Operation: Warden

Deleted User - 819397

Trace had continued the trend of saying nothing, preferring instead to think inwardly. Next to him, Jacquen was similarly silent, though his thoughts obviously weren't known to Trace. He looked out the window and saw they were nearing the Warden. Finally, the trip was going to be over...with any luck, after reporting to the Kriken Empire, he'd be allowed home...


Rolf watched Jack, who was remembering something or somethings. After a few moments of this, he looked up at Rolf, and struggled to say something. Finally he stated that he wasn't mourning for the dead soldiers. Rolf was about to ask who he was mourning for when he noticed that ODS 3 was getting ready to dock. "Report to my office after the briefing. We'll talk over a drink." Rolf got up and grabbed his helmet. After setting it on his head, he walked over to the door, and waited for it to open.


Maybe it was time to talk about it.

Gulping hard, Jack reached over and grabbed the helmet from the seat beside him. After settling it on his head he reached down and took the Rampart by the barrel, slinging it over his shoulder in a single movement as he stood and took hold of the panic bar with his free hand.

The pilot guided ODS 3 into the shuttle bay with all the grace and ease of long practice. All three shuttles did the same, pulling up and gracefully sitting down just before hitting the airlock itself. The hangar doors slid ponderously shut behind them with a great slamming sound. Inside, all the human's ears began popping as the hangar around them was pressurized and filled with breathable oxygen. Jack reached up and held his nose shut, before blowing hard into his closed mouth -- a trick his Dad had taught him, and one of the only memories he had of the man.

"Well, gentlemen and ladies" the shuttle pilot chirped over the on board intercom "it was a privilege to fly you there and back again in style." The shuttle's engines began to grow cold as the pilot adopted a heavy Texan accent - which must have seriously confused the aliens, and humans who'd never been to Earth - before hollering "Ya'll come back now, ya'hear?"

ODS 3 had a set of rear bay doors that opened to disgorge every occupant at once. They were bullet proof and were meant to keep the drop crews in the back safe until they opened. Thus, the crew of ODS 3 didn't see the group of Void's Warden Guards standing on the other side of the doors, their rifles pointed directly at the drop ship, until they slid open.

As the doors opened and the occupants of ODS 3 saw the mass of rifles pointed at them, a man stepped out of the crowd and called into them "This is Staff Sergeant Gardner, we are the honor guard meant to keep you safe." He reached out a hand to help the nearest man to the ground "Whatever information you found down there - and don't tell me about it - Commander Wentworth wants to debrief you personally, we are here to guide you to him."

As Jack and the others stepped down from the shuttle, a few of the guards lowered their rifles and tentatively approached them, holding their hands out for their weapons. Gardner motioned them on with a nod of his head, as he tried to make the ODS 3 crew at ease with a hand gesture "Please, new proceedings, to cut down on the amount of firepower outside the armory, we've decided to begin disarming once the shuttles have docked. Surrender your weapons so we can continue to the debrief, please."


Rolf had lit his pipe again while waiting for the doors to open. The hanger door was closed, and Rolf experienced a slight pressure differential between the inside and outside of his body. Rolf pinched his nose shut, and tried to breathe through it, causing his ears to pop and the pressures to equalize. The pilot decided to act like an Earthian airliner pilot, donning an accent that was an attempt at a stereotypical Texan accent that served to only annoy Rolf. Based on his trips to Dallas and San Antonio, and his viewing of old Westerns, it was mostly influenced by Westerns, and bore little resemblance to the real average Texan accent. Rolf had little time to be annoyed over the pilot, as the rear blast doors opened to reveal what appeared to be an entire regiment of soldiers pointing rifles at the soldiers of ODS 3.

Rolf pulled out his pistol and pointed it at the soldier he believed was the highest rank. "Tell me what's going on here." The soldier walked out and introduced himself as Staff Sergeant Gardner, the commander of the honour guard sent to escort them to Commander Wentworth for a personal briefing. "Alright then, lead us to him, Sergeant," Rolf said, as he accepted Gardner's hand to help him down. After everybody from ODS 3 was out, some of the guards lowered their weapons and walked toward the soldiers of ODS 3. Staff Sergeant Gardner explained that ODS 3 was to relinquish their weapons to the armoury. "That is unacceptable, Sergeant," Rolf said to Gardner. "My platoon's weapons are stored next to the racks for quick and speedy response to any and all possible threats that face the Void Warden. The armoury is located nearly half a ship away from my platoon's barracks. Also, in the standard Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill issued to every fighting ship, every combat soldier is required to store their weapon in their racks or in their birthing compartments. If you want to change standard military doctrine, convince the IdM to change it. Until then, take us to Commander Wentworth for the debriefing."


Frank heard what Sergeant Gardner was saying and his first thought was "You have no idea." Then he heard his second order, the Sergeant fully armed, and them not armed? he though back to his warning of the others but surely Wentworth is not involved in the politics. He was puzzled and was glad when Rolf stood up for them and he ECed him a coded message which he had made up himself and he also programmed it to only be de-coded when it arrived at Rolf's EC as it was not a standard military code and very few people knew it and also to delete itself after three seconds. It read "Make sure they don't take our weapons, I have a bad feeling about this."

Deleted User - 819397

Trace felt a slight level of amusement as the people demanded he hand over his weapons. Ok, he'd give them his arm cannon. He'd lose his basic blaster, which he wasn't a great shot with anyway, and some power on his Imperialist, but really...if they were attacked he could still kill with a headshot. The Imperialist was something that Trace could fire organically...the cannon just amplified it so that body shots hurt more in the event he missed the head. His invisibility was organic too. It figured that a human would expect an alien to be limited in the same way as one of them. He took off his arm cannon and put it on the ground in front of him. No harm, no foul.

Jacquen was not pleased. His knives were his only link to his homeworld. Looking at the human who demanded that they lose their weapons, he growled, "This one will keep his knives...the machine gun and grenades can stay."


"My platoon's weapons are stored next to the racks for quick and speedy response to any and all possible threats that face the Void Warden. The armoury is located nearly half a ship away from my platoon's barracks. Also, in the standard Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill issued to every fighting ship, every combat soldier is required to store their weapon in their racks or in their birthing compartments. If you want to change standard military doctrine, convince the IdM to change it. Until then, take us to Commander Wentworth for the debriefing."

Staff Sergeant Gardner looked around confusedly for a moment, his eyes looking everywhere but the Orbital Drop Ship, until finally his eyes fell on something behind and above the ship. He stared at it for a moment, an imploring look in his eyes and his lips slightly quivering. There was a long moment, a moment in which it looked like he was receiving instructions, before Gardner stepped closer to the Lieutenant and rasped in a low voice "We are the first mixed ship, Lieutenant, and if you want this mission to go according to plan I suggest you comply with orders given down from the Commander."

He turned away from Rolf quickly and walked just out of earshot, before reaching up to the small microphone clipped to his ear. Talking excitedly, Gardner paced back and forth, waving his hands and spitting into the mic. Gradually the hand movements and the emphasis he spoke with faded, until finally disappearing all together, leaving the Staff Sergeant standing there with a defeated look upon his face.

He returned to the group at large, nodding to his men, who lowered their weapons. "I have just spoken with the Commander. You will be allowed to break our new regulations under one condition: that I take possession of all Thermal Clips on your person. We feel that this is a compromise that both the Planetary Crew and the Ship's Crew can agree upon."

Gardner held his hand out for the clips.


Franks pistol was hidden below his waistband and he had some spare clips for it strapped to his leg. Sighing he pulled out the thermal clips for his Uzi and his Chain-gun and handed them to the Staff Sergeant. "I want them back as soon as this is over please, I don't feel safe with-out them. Also, when do we start the journey home?"


Rolf received a message from Frank, encouraging him to stay the path. Rolf kept that in mind as he stared at the staff sergeant, waiting for his reply. Rolf suppressed a smile as Gardner looked about nervously, eventually settling on a spot beyond ODS 3. Rolf looked at the spot and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe the staff sergeant was using a coping technique to figure out what to do next. Eventually, he reminded Rolf that the Void Warden was the first mixed ship in the fleet, and that he should follow the commander’s orders for the mission to go according to plan. Rolf responded with, “We are naval infantry, Staff Gardner. I know that means little to you Army MPs, but it should mean a lot to Commander Wentworth. Tell him he shouldn’t try to break the chain of command if he doesn’t want to be brought to court martial for insubordination against the IdM.” The staff sergeant then walked out of earshot to convey the situation to somebody and to discuss what was to happen next. After a few minutes of what appeared to be very heated talking, Gardner returned.

After ordering the guards to lower their weapons, Gardner announced the decision. They would be ‘allowed to break the new regulation’ on the condition that the naval infantry of ODS 3 relinquish their thermal clips. Rolf thought about that for a moment. Most of the weapons got their killing potential from thermal clips, without which they were no better than extremely high tech and highly expensive clubs. Those with bladed weapons, like Rolf with his groβe Messer, would be at an advantage. But asking for the thermal clips was still too much. “Here’s a compromise I like better, Staff Gardner. We will give you all but one full thermal clip for every weapon we have that runs on thermal clips. That way, we still have the ability to defend this ship if the need arises, and whoever decided it would be a good idea to try and change standard doctrine.”


A look even more somber than the one that came before spread across the Staff Sergeant's face. His hand wavered in front of him for a moment, as he thought of the options available to him.

There was a quiet to this docking bay. While docking bays 1 and 2 would be humming with activity, mechanics and engineers looking over the drop ships, the Planetary Combat Crew on the walk of fame back to their quarters, men and women screaming for assistance with whatever problem they faced; but docking bay 3 was silent as the grave. The crew that maintained the drop ship had picked up upon the tension between the two factions -- and noted the audacious amount of firepower both parties carried. Believing that the tension between Planetary and Ship Crew were about to come to a boil in Docking Bay 3, the staff had already taken cover.

Gardner let his eyes roam across the faces of ODS 3. They looked like a hard bunch, blood and filth caked the front of their armor and faces, already drying into a crust. Machine Gun and sniper rifle, shotgun and pistol, even weapons with blades, there was no instrument of killing these men did not have. Gardner knew that if the fight was to start here then he and his men would be the first to die, no way a group of Shipboard MPs who'd never fired their weapons at anything but targets to stop the hardened group of shock troops that nervously stroked the trigger guards of their weapons.

Finally he nodded "Agreed, Lieutenant. One clip for each weapon." Gardner stood by silently as the crew of ODS 3 forfeited the numerous spare clips they had stuffed into pockets and strapped to their armor. After his men were through and their weapons disabled, Gardner turned away, just in time to hide the huge smile that came to his lips -- the Commander's instructions had worked. "Please, come with me." he threw over his shoulder at them.

With the honor guard tramping along behind them and Gardner out front, ODS 3 was lead out of Docking Bay 3 and into the lift that waited just beyond the airlock. As they passed the airlock, Jack looked down the hall and saw the crews of ODS 1 and 2 on their walks of fame - the walk from the drop ship to the decontamination showers and locker rooms - every man Jack saw had full thermal clip harnesses and carried their weapons slung high and proud over their backs. That sat wrong with him, as they all piled into the lift.

"It is unknown when we will be returning to Eroes Prime. Commander Wentworth has not told any of us yet, our scheduled time out was to be a standard Earth year, but just a few months out you find -- whatever it is you found." Gardner said as he flicked the free standing display that controlled the elevator.

"The information you recovered down there is so valuable that Commander Wentworth has authorized bypassing normal security protocols, and instead of decon, showers and dinner, you'll be reporting directly to him beforehand." The lift came to a stop and the doors parted, Gardner taking the lead again, heading towards Commander Wentworth's office, located on the Combat Information Deck. In front of them, a holographic web pattern hovered over the door to the Commander's office "Before decon - and to insure our commanding officer's safety - this safety net has been activated. It will alert the doctor's standing by if anyone has picked anything nasty up while planetside -- you know, alien diseases, bacteria, anything that might compromise the ship's health."

Stepping through the holographic webbing, Gardner continued striding down the hallway towards the CO's office, as one by one, all ODS members passed through the webbing without incident. The Staff Sergeant only stopped when they were right outside the doors that would open into the office, he and the honor guard took up positions flanking the door and held their weapons at the hip -- making a good show of "guarding".

"Step right in, the Commander is waiting for you." Gardner nodded at Rolf before walking away, chattering into his earpiece once more.

Commander Wentworth's office wasn't nearly as plush as one would imagine a Collective Captain's office would be. A desk sat in a far corner and a clutter of free standing displays light a wall hung with photos. The photos ranged from beautiful sweeping vistas to a candid shot of Wentworth's late wife, which was central. A great oblong table sat in the middle of the room and leather chairs stood waiting for their occupants.

His hands steepled in front of him, Wentworth sat on the other side of that table, rising when the crew of ODS 3 entered the room. He gave a false smile and circled the table to come up beside Rolf, reaching out his hand he grasped the Lieutenant in a firm handshake "Congratulations are in order, Lieutenant. You and your men are a credit to this program -- I doubt anyone else could have pulled that off."


Tom suspiciously handed over all but one of his thermal clips for his assault rifle, he kept the ammo for his handgun, no way he was giving those to some staff sergeant who'd never fired his weapon in anger.
he did, however appreciate his Lieutenant's efforts, and Tom sent a message reading; Nice one, sir. over his EC.
He followed the others through the makeshift decon and into the commander's office.
Tom stood to attention as the commander began to speak; "Congratulations are in order, Lieutenant. You and your men are a credit to this program -- I doubt anyone else could have pulled that off." the Commander said, putting on his best fake smile.
Yeah, more of a credit to the program than you, yer slimy staff officer. Tom broadcasted over his EC to the rest of the platoon.


Frank got a bad feeling as he walked into the commanding officers room. It was the same feeling he'd gotten several years ago as he had walked into another "peace" mission with a bunch of slavers willing to sell their mates out for immunity only to find that it was a trap by the slavers. He'd lost a good friend that day and now he considered all these men his friends. His finger tightened on his trigger. As he saw Tom's message he smiled he messaged back "Nice one, I agree." then he sent a message to everyone who had been on ODS 3 saying "Stay on your guard guys, I don't like the feeling of this."

Deleted User - 819397

Trace had returned his arm cannon to its spot and emptied it of all but one coil as requested. Again, it wouldn't matter all that much if it ran out of power, but every extra bit of strength would help if things turned ugly. He saw Jacquen also complying to the orders, and the two of them followed the rest of the group into the commander's room for debriefing. He saw the messages being relayed over his EC, but refrained from responding. One was a warning that something might be off, the other was an insult to the commander. Clearly this army is not anywhere near as efficient and obedient as the Kriken Army...if we had dared say something like that about a commander, we'd be killed instantly by another member of the platoon. he thought to himself. However, seeing slight smiles on some of the other mens' faces, it was clear this would not be the case here.

He also didn't like how he was being completely ignored by the rest of the platoon. He couldn't care less about how it made him feel, or what their feelings were...indeed, he didn't understand any emotion besides battle-lust and a sense of duty, as they weren't taught to Krikens. He only knew that a smile was a positive thing because he had been told by his superior before he'd been shipped out here. No, he was disappointed in their lack of communication because it weakened the structure of the platoon. If a group of soldiers was to be effective, they had to communicate, both on and off the battlefield. How else were they to learn where they went wrong in the fight, if someone didn't tell them exactly what they did to screw up? How were they to talk about how each individual was going to support him, and him support them in turn if there was no communication? He kept his silence, however, not sure if things were done differently here in that respect as well. Better to learn from example than do something wrong and be punished...some of Trace's punishments were back when he was the human equivalent of 6 years old...early in his military training...he still felt a flicker of an emotion, that if he knew the name he'd call it fear, when he thought of the early ones...before he'd learned how to ignore the pain, the torture, the agony inflicted upon him for each thing he did wrong. He'd had his weakness beat out of him, sometimes almost to the point of death, as it was for all Krikens. He could only wonder how a system that didn't operate like that could form a coherent military.


Jacquen bared his sharp, pointed teeth at the hapless MP tasked with retrieving his weapons letting him know that he was plenty dangerous without them. He had stayed quiet for the majority of the journey back to the Void Warden, partly due to the fact that many of his fellow teams didn't know him (or possibly afraid of him) and also partly due to the fact that he preferred to be left alone.
With his EC chiming away quietly on his wrist as messages were pinged back and forth amongst the team Jacquen moved to stand beside the Kriken, someone who seemed equally lost when it came to the humans as he was, finding it strange that they found an insult to a chief amusing...
Back on Sicarius, to insult someone higher than you in the tribe, even in private was certain to result in a trial by arms and one liable to result in pain, humiliation and sometimes even death...better to be respectful unless you were certain of victory.
"This one finds the ways of humans strange...does one also find this to be the case?" Jacquen spoke quietly to the Kriken, his eyes never leaving the commanding officer up ahead as every survival instinct told him that something was wrong.

Deleted User - 819397

Trace heard the Sicariun...Jacquen, he felt was the name, mutter to him about the strangeness of the humans. Trace turned his head toward the large, powerful being, his visor still lit and firmly in place, making it impossible to see his face. There came a sudden clicking sound from behind the visor, almost insectile. His voice rusty from lack of use, and with much clicking of hidden mandibles, he hissed quietly, "Indeed...the lack of discipline is...troublesome." His voice, underneath the clicks, was quite deep, but with random pops of pitch. It was also clear he was having a hard time getting his mouth to form the words of the common language used throughout the universe.

The clicking stopped as Trace finished speaking. He turned his attention back to the commander as his EC flashed an incoming message. He was going to ignore it until he saw it was written in his own tongue...meaning it came from the Kriken Empire. He opened it and read it...it had come from his immediate superior, and requested that he call him via EC at his earliest convenience. He dismissed the message for the moment and returned to the matter at hand.


The tension had reached what Rolf felt would be the high. Soon, if this situation didn't get resolved immediately, some scared MP or some NI, still jumpy from the recent battle they had just won, would fire their weapon, and all hell would break loose. If that happened, there would be so much trouble and punishment for Rolf, if he survived the battle, of course. Rolf looked over the MPs, many of them were shaking at the resistance of the NI. He looked back over the men of ODS 3. Most of them were twitching in anxious waiting for something to happen. Rolf was about to talk to the staff sergeant again, when he spoke. He agreed to Rolf's compromise, allowing all the tension to dissipate into the firmament. The maintenance crews got back to work, as the NI of ODS 3 handed their spare thermal clips to the MPs. Rolf removed his bandoliers and handed them to Staff Sergeant Gardner. After the men had finished giving their spare ammunition to the MPs, Staff Sergeant Gardner led the NI to the office of Commander Wentworth, explaining what the protocols would be for this special meeting. Rolf looked over to the NI of ODS 1 and ODS 2, on their ‘Walk of Fame’. Rolf didn’t think it was a walk of fame at all, just a routine. A real walk of fame would be when Germany regained the region of East Prussia and the soldiers of the Bundesrepublik walked through the streets to cheers of repatriated Germans. A more personal walk of fame was when Rolf finally earned the title of Naval Infantryman, after completing the hardest military training in existence, and he walked down the mountain to the mess hall for the Warrior’s Breakfast. The thing that got to Rolf was their possession of their weapons and all their remaining thermal clips.

They arrived at the elevator that would take them to the deck where Commander Wentworth’s office was located. The elevator whizzed them up to the CI deck. When there, Gardner led them to the hallway that would take the NI of ODS 3 to Commander Wentworth’s office. Across its entrance was a grid. Gardner explained the net was there to monitor the NI and notify the doctors of any diseases they might have picked up. Everybody walked through the net, and proved themselves clean. They then headed down the hall to Commander Wentworth’s office. They stopped just before entering, Staff Sergeant Gardner announcing that Commander Wentworth was waiting for them, then walked away on administration business, most likely. Rolf then led the NI into the office.

As usual, the office was mostly bare, but for a cluttered desk, FSDs, and photographs. Central to the photos was one of Commander Wentworth’s wife, deceased for ten years. Rolf thought about his office, how it was similar, though it was shared with the other platoon commanders of ODS 3. It had a desk, where a computer monitor took central position, along with a keyboard. Rolf liked the physicality of these more than the FSDs, which didn’t offer real feedback to Rolf. On his wall was a painting of his ancestor, Johannes Helmfrid, first member of Rolf’s family to receive the Order of the Black Eagle, in 1864, for actions during the Second Schleswig War. Next to it was a portrait of Ilsa, painted in front of Neuschwanstein. Rolf was jolted back into the room, and called the NI to attention. He then saluted Commander Wentworth and announced their presence. Commander Wentworth went up to Rolf and shook his hand, saying he was a credit to the programme.

Rolf then received a couple of messages on his EC, one insulting the commander, and the other warning everybody to be on their guard. Rolf sent a message on his EC, One more message insulting any officer, and I’ll have the platoon cleaning the heads for the rest of this tour. Rolf then responded to the commander. “Thank you, Commander Wentworth. It was Corporal Vhassa who got us into the room, and Gunnery Sergeant Vortag who discovered the data files. We have the files downloaded to our ECs in its entirety, along with Corporal Trace, Corporal Carlyle, and Corporal Jefferson.” Rolf hesitated for a moment, then continued. “Commander, I ask permission to talk with you about your new policy regarding weapons, after you are done conducting the briefing.”


Frank saw the message from Rolf and agreed. Although the Commander may deserve it, and in this case he definitely did, the men shouldn't be insulting him. He listened to Rolf and then had a thought. He then private messaged Rolf. "Tell him that one of us doesn't have the data. Say that I don't. Don't ask why, just do it please. Or shall I say that the data didn't properly download on-to mine?"


“Commander, I ask permission to talk with you about your new policy regarding weapons, after you are done conducting the briefing.”

The Commander's gaze fell to Rolf's weapon, and his gaze immediately picked up the presence of the Thermal Clip. He looked up into Rolf's eyes again and smiled before he turned away and made his way back around the table. He settled down in his chair and turned on the hidden free standing display inside the table before he replied "You and your men seem to have made your own compromise, Lieutenant. I wish it was different too, but this was passed down from the top, my hands are tied. The weapons you and your men took with you planetside were lost in combat, are we clear?" Wentworth crooked an eyebrow meaningfully at Rolf before turning away and moving to the chair he previously inhabited, summoning the free standing display the table housed.

"Sit down." he ordered, as the free standing display began scrolling data about the battle. "The information you recovered is invaluable, I commend you all." Wentworth manipulated the FSD easily and a moment later all ten data files recovered by ODS 3 were displayed in front of the men "I cannot begin to tell you how this will help us fight the slavers in this theater."

A scowl came to Jack's face the moment he saw the files already downloaded to the Void's Warden, none of the ODS 3 crew had opened their EC's to the ship and there was no way for the Commander to have the data -- but for a single possibility. A sick feeling entered his stomach when he realized that the harsh Commander Wentworth had accessed his EC, his gaze traveled over to one of the free standing displays hovering of Wentworth's desk -- Jack's heart sunk to his already upset stomach when considering all the intensely personal memories and data his commanding officer could have copied from his EC.

"I have been in contact with Eroes Prime and they are aware of the files you have recovered. After consulting with High Command, The Collective deems it necessary for the Void's Warden to cease our tour and return." A star map appeared on the FSD upon the table, the system the Void's Warden currently inhabited was lit blue, as was the Eroes system. "We are already en route home, gentlemen." he said with a smile "You'll all be reunited with your loved ones in less than a week's time. Once we arrive on Prime, you will present the data you recovered to The Collective personally. They will then decide how best to use this data.

"Any questions?"


Rolf received Frank's message, but it was too late for Rolf to omit somebody from his list. He was about to respond to the message, when Commander Wentworth responded to Rolf’s request for a meeting. According to him, it was passed down from the top. How top, Rolf didn’t know. It was probably the IdM, but maybe it came from as high as a Vanguard. Maybe somebody thought the information really was that important, but it still didn’t explain why their weapons were almost taken away from them. “Forgive me, Commander Wentworth. I was told the order came from you by the MP that escorted us here,” Rolf said. The commander then told Rolf that their weapons were all lost planetside. Rolf knew what that meant. “Yes commander, understood,” Rolf responded.

Rolf was ordered to sit down by the Commander, as he called up an FSD from his desk. “Thank you, Commander,” Rolf said as he sat down in the chair. As soon as Rolf sat down, Commander Wentworth displayed the files they had recovered from the computer. How had he gotten those files? Rolf would order everybody who had the files to get their ECs checked for viruses after they got to Eroes Prime. It wasn’t too hard to find a technician who could do those things without official recorders finding out. “Thank you Commander, Wentworth,” Rolf responded. “We’re proud that we’re able to do our jobs properly.”

Then, Commander Wentworth announced that they were headed to Eroes Prime immediately, to present the information they found to the Collective. Maybe it would be directly to a Councilor. Then, after that, they might even be able to go to other planets. It had been a long time since Rolf had been home. There was so much to catch up on. Even though Earth wasn’t the centre of political power, there was still much activity going on there. Also, Ilsa was there, back at their home in Danzig. Commander Wentworth asked if there were any questions. Rolf asked one, “Commander, to whom will we present our information?”


Tom received Rolf's message; One more message insulting any officer, and I’ll have the platoon cleaning the heads for the rest of this tour. he scowled behind his visor.
He listened to Commander Wentworth explaining that they would be returning to Eroes Prime immediately.
Tom breathed a sigh of relief. Looked like their tour of duty was ending early. He could use some R & R.
Commander Wentworth's mention of returning home to their loved ones brought a weak smile onto Tom's face, he didn't have any 'loved ones' as such, there'd been someone, once, back on Thropol III, when he'd been in the CDF...but that didn't work out, so Tom left his home and never went back. maybe he'd return, one day...
the weak smile gradually dissipated from his face as Rolf asked who they would be presenting their data to.