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A Very Short Story, comments appreciated

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The stallion takes flight amongst the heavens, its teeth glaring in the brilliant starlight.  The rider squirms slightly in the harness, a momentary adjustment for comfort--it will not last.  Already he can see the problem at hand, though it's little more than specks of bright against the dark.

An explosion.  Blazing yellows and reds fill his vision even over the distance--and he knows hundreds of lives have just been snuffed out like so many matches.  Their time is over.  The thousands of lives they guarded are in that much more jeopardy.  He and his comrades rush to intervene--to make that difference before it's too late.

A brief interval of time as they sacrifice what little strength they have for speed, and the battle is joined.  At first orderly, but with increasing amounts of chaos, the charging cavalry counterattacks the invaders.  Smaller explosions as the invaders are driven apart, isolated, and picked off on-by-one.

But each small victory comes with a price.  For each invader destroyed costs them.  Time, energy, life, these things all add up to a finite whole that is chipped away during each melee.  This is the deadly equation of a pitched battle, when each side must commit wholly to the engagement, and overwhelming superiority cannot be achieved.  Neither side of this fight so much greater than the other, and both sides have qualities the other might respect and admire, if they were fighting alongside each other.

One by one, the charging heroes are reduced, until there are but a few left to defend the masses.  Huge transports carrying hundreds--perhaps thousands--of lives apiece, will be left almost totally defenseless against the invaders if they fail now.  So the warriors pull together for one last blow.  A lightning strike against the storm gathered against them tonight.

They hurl themselves once more into the midst of their attackers, with little regard for their future, sacrificing safety for speed and strength.  Once again, they chip away at the invaders and each chip costs them some of their own, until at last there is only one left.  Alone against the inevitable.

Something stirs in his soul.  He knows the future clearly now.  For him there will be no tomorrow.  No meals with family, celebrating happier days of peace and plenty.  No quiet nights of rest and calm.  No more friends to amuse each other.  No lovers.  No children.  No quiet death in a bed or blanket.  Their time is failing and there may be no more tomorrows for anyone now.

His frustration boils to the surface and in a fit of rage he sees the final opportunity.  To strike at the invaders before they can complete their destruction, and maybe delay the inevitable a little longer.

Only speed will serve him now.  He sacrifices everything else for it.  Pushing his ride harder than ever before, willing it to speed even faster, begging for one final chance.

The target of his rage looms in front of him, getting ever closer.  Bolts of searing energy take their toll, hitting, missing, hitting again--but never enough to stop him.  He closes his eyes--there is no missing it now--and says a quick but silent--


"Sir, the cruiser Cypress reports that all rebel fighters in their area are destroyed, but their main weapon is offline following a suicide attack.  Their blockade against the NTF's troop ships is still underway."

Great quick read! I don't have experience with critiquing stories, but form a layman's point of view I really liked it!

Great story!

Mito [PL]:
Mmm, that was a nice one. Seeing enemies as people instead of just dummy targets to shoot at should definitely get appreciation.

Iain Baker:
Very nice :-)  :yes:


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