Theo punched the alien he was grappling once more for good measure and then sprinted to help Ryan. He weaved between a dozen aliens trying to grab him and tucked into a roll. When he popped up, he was right next to Ryan.
“You go right, I’ll go left,” Theo thought.
Ryan faked left with Theo and then broke right. The alien had six limbs though, so it was ready to cover every side and then some. Ryan’s suit flared to life, making his legs work so fast he felt like he wasn’t even touching the ground. He flew at the alien and dodged back again, lashing out with the staff as he passed close. Theo threw a shuriken, his last by the looks of it, and struck with his fists. Even with his suit adding strength to the blow, it didn’t even faze the alien.
When that didn’t work, Theo leapt into the air when Ryan had the thing’s attention and kicked it in the face. The alien stumbled back under their two-way assault. Ryan and Theo had been fighting together for years, since they were thirteen. All that training and instinct were giving them the edge.
Nearby aliens saw what was going on and moved to help their leader. Ryan and Theo were knocked back on the defensive. It was all they could do to keep from losing ground. As Ryan hit another alien on the head, the electricity jumping from the staff and into its brain flickered. The staff was running on fumes.
He turned to help Theo fend off an attack, but then an alien charged out of nowhere and got under his guard. It knocked him back and then raised a mutated fist above its head, ready to smash his face in. Ryan was off balance and the best he could do was turn away from the blow to lessen the impact.
He heard a couple clicks and something whizzed past his head on either side. Two shock cartridges stuck in the alien’s chest and it went down, its body shuddering uncontrollably. Ryan looked back and saw General Stewart, with a black eye and a nasty cut on his forehead, holding two rifles. The old general was firing from the hip and still a better shot than most of the other soldiers. At least Ryan hoped it was skill that kept the general from hitting him, and not dumb luck.
With the general giving them cover fire, Ryan and Theo were able to drive the alien leader back again. They moved out of the heat of the battle, General Stewart and a couple choice soldiers kept any of the aliens from joining them.
More room to maneuver meant more opportunities to put the alien off balance. Theo kept the alien moving so Ryan could pummel it over and over with the staff. Each blow has less electricity behind it than the last, but they were starting to pile up.
As they got closer to the antenna, a buzzing built up in Ryan’s ears. He started moving slower and the edges of his vision began to blur. The soldiers closest to them started collapsing to the ground. His helmet and suit provided some protection, but not enough. Whatever was coming off that thing was getting stronger. And if things weren’t bad enough, the staff flashed one last time and then the electricity went out.