“Well someone's deep into thought.” My eyes turned to a set of yellow examining me like a science project. I gave no response, as the freakishly large Borrean sat across from me. I still couldn't see how they moved without tumbling over. Sure they had three legs, but those arms touched the ground when they stood straight and were twice as big as what they should be. A skinny Borrean had the arms of a bodybuilder. I shook my head, realizing that I had been gazing this guy or thing down like I was checking him out. Hopefully I hadn't given off a wrong signal. The Borrean let out what I considered to be a snicker, despite it sounding like a horse sneezing.
“The names Gilber, rank 2.” He held out a hand, which I shook firmly.
“Mel,” I responded.
“Yeah, I know who you are,” Gilber asserted. “I've read your file, and heard some things about ya.” I thought about asking about what he knew, but instead decided that I didn't care one way or another. The only thing that mattered right now was getting through this mission, so instead, I nodded and turned my gaze back to the void of space. There was something about it that simply drew attention. I couldn't see any stars in the distance, no asteroids, no planets. Nothing. Yet, here my gaze was drawn, and with it soon came the thought of that damn Elzna. Multi-specialist my ass. People like her and Sydicae were all the same. Thinking they could just come in and say or do whatever the hell they wanted. As if their presence demanded respect. I'm put on a leash by some random specialist all because the dinosaur thinks I have temper issues. And he's right, I'm hot. I am a loose cannon. But under no circumstance does he have the right to question my results, nor the right to break the cohesion of my squad by putting in some random ass chick who thinks she can just assume herself as my superior. Looks or no looks. And so long as she keeps trying to play commander, I'm gonna keep kicking her ass to prove that her title doesn't mean shit. I respect power.
I let out a surprising yawn, and recalled that I had only gotten about 2 hours of sleep in the past day. It would take a couple of hours to reach Zor, so I took the opportunity to get some shut eye.
It felt like it had been 5 minutes when Razor tapped me on the shoulder saying that we were on Zor and that I needed to hurry and exit the ship. My first instinct was to jolt up, but after taking a glance at the clock on the glass table next to me, I realized that it actually had been 5 minutes and he was just being the same asshole he always was. He held a smirk on his face as I gave my old rival a glare. He pulled this same shit on me during The Prime Core Guild Exam when we were running field simulations. We were six days in and had barely any time to sleep. An opportunity for rest came and we both wanted the other to get first watch, so we ended up doing an intense rock-paper-scissors match for it which I won. Five minutes into my nap, the son of a bitch rushed into camp to say that we were being surrounded and that I needed to keep a lookout on the opposite perimeter. When no ambush came, I thought that maybe the enemy was waiting us out. I sat there ready to blast every leaf that fluttered into my view. It was an entire 2 fucking hours before this bastard came up yawning and patted me on the back to tell me my shift was over. My glare must have told him that I was recalling the whole damn story over again.
“You still upset about that?” he began, still grinning.
“Shut up shitsniffer.” I felt a grin of my own making its way up the side of my face.
“Aww, come on, you still bringing that up?” he replied.
“Every time you remind of that damn simulation, I'm gonna remind you of the time you sniffed shit for 10 minutes deciphering whether it was a bomb or not.”
“And it turned out to be a bomb.”
“It was a pile of shit, no one was going near it regardless.”
“Whatever man, that's not why I came over here.”
“Good, cause there ain't any shit to sniff.” We shared a quiet laugh, before our grins faded and the serious atmosphere reclaimed us.
“I heard about Mii,” he remarked. “Know it had to be tough.”
The thought of my sister still haunted me. Her death was a reoccurring nightmare I'd had every night for the past 4 and a half months now.
“Look,” he continued, “ I don't know what its like to lose someone close but-”
“Stop.” I interrupted. I hated the sympathy talks. I'd heard enough of them already. Its always 'I'm so sorry', or 'Oh you poor thing'. People end up crying more out of sympathy than you do for the loss.
“I appreciate the concern, but I'm fine.” I reassured.
“Yeah, sure you are.” he sarcastically replied, rising from his seat. “Just make sure it's the other guy who pays and not your squad.”
'The other guy'. The words echoed. I still had absolutely no idea who that may have been. I wanted to believe that it was the leader of those bandits we'd eliminated, but I knew better. They didn't have the mental capacity to not fuck up their own plans. There was no way that any of them could have planned an ambush to fuck up ours. Whoever it was had masked his presence and completely threw us off by creating a plethora of fake weaker presences. We split up thinking that we were dealing with a bunch of small fries and that cost us. Mii had her doubts, but I was the big head between us. Had I listened to her, I could have done something. I shook my head, trying to reclaim my composure. I couldn't get worked up on this stuff right now. Last thing I needed was 9 random people asking me about my business. Especially since they probalby already knew enough to ask the questions that would tick me off. Instead I sunk down into the chair I was in and took in my surroundings. Self-awareness always helped me keep my mind occupied. The ship looked like a luxurious bar for high-class, pristine douchebags who poked their lips out as they spoke and laughed in high pitched voices at terrible jokes. I sat in the back corner of the ship on the port side. Piano music played softly through the surround sound, making the atmosphere euphoric in its melodies. Against the wall in the center of the room was a long table with stools lined up. Iglor, the 4th ranked member of the Elziir manned the bartender's position. Six hands flew wildly, mixing, shaking, and serving shots. He'd challenged himself to make 64 different yet perfectly mixed shots within 20 seconds. Gilber would be the tester. It sounded like a stupid challenge at first thought, but I'd seen new bartenders struggle with making one perfect shot in double the time.
The lights above them were dim, yet the plethora of fancy liquor glistened like someone had taken each one individually through a car wash 6 times before hand drying them. Sarah sat opposite of me on the starboard side of the ship. It looked like I wasn't the only one who had their attention taken by the void of space. Towards the front of the ship were Akuum and Tilda. They called themselves twins despite being different colors, but they were close enough in resemblance that no one contested. I don't know what race they were, but they resembled what humans would look like if they had scales with spikes that could jut out of their shoulders at a moments notice. Quite disgusting to say the least. Aside from the bar, everything else glistened like chandeliers due to the effect of the lighting. Black leather chairs and sofas were set out all around. It seemed like everyone was simply attached to leather. I glanced at my combat suit for the first time, and sure enough, leather strip going across the shoulders. The hell is it with people and leather these days. I heard the sound barrier catch up and casted my glance back to my window. The ship was making its descent onto Planet Zor. I got out of my chair and strolled to the next room where we would exit the ship and waited by the door. I felt the ship land, and Jess walked through as the door to the exit opened. Our eyes met as she brushed past me into the city of Sisil, where the Blue Legion held their annual ceremony. They were the largest group of mercenaries in the galaxy, and the empires generally bought out their services during conflicts. The blue lions crest was the symbol that each of them wore on the shoulders of their blue and white combat armor.
The streets were filled with military, collecting the dead and frantically checking for survivors before transporting them to the emergency transport vehicles that cluttered the skies. One of the officers paced in the middle of the street, shouting directions that had to have confused the shit out of the medical staff.
“We need to move it faster people, clock's ticking!
DAMMIT JENKINS! I told you to move fast NOT drop the bodies, slow your ass down!!
Where the hell is my DF-40, I need scans on this area.
Will somebody please get me some goddamn footage of what happened during the attack, these eye witness testimonies are goddamn awful.
Listen to this shit: 'Energy looked like a big gum bubble that warped people inside.' The fuck is this candyland? We writing a fairy tail for 5 year olds? If it wasn't against the rules I'd-
JENKINS!! GODDAMMIT! IF YOU DON'T SPEED IT THE HELL UP I'M GOING TO RIDE YOUR ASS LIKE A GODDAMN CHIMPANZEE ON A ROLLERCOASTER!!
GREEN BOY!...YES YOU!! DO YOU SEE ANY OTHER GREEN BOYS?...GET YOUR ASS YOUR OVER HERE, THAT'S WHAT I NEED!!
And YOU!” he said turning his attention to Jess.
“Who the hell are you?”
Jess began her introduction as Razor and I joined in on the conversation. Sarah had gone off to 'measure statistical data', whatever the hell that meant.
Once introductions were over, the officer, who'd introduced himself as Colonel Roberts, began walking toward the stage where the ceremony took place. As we walked I noticed on of the cuts on a body the medical staff was transporting. It was clean. Directly into a vital organ. Razor must have noticed something similar because he beat me to the question I was going to ask.
“Any chance we could see more of the bodies?” The general gave a slightly confused look before agreeing. He showed us the bodies of the leaders of the Blue Legion and I felt a heavy pressure take a grip around my head, making me dizzy. My heart thumped violently, and I gritted my teeth as I examined the cleanliness of the slashes and the patterns they took. It was slow and methodical, allowing his target to bleed out before hitting the final spot for the kill.
“I recognize these cuts,” I said.
“Yeah, I do too,” Razor confirmed. I looked over to find him no longer nonchalant about this mission. He pulled out a device and held it next to the body, and switched his glances between the two. Sarah joined us and wore a look of caution as the tension in the air rose.
“What do you mean you recognize the marks?” Jess questioned.
I was too focused on Razor to answer the question despite it being directed to me. How the hell did he know the marks, and what the hell was he looking at on that datapad?
“It's just as I thought,” he confirmed. “Whoever did this wasn't the person who attacked Haalm.”
“How do you know?” spoke Colonel Roberts.
“Because this is the work of Chaos.”