Serialized Science Fiction.

Blast from the Past
Tom Haynes

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The firefight intensified and he had to use Gorgie's body as a shield. I signaled Bit Brain to send the Mark VII to the 'copters. With that APC, our need for surveillance took a back seat for the slim chance of signaling Tenney. If we had enough nuyen, or if we had expected an APC, we could have gotten some ammo for the Mark VII's guns. Without the APC, we still could have used the Mark VII as an overwatch to direct our fire. It is amazing how accurate we can be with it painting targets for us.

As it streaked towards the LZ, it flushed a second force trying to flank us, just fragging great. The Paladins had their faceplates up and the Mark VII got a good shot of the commander. Things just got worse, it was little brother. The suck up would just love to hand me over to father. As soon as that force pulled up, any Paladin who shot at me would find himself in the punishment battalion. It would seem like I had a bullet proof force field and I would see my friends die around me. Anyone else from my old circle would have parlayed for all of our surrender. My dear little brother would delight in killing my friends.

Bit Brain caught an intercept, the beta OPFOR had been destroyed. The Paladins had brought in a dragon as backup. Drek and more drek! They would shift it over here in case we were not a feint.

I know a lot of chums would have surrendered right then and there. However, my aunt had told me about the old days and my intended was said to be more conservative than my father is. The two of them had arranged the marriage even before I had been conceived. There were some things worse than death.

Speaking of my aunt, she had been my first magic teacher. I remembered one stormy evening, we were both drunk and she started talking with a strange accent. She told me many a tale that night. One stuck in my mind, it was about a human hero, who was renowned for killing dragons and, unfortunately, elves. He had loved an elf who ran away from her intended. Her family had hounded the couple, trying to restore their honor and return her to her betrothed. At some point, a dragon torched her, and he went on a rampage against both elven and dragon kind.

The only other thing I remembered about the story was that in time of need, an elven maiden could summon the hero. My aunt never talked about the story again, except to warn me not to speak about it around my father. My guess was that the summoning brought some sort of spiritual dragon killer to this earthly realm. I had heard whispered tales of the Verigorm, a race of beings that hunted and feasted on the dragons. Perhaps the mana levels were high enough to support them now.

As for the elven maiden angle, it might just be because it was an oral myth passed down by elven women. Who knows what man-hating Moon Maiden had crafted the spell.

The Kid spotted a silhouette against the moon - it was the dragon. I took inspiration from the coincidence and decided to do the summoning. Sometimes the gods smile on the bold. Now that we had accepted defeat, I no longer had to keep reserves for the hellhounds. When, and if, Tenney got here, The Kid could get healed with the rest of us.

I quickly crafted a small pentacle to contain the beast and then I cast a small remembrance spell so that the evening would come back into focus. I uttered the spell in cadence to my aunt. She must not have been in need at the time. I could feel the mana drain out of me; I would not be doing much of anything else that night. I might be able to fire my assault rifle, but only because of my intensive training. In AIT, I had done this many times, casting fire ball after fire ball on the obstacle course and then a 5 click run followed by target practice on the range. In some ways, the mundanes had it easier.

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