Here’s the fourth installment of Jenny, as well as my #FridayFlash for the week. For those of you who might be new to this (short) serial, there are links to the other four at the bottom of the post, starting with “The First Day”.
The humans were ready. The ball of ice had been set up as a trap for the aliens, and when their ships flew down, cannon and repeaters open fire, decimating them before they landed. And when the aliens did land, JNY-35197 and the grunts went to work.
Compared to the infiltrator gear of the humans, the aliens stuck out like glowing targets on infrared. Jenny would lead the grunts in, silence any guards, and watch as demo charges and repeater fire wiped out enemy patrols. This worked well. Twice.
The third time, tripwires and electronic screen fields were in place, and the forty were caught in the open, pinned down by fire and dying off. Only another raid’s intervention let Jenny and some soldiers escape. They’d lost ten.
Life turned for the worse from then on, as the aliens brought another wave of ships. These were met with counter-fire, but the batteries on the ice planet had been severely weakened by the fighting, and the aliens landed many.
Jenny and his team fought furiously, in battle for days at a time, sleeping in ice caves and igloos for a few minutes. The numbers from the original forty spun like a countdown. Twenty-seven. Twenty-six. Twenty-three. Twenty. Each death scarred Jenny a little more, and he carved the initials of the dead on the inside of his suit. He’d had to learn his letters to use the infiltrator gear. A small step. Maybe he’d learn to read one day.
Maybe he’d be dead first. Fifteen. Command was a mess, barking out orders that made no sense, had no connection to reality. Attack here, attack there. They were under attack, not attacking. Sure, the alien battlesuits were easy, but the juggernauts? Impossible. They rolled through any fire or explosives Jenny and the grunts could lay down, and broke the defence.
Jenny got caught in another firefight, and the forty were now seventeen. They were able to break away and hole up in mountain caves, ones with a store cache. Replenished food, supplies, even slept a little. And then the assault came, up the front slope. No juggernauts, the hill was too steep. But a hundred or more, against seventeen.
With all of the cover, it was hard to pick off the aliens. The humans had buried a few mines, and they set those off, but still, too much cover, too thin a fighting line. Some of the aliens got within twenty feet of the cave entrance before dying. Then two groups came in a pincer, and the humans were forced into the cave itself. Fourteen against sixty.
Grenades and gas followed, and it was twelve. There wasn’t enough cover. Jenny flicked repeater bullets down the corridor, catching a few aliens, but more came, with more grenades. That meant the aliens were frightened. Jenny and his team had done damage. Ten on thirty-five. But those numbers were too much, too many. The humans started to die faster.
Smoke and debris and flashes filled the cave, and beyond that came an almighty whine. Command came over the radio for one word: “Duck”. Jenny hit the floor, and the cavern was scythed in half. Every alien fell dead. When he could see again, Jenny looked at the entrance. Standing there was a squat, wide thing festooned in weaponry. At the sight, Jenny grinned. Things were looking up.