Chapter 16, The Final Fight, part IIIMature

Chapter Sixteen

The Final Fight, part III

September 5th 2134, Moscow, Russia

7:43 A.M.

            John and the FKA marched closer and closer to Moscow until they were two miles from the city's edge.

            "This is it!" John addressed the army behind him. "We take the city now! Snipers, as soon as those buildings are in range, suppress the rooftops. Artillery team, do NOT fire anywhere on the city until we have confirmed there are no civilians. Shadow, how are those AA guns going? Smoke needs air support, he's kind of surrounded."

*

            "Working on it Mist," Dale replied as he gunned down two soldiers with his machine turret. Corpus was behind him covering his back. Three RL soldiers using jetpacks flew high in to the air behind them. Corpus took his machine turret and opened fire, taking out two of them. The third managed to land a few shots on Corpus, but it only pinged off of his armor, and Corpus shot him dead too.

            "We've made it to the city's edge and we have too much hostile resistance on us," Corpus informed John. "Smoke isn't the only one that is surrounded." Dale and Corpus separated and found their own cover on the rooftop. RL soldiers were posted on the rooftops all around them, firing on their position. "We can't move!"

            "Shadow, Colonel, this is air support team. Take out the AA guns on the city's edge and we're willing to work with the rest."

            Dale glanced at the city's edge as bullets tore through the air around them. There were only two small buildings between them, and the roads and highways that stretched out of the city. "Corpus, let's make a run for these last two rooftops, get the AA guns, then bunker down until the rest of the force gets here," Dale suggested.

            "We can try," Corpus replied. Dale and Corpus exhausted the rest of their machine turret ammo and dropped them on the roof. They pulled out their carbines and sprinted across the rooftop to the west. Hostile bullet fire peppered the rooftop and pinged off of their armor. Dale and Corpus 'run and gunned' it until they used their jetpacks to jump to the next roof. Almost miraculously, no bullets breached their armor.

            They stayed low on the roof in order to stay in cover as much as possible. More and more RL soldiers were gathering on the rooftops around them. Our army must be really close, they are getting dense around here in order to stave them off, Dale thought. They both shimmied across the roof and destroyed the AA guns on it. Finally, a few bullets struck them both hard in their center mass areas, wedging deep in to their armor, almost breaching it.

            "Damn!" Dale grunted as he stumbled from the shock of the bullet fire. Corpus turned and gunned down two RL soldiers, but was struck again by more bullet fire and was forced to seek more cover.

            "Mist! Tell me you're close," Dale requested.

            "We're under a mile out, and they obviously know we're here," John replied. "They're massing on the rooftops and in the windows."

            "Yeah, I've noticed!" Dale shouted. "They're all over us! I'm just going to 'nade the last AA guns between me and you." Dale pulled out two grenades and pulled their pins. He tossed each one at the two remaining AA guns on the rooftop of the building at the city's edge. Both blew up right on top of them. "Air support, we need you now!"

            "Copy Shadow, attack chopper group one cleared hot. ETA thirty seconds," the air support captain called over their helmet coms. Dale hid behind two AC vents that made a corner. Over half of the RL soldiers however finally ceased fire on Dale and Corpus, and instead turned their attention to the army marching just outside the city.

            Thirty seconds felt like thirty minutes as Dale and Corpus tried to remain in cover. Finally, they heard the thunderous sound of just a few AA guns on the rooftops to their sides. The AA guns ceased as soon as they started once the attack choppers fired their rockets at them. At least fourty attack choppers swept in from the side and strafed the buildings at the city's edge. RL soldiers were only able to fire a few anti air missiles from their missile launchers before being torn apart from chopper fire. The attack choppers strafed the city's edge for two miles, then retreated. A little under half of the choppers were taken out of the sky by RL ground fire, even without the assistance of most of their AA guns.

            "Shadow, Colonel, you've got your chance to retreat, take it now. Estimated seventy percent of RL hostiles dispatched from the rooftops around you," the air support captain barked over their helmet coms.

            "Copy captain, much appreciated," Corpus acknowledged. Corpus nodded to Dale and they both left their cover and ran for the city's edge. They activated their jetpacks and reached the last building. RL fired resumed on their retreat, but was lessened greatly by the FK air support. When they reached the edge of the roof, they bunkered down behind any cover they could find and returned fire, waiting for the rest of the FK force to reach the city.

*

            "Okay, snipers, focus on the windows and the rooftops," Clay spoke to the FK army on their helmet coms. "Transport vehicles, Shepherd, Cobra, and Grizzly classes, drive in groups of four, diamond formation with heavy caliber Grizzly Transport Vehicles on the back end. Tanks, follow them in, and air support, engage hostile air forces. Watch out for AA fire too. Artillery, standby. The rest of you foot soldiers, weapons free! Defend our ground armor and clear those buildings. Watch the windows and flanks. We take the city! NOW!"

            "OORAH!!!" the ground shook with the vocal roar of the FK army. All of the snipers picked targets and opened fire, pinning down most of the RL defenses by the sheer amount of  their bullet fire alone. By now the RL defenses were very thick around the city's edge. They returned fire. Muzzle flashes were seen in hundreds of windows and rooftops. The sounds of speeding bullets and pinging metal drowned their eardrums. The main battle had officially begun.

*

            Arden was floating by the SGL with his arms crossed and his rocket launcher floating right beside him. Nellon sighed.

            "Well this is boring," Nellon remarked with a chuckle. Just after she said that the SGL fired again.

            "Whee," Arden added in a sarcastic monotone voice.

*

            "Hostiles, two o clock, low!" Connor called out.

            "Enemy APC in the hospital parking lot," another DM called out.

            "Hostiles on my rooftop, need fire support!"

            "Large squad, twelve o clock, suppressive fire!" James requested.

            The DMs were heavily engaged, even after most of the city defenses were defending the city's edge from the FK army. Connor shot left and right. One shot, one kill, over and over again. Connor found cover and checked his ammo. He knew he couldn't go much longer and still expect to have ammo for infiltrating the hospital sublevels. Just then, the clouds began to glow red again. The SGL beam shot down from the sky and struck the center of the hospital. Connor took note of which windows shone red light out of them. All but the first and second floor windows shone bright red light out of them.

            "Smoke, how's the effect?" asked a ground support control officer.

            "Good effect, but we need more power," Connor replied. "It's almost passed the ground floor, but after that it's going to drill much slower. Is there any way you can run it longer or make it more powerful?"

            "We can try. Standby, give us just a few minutes."

            "What!? We don't have just a few minutes! If we can't move inside soon we're dead meat out here."

            "You're going to have to make time. We're calibrating the SGL right now. Estimated time to fire, four minutes."

            "Dang it!" Connor punched the AC vent he was hiding behind, making a dent in it. "Air support team, where's my air support?"

            "En route now Smoke, sit tight, VTOL gunships on the way," a gunship pilot replied. Twelve gunships, twice the size of an attack chopper, were proceeding to the hospital square. FK air support was engaged with RL air support all over the skies. Choppers and gunships and fighter jets filled the sky, some of them bursting in to flames. AA guns that were still operational fired at the FK air support. The dozen gunships flew low to the rooftops, away from the high flying battle overhead. As they flew, they took out AA guns as well in order to protect themselves.

            "Designated Marksmen, keep your heads down. We're forming a perimeter above you. Keep tank busting foot soldiers off of us while we cover you," another gunship pilot informed them. Seconds later, Connor looked up to see twelve gunships roar overhead and spread out around them. They're guns were blazing and blasting the rooftops and windows of the buildings around them. Rockets and high caliber machine guns shot through the air.

            "Much appreciated!" Connor said with joy. "DMs, keep our gunships alive!"

            "Roger!" they replied.

*

            Dale and Corpus had moved inside the building they were on, but were pinned down inside on the third floor. They were in a shipping headquarters building, in a room in the corner of the building with windows all around the outer walls. They were both hunkered down behind desks and printing machines. RL soldiers were returning heavy fire in to their room.

            "Gonna need an assist in this shipping building. We're pinned down," Dale informed John over his helmet com.

            "I've already got a large squad in the building," John assured. Sure enough, Dale and Corpus heard more gunshots and the sounds of men yelling as they fell dead. Dale slowly brought his head above his cover to see what happened.

            "Friendly's coming in!" an FK soldier shouted out.

            "Copy, Shadow and Colonel Corpus in here," Corpus replied. Two FK soldiers proceeded in to their room and nodded, then left.

            "Floor clear!" Dale and Corpus heard another soldier call out. "Moving up another level."

            "Let's get on the street and push back the RLA," Corpus suggested. Dale looked out the window and saw the street down below heavily contested. Various vehicles were scattered along the street, and a portion of the Red Legion line was on one end of the street, a Freedom Knight platoon on the other. He noticed John at the head of the FK platoon, taking turns returning fire with the RL defense line.

            "Sounds good," Dale agreed. "I'll see you on the ground." Dale smiled behind his visor. He picked up a chair bashed out the window. "Mist, I'm going to give you a distraction. Cover me okay?" Dale ran toward the window and leaped out, falling three floors to the street below.

            "Showoff," Corpus muttered to himself, then headed to a stairwell.

            Dale rolled along the street upon impact and stood to his feet. Bullets were speeding by him between both sides of the battle. He pulled his two carbines off of his back and opened fire on the RL defense line. "Haha! Get some!"

            "Are you crazy!?" John questioned. He scrambled his best to cover Dale with his sniper. Half of the RL forces on the street ducked behind cover, the other half tried to focus on Dale. Dale ran to the other side of the street, running and gunning. A few bullets pinged off of his armor. Dale took cover behind a bench on the sidewalk. He reloaded his carbines and noticed his short distraction gave the FK advancing line a chance to move up. John and the soldiers around him were pushing forward down the street. A few seconds later and John ducked behind Dale's cover. "That was stupid and reckless."

            "You mean raw and awesome," Dale rebutted. "We gotta keep pushing though. It's going to get harder and harder on Smoke, we need to help him out." Shortly after Dale spoke, the sky glowed a deep red one last time.

*

            Only five gunships were left hovering above the DMs. Connor fought frantically against the hundreds of oncoming soldiers. The rest of the DMs were getting desperate as well.

            "Come on! This plan was supposed to have us in the hospital minutes ago!" Connor grunted very frustrated. Finally, the SGL shot again. This time with a smaller, more focused beam that remained firing longer. Once the SGL stopped, Connor wasted no more time outside.

            "Marksmen, jetpack to the hospital roof and make our way down in to the lower levels, on the double!" All of the DMs flew to the hospital. Bullet fire shot past them while they were in mid air. All forty-five of them landed on the edges of the hospital roof. A gaping circular hole was present in the middle of the roof that dropped all the way down below the ground floor. Smoldering metal and numerous fires, as well as the heat generated from the SGL laser made the area inside the hospital so hot that any unarmored personnel were burning in a flameless agony. Over eighty percent of the workers and soldiers inside the above ground portion of the hospital had been vaporized or injured beyond medical repair.

            "Inside everyone, clear level by level," Connor ordered. The DMs dropped in to the hospital and began clearing every level. There was very little resistance remaining inside the above ground portion of the hospital. They cleared every level in five minutes flat. At last, they were at the ground floor. They entered what would have been a reception lobby if there wasn't a giant hole drilled through the entire hospital looming over their heads. In the middle of the lobby was a smaller hole about eight meters in diameter.

            "Okay, fifteen volunteers to stay on this floor and cover our backs as we enter the lower levels," Connor requested. Twenty DMs raised their hands. Connor pointed to only fifteen of them, including James, to stay behind. "The rest of you come with me. We're taking down the Red Legion headquarters, the Elite Blade, and the assassins!"

*

            "Fog, we're sending the SGL on its return course. It has finished its job, now it's time for you to help the ground force," the ground support control center informed Arden.

            "Copy, Nellon and I are on our way down to Moscow," Arden acknowledged. The SGL's thrusters fired up and it shifted westward and down toward Earth. "Time to kick some ass Major." They both activated their thrusters and descended toward Earth. They passed in to the atmosphere and fell through the clouds right above Krietchner hospital. They activated their thrusters again when they were one hundred feet above the hospital, slowly decelerating as they fell through the hole the SGL made until they landed on the ground floor.

            "Friendly's coming in!" Nellon shouted as they united with the DMs in the lobby.

            "Nice to have some more help," a Marksman stated.

            "We've barricaded the doors around the ground floor. There's ten of us down here, and five more of us we positioned on the second floor," James informed them.

            "Where's Smoke?" Arden asked. James pointed to the hole in the ground of the lobby. Without a second thought, Arden ran to the hole and dropped down in to the lower levels.

            "Sure, I'll stay here," Nellon remarked smartly.

            "It won't be long before they break through our barricades and begin to overrun us," James exclaimed. "Let's just hope our ground force can get us some reinforcements soon."

*

            Arden followed the path of dead RL soldiers down two hallways until he rounded the corner to another hallway. The thirty remaining DMs were proceeding down the hallway.

            "Fog comin' in," Arden said as he ran to join them. Connor turned and welcomed him, then raised his PMR and shot right next to Arden's ear at a soldier behind him. The soldier died with the bullet in his neck. Arden grabbed the side of his helmet and shouted, "AAAH! Geez! A little warning next time please!"

            Connor chuckled and replied with a smile, "Sorry man, but I had to save your butt." They passed through a few more hallways until they came upon a very large underground hangar. There were plenty of tanks and other military ground vehicles, but most of the models were kinds they had never seen before.

            "This must also be a research facility down here," Arden assumed.

            "But if this is also a headquarters, where would the commanding officers and important wartime leaders be?" a Marksman asked.

            "At the bottom," Connor replied. They looked around the hangar  for a way to the bottom of the facility. There were crane claws on a rail system that lined the ceiling. Several booths were stationed on a catwalk that lined the hangar like a second floor balcony. On the far end of the hangar were two large sliding blast doors. On one side of the hangar was a large vehicle elevator. "Right there," Connor pointed at the elevator. "We can all use that to get close to the bottom.

            They all ran across the hangar toward the elevator. When they were almost there, the doors of the elevator unlatched and started to open. Arden and the DMs halted and sought cover. A smoke screen ended up pouring out of the elevator. Connor knew who they were about to face. Grenades sailed out of the smoke in all different directions in to the hangar.

            "Grenades!" Arden shouted. Several of them had to roll out of the way of the blasts. One DM was caught right on top of one. He tried to pick it up and throw it back, but was too late. The grenade didn't get three feet ahead of his throw before it blew up right in front of him, blasting off his arm and sending him sliding across the hangar floor on his back ten feet.

            "It's the Elite Blade!" Connor yelled out. Sure enough, Elite Blade soldiers began pouring out of the smoke screen and firing upon them. Their aim was incredible. Connor tried to return fire when the hostile fire eased up on him, but as soon as he popped out of cover, more of the Elite Blade soldiers would focus on his position. It was the same case with all of the Marksmen and Arden too.

            "Spread out, take them down," one of the Elite Blade soldiers barked.

            "Shadow, Mist, Corpus, are any of you close yet?" Connor asked over his helmet com.

*

            "Negative Smoke, but we are trying," Dale replied to Connor's question as he gunned down two RL soldiers. He and John were fighting intensely on the streets of Moscow. John aimed his sniper rifle here, then there, dispatching soldier after soldier with perfectly placed shots on their heads or hearts. Both armies had spread out wide in to the city by now. Corpus was off fighting in a different section of the city.

            "Well we need an assist ASAP! The Elite Blade has us pinned down," Connor buzzed over their helmet coms.

            "That sucks," Dale said bluntly.

            "Shadow!" Connor scolded.

            "Oh alright!" Dale gave in as he sunk one of his blades deep in to the gut of a soldier trying to flank him. John had a squad of soldiers in his sniper scope. One, two, three, four shots John cracked off in less than three seconds, killing them all. John pulled his pistol off of his hip and shot dead two more across the street. Hostile fire finally forced them both in to cover again. Dale looked behind them to find an Cobra Transport Vehicle driving toward them at top speed. The Cobra class Transport Vehicle was a lethal scout vehicle that used the same chassis as the Shepherd class Transport Vehicle. The only difference was instead of a cab in the back of the chassis, there was a fifty caliber swivel machine turret instead. Because of the turret, the CTV could only transport up to three soldiers instead of ten like the STV.

            The CTV drove right between John, Dale, and other FK soldiers, then stopped and a soldier manning the machine turret opened fire on the RL soldiers in front of them. To John and Dale's surprise, the gunner was Luther. Luther took down several RL soldiers, and forcing the rest in to cover. The driver and passenger in the CTV exited and opened fire as well.

            "Greetings sirs!" Luther shouted over the roar of his own turret fire and the gunfire around them. "You need a ride to that hospital?"

            "Luther, you're awesome!" John replied as he stepped around the CTV and entered the driver seat.

            Luther beamed with joy at hearing a soldier of Vapor Team praise him. He glanced at Dale, hoping to receive similar gratitude.

            "You're in my spot," Dale remarked bluntly. Luther moaned in disappointment and jumped off the back of the CTV, then entered the passenger seat. Dale hopped in to the gunner spot on the back of the CTV. "Oh baby," he muttered under his breath.

            "Everybody hold on tight!" John yelled. He threw the CTV in to gear and pressed the pedal to the metal. The tires squealed and they shot forward. Dale leaned far forward to counter the physics of the moving vehicle as he raised his carbines, aiming directly left and right of him. Dale emptied his magazines, suppressing the RL soldiers as they drove between them. His carbines clicked empty and he dropped them on the floor of the gunner platform. Dale grabbed hold of the machine turret to steady himself again and turned it around ninety degrees, firing behind them in order to cover their backs. Luther propped himself up in the passenger seat and opened fire with his own rifle on the soldiers in front of them, while still keeping a low head to avoid getting shot.

            John didn't stop or slow down for anything. He kept his head down low to the dashboard and sped forward. Luther threw a couple of grenades left and right in order to distract the RL soldiers' aiming with visual noise. He steadies his rifle on a soldier and gunned him down as they drove past.

            "Haha, I got him!" Luther shouted out. Just one second later, Luther was sent back in to his seat by bullet fire that breached his chest armor, lodging deep inside him. He slumped down in his seat wheezing and shocked.

            "Luther!" John grunted, concerned.

            "Woohoo!" Dale called out as he continued to gun down several RL soldiers.

            "Luther is hit!" John informed Dale.

            "That's great!" Dale replied, not listening.

            "You retard, I said he's hit! He's shot!"

            "What!?" Dale asked.

            "I said he's freaking shot!" John replied annoyed at Dale's ignorance to listen. Dale glanced back for a second and noticed Luther slouched in his seat with blood running down the front of his armor.

            "Oh shit!" Dale barked, enraged. "GYAH!" Dale roared as he mowed down more RL soldiers. Two RPGs were shot off by RL soldiers in the buildings around them, but John swerved slightly and dodged them.

            "Hang in there Luther," John reassured him. They were coming up on another intersection when a tank rolled right in to the middle of the intersection from the street on the left. It started to turn its cannon barrel to aim at them. The hatch on the top of the tank was open and a soldier popped out and started firing his rifle at them. "Crud," John muttered. "Shadow, we got a problem!"

            Dale swiveled the turret back around to face in front of them. "Fuck!" Dale shouted when he saw the tank. "The hospital is on this road, right!?"

            "Right!" John replied.

            "Swerve behind it, away from its cannon, donut, and pick me up!"

            "Got it, GO GO GO!"

            Dale climbed on top of the frame of the vehicle, then when they were close enough he leaped high in to the air. John turned the wheel left, then hard right, and hard left again, power sliding around the back of the tank. Dale pulled the pin on another one of his grenades and began to flip forward in midair. John raised his pistol as he continued to slide behind the tank and shot a few shots at the soldier in the hatch. Two shots hit him, one in his helmet, and the soldier fell in to the tank dead. Dale was upside down, directly above the tank. He released his grenade from his hands and it fell right inside the hatch. Dale's inertia carried him another eight feet to the other side of the tank.

            John finally pulled out of his power slide, only to start a different one in the opposite direction. Dale somersaulted across the pavement when he hit the ground. The back end of the CTV was swerving right toward him on his left as John slid through the donut slide he started. All Dale did was jump in to the air and the CTV's back end slid right under him. Dale grasped the turret to stead himself and John pulled out of the donut and continued to speed down the road. One second later and the tank behind them blew up. After three blocks of powering through Red Legion defenses, they were finally thinning out.

            "Won't be long now," John reassured them. "Another four minutes down this road at this speed and we'll be at the hospital. We'll get you patched up Luther."

            "And we'll save Smoke's ass right?" Dale asked rhetorically.

            "Smoke, hang in there, we'll be at the hospital in four minutes," John informed Connor over his helmet com.

            "Not soon enough," Connor said. Gunfire was crackling in the background over their John and Dale's helmet coms.

            "Then I guess you won't mind if we turn back since we can't get there in time?" Dale asked smartly.

            "Shut up Shadow," Connor replied.

            "That's what I thought," Dale rebutted.

The End

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