Stardock: Part 23

Of course, if I stood there and worried about whether or not we’d lose, we probably would.

Instead I decided to help Izzy. Hiding among a new group of trees, I held out my arms and fired off a few more “killbots.” It seemed like a good enough name for bots that would cut through armor and then explode.

If I was honest with myself, they weren’t good for much else.

Well actually, they might be useful for mining–not that I was planning to do any.

The bots stayed together at first, and then spread out as they neared their targets. I’d aimed for armored figures in the outer circle that had been firing at Izzy from a distance.

Something in the suits must have noticed the bots because the suits changed color, turning from dull gray to reflective silver.

It made no difference.

The bots chewed through armor like it wasn’t there, and then exploded. All three soldiers fell over, still burning.

Izzy downed six more in the same time, all of them bent by the force of her punches.

Jaclyn and Cassie seemed be doing as well as we were, and the soldiers appeared to know it. They’d begun slowly backing away from us while letting loose a barrage of fire–in my direction mostly. Izzy was too close to their own people when she was slow enough to target, and too quick to aim at when she was in between fights.

I stayed low, and ran forty feet to the right, stopping behind a new group of trees.

My armor wasn’t as stealthy as I wanted it to be, or the people in the ship were better at guessing my position.

White light surrounded me again, and I heard the trees crackle.

I began to run, but then the light and heat changed direction, swinging away from the woods and across the lawn, burning the grass.

That wasn’t the worst of it, at least not for them.

There were two troop transports floating above us, and the top one was rolling in the air while drifting lower. The black force field that surrounded the ship was gone revealing the dull gray ship I’d seen earlier.

As the ship rolled, the white beam slid across the black force field of the troop transport below it. It didn’t do any damage. The light disappeared into the ship’s shields, but that wasn’t all.

As Rachel’s voice came over the comm saying, “One down. Your turn, Bloodmaiden,” a spear flew up through the air, the edge of its blade glowing blood red.

Flying toward the front of the transport, it disappeared into the force field, and then reappeared as it came out of the top, the whole blade glowing red now.

Then it turned around, gathered speed, and flew through again, coming out the bottom glowing even stronger. In fact, it seemed to be dripping glow.

The building stood between me and where Bloodmaiden stepped out of the forest, but the spear flew down toward her, and I assume she caught it.

I’d seen her do it in training.

Now though, both of the ships had begun to fall, the top one more quickly than the bottom.

“Storm King?” I asked over the comm.

“Look, I know,” Vaughn said. “I’m trying!”

With that, I paid more attention to the sonar version of the display in my helmet. It showed that strong air currents that flowed above the ground blew toward the ships. The air currents grew stronger by the second.

Soon, I didn’t need the sonar to know it was happening. The winds shook the trees, and the roaring noise made me think of freight trains and tornados.

It struck me that we might have been better off if I’d told Vaughn to call up the winds, and blow all the alien soldiers into the woods at the beginning of the fight.

Knowing that Vaughn didn’t have anything resembling fine grained control of his powers argued that there might have been horrible side effects of that, but I didn’t have time to pursue that line of thought.

Even as I stared, the transports began to fall, the top one hitting the bottom one, causing them both to tumble in the air.

Vaughn didn’t lose control. He could have, and had in the past. The troop transports weighed tons–literal tons, not figurative tons.

This being Vaughn, control was relative. The troop transports didn’t hit the ground in the clearing, accidentally bump each other and send one crashing into the building, killing everyone we’d tried to save.

That was the good news.

The troop transports actually did tumble through the air, hit each other, and tumble into the trees at the far side of the clearing–the one furthest from the building.

I’d been hoping Vaughn would send them over the trees, and into the open, grassy area on the other side.

Well, whatever. The ships were down.

Did that mean that the Hrrnna leader had gone down with them, or could he possibly be in the main ship, observing what happened here from a distance?

I decided not to think about it. I didn’t have enough information to know yet.

I turned on the Rocket suit’s PA. “Surrender. There are no ships coming to help you. You can’t win against us now. Don’t fight, and you’ll at least get to keep your lives.”

I wondered if they knew English, or at least had a decent translator.

“Drop your weapons so that we know you’re serious.” Then I stopped talking and watched them.

There weren’t many left–less than ten. Only two stood next to Jaclyn. Four more stood in the field–one Hrrnna, and three humanoids.

The Hrrnna ran. It had no chance of going through the trees with it’s size, but the driveway was wide enough.

Jaclyn took a step toward it, but even as she did, Bloodmaiden’s spear shot through the air, hitting the Hrrnna in the back, and flying out the front without in any way damaging the armor.

The blade’s blood red glow only grew stronger, and when Bloodmaiden stepped out of the woods to grab it, her armor glowed more strongly too.

18 thoughts on “Stardock: Part 23”

  1. I’m guessing that the spear drains life.
    The question is, after all this absorbing, what can she do with it?

    Also, it’s good to see them offering the aliens a chance to surrender. After all, they do need to win in a way that doesn’t make the rest of the Galaxy decide that humanity is definatly a threat.

  2. If the Rocket is right, any aliens they let go will be killed by the Xiniti, so the deal is more like life sentence rather than the death penalty… and, of course, the government might decide to kill them all later anyway.

    Also, in “without in and way damaging the armor”, probably “and” should be “any”.

  3. Errors.

    I stayed low, and ran a forty feet to the right,

    Now though, both of the ships had bgun to fall, the top one more quickly than the bottom

  4. Another Error

    Jaclyn took a step toward it, but even as she did, Bloodmaiden’s spear shot through the air, hitting the Hrrnna in the back, and flying out the front without in and way damaging the armor.

  5. Wow, those killbots make Rook’s mecha-birds (or whatever he calls them) look like garbage, don’t they?

    Which leads to a further thought. Has anyone noticed that, more by parallel evolution than imitation, Nick is increasingly looking like Rook in methodology? Drones have become a huge part of his arsenal and he’s even started making cut-rate versions of his own suit for trusted allies, just like Rook. Now all we need is for Rook to blow one of Nick’s limbs off and the parallels will be complete.

    Really hope Rook shows back up sometime after this alien invasion arc is done.

  6. Whe… where’s the next chapter link? Oh darn, at last I caught up it seems. *tantrums*

    Anyway, keep up your awesome story Jim!

  7. I’m wondering if the Xinti is among the casualties. Or if it even fought. That could make or break a lot; they’ve been hyped as good at fighting.

  8. You know its good when you’re cursing the fact there isn’t more. Why can’t I just chain all my favorite authors to their computers?

  9. Because then you’d have to hide them so the FBI (Or other agencies, depending on locale) wouldn’t take them away from you?

    Besides, you’d also have to feed them, and clean up their messes. I’m willing to wait. Mostly. Usually.

    *Musters willpower, then puts away the iron shackles*

  10. Well, technically he wasn’t chained…and technically it wasn’t a computer…and technically it was just the one author…and technically he was kept there by a crazy woman…but something like that.

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