A few hours later and Hess along with Nightblaze stood at the top of The Manipulator’s open boarding ramp with a spy drone ready.
On the bridge, Blast sat at its controls on the computer. “Okay, go.” He said into his comlink to Nightblaze.
They pushed the droid down the ramp and just before it hit the bottom, it’s wheeled feet retracted into it’s spherical body and it started hovering above the ground.
The computer screen that Blast and the other leaders gathered behind him were watching showed the area just outside the boarding ramp, as they were watching one of the many cameras built into the droid. Blast typed in a command and it responded. He ran through several checks to make sure it was working correctly and then entered the co-ordinates of a rocky outcrop just near the town.
Nightblaze and Hess watched it head off, floating through the air and then closed the ramp and headed back towards the bridge to join the others.
The leaders watched as the drone got closer and closer to the town.
It floated over a hill and lowered down towards the over-looking outcrop. Below they could see the town. It seemed to be built in a shallow valley with some of the buildings, especially the ones near the edges of the town, built into the sandy rock face of the cliffs. The houses were all low, none of them were more than two stories tall and the majority weren’t even that. Some were built from the surrounding rock but most were in a crumbling gray stone. The ground was dusty with sand and dry as a bone and wind swept through the streets like it was a ghost town.
The leaders looked on intently, trying to see any movement. Blast frowned and used the controls to pan the camera main camera around.
“There!” Padfoot pointed at the screen and Blast zoomed in on where he’d indicated. “F.I.S.” their leader confirmed.
They could just about see an F.I.S. soldier, patrolling one of the streets. He held his gun in his arms and was just walking along.
“What’s he doing?” Blast pondered more to himself than anyone else.
“There. Look, another one.” Slash nodded to the screen and sure enough, up ahead on the same street was a sergeant.
The U.R.S. leaders watched as the lower-ranked troop walked slowly, almost tentatively towards his superior who was coming the opposite way, but then passed straight by him, looking at each other as they went.
“That’s odd.” Blast commented. “He didn’t salute.”
“So? Who cares?! The F.I.S. are there. That’s what we needed proof of. It doesn’t matter if their younger troops aren’t as well trained as ours, let’s do it!” Padfoot urged.
Blast bit his lip and continued panning around the scene, noticing more and more troops as he did so, all patrolling the streets.
He stayed silent for a minute, watching the troops making sure all was as it seemed.
“What’s that in his hand?” Blast pointed to the screen and zoomed in on a particular soldier but he was too far away and the picture unfocused.
“I don’t know. A bandage?” Padfoot replied, not really interested.
“Maybe one of the townsfolk fought back.” Hess chuckled.
“Good on them if they did.” Nightblaze joined in. “A foolish thing to do but good on them.”
“Hmmm…” Blast replied, thinking.
“Look. There’s your F.I.S., I see no natives, what more do you want?” Padfoot asked.
Blast carried on thinking for a moment then replied, “Okay. Let’s do it.”
“Yes!” Padfoot grinned, knowing he’d been right all along.
“We’ll send the bombers out tonight.” Blast said with a slightly solemn tone to his voice.
“Okay.” Agreed Padfoot, nodding slightly.
“Everybody happy with the plan?” Blast asked standing up and looking around at them all. They all nodded or made noises of agreement.
“Good.” Blast programmed the spy drone to come back to the ship then walked away from the computer and up the bridge to the door.
“What’s up with him?” Falcon asked to nobody in particular as the leaders all still stood together.
“No idea.” Flare replied.
“I think he’s just worried about this mission.” Answered Padfoot as Hess and Shock walked off. “It was an anonymous tip-off completely out of the blue which has turned out to be correct as unlikely as it seemed. It was almost too good to be true. He’s just concerned about the validity of it.”
“But we’ve seen the footage. The F.I.S. are patrolling the streets as we speak.” Falcon continued.
“Indeed. Which is why he’s agreed to the plan.” The U.R.S. second in command answered and wandered off.
The day passed slowly for some. Even more so for Blast who spent most of it in his study, writing up plans for that night’s mission. Padfoot had been right about the reasons for Blast’s uncertainty but as the day progressed, the U.R.S. leader became sure that they were doing the right thing and come nightfall, he was ready and up for the task at hand.
Night arrived and as darkness descended upon the occupied town and the U.R.S. cruisers, Blast walked through the bridge doors of The Manipulator. He walked over to where the other leaders, minus Slash, had congregated once again.
“Ready?” Blast asked simply as he came to a halt in front of them all by the main viewing window. They all nodded.
“Let’s do it.” He pulled out his comlink from the pouch on his belt and waited for the hologram of Commando Slash to appear.
“Operation Free-flame is ago.” R.K. told him and Slash replied with, “Very good.” The hologram turned away for a moment and Slash said “Pilots, good luck.” to somebody out of sight. “Slash out.” He said, turning back to face Blast.
The hologram fizzled out and Blast replaced the device on his belt.
“Well; here we go.” He stated and stood at the viewing window, waiting for what was about to happen.
About a minute later, ten bombers from Slash’s newly reformed N-Section flew past The Manipulator’s bridge, with Slash himself piloting the lead ship, as they flew off towards the town.
The bombers flew silently through the night, their mostly black bodies hidden from view, the only light coming from the glowing controls inside the cockpits.
As they neared the town, Slash said, “Okay N-Section, let’s make this a good’un. All lights off.” over the coms system to the other pilots who gave various replies in confirmation that their lights were out.
“Let’s do a pass-over run first then turn back and start then.” Slash commanded. The ten bombers flew directly over the town in virtual silence, high above so that any noise they did make was blown away in the wind. Below they could just about make out the white dots that were the F.I.S. guards, patrolling the streets.
Once they’d flown over the whole town once, they turned back to pass over it again.
“Okay N-Section. Let ‘em have it.” Commanded their lead pilot and the bombs began to fall.
Hundreds of bombs fell from the U.R.S. ships as they flew over the occupied town. The troops in the streets looked up in horror and any screams they made were drowned out by the sound of the explosions.
N-Section passed over several times, dropping bomb after bomb that dived through the sky then obliterated anything on the ground that lay beneath it. The F.I.S. were blown to shreds.
Buildings and people alike destroyed in their entirety.
Fires raged across most of the town; buildings on fire, smoking piles of rubble, burning corpses.
On The Manipulator’s bridge, the commanders all watched as the fires lit up the night sky on the horizon, the muffled sound of each explosion just about reaching them. Blast put his hands behind his head, looking on.
After several runs, Slash ordered his ships to cease the bombing and they headed back towards the U.R.S. cruisers, leaving the town behind as a flaming, smoking wreck that burnt away into the night.
Blast nodded his approval as N-Section flew past the bridge on their way to their hanger bay,
then turned to his comrades and said, “Let’s see what the morning brings.” And smiled before walking from the bridge and heading to his quarters to rest.
BUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? FIND OUT IN PART 3! COMING TUESDAY 26TH MARCH!
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