Chapter 10 - Bring the rain

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Date and time unknown - The crater felt like it was shaking as the dust settled and the Ceti army appeared within the canyon. Their well-disciplined march in complete harmony instilled a sense of dread for the eight soldiers manning the outer defensive perimeter of the outpost.

As each step thundered forward, the breathing of the soldiers became more ragged, more uncertain, more strenuous. It was at this time that they had to remember their training to maintain their own discipline. If even one of them broke it would put their fellow compatriots in jeopardy.

"Form two ranks. Remember no one fires until I give the order." Jason spoke assertively to ensure they each listened to his instructions.

They formed two lines of four. The first line hid behind a quickly man-made wall of metal and debris. They laid down and placed their rifles comfortably on the defences. The second line was just behind them standing up behind a second man-made wall, once again placing their rifles on the quickly assembled protection.

Jason watched on, rubbing his finger on the side of the trigger of his weapon. Looking through the scope he watched as the Ceti force appeared through the canyon.

There was a loud shout from the mouth of the Canyon "Shu'ruk M'tar!"

They all stood still, staring intently through their menacing visors toward the small band of survivors. Each standing upright on their sturdy hind legs, their bony knees protruding behind their legs like a mammal instead of the front like a humanoid. As each held their sceptre in their three-fingered hands, they looked like a roman legion ready for battle.

"Is the mortar ready?" Jason asked quietly through his commlink.

"In position and ready to fire at your suggested coordinates." Instructed the soldier at the mortar deeper in the facility.

"Westwood, are you ready?" Jason asked.

"Awaiting instructions and raring to go!" Westwood replied.

The defences were as ready as they could be, now it was a matter of waiting for the enemy's first move.

"Schuldermann, radio ETA?"

There was a loud sigh on the other end of the radio. Schuldermann had been working flat out for the last four to five hours with absolutely no breaks as he slogged away to complete his task, and his exasperation was evident in his tone.

"No longer than ten minutes."

Ten minutes was a long time in a battle like this and Jason knew it, the whole thing could be over in three or four if they were not able to hold the Ceti advance back. However, only ten minutes left to restore an archaic piece of equipment that had not been used in decades, Schuldermann had done a sterling job. "I'll put you in for a medal if you get it done quicker."

There was a nervous chuckle from the other soldiers. They all knew that Jason would have no authority to do that but they also knew that the comment was designed to ease the tension.

"Scruptek fo Prveyed" the call came from the lead Ceti who had his arm raised. Its deep voice boomed from a distance and echoed from the edge of the canyon. Its call had encouraged all the other Ceti's to raise their sceptres and open them up revealing the six long deadly blades.

Jason could feel a bead of sweat trickle down his forehead and made him rub the side of the trigger even more anxiously, why weren't they attacking yet? Was there something that they were waiting for? Or perhaps it was an intimidation tactic. The wait was even making him apprehensive, which would suggest the tactic was working. Jason had to admire his adversary, it appeared that the enemy was well versed in the act of psychological and physical warfare.

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