Chapter 47

Heat Rising (Part 6)

The alarm in Vynette Charo’s quarters blared loudly, signalling for her in the room that Admiral Davi had setup as her H.Q. It was a less than two days before the Hot Summer arrived in full-force, but that alarm could mean only one thing – an attack.

Vynette arrived and everyone else bar those on the walls were already there.

“Soldiers, the emperor is dead.” the admiral stated. She waited for that information to be absorbed by all those in attendance before continuing. “The enemy was able to infiltrate the palace and murder him in his room before slipping away.”

The admiral paused once more. “That very same enemy is now outside preparing for an assault. But before they left they disabled our automated defences. I will be staying behind to man the defences while the main body of our forces evacuates in to the mountains. Anyone that wishes to join me is welcome, but I recommend you get your butts out if here” she finished with a wink.

“I will stay.” said Commander Voxx as he stepped forward and stood beside the admiral.

“As will I.”

“Me too.”

That was the two ensigns, Mast and Wexlor.

“The Water Palace is my home, I’m certainly not leaving.” added the steward.

There were a handful of soldiers that volunteered, which brought the number to just over fifty soldiers.

“I will stay.“

Vynette’s heart skipped a beat. She turned around to see Keth moving to join the others. “I will stay too!” she shouted and raced to Keth’s side. The Helsian man gave her a dark look but nodded as she took her place beside him.

The admiral nodded, “Thank you soldiers. Everyone else, prepare to evacuate.We will give you as much time as we can.”

*  *  *

Vynette wondered at first why that fool Xaabosian would attack just before the Hot Summer. When she stepped outside and saw what was in front of them she knew. Bloody mechs! she muttered to herself.

Ensign Mast was able to link some of the cannons to fire together but it required each of them to control a cannon and that spread them thin. The admiral, the commander and a handful of soldiers were controlling the gun-towers manually, while the remainder were manning the high-caliber rifles on the walls.

The mechs came. Jet-Boosters launched them over the walls right in to the Kill Zone. Some went down straight away but they were always replaced by more.

Ensign Wexlor was the first to die. A hollow-point round straight to the chest, at least he died quickly. It looked for a time that they would repel this attack, Ensign Mast was a master on that giant cannon, and the gun-towers were keeping the majority of the mechs at bay.

Vynette heard an explosion to her right, and could feel the heat brush past her. She turned her head, and lost all hope. The gun-tower that the admiral and commander were in was aflame, Ensign Mast screamed in fury and peppered the enemy with more gun-fire there was a respite as mech after mech exploded but eventually she too fell.

Vynette looked over the two other remaining defenders, Keth and Alfran, and uttered a silent prayer to Apex for help. But she feared that help would not come.

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