Alright, I was bored, and I wasn't in the mood to work on Kane's Field.
One-shot story about a soldier fighting a hopeless war…
Orange and Tan
They had struck out of nowhere, destroyed their colonies like they were nothing and crushed their fleet like flies. The exiles were back, and their target: Earth. A hundred years ago, the Earths population split in two: those who wanted a unified government and those who wanted to be independent. The United won, sending the Independents on their way into space, not caring where they went. And now they were back.
The explosion threw him off his feet and into a concrete wall, his power armour groaning in protest to the trauma it was exposed to. He struggled to his feet and looked around him. His squad was decimated; only two others remained, pressing themselves against the wall, trying to avoid getting spotted. He hoped the Indep soldiers would move on, but he wasn't so lucky. Two of them stepped through the hole in the wall they had blown up. Pressing himself harder against the wall, he signalled to the other two that he would provide a distraction for the Indeps so they could shoot them. A coward's tactic, but all's fair in love and war.
Biting his teeth together, he started to run, throwing himself behind a destroyed hover car as bullets went whizzing by, one clipping his left shoulder. He heard more gunfire, and suddenly his squad mate peeked over the edge of the roof of the car and gave him an all-clear sign.
They had been on their way to reinforce an assault on an enemy strongpoint further up the street when shell had hit them. There were three of them now, of the original ten. Most of his friends were dead by now, their bodies splattered against a window on Mars, crushed under rocks on the moon or full of holes from shrapnel and bullets right here. He looked up and saw the moon, with a large crack running along its equatorial belt, tiny cracks forming from that to engulf the whole body. So they didn't want the Earth after all, they just wanted to destroy it. Some days earlier, the Indeps had detonated several nuclear devices in the moon's centre. Already it had started to break apart.
Apart from the broken moon and sparkling stars, he could also see several grey specks on the sky, small orange bursts coming down from them every other second. Apart from destroying the moon they were also systematically bombarding Earth's surface. The Indeps technology far surpassed their own, while they were still stuck with ballistic weapons on their ships, the Indeps had beam weapons and lasers, punching a hole in their ships or melting them beyond recognition.
He looked to his squad mates and nodded to them. They nodded back. With their sergeant dead, he was now in command of the squad, or, at least what remained of it. They started to walk down the deserted street. This area had been hit particularly hard; not one building was left whole. Up ahead they could hear fighting. They readied their weapons and charged ahead. As they rounded the corner they could see several Indep squads exchange fire with several of their own. Their own was pinned down, but he and his two mates had come up on the Indeps left flank.
Leading the charge, he fired several grenades from his attached launcher while the other two provided covering fire. The Indeps were surprised by the sudden explosions and getting fired upon from two directions, several of them was killed by the explosions and others were killed by bullets from their rifles. Seeing this gave the Republic squads some much needed motivation and quickly defeated the Indeps.
The Republic squad leaders gave their thanks to him and told him they were heading to the same place they were linked up with them. They now numbered twenty-five. Walking down the street they could see several Republic armoured transports stopping outside a park and opening their hatches. Out poured infantry like ants and they positioned themselves, ready for the assault.
Walking up the officers, he gave a brief report. After that, he joined the rest of the men, getting ready for the final charge. Looking around the corner he saw that the Indeps had built a large sandbag bunker with several machinegun nests.
Everything happened so fast, a flute was heard as the soldiers charged towards the bunker, several getting mowed down by the machineguns and others blown apart by mortar fire. In less than three-hundred meters over twenty of them had been killed already. He lost track of his men in the chaos and was almost trampled when he almost tripped.
The assault wasn't going well, over half of the soldiers were dead, all the officers were gone, and no one knew what to do. And then came the thumps, the tell-tale thumps of an Indep walker, giant tanks with feet, capable of walking anywhere in an urban environment. Crashing through the wall behind the men with its guns blazing, shooting and stepping on them. It was at that moment he knew it was over.
He was getting ready to surrender when someone managed to shoot a rocket at the walker's legs, making it fall over and blow up. With renewed hope he grabbed his rifle and ran towards the bunker, taking several hits, but his hatred for the Indeps, as well as the memory of his dead wife and daughter kept him going.
When he was within eighty meters of the bunker he tore a grenade from his belt, pulled out the pin and threw it with all his strength towards the tiny crack at the machine guns, hoping that it was there they stored all the ammo. Succumbing to the pain of his wounds, he sat down on his knees and watched the bunker blow up in a rain of orange flames and tan sand.
And then he fell over…