Chapter 7: A Taste of Their Own Medicine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 144

Looking out from the eighth floor open window of the same apartment tower that they’d killed the bugger scout in, and where they’d met Sapp, Scy scanned the park with the scope on Scar’s anti-material rifle, using the polarization on the scopes to dismiss the storm’s lightning from overriding the scope’s filters.  Scar was looking out a jagged hole in the apartment’s walls beside him, helping to combine their field of visions on the thorn base the buggers had set up in the park, while Breach kept an eye on the stairwell and hallways on their rear, watching through his teammate’s eyes.

“Huge,” Scar commented on the thorn.  “In my personalities’ time, such a thing being dropped from the sky was just a dream.”

“It looks like part of an orbital strike weapon system,” Breach commented.  “It’s probably got a spear tip end we can’t see, struck deep into the ground.”

Scy shifted his scope sights onto the thorn.  It looked like a quill more than a thorn, to him, but he wasn’t one to quivel: a gray tower diagonally into the middle of the park as if unintentionally mocking the human Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Around it buzzed little insectoids that Scy supposed were some form of maintenance creations; most likely not even sentient, or armed.

“Knocking it over’s not a thing, then,” Scy said.  “We’ll have to either cut it in half--”

“Not possible with something that size and thickness,” Breach observed.  “We didn’t bring enough explosive.”

“--disable it, or--” Scy continued.

“A really big boom,” Breach finished.  “Ideas form.”

“I trust in your expertise on the matter, Breach,” Scy said.  “But let’s deal with the buggers first.  There’s lots.”  He scanned back and forth over the base.  “Looks like a major FOB, too--a Forward Operating Base, Scar.”

“Acronyms,” Scar replied.  “They never change.”  She set about rescanning the base, adding, “Probably three-hundred buggers of various sorts, plus fuel, ammo, and what looks like an internal security of soldiers.  Walled-in, of course.”

A sonic boom from high above the apartment towers and the bugger FOB broke the relative quiet.  A bugger orbital dropship--something large and egg-shaped, half-organic and half-metal--descended from the gray, cloudy skies on blue flame to the FOB’s landing pad.  The bugger dropship dumped its load within a minute like laying eggs, then ascended again, returning through dark clouds.

The rain tapered off without warning, leaving a vague rainbow over the FOB.

Now that’s theatrical as fuck, Scy thought, knowing that was Martin Silenus’ inspired thought.

Scar zoomed in on the dropped cargo.  “That doesn’t look like fragile material it dropped,” she observed.  “I bet they bring down weapons and other things that go boom, but they have to stay a bit for that.  How interesting a situation that would be…” she mused.  “One good shot with the big rifle, and...”

“A really good, airburst boom,” Breach finished.  “It might not destroy the thorn, but just imagine the kind of damage it could do to the bugger infantry, and the secondaries from all that fuel and ammo.”

Scy nodded to himself.  “A plan forms,” he told his teammates.  “Listen for a minute, then let’s get moving.  I want to get into position before the next dropship comes down…”

Ten minutes later, under the cover of Scar’s silenced rifle, Scy was at the park’s edge, concealed behind a broken concrete wall.

Having moved a little closer, Breach was within rocket launch range of the fuel and ammo dumps from the fourth floor of an apartment tower adjacent to Scar’s position, watching the sniper’s back, as Scar watched his.

The chimera didn’t have to wait long.

The next dropship seemed almost gift-wrapped for the three chimera: coming in slow and easy, obviously inundated with explosive goodies.  And as it crossed over the middle of the bugger FOB, Scar took aim with her anti-material rifle, only to be halted by a series of controlled explosions on the other side of the park.  

“That was not me,” Scar said.

“Demo charges,” Breach offered.  “Watch out, Scy, Scar.  That’s a twenty-story financial tower--shit!--coming right down on the bugger base!”

Scy got low behind his wall, but wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass.  “Scar, Breach, quick!” he ordered.  “While it’s still booming!  Fire!”

Covered by the distant explosions, masking her weapon’s firing with the noise, and before the dropship could recognize that the falling tower on the other side of the bugger base was a danger to it, Scar fired, scoring a hit above the dropship’s vertical rocket ports.  At the same time, Breach came up with his rocket launcher and struck the base’s fuel pods.  The buggers were too busy looking the wrong way to see or hear both attacks.

The dropship listed, gouts of blue fire spewing from the hole punched into its fuel supply, then exploded at almost the same time Breach’s rocket struck the bugger’s fuel pods.  The resulting explosion was massive, and magnificent.  

The falling tower landed across the bugger base with an earth-shaking crunch, kicking up waves of dust and debris along with ejecting chunks of concrete and glass shrapnel.

Scy bounced to his feet.  “Up and moving,”  he told the other chimeras, and started the assault.

Scy switched his vision over to a combined thermal and infrared, unable to see in all the dust, smoke and fire with his regular spectrum of vision.  Penetrating the FOB’s flanks at a speed only a chimera could manage on two legs, he started killing the shocked buggers as he saw them through the catastrophic aftermath with grenades and coilrifle rounds.

Scar switched back to her silenced sniper rifle and used her enhanced optics to pick off one bugger after another, while Breach descended to ground level,coming at his slower pace to join the ground fight.

Well inside the bugger’s base, the remaining buggers in the tower couldn’t turn their heavy weapons on Scy, and in their confusion, Scar picked the towers off one-by-one.  

A well-placed shot by Scar set off an ammo dump underneath one tower, which blew down the tower and the portion of the wall it was meant to defend, giving Scy an exit from his first finished pass through the bugger base.  He left them presents in the form of packs of C4, which he blew once he was clear on the other side of the FOB’s walls, killing more buggers and blowing more bunkers and supply dumps.

Bugger laser fire couldn’t penetrate the clouds of debris that had fallen around their base, if they could even find an enemy to shoot.  A bugger external patrol reacted from the outside to the fight, but ran into one of Scar’s proximity mines, destroying more buggers.  

And, in the middle of the fight, Breach parted the gray fog with his minigun, sending thirty-millimeter rounds seven times a second into the surviving buggers.

Brutal and beautiful, Scy thought as he scaled the bugger’s intact walls again, coming down on their flanks, and expended his last few grenades killing another pack of buggers before finishing off a reacting beetle with half a coilrifle magazine.

Scy headed towards the base of the thorn, and the buggers still alive there, unable to wait on Scar to reposition for fire discipline support, or Breach to finish with the remaining bulk of the bugger forces.

This won’t be easy, he knew.

Coming around the corner, the beetle guards spun on Scy, laser rifles coming to bear.  Scy killed one, blows its head off, knowing he was likely to receive grievous harm in return, but there were certain things that had to be done.  If he could just take out most of them, then Breach and Scar could follow behind and--

Fire engulfed the beetle soldiers from behind, turning them into blackened, shriveled remains of themselves before the soldiers could hit the ground.  A surviving bugger, blocked from the flames by the base of the thorn, turned to the new attacker, and was shot through the head without any accompanying noise.

Scy stopped, examining the carnage.  “Sapp?” he called out.

Sapp came around the base of the thorn with flamethrower in one hand, and silenced submachine gun in the the other, scanning for more enemies.  “Yes, commander?”

Scy emitted a sigh of relief.  “It’s good to see you,” he told the fourth chimera.  “We don’t have much time, but are you all right?”

Sapp fired his submachine gun, killing a loose drone.  “I’m killing buggers for a good cause.  My karma is good.  My purpose divine.”  He nodded towards the thorn.  “Is this the thing that must explode?”

Scy nodded.  “How much explosive do you have left, after you brought that building down?”

“Plenty,” Sapp replied.  “I relieved the buggers of their own on the way here, and I can always find more, it seems.”  He glanced past Scy’s shoulder.

Scy turned to see Breach burst through the still-settling debris cloud, his minigun barrels glowing orange from use.  He had a few laser scars entrenched into his armor, but was still functional.

“Holy shit, man,” Breach said upon seeing Sapp.  “Good to see you, Sapp.”  Breach hurried over to examine the base of the thorn.  “Here to blow some shit up with us, I assume?”

“Indeed,” Sapp replied.

“Scy,” Scar said from her position overlooking the ruined bugger base.  “You have little time before the next dropship, I believe, or reinforcements.  Suggest hurry.”

Scy nodded, looking up at Sapp.  “Start planting your explosives, Sapp,” Scy said.  “We gotta roll.”

“No, wait,” Breach stopped them.  “This thing is powered by a fusion reactor, my sensors are telling me.”

“And so?” Sapp asked.

Breach went around the thorn’s base, examining it section-by-section.  “I have an idea, but--”  There was a banging sound from Breach punching through a section of the thorn’s base.  “Got it.”

“Got what?” Scy asked, scanning around for survivors.

“A user manual.”


“A user manual,” Breach explained.  “It’s in bugger, or whatever they call their language, but it’s like with every piece of equipment in the history of the military ever: there’s always an accompanying manual.”  He flipped through the pages.  “I’ve got a partial codex for the bugger language, but--”  Breach flipped the pages back and forth.  “I don’t get it.  Why can’t I update my library with this manual?  This should be a Rosetta Stone…”

“We really don’t have time for this,” Scar told them.  She reinforced her observation by shooting a bugger the three around the thorn couldn’t see.  

“Just a sec,” Breach said.  “This is crucial, man.”  He looked up at Scy.

“We really can’t, Breach,” Scy replied.  “We’ve gotta blow this thing and go, now.”

Breach redoubled his effort on the manual.  “What am I missing?” he said.  “What am I missing, ye Gods?”

Scar sighed over quantum communications.  “They’re insects, Breach,” she told him.  “They use pheromones to communicate sometimes, don’t they--the buggers?”

“Oh,” Breach responded.  “Oh!  Yes!  You’re a genius, babe!”  Breach brought the manual up to his face, where his sensors got a good whiff.  “Genius!”  

Updates went out from Breach’s system, providing translation of what would become known as ‘Buggerese’ to all chimeras in communication range.  And to Jerry, of course.  

Scy looked around, able to read some of the markings on the bugger’s supply crates:

Warning: Fragile.  Handle with care.  Do not drop.’

Some things never change, even across species, he admired.

Breach flipped through the manual, scanning at computer speed the entire contents, then pocketed the manual and scurried about the thorn base.  “Here!”  He yanked open what was once an obscured control panel, revealing a screen in Buggerese.  “Fusion reactor control panel.”

“You’re going to shut it down?”  Scy asked.  “We need to offline it, permanently.  Unless--”

“Oh, I got you, boss,” Breach said.  “This thing’s going to go boom.  A really big boom.”  He was going through the panel’s screens, pressing buttons and setting settings.  “I mean, this won’t be a nuke, but I’m going to set the fusion bottle to one-twenty-percent capacity, so it’ll spew fusion fire like an exploding star when the entire magnetic containment field goes at once.”

“How long?” Scy asked.

Breach pressed a few more buttons.  “Done, actually.”  He placed a hand out to Sapp.  “Remote-detonated explosive, please, Sapp.”  Sapp placed the requested item in Breach’s hand, who placed it inside the control panel, then closed the panel back up.  “One fusion bomb, ready to go.”

“Good,” Scy replied.  He got back onto quantum communications.  “Scar, we’re pulling out.  Breach’s got a big present waiting for bugger reinforcements, but we need to get clear.  Real clear.  Five-hundred meters, at least.”

Breach laughed.  “A little farther than that, boss…”

Submitted: April 01, 2016

© Copyright 2022 Jack Motley. All rights reserved.


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