Jack glanced at the men around him. Most were hard bitten rugged settlers, former Earthers and some even Veteran Space Marines. But the rest were still kids. Six of them still had pimples and no face fuzz. He would have to watch out for them.
“Check your clips youngsters, follow your fire team leader and do what he damn well says.” Jack had a habit of sounding pissed off evening when he was happily shooting wild game drunk as a Earth 2 loon on a red harvest nite. It came from experience.
” Men we need to get into that white pop up warehouse and secure the amour, heavy weapons and vehicles from Earth. ”
“Damn Jack do you even think that shit will work. Its hundreds of years old!” growled Devin, who emphatically spat a wad of creeper juice into the dry ground at his feet. “Well Devin you are Navy and you know as well as I do the equipment has been in stasis storage containers since we shipped from Earth and settled generations ago. Personally I cant wait to get my hands on some Earth steel, smell real oil and fire a fricken depleted uranium round right up those alien MECA’s asses. So we are going! ” His voice was the same tone, and volume. But his dark eyes glinted as he mentioned the M1’s locked away in stasis. Most of these men and had across centuries and spent more than their fair share of time in their own stasis shells.
[ Command to MECA troop A2 and A3 follow Alpha1 Squadron Leader and take up your pre ordained positions], the metallic almost robotic voice chirped over the exoskeletons voice communications modulator.
The tall agile units advanced rapidly down the street and spread out, taking up opportune positions to cover the approach of the expected militia rats who were up to some sort of mischief. 20 minutes earlier a sky sensor was tripped when 5 or more humans gathered. The MECA’s long powerful, tireless strides had them converging on an intercept path within minutes. Heavy weapons were now swung to port and locked and loaded, sweeping the approach.
“Jack, Jack shit I see one.. I see one….OH SHIT….Jack A SQUADRON OF THEM JACK!!! You never said this many! What the actual fuck Jack?” cried out one of the youngsters.
“Kid….come here…” murmured Jack in a steely voice. As the lad approached, Jack stepped up to him and with an almighty swing knocked him senseless to the ground with one punch. “Did that hurt kid?” Jack asked.
With tears and blood from the lads face being absorbed rapidly by the dry red dust and searing heat, the man child murmured a weak Yes.
“That aint nothing compared to what those freaks will do to you in their base. Either we kill them or you die trying there is not another course”
“Close up and take out that unit behind that wall!”
The raucous undisciplined fire skittered around and near the MECA, the occasional shot hit its armour deflected and buried it self in the dust. Brass casings from the 7.5mm hollow armour tipped rounds plinked and dinged at the MECA. The enemy, side stepped, ducked and weaved, calmly shooting back to suppress. A larger boom resonated across the open ground. The MECA staggered and took a knee. A ragged cheer erupted from the humans.
[Damage assessment: Readings indicated armour integrity compromised. Self healing in process standby by Command module #Alpha1 is OoA, adjust accordingly. Battlenet command suggests MECA A2 return fire immediately] [Reply A2 confirms enemy sighted 150m range, firing short burst spread pattern HE rounds.]
The humans hugged the ground, the unique rounds burst above and around them spreading shrapnel and debris. Firing from the Militia quickly ceased. Hard eyes, looked straight at the ground, un flinching. This was their dirt damn it, they would be free or feed them selves to the ground trying. “inch back , inch back, these bastards don’t have thermals, we need to get out of their pre targeting.” said Jack.
“We cant get to that pop up. It…Its suicide.” Said a quavering voice.
“Well they wont kill all of us. These guys are not close combat experts, nor are they nimble when knocked over. That’s why we have bolos and nets as well as bullets son. Lets go”
Jack and his squad ran in and advanced attempting to draw fire. The MECA now in the pop up building hex holds it fire. “Go , go, go ” Waving the other men forward and close. 150 yards, 100 yards, 50 yards.
[Command module Alpha 1 to A3 you may commence firing now. ]
[A3 is compliant firing at range 50 yards, high volume discharge for 30 seconds. 3,2,1]
“I’m hit… shit..I’m hit.” Cries a youngster.
“Take cover, get down. Slap some Blood B Gone on that scratch and shoot your damn gun son” The grizzly faced homesteader stared at the boy, as he calmly changed out a clip and emptied it in the direction of the weaving MECA. The constant chatter of high volume of fire from the MECA’s almost drowned out conversation. The boy stopped whimpering and fired his gun, ignoring the seeping wound.
Jacks Team open up on the MECAS pinning down the team in the open and force it to ground. Servos whirling and cranking, armour flaking away from the hail of bullets.
The second MECA appears from behind a wall at close range on the flank of the pinned militia. More fire ensues and the Militia men suppress it also.
Another team tries to rush the MECA near the ammo and weapons construct, they are mowed down.
Jack, realizing it was now or never looked left and right, squeezed the pistol grip of his M4 and simply said fuck it, lets go.
He and the other two veteran fighters from the 2000 wars back on old Earth provided covering fire, while Jack and a rag tag bunch of kids and men raced forward, ducking and weaving, bounding forward from cove to cover. The dis orientated MECA’s targeting systems were re booting. The soldier in the exoskeleton, tried to aim the weapons manually with little effect. As Jack and his men closed, they threw bolas at the legs of the MECA, while simultaneously closing on its flanks. As the humans closed in their speed, prowess and anger gave them the advantage. The exo skeleton armed soldier tumbled in the tangle of the bola’s. Quickly a tear filled man-child leaps onto its torso shoving his M4 hard against the faceplate and screamed “This is for Billy!!” He emptied the clip into the helmet. Collapsing on the blood splattered machine he sobs in shoulder wracked heaving motions.
[BattleNet reports MECA A2 is now off line. Adjusting tactical plan. Sending Tactical Plan. Confirm Plan A1…]
As the cheer went up, the suppressed men and boys behind the wall rally on the sounds of the MECA fall. Emboldened they leap the wall, charging tossing bolas at the MECA’s. One tumbles the other crouches and tries to fight swarm of men. Both are mercilessly dispatched.
[Error. Error. Alpha #1 is off line. Error. Re configuring leadership routine. Transfer to A2…OFFLINE…Error. Transfer to A3. A3. Execute extract protocol. Signaling Planetary Command. EXFIL in 3.4 minutes. Strike package to follow, subject to Population Control approval]
Jack and his men watched the last MECA team back pedal quickly out of the area. At Jacks signal the men in the rear, rapidly drive trucks up then hurriedly load supplies. Inside the warehouse is full of MRE’s, 50 cal tripod weapons, mortars, LAWS, MILANs and other transportable weapons. The Teams load furiously, racing time. As they do so Jack and his best men headed to an empty corner that hold two decrepit coke machines whose product selection panel is strangely still active yet the rest of the machine was long destroyed by the ravages of time.
Jack punches a sequence of buttons from his PDA into the product selector. Beneath the ground a whirring could be heard, then the cracked old machines descended into the floor revealing a stair case, which leads to an airlock.
Now sealed below Jack and the men could not hear the trucks roar away as airborne munitions explode over the town from the Alien strike package. They did not care, their eyes were transfixed as they adjusted to the bright fluorescent scene in front of them. Row upon row of M1 Abrams, Bradley fighting vehicles and material sat gleaming in the once vacuum sealed area. Trickle chargers hummed. The smell of machine oil spread quickly to the men, but not as quickly as the jack hammer heart beat of war filled their chests.
“Each of you gear up a platform, do systems checks and lets see where the exit point leads us. It’s time to take our planet back.”
Jack strode to the far end of the row and ran his hand along a the side a tank, in the most familiar and also forlorn way. Pausing he looked away and smiled bitterly. Whispering ” one more time, I promise. Then you can truly rest”.