The brisk morning air held a faint scent of evergreen as Charlie Lawrence ran along a forest path on the reservoir. Dried fur needles muffled his steps and he was alone with his heavy breathing as he pushed himself up the steep hill. Upon reaching he crest he kept up the fast pace for another hundred meters, then relaxed a bit as he exited the forest path and turned right on to ridge road and toward home. He picked up the pace again for he last five hundred meters to the front steps of his house. He walked for five minutes, stretched, and went inside to prepare his morning coffee.
Upstairs, his wife Anne was still sleeping peacefully. After all it was only 7 am and since the baby wasn't up yet there was no reason for her to get up either. Charlie showered, then had his coffee as he viewed the download of Morning Edition. Nothing much cooking round the universe today, he thought. Good.
Charlie finished his coffee and tip toed upstairs to his bedroom but the baby was already awake and cooing. He knew his six month old son, Gregory, would start yelping for breakfast soon so he picked him up and carried him quietly into he bedroom and laid him down atop Anne. She began to stir, a big smile spreading across her drowsy face.
"Hey what are my two guys up to this morning?" She said as she stretched.
"Both of us are looking for a little nip," he said wryly.
"Yeah well back of the line Bub, Gregory gets first divs on breakfast."
"You're the boss!"
"So today's the big day!" Said Anne.
"You bet Hon, gonna sign those closing papers at noon. Then the place will be ours."
"I can't wait. Our first brand new house. Then, three months from now you retire. I never thought it would happen."
"Hey it hasn't yet."
"What's that supposed to mean!" Anne said nervously.
"Nothing, nothing," Charlie stroked her hair. "Just screwing with ya. I start terminal leave in six weeks. Then..." The vid-terminal bleeped.
Anne looked at the time. Who's calling this early on a Sunday? I bet it's your mom again. Doesn't she realize people sleep in on the weekend?"
"You know my folks, always up at the crack of dawn." Charlie hit the answer button, smiling in anticipation of the ribbing he'd get from his mom from not picking up on the first ring. "Hello."
A young man appeared on the screen. "Hey boss. Sorry to disturb you on a Sunday but the old man wants to see you."
"Now? What's up Dave? We're on white cycle."
"Hey I don't know I just work here. He told me to call the whole team in. I gonna call Gerard now."
Charlie put a hand on Anne's head and stroked her hair. He could tell she was working hard at not appearing annoyed. "Alright. I'll be there by ten. Get everybody else in too. Out here."
"Really nice," said Anne.
"Sorry hon, I'm sure it's just some stupid bullshit. I'll be back as soon as I can." Charlie was up and around the room getting dressed. When he was finished he kissed Anne and the baby and said good bye.
When Lawrence arrived at the shop he noted that CO and Sergeant Major were already there as was half the team. He passed by the team room, collected and verified that everyone had been contacted, then went into the office. Major Dees was waiting for him with a customary toothy grin. He stuck out a hand. "Hey big Sarge, how's it going?"
"Going great, Sir. How about you?"
"Well let's give it a minute till your O shows up."
Just at that moment, Captain Tom Gerard walked into the office. "Hey guys."
"Ahh good, you're both here. Step into the office." Lawrence and Gerard eyed each other suspiciously and shrugged their shoulders. Neither knew what this was about."
Seated in Dees' office were Sergeant Major San Antonio and Chief Leonard the company S3 or Operations Officer. Dees was immediately businesslike. " In case you haven't surmised it yet, 946 is being tabbed for a green call out."
"Really?" asked Lawrence, nonplussed.
"There's not much info on the mission. But it's TS and has the highest priority status."
"When?" asked Gerard.
"The bird leaves for the spaceport at 2100 tonight," Said Chief Leonard.
"0900? Jeez they're not leaving much time! What about team gear?"
"Bring personal gear and the contingency pallet."
"Unknown, but unofficially the BC said it could be anything from 4 to 8 weeks."
"Christ!" Said Lawrence. "I assume you guys know I'm short. You did after all approve my terminal leave, Sir."
The Sergeant major chimed in. "It's cancelled. But don't worry, you should be out in time. The BC authorized a double separation allowance to make up for it. Fact is we need 946 to execute this and he BC requested you. Hey after it's over, c'ya, and don't let the door hit you in the ass."
"Great, Anne's gonna love this."
"Don't worry, we'll take care of the families. You guys get your shit together. We'll get all the families in here tonite for a last visit, then you guys are off." Said the Major.
"Here's the warning order that came down on the TWX this morning. Not much to go on." Chief Leonard handed Gerard the packet.
"Any questions?" Asked Major Dees. There were none. "Right. Off you go."
Lawrence and Gerard left the office thinking about the hard good-byes they would be faced with tonight.
By midnight, the 9 men of 946 were aboard the interface lander and on their way to rendezvous with their transport. The first indication of anything out of the ordinary was the long duration of the flight. They were in flight for 5 hours, well past anything needed to get even to high orbit. The second indication was the ship they docked with. Charlie was surprised to se it wasn't a standard NAC fleet or assault transport. As they approached within visual range, several of the men were able to crowd a viewport and get a look at the odd shape and markings.
"What kind of ship is that?"
"That," observed Captain Gerard," is an NSL assault transport."
"NSL? You mean Krauts?" said Sergeant Molitoris.
"That's right, Neu Schwabian League."
"All passengers, please put up your seat trays, lock you seat in an upright position, and secure shock frames. Commencing auto-docking procedures." They scurried back to their seats.
As they crossed through the airlock to the NSL transport, two officers greeted 946. One bore the rank of a NAC Major, the second, an NSL Major. Gerard saluted both.
"ODA 946 requests permission to come aboard, Sir."
Both Majors returned the captain's salute. "Granted," said the NAC major. They shook hands as he made introductions.
"Captain Gerard, I'm Major Weston, 504th assault battalion. This is Major Wesreidau, Raumlande-Sturm Regiment 3." A third officer joined them. "Ahh there you are. Captain, this is Leutnant Makowsky."
The large blond haired man grinned and offered his hand. "Welcome to the NSL assault transport Kreta, Hauptman, umm excuse me I mean Captain."
"Kein probleme, Herr Leutnant."
"Ahh you speak German."
"Yes sir, a few of us do."
"Well that will help your stay here."
Weston broke in. "Captain Gerard. Leutnant Makowsky will take your men to their quarters. Leave your gear with these ratings and they'll bring it along. I want you to come with me for a quick briefing. We haven't much time since we jump within the hour."
"Yes, sir." Gerard motioned to Lawrence. C'mon." They followed Weseirdau and Weston through the innards of the cramped transport. NSL ships did not quite have the knack for crew comfort that the NAC did, however they were not as spartan as the ESU. They made their way through a number of confusing corridors until they came to the briefing room. It was empty. Weston motioned for the two SF men to take a seat. Wesreidau spoke into the intercom.
A moment later a short blond-haired man entered the room. He broke into a toothy grin. "Sergeant Lawrence!"
"Colonel Rölle! It's great to see you. The colonel clasped Lawrence on both shoulders. Charlie was at least a head taller."
"I see you've met the commander," remarked Weston.
"I first met Colonel Rölle when I attended the NSL Naheraumsturmschüle (near orbit assault course) back on Ross 42. After that our units kept up an exchange program for many years. That is until all this damn fighting got in the way."
"Yes, we have been busy lately, no?" Added Colonel Rölle.
"Well, anyway, what's the deal? What did I get dragged out of near retirement for this time?"
"Major Weston, perhaps you can explain," said Rölle.
"Yes sir. Right then. Captain Gerard, Sergeant Lawrence, we have an operation of the utmost urgency we need your team to perform. For matters of operational security that will soon become apparent to you, we can only cover your part of the overall mission. I'm not going into the whole thing now, we'll need your whole team for that. I expect to have 946 in here and assembled for initial misson brief in twenty minutes. Kreta is going to be making four jumps in the next 24 hours and that's going to be hard on everyone. We'll be meeting with another vessel and transferring your team onto there. However, I can tell you now that it's going to involve a free fall insertion from near orbit, and that you blokes will be on your own for a bit afterwards. So for now, on your bike, and get the rest of the lads in here."
"Yes, Sir." The two men left the room in a hurry to get their team. Gathered. Rölle and Weston traded knowing glances. "Pity it has to be him."
"Good afternoon, Gentlemen. My name is Colonel Rölle and I am the commander of Task force Hannibal. The briefing you are about to receive is classified Top Secret. I'd like to turn this over to my operations officer, Major Wesreidau, who will brief you on the current situation."
Wesreidau stepped up and engaged a holoprojection of a gliese map of the NSL sector, which was coreward of Sol.
"Gentlemen, this is Röt Hafen. That means Red Haven in German. Seven Planets orbit the Yellow star LTT 1583. The fourth planet is Röt Hafen. It was explored and annexed by the Nue Schwabian League in 2166.It has that name due to the high ferrous content in the soil, which gives the planet its red hue. Röt Hafen has a breathable atmosphere of 75% nitrogen, 15% oxygen and 8% carbon dioxide, and 1% trace elements. While there is little open water, however there are numerous subterranean water sources. Gravity is .085 standard G. The length of the day is 19 standard hours. Length of year, 423 standard days. Mean temperature at this time in your operational area is 5 to 10 degrees Celsius, hi to zero degrees Celsius low. You'll find more planetary data and a detailed area study in your mission packet."
"Röt Hafen, being a fairly young planet, has little animal life, above bacterial state. There are a number of hardy mosses and ferns that grow on the planet. It is extremely rich in all kinds of minerals, which is why the NSL chose to colonize it. Main industry is mining. In particular the planet is rich in amino-ferrite, which as you know is being used in the new generation of armor plating on star ships. It is three times as light and four times as strong as standard armor. The current population of Röt Hafen numbers 15,000. The harsh conditions on the planet make every-day life difficult. Nearly one third of the population works for Ganemede industries and services the huge atmospheric processors which for the core of the terraforming projects. Apart from government personnel most of the rest work for Kendall-Krupp mining division."
"On 6 July, several KRF ships were conducting maneuvers in the outer rim of the system, when they were destroyed in a surprise attack by a Kra'Vak force. These ships, quickly reinforced, moved in system and attacked Röt Hafen. In the few Kra'Vak raids recorded so far they usually come in and nuke the colony from orbit, or make a quick ground raid, then pull out and nuke the colony. At Röt Hafen, they came in, destroyed the two system defense ships, disabled or destroyed every satellite and station, nuked two small settlements on the far side of the planet, and made a landing at the main city of RötHafen. I said they knocked out all the orbiting platforms, but there was one that wasn't destroyed, a manufacturing station in near orbit. They have chosen to seize that one intact."
"That was over two weeks ago. Our sources tell us that the Kra"Vak are still at Röt Hafen. We suspect that here may still be many survivors on the planet. Why, we do not know. Allied Headquarters, NAC/NSL have elected to launch a counterstrike against Röt Hafen and take it back." Lawrence interrupted. "How is it you have all this intelligence? I thought you said that all your ships were wiped out in the initial assault?"
"Not quite, sergeant." Answered Wesriedau. I didn't get into the details of what kind of maneuvers our fleet were performing at Röt Hafen. They were testing out a new generation of cloaking technologies. One of our ships, equipped with just such a system was present during the initial attack. The commander on the spot, now deceased, had the good sense to order them to remain cloaked and monitor the action. Our ship, the destroyer Kohl, has been gathering intelligence undetected for ten days, and has even received communications from the planet. They quickly jumped out wit the latest information we are reporting here. Herr Oberst..." Wesreidau stepped down and turned the podium back over to Colonel Rölle.
"Mission: 946 infiltrates Röt Hafen no later than 21 0300z July 94 via low orbit drop system and conducts reconnaissance and surveillance in operational area Gertrude. Be prepared for follow-on operations. I will be followed by Major Weston." The holograph of the planet changed as the planet Rotated around to it's far side and the projection zoomed in to a close in view of some rugged terrain. "This is Operational Area Gertrude. It comprises an area of 100 x 100 kilometers surrounding the main city of Röt Hafen. This area will be the focus of your operations. I know that normally you would plan your own insertions, however given the time constraints and the resources available, we really do not have much choice. In less than 24 hours you will board the Destroyer Kohl for your ingress to the target. The Kohl is a Waldberg/M class missile destroyer specially fitted with the latest cloaking technology. It appears to be effective against the Kra'Vak".
"Begging your pardon , Sir, but how do you know that?" Asked Freeman, one of 946's demolitions specialists.
"Because she has been operating under the noses of the Kra'Vak in the Röt Hafen system for the past two weeks. When she arrives at the rendevous point, we will transfer your team and equipment to the Kohl. They will be undergoing some special modifications, giving up their external missile racks for one small pinnace. It is jus big enough to carry your team. The ship will not be able to bring you down to the surface, it does not have the payload capacity or fuel to make it down wit your then get out. How ever can descend to the upper atmosphere for your drop."
Rölle used a laser pointer to designate one corner of Gertrude. "We would like to insert you down here, well away from the city. We have arranged a rendevous with some partisan elements on the ground. That link up is to take place here, twenty kilometers from your landing area." Several areas of Gertrude lit up in blue. "These areas are prospective drop zones. We would like them surveyed for possible future landing sites." Another area lit up green. "We would like you to emplace surveillance on the starport here in Röt Hafen. Within those boundaries you are free to plan the operation as you see fit."
Rölle read from his notes. "Priority intelligence requirements. One: Are the proposed landing sites suitable for drop operations? If so, how many drop ships can we land at once? All the standard survey information. Is there any enemy activity in the vicinity? What is the reaction time for the enemy forces to get out to each site. Much of this will depend on the actual terrain situation in those areas. There are large tracks of Röt Hafen that underwent only superficial survey scans so information is scant."
"Number Two: What are Kra'Vak activities on the planet. What are they doing in the city? Why have they stayed, and why haven't they destroyed the planet yet? What is the strength, composition, disposition and capability of Kra'Vak forces on the planet. We'll expect you to interrogate the resistance forces for any information on their fighting methods, tables of organization, and equipment."
"Number Three: What is the fate of the colonists. How many are still alive. Have they set up any hide sites. If so, what are there locations and size?"
"Sir, how will we get all this information back to you?" Asked Brooks, the communications specialist.
The Kohl will be bringing one other device into the system with you." The holosystem illustration changed to an innocent looking piece of space debris. "It looks like a piece of space junk, but it is actually a very sophisticated communications satellite. When you are inserted, Kohl will place this device in geosynchronis orbit so that it covers the operational area, but is low on the horizon to Röt Hafen, in order to further avoid detection. You will be using narrow beam laser PSC-33 SATCOM to this satellite, which will relay along a further narrow beam to the Kohl. Kohl will be carrying two automated courier drones and will be dispatching two reports at scheduled times back to our fleet. Scheduled contacts, encryption downloads and message formats are all in the mission packet."
"I've got a question, Sir!" A large, wide shoulder man in the back had his hand up.
He stood up. "Umm, Colonel, I'm Sergeant Donner, weapons. You didn't say how long we were supposed to be down there for, and what's the extraction plan."
"Ahh yes, Sergeant. We anticipate the duration of the first phase of your mission to last 7-10 days."
"That's a hell of a lot of Intel gathering, and walking, by the way, to do in less than two weeks," remarked Lawrence.
Rölle grinned. "That's why we picked you, you are the best, no?
Lawrence chuckled. "Yeah, Ok, Sir."
Donner raised his hand again. "Uh, Colonel, Sir. What do you mean by Phase One?"
"Unfortunately we cannot divulge what comes next for obvious reasons. However, you must be prepared to undertake either further reconnaissance, or direct action operations in support of the next phase. After the completion of which, you will be extracted."
"Sir? Sergeant Mellor, Intel Sergeant. You mentioned partisans, or resistance. Can you expound upon that?"
"Yes. After the Kra'Vak occupied the planet surface many surviving elements scattered to the hills. Some, led by planetary law enforcement, began forming resistance cells against the invaders. We don't have very much information since the Kra'Vak found the communications satellite they were using and destroyed it. However, in your packet you will find names and details as to the rendevous we set up. You will be expected to make full use of them, and they will be expected to follow your direction during this operation."
"There is more information in your packet. What I want to do know is turn the briefing over to Major Weston who will brief you on what we know about the Kra'Vak. Most of this has not been released for general distribution yet. Major Weston."
"Thank you, Colonel. Gentlemen the information we are about to give you was collected when a Kra'Vak raiding force hit Ross 149 five months ago. You will find a report titled 'Karla's Kidnap' in your mission packet, which will cover what I'm about to speak on in more detail. The Kra'Vak employed ground forces in the raid, and some dead specimens were obtained by us."
"But isn't Ross149 a PAU colony."
"Well, yes it is. Let's just say that the samples were, umm, acquired by some of your Australian brethren, in an operation that shall remain unmentioned."
"Anyway, on to a description of Karla. Which by the way is our slang term for the Kra'Vak. I'm reading this right off the report we got from the SAS operation." One of the creatures appeared on the holoscreen. Everyone was drawn immediately to its alligator like skin and warthog like tusks. They looked menacing.
"Jesus Christ, that looks like my fuckin' ex-wife," remarked Brooks. "Especially them choppers." Everyone broke out in laughter.
Once they settled down Weston began. "The species is a bipedal vertebrate, carbon based, oxygen breathing, warm blooded like birds or mammals and with similar body chemistry as earth life forms. The samples taken from Ross 149 averaged around 198 centimeters in height. The endoskeleton, arms and legs are jointed like those of primates. However, the neck, spine and pelvis have a maximum load bearing at least 15% above humans. The feet have two clawed toes each, between which is a retractable flap of skin. The hands have three digits, the outside digits are both opposable, giving the creature two thumbs and one finger on each hand".
"As you can see, their thick skin, which is a tan color mottled with green, looks reptilian, however, it's not scaled. It's very thick though and driving a knife through it would be a chore."
"What's that on the back of its head, hair? Asked Molitoris, one of the medics.
"Negative, they don't really have anybody hair. Those hair-like structures attached to the rear of the skull have thin tubes, which are linked to the lungs, and act as additional oxygen storage. It is believed they can stay submerged, or survive without atmosphere, for several minutes longer than humans".
"The skull is heavy ridged, with thick bones protecting the eyes and nose. On each side of the jaws are tusks or upward facing mandibles attached to the face with large muscles. All teeth are simplex tearing cones; no grinding or specialist teeth except for the mandibles are evident. They get more teeth as they get older. This can range anywhere from 20 to 40."
"Their two eyes are complex, providing binocular vision, a little more sensitive in low light, than ours. They are also sensitive to UV allowing these creatures to see unaided, deep into the ultraviolet band. In your terms, that gives them a night vision advantage over you. The eyes are set in deep socket, giving poor vision at under 15cm, however at long distances this should give them exceptional vision".
"One interesting feature with these creatures are the internal membranes which create compartments, similar to those found in some crabs. There are six such membranes, each containing duplicate organ for breathing, digestion and reproduction. Blast one chamber and the others can take over and keep the creatures going. This provides a form of organ redundancy that is uncommon among vertebrates. They are also born fairly mature. At two years they are probably able to function at full capacity."
"Apart from their physical appearance the most distinguishing feature of this race is the unusual reproductive cycle. The reproductive organs have been clearly identified. These creatures do not have a male and a female form; rather they are simultaneous hermaphrodites, equipped with both working testes and ovaries. The main difference being the wombs, of which there are six, which are not fully formed in the juvenile creatures".
"Jeez, Brooks," interjected Mellor, "good thing you aren't one of them. You jerk off so much you'd be getting' yourself pregnant every other day."
"Nuthin' wrong with having sex with the one you love."
"Alright, at ease, said Captain Gerard."
"For brevity's sake, I'll move onto the psych portion of this report." Weston thumbed past a few pages. Orion prepared this report from special branch. Sergeant Lawrence, I believe you know him?"
Charlie smiled at the thought of his old acquaintance. Asshole, he thought.
"The origins or locations of the Kra'Vak home worlds are unknown. They've been pushing up from the galactic core so that may be an indication of their general origins. Which means they may be an older civilization. Between these specimens, the pattern of their attacks on human worlds, and two previous intelligence-gathering operations, we've developed some hypothesis on their social structure. SIGINT has been instrumental in actually developing a small dictionary of their language.
A driving factor in their social organization is the fact that they are hermaphroditic. Kra'Vak do not truly change sex or become adult, rather as they age they become "more" female. It is estimated that at around 40 years, the juvenile Kra'Vak goes through a kind of puberty, meaning that its wombs become viable for reproduction. It appears that the eggs carried, can simultaneously be the offspring of different 'fathers'. A mother creature recovered from Ross 149 carried six young, originating from three different partners."
"Hey I like this race already!" Said Brooks.
Lawrence turned around to Brooks, smiled congenially and said: "Brooks, shut the fuck up." He turned back to Major Weston. "Sorry Sir. I can dress 'em up but I can't take 'em out."
"No problem. It also appears the parent can suspend the development and maturation of the young, so there is no fixed gestation period for this species. For example a fertilized egg could be carried for many years until the parent chose it for development. Every Kra'Vak family has a senior or matriarch and a heirem of juveniles. . It is believed that these senior creatures mature for one of two roles in the family. One type takes longer to mature and acts as guards or nest builders, while the second type puts its energy into becoming sexually mature, spending their time trying to invade their neighbors' nests to steal mates. We are confident that there is a similar pattern in Kra'Vak families. This may be an instinctual pattern that could explain much of the Kra'Vak aggression towards each other and toward other creatures".
"It is estimated that a large matriarch dominates the pack or family of several hundred members. The other senior Kra'Vak would take the role of protecting the matriarch and keeping the juveniles disciplined. The juveniles are probably not highly valued, being used almost like slaves until their social potential is demonstrated. As the juvenile approaches puberty around 40 years, good performers would tend to be a breeding target for the families Matriarch and other seniors. To ensure her political position in the family, it is likely that the Matriarch strictly controls whom the seniors can mate with, and how many offspring they may have. Poor performers who survive to 40 years are likely to be assigned low status roles. On a large scale we expect to see families aligned with clans, where a clan Matriarch imposes controls over family Matriarchs".
"In infantry terms this would see squads of juveniles run by an older 'brothers' who serves an 'uncles" reporting through to senior 'aunties' on to the Matriarch."
"All in the family...." Said Donner.
Miner leaned over to Charlie and said: "And Intel figured all this out from...a few cheesy bodies? Whatever."
"Kra'Vak technology is in many ways advanced past our own. Their basic weapon in space and on ground is the rail gun. They've perfected this technology. A hit from one of their infantry railguns and it's all over for you. You can see more data on their weapons and equipment, including an infantry orbat we've genned up, in your packets."
"There just isn't very much here on how they fight on the ground. We know they're ruthless and have no regard for species other than their own. In fact, we believe they're apt to fight themselves as much as anyone else if two clans cross each other. In the Ross attack, they showed little regard for their own casualties, which isn't suprising given the low social status of their juveniles. We'll be relying on you to dig up more info on them to help make our picture complete." Colonel Rölle interjected. "Gentlemen, if you look at the clock, you will see that we are approaching our first jump so I'd like to wrap up the briefing. You will find your mission packets comprehensive. I'd like to leave you with as much time to plan your operation as possible. We're here to support you with any request. I suggest you make the most of this little time you'll be spending on the Kreta. If there are any equipment or supplies you will need, talk to Leutnant Makowsky. I'd like a preliminary briefback of your plan in 24 hours. I just want to say that I cannot stress the importance we place on the successful execution of this mission. Whoever is left alive on Röt Hafen is depending on us to get them out of trouble. We Still don't know much about the Kra'Vak and why they've decided to set up camp on Röt Hafen. Information you gather throughout this operation and the eventual successful completion of Task force Hannibal's mission could have significant repercussions for Humanity in the coming years as attacks against our worlds increase. Good luck."
Throughout the briefing Charlie had been taking notes. He waited for the officers to leave then turned to the team. "OK listen up, here's what's going to happen over the next 24 hours." He turned to his two medics. "Eric, I want you and Colin to pour over these xeno files to see what else we can come up with that'll help us deal with these things. Also check the Röt Hafen planet study to see what vaccinations or other special preventive measures we'll need to take."
"Brooks, get with the comms liaison officer and go over the comms plan front and back until your satisfied with it. Make sure everyone's up to speed on the PSC-33 and any special procedures we'll need to talk to the bird."
He turned to his two engineers. "Eric, Bill, break down our pallet and recheck all the serial numbers on all the sensitive items. As we work out the ops plan we'll pass the equipment requests to you and you guys can separate that stuff from the rest of the pallet. Coordinate for a secure place to keep the remainder on the ship so we don't get fucked and loose everything once we leave.
"Kenny go through all the S-2 stuff. We need to know as much as possible about the Gs we'll be working with, names numbers equipment, whatever. Also since you're the most current amongst all the JMs, you'll be the Jumpmaster on this op. I'll safety. Get with Eric and Bill and go over all the team gear. Sounds to me like this drop is going to have a high pucker factor!"
Donner, you, the captain, and me will work on route selection and actions at the objective. I'll work on the DZ. everyone knows the drill, just an SOP isolation, except we only have 24 hour to get a briefback genned up. Molitoris, dig up and pass out as much Domitril as we can take since we won't be blissfully asleep during all the warp transits we're going to have to make in the next twenty four. Any questions?"
There were none, they'd all been through the drill before.
"Good, let's get to work."
Go to part 2 of 3
Note: This page references Karla's Kidnapby Robert Deacon
Return to Bri's Science Fiction Collection