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The Reaping: South American Front

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1 The Reaping: South American Front on Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:09 pm


This is a story I wrote for a role play event a couple of years ago. Would appreciate your opinions, specially lacking the overall context of it.





--------------------------------------

Cerro Paranal, ESO Very Large Telescope Array, Chile.
February 21, 02:00 AM

"Professor!!! Professor", yelled one of the undergraduate student as he ran towards the office. The woman in her early thirties came from her office, frowning at the commotion.

"What is it Jean Filipe?" She said, adjusting her glasses. As the young French student tried to regain his breath, panting in front of her.

"Professor Gutierrez , we... we just detected something incredible... You just have to see it!" He turned away and walked fast towards the telescopes, with the startled woman following close behind.

"What is it? if this is another small meteor..."

They finally stood with the other astronomers and she looked at the data. Alejandra Gutierrez swallowed scared. There were many objects in fast approaching vector towards Earth. As they calculated the trajectories, she focused on one group. They would be coming a few kilometers east of Eastern Island and head towards the continent.

"Send a message to UNTIL... I'll go to my office and make some calls."

This was it. Alien contact, and not of the friendly kind. She knew there would be something coming to threaten Earth, her friend Francisca had told her. The calls she had to make were far more important than contacting the Tribunal. As she locked herself in her office she materialized a discrete communication unit on her left wrist.

"Esta es Águila Sideral contactando a toda la red Cruz del Sur, tengo confirmación de la fuerza invasora."*

*"This is Aguila Sideral, contacting the Southern Cross network, there is confirmation of the invading forces"

https://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/vlt/


I

The fleet was advancing towards Earth, moving past the Moon quietly. The silence on the bridge was only broken by the beeping of incoming messages and new data gathered by the sensors. The Impaler was moving towards the south pole.

At the center of the bridge, General Xallantrya stood patiently, resting the weight of her body on her spear. She didn't need it, of course, but she preferred the gracefulness of a spear in her hands, than mere brute force. War was an art, and her movements with the spear were her masterpieces. She stood proudly, of average height for a Xellonian and a long and healthy mane, pulled in a high ponytail.

It was an insult. She had served well under Queen Celaera, but now the King dismissed her abilities. She was better than all the other generals, but her past service and loyalty was rewarded by sending her towards a low population area. And what was more insulting, her elite unit of half a dozen Battle Maidens was forced to accommodate the presence of four bloodthirsty brutes,just fresh from the agoge, eager to prove their worth, without the grace and elegance of her veteran and hardened Elite Unit.

The orders were clear too, wiping out an entire planet. She didn't liked it. What was the point on subjugating a planet just to wipe out all its inhabitants? Her Honor was already insulted by her own ruler by giving her a menial task, but as a good soldier she would follow the orders.

Her orders were to secure the southern continent, Antartica, but there was barely any life there, so she took her secondary objective and moved it up, as a primary. She would conquer the southernmost cone of the place called South America. Perhaps if there was some resistance, she would enjoy the pleasure of battle. Otherwise she would let the four brutes do as they please.

"Ensign, change the approaching vector, using that small and lonely island as a beacon." She said, while looking at Eastern Island. "We'll go to the mainland, and hope we find some worthy opponents."

*****

Caupolican was standing tall, proudly. Looking at the Pacific, from where the aliens would come. He was a giant of a man, standing at 7 feet tall, with long black hair, and naked torso, save for some straps and armored shoulders. The most distinctive feature was the scar running straight across his right blank eye. The fact he shared such trait with the historical mapuche war hero, gave credit to the theories that he was a reincarnation of sorts. Truth is, even he was ignorant of his true origins, it could just be coincidence, and be just a mutant. Made no difference to him. Hero to some, insurgent or terrorist to others, despite always acting to protect lives.

Behind him a large contingent of super beings was gathering. The fight would be hard since only a few of them were airborne. A small woman walked towards him, dressed in dark blue and white uniform, with a flowing white cape and blueish black hair. Her darker skin and factions showed the related ancestry. Laura Huenuman was also of mapuche descent. A weather controlling mutant. "Aguila said that the meeting will start shortly, come."

He looked down at her and nodded, turning and moving to meet the others. Some were friends, other foes and in a few cases they were both, depending on the situation.

A strong but not particularly muscular woman, dressed in a subdued golden costume, combining lighter and darker hues of the color, with a cat tail waving from side to side, giving away how anxious she was, turned and smiled at them. "Glad to see you both." She then drew her small claws, the nails of her fingers extending a few inches. She look at them for a moment and shook her head. She took the martial arts metal claws hanging from her belt. Those were lethal, her own claws could be as well, but she knew how to control how much damage and wounds she inflicted with those. The fact she was preparing the long Questionite claws and securing them to her wrists showed what Puma's disposition was for the fight.

They all looked seriously at each other. This was not a fight against VIPER or Terror Inc. This time they will have to fight a war, and for some of them the idea of killing was hard.

At the center of the gathering was a small group. UNTIL Commander Sergio Carrillo was given command of Chilean and Argentinean armed forces, along with his UNTIL troops. Aguila Sideral was standing next to him, with her black, blue and gold uniform that seemed to sparkle constantly. Towering over them was a muscular Atlantean. Light blue skin, slightly scaled, a deep green mane covering her head and big solid yellow eyes, that looked worried. Anemona was in full armor, holding a golden trident.

"Only four others of my colony can breathe air, but if we can lure a few of them underwater, they will be overwhelmed by our forces." Carrillo nodded. "If we are able too, that would give us a few more chances that we don't have right now. What about you, Aguila?"

"The whole Cruz del Sur is here, and I contacted the GDF too, Senhora Brasilia and her team will work protecting the upper half of the continent. Seems they have 2 or 3 ships heading their way. Local heroes from all the other countries are joining her and following her leadership for this. We'll try to stop the ones heading here and avoid them getting a third front to worry about."

It was true. The Cruz del Sur network responded in full. It was a loose association of heroes, not a proper super group, but they worked well together, for the most part. The size changing and super strong Aconcagua; Volcan and his magma blasts; Terremoto with his earth controlling powers; Antu*, the sun powered mutant; Copihue the mistress of plants and nature and a powerful healer; Cazadora Esmeralda, the fierce archer and transgender advocate; the speedsters siblings Relampago and Centella; Ventisquero, the ice controller; the super acrobat Chinchilla; and of course Tralka, Puma and Caupolican. There were also a few independent heroes and a few villains.

They also had UNTIL troops and defensive equipment. Sadly the Sky Carriers were all sent to reinforce the Brazilian position, since there was more population to protect up north. And the alien vessel would be in range of the weapon emplacements in roughly 30 minutes.

***

"We are in range to start bombarding the major cities, General."

Xellantrya observed the screens for a few moments, silently. "Move inside the atmosphere, and just aim at the defenses. There is no point or honor in shelling civilians. The virus will wipe them out anyway. Just keep the ship outside their range."

The ensign looked back, knowing that the General was modifying the orders, but it was not his place to point that out, not if he wanted to remain alive, that is.

"Inform our four... guests that they can start their assault. I'll go and prepare for battle... if something worthy of my attention comes up."

****

Tanks were flying around, as explosions framed the early night. The defense was not going well. The four aliens flew right into the middle of the UNTIL forces and immediately began to wreak havoc, killing anything in their path.
The aliens did not seem to slow down at all. Caupolican and Aconcagua were busy and hard pressed to just draw the attention to one of the alien warriors. Anemona, Ventisquero and Antu were also aiding on this, trying to contain or distract them. Antu was glowing bright yellow, hoping his sunblasts would slow the aliens a bit. This was a nightmare. Caupolican and Aconcagua were very experienced and resistant bricks, yet it seemed impossible for them to draw all the attention towards them. Both were bruised and injured but kept going, that was another new sight for Antu. His power blasts should be enough to stop an army on its tracks but at best it worked to negate the purple energy beams the alien shot at them.

Aguila should be there helping them, she had the power to make a difference, but her ability to maintain a large force field made her ideal to hold the command and medical field. Copihue was in the middle, letting her spores heal anyone who needed it.

Anemona engaged in a formidable single combat against one of the invaders, using her golden Questionite trident to counter his attacks. As a mutant Atlantean she was very strong, almost as much as the invaders, and had the resistance to endure a long fight, but she was not a killer. Even now she was pulling her attacks and that was giving the advantage to the Alien.

Relampago and Centella were moving fast around the aliens, trying to distract them, creating small tornados around them or hitting them with enough speed for them to feel it. It worked sometimes, and they were lucky to be faster than any of the invaders. Ventisquero produced tall walls of ice to protect the soldiers and sometimes trapped the alien warriors in blocks of ice. That gave them all a bit of a pause, but it didn't took the aliens a minute to break free from that temporary prison.

The last warrior was just on the loose, single handedly destroying the armed forces, as if they were mere toys.

A rock column erupted in front of the alien and formed a giant hand, punching him, over and over again. Terremoto was using his best attacks, raising rock walls between him and the alien and letting the earth itself be his weapon. Volcan threw hot magma blasts at the alien who just seemed unfazed by all of this, his armor was slightly scorched and dented, but his advance was relentless. A sonic arrow exploded near his head and he lost his footing, briefly. It was not enough to harm him, but seemed to be good enough for a distraction.

Up in the skies Tralka was summoning storms, using lightning to intercept the shells fired upon them by the alien ship, while a shield of super compressed air surrounded her and kept her safe, for now.

The Xelloran had enough of the sonic arrows, they were just giving him a headache while he was trying to enjoy the carnage he was performing. He quickly located the woman who dared to use such primitive weapons against him and walked towards her, tearing down the annoying rock barriers that appeared on his path and just shrugging off the mildly scorching magma blasts.

Cazadora, knew she was no match to the alien in close quarters so she engaged her stealth suit and tried to flee, but before she realized it there was a big strong hand around her neck, lifting her above the soldier who looked at her. A small, taunting blast of purple energy came from his eyes as he destroyed the stealth generator on the archer's belt.

"You are a worm... you are lower than any of the ones fighting me and earning their honor... you are pathetic, Terran. Using such primitive weapons... just touching you would be enough to dishonor me... killing you would shame me forever. Go and die with the other vermin and stop ruining my moment of glory!"

He threw her far away and forgot about her. Daniela was trembling. She was sure that the alien would kill her but, he considered her below contempt? That stung. Fear was quickly going away and replaced by anger and determination. She will show this alien not to underestimate her, and she darted towards the command center, with murder in her eyes.

The Warrior moved towards the blurry trails of the speedsters, ignoring the meaningless attacks of the human soldiers, occasionally blasting them with purple energy, making several tanks and missile launch platforms explode around him. He had enough time to observe the pattern of the speedsters and lunged into the trail of one. The fair Centella never knew what happened. her lifeless body fell at the feet of the Xellonian warrior with a fist sized hole in the middle of her stomach.

The heroes screamed. One of them has fallen. Relampago cried as he saw his sister lying dead on the ground. He cried and started running. He ran towards the ocean and disappeared.

"That is right cowards!!! Run away!!! You show no honor!" Roared the Xellonian warrior.

Heavy machine gun fire was falling on the alien, after he killed Centella. He barely noticed and did not cared for the old man in black and silver armor firing at him.

Husar de la Muerte cussed at himself. None of his standard arsenal was helping, and he doubted any of the energy weapons would fare any different. He was too old, and retired. Why the hell was he doing this?

He was an old soldier with great training. Terrorist or freedom fighter, it didn't matter at the moment. He summoned another weapon via teleportation. The Heavy energy gun was more powerful, and the Xellonian seems to have felt it. And laughed at it. Sure this one could hurt the alien. Eventually. Husar then started to consider more desperate options.

A cracking sound of thunder came from the mountains and what appeared to be solid light ran past the alien, a cracking sound was felt, and the plate covering the alien's torso shattered to pieces. It was the first breakthrough they had so far, and all the ones able, focused their fire on him.

"That is better Terrans!!" He roared and lunged towards some heavy tanks nearby.

Relampago moved fast, grabbing the body of his sister and took her towards the command center.

"Copi... please... please... bring her back... bring her back"

Copihue looked at her friend's body and then at her brother, still clutching her corpse. "I'm sorry Alejandro… she's gone... I can't... I can't bring her back" tears flew from her solid green glowing eyes, as she saw Relamapago just slump there, too consumed by grief to be of use to the team. "Rest here for a bit... we will still need you."

****

Cazadora arrived to the command center and began to look into the case with special arrowheads she brought with her. She had expected that she would not need them. And in truth, none of them would have any effect on the aliens.

"Aguila... my attacks are useless against these guys... and I need to replace my stealth generator" She quickly grabbed one of her backups, feeling a bit more comfortable with its presence.

"I know Dani... I know... but as long as the ship keeps bombarding this position, I have to stay here keeping the shield up. Just help with the wounded so far. Tell the same to Husar. Don't think his weapons will do any better than yours."
Despite all the efforts by the heroes, the four Xellonian warriors kept destroying the weapon emplacement. Annihilating entire platoons with just a couple of shots of their purple energy.

*****

Caupolican with his powerful muscles and nigh impenetrable skin was faring better than the others. Aconcagua was aiding him, using the advantage of his towering form, just as tall as a building right now, and transformed into living rock. Anemona was also able to contain the alien she was fighting, thanks to the help of Ventisquero, that made sure to give her a break by casting small ice crystals that quickly melted into a soft rain, keeping her moist for the fight, and by encasing the alien in ice blocks. Both teams were just delaying the inevitable, but faring far better than their comrades or the soldiers.

The barechested warrior moved from destroying the Heavy Artillery and killing soldiers, to move up and start attacking the fighter jets that kept firing at the alien ship, with very little effect.

Puma, Chinchilla and Antu moved towards the other Xellonian. Antu opened with a barrage of sunblast, strong enough to hurt the alien. Chinchilla jumped around, ready to distract the big brute, while throwing smoke grenades to disorient him. Finally Puma moved fast from behind, using the Questionite claws to slash at the Alien Grunt.

The fight was uneven. The Alien quickly grabbed Puma, who was starting to peel the back of his armor, and charging his hand with purple energy, he snapped her right arm, letting the woman fall, then turned to the annoying jumping man and blasted him. Chichilla was agile, but that wasn't enough to dodge the attack. A purple smoking carcass fell at the feet of the Invader. Antu cried in rage and began to fire concentrated sunbeams at the alien.

At that moment Puma stood up and laughed at the alien, adjusting the position of her arm and in a matter of seconds flexing her fingers as if nothing had happened to her. "You will have to try harder... I can do this all night." She lunged at him, scoring a hit on the alien's face, cutting through his helmet and breaking it. The Questionite claws proving invaluable. As the pieces of the helmet fell down, they saw that the claws had also carved out the left eye from the Alien and left a bloody triple mark on his face. But he was smiling.

"Impressive little one... Let's see how well you can heal from this..."

With an unnatural speed he grabbed Puma and first snapped her arms, just by squeezing them with enough force. Then he ripped them. The cries of pain were felt for miles as the alien gleefully removed the arms from her sockets, and then went to snap her legs.

Antu could not stand this and flew so fast towards his friend that he looked like a beam of pure sunlight, grabbing Puma's shaking body and taking her quickly towards the command center. She could regenerate most wounds, but never had she been subjected to such severe trauma. She may die just by the shock, so he had to move fast.

The alien looked around for a new target and found one. One of the humans was controlling the land beneath their feet with a surprising ease. He would make a fine war trophy. The Xellonian walked with a gleam on his eye, directly towards Terremoto. "You fight well Terran. Now I'll honor your efforts with a warrior's death!" Before anyone could react, the invader, the monster flew towards Terremoto and just punched him. The lifeless body of the hero fell down, while his head flew several meters away.

"He killed him... he killed Gabriel..."

The shocked voice from Volcan informed everyone on the communicator channel. An eerie silence gripped every single one of them. Then a cry, a single cry of rage and anguish. Volcan has never been this furious, in all his thirty years as an active hero. He always had to be careful to not burn criminals or super villains too much, to use just enough power to defeat them without permanent damage. This was different, this beast just killed his friend, so casually. And he was laughing, laughing hard, apparently enjoying the blood that splattered over his face and over his armor.

For the first time Volcan let go of himself, he let all his power concentrate on his body, making it glow, red, then orange, then yellow and slowly turning blue as he summoned more and more power and more heat. The soldiers that were close to him had to ran away, just the air surrounding the grieving hero was enough to burn flesh to a crisp. And then he released all of this power, the normal magma blast now pure plasma, as hot as the one from a blue star.

The alien laughed at the emotional burst. He knew how the barely scorching attacks of the flying Terran felt, and he was not impressed, it barely scorched his armor. He had nothing to fear from someone like this pathetic terran, so he turned to face the hero and jumped on his direction, ready to deliver a similar blow to the one he gave to the terran's friend.

The white and blue plasma beam hit the Xellonian directly, quickly engulfing his whole body as he kept moving to score a second kill. The hit never came. A scorched skeleton with a melted armor fell in front of Volcan, whose eyes were aching as tears welt his cheeks.

*****

On the bridge of the Impaler, General Xallantrya lifted an eyebrow. The Terrans fell one of the warriors. That was impressive. Perhaps she would see some action after all. She would have to test them first, of course.

The fight was getting interesting for Xallantrya. If the Terrans managed to defeat the other three soldiers, then she will know that her elite team will find a good and worthy opponent amongst them. Besides, seeing those four arrogant pups, fresh from the agoge, being defeated would show the others. She handpicked her troops for a reason. They complimented each other and every new addition was followed by months of training. Adding new members before a major battle was unwise, from her point of view.






















II

Aguila reviewed the reports, tears falling down her cheeks. Her force field was still standing, despite the constant bombardment of the alien ship. It had destroyed most of the defensive emplacements, despite the best efforts of Tralka to destroy the shells in mid air. The weather controller was sitting behind her, recovering her strength, while Copihue was tending to the injuries of a few lucky soldiers that survived the first strike.

The reports coming from the northern front were devastating. Two Sky Carriers were lost, as well as one third of the active members of the GDF. Senhora Brasilia was barely standing, and her usually calm voice was shaking when she sent the reports. At least they managed to stop an entire force of the invaders, but a third ship was approaching them. Of the independent heroes that joined in the defense two thirds were dead. Some of them were her friends and allies, despite the different nationalities.

Of her own group; Chinchilla, Centella and Terremoto were dead, Puma and Relampago were not able to return to the fight just yet. According to Copihue, Puma's regenerating factor will allow her to re-grow her lost limbs, but it would take weeks. Relampago was still in shock about losing his twin, and she couldn't blame him. Many other heroes have died as well. Some she barely knew, and even some villains have joined the fight, but nothing seemed to change the tides for them.

More than half of the total forces led by UNTIL were wiped out. The ship kept advancing, hauntingly slow, as if it were just taunting them. Anemona, Caupolican and Aconcagua were the only ones strong and durable enough to contain the three remaining aliens. She knew that wasn't enough. They will grow tired and then, despite all their power, they could be killed. With a heavy heart and as the official acting leader of the Cruz del Sur she knew the only possible course of action.

"Commander Carrillo... tell your men to withdraw... all of them. There is no point on having them die for nothing. Conventional weapons are not slowing the aliens down. Take the wounded and help in the evacuation of civilians. Cruz del Sur will take it all from here. We will cover your retreat, whatever it takes."

The UNTIL commander looked at her and nodded. "We'll remember your sacrifice, miss... it has been an honor." He saluted her and moved to lead the retreat and evacuation of the wounded.

***

Volcan was breathing hard. After defeating, killing, the alien warrior, the other three seemed to focus on him, firing their purple energy, but he was able to dodge most of it. His left arm felt numb but he could still use it. The bricks of the group were doing their best to contain 2 of them, but that still left the barechested warrior that was tailing him. His magma blasts were not enough to slow down the alien, and he didn't had the time to attempt another super charged plasma attack while being tailed like this.

Antu, Husar and Cazadora were trying to distract the alien, but so far they were not being successful. "Antu, you should try charging up your attacks like I did... that may help us." said Volcan while still dodging the bare chested warrior. Husar planted himself firmly on the ground while firing an energy cannon at the alien. Still not very effective, but he could see how it was leaving bruises on the exposed flesh of the alien. Far better than anything he had tried so far. Cazadora, kept firing the distracting sonic arrows, knowing it would enrage the alien, while thinking on the special gift she brought with her, safely put on her belt.

"I can give it a try." Said Antu and he began to draw all his sun power, focusing it on a thin coherent light beam. It worked. The alien fell to the ground, and they all cheered.

It didn't last long. The alien grunt stood up slowly, bleeding from his right shoulder, his arm hanging loosely. "You think this will stop me maggots? I don't need both arms to squash your pathetic resistance"

Volcan turned and began to charge another blue plasma beam, only way he could stop the Alien, once and for all. He prayed that he still had the energy to pull that off. Slowly glowing and changing in the color spectrum, moving once more towards the blue.

He saw the alien leaping towards him, or maybe flying. The scene was repeating itself. He will fire the blast, but still not ready, not fully charged. Pain. The alien hit him at waist level, using his arm like a lariat. Was hard to concentrate. He could still make that shot, but he had to look down. His legs were laying on the ground in a pool of blood as he was still flying.

The scene was a gruesome one. The alien cut Volcan in half with his left arm alone. Legs fell first and a few seconds later the upper half of the veteran hero followed suit.

"I have bested your fire warrior!! You have nothing else that can harm me. Accept your deaths with dignity, Terran warriors!"

They were all paralyzed. Standing still as they contemplated their comrade's fate and the taunting and mocking alien, casually walking among Volcan's remains. Cazadora shot her arrow, and the alien focused on her. Annoyed "I told you that you were not worthy... but no one has to know, right?"

It was pure instinct and all the pent up rage and hurt of seeing her friends and mentors falling before the invaders. She took the vial-like arrowhead from her belt and secured it. Took aim, just as the Alien walked towards her, still talking, saying how worthless she was. She had heard insults like that before, just for daring to be alive and to be herself. The arrow left her bow and hit the back of the barechested alien's throat. Green fumes came from his nose and mouth, and he coughed and then looked at her enraged.

Cazadora slowly lowered her bow. She did not move. Just looking at the alien as he walked towards her. This was her last gambit, and she knew that if it failed, running away would not work for her. She was, after all, just a normal human with an uncanny skill.

The foolish human dressed in green tight stealth armor was standing in front of him, not even trying to save her life as he approached, ready to kill her. She even lowered her weapon. His feet stopped responding. He fell to his knees just 20 meters away from the pathetic archer. Why? The pain. Something on the fumes? That couldn't be. Poison should not affect him.

The others looked wide eyed as the alien began to convulse on the ground in front of them, his eyes going blank and foam escaping his mouth. It looked painful and beyond horrible.

"Neurotoxins, motherfucker..." The archer said and turned away. The adrenaline hiding the fear. Years ago she destroyed a full batch of that neurotoxin being developed by VIPER, but she kept a couple of vials for study and safe keeping. Today that paid off. She thought that taking a life would make her feel dirty, that she could never do that. The previous events of this day, the many soldiers that died and her fellow heroes and even villains. It made things look different. She'll never kill a criminal. Alien invaders was a whole different thing though.

***

Caupolican was tired. He has been trading blows with the alien for hours now. They were closely matched. Except for the purple energy beams. Those hurt. That was the thing tipping the fight towards the alien. Anemona and himself were almost as strong as the invaders, but the added bonus of using that strange purple energy made them far more versatile. While not as strong, Aconcagua while in his living stone form was even more impervious to damage, and the taller he grew the stronger he became.

And that was the problem right now. They were all so tired, muscles aching, and the towering Argentinian-Chilean hero had dropped the stone form, exposing his flesh. Still as tall as a 20 story building his strength was more than adequate to contain one of the Aliens, but finally gave them an opening.

The alien warrior in front of him, was bleeding from his nose, his armor was dented and was smiling, enjoying every second of the battle. Eyes glowing purple and spamming energy attacks to push the uncannily resistant Terrans away for a few seconds. That's when he lunged at the giant that had been a torn on his side for the last hours.

Despite his size, Aconcagua managed to dodge the incoming Xellonian. That was good, since the alien would have probably destroyed his chest. But he was not fast enough. A giant arm fell to the ground cut just above the elbow, while the shocked and screaming hero fell backwards and by mere reflex returned to his normal size.

"Aconcagua is down... emergency extraction... NOW!!" boomed Caupolican to the com-link, just as he tried to contain the alien in a bear hug. "Need all the help here!"

Relampago perked his head up after hearing the message and still shaking and in shock, began his run. Faster than he has ever been. His sister died and many good friends. Won't let that happen to Aconcagua. He darted in a dash of blue light, grabbing he mercifully unconscious growing hero and took him towards what was left of the command center. Only a few people remaining there, finishing the evacuation. Copihue took the fallen hero and stopped the bleeding. Sadly he won't be recovering his lost arm. "Put him with Puma, for extraction." she said softly.

"I'm going back in... I can't let them do this... not anymore" and the speedster ran away. He went for the one alien battling Caupolican. The kinetic force that he gathered by running around the whole planet made the cracking punch something otherworldly. It was not just one, but millions of hits everywhere on the body of the alien. The complete armor cracked and left him standing almost naked there. And then the concentrated sun blast from Antu hit him on the chest, scorching it. The sonic arrows disorienting him and putting him off balance.

Finally a massive concentrations of lightning fell from the sky frying the disoriented alien. Tralka came down to help her friends. With the retreating army, the alien ship was not firing as much as before, leaving her free to act. And she brought with her all the fury of the weather.

The alien fell to his knees and his eyes began to glow purple, preparing to blast the insolent Terrans, but he was stopped by a solid punch by Caupolican. They were both injured now, and on far more equal footing, and Caupolican was letting it all go. Not giving the alien a moment of respite, now that he could punch directly into his body instead of the armor.

"You've been fighting me all afternoon, Terran... you can't win"

Grunting silently Caupolican kept the pressure of his assault on the alien while his friends teamed up on him. A few meters away Ventisquero and Anemona were doing their best to prevent the last alien to help his comrade. There was only one thing to do. Caupolican grabbed the Alien by the throat and struggled with him, trying to break his neck in an almost animalistic fashion. The barrage of attacks from Antu, Cazadora, Tralka and Relampago keeping the Xellonian disoriented and unable to act quickly enough gave Caupolican all the time he needed. CRACK!. The alien's body fell down with a broken neck, the head twisted in an impossible angle.

They all turned towards the last of the aliens. He was frowning and looked at the fallen comrade. A Terran has broken his neck. That shouldn't be possible.

A soft voice came from above, a woman dressed in black and red and golden, with white stars shinning along the black of her costume. "Surrender and in the name of Cruz del Sur, you'll be treated fairly."

"Surrender? Don't you know about honor, woman? You'll die first!!!" He quickly discharged his deadly purple energy at the flying woman. No one could react to that and the energy quickly engulfed her.

"That was refreshing... thank you. Maintaining that energy field all this hours really had me drained." Said Aguila Sideral as she clearly looked energized after that attack. "With most of the troops gone, my force field is no longer needed. Surrender now."

The alien could not stand such an arrogant attitude from a mere Terran woman, and lunged at her only to be stopped by a solid wall of ice. That pesky human has been bothering him the whole afternoon and so he switched targets, aiming to get rid of the ice controller.

Anemona moved fast in front of Ventisquero, raising her trident in a defensive position. It was too quick for the alien to change course and soon he was gurgling and spitting blood as the three blades of the trident entered his neck and were visible from the back of it. The alien quivered for a few more minutes and finally died, impaled on the trident of the Atlantian warrior.

They all took a long breath and smiled at each other. The four aliens that caused so much destruction were defeated. Now they just had to take care of the alien ship, still floating way up high above them. Copihue joined them as they all saw fit to kneel down and rest, and she tried to heal them all. The final battle against the ship needed them all on their best.

****

The General saw the images from the bridge of her ship and nodded in approval. These Terrans would prove worthy opponents, and they will all gain much honor in fighting each other.

"Move the ship down. Time to greet the Terrans formally"
















III

The remaining heroes of Cruz del Sur stood over a hill, overlooking at the ocean and taking a moment to heal, thanks to Copihue's powers. Bruises and other wounds closed and they all felt a bit rejuvenated.

Aguila looked at the ones present. Antu, Caupolican, Tralka, Cazadora Esmeralda, Copihue, Anemona, Relampago, Ventisquero and Husar de la Muerte. What remained of her team.

"We'll do our stand here and take that ship down. Then we'll engage whatever is inside." She looked directly at Cazadora and then at Husar. "I'm sorry friends, but you can't remain here. I'd rather you be safer overseeing the evacuating than around us."

Cazadora nodded. She knew she had nothing more to add and would just be a liability. "I'll be waiting for you all when you return triumphant" Anemona and Tralka moved to hug the emerald archer while Caupolican put a protective hand over her shoulder.

Ventisquero coughed and walked in front of her, extending his hand "Daniel... I mean... Daniela... I'm sorry for being a jerk about you and... your life... all these years." She took his hand and nodded "We'll talk about it later... now just give them hell..." She looked at her friends and took a sigh. Sadly for this battle her arrows have proven ineffective for the most part. "I'll take care of Puma and Aconcagua..." and with that she engaged her stealth unit and went away.

Husar looked at the scene and nodded "I could stay behind, give you tactical input. I'm an old soldier." He laughed and looked were the archer was a few moments ago "Let the young ones still live. You do not expect to make it Aguila..."

"No I don't... for all we know that ship could have twenty more of those soldiers and if that is the case... " she trailed off and then moved her hand towards her ear.

****

"Commander Bazil, the alien ship is approaching the position where the landers are stationed."

"Good, tell all the warriors to prepare. We are going to be fighting on the surface. Let's hope our help will make a difference"

He turned and looked at the warriors behind him, all swimming in perfect formation, ready for the upcoming battle. Five hundred Atlanteans ready to protect the lands near their colony.

****

The Impaler was moving fast towards the battlefield were the heroes from Cruz del Sur were awaiting. Suddenly the controls of the proud spaceship stopped responding. A Massive storm has formed around the ship, a furious tornado and a barrage of lightning strikes, violently hitting the ship, damaging the engines and forcing it to crash land on the beach, just below the hill were the Heroes were awaiting.

The figure of Tralka descended from the skies, her eyes crackling with electricity. The Aliens never expected that the weather could become so extreme. The heroes did not expected the swift and quick response either.

Five figures wearing white armor and helmet flew from the ship following one who clearly seemed the leader. Same armor, but no helmet, just her hair in a high ponytail, and carrying a long spear. Before the heroes could reach she grabbed Tralka by the neck and threw her towards the ground.

"You dared to damage our ship, Terran? You'll pay for this act of defiance"

Copihue immediately tried to use her control over the flora to make a plant bed for Tralka, to caught her before she hits the ground. She partially succeeded but as the weather controlling mutant hit the ground and the dust settled, the others saw her head twisted in a painful way, convulsing, yet still alive. Her neck was broken. Dropping every caution, Copihue ran to her friend and used her healing powers to stabilize her, trying to set the neck in its place and mend the damage before the injury proved fatal.

All of them took defensive positions and the two fliers, Antu and Aguila, rose to the skies. As he began to shoot sun blasts at the aliens, weakening their personal shields a bit, Aguila shielded her friends on a force field, specially Copihue and Tralka. She would not let another of her friends die today.

The Alien warriors stood motionless for a time, observing the heroes, formed in a V pattern with the General at the tip of it. And then they moved in unison, as if they were one body. All six of them shot their signature purple energy at the force field, testing its power, noting that even the combined attack was not enough to dissipate it.

Xallantrya raised her right hand and signaled her troops towards the right. Immediately the three at the back moved to target the heroes that were on the ground. They never broke formation, making it hard for Anemona and Caupolican to properly contain and delay their onslaught. Ventisquero's ice traps just offered a few seconds of respite and he was too tired right now to create them as often as before.

The general led her remaining two followers on a direct attack at Aguila, to force her to drop the force fields protecting her allies. Only thing that still allowed the weakest ones to still remain alive. She used her spear to channel her purple energy, shooting at the heroine, followed by the two behind her, Yrania and Drexia. As the energy hits the heroine, she shakes but start glowing brighter, and the strength of the force fields seems to increase.

The General immediately caught on the nature of Aguila's powers and charged at her with the spear. Despite Antu's best efforts to distract or delay them with the sun blast, he only managed to make them drop their shields, but the armors protected them from any serious injury, and there was no time for him to attempt to supercharge a blast like the late Volcan did.

Aguila saw the three charging aliens, the energy they shot at her, overcharging her own powers, allowing her to raise her own barriers while keeping that of her friends. The spear cut through the force field with ease and it thrust deep inside her body, impaling her and coming from behind her back, until she is face to face with the Xellonian General.

"You fought well, Terran... but you are no match for me and my Elite guard."

Aguila Sideral tried to talk, to be defiant, she felt some blood coming from her mouth, and as the general removed the spear she fell to the ground, and once she drew her last breaths, the force fields protecting her friends dropped. The leader of Cruz del Sur was no more.

As the force field disappeared Anemona and Caupolican disengaged from the fight and moved to protect Copihue and Tralka, while she was being kept alive and slowly nursed back to health. Antu fired a barrage of energy to try and keep the Xellonians away. Relampago was the first to fall, his legs fractured, looking up at the aliens circling them and fighting in unison. Each one covering the other, leaving no obvious opening. Ventisquero fell then, his ribcage cracked, howling in pain.

"You stood valiantly until now... but you are going to die now. Know that your enemy was far too strong for your meager powers."

****

As the Xellonians circled the heroes, a great commotion rose from the deeps. Large vehicles with a distinctive crustacean look appeared from under the waves, and grim looking soldiers, wearing helmets containing water marched towards the aliens. From the back of the column, the mages threw protective shields around the group of heroes.

The army from the Atlantean colony in the south pacific charged at the aliens, preventing them from scoring the kill, and quickly pushing them back and away from the injured heroes. Arcs of lightning, blasts of magic and cones of cold tested the resistance of the Xallantrya's Elite Queen's Guard unit, forcing them to assume a defensive position.

Commander Bazil got to the Heroes, and summoned a couple of the healers that came with his attack force. "Take the landers and patch them up, they fought enough for the day..." then looked at them and smiled. "Now we'll take care of these enemies."

****

Commander Bazil's forces split, half of them concentrated on the fallen spaceship, taking down the weapons and trying to get access to it, while the other half focused on fighting the invaders. This proved more difficult than they anticipated. Despite the innate toughness of the Atlantean race and their numerical superiority, the battle was hard. Dozens upon dozens of the warriors fell at the hands of the expert Xellonian elites. They never broke their V formation, and compensated for any weakness or opening the others left after an attack. Their armors got dented and partially broken, but stood defiantly over this newer foes.

After the initial push, the Xellonians took the initiative, starting a savage counter attack, decimating the Atlantean lines with a coordinated energy attack. The precision each of them showed, aligning their energy arcs in the most efficient way to cause more damage, gave credit to the Elite unit.

Soon the Atlanteans focusing on the alien ship had to reinforce the lines of the others. The six Xellonians methodically dispatched and thinned the army in front of them, but not without cost. After 2 hours of intense battle only General Xallantrya, and her closest confidants Yrania and Drexia remained alive. Of the five hundred Atlanteans barely 67 were still standing, and quickly falling back in horror as they were bested by such a small force.

"Retreat... retreat... these aliens are far more powerful than we imagined." Commander Bazil's helmet was cracking and losing water quickly, if it filled with air, soon he'll have no way to breath.

*****

The heroes were in shock. As they were healed and stabilized by Copihue and the two atlantean healers, they got to observe how the six Xellonians destroyed the submarine race forces. Anemona shaking her head in horror and disbelief. Tralka recovered and massaging her still aching neck, Ventisquero and Relampago sitting on the ground after being mended enough.

Caupolican stood up and walked towards Aguila's body. "It comes to what is left of us now... We need to stop them... somehow"

The Xellonians stopped the chase and turned to the heroes, landing gently a few feet away from the group. "Well, that was a lovely distraction, not bad at all. Cost me 3 soldiers. A commendable but doomed effort." Xallantrya said calmly, while eyeing the group, now almost fully healed but with a defeated expression in their faces.

General Xellantrya pointed her spear at the heroes, Yrania and Drexia assumed battle positions behind her, all three of them calling on their energy, building it slowly, ready to obliterate the Terran heroes.

"I should have realized... so obvious... it was in plain sight. Energy powers... the fabric of the universe. How could it be any other way? Energy and matter... you destroyed my body... but let me free, unshackled. I have always been just energy."

The voice sounded soft and calm around all those gathered, but none of them could point at the source. Then the purple energy from the aliens moved on its own to a point above both groups, creating a small ball of energy, changing colors and glowing. Slowly the ball took a more humanoid form, still transparent and incorporeal, ripping the energy from the Xellonian's bodies. Far in the distance the Xellonian ship made a strange sound, much like a growl, and energy came from it, directly at the new entity taking form in front of everyone.

"What in the name of the King is... this thing?" Said Drexia, taking a step back. Her short blonde hair sticking up as the energy being in front of them seemed to be charging the ambient as it was forming.

The figure stopped glowing and appeared to be a fully formed humanoid female, except completely made of dark blue energy, swirling around, always in motion, as if it were boiling. And amidst all that swirling energy bright white points like stars glowing defiantly with occasional red and yellow hints. Her eyes, bright gold and emanating energy out of their sockets, focused on the Xellonians for a moment.

"Energy cannot be destroyed..." Then her form changed to resemble Aguila Sideral's uniform, and the being turned with a smile at the heroes. "Cruz del Sur... let's finish this fight in our terms now... split them."

"Aguila..." came the recognition from Tralka, as the weather controller smiled. The whole group broke into smiles, despite all the loses of these day, this bit of good news was welcomed.

Cruz del Sur reacted immediately, Caupolican and Anemona going after Yrenia, the red headed one, arranged in a low ponytail. Ventisquero, Antu and Aguila engaging the General herself, while Relampago tried to use his speed to distract Drexia. Tralka tried to fly, but the near death experience has left her with no energy, so Copihue kept near her, in a protective stance.

Yrenia had to endure the relentless attack of Caupolican fists and Anemona's trident, without the use of the energy, she has to rely only on her training, and the previous fight against the atlanteans already left her bruised and damaged her armor.

Xallantrya foudn that her physical attacks against Aguila were useless, as she was evading them with ease, while Ventisquero kept using his ice powers, forcing her to break wall after wall of ice as she tried to catch Antu.

Drexia scored the first blow as she managed to grab Relampago's arm and use his impulse against him and his friends, throwing him against Tralka and Copihue, making them all fall, defenseless.

She walked slowly, menacingly at the trio, smiling broadly. The weather controlling girl was too exhausted to use her powers, the speedster seemed to have landed in a bad way, holding his right knee. And the plant girl? What problem could that one give her.

"Time for you three to make the peace with your deities... Too bad you wasted time and energy healing those whose dead have never been in doubt."

Copihue raised her head as she made some protective vines cover her friends, and focused on healing the damaged knee. "Just go... you are serving a madman... why would you want to add more death to this horrible day?"

Drexia laughed "How awfully naive of you, plant girl... Winning these fights give us honor, and your pathetic vines are not enough to protect you or these other terrans..."

Drexia had to stop talking, suddenly she started to cough and bended over forward, eyes opening wide, not understanding what was happening. Copihue was looking at her silently, just with deep glowing green eyes. Then vines started appearing from Drexia's mouth and nose, blocking her breathing, and started to envelope the alien in a sort of disgusting cocoon.

"Intestinal flora... you don't get to threaten me or my planet for this long." The anger on Copihue's voice was a shock to her friends, who only knew her as the gentle healer, focused on defensive powers. Drexia's vision was becoming blurred as she was suffocating. The last thing she saw was the plant woman, walking towards her, slowly.

Caupolican and Anemona were not holding back, giving Yrenia the best attacks. The Trident pierced the Xellonian's thighs, and then her left bicep, slowly tearing her down. The relentless attack could have been stopped if the alien could make use of her energy reserves, but the energy being was preventing them from accessing it. In the end her limited movement and capacity for defense was her undoing as Caupolican soundly knocked her with a powerful uppercut.

Xellantya looked in horror how her best soldiers fell, leaving her alone to fend the increased resistance of the terrans. She smiled to herself, understanding why her former Queen was so fond of them. It didn't changed her orders, but it was a small personal satisfaction for her, even in the face of certain death and defeat.

"Do your worse, humans... my last stand will be glorious!"

Aguila wasted no time, her body still in fluctuation but stabilizing, with an excess of energy from the alien ship, she focused her force field around the General's body, leaving just her torso and head open, lifting her and preventing any movement. In that precarious position it was just a matter of time for the heroes to beat her into unconsciousness.

The battle was finally won, at great cost for all of them. The last three aliens were defeated, and quickly transported to be held in hot sleep chambers.

****

The last stand of the GDF up in Brazil was not as desperate and bloody as the one her own group had to endure, but still they lost half their members, and Senhora Brazilia was in a coma. Full recovery was expected, thankfully. Aguila thought about it, and would send Copihue to help speed the recovery of other heroes. Very few healers survived and not many were in condition to help others. Copihue was one of the lucky ones, and she would be very busy in the upcoming weeks.

During the last assault, a dozen of Empyrians broke their oath of no intervention and came directly from Antarctica and helped turn the tide on the northern battle theater. Maybe a few of them would decide to stay after all.

The losses for everyone involved were just too high, but Aguila had confidence that after this crisis Cruz del Sur and GDF Brazil will start working far more closely than before.

Puma was recovering nicely, her arms were growing once more. Sadly the same could not be said about Aconcagua, but the mechanical geniuses were excited about the prospect of making him a mechanical arm that also adjusted to his size changing powers.

The funeral for the fallen comrades would be in a week time. Helping the reconstruction and searching for survivors was a priority. There would be time for mourning later. As for her own problems, she was excited about discovering the new limits of her powers, and finding that she could make a solid body, let her relax a bit. She loved her civilian life and thankfully did not had to renounce it.

All that remained now was to ask.

What does the future hold for herself and Cruz del Sur?

FIN

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