What's The Plan?


The lonely little atoll was a charred blemish on the vast blue of the Pacific. It was the product of a volcanic tear in the darkest depths of the sea. The bubbling magma from the hellish core of Gaia crystallized into a jagged pillar of crystallized magma that reached out from below the waves.
Akio and Arata were waiting inside a growing fissure in the ebony rock. They watched the salt and pepper sands of the forward beach. They both knew this cave would likely be their final dwelling, and they shared it quietly. They waited patiently for death, so imminent they no longer counted the days but the hours. 
 They were a link in an interlocking web of fire designed to tear apart any amphibious assault troops.  Everyone knew what would happen if they failed to keep the invaders off the beach. Being the first line of defense, the possibility of survival was simply an absurdity
The ships first appeared as a glimmer on the horizon. The coming armada were obscured by the sun that hung so close in the sky it appeared to be ascending from the sea. The seagulls took flight as if they knew the bombardment was coming. They circled overhead, their squalls sounding like the mocking laughter of death.
 The steel titans steamed forward. The contours of their towering superstructures and the curvature of the mammoth gun barrels could be clearly made out by the helpless defenders. They breathlessly watched the metal monsters leisurely arrange themselves in the sea.  Their guns elevated into firing position.
“They're about to fire.” Whispered Akio. Keeping his eyes pressed deep into the rubber of his binoculars.
 Every muscle in Arata's body tensed, and his chest closed around his lungs. The guns locked into position, and the ships drifted in an ominous silence. The anticipation was painful. In just moments, the guns would fire, and death could follow the flash from the barrels.
Fire bursts from the ship and an explosion ripped through the air. The barrels stacked like the pipes on an organ billowed smoke and they played their song of destruction.
Arata scurried to the far end of their little cavern and crouched against the wall. His body flooded with adrenaline. His muscles seized, and his body shook, his teeth chattered so hard they felt like they might shatter in his skull.
Akio remained unshaken. He stayed at the mouth of the cave watching the man-sized shell batter the little island. He watched with unblinking eyes as the high explosives turned the ground into a crater-pocked moonscape.
He looked back at Arata and gave him a reassuring smile before returning his eyes to the storm o sand and fire. He never turned his gaze again during the bombardment. He didn't want to miss a moment.
The ground quaked and the air bursts in their ears. The shaking cave rained dust, and rock fragments on its helpless inhabitants. Thier sanctuary of volcanic rock seemed to be crumbling around them. The lantern fell and smashed on the stony ground a darkness engulfed them. It was as if the cave had swallowed them whole. 
The guns set the night sky ablaze illuminating the attackers in the plane of black where the night sky merged with the dark waters. The swelling waters rose higher and higher as the waves crashed further and further up the beach; the flooding blackness threatened to swallow the island whole.
The barrage began just before dusk and lasted into the following afternoon. The acrid smoke rose from the gun and drifted away into the cloudless sky above.
By that time the sea had calmed and the sun returned to the sky, unraveling the dark tapestry of the night, and bringing back the shimmering blue. The barrage was tapering out, and the thunder became more sporadic. A swarm of smaller ships began to circle around in front of the larger transports. The Marines were preparing to storm the beach.
 The Emporer's soldiers quickly readied their weapons. The swarm cut through the waves as shells sent up plumes of water all around the landing party, but they raced forward undeterred.
“May the Emperor protect us,” Akio muttered.
The landing crafts crashed into the shore, and their ramps dropped unleashing a flood of olive dressed Marines.
Akio and Arata preempted the scream of their machine gun with a battle cry of their own. Akio pulled the trigger while Arata steadily fed the ammunition belt into the weapon. The clattering gun spit out the shells in a pile like someone eating sunflower seeds.
The other machine guns answered the call and began to spray the beaches. The Marines were scattered.  Many were gnashed by the lead teeth, their blood splattered across the sand, and the crashing waves pulled their bodies back out to sea.
They poured out of the landing craft by the thousands, they couldn't be killed fast enough. It wasn't long before the ammunition was running low, and the Marines were closing in.
Every time Akio pulled the trigger they seemed to be just a bit closer, so close he could see their ghostly white flesh. The other guns had gone silent. They were all alone.
“There's no more ammunition left.” Bleated Arata
“Burn them the fuck out of there!” One of the marines barked.
Akio and Arata only knew rudimentary English, but they knew what was coming when they heard the word burn.
“The flames throwers are coming!” Cried Arata.
Akio sighed and stood up looking as stoic as ever.
“What do we do?” pleaded Arata.
“Don't worry.” Replied Akio. 
Akio drew his sword; the curved steel gleamed even in the darkness of the cave.
“My father once said fire destroys bodies but, it only makes steel stronger.” Said Akio. “If we just....
The hissing of a flame thrower's valve interrupted him.
“I probably should have just told you the plan instead of going into this poetic prelude,” Akio said solemnly. 
The hose belched its flame and fire filled the cave.  The soldiers bodies devoured by the sticky fire. The heat melted their flesh and turned it into a vile black smoke that seared their lungs. They could feel warm fluid running down their cheeks as their eyes bursts from their skulls and soon darkness flooded away the agony. 

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