Saren Arterius grunted as he moved forward towards the cover provided by the burnt out shell of an alien combat vehicle. At one point it had been a tank of sorts, one different in design from it's turian equivalent but retaining the same characteristic cannon that made it's classification undoubtedly that of a tank. The fate of this combat vehicle that had defended the planet had been the same as every other one of it's kin, destroyed in an instant by a quick bombardment from precise strikes from missiles sent by 2nd division fighters.
'Sure could use some of those damn fighters now." thought Saren sourly. The offensive to take the ripe garden world with the large civilian population of newly discovered aliens with a paltry orbital and ground defense had seemed like a perfectly good idea on the planning table. In fact it had seemed like a good idea when the task force had arrived in system and blown away the handful of defending cruisers and fighters scattered in orbit over the resource rich planet, and had seemed perfectly reasonable as the turian invasion force had chewed up the few ground based resistance the aliens could muster.
That had been a week ago. A week before they had quickly discovered that intel had once again been everything but right. Apparently this was not the aliens home world, and they had not been a quote, "most likely peace loving society that saw little need for a military based off of their large civilian population yet having laughable defenses in place."
If he ever got off this spirit forsaken rock he'd find that half painted moron who thought this plan up and remove his fringes one by one. A massive fleet had arrived in system, the number of enemy ships had sorely outnumbered the turian task force. Requests for reinforcements by General Articus had been answered swiftly, and the fight over the planet had begun in earnest.
If Saren cared to look up, he'd see a blue sky filled with the dotted glows of hundreds of battles taking place miles overhead. While the boxy ships of the alien forces had proven to be a tough nut for the much more agile turian ships to beat, it had been doable. Up until the aliens had deployed those things. No doubt intel was busy trying to figure out how to properly label these new war machines the alien had brought onto the battlefield, but for Saren and the rest of the ground troops, they were simply known as those things.
As he popped his head out to get a swift glance at the approaching enemy, Saren's sharp eyes caught the dull dark silhouette of the 'humans'. It had taken almost five days before the translators had gotten a good enough hold of the surprisingly asari looking species language to even learn what they called themselves.
Saren's translator buzzed and squawked before the enemy's shout was translated. "…Here…Jaw!"
What in the spirits was that even supposed to mean? Ignoring his translator, Saren shouldered his Lancer and opened fire on the human with a controlled burst. The trusty rifle spat out half a dozen rounds that found it's target with accuracy born from a lifetime of practice. The enemy soldier jerked from the impact before falling to the ground. It's pained shouts were answered by more of the gruttal calls of it's comrades from afar and Saren had to duck back as a hail of return fire from the downed scout peppered his position.
His target may be down, but he certainly was not out of the fight just yet. For a species that did not have the basics of shield technology down, they made surprisingly good body armor that had proven very effective against mass altered rifle fire. A six round burst from a Lancer IV on most unshielded armor models that Saren knew of would have reduced it's owner to shreds.
From the way the human that had been shot was yelling and returning fire, it was apparent that either this new species was especially hardy, or their lack of shield technology had pushed for much better armor development to compensate.
Fighting an instinctive flinch as a round ricocheted inches from his head, the turian noble gave a sigh of relief when he saw his own backup arriving. Half a dozen fringed soldiers moved up into position around Saren. The bark of the single assault rifle variant from the downed enemy soldier had been joined by numerous others signaling the arrival of the enemy's squad mates.
Giving a grim smile, Saren once more popped his head out of cover. The human he had shot was dead, judging by the body's stillness and the pool of red around it's head. Looks like someone had opted for an easy kill. Spotting a human ducking out from behind the doorway of a shelled out building, Saren shouldered his rifle and opened fire. The rounds clipped the wall and send a cascade of dust onto the soldier, but the enemy did not falter. It's return fire forced Saren to once more duck back into the safety of cover.
Knowing the enemy now had a bead on his position, Saren shifted over to find a better suited spot to take aim from. As he moved out from behind the protection provided by the human tank, a fellow turian that had been crouching at the other end popped out of cover only to have his brain matter scattered across the ground in a spectacular spray of bone and gore.
The headless corpse fell to the ground and Saren had to fight back the urge to throw up as he crawled past. Whoever thought war was glorious obviously had never actually fought in a single battle outside of training exercises.
The firefight continued for another 10 minutes as both sides traded bullets and the occasional grenade.
Suddenly Saren's earpiece came to life. "Epsilon unit, fall back to perimeter lines. Tank division is moving up to support your position."
Instead of feeling relief, Saren could only grimace at the orders. The calm voice at the other end did not betray the fact that everyone knew. They were losing. Tank support would most likely only draw attention from on of those things.
And if those things showed up, Saren sure as hell didn't want to be anywhere near here. Firing a long burst from his rifle as he backed away from his piece of cover, Saren couldn't help but wonder when he was going to die. There was no question about it at this point, even if the entire Hierarchy fleet was brought in to clear up this mess, the troops stationed planet side would most likely be long dead before reinforcement could arrive.
The grind of massive wheels signaled the approach of their promised tank support. Saren felt only pity as he lopped past in the opposite direction the handful of tanks were headed in. The crews of those vehicles were doomed as soon as they gained the attention of those things. They probably knew it too, but like good turians they were following their orders trusting in the Hierarchy to spend their lives in a worthy fashion.
As the booms of the mass accelerated cannons echoed through the city Saren was retreating from, the turian could already imagine hearing the heavy thumping as those things moved to respond to the tanks. He did not envy the crew of those vehicles.