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    An excerpt from a story i'm working on..
    Enjoy.
    ------------------
    The Valley
    by Bodunrin Oye
    ------------------

    Dotun lay on the extended arm of his shutdown mecha “calling calling”, with his anzio 20mm stretched out on its bipod before him. He looked into the valley through the rangefinder...
    An excerpt from a story i'm working on..
    Enjoy.
    ------------------
    The Valley
    by Bodunrin Oye
    ------------------

    Dotun lay on the extended arm of his shutdown mecha “calling calling”, with his anzio 20mm stretched out on its bipod before him. He looked into the valley through the rangefinder from his vantage point, hidden in the treeline on the valley wall. For some reason best known to them, the two offworlder mechs he had been tracking seemed to be unaware that they had picked him up along their escape from the botched raid on the clan home.

    It looked like they were trying to set up some sort of camp in the valley.

    He wasn't sure why they thought camping in the valley was a good idea...maybe they thought that it would be safe, since the clans always avoided entering the valley especially after sundown. "Maybe they weren't familiar with the rumours regarding the valley?" he thought.

    As the thought of sundown crossed his mind, he peered through his rangefinder and checked the distance to where both mech crouched in semi-shutdown mode with their engines off but their reactors running.

    Checking the leaves in the trees for movement he estimated for wind speed and direction, he noted that the wind in the vally was almost down to zero, and the condtions were just right for the kind of shot he would have to make. it was just over three kilometres to the nearest mech, and at that distance the 20mm depleted uranium round from his anzio would exit the barrel at two thousand six hundred and fifty feet per second and cover the distance to target in just under four seconds.
    The effective kill range for his weapon was four and a half kilometres, so the round would punch a hole through the six inch ferro armor that the offworlders loved, and kill the pilot as surely as night would fall.

    Dotun switched the rangefinder into scope mode, as he quietly drew back the bolt on his rifle - chambering the first of three depleted uranium rounds from the detachable box magazine. He did this to muffle the sound of the bolt - not wanting to alert his targets, to the fact that they had drawn unwanted attention to themselves.
    This was because he didn't want them springing to life and making a dash for the far side of the valley, not this close to sundown.
    This close to sundown, he HAD to wrap this up quick and leave the valley, as even this high up in the treeline, wasn't a safe place to be. There were rumours that barghest, or u'rals hunted in the valley, and both only came out after the sun went down.

    He tightened his finger on the trigger and drew in his breath, and...froze, the bile rising in his throat as he broke out in a cold sweat. He smelt the rank reptilian oily musk of the u'ral and his eyes began to water, long before he heard the crackling of dead leaves and branches near him.

    His heart must have skipped a dozen beats, as he thought to himself "shit, it's not yet sundown, why is there an u'ral in the valley?" He slowly took his finger off the trigger, engaging the safety on the rifle.

    U'rals were one of terra's most feared predators. A six legged, scaled cat that looked like it had been carved out of jagged obsidian. Wth eyes that burned purple, a hide that could stop a fifty calibre round, with a heart as black as sin, and a mean streak and tenacity that could only have come from the depths of hell itself.

    U'rals had jaws and claws that could rend iron, and they had developed a taste for hunting mech pilots – in their mechs, seeing especially as slow moving poorly armed mechs made easier targets than the u'rals traditional prey.

    U'rals possessed an organ in their tails capable of generating an electrical charge. The charge was originally thought to be used to stun prey, but mech pilots had discovered that U'rals could also release that charge as an electromagnetic pulse – capable of shutting down mech electricals and disabling any mech stupid enough to tangle with one.

    Dotun tried to guess where the u'ral was. If it was hunting him, then he was already dead.
    Even if he somehow made it back into his mech, he would be dead long before he could power on the engine.
    Seconds later, and he was still alive...
    The U'ral was still out there, but it wasn't attacking. “If it isn't hunting me”, he thought to himself “then that means...”
    He risked looking through his range finder, and he noticed that one of the cockpits was open, and the pilot had started a campfire on the ground. Well, that was one way to catch a u'ral's attention.

    A purple flash caught his attention, and he zoomed in on the rangefinder to see the black outline of the u'ral crouched on the rock face above the two offworlder mechs. It was watching them.

    “Either u'rals move faster than clan scouts reports claimed, or...” he started to think to himself then suddenly froze in mid-thought as the second u'ral moved into the periphery of his vision. The u'ral stalked forward oblivious to his presence, its attention seemingly focused on the two offworlders in the valley.

    “Shit!” he cursed to himself. Two u'rals in the valley meant it was HOME to a mating pair, not a single hunting u'ral ranging for prey. That would explain the rumours regarding the valley.

    The U'ral below him started forward, it's tail gathering a charge. The violet of its eyes intensifying in a sudden colour flare matched by a similar flare from the valley floor. The low rumble rolling from it's throat was matched by the dull hum generated by the electrical storm building around its tail, as it tensed its muscles while gathering its legs beneath it, for the sprint that would bring it to its prey.

    A yell from the valley, indicated that the two offworlders had suddenly become aware of the other u'ral behind them.

    Dotun could make out the sounds of a rushed mech boarding, as well as the resounding snap of the cockpit lock as the pilot who had disembarked gained the safety of his mech. There was the sound of engines coming from semi-shutdown to full power, as both mech rose to their feet bringing their fifty calibre autocannon to bear on the u'ral they could see.

    With a sudden burst of movement, the second u'ral exploded forward into a sprint that would bring it to the valley floor, it's tail held out behind it like a rudder tipped with the swirling lights of an electrical storm.

    The sound of gunfire broke out from the valley, as the offworlders opened fire on the u'ral they had seen, not knowing that death approached them at a hundred and seventy nine kilometres per hour...bringing a storm that heralded despair with it - the hum of the storm suddenly hitting an intensity that would be audible for miles.

    Dotun peered into his rangefinder, and saw the second u'ral approaching the mechs who had, from their panicked reactions, become aware of the second rapidly approaching u'ral. He saw the u'ral's tail snake out to the side, as it changed direction to avoid the blast from a railgun, and right itself almost immediately. The end of the u'ral's tail seemed to spread out like a fan and the charge from the tail exploded outward in flash of blue light as it leapt.The wave of blue light rolled up into the treeline and dotun's rangefinder went dead, as the concussion from the blast shook leaves from the trees ringing the valley.

    There was the sound of metal being torn apart, as total darkness settled over the valley. Then the screaming began.

    Pulling his jacket tight around him, dotun settled in for the night, as it was going to be a long one. Anything else would be suicide.
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