J’karra continued to watch the lone gue’la wonder aimlessly through the forest as Ve’sa and Doran vanished on her flanks. Through the thick foliage, the human was the only presence that J’karra could detect herself. Yet the Shas’ui could not help but feel that there was something off-putting by the isolated warrior. She continued to observe with keen eyes through the her helm lenses as feedback came back from her other shas’la.
Ve’sa relayed through the comms. “I detect three other targets, shas’ui.”
Doran added. “Other targets confirmed, J’karra.”
J’karra grunted in satisfaction. “Any nearby structures that you can locate? We must be closing in on the facilities housing the orbital cannon.”
Ve’sa answered. “Affirmative. There is a minor bunker complex located a few dozen tor’lek’s from our position. It appears to have undergone concealment measures.”
Elan sighed. “A small outpost, then. Nothing of consequence.”
“I am not so certain.” J’karra replied. “These factors could indicate a subterranean facility. This could be what we are searching for. Even if the orbital cannon is not located near this particular bunker, they could still be connected in some way.”
Elan snickered over the comm. link. “Interesting theory. Only one way to find out, shas’ui.”
J’karra replied with another affirming grunt. “Ve’sa, Doran, proceed to engage located targets.”
Ve’sa and Doran intoned in unison. “Order confirmed, shas’ui. Engaging.”
Through the continuous patter of rainfall, abrupt staccato burst from invisible burst cannons stitched a path through the forest. The only remains of the cyan discharges were the tell-tale signs of hissing rain where water had touched super-heated energy and evaporated. Click-click-click. Click-click-click. The gue’la that J’karra had observed had no time to scream before he was shredded by the double-tap of Ve’sa’s weapon. The energy rounds tore through his fatigues like so much wet parchment. They exited through the other side of his body in burst of crimson mist. J’karra listened intently as she watched the carcass vanish into nearby shrubs. Click-click-click. Click-click-click.
Ve’sa was first to confirm her report. “All targets eliminated, Shas’ui.”
“Excellent work.” J’karra emerged into the clearing, Elan followed close behind her.
Ve’sa and Doran had spoken truthfully about the bunker complex. It was a small structure, no larger than one story and no wider than several dozen tor’leks. It had been created with the crude material the gue’la called ferrocrete and had undergone haphazard concealment modifications. The gue’la of Aloh Fio must have been primarily concerned with concealing the bunker from a distance and no closer. Her gaze assessed the strong metallic slab doors that barred them entry, however, and she contemplated on how best to remove it.
“Shas’la,” J’karra made her way toward the gate of the bunker. “Fall back into cover and assume combat positions.”
“J’karra,” Elan said. There was a note of concern in his voice. “Perhaps it is best to wait until the rest of the infiltration cadre and the Breacher Teams are on the ground?”
“Good point,” J’karra acknowledged. She halted just before the bunker complex and tapped her foot with impatience. “Do you see any points of observation on this structure? Strange, I do not have the nagging feeling that I am being watched.”
Ve’sa began to stomp off around the corner of the complex. “I’ll take a look around.”
The fire warrior had taken three steps forward before an ominous red light blinked into being atop of the bunker. J’karra only had time enough to blink and register the automated turret’s existence before the weapon spooled into life and unloaded a dozen shell casings in the blink of an eye. A frantic scream tore from Ve’sa’s throat for one fleeting millisecond before her body became a pincushion for a crude gue’la heavy stubber. Her stealth field evaporated in a wave of frazzled electricity and revealed her shattered battle suit, covered in blue gore and lying still upon the earth where it had strayed too close to the bunker.
“Back, Cold Inception! Back!” J’karra bellowed into the channel as the turret swiveled round to calculate her coordinates. She activated her jet pack, kicked the thruster in reverse, and glided backwards across the clearing back into the tree line. The fusion blaster in her hand kicked heavily, discharged a solid lance of sapphire toward the turret. She cursed herself as the blast narrowly missed its mark.
Elan and Dorn similarly utilized their jet packs and soared across the skies on trails of comet-fire.
“Damn, Ve’sa walked right into its sensors.” J’karra skidded back into dense foliage as her feet once again touched the rain-soaked earth. She deactivated her jump pack before she slammed back-first into a primeval tree.
Doran thundered. “Shas’ui, on your left flank! Another turret! Hidden in the underbrush!”
J’karra wheeled around to her right and squeezed the trigger of her fusion blaster on reflex. The area of dense shrubs that Doran had located detonated with a deafening crack and fiery explosion. The rain intensified and choked the flames. She heard similar explosions rock the earth around her, certainly Elan’s and Doran’s handy work as they eliminated targets before they could fire. Then suddenly another earth rattling boom shook the shas’ui to her very core. Another emerald lance of volatile energies shot upwards toward the sky.
“Don’t look now,” Elan quipped. “I think their bunker is opening!”
Siren wails mingled with the sound of tortured metal as the slab doors slid open. Beyond the gate, J’karra felt her pulse spike at the crude, alien obscenities being hurled into the air by at least two dozen soldiers. As the doors finally parted enough, more tattooed and ritually scarred gue’la poured from the crevice and into the clearing. Some protected themselves with the familiar flak armor that the Imperial Guard issued to its regiments. Others wore stranger, sleeker armor or charged out with nothing but their barrel chests to protect them against the xenos threat. J’karra’s calculating stare swept through them with one glance and counted several weapons of note: autocannons, stubbers, las-guns, and even hell-guns as the motley crew charged out with an air of caution.
Doran laughed. “I do not think they can see us. What are your orders, shas’ui?”
J’karra planted one foot firmly ahead of her body and unleashed another round of fusion blaster. Human heads craned in the direction of the noise and the brilliant flash of light. They promptly scattered the moment the first amongst them had his upper body obliterated by the blast. The second and third victims that remained behind him had half of their torso atomized and arm destroyed respectively.
J’karra gritted her teeth. “Engage.”
“Cold Inception to Unseen Moon, we are engaged by hostile forces. My drone is uploading our coordinates. Please, provide reinforcements. Up-linking predicted route to objective. Over.”