Blackie and the others followed the Lieutenant along a narrow passageway down the side of the building. In the rear courtyard they had set up a makeshift barricade of vehicles parked in a curved line three deep. The troops had set up three plasma cannons and seven mounted assault guns. They had been firing continuously for 20 minutes and had cleared the area of enemy soldiers who had retreated some distance back. The wounded were left where they lay making pitiful whimpers for aid to their friends. The Furtopian's ammunition was running low and it was only a matter of time before the Eclipsians made another attack, perhaps supported by armoured tanks.
Blackie looked up and saw a Furtopian fighter streak across the sky, followed by three Eclipsian craft. There was the brief sound of firing followed by an explosion. Which one of his friends had just met his end? Blackie put the thought out of his mind. The sky was lost. Indeed, it would not be long before the enemy fighters came and put a swift end to the ground fight now that the Furtopian Fleet was defeated.
Blackie could see the hopelessness of their situation but vowed to sell his life dearly. He was put to work organising his men into teams to assist the gun crews in gathering ammunition. After another half hour all was quiet. The soldiers watched and waited. Suddenly there was a bright flash 50 metres in front of them and the ground erupted in a sea of grey smoke. Then they heard the great roar of men and machines advancing behind the cover of the smoke grenades. The gun crews didn't wait but began firing into the cloud. The noise was deafening as the cannons and guns fired continuously. Great waves of white and orange light flashed forward as Eclipsian soldiers fell in heaps as if stunned by the light. But they were never to rise. Explosions rang out and the sounds of hundreds of voices screaming filled the air. The smell of burnt fur and flesh filled their nostrils causing many to double over and vomit. When the smoke cleared hundreds of bodies filled the courtyard, many only metres away from the barricade. All was silent. The Furtopian defenders gazed at each other in shock unable to take in the carnage they had just unleashed. They waited anxiously but no further attack came.
Hours passed and night was approaching. More and more Eclipsian craft few by overhead. Hundreds of fighters streaked purple lines across the sky and were then followed by larger craft heading in the direction of the Royal Palace. The defenders had long since lost contact with the other units and were in the dark as to the wider situation in the capital. Had they known it would not have encouraged them for the capital and palace had fallen. Suddenly a voice was heard calling to them from the Eclipsian line and before them, standing ten metres tall in the courtyard, was a holographic projection of Marshal Schweinheim. In his hand he held the jewelled crown of the house of Manitau.
"Furtopian defenders!" he said in a solemn tone. "You have fought valiantly and I salute you. However, the day is mine. You have done all that honour requires of you but the time has come to lay down your arms and surrender. Your city has fallen; the parliament and palace are occupied. Further resistance is futile. Lay down your weapons now and you will not be harmed. Resist and you face annihilation. No matter how much it takes, you will die. I give you five minutes to respond, the choice is yours."
With that the projection flickered and vanished. There was stunned silence and Blackie looked around him at his comrades. They looked defeated. Knowledge of the fall of the palace filled them with despair and many openly wept. There was talk of what to do. Some advocated surrender while others wanted to fight to the last man. One of the Special Forces soldiers suggested detonating the remaining arsenal and taking as many Eclipsians with them in an apocalyptic suicide pact.
The guttural voice of Schweinheim was heard once again coming from a loud speaker, "Furtopians, you have one minute to surrender your position. Come out with your hands on your heads. Make no mistake, my generosity only goes so far."
Then Blackie spoke.
"A man needs to know when to quit a bad hand. We have no ace up our sleeve. Sure, we could fight to the end, but dead men get no second chances. The fight is up and the battle lost for today, but I'm a man of patience and you men should be to. Don't be so eager to end your lives in an inferno of flame and glory because who's going to remember you if we're all dead. Yeah, I know it's bad, but with death there's no hope. Live! Live and see Furtopia avenged."
They all thought on this and agreed. Slowly they dropped their weapons and began to climb over the barricade in the direction on the Eclipsians with their hands on their heads.