The Hastening of Battle
By Gareth D Jones
The opponents faced each other across the empty plain that had once been a green and pleasant vale. A phalanx of soldiers, encased in intelligent battle armour and backed up by armoured transporters, made final equipment checks. A very similar horde of troopers made almost identical preparations at the far end of the field.
The hardware had been pushed to the limits of technology. The software ran at unimaginable speed, responding to every command from the soldiers. Fire, counter-fire, evasion, tactics and assessment: the only limit was the reaction times of the soldiers.
As the time to engage arrived the order was passed to imbibe from their helmet’s dispensary. Both sides had different names for it, both official and slang: Reactin, Speed Inducing Nerve Stimulant, SINS, Fast, Whirl. The effect was the same, whatever they called it. The human body could make full use of the hardware.
The dispensary in Trooper Gilmoolly’s helmet failed to dole out the prescribed dose. He tried again, but nothing. He checked the diagnostics on his armoured sleeve, ignoring the blurred movement and noise in the background. Nothing. He looked round for a mechanic, frustrated at the problem. There was nobody to help. Nobody left at all. The fields, now even more scarred and pitted, were full of blasted machines, mangled armour and defeated troops.
The battle was over.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Friday Flash Fiction: The Hastening of Battle
This week's title was inspired by my holiday in Hastings: