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A note from Write-Anon

Due to formatting being a bitch and not wanting to work, this chapter, and subsequent ones, may have a different font and size. I'm sorry and trust me, I hate this as much as you do.

 

 

An uneventful three weeks had gone by since they boarded the ship. It was the same, old same old; Robertson messed up some electronics, Nayan drank herself into a week-long nap, Kenley flirted with just about anything that looked female, someone found Mute sleeping in the vents, and Keat stole drugs from the med-bay.

Kurt on the other hand, spent the trip getting to know the crew aboard the research ship Covet, specifically the captain and his sister, Omar and Ilhan respectively. The two were quite the pair, with Omar organizing everything and Ilhan being the head researcher.

The Covet was a small ship, holding about forty personnel plus drones and two drop-ships. The most surprising fact about the ship was the fact that it held armaments. Eight two hundred millimeter guns dotted the hull, ready to engage any target that was designated. A two-meter cannon was on the underbelly of the ship, most likely as a sort of siege equipment. Why this was on a research ship, Kurt didn't know.

As soon as they reached the planet, the mercenaries were ushered into a drop-ship. A second drop-ship contained twelve MIS and two armed scout jeeps.

 


 

It was an odd thing, looking at a planet from orbit. You get a sense of just how insignificant you are. Trees are much taller than humans but even they can't be seen from such a distance, even the mountains have a difficult time making themselves known. And to think that Kurt was about to change the planet's history forever, it only the sense of wonder he felt even greater.

He never did get used to the sight of dropping onto a planet. The hum of the transport ship made for a soothing atmosphere, as the planet's color palette contrasted with the start-dotted black of space. But Kurt didn't feel the same awe here, he couldn't shake the feeling of nervousness.

He was an expert in asymmetrical warfare, he had fought against technically superior forces with outdated equipment and untrained civilians. But that didn't stop the lack of intel from scaring him. He was walking through a door, with no knowledge about the other side, and was expected to make it all work out.

Perhaps it was his humanity rearing its head, but he didn't care about his humanity's head, he wanted to keep his own.

"Hey... hey!" The pilot yelled, pulling Kurt from his thoughts. "Don't think too hard, now. Don't want you to fry your brain before we land." The pilot's face was obscured by his flight helmet, but he sounded young. Perhaps around Mute's age.

"Right... So, how are we doing this?" Kurt asked. He was wearing his standard combat attire; khakis with a white polo shirt. A tan plate carrier held front and back plates, as well as several magazine pouches attached to the front. Holstered at his thigh was a 357 revolver, its scratched barrel was free of rust but still showed experience and age.

His rifle was similarly worn. It had been made of mismatched parts scavenged from other weapons. It was like a planet in the way of color scheme, greens, tans, and blacks made up the various components. But despite its strange appearance, the gun worked perfectly. The weapon shot, ejected, and chambered the 7.62×54R rounds with ease.

He carried a third gun, a 357 snub nose as an ankle gun. While it didn't have range, it did have maneuverability. Revolvers tend to be popular ankle gun choices because they don't go out of battery when pressed against something. You can point-blank a revolver, but not a pistol.

"We go down, make sure it's safe, and help the scientists get setup." The pilot said as he fiddled with his helmet. He wore gray coveralls with various pieces of flight equipment dotting his chest. The young man read over the various displays on the console in front of him, making sure everything was in order and that no oddities stuck out.

Kurt hummed in response and pulled down a wall seat, sitting himself to the back right of the pilot. He pulled the safety straps down and around him as the pilot spoke to over the radio. "Copy that control, Short-Bus one ready to drop on your mark." The pilot's call-sign caught Kurt's attention.

"Short-Bus? Really?" Kurt groaned. He wasn't too keen on being special cargo.

"Hey, you're the one that agreed to this plan. If you keep making decisions like these, you may just get your own wrangler." The pilot laughed at his own joke, he self-fived and grabbed onto a handle above him.

Kurt sighed and pulled a cigar from one of his plate pouches and- "DROP!" The pilot shouted as he pulled the handle. The ship rocketed downwards, causing Kurt to be jerked down in his seat and the cigar to fly across the cockpit.

Kurt let out a shout of despair as he attempted to reach for the relaxation device. His hand fell just short of it and it fell to the far side of the cockpit. He let out a sigh of despair and leaned back, resting his eyes and daydreaming about smoking.

 


 

"You sure those were painkillers? I ain't feeling right." Nayan said. She shook in her seat and constantly adjusted herself into a new position.

Her MG's belt rattled as the drop-ship shuttered. The attached ammunition box was full to the brim of 9×57 rounds, carrying a total of two hundred. It had a distinct profile, with a grip that extended into a tripod at the front. A holographic sight with an added magnifier sat on the Picatinny rails on top of the gun. The gun lay under her seat, propped up by the tripod and pistol grip.

By normal person standards, Nayan was a superhuman. She wielded a fifteen-pound Karl Gustaf recoilless rifle along with a twenty-five-pound machine gun. She carried twenty-eight pounds of 9×57 and two four-pound shells, with an extra in the chamber. It came up to a total of eighty pounds of weapons and ammunition, not accounting for food, water, or anything else she might have.

She wore blue and white telnyashka and baggy woodland camouflage pants. The telnyashka showed off her well-defined muscles gained during her time as a powerlifter. She had a bag slung to her left to carry ammunition boxes. A backpack was slung on her back, it carried her 84×246mm R shells.

"It's just a few pills of Methylphenidate. You'll live." Keat fiddled with his SMG. It was a small gun designed for close quarters and fast takedowns on unarmored targets. It took a 45ACP cartridge and the was magazine loaded through the grip. It was worn and rusty, looking like it hadn't been cleaned since production, yet it functioned fine. Occasionally it jammed or the magazine got stuck, but all guns did that, and this one didn't do it any more frequently than the others.

The gun's iron sights were chipped. His clothing was in a similar state of disrepair. A frayed white lab coat covered burnt and torn aqua blue scrubs. A black chest rig hung over his scrubs, it held ammunition, medical supplies, and had a holster for his sidearm. Keat's facial hair was best described as half-shaven. It was as if he tried to cut it with a knife but quit halfway through. His hair was black and tied in a ponytail, a sharp contrast to the rest of his look.

Keat used to be a doctor. He was shipped off to some war-torn planet to give aid to civilians and assist in evacuation, but it all came tumbling down on him. His convoy was ambushed and he was forced to make a choice; fight for his life or hide and hope he wasn't found.

Keat chose the former. After his first kill, he didn't know if it was adrenaline or blood lust that kept him going. After the seventh, he had found his calling. He stood in the middle of a field, drenched in blood with a madman's grin, quit his job. He joined the military but was quickly discharged after his intent was discovered. After that, he joined with Gambit.


"I wouldn't really call that living," Nayan said as she gestured to Robertson. The man was unconscious and drooling, held up only by his seat strap. He looked like a common infantryman. Robertson clutched a rifle without any attachments or special parts. He wore common OCP pattern fatigues with a plate carrier and a similarly patterned ballistic helmet.

He used a movie rifle, it was a gun that outlived its usefulness and ended up as a prop. It had featured in several prominent movies Robertson enjoyed working on. It was a memory from a past life, one that he enjoyed. He no longer had use for it as a prop, it was a real weapon now, and he, a soldier.


Mute watched the conversation beside him. His shemagh wrapped head hid his emotion and shades hid his stare. He stuck a hand underneath the black cloth and rubbed his fingers neck. The once smooth skin had been replaced by rough scars, courtesy of a knife.

He was young, unnaturally young for a job like this. Most mercenaries were middle age, having been kicked out of the military or law enforcement and unable to rejoin, they turned to organizations like Gambit. The younger members typically didn't last long mainly due to harassment from their elders, but occasionally lack of experience in wartime.

Mute could be described as 'brutally efficient' having been a former child soldier. He had been involved in a civil war on his home planet, serving on a mortar team and then as a sniper. But during one odd scouting mission, he had been shot, captured, and taken for questioning.

In the old days of war, torture inflicted physical pain. Bones were broken, fingers were clipped off, and genitalia was mutilated. Due to the nature of the internet, information spread quickly. Cat pictures were uploaded to social media and war footage was uploaded to gore and shock sites. Torture techniques in use by governments and militaries quickly became widespread information, and just about anyone could read about them due to online wikipedias.

Torture in this day and age was less about inflicting pain of the body but beating the mind. People were stripped of their senses and had water dripped on them irregularly. They were locked in a box and forced to listen to the crying of children for days on end. Individuality and personal freedom were broken down and captives were forced to rely on their captors through forced helplessness.

Mute was an expert in these practices because he experienced them first hand. He was broken down into true humanity. He was forged into a cloudy mirror of ancient humans and was kept as a pet by his betters. Humans, when broken down into the bare minimum of themselves want three things; survival, domination, and control.

Mute gained the first two when he escaped captivity and hunted down his torturers. He made sure they remembered his face, made sure it was the last thing they saw. The third he gained when peering through the scope of his rifle, deciding the fate of the man on the other side. When he looked through that glass, he knew the two options in front of him.

His clothing, his rifle, and his chest rig were all black. He was the embodiment of darkness, he had no defining features other than the fear hear cast out. Humanities' most glaring fear was that of the unknown and he exploited it.

"Anything you want to say?" Kenley asked as he followed Mute's stare. His head shook in response. Kenley went back to staring at his foot as it tapped the ground. He was anxious to do something, anything so long as it made him move. He despised sitting still, it was wasted time and energy to him. 'Why do nothing when you could do something?' He often thought.

Kenley was a materialistic man, always wanting more. He wanted fame, he wanted power, he wanted everything the world could offer him. Being someone who lived on bread crusts and slept in alleyways only exacerbated this want. He grew up with nothing, found something, and wanted more.

His rifle was new and expensive, it featured an ammunition counter, automatic magazine ejection, and an automatic bolt lock. He rarely used these features and even when he did, he was still slow and inefficient. He had attached a laser flashlight combo to the side rail and an expensive-looking sight on the top rail. It could toggle between two and four times magnification.
Kenley wore an expensive-looking black suit and tie. He kept a chest rig underneath the jacket. When asked about his choice of protection, he said that it got in the way of his style. His black suit and red tie combined with greased back blonde hair gave him the air of a professional killer, and he knew this. The man flaunted it wherever he went for bedding women and intimidating others for favors.

 


 

"Ho-ly shit." Kurt stared in awe at the sight in front of him. Several shades up blue light hammered against the cockpit's glass as it descended. It was a light show the likes of which he had never seen before. The light crackled against the drop-ship's outer skin before it was stopped by the internal Faraday Cage.

"Any idea what that is?" He said, enamored by the display.

"The hell are you asking me for? I'm just the pilot." The pilot watched the altimeter intently, he pushed and pulled the flight stick to reach a perfect angle of descent.

All of a sudden the light stopped and the clouds broke away, they had cleared the upper atmosphere and were approaching the planet's surface.

The pilot whistled in excitement. "Now that's a view!" The pair of men gazed at the scene before them. Soft white clouds dotted the sky below them, vast green plains and beautiful snow-capped mountains covered the ground. They sat there for a minute, taking in the sight as their craft followed a controlled descent down.

"Short-Bus two... you seeing this?" The pilot thumbed his helmet and transmitting his words. "Yeah... copy that, out."

"So, you're the military expert here. Where we landing?" The pilot looked back at Kurt.

Kurt stood from his chair and leaned over the control panel, gazing out into the vast world. "You see that plain? There's a river to the- Are those buildings? Shit! Zoom in on 'em or something, hurry!"

"I'm hurryin', I'm hurryin', give a man some time." The pilot was frantically thumbing at his helmet. "Looks like... Christ..." He trails off.

"Spit it out, c'mon!" Kurt shouted, his excitement reaching a boiling point.

"WE GOT FUCKING ALIENS BABY!" The pilot screamed as he jumped from his seat. "I TOLD YOU POPS, I TOLD YOUR FAT-ASS THEY WERE REAL! NOW LOOK AT ME!"

"Alright calm down, calm down. We need to stay calm. Focus on the mission." Kurt stated, the words did little to soothe his own nerves but managed to calm the young pilot.

"Everything okay in here?" Nayan leaned out of the open door frame.

"Yeah-yeah-yeah, just go sit down." Kurt sputtered.

Nayan raised an eyebrow and closed the sliding door, leaving with a quizzical expression on her face.

"Alright land in that plains area by the river. It borders a mountain and a forest, you can't miss it." Kurt instructed the pilot. He made for the door but stopped. "Is the air down there breathable?"

The pilot shrugged.

Kurt sighed and grabbed an oxygen mask.

 

2,643 words 15,107 characters (roughly)

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A note from Write-Anon

Coming from Wattpad, I didn't expect this much support. I didn't expect more than 10 views in the first month, I got thirty by the second day. I just want to say thank you to everyone viewing this, getting any attention, let alone this much, makes an amateur writer like me feel very special.

Thank you,

Write-Anon


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