Sozu tracked six blazing red shots headed in a straight line for his chest. In the chaos of battle, there are moments which slow down to micro-speed level. The shouts of the other soldiers. The smell of burned fuel. The bursts of explosions. They all happen with detached exaggeration. This was one of those moments.
Sozu felt a rock crunch under his boot as his body stiffened to prepare for the shock of the oncoming weapon’s fire. There was no getting around it. This was his end.
He felt a small stab of regret remembering that just last week he’d ordered new boots. Something he’d never get a chance to wear. In fact, it was only last Tuesday that Sozu had visited the armoury. That moment played out with crisp detail in his mind.
“Hey, if it isn’t my second favorite lieutenant.” Tech Sergeant Davis had slapped Sozu on the back and given him a wide grin, waiting for the invitation to deliver his punchline. Sozu obliged.
“Oh yea? Who’s your first?”
“Your wife,” Davis guffawed and slapped Sozu on the back again. The Tech Sergeant motioned Sozu towards a standing repair pod, “Step into my office. What’ll it be, full armor upgrades across the board?”
“Hah, you wish.” Sozu had laughed. “What do I need all that for? Nope, I just need a tune up and a polish. Make sure all the old crap I’ve already got is still working.”
“You sure? I don’t think this is gonna get you through a harsh breeze let alone another deployment.” Davis eyed Sozu’s armor with healthy skepticism.
“Every time I come in here you try to get me into one of those fancy bells and whistles upgrades.” Sozu had scoffed. “Who needs all that? Not me.”
As the bullets pounded Sozu’s chest, the force of their impact drove him backwards. His feet left the ground and he said a silent goodbye to the world. His back slid against hard rock. He bounced twice and went tail over tea kettle in the dirt until he came to a stop. Dust swirled around him.
After several painful moments, Sozu opened his eyes. He wasn’t dead.
His hands searched the front of his armor and though there were some dents, nothing had penetrated the tough metal skin. Sozu laughed.
“Davis, you sneaky son of a bitch!”