The stone streets of Virginia laid soaked with the blood of innocence and evil alike beneath Keijirou’s feet, with the cries of war vocalized by the screams of they who charge into battle and the moans of those who laid wounded near and far. Virginia was in pain, felt through the flesh that was melted by hot plasma, and torn apart by teeth and claw. Many warriors fell back onto the earth like the very stars that crashed from heaven, littering Virginia with many who longed to find their peaceful heaven. Whomever had fallen, be them reptile or human, were just heaps of writhing flesh now. Even as Keijirou walked across these old roads, below the whir of the tank strolling behind him, there were cries of agony, and the sobs of people in too much shock to know that death might’ve been wrapping its skeletal claws around their souls, save for that many were missing legs and couldn’t get anywhere but closer to rest.
Why did it have to be this way?
For a while, Keijirou was in deep thought. Would it be crazy to say that he somehow found some peace in this calmer part of the war zone, where there laid many of his own and theirs? It was almost like being in shock himself, and many times he would pat himself down to check if he was still actually intact, and not blinded by a brain that hadn’t come to terms with reality yet. He did this for a long while, almost for what felt like an eternity, till the sound of the tank behind him quieted to nothing, and the prayers whispered by Cigar Marine fell silent, before he was reeled back into reality by the roar of a multi-barreled gun.
With each blast the machine gun boomed, each shot coming so fast that each boom meshed together into one terrifying cry. The ground around Keijirou erupted into jumping wet dirt, with the far rows of houses falling at Keijirou’s sides only amplifying the roar of the machine gun, with how the echoes bounced side to side on its way down. By some miracle, not a single shot managed to catch Keijirou’s body. The boy fled back up the alley so fast that he swore he’d somehow glided over the earth, flinging himself back out onto the main street like a fish beaching itself onto shore.
“What’ya find yourself there, kiddo?” Cigar Marine called out from the tank’s top hatch, a cigar somehow still caught between his teeth, the smoke curling into the air and billowing from his nostrils in small clouds. A shame that that cigar was burned down to about his lips now.
“Ma… gun…. nest…!” Keijirou tried to bark, but all that came out was burst of air and coughs. Once again, the boy was shaken to the core, lingering there on the street in a state of disarray; such was the current condition of his attire, where plasmic rounds had come close enough to singe the shoulder padding and mud was splashed up to his knees
“Eh?” The marine leaned over the lip of the hatch, a comical look on his face that couldn’t be much different than if he was studying a new species of pink-painted gay MK3A1’s. “I can’t hear you, boy, speak up!”
“There’s… a machine gun nest!” Keijirou yelled out in a panicked and near-crazed cry, almost failing his arms dramatically even. “They’re blocking the direct route to the fortress!”
“Oh. So why are you so panicked then, like someone shoved a cold stick up your ass for the first time?” Cigar Marine asked casually. Keijirou didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, or just shoot himself and end his own suffering, but he might’ve twitched a bit in that moment. Nobody can say for sure.
“You’re not worried about it?” Keijirou asked, seeming a bit defensive now. “Maybe you’ve forgotten that pretty soon, if we don’t get to that fortress, it won’t matter to us anymore to get there because we won’t exist anymore!”
“And maybe you’ve forgotten that I have a tank here.” The Cigar Marine grinned, giving the steel around him a few meaty smacks with his hand. “Look here, boy. You can’t let war get to you on the field. You’ve got to stay sharp, be fully aware. So tell me, what are we going to do about this machine gun nest? Just going to let it block us from our duties? You can’t let bigger dicks scare you because yours is small, because you know what? Yours is harder to hit.”
Despite how these wise words were shared to Keijirou, he knew deep down that Cigar Marine was right. Humanity’s very survival could be depending on the people on this battlefield today, and failure was not an option. They needed that point defense online, and they didn’t have time for big dick McBala to get in the way.
“Take the tank and get through that machine gun nest. I’ll try to find a different path and meet you at the fortress!”Keijirou pointed to where the nest was, smacking a fresh magazine into his MK3A1, suddenly prepared more than ever for hell or high water.
“That’s the spirit! Let’s teddy these bastards!”
And with that, Cigar Marine rolled off into one direction with the tank, and Keijirou rushed off into the other. They didn’t have much time left to get that point defense system back online, and the fortress was depending on them to change the tide of this war in any way that they could. More specifically, they were dependent on Keiji to get the systems back up. The loud roar of alien and human motors constantly filled the aerospace, where planes were dog fighting. The cry of their cannons and machine guns screeched beyond the very skies, echoing across the alleys of the city and making the old bricks of every house shiver beneath the enormous quake of the fighters speed, the same skies which often were illuminated by the fiery flash of another fighter swirling back down to the earth, the fortress basking in the glow of war and lightening alike in the distance.
Not too far behind him, Keijirou could hear the boom… boom! of the tank at work on the machine gunners, followed by the faint hum of RvsB Warthog theme. And for one small moment, Keijirou actually felt sorry for the poor bastards at the end of the tanks cannon.
The city housing fell in close to the fortress, likely being that they were probably barracks for the soldiers, if not work buildings and other things. Some were taller than others, some lines closer than others. Keijirou thought for a moment that perhaps he could climb one of the taller buildings settled closer to the fortress, before fighters lowered close to the city and roared by overhead. Finding a roof was a bad idea. Sure, the fighters might’ve been busy with each other, and the likelihood of one of them leaving their sides open just to shoot down one little man was very unlikely, but catching stray bullets wasn’t. He needed to get next to if not into the fortress, and fast.
Keijirou rushed up and down alleys, turning so fast on his heels that they might’ve squealed like tires on a street. He was burning rubber, but not nearly quick enough. Keiji didn’t think that he’d ever run so fast in his life before now, and the fact that he could go for so long and so fast was shocking to him. The aerospace continued to erupt in blazes of glory or failure, splashing light down into the streets and painting the display of corpses and collapsed buildings, crashed planes and streets torn away by these same wreckages like a camera, almost as if the enemy was saying ”Look! Look at what we’ve done!”
Faster, faster! We don’t have time to gawk! Keijirou’s mind would bark. Don’t look, don’t look! They’re in a better spot than you right now!
And then, Keijirou saw her.
The flashes of heaven at war above poured over her terrified face, where tears and rain drops dribbled her cheeks smudged in mud and dirtied blood. Her blue eyes seemed so pale, their color washed away by the white surrounding them- a face like that of a deer caught in the headlights. Around her were more reptilian brutes, though these were much smaller. They formed a curved line in front of her, moving up slowly like a pack of wolves herding a singular little sheep. Behind her was the rest of the alley, which dumped out onto another main street, where Keijirou zipped by. Even as fast as he was running, even though it was but a split second, he saw her face as clear as if he’d been standing there staring at her now. The Balalonian’s were falling closer, the sides moving to sweep around and seize all possible exits from her. Another moment without action, and she’d be dead or worse.
“Run!” Keijirou called out, but his echo fell silent beneath another roar of engines rushing by. The girl continued to sob, clenching to a filthy and wet teddy bear pressed hard into her chest. She took small steps back, calling out for her mommy and daddy. “C’mon! Run!” Keijirou tried again.
He’d never seen so much hope fill someone’s eyes, than when that little girl spun her head around and saw him. But in the moment that she turned her head to look, one of the reptiles from the center of the line lashed out. His claws reached out, ready to grab while the others made their move to her sides, but all he grabbed was the teddy bear. The girl leapt out from the hole between all of the reptiles, nearly collapsing onto the alleyway before she rushed up to Keijirou. The reptiles themselves seemed dumbfounded, as the catcher moved the stuffed toy around in his hands as though it were some alien object.
The girl’s hand caught onto Keijirou’s, and the two went flying further down the street. Engines continued to roar overhead, many sweeping by with the rush of air filling their ears and threatening to destroy their eardrums. Keijirou could barely make out the cries of the Balalonians behind them, shrieking in anger from the jinx that was pulled on them.
“Hurry!” Keijirou would cry when the girl seemed to fall back. “We’re almost there!”
The fortress was falling closer and closer to them, with the cries of the dog fight above seeming to grow even louder somehow. Rolling across the sodded earth, Cigar Marine in tow was that glorious tank. Plasma had obviously struck its face and swept its sides, where the metal was burnt black and in some places even misshaped.
“CIGAR MARINE!” Keijirou cried out below the calls of many engines and giant angry space lizards. The man turned his head, wearing an almost bothered and annoyed look, and saw the two running quite literally for their lives.
“Well I’d be damned,” The man said, spitting out the butt of his long-dead cigar. “Some more sons’o bitches wantin’ to get teddyed! Gunners! Break out the fifties!”
Keijirou pulled the girl up closer to his side, throwing an arm over in a protective gesture, as those guns bbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrred from the tank, their stray bullets punching into the ground around them. The Balalonians each were thrown back by the wave of fifty cal that was sprayed at them, the sound of the bullets slapping against or into their skins vaguely audible as Keijirou finally wrapped both arms around the girl and threw his weight towards the tank, making them slide across the rest of the ground and closing the distance much faster, and maybe safer, than if they’d kept running.
“Get in! We don’t have any time left!” Cigar Marine barked, helping to pull the girl and Keijirou up into the beasty machine. “I hope you can hack like the devil, boy!”
“Pray to god I can, sir!” Keijirou yelled, feeling the tank jolt beneath him as Cigar Marine closed the hatch above them.
“I can’t pray to god right now, it’s too busy up there for him to accept any more of my voicemails!” Cigar Marine cackled like a madman almost, pulling out a fresh new cigar from… somewhere. “But I will sure as hell hope to god that you can get it done!”
“Alrighty, sir!” Keijirou said a bit nervously, not sure anymore if he should trust Cigar Marine with this much ground power.
“Don’t call me sir, boy!” The marine shouted back from the front of the tanks belly.
“Just call me Cigar Marine!”
The fortress was enormous to say the least, with fighters on both sides swirling around its towers like the planes swooping around Kong. Their guns buzzed and shrieked, their engines running hard till the smell of burning oil and hot metal swept the air. Finally, Keijirou and Cigar Marine were here, with soldiers at the massive bulkhead doors firing down any Balalonians that tried to run up. The tank finally came to a stop.
“Why’r we stoppin, soldier?!” Cigar Marine barked at the driver.
“We’re out of fuel, sir!”
“We need to get into the fortress!” Keijirou yelled out, making motions with his hand since the dog fighting about washed out any other noise beneath them. The girl was huddled into his side, her white gown dirtied and ripped in places, especially around the skirt’s trim.
“Boy’s right! Let’s go!”
The hatch was thrown open, and people leapt out of the tank like ants out of anthill, most of which having guns in hand. Cigar Marine led the charge to the fortress, the ground around them, burned and turned up, erupting into miniature explosions of dirt where bullets strayed from the dog fight and struck. Keijirou ran with the MK3A1 bumping into his back, the little girl nearly clasped at his one side and the terrified tank driver at his other.
“Get in! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! The soldiers called to them from the fortress.
Everyone dogpiled at the soldier’s feet in the doorways, eventually being pulled up and around by a few medics around them. Keijirou threw his back against the inner trim of one of the massive bulkhead doors, getting to work on his utility gauntlets. He managed to hack his way into the fortress’ database (just imagine a dude furiously swinging a pickaxe in a comical fashion, like Keijirou did), and upon gaining access, he pilfered through the heaps of data, adjusting strings here and there until he slapped the point defense into submission to make it function again. However, in the end, the database dumped massive unknown files into his gauntlets, the encryption codes locking Keijirou out and rendering his utility gauntlets useless. It just figures that Virginia would pay him back with a massive porn stash…And with that, his gauntlets were now just housing for this information, and though Keijirou tried a few times, he couldn’t break through the coding.
Aircraft was swooping in the sky like frenzied birds, with thunder and their gunfire roaring in unison. But the point defense was back up, and hopefully the fortress could handle itself from then on. Now that Keijirou could bathe in the tiny moment of glory, where he saved the fortress’ day (hopefully), he managed to take this time to better analyze the people around him. These weren’t just any regular ol’ soldiers like himself or Cigar Marine, these were Special Forces, every single one of them. There was something important here, and like a criminal with the code to every nuclear arsenal, Keijirou seemed to hide his arms and slowly look around and wonder if what they were guarding was the unconfirmed porn stash.
“You all, with me!” One of the soldiers commanded, and since everyone else seemed to listen to his order, Keijirou decided to fall in line with them. The bulkheads began to slowly lower themselves, with metal-on-metal cries filling the fortress.
“Where are we going?” The tank driver asked loudly from the group.
“We’re getting out of here.” The man said, making a swirling motion with his finger. He wasn’t referring to just himself and the group, but literally everyone present in the fortress.
“How? The only way out is through the doors you are closing behind us!” The tank driver persisted.
“We have a tunnel, fool. You think we’d trap ourselves that easily?”And the man wasn’t lying, either. They had a tunnel at the ass end of the fortress, and though it wasn’t very big or very pretty, it seemed to go on forever. And forever to anywhere seemed much better then where they were now.
“Where’r we goin exactly, mister?” Cigar Marine piped up from the back of the group.
“The Washington class.”