Catch a fistful of sky

This is a part of a story. | March 18, 2010

Strategos Young tried holding her breath against the flood of pheromones that the rulonian commander was releasing into the air, knowing that the very fate of the Terran Empire could depend on her blacking out before she could breathe again. She had seen the reports on what happened to females who happened to fall to Peace Federation Rulonians, and life as a brood mare didn’t appeal to her. Though she’d be too far gone to care, the Empire’s secrets in her mind would be priceless.

Her own body defeated her, making her breathe, and with it a head rush that made her tremble in the 8 foot tall humanoid lizard’s grasp, the tips of his mouth curling upwards for what passed for a smile in their society. She had five, maybe six breaths before the effects became irreversible. When she tried to hold her breath again, the alien drove a fist lightly into her stomach, making her let go of her breath with whoosh. A second breath followed, and with it a greater and more pleasurable head rush.

After her third breath she felt like someone had closed her lungs off. Her coughing was a hacking, vicious affair that made dribble out the side of her mouth. The Rulonian dropped her uncerimoniously to the ground and began to look around. His eyes were hidden by the helmet on his crocodillian like head, but his body position indicated intense surprise. She was still coughing violently when she saw the mirror cloak deactivate, and another rulonian warrior began to stalk towards them, whipping out the heavy gun staff that was their weapon of choice. Even when her eyes began to water, she made herself look for some sort of sign this was a friend, and was relieved to see the jagged claw marks on the thrombium breastplateĀ that indicated that this was a friendly rulonian, one of the Bastard’s Splinter. She began to float in and out of conciousness as the two Rulonians addressed each other in their own language.

~

Ianviur, the Bastard Prince of Rulon, had seen the shuttle go down and had heard the broadwave distress signal put out. He had run several miles, scouting out two platoons of Peace Federation infantry before arriving at the crash site, only to see his cousin Sarvias holding the strategos. He’d ask for her apology later, his powerful tail going stiff and his azure scales flushing, with scarlet undertones along his thighs as he flooded the air with his own pheromones. The reaction would not be pleasant, but it would buy him time that he needed.

Deactivating the mirror cloak, he whipped out his rai’leth, the blade and gun barrel glinting in the fires of the shuttle. “Sarvias! Hold!” he demanded.

His cousin’s own rai’leth came out, and fired a shot at his feet. “No further, bastard. Do not think our relation will save you,” he said.

Ianviur laughed. “You think I’m worried about the Blood? I’m here to take the strategos back to our lines. This battle is over, this planet belongs to the Empire.”

The rulonian duke fired off another shot, this time activating Ianviur’s shield, which flared up like a bubble around him, flattening the yellow grass underneath him and knocking loose pebbles away. “You always thought you were so clever. I claimed the human. She took her Second Breath, she is mine. Even your treacherous soul would understand that.”

The bastard continued to walk, shifting the grip on his weapon as he saw the naith infantry move forward in an arc, thier faces invisible behind their rebreather equipped helmets. Their goggles glowed purple, and thier bow shaped firearms pointed at him. About twenty or so stood across from him, with the rulon at the head, his black scales reflecting the glow of the goggles, his own tail thrashing in agitation. He figured his shields would last ten seconds at the most against a full barrage, maybe less depending on what type of ammo they were equipped with.

“You were always a churl. She has to be fully bonded to you before you can claim Second Breath. She took just as much of my essence as she did yours,” he explained. “If you wish to claim culture, then culture dictates that we fight for the right to decide who will take her Second Breath.”

Sarvias tilted his head, as if comprehending this for the first time. The sounds of a Peacer grav tank could be heard in the distance, the high whine of the turbines drowning out just about every other sound. For a moment, Ianviur thought his gambit had worked. But when Sarvias’ rai’leth dropped, Ianviur braced for what was next. “Kill him,” he directed to the troops behind him.

Targeters danced over Ianviur for a moment as he juked to the right, the silent weapons spitting flechettes at him and filling the air with silver darts before a sudden explosion rocked them and caused everything to stop for a moment as they were all thrown through the air. Ianviur rolled with the shockwave, and came up on his feet and continued to move while looking around. He stopped suddenly and turned, running towards the prone form of Strategos Young.

Towering over the battlefied, a Bladejaw roared out his challenge to the assembled Peacer troops, the ruins of the grav tank casting diabolic shadows over the tyrannosaurus rex. Its metal war chasis glinted darkly, and the plasma cannons spit death at the infantry, melting several off hand. The large caliber ballistics, operated by the Terran riding on the back, began to open up. A throaty rumble crackled in Ianviur’s comms. The Bladejaw was talking to him now, directly.

“Little brother,” it growled, “save the strategos. That skipping machine was only part of a greater whole. They are coming in numbers greater than we can live through.” On Ianviur’s HUD, an icon popped up indicating that the human gunner was hailing him as well. He accepted and listened to the Terran’s voice, oddly grumbly like the Bladejaw’s.

“Ripper isn’t kidding. There’s got to be at least two battalions, maybe a corps worth of Peacers coming this way. They know what’s here, but I don’t think they know we’re here yet. I’ve got several Old Bloods on screen, and they’re heading here with all haste, and there’s a commando squad being space dropped immediately, but that’s it.” The Bladejaw chuffed, and Ianviur detected secondary conversation going on. The human’s voice crackled back. “We’ll hold them as long as we have to,” he said with a firm voice.

All this time Ianviur had been bounding towards the remaining Peacers, wondering where his cousin had gotten off to. His blade split one in two while his tail smashed another one to the ground before sweeping him into the firey remains of the grav tank. A claw crushed another one’s chest, ripping out the internal organs and painting him with their blue blood. His shield lit up suddenly, giving him a target for his gun staff, shooting one handedly and blowing a hole in the center of the offender. He refrained from biting into a wounded soldier, reminding himself that Naith made Rulons vomit explosively. Instead he drove his gun blade down through the wounded and twisted before reaching the unconcious Young and throwing her over his armored shoulder unceremoniously.

He could hear the turbines of the grav tanks again before he saw them pop over the treeline and land close enough for his shields to activate, the huge guns turning on him as he stood spotlighted, the other two beginning to scatter and pop off shots at the solo dinosaur, who bellowed a challenge and began to return fire as his massive shields kicked in. His own wouldn’t stand up to a shot from a grav tank’s main gun, and he snarled a defiant challenge, fully expecting to die now.

It crashed to the ground suddenly, the lights going dim as the blast of focused EMP killed all the electrical systems in the machine. He knew the pilots would be choking to death soon, unable to process the oxygen based atmosphere that surrounded them. Looking to his right, he could see the cloaking field deactivate as a huge Lancer strode into view, throwing its head from side to side to acknowledge Ianviur. One of the triceratops’ horns was broken, he noticed, as it turned to help the Bladejaw deal with the two tanks that were wearing down his shields.

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Paratrooper. Correctional Officer. Federal Agent. Hello world, these are my thoughts and this is my story.

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