It was becoming a pitched and desperate battle for the small company assigned just a few days ago to protect the immense and overly imposing concrete complex where the greatest hopes for their people was being held. Nobody ever really expected their enemy to drive this deeply into Isyrain territory so quickly; it was truly a sign that the times were changing, that their empire was on its last legs.

The battlefield was bloody, burned and blown apart bodies lay all about as the fighting went on. Beams of both charged particles and plasma flew through the air before slamming into metal and flesh alike. The turrets placed in key areas around the complex took the bulk of enemy fire, their heavily reinforced iron structures whining with every blow, threatening to give away at any moment. But yet they held strong, their guns slipping out long enough to squeeze off a round before instantly being withdrawn inside with a hiss of steam to ensure that they would be protected.

The enemy had managed to gather up an impressive number of older model Io class tanks, they must have been stolen from the numerous salvage yards of Isyr, where the outdated machines were sent to to be stripped for materials. The underpowered and overworked old design steam engines complained with every inch of advancement made, the weight of the troops inside and the oversized particle weapon arrays made their already difficult job worse as the drill like treads sank into the soil, made soft and mushy from the previous nights rain.

But even as they sank into the mud and became little more than stationary turrets they were still of vital importance; they were used as shields for soldiers. Sporting new and old design Gunblades alike they darted out from behind the heavy iron shielding to make quick precision attacks before falling back, allowing them to pick off Iryian troops and to attack the delicate legs of the newer model Io tanks. Their light weight, yet durable crab like legs became super heated then cooled, and while they didn't show any immediate effects from the strikes they were become weak and brittle; without their legs they too were little more than stationary turrets.

Slowly, the Isyrian company began to fall back as their numbers dwindled and numerous turrets were overcome and finally destroyed, leaving only smoking iron lined craters. The newer Io tanks took up formation in-front of the withdrawing troops in an attempt to protect them, sacrificing their mobility to play shield. Some soldiers stayed behind and took shots at the advancing troops who had to leave the safety of their own Io shields while most of the others took up a tighter, more uniform final defense formation near the complex; they would die before they would let the enemy have it.

From atop the complex came something alien to the enemy, something they had not seen before. Fast, air born via gliding through the air and sporting a pair of heavy Gunblades that were more akin to bazookas, the brave men who piloted these strange contraptions rained plasma bolts from above, moving deep into the enemy lines where there was no Io protection. They swooped up and down while dodging fire with graceful ease; it was as though they danced in the air while defying the basic principles of gravity. And when their power cells were finally depleted, the troops prepared themselves for their final act.

With the pull of a trigger on their hand bar, multiple razor sharp blades sprung forth from the ultra light super structure of the craft... and then they began to dive, taking aim before spearing panicked soldiers who were unable to flee, in the process allowing the enemy to slaughter them after landing all in the name of their homeland.

Finally there came a point when the Isyrian controlled Io's ran out of power, their power cells were drained and their steam engines dead, leaving them as nothing more than iron hulks. The enemy began to advance once more, their numbers superior and their firepower greater than the company could hope to match. But even so they fought with all of their might, all of their pride. With fury and valor they pressed on, and even when their power cells were finally tapped dry they fought, charging into melee combat with the sword mode of their Gunblades even as they were slaughtered.

The Isyrian company had fallen, killed to a man. Their Io's were little more than useless husks, their bodies strewn over the field of battle. The complex was breached and inside the men and women who worked for the future of their empire killed if they resided. The secrets held in the building were great and numerous; there were half finished glider weapons, hulking and overly impressive clockwork automata covered in iron with steam powered legs and massive Gunblade style cannons in the place of arms, even new lighter weight turret designs that were meant to be mounted on steam trains which were in the process of testing.

But the greatest prize was deeper inside, in the heart of the complex. There, in a heavily shielded chamber was the very first nuclear reactor constructed in Isyra. Fully operational, albeit for short periods of time, it generated enough power to drastically change the balance of power on a global scale; it was the key to the dream of Isyr one day dominating not only their continent, but eventually the whole of the world.

In their inexperience with the technology and the need for shielding, the soldiers tried to gain entrance to the reactor's chamber, using brute force to remove the heavily shielded doors while the scientists attempted to stop them, trying to warn them of the danger. But the men were deaf to their warning, killing them in cold blood; they were too foolish to accept the danger of their actions.

Even as they entered the chamber they didn't feel the death they were brining on themselves, their bodies absorbing enough radiation to kill thousands of men hundreds of times over. Without any experienced people to operate the device, let alone tell them of the danger the soldiers attempted to remove vital pieces of the reactor using their Gunblades to blast through the metal structure, upsetting the delicate balance the scientists strived to maintain. With this balance forever destroyed and pieces missing, the nuclear reactions were becoming wild. The soldiers, unaware of the damage being done by their actions removed more and more pieces, crippling the reactors ability to maintain any manner of control; the reactions were growing wild, uncontrollable... what was once a device that generated usable power was now little more than a bomb.

The soldiers had sealed their fate, for the reactions grew so wild, so out of control that, finally, the reactor could take no more... and with a sudden, blinding flash of light their lives had ended. The whole complex went up in a blaze of glory and power, the Io's and bodies outside were caught up in the brilliant light and surge of power. A deafening explosion could be heard for miles around as a cloud slowly rose from the ground, from the area where the complex once stood.

A cloud in the shape of a mushroom.


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