Losing Davis (Walkers on Evac Finale - Herric)

By the time the next song rolled in, things were looking less fun.

”Kilo-Two-Three, pick up three mikes. What is your situation, over.”

She’d completely disregarded the battle map through the fighting. The little bastards were starting to learn how to hang on the vehicle and had been scaling the legs as best they could. Davis was, as of yet, still keeping them away from the cabin, but his barrel was running hot and at risk of melting under the intense heat. Worse, he had just loaded his last can.

On her side, she’d taken to running almost exclusively, only using the machine guns when a larger target presented itself. In avoiding the hills, she’d found her trail following a dry riverbed that snaked away from the fight. At some point another of the Gunnery Sergeants had taken over for the main force, but she couldn’t recall if she had asked him to or simply tapped a checkmark saying he was in charge now. Either way, the public feed was alive with evacuation confirmations, including the Navy CO's and her main gunner.

”Moving away from combat zone, leading numerous contacts. Running low on ammo. Bastards are climbing the legs. Any close air available?”

”Carryall is en route tracking you signal. I’ll see what I can do.”

So, they weren’t lost yet, but they were cutting it close.

“Davis! Evac in three! Save your ammo!” Alicia shouted freely back to him. No response, he was lost in concentration. “Davis! Cease fire!” It wasn’t an easy order to follow, but she needed him to listen to her. The aux stopped, and she could have sworn she saw a piece fall off. Without it rattling off rounds, she could finally hear the monsters scratching at the outer hull.

“Davis! Conserve ammo! Evac in three! Co-py?”

A small “Copy!” sounded behind her.

On the aux camera, she saw as a six-armed abomination without eyes crawled over the gun and tried biting the barrel, recoiling in pain from the heat, then scratching at the system with its claws, cracking the protective lens of the primary camera.

“Burst fire! Burst fire!”

Davis let the hijacker have a taste of what it wanted, throwing its flailing corpse from the hull. Outside, she was convinced that they were playing something made by Black Sabbath, but it was too obscure and she was too stressed now to hear it clear.

A violent scream cut the air in two, and her port camera showed the rise and fall of a massive target over the hill beside them. The giant monstrosity she had punished maybe ten minutes ago now, it had gotten back on its legs and was following them through the next valley.

There was a banging from the floor hatch behind her, seated between Davis and the empty seat belonging to McCormick.

She took the walker left, following a slight incline that led away from the monstrosity over the hill. It took notice and screamed again, taking to three limbs as it scrambled over the hill, the left arm tucked from severe damage she had caused.

The banging turned into screeching metal. They were trying to rip the hatch open.

“Herric!” Davis yelled, chambering the first round in his rifle behind her, “Off station, repelling boarders!”

“Copy!” she hollered back. She dropped the pace back down to a shooting pace with the center gun, spun the turret around, and fired a high explosive shell into the giant. It landed dead center, knocking the thing off balance and face planting in the dry riverbed below. She let her coaxial go cyclic on target, and heard the alarm as Davis unlocked the hatch.

The first thing she heard was a spike in sound from both music and monsters, then a long pair of bursts from Davis on his rifle. Inside the cabin, the sound was deafening, and only became worse when she fired the center gun again, knocking out the supporting arm of the giant that pursued them up the incline that had turned to mud in their wake.

The rifle fired another burst, Davis swore, and the insane screeching grew in pitch. There was a bullet-on-metal ping as one of the rounds caught the edge of the hatch. She had zero idea where it went after that.

Then, she heard Davis screaming murder. She spun in her chair and saw one had reached through and pinned him against the ceiling by his center. He was kicking and screaming fury at it, his rifle hung off him loosely by the strap. She drew her sidearm, and the ancient sound of a chemical-kinetic firearm sounded in the cabin, even louder than their rifles. Muzzle flash blinded her in the moments where bullet struck target, but she knew she hit it square in the grossly elongated skull as it screamed, the scream cut out, and both fell through the hatch.

“Davis!” she screamed, “Davis!”

The last she saw of him was vanishing into the horde, with several piling on like jackals. She slammed the emergency seal, cutting the arm off of the next that thought it could enter her cabin.

Alicia turned off from the struggling giant, lined the gun up on where the pile was growing, and punished the spot.

It was only then that fire began to rain down from the sky as the gunship escort engaged the masses below. She righted her turret, turned the whole mech around, and braced herself for all guns to fire, lining up on the giant as it dug up mud and earth in a desperate attempt to reach her. Standing still also cleared her to use her last line of defense, which required only the switch of a knob. Grey smoke billowed out the bottom of her vehicle, enveloping her entirely.

She waited on the trigger letting the smoke reach full volume. Then, the smoke ignited, and burned everything alive beyond the safety of the cabin. The wave of red washed over her cameras, signaling her to let the giant have the guns. One after the other, her coaxial going cyclic once more. She caught its head twice or three times in the opening salvos, leaving gaping holes of jagged bone and organic material she never wanted to ever recognize again. She didn’t stop until it was little more than a barely recognizable slump of grey matter, the flaccid white skin crisped and burnt by her shells.

By then, most everything else had been killed or driven off, and the Carryall was standing by attempting to hail her on open comms.

”Herric! We need to go! Get your vehicle in here!”

She retracted the braces, then walked off the field, entering the Carryall where incinerators went to work cleansing her exterior and struts locked her vehicle in place for transport.

Not more than ten minutes after she left atmosphere, the Archangel did the same to the planet's surface.

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