It's been a little while but I'm posting this because I'm dealing with life stuff at the moment and needed the distraction. Please enjoy.
THE RUINS OF DAWN
Colonel Twilight stood above the Ghoul's dying body, a malignant smile upon the man's face as he extended his right wrist forward and prepared to unleash a single blast of power.
A small croak of air escaped the Ghoul's jaw, eyes wide with fear as he gazed into the face of the one about to kill him and saw little else than pure, burning hatred.
"Please..." He gasped, desperate as his hands rested lazily upon the gaping wound already in his chest, victim to a grenade he had frantically tried to throw just moments prior. "Please! I have a famil-" And his last words were cut off as Colonel Twilight's energy blast tore through the man's neck. Underneath his space forged helmet Colonel Hans Offsteader blinked, shook his head and looked down at who he'd just killed, his second long sense of victory replaced by the all too familiar feeling of disappointment.
This man was not the Ghoul he sadly realized, crime fighting detective who had somehow bested Twilight almost two years prior. Instead this man was simply a French Infantryman, a soldier who in the Colonel's imagination had been the vigilante. Angered by the deceit Hans cracked his knuckles and turned his attention elsewhere. Again... the soldier hadn't been the Ghoul, but Twilight had wished that had been the case. His body and mind, united as one yearned for the opportunity to crush the detective's skull for inflicting his defeat and Twilight knew that someday he would get the chance he desperately wanted.
There would be another time he decided, and that time would be soon, but for now it was the small town of Aube which had earned both his attention and his wrath.
Aube was a small French village that had been around for centuries, forging a legacy around peaceful residents and excellent farming. That great legacy had fallen in mere minutes once Colonel Twilight had turned his gaze to it, the town's open rebellion, possibly inspired by the resistance in Paris had been just as brave yet just as foolish. There had been no battalions waiting in secret, nor tanks ready for combat. Instead Aube's defenders had consisted of a mere six or seven farm boys that had never even held a rifle before.
Now striding through the battlefield's ashes Twilight looked in slight awe at the torn open buildings that mere moments ago had been standing in prime condition and now lay destroyed by the Colonel's own hand. Letting his boots sink into the muddy ground amidst the wreckage Twilight stood completely still, looking like a black statue as he stood in his armour and simply said: "For Germany." His voice accompanied by a distinctive metal click, originated by his helmet.
With the surge of adrenaline caused by the previous action leaving his body, Offsteader took a calm look around the area, noting the plentiful destruction that he'd left in his wake. The bodies of both town defender and civilian that now lay at his feet seemed to be staring up at him and he now found a sense of melancholy sadness had replaced his earlier felt righteous fury. This time when he spoke he lowered his head as if he were giving a silent prayer.
"For Germany..." He said again, almost whispering. The momentary silence that followed was quickly broken by a familiar rumbling as several Panzer tanks bearing the Nazi swastika to their side steadily began their approach from just outside the village's boundaries, rumbling over grassy hills and tearing up mud.
"Oberst!" A shrill voice cried, and looking up from where he stood Offsteader saw a young German officer approaching, kicking up mud and grass as he attempted a quick march. "Oberst Dammerung, sir!" The officer, a young man that comprised the Aryan appearance of blonde hair and blue eyes, gave a quick salute upon arrival that Twilight sluggishly returned before the young man bent over and gasped for air.
"Take a moment, Officer." Twilight instructed, watching calmly as squads of Nazi Storm troopers spread into the village like insects and quickly secured every nook and cranny they could find, ensuring there were no hidden dangers to be found.
"Was... was it a good battle, sir?" The officer asked, standing back upright even as droplets of sweat dripped down his brow. Twilight's response was a simple nod. "Good!" The officer gave off a smile. "That's good! Our Fuhrer will be most pleased! Especially given how you took the town single handed!"
"There isn't a town left." The Colonel grumbled before taking his leave, walking between buildings now black with soot and riddled with bullet holes he found the town's silence had now been replaced by the footsteps of a hundred infantrymen and he grimaced at the thought of the destruction he had lain.
"Oberst! Could you lend us a hand?"
A helmeted trooper beckoned Offsteader to follow him, which the Colonel did without question. Marching quickly along he found himself easily able to keep up with the soldier who he promptly proceeded to question as they walked.
"What's happening, soldier?" He asked as they approached the ruins of a nearby house where a small crowd of troopers had formed.
"Locked basement, sir." The soldier answered as they arrived to the back of the crowd. "We think there could be jewels or treasures of a kind down there."
"Jewels and treasures?" Twilight repeated, the crowd parting as he stepped towards the wooden door in the ground, a faint smile crossing his lips as he inspected a bronze lock connected to the door's handles. "That sounds interesting. Alright, everyone step back!" The troopers did as requested, while the Colonel rose his fist and hoped whatever was down there would be enough to help distract him from the horrors he had wrought. His fist smashed through the bronze metal like it was made from paper sending shards of the lock flying in every direction. Throwing the doors open, Twilight took a step into the dark basement below.
"Wait here." He instructed his men. "There may be traps." As the Colonel stepped down into the shifting dark he found himself struggling to see, almost automatically a stream of light came from the side of his helmet that lit up the area, the first time such a thing had occurred with his suit.
"Amazing." The Colonel thought to himself as he reached the bottom step. "I learn more about this armour everyday." And then, no longer distracted by his own thoughts Offsteader looked into the dark and saw just what it was the basement contained.
At first Hans thought he was surrounded by the dead, and his mind flashed back to the nightmares of Norway just a few months prior, but then he saw the quiet fear in the eyes of those that surrounded him and he realized that this basement was not a tomb of treasures but a tomb of the living.
There must have been thirty or forty people hiding in the basement, all of the women and children and all of them pressed almost desperately against the walls of their hiding space. Twilight stood on the bottom step of the basement in shock, the light stream from his helmet the sole source of light in the dark. Offsteader's fingers twitched as realization sunk in and he found himself unsure of what to do next, all he found he could do was stare at what he had found, as they all stared back at him.
Never once before had he hesitated in his duty for his country. He'd killed hundreds in his career including women and children, but it had only ever been when necessary. These people were simply civilians, defenseless and frightened... but then they were the enemy.
Twilight's fingers twitched again and he briefly considered activating his armour's hand cannons.
"Is there anything down there, Oberst?" A soldier yelled from above, and a small shudder seemed to pass through the civilians. Twilight noticed a woman, a blonde woman sat directly across from him raise a finger to her lips and silently beg with her eyes.
Twilight made his decision, and the words that left his lips were quick and confident.
"Nothing." He said, turning around and walking back up the stairs. "No traps. No treasures." He didn't look back at the poor wretched things that hid below. "It's not worth our time." He said, helmet light deactivating automatically in the sun. The troopers watched him in silence as he gripped the remains of the basement door and placed them back over the hole, covering it up safely. "Now everyone get back to work!" He commanded, voice shaking his trooper's very bones.
Left alone by the men Twilight though about his actions as droplets of rain began to fall from the heavens above, pelting off his armour as he stood solitary and silent. After awhile he activated his suit's boot jets and blasted upwards into the sky where he halted his ascent and waited. After a few hours the Nazi soldiers began to continue with their journey, Twilight watched them leave from his vantage point. And a few hours after that Twilight watched the people he'd found leave the basement and move in the other direction.
Content with his decision the Colonel smiled to himself, and with nothing else to achieve he flew into the slowly darkening night sky and left behind the ruins of Aube.