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

Trees & Shields: Part 4

Jaclyn blurred, punching five of them before anyone else had a chance to respond—at least that’s what I saw when I replayed the moment with my implant later.

In the moment, I was too busy to watch what she was doing. Two soldiers landed in front of me, the first grabbing for my arm before I could back up to avoid him and beginning to pull me in.

Knowing the strength of my armor, I’ve always been worried about facing people capable of ripping it straight off me. Travis was one of them and these soldiers had the same powers. With nothing else coming as an option, I did what Lee had taught me to do when that was a possibility—punch them hard. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 4

Trees & Shields: Part 3

I flipped from screen to screen in my HUD. The Ascendancy had sent a lot of troops. My gut said it had to be hundreds. According to my implant (which had noted the distance between the bots, the number in the pictures, the probable distance between them and made guesses about areas the bots didn’t cover), the number was more like thousands. Specifically, it was more than I thought had landed.

At any rate, that was the implant’s estimate. The number it had seen was 750—which was still an awful lot.

Around that time, beams of light appeared in the woods around us, accompanied by the screams of Human Ascendancy soldiers. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 3

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