Sep 6, 2010

Short Story: Spire

               Ten years ago the breeze would have been a welcome addition to the sweltering heat. However, a breeze felt though shackles does not have the same effect. The line slowly moved forward the clanking of the bindings adding to the somber mood. The two mechs on each side of the line moved forward with the line, making sure everything was in order. Order was easy to maintain with the seventy pound plasma rifles each of the mechs had equipped. One false move from the prisoners and it was all over.

               Lucas set himself up on the ridge, carefully considering each movement. He would need two perfect shots to free the six prisoners below. At the rate they were moving along, his vantage point was all wrong. He needed to move to higher ground and fast. The Leaper was already on its way to extract Solider and the prisoners. Speed and silence were the two biggest concerns. He unstrapped the charge from his leg and slowly backed away, turning to the abandoned building as soon as he was clear of the ridge.
               The blown out building looked like it used to be business offices before the proclaimed 'Day of Enlightenment'. No one knew exactly how it happened, but the order came down from the president himself. Theories ranged from an error in software to a government betrayal. Lucas didn’t really have an opinion on the matter; he just knew Spire was bad news. That is why he had to free these unlucky souls. No one had ever been to Spire and came back.
               His gloved hand grasped the fire escape as the faint hum of Leaper filled his ears. Urgency instantly shot through his veins and he reached the top of the building, pulling out the detonator for the charge he left on the ridge as he reached the top of the building. He crouched down and poked the very end of his rifle over the edge. Judging by the sound of Leaper’s engine he had about six minutes before it was too late. As he dragged the sights of his rifle over Solider’s left body Lucas took a deep breath.
               The ridge was succumbed in flames and he took the shot. The six people scattered, taking the momentary chaos as a sign of freedom. The left body fell and Solider turned his remaining frame towards Lucas, but he already had the shot lined up. The plasma was half way to the frame before Solider could pull his rifle up and take aim, although the trigger must have been pulled by reflex. The body exploded from the close range shot, but Lucas didn’t see it, as he was half way down the fire escape.
               Leaper wouldn’t find anything but two remains of Solider, one charred and the other with a shot through his operations motherboard. Six people would sleep outside of the confines of Spire tonight. Lucas opened the hatch in the ground to his small little ‘home’ and climbed down, sealing the hatch shut. Twelve feet by twelve feet was not that much. He took of his goggles and hung them next to the ladder and knelt down on his dirty cot. His fingers fiddled with his boot and he pulled out a piece of charcoal from underneath the strings. He made six marks on the wall.
               “Every victory counts.”