Short Stories

Battle at Kitee
by
Cassandra Ulrich

Staff Sergeant Ayrer stepped off the transport in Kitee, Otso already wearing his gear, or Smashsuit, as the troops called it. Tailor-made to hug Ayrer’s muscular build, the durable, seal-gray battle suit fit him like a second skin, yet able to stop bullets and protect from landmine blasts. Hurt like heck, though. He pulled on the gloves and made fists to activate the super strength capability, only possible if the suit recognized his genetic signature. Donning his helmet, he blinked on the controls which enabled a neurological connection to his mind. He pinged his partner, Droid Ella or D-ella for short, with just a thought and smiled when it pinged back and synced their positions.

Ayrer swung the strap of a rifle-shaped laser gun over his head and across his chest. An elongated pack already lay flush against his back. He peered up into the darkened cloud cover. Flashes of fire power in the distance lit up the sky like some strange fireworks show. Glancing over the data projected on his face-shield, he noted the position and condition of each soldier under his command. His squad contained two autonomous droids, three autonomous vehicles, and five humans. This team stood as a sign of the times, quite normal for a war in 2030.

Jogging out toward the plateau, he eyed the mountains towering just inside the southern border and, to the east, the forests lining the border with Donovia, a country whose technological advancements rivaled that of the United States. Good ole red, white, and blue jumped in to assist Otso, a close ally, when the elites of Donovia dared to invade Otso after months of strained relations.

A distress alert from vehicle alpha alpha three four four, also known as Vehicle Andy or V-andy, flashed up on the face-shield.

He rushed to the edge of the current safe zone. An invisible dome protected the base from enemy fire. Friendlies with a compatible chip in each boot could come and go. Anyone else…zapped on contact. “Sergeant Cole, come in,” he said.

No response.

“Cole, do you read me?”

Silence.

Read the entire story on Small Wars Journal.