Horror and Thriller Science Fiction posted November 2, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
Two men on a mission deep into enemy territory

The Snow Kingdom Chapter 4 Pt 3

by rtobaygo

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
SNOW KINGDOM SYNOPSIS:  Two soldiers from the United Northern Alliance, Colonel Castille Tasca and Master Sergeant Rambika Maseru, have undertaken a clandestine mission deep into Snow Kingdom territory to test a new agent designed to kill coca plants the source of the Snow Kingdom’s cocaine, the very foundation of its power and wealth. 
STALKER:  Bipedal, BGC, semi-sentient apex predator.  Average height three-point-one meters, weight approximately two-hundred kilograms.  Used throughout the Snow Kingdom to maintain Scavenger and War Lord loyalties and to protect various Kingdom complexes and military installations.  Used throughout the Greater Kingdom as a military weapon.  Heightened auditory, olfactory and ophthalmic senses, coupled with thick tough-scaled skin, binocular vision, rows of sharp-serrated teeth, clawed hands and enhanced strength and speed make it a formidable adversary.
They realized each shot had to count, that a miss could bring death.  From past encounters, they’d seen what a stalker could do to a man.  They had to kill them before they reached the outcropping.
Maseru swallowed hard, the knot in his stomach growing tighter with each passing second.  “What’s with the huge bastard on the far right, Colonel?  Briefings never mentioned anything that big.”
“Damn it, you’re right, they didn’t. The thing’s over four meters tall.  Best guess . . . it’s a new prototype and . . . looks like it’s the only one with the pod.”
 “At least that’s something to be thankful for.  Hell, it could be worse.  There could be two of them.”
“And one’s not, enough, Sergeant?”
“Yes, sir, one too many.”
Without a word between them they watched the stalkers slow their approach until the center of the line stood meters from the traps.  “Don’t fire on the stalkers approaching the traps unless the powder doesn’t work.  You’re to target the Alpha behind them and the two to your left outside the traps.  I’ll handle the prototype and its friend on the right.  Questions, Sergeant?”
 “None at the moment, sir.” Maseru locked his rifle on the nearest stalker outside the traps. I’m going to kill each one of you sons-of-bitches.  The more you suffer the better.  His dark hatred of the stalkers had surfaced.  He wanted payback for all the Alliance soldiers he’d served with, who’d been brutally ripped apart by the stalkers. It was simple; he couldn’t kill them fast enough.  
Motionless, sweat trickling down the sides of their face, they waited, realizing any sudden movement could cause the stalkers to ignore the traps.
In the middle of the formation, ten meters behind the eight stalkers, stood the Alpha.  Tasca and Maseru watched the eight stalkers cautiously approach the traps until they were two meters from them.  Sensing something was different, they instinctively crouched and sniffed the hot, desert air.   Twenty-five meters, on either side of the main group, the remaining stalkers had stopped, a series of loud hisses replacing their grunts and sharp clicks.
The eight stalkers in front of the traps slowly moved forward.  With a series of guttural hisses, they lowered their heads until they were directly over the traps.
“Come on, come on, you bastards, sniff the goddamned powder,” Tasca whispered to himself, knowing full well the danger they’d face if the powder didn’t work as intended.
 Sensing no danger, the stalkers opened their mouths and inhaled the green powder.  Sudden, high-pitched screeches tore through the desert air.  In awe, Tasca and Maseru watched the stalkers rip at their throats, take several steps forward, and fall onto the sand, dead.
“Fire, Sergeant!”
Three short bursts from Tasca’s weapon struck the stalker next to the prototype, causing it to stagger forward.  He fired again and watched the laser punch a hole in the stalker’s head, killing it.
Maseru fired twice, the rifle’s energy slicing into the closest stalker’s chest.  Another burst hit its stomach.  With an unnerving scream, it twisted violently and fell onto the sand, dead. With soulless howls the remaining stalkers made for him.
A wicked smile formed on Maseru’s lips.  “Okay, you goddamned bastards, come to me.”  His outward calm belayed his inner turmoil.  Ever since his encounter with them, over twenty-two years ago at Rourke’s drift, he knew he couldn’t let his anger control him if he was to survive the attack.   His smile gone, he locked his rifle on the second stalker and fired into its chest, the force of the impact knocking it to its knees.  Seeing it was down, he fired again, the laser cutting the stalker’s neck in half, killing it.  He looked at the Alpha.  “Okay you, big son-of-a-bitch, time to die!”
With incredible speed, the Alpha came at Maseru.
Spitting to one side, he stood and fired four quick bursts into the stalker’s chest and watched it twist spastically to the ground.  He smiled.  It was dead.
Tasca’s laser struck the prototype’s right arm, the force of the impact spinning it around and onto the sand.  With green liquid oozing from its wound, it made an unearthly sound, stood and came at him.  Damn, that shot should have ripped its arm off.  Realizing the stalker would be on him in seconds, he pulled the trigger twice and watched both shots strike its chest.  The impacts stopped the prototype, but to Tasca’s amazement, it didn’t go down.  Eyes locked on its prey, it came at him. “Goddamn it, why don’t you die!”  He knew he had to kill it with the next shot or it would kill him.  Unnoticed by the Colonel, Maseru, having worked his way behind him, fired into the creature’s neck.  With a dying lunge, it fell forward one meter from Tasca’s feet.  Angry, the stalker had not gone down, Tasca fired point blank into its head, exploding it like a ripe melon.
Grinning, Maseru shook his head.  “Does that make you feel better, sir?”
Tasca nodded, his attention still on the dead stalker.  “Yes, Goddamn it, it does!  I really hate these fucking things!”
 Maseru continued to grin.  “I never would have guessed that, sir.  I damn near forgot how fast these bastards can move.”
“I didn’t.  I really thought I might not make it, that I would die in this godforsaken shit hole, so thanks. I don’t know if I could have stopped it before it reached me.”
“No need to thank me, Colonel.  How many times have you saved my ass?  I know one thing, I don’t want to face another prototype again.”
“Amen to that, Sergeant, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”  

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