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Old 01-03-2003, 05:58 AM   #16
ShadowTemplar
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Denmark
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“This victory will be my most glorious.”

Legion Field Commander Madarius, just prior to the battle at Sontal

“We’ll introduce these pious fools to their god. The hard way.”

CGC General Nochten, just prior to the battle at Sontal


The blast doors sealing the bridge from the rest of the ship silently slid open. In walked a young woman whose pale skin almost shone in contrast to her black hair. Walking up to Martins, the man who had been placed in top of the craft hierarchy, due to his being the most experienced in flying inter-system class ships, Calina told him to open a communications link to the base.
“I don’t like being bullied around. Remember that I was selected to run this place,” the short man said, his puffy cheeks flopping gently.
“I remember all too well. You are the most experienced, and I know that everyone is working overtime as it is, due to the lack of more personnel.” Calina modulated her voice as if she simply recounted facts, despite knowing that the little man despised her. The feeling was mutual, but unlike him, whom Calina could read like a book, she didn’t make a show of it.
“But we need to get in touch with whoever is down there. The CGC don’t place installations this far away from nothing without giving them a large garrison.”
“How exactly did you get to know the strategy of the Central Governmental Control, the most worthy defender of the Republic?” Even if he had tried he would not have been able to hide his poisonous tone.
“I am not privy to CGC strategies, I merely assumed that they aren’t total dim-wits.” She knew that he wanted a confrontation. That he wanted to take control of the situation. Normally she would have let him have his empty victory. But being pursued by Creator-knew-how-many Battleship-class Legion command ships wasn’t normal.
“The way I see it,” she said calmly, “we’ve got two options: 1) Get a comm-link up running or 2) Hang around here until my old mates show up. I know which I prefer.”
“We could just land,” Martins ventured, in an attempt to regain some of his lost pride.
“We could land,” Calina agreed. “But that is assuming that they don’t put their anti-orbital guns to good use, and swat this feeble belly-ship out of its landing trajectory like a silly fly. Not a risk I would run.”
Realising that he couldn’t really argue with that Martins handed her the microphone to the comms-relay. Buzzing into life, the relay loudspeakers were filled at first with the crackle of static, then the high-frequency tone that indicated the relay searching the different wavelengths for a receiver. Suddenly the piercing note was cut and replaced by silence, meaning that the link was true.
“This is Attica Calina speaking,” Calina said through the link. “Does anyone copy? Repeat: I am Attica Calina. Does anyone copy?”
The reply rang clear over the loudspeakers: “This is Sargent Montz, comms-officer on Lunar Installation ZK-32. I read you loud and clear. I assume that you are in that little ship swinging around just outside our AO weapons’ range?”
“Good guessing,” Calina replied. We want clearance to land. I am a defecting Legionary and if I’m still up here when my former colleagues catch up with me, I’ll be a very dead deserter. In the craft are also one PDF guard and fifty civs. I have important information for you, that will be of vital interest to the CGC.”
“Why should we believe you?” Montz asked through the link.
“Because,” Calina said, her mind racing, “if I had wanted you dead, you would already be torched. A craft of this size, carrying a load of nukes could just try to land. If your AO killed it on the way down, the radioactive material would spread throughout the atmosphere, causing lethal levels of radiation.”
“Nice try,” was the amused reply. “Truth is: We thought about that when we designed the installation.”
Just then a low man with tan skin entered the bridge. Walking over to the communications relay, he beckoned for the microphone.
“My name is Martin Jhonsson,” he said, “I’m private 49-386 of the Ranost/Tirhen PDF Subdivision. My call-sign is Foxhole. By sheer coincidence I have a universal Alpha keycard.” He put a thin data disc into the computer outlet and pressed a number of buttons in a seemingly random order.
That apparently did the trick. “The mainframe acknowledges your Alpha clearance,” the loudspeakers informed. “But how in the name of the Republic did you get it?”
“Before I was transferred to the PDF I was an officer. But I rubbed the governor up the wrong way so I ended up on guard duty. You know that an Alpha is gene-coded, so it can’t be a fake. Now if you’d just let us land, please. I for one don’t fancy hanging in high orbit when the Legion shows up to crash the party.”
“Just one more question,” said the comms-officer. “How did you know that we were here? That there was anything here?”
“We didn’t,” Jhonsson replied truthfully. “But we had to leave Ranost to get a launch window to anywhere. A whole bunch of Legionaries popped out of nowhere and pounded us for three successive days. We just took the first window we could catch.”
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