Sunday, September 7, 2014

Huvek - chapter 1, part 1

Huvek
© 2014 by James L. Steele
www.jameslsteele.com

This is a sample of a published novel. You may redistribute, but do not alter.


1

Loy rose from behind the wall and opened fire, spraying razor sharp bullets back and forth across the line of advancing reptiles. Three hesitated and jerked to the side as his rounds connected with their body armor. A split second later they righted themselves, still charging forward at full speed. They never hesitated long.

Loy emptied his clip, ejected it and crouched below the wall as he yanked another from his vest and popped it in. He braced himself on the sandbags piled midway up the wall for a firing platform, stood up straight and started shooting again.

His entire battalion was firing into the line of massive reptiles from behind the city's defensive wall. They had previously succeeded in clearing the kesvek out, but now the reptiles were coming back and they had never looked more intimidating.

One warrior's head bucked backwards and he (or she) toppled back with it. The warrior sprawled out on the ground and did not get up. Loy wasn't sure if he had fired the killing shot or not, but the sight of a fallen reptile energized him. It made him think of the countless worlds the Kesvek invaded. The billions of human lives they took as they advanced through the star systems, claiming world after word for their own. Loy was fighting for all of them, and seeing a Kesvek fall reassured him they were vulnerable to razor rounds. They could be killed. The war was winnable.

A kesvek was nearly indestructible, even without his armor. The reptiles carried no weapons and advanced as a single wall of solid scale and brute muscle. The massive claws on their feet and hands were known to pierce solid metal. They preferred hand to hand combat, so the strategy was to keep them as far away as possible. Spraying them with gunfire would kill them eventually, but as the line of red, green, white, yellow and blue scales ran closer, Loy began to feel the first hints of dread.

Loy's clip was empty. He ducked below the wall and ripped another from his vest as he ejected the old one.

"Jesus help me. Jesus keep me safe. Jesus give us victory and take care of my wife and daughter if I fall."

He said it every battle, sometimes multiple times in a battle, always while reloading. He locked the clip, rose above the wall and opened fire. The wall of charging lizards was so close he could hit them with his eyes closed.

The swarm hadn't thinned, and they merely flinched as they charged. The spray of gunfire was like a strong wind they had to resist.

One of the warriors reached behind his back and pulled something from a holster slung between his shoulders. It was cylindrical, twice as thick as the kesvek's arm, and had multiple openings at the front. It resembled a type of automatic weapon that was usually mounted at perimeters and took four soldiers to transport. Loy ceased fire, puzzled this reptile would be holding a weapon.

The wall of charging reptiles slowed to a stop as a dozen other warriors pulled identical guns from behind their backs as well. They looked like they weighed two-hundred kilos apiece, and the lizards swung them around like cardboard tubes. Moments later, fifty reptiles were aiming weapons at the wall.

Flashes of light emitted from the barrels of these guns. The first few shots sounded like gunfire, but then every gun began firing at the same time, and the shots blended into a solid roar. Loy leaped from his perch and rolled down the sandbags as bullets shattered the wall. Loy crashed on the cracked asphalt and covered his head as a heavy spray of concrete rained down on him. Six other soldiers also dropped to the street and lay low, waiting for it stop.

"They have guns!?" Leo shouted.

"What the fuck!?"

"Break position! Try to flank them!" shouted Northpoint, the lieutenant colonel.

The gunfire ceased for a breath. Loy scrambled to his feet and ran hunched over. The other soldiers on the ground got up and ducked away. A second spray of gunfire pierced their stone cover as Loy joined his fellow troops moving up the left side of the wall. From the sound of the weapons, Loy guessed the reptiles weren't advancing anymore. They stood in place as they unloaded round after round into the city wall. They knew they had the advantage. They didn't need cover, and their guns were big enough to punch through any cover humans tried to take.

Loy tried to wrap his mind around this. Over forty years of war, and the Kesvek had never used guns. Kesvek disliked fighting at a distance. They preferred to tear things apart with their claws. What had kept them at bay for so many years was mankind's skill at fighting from a distance. Now the enemy was using human-style weapons. This meant the reptiles were desperate enough to sink to lowly human combat techniques.

Loy had a thought. He pressed his radio button. "Anyone notice they waited until they were close to us before opening fire?"

"They held off until they were right on top of us!" someone said. Loy recognized the voice. It was Batter, a private, first tour of duty, total rookie and too eager for his own good.

"They like to touch their victims," Loy said. "Maybe they settled for seeing the whites of our eyes instead. We stay out of sight maybe they won't open fire again."

"Hooah," someone announced, followed by a chorus of other replies.

"Keep flanking, stay low, do not reveal position until ordered," said Northpoint.



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