Continued from part 1:
Her squad regrouped and sent a volley into the new enemy. The ambush had downed two of her squad she noticed immediately, but those who remained enacted revenge with swift, practiced efficiency. Maynn and Usta she noted, warriors of a dozen campaigns, gone in a single volley. Kale would mourn them later. Mag slivers pounded towards the exposed hides of the advancing Boromites. Some merely glanced off energy fields, but more found their mark and the torrent of fire brought the brutes to a halt. Kale ceased fire with her mag pistol and raised her right arm, sending a frag round from her x-sling into the relenting foe. It struck a Boromite square in the chest, exploding in black smoke, leaving nothing in its wake but gore and rock flesh. Seeing the Boromite’s cease, Kale ordered her squad into a counter attack formation.
Then the second explosion sounded.
“Fall back,” Kale ordered instinctively as dust rose from her flank and another squad of Boromite warriors appeared. This time plasma rounds accompanied mag shards. A lance of blue light seared close to Kale and struck Ghalris on his arm, severing it cleaning from the elbow down. His screams funnelled through the monitor, and Kale rushed to his side, shoving him on.
“Back,” she ordered. “Back.”
Byris covered their retreat with short bursts from the squads deadly micro-x launcher, explosive rounds keeping the Boromites in check. Dragging Ghalris, Kale mounted the hill and slid down next to her second.
“Bastards,” Byris swore, sending another volley into the Boromite ranks, felling one. “What now?”
Another explosion sounded, robbing Kale of her reply. Below, and behind them at the foothills of the mountain, another tunnel erupted, spewing forth yet another gang of Boromites who formed a line, taking cover behind rocks and trees. In their ranks Kale could see the sinister silhouette of an x-launcher which would blow her and her squad into nanite particles if she didn’t act fast. Byris turned to his rear and unleashed a torrent of fire from his side arm onto the enemy below.
“Maintain fire,” Kale yelled, standing tall and pointing her weapon back towards the crater. A Boromite took aim at her but she downed him with one precision shot to the head before he could pull the trigger. A mag shot managed to penetrate her shields, yet it merely chipped her breastplate. Kale, ignoring the blow, rose to her feet and charged down into the crater once more.
“Squad with me!”
It was near suicide in theory, but this was no textbook manoeuvre. A score of Boromite warriors stood in the crater, but all were stunned by her sudden attack, expecting the five remaining Algoryn to remain pinned. Kale’s charge had ground them to a premature halt, giving her time to launch another round from her x-sling and watch it decimate two brutes. Her mag pistol fired then, a steady stream of munitions that though heavily inaccurate forced the Boromites to keep their heads down. She howled, her squad echoing her cry through the combat array and she knew those howls would not be heard by the Boromites. They came like silent crimson death, blasting their way through the stunned assembly.
Kale lead the way, her gun sending a steady stream of fire towards the Boromites. She reached the mouth of one of the recently emerged caves and ordered her squad in. “Take cover,” she barked and they obliged, maintaining a steady flow of covering fire as they hunched down behind rocky debris. Even Ghalris, blood oozing from his severed arm charged into cover, using his free hand to discharge shots from a mag pistol. Byris was behind her, standing his ground in the centre of the crater, wielding his heavy gun in both hands. Thick mag rounds were flung across the space, tearing tough Boromite energy shields to the hard flesh beneath, mangling the rocky hide. Kale hissed at him down their shard.
“Follow me, Byris that’s an order.”
He let his gun erupt explosive shots into the face of a Boromite who dared to charge too close. “Go,” he replied, “I’ll cover you.”
“Byris,” Kale snapped, “get over here.”
It was too late. The Boromites closed the gap and surrounded him. Kale watched in stunned silence as slivers of mag sliced through Byris’ shields and seared into his armour, tearing strips from his flesh. Blood spilled but Byris fought on, his support weapon laying into the brutes, dispatching three and pinning the rest. One Boromite weathered the torrent, the thick rounds that managed to reach him bouncing harmlessly off rock-grey flesh. He wielded a glowing blue pistol in one hand from which he discharged a single round that crippled Byris, bringing him to his knees. In the other, a crude, primitive drill whirred menacingly. With one mighty thrust the Boromite brute drove it through armour and shield into Byris chest, grinding armour, flesh and bone into one gory mess.
“Hell,” Ghalris breathed, just loud enough for Kale to hear.
She ignored him, wrenching her eyes from Byris corpse to the swiftly regrouping enemy. She bolted back into the tunnel. “Run,” she barked to her squad, “down into the tunnel, go!”
They ran, years of combat drills and training overriding any emotion they may have felt at the death of one of the longest serving squad members. Kale’s squad sped ahead, and she levelled her x-slinger, firing two rounds at the roof of the cave, causing it to crash, sealing them inside in a tomb of dust, stone and darkness.
To be continued….
Keep your eyes peeled for further installments as Andrew William Tinney takes us ‘In To Darkness’ following Kale and her AI Squads fight for survival in to the very depths of Ylarys!
Andrew William Tinney is an aspiring writer of fantasy and sci-fi. When not spending hours secreted in a dark room illuminated by the wan light of a computer composing his debut novel Echoes of the Dead, Andrew enjoys war-gaming of all types and was thrilled to have the opportunity to write on the immensely popular Antares Universe.
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