Every Life

The world slows down all around me. Projectiles seem to hang in the air.  A lattice of plasma and slicer fire tracing across the field. In the corner of my eye I see the flare of a shield collapsing and Cho’s leg is seared. It goes out from underneath him and he tumbles to the ground.

Above me the winged dropships of the Batra swim silently across the sky barely visible against the sun’s glare. All alien grace and headed right for us.

Around me my soldiers charge towards the gunfire. Racing across muddy ground straight into the most intense part of the battlefield. I expect no less but I’m still proud. An ache in my chest that lasts a fleeting moment.  

I breathe in and the world returns its normal frenetic speed.

“Secure the point!” I issue the order and it is relayed instantly to the squads. They fan out to surround what we came here for. I can see it in the distance just past the tree line. A lifepod.

Leaping through the air in the planet’s heavy gravity my armor compensates with its servos making every action feel easy. I bound ahead and lay down some magrifle fire into the tree line. I can now see the Batra firing at us. My helmet sensors filter and interpret the chaos, showing me each bloom of heat and radiation. Their fire betrays their positions.

With a thought I update the battle map with their exact locations. Over the radio a low, bass-filled voice responds to the new data.

“Just finished clearing the field. Engaging new targets now.” Greene says laconically.

The battle tank hovers towards us and opens up. Magcannons tear through trees and cover while rockets rain from the sky. The explosions stitch their way through the Batra forces who scatter deeper into the trees. Cho sends a message saying he has embarked into the battle tank and is secured.

I reach the objective. The lifepod is still red from re-entry. Inside I can see a person encased in shock gel. Alive. From above the Batra ships unleash a torrent of craft. I know each is filled with enemy infantry and that they will be here in less than a minute.

“Squads take cover and defend the lifepod.” I say and the remaining soldiers find what is left of the cover and prepare themselves. The Batra are coming and I want to make every inch of ground cost them.

I look at my remaining warriors and feel that ache again.

“For the Realm and for House Sidana!” I yell and I hear a chorus in reply. We are ready and when the Batra arrive they arrive greeted by our gunfire.

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