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Chapter 2

I fasten the multiple seat belts, followed by the hook-things that hook themselves around my shoulders.

I’m the pilot for Gungram unit 2. Calix pilots unit 1. There are 8 units in total, and everyone works in pairs to watch each other’s blindspots.

Though, when it comes to Calix and I, normally he’s defending my blind spot while I’m kicking the ass of some alien scumbag. Which is one of the many reasons I’m glad he’s here. If I had any other partner, I’d probably have died months ago.

Yeah, months.

I haven’t been a part of the military for that long. The only reason I even got into the military was because they were desperate, and once I volunteered, Calix followed suit.

Why they came to me? Or anywhere near me?

Well, my mom is a Colonel in the military, and because of that we live on a base. And I go to school on a base.

It’s SOOOOO much fun.

Or it was, because I haven’t been to the base in 6 months. I haven’t even seen my parents. I’ve just been able to talk to them on the phone.

And there have been many times when I’ve had to talk to Calix’s mother or father for him, trying to make sure they know he’s okay and that I’m making sure that he’s okay. I’ve also had to promise his little brother that I’ll watch out for him many many times (almost like that isn’t part of MY FREAKING JOB).

“Gungram Unit 2, ready to launch?” Adira’s voice comes through the bluetooth-esque earpiece in my left ear.

“Ready, Addy.” I reply, knowing the nickname will annoy her.

“Launching in 3... 2... 1...” The Gungram shoots forward in the long pipe that they use to get us into battle without ‘wasting money’ on helicopters or other things to do.

How the one canon gets us into every battle?

The aliens have a few specific places where they’ve placed ships in space, which is always where they deploy their soldiers. There are four of these places in total, so two Gungrams per drop location.


Just get some goddamn helicopters, or just let us walk there in the GIANT ROBOTS YOU BUILT FOR US!

Jesus Christ.

Once my Gungram is out of the canon, I attempt to lean the machine forward to guarantee a safe(r) landing, or at least one on its feet rather than its back/head.

Once the giant metal feet hit the ground, I immediately swerve it around and push its hand into the dirt to slow the slide across the ground, which is loose from the last 6 months of exactly this.

“Gungram Unit 2, have you landed?” Adira asks.

“Yup, all good.” I reply, standing it up straight and waiting for Calix’s Gungram to show up.

“Alright. Launching Unit 1 in 3... 2... 1...” I hear a loud ‘BOOM’ and Calix’s Gungram comes flying in my direction. He performs the same maneuvers I did to ensure a safer landing.

“You good Calix?” I ask once he’s back on his feet.

“Yeah. What are you waiting for? Let’s go get that thing!” He points in the direction of the giant alien that’s currently sauntering towards us.

“Let’s go kick some alien ass!” I declare before taking off towards it in a run, with Calix close behind.

Once I’m close enough, I start a punch and launch it at the threat.

The fist collides with its ‘face.’ Sending it sliding a few hundred feet back before it regains its focus and continues its saunter towards us. Almost as if we aren’t even a threat to it.

I jump, landing on top of it and pinning it to the ground. Launching punch after punch into its face, crumpling the metal used in the machine, whatever metal that is.

Even so, it makes no real attempt to defend itself. Obviously under the assumption that we didn’t stand a chance.

“Lux! Look out!” Calix calls.

I spin my head around, just in time to take a metal fist directly to the face and get launched about 10 miles away. Calix appears to be dealing with an attacker of his own.

Of course it was a distraction. Why would one of them not attack us? All they freaking want is to kill us all! If not for Calix, I would probably have been attacked in the back of the head, where the entrance port is and where the life support system is, and I’d probably be dead.

Yet again, Calix saved my life.

And I owe him ANOTHER one.

Damn, when this is all over I’m gonna have to give him my life savings.

I stand, preparing to face my attacker.

About the same size as me, made of the same material as the distraction, judging by the force of the punch and how far into the dirt it seems to sink. Definitely more advanced than the distraction (but that’s a given). Grotesque and too-stated features that make it look like a mix of King Kong and General Asshole. I can’t help but feel that they’re trying to make a replica of a human. But they did a REALLY bad job. The rest of it is slim. Slim enough that it’s scary it’s as strong as it actually is.

This time, it charges first. I quickly brace myself for impact by pushing my weight further into the dirt.

It slams into me and takes me down, but I don’t go flying this time.

“That the best you got!?” I taunt, raising my arms to block its punches.

I’m going to beat this thing. I’m not gonna let my weak start sway the fight.

I break my block and both my fists land on its ugly face. I take the opportunity to place my arms over my head and flip over, causing my feet to connect with the underside of its chin and getting me back up on my feet. Essentially killing two aliens with one punch.

Yes, I know the real saying. I chose to change it. Don’t judge me.

“How’re you doing Calix?” I ask.

“About as well as when we fought with those little army toys in your room.” He replies.

Good news. He was always the better strategist.

“What about you?”

“We’re just getting real.” I reply, a smile creeping onto my face.

“Have fun.” He replies.

“Always do.”

I charge again at the ugly creature. It seems to be braced for a full frontal attack, so I quickly slide in the dirt, successfully kicking its legs out from underneath it and causing it to fall on top of me, which I use to grab it and switch positions. Pinning it to the ground.

It tries to push me off of it, and a small trail of a thought asks why it doesn’t just pull out the sword that all of these things have and stab me right through my Gungram’s chest.

Instead it just pushes against me in a futile attempt to get me off of it as I slam my fists into it over and over. Some deep feeling of hatred and anger at these creatures who’ve ruined the lives of millions. Killed kids’ parents. Killed parents’ kids. Destroyed entire families.

Killed Annora and her family.


As tears come to my eyes, I continue my assault on the giant metal face. The anger building inside me uses the connection between me and my Gungram to vent itself into the alien scum.

Once I’m certain of the weakness of the metal, I bury my fingers into the machine and pry it apart. Next reaching my hand inside the cockpit and pulling the living creature out, clenching it in my fist. It looks oddly like a cuttlefish with a human-esque head.

And it looks terrified.

I try to block it out. I try to ignore the look on its face, which is almost like a beg for mercy. A mercy that I’m not willing to give. I end up with closed eyes and a crushed alien body in my fist.

That was for Annora. And her entire goddamn family.

“You got yours?” I ask, slightly out of breath.

“Five minutes ago. You?” Calix replies.

“Yeah. Let’s let the clean-up team do their jobs.” I drop the body and walk away from the wreck of the alien’s defensive shell.

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