“Listen up, fresh meat!” The line commander barked. “This is it! The line!” He gestured towards the treeless expanse in front of the trenches. “Your time on the line is critical keeping Wireless Ridge free of those goddamn things!” The 12 Ophiuchi sun was just rising, and Jamie yawned, while cursing the base servers that robbed her of sleep.
She popped open an energy drink, and waited for the barking to be over.
“There are artillery and mortars on the top of the ridge, microwave projectors and Metal-Storm™ automated turrets out there and you…”Ibanez gave a shitty grin to the mass of Customs. “Are here”. Jamie turned to see the no-man’s land out there, covered in mines and automated cannons.
He un-slung a massive weapon, causing Jamie to refocus on the commander. “This little one, is the thing that will save all your asses!” He held out a rifle sized weapon with a massive drum magazine. Jamie wondered if she could handle the weapon.
“This is an Atchisson 12 gauge fully-automatic shotgun, with a 32 shell drum magazine. Each of one will be issued one of these. Load with whatever shells you like, and when the Nix are close, this will kill those fuckers dead.” Everyone drove into the stack of Atchissons, and Jamie hefted the weight of the massive gun.
“I think the recoil is going to rip my shoulder off!” Beth joked, trying to relieve some of the gloom.
“Naw, I read Atchission developed it to unloaded all at once!”Tom gazed at the shotgun like it was a porn model.
“Quit talkin’! Start loadin’!”Ibanez commanded. The heavy green boxes of ammo popped open, and they began the task of clicking in one shell at a time. At the tree line was the thumping of artillery, and a distant shriek of Nix dying.
“Shit…there they come.” Beth sighed while shaking her head. Jamie threw an arm around her, as they took to the top of the trench. Prayers were uttered and crosses kissed.
“Wait for ‘em to get close! Don’t burn darts and shells on ‘em ‘til you can smell them!” Shouted Ibanez from the bottom of the trench.
There was a slow even pulsating rhythm of outgoing fire. Each minute it grew stronger and they drew closer.
The praying got faster and louder. Jamie checked her gun for the hundredth time. The heavy pounding of the artillery stopped, and only mortar rounds lobbed into the rushing Nix phalanx. Every soldier on the line wanted the great blooms of smoke and concussions; each foolishly hoped that this would stop them.
Then the mortars cut off. They were closing in. Even the heavy shit wasn’t stopping them.
“There’s too many…”Jamie said out loud. Beth nodded, but was too white to say another word.
In front of them, the popping of Reaper rifles started, replaced the volleys of gunfire from the robotic defenses. But, when the automated turrets went dry, and each of the mines preformed their grim destiny, the line was fully exposed. What shocked Jamie was that the Nix ran straight for the trenches, no fancy tactics, just sheer numbers.
Jamie’s finger hammered down on the trigger, at the Nix running towards her. It was crushed under the fully automatic shotgun shells at close range. It withered under the pounding, and collapsed. Jamie trained the tool of death onto the next Nix, and she cracked its exoskeleton with a few shells. Another one dashed at her, weaving in and out, Jamie wasted her last few shells missing it.
It hurled a javelin-like weapon at blinding speed and Jamie was thrown backwards down into the mud of the trench with four feet of alien projectile lodged in her left side. The pain was overwhelming. Blood was pooling in her armor from the blow, and her world slowed down
It leaped at her, excited by the smell of fresh blood over the top, screaming in its primal alien tongue, swinging claws and flicking teeth like a nightmare from hell.
Painfully, she raised her shatter handgun and flipped off the safety, just as a claw stabled into her foot.
She pulled the trigger and the claw tore out of her foot, trying to cover itself from the hail of .410 double ought Buckshot.
Her gun clicked dry and the world faded to darkness.
-Part Six "Triage" in seven days-