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.
“R3318, get a couple of scouts in position by the cavern entrance. Tell them as soon as they detect the Barrens to flash red signal lights, The Family will then respond and ambush those blue dogs,” Blaze instructed, opening his comms channel.
“Yes sir, I’ll send them now; what are you going to do?”
“I’ll come down and join you shortly,” Blaze replied.
Blaze looked to Veel-ra-sah, who was watching him with a strange look of confusion, having just listened to the one sided conversation. “Special technology, allows me to talk to allies who aren’t standing beside me,” Blaze explained with a weary smile. If she did not understand what comms were she was going to be in for a real shock when she saw how far technology had moved on since she last walked the surface. A small flicker of doubt crossed his mind; did she know what she was letting herself in for, going up against the Barrens?
“We will get our children ready, it is time for us to grow!” She announced.
“Yes. Thank you for your assistance,” Blaze said with a respectful nod. Veel-ra-sah however was not bothered with petty compliments and respectful gestures. She grinned that malign smile of hers and let out a piercing cry.
“Nyaaaahhh!” There was a moment’s pause then with a clacking and clicking noise the giant alien creature appeared, scaling the cavern wall claws gripping the stone and defying gravity as it did so. Its six pupil-less eyes gazed at her with a look of something similar to affection. Veel-ra-sah strode to the edge of the rock balcony she and Blaze were on, then simply jumped. The creature moved with lightning speed, a feat that should have been physically impossible for something so huge. It jumped off the wall and turned as it did so, resulting in Veel-ra-sah landing neatly on all fours on its back. It then dropped to a ledge of rock some ten metres below, long legs folding as it did so. Veel-ra-sah barely seemed to feel a tremor, despite what should have been a bone jarring impact.
“You are a strange lot aren’t you?” Blaze muttered as the Queen and her mount scurried into the dark to muster her minions.
He rubbed his eyes in a vain attempt to keep himself focused, but his mind was slipping. The long battle and desperate defence, followed by stressful diplomacy with a mutated alien Queen had left him spent. He sealed his helmet up again to block out the stench of rot, although he was so tired he barely even noticed it.
Like a drunkard he stumbled back down the winding tunnel and toward the UCEF camp. Sleep, it was the only thing he could do now; he was physically and mentally exhausted. He would check with R3318 on the status of the UCEF forces, then crash and try and get a few hours’ sleep before the next battle began. Nonetheless he did pause just before returning into line of sight of his troops. Mustering the very last dregs of his energy and willpower he pulled himself up straight, held his head high and limped into view.
The majority of the Dinos were taking fitful bouts of sleep, most curled up on bare ground, using their guns as pillows. A ring of tired guards stood watch round the base; the Queaksys were still hard at work tending to the injured.
Blaze headed to the centre where R3318 stood overseeing the distribution of the meager rations they possessed. On hearing the heavy footfalls of the PASHAS he and the two Dinos with him turned and stood to attention.
“At ease, as you were,” Blaze commanded, just about keeping the fatigue out of his tone.
“You two finish up here,” R3318 instructed, going to one side with Blaze, who opened his helmet up again.
“What’s the situation?” Blaze asked, keeping his voice low, he was not sure he wanted to know the answer but he had to ask.
“Dear goodness sir! You look terrible!” R3318 exclaimed, seeing Blaze’s haggard face. “Sorry, I mean…” he started to correct himself, Blaze just chuckled wryly.
“You don’t look like a Queaksy princess either!” Blaze retorted, R3318 grinned, then his expression fell.
“Five have died sir, their injuries were too serious,” here he dipped his ears in respect to the fallen. “The Queaksys say nine others are hanging on by mere threads. They’ve done all they can but we need some proper medical kit if they’re going to stand a chance. Food wise we’re practically eating our belts,” R3318 reported, Blaze closed his eyes in despair.
“Is there ANY good news?”
“Yes actually, thanks to your little chat it seems The Family is going to help us, at least a bit. They showed us to a stream, some underground spring comes up in this forsaken and stinking hole, so we do at least have a supply of freshwater,” R3318 said.
“That truly is a blessing,” Blaze sighed.
“Yeah, even if we have to share it with them. What of that alien-girl-thing?” R3318 asked with a certain degree of disgust.
“I’ve made a deal with the devil,” Blaze replied somberly. “In short these creatures come from Humans, the Queen infects Humans with spores and somehow or other they become unquestioning zombies, serving the colony. She plans to infect the Barrens and bring them into The Family. Simply put, we may have temporarily saved ourselves from the Barrens but I fear we’re helping to create something far far worse. If these things were ever to leave Hayveon and find their way to the Cosmaratic Empire, onto Human controlled planets…”
Look out for Part 33 of Matthew Gill’s story!