Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Huvek - chapter 1, part 2

(back to part 1)

Loy and his squad ducked low along the city wall. The point commander broke away from the edge and quickly ran between buildings just in case the warriors turned their guns to the flanking sides of the wall. The kesvek warriors continued firing.

Loy was aware they were leaving a gap for the Kesvek to march straight into the city, and the commander was hoping they'd walk right into the gap. The entire battalion would have them surrounded.

Finally, after several minutes of nonstop shooting, the Kesvek's weapons were silent. It took a long time for the reverberation to drain from Loy's ears. When it did, Loy heard marching lizards, and then the unmistakable sound of claws raking stone. They were breaking down the wall with their bare hands. A couple warriors could do it in no time, and a swarm of them could make even shorter work of it. Sure enough, the stone crumbled.

Loy wished for a tank, or artillery, or something big right now. There was always a device like that in video games at a time like this, but the reality was tanks were useless against the Kesvek. Their lack of mobility and narrow field of vision made them easy targets for warriors. One could tear his way through the armor in just a few swipes and ruin the whole machine.

The same went for unmanned attack and defense systems. The Kesvek immediately sought out and destroyed the satellites and antennas that ran them, and then it was back to meeting the lizards on the front lines again. They always pushed forward faster than the humans could pull back.

Air strikes were little help, as explosions only bruised them. Traditional bullets were stopped cold by their hides. Extremely sharp blades were the only thing that seemed to get through the thick layer of scales. In the early days of the war, grenades and bombs loaded with shrapnel worked beautifully, until the Kesvek began wearing secondary armor.

In response, humans perfected bullets with sharp tips, which pierced lizard hide very well, but then they had to get through the tough layers of muscle and thick bone. The best way to kill a kesvek was to fill him full of bullets until he dropped. Unfortunately, the extra armor the Kesvek wore stopped the razor rounds.

The Army couldn't train everybody as a sharpshooter, able to aim for the weak points between the joints in the armor, or the gaps in the helmet, and equipping the troops with multiple types of ammunition would have been too much for them to juggle. Instead, the Army simply gave automatic weapons to all the troops and counted on the sheer number of razor rounds to tear through the armor and eventually take the kesvek down.

Computer-aided aiming systems were still not fast enough to make precise hits on a kesvek moving at full speed, so it was up to the troops on the front line. Ground troops, like Loy, were mobile, agile, able to adapt on the fly to whatever the enemy threw at them, but it took so much to take even one lizard down. Sometimes a shot to the head would kill a kesvek instantly, but there was still a lot of bone to get through, so it would have to be a very lucky shot.

A minute passed in relative silence as the warriors tore through the city's defensive wall. It had been built to resist a Kesvek invasion, so it was high and thick, but it served more as psychological comfort to the citizens who once lived in this colony than real defense. Nothing short of kilometer-wide moat would slow down an army of kesvek warriors.

Loy's squad leader took them to the wall, which had already been prepared with piles of sandbags every thirty meters. Loy climbed up one of them and peeked over the top.

The line of reptiles broke through the wall at that moment. They pulled the stone blocks down and opened the gap wider and wider. It would take a wrecking ball to do what these lizards could do. Loy had nothing but respect for them--a respect he channeled into disdain.

When the gap was wide enough, the enemy marched through it into the city. The Kesvek had backwards legs and walked on their toes, making them appear as if they were always hunched over, about to charge at full speed. Several kesvek walked by the position Loy once held. Their tongues slid from their snouts, flicked around and tasted the ground where he had taken cover. Loy sneered in disgust. Snakes with limbs was one nickname given to the Kesvek.

"FIRE!" screamed Northpoint.

Loy rose from cover and emptied his clip. His entire battalion unloaded theirs. Several hundred guns went off at once, all trained on the group of kesvek in the middle. Soldiers on the other side of the wall opened fire as well. Troops had taken position on rooftops and rained sharp metal down on the enemy. Still others launched grenades into their ranks to distract them. They unloaded everything they had on the warriors. The kesvek were surrounded and there was nowhere to run.

If the kesvek had been anything close to human, they would have scattered for cover. But not these monsters. The warriors stood their ground, took the razor rounds. Pieces of armor flew in all directions as fast as the bullets fired. Sometimes the kesvek flinched when a shot made it through a joint.

The lizards with weapons swung them around and sprayed bullets in all directions. Several voices over the com were cut off in mid-sentence. Blood splattered everywhere. Loy reached for another clip, but the space on his vest was empty. He felt the next, and the next. Nothing. Four of his fellow humans were out of ammo, too.

The sound of human weapons was noticeably quieter than before. The kesvek weapons had taken out many soldiers, and now the warriors stopped firing. They shrugged the weapons off their backs. The guns clanged on the asphalt like cast-iron girders. Now free of the weight, the kesvek stood hunched over, tails out for balance, and splayed their claws. Their tongues darted in and out, tasting the air for prey. They fanned out through the city in all directions. Three kesvek ran towards Loy's group.



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