Scene 15: Chidimma’s Scramble

This is written about a character that will actually be returning, though she is not a major character. She lives on the planet Oluchi, a semi-autonomous minority-majority planet within the Rzeczpospolita Polska (Republic of Poland), which is right in the path of the invasion path of the Great Horde of the Stars.

The Western Marches and the Horde

May 12, Year 454 SCC

The last in the line of people queued up for the shelter was approaching, but not fast enough. Chidimma could look up into the sky and see dozens of slowing objects coming toward the city, and she had no idea if they were bombs, mechs, or fighters. Though perhaps if they were slowing, they were not bombs meant to kill them all? She could only hope that was the case, and that the Horde were here for conquest rather than one of their raids of destruction–the last time one of those had come to Oluchi, one hundred eighty million people had died in the bombardments before the Republican and Knights’ combined fleet had knocked them back out of the system.

One of the older men tripped at the top of the stairs, only being caught by the crowd and being prevented from falling by the crush of people. She rushed over to help get him righted, and made sure his companions had a firmer grip on him. Hopefully he could make it to the underground elevators without another incident–it was only twenty-one steps, but with the jostling of the other people, it could be a difficult journey to make. Chidimma remembered having some perilous moments during drills as a child.

The objects in the sky were fast approaching, and Chidimma could now make out that they were definitely mechs–not the man-shaped figures of most human nations, but basically four-legged armored barrels, with weapons mounted on under- and over-slung arms. She knew from her year of compulsory militia service that they were larger than the OMN-1Ps or Omens, the Republic’s assault mechs, and crewed by three members of the small race that made up the Horde, but that they could be very deadly to even teams of mechs at anything but the shortest of ranges.

She noticed a child without her parents, and, seeing a panicky-looking woman in the crowd, pushed her way into the crowd. When she drew near, she shouted, “Are you missing someone?”

The woman, eyes wide with a fear that came from not being a Citizen and going through one of the Services to be trained in dealing with emergencies, nodded and cried out, “My daughter! She–“

Chidimma didn’t wait to listen, but dragging the woman out of the crowd reunited her with her daughter. The two were obviously relieved, but there was no time, as a giant shape came overhead, and all of them were struck by a wind from above. Several more people fell, and Chidimma and the other Citizens dove in to help, even as she–and probably they–were silently grateful the Horde mech had not landed any closer, or the casualties among those not in the shelter yet could have been awful. As it was, the giant construct landed three blocks further west.

The last row of people began making their descent, and the doors to the shelter began to close. Chidimma pulled out her Citizen Watch Leader’s communicator, and clicked the “enemy sighted at this location” button, just like hopefully other Watch Leaders were doing all across the city. Soon all of those people would be finished shuttling down the elevator to the shelter proper, thirty stories underground. Even a mass kinetic strike probably could not reach them there, unless the Horde meant to crack open the planet–and they were too conquest-hungry to do that. Kill millions or even billions of civilians to weaken an enemy power? Certainly, but not at the cost of an invaluable planet. It was practically the creatures’ religion, from what little she had understood of the Xenopsychology course she had been forced to take.

Fighters of a class she didn’t recognize took up flight patterns over the city, probably hoping the Republican Militia or the Army were stationed nearby, to start a fight with. But she knew there weren’t any units within a hundred kilometers. She didn’t know what Command’s plan was, and she could only hope that fighting back was somewhere in the cards. She didn’t want to live on an Oluchi under the power of the Horde, and she had no interest in fighting off alien soldiers without some armor or interceptors of her own.

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