“Where is Moxor?” I whispered to Azlo over radio communications on my armband.
“Moxor is not in sight. I have lost sight of Moxor. Jex, do you have eyes on Moxor?” Azlo asked.
“Shit, Moxor… Moxor, come in,” I said into the radio. There was no response.
“I see him. I see him. He's going in through the back. He's going in alone,” Azlo said.
“Dammit, Moxor. Stand down. We are going in as a team,” I said into the radio. But there was no response.
Moxor did things like this. Even though I was the king and leader of the Veruka weredragons, Moxor always wanted to disobey me. He was a hardcore weredragon soldier. But his ruthless and careless ways often put us in trouble. There were times when we had very close calls because Moxor would run blazing into fights and not wait for a signal. Like the time we went up against the Jitron monster on the planet Guidia. That was a close one. Now, he was doing it again. It was not that he didn’t respect my authority as his king; it was that he was reckless and insane.
“Azlo, follow Moxor in through the back. Jex and I are going in through the front,” I said.
Everything had gone according to plan up until this point. Everything had been laid out carefully, but I should have known that Moxor would jump the gun on the situation. I knew I should expect it and work it into the plans from then on. But how was I to know that there would not be a next time?
We were launching an attack on a large building on Earth. It was a very important building. It was a building that was key in helping to turn the battle in the favor of the humans. The humans didn’t even know that we were doing this. In fact, they didn’t even know that we existed. Why would they? They weren’t an interplanetary species. They were not as advanced in space travel as we were. But they did build great machines. They built them so great that eventually the machines took over the entire planet and the humans were nearly extinct. This building was part of the machines. It was home to a cyborg repair facility on the continent that used to be known as North America, before the machines took over and all hell broke loose. This facility was where broken machines were brought to be repaired, or inactive ones were housed.
The building was guarded by the ruthless and machine-driven cyborgs known as the Clenok. I didn’t know if they gave this name to themselves, or if the humans had given it to them. I only knew that now, there were billions of them spread out on the Earth and they had one mission: kill humans.
Cyborgs were the hardest enemy to fight. Anything with a real conscious could be manipulated or maybe even reasoned with. That was not the case with a machine.
The machines did not feel. They did not have humanity or any empathy-driven conscious. They were pure machine. You could not reason with them. You could not negotiate with them. They were set to do their mission: take over the Earth and drive humans to extinction.
This was where we came into the picture. We needed something from the humans, and we knew that by helping them we could show them that we meant them no harm. So we decided to take out this facility.
We knew this facility was guarded by Clenok cyborgs, but there were more Clenok cyborgs that were out of operation than in operation because most of them were undergoing repair and were turned off. Therefore we only had to go up against the ones that were turned on to guard the facility, and if our previous scouting information was correct, it was very few Clenok cyborgs to deal with.
Our plan was to infiltrate and double assault, a team going in the front and a team going in the back. We had one important goal: set explosives and get the hell out of there. It was going to be a team effort, until Moxor decided to go in on his own terms, like he always did. I was impressed with his bravery but pissed off at his stupidity.
“He must have turned off his communications or he is not responding on purpose,” Azlo said.
“Alright, move in. Maybe we can still catch them off guard if we stay quiet and…”
Boom! Boom! “Shit! Shots fired! Repeat, shots have been fired from inside the Clenok facility!” Azlo shouted.
“Dammit! Move in! Move in now!” I shouted, and Jex followed me as we kicked open the door to the facility. Immediately, shots were fired in our direction, and we took cover behind the massive concrete poles of the warehouse-like facility.
“I'm in! I'm in through the back! I cannot find Moxor,” Azlo shouted over the radio as we fought a full-on gun battle between the silver, metal Clenok cyborgs and us, the Veruka weredragons from Tivosa.
“We have to set the charges now. We won't be able to hold them as soon as more Clenok move in,” Jex said.
“Azlo, find Moxor! Set the charges along the way even if you have to throw them like grenades. Just find him!” I shouted.
“Jex, you go around the right, and I will go around the left. Ready?” I said.
We began firing at the Clenok cyborgs as we went around in different directions. I was laying down explosive charges, dropping them and rolling them underneath factory tables and machinery as I went. The Clenok cyborgs were hard to fight. You hit them once, and they did not go down because they were made of metal. You had to hit them several times, hoping to burn out their circuitry. It took a lot of firepower and accuracy to make that happen.
“Motherfucker! Get him out of there! Forget about the charges and take flight. Fly him out of there. If you come toward me, I can give you cover,” I said into the radio communications. I was pissed. Moxor had done this to himself.
“Dammit, Jex, get out of here; that is in order. Do not disobey your king!”
I heard Jex grunt and growl over the radio. He did not agree with my orders. Just then, I saw Azlo flying overhead with Moxor in his arms. I began to shoot all the Clenok cyborgs that noticed them in order to protect him from their gunfire.
“I didn't hear that order,” he said as he grabbed my arm and began to pull me backward. Together, we fought our way back toward the front door.
I looked at Jex. Together, we ran towards the front door and took flight, spreading our emerald-green wings and flying in the facility. We made it out the front door and into the open night sky where we flew straight up. That was the plan. Fly up and as high as you could. The cyborgs had a limited range, and they did not fly.
“Detonating!” I shouted as I hit the detonation button on my armband. In a split-second, the entire facility blew up. Bam! Boom! Bam! Explosion after explosion went off. We cheered in victory.
The heat and fire enveloped us, but it did not matter. We were dragons. We were made from the fire. It did not hurt us. We watched as the facility succumbed to the explosions. It crumbled in on itself. I hoped the fire was hot enough to melt those cyborgs. I smiled. Mission accomplished.
We flew away from the mushroom cloud of smoke and flame toward a mountaintop high in the mountains with a thick forest that provided us with cover. It was where we had landed our army a week before. Earth was new to us. We knew it was under attack by the Clenok cyborgs for almost a decade. It had nearly decimated the entire population of humans. But it wasn't our fight. But there was a reason that brought us here, and I was now going to be faced with that reason more than I could ever know.
“Set him down on the leaves,” I said to Azlo as he held Moxor. He sat him down on the leaves. I hovered over him.
“Dammit. Why can you never listen to orders?” I said looking at his injury on the side of his torso. We had a good armor; it was part of being a weredragon. But sometimes a gun laser blast could get through if it hit us in the right soft spot. This was what happened to Moxor.
“I am sorry, my king. But we both know that my time was up anyway. The blackness had come upon me. I would rather give my life in battle than to succumb to this strange plague that is new to us. I did not want to die a weak Veruka in bed. Now I have an honorable death. Now I died defending my king and helping the Earth humans. I am at peace,” he said in a whisper as the life was leaving him.
His words were honorable. They were the true words of a Veruka weredragon. They made me proud. He was a good soldier, and I understood what he meant. We gathered around him until his last breath. I had never been prouder or more saddened by the death of a soldier. We had all grown up together, Moxor, Jex, Azlo, and Razook. We were tight even though I was king. We had trained together since we were young. Losing Moxor was like losing a brother. I could see the pain and anguish on each other’s faces as he left us. But we knew that he was right. None of us wanted to give into this strange illness that had sprung itself onto us on our planet. It was unexplainable. But we were too honorable to die in bed, a sick weredragon. We were born to fight, protect, and defend. We knew that if we were in Moxor’s place, we would have done the same thing.