Power outage so this post was a little late coming today. Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend.
On to the story.
All rights are the intellectual property of the author. No part may be copied or reproduced without the permission of the author.
***Warning. The following story contains erotic elements, explicit language and violence. Read at your own risk.***
Ursus wheezed and coughed into his hand. He studied his palm. Inside, clots of blood the size of his thumbnail sat. His body ached, every muscle, every joint. He wiped his palm on his pants, grinding the blood in. He had two weeks. Tops. How could he let his heart overrule his head?
“You should have a doctor look at that.” A young officer, one of his squad leaders, nodded to the stain left on his pants. “All kinds of nasty things you can pick up in these swamps.”
“Yes.” He’d found the nastiest. The pale haired bitch could run, but he’d find her. Ursus ignored the rest of what he said and stared at the returning troops. He counted fifteen and waited. Ursus adjusted the com and called the squadron leader.
“Where’s the rest of the unit?”
The man pushed his hover-jet to the shore and swung his leg over, removing his helmet. He didn’t bother with the com. “You’re looking at it, sir.”
“You left with sixty.”
Ursus stared over the water. The rain poured down, drenching the already saturated troops. “Monsters?”
“Yes sir, and nets. The Kalos bastards trapped us in nets and let the monsters feast.”
Cold-blooded bitch. Ursus coughed and covered his mouth again. This was Kalos territory. His troops were fighting guerrilla warfare against a people that had learned to adapt to an environment that his people hadn’t even figured out. If he sent another unit after them, the casualties would be just as heavy, but he couldn’t wait. Time wasn’t a friend to the Kori.
Jarod knew it. All he had to do was delay and he could defeat them without a battle. Ursus had to bring the battle to him. “We have to go in another way.”
“What about air support?”
“Colonel Pilot disabled all the aircraft.”
“Why’d he do that, sir?”
Ursus debated whether to tell him why and decided the panic the news could induce would be worse. His troops would flee in fear of becoming infected with a plague they didn’t know they already carried. “That’s classified.”
“We’ll have to cut through the other side, by land.”
“Perhaps.” Ursus had an itch that raced down the back of his neck. Instinct told him that’s just what Jarod wanted. Flooding season was here, he’d have to head for high ground. Ursus studied the horizon and the mountain range in the distance.
Jarod wanted them deeper into his territory. If he were in Jarod’s place, that’s what he would do. Just chasing them through that range could take months.
Ursus coughed again. He didn’t have months. The young officer stood, waiting for orders. Ursus glanced into his eyes and saw the tell-tale copper spots. Hemorrhaging. No, they had days.
“Gather the entire division. I want all available land-craft and foot soldiers on the edge of that mountain range in two hours.”
“Sir that range is two and a half hours away in clear weather.”
“Then you better move.”
“The planet is under permanent quarantine. You won’t receive relief, nor will any further troops arrive as support. We are cutting all contact with you. We can’t risk this plague ever transmitting to our home world. If you survive, you’re on your own.”
Pilot nodded. It was over. As far as his home world was concerned, the troops were lost, this planet a bad memory.
They’d decided to cut free and leave the primitives and dying troops where they sat.
It was no longer important eradicating the Kalos or retrieving the stolen artifact that may or may not exist. As legend went, a thousand years ago a princess was murdered and a powerful weapon taken from her person, a weapon that could flatten the Kori home world and half the galaxy it occupied. After a thousand years, many doubted if the story was true. Many had already called it a story. Many decided to cut their losses and believe it. Perhaps the weapon never existed. Even Pilot had his doubts.
But the Kalos did have a weapon, it may not flatten worlds, but it could drop an empire into a grave. The off-world leaders couldn’t take chances. Soon all Kori people on this cursed planet and their families would die. He’d stood at this window, days before and made a decision.
It had been the wrong one. He doomed them to life or death on this world. His wife, his children would never see him again. Supplies would never come. Life as he knew it would disappear. Like much in history, they would become that, a lost division. Alive or dead. Lost.
The hospitals were already filling with the sick. Soldiers out in the field reported fevers, coughing up blood, dizziness and disorientation. It would only get uglier from here. Pilot ached inside and out. Blood leaked from his eyes and nose. A rag shoved in his pocket, stained bright red, witness to the illness.
It would only be a matter of time. He prayed to the gods the woman could be retrieved, but as each hour went by, Pilot feared it wouldn’t happen.
The Kalos king was no fool.