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Approx. 2500 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ


The Battle


written by  SJ



    Plasma cannons were normally part of a Space Marine’s battle suit, powered by a backpack they wore. Captain Wayne’s cannon had to be plugged into a power supply located inside his command Chimera. He and his Planetary Guardsmen were ready, first platoon on the left, third platoon on the right, second platoon with him in the center, approximately five hundred meters between them, all dug in behind hastily-built earthen mounds on hills. His sniper team had been left back at the city, where they took a position on top a three-story office building right on the edge of town next to the main road with orders to pick off any Chaos forces that got past the Guardsmen.
    From his hill, Captain Wayne could see the mansion a little over one kilometer away. He sat and waited for something to happen, for his satellite communication team to give him some information; but, so far, there was no movement in or around the mansion.
    The terrain around the mansion was bleak and treeless, and because of its rundown condition on the outside, it looked spooky and evil. If nothing happened soon, Captain Wayne was thinking about advancing his plasma cannon to within range and using it to destroy the mansion, end its existence for all the trouble it’s caused.
    His satellite team was actually located far away in another city. One of his men, Corporal Ford sat inside the Chimera and communicated with the team. When he received some information, he relayed it to the Captain via com. “Sir, I’m getting a report of some movement just in front of the mansion, and to the left and right, behind those hills. They say they’re humanoid.”
    “What about a life sign scan?” The Captain asked.
    There was a long pause before Corporal Ford answered, “they said: ‘life signs indeterminate.’”
    “But, there IS something there...alive, right?”
    “Yes...two groups of about ten each.” the Corporal paused, then continued, “I was just told they’re moving forward.”
    The Captain mused, then concluded, “it’s possible our software can’t figure out WHAT they are.” Using his com, he announced, “platoons one and three, you guys get ready. There’s a group of, well, we assume, about ten demons heading to each of your locations. We should be able to support you from where we are. Fire as soon as you have a target.”
    They waited...
    At about four hundred meters, lasgun extended range, there were the occasional flashes of firing, some of them from his position on the hill, from the more experienced sharpshooters of the platoons.
    Then he received an urgent report from first platoon. “Stop firing, stop firing! I think we have civilians over there.”
    “Civilians?” The Captain was surprised. “What do you mean?”
    Then he got the same report from third platoon. Soon, the lasgun firing had almost stopped, followed by more orders to cease fire.
    “What the hell?” Wayne was confused and angry. He took his time and began looking through his own high-powered binoculars...then saw it for himself, on both sides. He sighed, not know what to make of it. “What the hell are those women doing out there? Where the hell did they come from? Wasn’t the mansion already searched?”
    The officer in charge of first platoon tried to make some sense of it, explaining, “those are women--survivors. They must’ve been held hostage, hidden someplace inside the mansion, and now they finally escaped. Sir, do you want me to send some people over to help them?”
    The Captain thought about it, then answered, “no. I see them, and they seemed to be making their way to your location just fine. Third platoon, do you see the same thing?”
    “Absolutely,” third platoon officer answered. “I was just about to make the same request. We’ll wait until they get here then see if they need medical aid.”
    They waited...
    Then Captain Wayne spotted a lasgun firing from first platoon, followed by the officer ordering it to stop.
    There was a delay, then a female voice speaking as if she was trying to make herself heard over the platoon officer’s com. “Captain, Captain, this is Corporal Amanda Hale..SIR--there are NO WOMEN over there! All I see are...well, female-looking monstrosities. Please, sir--”
    She was cut off, then the platoon officer spoke. “Sir, the Corporal must be suffering from the heat. I don’t know. She’s the one that fired, but I don’t think she hit any of the women.”
    “Can you confirm what she saw?” Wayne answered.
    “No.” The platoon officer sounded positive. “Everyone else over here, including myself, see civilian women.”
    The Captain looked carefully with his binoculars, making sure, eventually answering. “Those are definitely women, young women.” He sighed. “Like you said, they were probably hostages that escaped from the mansion. If there is anymore firing, take the person’s weapon away.”
    “I had the same thing happen over here,” third platoon’s officer informed.
    “Okay.” The Captain made a decision. “We’re just going to have to wait. None of them look armed, right?”
    After he got a no from each of the platoon officers, he asked for satellite confirmation. “Corporal Ford, what’s our satellite team say?”
    There was a short delay. “They say they’re still getting the same thing: life signs indeterminate.”
    As the minutes ticked by, Captain Wayne began pacing, not knowing what to do. However, something inside him told him to do nothing.
    Then he got a call from third platoon. “Sir, we’ve got two women over here that say they want to run away. The civilians are less than fifty meters away, now. They keep saying they are not civilians or women, they’re monsters.”
    After a big sigh, Captain Wayne answered. “Hey, we’re not Federal troops, here. Anyone that wants to run away, let them. They won’t be fired since we’re not actually under attack, but I’ll want to talk to them later about what they said they saw.”
    Shortly after the Captain’s announcement, he could see three people running away from third platoon, two from first platoon. However, once they were approximately fifty meters away--all hell broke loose!
    Captain Wayne began hearing screams coming from both first and third platoons. He didn’t know what to make of it.
    Third platoon suddenly called. “Oh, God--what are these things? Where did they come--” He screamed as if being torn apart, then silence.
    No one had bothered to keep an eye on the mansion itself. It was the crew of the plasma cannon that announced, “sir, we have some kind of car coming down the road to our location--”
    “Captain Wayne..they’re monsters!” First platoon’s leader shouted. “We’re dying over here. BLACK TALONS! Oh, God, they’re some sort of female-looking demons.”
    Then there was silence...
    The Captain stood shocked, mouth open, unable to speak. Then he tried to shout; but, it was like his voice was paralyzed. When he was finally able to speak, all he could say was, “retreat...everyone retreat!”
    When he looked forward, a long, open-top, six-seat, car had pulled to a stop right next to the plasma cannon crew. There were four women in the back seat, one woman in front with the driver, who looked Daxzan.
    The woman that was in the front seat was wearing a mask, her skin grey with pink overtone highlights, her black hair thick and long. She walked toward Captain Wayne wearing an impossibly tight corset, her hips swaying seductively. He was too scared to speak or move. When she removed her mask, he gazed upon the most beautiful woman he had ever seen...but, still remained scared beyond belief. She smiled, then reach her hand forward, touching his face.
    Sergeant First Class Boz was trying to rally a retreat. He saw the Captain, and what looked like a female demon, touching his face, then watched as blood began flowing out of his ears, nose, and eyes just before he collapsed down into a twisted heap on the ground, his head back, mouth wide open. The demon looked over him and smiled, speaking with a breathy voice, “was it good for you.”
    The other four women that had exited the car, were no longer women, but demons, or rather, demonettes with long, black, talons. One of them jumped on the command Chimera, then, using an extra long, black, talon, ran it all the way through the vehicle, from front to back, screaming coming from inside, then silence. When the demonette jumped off the Chimera, it began smoking, starting to burn.
    Many of the other Guardsmen were already dead, the demonettes bringing a quick death to anyone within reach of their talons, talons that would pass through armor, flesh, and bone without actually cutting it, but frying it with WARP radiation, leaving a smoking, thick, black, line. Many of the Guardsmen just stood, staring, letting it happen.
    Second platoon’s Chimera had yet to fire its multi-laser. However, Sergeant Boz got the attention of the driver and began directing the retreating Guardsmen to get on top the vehicle. Once there were five men on the Chimera, he had to order it to take off, realizing there were no more survivors. As the vehicle began moving, Boz watched as a demonette jumped on the back in front of him, her talon ready. He was armed with a pulse pistol and began firing, having no idea if it would do any good, then became surprised when the demonette lurched backwards and fell off, quickly disintegrating as the Chimera sped away.
    Staff Sergeant Jill Sloane was the leader of Captain Wayne’s sniper team, three sisters, Jill the oldest, Maggie, then Suzi. They had turned off their communicators, but were ready in case they were called. All three of them sat, bored. But, then Jill saw something and began looking through her high-powered binoculars.
    The women’s position was about two kilometers behind the Guardsmen in front. About five hundred meters away was a deep, narrow, winding, river, where the onion farms were located. A few of the farmers, despite the warnings, had returned to planting.
    Then Jill spoke, wondering: “What’s burning over there?” She placed her binoculars on a table, then began looking through a telescope, one that had been set up to see Captain Wayne’s HQ. A few seconds later, she spoke, even more surprised. “WHAT THE HELL! The Captain’s command Chimera is burning! OH, GOD--they’re all dead over there!”
    Maggie had picked up the binoculars and was looking to the right. “I see burning coming from third platoon. I think its their Chimera.”
    Suzi was on the left side of the building. She pointed in the direction of first platoon. “See that dust trail. That’s a vehicle moving overland.” She quickly used her sniper scope to spot it. “It’s a Chimera!. It’s running away...there’s people on top of it.”
    The two younger sisters looked to Jill, who was now trying to call HQ...with no answer. Then she got a call light.
    “Hello, ladies...this is Sergeant Boz.”
    “Boz!” Jill answered, still very shocked. “What’s going on? I can’t reach the Captain.”
    “He’s dead--they’re all dead!” Boz shouted. He sounded distraught, out of control. He then calmed himself and tried to speak rationally. “We got attacked by some sort of demons.”
    “Demons?” Jill couldn’t believe it.
    Boz started losing control, again. “Yes, DEMONS...female demons! The whole thing is a nightmare...a nightmare. Everyone’s dead. I can’t believe it--”
    “BOZ!” Jill shouted. “Calm down and tell me what happened.”
    There was a delay as the Sergeant took some deep breaths before trying to explain. “Our satellite spotted these things and ID’ed them as 'life signs indeterminate'. But, when our men spotted them, they kept saying they looked like women. I didn’t see them myself, but they said they were women that had been held captive inside the mansion and had managed to escape. We waited, then when they reached us...” He stopped to control himself. “They all turned into these demonette things; they had these long, black, talons. I saw one reach out and kill the Captain just by touching him.” He breathed heavily, trying to control, then thought of something. “The women! The women in our unit tried to warn us. THEY saw them as they are! Those demonettes are heading toward the city. Ladies, you’re our only hope.”
    “What do you want us to do?” Jill was still having trouble believing or understanding what she was just told.
    “What do they look like? Where are they?”
    Boz sighed, before speaking again. “They’re demons. The best way to describe them is as female demons, demonettes--they’ll look like no earthy thing you’ve ever seen.” He stopped to think. “I heard there were ten each heading toward first and third platoons. So, those should be coming from there. And, the others, those that attack the HQ--they came up in this car I remember seeing when I was at the mansion; I didn’t know it even worked. Ladies, if you see a fancy, antique, car coming down the main road from where our HQ used to be, shoot it full of holes!”
    Jill frowned. “Let me get this straight. You want the three of us to fight off more than twenty demons...none of which any of you guys killed and who wiped out our whole company in one attack?”
    “You have to understand.” Boz began explaining. “As far as I can tell, our men didn’t even fight back. They couldn’t until the demons were right on top of them. Then it was too late. Some of the women in our company tried to warn us. They saw them as they are: demons.” He sighed, again. “You’re our only hope, ladies.” He had an idea. “You have an aircar, right?”
    “Just keep shooting them until they’re right below you. Then fly to another high building. Don’t let them get you.”
    Jill sighed. “Can these demonettes even be killed?”
    “YES.” He remembered. “Yes...I shot one when she, uh, it, jumped on the Chimera. I got it with a lousy pulse pistol. Listen, there were about five women that ran away before the demons got us. I’m going to drop off the men at that building the Feds were using, then go look for those women. I’m sorry, ladies. None of the men are going to be able to help you with this one.”
    “Those Feds.” Jill wanted to know. “Can we contact them? Where are they?”
    “The Captain was only able to contact them with the communicator on the command Chimera. And that’s toast. Last I heard, they were on their way back here. ETA was four hours, but that was two hours ago.”
    “OH...MY...GOD!” Suzi had taken over the telescope and was looking. “Jill, you have to take a look at this!”
    “It sounds like you just spotted them. Good luck, ladies. Boz out.”
    The women of Sloane’s sniper team began spotting demonettes using their scopes at one kilometer. Jill told them to start firing at eight hundred meters...and, keep and eye on the main road for that car.


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