Boorai signaled to his squad using hand gestures. They came to a halt so that they could observe what the chitin-kin were doing. The chitin-kin-workers were occupied with building a large alien structure. Some kind of hollow spire. A group of chitin-kin-warriors milled about in small groups on a loose patrol around the perimeter.
“What is the structure’s purpose?” Zurr asked, her voice a soft trill.
“It converts the air. Over time this world would become uninhabitable to all native life and to us.” Boorai replied. Quilik shuddered but said nothing.
“But they can clearly survive. They are existing before us as we speak.” she said, indignant as she pointed to the workers toiling away on the alien spire.
“Yes. But they do not like to breathe a nitrogen-oxygen mixture. They prefer a cold methane mixture.” Boorai replied.
“There are worlds like that everywhere!” Zurr snapped. “Why destroy this one?” she said clearly frustrated.
“They intend to take those worlds too.” Quilik said quietly. “They will take every world if ignored.”
“Not this world. Not today.” Boorai croaked. He gestured for them to get in position. As soon as they were he gave the signal and they decloaked. They each opened fire on the closest group of warriors sending spheres of plasma energy into their chitinous bodies. Both of them fell, their torsos rent with smoking holes.
The stalker clutch continued advancing. Zurr broke off to engage the chitin-kin-warriors which started to converge on them while Boorai and Quilik continued to shoot at the spire. Boorai could see it sealing up the holes they made and healing the damage.
There was almost no time left and it wasn’t working. They simply could not do enough damage. Quilik looked at Boorai for a moment saying nothing. Then Quilik ran into the structure. Almost immediately there was a dull explosion as Quilik had overloaded his power core causing it to explode. Huge tears appeared in the spire allowing superheated gas to spill out.
The first chitin-kin-warrior reached Zurr. Then another. Then she was surrounded. As she fought, one took a savage bite out of her back. She fell to her knees making pain-cries. Boorai interceded and began to fight the warriors. He fought with a furious intensity. His blades encased in violet power fields sweeping through chitin and alien ichor.
He lasted several seconds with pure ferocity and purpose until he was overwhelmed and finally fell, body broken and spent. At the cost of their lives they had slowed the chitin-kin. He knew that the rest of the clan would avenge him. His name would be sung into the night sky.
He watched the spire burning as his vision went black. It was as ruined as his body was and he found that he appreciated the balance of that.
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