Reaver, part III

So, quite a while ago, I wrote a short little piece called “Reaver.”  Well, I decided that it needed a second part, which is here.  This wasn’t enough, so here is part three.

You can read the first part here.  

His muscles were already beginning to tire, the stress and exhaustion beginning to overcome the adrenaline.  Reaching the control center, Daniel forced his arms to raise the hammer over his head.  The first overhand blow left a deep dent in the riveted metal plate.  The third swing knocked the bent sheet of metal aside, and he stared down into the maze of pipes and wires glinting inside the monster.

The Reaver was still struggling to regain its feet, the three operational legs churning the cornfield into a muddy pit.  As more young men reached the open hole, each carrying their weapon in one hand as they climbed, a small sack slung over one shoulder, Daniel heard the next boom of fireworks.  Thirty seconds left.

“Hurry!” Daniel called out, as the nearest men unloaded the satchels from their shoulders.  A thin string protruded from the neck of each bag.  Daniel worked to weave the strands together into a thicker cord, keeping the lengths equal as each man lowered his sack into the exposed hole.

Daniel was trying his best to count down in his head.  He only had ten seconds left, he figured.  He hoped that enough of the packages had made it into the Reaver’s inner workings.  “Everyone off!” he shouted, as the last sack was lowered in.  The cords were hopefully close enough to the same length.  He fumbled in his back pocket for the small paper box.

As the other men leapt away, landing among the flattened stalks and struggling to regain their feet, Daniel drew a match with fumbling, trembling fingers.  He only had a second or two left.  Dragging the head of the match along the rough metal plates of the Reaver, he sent a prayer of silent thanks skyward as a tiny flame flickered into life.

As Daniel brought the lit match to the interwoven strings, the mechanical sounds of the Reaver beneath him suddenly shifted.  The secondary defense systems were coming to life.

A moment too late, the last set of fireworks sounded from the grove of trees.  Something below Daniel’s feet let out a sharp hiss, and a rocket streaked from an opening at the front of the machine.  The trees were briefly outlined in orange before the grove vanished in a roaring gout of flame.

A wordless scream ripped its way out of Daniel’s throat.  In his hands, the woven fuse caught, just as the flame of the match reached his fingers.  The strings, each soaked in a mixture of alcohol and gunpowder, burned rapidly, disappearing into the hole in the Reaver’s armored shell.

More of the secondary systems were coming online now.  More barrels were sliding out of the Reaver’s shell, some already blasting scalding steam into the wilting stalks.  Metal shrieked as the machine forced itself to stand on shattered and broken legs, lurching erratically but stumbling forward.  Daniel was thrown from his perch, landing heavily in the mud.

The Reaver reared above him.  The fall had knocked the breath from his lungs, and he lay on his back, helpless as his death turned to face him.

For a split second, rearing over him, the Reaver seemed to pause.  Then, with a deep and resounding boom, the satchels of gunpowder inside its exoskeleton ignited.

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