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Threak 17
September 7th, 2014, 07:53 PM
“You can’t kill me. I am Invincible. I am a God!”


With these words I reaffirm my jihad against the Xerian Alliance forces advancing across the Martian landscape toward our position. We are secure on Mars Base One and are being led by Lieutenant Commander Devin Stark, a fine officer and legendary figure among us junior guards of the New Earth Defense Force. Her presence here speaks to the gravity of the situation. Our presence in the universe is at stake. Should we fail in our mission to hold the MARS ONE geodesic dome we’ve called home for the past year, only disaster will follow. Without a human presence on the red planet the Xerians would seize the opportunity to erect bases in Earth’s backyard. We can not let that happen.

Not after the last time. Not since they broke the HALF WING treaty.


Stealing a glance downward, I check my weapon. My particle blaster is locked and loaded and I have enough charge left for one last stand. I'll have to make it count. I check my surroundings and secure the area around me. I’ve left myself a fall back position, should it become necessary, and have rigged my current position to detonate upon my exit.


The enemy is coming. Our advance scouts have acquired the target, just up over the ridge. Twelve heavily armed hovercraft approaching at battle speed. I hear all chatter through my earpiece and with each passing report my mission inches closer to being executed.


I step out on the ledge.


Through spec-scopes, I watch the enemy forces approach from the north. Closer they come. Red dust clouds swirl in the star-filled sky and if I had been anywhere else it would most certainly be a beautiful sight. But, I am not anywhere else, I am here and I am anxious. I have never been in a real fire fight before, but I have scored high on the battlefield simulators back at the Academy. They tell me it is not the same, but I’m not worried. When the time comes I am confident I will fight.


I watch curiously as a lightly armored scout vehicle breaks from the column, cutting a new swath across the barren landscape. He speeds past the front of the Dome, kicking up the fine dust of the martian surface, announcing his presence like a spoiled child. He drives in circles. He mocks us. I hope to kill him first.


Off in the horizon, through the dust and the glare, the remaining vehicles form a new line and present themselves in a semicircular attack position before us.
Once in position, the enemy approaches, a slow and steady approach. Remotely detonated land mines explode under the armored Hovercraft, but to no avail. Still, they come. Slow. Steady. Undeterred.


An unmanned drone approaches my position. It is out of range, but still I fire. If only to let them know I am here and I will not surrender. Tracer beams follow the line of fire back to my position and I duck as the wall separating me from the outside elements is destroyed in a fiery ball of resin and titanium. I struggle to my feet and make my way through the smoke to the opening in the outer wall left by the laser round.


Outside I can see ground troops exiting the heavily fortified transports. One after another the other transports arrive and it is obvious we are outnumbered hundreds to one. I lift my weapon and fire off my last salvo. It is all that I can do. I have trained for this scenario and am well prepared for its arrival. It is a good day to die. I look up and standing over me is Lieutenant Commander Stark, she has a mission for me. I know what it is. And it is one I accept without reservation.


I leave the line and am escorted into a windowless munitions room. Not a word is spoken between us. There I am handed a vest. Sewn into the vest there is a nuclear charge. I put the vest on. I know my mission and I know I won’t be coming back.


“You can’t kill me. I am Invincible. I am a God!”


I walk the gauntlet between officer and enlisted man as I step solemnly to the front lines. My instructions are clear. I am to breach the entrance of the Dome and run at the enemy force. When I am within range, the charge will be set off remotely. It is a crude, but effective plan and one the Xerians would never expect. They would consider such a tactic foolish. Self-sacrifice is not in their code and we have never used this technique before, but then again, the stakes were never quite so high. Mankind's presence in the Universe is larger than any one man, even if that one man is me.


Ahead are the doors to the airlock, I will never pass back through this portal again, of that there is no question. I stop at the breach. Lieutenant Commander Stark is waiting for me. I snap off a crisp salute as I stand before her.


“At ease, soldier.” She commands. I relax, but only slightly. The Lieutenant is holding a syringe. I know what is inside of it. Unconsciously, the corners of my mouth raise in anticipation.


“Private!” The Lieutenant barks. I stiffen. “Did you volunteer for this mission?”


“Yes, ma’am”, I answer, “This private volunteered for this mission.”


Sweat beads and pours down my brow, yet I stand rigid, unmoved and unflinching, my eyes locked in on the syringe and my mind on the task at hand. The medic moves forward and takes the syringe from the Lieutenant as I roll up the sleeve of my shirt. I look down and watch the needle poke into my skin. My eyes roll back in my head as the plunger inside the syringe forces the drug into my vein. Instantly, I feel the rush of adrenaline coursing through my body and I spring forth. I hastily refit my pressure suit and snap to attention. I am ready. Nothing can stop me now.


“You can’t kill me. I am Invincible. I am a God!”


I raise my head and look out over the opposition forces lined up outside the Base. It is time. I nod to the Lieutenant.


“Tell Mom and Dad I love them.”


“I will.” She says. The airlock doors open and I run to meet the enemy.


“You can’t kill me. I am Invincible. I am a God!”


Laser blasts kick up the ground around me as I rush to meet my destiny.


I am oblivious to all as my time ends and I become one with the purifying white light.


“You can’t kill me. I am Invincible. I am a God!”

jakegenebarnes
September 7th, 2014, 08:35 PM
It's an interesting concept for a short story with themes that mirror those in our real world. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that this wasn't fleshed out well enough. In many places it feels as though you simply outline events that I (personally) would much rather see played out. Such as the following:

"Outside I can see ground troops exiting the heavily fortified transports. One after another the other transports arrive and it is obvious we are outnumbered hundreds to one. I lift my weapon and fire off my last salvo. It is all that I can do. I have trained for this scenario and am well prepared for its arrival. It is a good day to die. I look up and standing over me is Lieutenant Commander Stark, she has a mission for me. I know what it is. And it is one I accept without reservation."

Each of these sentences sound like the topic sentence of their own paragraphs. Hell, the meeting with Lieutenant Commander Stark could potentially fill a whole chapter with relevant information, character development, drama, tension, and story building. But, as it is, it feels empty, incomplete. It reads like the detailed outline of a novella that you hope to write. Just my opinion though. :-)

escorial
September 8th, 2014, 01:28 PM
two halves one descriptive and one dialogue...ok man

Threak 17
September 8th, 2014, 06:18 PM
Thanks for the input jakegenebarnes & escorial - I was going for a quick flash fiction kind of feel. May have missed the mark. Thanks for taking a look and taking the time to drop me a line. Cheers!

Threak 17
September 10th, 2014, 03:03 PM
Anybody else? I'd love to hear what you think of this flash piece. Thanks!

sloonzz
September 12th, 2014, 12:15 PM
I liked it. You have a really solid way with the emotions and the atmosphere. Although sometimes I feel like your physical descriptions weren't vivid enough, like how the vehicles look, the battlefield, etc. But maybe that's just me.
It's really good, though. A brief but action-packed story with underlying themes.

zerofirezelo
September 14th, 2014, 11:58 PM
This was a quick but enjoyable read. I could definitely feel the tension as the private heads to their end. I would have liked to have read a bit more of the battle and potentially some more significance to Devin Stark but considering it was ultimately about the heroic death it was a good go at writing this kind of thing.

Jamboree
September 15th, 2014, 10:26 PM
Although you were going for the flash fiction end of the spectrum more I also feel that this could be fleshed out more into a longer short story. If you were going for flash fiction then perhaps you could make it that the time to run and explode was just seconds away and he was recalling the last few hours. Or perhaps he is running but thinking about how he offered himself as the man to carry the nuclear charge in the 100 or so metres that he has to run.
I agree with the above comment about this becoming a novella though. There are enough ideas and content mentioned in that one short story to amount to a longer piece of work.

hvysmker
September 21st, 2014, 07:52 PM
I watch curiously as a lightly armored scout vehicle breaks from the column,
*** lightly-armored?

Tracer beams follow the line of fire back to my position and I duck as the wall separating me from the outside elements is destroyed in a fiery ball of resin and titanium. I struggle to my feet and make my way through the smoke to the opening in the outer wall left by the laser round.
*** Fine writing, so far. I'd suggest, though, that you get rid of some of the "the"s. Maybe only me, but it's one of my pet peeves.
"Tracer beams follow the line of fire back to my position and I duck as a wall separating me from outside elements is destroyed in a fiery ball of resin and titanium. I struggle to my feet and make my way through smoke to an opening in the outer wall left by the laser round."

It is a crude, but effective plan and one the Xerians would never expect.
*** I'd drop that comma.

Good writing, Threak 17. I had to nit-pick to find any errors.

Charlie

thepancreas11
September 22nd, 2014, 12:56 AM
You definitely hooked me. What a great opening segment, really. These thoughts precisely would cross my mind in that situation. "Remember your training. Remember why we fight. Remember why this place is important." To start with that mantra really made that voice ring true. While a bit on the cliched side of things, it really does build excitement, develop character, and set the scene. I thought the description of the battle, the constant pace, the relatively thin structure all contributed to the adrenaline-pumping read you provided here. All of which, I really enjoyed.

A couple of logistical issues here:
If he has only a few shots left, he would save them until he could hit something. Firing warning shots to attract their attention looked a little silly and unbelievable to me.
If they have a nuclear warhead, why wouldn't they simply fire it off instead of attaching it to a person? Shooting it off would be so much more reliable and make so much more sense. A nuclear warhead doesn't really need to be close to have a huge effect on the enemy. I just don't get the premise here.
So, the wall they built just melts when hit by ordinance? Doesn't seem like a very steady wall, really.
I thought it might make more sense if this guy had some battle experience. For some reason, he just doesn't seem like the kind of guy that I would send into battle against this Xerians empire.

I thought it was good, it just needs a rethought.

Threak 17
September 23rd, 2014, 02:03 PM
Thanks for the input, hvysmker & the pancreas11. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to read my piece. These days I can use all the help I can get!

Jean Bathurst
September 24th, 2014, 11:00 PM
I really enjoyed it. Engaging and has a good pace.

Some minor editing needs to be done.

I'd only suggest adding more to the sister angle. Something foreshadowing the reveal. Not sure what. Perhaps he reminisces about an incident from their childhood, or a family feud. Burned into his psyche. A defining moment that leads to his sacrifice. Maybe one was disowned. They're brought back together in the war, and by his sacrifice as he saves not only the unit, but his sister, from certain death.

Also more about the God angle and how that ties in to things.

Just my two cents.

cheers,
Jean

Threak 17
October 6th, 2014, 12:47 AM
Thanks for all your help and advice everyone. Truly appreciated! Looks like I have a bit of work to do!

Clepto
October 9th, 2014, 06:19 AM
Honestly, I loved it. I got to the end and was disappointed that there was not more. It felt very crisp and to the point and left me wanting more. A good bit of flash fic.

I'm hoping you decide to flesh this one out now.

JamesR
October 11th, 2014, 06:42 AM
Some would say that the style is not vivid enough and leaves the reader demanding more. I can see how this would be true in some cases depending on the writing style, but I believe that the lack of detail actually goes well with your fast-paced, somewhat Epic writing style that draws people in like an addiction. Keep up the good work.

tjer222
October 24th, 2014, 04:26 PM
I liked it. I am a god could be a troopers way of facing down his or her fears. Maybe not a rational stance, but who knows just what might go through someones head in such a situation. Obviously a solider whose been in combat yes, but thankfully I've never had personal experience of that. Keep up the interesting work.