"John," his commanding officer whispered at him. He had dozed of in a corner of the dark hangar, awaiting orders from operations HQ.
"What's up," John answered, while looking out through the hangar shields, his emotions numb. He could see debris of the Alliance floating in orbit, he wondered if it was going to crash into the planet any time soon, or if they'd have time to run?
"Drekons are incoming. Base scanners show a whole squadron of Titans coming out of warp in less than three minutes, at least five other squadrons coming behind..." the officer said. He was a man of maybe thiry, and he was the burliest and strongest of the squad. He was the commanding officer for this operation, and didn't look very worried, but John could see other officers at the other side of the big hangar, and they didn't look very calm.
"Tell me what's up, I know there's more..." John sighed. He knew his CO better than this, and knew he would only bother him if there was something a lot more urgent going on. John had been dubbed the best foot soldier of the Alliance when he single handed took down a Drekon dreadnaught from the inside, but he didn't think he'd have the same luck now.
"You bastard, when did you get to know me that well?" the CO tried to joke, trying to enjoy his last day, but John just gave him a look that said he wasn't in a laughing mood. "Okay, Drekon berserkers are converging on our position, eta 2 minutes. We're lucky our Corvette picked up their signature through the thick walls.
John was shocked. Drekon berserkers were the most feared soldiers in the universe, thick armor and railguns, even unarmed and unarmored they were hard to take down. He had heard stories of berserkers surviving a disruptor blast from Alliance Titan, he had never encoutered them before, and he didn't look forward to it. "How many?" he asked, eyes wide open, grasping his shotgun like it was his last peice of sanity, slowly slipping away.
"A whole strikeforce," the CO said, trying his best to mask his fear, but his voice didn't really mask it well.
John got up from his corner, and grabbed his CO's shoulder. "It's been a good run, friend. Finish the mission," John said, and unlike his CO, his voice had no fear. There was no doubt in John's mind, no fear, only determination. He had to buy them enough time to escape with the Drekon Corvette, or else the Alliance would never have a chance in the world. John started to jog over to the Corvette, a black and red beuty. The Drekons had fitted it not only with enhanced armor, but they somehow had managed to fit it with a shield and photon cannons, this Corvette could hold the one secret to defeating the Drekons. John rushed in through the blastdoor of the Corvette, and grabbed himself a plasma rifle, and took a handful of grenades. He didn't bother with a vest, the slug from a railgun would still send him away, a vest would just make him die slowly.
"John, hold up!" someone shouted, as he emerged from the Corvette. A man, maybe 20 years old, waved at him, as he ran up towards him. "I wont let you go alone, maniac!" the man said, he wasn't very serious, and looked at John like he was the man's biggest idol.
"I have something else for you, rally everyone and get them going, everyone," John said coldly. "I can keep the berserkers away for some time, but you need to leave now!"
"But, I want to fig..." John interrupted the man.
"NO!" he shouted, enraged. "Everyone, leave now! Berserkers are incoming, I can keep them off but you gotta fly now! And I will do this alone!" he shouted. People didn't really pay much mind to him, a few started to get up, but not many.
His CO, though, reacted. "Get up you lazy bastards! We are leaving now, with or without you!" he shouted, like his life depended on it. People now really got a move on, they took their weapons and ran into the small Corvette. John thought he was lucky not having to be crammed into it. The CO walked up to John and the man, "You, get in," the CO said to the man as he pointed a thumb towards the Corvette, the man didn't wait but walked to the Corvette right away. "And you, you stupid man. We will not forget this," the CO said, shedding a single tear on his stern face, serious face.
"I wont let them man the disruptor turret, that's a promise," John answered, unfazed by the emotions flying around him. His CO slowly walked away to the Corvette, looking back at John more than once, but there was no return now. He saw the shields going up on the Corvette, he could feel it too. It was like static electricity suddenly surrounded him in all directions, it felt good, somehow. The engines started, but he could barely hear it through the shields. Finally, the Corvette lifted from the ground, and became one with the hangar shield for a short time as it slipped by the shields. It was quick, quicker than any scout he had ever seen, and it took less than seconds before the Corvette was out of his sight. He was now all alone in the dark hangar, only lit by the starlight reflected on the outside rock, into the hangar.
John walked up to the blastdoors at the rear of the hangar, and put an ear to the closed doors. He could hear them, their grunting language, their heavy foots, but he still wasn't afraid. He knew he didn't have much time. He cocked his shotgun, and made sure his plasma rifle was loaded. He put the shotgun on his back, in an attempt to keep it out of his way, but it still bothered him. He walked away from the giant blastdoors, and took a seat behind armor rests of a stripped Corvette. He had to sit down to be hidden by the armor strips, he knew they wouldn't hold long against railguns, and there was a chance the sheer force of the slugs would fling away the strips and send himself with them. No matter, he decided to take the chance.
He waited for what seemed like ages, hearing the steps, as they were just outside the door. He could hear the door open, but, it was suddenly totally quiet. Not a sound, no grunting and no stepping. He was suddenly very afraid, only thing worst than death was being captured. He closed his eyes, and desperatley wished that it was all a dream. As he opened his eyes, and flung around to face the door, he saw them, berserkers.
Bigger than the regular Drekon in every way, they didn't even look to be Drekon, they looked to be their stronger brother-race, the stupid but strong brother, the brawn. Grey skin, haunched backs, and strong body. Long sharp teeth, and more than four eyes, with heads that looked so scary John couldn't even look at them. He was in shock, their armor looked to be thick enough to keep a crashing Titan away, but they didn't have any kind of helmet, only a thick breastplate.
"Bring it on!!" John shouted, and opened fire at the beasts. He swayed the gun around from the left to the right, trying to hit as many of them as possible. He closed his eyes, and again wished it all to be a dream. But, he could feel the recoil, and hear the defening bangs of his own rifle.
Suddenly, a bang unlike anything he had ever heard sounded off in the hangar. He could hear something, he could feel preassure lowering. Suddenly, the vaccum alert sounded, the shields were down. John felt himself fainting, "Irony..." he thought to himself.
But, before his knees reached the floor, the shield was put back up. He could feel his knees slamming into the floor, as he realized he was alive. He stood up, eyes open, and just looked at his enemies. They weren't the least bit fazed by his plasma shots, they just stood there, everyone with their railgun at rest, only one actually had taken aim, but not at John. It was all demonstration, showing the awful power of the railgun, power enough to penetrate deflection shields with a rifle. John didn't care though, he would fight until he died.
He threw his plasma rifle at the berserk who had taken aim, and quickly shifted to his shotgun. Suddenly, he could feel his left hand being grabbed by something, it felt like a metal claw closing in on his hand, but when he looked it was a berserk hand. He didn't think, he took his shotgun with his right hand, and shoved it up to the monsters chin. He hesitated for a second, but then let his shotgun rip.
One shot, and he could feel the beasts grip loosen, slowly. The beast hit the floor with his back. "Under the chin, shoot them there!" John thought, but he had hesitated for too long. He saw an arm swinging, but it wasn't at him, it was at the gun. The arm of a berserk hit his shotgun, shattering it to pieces. John could hear cracking in his arm, and he could feel his fingers being dislocated by the force of the swing. Another hand took his broken right arm, and soon, another hand would grip his left arm. He was captured. He could see one berserk, who looked like the leader, doing something that could be interpreted as a smile. Evil creatures, who now had captured him.
He didn't care. He ought to have given his squad enough time to escape, he hoped. He shed a tear, as he was knocked to the ground by a Drekon fist, it felt like he had been hit in the head with an iron bat. He could feel himself passing away, slowly. He smelled fuel residue on the floor that his nose kissed. He could feel blood gushing from his head, as things finally turned dark.
Johan Rovafor the AE Stories event.