Trees & Shields: Part 14

Answering my unvoiced question, Kamia, her own force field glowing, led a group of Ascendancy soldiers, all of them bigger and more muscular than average. Neves, larger than any of the others, ran next to her.

All the rest of them wore form-fitting, red, reflective armor that showed the symbol of the Ascendant Guard on their chests—a clawed, feathered beast that reminded me of a gryphon.

Not all of them were running either. Four of them were flying, but not far off the ground. Instead of flying far above the group, they flew with them. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 14

Trees & Shields: Part 13

It turned out that I wasn’t wrong about that either, but not quite in the way that I would have imagined it. I’d been imagining that the ongoing attack would take them down, but the shields held up to that at first.

Crawls-Through-Desert called a retreat as the outside ring of shields began to flicker and the soldiers ran towards the first ring of shields.

A roar of excitement came as the shields fell and we watched as the reinforcements we’d received all ran toward the inside ring of shields, unable to get through all at once, most of them turning around in front of the shields, aiming their weapons outward as Ascendancy soldiers ran in. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 13

Trees & Shields: Part 12

Nick, Hideaway Surface

Kals walked up to us at about the same time as Katuk joined us.

As we backed up to let them into the group, Kals asked, “What’s your plan?”

“We don’t really have one,” I said. “We’re kind of working on backup plans in case the shields go down. Also, we missed the rest of what she said. Given that everyone’s looking tense, I’m guessing they’re just about to start?”

“Close,” Kals glanced back toward the shelter. “She made a big appeal to Mom and the Council to surrender and save the lives of all the people fighting today. It wasn’t much different than what they’ve said before.”

Cassie laughed. “It’s almost like they’re afraid to fight you.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 12

Trees & Shields: Part 11

Admiral Makri Tzin, Human Ascendancy Flagship, Hideaway System

Admiral Tzin knew that he’d won when he saw who’d taken control of the ground forces.

The report told him that Kamia of the Thuroni Defenders, an elite company within the Ascendant Guard, had assumed command as soon as the marines landed. Ordinarily Admiral Tzin disliked the fact that any member of the Guard could assume command of any Ascendancy force outside the Guard, but in this case, he knew Kamia’s record.

Any Guard member with her success against Xiniti could use his forces as necessary—so long as she didn’t take over his position. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 11

Trees & Shields: Part 10

“Well, crap,” I muttered. Kamia had Abominator devices or a talent that might allow her to take the shields down from a distance. She also had an Abominator designed shield that both Cassie’s sword and my sonics had a chance to get through.

In her place, I’d take down the shields remotely and send in enough people that the battle would be over before Cassie and I found her.

That’s not what she was doing at that moment, though. She was trying to give us every reason to surrender without a fight—which might mean that she didn’t want to waste soldiers’ lives, but it also might mean that we’d scared her.

I hoped that we were that lucky. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 10

Trees & Shields: Part 9

“Reinforcements? From where? Are they landing more ships?”

Rachel shook her head. “It’s just people they already had on the ground—people who landed today mixed with some survivors from the ship you fought before.”

So that meant we had a chance. I wondered if Four Hands was among them and if he would do anything.

I said, “The battle’s just continuing then and they aren’t coming back to the planet?” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 9

Trees & Shields: Part 8

In the dark, the ship was practically invisible with the black shield that surrounded it. Plus, Hal hadn’t fired from just above the trees. Knowing the range of the main gun, he could have been miles away.

Given that the atmosphere interfered with the beam, he’d probably been within a mile though.

So all I could know was that the beams and explosions didn’t send pieces of the ship crashing down on us from above. It seemed reasonable to assume that he’d made it. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 8

Trees & Shields: Part 7

Dalat turned to fire at the soldier who’d jumped over him, killing him in a shot while Geman shot the other.

The good news was that Geman had saved one half of the shield generator pair. The other pole, still lying on the grass, didn’t look too bad as it could. It hadn’t been broken in two, but it wasn’t working either.

I didn’t know as much as I wanted about these shields but fixing it didn’t seem impossible. Even better, if they had a spare, they might be able to swap it out. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 7

Trees & Shields: Part 6

They poured over the shields, throwing themselves over by pushing off from the trees standing outside of the ring.

The only good thing that could be said is that this time they were all coming from the back half and left side of the shelter. That wasn’t good by itself, but it meant that Jaclyn and Tikki were cutting off routes past our defenses.

I aimed the sonics up at the Ascendancy soldiers. The smart ones were crawling down the trees in front of or between the ends of two shields. I didn’t dare aim the sonics there. They destabilized Kamia’s Abominator shields and I didn’t want to take down one of ours. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 6

Trees & Shields: Part 5

“I think they’re going to send more over the shields—maybe to go straight for Jadzen and the council members here.”

Jaclyn stared up at the top of the shields. “Of course they are. If they can do it once, they can do it again and with 20 times the people.”

A chill went through me as she said that. She was right and we wouldn’t be able to handle that many. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 5

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