Apparently Akira eats while fighting. Because the inside of her Gungram is full of empty chip bags.
Now I know why she’s in the infirmary.
“Gungram Unit 5 ready to launch?” To my surprise, it isn’t Adira coming through my earpiece, it’s a man. Sounds like late 20s early 30s. I guess every team has a different person. I never considered that.
“Ready.” I reply.
“Launching in 3... 2... 1...” The sensation of being thrown at approximately 200 mph is something I’ve grown accustomed to, but not something I would say I enjoy. In fact, it’s quite painful. Especially if you’re sitting in the wrong position.
I repeat my landing process and take the time to look around. The area is fairly similar to Calix and my sector. This area is slightly greener, I can even see a few houses in the distance.
All the more reason for us to take out those alien bastards.
“Unit 5, have you landed?” The man asks.
“Yeah, all good.” I reply, sweeping the area again, looking for an opponent.
“Launching Unit 6 in 3... 2... 1...” A loud bang fills the air and River’s Gungram comes flying. He repeats my landing procedure.
“The controls feel off.” He states.
“Maybe that’s how River asked the controls to be set.” I reason.
“They should’ve taught her how to use the default controls in case of something exactly like this.” He replies.
Huh. He actually sounds upset. That hasn’t happened in a while. Normally the only signs he’s upset are small facial signals that even I have trouble picking up on.
“Then let’s just get this over with.” I reason.
This time there isn’t a decoy. In fact, we don’t even see the enemy until they’re on top of us. One of them wraps its arms around my throat in a futile attempt to choke my Gungram.
A Gungram is a robot. Robots can’t be choked.
I grab the enemy’s arms, successfully forcing it to release my robot before flipping it over my head and slamming it into the dirt. This must be a different ‘model’ than the one I fought this morning. It feels heavier when I pick it up and the indent it leaves in the dirt is deeper.
That MMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY be a problem. Maybe. Possibly.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Calix trying to fight off two smaller enemies. Probably the same ones that grabbed Akira and put her in the infirmary.
Or she was distracted by the food.
“You need help, Calix?”
“No, I’m good.” He replies.
I return my focus to the enemy in front of me. A face practically identical to the one earlier today (all of them look like that), a bigger design with the same type of metal and the seemingly one-way glass in the device’s eyes.
To my surprise, it charges first. Apparently this one’s more bold than the ones this morning.
It collides with me with its head on my left and its arms wrapped around my torso, similar to a wrestling move.
We both collapse in the dirt. It quickly gets up and begins an attempt at a beatdown. Admittedly this thing’s weight gives the punches a lot of force, but nowhere near as bad as getting my ass handed to me by bullies back in school. Now I have a giant metal shell to protect me.
After a minute or two of beat downs, I decide I’ve had enough. I attempt to kick the monster off me. It takes three tries before I finally manage to get it away and I get the chance to stand up again.
My gaze briefly sweeps to Calix, who’s currently kicking the living daylights out of one of the pair while holding the other back with his left hand.
He’s got this.
I decide I’m not gonna wait for my ass to be kicked by this guy, so I lead the next charge towards him. He puts his hands up, like a boxer attempting to guard his face.
But my fist connects with his stomach, pushing it back about 50 ft and causing it to remove its hands from its face.
I make another charge, this time aiming my fists at his ugly face, effectively shattering the one-way glass and crippling its disgusting nose.
But it gets back up, seeming even MORE pissed off.
And now I’m probably screwed! YAY!
It raises its arm, as if there’s some kind of missile launcher or something on its fist.
I brace myself to take the full force of the missile hit, but when it launches it goes flying right past my head.
I slowly turn my head to see that it’s slammed into Calix’s Gungram.
Right in the back of the head.
“CALIX!” I shout as his Gungram falls. I hear no response.
DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT!
I turn back to the alien. I charge towards it, no longer really caring how reckless my actions are. I slam into it and pin it to the ground, slamming fist after fist into its shattered face.
When I can finally see the alien, I don’t even notice its face. I don’t even care if it’s a living creature. It hurt Calix. And that makes it nothing in my mind.
I don’t even bother to pick it up. I just slam my boot into the cockpit over and over until I’m sure it’s dead, then I keep going. Not ceasing my merciless attack on a dead body.
“Unit 5. Stop.” The man’s voice comes through my earpiece.
“SHUT UP!” I shout at the man who’s name I don’t even know.
“This is an order straight from General Dubois. You have to stop.”
“Because you’re destroying the sample of alien technology.”
“Like a give a damn!” I shout.
“GOVAIN! STOP NOW OR I’LL COURT MARTIAL YOU!” General Asshole screams through the earpiece.
The sound of General Asshole’s threat finally snaps me out of my funk. I stop smashing in what’s left of the monster’s face.
I run over to where Calix’s Gungram is lying face down in the mud. I quickly eject myself from the cockpit before climbing out of the small pod and running to the back of the head of Calix’s Gungram
I press my hand onto the emergency eject pad on the outside of the robot, built in for exactly this situation. The pod exits the head slowly rather than the rapid fire of my escape pod.
I quickly open the hatch and stick my head through the opening.
Calix is still in the pilot’s seat, his head is bleeding right down the left side of his face, he’s unconscious, he’s covered in cuts and bruises. There are also a number of burns littering his body. Most likely from the power source and the lack of protection from the sheer amount of heat it produces due to the alien’s missile.
I gently place my arms under his armpits and carefully drag him out of the pod.
“Hello? Sir? Other guy?”
“My name is Davin.” The other guy says.
“Okay Davin, I need you to send a helicopter. Calix is hurt. Bad.”
“Alright, there’s one on its way now.” He replies.
It takes five minutes for the helicopter to finally arrive. When they land, two people run out with a stretcher and gently lay Calix on it before running back to the helicopter.
I follow at a walking pace, looking at Akira’s Gungram, and then River’s.
If Calix doesn’t make it, I’m going to pummel the both of them. Akira more than River. Then I’m gonna pummel the HELL out of General Asshole for forcing us to do this stupid mission. Then I’m gonna beat Asshole Jr half dead for what he said earlier.
Actually, I’ll beat him half dead for that anyway.
One of the people in the helicopter reaches down to help me in. I accept their hand and they pull me into the vehicle.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a helicopter. The last time was probably when Calix and I first came to the base. That’s probably why I start shaking the moment they take off. I cling to the seat as if it’s the only thing keeping me alive.
When we finally return to base, Calix’s stretcher is rapidly taken out of the helicopter and wheeled towards the infirmary. I stand shakily and step out of the flying machine. Three people who I believe to be medics come up to me. They begin asking me a multitude of questions about my ‘physical state.’ Mostly more sciency versions of ‘are you okay?’
But I barely hear them. I’m just thinking about when I call Calix’s family. What I’m gonna tell them.
What I’m gonna tell his little brother.
‘Sorry. I know I promised I’d look out for him, but the one time he needed me to save him I missed my chance. So sorry.’
Yeah, that’s not gonna work.
I just have to hope and maybe even pray for Calix’s safety.
Do what others do.
Pray to a God who either doesn’t exist, or didn’t feel the need to help us fight against GIANT FREAKING ALIENS ATTACKING US!
The three medics take me by the arms and lead me to the infirmary, where they lie me down on the bed next to Calix, who’s next to Akira.
There’s a collection of wires sticking out of Calix’s left arm. I believe two of them are IV’s and three of them are monitors of some kind, making sure he’s alive.
He is alive, right?
One of the three medics looks me over, looking for any serious injuries or possible ailments that could turn into serious injuries. But they find none.
Why are they searching me? Calix is the one who’s been unconscious for the past half-hour! They should be checking him for serious injuries.
Just as the thought enters my head, a sudden ringing fills my right ear. Like a shockwave.
Are the aliens bombing us?
No. That’s not likely.
A delayed reaction?
I was so focussed on getting Calix to safety that the thought of me being affected by the missile the alien fired never even crossed my mind. Maybe the ringing was there all along and I just didn’t notice it. That’s more likely than a bombing occurring right now, since no one seems to be panicking.
Does Calix hear the same ringing?
Will he when he wakes up?
Will he wake up?
He has to wake up.
I still owe him my entire life’s savings.
He can’t die until I give that to him.
Until I pay him back.