Gargoyle Interlude 2-Samurai pt. 1
Colin wiped sweat out of his eyes, grimacing as two soldiers died in the split second his hand was off the controls. Smoothly he grabbed the joystick again as his left hand danced across the keyboard. Finely tuned settings let him control the mechsuit with the precision of a surgeon. His enemy was hiding behind a cluster of houses at the far side of the valley. They had the high ground, and in a deft maneuver had stolen the artillery that had been abandoned in the town. Now those guns pounded rhythmically, launching explosive shells at the forces struggling their way up the hill.
He had joined late, a brief power failure had forced him to wait breathlessly until he could deploy. Thankfully a fresh mechsuit had been available, sparing him the fate of the infantry that now tried to huddle behind him for cover.
“Davies, Turner, I’m launching smoke, go right!”
At his command smoke grenades shot out of launchers on his back and bounced onto the ground a few meters ahead. In a few seconds grey smoke billowed thickly and obscured sight. The artillery fell silent, conserving ammunition.
Heavy support teams ran forwards, diving into cover and readying their anti-tank rifles. When the smoke cleared, that artillery would learn a thing or two about taking potshots at the enemy.
Colin ran left, hoping that the others were flanking right. If they weren’t he would be opening himself to a full artillery barrage. The smoke was already clearing and a few scattered shots were sounding. One lucky shot hit Colin in the face only to ricochet off the suit’s visor. They’d need something bigger than that to do any damage.
In a concussive volley the heavy support teams opened fire, tearing apart the artillery. A mobile launcher platform exploded, setting off a chain reaction as the crates of extra ordinance caught fire.
Colin cycled through optical filters, scanning the area and trying to pinpoint movement or heat signatures. Something was wrong, where had they all gone?
“Where are they?” He radioed.
“No idea.” Davies called back.
“Vehicle coming down the hill!” Turner called, opening fire on it. The driver was hit, slumping over, but the jeep continued speeding down the hill. Momentum carried it into the midst of the heavy support teams, where it exploded thunderously.
A second later Colin found the enemy when he ran around a corner and stepped on one. The man screamed as he was crushed. His comrades opened fire, but their rifles barely scratched the mechsuit. Desperately one threw a grenade. In the confined space the explosion did more harm to his allies. Still, the mechsuit was damaged. Alarms blared and warnings flashed, his legs were damaged and movement was impaired.
“They’re here!” He called. It was a suicidal move, abandoning the artillery and making a mad dash into the valley. Clever.
At this range he could hear their radio chatter as the remaining enemy took cover.
“Shit! Colin, that you?” One of the enemy soldiers called.
“Yeah, ‘sup Brad?”
“Did you get a chopper? I saw the news. Crazy shit.”
“No fraternizing with the enemy.” A new voice cut in.
“This is serious, he lives in Southbrook. Evacuation order was called two hours ago. Forerunner incursion.”
“Shit man. I didn’t know. You’re at the shelter?”
“No.” Colin’s finger caught on the mic button and he forced himself to move the finger.
“Where you at?” Brad asked. In the distance an explosion rattled the windows.
“I didn’t leave.” Colin wiped his face again. Damn it was hot.
“Don’t even joke, man.” Brad said.
“Bullshit” someone else called
“I’m not lying.” As Colin spoke an explosion, much closer, shook the earth. He felt the concussive force in his chest.
“Was that an explosion?” Brad asked.
“Oh fuck. I’ve got the news on. Mekazor just crashed.” Someone else cut in.
“You’re actually there, you crazy bastard. I can see your house on the news chopper feed. Why the hell didn’t you leave?”
Colin pushed back from his desk, the lights flickered briefly but stayed on. The combat had fallen still as word spread among the others.
“I stayed. I thought maybe I could…do something.” Colin glanced at the sword that leaned against his computer desk. What had once looked exceptional now just seemed tacky in comparison to reality. Outside, very close, someone screamed. Gunshots cut through the air. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The heroes are supposed to win.” He grabbed his pop and took a drink, leaving his mic on. The others were talking but be couldn’t hear them over the shouting outside. Human screams and bestial roars. Someone was calling for help. A girl.
“Not like this. Not like this!” His hands clenched, crushing the can and spilling pop.
“They’re in your yard!”Brad screamed, barely audible as Colin pulled off his headset.
“I’m going outside.”
He stood and grabbed the bathrobe off his bed, after all it wouldn’t do to die in his underwear. Tying the robe he, grabbed his sword, a reproduction katana he had bought online for a hundred dollars.
“Not like this.” He chanted the mantra as he walked out of the room.
Each step broke his composure a little bit more. He felt surreal, like he was watching himself through a screen. The tip of the sword scratched along the wall as he walked down the stairs. He could smell the stink from here, a foulness that thickened the hot air and billowed up like smoke. Something crashed through the living room window and left a bloody trail across the carpet. It mewled weakly and tried to drag it’s broken body towards him.
Colin pulled the front door open and stepped back as the sight hit him like a physical shock. Dozens, hundreds of Infected swarmed the street. They surged like ants, burying something, or someone, under a pile of writhing bodies. A man crouched in the flowerbed, holding an action figure cobbled together from different parts. It had the body of a typical solider, but the parts didn’t match, cobbled together from spare parts. The man brought the toy to his mouth and kissed it, or maybe whispered something. The toy shuddered and then jumped out of his hands, it grabbed an exacto knife and hefted it like a spear before charging towards the Infected with a shrill battlecry. The little soldier began stabbing ankles furiously, but was crushed in the sweep of bodies.
The man in the flower bed looked over in shock and despair as Colin stepped out of the house. His face was spattered with blood, eyes wet with tears.
“My sword will cut the heavens!” Screaming, Colin charged into the fray and swung his sword. If he was going to die, he would at least make one of these monsters bleed.
Lightning coursed through him, and he cut the horde. A shock ran up his arm as the blade hit the tough flesh, and the lightning in his head shot out through the blade. He saw it so clearly, his eyes sweeping across the mob and his cutting blade following.
Those nearest were thrown back, limbs flying through the air as the blade cleaved through them. The ones at the back froze, and looked over. They bared jagged teeth and started to rush forwards only to have their movement cut short as body parts separated. The cut had been so fine they hadn’t even noticed.
Silence fell so suddenly that the sound of the shards of Colin’s sword hitting the concrete rang out like windchimes. The cheap blade had broken into pieces with the first hit. He fell to his knees, panting, exhausted.
From amid the pile of corpses a woman struggled free, hurling pieces of Infected aside. She stared around speechlessly. On the far side of the street, the neighbour’s door split into two pieces, followed by his windows in a delayed reaction to being cut through the middle.
“What the shit?” The man in the flower bed crawled out, covered with flower petals.
Another man dropped out of the sky, sliding down a wall and rolling onto the ground. He looked familiar, Flip, the leader of the group. He nudged a corpse experimentally.
“Did you do that? Who are you?” He asked.
“I’m going to be sick.” Colin groaned as be collapsed to the ground.