Stepping outside, the air was once again filled with the sound of war. Distance shots echoing of the nearby walls and the smell of burning fires filling my nostrils. Up ahead I could see the rest of the airfield, the collection of buildings that surrounded the control tower acting as the epicentre for the fighting, with most of the explosions and gunshots coming from that direction. On automatic, I took a knee in a covered position just next to the hanger door, next to a very sturdy looking tree, one of the few that scattered this mostly dead landscape. The rest of the squad panned out and did the same, until Colter came marching out into the night.
"Central command, this is Echo squad, hanger 3 is clear and we are proceeding to the primary objective." He barked down the radio.
"Wait one Echo." Command replied.
Colter didn't say anything in response, he just took a knee and waited like the rest of us. Funnily enough, nobody had anything to say, their minds filled with the intensity of what had already happened, and what is still to come. We all just sat there, fingers on triggers, eyes on the horizon, waiting for our fate to be decided. Eventually the stale silence was lifted.
"Ok Echo keep it up, push for the final objective. Alpha and Delta squad are simultaneously closing in, watch for friendly tags. Cross squad communication is advised when in range. Good luck."
And with that everyone was up once again, off into the night as a brand-new movement order popped into view, this time I took the initiative to map ahead just like in the hanger, a holographic line appearing before me. Between us and the command tower lay open ground, consisting of yet more small shrubs and potholes. I scanned for more mines, hoping not to have a repeat of last time. Luckily enough the ground was clear, no red discs of death came into view.
"What do you think of that noise the Sluggies made?" Maxine asked.
"Oh god yeah that was horrible, the way it seemed to shake your very bones made me want to be sick." I replied.
We continued patrolling across the open shrubland, edging our way closer to the control tower with the evidence of battle growing louder with each passing step. Sounds of various explosions and gunfire emitting out from around the tower, I thought I could even hear distressed calls of other soldiers amongst the chaos. Eventually we reached the main block of the airbase, the tower and it's surrounding buildings looming over us in the dark moonlit sky.
"Right listen up you lot!" Colter shouted, his voice cutting through the sounds of the nearby battle with ridiculous clarity. "This is why we are here, that bleeding tower! All we have to do is get inside and kill every Slug we can find. Simple enough, but don't let that distract you. Let's keep things smooth and easy and get the hell out of here! Hold here for a moment, just confirming with command."
The squad came to a halt, everyone hugging to the nearest piece of cover they could find. We had come to a stop beside a thick concrete wall that encased the collection of buildings that made up the airbases centre of operations. Everyone was silent, our minds (unsurprisingly) being preoccupied with the task at hand. Mentally preparing for what was to come and judging by the sounds that came spilling over the wall, it was going to be messy.
"You ok?" I ask Maxine after good 10 or so minutes.
"Ha, yeah I'm alright, still alive and I think that's as good as it gets at the moment, you all good?" she asked in return.
"Just like you, happy to still be kicking. My body's coping quite well considering we were flat on our backs not long ago. " I replied, just as a particularly large explosion sent an equally large amount of dirt flying into the air only to come landing down on my own helmet, as if the battle was mocking me, stamping down any positive thoughts in an attempt to grind down my moral and remove any sense that we might indeed get out of here with our heads still attached. Gazing up ahead I could see a break in the wall, a large archway, no doubt that would be our way in. Into hell. Colter gave me the answer.
"Right let's move people, through the archway!" and just like that we were up and moving once again.
I was right, it was a complete mess. The second the squad made its way through the thick stone archway shots came pouring in. Everyone scattered, and returned fire where they could, adding to the already chaotic hail of high velocity metal that was whizzing through the air in what seemed like every direction. About 200m in front of me I could see the control tower looming over everything with flashes of light appearing from the upper window.
The space around the tower was relatively open, with a large circle courtyard surrounding it with only artificial barricades in place to act as cover. 2 Slugs popped out from a side street, weapons drawn, they didnt last long.
The squad pushed up, steadily moving from cover to cover. I did my best to keep track of the incoming projectiles, highlighting as many as I could and issuing a no-go barrier on suspected kill zones. People where dying all around me, I didnt know who, but bodies were being thrown into the air from grenades, or dropping to ground, never to be getting back up. I kept pushing, my own body keeping my rifle steady as shot after shot left its barrel. I found myself hunkered down a short ways into the courtyard, when I caught glimpse of a very welcoming sight. Freindly ID tags off the my right and left popped into view. Other squads were closing in. The slugs meanwhile had fallen back to the tower itself, with flashes of light cascading from every opening in its structure.
In front of me I could see Maxine, taking a break from the carnage to re-load. She spoke to me while she did.
"They must have a heavy gun emplacement up there! With this amount of fire!" She said.
"Or a f*%^ tone of troops!"
"Ha, let's face it, it's probably both!" She replied, with a unique cheer to her voice that only she could manage. With her rifle loaded, she was ready to get back to it, popping her head out over the barricade.
"Rickey! Makes sure you look out for..." was all she managed to say before a lonesome bullet found its way into her head.
She slumped over, her body limp, its eyes vacant, as blood began to pour out of both the entry and exit wound.
YOU ARE READING
The Invisible UniverseScience Fiction
What lies beyond the senses? What secrets have been hidden from you due to your physical limitations? Is the universe as empty as it seems? Are we alone? Dr Thomas Clark has just made a discovery that will answer all of those questions... Hope yo...