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CHAPTER THREE "And that quite simply is that" finished the officer as he regarded the ragtag rabble of people that we were. He had spoken for nearly two hours as he explained the situation, of how he was following orders from the prime minister and that the whole country was in a state of nationwide emergency. We had it seems, all been brought here for our collective safety and he went on to tell us of how this base was one of dozens like it all over the country. The officer then proceeded to read out a list of names of about twenty people, my name was among them. It had been years since I'd been in the Army. "These people will go with the these soldiers" he indicated a group of men, dressed not in combat gear but more regimental dress, that had just entered the room from behind the officer, "and will report for duty immediately." This raised a great deal of response from the people in the hall. This was met sternly, "All these men are on military file as being members of the reserve Army." He said matter of factly. "These men are needed and I have been ordered by the government to draft anyone on file with military experience." He looked round at the masses of people in the hall "You will follow these men." We moved through the crowd towards the front, I glanced back to look at Eric. He was gazing at me with a look halfway between pride and dread. I couldn't decide which it was. As we all reached the front of the hall we were ordered into line by one of the soldiers. He shouted our names and we duly answered in turn, and there was about fifteen of us from the list here. We followed the soldiers through the door and through the other door that I'd noticed. This door led to a comfortably furnished room with a white board at one end and lined with padded seats facing the board. On each of the seats were a change of clothes, all military of course and there was a nametag pinned to the back of each seat. We found our respective seats and were told to sit down. We were all settled when the officer entered the room, closed the door behind him and looked at us for what seemed like an eternity before he spoke. The invaders as he called them, a little on the melodramatic side but true nonetheless, had knocked out nationwide telecommunications. He went on to tell us that both power, gas and water seemed also to be cut off. All major satellite comunications were out. He painted quite a bleak picture of how fast and quite deadly skirmishes had errupted between the armed forces and the invaders. Also of how our forces were already 60 percent depleted in the first attack. We all just sat there dazed and unable to move. How the hell could our collective armed forces be 60 percent wiped out? There had been contact from a military AWAC plane that had been in flight over Europe at the time of first contact with the invaders. It seemed that there had been several encounters at exacly the same time at strategic spots all over Europe. There were attacks on several major military bases, and there was not a whole lot left although a lot of the minor garrisons were left intact. He went on to tell us that we would be part of a task force working alongside the Police to keep security around the immediate area of the base, but we could be called upon to supplement other forces out in the city itself. The front line was always a bloody and noisy place to be he thought. How the hell did he always seem to be stationed in the wrong place at the wrong time was anybody's guess. He held his binoculars up to his eyes and watched the squad advance to the ridge of soil. As he watched he saw that the large silver dome had opened. There were now seven of the alien robots advancing from the dome across the base of what was in fact a huge crater. It was hard to believe that this was once a tower block, containing thousands of people. He ducked again as another hail of green energy bolts impacted against the soil fifty yards to the left of where he was hiding. He looked up and over to see the metal figures moving forwards, each of them seemed to be firing in regular intervals up at the edges of the crater. There was a strange eerieness to the way they moved, robotic but extremely fluid, not at all like machines but living creatures. He pushed the thought out of his head. "Unit five, unit five, we are in position now, do you copy Eagle one?" He recognised the sound of corporal Essex over the radio. "Eagle one to unit five," he replied, more than a little scared. "there's seven more twelve o'clock. Use extreme caution and wait for air support, repeat wait for air support." The last words came out almost in panic. "Roger Eagle one, assessing situation. Keep us advised on enemy position. Unit five out." The radio went dead. He looked through the binoculars again, locating the alien figures as they advanced over the rubble. As he watched, three of the robots fanned out to the left and three to the right. The seventh stayed to the centre as they advanced towards unit five's position. "Damn!" He spat as he dropped the binoculars and grappled for his radio, keying the speak button "Unit five this is Eagle one, fall back, fall back, repeat fall back.!" As he looked the soldiers seemed to move in slow motion as they fanned out as if to match the aliens manoeuvre. There was the sound of gunfire as the first of the robots came within one hundred yards of his comrades' position. The first robot fired at one of the soldiers, spewing a volley of green fire in his direction. One by one they all fell victim to those green bolts of deadly energy. He reached for his gun and fired at the lead robot. There was a slight delay before a shower of sparks plumed from the figure as the bullets glanced off the armoured metal of the invader. As he fired the targeted robot replied. A reply that barely missed. He rolled to his left and down the embankment, as he reached level ground he sprang to his feet and sprinted to where his jeep was parked. Even as he reached it there was the familiar drone of another flying disc. Within seconds it was passing overhead. He leapt into the driver's seat of the jeep and gunned the engine to life, and with a whine of the engine and a screech of tyres he was away moving rapidly up the gears. An explosion to the left nearly knocked the jeep onto it's side as the disc fired at him. He cursed and swerved to the right and then onto another road to the left. Crash after crash to the left and right of the jeep kept him swerving all over the road. Then he spotted a shop to the right that was missing the front window. "Right " He spat "follow this." He said half to himself and half at the silver flying disc following him. He dropped a gear and yanked hard on the wheel. The jeep lurched in that direction and onto the pavement. There was the sound of falling masonry and broken glass as he tugged on the hand brake and slid neatly sideways into the shop. He was thrown painfully out of the jeep and into a nest of shelves. Outside the flying disc had come to a halt and was hovering at just above ground level. There was no sound exept for a kind of electric hum that seemed to fluctuate as the craft bobbed gently up and down. He looked towards the front of the shop and his crashed jeep, laughing gently to himself as he realised he was uninjured. It was a laughter that was short lived as he saw his pursuer hovering just several feet away. With blood running cold in his veins he reached down to his belt for his radio. He spoke quietly into the mike "This is Eagle one requesting backup at sector 16, repeat sector 16...". The call for help was cut short by a flash of green energy that hit the wall just inches above his head. He dropped the radio and back pedalled across the shop floor. There was a row of metal shelves so he put them between himself and the craft, desperately thinking of a way out of the shop. All thoughts but fear went completely out of the soldier's mind as he watched the metal in one section melt away to form a hatch. From this hatch came a ramp, and down that ramp emerged a titanic metal figure, then another and another until there were four monstrous demonic robots deployed to the front of the building. Without warning, they advanced.