The First Seven Days

The Face of the Enemy

"Get back from there!"

The cybernetic sphere sped overhead, painting the ground with a bright beam of light that left half-foot deep scorch trails on the ground. One unfortunate soldier was caught directly in the beam's path and was vaporized instantly, fading away into red dust. Major Coats dove to the right, his sleek heavy armor carrying his momentum across the walkway, firing his rifle in quick successive shots. The sphere hovered over them, dragging its deadly shaft of light across the plaza. Coats tumbled across the grass and fell off the edge of the terrace. He rolled underneath a park bench, and the sphere zoomed past him, attacking the other soldiers. For the moment, Coats could breathe, his breathing coming in sharp, ragged breaths. His gun rested on his chest.

Shit. If only it had caught my squad somewhere else other than this damn terraced plaza. We can't fight this thing on foot; this is more of a job for the air force. If we still had one.

Major Coats rolled onto his stomach, crawling forward with his sniper rifle drawn. His scope shook slightly as he followed the path of the sphere in the distance. With only a few days experience fighting this new enemy, Coats already knew how to kill them. In the few seconds the sphere charged its particle beam, he had to shoot down the barrel of its gun. He drew in his breath and dragged the reticule over the center of the eye of the sphere, firing two shots in quick succession.

The cybernetic sphere closed its barrel and began hovering to Coats's position. Coats scrambled out of the bench and dove onto the edge of the staircase. His armor glided smoothly over the polished metal, carrying him faster and faster past the terraces. Behind him, the sphere fired its weapon, liquefying the staircase as the machine unloaded its deadly payload. He spun around and soon his rifle settled into a rhythmic fire rate: he fired three times, pulled back the bolt, ejected the clip, slotted in a new clip, pushed the bolt forward, and fired again.

The surface beneath Coats disappeared and soon he was flying through the air. Well, I had to run out of staircase eventually. Coats twisted in mid air and turned to his side, turning his landing into a roll. The oculus ceased its fire and flew past him, rising high into the air. Suddenly, the sphere was barreling towards him, weapon open and charging. He rolled onto his back and raised his rifle. Just you and me.

He fired. The machine shook momentarily as its shields flickered, and resumed charging.

He fired again, almost missing the sphere. The bullet glanced off its kinetic barriers, taking the full impact of the projectile. It shields faded away.

The machine fired the beam, slamming into the ground mere feet away from his face. He could feel the heat of the particle beam radiate across his body. Coats fired the rifle as the sphere began to close its barrel again. The oculus shook violently and cracks of light began to emit from its metal skin. He lay on his back, captivated by the steadily brightening sphere. Then Sergeant Newcastle's voice shook him out of reverie. "Major Coats, run like hell!"

Coats rushed to his feet and sprinted in the opposite direction, sniper rifle dangling at his side. He could actually see himself lift into the air as a ball of hot air and fire exploded outwards behind him, throwing shockwaves around the plaza that flattened trees and overturned cars. There wasn't even time to gracefully land as Coats tumbled to the ground, winded. The world spun around him and lights danced in his vision.

Then it stopped. Coats lay on the ground, breathing hard. His breathing sounded muffled and it was then he realized that there was a high-pitched whine in his ears. He sat up, trusting his body to stay upright. I've held onto it for thirty-five years, and these past few days have tested me more than anything I've ever been through in my short life. People die all the time in war, and I've just barely scraped by. I wonder when my time will come?

"Major Coats!"

The veteran swiveled his head to the right, wincing at the slight creak in his neck as it twisted. Shoot me for not wearing a helmet. "Major Coats," the soldier gasped, one hand on his knee and one hand outstretched. He took the hand, allowing the soldier to help him to his feet. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Coats said. "And Sergeant Newcastle? It's just Coats."

"Whatever you say, sir."

Coats ignored him, busy surveying the battlefield. For the moment, it appeared that they were safe. Just the moment. He turned to his men, a mere fraction of the company he had headed just days before. "Men, this position has been compromised. I don't believe we can hold out here any longer. I've received a message from Command. We need to fall back to the nearest evacuation post and assist the civilians."

Newcastle nodded, and then froze. "Shit! Major, look out!"

Coats twisted around and drew his pistol, already firing. The cannibal shrieked and stepped back as the bulled grazed its shoulder. More cannibals appeared from behind the first, shrieking and stretching their arms out wide. How the hell did they get so close to us! Coats retreated up the stairs, squeezing the trigger as fast as he could into the incoming horde. A few of the soldiers held fast, standing firmly against the growing tide of cannibals. They were even getting in a few shots of their own, and Coats was startled to see his shield integrity drop below fifty percent. "Men, move back!" Coats said over the gunfire. "Now!"

Coats ducked behind an overturned vehicle and accessed his armor's configuration screen on his omni-tool. He quickly diverted most of the suit's power to his forward kinetic barriers. Adrenaline pumped through his veins, and the tiny electronic nodes processed the chemical, magnifying its effects as more and more flooded his body. The rushed feeling of power and speed, the liquid that makes people feel as if they could do anything, be anything.

Adrenaline. My old friend.

Coats rose out of cover, a blurred motion in his mind that made everything seem like a dream sequence. He could feel every bit of recoil, every vibration as his gun jerked against his shoulder. One for every cannibal that crossed his vison. One, two, three. His hand ejected the clip and inserted another clip in one fluid motion. Coats could see the company of soldiers at the edges of his vision as they retreated behind him. He could hear nothing but the dull, staccato chatter of his rifle.

Something suddenly filled his vision and grabbed his shoulder, but Coats didn't even flinch, throwing a blurry fist into it. Then his rifle was up and firing again. Something grabbed his shoulder again, and his fist tightened as he whirled around…

…and saw Sergeant Newcastle. "Major," Adams must have yelled, pulling on his shoulder. "We've got to go!" The fever died down, and it was then Coats noticed that the company had already made it up the stairs. And the horde of cannibals was only getting bigger. Coats recalibrated his barriers as he ran, switching the focus to his back. Cannibals shrieked behind him and their guns chattered away at him. He kept his eyes glued to the road ahead of him. His barriers drew close to the bottom.

Something landed on his back and Coats hit the ground, quickly grinding to a stop. He twisted around and shifted his head to the side as the husk slammed a glowing palm onto the ground. He grabbed the husk's hand, let his fingers close around his knife and jammed the blade into the glowing core of the husk. The husk screeched, and Coats shoved the limp corpse to the side.

The company held them off. The sheer wall of gunfire pushed the cannibals back into the plaza and into cover. Coats felt Sergeant Adams steady hand grasp his own as he pulled him to his feet. Coats held his gaze for a second and nodded, clapping his shoulder.

"Holy shit!"

Coats looked up. The sky darkened as a dragon-like creature descended on them. Its blue eyes fixated on the major and it roared at him. How can we possibly hope to fight off an enemy like this? Coats' finger tightened on the trigger and his gun spat bolts of light at the beast, but the shots merely bounced off its armored skin. It arched its head back and then leaned forward, mouth opened wide.

"Get out of its way!" Coats rolled to the side, narrowly avoiding the first volley of fire. The beast turned its twin cannons on him, raining dozens of shells on his position. Coats slid behind a downed gunship and felt the vehicle shake as the cannons impacted against the armor. "We've got enemy air forces attacking us!" Coats yelled into his omni-tool, broadcasting the signal to everyone within fifty meters. "We need help down here. Ground squad, air support, anything!"

The dragon-like creature roared and took to the air, buffeting Coats with debris. "This is Tiger Nine-Two-Six responding," the communicator crackled. Coats fired his pistol behind him over the gunship.

"Tiger Nine-Two-Six, this is Major Coats, head of Alpha company," he said, and glanced over the edge of the gunship. The synthetic beast fired another shell at him, impacting against the ground two meters away from him. "There's a giant dragon thing attacking my squad and enemy ground forces. You've got to take that out!"

"This is Tiger Nine-Two-Six, granting local air support to Alpha company." The gunship flew into view, steadily closing the distance to the synthetic creature. "Deploying fire mission Charlie. Warning: recommend all units retreat to a safe distance."

"Everyone, fall back!" Coats said, bringing his sniper rifle up to the beast. "We've got a fire mission incoming! Tiger Nine-Two-Six, deploy fire mission Charlie."

'Warning: not all units have retreated to recommended distance."

"I'm asking you to deploy a danger-close fire mission!"

"Permission granted. Deploying danger-close fire mission Charlie."

Overhead, the heavy gun swiveled to the face the synthetic creature. The beast finally seemed to notice, rearing its head to let loose its deadly payload. The minigun roared to life, spraying the creature with several thousand razor-sharp bullets. The synthetic beast roared and began firing at the gunship, narrowly missing it. The Tiger flew around the creature and zapped it with its minigun again. "Deploying PKRs," the communicator crackled.

Two missiles flew from the belly of the gunship and smashed themselves into atoms against the body of the synthetic creature, shattering the blue core of its body. The beast roared once, and exploded.

Coats squinted his eyes and turned away. Through the din of the explosion, he could hear the jubilant cheer of his men as the remains of the synthetic faded away to nothing. "Thanks."

"No problem." The gunship sped into the distance, most likely off to help more unlucky souls. Coats jumped off the gunship and stood in the middle of the clearing. "Cut the chatter! We've still got a long way back to the evacuation post, and this place isn't going to be empty for long. Move it!"

The next few minutes passed in silence. The destruction of Vancouver occurred behind him in background noise as he and the rest of his men hurried through the torn alleys of once magnificent buildings. Earth is being attacked. Why isn't the Alliance doing anything about it? Surely they would help defend Earth, the home of all mankind.

Or maybe, said the voice in his head. Maybe there isn't an Alliance to help Earth. Maybe this is happening everywhere, and everyone on Earth is doomed.

Coats found it hard to wrap his head around the idea. The idea that, everywhere in the galaxy, worlds were being ripped apart by monstrous starships. They hadn't received any contact from the people who were attacking them. Pleas of surrender, messages for negotiation, threats of retaliation by order of the Citadel Conventions; all had been met with silence. There had been no contact as the black starships descended on the planet, mercilessly and brutally killing its inhabitants. Coats hadn't heard of beings with the technology to land spaceships the size of dreadnoughts on planet, or the technology to transform people into mindless killing machines. It was all insane.

Coats's eyes flickered back to Sergeant Newcastle. He had only known the new guy for a couple of weeks, ever since he joined the company before the invasion. Bright, inquisitive, and eager, he somewhat reminded Coats of himself when he first joined the force. Damn, now I feel old. This kid's been through a lot these past few days. The whole thing probably hasn't sunk in yet.

"Major Coats?" The veteran glanced up at Newcastle. "We've receiving a call from the Vancouver Systems Alliance Command Center. It's for you." He tossed the omni-tool to Coats.

"M-M-Major…M-Major Coats-s…" the communicator crackled. "We need A-Alpha C-C-Company-y to divert-t t-to evacuation post 6A n-now. They're i-in danger o-o-f being ov-v-verun."

"Will do," Coats said, quickening his pace. "We're heading there right now. We'll be there in a minute."

"G-Good luck." The connection cut off, and Coats handed the omni-tool back to Newcastle. "I didn't think that Alliance Command still existed," the sergeant said.

"There's still a chain of command." Coats checked the next alley as they rounded a corner. Something sparked overhead and he realized that they were traveling underneath a downed ship, which had managed to crash onto the building rooftops. "It's just not very clear right now."

"With the whole world going to shit, I'm not even sure if I should follow orders from the Alliance. I'm not going to die for a piece of land the Alliance is willing sacrifice people for."

"If you truly believe that's what this is about, then you miss the entire point of being in the Alliance."

Newcastle looked up in surprise. "What do you mean by that?"

"I'm saying that you need to look at the bigger picture in this situation. Earth is under attack. The Alliance isn't responding, or they can't respond. We're trying to get as many civilians out of the war as possible, but we can't do that efficiently because so many of our forces are scattered, killed, or"—he looked at the sergeant—"lost the will to fight."

"I haven't lost the will to fight," Newcastle said firmly. "I just won't risk my life for the Alliance on a whim."

Coats sighed. "I've put my own life on the line countless times. It's a big step, but you have to accept the fact that what you do on the battlefield affects others as well. Soldiers, civilians. In the situation we're in, it's going to affect millions. That cruiser you helped coordinate from the ground? It'll evacuate hundreds of civilians from a doomed city. That civilian you helped save from a group of husks? He'll save lives in some medical station because he volunteered to help. That piece of rubble you just took for the Alliance? It's a valuable position that can protect innocents away from the front lines. You can't just say, "I've fought hard and I'll help the Alliance if I feel like it." That's being selfish."

Coats silenced the sergeant with his hand before he could speak. "You don't think that I've have to make decisions like that? Some days I felt like shit and I wanted to just quit. Then I had to remind myself of what I was fighting for. The Alliance protects the people who can't protect themselves. That's what we do. That's what we signed up for. Just think about that next time you're in doubt."

"Major, we've got a situation up ahead." Coats looked at Newcastle one last time, and then turned away without another word. "What is it?" Coats said.

"Observation Post 6A is completely surrounded," Corporal Adams said grimly.

Coats peered through the network of fallen support beams and saw the evacuation post below. "Oh."

Evacuation Post 6A originally had been a parking garage. Now the scene before him was a battlefield, every square inch covered by husks. The road was dotted with smoking craters and decaying corpses, human and alien alike. The street storefronts were smashed to rubble, bearing black trails of ash and smoldering metal that must have been hit by the invading starships. Husks converged on the parking garage, streaming from every alley and corner. Amidst the mass of corpses and screaming husks, there were bright flashes of light peeking through the horde that caught Coats's eye briefly.

"There they are!" Coats yelled over the groaning screams of the husks. "Draw the pressure off the evacuation post."

The remains of Alpha company gravitated to the edge of the windows and openings, moving and firing as one. Coats's vision was constantly filled with bright pulses of light as their guns rattled against the horde of husks. His sniper rifle bucked and kicked as he fired as quickly as possible. Each shot must have killed three or four husks at a time, and yet the tide of husks was slowly edging towards them, moving away from the parking garage, which Coats could clearly see now. The entrance was encircled with makeshift fortifications and a massive throng of bodies just outside the defenses, guarded by a shockingly small group of soldiers. Then Coats's attention turned back to the husks.

"Keep them back from the windows," Newcastle shouted, but the any order now was ignored as Alpha company hammered away at the edge of the windows. Husks vaulted over their dead allies and clambered up the rubble on the edge of the building, growing frighteningly close to their position. Coats reached back to his belt and released every grenade he had left, throwing the husks into more chaos as the orange-red fireballs ripped and burned their bodies apart. The husks' eyes were glowing bright blue, staring straight at Coats. He narrowed his eyes. Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes. It doesn't work if your enemies are glorified zombies and some are as tall as skyscrapers.

And then the husks were diminishing. Coats found his finger thumbing the trigger less often, the adrenaline high slowly fading away and threatening to give to exhaustion. A husk scrabbled against the metal beneath his feet, and Coats turned his attention back to the fight. Gunfire rattled off somewhere ahead of them, and the husks were cut down, reduced to single digits in a matter of seconds.

Silence. Coats raised the rifle to his shoulder; he hadn't even noticed that he had been firing from the hip the entire time. He took a deep breath and slid down the rubble, coming to a stop at the mass of husks at the bottom. One of the soldiers from the evacuation post was there to meet him.

"Captain Parks of the 103rd Marine Division," the soldier said, extending a hand. "Thank God, you're here. We've been here ever since the Reapers arrived."

Coats took his hand. "Major Coats. I head Alpha company of Vancouver. What's this about Reapers?"

"What?" Parks said with a bewildered expression. "Oh, right. You don't know."

"Know about what?" The captain looked around, and then looked back at Coats. Don't know why, is it that big of a secret?

"Anderson can tell you about it inside," Parks said. "We're about to close down this post."

"Wait, Anderson?" Coats said. Of all places, why is the admiral here? "Admiral Anderson is here?"

"Yes." Parks led Coats and the rest of the company inside as the remaining marines closed the garage door, leaving them in the inky, yellow lighting of the garage. "Admiral Anderson has been here, coordinating with the Vancouver Command and the remaining troops we can communicate with. It's been hard."

Bloody hell. I thought Anderson would be somewhere leading an army against these "Reapers". Turns he's here with the rest of us. Then something clicked in Coats's head.

"The 103rd Marines? You guys are right up there with the N1 marines. Downright legends."

"We've been told that," Parks replied, maybe a bit smugly. Can't say the bastard doesn't deserve it, though. "But all you see here? This is a fraction of the division. We were cut off days ago from the main force. They're all over the galaxy now, though some are fighting somewhere on Earth."

Coats's mind was bustling with questions, but he wisely chose to wait as they stepped into what must have been the command center.

It was a dimly lit room, mostly illuminated by the bright blue glow of the platform in the center of the room. Several people tapped away furiously at terminals to the sides, and some were standing at the platform, pointing at something on the platform. One man was standing apart from the others, looking grimly at the platform with his head resting on his hand. His face looked haggard, and he had as many scars as he had stars on his uniform. Coats didn't recognize him, but he could guess who it was.

"Admiral Anderson," Coats said, saluting. "Major Coats. It's an honor to meet you, sir."

Anderson stood up, and waved a hand at Coats. "At ease, soldier. Just call me Anderson. My title's getting less important by the second."

"Then with all due respect sir, what's going on? Who are the "Reapers"? Why isn't the Alliance helping?"

"I remember a soldier who told me that "with all due respect" just meant kiss my ass," Anderson chuckled. Then his face grew hard. "The Reapers."

Anderson tapped something on the platform, and a 3-D image of something appeared above the screen. "This is what we're facing, what Shepard warned us about."

"Excuse me, sir. Commander Shepard knew?"

"She tried to warn us," Anderson continued, "but the Alliance, the Council, nobody listened. And now the shit's hit the fan."

Anderson enlarged the image, and now the cuttlefish-like creature grew until it loomed over them. Coats felt a sense of foreboding. "The Reapers are our worst nightmares. Do you know how the Protheans died, Coats?"

"No, sir. No one does."

"A very select few know, though. The Reapers killed the Protheans. Every single one of them."

What? "What?" Coats said.

Anderson shook his head. "The Reapers have been here for God knows how long. Millions, billions of years. They're so old, we can't even begin to comprehend their existence. And they don't feel anything for us. They'll kill us all without a single shred of mercy because they've been doing it for so long."

"Doing it? You mean…killing people?"

"Every 50,000 years or so, the Reapers come out of dark space and hunt the existing species to extinction. They also process billions of those organics and create a hybrid of organics and synthetics. A Reaper. Then they return to dark space and wait to do it all over again. When the next species is advanced enough, they come back."

Coats felt something crawl down his spine. "How do they know when it's time? How do they get here?"

"The Reapers built the Citadel and the mass relays. Not the Protheans. All of the technology that we use is based on the Reapers. They leave the technology behind for us to find so we develop along the lines they want us to. The Citadel is actually a mass relay into dark space, and every time they leave a vanguard here to monitor us until they think we're ready. Then the Reapers signal the keepers on the Citadel and they open the relay, allowing the them to come through and kill the galaxy's leaders in a matter of seconds. Communications are cut off, and the Reapers have access to all of the records stored on the Citadel. Then they proceed to systematically hunt down all of us."

Coats was speechless.

"No one knows where the Reapers come from. But they're terrifyingly powerful, stronger than any ship we can muster. It took the entire Citadel fleet and an Alliance fleet to defeat Sovereign at the Battle of the Citadel. And there are hundreds of ships just as powerful as Sovereign hovering over Earth right now."

"Is there anything we can do to stop them?"

"Not without help. Shepard's out there right now, gathering the galaxy's forces to unite against the Reapers. I won't lie; our chances are slim to none. But we have hope."

"What about the turians? The asari? Can't they see what we're facing here on Earth?"

Anderson shook his head. "Everyone is under attack. No place in the galaxy is safe from the Reapers now. They charged right through the First Fleet and obliterated the Fourth Fleet in a matter of hours. No one's winning this war alone."

The lights flickered as the ceiling rumbled, shaking loose streams of dust. "Admiral Anderson, sir." One of the men at the terminals tapped away furiously at the console. "We need to move, now."

"What's going on?" Coats said.

"The Alliance is pulling out of Vancouver," Anderson explained, breaking into a stride. "The Reapers have claimed the city, and it's getting far too dangerous for us to remain here."

"What about the civilians?" Newcastle interrupted. He didn't say anything about the Reapers, but now he has something to say about leaving the civies?

Anderson almost stopped mid-stride. He was silent. "We can't stay here," he said finally. "We need to link up with the remaining Alliance forces, form a more unified force. Like I said, we're not winning this war alone."

"We can't leave all these people here," Newcastle objected, refusing to leave the matter alone. "We have a duty to protect them."

"If we stay here, we won't be able to protect anyone." The hallway finally opened to another area of the garage, which was lined with Kodiak shuttles. The area was bustling with activity, with people loading cargo onto the shuttles and some busily tapping away at terminals.

"But we can't just leave them here to die!"

"You can't expect to save everyone." The man next to Anderson stepped past him. A jagged thin scar ran down through his short hair and past his cheek, and he stared at Newcastle with piercing gray eyes, a calculating gaze that seemed to be sizing up Newcastle. Where did he get that scar? He definitely didn't get it from a gunfight.

"Krogh," Anderson warned.

"You have to know when to cut your losses and leave," the man continued, ignoring Anderson. "Vancouver is lost. It has been since the Reapers attacked, and we've done all we can here. It's to retreat and regroup so we can mount a counterattack against the them later."

"We can't leave these people to die just so we can run away," Newcastle said heatedly. "How could we do that?"

"By getting in the shuttle," Krogh responded seriously. "Every war has its casualties. It's time that you understood and accepted that."

"Lieutenant Krogh," Anderson said. "We need to move."

The man stopped. "Yes, sir."

Krogh looked at Newcastle one more time, and then left for the shuttles. Aircars began hovering into the air as personnel evacuated civilians and equipment onto the rising shuttles. "Come on, Major Coats," Anderson said, stepping into one of the shuttles. "I can tell you all about the Reapers on the way out."

Coats shut the door, and soon the noise and bustle of the evacuation post was muffled behind the door. "Admiral Anderson, what happened out there?" Coats said. "Why couldn't the Alliance stop the Reapers?"

Anderson looked down, clenching his teeth. "No one could stop them. We got first word of the Reapers when they hit the batarians. They didn't last a single day. Within hours, the Hegemony had fallen."

"We lost contact with many of our deep space colonies, and soon it was the Sol system left. Arcturus station had been obliterated, along with the Second Fleet. Admiral Hackett had to sacrifice the entire fleet to ensure that the Third and Fifth Fleets could escape. The First Fleet was cut in half before it managed to retreat, and the Fourth Fleet was ready by the time the Reapers arrived on Luna. But it was too late. The Reapers cut right through and hit London. We should have prepared for this. But then again, how could anyone?"

The batarians fell in a day? Two our fleets were completely destroyed? How could we stop anything like that? "And Commander Shepard was the only one that knew," Coats finished, sighing. "And we didn't listen to her."

"Exactly," Anderson said. "Now, she's the only thing that can save Earth while we hold the line down here. She's up there now, negotiating with the Council and the other races to draw support for the war."

"Why would she have to?" Coats demanded. "The Reapers are attacking, and they're still arguing about what to do? They should help her as soon as she asks!"

"They're scared, Major. You think you could make a decision to take all your armies and drag them halfway across the galaxy when the Reapers are at your front door, attacking your own home world? Everyone has their own problems, and Shepard's going to have to fight through all of them to garner their support." Anderson chuckled darkly. "It sounds harder than what we're going to have to do here."

"I just hope she doesn't get sidetracked," Coats muttered. "We could use Commander Shepard here."

"There's a lot to do out there, and she's the only one that can do them. Right now we need everything and everyone we can get. And I'm worried about—

"Admiral Anderson, we have a problem."

The admiral rushed to the cockpit, with Coats quickly following suit. Krogh and Newcastle stood behind them as Anderson glanced around the cockpit. "What happened?"

"We just lost signal outside the evacuation post. Even the ladar's jammed. Something's blocking it."

Anderson cursed. "We're just going to have to risk it. We can't stay here any longer. Every day that passes we get weaker here."

"On it, sir." The roof of the garage opened, and the evac shuttles soared into the air. The cockpit quickly fell into darkness. "My God," Coats breathed.

The alien machine moved another one of its legs, knocking over a skyscraper that was barely half its height. Its bulk loomed over the evacuation post, casting a horrible shadow over the aircars. The Reaper destroyer turned to face the shuttles below it, and its red eye slowly began to unsheathe.

"Corporal, get us out of here! All units, scatter. Get out of its range!"

Coats felt helpless as the Reaper charged its glowing cannon and fired, a swathe of red that cut across the sky and fanned across the evac shuttles, throwing some to the ground and incinerating the rest mid-flight.

Half of their forces. Cut down in twenty seconds.

Coats could feel the g-force rippling across his skin as their shuttle sped up, moving faster and farther away from the destroyer. Something flashed overhead and everything was suddenly shaking. "We're hit! We're going down!"

The inside of the car was a blur as their aircar spun around and around. Coats felt his hand grab onto something, but he was suspended in mid-air in the car, watching the shuttle break down in front of him. Anderson had managed to stay in a seat, and was stretching his hand towards Newcastle, who was impacting against every surface of the car. Something thunked against his head, and Coats felt his hand loosen, and the blaring alarms soon faded to nothing as he lost consciousness. A ghost sensation spread across his hand, and he could vaguely hear Anderson shouting in the background. There was a final thud across his back, and his vision faded to darkness.

So what did you guys think? Please comment and review!