A Darkness WithoutMature

A special unit of spacebound warfighters caught in the throes of political strife discover that the only thing they can count on in the universe is each other.

Sparks erupted from the dimly lit hangar, bouncing out beyond its blast doors and into the nearby walkway. Chris and Kevin stood in the doorway shielding their eyes from the arch as the technicians worked on what was left of their ship.

Chris shook his head. "She's pretty fucked."

"Yep." Kevin said through a fresh cigarette he had just popped in his mouth. He plucked a small torch that had been sitting on the tool box next to the door. "She's pretty fucked." he repeated, squinting as the torch disintegrated a third of his cigarette while lighting it. "But we're all alive."

The husk of metal and electronics that lay in disrepair before them had been their call signs home for nearly a year. Now it was not only useless for operations, but according to the technicians, nearly useless for parts as well.

"There's nothing left!" said one of the mechanics who had first looked over the remains of the ship. "It's all either burned out or blown to bits."

 Kevin had simply replied "That's the way we do things." He was referring of course to call sign one four, or Alpha four's way of doing things.

Since they arrived in the system ten months ago, Alpha Delta had gone through fifteen comms refits, two weapons replacements and a countless number of armor and control surface repairs. They were known for their way of doing things, which was unorthodox, haywire and ultimately secured them a reputation as the Alpha Dogs, or simply "The Dogs". The moniker was derogatory in the beginning, but after ten months, it had grown to legendary proportions. The call sign was particularly famous for having been reprimanded a number of times and nearly disbanded. Their actions were scrutinized methodically.

Nevertheless, they were tolerated, perhaps simply due to the fact that they were effective. This time, however, Alpha four was going to pay dearly for the utter loss of their ship and the damage sustained by the carrier during their impromptu docking.

Earlier in the day the entirety of Alpha Four was lined up in a briefing room after having been individually interrogated about the incident. The room was cramped and muggy. More people than necessary were present for the debrief, which made the boys uneasy. The hearing went on for some time as the crew and commander explained how they had gotten back to the Halifax carrier without a working engine, and drifted with minimal control into the carriers hangar bay.

 After some deliberation and several half hour recesses, the board finally decided they would have the damages to the carrier listed as combat related. The ship would be stripped of anything useful and chalked up as a battle loss. Alpha four was not without punishment though. The entire call sign would be re-assigned to a new sector, at the edge of the battle space at an outpost that had been established six months ago.

The board made their decision being thoroughly convinced that Alpha Delta was too great a liability to operate out of the Halifax carrier. Their relocation was to occur within twelve hours.


The End

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