Many Worlds Chapter 42
Jules could only describe the scene before him as utter chaos. He was still on top of the walls, though that could soon change. The ground was shaking so much that he felt like it was a wild bull trying to throw him off. Outside the city, however, was even stranger. If Jules hadn’t been out there, he would have thought that it was a strange land colored liquid, a giant ocean. Hills were rising and falling, and everything seemed to be shifting around as if it were never even a solid. It was only when nearing the city that it subsided to just a tremendous, rumbling earthquake. Inside the city, the buildings rocked back and forth. However, Jules had to commend the construction. The buildings rocked, and bent, but did not seem to break apart or fall. The wall he was standing on was contorting, but remained whole. At least, as far as he could see. Outside the city, monsters were gathering. Some of them were fighting the others, and some were heading toward the city, while others were just taking shelter on the relatively safe terrain around the city.
Up in the sky, Jules could see myriads of flying creatures. There were birds of all kinds, bats, and other flying animals. Then, there were the monsters. Most of them had wings, but a few were bulbous like balloons, and some Jules couldn’t tell how they remained in the air at all. In addition to living creatures, there were various flying vehicles. They were engaged in combat with the monsters, keeping them out from above the city as much as possible. Jules saw vehicles similar to fighter planes and vehicles that could hover like helicopters. There were being assisted by fire from turrets on the ground.
However, even with all the chaos, there wasn’t panic. The soldiers certainly weren’t calm and relaxed, but they were at least still properly fighting. Jules attempted to do the same. It wasn’t long before he couldn’t keep track of how many monsters had died. However, soldiers were now dying around him too. It was hard to tell how many, since the constant movement made keeping track of anything almost impossible.
Inside the city, Jules saw glowing walls, inside the perimeter of the outer city wall. He tried to remember what those were. As he watched, another one appeared, as well as more walls of energy connected to the physical wall. He remembered the briefing now. This was a systematic retreat, where they would systematically collapse the defensive line into smaller areas. It didn’t mean that the battle was being lost, because it was planned, but it also didn’t mean things were going particularly well.
Jules’ section was next, and the retreated away from the walls, fending off attacks from monsters coming behind them. Jules fired at the eyes of a ratlike, dog sized monster following after the group. He couldn’t actually aim at the eyes with all of the shaking of the ground. Somehow, though, his telekinetic senses found something like a pattern in the motion, and he managed to guide at least some of his bullets to their target. Fortunately, pistol bullets were powerful enough to kill the monsters. Jules continued to move through the streets which were empty in front of him, but full of troopers and monsters behind. The civilians were long evacuated toward the center.
As he looked around, Jules realized he didn’t see any of his friends. Perhaps their log on times had been slightly delayed, or early. Either way, they would be separated for now. Jules continued to move, occasionally stopping to provide covering fire for those further behind. Then, he saw a group of troops and fortifications up ahead. After everyone reached a certain point in the road, a barrier appeared behind them. Jules knew it would hold against almost any attack, but could not last forever since it consumed a large amount of energy. However, it did give enough time for all of the soldiers to regroup behind the secondary fortifications.
Since this was the last portion of the landshift, very few soldiers were left in reserve, except small numbers who rotated out so that they could rest, though not likely actually sleep. There was a time, maybe an hour, maybe only half, where everything but the shaking seemed to calm down, and there was a short respite. Then, the wall faded, and monsters came again.
Jules returned to the sort of routine he had been in on the original walls, where he mostly used his telekinetic powers to defend. Spines, acidic goo, and even occasionally small leaping monsters were deflected by him. Jules was pretty sure he was tired, but he fell into a trance like state where he couldn’t feel it.
A flying creature, with sets of sharp talons on its three legs, swooped down, grabbing at a soldier, but not catching him. Jules thought he still saw a significant gash on the man’s chest, but he hadn’t been carried off. Jules didn’t know what he could do about the flyers, but perhaps he could hit one in a critical area. However, he also had to deal with things on the ground. He couldn’t handle both… so he chose the threats on the ground.
This time, the creature swooped down again, toward Jules. Time seemed to slow as he watched it. Perhaps it wasn’t coming for him, but it was massive enough that it could attack Jules and several people nearby all at once. Jules tried to shoot it, but its feathers seemed to be almost impenetrable, and even the heavier weapons some of the soldiers had were doing nothing. Lasers also didn’t work. It was perhaps ten meters away, a mere moment from reaching Jules, and he had to leap out of the way. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw something. It was black. Perhaps he didn’t see the blackness, but rather the lack of light behind it. It seemed to be a beam. Then, Jules hit the ground, and tumbled, losing his orientation.
It took him a second or two to stand up, but fortunately nothing was around to take advantage of that. As he looked around, Jules saw the strange bird-monster. At least, what was left of it. Its body had left a trail of destruction as it tumbled along the ground, but it seemed all of the soldiers had managed to avoid it, though some of the fortifications were less solid than they had been. The body of the bird was still burning with a black flame. Jules looked around, and finally spotted Douglas. He looked just about as focused as Jules had been, a look of great concentration in his eyes as he finally stopped his laser fire and looked around for another key target. Jules moved to group up with him… and perhaps support him, for though he looked to be very threatening, Jules also thought he looked like he was going to collapse at any moment.