On the far-flung planet of Hayveon Blaze, a plucky army commander, is fighting a seemingly hopeless battle. In a universe where empires span solar systems, a great war has split the galaxy into three. UCEF, the Union of Creature Energy Force, is an alliance of aliens fighting for freedom and justice. But set against the Cosmaratic Empire and the Barrens, an empire with mind-controlled citizens, UCEF must achieve the impossible in order to win peace.
Blaze scanned the scene before him, to say it was not a healthy one would have been an understatement. The trenches were laid out in roughly four lines, two trenches at the front about four hundred meters away and two reserve ones closer to him, communication trenches crisscrossing these. The Barren army had reached the first trench and was pouring into it, blue clad soldiers ducking into the cover it provided. Runners and advance soldiers were picking their way forwards towards the bastion. The rest of their forces were approaching across the plains. The last few UCEF members were falling back under the cover of supporting fire from the bastion. Time and time again the sky was split by massive energy blasts as the remaining bastion guns fired down upon the Barrens, throwing bodies and dirt high into the sky. The landscape itself was a mess, the trenches and ground before them was pockmarked with craters like ugly sores. The few trees that had previously dotted the surrounding area had all but been blown apart, leaving only charred stumps behind. In place of the rolling plains of grass, was a churned up battlefield. All this Blaze took in in an instant, his trained and calculating mind figuring out how best to use the situation to their advantage and how best to hold the Barrens back.
“R318 concentrate the majority of our fire on the left flank, it’s out of arc of the bastions’ guns!” Blaze ordered noticing a weakness. R318 quickly relayed the order and the Dinos along the walkway repositioned themselves and opened fire immediately, not standing on ceremony or waiting for further instructions.
“You five, I want you to pick off anybody trying to move from the first trench into the second, don’t let them go over the top. That way we’ll drive the Barrens to the right and into the exposed communication trench,” Blaze instructed, indicating a long trench that ran from the bastion all the way to the frontline. “And you with the heavy energy cannon, I want you to blow apart anything the Barrens could hide behind, we need to stop them getting a foothold,” Blaze added aiming the last bit at a Dino who was wielding a sizeable energy cannon.
“Yes sir!” He confirmed before peering down the sights once more. Blaze smiled grimly, that was that sorted, now for the actual fighting…
The noise of energy gunfire roared from all around as the valiant Dinos fought back from the defences, aiming their weapons into the tide of oncoming Barrens. Blaze himself focused on his own rifle, squinting as he panned it to the right, daring any Barren to try and make a break for it across the open ground. As if the Barrens had sensed his challenge, twenty or so suddenly sprung up as one, like a demented jack in the box. They clambered out of the first trench and made a dash for the second. Simultaneously Barren gunners emerged and let off a vicious volley at the defenders, trying to supress them and provide cover for their own advance.
Blaze flinched as a couple of blue energy blasts tore chunks out of the parapet, hurling bits of shrapnel outwards. However the Barrens were not firing accurately, just trying to keep the Dinos down.
“Stay up! Gun them down!” Blaze shouted bringing his sights to rest on the ground just in front of a running Barren. He tightened his paw on the trigger. With a crackling discharge a green energy blast flashed out, striking the Barren full in the chest as he ran forwards; the impact flung him backwards, he crumpled and lay still. Blaze did not even let a smile of satisfaction crease his face as he swung his gun round to the next running figure.
A cry broke his concentration as one of the Barren gunners finally hit their mark, Blaze’s head snapped round to see a Dino fall back from the parapet clutching his shoulder. Non-fatal wound, that was all he needed to know.
He let off volley after volley of shots into the sprinting Barrens, giving up on aiming carefully as they neared the safety of the second trench. Three more fell, punched down by blasts from the UCEF defenders; only a meagre four made it to the second trench, all the others had fallen. In return the Barrens had injured two of the Dinos, the second casualty was due to shrapnel.
Nevertheless there was no let up, no breathing space. Almost as soon as the charge ended the Barrens made a move up the communications trench, darting forwards before ducking behind cover. Again and again Blaze’s gun flashed, spitting green bolts of death; but as soon as they stove off one offensive another would begin.
Blaze’s rifle made an unhelpful ‘tzzd!’ noise at him, he was out of charge. He ducked down below the parapet and thumbed the recharge switch, waiting as the extraction ring pulled power from the energy crystal within. As he paused he regarded their defences, so far so good. Two Dinos were out of the fight, neither killed thankfully, the remaining thirty four were busy firing or recharging. R3298 seemed to have overcome his initial fear and was emptying his gun at some unseen target. R318 was attending to one of the wounded and the Dino with the heavy gun was giving the Barrens a hard time.
With a ‘bleep!’ his rifle came back to life, it was fully charged once more. Returning to his crouched position by the parapet he sighted down it and returned to the battle…
Look out for Part 4 of Matthew Gill’s story!