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Exiting the smoke, we all slowed to a halt in the main hub. It was one tremendous rectangular room with gigantic, closed metal doors leading to other parts of the outpost. I looked back over the ruined fortifications towards the outpost entrance and saw fighters still coming down the ramps. Ahead of us was no cover whatsoever, and at the furthest end of the room was a gigantic, closed door, which the voice told us to advance towards. Everyone felt on edge. Other than the enemies at the fortification, there seemed to be no more opposition present. We all proceeded forward on high alert, with vehicles in the front and on the sides of us.

A bolt of electricity broke the silence when it fried a tank’s hatch gunner. High on the furthest wall ahead was a battlement, where there was a sniper aiming at the heavy vehicle with a very large rifle. They fired another bolt of electricity at the tank, causing it to break down and erupt into flame. Infantry scattered for safety as the other tanks fired upon the sniper, destroying the battlement. Just then, another bolt of electricity electrocuted the occupants of a bipedal vehicle, which then fell over into another bipedal vehicle and caused them both to topple to the ground. More and more snipers appeared on battlements all around and fired upon us.

Infantry closer to the ruined fortifications ran to the other side for defense, while many of the rest of us ran for the walls to, at least, cover one of our sides from being shot at. Human-sized doorways opened in the walls throughout the hub, revealing the murky hallways inside. The hastening sound of banging armor drew ever closer before we heard the shadows yell out the amplified war cry of, “Baggsab harroo yopt!”

A fighter on our side screamed out in panic, “Baggsab!”

Out from the darkness they attacked, shooting electricity from their forked snare staffs, dropping fighters as they fanned out and charged at as. We managed to drop quite a few of them prior to our sides clashing in a melee, which they were specialized in, placing us at a disadvantage. This, compounded with the sniper fire, brutally cut through our numbers. Fortunately for me, the thankfully few run-ins with them in my past, gave me knowledge of their general weaknesses. The tactics of these slavers depended heavily on their armor’s nigh invulnerability to bullets, so they took their time to get close to their victims before employing close-quarters combat. This time, I can tell that they felt rushed. Though our railgun-rifles were unreliable, they were our most effective way to penetrate their armor. They likely learned this themselves from getting hit earlier by railgun projectiles, so they were trying to prevent us from shooting them by quickly getting up close. This was making their technique sloppy.

One swung at me with the mace-like end of their staff, and I countered with a slice into the elbow joint, finishing with a stab to the neck. The next one lurched at me with the electrically charged forked end, by which I countered with a leg sweep, a stab to the knee joint, followed by another stab through the helmet’s eye. After killing those two, I saved the life of one of our fighters by blocking a downward strike, then employing a few parrying maneuvers, and finally a slice and stab through the neck gap. I helped the guy up and told him, “Aim for the helmet’s eye and the gaps between the armor!”

As I moved on, I overheard the fighter I saved yell out to others near him to do the same.

After fighting a few more enemies, I took in my surroundings for a moment to see what the battle’s situation was currently like. More infantry and combat vehicles were still coming through the fortifications to join the battle. Less than half of the battlements were destroyed, but most of the snipers were kept busy by suppressive fire or fighters using the cover of wreckages to play cat-and-mouse. Most infantry in the close-quarters fighting were still having trouble, but I saw a growing number trying to hit gaps and eyes, whether it was directly because of me or they figured it out themselves. That was when I saw some Baggsab step into the battle with two-handed minigun-type weapons and started cutting down fighters and vehicles with rapid volleys of energy beams.

I spotted Xandra jumping on the back of one of the Baggsab carrying a heavy weapon, while some guy wielding a combat knife tried to get in close to stab the enemy. It wasn’t going to go well if I left them to it, so I ran to get over there. Knife guy grabbed the gun and tried to wrest it away, but he ended up getting blown in half. Xandra took out her taser and used it, which electrocuted the enemy and herself. She dropped to the floor and the slaver fell to their knees stunned. A hover tank was coming by as they were standing back up, so I ran top speed and used my full momentum to knock the slaver into its way. I’ve heard tales of oceans so deep that the pressure would crush objects like soda cans, and I imagine it would’ve resembled what I witnessed when the tank drove over our foe, as the force of the hovering mechanisms underneath crumpled and flattened armor, splashing out red, soupy paste. A whole group of Baggsab were coming at us, when Xandra stumbled over to the heavy weapon, picked it up, and tore our would-be attackers apart with a volley.

“Whoa! This gun’s really light!” she remarked just learning something firsthand about Minare technology.

We then heard something flying overhead. It was our mystery flying, armored allies again, and this time they knocked off the snipers and large clusters of enemies, then left the rest for us to mop up. The Baggsab retreated, and we all gave chase until the giant door at the furthest end of the hub began to open. The ones we were fighting left the area through human-sized doorways that closed behind them. From the giant door trudged out two of the shelled monstrosities from the trench, but each of these were being driven by Baggsab crews and mounted with a weapons platform, outfitted with two smaller versions of the turret guns on the sides and a cannon on the center. Following behind them, was an over 60-foot walking wall of armor-clad muscle and terror. Its legs had rocket boosters of some type, wore a human skeleton strapped to a talisman around its neck, a tactical belt adorned with bones and outfitted with pouches, carried an arm shield, a Minare gun and what could be best described as a morning star mace. When all three were in the main hub, the door closed behind them. If that wasn’t the Minare champion, I don’t know what was.

They stood there looking at us menacingly, and we all stared back about to shit ourselves.

“All units,” a robot announced on all our earpieces, “Hold your positions.”

Someone in the crowd yelled out a better idea. “Retreat!”

Right away, many turned tail and headed for the exit, against the protests of the voice; that is, except for the two Abrahamics from the dropship, who looked like they just took a few fresh bumps of something and were running towards the champion, while someone was trying to call them back. During this time, the enemy weapons platforms fired their cannons, killing several infantries and destroying a few vehicles, which got everyone else who weren’t running away yet, joining in the retreat. A few tanks fired at the champion, but it blocked the shots with its shield and fired back, destroying the tanks. Afterwards, it began pursing us. The Abrahamics ran wildly at the Minare champion, yelling their group’s war cry at the top of their lungs, right up until one got stepped on and the other got goal-kicked so far that he almost flew out the outpost exit. The champion then crouched, causing the boosters on its legs to ignite. First taking a short run, it jumped off the ground and over much of the crowd and landed, blocking the way through the ruined fortifications in addition to crushing a bunch of infantry. It raised its club and took out complete rows with only two sweeps. Fighters near the exit shot at the champion with their railguns, turning the champion around in their direction, but doing little else more than annoy. Tanks by the exit joined in the chorus of fire, forcing the champion to use what was left of its shield. It pulled out a handful of metallic objects from a side pouch and chucked them at the attackers, resulting in explosions upon impact. Some of the drones observing the battlefield were in the way of the toss and got blown out of the air by the bombs. The ones still intact vacated the hub, leaving us behind.

The champion stepped over the fortifications to get at the fighters running away on the other side, while the rest of us, not wanting to draw the minare’s attention again, had to contend with the fast-approaching mounted Baggsab plowing through battlefield wreckage. I spotted from the corner of my eye several of our infantry running for the doorways left open from the ambush earlier. Pointing it out to Xandra, we made a break for one of the doorways, just as many of the fighters decided to do the same when the weapons platforms began shooting. The both of us and a few others made it through the doorway ahead of its collapse by an energy blast.

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fsarbolaez

Bio: Writer and one-time promotional entertainment network wannabe.

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