Red Prime resolved his copies and checked them for integrity. Satisfied, he addressed them: “We are Section 5, I am Red Prime and the mission is go.”
Nala 5 smiled, but Green 5 cut him off. “I can’t believe we’re doing this.”
“Belief is not required, Green.” Blue 5 said.
Yellow 5, Nala 5 and Red Prime nodded in concurrence.
“File your protest after the fact.” Red said, “Now, here’s the plan. We’re going to hit that group of workers over there and overrun them. We need to be loud and stompy. This will provoke the Hive to send Fliers after us. We’re going to run interference on the ground for the other sections for a while, until one of them breaches the Hive. Once that happens, we stop playing here and go join the party.”
Section 5 drew their batons and resolved blaster rifles into their arms. Then, on Red Prime’s signal, they attacked the workers. Caught by surprise, the sudden barrage of blaster fire ripped apart the worker Bugs and then their warrior escorts without any chance for counterattack. Red Prime got the last Bug, but—as planned—let the alien get off an alarm before tearing the thing’s body to shreds.
“Time to intercept?” Nala 5 inquired as he double-checked the enemy casualties.
“No launch yet.” Green 5 said.
“We raid until they do.” Red Prime commanded, and Section 5 obeyed. Flashes of blaster fire and fires from flaming corpses spread throughout the Hive’s dig sites, each one overrun by Red Prime and Section 5 in turn. Unable to ignore the attacks, the Hive dispatched Fliers to deal with Section 5- and got shot out of the sky from their coordinated ground fire.
“That got their attention.” Yellow 5 said, “These Fliers have no shooting attacks. Neither do the ground Bugs. There’s no way that this Hive will just throw Bugs at us until we win, right?”
“We have no way to know that for certain.” Blue 5 said, “The presence of the Bug Mastermind changes all that we know of their adaptation capabilities.”
“We’ve got company coming up from below.” Green 5 said, “Diggers!”
Erupting from the ground came a group of giant-sized Bugs with massive mandibles meant for deft digging, and glands that extruded some acidic substance meant to make digging easier. One of them erupted beneath Yellow 5, capturing him in its mandibles fast and—before its violent emergence completed—snapped Yellow 5 in half. Shattered, the copy fell apart and deresolved instantaneously.
“Crap!” Green 5 said, “NALA! I thought we were as good as the originals!”
Nala 5, fully in the moment, did not hear Green 5 or Yellow 5 as he reacted without thought to the new arrivals. With his rifle, he blasted one down at point-blank range, and then tossed his chakram at a second closing from the flank while he engaged a third coming from behind and hosed it down with rifle fire. The chakram, energized as usual, sliced through the Digger’s armored carapace with aplomb and cut it in half before returning to Nala 5’s hand- and then to its sheath.
“There’s your answer.” Red Prime said, “Now get your head straight.”