A mass driver seared the night. Air red and burning from the heat of the dart's passage followed by blue electrical arcing of high voltage behind it. The arc welder bright flash lasted longer than the projectile's travel - 750 meters in only two tenths of a second. Before blackness returned, the shell had punched through the ceramic armor of the alien war machine, shattered, liquefied the pilot, and then incandescent hot fragments set fuel and hydraulics aflame.
Slower burning arcs formed in the air, as one of the fallen's comrades sends up missiles from behind a wall. They climb up six - seven- eight hundred meters then the engines cut out and they tumble. Three don't tumble fast enough, and a countermeasure system blinds them with a pulsed laser. Other sensors see true -quickly surveying the field - then fins snap their noses into the right path. Two find a vehicle, arc over, and explode -a shaped charge, turning a copper ingot payload into a burning lance. An M45 Calvary vehicle is penetrated from the top deck to concrete below. Two others note infantry, and chose to instead fall until a dozens meters up, then set off two rings of high explosive shattering the weapon into high speed shrapnel.
Some vengeance claimed, but not enough. There are yet more of these stubborn creatures, and they have the home field advantage. Each of their infantry a giant, standing twice the size of a citizen, and their portable rockets rarely leave more then a few shards of plastic behind when an eekaide takes the hit. Vehicle cannons punch through armor like paper at incredible ranges. Those curious rectangular things with eight sprockets and one continuous flat wheel are nigh unstoppable. Lasers seem to barely burn them, radiation guns take a full their of their cells to kill them, and
Overhead is a war of triangles and crosses. Delta shaped interceptors rush in close, trying to to keep the enemy in sight for the long instant required for the lasers to burn through. But it is rare for all of them to make it when barrage after barrage of homing missiles fly in from the other direction.
Even if the air could be swept clean, the land scoured flat - a third problem remains. The factory ships have the capability to produce boats of course - one never knows what a new colony world will look like. But the natives have known their planet was 70% water for a long time, and have prepared accordingly. All the active jammers and interceptors of the unstoppable boxes are at least tripled on the large vessels that can be seen, and other roam beneath the waves, invisible to space sensors and yet launching missile attacks at wherever citizen forces concentrate.
Happening upon this place was a stroke of divine luck for the lost fleet. Too long had they wandered alone. But the gods do not give without taking, and this is truly an ultimate test.