Pecking Away

Liberty City

Compiled from the log files of Connor Benjamin and Elana Pierce

Connor waved Elana to get down as they reached the edge of the forest north of Liberty proper. They were about three hundred yards from Liberty Hall and a little more from Hanna’s. As they sighted in Connor couldn’t help but think of how many times he had been in this situation back on Earth. Only this time it wasn’t some goonie military base they were casing, it was his home, and that made all the difference. He didn’t care what aliens were there or what kind of technology they had, this invasion was not going to stand.

“How many you count?” he asked Elana.

“Fifteen, maybe twenty in sight,” she replied.

“Same. Target?”

Hanna’s Inn exploded in a shower of debris and fire. What had a second before been the largest standing structure on the planet was now matchsticks and kindling flying through the air in every direction. A half a dozen goonies who were standing too close got flung into the snow around them and Connor had seen several more, along with an alien figure, enter the Inn just moments before its explosion.

“Target,” he repeated in a grim voice.

“The alien looking around the side of the Hall. The one that’s gesturing. Range 300 yards, wind nil.”

“Affirmative.” He slowly squeezed the trigger, paused, and then finished the stroke. The shot from his .50 rang out across the town, echoing off the nearby hills. A puff of green and purple mist blew out the side of the aliens head and the outside of Liberty Hall got painted with a splotch in the same colors.

The pair got up and ran, crouched low, to their next position to take their next target. This was going to be a long night.

After several rounds like this – take out a target or two, regroup and move, take out another target or two, repeat – they heard a roar coming from the northwest. Looking back they saw one of the skull ships heading rapidly south. After passing well over town and nearly heading out to sea it banked sharply back north and headed for a rapid decent into Liberty City.

“We’re running out of time shooter,” Elana said, “They’re not going to stick around for this turkey shoot. We’re not the only ones that’ve been picking them off, either.” Throughout the night they had heard other shots coming from the west and southwest of them. It looked like Rocco, Kaiya, Joe and the rest of the militia were holding up their end of the bargain just fine.

“You’re right, they’re bugging out. Do your worst.” And with that they went to town, pumping round after round into the aliens and WG troops in their line of sight. Some missed, most didn’t. Their barrage pretty quickly attracted some unwanted attention. A shell of some sort landed not fifteen yards in front of them, erupting in a blaze of fire, and then another crashed into the trees to their left, sending branches and splinters flying.

“Move!” Connor barked, running full tilt back into the woods with Elana just in front of him, though running was probably a generous term to describe what they were doing given the snowshoes they were wearing and the three feet of snow they were moving through. Luckily though, whatever tracking system the aliens were using was crap at this range, or maybe crap for some other reason, but the important thing is that it was crap and nothing landed close enough to cause them problems. Then the shells stopped coming.

After retreating behind a small, exposed bedrock outcropping and quickly sighting in again the pair saw the alien ship come around for another pass over the town. The resulting firestorm was unlike anything that they had ever seen. It leveled the entire town center, the resulting shrapnel flying far into the river and as far as the tree line, ripping branches clear off.

Connor sighed, shaking his head. They had won, driven off a superior force with what by all appearances was superior firepower. But how many friends had they lost in the process?

“Come on, let’s go look for survivors,” he said. “And battle rifles out, there’s no telling if they left anyone behind.”

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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