The onslaught at the southern flank was strengthening; it came in waves that pushed the comrades back farther and farther. Sharla tried to fire at the mecha that was advancing on her but nothing happened; her weapon gave off an unsatisfactory wheeze and quit on her. “Blasted umbrella!” she screamed above the battle to no one in particular. She closed the weapon and returned to the bunker, angrier than a single-toed sloth vulture.
Venzi looked up from the radar pad when Sharla slammed the door. “What’s up?”
“My weapon malfunctioned.”
Venzi rolled his eyes. “Do I have to tell you grunts everything? Go to the supply locker and get another one!”
Sharla growled. “Don’t you think I’ve done that?! My weapon ration is finished, this last umbrella stopped firing, and our comrades are getting slaughtered out there.” The protective contacts in her eyes flashed purple as her anger deepened. “Oh, but you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you Venzi?” she spat. “You sit in here all day, pushing us back and forth across the mecha line like chess pieces. You aren’t out there. You aren’t wiping your comrade’s blood off your hands because some mecha just ripped him or her to shreds.” She tried not to cry.
Venzi turned toward her and took off his 4-D goggles, exposing a deep scar where his left eye should have been. “I know all about front line, comrade,” he responded quietly as he replaced his goggles and walked over to his personal supply locker. He turned his back to protect his combination and after opening the portal, reached in and handed her a new umbrella. It was a style she had never seen before. “This is the newest model. I helped design it; the commandant figured I would be a good designer after my experiences, but that’s a story for another time.” He held the weapon out to her by the handle. “You can try it if you want.”
Sharla felt ashamed. “I am sorry, comrade; I had no idea…”
“And why would you? The battle goes on daily without me, but not really.” Venzi tapped the side of his head above his missing eye. “It rages in here, every hour of every day. I stay here, watching the panel, and try to keep each of my comrades from suffering the same fate I did.”
Sharla took the weapon and saluted. “Thank you for your service, comrade.”
Venzi returned to his radar pad. “Watch the southwestern flank; that’s where they are actually coming through. There’s a new dimensional rift there. Use that,” he pointed to the umbrella, “to close it and you should be able to surround the remaining mecha and defeat them.”
Sharla put her hand on the bunker door and looked back. “Coffee when I get back, Venzi?”
“Sure kid, sure,” he replied quietly, his attention fully on the radar pad before him.
A little 483-word glimpse into a battle of humans versus mecha, offered for this week’s InMon. I decided to incorporate two prompts this week (Ooooh! Aaaah!). Click my monster friend below to add yours.