Bewildering Stories

David K. Scholes, Soldier of the Brell

excerpt


Cover
Soldier of the Brell
Author: David K. Scholes
Publisher: Lulu, April 21, 2012
Price: $8.50 U.S.
Length: 103 pages
ISBN: 9781105640704

An Unknown Planet
Somewhere in our Universe
Still some years ago

Urrle looked down at the fallen warrior. One great warrior paying homage to another.

“He is almost perfectly preserved,” he said to his venerable companion.

“The same cannot be said of his enemies,” came the reply.

From their mountainous vantage point both men looked out over the ancient battlefield. Strewn across a huge area were the almost totally disintegrated remnants of what had been a vast amount of military hardware. Among it all the few metallic remains of what had once been an immense army of murderously efficient battle droids and cyborgs.

Urrle recognized some of the technology. It would have been state of the art for the time.

“Looks like it was a fair fight then,” he quipped “one single Brell soldier against an entire army.”

“Only if you also count the downed star ship and star fighters we saw coming in,” said his friend, pulling up several over the horizon three dimensional images simultaneously. “I’d say he took them down as well.”

Urrle hadn’t meant to be flippant. In all his travels among the stars and in other dimensions he had never seen such an apparently one sided battle. At this moment he was grateful that the Tolden ancient was with him to share the moment.

The environment was hostile desert, searing hot in the day, ice-cold at night. Fiercely hot, raging winds, whipped up around them driving the hot sands worse than any crude sand blaster. Hellish conditions even for an enhanced human such as himself.

“His armor seems as new,” said Urrle

“Brell light armor,” said the Tolden “it will outlast most civilizations, even here, in this environment. We have found dead Brell soldiers before,” the old man continued, “but never a body this well preserved. Just possibly this is one of the last of them, one of the last soldiers of the Brell.”

Both men took a few reverential steps backwards. For a moment neither of them spoke. Each deep in their own thoughts.

Standing together they made quite a contrast. Urrle’s huge 6 feet 5 inch frame, the one time star trooper, system law enforcer, off planetary special forces officer, mercenary, bodyguard, and even gladiator. Even, on occasion, star fighter pilot and once or twice when the need had arisen starship pilot. Now, more recently, a valued military adviser to the mighty Tolden themselves. Next to him, the diminutive frame of the gentle old man, Leandarr, the oldest living of the Tolden. A revered elder of a race of beings considered by history to have been second only to the Brell.

Urrle was the first to break the silence. “We should bury him,” he said “he deserves at least that.”

“We have buried all those we have found in this Galaxy,” came the reply “together with their armor. We could never have removed it, even if we had wanted to.”

“How long can Brell armor last,” enquired Urrle, respectfully.

“We don’t know,” came the reply “no one of the Tolden has ever seen deteriorated armor.”

“We carried out some simulated battlefield tests once,” said the elder. Urrle looked at him sideways and with an uncharacteristic hint of distaste “you just said you could never remove the armor?”

“It was a one off,” replied the old man almost ashamed. “We couldn’t even dent the armor. We never tried it again.”

Just then the light armor that clad the huge soldier began to flow gently, like liquid mercury, only more so, reaching out to Urrle. “Take your own armor off Urrle,” urged the Tolden elder. Urrle obeyed instinctively and gasped as the Brell armor flowed on to his forearm. His first reaction was to get it off, any way he could. It then flowed over him very quickly and soon he realized the futility of his efforts. The flowing armor adjusted to his smaller size and began to solidify.

“So light,” said Urrle “so light, as if it’s not even here. I can feel the power of it’s exo-skeleton assists,” he continued “way beyond the levels of my Tolden suit. It’s linked in with my brain now, the enhanced sensory perception is unbelievable. Lord knows what else it is capable of.”

“We have theoretical assessments of the capability of Brell armor,” said the elder “and there was ___” he trailed off. “I think there are capabilities in the armor that even the Tolden are unaware of,” finished the elder.

Then Urrle quieted down, becoming almost somber. “What is it,” enquired the Tolden elder, “Are you all right Urrle?”

“I’m okay,” said Urrle “I’ve just been shown a quick fast forward replay in my mind of the battle that took place here, so long ago, as if it just happened.”

Slightly shaken by the revelation of these ancient events, Urrle fell silent and the old man, the Tolden elder, knew not to prod him. There would be time enough later.

The elder knew, what Urrle did not, that the Brell had stationed soldiers like this permanently on many worlds. That towards the end of the Brell empire some had gone on one way tickets knowing they would never return to the home worlds. Then right at the end there had been the final few surviving soldiery that had last ditch teleported away from the ashes of the Brell home worlds. A single one of such soldiers could defend an outlying world from a highly efficient army. As indeed this one had.

Before they left the ancient battlefield and rejoined the Tolden expedition, the two men buried the Brell soldier in silence. Symbolically leaving with him Urrle’s Tolden armor.

“I think you are right,” said Urrle.

“About what?” enquired the elder.

“He probably was the last one, the very last soldier of the Brell,” came the almost inaudible reply.

“Not quite,” said the elder “there is one member of that great race still living. A soldier of the Brell known as Tragathh, on a long journey through time. It’s time for you to know about him,” continued the elder “especially since you’ve now acquired that armor. Given how young you are and how long lived your race, your paths may cross some day.”

You will probably live even longer thanks to that armor, thought the elder.

Leandarr knew that the Tolden would teach Urrle everything they knew of the Brell armor. Yet there were some things Urrle would just have to learn through experience. Urrle for his part was subdued, already he had begun to realize that a great honor and a great responsibility had been placed upon him.

The two men, both deep in their own thoughts, flew back the short distance to the rest of the Tolden expedition in silence.


Copyright © 2012 by David K. Scholes

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