I’d never been hit by Cassie’s gun at full blast. In training, we’d sparred a few times with it, but never at full power.
It would be nice to say that I don’t have anything to compare the pain to, but that would be wrong. Fire from a dragon hit my arm a year earlier, cooking it all the way through. That had been intensely painful in the first instants and completely painless after that when my arm became little more than cooked meat. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 16
The Guard members’ shields popped as my weapons found a frequency that resonated and poured on the power.
Kamia’s didn’t go down. It probably wasn’t exactly the same technology, but I knew it could go down. Earlier, my killbot had gone partway through as had Cassie’s sword.
As the other Guard members’ shields fell, the colonists’ blasts seemed to hit them in almost the same moment. Several hit the ground, but not all of them. Their armor both absorbed and reflected the beams.
They dropped behind soldiers with working shields even as those soldiers stepped forward to stand in front of them. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 15
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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