Chapter 14, this chapter is rather interesting from my point of view, as this is really only one quarter of the original chapter. What is now chapters 14-17 were originally all one chapter. I decided (as it was also far longer than other chapters) to cut it into multiple chapters. Hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget to goo check out my Patreon Page, and don’t forget to send me an e-mail or leave a comment to let me know what you think!
by RB May IV
2030 HOURS, 3039.0428 (IMPERIAL CALENDAR)
ICHLON SYSTEM, PLANET, ICHLON
BEACH, NEAR METORA CITY
John looked up. He saw Michally’s mouth hanging open, as well as a look of fear on both the Monarchs’ faces, the Imperial Emissary was still conversing on his PDA.
John tried to smile through his own fear. “just gives us fifteen hours more liberty than we had before.” He walked over and grabbed Micahlly’s hand. “Everything’s going to be okay.” The Armed Guards took up positions to watch the beach. The perimeter included the speeder so John tugged on Michally’s hand and they moved toward it. John didn’t know what to think really, before going to the Andromeda Galaxy he had been on the frontlines several times. This was different though, more like guerilla warfare than the straight forwardness of the frontlines. When you’re on the front you know who you are shooting at, during a guerilla battle you never know who the enemy is and who is civilian, and sometimes you can’t even differentiate between your team members and theirs.
John leaned up against the speeder and pulled Michally into his arms. Tears were slowly sliding down her soft velvet cheeks. John wiped them away and held her. She cried into his shoulder and he whispered in her ear everything was going to be okay. It had to be okay!
One of the guards came over and checked the speeder over to make sure there was nothing remotely bomb-like anywhere in the vicinity. Night was going to fall soon, John knew but he wasn’t worried. They were on a planet with a full garrison of Mobile Infantry Troops. Who would be stupid enough to pull an attack on such a planet? John watched as Bicht, the sun, slowly set over the water. Ichlon had turned into a beautiful planet during his yearlong siesta. He could hardly believe it. He was now very glad to be down here rather than up on the station. The station had its draws but they weren’t even comparable to those the planet had.
Michally squeezed him tighter than pulled back looking at him now. “Are you alright my love?” she asked in a whisper. John nodded but didn’t speak. He was trying to gain control of the anger was swelling up in him. Michally leaned against his chest again. This time she also watched the Bicht setting down into the sea. It was hard for John to get control over his anger because this was the second ship he had been on and had been destroyed.
He saw the same guard had checked the speeder for bombs setting up tents. Another one came over to John and Michally. He saluted and waited.
John had to move Michally to his side in order to return the salute. He wasn’t disappointed though because as soon as he had the soldier spoke, “Lance Corporal William H. McKenzie reporting on the tactical situation sir. Lieutenant the guards are going to take two man shifts for watch over night rotating every hour. Sir, we have been given orders by the local Federation Mobile Infantry Command Center we are to answer to you in this situation; not the Imperial Emissary.”
“Are you the highest ranking man in the six of you?” John asked knowing the answer.
The man shook his head. “Sgt. Maryweather,” he indicated the soldier with his hand, “is the highest ranking man. We are a special guard, sir, we don’t have a Commissioned Officer.”
“I understand,” John said. “Well then send him over here, and take his position on the line.” The man snapped to and ran over to the Sergeant. A few words later and there he was standing in front of John a sharp salute held up.
“Sir, Sgt. Maryweather reporting as ordered, sir,” he said just below a shout.
John returned the salute, “At ease Sergeant. Why were you so lazy you sent over LCorp. McKenzie to report in?” John’s voice had venom in it. The Sergeant, for his part, didn’t recoil or even look shocked.
“Sir, I deemed it a better option for myself to stay on the line and send the boy to report rather than the other way ’round.”
“Then I have another question for you, Sergeant. Are you telling me you no longer wish to be a sergeant in His Majesty’s Armed Forces?” John knew this drill. He had pulled the same mistake as a sergeant.
The man’s eyes grew a little wider at this question but he shook his head all the same. “No sir! is not what I’m telling you, sir.”
John nodded at this statement. “Then can you refresh my memory on reporting to an officer when he is put in charge?”
“The highest ranking soldier is to go report on the status of the men and the campaign.”
“And is LCorp. McKenzie the highest ranking soldier?” The Sergeant shook his head. “Don’t let it happen again.”
John turned to the hood of the speeder. “I am assuming by the fact you have the private over there,” John nodded toward a man, “setting up tents we are in fact spending the night here.”
“Who is going to be on first watch?” He turned back to the Sergeant at this point.
“Myself and Private Yeshua, sir.”
“Very well, dismissed,” John turned away again and the Sergeant took off at a trot.
John had pulled himself up for but he wasn’t sure if he could do it again. He would not be a very good officer and he knew it; yet another reason he should retire.
He put and arm around Michally. “Let’s go to bed early tonight, I’m tired, how ’bout you?” She nodded and they walked over to the tents.
The private came to attention. “Lt. Wong we have a tent set up for you and your wife. You will have the one on the left.” John bobbed his head in understanding and started his way over to it.
They had set up two bedrolls together on the floor in the center of the tent. John seeing the bed started to feel even more tired. He secured the flap and stripped to his skivvies. He was ready to crawl between the flaps of the sleeping bag when a voice drifted in from outside.
“SIR,” it shouted. John frantically pulled his pants back on and reopened the flap.
It was Private Yeshua. “Yes soldier?”
“Sir, you don’t have a weapon do you?” he asked.
John shook his head. “No I must admit they took away both my pistol and my rifle and I left my knife back on Iracus for a friend.” Only part of was true. The GD-1 rifle was partially disassembled in his duffle in the trunk of the speeder and his RF-6 Pistol was there with it. The true part was he had left his knife back on Iracus with the King Nar’ee’s brother Chief Jursta as a gift. So technically he had his weapons with him but he couldn’t tell anyone this.
The man pulled out his side arm and handed it to John. “Here you are, sir. You can take my pistol. You shouldn’t be without a weapon in such a time, sir.” The man saluted and turned to leave. John took the pistol and dropped the magazine and emptied the chamber. He put the bullet from the chamber back into the magazine and felt how smooth the gun was. This couldn’t be an RF-6 it didn’t look quite right. He put the magazine back into the gun and let the slide ram forward racking a bullet into the chamber. He uncocked it and turned on the safety. It was a few seconds after he was in bed beside Michally.
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