Duty calls

Bacterius, near the city of Trabia

Camp Liberation, 1500 hours

The sky had turned completely blue overnight. The whole planet now lived the life of the defeated and occupied, the camp set up by the GA overlooked the bombed ruins of the Bacterian city of Trabia.
              Huge craters created by atmospheric bombing and hundreds of bombing missions by the automated bombers had turned the soil near the city into a rough field of not imploded minelets, you could occasionally hear a large explosion from that field, usually meaning that some unfortunate being had stepped into the field, neutralizing himself effectively. The fleet officers in command of the bombing campaign, known as the “Planetary bombardment coordination officers” had somehow miscalculated the spot that was to be bombed and had send bombers to drop these small minelet cluster-bombs into a road used by the civilian population, there was some sort of a “Boom count” on the guy who heard the most explosions…
              There were two large warehouses constructed on “Camp liberation”, both of these housed the clone infantry’s holding areas in which the neurologically controlled killing machines were housed for the next campaign. Most of times, the ground forces officers commanded these battalions of clone infantry through a neurological “implant” enabling the commander to see the battle images and troop movements in real time. Battle-mechs, small and large machines also commanded by an AI interface were patrolling the perimeter.
              Then there were smaller buildings for the Ground forces officers such as Mr. Wes Craal. Colonel Craal was in his quarters, a small and tidy space on the left wing of the building, he was staring outside.
              His brother had been killed a bit earlier during the campaign, when Craal was still back home receiving orders. A Bacterian division had attacked from two sides at once; effectively destroying the light recon company that Craal’s brother had been leading during the operation. The only setback in the battle had been that Laverne Craal, Wes’s brother, had been in a shuttle overhead the recon company, after a quick attempt to escape from the Bacterian troops firing Surface to air missiles against the shuttle had failed.
              Craal despised the Bacterians, because of everything they had done to him as an individual and as a military officer. Right now he found himself to be the second in command of a GA garrison near the city Trabia. He had seen fighting during the war, and the previous conflicts against the Bacterians as well. Most of times he had been in combat were the special operations he had handled over the few months in this campaign, although the famous “Infantry manoeuvre battle” that he led into completion had not been forgotten.
              At this time, Craal had been told to report to the office of General Worser, just a few hundred meters away from the barracks. Craal looked away from the window, and took his grey tunic from the small table that he had in the quarters, there was a bed in the quarters as well, although Gigerdians very seldom needed sleep or food. Evolution over time had changed the need for nutrition and rest. Craal was “bunked up” with his Spec .ops squad on the barracks, as he walked to the small corridor that housed all the other squad members.
              A few humans were standing around the corridor; they were dressed in the GA ground force’s grey as well. They were some liaison officers that had worked with him during the last mission, something to do with the close co-operations with the humans. Craal nodded to the men, which returned the gesture in turn.
              Craal stepped outside, seeing a cargo shuttle flying overhead the camp, a small cargo-unloading area had been set-up in the camp as well. More and more equipment was being loaded into Bacterius these days; it became obvious that the GA along with its allies were going to start the administration of the Bacterian territories from here.
              “ Colonel sir, General Worser has requested your presence in the Company HQ within 5 minutes,” a lanky Gigerdian Second lieutenant emerged from Craal’s left side with his grey tunic unbuttoned, “Very well, tell him that I’ll be there right away,” Craal responded hastily, the Second-lieutenant left quietly.
              Craal passed a large group of other Spec. Ops. Soldiers standing in a line, they seemed to have a training exercise with their training-sergeant, the sergeant dressed in the grey tunic was the only one not dressed to “kill”, which meant that no personal armour or shield pouches were carried in the combat vests.

Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurrah, hurrah!
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurrah, hurrah!
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg,
Ye're an armless, boneless, chickenless egg
Ye'll have to put with a bowl out to beg
Oh Paavo Bakteeri I hardly knew ya!

Craal glanced behind himself, and a group of seven Gigerdians running alongside a Drill-sergeant singing that obscure song. Craal had heard that once before, it seemed that the drill-sergeant was very keen on letting this song pass on to the recruits. They were mostly human.
              The humans, this physical exercise could have easily been completed in the VR-simulators that were used with the normal Gigerdian recruits, somehow the humans couldn’t cope with the psychological pressure that the simulators gave out so a real-time exercise seemed the most logical choice. There they were, a group of people running around the camp shouting insane march songs, Craal remembered something about an ancient human military doing similar things…

They're rolling out the guns again, hurrah!, hurrah! They're rolling out the guns again, hurrah!, hurrah
They're rolling out the guns again,
But they never will take our liberty again
No they never will take our liberty again
Paavo Bakteeri I'm swearing to ya!

The bunch of men along with the Gigerdian drill-sergeant ran to the other end of the camp, the Drill-sergeant yelling “You’ve got to sweat for the liberty, men!” Craal shook his head wondering about the different ways to train the humans to fight.
              Craal entered the HQ building, hologram-tactical maps and officers hurling around the buildings offices. At this time the GA had not been able to bring all personnel and equipment into the building so many offices were empty, but many officers waiting to get assigned for a job. There was talk that the GA wasn’t willing to commit too many resources into Bacterius, but instead Kapu’s forces were going to assume command of the administration.
              “We need 4 squads on the eastern side in case the prison camp can’t be patrolled by 0830 tomorrow…” General Worser ordered a pair of other Colonels around; it was amazing to see one of the generals out on the field, not “flying a desk” as the saying went.
              “I can’t be clear enough about the security of this base camp, gentlemen…” Craal walked closer to the point where the General was standing around and explaining the current orders for the pair of Colonels on the field, Craal stood behind the General watching.
              “Mr. Craal, you have arrived, haven’t you?” General Worser replied, not bothering to look straight on Craal. “Sir, yes, sir,” Craal replied.
              “Good, since I’ve got some special orders for you,” Craal was almost motionless while standing there.
              “I see, sir,” Craal stated quietly, “Yes, the two of you can leave now,” Worser commented to the other Colonels who left instantly, they seemed like a pair of people willing to become Generals in the ground forces just by taking orders from Worser.
              “Colonel, the way you’ve handled the Bacterians so far has been breathtaking, I hear,” Worser commented while walking around the Strategy table. “Tell me, how many have you killed so far?” Worser asked sincerely, Craal shifted his gaze to look at the table and replied: “My squad and I have eliminated about 200 Bacterians during the campaign, sir.” Worser smiled. “That’s good sum overall, it will pay back nicely on your brother,” Worser concluded.
              “Anyway, the Strategic command is putting a special task force together in order to catch some of the Bacterian leaders still unaccounted for,” Worser took a small stance forward, Craal had been waiting for something like this. “They didn’t tell me enough for this mission, just to get you,” The General concluded, “I’ve decided that since you and your squad have performed well on the recent campaigns, you’ll go,” “Sir, where is the next assignment then?” Craal hoped it to be one of Bacterian colonies, lots of possibilities there.
              “That I don’t know, I’m fairly sure that it’s off-world, though,” Worser concluded, “When am I going to be deployed?” Craal asked yet, the General looked enigmatic. “There’s going to be someone from the fleet here, they’ve got more specific orders for you, just wait,” the General replied, “That’s all, dismissed,” Craal nodded and stood back, then turned to walk away.
              There were a group of Bacterian “warriors” that had fled the homeworld just before the orbital bombings had begun; apparently they were hiding from the GA authorities in fear of being put under Kapu’s “Transitional authority”.
              Craal walked away from the General’s office, and walked back to the yard which was still flowing with various GA ground forces officers, he was going to pay a visit to his squad soon enough. Craal looked around for a while, and saw a Gigerdian female standing around the barracks buildings; she was wearing the Gigerdian issue- “Three lence”-sunglasses. She probably had his orders.
              “Can I help you, Commander?” Craal walked closer to the woman, who was carrying a black briefcase, she begun to smile when seeing Craal. “Colonel Craal, we’ve got your orders right here,” the woman handed a small holo-tape to the surprised colonel.
              “We are sorry not being able to relay these messages through the GA military network, there is a slight risk that someone from this division might intercept the transmission,” the woman explained, Craal nodded agreeing.
              The woman seemed to be in a hurry, she saw a GA shuttle landing near the small shuttle-pad and quickly looking at Craal, then saying: “Colonel, President Rubek is very happy of your progress,” the woman hurried to the shuttle, Craal looked behind her for awhile, then he walked back to the barracks.

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“I’ve always wanted to be military officer, you know?” Mr. Defier replied to the Gigerdian reporter, it seemed that someone had almost forced him to make these pointless interviews to the GANN. “When I was a kid, I wanted to become either a veterinarian or a ground forces officer,” Defier explained sincerely, the reporter looked a bit amused.
              “What made you join the GA military ground forces then, Major Defier?” the reporter asked with the GANN mike in his hand, “Well you know, lots of evil folks in the universe these days, they can’t all be let to do their bidding without consequences!” Defier stated as the reporter understood right about now that he was interviewing one of the weirdest men in the battalion.
              “Is that the reason that brought you here?” the reporter wondered out aloud, “Nah, I came here to bag some o’ those Bacterian Sob’s in the craters!” A slight silence fell into the air, the reporter looking at Defier yet more amazed.
              “And then there was this one time when the battalion commander took my babies away and sent me here…” Defier understood the possibilities of the silence, the reporter kind of did too, and perhaps talking something sense into the live-show ‘Troops home and abroad’ would make people get interest.
              “So you have family back home?” the reporter decided to try talking sense to the Soldier once more, Defier eyed the man for a while. “Well…. ah, I was talking about my guns ya know?” the reported sighed.
              “There’s my semi-automatic called “dust buster” and the new FR5 plasma known as “High hopes”, the battalion commander didn’t allow me to carry them around the transports, he said that they might cause hull breaches if a malfunction occurred…” Defier explained like a professional gun-expert as Craal walked into the barracks where a GANN news crew had parked.
              A pair of human officers were playing an ancient human game called “pool” in the back, some of the Gigerdian officers were playing it as well, they were quite amazed since they had never seen anything like it before. There it was, Craal’s unit.
              Most of the guys in the unit had come in as reinforcements after the last mission; most of the former team were transferred closer to the galactic core territories. There were just a few men that Craal had commanded before; Defier and another Gigerdian named Rangster were about the only ones.
              Defier was a weird case; he had joined the GA ground forces right after he graduated from the Gigerdian “secondary education academy”, he was interested of weaponry and general equipment so signing up just wasn’t a problem for him. It was rumoured that Defier’s mother was a human, although this could have been just a very sad way of passing time. Defier had an extraordinary skill in naming his weapons, anytime he got a new piece of weaponry to test or try it had a name five minutes later.
              Craal’s unit handled special operations, mainly. And since Craal believed in the new president there really was no problem in getting missions and assignments, and in Craal’s opinion it was good to have a chance to strike against the Bacterians whenever possible. Craal walked to his quarters now, and inserted the holo-tape to the reader on the desk. He sat down and watched.


FROM: GASTRGCOM (SENDER CLASSIFIED)
TO: COL. W CRAAL

MISSION ORDERS

EYES ONLY


Colonel Craal, you and the 147th Spec. Ops. Company are to form a new vanguard against the threat of unaccounted Bacterian military officials still out there. The Section 18 in conjunction with military intelligence has been able to track down a group consisting of about 20 Bacterian officers fleeing towards neutral space, we are certain that the target is the Peace Station.

The Peace station has been largely abandoned after our government among others have cut the funding; the successful end of its mission is a key factor in the shut down process. You have been authorized to take command of the station during your mission, all traces of possible Bacterian casualties or collateral damage must be disposed upon encounter.

President Rubek is willing to promote you after this mission; the Joint Chiefs of Staff might have a position opening quite soon, so the rank of General might be waiting for you when you come back.

Regards, and sorry to hear about your brother

D.A

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Craal was surprised yet again during the same day; The Peace station would be his next mission. He had heard about the place, very much in fact but had never been there before. Craal knew that Rubek was pleased of him, and the rank of full general would surely bring him more than enough prestige.
              “Peace station it is, then,” Craal said to himself. He walked back to the quarters where Defier was sitting, drinking Space-Banana juice with the other squad members. “Colonel, we going somewhere?” Defier asked hesitantly, he saw from Craal’s expression that there was an assignment due.
              “That’s correct, and you are going to have one interesting task ahead of you Mr. Defier,” Craal replied, “We’re going to the Peace station, troops!” Craal shouted to the room, somehow the collective spirit shouted in cheers and positive yells throughout the barracks.
              “Sir, what’s my assignment in there?” Defier asked, “Ever played policeman, Mr. Defier?” Craal replied smirking.

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G.A.S. PATNA

Approaching “neutral space”

The Hauler mk2 transport Patna was still in the bowels of hyperspace when Craal and his team were in the small shuttle bay of the ship, after the quick send off from Bacterius the closest GA military transport had been ordered to ferry the squad around.
              The shuttle bay was full of military officers now, dressed in BDU-camouflage and combat vests. There were a few shuttles packed with ordinary security and various other engineering people dressed in regular GA fleet black. Craal was observing the load-up; Defier was suiting up with his equipment.
              “First we take care of the Bacterians, then it’s a cake-walk from down there on out…” another one of the suited up soldiers was telling Defier, apparently he was convinced of the successful completion of the mission.
              “Mr. Rangster, I want you to beam aboard the station among the first team,” Craal walked to the other end to oversee another one of his older officers stacking personal-shield amplifiers back to the box where he had taken them.
              “Sir, I doubt that we’ll be needing these for the mission since it’s just a regular op,” Rangster reported upon seeing Craal, “ There’s no need to pack them in, I doubt that any more trouble will come our way,” Craal agreed.
              “Sir, we’re approaching the Peace station in five minutes,” a GA fleet officer reported suddenly behind Craal’s back, “Very well, I’ll go in with the first team.”
              Some of the soldiers moved away from the shuttle area, Defier packed his vest up and walked to the stack of boxes in which Mr. Rangster was situated as well. He looked around and asked when seeing Craal leave;
              “Did you bring it?”
              Rangster looked away from the small pad he was writing something into, and took time to reply; “Yeah, its in the grey box on the left,” Defier lifted the lid of an uncanny looking grey box, six barrels of black and dark-grey steel stared back at him.
              Rangster chuckled; “The redeemer, huh?”
              “First boarding party, please report to transporter room 2 at once!” the intercom shouted. “Hope they’ve got batteries,” Defier replied to himself.