The smell of fusion catalyst propellant and smouldering metal filled the air, as a thick smoke billowed outward from the burning wreckage. David kicked repeatedly at the rear hatch, cursing at the jammed mechanism several times until it finally gave way; falling to the deck with a metallic thud. Brushing debris from his long coat, David emerged from the wreckage, scraping past the twisted remains of debris cast aside when it was hit. He was lucky to be alive. The same couldn't be said for his crew.
He didn't look back. No time, never a good idea to look back. Only thing that mattered now was escaping and living to fight again. He was wounded, but his resolve remained unshaken. Clutching his abdomen tightly, he looked down to see blood soaking through his torn uniform, seeping through his fingers. But he didn't feel pain. No time for pain.
The only noise he heard was the ringing in his ears, and the muffled sound of distant explosions and falling debris, as he trudged his way towards the old Control Tower, stepping over broken wreckage along the way. For a moment, he felt a strange calmness. Almost as if he had already died, he just had to make the final journey into the gates of the Next Life.
But he wasn't that lucky. He has survived the destruction of his tank, he had survived the Last Stand he and his men staged in the face of impossible odds. He had survived to fight another day.
As David reached the base of the Control Tower, he fell to his knees. He was suddenly overcome with a weakness, a fatigue... Losing blood from his wound. His pace turned to a crawl as he dragged himself behind some wreckage near the entrance of the Command Tower. He would need to see to his wound if he was to survive. Not a chance in hell he was losing to a flesh wound after all of this.
Taking his utility knife from his belt, he cut a length of his coat's sleeve and fashioned a makeshift torniquet to tie around his waist and cover the wound. Should stop the bleeding for now, he thought. At least until he could make it inside the Tower. That is, if the raiders hadn't already pillaged everything the settlement had...
As the ringing began to subside; being slowly replaced by the eerie howling of the dust-filled wind of the ruins filtering through the Space Port's main hangar, met inside by the sound of stressed metal and falling debris. In the distance, the still burning wreckages of vehicles - both defenders and attackers alike, could be heard. But no screams, No cries for help. Not a soul.
David could only hope he had bought enough time for the convoy to escape into the Northern Highway safely... If not, there was little purpose left for him in this world. As he pulled himself to his feet and began the final stretch of his journey to the Tower, he did look back, only once, but enough to see that he might well have been the last survivor of his group. No grief. No mourning, he thought, looking back to the Tower.
"They did their jobs. Now it's time to finish mine."
"No more last stands." he said to himself quietly, as he entered the dark threshold of the old Command Tower, closing the ramshackle gate behind him.