There are no winners of war, as the young seraphim of the first assault battalion must learn the hard way.
“Two minutes until planet fall.” came a vox-marked voice over the unseen intercom speakers. “All units, ready weapons and prepare for holy vengeance.” In anticipation, she mouthed the man’s final words: “Remember: Avenge, Absolve, Ascend.”
With that, she jumped from the bench of golden metal she had previously waited upon, rushing for a locker port that protruded slightly from the wall. Her left palm pressed against a blue light in the centre of the locker door, causing it to shift open with a soft hiss and reveal her equipment. On both her right and her left, rows of warriors much like her rushed for their own lockers, throwing on helmets and strapping weapons onto their bodies. Her body was wrapped in a jumpsuit of light, bullet-resistant material that clung to her form tightly, its colours consisting mostly of black and navy blue. Around her torso was a clasp of golden armour, blue lights lining its every curve and perfectly molded to her body. Thick shoulder pads of the very same colour curled around her shoulders, making her form seem far broader and more intimidating than it really was. Thick gauntlets of the same metal wrapped around her forearms, armoured gloves covering each hand. Her thighs were clasped in thick metal plating, leaving only her joints partially exposed for easier mobility. Heavy boots wrapped around her feet, exhaust ports marking each side of them with bright blue light emanating outward.
Reaching into her locker, she pulled free a glaring helm of shimmering gold, its blue eyes sending a burning, furious stare back at her. It was constructed with contoured arches, the front pulling forward in a somewhat hidden rebreather. Without hesitating more than a moment, she slid the helm onto her head, her vision becoming bathed in a blue overlay, a set of letters appearing on the HUD that read “User Identified: may the light guide you, seraphim.” As soon as the helm was secured around her head, and the metal parts clicked and locked into place, chunks of metal flung into the air above her head, connecting together to form a ring and project golden holo-light. Last, she grasped the hilt of a short, rounded blade made entirely of blue energy, the base of which was a collection of complex metal and a beam of black forming a comfortable grip. She slid the weapon onto her back where it magnetically locked into place, allowing her to make for a door just next to the locker.
“Planet fall is imminent,” came the voice over the speakers again. “All warriors to your pods.”
She obeyed, pressing her fingertips to the blue light in the centre of the doors before her to have them pull apart in all directions in a complex and beautiful pattern, revealing a fine seat made of a black material, a control console next to it. She climbed inside, the other warriors around her doing the same, and the doors once again shifted closed behind her. Then a force field of blue energy materialized in a hex pattern around the opening of her pod, a computer voice giving vocal confirmation that the pod was indeed sealed.
With a sudden jerk, the pod spun around, the translucent force field revealing a view of a wide horizon below, blackness surrounding it. Beams of golden light lanced across the atmosphere erratically, launching into dark battlecraft to rip away metal plating in massive explosions, all of which were soundless to her. Streaking orange bullets launched back, exploding against the fine, golden arches and hulls of the opposing vessels. Below, a black space craft with jagged, gothic arches protruding from it suddenly exploded, sending chunks of its hull spiraling in all directions, the shockwave blasting through the battlezone among the stars.
Finally, she felt the familiar vibration of the pod unlocking, its thrusters powering up; she took it as a sign that, in but a few seconds, she would be descending feet first into hell. She took a deep breath, her heart throbbing in her chest; this was what she was made for. With a violent, jerk, the pod launched from its ship, the other pods on her either sides doing the same. She descended at incredible speeds, watching through the view of the blue force field as she got closer and closer to the crossfire of the celestial battle. A console on her right lit up with a holographic image that read, in three dimensions, the speed at which she was descending and how far she was from the planet’s surface. The locking mechanism of her seat prevented her from tumbling around her pod as turbulence shook it, bullets rushing by so close that she thought it would hit her. She glanced to her left quickly only to see several other pods explode with smoke and orange flame as they collided with the crossfire of bullets, the shockwaves shaking her pod ever more. She held her breath as she weaved through the chaos of the battle, dodging debris narrowly and avoiding projectiles by a hair’s length. Finally, she broke through into the atmosphere, the bottom of her pod becoming bright with the burning heat of the wind resistance. Still, the force field held steadfast like she knew it would. It took but a few moments to reach the cloud layer, obscuring her view for several seconds. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she broke through the clouds to be provided with a bleak battlefield, smoke rising into the sky from a war-torn cityscape not far away. The ground below was scarred and scorched by battle, bullets lancing in all directions while beams of golden light fired back in response. She could see the tiny bodies of many other soldiers much like her, all of which ran in retreat to a collection of damaged bunkers near her landing zone, which was highlighted by the head’s up display of her helm. Chasing these warriors were dark-clad footsoldiers of the opposing force, their heavy guns tearing through flesh and steel as her allies retreated. A warmachine of golden zeal stood at her ally’s defence, its body vaguely humanoid but more like a two-legged carapace within which an operator sat. Its two arms were dressed in dual rotating cannons, spewing bolts of blue death at impossible speeds. Upon its back was a larger cannon, one dealing death in the form of molten beams of pure light that lanced through cover and foe alike.
After a few seconds, she braced herself for the sudden jerk as the pod slammed into the ground, hers landing directly before two charging foes. The force of the impact acted as a small explosion, sending the two soldiers flying backward along with a torrent of dust and debris. Not a moment later, the force field before her dissipated in a hex pattern, allowing her ears to once again hear the sounds of battle. She leapt forward out of her pod, jumping out of the small crater it had created and landing hard on the outside. She quickly reached for her back, pulling free her blade to swing it to her side, the complex metal unfolding and repositioning to reform into a rifle. She through the glowing holo-sight before her eyes, aiming and firing several bolts of golden energy. They ripped through two soldiers, tearing through the abdomen of one of them while blowing the other one’s head into gore. She did the same once again, gunning down one other soldier that had nearly turned his gun on her first.
Before her was a no man’s land of curling barbed wire, spiked tank barricades, landmines, and corpses. Any normal soldier would have been unable to cross it and reach the garrison of enemy soldiers beyond; but she was no ordinary soldier. With a glance to her right and left to insure her allies were ready, one of the other warriors around her took the lead, his head adorned in a wide, spiked halo of golden light and metal.
Through his right hand upward, his rifle transformed into a blade of blue energy, a set of metal wings exploding from his back to stretch far apart. The wings were made of chunks of metal that merely floated together but were not attached by anything but golden light.
“To the skies!” he cried in glorious war shout, turning to the incoming hail of bullets from the other side and launching into the air.
A pair of wings spread free from her back as well, thrusters on her boots lighting to send her soaring forward in pursuit of her leader. Her fellow warriors took flight as well, shouting cries of their own that rose as a collective roar of righteous fury. She unleashed her own shout, throwing her rifle back to have it transform back into a sword. She and her fellow warriors launched over the no man’s land, bullets flying upward to meet them. One in particular glanced off one of her large shoulder pads, barely denting it. Others were not so lucky as bullets launched through several warrior’s bodies, exploding out the back with shining blood and dropping them from the sky. This did nothing to phase the zealous assault, however, and before long they had met their destination.
She slammed down hard atop one soldier before her, killing him instantly and allowing her to perform a spinning swing of her sword, decapitating another man. The rest of her fellows charged their own foes, ripping apart the opposition in a swift few seconds. Her leader as the last to finish off his kill, impaling the dark-clad woman and leaving his blade within her chest. She fell to her knees, rasping in an agony she could not express. He glared down at her momentarily before taking the hilt of his blade once more.
“No mercy for the misguided.” he growled, ripping the blade upward and pulling to free silence her.
She collapsed, blood pooling around her body.
“With me, brothers and sisters!” the leader cried as the once-retreating allies now began to advance again, the warmachine marching across the no man’s land nimbly to arrive with her and her squadron. “We will have traitor’s blood this day! No mercy, no respite!”
With that, the leader turned toward the incoming battalion of soldiers ahead, leaping into the air and launching toward them. She and the rest of her fellows followed suit, slamming down into the front line of sword-bearing warriors. The opposition this time was more heavily armoured, their bodies clad in black steel and helms hidden behind hoods. They each shouted battle cries as they collided with her and her fellow seraphim. She blocked the swipe of a blade of red energy, delivering a swipe of her own that slashed through her opponent’s armour. An instantly later, she struck again, slicing off his hand with a shriek. Last, she drove her blade into his chest, ripping it free only to throw it back into a rifle form and blow off the head of another oncoming attacker.
She had barely a moment more to think before the heavy thump of an assault cannon roared, massive bullets ripping down into the battle. The bullets blew through the cover of debris and wrecked vehicles, tearing into both her squad and the opposing one. In a matter of seconds, three seraphim were torn to bloody pieces, the attacking soldiers all finding the same fate. She was spared, however, thanks to her quick reflexes, her wings and jet boots sending her flying off to the far left and into cover. Peering out from her now thicker defence, she found a perfect vista of the clunky, black-skinned warmachine that had stepped foot onto the battlefield, its body massive and dressed in chunks of extra metal in the form of blast armour. Its right arm was a rotating, high caliber assault cannon, its barreling spitting molten hellfire upon her now pinned squadron. Its left arm was a gnarled claw of chipped metal pincers, a second, smaller machine gun firing from its left shoulder. All around it, hooded cultist mercenaries fired bulky assault rifles from behind heavy cover, the bullets raining down upon her and her forces.
From behind her pinned squad, the warmachine that served as her ally raced into the fray, using its superior agility to avoid critical damage while also launching its own bullet rain upon the enemy warmachine. This gave its fellow soldiers time to reach the front line, where one gold-clad warrior pulled a massive weapon from his back. As soon as he had pulled it free, the metal shifted and reformed into a force caster, a weapon that would undoubtedly devastate a warmachine such as the one that stood before them. After a second to take aim, the man charged a shot. In that instant, the assault cannon of the walker turned on him, demolishing his cover and ripping him and four others into a bloody mess of gore and limbs.
A moment later, a wisping trail of smoke followed behind an orange glow as a rocket barrelled toward her warmachine, landing square in the cockpit and triggering a massive explosion that felled the holy walker. Enraged, she turned to the force caster that lay on its side, drenched in blood. Everyone else was pinned by the oncoming fire, she was the only one who could do it. Taking a deep breath to slow her frantic heart, she tensed and used her wings and boots to launch herself forward, sliding across the battlefield, narrowly dodging bullets, and swiping up the weapon as she slid. Then, launching herself upward with bullets following in her wake, she took aim, charged, and fire a coiling lance of blue lightening warped the very fabric of reality as it collided with the metal hull of the opposing warmachine, completely tearing away its entire left side and sending it spiraling to collapse atop some of its allies.
She didn’t have a single moment to so much as think before she felt the hot, sharp sting of a bullet race through her armour and explode out the back of her abdomen. A second later, another bullet raced through her shoulder, some bullets glancing off her armour. With the agonizing strike she fell, spiraling downward to slam against the earth. And there she lay, bright red blood pooling beneath her and spilling out to stain her golden armour. The pain was so immense she felt she couldn’t breathe as she watched her fellow warriors charge forward, leaping into the air to collide with the enemy whilst being supported by their less agile fellows. A tear escaped her eye, she didn’t want it to end this way. The lead seraphim did not join this time, however. Instead, he approached her still body, crouching down to gently remove her mask and look upon her soft, youthful face. Her hair was dark and haphazard, complementing her dark brown eyes. She was young, he could see that, far too young for this to be her fate. Yet that was war, he knew that fact very well; such was the risk of fighting for what was right. As her eye suddenly became distant, her trembling hands falling limp, he look down on her with a mixture of sorrow and honor.
“Your sacrifice will not be in vain, sister.” he murmured, gently closing her eyelids and standing up once more.
Then, flinging his rifle down by his leg to transform it into a sword, he leapt upward and into the fray again.