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 A Sound in the Shadows

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Anno 'R
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Posts : 212
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 24
Location : In your Nightmares.

PostSubject: A Sound in the Shadows   Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:40 pm

A Sound in the Shadows

There was a rushing sound, as the silver backdrop around me blurred. There was a sizzling sound as I passed through the artificial barrier between ersatz atmosphere and vacuum. As my fighter passed into the vastness of space, I felt alive again.
The Xerveian Cruiser turned, angling its cannons to wipe out any approaching Tellorian fighters. As some of my comrades were blasted into free-floating debris, I rolled my ovular, hook-winged fighter to avoid crimson laser fire. The beams ripped through space and struck our own cruiser, but they were deflected by our advanced shield system. As my squadron, a mixture of TX-34s (The fighter I was currently in) and HX-35s, approached the cruiser, it turned again, bringing its hanger into full view. It began to vomit Xerveian fighters, which the HX-35s, with their mounted D.estructive E.lectro-M.agnetic P.ulse cannons, made short work of. However, it was clear that the first charge was not the end of the Xerveian defenses, as a second wave blasted out of their hanger. This time, there were too many for the HX-35s to handle alone.
I slammed both thumbs down on the cannon controls, and let loose a barrage of Level 2 ship-mounted lasers. A Xerveian fighter, caught in the blaze of destruction, erupted into an orange and red inferno, which dissipated into nothingness. It left only blackened shards of metal as a testimony to its existence. My comm crackled to life, and I heard Captain Ver’zal’s voice.
“You’ve got Xerveians on your tail, Far’zo!” He yelled.
I swore, and took evasive turns. But the fighters stuck to my trail like glue, their menacing curved shapes casting silhouettes into my cockpit. They let loose a barrage of fire. I felt my fighter lurch as a blast struck its hooked wings, and watched in horror as one of them, along with a chunk of my hull, went spinning off into the emptiness of space. I struggled with the controls, twisting the sticks to try and stabilize my fighter.
“I’m hit! I’m hit! I’m going down!” I frantically yelled, terrified.
My fighter lurched again, and the top of my helmet slammed into the top of the cockpit, which in turn cracked against the ridges above my eyes. There was a shooting pain all through my frill, and everything went black.
~
I slowly opened my eyes. I saw a trickle of blood running down my muzzle. A slowly closed them again. I opened them once more, now perceiving my fractured visor. I closed them once more. Finally, I forced myself to focus, and pulled myself up. Now, I stared the destruction around me. The entire fighter had been sheared in half, including the cockpit. I had been hanging out of my still-intact seat, still secured. In a daze, I wondered why I wasn’t suffocating from the airless vacuum of space. Then I realized that I was no longer in space, as my wits came flooding back to me. I was surrounded by upended earth and debris. There was smoldering scenery all around.. I quickly took in my surroundings, realizing that I must have crashed planetside, in a heavily forested area. There were plants, some still smoldering, all around me. I’d crashed in an uninhabited area. Fully aware of my predicament, I unfastened the safety belt and pulled myself out of the pilot’s seat. There was dark red ichor running down my right arm, but the bleeding from my forehead had stopped. My tail was bent at an odd angle, and hurt when I moved. My legs were, luckily, undamaged. I only had one chance of making it out of here now, and that was to find my emergency beacon. It was too much to hope that it had landed nearby, but I looked anyways. Before beginning my search, I detached both sides of my fractured helmet, and cast them aside.
After about an hour of futile searching, I sat up against my wrecked fighter, exhausted. A sudden anxiety washed over me. What it there were predatory animals in this forest? They surely would smell the blood, even if it was dry by now. Besides, my beacon wasn’t anywhere near here. I got back on my feet, and started walking. It’d be fairly easy to find the other half of my ship, if it did crash nearby.
It was about another hour before I found anything. I had started to despair, the pain overtaking me. But then, I noticed a plume of smoke extending far into the sky. It was my only hope, regardless of if it was the other half of my fighter or not. I ran for it, whipping past creepers and other dangling vines. Sure enough, there was the wound in the earth, a deep cut caused only by the crashing of something that had descended from orbit. I looked to the right, and saw the jagged mouth of a foreboding cave, with a hunk of my fighter’s engine billowing smoke at the edge. I edged towards this velcish entrance into the earth, and paused.
My beacon was locked into the fighter tightly. Unless it was destroyed, it had to be down there, with the other half of my ship. With no other options, I descended into the dark.
~
There air in the cave was cold and damp. My flight suit clung to me like a second skin from the moisture in the air. It was also dark. I had soon passed from the light and was plunged into complete blackness, unable to see my hand in front of my face. Instead, I felt my way through the cave, my misgivings growing. What if I had made a mistake?
My musings were cut off when the cave was suddenly cast into a blue glow. I was blinded for a few moments, but as my eyes adjusted, I perceived a smooth, featureless wall before me. Featureless, save a massive hole in the center. The other half of my ship must have crashed here, I was sure of it. I rushed through the hole, and sure enough, there was the wreck of half a TX-34. And, lodged in a strange deformation in the wall, was my miraculously still intact beacon. I ran towards it, and grabbed the end of the cylinder. It was lodged in the deformation tightly, so I placed my foot on the wall to get leverage. I felt it jiggle slightly, and then I fell back as it came loose. I got to my feet, took a deep breath, and made to leave.
There was a sudden, menacing sound behind me. I turned, to watch what I thought was an odd rock formation unfurl from the wall. A robotic voice echoed from the thing, and I noticed the eleven barreled chain gun dangling beneath it.
The chain gun swung up, and started to spin.
I dove through the hole, still clutching the beacon. Laser fire screamed over my head, and then abruptly halted. I didn’t wait for the creature to follow me. I ran.
~

I tore through the forest, creepers whipping me in the face. I didn’t look back, but I heard the thing explode from the cave behind me, and light up the forest with laser fire. It was tearing after me. But even as I ran, my mind was racing. This thing was out for my blood. I didn’t think it would let me set off the beacon. So my only choice was to destroy it. I prayed to Lor that the cannons on the remaining half of my fighter still worker, and sprinted towards the crash site. I burst from the forest, and ran for the bisected cockpit. I lay the beacon aside, and pulled myself in, fastening my grip around the remaining joystick.
There was a tense moment of silence.
Then, the creature exploded from the forest. It was no living being. It was some sort of robotic monstrosity, a Hunter-Killer drone. But I’d never seen anything like it. The drone’s head was smooth and predatory, line with small blue sensors and mounted on a thick neck. It had a curving metal carapace, which was set behind a chest-like plate and a series of tube connected to the carapace. It had a flexible midsection, which ended in the chain gun and two long, flexible arms. On the end of the arms were strong, grasping hands. It was gunmetal grey. It twisted its head, and focused on me, and my halved ship. It let out a metallic grinding sound, and raised its chain gun. The barrels started spinning, and I slammed my thumb down on the fire button. The TX-34’s cannon let lose a single, crimson laser, which struck the Hunter-Killer in the upper body. With a ferocious sizzling sound, it burned through and tore the drone in half. The chain gun ignited and erupted into purple flame, shredding apart the Hunter-Killer’s lower body with a deafening boom.
Then it was silent.
I took a deep breath, and fell sideways out of the cockpit. My voice was horse from a lack of speaking, but I uttered one solitary word.
“Damn.”
I groped for the beacon, and upon finding it, sat up. I flipped open the cylinder’s side and tapped several buttons. The screen in the side lit up, displaying the words ‘message transmitted’. I sat back. It’d be a few hours before the drop ships arrived.
But I could wait.
END
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