, 22 tweets, 18 min read Read on Twitter
Runner: 0/20
It's time for another #20TweetTales. Started on this story a while ago, and finally finished it. This is inspired by Alex Ichim's military piece, Runner.
#Scifi #Fiction #Microfiction #TwitFic #flashfiction
Runner: 1/20
The creak echoed through the clearing as Private Tull shoved open the engine access hatch. A blast of steam washed over him and he cursed. The hydrocapacitor was shot. That meant that runner wasn't going anywhere until he fixed it.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 2/20
"Whassa matter, Private NULL? That big-ass head ain't got enough brains t'fix a little runner?" Corporal Daught strolled by chuckling, an armload of comm-cable in hand. Tull bit his tongue to keep from spitting back a snarky comment.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 3/20
Tull tried not to hate the corporal. He knew Daught was a mean sonofabitch, but was there more to it? He'd heard some leaders were harder on those they saw as having potential.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 4/20
Branches cracked & something rustled in the underbrush at forest's edge. "NULL, get dat shit runnin'." Daught yelled. "Wanna t'get back t'camp. Place's creepin' me out."
Sergeant Ski chuckled from the other side of the cargo transport.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 5/20
"Yeah, Daught's got them nightmares of alien squirrels eatin' him alive," she chided.
Tull wanted to laugh, but knew that would just turn the attention back to him. Instead, he headed to the transport's parts locker in the back.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 6/20
Draught scoffed. "Y'ever been eatin' alive by giant, rabid lizard-squirrels? Me either, but I ain't gonna find out. I jus' wanna get back to Aegis Station an' get me a little tastey, know what I'm sayin?"
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 7/20
Sgt Ski shook her head. "Unfortunately, I do."
Tull found the spare hydrocapacitor, grabbed a few tools and headed back to the runner's engine compartment. He struggled not to jump at every little snapping twig from beyond the treeline.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 8/20
Sgt. Ski slid her gauss rifle off her shoulder and scanned the area. "And, uh...maybe keep yer junk away from those station harpies, eh? Locals aren't much better, but you're less likely to have to get your bore punched like Lukeza."
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 9/20
A shiver ran down Tull's spine, though he couldn't imagine anything worse than having a bristle brush anywhere near his junk. Shaking off the mental image, he tried to focus on the job. A large branch snapped in the distance.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 10/20
The Sergeant turned. "Hey, Tull. how long, eh?"
The Private glanced over his shoulder. "Fifteen minutes, maybe?"
"Make it ten."
Tull worked as fast as he could. Disconnect, twist, wrench, WACK...The spent hydrocapacitor came free.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 11/20
Growls came from the treeline and a jolt of renewed urgency shot through him. He shoved the new part in place and gave it a twist. The runner hummed to life. Three snarling, direwolf-sized bat-hounds burst out of the treeline.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 12/20
Sgt. Ski took the first two down, but the third slipped by and leaped for a cringing Daught. Tull chucked the old hydrocapacitor at the beast. The thing caught the spent device in it's maw and crushed it. Glass and silicon crunched.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 13/20
The monster landed and howled in pain as frigid, toxic gas flooded its mouth. It collapsed to the ground, dead. Scrambling over the hood of the vehicle, Tull sat on the closed gunner hatch and manned the pulsecannon.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 14/20

Then, more bat-hounds streamed from the treeline. Squeeze-thump-thump-thump. Squeeze-thump-thump-thump. Tull chanted the gunner's mantra as the massive weapon chugged in his hands. The cannon's recoil reverberated up into his brain.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 15/20
Tull's first few bursts missed completely, and only churned the dirt off in the distance. By the third time he squeezed the trigger though, bat-hounds went down. Two, four, eight, fifteen. But the beasts kept coming.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 16/20
Finally, the glade was clear. Tull's hands and arms were numb as he stared at the carnage he'd wrought. Not a single bird chirped in the distance. Then, more snarls came from the treeline. Daught recovered and climbed into the runner.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 17/20
Tull pounded on the gunner's hatch, but the corporal ignored him. The engine roared and the vehicle shot forward, rolling Tull right off the back. As if smelling fresh blood, more creatures bolted from the treeline straight at him.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 18/20
Daught gunned the engine. Soil flew up into the air as the Private was rolled off the vehicle and fell to the ground. He climbed to his feet in time to see the runner plow through a crowd of bat-hounds. The transport rumbled to life.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 19/20
Sgt. Ski's voice cut through the beasts' howls. "Get in, or I'll leave you're ass here!"
The Private bolted. Snarling jaws and claws tearing at the sod drowned out the pounding of his own heart. The back hatch opened and Tull dove in.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 20/20
Metal boomed as the hatch slammed shut and several bat-hounds smashed into the steel barrier.
"Go! Go!" Sgt. Ski shouted.
Tull finally had an answer to his question. And yet, despite Daught's best efforts, Tull wasn't dying today.
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
Runner: 21/20
So there you go, another #MicrFiction story inspired by some really cool art. Check out more from Alex Ichim here: artstation.com/artwork/A9wvny
#20TweetTales #Scifi #Fiction
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