Chapter 4Mature

I could feel the terror inside me changing to panic. I was being torn apart from the inside. A part of my body was too tired to go on, and would have just dropped and died, and another part was crouching to jump and decapitate the figures in front of me.

So this was what battle felt like.

I liked it.

I fell forward and halfway through my fall, lurched at one of the figures ahead.

And just then, I realized my mistake.

Taking down one, would leave me exposed to four others. All my limbs would be set out for them to rip away.

I turned my body in the air, my feet facing the figure now. If I could land on his face, the rest of me would still be far enough from the other four to allow my reflexes to work.

I aimed for his face, and landed on his arm. He had seen it coming.

I saw his feet sink into the loose ground. The four others had not yet moved. But then again, the one I’d hit had not even lost his balance.

Too late.

He caught my ankle, flung my over his head, and into the ground.

I felt my back hit the ground.

It knocked the breath clean out of my lungs and the fringes of my vision were going dark. Completely disorientation took over. I only knew which was up, because I was facing it. No gravity, or at least, no sensation of it.

Gravity returned.

But it was pulling me up.

Less than a third of a second later, I found out why.

My ankle was still in his grip, and he was flinging me around

“Please use the stasis feature to prevent injury by high g-forces.”

That was the suit’s auto-help feature.

Stasis was a feature which hardened the suit by sending a current through its external fibres. It wouldn’t imitate steel, but it was hard enough to break limb-crushing falls.

I regained my balance mid-air and landed on my feet and palm, facing the direction of where the four figures stood.

Four.

On instinct alone, I turned around and flung my arm in a wide arc behind me, hoping that the missing enemy would be behind me.

He was.

Not expecting me to turn, he was knocked off his feet.

This was the only chance I’d get.

I turned the faltering body on its back, and smashed my clenched fist through the visor. He twitched for a second, and died.

For the first time ever, I had blood on my visor.

First blood. Well, at least evidence of it.

I had wasted too much time enjoying the kill. In my intoxication, I hadn’t paid attention to the footsteps approaching me.

A shin hit me smack dab on my torso.

No serrations. These weren’t the same variety as the Wolf wore.

As I flew across the ground, I saw the stars, again. This would be the last time I’d see them.

Or not.

“Activate stasis, 2 seconds.” I had remembered the command. I was in a shell for the next two seconds. Which was very useful, as just then, I felt two palms clutching on my throat, turn me like a hammer, and fling me across the night sky like a doll.

If stasis was off, that would have broken my neck.

2 massive seconds passed before I could move again.

I was still in the air when one of them ran beneath me, right to where I was going to hand.

I estimated it would take me a second to reach him.

I stayed limp till 900 milliseconds passed on my visor.

A snarl and I turned my entire body around with all the strength I had, and hit figure’s head with my left shin.

There was no mistaking it. I felt the head snap off the spine and the body rolled about like roadkill while I tried to orient myself.

Two down, three to go. This day would’ve gone down in history if someone was watching. But no one was. Well, no one of importance was.

I saw the three remaining enemy soldiers dead ahead. One was 25 metres away, the second, 60 metres, and the third 110.

If this was a formation, I had never seen it. I had never seen multiple units at different distances from the enemy. It made no sense.

The closest one lurched forward, his palm headed for my face. Bracing myself, I parried the first blow.

Half a second.

A second hit. I had not seen that coming. I not lost my balance but I was close. I couldn’t tilt forward to regain it. There was too much force against me.

I finally understood what was happening. In that panic-stricken moment, I whispered into the command receiver, “Stasis, 1 second.”

I felt the suit harden. Barely half a second had passed. The two enemies who had charged at me were still in the air.

And then it happened.

I felt a small push on my back. The next instant, I felt myself being thrown onto the ground, face first.

Stasis was counting down, 600 milliseconds left.

I felt myself hitting the dust. I felt the weight of the person who had landed on me from behind. I felt my eyelids getting heavier.

It was over for me.

No.

I was not going to die this way. Not this way.

I had five more adrenaline shots left.

I pumped one more.

Again, that involuntary snarl as my body surpassed its limits, relying more and more on the suit’s ability to keep me alive.

“DIE!”

Again, that was not me talking. That was fear. That was the fear which I had to eliminate.

I turned around.

I could feel my body in the air. I caught hold of the ankle on the bastard who had smashed me to the ground.

Caught it, and in one, clean jerk, ripped in clean of him.

50 milliseconds.

My body completed one rotation. I was doing this macabre ballet, at speeds which would look like a haze to the human eye.

Even as the he was I the air, flesh spewing out of his severed ankle, I chopped his head clean off.

His body landed before his head.

My body was on overdrive. I didn’t know how safe it was to keep it under such high stresses for more than a few minutes. But then again, I didn’t care.

Two remained.

And they were in front of me.

I lunged at them, hoping to smash both of them into the ground together.

Just then, I saw their heads jerk.

An instant later, I saw their bodies limp.

I noticed blood spewing from their temples.

I caught hold of one’s head, and propelled myself upwards.

30 metres in the air, I did a full survey of he area.

No one.

I had just seen two enemy soldiers get shot, cleanly, right through their heads, and there was no one to in sight who could’ve shot that bullet.

I landed, tense.

Without a moment’s thought, I shot another EMP.

Nothing.

That was it.

I had ceased to care.

I fell forward onto the ground, and the suit powered down to idle.

Power: 79%. Integrity: 67%.

If there was a third force out there, I was not going to fight it. I had killed 5 hostile units today, 3 of them in full armour.

“Get up, Private.”

Insanity. This was insanity. I had fought too much. The suit, the adrenaline and the exhilaration were taking its toll on my mental faculties.

“When your platoon commander orders you to do something, you do it. I asked you to get up!”

He was alive?

The End

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