5 of 6 | Chapter 13

 

The ASEC technology slowly but surely began to prove itself against multiple enemy fighters.

The battle continued for hours. It went on so long because of the safety instructions that prevailed primarily over the city, meaning that the robots could not do whatever they wanted.

The enemy fighters did not turn back and could not escape, they had nowhere to go. What they faced over Excolopolis cost them far more than they had counted on, and they were given no opportunity for retreat. Anyway, there was little point in them doing so; they fought on until the last plane was plucked, smoking from the sky, which seemed like an eternity to the citizens huddled in basements below.

*

The noise stopped around midnight. The air ceased to vibrate, objects remained still, and in basements all over the city people wondered at the sudden silence, wondered what had been destroyed, city or enemy, was there anything left at all?

“Somebody should go out and take a look at what's happened,” said Maria Pineda, sitting next to her husband.

“Shouldn't we wait a bit? Maybe they'll give us some sort of signal,” said Tia Griggs.

“I'll go and look,” exclaimed Jeff suddenly, and he jumped up. He was just leaving when his father turned to him. “Stay here! I should be going up.”

“Let me go with you, then,” said Jeff.

“Okay, but be real careful and keep behind me,” he replied.

“I will, don't worry.”

They went up the stairs and as if expecting the end of the world they carefully peered through a gap in the cellar door. They saw the living room and it was dark, but a strange light shone in the darkness. In front of the window black smoke was billowing upwards and red lights danced inside it.

The two ventured out from the shelter of the door and took a few cautious steps. They peered around as if they were in a strange land.

It seemed however that nothing had changed.

Outside, everything was calm and they eased the front door open. Smoke obscured everything.

“If our house is still standing, then they can't have bombed the city, can they?” said the older Hayes.

“There is something in our garden,” said Jeff.

“Perhaps it's some debris.”

They ambled out to the road, but by the time they got there they were both seized by violent coughing from the smoke and were covered with soot and dust, from head to toe.

The street was deserted and a few feet away the smoke was dispersing. As soon as they had emerged from the noxious clouds, they could see the city.

Tonnes of wreckage and debris lay on the streets, nearly all of it was burning or smoking. As far as their eye could see, it looked as if the entire city was burning, though in reality it wasn't.

In the sky above, ASEC machines patrolled, sweeping the area with light beams.

“Seems like they were able to stop all of it,” said Jeff.

“Shit, this is bad … real bad,” his father sighed. “Let's tell the others,” he said and turned towards the house, but then he froze.

The torn and twisted body of a Mirage fighter was burning in the garden, propped up against wall of the house, one of the rear stabilizers jammed into the roof.

“What the fuck?” said Gordon Hayes angrily.

“Well, at least, we don't have to mow the lawn for a while,” said Jeff facetiously.

“I've always loved your sense of humor, son.”

There was no need to call the others. Curiosity overcame their fear and they emerged from the basement, one by one, as did people all over the city. The streets filled with wandering residents, who looked around dazed, hardly able to believe their eyes.

 

Clean up

The shock that resulted from the attack lasted long into the night. No one was able to sleep because of the adrenaline still pulsing through their veins, so they spent the night cleaning away rubbish and ruins, tiding up gardens and roads in front of houses, pulling wreckage to the side of the road. Law enforcement dispatchers assigned all units to help residents because of the risk of remaining ordinance or debris.

Time passed quickly and dawn broke unexpectedly, the rising sun flooding the city with a light that showed just how battered it had been. In some areas, light smoke twisted up into the sky in the distance, but by morning the vitality of liberation returned and the terror of the attack had dissipated.

Throughout the morning the exhausted populace returned to their homes and went to bed after the long tense vigil.

*

Steersman sat on the floor of his office. No more did information flicker across the displays. A quiet hum permeated the room as the data from the night's action was recorded into the CCI system.

Karen opened the door.

“Sean? Oh my God, are you okay, Sean?” she asked, as she saw her boss sprawled on the floor.

He didn't answer.

“Sean, are you okay?” she asked again, softly.

Steersman looked up.

“We did it, didn't we?” he asked, as if he had nothing to do with it.

“Of course we did, although the city is a little the worse for wear, but it's going to be put back together. What happened here?”

“Umm, I got a bit worn down, but nothing to worry about,” he struggled to his feet with Karen's help.

“You have to rest!”

“Not yet. I have to put things right.”

“Don't worry about the city. Everyone is taking part in the cleanup and reconstruction. It's just a lot of rubble now.”

“In Western Europe the struggle is still going on,” Steersman said.

“Not anymore. The fighting has stopped there too.”

“And what about China?”

“Last night, when the news spread that Excolopolis had successfully defended itself, all fighting ended everywhere.”

“Why?” asked Steersman surprised.

“Because it's huge! What happened here was impossible from a military perspective,” explained Karen.

“The damage is also huge!”

“Yes, it is. We can help them, but first we have to get a hold of ourselves.”

Steersman was moving to the largest monitor display when Trenerry and Murinko stepped in.

“What are the losses?” they asked.

There was no immediate response.

“Is everything all right out there?” Karen asked instead.

“In the city? Yes, absolutely. The city has been quickly restored and everything is beginning to return to normal. The only thing that still needs to be done is taking away the piles of rubbish.”

“Soon there will be no sign of what happened,” said Steersman and brought pictures from some of the container ships up onto the display, as they moved towards the city to collect the waste from the streets.

“Losses?” Murinko asked him again.

“Almost all of the shield robots have been destroyed, only a few of them are left. However, only one SRT unit has become unserviceable,” he answered.

“Good. We might call this a success then,” said Trenerry. “Where are the robots now? I didn't see them in the city.”

 

*************************************************************************************************************

Previous pages Go to next pages

*************************************************************************************************************

 

 

comments powered by Disqus

CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH