Four years ago — June 2012
It didn’t take long on the alien’s world for us to encounter the first sign of resistance. Thankfully the aliens were no match for us, their technology still relying on primitive chemical payload to propel metallic projectiles.
Master Iren and I however remained largely away from the worst of the engagements, although lords were formidable opponents, our duty was to oversee the operation on the regional scale and ensure the different corps were working together.
On the third day, we were on our way to meet with an assault division within one of the aliens’ cities when I heard a loud buzzing coming from around us.
“What’s that sound?” I asked.
“Drones. We should take cover before it sees us. There might be more.” Master Iren said.
Immediately one of the warriors following us opened the entrance of one of the nearby buildings and we took cover. It was some kind of mess hall, with tables all over and a large counter on one end.
Although the others remained on guard, curiosity got the better of me and I explored the area. In a corner I found a stack of plastified sheets which were covered in scribbles I didn’t know how to decypher along with pictures of meals. I continued my look around and stepped into another room at the back, this one holding equipment which I assumed served to prepare meals. I examined everything, some items were alien in designs but others similar enough to what we used on Resh. My search however was interrupted by a loud yell.
I turned around and saw one of the aliens, screaming at me as he held a weapon. I hadn’t seen him and somehow he’d sneaked up on me, seeing one so closely for the first time, I froze and he levelled the weapon at me and he was about to fire when Master Iren came to the rescue, slicing the alien’s arm off with his photonic saber before stabbing it in the chest.
“Shekaree are you alright?”
He let out a breath of relief and put his gloved hand on my head.
“You had me worried there. Stay close to me and get your weapon out, there might be more.”
I nodded and took out my plasma handgun. I looked at the ground where the dead alien lied and once more curiosity got the better of me. I picked up his weapon and examined it. It was a simple design; when the trigger was pressed a pin would activate the cartridge.
“What is it?”
“This weapon only holds one cartridge… He had to have heard there were many of us, why did he attack, he couldn’t have possibly won…”
“Maybe it was scared, it didn’t think straight.”
I nodded and took the words in. I looked around and noticed a door that hadn’t been open when I’d first come in, leading to a large metal box, which now hung partially open. I notified one of the warriors and we investigated quickly.
A cry alerted us and at once both the warrior and I raised our weapons at the potential danger. But that wasn’t what we found. There in the box was one of the aliens, a female by the looks of it, clutching one of their juvenile in its arms which it tried to keep silent. Red splotches on its outfit betrayed the presence of a wound. Unlike us Tzaries, the aliens bleed red… Had the alien attacked us to protect its family?
“Lower your weapons, they’re non-combatants.” Master Iren ordered, coming up behind us.
The warrior and I obeyed my the order and Master Iren walked closer to the aliens, which caused the adult one to try to crawl away, even if it was in a dead end but it couldn’t, letting out an injured cry.
“Healer!” He snapped and one of the warriors with us came forward. “Give me your nano spray.” The healer didn’t protest and handed over the spray which we used to seal wounds.
Master Iren approached the aliens but once more it try to move away, fear clear in its expression. But he slowly raised his hands, trying to appear non-threatening to the alien. Once it calmed down ever so slightly, he motioned to the blood, then to his ribs, then to the alien and then to the spray.
The alien seemed to understand as it didn’t react when he came a little closer. It even raised the side of its stained outfit and revealed the hole within her flesh which was covered with soaked bandages. I could tell it hadn’t been done by one of our weapons but rather by the aliens’ own primitive projectiles, victims of friendly fire… Master Iren applied the nano spray to the alien’s side, which likely helped her, although nothing was certain; the spray wasn’t made for aliens, but should have sealed the wound and sterilized it regardless.
“We should go.” Master Iren said, solemnly once his operation was done.
“What about the aliens?”
“We’ll leave them be.”
I didn’t question his orders and left the kitchen of the alien building. A few minutes later we were given the all clear and left, resuming our route to meet with the 764th assault company.
Once our business concluded, Master Iren opted to camp with the 764th for the night, taking refuge in one of the buildings the 76th had secured for their operations. Although I tried to sleep, the event of the day kept playing through my mind on repeat… And how I’d failed given my first chance at real combat…
“Master Iren, are you still awake?”
“What is it Shekaree?” He replied a moment later. I apparently wasn’t the only one who couldn’t find sleep…
I got up and went to his side, sitting down by his sleeping cot.
“I’m sorry I froze earlier…” I said, looking down at the ground in shame.
“It’s alright, these things happen.”
“Shekaree you are the youngest apprentice on the battlefield, you’ve only had a few months of training before you were thrown into the Svren’s den. Many in your position would have panicked, ran away or disobeyed orders, but you haven’t.”
“You’ve done exceptionally well, I couldn’t have asked for a better apprentice.” He said, gently running his claws through my hair before bringing me closer against him. “Now we better catch some rest. We have to move at first light.” He extended his blanket over the two of us and closed his eyes.
I laid against him, my head resting against the protective mesh of his under armor garment. I could feel his plates through the fabric. His body was warm and moved softly to the rhythm of his breathing. And I caught myself thinking of thoughts that weren’t appropriate… Of things improper for an apprentice to want of their master…
I was awoken by the crashing sound of thunder, my brain snapped awake and just outside the building we’d taken shelter in I saw an explosion of lights soon followed by screams. I shook my master awake, but he was already on alert. We hopped to our feet and began arming ourselves.
My master was only halfway armored up when the doors of our shelter exploded open. One of the aliens stepped through, dressed in a strange white and gold costume and wreathed in lightning. It was one of the aliens’ powered being.
“Shekaree. Stay behind me.” Master Iren snarled, clutching his weapon.
My heart started beating faster than ever and what then happened did so simultaneous mind bogglingly fast and yet horrifyingly slow… The Alien charged at us, only to be intercepted by my master, using his blade to keep it at bay. But that didn’t work as lightning erupted from the alien’s fingers and struck the blade, which exploded in Master Iren’s hand. He didn’t have time to recover that the alien punched him, sending him flying away to crash against the wall.
“Master!” I screamed rushing to his side.
But I didn’t reach him before another streak of lightning hit him. Soon followed by the smell of burning flesh… Around him the ground had been blackened only to be then stained by the green tint of his blood… When I reached him only a second later, he wasn’t moving and I couldn’t hear his breath either…
A shadow formed over me and I looked up, seeing the thunder-alien standing above me with its towering height. I didn’t think. I took out my knife and aimed at his guts, only for the blade to harmlessly slide over it. It answered with a backhanded strike which sent me down on my back. It readied another charge of its lightning and I closed my eyes, muttering a prayer to the ancestors. I knew I was about to die and that there was nothing I could do about it…
The lightning bolt never hit me although the thundering clap of it did. I opened my eye only to see another of the aliens, standing between the thunder-alien and I, a shimmering barrier between the two of us.
“Mais putain Thunder, C’est juste un enfant!” The alien who’d saved me said in its language.
“I don’t fucking speak French, mate.” The thunder-powered alien answered.
I didn’t know what they were saying. I knew I had to do something, but I couldn’t think of anything, as my body just froze once more… beside had I done anything, I’d have been fried by the thunder-alien…
Another alien came toward me, this one in an indigo colored suit. She raised a hand toward me. I tried to resist but found my body numb.
“I’m sorry, child. You shouldn’t have been involved in this…” It said. “But for now, just sleep.”
My eyes felt heavy and I couldn’t keep them open. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for everything to go blank in my mind.