Monday, 26 May 2008

Closing in

‘We’re late.’

Private Jensen may be right. Our hails to the underground station have gone unanswered- they might already be dead.

‘Let’s go find out,’ I say. ‘Open the lock and land the ship.’

We've arrived by night. We had to. This desert planet is so close to its sun that the scorching sunrise melts the rocks on the surface every morning. It was meant to be the perfect hiding place.

Central command gave us the codes to operate the station, but as we approach we find we won’t need them. The airlock has been blasted, its metallic mouth open to the moonlit night. We fly through and hover slowly down the five-kilometre tunnel until we dock in the main landing platform. There are no signs of alien ships, no alarms ringing.

‘I bet the Intuitives are hiding,’ says Private Gale as he checks and locks his gun. He opens the door of the ship and steps out into the station. ‘Hiding deep down in some dark tunnel like desert rats.’ He makes a disgusted face as he says this. He’s not the only soldier who despises the Intuitives.

‘Don’t blame them. I’d do the same thing,’ says Mary Jensen. ‘Especially after their regular protection unit was hacked and gutted like slaughtered pigs. Yeah, I’d go and hide in the darkest tunnel I could find, and pray the Slashers have had their fill and moved on. I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about any unit sent to protect me.’

Gale grunts and sets down his backpack.

‘OK, people,’ I say. ‘You know the drill. We split into five teams. Gale, you take the old mining wing. Slade, get to the command room and check the computers; make sure everything is in working order. Li, cover the infirmary and the hydroponic lab. Jensen, you stay in the landing docks. Watch our backs. My team will take the habitational area.

Keep the comms link open and report as you go along. If anything moves, hold your fire until you’ve identified it. We'll assume the enemy is here until we've explored the whole station, so stay alert and ready. Every team stocks up with pulse grenades, flame throwers, and your regular guns. Let’s be quick. Go!’

> go to page 2

> go to page 3

> go to page 4

No comments: