Avalanche – Snippet 50

The Death Sphere on the right hand side of the docks from where the Thulians had landed was just about to start its run. The whine of its energy cannons ramping up was audible over the cacophony of the other weapons, and sinister orange light began to spill from the thermite ports on its underside. Right before it could begin raining death down on the soldiers on the docks, Sera separated from John. She pulled up and hovered, while John slowed and formed up behind her and one hand on her shoulder, while manifesting his fire claymore with the other.  The spear of fire that she manifested was brighter and hotter than the ones she had produced at the beginning of the attack on Ultima Thule.  She flung it, and it burned through the air like a meteor, impaling the Death Sphere like an apple on a stick. Its attack run halted in midair; it seemed as if the Sphere was shuddering in place, that something critical inside of it had jammed and was keeping it from moving. The weapons were still functional, and entered the last stage before they discharged. Without hesitation, John and Sera dove towards the end of the spear sticking out from the sphere…and pushed.

There was a whump of displaced air from the blast wave of the explosion that followed. The Death Sphere split in half; part of it completely disintegrated, and a smaller section fell flaming into the canal. Through the cloud of flame where the Death Sphere had been came Sera and John, flying directly for the next Death Sphere–John with his sword at the ready, and Sera with her own sword and another spear–looking like two avenging gods come to exact justice. The second Death Sphere veered suddenly and sharply skyward, putting on speed and gaining distance from the docks.

That one isn’t gonna to trouble us for a bit, darlin’. Let’s get to the docks.

Agreed.  Those troopers are about to leap out of the water….

Let’s give ’em a warm welcome, then.

The couple picked a landing spot in the dead center of the cement docks, about two hundred feet back from the edge. If they stood right at the edge, they’d be vulnerable to shots from the trooper energy cannons coming from the waters below. From where they were right now, they’d be able to respond to any that made it onto the docks.  And the docks themselves were a good place to fight; essentially giant cement slabs, built to take accidental low-speed ramming by enormous cargo ships.  Rail tugs were frantically moving as much cargo away from the combat area as possible, though…there were millions of pounds of cargo containers, and no way to move more than a fraction of it away in time. Brave, if a bit ill-advised. Can’t imagine that the cargo is worth dyin’ over, even for union wages.

John keyed his comms. “Vic, tell the soldiers to keep the edges hemmed in when the troopers get up on the docks. Sera an’ I’ll take care of the bulk of ’em in the middle. If they get out around the security forces, we’ll do our best to take ’em out ‘fore they do too much damage. Copy that?”

“You’re patched in now.  Just say ‘Docks’ and it’ll go straight to C and C there.”  As always, John had to marvel at her ingenuity and resources. He relayed the message to the C.O. for the security forces on the docks.

“Thank God you’re here,” came back the response.  “I’m glad they sent you two. Just tell us what you want, you’ve got it.” John gave the soldier on the other end of the line a quick rundown; all that was left for John and Sera was to wait.

It was a tense minute before the troopers made their presence known. John and Sera were ready; if they had been in any immediate danger, their battle-sense would have let them know. As one, an entire rank of troopers leapt from the canal in a shower of water droplets, landing on their feet on the dock. The first line was followed by a second, then a third, then a fourth. Immediately, the first two ranks activated energy shields that sprouted from their arm cannons, interlocking the shields to close any gaps in the front. John and Sera knew from previous experience that the troopers with shields on wouldn’t be able to shoot, or even move very quickly. So long as they kept those shields up, they’d be almost completely protected from anything that might attack them from the front. The lines of troopers stretched for four hundred feet; there must have been at least one hundred troopers, all together.

Everyone held their breath as the troopers stood stock still, dripping with water and waiting. That changed when a pack of ten Robo-Wolves leapt from the water, completely clearing the ranks of troopers, and landing with a crash in front of them. The Wolves didn’t wait; they immediately surged forward, using their momentum to get a fast start. The defensive batteries and soldiers on the ground began firing, at first wildly at the Wolves and the ranks of troopers; after a moment, their commanders regained control, and the sectors for fire were established. The soldiers would keep the troopers and the wolves concentrated in one area. Now it was time for John and Sera to do their job.

The thing to do would be to shock these troopers, who hadn’t been at the defeat of Ultima Thule.  And the best way to do that would be to punch a hole where they thought they were strongest.  John amped himself up, then let go with a steady blast of fire; it wasn’t nearly as hot as he could make it, just enough to give them something to think about, keep them buttoned up.  Sera jumped into it and ran for the troopers, hidden in the glare.  They were already reeling from the impact against the shields when she reached the front lines–they could hold off some of the effect with their energy shields, but not even those shields were impervious to the incredible heat roiling off the point of impact.

Then Sera got there.  She had manifested her fire sword and lay about her like a whirling dervish, attacking the shields where her battle-sense told her they were weakest.  Unable to see her through the glare of John’s fire, the troopers had to strike where they guessed she was, and their guesses were no match for her speed.  John held the fire as long as he could; an instant before he had to cut it off, she leapt into the air, assisted by her wings, blazing as white-hot as a star herself, and landed at his side again.  There were at least twenty troopers down, right in the center of the Thulians’ formation. It was clear from the smoking holes and severed parts that the ones that had fallen would not be getting back up again. The Thulians, while shaken and not having anticipated taking so many losses so early, reacted more swiftly than John had expected; they split their formation into two groups right where the hole had been created. Now they were firing back. The soldiers in the front rows would part long enough for three or for troopers with arm cannons to let loose with a fusillade of energy blasts or power-armor enhanced grenade throws. Where the blasts or grenades hit their mark, they were devastating; luckily, very few found their intended targets, most detonating harmlessly on the docks or trailing off into the sky to dissipate.  When John and Sera were the intended targets–they simply were not there when the blows came.  Their battle-sense showed them where the blast or grenade was going to fall, and they evaded everything but a few flying chips of concrete.