The Resurgence

“If we continue to pass on the flame of courage, we will find ourselves comforted by the warm embrace of victory

Chapter 1: Welcome To The Coffin

Of all the planets I could have been deployed to, why did it have to be Urias? The battle here has been raging on for almost a month, pilot after pilot fighting to their dying breath to hold this planet for the homeworld and to stop the Exoswarm in their tracks.

The top brass has been spinning this as a good thing: a longer battle means we’re “putting up a helluva fight”, and our intel says the enemy’s finally taking heavy casualties and is throwing everything they have at Urias in a last ditch effort. While some pilots find this comforting, it does little to calm my nerves. There’s a reason they call this place The Coffin: this is a losing battle. And all I want more than anything in the universe is to get out of here alive.

I aced all my combat requirements, tested high in every simulation, and studied my battle strategies inside and out… but nothing prepared me for The Coffin. It’s been just under a day since I’ve been here, and I’ve already been in two skirmishes with the enemy, with significant losses taken in both. I’ve sustained a deep injury on my right leg. If it wasn’t for my Everai, I’d be dead. Besides, it pales in comparison to what some of my fellow soldiers endured. As we made our way back to base, there was a serious lack of morale amongst the pilots. We were scared out of our minds, thinking of any way we could to retreat from this infernal place. That is, until the Captain arrived with a missing arm, a heavily damaged Duo…and a plan.

Chapter 2: Where The Razor Wind Blows

Even before I joined the pilot academy, I had heard legends about Captain Orna. While the creation of the Everai is what initially turned the tide for the Shodai, Captain Orna’s string of decisive victories is what gave us all hope that we might win. So when the generals realized that Urias was in a key position to cut the Exoswarm off from devouring the entire universe, Captain Orna was the clear choice to lead the forces here at The Coffin. As bad as things are here, without her at the forefront, we would’ve lost Urias many moons ago. So when we were broken, frightened, and too shell shocked to continue, she was the only one able to fill us with that fighting spirit. As she laid out her plan, something she said stuck with me: “If we continue to pass on the flame of courage, we will find ourselves comforted by the warm embrace of victory.”

First, we packed up basecamp and flew our escape vessels to the other side of Urias, down by the Razor Wind Valley. Situated between two mountain ranges, the wind speeds here are so sharply intense that debris like leaves and pebbles turn into bullets. We know the Exoswarm are drawn to living beings, and since we’re the only living things down here, we’ll be the bait. After landing the ships in the nearby peaks, Captain Orna led us down the range to an old temple in the middle of the valley. Some of the more experienced pilots explained that it was originally a monastery for the Sages, a safe haven in the middle of a harsh environment designed to help them drown out all distractions and focus on their studies. Wondering how those old scholars made it through the valley without escape vessels gave me a newfound respect for the Sages. Once we got in, our Everai blew one side of the valley to shit, completely sealing off our exit.

With only one way in or out, Captain’s plan is to bottleneck the enemy here and let nature work for us with the razor wind, taking out as many of them as possible before we blast our way out and back to our ships. As I sit here with my fellow pilots waiting anxiously for the enemy, I can’t help but worry about what comes later. Even if our plan goes perfectly, it still means that eventually we’ll have to head out into the valley ourselves and finish the job. I look around at everyone’s stoic faces, and realize that we’re all coming to terms with the same thing: win or lose, it’s going to take a miracle to get off this rock alive.

Chapter 3: And It’s All Or Nothing

Evacuate everyone from The Capitol immediately.

This is Everai Captain Rena, transmitting from Urias. Our plan to stop the Exoswarm from spreading any farther has failed. We created a bottleneck, and when the Exoswarm came, they had no choice, but to go through the Razor Wind Valley, just as Captain Rena had planned. We watched safely from the temple as rocks, branches, and animal bones propelled by the razor winds cut through their inky form, just as we knew they would. Things were looking even better than we could have imagined, but then…the resurgence.

Our intel was flawed. The Exoswarm isn’t running out of steam, not even close. Just as we thought we had our window to take out the remaining enemies, we were absolutely overwhelmed by them. Hundreds of thousands of them, pouring over the mountains from every side. We didn’t trap them: they trapped us.

As I record this, there are only a handful of us left. We’ve barricaded ourselves in the temple, but I don’t think we have much time left. Captain Rena has one last plan up her sleeve: use our Everai to create a landslide, dragging our escape vessels perched on the mountaintops down into the valley, and letting the razor wind rip them apart piece by piece. The Exoswarm may be tough, but we’ll see how many of them are left standing after a hundred tons of metal debris shreds through their numbers. Of course, executing this plan means we don’t get out of The Coffin… but somehow, I’m okay with that. It’s funny, it took coming to terms with the fact that I would never leave this place, to realize why I was here in the first place. Even though we’re all about to die, there’s a slight comfort in knowing that our last stand will allow countless Shodai to live to fight another day. If you’ve received this message, then that means that a piece of us has left this battlefield. That’s all I wanted.

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