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The Incursion


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Lieutenant Colonel Angela Jessiman climbed the stairs, albeit slower than usual. Her adjutant officer said nothing as he followed, arms full of briefing notes and while he said nothing he noted the speed at which his superior officer climbed the steps towards the conference room where The Lady Grey awaited, ensconced in the heart of the bunker that held back the Rikti that swarmed the war zone.


Lt. Col. Jessiman's pace slowed again as she approached the enormous doors to her fate. She glanced at Captain Jung, making eye-contact briefly before adjusting her armor again. She checked her side-arm and reflexively touched the rifle slung across her back before inhaling deeply. The doors whispered open at a touch and resigned to her fate she strode into the room to face her commanding officer.


The Lady Grey stood with her back to the door, at ease at the far end of the conference table, stern and imposing as always. Rumour was that she was older than Statesman himself, having fought in numerous wars from the First to the Last. A bulwark against the Rikti invasion and the founder of the Vanguard, she was not just a hero to humanity, as commander of the bunker in the WZ The Lady Grey was a column upon which the survival of humanity depended and relied.


"Ma'am, Lieutenant Colonel Jessiman reporting as ordered, ma'am." The officer stood to attention and snapped a salute..


"Lieutenant Colonel Jessiman, the situation is dire and my orders will be delivered quickly, are you prepared?" Asked The Grey Lady as she turned abruptly.


"Yes, Ma'am."


"Very good. The Rikti are forging ahead, again. Despite how many times the heroes of this city, of this very reality itself take out that damned ship of theirs they still manage to find another and they are making another push against this stronghold." The supreme commander of the Vanguard placed both palms on the table and leaned forward. "Your orders are to take our remaining forces and hold this bunker, do I make myself clear, Colonel?"


"Yes, Ma'am."


"Excellent, now, come around here and look at these maps."




All eyes were drawn to the soldiers as they marched towards the portal to the Rikti War Zone. Four by four they passed through into the breach and ran towards their positions.


"Ma'am, with respect, how certain are you that The Lady was telling the truth?"


Lt. Col. Jessiman looked sharply to her left, glaring at Captain Jung. "Are you calling The Lady Grey a liar, Captain Jung?"


"No, ma'am, it's just... " The adjutant officer swallowed, daring to speak "It's just... rumor is that he's retired, is all."


The Colonel resumed her inspection of the troops filing through the portal once more. "If the Lady says he'll be there, then he'll be there.".




Large bore rifles fired quantum rounds into the oncoming Rikti as they rushed the barricades surrounding the bunker in the Eastern nook carved out by humanity. The auto-cannon turrets mounted on the concrete plinths glowed red as they peppered the invaders assailing the stronghold from the South and West. The tunnel to Crey's Folly had already fallen, closed off entirely as a result of artillery fire from marauding alien airships, closing off any chance of rescue from the rest of Paragon City. The soldiers in the Rikti War Zone were cut off and alone and their commanding officer knew it.


Lt. Col. Jessiman leaned over the holographic image in the command tent, the chatter of operations officers coordinating troop movements rattled in her ears as she watched as her soldiers slowly lost the battle at hand. The Rikti had managed to capture four of the surrounding warehouses at the corner of the pocket and were working on destroying the apartment building that backed onto the Western barricade, meaning certain death for the battalion she had stationed therein.


The fire from the Rikti was relentless, like nothing Colonel Jessiman had ever seen before.


She barked an order to have close air support cover the retreat of the men and women covering the Western front so that they could escape North behind the auto-cannons.


"Ma'am, the Southern cannons are over-heated and jammed, the engineers are trying to get them up and running again but without sufficient coolant they can't cover the retreat!"


The commander stared down again at the holographic image, watching as the tags of her soldiers began bunching together as they moved towards the rear exit of the building under siege. Her vision expanded as she watched the surge of Rikti as they erupted out of the various warehouses, pressing towards the barricades. This was it. Lt. Col. Jessiman looked to her right to catch the eye of her adjutant officer and saw only fear and resignation.


And then the thunder rolled over the Rikti War Zone


A Rikti Airship disappeared from the map. And then another. A concussive blast tore through the battle-field, throwing combatants, Rikti and human alike onto their backsides. The command tent shuddered, forcing all the occupants to grab onto anything and everything nailed down to avoid being forced to their knees or bounced out of their chairs.


Lt. Col. Jessiman made eye-contact with her adjutant, the realization sharp in both their eyes. He had arrived.


"Ma'am! Multiple reports of a third combatant!"


"Ma'am! Massive losses reported among the Rikti!"


"Ma'am! Multiple explosions reported along the Western front!"


The air screamed, as though being torn apart on a molecular level and a blazing comet of Hellfire slammed down into the square next to the radar emplacement, dragging a trench of blackened, scorched earth in its wake. The shockwave tore its way through the human's encampment.


Lieutenant Colonel Jessiman staggered and toppled over, smashing through the now useless holographic table, giving herself over to the mercy of fate and said a silent prayer, hoping against hope that someone would remember her and that her husband and children would know her sacrifice and then everything went black.




The first thing Angela Jessiman experienced was the smell of ozone. That sweet, full smell of electricity as it burned sharply, accompanied by the arcing sound of electronics breathing their last gasp. The command tent was in shambles, equipment strewn about as carelessly as the bodies of her staff. The cloth of the tent itself fluttered in the unseasonably warm breeze as she was suddenly reminded of warm summer days spent laying in grassy fields on her grandparent's farm. In the distance she heard the sound of voices. Human. Her own troops affecting rescue. How had they survived? More importantly, had they won? How was she still alive?


Hands on her. Rolling her over onto her back. Fingers on her neck. The smell of dirt and a man's neck across her face.


"She's breathing! Medic! Medic!"


"Ma'am! Can you hear me?! Ma'am! Colonel Jessiman, can you hear me?!"


"Of course, I can hear you!" she barked in a whisper that came out as a soft gasp. Was that gunfire? She needed to get to her post. Her troops needed her. They needed her as she felt the IV press into her arm. They needed her as they slid her onto the backboard and strapped her down. Her troops needed her as they took her vitals


"Sergeant!" That voice. That Grey voice. "Sergeant, you will transport the Lieutenant Colonel to the nearest medi-vac, am I understood?"


"Yes Ma'am"


The voices were like memories, they weren't real. Her vision was like a kaleidoscope, warping and turning as the world spun. The sound of heavy metal blades chopping the air slowly overcame her senses and the shouting of soldiers faded as she felt a tumbling, jostling, nauseating twist and then the ground fell away.


As Lieutenant Colonel Jessiman floated into heaven she turned her head to the right and gazed past the medic monitoring her status to take in the battlefield left in her wake. The warehouses to the West of the enclave were entirely destroyed as though annihilated from the skies. The burnt wreckage of more Rikit airships than she could count lay strewn amongst and between the enormous buildings as though tossed by a bored giant. The buildings themselves were entirely engulfed in flames and the remaining Rikti were scattering, many of whom were ablaze themselves and those that weren't were dodging spot fires and random explosions.


As the Blackhawk helicopter yawed left the Vanguard defensive position came into view and it was... relatively untouched. The auto-cannons on their plinths lay dormant, many of them out of use due to over-heating, others destroyed entirely. The concrete barriers were scorched and blackened and blown apart in sections, but no Rikti appeared within the security area. Lt. Col. Jessiman blinked again, not quite sure what she was seeing as she was whisked away, but not before she saw the soldiers fleeing from the one anomaly scarring the earth just South of where her command tent once stood.


A deep, black trench carved a path through the centre of the Vanguard stronghold. Even stranger was the inferno that burnt at the apex of the trench. Stranger still were the soldiers fleeing from the apex of that trench, as though their lives depended on it. From her vantage they seemed like ants running from a spot fire, but she knew better. She knew different. This was no spot-fire.


Lieutenant Colonel Jessiman blinked hard, knowing she would only ever see this once. She squeezed her eyes shut before opening them once again, forcing them to focus once more to bear witness as the fires at the apex of the trench erupted. The last of the soldiers barely made it to safety.


Wings of Celestial Flame and Rage blew apart the remaining nearby structures, sending shrapnel and debris into the sky. The Blackhawk helicopter shuddered with the shockwave, the second Colonel Jessiman had experienced that day. Or was it the third?


A column of Hellfire tore into the heavens proclaiming the rebirth of the Undying.


"He came..."


"What was that, Colonel?" Asked the medic.


Angie Jessiman turned to make eye-contact with the combat medic hovering over her. "He came, she was right... he came."


She turned her head again and watched as The Legendary Living Hellfire scorched a trail of burnt, orange flame across the sky.

Edited by Living_Hellfire
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-The Legendary Living Hellfire

"The newest person in the room is always the most important person in the room"

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