Intercosmic - Chapter 1 - Mission Briefing

 
“Alright soldiers, you’re going to be running a covert mission on the Vaznian controlled planet of Xioshaa,” Commander Creed spoke in front of the holo-board. “This planet is known as a resort planet. Lot of pretty women, lot of different species travel across the galaxy to visit on vacation. The first night, you’ll be staying as tourists at a nice hotel and all of that crap.” Creed could be tough, but he was fair and respected by all of us or at least tries to bribe us. “After that you’ll be heading off to the jungles with a local guide. Your goal is the assassination of one of the lead generals in the resistance.” 

“Excuse me,” Mike raised his hand. 

“Johnson, what’s your question,” the Commander seemed slightly annoyed. 

“Why have we decided to help the current power structure? This isn’t really our war,” Mike started his anti-war spiel as to be expected at this point. 

“Officially humanity has not entered into this war. We are simply offering support to an ally at this moment,” the Creed gave a straight forward answer. 

“Could we not lend a hand through other means? Accepting refugees, maybe providing aid. Is a covert mission really the best option,” Mike countered. 

I suck my teeth, annoyed with the situation already. I just don’t get Mike. Who the hell decides they want to join the marine corps, works until they can reach special operations and hates any kind of violence the whole time? He’s a great medic, but a near constant pain in the neck. I hope whatever recruiter convinced him to join got paid a heavy bonus because they performed a damn miracle. We haven’t had a ton of assignments lately but it seems like every time one might involve some combat they do this same song and dance. 

I mean, I get it on the most basic of levels. I’m not exactly eager to run out and start killing. That isn’t the best option in most situations. First contact with the Ghuk showed us that, now we’re best friends it would seem. I like the outreach missions more than combat missions too. I’m not super excited to go spend days, maybe weeks in some remote alien jungle trying to capture a general in a war that has no impact on me at all. Still, I’m not trying to talk my way out of it either.  

“Any more questions,” Creed finally finishes his forty-five-minute presentation after two hours. 

The presentation didn’t have a ton of information for us. Satellite views and the coordinates of the supposed camp where this general has been hiding out. My translation device called them “God’s Divine Wrath,” but I couldn’t pronounce the actual name. Humans are like a parasite on the galaxy as far as most are concerned; a good one, but still a parasite. We try reach every corner as fast as possible, we die young compared to a lot of species, but we breed young compared to them as well and it only took a century or two for us to be everywhere after first contact. Some of the other races have taken on a second name; a given name in their own language, and then a human name. Our tongues just aren’t good enough to pronounce the complex names of some species. In cases like God’s Divine Wrath, when there is no human name, we just get a rudimentary translation of the name. The nutcases never have a second name, nickname or anything resembling normal and they almost certainly gave that name to themselves.

General God’s Divine Wrath, is fighting with the Liberation Party to put an end to the vices that supposedly plague the Vaznian society. So, they like to have a little fun. Drugs, alcohol, and lots of sex; almost every species I’ve ever come into contact has those same vices. Difference is the wealthy upper castes of Vaznian got that way by kidnapping poor children, and training to be sex dolls. Then they’d sell the kids off to the highest bidder. The practice was outlawed years ago, but it still goes on in secret. I can’t fault The Liberation Party for wanting to stop it, I want to stop it. But they’re going about it the wrong way. Killing politicians, taking hostages, and blowing stuff up isn’t the right answer. Not like I would know the right answer, I’m just here to kill a guy who kills other guys. 

“Hey Efrem, me and the guys are going out for some drinks before we head out in the morning. You want in,” Casey one of our scouts asks. 

“Nah, I’m going to head to the library, see if I can get any info about the fauna on planet Xioshaa. Then I’ve got a guy who might have a lead on some old music.” 

“Are you still listening that 20th Century noise,” he teases. 

“20th and 21st, I’m a man with class and dignity.” 

“Bullshit, I’ve heard stories about you.” 

“No, you haven’t.” 

“You’re right, because you’re boring. Who goes to the library before shipping out?” 

“You should probably come too, since you’re a scout and all.” 

“I’m going to scout some loose women, and then I’m going to find a place to drive fast cars. Real cars, with wheels,” Casey runs off pretending to drive behind the wheel of a car. 

I’m pretty sure he’s never actually driven a car before. Most people haven’t, almost everything is done by AI now and most only touch the ground to land. I’ve driven a few times on special missions but it was done through a neural headset, not with my hands. Dude is just looking for an outlet, a chance to pretend he isn’t about to go into a battle. 

On the surface it looks like nobody is taking this seriously, I’m sure deep down they know how real this is. The Vaznis aren’t a violent race, especially when compared to us humans. But this civil war has been increasingly deadly at is drags out. It started with a few squabbles in parliament, now it isn’t strange to see news clips of bodies mutilated and left out for everyone to view, or videos of bombs leveling city blocks. We’re not going on some vacation. Deep down they all know that and have to cope in their own ways. I don’t have anyone sitting at home waiting for me. Some of these folks are just kids, they got parents waiting, others have babies of their own. I don’t know how I’d deal with the idea of not coming home to them. I guess that’s just the price of war. 

Still, they should be preparing, I’ve read about the fighting conditions in these places. The plant life is deadly, just as Commander Creed says. The young ones are always a pain, more about the sightseeing than fact that we’re risking our lives. Celebrate when we come back, not because we’re going. 

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