Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Last Stand-A Short Story

From our elevated position overlooking the plains, we saw three bright flashes far away which seemed to punch into the air and, in what seemed to be instant later, came the sound of the ordinance whistling past to land a kilometre away with a deafening explosion that knocked the breath out of our shaking the Earth  and causing a storm of dust and debris to rain over our  entrenched camp. We now knew that our hidden camp had been discovered finally! It would take only a few more ranging shots to make a direct hit!
The last remnants of Humanity had abandoned the big cities and fled towards the mountains where the alien cyborg Robots would not yet follow. it was here that they would  make a last stand. The alien Cyborg Robots were out to clear the Earth of all human beings which for them were vermin and posed an unnecessary obstacle for preparing the planet for the settlement of alien  creatures from another galaxy. I looked at Clara grimly and indicating towards the hidden trail said, “ Well it is time to put our emergency evacuation plan into action!” She nodded and said, “ Yes Fred I have already alerted the team leaders and even as we are speaking, the families are being led to their buses!” “Well done,” I exclaimed, recalling that she had gone into emergency mode the moment our watchers reported the activity in the plains, especially when the field guns in the plains were being pointed towards our positions in the mountains.Clara interrupted my thoughts, “ Fred, don’t waste time in obliterating the tracks leading to the hidden track,  there is also the matter of activating the timers!” We had planned to cover up our escape route and signs of our camp by detonating a series of explosions.The klaxon continued blaring  and  children, men, women, families, and the elderly  rushed to board the waiting buses which would take them deeper into the mountains.  After we left, all signs and remains of the camp were to  be obliterated making in look as if one of the high explosive shells had hit us. 
The knock on the door to the command centre was followed by the entry of Ramesh, a twenty-three years old computer expert, Philips, a former army special forces soldier, and Tina, the communications expert. They were an integral part of my team. “Hi Fred!” they called out albeit in a serious tone, “Guess it is time we moved on to the next camp,” said Ramesh in a matter of fact tone.  “Yes, Ramesh, it had to come to this one day: wonder how the Cyborgs were able to pinpoint our location so soon!” I said. Ramesh replied, “ It was those Condor Drones we saw last week!” I nodded my head in agreement, there had been a rather unusual activity of the Condor Drones flying high above the camp the previous week which did suggest that they had probably registered the heat signature of the camp. “ How’s the evacuation going on?” I asked Tina. “Fine,” she replied, “Ramesh has set the timers on the explosives for thirty minutes, enough for us to clear the area in time!” I grunted, “Good,” and picked up my haversack and we all trooped out to our 4X4 Sherpa SUVs. parked outside. We were all lost in our thoughts, Camp David had served us well, hidden from the plains behind a wall of mountains, it was well placed flat piece of ground which we had excavated to make underground bunkers. There was a nearby stream of clear water flowing which supplied our needs for fresh drinking water.We had earlier identified an alternative camp higher up in the mountains and we had named it Camp Goliath.
There were five 4X4 Sherpa SUVs. and I boarded the nearest one. The Sherpa was a tested and proven vehicle which had been modified to run on different fuels and also to work at high altitudes. Each vehicle was able to work as an independent command centre, with communication equipment, radios, satellite links, and enough computing power to run an entire mission. These SUVs. were in constant contact with the buses that had preceded us towards higher ground.
There were tears in the eyes of all those who formed the rear-guard. For all practical reasons Philips, Tina, Ramesh and I travelled in separate vehicles (Clara however always accompanied me) because we reasoned that if we travelled together in the same vehicle, and the vehicle was hit by a missile, then the entire command  system would be wiped out! If this happened, then there would'nt be anyone left to look after the survivors.
We had been ever on the move since the year 2014 when the strange spacecraft had started to land on the Earth, especially in the larger towns and cities disgorging a large number of Cyborgs which went about wreaking havoc in the cities and towns, killing all those human beings that had the fate of coming in contact with the killing machines. Curiosity in those who turned up to see the alien crafts and the Cyborgs turned to horror when the killings started! The cyborgs quickly rendered communications useless in the cities. The Army, Air force and Navy were neutralised  in a matter of hours, the high tech machinery, tanks, fighters jets, and even the destroyers were rendered useless with the firing of electro-magnetic pulse beams at them which resulted in fried circuits. It was a matter of time before the remaining people realised  that they should flee from the cities to the relative safety of the mountains. It had been six years since we had left the towns and cities. The process had been gradual and slow, and we had collected enough food, fuel and those EMP proof weapons for the final stand we would make against the aliens. The K-4 mountains did afford some safety from the H.E. rockets that the Cyborgs preferred to use because their flat trajectories meant that they could hit targets that were in the line of site, but if the object was shielded by a rock face or a hill, then these rockets couldn’t climb over the obstruction to dive at the object. The radio suddenly crackled, “ Incoming H.E. rockets identified, E.T.A. two minutes, Camp David!” the terse voice was that of Phillip’s. Clara, without missing a beat remarked, "I guess it is high time we left! those H.E. Rockets can flatten the whole area in one go!" I looked at the terrain, high cliff faces on both sides shielded us from the enemy, Clara drove the SUV expertly, “Yes, I guess there will be nothing at the camp site when the Cyborgs arrive to inspect their trophies of war!” I replied. Of course the Condor Drones would have relayed images of the destruction to their command centre. I went on remarking to Clara, “ But, then they won’t be fooled for long into thinking that they have destroyed the entire remnants of us!”
The type I Cyborg Robots were rather mean looking machines and they were designed to kill. They looked like a cross between a spider and a scorpion, and their two front eyes also worked as laser guns firing a lethal beam that could cut through steel six inches thick! Woe betide any hapless human being who dared to face them, they were simply decimated, Kevlar vest, weapons and all! The type II Cyborgs were humanoid in form, and they were deadlier than the previous versions. The type twos appeared in 2015 a year after the type ones. What made them different from the type ones was that they were more dexterous, more powerful and could shift loads many times their weight. The H.E. rockets were handled by the type twos. The type III Cyborg robots like the type twos were shaped like humans but then their heads were bigger than the rest of their bodies. Type threes were the leaders, commanders, and decision makers. The Condor Drones were operated by the type threes. The type threes had arrived barely six months ago, and since their arrival, the condor drones became more active, and the frequency of their sorties had increased, especially over camp David.
A bright flash appeared from the general area of Camp David, at a lower altitude than we were driving at, and the flash was followed by a deep rumble. Clara and I looked at each other quietly. The second salvo of H.E. rockets had found the target with great accuracy, and if we had been a little slow in evacuating the camp, then surely, we would have been decimated! We had been planning for all sorts of eventualities, and this had been one of them. Till now we had adopted a rather hide and hide  kind of an approach towards the enemy. To fight them this early would have been rather foolish. We would make our final stand against the enemy at Camp Goliath where we had hidden the highly secret pulse guns, and pulse rockets which were lethal weapons, and could in theory cut through the thick armour of the Cyborgs. Well that would be another day, right now it was all about   reaching Camp Goliath.
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