Breathing heavily, Graeme held his Claymore aloft and screamed, “T’ME, BERETS! T’ME, HIGHLANDERS! It’s time t’run them off!” He rushed to engage a figure that separated itself from the shadows. He was not fast enough.
The Shock Trooper raised its P1000 handgun and fired. Graeme’s battle cry was cut short as the bullet entered his chest, causing him to stumble to his knees. The Highlander, using his Claymore as a crutch, tried to stand. A staccato burst of a TSW4000 reverberated in the night, its muzzle flare giving away its controller’s position. The shells cut Graeme to ribbons.
Despite the raging firefight surrounding him, Malakai closed his eyes and stood motionless. Millicent’s pained scream reached his covered ears over the din.
The Shock Troopers moved in, edging towards the Highlander’s body, laying down suppressive fire from their sidearms. With little stopping power, the bullets failed to penetrate the armor covering the Blood Berets. The Berets returned fire, killing three of the troopers, including the one carrying the machine gun. Shaken by the loss of their support weapon, the two remaining Shock Troopers retreated back the way they came and disappeared from sight. Millicent, with tears blurring her vision, fired her Invader at the now withdrawing Machinators, doing little to harm them. When they were gone, she threw down her weapon and ran to Graeme’s corpse. His blood stained her gloved hands and armor as she cradled him in her lap, tears diluted the blood spatters on the eternally slumbering face of her lover.
Millicent turned to see Malakai approach her and stop a short distance away. His armored body was outlined by the lights coming from the house, making him look completely sinister.
“Ailín,” she whimpered, rocking Graeme back and forth.
“We are not done here, Sergeant Rowley,” Malakai said, pointing to the fleeing Cybertronic soldiers. “As long as they taint this asteroid, it will not be over.” He stared down at her through opaque lenses, noting her face showed the strains of age, but was still beautiful. That face turned from sadness to anger as the Inquisitor’s words sunk in.
“Squad, to me,” Millicent ordered and they complied. Her second in command approached and handed her her discarded Invader. She reloaded the weapon with skilled precision and then turned her attention to Malakai. “I will do my best to purge the filth, Your Grace.” There was a long pause before he responded.
“I have every confidence in your abilities,” Malakai replied. Millicent nodded, motioning for her men to move out. With a heavy heart, Malakai turned and walked back to the manor, knowing all too well that his Mother was going to be crushed by what he already knew.
At their dropship, Sergeant Michaels a quickly typed a message into the communication’s system and sent it to the BLACK ICE, the cruiser that effected their transport to the asteroid.
STRIKE TEAM ENIGMA REPORTING.
MISSION STATUS: PRIMARY OBJECTIVE – COMPLETE.
SECONDARY OBJECTIVE – NOT COMPLETE.
INSUFFICIENT RESOURCES TO FULFILL BOTH OBJECTIVES. REQUEST PICKUP.
Michaels waited patiently for the response. The Machinators, along with his sole remaining squad member, were patrolling the forest near the craft. It wasn’t long until the response came:
CV BLACK ICE RESPONDING.
REQUEST DENIED. SECONDARY OBJECTIVE NOT ACHIEVED. DAMAGE TO VESSEL MOUNTING FROM INDTERDICTING IMPERIAL VESSELS. MISSION ABORTED.
NEW ORDER - STRIKE TEAM ENIGMA: SCATTER.
Michaels flinched at the terse answer, but still replied.