– Propulsion Generator is failing. Shields are at 23 percent of power. Total evacuation commencing. – a computerized voice echoed in the ship where lights flickered and explosions thundered in the empty halls and bowl, – Deck 5 emergency capsules deployed, Deck 6 emergency capsules deployed, Deck 4 emergency capsules malfunction detected, authority overdrive has failed, Deck 4 is locking down.
In a second I heard a thud and I was free falling.
– Bio chamber base detaching, complete. Life support section is a critical condition. U.S.S. Hermes beacon activated. Hailing all Planetary channels. – the voice kept the steady volume as I banged my capsule heart beating in my throat.
I felt weightless, hot and terrified because I didn’t know what was happening.
– Foreign planet’s atmosphere breached. Activating reverse thrusters. – the voice said and deafening hissing popped the bubble in my ears when I slammed back into the ergonomic foam and groaned.
I was able to see our ship falling apart in fiery globes of what was our fuel, our command center, our colony’s Dreamer’s bay. Razor rain as we called the debris falling down, zoomed around me hitting other capsules, shredding through emergency cargo containers with life support. Soon a foreign sky appeared with a healthy blue color. I smiled knowing that if I survive the fall, I will be able to live on the surface of the planet. Fear of big water masses kicked in and I tried to roll over, pick up my head and see the globe that will be my new home. The colony has failed to reach its destination. God help us.
– Landing flaps deployed. Thrusters at full power. Touchdown in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Touchdown. – metal bending sounds threw me around the casket if I was a rag doll, – Locating other capsules. Meeting point marked in the personal holo-cube. Goodspeed dr Dryden. Protect the colony. Long live the Earth Planetary Union. – the voice said and the door hissed opening up in violent sounds of coupling breaking.
As soon as I got to the rally point wounded awaited for me. I took out my field kit and started patching up crying soldiers. The platoon was shaken out of mind. Four of them laughed hysterically, few were experiencing shock trauma for staring at death for too long, others fought those that were uncontrollably violent and eager to fight. I had to yell at the seizing patients, restrain them with self-tying bonds, check for their pupil’s reactions, stick patches with medicine that are skin absorbed and pray it will work.
– What do you mean, connections are lost? – senior Captain asked the officer that breathed like a dog, held himself for the knees and moved sweat dripping hair.
– They jumped us, Sir. Nobody expected them this close to the lonesome quadrant. We were supposed to travel for years, but they intercepted the hailing wire and came here. – the officer spoke in pauses, while the sky above us rained smokey parts of what was our ship, carving lines on the blue field that was slowly turning dark as night was upon us.
– So this was just a raider party. We are safe? – The captain frowned at the boy that whipped his head about.
– You are not listening. The cords are severed. Help is not coming. We are alone for fuck sake! – the scream hasn’t had the intended sobering purpose nor it made anybody turn around to see the man painfully shouting at his superior.
– Calm down. We are setting master rally point for all of the survivors. We can make a stand over the next ridge is we gather enough… – he spoke but the officer grabbed the Captain for his collar.
– It’s not a raiding party! It’s a whole planetary force! It’s not hundreds of them, it’s millions upon millions of their Superfighters! – the white of his teeth was really white in contrast to the muddy face of the officer and the nightmare thoughts of a Captain that realized we are doomed if he doesn’t make a right call.
Scouts returned bringing news about the secure location near the cave with easy access to the water, so senior Captain waved for move out and we went there. Nervous soldiers lead the column to the entrance, throwing their eyes over shoulders while carrying the wounded on the stretchers.
– Have you ever fired one of these before? – Captain asked and I shook my head, – Great. You won’t be any time soon. All we need is these boys questioning on which side are you on, so as long we have men, you don’t need a blaster.
From the edge of a cave, I saw our destroyed spaceship frozen at the moment, sparkling parts of the backup console rotating, winking through the smoke of razor rain washed in warm colors of the sunset. Someone brought in a carbonated breastplate of a space soldier that burned out in the atmosphere. We all stared at it for some time, then we buried him on the top of the hill.
At first, I thought of it as a curse, but days passed slower on this rock, so sunset lasted for hours. The miraculous sight of destruction above us and tranquilizing sunset haven’t helped a lot to the frat guys that anxiously held their weapons, lost gaze stretching for miles in the distance.
– I just wish to know where are we. What’s the name of the rock we’ll die on? – Captain mangled a cigar in his teeth, frowned while repairing the LED torch.
– You can name it Sir. Maybe your name, maybe mine. We are all dead. – I scoffed and threw a pebble on the ground, then got back at watching the ship gaining that white color of the Moon.
At the last hour of the sunset, corners of the sky let us see the stars appearing around what could be our end. Soon after that, the enemy fleet marked its presence by turning their cannons at the surface of the planet. Their profiles were mortifying to anyone who would find himself looking at them. They lined up various in shapes, a tactical spacing out between the lines of destroyers ready to let the swarms of drone fighters at us.
Calm. Everything was calm. The sky was burning, orange and red consuming the streams of smoke, darkness creeping in from all directions and calmness. I sat on a piece of rock near the exit when something moved in the distance. The creek, hills behind it and trees moved up, ground shaking and metal pipes elevating at the enemy fleet.
– What the fuck it that?! What is that?! Captain! – one of the soldiers cried his lungs out when Captain ran up to us and forcibly stopped by grabbing my shoulder.
A true miracle happened right before us. The landscape we knew wasn’t naturally made like that. It was more than we could imagine. It was something else. It was a war planet, an ancient weapon long time forgotten by its creators and now, the planet was awakened.
Enemy swarms started their descending at a lightning speed while we ran across the field. Their guns sizzled at those who were detached from the group. Each overpass made us head for cover when planetary defensive systems kicked in and started amassing the energy. Soon a rain of crackling projectiles found themselves in the air battling the enemy buzzers.
A deafening boom shook the ground in a straight pillar of energy that zoomed up tearing up the sky. Clusters of fog spread around the pulsing rod that smashed against the fleet in the attack. I watched it in awe as I held myself for the trembling dirt beneath me.
– It’s fighting them! – The captain said shouting, few feet away from me, – This makes me so happy! – he added developing insecure smile on his face, while others tried to stand up.
– Get down! – I screamed when a platoon of rail guns went up elevating their aim at the metal orbiting the globe.
A buzz almost blinded us when the sky shifted colors to a radiant white and shock wave rose dirt clogging the lungs. I covered my head and waited for the initial blast wave to pass. The force picked me up from the ground and smacked me down over and over again in the rhythm of cannon fire. Rustling shut my ears and nose as I tried to breath. With slanted eyes, I looked over the landscape where enemy drones evaded the rapid fire from the turrets that popped up from the ground and started chasing down the fighters. One of the drones was sawed by a turret, then others ended up in the same way.
A hiss appeared next to me where a small pipe rose to the surface. Not knowing what it is and what sort of gas was bursting out from it, I covered my nose again and crawled away from it. Funny enough, my bio attack indicator was silent, so I knew whatever that was, it is not meant to kill.
– Oxygen Sir! – the soldier cried in my ear when I bumped into him, – It amplifies the fire! – he explained and I nodded with the fear affected the face.
Thunders announced the death of the planetary fleet that was retreating their second and third line. Up there, barely visible in the clouds of dirt, fog, and stormy clouds, fire played in the rim of the stirred up atmosphere. Every cloud or a cluster had a fire made the edge and a shining pebble of what was a battleship. On the ground, in between the creeks and rocky hills, drone wreckages also flickered in flames while cannons and railguns covered in dirt silently steamed.
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