OPERATION CRYSTAL SCEPTER
Sorain Ravenshaw groaned and said, “It had to be a graveyard, didn’t it?”
Mr. Medusa gave a noncommittal grunt, but privately agreed with her. He anxiously squeezed the grip of his rifle, not appreciating the silence and darkness enveloping the area. He leaned against the cold granite of a tombstone, casting another glance around the cemetery, and in a low voice said, “See anything?”
Over the radio, Medusa asked, “Chariot 2, see anything?”
“Nothing yet,” replied Achus, “How about you guys?”
“No. Guess we’ll continue our sweep.”
Medusa glanced over at Ravenshaw, who gestured for Medusa to move up. He moved from behind the giant stone and rushed towards a small wall that cut through the cemetery, sliding into cover and immediately peering over the brick. Amongst the endless rows of headstones, he could see yellow light spilling out from behind a particularly large Celtic cross. Over the radio, he said, “Hey, I’ve got visual on… something. Some sort of light source deeper in, eastern side.”
“Roger that. Chariot 4 and I will link up with you guys,” Achus replied. As Medusa kept a wary eye out, he heard the sound of running footsteps as Ravenshaw sprinted the gap, taking a position next to him.
“Oh yea, I see that. What do you think it is?” asked Ravenshaw.
“Dunno,” replied Medusa. His eyes were focused on the silhouette of a dog, barely outside the illumination of the light source. It seemed to be pacing back and forth with an awkward trot, waiting for something, when it suddenly darted towards the source. As light fell over it, Medusa felt his stomach tie itself into a knot as adrenaline flooded his body.
“Oh God, oh my God. It’s an alien,” muttered Ravenshaw.
With thin extremities, a distended abdomen and oversized head, the creature looked like something out of a bad sci fi flick. As it stood on its hind legs to interact with the out of sight light source, 2 more creatures that looked exactly the same came out of the darkness. Medusa levelled his rifle, aiming it at the nearest creature and said, “Do we fire?”
There was a small click as Ravenshaw flipped her safety off and shouldered her rifle. The two soldiers remained in place, carefully watching the aliens, when they seemed to finally finish their business and started dispersing. As the aliens scattered, Medusa gently squeezed the trigger of his rifle and fired a burst into the nearest one. The rounds hit the alien squarely in the torso, lifting it off the ground and spraying green blood over the graves. Ravenshaw fired a burst at another alien, dropping it instantly, while the third returned fire. There were flashes of green as orbs of energy soared towards Medusa, forcing his head head down while Achus shouted over the radio, “What’s going on? Do you have contact?”
“A couple!” shouted Ravenshaw, poking her back up over the wall to fire again. There was another volley of alien fire that splashed against the wall in front of her, demolishing and showering both soldiers with molten shrapnel. There was green flash as the orbs hit Ravenshaw directly, spraying blood and heat over Medusa as she fell to the ground.
“Chariot 1 is down!” shouted Medusa, swearing as he grabbed Ravenshaw’s arms and dragged her backwards behind the remaining wall. He could hear the rifle fire from Achus and Hudson as they joined the battle. Medusa knelt over Ravenshaw, keeping his head low as he looked over her wounds. The alien weapons had burned straight through her flimsy body armor, and most of her torso and left arm had turned black. A grenade detonated on the other side of the wall, spraying dirt over Medusa and Ravenshaw as he felt for a pulse. He could feel it under his fingertips, and satisfied she was still alive, he looked back over the wall. Several tombstones were demolished and alien bodies were scattered about, and the only remaining alien was cowering from Achus and Hudson behind a large stone. Medusa aimed quickly and fired, hitting the alien in the side and throwing it lifelessly out from cover.
He saw movement out of the corner of his eye and aimed his rifle towards it, but saw that it was only Achus and Hudson. He took a deep breath, trying to steady himself, and said, “Anyone have any more visual?”
“Looks clear to me, didn’t see any run off,” replied Achus, “and it looks like your light source is some sort of capsule. We’ll move up to check it out
“We need to get Ravenshaw out of here,” said Medusa, “she’s burned pretty bad and fading fast.”
“Just wait, we need to make sure this thing isn’t lethal.”
Medusa swore, and looked down at Ravenshaw. Placing his fingers on her neck, he could still feel a pulse that was rapidly weakening. He glanced up over the wall and saw Achus and Hudson in the circle of light, manipulating an out of sight object. After a few moments, both soldiers jumped backwards, still staring at whatever it was, before turning and running towards Medusa.
“What the hell is going on?” asked Medusa.
“No idea,” replied Achus, “Some sort of crystal came out of the capsule. Let’s get her back to Skyranger.”