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Kamikaze Nerd

    “Shit!” she exclaimed angrily turning from the window, “They found us!”

   It is probably a waste of my time, but, I will elucidate (which means to explain. See, I am not as slow as Sarge seems to think.) ‘She’, refers to Sergeant Sullivan, a noncommissioned officer in the National Guard. She was a truck driver. Back when there was a National Guard, that had trucks to drive and a nation to guard, but I will get to that. She has a first name, but Sarge says we are all going to die soon anyway, so she doesn’t want to get close enough to know our names. I am ‘kid’ when she does not just refer to me as “Hey, You.”

   ‘Us’ is the rag tag odds and ends she collected after her unit was destroyed and rather than run away, she decided to fight ‘them’.

   ‘They’ are the aliens that landed on Earth over a year ago and since have been systematically wiping out mankind ever since. (I do not know their preferred 'pronouns', if they even have genders, or even if their language HAS pronouns. That is why writing this down is probably a waste of time as soon there will not be anyone left to find it, read it, or even care.

   Sarge had shown up here one day with the remnants of humanity she had collected like detritus. Refugees had been drawn to her as, in her uniform, she represented any form of link to what used to be the US.

   We did not know if any of the US still existed. We did not know why the aliens seemed intent on wiping us out. But if they had the time to spare to wipe out a small band of humans cowering in a small burg like Sherrill, New York, things in the rest of the world must have been pretty bad.

   There were about twenty of us, hiding in my old high school. The fact that it had not been looted of things like the wooden desks and cupboards said a lot. Those things could be burned for warmth (which happened a lot last winter.) When we showed up, while it was a mess, it had obviously not been looted. We set up out makeshift camp inside. We had hoped the lack of vehicles in the parking lot would lead the aliens to think it was deserted and leave us alone.

   Yes, this is what our ‘resistance’ had come down to. Cowering in our caves, albeit man-made, afraid of the things that go bump in the night. Unlike cave men, there were real things going bump.

   So a beam of light flashed from one of their mech’s in the nearby woods.

   Some of you are asking, if there are woods nearby, why would anyone burn furniture taken from the school? See. That just demonstrates YOU are not of a survival mindset. Fresh cut trees are too full of sap to burn, or if they do, give off too much smoke. Plus, you make too much noise (and use too much energy cutting them down.) The aliens were not the only things going bump in the night. Other survivors could be just as deadly. Lost my mom to one, I think. She just never came home one day.

   Mech’s are just what we call their armored suits. Sarge says the suits are kind of like their tanks. Not that their infantry, or foot soldiers are incapable of killing us just as easily.

   So, the bean of light flashed out. I figured this is it. But the beam stopped and splashed? A few feet from the building. Everyone except Sarge was surprised. We stared in amazement at the bean that continued to not kill us.

   Sarge sighed, turned around and slumped dejectedly. She explained, one of the few things our scientist were able to do was figure out how their energy weapons worked and design a kind of shield that protects against them. We have ‘force fields’, yay. Tom, one of the ‘us’ I mentioned earlier, said “so we are safe, right?”

   “No. all they have to do is keep hitting the shield with their weapons. Eventually the device will run out of energy. Then, game over.”

   “Maybe their weapons will run out of ammo first?”

   “Naw. They'll just call in reinforcements with reloads and keep shooting.”

   I got angry. I might not be a Patton or some famous general, but we had to do something. Running away just meant leaving the shield behind and becoming easy to pick off. Even I knew that.

   “What if we attack them?” I asked.

   “Great idea kid” (see told you.) “I have this”, Sarge replied holding up her rifle, ”and damned few rounds for that. Which won’t even scratch the paint on THAT thing” indicating over her shoulder.

   “But, this is a high school. We have a stocked chemistry lab, and I” puffing up my albeit scrawny chest, “am a nerd!”

    “Well kid, it’s not like we are going anywhere. Let’s see what a nerd can do.”

   This was my chance to both save us and possibly shine in the eyes of a female for once. I leapt into action. A few chemicals, a flask and a chemical soaked rag and I was ready. Night had fallen. The beam still played against our shield. But darkness might allow us to get close enough to hit them with the improvised explosive. All we needed was someone dumb enough to sneak close enough to the mech to throw it. Unfortunately, when I showed it to Sergeant Sullivan, she ‘volunteered’ three of us, myself included, to launch our attack.

   “Your device kid. I am not going to sacrifice more people on an untested device.”

   “Um, alone?”

   “Of course not, kid. We probably need at least three. Two to draw fire if they DO see you. Only one needs to get close enough to use this thing. How does it work?”

   “Um, it is real simple. Throw it at something. The glass breaks, it goes boom. It should be an exothermic reaction creating a lot of heat and concussion. Maybe it will cause their weapons to blow up?”

   “It might at that. Really the only thing that put a dent in their damper (she actually snickered when she said that) were any kind of explosives, tanks artillery, so they targeted those real fast.”

   “OK, and my name is Ronald.” I said resignedly. I looked at the two other volunteers and said “Let’s go.”

   We opened a window on the side of the building away from the mech fire. No one shot at us. Wait, if you are attacking someone, shouldn’t you surround them to keep them from running away? Maybe there were not that many here at the moment. This might have a chance of working? Sarge might actually respect me? Maybe even see me as a hero and kiss me? (I told you I was a nerd. The whole women and dating thing was not something I had any experience with.)

   “Kid. We need to move!” Nick, one of the volunteers nudged me. Darn! even he calls m 'Kid.'

   We crawled towards and into the woods. You know, when they say that in books and magazines about soldiers ‘low crawling’ they never mention how long it takes to cover any ground. It is SLOW!

   About that ‘shield’. Have you every walked into a spiderweb in the dark? You feel it across your whole face. It is a creepy, scary, uncomfortable feeling. Now imagine that feeling across your entire body. That was the only thing we felt passing out through the shield. Sarge had warned us. But words cannot describe how strange it felt. She also warned us that getting back in would be impossible as long as the shield was running. ‘if’ we succeeded, she said, run for the building. I will turn it off long enough for you to get inside, then turn it back on.

    I did not think there was any chance we were returning.

   So we got to the woods surrounding the school. We worked our was towards the location of the firing. Heck, it was hard to miss the beam or light so bright it hurt to look at. Sarge had warned us anyway to NOT look at the light as it would destroy something called ‘visual purple’? I’ll have to ask about that.

   We actually got close enough to the mech in the woods. Actually, the aliens and the mech were just in front of us in the clearing between us and the school. But none of the aliens were looking at us. They were all looking at the school. I know we had been referring to them as ‘aliens’ but they really did look like something from science fiction. They looked like large ants; if ants were four-foot-tall and had heads like anteaters. But why was their mech two-legged? OK, it was the first time I had actually SEEN the aliens. But still. . .

   Anyway, how were we to attack them and get back into the school? The aliens were between us and the school. Great!

   “OK, it won’t take three of us to throw this. You two move off to the left in the woods. When you see me throw the bomb, take off for the school. Maybe I can distract them long enough for you to get back in. And who knows, this might actually work” I tried sounding more confident than I felt. Was this how Sarge did it? Sound confident and people thought you knew what you were doing? Or was I out here as a result of teen hormones? One way to find out.

   I gave them a good five minutes. It was to give them plenty of time to get ready, not because I was scared or anything.

   I broke from the woods, running directly at the back of the mech. When I got close enough that even MY nerd-like throwing arm could not miss. I stopped, and threw as hard as I could. It was probably because it was dark, or they were focused on the school, that no one saw the bottle hit the mech and shatter. The first warning they had was when flames started burning on the mech. I was a bit disappointed, I was hoping for a bigger BOOM!

   The aliens focused on the flames, making alien noises. Taking advantage of the fact no one was looking at (or even better not shooting at) me, I ran for the school.

   I heard an explosion behind me. At last, I thought. Then the concussion from the explosion picked me up, turned me upside down and actually accelerated my flight towards the school. I thought dazedly, I hope Sarge gets the screen tur. . . .

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