Battle Hardened

This Science Fiction short story is a lead-up to the book titled, Onyalum Wars. The book is part of the Science Fiction Onyalum Series written by NB VanYoos.

Picture of AcriendShamol knelt behind the broken remains of the building, his ammunition nearly spent. He threw the useless weapon aside and pulled his blade from its sheath. In comparison to weapons of other species, his was nearly a sword. It was a sharpened, cutting edge on one side forged with a ragged, tearing edge on the other. Wielded properly, it was destructive. He typically reserved his blade for torturing those conquered in battle, but today, it would serve as a primary weapon.

He quickly surveyed his shaggy bulk and took stock of the wounds. Though he felt pain, they were all superficial, barely piercing his substantial hide. Were he to shave, his body would be a grotesque record of the conquests made over the last ten years. He laughed darkly, the sound an ominous growl. This race was one of the toughest they’d met so far, and his unit had sustained substantial losses without reinforcements. They would come, eventually. He thought with a grin.

He wouldn’t give these pesky creatures the satisfaction of cowering while he awaited the rest of the Acriend Army. His unit was a subjugation force sent to what had been assumed to be an easy target. He laughed again. That pissing Onyalum had led them into this trap, probably for the fun of it! The demon never forgot their refusal to leave the last planet after subjugating its masses. They had wanted to play with their conquests, as was their right as the victor. What did those damn demons know about life? They were nothing but a shadow of the former being they possessed.

The sounds of footfall pulled him from his musings. He peered over the rubble, spotting search lights combing the remnants of what was left of the capital city. His leaders had tried negotiations. Well, a half-hearted offering made to all worlds before they were destroyed. He chuckled ominously. This race was slender and half the size of the Acriend. They were no match for the Acriend, but they possessed great speed, brilliant tactics, and considerable technological prowess. After taking out most of their ships, at the cost of their city, the battle had moved into the shattered remains.

He looked back the way he’d come, but could not locate any others from his squad. They may have survived the hail of fire after their ships were destroyed, but now they were scattered amid the chaotic aftermath. The locals put together a sizable force to counteract the invasion, and their aggressive tactics had decimated Shamol’s unit. Still, one Acriend was worth at least a hundred of any other species. They still had a chance to win this before the rest of the Army arrived. That would piss off that bastard Onyalum!

He thought about the enemy’s significantly slighter physical attributes and grew excited by the prospect of having his way with one of the captured. Male or female, he would vent his anger from their surprise attack. He would have his way many times before killing them. Hell, the act alone would likely be enough to stop their puny hearts. He smiled maliciously, the spoils of war sweet.

A beam of light shot over his position, and he gripped his knife tightly, the thrill of slashing through their ranks pumping him with hormones. His eyes focused sharply as he drew upon his experience to sense the battlefield before him. He recalled several hiding places, and despite his bulk, he could move rapidly from one to another while wreaking havoc among their ranks. These weaklings didn’t really know what they were up against, but they would soon find out. The Acriend were one of the most formidable forces in the Universe, and their soldiers had evolved into perfect killing machines.

His bulk, while seemingly an unwieldy detriment, was actually a powerful asset. The Acriend’s home world was an enormous planet with an iron core and powerful gravitational field. This produced incredibly sturdy and powerful creatures. When placed on a smaller, more typical world, their strength showed itself through incredible quickness and the ability to perform massive leaps, overwhelming forces not used to such strength. He growled deep in his throat, his body poised to strike.

This was a small world and his strength would prevail despite their technology. In one memorable battle years before, he had sustained no less than several hundred direct hits. Even his thick skull could withstand common projectile weapons. He was a monster and knew how to use that to his advantage.

The sound of troops and vehicles moving through the debris alerted him to prepare for his attack. Several lights shone along the street, the troops holding them unaware they provided a perfect roadmap back to their position. He shifted his bulk and took aim based on those lights. He crouched low and fed strength into his legs for the pounce. With an enormous rush, he launched into the night, a dark mass of death about to destroy a sizable chunk of the local militia.

At the pinnacle of his arc, he took stock of the personnel and equipment arrayed along the roadway. He smiled as he landed amid the two soldiers holding the lights. This was going to be easy. With a swift parry, he took both out nearly slicing them in half. Within seconds, he was airborne again, landing on the hood of a small, lightly armored vehicle. The sound of small arms rang in his ear as the idiots shot their own troops in an attempt to defend against him.

His mass crushed the front of the vehicle into the ground, breaking the axle and destroying the engine. He grabbed the edge of the roof and ripped off the worthless protection. He felt tiny pricks of pain as the occupants fired into him. He ignored their efforts as he took all three out with his blade, the head of the last one flying into the street. With another leap he was under cover, the remaining soldiers scrambling to pull together into a cohesive fighting force. Too late, they were scatted about the damaged vehicle, taking cover since they didn’t realize he only possessed a blade.

He had spotted the leader fifty feet back, a small soldier carrying a radio alongside him. This really was too easy. He gathered his strength once more and leapt into the darkened sky. He landed on top of the leader, the man’s body collapsing into a gelatinous mess from Shamol’s bulk. The radio operator was easily dispatched before he knew what had happened. Once again, Shamol had surveyed the battlefield during his flight.

They possessed a tank, or something similar, but it was useless against a single fighter flying through the darkened skies. He made another leap, this time into a makeshift bunker where five soldiers had taken up defensive positions. Too bad they didn’t realize they should have been aiming into the sky. He roared as he took out the last one, the night air reverberating with his vocalization. The sound was usually sufficient to make most species wet themselves from fear.

Now, he was behind another set of soldiers scrambling to find shelter behind debris, uncertain where the attack had come from. They found out too late as their heads fell into puddles of blood. The scarlet liquid drenched his fur and the smell excited him into a perverted display of his sizable male anatomy. He would need relief after this battle.

Another ten taken out, and so far, they hadn’t figured out how he was attacking. Only a handful remained, hiding beside the tank in a useless attempt at protection. The tank fired several shots, but only after Shamol had moved from the target area. They were blind and trying to guess where he would strike next. He plotted his attack path as he decided how to take out the tank.

With another powerful leap, he made his way to the vehicle in several bounds. It took little effort to dispatch the soldiers before leaping onto the armored behemoth. With a single blow of scrap steel, he bent the barrel just enough before leaping forward for all to see. He ran down the street laughing as the tank took aim and fired.

As predicted, the barrel was sufficiently deformed to prevent the normal exit of the shell. It exploded immediately as it was fired, the backward implosion igniting the ammunition inside the vehicle. An immense fireball of heat and destruction threw him to the ground, and he rolled several times before pulling back up to his feet. He stared back at his handiwork, pleased with its quickness. Unfortunately, he had mutilated all the bodies, denying him his rightful pleasures. That was okay, females would be located.

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