So, the first Tale of the New Year, I thought I’d put a special one, the second of the Ghost Story mini-series. If you’ve been following my work, and read Legend, Recon, and Ghosts, you’ll know who or what the Ghost is, and why it’s significant. I hope. Or I could just be making no sense whatsoever! Probably the latter!
Anyway, here’s Ghost Story 2. I’ll post a writing & resolutions thing later.
GHOST STORY 2
They were holding the line.
The Terrans were being held back by sheer determination and willpower, and an endless supply of ammunition for their multitude of energy weapons. Artillery positions were arrayed along the centre of their positions, with smaller man-portable weapons interspersed among the small-scale units.
They were the Beeslock Irregulars, the toughest mercenary regiment in the Savage Halo, and tasked with a massive geothermal refinery on behalf of their employers, the Nonians. They were laughing behind their lines.
The Terran Army had only sent a duo of infantry regiments and were now suffering because of it. Their small field pieces were hammering at the Beeslock, but to no avail.
A great shield protected the mercenaries from the Terran Navy’s infamously powerful starships. They were here in force, but still they were being held back. The refinery was powered by the geothermal vents it mined and processed.
Until the twentieth day.
The regiment’s commander was touring the secondary ramparts overlooking the western Terran positions. He and his command squad rounded the corner onto the position to find the position manned by corpses.
Their bodies were riddled with small circular wounds and there were a dozen-and-a-half brass shell casings on the floor.
The commander froze as a shadow passed across them.
A shadow with green eyes.
His command squad were mowed down by a rapid firing solid-round assault rifle, torn apart by the gunfire. Their corpses hit the floor with a wet thud; there were no witnesses.
Over the next twenty minutes, the same story repeated itself, isolated positions of ten to twelve mercenaries accosted and slaughtered by an unknown force.
It didn’t take long, however, for someone to notice.
Twenty minutes after the regiment commander died, someone sounded the alarm. Panic ensued, nobody realising that it was in fact the intruder himself.
In a blind panic, a team of Irregulars happened upon their murdered commander. The first one in felt a tug on his trousers and looked down to see the trip wire he had pulled.
He didn’t have time to warn the others.
He tried to call out anyway.
Sixty pounds of Hi-Ex detonated all around the small firing position. The explosion vaporised the investigating team, and the corpses already there, as well as ripping a large hole in the side of the refinery, the fire visible from the Terran lines.
The Terrans had stopped firing.
Orders from above.
The mercenaries turned towards the internal threat.
* * *
Two hours later, the shield protecting the refinery was lowered from inside.
A Terran recon unit was sent to investigate in case it was a trap by the Beeslock Irregulars; it wouldn’t have been the first time. Weapons fire had been detected within the refinery and other smaller explosions until ten minutes before.
When the recon unit were a hundred metres from the refinery walls, already within what would have been the shield perimeter, a solitary figure strode out.
He was battered and bleeding, but still striding forwards, his weapons stowed.
He wore a black bodyglove, but his hood had been removed, tucked into his belt.
“Tell your superiors, it’s done,” said Caine before walking past the unit and disappearing from view.