When the group filed into the conference room, the holoprojectors were already alight with the flickering figures of ten Concord council members. Lang stepped up to the main dais; the others stood on platforms just below his, and once everyone was in place Lang tapped in a code into the pad in front of him. Dim light switched on beneath their feet, and a green light came to life on the pad.
“You’re online, Representative,” the centre hologram said. It was of a male crajril, dressed in the neatly pressed navy uniform of the council. “Thank you for reporting in so quickly. What was the result of the trip to Sarkoth?”
“It was less than ideal, Councillor. While we were speaking with M’Kra Riyl, a group of terrorists attacked H’Krin. Casualties were few, and the only losses of life were the three terrorists.”
The human woman next to the crajril folded her arms across her chest. “Three terrorists managed to breach H’Krin’s defensive shields without inside help? I find that hard to believe, Representative.”
“Start believing it, Councillor,” Alison snapped, glaring up at the holograms. “Because those three stuck Concord Military arms in my face and threatened my life with them.”
“Commander Vaughn, please let your representative speak.”
“Then why am I even here? Can’t you see that, hey, of those few casualties mentioned, I’m one of them and so is my corporal?” Continue reading
Alison brushed back her short, sandy blonde hair with one hand and pulled a tight hood overtop, before fitting the helmet snugly over her head. “All set, boys?” she asked.
“Yes, ma’am.” Hawthorne’s voice was tinny in her ear, coming through the speaker on their communication channel. Through the visor of her helmet, she could see him doing a strange little dance as he finished strapping together the exoskeleton.
Tom Warren and Kieran Macready sat on the bench opposite her, already prepared and strapping themselves in. It was impossible to tell who was who when they wore their helmets; only the names etched on the breastplates of their matching armour made it possible for her to tell them apart.
“I’ve set the course for Sarkoth’s main city and port, ma’am,” Oakes said from the cockpit. “H’Krin, looks like. Strap in. It won’t be an easy ride once we’ve entered the atmosphere.”
Hawthorne grabbed her elbow to steady her as the shuttle lifted off the ground with a whirr. “Better have a seat, Commander,” he said, his voice in her ear and his grin visible behind their helmets. Alison laughed and settled on the bench between him and Macready.
“At least he can’t pinch your bum in these suits, eh, ma’am?” Macready teased. Hawthorne growled and lunged over to smack him, but Alison sat between them and shoved his shoulder before he could strike.
“Hormones, boys,” she scolded, mocking. “Keep yourselves in check. I doubt the beren like naughty humans.” Continue reading