A Beachhead in Hell Part 1 by ReadsaLot
Disclaimer: I own neither BtVS nor Bolos.
0o0o0o0We are Bolo XXXIII/D-0215-HKR and Captain Katherine Taylor. We are the first of the seven to go through the rift into hell.
In time as they clear the passage, our guns begin to fire. Sensors carefully track each bullet, flechette, and infinite repeater shot as they bear on targets. It is important that targeting profiles be quickly updated, as the Brigade databases were notably lacking in information on the hostiles (abominations, whispers Katherine's mind) and what might suffice to kill them.
Analysis of weapon performance reveals that most of the smaller hostiles, those no more than about half again human size, have apparently natural skin armor roughly 43% as effective as modern anti-ballistic materials. Weak points are cataloged and prioritized for targeting. Hostiles larger than that are noted to be mostly resistant to one 30cm Hellbore round, though a second blast to the same or near portion results in a minimum 96% loss of enemy function.
The battle net is fed the updated information. Our brother-units will need it very shortly. It has been 3.247 seconds since our first weapons cleared the rift and engaged the enemy when the first howitzer and VLS mounts are cleared to engage the enemy.
Our engines scream as governors are temporarily disengaged. We hard turn to starboard; we must clear the immediate area enough to allow the second of our number to clear the rift and engage as well.
All three of our main Hellbores have now cleared the aperture. Immediately we target them.
The mostly open plain swarming with hundreds of millions of hostiles is ringed with distant hills swelling into mountains. Ten kilometers away from our current position is a higher mount. A dozen lines of putrid yellow-green light unfold from the top of the hill, and connect to a second rift a half a kilometer to port. From data already collected, it seems highly likely that second rift is the one leading directly to the counterpart Cleveland. The tens of thousands of hostiles right next to it are not targets; the risk of expanding energy translating through to Cleveland is too high. There are hundreds of millions of perfect targets however. They are not the targets for the moment.
All three primary Hellbores discharge at once, locked directly on the mount from which the energy lines come from. Every infinite repeater fired at the same moment, targeted at various points between us and the primary target.
All three main bolts traveled 1.637 kilometers before seeming to flicker. At 1.943 kilometers, the bolts were losing power quickly. 2.187 kilometers out, all three ceased to exist.
Infinite repeaters are noted to have a range just under half that of the main guns.
At the same moment as we fire, the enemy forces charge our warhull; their intent is clear. As they hit the battlescreen, we carefully observe what happens in this changed world. In the normal universe, our battlescreen would effortlessly shred their matter into a light wash of plasma insufficient to so much as scorch the decals. Here, as with Hellbore fire, it is a different matter. Our enemies are mostly disabled by the battlescreen, left limping and half torn apart, but still alive. Our close in weapons quickly handle the stragglers.
We quickly send an update over the battle net even as we fully clear the path and our second brother-unit makes their entrance into hell.
In the distance large things are lifting themselves into the air. Our Katherine part finds echoes from the data we carry of known myths and legends to things called dragons. They are variously sized, ranging from half our own dimensions to five or even six times larger. Common in myth is that they are powerful and difficult to slay. Eyes tend to be welcome targets; the decision is made to prioritize head shots even though it will take .019 seconds of addition time to target and fire.
Below them move other large forms, again ranging from smaller than a Mark XXXIII to much larger. Hydras, manticores, and a great many that can only be called "chimera" as they appear formed from multiple other species turn their attention on us. Some spit fire, others throw rocks. Our battlescreen turns out to work just fine against the rock they throw; apparently it is only the demons who are resistant to its normal effect on matter.
The fire is another matter.
It carves through our battlescreen as though it wasn't even there. No power can be siphoned from the blasts; fortunately the hottest noted is only three thousand degrees kelvin; our warhull's exterior ablative layers easily resist. A stray fireball hurled from one of the more human-sized enemies, however, scores a hit on an anti-personnel mount. The damage is minor, but the mount is completely disabled. Return fire from two other mounts cut it down, although it resists the inflicted damage to a worrisome degree. One of the dragons which has gotten too close is targeted by three of our 30cm Hellbores. The explosion of gore when all three bolts land perfectly between its eyes is gratifying, as is the hundred or so enemies crushed by its falling corpse.
Unit XXXIII/D-0343-GSP and Captain Michael Johnson are clearing the rift. The increase in offensive power is most useful in clearing our surroundings for the remainder of our attack group.
Sensor drones are launched, firming up battlefield intelligence and marking the most probably routes to approach close enough to the enemy main target to effectively use Hellbores. As they ascend some of the fliers move to take them down; we do not know if the purpose of the drones is known but regardless, we have them evade as much as possible to gain the most intelligence before their inevitable destruction.
The battle net breaks down the information thus acquired. The picture is grim, but we are used to grim. It was what Bolos were made for.
The enemy forces closest to the rift to Cleveland are the smallest, weakest types already encountered. They also number approximately thirty-five million and are pouring through the rift as fast as they can. Directly behind them are even more millions of progressively larger and tougher enemies, some of which were close enough to our own entrance that we have been able to target them and note possibilities.
Previous estimates ranged from four hundred to six hundred million hostiles. The five drones we launched to improve our battlefield map showed that in several places, large holes were allowing a steady stream of replacements to emerge from below. The enemy is in far larger numbers than we anticipated.
But we are Bolos. The sword and shield of humanity. We can be destroyed. But we will never stop fighting.
Our weapons target ahead. We have an appointment with those who hold the rift open, and we will keep it.
We charge, the road ahead being scythed clear by ever increasing amounts of firepower as Unit XXXIII/D-0435-THR adds their weaponry.
We will teach these monsters to fear the word Bolo.