They watched the mountain advance, not knowing how they were going to get to it. The creature was immense, beyond the dreams of Raiju pilots. Nothing like this had ever been encountered before, but somehow they had to end it.
Jazz saw that the creature was passing by a cliff that would be level with its back. His plan sounded crazy to the rest of them, but they didn't have any better ideas, and they were running out of time before that thing overwhelmed the shields and destroyed Hell's Mouth. They sped up the side of the mountain to where an overhang would allow them to leap onto the back of the colossus.
They fought their way up the slope, coming at last to the overhang. The leviathan was approaching fast, and despite how slow its advance looked it was moving at a ridiculous speed. They wouldn't have much time to engage once it passed under the overhang. Mojo turned to the remains of Squad 4 and said, "Your duty's ended. You can return to base now. We'll handle this from here."
"Negative," Sergeant Burneki replied. "I can see that beast's back. There are hostiles crawling all over it. We can't just leave you now. Besides," he turned to face Mojo, "There's no guarantee your mechs will survive that drop. Ours will. We're with you to the end. If we have to drag your Raijus to the objective."
"I appreciate your loyalty," Jazz said. "In that case, prepare to drop!"
The beast moved under the overhanging cliff, and Mojo gave the signal. One after another they leapt down to the beast's back. The lighter Raiju had no problem with the distance. They came down easily and readied weapons to fend off the unending horde the Spawner gorged forth.
The Vance-Class Raiju were less lucky. While they didn't break down, their legs were damaged, and running was out of the question. They recovered and joined in the defense, making space for Cataclysm to make his descent.
"Here goes nothing," Patton said as he walked his Raiju over the edge.
Collapsing on the back of the creature, Cataclysm's legs gave out. Patton bellowed into the microphone, anger distorting his words. Wight and Squad 4 held off the oncoming horde of monsters sprouting from the thing's very flesh while Mojo and Crusader rushed to Cataclysm's aid.
"No good," Patton spat. "Legs are busted. I can't walk. But if you can get me to the thing's head, I can finish the job."
"We're not going to leave you behind, Cataclysm," Crusader said, turning his Gauss cannon on a couple of monsters crawling up the moving mountain's shoulder.
"You ain't got much choice, choir boy," Patton coughed. "I'm stuck here, but I do have one idea. It'll take time, though."
"You can't mean," Jazz breathed.
"I do," Patton confirmed. "I'm gonna blow myself to hell, and make damn sure I take these sumbitches with me. Y'all just get me to the place I'll do the most damage. I'll start working on overloading Cataclysm's core."
A thousand responses flitted through Jazz's head at that moment. This wasn't necessary. They could find another way to kill the Lucifer. There had to be another way.
But eventually his pragmatism broke through. He realized that with Cataclysm's legs broken there was no way to drag him out of this. This would turn into a suicide mission after all. But he also realized that their sacrifice would mean the life of every remaining citizen of Hell's Mouth.
"Crusader, grab his other arm," he found himself saying as he ordered his Raiju to grab Cataclysm and lift him up.
Crusader followed suit, taking up Cataclysm and bearing him to the point he could do the most damage.
The creature's head.
While the two dragged Cataclysm up the back of the abomination, Wight and the remains of Squad 4 guarded their back. The onslaught was relentless. It was as if these creatures knew what they were trying to do. A horde came up over the shoulder, and they fired desperately in an attempt to slow them down.
Wight watched as two members of Squad 4 were borne down under the onrushing mob. He screamed into open comms. Not a coherent word he said, but a raucous battle cry, filled with rage. He ran forward, firing the rest of his bombs into the enemy line. Explosions rippled across the beast's back, and he could swear he heard it groan in pain. Wight's last thought as he dove into the enemy was that he hoped they would kill this damned monstrosity.
Sargent Burneki saw him go, and followed. He ran out, firing his laser cannon, and made the enemy regret the day they'd crossed him. Between Wight and Burneki they'd made enough of a distraction for the two Vance-Class Raiju to drag Cataclysm near the creature's head. They were overtaken by sheer numbers, and their heroism was sung for centuries after their death.
But Mojo and Crusader pressed on. Together they bore Cataclysm towards the thing's head. Their Gauss cannons cracked out, dropping the encroaching monsters. At last they came to the back of the great beast's head. They dropped Cataclysm there and turned to face the massing hordes that gathered to destroy them.
And with them, all of humanity.
"How's that bomb coming, Patton?" Jazz asked.
"Coming. I need a little longer."
"How much longer?" Jazz queried as he watched the enemy gather all around them. Their snapping mandibles did not spell an easy or quick end.
"Give me two minutes and I'll have everything set up," Patton said. "You two should run. I'll take this thing out. Get out of here."
"Not a chance," Paul said. "Did you really think I would miss a chance to condemn demons to eternal damnation?"
"What he said," Jazz added. "Besides, we still have to give you two minutes. And two minutes is what you're going to get!"
As he finished he sped off towards the massing horde, Gauss cannon firing. Crusader followed his lead, slicing his blade into alien flesh as the enemy came forward.
Monsters leaped upon them, only to be thrown off and cut down with the wild strikes of their blades. Try as they might, the monsters were not able to penetrate their cordon around Cataclysm. Electrical snaps punctuated each firing of the Gauss cannons, and each time they fired they took down five or more of the mass of creatures around them.
Jazz wiped the sweat from his brow with a stained glove and said, "Crusader. You know we're not making it out of this, right?"
"I know," Paul responded. "And I relish it. Because of us, Hell's Mouth will continue to exist. It is a worthy sacrifice."
Jazz nodded, though Paul couldn't see it, and said, "Then let's make it a damned good one."
While Paul didn't respond, Crusader seemed to attack with renewed fervor. It rent the enemy limb from limb, using its blade to deadly efficiency. This was a battle they could not afford to lose, and though they might die, they had to ensure life for all the people of Hell's Mouth.
Together, they laid waste.
As they kept the enemy at bay, Patton sat in his cockpit, furiously fiddling with wires and switches. He knew well how to wire his mech to become a bomb. That, combined with all the ordinance his machine carried, should be more than enough to kill this damned mountain. That is, if he was placed correctly.
He trusted his squad mates to put him where he needed to be. The thing had a head, so it must have a brain. If he could just take out the head, or at least the brain's connection to the body...
Nothing else mattered now. Only stopping this thing before it reached Hell's Mouth. His eyes lit up as the final connection was made. His console flashed with messages that he was overheating.
The inside of the cockpit began to boil.
He turned on his microphone and said, "That's it, boys. It's ready. I'm going to the long sleep. Get yourselves out of here before it's too late."
The countdown began.
"We're not leaving you!" Jazz screamed as he speared another monster on his sword.
"I'll be damned to hell before I leave this fight!" Paul shouted, dodging Crusader behind one of the creatures and splitting it up the middle.
Patton smiled, almost a grimace, as he watched the overheat timer count down. "I don't deserve you two."
The explosion rocked the world.
As the people of the city watched, the back of the great beast's head evaporated in a glow of radioactive energy and pyrotechnics. It stopped, frozen in its forward movement. Then, slowly, it fell forward, collapsing onto the blasted hellscape before it.
It did not move again.
For months thereafter the people dealt with the creature's spawn. They assailed the walls of Hell's Mouth relentlessly.
But they did not get through.
And this was achieved through the sacrifice of the brave pilots of Squad 7, who gave their lives that day. Songs of their exploits would be sung for generations in the city.
Yet new dangers always presented themselves, requiring new heroes to deal with them. But for now, the city was safe. And as the souls of the defenders sped off to heaven, the people of the city offered up a prayer for their defenders.
It was the least they could do.
If you enjoyed this story, you can find many more like it here on my Steemit, or in the anthology Darkest of Dreams from DimensionBucket Media on Amazon. You can also find more of my work at my website, jimfear138.blogspot.com, including my weekly podcast and audiobooks I've produced. You can also throw me a tip if you like at Ko-fi.