By Albert Blackwell (July 2020, Age 13)

    A large heavily armoured shoe box shaped machine with three short sturdy legs on each side slowly made its way up the mountainous terrain. Steam billowed out the two chimneys at its rear ,armed with a Tesla coil mounted behind the commander’s cupola.

    A company of Austrian soldiers ,all of them wearing gas masks and heavily sealed suits to avoid the radiation in the air, advanced behind the machine. They were on a mission to investigate a space craft which had landed only a few miles away.

    Captain Fredrick Schmidt gazed out the narrow slit in his cupola, observing the rocky terrain before him. Like the rest of the crew of the steam tank, he wore similar clothing as the rest of the Austrian troops. Because of the nuclear war between France, England, and Germany, most Europe was laid waste and all of it in a state of a nuclear winter. Most people were leaving and moving to Africa, Fredrick and his men were preparing to evacuate with several dozen refugees when a Star Ship landed in the alps very close to the evacuation point. Whatever it was it was the soldiers job to make sure it wasn’t anything dangerous.

    Fredrick’s thoughts were interrupted by a loud explosion which rocked the tank. This was followed by another and then another!

    “We’re under attack!” Yelled Fredrick.

    Stones and other debris were flying in all directions. The tank’s armour protected Fredrick and his crew from the Shrapnel but not the soldiers behind, who were ducking for cover.

    Fredrick stared hard at the terrain before him to identify the attackers. After a few moments he saw them, two four-legged walkers, steam billowing out of their chimneys, each armed with a 67mm canon on each side were slowly advancing toward them.

    “Martians.” Muttered Fredrick, recognising the design. “Gunner! 40 degrees to the Left!” Fredrick yelled.

    Two engineers began turning their cranks rapidly to power the deadly Tesla coils. Using a pyramid shaped outline of 2ft metal rods the Gunner directed the bolts of electricity toward one of the Martian walkers.
    The bolts of surging electricity struck the walker, electric pulses flying all around it! A second strike hit the walker! Several seconds later it’s engine exploded, unable to handle the shock.

    The second walker quickened it’ s pace and in minutes was only a few yards away from the Austrian tank. Firing both its canons the walker continued to advance.

    The shells slammed into the tank creating a rupture it’s armour.

    “Full ahead!” Ordered Fredrick. “Gunner prepare to fire into it’ s under belly!”

    Fredrick realised the dangerous situation he was, in if the tank was hit again it would be destroyed.

    The walker spun its guns downward, trying to get at the tank. But it was to slow the electric charges smashing into its under belly destroying it’s engines. The walker crumbled to the ground on top of the Austrian tank.

* * * 

    Fredrick gazed at the destruction before him. His tank was wrecked but his crew escaped through the rupture in it’s armour. The remaining soldiers were able to capture the Martian ship Which would be useful for the evacuation. But why the Martians were there Fredrick would never know.

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