Driving into work this morning, I imagined this scene in my head. Again, as I began to write it, it was headed in a very different direction.
After fifteen minutes, I wrote the last sentence that changed everything.
Members of the 132nd Battalion looked out over the rolling expanse of land extending from what was left of the city they defended. The majority of the soldiers took cover behind jagged walls of blasted concrete, while the rest took positions in low ditches not far from the edge of the city.
As they waited for the inevitable conflict, they listened to reports of invasion all over the Earth. Weeks had passed since the first reports of attacks had started coming in from abroad. The attacks were strategically surgical and took out supply lines and defenses all over the seven continents before anyone realized what was happening.
The settlement once known as Boston, that they now defended, had already been hit hard by drone attacks, but the 132nd had just received orders to prepare to repel a ground assault. The invaders had assault carriers headed their way.
A few of the soldiers tossed water, rations, and energy batteries across dusty remnants of buildings. A stray cough or sneeze was the only sound they made as they each kept their eyes turned towards the growing clouds in the distance.
The invaders were able to create atmospheric shields around their vessels and could hide easily in the natural cloud formations that had become the norm since the first major attacks.
As suddenly and quietly as a ray of sunshine can break through a ceiling of dark thunderstorm clouds, the invaders’ ships dropped out of the clouds.
Every man standing there in the ruins of what was once the great city of Boston clenched their stun rifles a little tighter. More than a few wished the Federation had rescinded the ban on lethal weapons, but the majority found peace in the fact that they were not the murderers in this new war. They pledged to die with honor, and they would do so knowing their hands would be free of another living creatures blood.
For a century, their Earth had been the birthplace of a new utopian society of peace and efficiency. Science and technology blossomed like wildflowers in the pastures of freedom their collective efforts had grown from the near disaster their predecessors had allowed to come to pass.
The assault carriers landed in the fields with ground-shaking thuds, and swarms of invaders poured out of the massive ships’ metal bellies, firing their lethal plasma weapons and killing everything and everyone before them.
The 132nd Battalion put up a good fight, disabling three platoons of invaders without killing them before they were overrun and murdered. The now helpless citizens waited patiently in the ruins of the city for death to descend upon them.
The human war machine had returned to Earth from its banishment in deep space.