Friday, 6 May 2011

Atmosphere Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen

And the armoured division he rode in on

“Why'd you come back?” The armoured personnel carrier now driving them back across The Bronx, the sounds of the battle raging on around them and things constantly hitting the sides of the armoured vehicle uselessly.

“Many reasons..” Grant replied, putting his helmet on his lap “Number one being we were ordered to, being part of the Armalities now and all”

“You're.. in the Armalities now?”

“1st Honorary Division. And I'm it's leader.” Grant said proudly with a smile “We're be given this armour, and get a chance to ride in this thing. How could we say no? Plus, the more I found out about them, I discovered they're living in a communist society without realising it, and really- I'd rather live in one that managed to form naturally over the course of time as opposed to one that’s being forced on people. They needed all the help they could get in the attack on the stadium, I might have exaggerated our previous exploits a little and they seem to think we're great warriors.”

“Think? I know we are” Powell added, still looking over his new armour and trying to figure out just what everything did.

“Yeah, well... We're the first outsiders to fight for them, so got us to form a new unit 'The People's Brigade' so any other outsiders that joined would be assigned to it. But now its just us, Harper... and Isaac, if we can find him”

“Harpers still alive? I saw him taking a spear to the hip”

“Yeah, he's gonna make it. He's still in the Armalities infirmary – they don't think he'll walk again though. And Isaac, he just vanished during the battle. Not exactly hard missing a bright white robot in amongst a bunch of bodies, so he ain't dead.”

“And.. you don't all hate me any more?”

“Hate's not really the word... Can't really be mad about something that happened twenty something thousand years ago. And technically if you never did any of that the world would have gone different and we'd never be born, so there's that to consider.”

There was a hushed silence that hung over them as they continued on, approaching the Randall's Island until Emanuel spoke up.

Amigo... in the video, what was that final part? There were people looking down on some sort of circle that looked like a map, surrounded by all that black”

“They were in space Emanuel, in a space station.” Daniel replied, trying to think of how to explain it as plainly as possible “Its like uh.... a ship, that goes up into the sky and then beyond that and off the planet.”

“I don’t understand how you people, who were so advanced and had achieved such great things still managed to die away”

“Bigger they are the harder they fall.” Powell said before jumping as his helmet made a beeping sound, putting it on to find out he activated the night-vision. They all looked round as the vehicle came to a stop again, a loud knock against the back and the rear-hatch slowly began opening again.

Back on Randall's Island, the damage from the battle was already being repaired by a few of the Armalities, beside the APC a long line of the cloaked soldiers marched carrying an assortment of weapons gathered from the storage facility, all of them marching on to The Bronx. Clambering out of the back the sound of the battle still raging on around the Yankee Stadium could be heard, all the passing soldiers turned their heads and saluted to Daniel, still marching perfectly. One came quickly running over to the group emerging from the APC, a peaked cap atop his head rather than having his hood pulled up.

“Lord. You have returned safely, Minister Elijah will be most pleased, he is waiting in the-.” The soldier trailed off as his voice was drowned out by an eruption of gunfire on Manhattan, immensely louder than the battle going on in The Bronx. They all stopped looked to the city, even the marching soldiers stopping momentarily and turning their heads.

“It's started... The Fifth war of New York” Grant remarked sombrely “Probably not wise to go anywhere near Manhattan for a while.”

Standing atop the rail-bridge which ran down the middle of Randall's Island, Daniel stared over to the skyscrapers of mid-town, maybe three miles away. The sun had set again and the battle in The Bronx was over and the Armalities returning, the battle in Manhattan however was only just beginning. A hundred guns firing at any one moment with the odd explosion every half a minute or so, lighting up the darkened buildings visible even from miles away.

“I know what I have to do now.” Daniel declared “I have to stop this war.”

“A noble goal Comrade, but just how do you plan on doing that?”

“I'm going to destroy the Empire State Building”

The three of them exchanged perplexed glances then looked back to Daniel

“You're mad” Powell remarked, shaking his head

“Mad or a genius” Grant added


“Both sides want the building, take away the building and they have no incentive to fight” Grant continued, stroking the end of the air-cannister at the end of his gas mask as if it were his chin.

“And hopefully deliver enough of a blow that'll cripple both side's armies so they couldn't fight even if they wanted” Daniel added.

“And just how do you plan on destro-”

“A bomb” Daniel quickly cut Powell off “Planted at the bottom of the building and detonated, except you'd need a damn big one. Or... better yet”

The rows and rows of shelves inside the storage facility were lined with Armalities returning the weapons they used in the battle against the Yankees, the M3 Bradley now parked again and de-armed and de-fuelled in a row of a hundred other vehicles. Daniel pushed past the soldiers -trying to ignore their salutes or bowing- and find whoever was in-charge down here. Lieutenant Danson appeared beside him less than a minute later, giving him a quick salute and excited to even be near him.

“Lord! Were you impressed with our use of the armoured pe-”

“Very. Listen, do you have a GBU-49 Paveway VI?” Daniel said, stopping and looking to him.

“...Probably.” The lieutenant started “But what use is that gonna be without a plane to drop it? M'lord It was a stretch getting that APC to work, I very much doubt we could get one of our planes to work” He said with a nervous chuckle

“Just need the bomb and a way to get it to mid-town Manhattan” Daniel replied as the man went off to search “Also a tiny charge large enough to destroy an elevator's support cables”

Grant looked to Daniel for a moment in dismmary “Are you... going to do what I think you're going to?”

“GBU-49 was a bunker buster bomb made by United Arms in 2049. Bunker busters are designed to penetrate hard surfaces then explode. But without a plane to drop it” He pointed up to one of the flying machines hanging from the ceiling”It's useless. SO I'm going to strap the bomb to the outside of one of the elevators – The Empire State managed to get them working- take it to the top of the shaft and then blow the cables so the elevator will race to the bottom and crash with the bomb attached to it -hopefully sending the bomb at least a little distance below the ground before exploding. It was one of our most powerful non-nuclear bombs, so it should do enough damage to the supports to bring the building down”

The group went silent, just trying to vision that, almost incapable of imagining an explosion that big.

“Mad. Definitely mad” Powell chimed in. “And what of the Empire State?”

“What of them? They went into a job knowing full well they wouldn't be the ones getting the product at the end, and knowing that if they refused to hand it over they were to face severe consequences. All's fair in love and war”

“My Lord...” Suddenly came from behind, Daniel turning to see Minister Elijah “How does destroying that building help with our rebuilding?”

“It won't. I'm afraid I'm not here to help with the rebuilding Elijah. That'll come later, for now I've been... brought here to stop another war that could bring a lot of destruction to this city.”

“Sir, we do have a GBU-49” The lieutenant called out, appearing the other side of one of the shelves and looking across “but it is in very bad condition, a big enough knock or a few gun shots could set it off. We could transport it in the M3 again?”

“Unlikely it'll go off, but better safe than sorry. How much fuel is in the Bradley?”

“Enough to maybe get it to the other end of Manhattan and back. It's all we've managed to collect over the years”

“Okay. Take ¾ of that fuel out and put it into three other vehicles. That Stryker, which will carry the bomb, and the other ½ into those two Abrams tanks. They don’t necessarily have to be armed, just fuelled and drivable.”

The lieutenant glanced to Elijah for confirmation who just nodded back, willing to go along with whatever plan Blackwell had.

The Militari Northern-Frontier ran from the East River to the Hudson, along 59th Street, a four metre high wall of concrete and steel. A sheer cliff of tightly packed debris and scrap lined with guard towers and machine-gun posts. A platoon of Militari soldiers was always stationed on the walls, eyes always looking to the north and hands hovering anxiously over their machine-guns. The current platoon had been on duty for twelve hours and were about to be relieved by the next platoon, always working in half-day shifts atop the Frontier. The Major was sat in one of the small shacks built along the wall, leaning back in his chair and with his legs up on the table, flicking through the latest newspaper from the Termini. He glanced up from his reading as the sound of hurried footsteps drew closer, an out of breath soldier appearing through the door. The soldier put his hands on his legs and tried to get his breath back before speaking, the Major standing up and looking to him impatiently.

“Sir. Something out the other-side of The Killing Fields” He said leaning back up

“Creatures? Well why haven't you sounded the alarm?” The major demanded

“Well, these things aren't. We don't know what they are. But their not moving”

The Major slapped down his newspaper and sighed, picking his rifle from the table and slinging it over his shoulder.

Along the wall maybe half a kilometre away a small crowd of the soldiers had gathered, sharing a pair of binoculars and staring out at the new arrivals at the far end of Central Park and trying to speculate just what they were. The Major appeared behind them and snatched the binoculars from a soldier's hands and bringing them up to his full-face helmet and looking out. Four truck-sized objects sat motionless on 110th street, hard-edged and unnatural looking with a strange pattern over them.

“How long have they been there?” The Major asked, glancing across to the other soldiers.

“We think they've been there since last night sir, must have got there when we couldn’t see them.”

“Why didn't you inform me of this soo-” He was drained out by the sound of loud mechanical roars as the four objects the other-side of the park suddenly came to life, slowly dragging themselves forward and crushing the cars and the wall to Central Park before them. The Militari soldiers quickly ran to the nearest machine-guns and the ones who couldn't unslung their rifles, the Major quickly brought the binoculars back up.

The two Abrams tanks took lead of the charge, kicking up massive clouds of dust and sand around them as they picked up speed and thundered across Central Park, the Stryker and Bradley closely behind them. Within an instant every nearby Militari drone irked into life and swung their machine-guns round to face the armoured beasts, all firing at once and the rounds pining off them uselessly. The ground shook heavily as they got to top-speed, flying off the sand-dunes that had formed and smashing the blackened husks of trees. A rocket shot out from beneath one of the drones, arcing towards the leading tank and glancing off the side, spiralling up into the air and exploding without taking out anything.

“Sir! They've set off every drone at once, nothings ever done that before!” One of the soldiers exclaimed looking back to the Major who only stood motionless “Sir!”

The major shook his head and looked around the wall before to two of the soldiers “Arm the cannon”

“But sir, it's malfunctioning. It could explode on us with any shot-”

“I said arm the cannon!” He barked, the two soldiers glancing to each other and nodding quickly. They hurried down the nearest ladder off the wall, running over to the tarpaulin covered artillery gun, dragging it off and heaving over the cart filled with artillery shells. One of them pulled open the loading chamber before switching on a small screen attached to the side of the gun which was connected to various cameras set up along the top of nearby buildings, all looking north and giving them a clear view of the park. The other soldier grabbed a shell and loaded it into the cannon before closing the end and quickly stepping back, the first one slowly rotating the gun and aiming it through the screen before slamming a button and the first round storming out.

The artillery round smashed into the ground beside the first tank, sending up a massive plume of fire that immediately dissipated, dust and rocks raining down on the armoured vehicles which didn't slow or falter. Another round slammed down then another, eruptions of sand and smoke flying up into the air until finally one smacked straight into the front of the Abrams tank, orange flames licking across the surface before disappearing in an instant, only a small flame at the front where the round had struck. The soldiers along the wall panicked seeing the beast take a direct hit and not even slow, all of them at once beginning to fire.

The two tanks and two APCs drew closer and closer as bullets hit them from all sides fruitlessly. A barrage of artillery rounds falling all around them and all the crashed UAVs firing their machine-guns at once as small rockets flew out haphazardly at them, only a few hitting and doing little to no damage. All the Militari's weapons geared towards anti-personnel, never had they faced an armoured foe before. The major upholstered his pistol firing at the tanks and screaming as they neared 59th street and the Frontier. The four beasts came to an almost immediate stop just before the wall, and all the guns fell silent. The soldiers kept their rifles and machine-guns trained on the creatures, glancing to the Major for orders but he only stared on as well. The tank's turrets swung round to face different parts of the wall, the soldiers all taking a step back before a thunderous explosion erupted all along the wall as all four vehicles fired at once.

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