They hurled and climbed over huge rocks and boulders. Their hands pressed on anything that would help lift their encumbering weight. Their fingers desperately looking for cracks within rough surfaces for grip. They rushed after PYRATE who effortlessly maneuvered through the terrain by crushing boulders and hovering over small cliffs. The machine cleared a safe pathway for its human companions as it tore through obstacles. It displayed on its roughed-metal shoulders that they were 678 meters away from Tyrus’s location. The holographic numbers kept scrolling down as if it were jackpot slot. They were getting closer.
The violent winds antagonized them as they struggled to keep pace. With all their might, they moved as fast as their suits would let them. The adrenaline-supplements from their injectors flowed within every inch of their beating hearts. They raced against time because there was no time. For time brought about the impending fate that was out to collect Tyrus’s life. Every move they made was a plea for time to give more of what it could not itself. Like the sands in an hourglass, it came pouring down quickly and violently and they were the hands moving to turn around its course. Hanson feared for Tyrus the most. The mere thought of him alone- trying to fend off flesh-ripping monsters- She did not even want to think about it and kept on rushing behind Ramsey.
Ramsey activated his CONTECH. He hoped that signs of life would come through his communicator. “Come in Tyrus! We’re here! We’re 350 meters away from your position. Just hold on!” Ramsey pleaded. There was no response only more sounds of fired shots and alien screams skipping through the static. Then Tyrus’s voiced beamed through.
“Yeah! Yeah!” his words were full of taunt and mockery “You want more huh? Well, come get it you ugly bastards!” The team were relieved to hear his defiance scream louder than that of the horrifying snares and shrieks. More so, they were amazed by his will, which motivated them to move even faster. Ramsey’s eyes finally glanced on something in the distance as he focused his visual display on his helmet visor. His eyes scorched the area for Tyrus but his commander was nowhere to be seen. As natural as taking his next breath he drew out his rifle and took position from a high vantage point on a solid desert dune. He looked through his aiming sights but couldn’t see much. The others grouped to his position. From the horizon they could see nothing under the veiled mist of the stormy winds.
Jason shouted, “I’m making out the shuttle! I can’t see much else! Vision is down to 65 percent!”
“Keep moving! We don’t have much time,” Ramsey tried to slide down the hill but Hanson stopped him “Ramsey! Look!” Her CONTECH projected a holo-screen that highlighted their distance from the shuttle represented by a vibrant white diagram for a ship. Around the ship were numerous anomalies that were graphed in neon red triangles. The flashed all over the screen representing movement around the area. The team looked at Hanson’s projection not wanting to believe. It was as if one’s naked eye couldn’t grasp the significance of a particular virus unless they looked through a microscope. But Ramsey brushed her holo-projection aside. It wasn’t enough. He had to see it for himself as stepped closer to edge of the sandy hill. The others followed and brought themselves to the open wilderness below and beyond them. The drive and determination that pushed them this far was stopped with the horror in their eyes. They had reached a dead end that formed in the swarm of inconceivable nightmares. Vince could only croak as if he were crippled by the fact that these were the nightmares they were not only trying to escape but nightmares they were just waking up to. They watched on as a horde of Kyra stormed towards the shuttle. Next to the ship was a severely wounded Tyrus on his knees. Half his armor completely ripped from his torso and blood splatter everywhere.
“Oh my God.” Vince croaked once more.
The bleeding wouldn’t stop and the fact that it wouldn’t stop was worse than trying to get through the aching sharpness of fractured ribs puncturing his lungs. He felt a violent sea of red pooling within him. Tyrus didn’t want to look. Don’t look, it will be that bad if you don’t look. But he hesitantly uncovered the enormous wound by flipping his soiled hands over. He coughed in shock after realizing that he was looking inside of him. Where pure skin and flesh should have been was now defiled by bloody entrails and cartilage in its place. He tried not to vomit in his helmet. All he could do now was watch the rest of his life seep through the exposed and damaged area of his suit, The scrapped metallic material was now popping with sparks and smoke. He couldn’t move now. It was the final rebellion within his body that overcame the discipline of his mind. His GS-5 engineering rifle lay beside him and without any drill launchers for ammunition, it lay lifeless- deserting him when he needed it the most.
His coffee-black eyes watched the monsters closing in on him. He knew he was dead but although his actions were futile he took with solace that he had given those damned things hell rather than readily submit to their terror. To let them feast on his fear. If they could feel fear. If they could smell it and rip it from his flesh. Then he would not give them the satisfaction of the dread that was trying to escape his mouth. After all, his end would come quickly. All he had to do was clench his eyes shut but they were closed for too long. His face started sweating profusely under his helmet. He took in quick desperate gusts of air then reluctantly forced his eyes open. He saw that the Kyra were not rushing with the blistering speed they had attacked him with. Now, they were slowly pacing towards him. One emerged from the crowding of the swarm and stepped out. It stood above the rest in height and size demanding the respect of the others. The others took their cue and crept behind their apparent leader. Tyrus who was trying to shut out the doom was now fixated on the creature. Its lifeless and snake-like eyes peered into his it could see itself towering in the reflection of his Tyrus’s visor. Tyrus noticed that its whole exterior looked tougher than the other cowering subordinates. Running down from its thorax formed a shelled exoskeleton that raced to the length of its arms. The outer bones that pierced and were attached to its rough skin gave it haunting form and definition. The creature’s strong hind limbs were massive. It looked like it had the strength of forty buffalo calves without the need to support its weight on all fours. Soon Tyrus was beginning to understand. He never saw what slashed him open and rip his armor apart. It happened so quickly that he didn’t have the time to scream out in pain.
It wasn’t his fault he couldn’t suppress all of them. They came from all directions. He was beginning to understand that the others that threw themselves into his sight of fire were mere pawns. The attack was strategically planned only for their leader to seize upon him with a fatal blow. Even with their only instinct to destroy, they developed some cognitive intelligence among each other. Tyrus glanced over to his hunter once again. He saw that its scaly skin was stained with his blood. He saw more of it dripping from its ravenous claws that formed into dagger-like blades. Maybe that was why they stopped. Maybe it was custom to honor the leader and acknowledge the use of skill to capture its prey. The leader could now claim him as its sole prize. Tyrus began to shake uncontrollably when it cast its shadow upon him. The fear that he tried to hold back now seized his thoughts. What are they doing? Why hasn’t it killed me yet? Oh God, just get it over with. But it kept on walking slowly until it stood tall in front of him. It somehow acknowledged Tyrus’s submissive sight and took it in with twisted pleasure. It tortured him as if it knew he had nowhere to go and no power within him to resist. Its snaring and enraged howling held more superiority over his uncontrollable thoughts.
From the distance Ramsey observed this particular specimen in meditating silence. He noticed it was different than the one PYRATE killed. Was this their leader? Did these things even have such a working society of their own that they looked to authoritarian figures such as this one? Why hadn’t they obliterated Tyrus just yet? What were they waiting for? Ramsey held on to his rifle but wasn’t ready to pull the trigger.
“We have to get down there!” Hanson cried?
Vince turned to her in disbelief. “What? Have you lost your damn mind? There are hundreds of those things down there. How are we suppose to take on them in the middle of a sandstorm we can barely see in?”
“Well, we can’t just hide here? They’re going to kill him!”
“Wait. I’ve got a plan,” Jason said with casual triumph. The others directed their glances to him while he directed his to the giant mech.