SEAL Command South
Port Austin, North American Union
August 1, 2228 - 9:00 AM
Colonel Adam Pierce had spent three months in Tasmania, spinning tales of buried gold that sent gullible locals to inland Australia. When none returned, he’d presented his superiors with a theory about Ramaxian settlement on the continent.
The higher-ups in Banff had disregarded his sacrificial lambs and recalled Adam for an undercover mission. His superiors wanted proof that two SEAL Command Generals, named Payne and Dixon, were incompetent. He got his proof after talking them into reviving his Australia mission. If Payne and Dixon had bothered to pull his service file, they would’ve found that their trusted agent didn’t exist before age twelve.
Adam Pierce spent his childhood with two ruthless parents who’d abused him under the guise of training. At their sadistic survivalist camp on Appalachia Island, Adam had mastered firearms and fighting disciplines until the night he killed them in their sleep.
Ten-year-old Adam had hiked cross country to Banff, where he got arrested after stealing fresh noodles hanging in a shop window. Local authorities placed him in the child-directive service, where schooling by kind adults helped him appear normal. At age seventeen, he’d enrolled in the Youth Corps, but in his third year of service, he’d taken a man’s life in a fight. He’d then faced death by hanging or enlistment in the SEAL program.
Five grueling years of SEAL training earned him a spot in the Security Intelligence Service, and that’s where he’d discovered the Ornithocheirus. There’d been worldwide sightings of the Ramaxian flier, but no one had ever gotten close enough to confirm if the metal eyeball with wings was actual.
Adam had played whore at Holy Cross hoping to gather more information, and that was when he’d witnessed a flier named Thokai. Fleet meat beach talk claimed Thokai the third designated flier serving Surface Operational, and it belonged to a Komadon named Fusada Kul. Unable to acquire photographic evidence, he faced reassignment to low-level surface reconnaissance.
It had taken him years to accrue enough field time for a transfer back to Ramaxian Operations, and that’s when he’d first heard of a silver-skinned farc with unusual powers. Undercover with seafarers, he’d arrived in Australia to uncover farcs operating in the interior; if he’d been allowed the time, he would’ve discovered their base.
After his NAUSIS reassignment, he’d convinced marks, Payne and Dixon, that finding the Rankin submarine would yield Ramaxian secrets. Back in Tasmania, Adam discovered his NAUSIS overseers had believed in his hidden base theory all along; they’d simply assigned another agent to it.
Adam felt no guilt in murdering the man.
“Corporal Pierce,” the pallid Payne crossed his knobby knees. “You stated in your report that you first saw the farc agent when she accosted you on the bridge?”
The darker and fatter Dixon interrupted.
“Was she in that uniform?”
“The suit isn’t a uniform, per se,” said Adam. “It operates more like a phasic energy that manifests itself as metallic fiber.”
“Phasic?” Payne asked, confused.
“Something new they’ve engineered,” Dixon assured him.
The smarmy pair reminded Adam of teenage girls.
“She activates it with her emotions,” he said. “It increases her strength.”
Dixon’s thick midlands drawl couldn’t mask his excitement.
“The farcs have super suits.”
“She can fly with it?” Payne asked.
“It’s not flying. It’s hovering. Energy shoots out the back of her boots,”
Adam kept calm as the two Generals discussed some ancient superhero that flew around in tights. “My report indicates an encounter with Magnetic Ion clusters.”
“Yes,” Dixon collected himself. “These floating detonators moved in a pattern against the wind?”
“Indicating a preset path, yes,” said Adam.
“Border guards?” Payne wondered.
“My thoughts exactly, General.”
“Well, we know what’s going on in Australia,” Dixon said, pulling papers from a pile under his chair. “The farcs are in space. That’s why we can’t reconnect with any of our pre-impact satellites.”
“Our eyes in the sky are gone, Dix,” Payne complained. “They’ve got a fucking laser gun up there that can wipe out an entire country.”
“Since this Slavic Empire thing,” said Dixon, “the public’s been pressuring Gideon to recall our new Ambassador.”
“Speaking of Ambassador’s,” Adam interrupted, still lost when they admitted to knowing what was happening in Australia. “The TCS Orcinus retrieved Ramaxia’s ambassador to Aotearoa just an hour ahead of the quake.”
Dixon frowned. “What’s a TCS?”
“Those farc subs that look like giant whales,” Payne said, humored.
Adam loathed Port Austin. Midlands-born sixty-somethings staffed the entire base, all from wealthy ranch families who considered them honorable for leaving their cushy lives to serve the Union.
“Colonel,” Payne returned to the matter at hand. “We detected no buildup of the Polar Navy on any fault lines.”
Dixon nodded. “This quake was natural.”
“Unless they’ve another way of enacting seismic upheaval,” said Adam.
“Thank you, Colonel,” Dixon cleared his throat. “The General and I will look into it.”
Adam felt like screaming. “Am I dismissed?”
“No, not yet.” Payne set his papers aside and rose from his chair. “You said in your report that you saw the farc agent on the bridge before the collapse?”
“Your report then states that when the bridge collapsed, you fell from it,” Payne began walking around Adam. “A day later, you were attacked on land by the same agent?”
“This agent followed you twelve hours,” Payne scratched behind his ear as Dixon’s lips curled. “Without your knowledge?”
“My report states that I fell from the bridge and swam to shore. I found a boat and made my way over the floods before encountering the Mag-Io’s that destroyed said boat.”
Adam fixed his eyes on the bridge of Dixon’s nose and imagined how easy it would crack with the proper punch.
“I joined up with a band of refugees on the beach, and together we sailed back to Tasmania. On higher ground, we faced the farc agent. I survived, but she pursued me and caught up—”
“-and you jumped off a cliff, we read the report,” Dixon interrupted.
“According to the flyover team that spotted you,” Payne said. “You were walking with this operative, not fleeing from her.”
“What’s the point of these questions?”
“Colonel,” Payne cleared his throat. “Your intake exam found Femarctic vaginal residue in your hair.”
Dixon stared at him as if reveling in some weird ‘gotcha’ moment. Suddenly, two uniformed men barged into the interview room. Commissioner John Perry entered as General Dixon jumped to his feet.
“What is this,” Payne yelled.
“By order of the President,” Perry declared. “We’re taking Colonel Pierce into custody.”
The two soldiers seized Adam by the arms.
Payne stepped into Perry. “He’s our soldier.”
“No, General, he’s our agent,” Perry slapped the man on the arm and winked. “We lent him to you, and now we’re taking him back.”
Every NAU state boasted a leader, and John Perry ruled the Texan Territories.
Perfumed men like Perry wore the educated bureaucrat’s uniform, a suit with a tie that advertised their talent for serving the needs of the few. Like him or not, the suntanned geriatric was Adam’s superior.
Quickly enough, he was deposited into the back of Perry’s refurbished sedan and remained silent as the base command offices disappeared in the back window. The car sped over the coastal highway, where the city of Austin’s boardwalk teemed with overly dressed women and their broods of requisitioned children.
Perry regarded him over the rim of his spectacles. “Remind me again why those boys had you in Australia?”
“We located the Rankin,” he said.
“You located the Rankin,” said Perry. “And talked those knuckleheads into sending you back there.”
Adam looked at him.
“Your monkeyshines paid off. We lost contact with Fichte,” Perry scratched his salt and pepper hair while speaking of the ginger-haired Captain they’d sent to Tasmania. “That dead thinker’s media-sphere, did you find it?”
“When I arrived at the intercept point, a farc agent appeared.”
Perry sat back and stared at him.
“I never got to the dive spot,” Adam explained. “The agent jumped me the moment I went in to retrieve my gear.”
“She knew you were coming,” said Perry. “She killed Fichte.”
Adam then recalled how hard Fichte fought for his life.
“I anticipated they’d sabotage the bridge within a year of its completion,” he reminded and then shrugged. “Fichte. Right time, wrong place.”
“That farc Komad got dispatched the minute Orta found out those clowns in SEAL ops discovered the wreckage,” Perry griped. “What did that bitch White have on them?”
“Whatever it was, Komad Kul destroyed it.”
“Did she take out the Māori’s bridge, too?” he asked.
“Kul sabotaged it with a corrosive substance. Made it weak as paper for when the receding waters gained momentum.” Adam kept his eyes forward. “I got clear before the wave washed what remained out to sea.”
“Fucking farcs.” Perry bit down on the pencil between his teeth. “You called it though, Pierce. You think like these farc bitches. That’s scary.”
“Third Office Jyr regulates tharspin licenses to limit infrastructure growth throughout the planet.” Adam met his gaze. “She’d never allow the United Tribes enough tharspin to build a bridge to Australia.”
“That base you thought was in Australia. We found it,” Perry tossed some long-range photographs onto Adam’s lap. “Fichte got in deep and took some pictures.”
A domed structure grew out of a frozen lake, and along its icy shore was a boxy red vessel with a glass globe attached to its rear. Within the globe burned a ruddy mix of kyrsol energy.
“No weapons on that ship,” said Perry, “only the words ‘Tharso’ on the side.”
“Tharso is the Ramaxi word for Mars,” he said.
“Are you serious?” Perry groaned. “They’ve got a gun up there, and they’re on Mars?”
“I suspect they’ve had colonies in orbit for years,” he gave the pictures back to Perry. “I planted the identifier cell in the silver-farc.”
Perry gawked. “She fucked you?”
“After the collapse of the bridge,” he nodded, “we holed up in a hotel,”
“Fail on one end, and success on another,” Perry said. “Did you review the findings?”
Adam remained methodical. “Her energy suit took damage from the mags we encountered. The cell measured the suit’s ignition sequence. Electrical activity in her brain ignites it, but she used an orgasm to jump-start it.”
“You think that’s how she runs it,” Perry asked. “Being turned on all the time.”
“No, Commissioner.” Adam swallowed his annoyance. “There’s more to it than that.”
“I couldn’t do your job, Pierce.” Perry became a blubbering adolescent. “Their pussies are higher up, aren’t they? They don’t have nipples on their tits, do they?”
“With all due respect, I’d rather not revisit it,” he said, lying; his arousal by the sight and smell of farc cunt disturbed him enough to consider psychotherapy.
“We’ll get you a rape shower,” Perry said, slapping his leg. “And a real woman.”
“A shower will suffice, sir,”
“What’s your next move, Colonel?”
“Tara Whitley. How is she?”
“The docs haven’t cleared her for a return,” said Perry.
“Using her brother for intel at Cross.” Adam glanced at Austin’s white sandy shoreline. “She should have expected him killed eventually.”
“Why the interest in Whitley?” Perry asked.
“Our silver-farc killed her brother,”
Perry gave a start. “The bitch that killed Whitley’s brother in Holy Cross is Sofita Kul?”
“Sofita Kul’s the Femitokon,”
“You sure about that?” Perry then sighed. “Your prior info suggested it was a farc named Fusada Kul.”
“I believe,” said Adam. “That Fusada and Sofita are the same femmar.”