Canopus Station
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Pintle Mounted Point Of View

Posted on Tue Apr 20th, 2021 @ 12:34am by The Narrator

Mission: S0E0: What Came Before
Location: 'Coney Island', Planet Tripwire, Concordance Space
Timeline: MD-2 9.30

The smell of burning fuel gel from the transport was almost overpowering. Even the grumbling turbines of the APC’s and portable generators hadn’t yet replaced the stink of turbojets, though to be fair his was a nose much more sensitive than most.

As one of the Cordanti, the progenitor species of the Concordance, Field Marshal Arjin of the Seventh House was much shorter than most of his staff. Tall bipeds seemed to be something of a norm for the star cluster, not that he felt ill at ease in their company. They were Concordance, one people with a single voice. And watching as the 8th Rapid Deployment Force set up the temporary FOB he felt nothing but pride.

He stepped back into the command tent, removing his peak cap and running his short fingers through the grey coarse fur atop his head. Grey fur, wide blunt teeth, fingers tipped with curled claw tips shaved down to a manageable level, he didn’t look like a military man. He’d presided over the liberation of four worlds, and on all except one, there had been children’s toys that looked eerily like his people.

In a way, he wished that was more the case, that people saw the Concordance as a welcoming friendly teddy bear there to be held against the cold of an uncaring universe. But he was no fool, he was a soldier after all and knew that fools fight just as hard as heroes.

“Report?” He asked of the air, as his voice carried over the grumble of outside traffic and the chatter within the command tent.

“Progressing as ordered. Barracks and supply depots are being set up, and we’ve offloaded nearly 80% of the transporter,” his XO said, still leaning over a pict’ viewer. “The troops are settling in, and we’ve set up patrols into the forests. I’ve instructed the unit commander’s on patrol to range out a bit further than recommended, scout the area and pick out defensible positions for their troops come tomorrows war games.”

“Excellent work Major Kajick,” Arjin said with a smile and stepped up onto the raised step the map table came provided with so the short Cordanti could look over the table. The map screen’s pict’ display flickered a little as an APC rolled past, but stabilised to show the island in its entirety. The curve of the beach, the forest with it’s overgrowth covered scars from the dozens of training exercise this year alone had brought to its shore. Soon enough even the vegetation would begin to die off, leaving the islands as little more than a target for the navy gunners in orbit to use.

“As the voice of us all commands, Sir.” His XO stood up and turned to look at Arjin. Tall, with skin as black as volcanic rock, his golden eyes seemed to leak tears off the same in fracture lines out their corners. His own peak cap was pulled over his head, hiding away the colourful fronds of his Xilosian heritage.

“So say we all,” echoed back the reverential reply from those present.

“And are the new officers ready for tonight’s blooding?” Arjin asked, stepping off the step and walking around the heavy map display.

“They are Sir if my own experience is any judge of character. I know it’s an informal ceremony among the military of the Concordance, but to the men, it’s a badge of honour. A rite of passage,” Kajick said, squeezing and relaxing his gloved right hand slowly.

“Ah to be young again,” Arjin said with a sigh. “When are we departing?”

“In a few hours Sir, so we can reach the site by sundown. The ayatani was very adamant about being there before sundown, not after, and not at not, but before,” Kajick chuckled.

“Yes, the wandering priest is something of an acquired taste. I’ve known some regiments whose ecclesiastical staff were real fire breathers, but I think we’ve lucked out with one who actually cares for the spiritual well being of his charges,” the Field Marshal chuckled. “In either case, I’d best make a report to Central Command. Don\t need the navy lighting up the sky manoeuvring one of the Crusade Fleet into position to scope us.”

“Indeed Sir, I’ll send word to your adjunct when we’re ready for you,” Kajick said as his commander left the tent. He then turned back to one of the manned pict’ terminals and walked over to it. The stocky leather-skinned trooper manning the machine looked up at his approach.

“Now, show me again that light bounce return the transport picked up as we made landfall,” he instructed.

“I assure you, Sir, the return was well within the limits of the set,” the operator stated as with blocky fingers they brought up the recorded LIDAR sweep. There was the crescent curve of the island, as well as a few reefs that rose above the frothing wave tops. And then just at the top of the return a bright flash of a return. “See? From the signature of the return, it’s got be either a fault or a piece of debris floating out there. See the stress lines around it? You’d see that on a fast-moving contact, like a scramjet or a ballistic missile. And you’d have heard the sonic boom. So it’s got to be a glitch in the set.”

“That as well maybe…” Kajick said, tapping the screen.

It was probably nothing.
It might be something.

“Pass it along to Central Command. If it’s nothing then it’ll at least give the navy something to do whilst they float in orbit,” he stood back up, straightening his greatcoat. “And if it’s something then at least we’ll get some real training in.”


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