“Countdown” is a companion story (not a sequel or prequel) to “Departure.” I’ll have links to it once Amazon approves it!
(First chapter of a nearly finished post-apocalyptic, alien invasion, military science fiction novel. Not sure why I can no longer get proper formatting in these posts anymore…)
I watched the endless lines of humans allow themselves to be herded to their deaths from three miles away. The combat scope’s digital zoom was top-notch, and allowed me to see too much detail. A woman in a torn red dress, crying with two children clutched to her chest, a family of at least eight, most of the children still in their pre-teen years, a group of at least thirty senior citizens, all of them too dazed to resist as they were led like cattle to the slaughterhouse.
The building that housed the Kai ovens reminded me of a warped children’s toy, one invented by a sadistic madman. Instead of malleable clay being fed into one end and spaghetti or pizza coming out the other, this one took in human beings and belched out an oily, blackish-grey smoke that hung in the air like thick smog. I wondered if the Kai had bothered to learn some human history, then decided to pick one of the most terrible events ever recorded as a fitting end for us. We had no idea what the Kai had done to the Hanura, other than once the Wire had gone silent, their amusing voices no longer chattering on the network, we knew that they’d become part of galactic history. The same with The Seven, our other ally against the Kai. Maybe this was the way that the Kai always vanquished their foes.
A commotion to the right caught my attention and I shifted the scope. A Kai soldier had picked up a human in each of its two powerful hands and carried them toward the entrance of the furnace. The two Kai soldiers guarding the doorway stepped forward to block the mass of humans while their comrade dragged the kicking, screaming men inside the building. The soldier reappeared three seconds later, and began patrolling the area as if nothing had happened. I thumbed the power button on the scope and rolled over when the Kai began shuffling people into the incinerator again. I couldn’t watch anymore.
“How bad is it?” Sergeant McAdams asked me from a few feet down the hillside.
“The same as Denver, Salt Lake, and Great Falls,” I whispered down to her.
“Come on, let’s go,” she said.