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   Chapter 4 Moon base (1)

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12156

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


Daniel started waking up before the sound of the alarm actually made it to his eardrums. Whether it was a sixth sense of his own, or one that had been implanted with the Bactine was of no importance. Fact was that he knew it was happening. By the time the sixth whoop sounded, he was almost dressed and while the tenth whoop wailed he was running through the corridors, overtaking people with his long and amazingly powerful steps.

The commander of his group was halfway dressed, his uniform sort of thrown on. Daniel had to wait for information until most of the emergency room was filled. Then the commander spoke.

"We received word from the Hargha system where one of our scientific moon bases is. It's been taken by a hostile group. It is not yet certain what they are. We do know there were several casualties already as bodies have been seen floating out into space. We are requested to send a team of people to end the crisis. Given the nature of the situation we are asked to send in a team of Reb- enhanced people, together with a medical core-team."

Most of the Rebuilts, who stood scattered through the room, were excited. Daniel was among them, even if he was the newest of the Rebuilts on the base. That, he knew, would make it very improbable that he got chosen for the mission. He suppressed a snicker at the commander's attempt to circumvent the word Rebuilt. Enhanced people sounded better.

"The base is located on the second moon of Hargha 9, " the commander continued. "It is a large base, so we'll need every available enhanced person. Get ready folks, you are on call at platform Gamma 3 in twenty minutes. The core medical team is being put together as we speak. Dismissed. And will someone shut down the bloody alarm."

All Rebuilts got into action and soon Daniel had packed his stuff together and was pacing along to the designated platform. When he reached it, all seventeen other Rebuilts were there already. Daniel grumbled; he hated it to be the last one there.

Troy frowned at Daniel. Then a smile came to his face, and Daniel did not like that. He probably had missed something important.

"All aboard!" The command came seconds after Daniel had arrived. Rapidly the group split up and boarded two waiting shuttles.

"Daniela, you're with me!" Troy yelled, too loud.

Daniel cursed under his breath as he forced his way to the other shuttle. Once inside it, he found a seat, stashed his bag under it and buckled up. From behind him, someone tapped his shoulder. It was Phil.

"We're screwed, Daniel. Troy's in command of this group."

"Shut up, everyone!" someone yelled. It was not Troy, Daniel decided with a satisfied smile. That was destroyed a moment later, as Troy yelled out, through the P.A. system, that the one talking had to shut up as well. This was not going to be a great mission, even if it all went like clockwork.

Troy's face appeared on a screen. "Listen up. I am in the cockpit with the pilot. I will be in constant contact with our people in the Hargha system as soon as we are in reach. I will also let you know when we are in range. And I will detail our plans as soon as things are clear."

"I, I, I, " Daniel heard Phil say. "The idiot is quite full of himself."

The take-off notice appeared. Seconds later the soldiers got kicked in the rear, as the shuttle shot out of the launch bay, sailing into the deep blackness of space. They were on the way to the Hargha system.

-=-=-

The flight to the Hargha system was fast. The two military shuttles had linked up once far away from the military base, and like that they had jumped into Faster Than Light-space.

Daniel had been studying the layout of the moon base they had to liberate and had decided on two possible points of entry and attack that would cause as little damage as possible to the laboratories.

A black Rebuilt had been watching Daniel as he was sitting next to him. "You did this more often, right?"

"Yes. I was an assault marshal, " Daniel said. "I'm Daniel."

"Kjella. Assault marshal? No shit. And why are you not leading this thing then?" Kjella asked.

"I don't know. I guess I am not experienced enough as a Rebuilt. Only in this game for a few weeks, and still in training."

Kjella made a sound that clearly indicated his contempt. "Being like us has nothing to do with being able to lead a mission. I think someone went and got himself a brown arm." He made a gesture as if he stuck his hand through a very tiny hole.

Daniel snorted.

A loud beep drew everyone's attention to the screen, although they all knew what it means. Drop out of FTL in one minute. The men and women prepared themselves for the nauseating feeling that belonged to that part of the journey when on a shuttle. It never lasted long though.

As soon as they were in normal space again, the monitor showed the layout of the moon base. There were markings in three places. Troy's voice came from the P.A., detailing how the attack would be staged.

"He has one place the same as you had, " Kjella said.

"Yes. Had." Daniel shook his head at the plan on the screen. "It's a kind of back-door. Good place to enter, but too far from the sensible places where you would expect hostages to be held."

Kjella nodded. "You going to tell him?"

"Yes. At least I'll try." Daniel had little hope that he would get through to Troy.

The two shuttles detached from each other and quickly dove in the shadow of the moon that was their target. Troy came into the cabin and started assigning people to subgroups that would be in several stages of the attack.

"Troy, a word, " Daniel said as the man passed him.

"What? You want out?"

"No. Listen, this is serious. There are flaws in your plan, Troy. I'm an assault marshal, I can help you-"

"Shut up, Zacharias, " Troy snapped. "I'm in charge and we're going in the way I said we would. I am not taking any crap from you. Assault marshal my ass."

Daniel sighed. He had expected that. As Troy came back to the front, Daniel again tried to talk sense into the m

an, but the response was the same, only permeated with stronger language, and the promise of court martial if the assault marshal did not shut up. "And that's a fucking order, Daniela!"

Troy disappeared into the cockpit again, slamming the door with unneeded force. Silence fell in the passenger cabin.

"You tried, " said Kjella. "I'm your witness."

"So am I, " Phil said.

Troy's voice came on again. This time he used the Rebuilts' inner ear communication, even though there was no reason for it. He started detailing the plans for the group, as images on the monitor clarified his words.

Daniel kept shaking his head. There were serious beginner's mistakes in the plan. This was not going well.

Even before all detailing was done, the shuttles set course for the moon base. Daniel hoped that their approach would at least be with the sun in their back, so the scopes on the base would hardly be able to pick the shuttles up on visual. Everyone reached into their bag and brought out the weaponry they had taken along.

"As soon as we are on the ground, we move out. You know your position and direction. Go there and report to me directly, " Troy notified everyone. At least he got that right. "And remember to fill up your compartments. We're going out on inner air."

All around was the sound of air pockets being filled. Daniel did that too. It felt strange, like breathing in through your arms and thighs, and not breathing out. He knew that, in worst case, a Rebuilt could survive for three hours on this air reserve. Hopefully it would not get that far.

There was a dull sound and a shiver ran through the shuttle. The hatch opened and the crew streamed out. Daniel noticed that they had indeed approached the moon base the right way.

"Troy, once again, change your plan. Please, " he said to their group commander as he jumped from the shuttle.

"Shut it, Zacharias." Troy was not receptive to advice.

"If there is something like a God, please be merciful, " Daniel whispered. Then he ran off with his two companions, Andred and Wilson. Troy had assigned them to the back-door. "Phil, Kjella. Good luck, " he said on a private channel.

"You too, Daniel. We'll get this done, " said Phil, who was assigned to the third group.

Daniel hoped it was the truth. He wondered what the best thing would be now. Go on and probably face disaster, or return to the shuttle and- no... that was not an option. He'd be committing mutiny and that would certainly cost him. He had no option but to follow his orders at this point and just do what he could to make things go as well as possible.

The three in Daniel's group ran over the moon's surface. It was a dull grey surface with very odd shapes protruding from the strange ground. It was not a solid foothold, it was more like running over moist sand, which was a very strange experience. Daniel had run outside the star base during his training weeks, also without external oxygen, but this was different.

They reached their target. Wilson, who was assigned to lead the group, reported to Troy that they were in position.

"Hold until I tell you to go in, " Troy ordered them.

The three prepared their weapons. Wilson kept his eye on the miniature display on his wrist, that informed him how the lock-decoder was progressing in opening the door's safety-mechanism. The device only took seconds for that.

The waiting was torment for them. There was no word from Troy on what the other groups were doing, where they were, nothing. Suddenly they saw a flash and felt a tremble beneath their feet. The vacuum of space did not transport sound.

"Troy! What's going on?" Daniel shouted on a private channel, overruling Wilson in role.

"Fuck, the fuck shot me!" was the reply.

"Troy, Phil, Kjella! Report! Do we go in?"

"Daniel, you're out of line, " Wilson barked.

The ground beneath them shook again. More flashes of light erupted from several places in the roof of the moon base.

"Then do something, " Daniel said. "If you are in command, take it. All hell is breaking loose somewhere and we're here picking our noses."

Wilson yelled at Troy, asking what to do. Daniel did not wait for that. He kicked at the unlocked door, which flew open. He ran inside, staying low. Andred was right behind him, and Wilson followed last. "Troy doesn't respond, " the leader said.

Daniel slammed the door and quickly punched in the military override for the airlock. Hissing air was blasted into the small compartment where the three men were waiting.

Once the air pressure was equalised, it took them agonising minutes to reach a smoke-filled corridor. They were getting closer to the battle that had started without them. On the private channel, Daniel kept repeating the names of the people that made up their strike team. As more and more responded, the three proceeded through the corridor. The screaming of phase-pistols and the low sound of more complicated proton weapons grew louder by the second, and suddenly they found themselves in the middle of the fight.

"Deck!" He did not know who yelled, but he was on the floor before the last letter had reached his awareness. Wilson and Andred also were on the floor as bolts flew over their heads.

"Back, " Wilson hissed, and he was right. In this situation there was nothing they could do except get hurt.

Once in the small corridor they had come through, Wilson took charge, finally, and located where their own people were. "They're on our left. Bad guys right. Andred, you're with me. Daniel, move around and hit them from behind."

Andred and Daniel nodded. As Wilson and Andred kneeled down and started to fire their weapons around the corner, Daniel checked his own mini-display for the plan of the moon base. There was an easy way through some offices to get behind the attackers, so he retraced his steps and quickly found his way to where he wanted to go. All that time the sound of the battle followed him.

He reached the last door. "Wilson, I'm ready."

"Go, Daniel, " was his reply.

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