This is a writing piece done for @elektronx as part of an art trade-commission-thing.
She gave me an old comic of hers as the prompt, and I made a story from it. I decided to write from a human’s perspective, since the last piece I wrote for her was from Scope’s perspective.
“Sir, we have a small aircraft approaching at high velocity from a Westerly South West direction!”
I sighed and continued looking out the command tower window where I had been standing, but now turning my attention to the sky, rather than the light of the rising sun spreading across the city.
“What is its altitude and transponder code, lieutenant?” I demanded.
“It doesn’t have a transponder, sir, and it is too small to track accurately.”
I spun on my heel and marched to the speaker, looking at the radar display before him. I watched as the blip sometimes failed to show up, but every time it did – it was headed straight for us.
“It’s far too small to be a commercial airliner. There is a good probability that it isn’t an attack aircraft. Too small for that either.”
“It could be a small civilian aircraft, sir?”
“No, it would have a transponder which would respond to our secondary radar.” A sneaking suspicion, of what the bogey could be, crept at the back of my mind. For now, I could only hope that it was not that.
“Broadcast a warning to it.”
I turned and walked to another station and gave the man there an order, “Arm battery W3. Have the cannons prepared for line-of-sight firing, in case radar targeting does not work. Sound a general alert.”
“I repeat: you are entering restricted airspace,” I could hear the lieutenant speaking into his headset, “Change your bearing to 247 degrees or you will be fired upon. This is your final warning.”
I was about to issue more orders amongst the busy control room when a shout from the lieutenant interrupted me. “Our systems have been compromised, sir!”
Looking at the radar screen, I saw the green text saying “BACK OFF”.
“Fire battery W3 at the bogey.”
I walked to the western window, ignoring the question from behind me. “Do you think it’s him, Sir?” I watched. The cannons moved, tracking their targets – and charging up their high-energy rounds. I could also just make out their target, a long thin thing shooting through the sky. Suddenly, the bogey dived – releasing green blasts towards the cannons. The blasts hit home. I could tell that they were disabled without the shout of the soldier I had told to arm them.
The creature landed heavily next to the research compound. Behind it, the turrets of battery W3 exploded – their loss of power and subsequent loss of control over the direction of their high-energy shots caused the cannons to explode. Glancing over at the radar screen, I could see the text “I WARNED YOU” displayed. The screen then faded to green static.
“Sir, the men are at their stations,” called a voice, “Permission to engage the target?”
“Yes, fire at will but use protocol B-5483. Understood?”
I looked at the lieutenant, who was now standing. Not as if it made much difference, since his station was now rendered useless. Green light shone on his face, and he was staring at the overhead screen. I looked at it and saw the calling card that was becoming too familiar.
“It’s him,” I didn’t have to wait long for someone to state the obvious.
“Colonel, sir,” came the lieutenant’s voice, “Would this not be the perfect opportunity to tes-”
In a heartbeat I was next to the officer, tearing the headset off of him and throwing it to the ground. “He’s in our system,” I hissed into the man’s ear. “There is a reason I ensured there be no electronic records of project Haywire. It is not ready yet.”
“S-sorry sir!” he stuttered back. Even though I had made sure as few people knew about it as possible, it was still a daunting task to keep knowledge of this project from reaching the giant lizards. “But, beg your pardon, why do we still engage them in the meantime?”
“If we just let them waltz in and take what they want, their raids will be far more frequent – and they’ll think we learned something. Now keep quiet.”
I stepped back and turned to another pair of officers. “Execute C-8255.”
The pair nodded, checked that their microphones were on, then proceeded to make casual conversation between each other.
“Don’t you think it would be great if these two reptiles would actually stop to negotiate for once?”
I walked to look out of the window facing the research complex.
“Yeah, then we might actually be able to work something out between us.”
The soldiers below had no problem keeping to the protocol I had given them. It was saving their lives, so why not?
“Hah! If we worked together with them, we could provide them with the supplies they needed, and they could help us when needed in return. They wouldn’t have to raid us or the city!”
The low calibre rifles were nothing more than an annoyance to the cybernetic lizard; just a friendly reminder to hurry up and get out. Not enough to enrage it. The men also kept their distance, not getting near enough for the lizard to even bother activating his plasma blades.
“We wouldn’t even ask too much of them. Right now the biggest problem we have is them themselves.”
The silver-and-green lizard had entered a building and then soon exited it – the bags slung to his sides now bulging. The men targeted the bags, hoping to damage the equipment despite the oddly resilient material the bags were made of.
“The scientists probably would want to have a look at these giant reptiles, but they’d have to deal with us if they try to do anything that the lizards don’t want them to.”
The wings extended, and the lizard leapt off the ground – taking to the air.
“I’m sure being allies would be far more beneficial to all of us, rather than continuing this pointless fighting.”
The figure flew away into the sky, leaving in a random direction as was customary. The green screens in the command tower returned to their normal states. The two that had been talking stopped and got back to work on the computers in front of them. I was certain that the giant lizard had heard the conversation.
“Tell the scientists to take inventory and tell me what was taken. Activate those items’ trackers in 30 minutes, if he hasn’t discovered and disabled them already.” I began issuing orders to various people. “Send a crew to those turrets to see what can be salvaged. Analyse our system for where he has been, and if he damaged anything.”
I had lied to the lieutenant. In truth, project Haywire was ready. I was delaying on purpose. I knew that, if I made the call, the grey one would never forgive us. I wanted to give them as long as I could for any form of diplomatic solution. If only we could find their hideout; we could send an envoy. When project Haywire was successful, there were two possible consequences. Either our scientists’ best algorithms granted us control, or the failsafe killed the creature.
Eventually, my hand would be forced.