Deep underground in an undisclosed location, the WINGS base started to prepare for the day of the launch. The WINGS base was very large for a base that housed a low number of soldiers. These soldiers were no ordinary soldiers, they were genetically altered soldiers with abilities that far surpassed those of normal humans. These soldiers were the most elite in the Earth Union Military and as such were leading the search for new planets that the humans could colonize.
Inside the base Major Clint McLelland was sitting at his office when his office phone started ringing. "Hello, this is Major McLelland." McLelland said after picking up the phone. "McLelland this is Thompson." The voice on the other end of the phone said. "Oh Doctor Thompson, what do I owe the pleasent call?" McLelland said into the phone joking a little with the short tempered Doctor Thompson.
"Well MAJOR the WINGS soldiers are all ready. It is time to form the squad up." Thompson said into the phone with a hint of annoyance in his voice. "It's that time already?" McLelland asked with some sarcasm in his voice. "YES IT IS! Don't you know that the E.U.S. Berlin Launches in 4 days!?" Thompson said into the phone on the verge of screaming at the Major.
"Oh I remember now! So it took you this long to get these soldiers ready?" McLelland said enjoying messing with Thompson. "How did you become the military commander of this unit!? It doesn't matter now just get the soldiers into the Briefing room and sort them out. GOODBYE!" Thompson said as he hung up on McLelland.
McLelland giggled a little to himself, as this was his only form of entertainment in the base. McLelland then decided to get on with it and he decided to make an announcement to the base.
"WINGS this is Major McLelland. Can Captain Kahlil, Sergeant Osten, Sergeant Chase, Sergeant Gannon, Sergeant Lier, Sergeant Marden, Sergeant Pax and Sergeant James please report to Briefing room one ASAP." McLelland said over the announcment as McLelland's voiced echo'd through the base.
As McLelland made it into the Briefing room he noticed that he was the first one there. The Briefing room looked like a university class room with desks at one end and a large board and a large desk at the front of the room.
As McLelland was taking in the sights of the room some of the WINGS started to walk in the door and each took a seat on one of the desks. After about 10 minutes all the WINGS soldiers were there except Captain Kahlil, McLelland decided to start without him.
"Okay lets get started, As each of you know the Earth is in an unstable condition and will most likely collapse in about 25 years. Because of this we have created the E.U.S. Berlin for the purpose of discovering new planets that we could colonize." McLelland started noting each of the soldiers level of interest.
"If you would each take a look around the room at the other soldiers, These are your new squad members. Your mission is to lead the Recon of these new worlds and make it safe enough for the E.U.S. Washington and the E.U.S. Tokyo to land and begin to make outposts for future colonization." McLelland said.
"You launch in four days so be ready by then. Any questions can wait becuase Captain Kahlil isn't here yet and I am going to go get him. Why don't you guys spend this time to get to know each other because your going to be stuck with these people for awhile. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go hunt down Captain Kahlil." McLelland said as he took his leave from the room.
McLelland didn't know what would happen leaving them in a room by themselves but he hoped that it would turn out all right.
Rick leans back in his chair and cracks a grin. The chair creaks under his bulk. "So, anyone got anything to say to each other? I'm awful at conversation starters."
He starts making wide eye contact with everyone, to see how they'll respond. Is it the best way to start off with people? Not really, but it's pretty informative.
Was the farthest to the back of the room. After he listened to the Major speak his gaze started wandering into space not thinking about the other people. He heard the bulky male speak up and looked toward his direction. Chris had the same gaze the entire time he and the bulky male kept eye contact. "I will keep it simple; My name Chris Gannon, I am the "techy" for this squad, and I try not to open my mouth very often." He replied to the question.
Woah. Someone who doesn't shy away from eye-contact.
"Great to meet you. I'm Rick Osten! I'm your meat shield for the trip."
Rick looked around, everyone else was looking at him as if he had crawled out of a particularly informal hole. Typical.
Whatever, we're all the same rank, Rick thought to himself.
Damien was dressed somewhat informally, his shirt on the table in front of him, his chest only covered by a few blood-soaked bandages. "I'm sorry, you'll have to forgive me for looking like such a mess; I just came out of surgery. Poor guy's kidneys were failing him, and I didn't really have much time to recuperate yet." After saying his apology, Damien opened a soldier's pack and rummaged inside before taking out a box containing multiple dull red cubes, each measuring about a finger's length on the edge. As Damien began to consume these, the cut on his chest began to shrink before finally disappearing as Damien took the last few voracious bites of the square consumable. Damien tightly locked up the seal, placed the box in his pack, then unwound the blood-soaked bandages before putting his shirt back on, disposing of the bandages in the biohazard can and washing his hands in the sink adjacent to it. Damien once again took his seat, nodding politely at his teammates. "Good morning. I'm sorry about that- I hadn't had the chance to rest yet, so my body's being a bit slow today. I am Dr. Damien Lier, and I'll be the medic for this journey of ours. I hope you will all help me be as lazy and unnecessary as possible." Damien laughed a bit, but was quite serious in his hopes that no one would be injured during their explorational voyage.
"Typically, I'd ask what the hell I just looked at, but WINGS has sorta wrecked my sense of wonder.". Rick looked impressed, nonetheless. "What exactly did you just eat, if I may ask? The flesh of a particularly virile youth?". This might be the icebreaker that Rick was looking for. Maybe others would say something.
James's visor wasn't tinted currently, and he looked straight into the eyes of the large man "I'm your assassin, and shady stealthy bastard. I'm the one that'll be taking out problems from a few miles off, so we don't have to kiss the Reaper." he leaned over and held out his hand to shake
Looked over to the assassin, "You never mentioned a name, just that your an assassin. Mind giving us a name? It would be easier to say than 'shady stealthy bastard' in my opinion," he asked the man, while he was checking his glasses to see if they needed cleaning.
James smirked, "I guess it would be our tech-specialist that noticed. Corp-Sergeant, now, Sgt. James Reynolds, Special Operations specialist. Pleased to meet you all" You could HEAR his cheeky smile.
Rick shook James' hand. "Fantastic to have you here on the team, man." Rick wasn't sure he cared for that grin. "So, if we encounter any sentients, your job is to give them wedgies?"
Without really waiting for an answer, he looked over at the two women in the group. "Come on, now, let's not make this just a discussion among the boys."
"I'm also good at normal combat, but yeah, if we need a surgical strike, I can pull it off." He looked to the women, and nodded to them, waiting for them to speak. He seemed friendly and open, has he popped the air seals on his breather helmet and took it off, scratching at his messy hair, and setting his helmet on the desk
Saryll had been happy to sit back and watch the others interact as she sized them up, but when Osten made indirect mention of her, she decided it would be impolite not to respond. Leaning forward and letting the lock of hair she had been chewing fall from her mouth - an idle habit she had no intention of giving up - and gave what she hoped would be taken as a genuine smile. "I'm Saryll, or Sergeant Chase if that's what gives you your jollies, and I'm going to be stealing your kills before you mark them as the designated sniper of the unit. I'm also going to be telling you to run into enemy fire for shits and giggles while I sit on the other end of a scope fifteen hundred meters away because someone thought I'd make a good field tactician." She paused for effect before her demeanour broke and she chuckled slightly. "I believe I'm going to be relying on you" she said, giving a gesture half-way between a wave and a pointed finger towards Chris "For enemy numbers and the details I don't see, like the fact that the good doctor's skin is still a little thin, but that should be fine in a few minutes."
Saryll cast a glance around the room at the soldiers posed nonchalantly now their commanding officer was absent. She brushed the lock of hair she had been chewing behind her ear and leaned forwards, lowering her voice and tone so those gathered had to lean in slightly to hear. "I really don't want to be necessary on this trip, or any of us at all except to land on planets and give the OK. And if we contact intelligent life, I will personally see anyone who fires on them without provocation jettisoned from the starboard cargo bays. Plural."
"Looking at the apparent neuroses of my team mates, I wonder what the WINGS project has done to my own mental state." This was said softly, but the
paranoid careful of hearing would pick it up.
Louder, she said, "My name's Cam. Nice to meet y'all"
While everyone was talking amongst each other or least hesitating too, Pax was silent with his focus on finishing notes.
Launch in four days... Any questions can wait becuase Captain Kahlil isn't here... Know each other ...
With his heavy shaded pair of sunglasses showing off a small light reflection on the side, he remained still with his head now and again cranking his neck joints, writing more notes down. Pax wanted to get every fact down in case it was required later on. However, he wasn't planning on talking to any of his fellow soldiers because all he would need to do is keep his ears appealed to their voices and he would eventually learn about them during the mean time.
"Well, doesn't this look like a party!" McLelland said as he and Captain Kahlil walked into the room. "Say hi now Captain" McLelland told Jason treating him like a little kid. Jason gave McLelland a look and then he went to the front of the room.
"I am Captain Jason Kahlil. I will be the Squad Commander for this mission. I expect all of you to give me 110% out there and I will accept nothing less than that." Jason said while analyzing the rest of the squad while he was doing it. "Now now play nice captain." McLelland said while gesturing for everyone to take their seats.
"Okay for those of you that forgot, our mission is to locate new planets that the human race can colonize. Once we make it to these new planets your job will be to land on the planet and lead the recon of the planet eliminating any harmful life forms that you can find." McLelland said watching each of the soldiers reactions.
"We have already located a planet that may be habitable." McLelland said as the board behind him showed a picture of a brown planet. "This is Dayelsha, this is where you will be headed first. The planet is mostly a desert but we have discovered large bodies of water and breathable oxygen on the planet. While it may not be the best Planet to colonize it is the closest to Earth and is a good place to start. So if there are any questions about the mission now is the time to ask them." McLelland said ending his briefing.
"Yeah, sure. Why are we heading to the planet for scouting purposes if we've analyzed it enough to get its atmospheric composition and geography? Are we cannon fodder for particularly terrifying plants, Or am I just being thick?" Rick hoped no-one would make a smart comment about that, though it wouldn't be the first time.
"Oh, wait. Are there any animals, or is that what we're off to find out?"
"How will we keep ammo reserves? If we run into a shitstorm out there, I don't want to have to learn as I go and work on duct-tape and prayers, had enough of that back in Spec Ops, also, does our boat have any gunnery? If it does, I could operate it. And I'd like to be able to call in heavy strikes or defend the ship if needed." James was suddenly sharp, intelligent, and to the point, his face blank and calculating
"Well Sergeant Osten. We can only get so much information from looking at a planet through a telescope, but from what they've told me they discovered no wild life on the planet but they have discovered large holes appear and disappear in the desert. We don't know where these holes come from but it was most likely made by a large animal of some kind. As for why were sending you there, it is mostly to assure that the scientists and colonists are landing in a safe area. They told us that they will not land on any planet unless they are guaranteed that they will be safe." McLelland said answering Rick's question.
"you will be carrying all your ammo, in the case that you require more we will have UAFF-487 Phoenix's on stand by and they will drop off any supplies you may need. Yes the Ship does have guns, but most of them are only to be used on the off chance that there is another large ship that would attack us. The main Cannon would destroy a good chunk of the planet so they will only be used for ship to ship combat." McLelland said answering James' question while scoffing at the idea of them getting into ship to ship combat.
Writing an additional part to the notes, Pax was highlighting important phrases too.
Captain Jason Kahlil is the Squad Commander for this mission... Mission is to locate new planets, human race can colonize... Our job will be to land on the planet and lead the recon of the planet... Eliminate any harmful life forms...
Dayelsha, first planet to contact... Mostly a desert, inhabited with water and breathable oxygen... Closest to Earth... Can ask any questions about the mission...
There was no need for Pax to ask any questions, he figured that going on a desert terrain planet would be settled with plenty of planning. This filled his mind with so many alternatives on what could go down, or at least anything unexpected to occur. Would the best vehicle to bring be his favorite- the UAFT-645 Pegasus? Not only would the aircraft be able to carry all the necessary equipment, supplies and the whole crew while no trouble getting to the destined area, but also has jet engines to speed the process. Pax did not underestimate his crew, he knew that if any combat were to unfold itself- they'd handle it spite the UAFT-645 Pegasus not being crafted for air combat. Then again, he also would find driving the EUT-509 Behemoth to be pleasant.
"...Holes, sir? Large... Okay, fine. So, if God's rejected chupacabra bursts out of the ground, we have permission to turn it into a fine red mist?" Rick realized that he was talking to a superior and quickly readjusted his language. "What criteria is a 'safe landing zone'? Large animal free?"
McLelland laughed a little at Rick's outburst but soon regain his composure. "From what they told me, they want all possible threats eliminated. If it is dangerous they want it killed. Basically go in and slaughter anything you see as a threat." McLelland said.
Damien chuckled. "Virile what? You my friend, have seen far too many Witch movies. No, each one of these cubes is a synth meal, with the same amount of nutrients as a couple of cows do. Think of it as a super steak. I use them when I need the nutrients quickly." Damien nodded appreciatively as Saryll correctly guessed his recovery time. Damien was currently regrowing his organs slowly, as he didnt want to waste the extra energy when he had time to spare. Still, one kidney had already regrown within Damien's chest.
Then McLelland walked in, with their CO in tow. "Evening, sir. You mentioned recon, but what exactly do you mean by that? Are we to transvere the entire world, or merely find a single spot where a colony could be established? I guess what I'm asking is, what are we looking for in order to determine a successful mission?"
"Your mission will be to Clear out the area that is deemed the most dangerous and oversee the job that the regular soldiers will be doing. Your job will be done once you have effectively eliminated all threats in a specific area. The area will be determined clear by Captain Kahlil, so once he is satisfied that the job is done you will head back to the ship. You will also be called upon to help the regular soldiers with their jobs if you are done early." McLelland answered.
"MOST dangerous, sir? Surely you meant most hospitable? I'm sure it's dangerous everywhere." Rick wasn't one for keeping his gob shut.
Nodded to Saryll when she mentioned his name, "I can get you the data easy; just as long as you can shoot the enemy fast enough." he replied.
He soon watched the CO and Squad Commander walk in and answer questions. "I've got a question; Is there any chance that the planet will cause interference with our electronic equipment? more specifically our radios?"
"Well Sergeant Osten I'm sure they will roll out the red carpet for you while they think of tasty ways to eat you." McLelland joked.
"From the initial readings there shouldn't be any electronical interference on the planet. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of it happening though, we can never predict what can happen on a planet." McLelland answered.
That wasn't quite what Rick had asked, but he let it slide.
"One last thing... on our way back, will we stop by earlier planets to see if the colonies are still growing?"
"No you will not, You can get day to day reports on how the colonies are doing if it matters to you that much. But you will not be returning to a colony unless it is being attacked." McLelland answered
James had been using his helmet to check the ship's specs "This thing is pretty well armed. We should be fine if something happens. How much of a crew will we have, and are we the command staff or a specialist team?"
"We will have a fully staffed crew that will rotate three shifts everyday. Captain Kahlil will be the commanding officer on the ship and each of you will have a leadership role. So you guys are apart of the command staff." McLelland said answering James' question.
"And when exactly will we find out our roles?"
After a second of further thought, "...and will we get double rations?"
"Captain Kahlil will give you your roles but your main job will be to help the Captain with his work. And no you only get a 1.5 more rations." McLelland Said joking a little with Rick.
To Pax, this man by the name of Rick stood out as the most active member of the crew so far. He'd be sure to mark that down in his notes as well. Without turning his head, Pax's eyes were fixed onto James, picking up the hint his helmet was equipped with technical mechanics to check over status or units on particular ships/objects.
Keeping well in mind to remember everything, he wrote that too within his notes. The handbook had little stickers marked with A - Z so Pax could turn to look back on anything within any given situation.
"Hey Sergeant Pax, I haven't heard you speak a word yet. That's not good manners you should introduce yourself!" McLelland said treating Pax like a child and putting him on the spot.
Saryll listened with passing interest to the questions and answers being thrown across the room, but gave up all faith in the nobility of the mission at the sentence "Slaughter everything you see as a threat" she silently mouthed the words to herself, staring into space. The words tasted bitter in her mouth, even without properly saying them. They were being told to shoot anything they saw that looked funny. It was wrong, just plain wrong that instead of working around the problem and solving it, that the Earth's military forces thought the best way through the problem was to throw destruction at it.
With effort, she drew her mind from dwelling on those thoughts and tried to focus back on the conversation, but couldn't, instead letting her eyes play across the team, taking in the little details no-one appreciated. A mole on someone's neck, the beginnings of a bald spot or just the tiny little movements of facial muscles as people registered and reacted.
There were noises too, things hard to notice until the source of the sound was, like the rustle of clothing as people shifted, or the scratch of pencil on paper. Saryll quietly read the growing list of notes, detailing every little thing. One side of the page even had the beginnings of profiles of people that could just as easily have been garnered from personnel files if they had been requested. It was remarkable how much people missed by simply not asking. She quietly stood and made her way in an ambling fashion towards Pax, as if merely stretching her limbs. She bent down and whispered in his ear "I'm curious, because you have no file worth reading, does that make you think no-one else has one either?"