“You clearly like being sure of things, don’t you?”
“Of course I do. What better way to make sure a target is dead than to decapitate it?” replied Andrews with a huge grin on his face. He had not a wisp of fear, regret, or respect on his face. It made sense, actually.
There’s no need to respect the dead, really. It’s not like they’re demanding it.
“We’re safe now. No one’s coming to check out so many corpses except in a museum. Let’s get back underground and have some down time,” said Andrews as he strolled along the edge of the building back to the entrance to the underground facility.
I took another look around. Everything was quiet, dead. Well, usually it’s better that way when you’re in the middle of a bunch of lunatic monsters who want to genetically engineer human bodies to the point where the human brain becomes a processor under electronic control. Politically speaking, the wanted “a more organised world”.
The next few minutes were calm, relaxing, in a very real way. There was no suspense, no tension. The underground ‘bunker’, as it looked, was now empty. Well, technically, ‘empty’ meant we were the only two people alive in there, but that was sufficient to last us till help arrived.
Inside, the grey walls of the bunker were very comforting, as if they could keep almost any threat out. Well, they could. I was pretty sure the walls were at least a metre thick. It was safe in here.
“Now, to put things into perspective, young man, let’s begin. Except these pieces of garbage you see,” said Andrews, casually pointing at the mutilated heads, “this base is now ours, possibly, permanently. Our operations, storage, research and so on, will now possibly be set up here as a hostile-area base. More importantly, I’m going to ask for better gear. This shit is atrociously out-dated.”
He threw aside his helmet.
“That,” he said, pointing at the black and red helmet, “is garbage. There are at least 5 specialized suit types and 2 all-combat armour types which make that look a scooped-out watermelon with an ‘X’ painted on it. Plus, we’ve got no melee or ranged weapons. We don’t even have EMF daggers! They expect us to survive with our palm and the most basic of behead moves. A hostile-area base can slightly buff its accounts, with defence budget entries, and ask for more resources. The extra resources, cash, linkages, armour types, is usually put to use to increase the personnel efficiency of the base, considering it’s got no nearby support. Are you listening?”
“I don’t really care,” it was true, I didn’t, “we’re supposed to be dead anyway. I’m just happy we killed a bunch of people. Honestly reminded me of the days when I’d shoot pigs with birds.”
He laughed, cackled, actually, and tapped the bench on which he was sitting.
“Indeed. But then again, this war needs to end. We’ve lost more than 1800 men and too much equipment. The problem is simply the part where there are more of them than us. If we were even in numbers, I’d have been in some Hawaiian island sipping on some good alcohol wearing a cotton shirt staring at the lovely sea and women. Instead, I’m here, with a subordinate, getting ready to grill my superiors on why we weren’t traced.”
An awkward silence followed.
“Go to trance mode. We’ve got two hours at least till help arrives. I’ve locked the hatch. No one should be able to get in,” said Andrews.
Trance mode was a fancy word for sleeping with the suit on. It had all the qualities of sleep except we could literally ‘snap’ out of it at a moment’s notice.
A light tap on the head woke me up.
“Rise and shine, kid. Help’s here,” said Andrews, although his voice didn’t sound too pleased.
I sat up on the bench. Normal sleep needed time to ebb away. Trance had no such handicap.
“Meet Sergeant Brandon.”
A quick rise and salute seemed in order, so I did the needful. Most of these high-level personnel were arrogant brainless pieces of meat that had climbed the ladder by good use of politics. It was safe to assume that this guy was one of them.
“Recruit Isaac and Platoon Commander Andrews, I see no reason to be saluted. You two have done a marvellous job here. I look at this vermin lying around, and it makes me almost ecstatic. Andrews, you are now Platoon Major. Isaac, you are now Lower Infantry.”
No reply from either of us.
“Now, we need to get a few things cleared up. First, you two will probably be stationed here permanently, with a hostile-area budget. Second, you will be fully supported with a research, medic and tactical organization team; we’re bringing in the personnel now. Any questions?”
“Yeah. When the fuck do we get to wear real armour?”
Clearly, Andrews wasn’t mincing words.
Brandon’s face darkened. The smile of approval evaporated off his face.
“What are we talking about?”
“To start with, the latest generation suits. These things have the durability of a poorly-made sanitary napkin.”
“Moving on, we have no specialised melee or ranged weapons. I don’t care too much about ranged but EMF daggers are indispensable. And those things are paired, so we’ll need at least ten if we’re keeping five personnel here.”
“Very well. You’ll have your hardware. We’ll have it brought in by tomorrow. Anything else?” he was already regretting the question.
“Orders,” Andrews was calm.
“Kill all armed Conservatives. If they’re unarmed, bring them in. We’ll evaluate and decide whether they need cleaning.”
‘Cleaning’ was a sadistic term in which a person’s mind was given huge electric pulses, essentially wiping all memories, and returning him or her to a mumbling baby, and then injected with traits. As powerful as this ability was, it needed to be supervised by every regulatory council to ensure that the technology was never, under any circumstances, misused.
“That’ll be all. I’ll be moving back now. I’ll send nutrition bars and all other necessities within twelve hours,” said Brandon, and then proceeded to climb out the rung ladder hatch.
I saw the bodies being taken away, the memory-cloth body bags emulating coffins.
“It’s only just begun. Through the next month, we’ll have so much blood all over the place, it won’t even be funny. What’s sad is that the colonies on the moon aren’t too safe either. If any Conservative forces get to the moon, we’re going to have a lot of trouble of our hands. Isaac, we both need more training, more tactical analysis of our combat styles and preferences. We can’t just try smashing their heads of if we’re facing the assembled ranks of our enemies,” Andrews was back in his element, ordering people around.
“So, what’ EMF?” I was curious. He had been talking about these daggers for quite some time now.
“Electromagnetic frequency weapons. The entire blade vibrates on the atomic level, making it sharper than any conventional edge can ever be, or stay.”
“So it’s a really sharp blade?”
“Well, it cuts through diamond like warm butter. I don’t know, you decide.”