"They're through the wall, sir."
Colonel Jeremy Thompson glanced at the technician and nodded an acknowledgement. "The base is overrun," he said, making it official. "Activate the dark assets and begin withdrawal. Let AirCon know that they'll have to keep the Scales off of us until we're clear."
Colonel Thompson was a tall, lean man with a bald head and a heavy beak of a nose. He was a competent, reliable commander, though he knew that his skills lay more in organization and administration than strategy or inspiration. He had a well-established record of carrying out his orders -- and, more importantly, making sure that his teams carried out their orders -- without taking shortcuts, making mistakes, or unexpectedly changing plans. So he stood, watching the monitors as the Scales moved in.
They were larger than human beings, averaging somewhere around seven feet tall, humanoid aside from their short tails and scaled skin. They had six fingers and six toes, slightly webbed, and their skulls were flatter and wider, giving the impression that they were wearing helmets even when they weren't. Nobody was sure where they'd come from or why they were intent on making war; all attempts at communication had failed. The prevailing opinion from SciCom was that either they perceived the human colonies as intruding on their territory, or they'd discovered that the planets humanity had colonized were suitable for their race too, and decided to take them over. Or maybe they were after new technologies. Theirs seemed to be about even with humanity's, a little ahead in some areas, a little behind in others.
"We're ready, sir," said the tech. "The last of the squad commanders just checked in, and AirCon is two miles out."
"Good. Pull the squads off the walls and get them to the evac areas. I want the internal turrets covering their retreat while AirCon does their work. On my mark... Now."
The tech spoke hurriedly into his comm, then stood and made for the door with his three assistants. Colonel Thompson followed, and the two guards at the door followed him. There were three routes from the command center to the designated evacuation areas, and they followed the shortest one. From his last glance at the monitors, Thompson knew that the Scales hadn't entered the building yet; they were inside the outer wall, but they would still have to get past the turrets. So far, the plan was working: the Scales would capture the base, the human forces would withdraw with minimal casualties... and then Command would learn whether the dark assets could do what they hoped they would.