Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Location: Rangstadt, Allied Europe, Earth, NEC
|Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:06 am Post subject: Winter 8 1944
|Winter 8 1944
Captain Mason Li Farrell looked up into the dark Terra Novan sky. It was a cold night, cold enough that his breath hung in clouds of vapour around him. The moons were out, save for a sliver of Hope - he found that fitting. The night was upon his world, but a sliver of hope still hung out here in the colonies.
It had been a long haul to get here. His service on Caprice had been easy, too much so - his commander thought his skills went to waste. His application for transfer to Atlantis had been accepted, and from there he waged a five year guerilla war against the Antaris instead of wasting away in Gomorrah. It had been a good life to him, he thought - far from the decay of Earth, constantly challenged by the raids of the waveriders. He had even come to lead his own team when he was promoted to Officer's status.
From that point on, the name Farrell carried weight in the CEF. His work against the Monada Yprovixion Kastrophon and his raids into the rebelling Benthic city of Thera earned him wide acclaim beyond even the Fifth fleet and to the CEF at large. It wasn't long before his fortune and burgeoning talents would bring the Captain's rank and to the shadowy Tenth Fleet. That had brought him back to Earth for re-equipping, and then here, to Terra Nova.
Still, there was a stain on his impressive record. It wasn't even his. His younger sister, Joanna, had been written up as AWOL on Caprice. He grit his teeth thinking about it. What had happened? Had she died on Caprice somehow? His heart welled up with emotion - the CEF had blamed the Liberati and the Black Talons, who had been a constant nuisance ever since the destruction of the meteor railgun. This was why he had accepted reassignment to Terra Nova instead of his beloved Atlantis. These terrible people - these terrorists - had taken his sister from him. His grudge was personal.
He looked up into the sky again, as if he could see the two fleets making their way from their gate points to Terra Nova. He couldn't, of course - no one could, not even the best observatories that the planet had to offer could make out exact numbers or destinations. The spoofing system was Utopian by design and, along with the electronic genius of Moscow Heavy Industries, couldn't be cracked by any colonial designs. They were on their way, and he was sure the other teams on Terra Nova were working hard to ensure the schedule went as planned.
A voice broke his reverie. One of his Soldiers, a Morgana, had snuck up on him; he could tell by the tone of voice alone that it was Morgana Skald.
"Sir. We've finished scouting and have a layout." She spoke with clipped efficiency. They were only going to be meeting one person - he'd told the new leader of the Dawgs to leave the rest of his team, and to come alone and without his Gear. This should be easy, especially for a refined killing machine like the Morgana was. Still, there was something else there in the voice of the Morgana II's. He hadn't ever been able to place it. It wasn't human, but it was something.
Farrell nodded, but didn't turn - he looked back up into the sky instead. "Very good, Senior Corporal. Bring your squad up for debrief, and tell Magni and Heathe."
She nodded. He didn't see the nod, but he knew it was there. She always nodded after being given an order. The faint grind of her boot against the ground didn't follow, however - she was still there. Farrell turned his head to face her, and caught a glimpse of her red eyes beneath the shadow of her brows. "Something else, Skald?"
She held her rifle at attention, as if she were on a parade ground, but Mason knew that to be automatic and not at all indicative of her mood. She seemed pensive. If he had found a GREL pensive back when he was a Sergeant, he would have considered it odd. Now, though - now that he had stared death in the eyes and survived it for so many years - he began to understand the subtleties of the GREL psyche. She was unsettled.
"Do you think that this is a set-up, Sir?" She spoke steadily and evenly, but again, something else was there. Farrell smiled despite himself and turned his head downwards, grinning. Again, as a sergeant, if he had found himself identifying with a GREL he would've turned himself in for a psychiatric exam. Now, it didn't seem so abnormal.
"Of course, Skald. The Dawgs were too good to be taken down by a simple patrol, and aren't worth a spec force team." He paused a beat, "But that's not what has you worried. What is it."
She was apparently caught off guard by his reply, as she blinked and her head pulled back a fraction. For a Morgana at attention, that was the equivalent of a dropped jaw. "Uh, Sir?" He looked up at her and the smile remained on his face. There was something that she saw in him that offset her, and she had to pause to reply. "Sir... do you think the other teams are on schedule?"
Mason looked back up into the sky, that smile still inexplicably. "You're worried that we won't be able to accomplish our mission, aren't you? You don't want to be held responsible for a failiure if someone else doesn't hold up their end of the plan." He glanced over to see her nod, and was suddenly struck with a reminder that Skald, along with so many of the others, had only been alive for a few years at most. Most could never see past the purple skin to realize that a person lay inside.
He reassured her as he might a child, "Don't worry, Senior Corporal. I'm sure they're going to plan. If not, we still have a lot we can do here. Hard work, determination, and devotion to the Party. That will see us through." He smiled at her until she cracked a smile of her own, then dismissed her.
Mason remained alone under the stars a few moments more, until he laughed. The Talons had taken his sister from him, but he had gained a new family here. An unlikely one, but one that was just as worthy.