You are an unsung hero who stopped an intergalactic war from happening several decades ago. Now, a very persistent journalist has arrived at your remote home asking for an interview. [Part 2]

The Major had moved the squad into position from the drop point, avoiding the low pass and instead choosing to hump it over the top of the ridgeline. Any exhaustion Timish or the others felt was soon overcome by adrenaline as they looked at the lights of the city below.

Two million people had called it home. A cluster of mostly one or two story buildings surrounded the central core. The land here was too unstable to build anything taller. When the war had begun the Government troops had swept through this whole region, bussing out civilians and leaving behind the perfect breeding ground for the Squatters.

Major Danesh studied the scene through his suit optics, trying to pick out IR signals but the low jungle mist was rendering them useless. There was a fire burning in what looked to be the old town square.

“Lee,” Danesh said, crawling back from his obs-point. “Take Timish and Dawa and check the hospital. Command says that’s likely to be the rally point for these bastards but I want to make sure they’re in there before I commit.”

“Aye sir,” Lee said.

Lee nodded at his two comrades and they sidled down the narrow path, keeping a watchful eye out for sentries but finding nothing.

“Hey Lee,” Dawa said from the rear, “weren’t Ten-squad supposed to meet us at the RV?”

“Major didn’t get a reply over comms. They probably dropped over that second ridge, it’s gonna take them the whole night to hike it.”

“So why don’t we wait?” Dawa asked.

Timish tried to keep his gaze alert, but the conversation was distracting him. This was his third recon onshore. Nothing like a little time with dirt under your boots. Dawa nudged him forwards when he slowed too much, waiting for Lee’s reply which never came.

They reached the outskirts of the town and split to cover both sides of a street. Timish kept an eye out for open windows like he’d been told, but every window was just a gaping hole. Whoever had moved through here, be it the local military or the rebels that followed, had made a mess.

Approaching the small hospital Lee looked for signs of life. Activity. Anything. Making a judgement call he pushed closer still, determined to scout it out from the inside.

Stacking up by the door to the hospital, Dawa breached silently, the three men pouring in and covering all corners like they’d been taught. Lee and Dawa had done this before, many times, but kept their discipline. The one time you took a door at ease was the day some sonofabitch with a shotgun was waiting for you.

The corridors, like the streets outside, were a deserted mess. Blood had pooled and congealed on the tiles. Gurneys were left abandoned, though some had sheets that covered things Timish didn’t want to look at.

The three floors of the hospital were covered quickly and efficiently and Lee got on the radio to report the lack of contact.

“Six-squad-two to six-squad-actual, come in actual.”

There was nothing. Just static which meant the channel was active. Dawa called the others over to an adjoining room, looking out with his rifle scope over the town square. Lee followed suit and swore.

Timish took in a breath as he saw the bodies of his comrades. They were piled up together in the centre of the square, as if they’d died fighting back to back with no room for cover. It didn’t make sense. There was no way the Major would have led his men across open ground.

“Move out,” Lee said, all sense of professionalism gone. He wanted to get there and get there now.

They covered the few blocks at a fast jog, checking cross streets and rooftops but always looking at the flames in the distance. As they reached the square they began to hear the screams. Civilians, surely, crying out.

Prompt originally posted by cyberdsaiyan on reddit and received 1 upvotes.

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