"Mate, wake up. Wake up..." - I suddenly heard tired voice from the place where cabin door is: - "Come on, you got thirty minutes before we dust of."
The door slided silently and I opened my eyes. A bright blue light hit me straight into face as I got up.
"Oh, bloody OPS* couldn't you hide us behind a planet? " - I thought, raising my arm to cover face from the intruder.
I barely slept in days getting those selfish bastards that do care only about their profits. Last few years in Federal Marines were some spicy **** anyone dreams about just not knowing what the war really is. I was a capsuleer for some decades running undercover missions in low security levels divided by people that do care nothing but cash and sectors. Got tired of it and thought that land is not that small if you count it by planets. Now I see that there is much more than I imagined and even more than I desired.
I left my previous life for the better future, at least in the hangars of the academy its rest awaits me. Every new load I think that I do forget more and more every time I get some sleep. Some awkward images shove into my mind randomly, mostly from childhood, a “so far away times” when my grandfather told me fascinating stories, become even farther. Maybe one day I will forget them...
How we ended like this and are we all from same planet? Such questions... They do make me feel strange but... I might hope of it as a true. Maybe one day I will find way back to our home world, if it exists...
“Bridge. See the star? I want it right in front of us. Got it?” – I closed chatter before they answered. Yet, there are some bright sides of being an officer I thought, as light started disappearing from my quarters while tons of metal slowly moved away. Now, feeling fresh, I can get my mind on...
Fourth week in Black Rise, seems we managed to pull corpocrates back to their “ideals”; now this region is plunged with gangs in search of easy income looting any possible wreck. Vultures that will do anything to take a tip of the cake. Our command doesn't bothers with it as they do know that even fully degraded individuals won't consider a good idea dealing with Navy fleet.
This helps a lot thus we still need to guard war barges and escort MCC to the planet as a wave of opportunists passes through each battle region considering to attack any small-size piloted ships. Proximity sensors and guard on the gate helps but there are some that manage to find other ways into systems.
Being a command officer brings some responsibilities I do afraid of failing. Yet I rarely get on the battlefield, I feel obligated to do so. Commanding through orbital screening is not what I intended when transferred to Marines but they said I am good at it and there is not much help from me being on the battlefield.
We got 26 dead already, the transfer system has some problems with reloading, and we hope it will be fixed as we can't lose people. Despite immortality is an endeavor we still die… irony, isn't it… Every cadet understands it right now, but they do want to perform their duty. What young fools, I remember myself being such, can't believe I was so blind about honor and duty.
Now sitting here at the officers' quarters I notice these faces that do think they fight for right thing. Maybe they wouldn't act like that if they had perceptions on other ideals. Thus less of ideals are here now, we just protect us from ourselves, and leaded by greed they separated from us and decided that federation is a bad way of governance. Friends, families teared apart by interests of few. This will never change. Evolution is a bi..ch, though we are not from this world we are animals alike. Especially in desperate times...
“Hey there mate, ready for fun”- This was my friend Aalox, since first day in the academy we became friends; he stayed in troopers as I preferred space. Now standing in front he was passing me a drink:
“What you've been thinking on? Tired? After this I‘ll present you to some Intakies, they are hot man. Maybe you like Jin-Mey? No worries!” – He smiled like found something I do appreciate a lot.
“No worries…” - I replied, he was always optimistic about ongoing life; it looked like nothing can stop his enthusiasm. The only time I saw him groom was when the station entertainment had no hookers. He had struggle that day.
Considered having family, he decided not to go fast on that. His home was destroyed by imperialists; his father was on a diplomatic mission when they were attacked, gladly he survived, but lost his parents, then moved to his uncle for some years somewhere in Ommare, he thought it might be hard having family for him now. Maybe he is so happy about life just to forget his past? Sometimes I notice waves of self-assurance of his "guilt" on his face, he has flashes of the past making him dark which sometimes scares me. Hope he won't act recklessly…
“Commander, Fleet Commander wants to see you!” – a sudden young voice of a lieutenant breached silence in Operations Quarters as I was watching fresh scans of Jeon systems predicting our next step.
“Prepare shuttle, I will be in a minute.” – Still looking at the scans I saw in the reflex of the interface her, standing and waiting: “This is all for now, go.”
We got him… at least we know who sabotaged our transfer system. It was a scientist from Duvolle laboratories, Angels threatened his family and so he had nothing to do but to send us system virus with next shipment of the equipment. He was a man from company who escorts shipment, each one has such, and he was there… He managed to get to Transfer System through one of the terminals while he was accounting new shipment. Encrypted as a code, it managed not only sabotage but also retrieve some vital information, gladly we stopped him before it was too late. Now scientist will collaborate with us to proceed on the undercover mission into Archangels rounds. Must be of this Chief called me, as nobody else but me knows more about undercover missions in here. At least I am not the one responsible for that mission…
As I walked into hangar the shuttle was awaiting me. I entered still thinking that there might be something else why he called me.
“Two minutes remaining” - a pleasant female voice announced estimated time of arrival.
Might it be my new assignment? What could it be? As I was already in elevator I hadn't notice that there were other officers with me.
“Hello guys, you are too?” – One of them appointed his finger up considering Fleet Commander. Almost everyone agreed silently shaking heads each with own maze. We walked into Fleet Command Center, it is a place where majority of decisions are made, always full of men, now it was empty, just seven of us were here.
“Greetings gentlemen. I called you here to announce news.” – a hardened officer, at least I thought at that moment as he asked us to sit around table by gesture: “As we all know, Commander Tanis didn’t survive the transfer, on this unpleasant note we have an order for promotion of Shield Commander Vox.”
“What?!” – I shouted so loud that everyone looked at me like if I was a madman: “Are you sure “Chief”?”
“Afraid of responsibility Vox? I was too when they sent me to command you guys!” – Everyone started laughing as I understood how surprising my reaction was: “I wasn’t the one to choose you but if I could I would do that!” - He continued laughing with the officers: “We should celebrate that so you better warn the kitchen. And Aegis, the Nyx is yours.”
I was shoved away by this news which is not what I really expected. Now I was second highest rank officer in our fleet group. At least that day I understood that this was the only bright side of our welfare at that moment and officers really needed it…
Returning to already my ship I wanted to share it with Aalox, seems like he might get promotion too since there is an empty slot…
"Attention all personnel, we are entering nebula, keep to your positions" - my voice sounded rather awkward through intercom. We have been hit hard in southwest sector, now going back to the federation zone, we are preparing to regroup and seek new strategy within our vision of how war is led.
"Sir, we are in, we cannot contact rest of the fleet as our distant communication system was damaged during the combat. Levels from 40 to 102 are evacuated and we are preparing maintenance group" - lieutenant was quite nervous reporting me that, her hair was messy and a spill of fresh blood dried out on her cheek was still bringing me into realization that we suffered hard this time. The enemy got almost half of our fleet, but we were not worse. Yet some haven't returned to our rendezvous point in the nebula.
"Activate subspace beacon for our ships and send message to the command center as soon as comms get fixed that we are regrouping and processing aftermath" - I tried to be as strong as possible but my voice still was shaky. - "That is all for now lieutenant, now go..."
Our progress was rather positive nevertheless bloody, too bloody, these humans can't stop. What can make them stop? If I find out, definitely going to use... Now our path is rather improbable. We don't know where to head as we are at many routes. State tried to pursue Federation in peace talks, however politics think it is not time to stop our advance. Empire has own problems with Republic, thus providing less support for the State, which is at our hand, yet the more we progress the stronger the resistance. Surely enough, people are not accounted, I feel like I am getting reckless, I need to gather my thoughts.
"Fleet Commander and all his team were killed during the fight, only 50 percent of their personnel made it" - Lt Sentninel reported as communication went back online.
"Did Aegis Aalox Ginlus make it?!" - I hoped my frined was alive, system was deeply penetrated by sabotage and spreaded throughout the federation, even though we thought we prevented it, now it is not only our problem, every man in our galaxy might not make it next time.
"Yes sir, he is fine and ready to return, Fleet Commander made it but it seems there are some issues with his clone, he is temporarily disengaged" - Sentinel reported as I felt immense relief and a worry as of the new responsibility. "You are the new Fleet Commander, until further notice Aegis" - he finished his report.
"Sentinel, find Guardian Lt Nemusa and help her with organization of reparations, I think she is being torn apart by multiplicity of tasks at this moment, and take with you fresh minutemen from 5th group, let them learn from you." - hope those cadets know how to control themselves in such situations. -"Report to the bridge every 30 minutes"
"Aye sir"- Lt left the bridge.
to be continued...