We begin lowering ourselves over the edge of steep rocks to repel down. Tarver and I quickly reach the bottom safely.
I closely watch Armstrong and Shepherd who are the last two on top of the monolithic boulder. Armstrong assists Shepherd with her harness.
Suddenly a huge shadow with beating wings swooshes by them spraying blood on to Armstrong. The rest of us below watch in horror as Shepherd’s legs and hips tumble down from the formation bouncing off protruding rocks along the way.
“My God where is the rest of her!” Taylor screams. Armstrong is blinded momentarily as he wipes blood from his eyes. Colby fires burst at the fast moving flying shape. A horrific sight unfolds as we spot Shepherd’s upper torso in the monster’s grip. She was torn in half in an instant, it happened so fast she didn’t even have time to scream.
Armstrong tries to repel down, but the Draconian swoops in for a second pass snapping up his repelling line in its other claw. The big man is flung from the cliff and helplessly dangles at the end of the line as the Draconian glides across the cavern.
"Taylor, screams “Its got Gunny!”
“Don’t shoot you might hit him!” Colby screaming to the others.
Armstrong sees an opportunity to let go and lands on an outcrop of rocks ten meters below him. He lands hard, he grunts in sheer pain as an awful sound of a bone being broken. He rolls across the jagged rocks.
Colby to the squad, “Blast that bitch!” Everyone lets loose, several burst of fire hit the Draconian sending it spiraling into the rocks and leaving what looks like blood spatter where it impacted. Its massive scaly body then crashes to the ground with Shepherd’s upper body still in its grip, her head is grotesquely crushed, her silky blond hair is now matted in blood.
The horrific sight causes Colby's to blow a fuse and he races towards the monstrosity still rolling about, wings flapping in its death throws.
“Die you motherfucker!!” as he unleashes more burst, gaping holes open up on the scaly body until it finally stops moving.
Meyers reaches Armstrong, he ascertains the injury is bad, the bone is sticking out in his shin.
Meyers hollers at Colby, “Give me a hand here!”
I grip my rifle under tension as Colby quickly assist, Armstrong throws his big arms over their shoulders, and they lift him up, one on each side. Then hissing sounds emit from the darkness just beyond some large boulders.
“They’re coming Dog!” Meyers looking back.
With my thermal imaging, I can see some heat signatures coming up behind them as they make their way back. I yell into my headset, “We got hostiles just behind you! Keep moving!” I signal the squad to form a fire line. My heart begins to race as my night vision reveals figures leaping towards us.
Colby and Meyers manage to get Armstrong past the fire line and sit him down in the rear, then joins us on the fire line. Armstrong holds his leg in shear pain gritting his teeth as he cradles his assault rifle. He grabs a spare ammo belt and wraps it around his leg to stabilize it. Just then, reptilians come into our view on our left flank with lightning fast leaps across large boulders.
I notice they’re not armored, maybe just tunnel engineers, this is good! Without armor, they’re particularly vulnerable, but they’re still very dangerous. That may put the odds in our favor. I ready my squad, “Here they come, they’re closing distance amazingly fast, okay fire at will!”
My squad lays down a barrage of fire, several reptilians fall from the boulders as rounds rip through their bodies. One suddenly appears out from the darkness on my left flank “Look out!” Taylor yells as several monsters crumble before her in a blaze of rifle fire, Taylor nails it only a few feet from me. It was so close that its blood covers my boots. She saved my ass! I guess this makes us even.
Taylor tries to hold her ground, but is forced to fall back from the onslaught, she continues to fan her weapon, dropping several more Reptilians at close quarters. Suddenly I catch something in my peripheral vision diving in, a blur flashes over Taylor.
My breath is drawn as Taylor’s severed head tumbles near my feet! Her body is still standing firing her weapon! Blood spurts from her neck, which is nothing more than a gory stump! Ironically she hits a few more targets before her body goes limp and collapses to the ground.
Armstrong witnessing her death, "You mutha humper! He nails the Draconian flying overhead, it comes down crashing near us. He sprays it with the flamethrower we picked up from the armory, the carcass smolders in a fleshy soup.
I know Armstrong must have seen many grisly things before, but this horrific sight of Taylor's instant decapitation was probably beyond anything he could have ever imagined. He’s known her for over 4 years and more than likely had formed a special bond with her. Something combat will do to you.
Boyer is a bit ahead of us and is picking off his targets with great accuracy, “Come on - Come on! That’s right, you too!”
He’s doing a bang-up job, he’s a hell of a soldier, but then from out of nowhere, a large Reptilian pounces on him. He blocks its dangerous jaws with the butt of his rifle but it rips the rifle from his grip. Its jaws clamp down on his neck, shape dagger-like teeth sink instantly into his flesh – his screams are quickly silenced as swarms of reptilians rip him apart without mercy!
Garcia sprays the rocks with a burst of rounds, shell casings spiral away from him, scaly bodies fall from the boulders. Colby throws a grenade into a bunch of Reptilians coming at him, some are thrown into the air by the explosion, he steps over a pile dead, but one is still alive and Colby finishes it off by splitting the head in half with a shot between the eyes with his shotgun he had slung over his shoulder.
I keep firing at charging attackers, but their numbers are too overwhelming, things are becoming hopeless rather quickly. We’re easily being overrun. Just a squad against what seems to be hundreds of Reptilians, this has become a suicide mission. In my mind, I’ve already accepted death. I know God will be here for me soon.