salvation followed the path of her blade as the air erupted in eldritch flames, the fabric of reality was torn apart and an opening to pitch darkness slowly slid apart, Kel’jaga pushed it aside with her weapon as Tal’neda made way within, she followed and whispered a word, as s response the rift was closed, leaving a faint hue in the air as they sealed their exit behind them. ***** Valtus leaned back on the wall, breathing heavily, the ship was quiet now, half a dozen aliens torn to pieces were sprawled on the ground before him; he put his weapon to rest on the wall, a thin trail of blue smoke rose out of its muzzle. He tapped the side of his helm and heard a low clicking sound as the comm-channel opened. “Raptor Lead to all units, report status”, his voice was confident although heavy with wear, it has been three days of endless fighting to clean up the Devil’s Bane and by all accounts, it seemed to be over. He sighed in relief as all units checked in reporting that their zones were cleared and slowly slid down the wall to sit on the floor, resting his arms on his knees and allowing his head to drop as his breath grew more relaxed. “You still owe me a beer”, a familiar voice echoed in his ears, he chuckled, a few more joined in the laughter and barbed comments. “Yeah, it’s a date”, he replied with a smile, it was, for now over, it was time to check around the ship to calculate damage and see what could be done to repair it, many men and women had lost their lives to an enemy they had not faced before, he took a deep breath, maybe answers lie on their next station, the

Phobos, a great battle station situated on the eastern rim of Coalition space, their first and last line of defense…

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