The Rocknauts Part V
There was a deafening roar from the so called ‘defenders’ of this world. Metal engines screamed along with human voices, protesting horses, ringing swords, and popping composite rotor-blades. Safety latches were releasing in a wave sweeping back from the front of the line which ran three-hundred-and-sixty degrees around the visitors. There were braying camels and trumpeting elephants, clacking tracks and squeaking suspensions, leather, and rattling magazines.
In far off places, mostly underground, ‘leaders’ from many nations gathered around bright screens. Every monitor was filled with images from a thousand vantage points. A dark mass was constricting towards a central point on a bright background of sand. At the center of the convergence the desert seemed to be rolling outward in waves like water. A small blur of sparkles marked the exact center within an overlay of tactical symbols. ‘Point-zero’ was within a small red targeting icon.
In every hidden place around the world those who would call themselves the ‘Champions of Earth’ were trembling. In their fortified dens they soon began to feel another vibration. This low frequency rumble came from beneath their very feet. View screens began to flicker in time to those tremors. Lines of distortion broke down the images over and over and light snows of dust floated down in the eerie strobes. It was clear that no one felt safe in their ‘caves’.
Near ‘point-zero’ the air was suddenly populated by a thunderous cloud of projectiles. Contrails and compression streams marked the course of each and several waves more were already launching from the rear of the columns. A sing-song of various sized brass was rising up as all sorts of calibers were released.
The visitors were each tilting outward on their sonically-produced ‘bulge’ of over-excited sand. They were aligned perfectly so that one faced North, one South, one East, and one West. The bulbous protrusion from the desert floor seemed to be pulsing rapidly and shapes were forming deep within. In a mere moment the entire surreal scene was washed away by a searing rain of heavy metal ordinance. A shockwave of melting sand perpetuated outward towards the rapidly advancing line and ricochets along with badly aimed shots followed in close pursuit. Several spots at different depths in the sea of attackers exploded upwards in fiery blooms, or suddenly dropped downward towards the sand. A few flying machines even turned into showers of sparks and fragments.
The flames at ‘point-zero’ were still expanding outward and evolving into thick roils of black, acrid smoke when the next wave of missiles, sabot-rounds, bullets, mortars, and grenades arrived. The scream of destructive power focused into that small space could not drown out the throbbing that kept the sand lighter than it could ever be. That sound seemed to compress the very air into a jackhammer that battered every atom and shattered every train of sensible thought. The third wave of weapons fire was drowned out and with its passing all machinery came to a stop. A wall of hollering humans advanced thru the heat and began to disappear into the sound and sand. Only the flashes of small arms fire told the tale of what was happening. Pieces of weapons and warriors began to rain outward as steadily as they were sweeping in. Tanks began to deliver more sabot-rounds into the fray in utter disregard for the living wall thru which they had to fire. That wall of humankind continued to pour in, indifferent to the shells coming from behind. Helicopter gunships poured in missiles and mini-gun streams as they circled the ‘target area’. Sparks raced away in all directions and all manner of debris trailed close behind.
From the perceived safety of distance and depth, eyes watched in disbelief as screens distorted images to the point of illegibility. Lighting flickered in protest to the thrum of the very heart of the earth. In a micro-moment of clarity a shallow angle shot showed the atmosphere above the central Sahara bulging outward. A hyper-zoomed image showed that anything on foot was finally ‘expended’ and all forms of mobile machinery were charging in together. Aircraft crisscrossed the scene, delivering everything they had as each passed. The outpour was now consisting of pieces of that same machinery. Tank turrets, treads, wheels, were all raining down onto blackened sand in unidentifiable flaming heaps. Metal was melting and still, long range artillery and missiles were arriving. Errant pieced of jets spun out and drifted down, leaving smoky trails in lazy uneven arcs. Damaged rockets spiraled outward on far-beyond-predictable courses.
An opaque sphere of blackness was slowly growing larger. Flashes of detonations punctuated it all around in rapid succession and fingers of sparks, fireballs and energy arcs flowed like water in all directions. The bulge of the desert floor was obscured completely along with the visitors and man’s machines kept pouring into that hell. The wave-formed sand passed some point of liquefaction and the human propelled onslaught began to find its machines sinking into the sea of grains. A tall tower of smoke had already pushed up into the stratosphere and the inferno of metal that had birthed it showed no signs of abating.
With a sound like nothing else ever heard on this side of the galaxy a single wave pulsed out from beneath the massive dark behemoth of death. It rolled over the horizon and stationary artillery pieces miles away disintegrated along with their attendant personnel. Another higher pitched tone propagated a spherical pressure wave into the air. Everything inbound was reduced to multicolored puffs of powder. The cloud lifted from point-zero slowly and revealed the visitors still pretty much intact. A subdued resumption of long-range missiles began to once again obliterate the view after only a few moments. This time the detonations revealed a standing pressure wave around all four of the Rocknauts. Another was enveloping the sandy bulge below them. The ‘hourglass’ was a prophetic omen to all mankind. Time was running out and probably along with it, the patience of the four visitors.
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