2 | Only the Best
MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, EARTH | 0900 hours EST
Thomas Remington adjusted his tie as he waited for the elevator to reach the 10th basement level of the Ministry of Defense complex. A simple single chime indicated that he had reached his floor and the steel doors opened to reveal a simple white hallway and concrete floor. At the end of the long hallway was a single steel door with a keypad and retina scanner. There were no people visible, he was certain that his ever movement was being watched by multiple scanners and vidcams.
Without hesitation, Thomas walked down the hallway, noting the nearly invisible seams of sliding panels that held a X-98 automated laser turret system every twenty feet of the hundred-foot hallway. He knew the security system well as a subsidiary company of Hydra Corporation was a security contractor for the Ministry of Defense. The turret was a deadly one and he made sure that he made no movement that suggested that he was a threat.
The door at the end of the hallway immediately came to life as the retina scanner lit up with a green light and the keypad prompted him to enter a pass code. After allowing his eyes to be scanned, he punched in the code that was given to him with his security packet given to him at his arrival. He was rewarded with a hiss of air as the door unlocked to allow access to the heart of the Ministry. On the other side of the door was a young Lieutenant in a sharply pressed service uniform. The tan uniform was the standard uniform for the Marines while on duty in non-combat situations. The man’s fresh haircut, young skin and baby blues showed that he was probably too young to have combat experience. The nametag on his breast said SETTI.
Thomas extended his hand with his best political smile, “Lieutenant Setti? Thomas Remington with Hydra.”
“The General is expecting you sir.” Setti fired off an official reply without taking the handshake. “If you would please follow me?”
“All right then.” Thomas said and lowered his hand without showing annoyance. He fell into step with the marine and made his way down a series of hallways until they reached a steel door with a nameplate that read Major General Sandova in gold on a black field. Lieutenant Setti gave a single knock on the door and waited for a gruff reply of enter before opening the door.
“Sir, Mister Thomas Remington is here to see you.” Setti stated as he stood in the doorway.
Major General Felix Sandova looked up from his computer console and nodded. “That will be all lieutenant.”
“Sir.” Setti replied and stepped out of the doorway so Thomas could walk inside the office.
In contrast to the military drab appearance of the hallways, the general’s office had a homely feel to it with wood panel walls and floor. Pictures and commendations adorned the walls of the office showing the general’s career through the Marine Corp. To the side of his real wood desk was a small wet bar holding various liquors and the scent of cigars hung in the air despite the air filters.
The general stood to his feet and extended his weathered hand as Thomas entered in the office. He noted that the general’s service uniform was in immaculate condition and pressed so fine he thought he might cut himself on the creases. Thomas took the general’s hand in a firm grasp and was somewhat surprised at the strong grip that was returned by a man that was pushing past sixty years of age.
“General, it is a pleasure to finally meet you in person.” Thomas said.
“I’m sure Mister Remington. Please, take a seat and tell me what the hell is so damn important that you had to fly all the way to Earth.”
Thomas took the offered seat, withdrew his holocomputer from his suit pocket, and set it down on the desk. “Please understand General that the information I’m about to tell you is of sensitive nature and couldn’t be risked being transmitted on aether space channels.”
Felix retook his seat with a sour look, “Are you doubting our secure channels?”
Thomas shook his head, “Not at all General, but you and I both known that Pegasus is very good at cracking transmissions over the aether.”
“This is Pegasus related I take it?” Felix with an arched eyebrow.
“To put it simply, we don’t know for sure. What we do know is that we have lost contact with Mendel Station. It is a research station orbiting Omega-692 in the Maxim Omega Sector.”
The mention of Mendel Station made the general sit up and take notice. “What do you mean you have lost contact?”
“Mendel is scheduled to make daily reports. They stopped transmitting two weeks ago. At first we thought it might have been a solar storm caused by the Ettamar supernova, so we sent out a ship to reestablish contact with the station and now we’ve lost contact with them too.”
General Felix frowned and drummed his fingers on the desk for a moment. “So you want me to send my boys out to take a look?”
“Yes General. The station and its research is rated Ultra Secret so I need your very best on this one. I can’t tell you the specifics of what is going on in the station. Your mission is simply to go in and extract the scientists.”
“All of my men are the best Mister Remington,” Felix snapped back automatically from the pride he had in his men. “And I’m not keen on all of this secrecy involving this research station of yours. What the hell would I be sending my men into?”
“I’m afraid you aren’t cleared for that information General. Officially the hostile force is Pegasus commandos.”
“That’s bullshit and you know it.”
Thomas gave an uncaring shrug of his shoulders. “That is your enemy General. You can say no now and I can get Senator Axe on the holo to give you the order to go or you can agree now and we can spare the Senator a headache of putting a General in line.”
Felix sat silently for a moment as he stared at the corporate man with anger-filled eyes. He then gave a heavy sigh and nodded, knowing that he was out maneuvered in this political backed fight. “Fine. Send me the specs and I will ship out my men to the station to rescue your little scientists.”
Thomas gave a plastic smile. “Wonderful! I’m glad to have you on board General. The specs are already loaded on the holocomputer.” he said stood up with an extended hand.
Felix merely looked at the hand, but did not take it. “You’re dismissed Mister. Have a nice day.”
Thomas lowered his hand with a nod. “General.” he said and walked out of the room.
“Corporate ass kisser.” Felix grumbled after the door shut. He severely disliked corporate wolves making demands of the military, but when you have a Senator in your pocket, especially one that was on the military oversight committee, you pretty much got whatever you wanted.
The General reached over, took hold of the holocomputer, fired it up, and began to study the mission that had been unceremoniously dumped in his lap. The first image on the computer was the Hydra Corporation logo followed by a quick blurb about the corporation advancements in genetic cures and manipulation. Felix was all too familiar with the corporation as they hand their fingers deep in the pockets of the defense budget, mostly with black op projects.
The screen prompted him for a retinal scan and pass code, which he leaned forward, and punched in his code onto the holoscreen and then opened his right eye wide for the computer to scan it. The holocomputer quickly processed the codes and then opened multiple files at once showing the Maxim Omega system, the sixth planet of the system Omega 692, as well as a Jotan-class space station with a crew manifest of 250 personnel.
Felix rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he examined the situation presented to him. The system was remote, far from the cold war battle lines with the Pegasus Republic and closer to the old demilitarized zone with the Talishar. Based on the remote location alone there shouldn’t be any aggressive forces making a play for the space station. There were no inhabited planets in the system and the system was far enough off the aether trading lanes that pirates would be unlikely. Something didn’t sit right with him about the station, but the lack of information provided by Mr. Remington did not give him enough to determine how dangerous the mission would be to go in and save a bunch of scientists from an unknown threat. He was right about one thing though, he did need his very best for this operation.
The general leaned over and hit the button on his holoreceiver. A female voice answered a moment later. “Yes General?”
“Matthews, get me Colonel Darson on the comm.” Felix asked.
“Yes sir.” Matthews replied.
Felix leaned back in his chair and waited for the comm to connect. A moment later, an audible click came over and a gruff voice came over. “Darson.”
“Jeff, it’s Felix. I’ve got an ugly one for you old friend.” Felix said.
“This wouldn’t be another off the books Pegasus op is it?” Darson asked.
“Not exactly. Are you familiar with Hydra?”
“The genetics corporation?”
“That’s the one,” Felix replied, “They have a station out in Maxim Omega that they have lost contact with. They are requesting that we send out a platoon to check out the station and evac if necessary.”
“Variables?” Darson asked.
“I’m afraid I don’t have much for you. Unknown belligerents, possibly Pegasus or pirates. Unknown projects onsite. I’ll upload the file to you to look over.” Felix replied.
“Knowing Hydra, it could be God knows what.”
“My thoughts exactly. I’m going to need your best on this one.” Felix said.
“The Hellcats just came off assignment from Epsilon IV. They are in route to Heimdall station right now. I’ll get Captain Herrera on the comm and ship them out.” Daron said.
“Thanks Jeff. I owe you one.”
“Damn right you do. I’ll keep you updated. Darson out.” he said before cutting off the holotransmission.