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   Chapter 26 No.26

Dead Beckoning By Christina Engela Characters: 5585

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

Every Terran warship carried a number of security marines – mostly to deal with security issues aboard ship, but also in case of situations such as this arising. They also acted as MP's in matters of crew discipline. Benatar class cruisers, and in fact, most cruisers, carried two squads of marines, and right now, both were down on the surface of Yalta 2. As soon as they arrived near the deserted underground complex, they took cover and began to take in their new surroundings. Lt. Greg Hanson, commander of the security section, and dressed in the full battle gear of the Star Marines, sent the advance party forward towards what appeared to be the entrance of the abandoned complex. There appeared to be no sign of sentries posted by the Corsairs.

Two of the advance party quietly lifted the corroded steel storm shutters over what looked like an emergency exit. The doors creaked only slightly in protest and they were left open onto the ground beside the stairwell that led downwards. The fact that the doors were clear of the vegetation and compost surrounding the almost hidden entrance, indicated it had been used very, very recently. The odd footprint here and there substantiated this. Hanson rubbed his chin thoughtfully at this realization – the Corsairs weren't even trying to hide their trail! This was going to be easier than they thought! He grimly motioning to the lead marines to proceed inside.

What looked like damp pine needles had collected on the ancient looking stairway from the surface, causing several near-accidents on their way down. At least they looked like pine needles, but were probably the dead husks of what passed for grass here. T

off the scan. Please advise, over."

"Lead One, this is Lead Boss." Hanson said from his improvised command post at the entrance of the complex. "I know. Antarse just signaled me. The targets just shifted out, back to their ship. Mission's scrubbed. Your instructions are to withdraw. Return to exit, acknowledge."

"Okay. Got it, Lead Boss. Lead One out." Maguire said.

This job was sometimes a frustrating one, and no less so than now. Maguire didn't know what this had been all about, what the damn Corsairs had come down here to do. Whatever it was, it had probably been successful but still, it just didn't smell right to him. Whatever they'd done, it hadn't taken long. If they'd come to just retrieve something, why not just pick it up with the trans-matter in the first place? And if they could transmatter out, why didn't they transmatter in to begin with?

"Okay, boys and girls." Sgt. Maguire announced. "Party's over, let's get back topside."

"Geez, Sarge." A marine said, patting Maguire's shoulder on the way past, "What a waste of fuckin' time! Let's get back and I'll buy you a beer!"

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