Board (offline)



The Gathering Storm

Part Fifteen

The fighting had been fierce. General Kelda had managed to retreat his forces to the mountains, delaying the Ithkul advance by dropping mines as they raced across the Regullian plains. Several of the Harvester armored vehicles had been disabled attempting to cross the ad hoc minefield, but the majority of the division had found their way through or around undamaged.

Once they reached the mountains, Kelda had sent Colonel Elethiomel off with all the wounded and a small detachment with orders to hide. Now, Kelda had to make sure that the Ithkul would follow him rather than Elethiomel. So, with his very weak brigade, he was planning an ambush on an entire division. These were not the types of numbers the General liked to see.

Kelda looked through his image enhancers from his position on top of a plateau. A recon group was probing the valley below. General Kelda had his jamming equipment on, so the Harvesters probably couldn’t pinpoint his men’s position – although all the electromagnetic and hyperspacial radiation his equipment was producing told them that they were somewhere. The General could see that the harvester recon screen was being cautious, but not overly so. They still had him outnumbered and outgunned, so they had no reason to worry – they thought, reflected Kelda, a smile on his face.

As the Ithkul vehicles continued down the valley, General Kelda waited. Finally, when they had passed his final tank, the order was given: “Open fire!”

Energy beams and concussive weapons leapt out of the heavy foliage of the plateau toward the enemy vehicles. A dozen exploded in giant fireballs, sending debris scattering across the valley. The fight was now a fair one, by the numbers, but if there was one thing Kelda didn’t like, it was a fair fight. The Ithkul recon screen now knew exactly where his men were, and they began to maneuver, firing back. Two more Ithkul tanks were reduced to burning wreckage, but three of Kelda’s were also destroyed.

“Pull back,” ordered the General. “Continue to fire as long as they’re in range. Retreat ten kilometers northwest.”

His men began disengaging from the quick battle. Five more Harvester vehicles succumbed to the withering fire from his men, but so did three more of his tanks. The rest escaped – with the Ithkul following right behind them.


General Kelda’s forces fought valiantly for an hour and a half. But, the Ithkul’s superior numbers slowly tipped the battle in their direction. Kelda’s plans depended on staying one step ahead of the Harvesters, but that step continued getting shorter and shorter. Then, it became a half-step, a quarter-step, and then finally became nonexistent. Twice the Ithkul had nearly surrounded his armor, and only the human’s higher speed and quick thinking by the General kept them from being slaughtered.

However, Kelda’s luck had run out, it seemed.

The General looked at the cliff faces, kicking himself for his own stupidity. He had nowhere else to run. After the last lightning engagement, he had led his remaining forces down a valley that came to a dead end. He hadn’t had time to scout the area, nor had he had much of a choice of where to go.

Kelda squeezed the wheel of his vehicle in frustration – his cybernetic arm bending the material slightly with a force that would snap a man’s arm in half. He had lead a brilliant campaign up until this point, and now he was going to be killed – even worse, all the people he was leading through the mountains, all the people who were counting on him, were going to die, also.

He hit the wheel with his mechanical hand, deforming it even more. Well, if he was going to die, thought the General, he was going to take as many of the Ithkul with him as he could.

General Kelda’s forces hastily prepared for the coming Harvesters. The tanks hid behind anything high enough to protect them while being low enough to fire over. They only had a few minutes to prepare – the Ithkul were right behind them.

Kelda’s forces did not have to wait long. The first enemy vehicles came into view just as the last few of his tanks were finishing digging in. His men fired their energy weapons, resulting in two fireballs as two Ithkul tanks exploded.

The valley was soon filled with crossing energy weapons, massive explosions, and blinding smoke. The General heard his men screaming in pain as they were hit, frantic cries of “there’s another one,” or “Harvy tank firing!” and jubilant exaltations of “got another one,” and “scratch another.”

General Kelda fired his own vehicle’s weapon at an Ithkul tank, and was rewarded with the view of another exploding enemy. He turned, looking for another target…

His tank was rocked by an explosion. Kelda snapped around – a Harvester was less than 25 meters away. He slammed his vehicle into reverse, aiming his weapon at the new threat and pulling the trigger…

And watched as nothing happened. The last hit had knocked out his fusion beam.

The General cursed as he watched the enemy tank bear down on him – looked on as death approached…

And then paused…

And then retreated.

Kelda looked on in amazement as the Ithkul began pulling back. His radio cracked, and then he heard Colonel Elethiomel’s voice. “Don’t worry, General – reinforcements have arrived! I’d suggest that you pull back as close to the cliff as you can.”

The General grabbed his radio. “You heard the Colonel! Pull back to the cliff face. Elethiomel, I owe you a drink.”

A laugh could be heard over the radio. “You’ve got it, General. Just give me a few minutes to clear out these Harvesters.”

A shadow passed over Kelda’s vehicle. The General looked up and was shocked to see one – no, three Godzillas flying through the air. They had just taken a running jump off of the cliff, and were now coming down right on top of the Ithkul – with weapons blazing. Several enemy tanks exploded before the battleoids had landed. One came down right on top of a Harvester vehicle, crushing it under its incredible mass. The Ithkul continued retreating, with the three Godzillas chasing them.

General Kelda breathed a sigh of relief. He had seen death coming for him, and had avoided its grasp. Now, all that was left to do was to attend to his wounded and mop up the remaining Ithkul.

It had been a good fight, thought the General, but it was over now. The Regullian refugees would soon begin to return to their planet and what was left of their city. A lot of work had to be done – buildings had to be rebuilt, ships had to be repaired.

They had pushed back the Ithkul, but at a terrible price. Tens of thousands had been killed and the combined Human, Psilon, and Trilarian fleet had been decimated. It would take years before things were back to normal.

No, thought Kelda. Things were not ever going to be “normal” again. The Harvesters were out there, somewhere. The Confederation would need to fight them again, he had no doubt.

But, that was a job for younger men. General Kelda was 62 cycles old – too old for this sort of thing. He had lead his last campaign. He only had one thing left to do.

The General started up his tank and headed out of the valley, leading the survivors back to the command post. He hoped the Ithkul hadn’t destroyed his cache of Alkari whisky. He had a drink to share that evening.




Pardus - Free Massive Multiplayer Online Browser Game

Copyright ©2001-2009 All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Add The Master of Orion 3 Guardian to your favorites