"Major Aguilera, Commander Tarpaulin, here." The Captain said, "SS Nauru."
"What is the distance you will detonate the planet?" He asked, "And how many minutes after the EMP Pulse."
"I will detonate the EMP after the ships are clear of Aquarius airspace and headed to the drop ship, the Clouds." He replied, "Will detonate charges and destroy planet after the fleet is clear, fifteen mega meters from the planet."
"Once the planet goes into imploded black hole, it will draw in everything in sector. All enemy ships will be taken from the sector. Commander Miller, my pilot will be in charge of navigating and getting us back to the ship." Seth said, "The fleet should be clear before I detonate. Don't worry about the Clouds… We will be right behind the fleet. I will be handling the detonation myself."
"One man to detonate… It sounds dangerous." A voice said, as voices echoed across the channel.
"I didn't know that." Ihsss thought and had gasped quietly.
The reptilian Captain wondered what else he had planned for the drop and the mission. It was bad enough using an EMP, and having to restart on emergency restart. Time would be crucial to recover him then warp out after they detonated the planet. It would be close, no matter how it was played, or done. There was a possibility the Major and all hands could be sucked into the black hole and killed. She hoped he had timed it perfectly in order to beat the odds. Shaking her head, Ihsss peered at the screen as the young Major filled in the battle group the details to the drop and their status. She hardly heard the information, deep in thought to what was to come as they traversed time and space.
When the briefing ended, Ihsss got up from her chair and stepped into the lift, leaving the bridge. She was on her way to see the Major, to express her worry about the drop onto Aquarius. The lift hummed as it plummeted downward and then stopped on level six. The doors opened and she stepped off and turned the corner into the hallway. Ihsss stood outside his quarters and composed herself before she hit the buzzer on the door.
"Come!" A voice replied, and the doors opened allowing her to enter. Looking at the Major, he sat at his desk in front of his laptop as he worked on the daily paperwork associated with his command. He greeted her with a smile and a nod.
"Captain T'Larra, what can I do for you?" He asked and she grimaced, walking toward the table that was a makeshift desk.
"I'd like you to reassign someone else to detonate the planet." Ihsss told him, “It is not a good idea if you get yourself killed if this does not go right. Please assign one of your team to do it, as you are not expendable, even though you seem to think so."
"There is no one qualified who knows that pinch except the Lieutenant and I." Major Aguilera replied, "There is no time to fully train them on it and if I could, it would take a week. Don't worry, I am fully aware what will happen and have modified it to focus the pulse away from the task force. It will detonate and the pulse will go directly at Cybertron for maximum effect. I am not looking to get killed and know exactly what I am doing."
"Okay Major." Ihsss said, "After you detonate the pulse, you must be aboard in ten minutes. The fleet is going to withdraw, and we'll warp out as soon as you are aboard. Detonate the planet and we can get to our little rendezvous with fate, us going home."
"Count on it, I'll be there with bells on." Seth replied, "Best to setup a diversion too, so I will rig a little surprise for the Cybertron too."
"The Earth fleet is going to give them hell, as you earthlings like to put it. I don't think it is necessary to have any surprises, just get the… HELL, as you humans say… out of there." Ihsss said with a smile and the Major laughed, nodding twice.
"Excellent." He intoned, "I'll see you after the mission. Don't worry Captain T'Larra. I can definitely take care of myself. I am a tough bastard and very hard to kill. I have been shot at already and wounded in the line of duty and still managed to survive back when I served in Iraq during Desert Shield."
Ihsss grimaced before she nodded, but his comment surprised her too. She knew he had served in the last war Earth had endured. The reptilian Commander had requested information about him and what she had had read, not getting very far in her research, that he had served excellently.
Ihsss was not sure that he was he right man from Earth for the job (having her doubts because he was from a different time) and had made that point to General Singleton and his staff. She read the EDC provided documentation, after requesting it, and his service in the twentieth/twenty-first century. The Commander learned of his exploits which included stasis. She quickly learned that he was one hell of an officer, a maverick, taking well to the military. She got a clear picture of what kind of man he was, confirming it by meeting and getting to know him personally.
"He is just damn brave for taking part in the battles, when peace broke down in his century and later volunteering for something like stasis." Ihsss thought, "Maybe he is the right man for the job, he certainly gets results, even if they are unorthodox methods. She had also read about Commander Miller, and the others, the whole process of stasis having intrigued her.
"All right, Major." Ihsss replied after the long silence, "We'll be waiting at the rendezvous point, Beta three and ready to warp out after power up when you detonate the EMP Pulse. As you detonate the planet, we will warp immediately. You will have ten minutes to get to us. Ready your team, we drop in now six hours."
"We'll be ready Commander."
Major Aguilera turned back to his laptop and he quickly typed out his letter, one that would hopefully be sent to Emily who had stayed on Earth. It would be a final letter to his young wife whom he had married while she recovered in the hospital on Earth, sort of a last will in testament in which he gave specific instructions.
He paused as he read the screen, checking his words carefully to the very thoughts he was having. Seth told her that he loved her, and would see her soon.
It is on board the Clouds, as the time clicked down to four hours before attack time, the Major stood up and stretched, before gathering the equipment that he would be taking with him. He hefted the same sniper rifle as the as the Lieutenant, his aim to provide successful over watch for his team. A moment later, he walked toward and through the doors into the hallway, making his way quickly through the passages toward the hangar deck where his team now gathered.
As he walked through the corridor, he shouldered the rifle as he passed many of Ihsss' ragtag crew, made up of several different races through the galaxy, displaced by the Cybertron in the future. They stared at the human Major in astonishment, moving aside to let him pass. There was the sound of applause, as the Major passed, and he managed a grim smirk as he walked through the corridor. More applause quickly followed him, as walked onward down the corridor toward his destination.
When he reached the hatch to the Hangar Deck, he stepped through it and into the cavernous bay here his team is assembled, bearing the gear that they readied themselves. One landing craft was prepared for the drop, both teams loading the gear into it. A moment later, the intercom whistled.
"Captain to Hangar Deck." Ihsss said quickly, "Major Aguilera? Commander Miller?”
Nathaniel and Seth walked quickly to the wall, and to the intercom, where he hit the button "Major Miller, on-line. Aguilera on-line."
"I’m just going to wish you and your team good luck. We will see you in a few hours, with some great news."
"Thanks Captain." Nathaniel replied, smiling slightly.
“Yea, thanks.” Seth said, “We will see you at rendezvous point Baker, three one two, in two hours. Hangar, deck out."
Major Aguilera and Commander Miller walked toward the drop ship in which he and his team would be leaving within the hour. He assisted the loading of the craft, and the gear that would be used by his team when they reached Aquarius airspace. Especially for the one he would be piloting, bearing the EMP that would allow them a clear break, hopefully to return to the drop ship that would be taking his team clear of the danger zone.
"Okay team, let us saddle up and prepare to launch. We got a job to do." The Major ordered.
"Yeaaa!" The Marines replied fiercely, gathering their stuff and prepared for launch. They charged the transport and they took their seats. Behind them the Major and Lieutenant stood before each other and shook hands. Manual put his hand on top of theirs as the trio stood for a moment together. Commander Miller put his on top of theirs.
"I'll see you on the surface and good luck to us all." Perry said with a serious undertone.
"Damn straight, we're going to win." Kino said with a grin and Manual nodded. The Commander nodded.
"I only wish Emily was here."
"Don't get all distracted now, you'll see her again." Manual said sarcastically, "Damn officers and your women."
Both men regarded the dead-pan expression of the Sergeant Major and they laughed. "Ready…. HUT! HUT! Yo!!"
The men broke and they ran to their transports readying themselves for the battle to come. As they stepped onto the transports, the twelve Marines in each strapped themselves in, or stored their gear. Each Marine has a vest on and a helmet. Both are equipped with a camera, their armor worn over their uniform has sensors to allow monitoring of the vital functions. Lieutenant Kino Minazaki walked toward the station where he stared at multiple screens. One was vitals of each of the soldiers including his, and the other was web cam quality pictures from the camera in their helmets.
“Let’s see what we can see here.” Kino chortled, taking a seat in front of the console. He scanned the panel quickly, watching the monitors as the vitals were relayed. He checked each web cam. The Lieutenant frowned at the distorted view on the screen.
“Corporeal Hicks, check your cam for me.” Kino said sharply, “We’re not getting a clear picture.”
The youthful Corporeal reached up to tap the cam and the Lieutenant shook his head. He rammed his head into a nearby bulkhead next to his seat. The image cleared, and the Lieutenant gave him the thumbs up hand signal.
“We are going down into hell, boys and girls, ready to kick some robotic ass.” A voice said, “Time to get it on…” A young soldier walked the row of seats, helping his fellow Marines get strapped in and check the equipment. “It’s a one way ticket into the depths of hell, Straight down.”
“You got that right.” Another voice chimed in, and they reached out to high-five the Private who walked the row.
“Relax boy, it’s a bot hunt.” Manual said solemnly, “But it will be good to get some trigger time finally, and act like a Marine, rather than sitting on our sorry asses.”
“I am all for that Sergeant Major.” Another voice said. He turned to regard a youthful, female Hispanic Marine known as Rodriguez by her colleagues in the service.
“Let’s take our seats, and get this party started.” The Lieutenant declared, turning to the console, and taking up a headset.
“Test, Test.” He rapped and the others held up their hands with a ‘thumbs up sign.’
“We’re ready, Lieutenant.” Sergeant Major Perry told him.
On the second transport, at the same moment, Commander Miller sits at the controls of the second transport. He sits with his eyes closed, and as Major Aquilera sits watching the vitals of his team and the web cams from their helmets. He nodded in approval. Both teams were ready.
Nathaniel then turned his head to meet the gaze of middle-aged Gunnery Sergeant with short white colored hair, a fair complexion, a big nose, and brown eyes who stood next to him. It was his secondary Squad leader, Norman Jeevers. Strangely to the Commander, he looked like the TV personality from his century, Norman Fell, the actor. His face was almost identical to the actor of the past. He had stepped up beside him, reporting his status as he did his duty readying the team.
“We’re all set, Commander…” He reported with a snide tone, and a wrinkling of the nose, as he nodded to Nathaniel who sat in the chair. The young officer was flabbergasted, and it took him a moment to respond without chuckling under his breath.
“Very well, get strapped in Gunny, and prepare for lift off.” The Major instructed, nodding his head formally.
“Aye, sir.” The Gunnery Sergeant replied.
“This is Gray Wolf, Alpha Team, ready to depart.” The Major said into the headset.
“Desert Fox, Baker Team, is also ready to depart.” Lieutenant Minazaki reported.
“Stand by, delivery boys.” Ihsss said, sitting in her command chair. Turning it, she faced Hi’Mthsss, her daughter, who sat at the Communications Console.
“Inform the Earth Fleet we are ready.” Ihsss said, “Both teams are loaded and ready to go, “Notify Whirlwind that they should be on station for pick-up of Baker Team.”
“Aye, Captain I will tune to the combat channel as stated in briefing.” Hi’Mthsss said with a smile, “It will be my pleasure…”
“Hi’Mthsss, just…” Ihsss snapped at her and her daughter fell silent, curbing her levity for the situation.
“I am already on it, Captain.” She said tersely as she turned to her console, “This is Dark Angel. Delivery Boys are ready to depart. You may start your diversionary attack.” Hi said quickly into her headset, and there was a crackle.
“Golden Eagle to all stations, move ahead and start attacks. Launch all fighters, and give them hell boys and girls.”
Outside in space, the fleet of ships engines flared as they all moved slowly forward into range of Aquarius, meeting the fleet of Cybertron that hovered above the blue glow of the water planet. Laser beams sprouted in force at the Cybertron and a mushroom of explosions erupted from the hulls of several vessels. Other ships, in the first attack were obliterated, as Astro-fighters swarmed from the two carriers at the enemy. They attacked full force, blasting a hole through the smaller protective ships. On the other side, the ships of the Cybertron fired back as Robot fighters swarmed from the openings from their carrier. Astro fighters and robotic fighters swarmed in a vicious dogfight, many disappearing in silent flashes.
Chatter echoed over the speaker as the battle progressed. “… Fighter come on your six, I have him! Watch out for that Dreadnought… “
The Cloud’s weapon’s rumbled as they attacked the enemy too, destroying the smaller interceptor and escort ships which are on the outer ring of the battle group of the Cybertron.
“Wow, look at that, a hole opened up for the Clouds,” A voice cracked over the speaker.
Outside the ship, the Clouds’ it hovered in the stars of space, turning its main gun to target another Cybertron Destroyer and fire. The energy streaked toward it, striking its hull, causing two massive explosions there. Debris floated freely from the metallic hull, floating freely in space.
”Golden Eagle to Dark Angel, you are cleared disengage and approach the target.” A voice said.
“Captain, we are cleared to approach using that hole they opened up. They are urging us to make haste.” Hi’Mthsss reported, turning to flash a toothy grin on her reptilian features at her mother who sits in the Captain’s chair.
Ihsss sat on the bridge as the Clouds weapons rumbled as lasers erupted from the barrels, missiles from their launchers and torpedoes from their tubes. Many smaller ships continued to vanish in a flash of light, and pulse laser fire erupted taking down the fighters from the Cloud’s weapons as they approached an EDC Cruiser.
“Confirmed, there is a hole for us to enter, starboard ten degrees.” Felonious reported.
“Engage cloaking device, and head for the hole.” Ihsss ordered, “Ahead half speed… Secure weapons. One three five, mark five.”
“Inform the fleet, Dark Angel is moving in.” Ihsss said, standing up from the bridge chair, nodding to Veloxa who had hit the cloaking device. Outside, in the stars of space, the Clouds vanished and slowly moved forward under impulse engines only.
Hi’Mthsss, at the communications console, nodded and spoke rapidly over the combat channel, her voice slurred by the other voices and static.
“Set shields at maximum.” Ihsss ordered, “Keep clear of any dogfights and get through to Aquarius to release the delivery boys.”
“Sweet Krishna.” Ihsss muttered, “What a fricking harsh battle.”
“Roger that.” Veloxa said calmly, her hands dancing over the controls making the ship bank and dodge fighters that swarmed around them like angry hornets. Flames erupted nearby as another Astro-fighter vanished in a silent explosion. More Astro-fighters and enemy ships swarmed past them as the Clouds managed to slip through the hole opened by the fighters, the Battle Cruiser Class Starships, and Destroyers near them who rapidly fired at the enemy fleet.
“This is control.” Ihsss said, hitting the intercom switch, “Delivery boys, stand by for launch and good luck.”
Sitting on the transport, the Major smiled as he peered at the battle that he managed to tune in on the console view screen, along with the overlapping battle transmissions echoing on the speaker. He casually hit the intercom switch.
“Thanks Ihsss.” Major Aguilera said into the headset as he sat in the chair on the transport. “For everything…”
“I’ll see you all at the rendezvous point, and the others on Earth.” She beamed, “You have all my hopes, gentleman…”
“Open Airlock.” The Major ordered, “Team two, stand by to launch!”
The massive doors of the airlock opened, and a rapid roar of decompression from the hangar deck could be heard on the transports by the combat teams.
“Alright, punch it!” Major Miller ordered and the engines of the transports roared as they ignited, thrusting the ships forward from the airlock, rocketing them into the silent stars of space. Both transports banked and plummeted toward the atmosphere of Aquarius, the skin of the tank-like transports turning red as the friction rubbed against the ships.
“We have reached atmosphere, stay sharp, we have fighters coming in.” The voice of the Commander piloting the ship said, “We are banking to clear and going to make a sharp turn… Hang on!”
The transports both banked and disappeared further into the planet’s atmosphere. They evaded the robotic fighters that approached, who headed for the Astro-fighters who streaked in to attack them. Both ships banked a hard right, away from the action, as they plummeted further into the atmosphere of the legendary water planet toward the surface. Both transports opened up with laser fire, and missiles, taking out more fighters that swept in as they approached the water.
“We’re clear for the moment, Major.” The Commander reported, and there was a relieved sigh.
Below them, the green country side of the planet could be seen amidst the blue waters of Aquarius. The transports descended further into the atmosphere and the bright star that Aquarius now orbits shines dimly on the surface of the planet. The transports shifted left and right in the sky, as they dipped sharply downward toward the largest land mass. They stayed in the clouds before descending, their presence masked from the fighters that streaked past them.
“Send coded message to the Clouds, we have successfully penetrated the atmosphere, and we are proceeding toward the landing sight about fifteen nautical miles west of the Tritium Mine.” Major Aguilera ordered. Staff Sergeant Christopher Fallon nodded from his place sitting at his console. His hands moved across the console before him, and he spoke rapidly into the headset. After a moment, there were two beeps as they received a response from the Clouds. Major Aguilera nodded at the sound of the beeps.
“They acknowledged.” He said, “Drop us to one thousand meters to the surface of the planet.”
“Aye, sir.” The Commander Miller replied, moving the stick and the crafts dipped sharply toward the water. As the two transports moved across the blue sky toward the mine, they stayed low against the water to avoid any radar by the Cybertron and avoiding contact visually by the fighters that streaked across the sky above them.
“Activate ECM and jam the radar.” Seth instructed with a nod, and the co-pilot of the craft nodded as he hit the switch that fortunately for them, worked.
The Cybertron, sitting at their detection equipment on the landmass near the mine, peered in confusion at the static of the radar screen that was suddenly scrambled, masking the Troop Transport’s presence.
“Approach cautiously, and land at coordinates fifteen, by ten, by thirty-five, which is approximately ten miles from the mine, we should both run along the ground to approach target. Team two, break, and go to landing coordinates eighteen, by fifteen, by twenty-two. Run south toward the mine, we will run north after landing.”
Darting left and right, above the waves of the sea on Aquarius, the transports continued their approach. They ripped across the sky toward the shore, a few meters below them and banking slightly upward to avoid the mountains.
“Feet dry, Major.” The Commander reported.
“Are there any signs of surface units?” The Major asked, and the Radar operator shook his head when the young officer of the past glanced at him.
“You have your orders, Team Two. Set down at coordinates, and make you way south along the ground toward the mine. Avoid being in the air as much as possible and all air patrols.”
“Copy that.” Kino said, as the second transport peeled off to the right, and banked gracefully away to the left as it continued on its new course toward the other end of the land mass where the mineshaft was located.
“Approaching coordinates, Major, in fifteen minutes…” A voice said, and Seth looked up, nodding his head.
The ship moved along dodging and darting, as fighters approached. The transport’s weapons fired, quickly knocking them down until they were clear. The transport banked again.
“Cease fire.” He replied, “Come in nice, steady, and easy, to the landing coordinates.”
Outside, the transport’s retro-jets fired as it slowly down, sinking slowly to the ground. It landed with a thud and the tank-tracks began to turn as it began to slowly move on its projected course toward the many entrances of the Tritium Mine.
“Inform the Clouds we landed beautifully, and we are now merrily moving right along.” The Major ordered.
“Aye, Sir.” The radio operator replied.
“Team two has landed and is now under way toward the mine from the south, sir.” Private Lang said, “They have light resistance, but they are moving right along.”
“Very well,” the Major said, hitting the switches on the console, glancing at the radar screen and the operator who worked next to him at the console.
The transport moved slowly along the ground, moving across the green hills and through the open long brush of several fields and toward the forest that would provide them cover as they stealthily would approach the mine from the north.
“Sir, sensors indicate a patrol ahead, five mega meters away.” The radar operator reported.
“Hold up here for a moment, Commander Miller.” Major Aguilera ordered, “We have company. Remember we want to keep this covert.” The transport stopped with a sharp jolt and a youthful Lance Corporeal named John Baxter manned the radar console.
“Send coded message to Team two, encountered Cybertron positions, five miles from target. Dig in and hold transport position and go on foot to target.” The Major quickly added.
“Power off, power off.” Baxter urged quietly.
“Power is off.” Nathaniel said, as the engines both fell silent as a group of Cybertron drones ships and soldiers moved close by. Thankfully, they were ignored. The Major grimaced as he pointed to the door casually. It opened slowly, landing in a clearing of patchy dirt and green grass.
“We will go on foot from here.” Major Aguilera said, “We will probably run into more patrols as we close in from this distance. How far are we from the mine entrance?”
“We are approximately five, point three nautical miles from the entrance. We will setup cloaking system and camouflage netting.” Commander Miller replied.
“Dig in our position.” The Major ordered.
“Copy that.” John Baxter said, and on the console in front of him, he hit a switch.
Outside, the transport slowly dug in using the massive drills that appeared from the smooth skin of the ship and the weight of the transport sank into the smooth earth around them. The side doors opened, allowing the group to muster outside and work quickly to put up the netting and other concealment of the ship. Several soldiers dug foxholes and the Commander sat in the chair at the main console. Behind him, the Major appeared with his helmet, sporting a sniper rifle and pistol at his side.
“Let’s head out and see what we can see, the mine is not far from here.” He said and they moved out.
A few minutes later, crouching low on the nearest hill, the Major with the Sergeant and two men had field glasses raised as they peered into the distance. Lucky there were hills that surrounded them, making for better concealment of their position. A large number of Cybertron ships and personnel surrounded the mineshaft, waiting for any attacks upon their position.
Gunnery Sergeant Jeevers whistled sharply, as he peered through the field glasses.
“Looks like there is a lot of company down their, sir.”
“Yeah… No kidding, Gunny.” The Major replied, "A heap of serious trouble it looks like, that’s for sure.”
“So what’s the plan, sir?” the Gunnery Sergeant asked.
”Well, we can’t fight our way in force with that sheer number of enemy like that and we don’t have a lot of options here.” The Major said solemnly, “The mission still has to remain covert, and we just can’t wait and find another entry into the mine. We don’t have a lot of time to wait on action or the Cybertron will launch the offensive against Earth. We are going to have to attack now, I mean shoot crap and go with a covert mission with a small group of six to infiltrate the shaft or Earth is doomed.”
“Sounds like a bad position all around, sir.” Jeevers replied.
“And with those six, there will be no way for them to return to the surface of Aquarius from the mine to extract.” The officer grumbled, shaking his head, “Who is it that I order to die?”
Major Aguilera sat at moment and peered at the perimeter of the shaft. As he pondered, he stared at the Cybertron ships, and personnel who sat in the middle of it. Around them many ships took off and landed as they were being fueled with Tritium energy from the mine. The young officer grimaced as he glanced up at the afternoon sun sinking in the sky. He realized he had no choice in the matter and he made a snap decision. Six of the team had to die in a sacrifice play unless things drastically changed for the better.
“Alright, I guess that is the plan we’re going to go with Gunny.” The officer said, “I’ll select six for the infiltration with Kino right away during the strategy brief before we lose our chance to destroy Aquarius.”
“Right, sir.” Jeevers replied and he nodded.
“Let’s get the hell out of here. We can’t do much hanging around here.” Major Aguilera said, “Let’s get back to the transport and rally the men for a strategy brief.”
The sentry rustled a bush with her foot. Everyone froze. Looking through the sniper scope the Major peered at the clearing. A Cybertron had turned and was scanning the perimeter at the forest. The officer’s finger was on the trigger in a heartbeat as it walked toward the trees. Gunnery Sergeant peered through the field glasses.
“Jesus, here it comes.” The Sergeant breathed quietly as both watched the robotic soldier walk toward the trees. It stopped at the perimeter of the forest, and it stood there for a long moment, turning its head left and right, scanning the forest many times. The four Marines were on a hill, just adjacent to the clearing, and the sentry had knocked a rock loose that had rolled down the leaf covered floor for a short distance. After many minutes, the Cybertron robot finally walked away, back to the fueling station where a ship landed.
“We’re clear. Now, go quietly!” Major Aguilera whispered sternly, and motioned with his hand. One by one they retreated back to the transport.
Meanwhile, on board the SS Whirlwind, Nova sat at the radar console and peered at the screen as the ships continued to fight and many more Cybertron vessels approached and fighters.
“The Clouds have made contact, and has informed us that the delivery boys have been deployed and have landed. Both teams have dug in five miles from the mineshaft.” Homer announced, “They can’t approach any more, without risking detection. They need us at rendezvous point at time.”
“We’ll be there.” Yamazaki replied frostily as there was a cheer on the bridge of the Destroyer and on many other ships, as Homer relayed it to the flag ship. Especially on the Aircraft Carrier Essex and George Washington that sat in the middle of the protective ring of ships around it, many Dreadnoughts and Battle Cruisers with many escort ships around them.
“Sir, we are getting hammered pretty hard.” A voice said, “Should we pull her back a bit, and stay within the ring of ships?”
“Keep firing and maintain position.” Captain Yamazaki ordered, “Launch another barrage of rockets.”
From the destroyer’s second deck, from the rocket launcher, projectiles appeared and streaked from it. A few more explosions rocked a nearby Dreadnought that was taking a pounding by the Earth fleet but maintaining itself from its destruction. Behind them, Cybertron ships approached from the rear.
Sitting on the command deck aboard the carrier, Admiral Jesse Sampson stood next to the Captain’s chair. He stared at the view screen as lasers shot out from the ship’s guns and struck fighters that came toward them.
“We have Cybertron approaching from the rear quarter Admiral!” A voice said on the bridge of the Aircraft Carrier. Ships suddenly exploded and disappeared in a flash as ships appeared from warp. More Earth ships appeared from the nearby sector.
“Incoming message, sir from Golden Eagle…” Homer said, glancing at the console in surprise, “Task Force Six reporting their arrival and wondering if this is a private party, or anyone can join.” His tone indicated humor in it, relaying the message over the battle-com.
Another cheer erupted on the bridge of the Destroyer as Astro-fighters streaked from the two carriers of Task Force Six. More Cybertron ships showed explosions erupting from their hull like mushrooms, despite the shields they had up around their vessels. Both fleets continued to hammer each other.
“Incoming message.” Homer relayed, “A coded message from Rear Admiral Fox commanding Task Force Six. They are going to take up a flanking position on the other side of Aquarius and try to draw in the Cybertron in, to allow everyone to pull back out of the sector.”
“There are reinforcements on the Cybertron side coming up from the planet.” Nova reported, “Task Force Six is engaging.”
All hell began to break loose as the two sides clashed and Task Force Five moved in closer to the planet. Task Force Six hammered on the reinforcements that rose up from the planet. They disappeared in flashes of light and explosions hammered smaller ships as they two were destroyed. Debris from the battle floated through the stars of space.
Seated on the Destroyer, Nova peered at her screen as the ship’s weapons continued to rumble and fire at the enemy ships. Nova sat at the console on board the Whirlwind, as she monitored the battle on her scopes. She managed a grimace at the module, clicking the switches on her console as explosions rocked the Destroyer.
“Radar indicates there are still more ships approaching from the surface.” Nova declared grimly, “I wish the Marine group would hurry up.”
“Homer, get in touch with the landing group and get an update and position.” The Captain ordered, “And relay to the Battle Group.”
“The fleet is starting to move out, sir.” Homer announced, “All planes have been recalled, Captain.”
“They are finally getting out of here.” Captain Yamazaki said with a snarl, “About time. Our diversionary mission is complete… Let the Clouds handle the rest of their part of the mission.”
“Yes, sir.” A voice said, making both Wildstar’s grimace.
Outside in space, the fleet began to move out, and away from the Cybertron that was decimated about the water planet. Nova gritted her teeth as she watched her scopes.
“Helm, prepare to move out, ten space knots.” The Captain ordered, “Follow in with the Task Force and lead ship.”
“Aye, Captain.” Came the reply and Nova managed a smile at Derick, her husband, who had made the announcement. Derick nodded his head at her, a grim expression on his face.
Slowly but surely, the task forces moved out and continued firing at the Cybertron, as they moved back and away from the water planet. Their duty and diversion completed for the Clouds who now waited for the transports to return to their ship.
Meanwhile, the Marine forces on the planet readied themselves to move in toward the mineshaft. They had packs full of explosives, twelve five hundred pound charges between two groups, in which were radio controlled to detonate from a receiver. They just had to get there, slip in the mine and covertly drop the charges that would destroy the planet completely. It would be a daunting task as they scouted ahead to see a legion strength of Cybertron Robots guarding the shaft, all comers for assault.
First, both groups dug in their positions, in the north and south of the target, securing twenty-five feet around the carrier with removable mines and claymores that could easily be used against robotic targets.
As they worked, they kept a watch for any drones from the Cybertron who currently have landed on the planet and use it as a base. A few minutes later, they stood in a group as a holographic relay was setup on both sides, to relay the meeting between the groups for the strategy meeting on how to take the mineshaft.
“Alright, gather around. This is how the group is going to deploy.” The Major said, kneeling in a circle of his men, as he drew in the sand as they began a quick strategy brief.
“First of all, what we are up against is a large force guarding the main shaft on Aquarius and at the mine.” He said solemnly “Both teams are going to head to the main shaft and dig in on both sides taking up an observation position for over watch. Perry and I will set as a sniper over watch. A team of six will infiltrate the shaft to set the explosives and when complete return to the surface for extraction. We need to completely eliminate Aquarius or Earth is doomed as the Cybertron’s first target according to the Cloud’s Captain.”
The Major drew two lines out from the center circle to a couple of smaller circle.
“After we set the explosives, we are going to extract to five meters west and east to the transports.” The Major said, “I will trigger the pinch as soon as we are clear of the Aquarius atmosphere. By the time they know we are there, it will be too late and we will be clear of the ground forces. Team two will head for the Whirlwind that will be waiting one sector over. The Clouds and I will be right behind you. Corporeal Stewart and Private Fishburn, you both will assist Warrant Officers Jones and Commander Miller, for monitoring and radar during this phase of the mission.”
“Roger that.” Came the chorus and Seth nodded.
“Alright, form up and prepare to move out. Standard L-formation and silent, prepare your squads Jeevers and Perry.”
“Aye, sir.” The Sergeants replied with a smile and they motioned to the group. Major Aguilera nodded to his youthful second in command’s holographic image.
“When we get there, you are going to take Lange, Rodriguez, Stark, Bills, and Keller with you into the mine, Lieutenant.” The Major said, “Manual and I will be on over watch to eliminate any sentries and resistance to keep you from the mineshaft.”
“I know that, Major.” Kino replied with a nod, “Don’t worry I know how to lead my men into a hot zone.”
“Excellent.” Seth replied, nodding to the live and holographic members standing in the clearing. “All right let’s move out folks, and get this done. Our planet waits for our return.”
Quickly In an ‘L’ formation, they stealthily approached the mine shaft main entrance and peeked over a small hill at the even larger group of Cybertron that gathered around the entrance. There was a low murmur by the group. The Major unslung his sniper rifle and he peered through the scope, gathering more intelligence on the Cybertron who seemed oblivious to their presence at the moment. There was one that seemed to be gazing out toward them and the Major’s finger found the trigger. He prepared to take the Cybertron soldier out of the equation, if it sounded the alarm, making everyone wise to the Marine’s positions.
“We’re ready, Major.” Gunnery Sergeant Jeevers said with a snide tone, and the grizzled Major managed a nod.
“Hold fire, unless given orders.” He told the group, “No exceptions.”
A few minutes passed, Major Aguilera smiled as he saw a flash of light on the far side where Kino and his group now positioned themselves. Kino and his group peeked in from the other side of the main shaft, both groups taking cover and remaining hidden to the many scouts and ships that raced around the open perimeter of the ancient mineshaft. He peered at now four legions that guarded it, while many ships of every size are landing here to refuel.
“Good, Kino and his group are right across from us.”
The Major told his group and there were smiles on their faces.
Before them, the clearing is about fifty feet in diameter. It is littered with ancient buildings and towers around the holes in the ground and sloughs where the ore was dumped as it was processed by the smelters located in this clearing. The clearing itself has long since been abandoned by the ancient people who once lived on Aquarius. It is now used by the enemy of the future, who had come to change time and win a war they were losing in the future. The universe had banned together to fight against them, far into the future and succeeded to drive back the Cybertron.
Both groups looked on in silence, and held their positions, refraining from engaging this large body of the robotic enemy. The ships continued to fuel without intervention by the Marines and only a few sentries walked near those fueling stations.
“Kino to Team one. It looks like we have a lot more company out there skip. More than you initially saw.” Kino said over the channel, “I don’t think we will be able to sneak past that many Cybertron as you planned at the briefing. I can bet even if we were able, there might be so many Cybertron below ground it might be a hell of a fight to plant the explosives. We might be trapped and not be able to get the hell off this rock. So I think we need another plan.”
“I actually agree, Lieutenant. We’re still not going to engage that many enemy conscripts even in a diversionary tactic to allow us to get team of six through.” Seth said into the mic. “Our new plan is to wait a moment. I sent two men to scout nearby for an alternate entry point.”
“An alternate entry point?” The Lieutenant asked.
“Yes, I suggest you scan and do the same. There has to be an air vent for the inhabitance of this planet a long time ago who worked the mine. If we can’t take that many enemy we’ll have to use it as a different entry point.”
“Great idea, sir… I’m on it.” Kino motioned to his soldiers, making hand signs and they both nodded silently. As they stealthily moved through the undergrowth, the Lieutenant shook his head when they motioned to their rifles.
“Don’t return fire unless you are discovered, only eliminate the pursuant and don’t let the others know you are here. Get back here quickly, and leave no traces.” The Lieutenant said quietly.
“Right, sir.” The one soldier whispered, motioning to the young woman who was standing next to him. They disappeared into the brush.
Kino motioned to two others who took their places, providing cover watch to make sure they were not discovered.
After a few minutes, with team one, Seth turned as two soldiers slid back into the clearing. They both had a smile on their faces.
“You found something?” The Major asked, and they nodded. They stepped up toward the map that Seth held in his hand and they pointed at it.
“There is an airshaft three clicks southeast of here.” A private known as Lance stated, “Only three or four Cybertron guarding it.”
“Good, that’s our target and entry point.” Seth told the two scouts.
“Kino, we found an entry point three clicks southeast of our position.” Nathaniel whispered, “Any luck on your end?”
“Still waiting, major.” He replied, “Wait, standby-one.”
Kino’s two man recon team returned, smiling as they walked toward him and saluted.
“We found a shaft five clocks northwest from here, Lieutenant.” The one soldier said, “Cybertron resistance is only three or four guarding it.”
Kino nodded and turned to his map, and quickly used an instrument to calculate the distance. He nodded to the recon team.
“Great work.” He murmured, and he motioned toward the edge of the brush where the others stood watching.
“We found a similar entry Major, five clicks northwest.” The Lieutenant said, “I think it’s the airshaft you wanted us to look for.”
“Aye, that’s your target, Kino.” The Major replied.
“Well, compared to your entry point that is a longer distance from the main shaft where we place most of our explosives. Suggest when we make our way underground to the main shaft from point of entry, that we should secure and hold the main shaft.” Kino reported.
“We can’t do that, extract will have to be the way we came, and we launch from the air vents. There are too many Cybertron located at the main shaft, a legion could be placed underground and we could be cut off from escape. We’d be cut off and be destroyed with the planet.” The Major explained, “Besides, we don’t know how many Cybertron are underground. We need to get some reconnaissance before we move into the shafts but we don’t have the time. There are too many eddies and shafts of off the main one and little man power to cover it all.”
“That’s why I brought plenty of floaters.” Kino replied, “They are automated drones that have a camera and infrared for dark areas. We can set them and watch as they probe the shafts and get to the main shaft.”
“Good, first we should take our troops and move to the airshafts, take and hold before we start poking around underground.”
“Roger that.” Kino whispered, turning his head to a Sergeant who stepped back and crouched, signaling to be quiet.
A hum echoed the clearing as a drone came close to their position, hovering for a moment then moving back to the center of the clearing. Kino let out a silent breath as did everyone present.
“I think they’re getting wise, skipper.” Kino said into the mic, “We just had a drone investigate and almost compromise our position.”
“Move everyone to the air shaft, no traces and do it quietly. Signal when you are in position.”
“Aye, Major. You got it.” Kino replied, “Sergeant Major rally your men, and prepare to move out, L-formation, no traces.”
“You got it Lieutenant.” Sergeant Perry replied with a smile and motioned to the men.
“Alright, I will contact you in a half-hour.” The Major said, “When we make contact, use sub frequency and scrambled.”
“Right, contact in a half hour,” Kino replied, “Squad Baker out.”
“Squad, form up into L-formation, no traces.” Major Aguilera told the men and the group all gathered up their gear. They moved out in the proper formation to the southeast.
As they moved swiftly through the forest, along a makeshift trail, they heard a hum that seemed to be following them. Looking up, the group saw a Cybertron drone blinking as it was overhead. The hum of the suspensor fields, holding it up in the air, crackled around them. It is the size of a basketball with many knobs and lights covering it.
Major Aguilera put up his hand, and then motioned to a nearby Corporeal who took up point, then to the drone. He made a throat cutting gesture. A shot rang out, a flash, sparks and a crash. The smoldering drone unit landed in the canopy, bouncing once, then landed onto the ground. It was buried quickly, to conceal the smoke.
“Did anyone notice?” Sergeant Jeevers whispered, and there was a shake of the head by each member.
“Keep watch, we are only two clicks from the shaft entry.” The Sergeant whispered, “It seems we are clear, Major.”
“Let’s move in to the shaft perimeter and take out all the robots at once.” The Major told them, “It ensures that none of them can call for assistance.”
“Good idea.” Jeevers said, and he passed it on to Sergeant Major Perry via text, who said they would try the same tactic.
The group moved toward the shaft, two clicks from their position, and each soldier took aim at a robotic soldier who stood in the open. There were only a half dozen or less in the clearing around the airshaft the next time they checked the status of the clearing. The Cybertron, in their arrogance, must have thought no one would detect such an opening to use it for a military operation. Major Aguilera gritted his teeth, as he peered through the sniper scope.
“Steady.” He told them, “Ready, and now.”
Shots rang out, all the robotic enemy fell at once. With smiles on their faces, the Marines moved in and they took up defensive posture around the opening. They began booby-trapping the perimeter and waiting for an ambush as they prepared to for the next phase of the operation.
The shaft was located in a simple five foot diameter clearing with a single building in the middle of the forest. The ancient building was designed as a trapezoid, and colored a strange deep purple color. The Major frowned in silence as he approached it, motioning for his men to take up positions around the building. He moved to the building and he motioned to the control, a handprint and a keypad with a small screen above it.
“Nice work, we have the shaft.” The Major complimented, “Stand by for phase two and for underground operations.”
“Aye.” A chorus of voice replied.
“Lang how’s that door coming?” The Major asked, watching as the enlisted technician worked on the door, pulling off the panel and flipping wires on the back side of the panel.
“I think I got it.” Lang reported, as he had the panel open and strange alien-like wires flashed as they were connected to the keypad and console on the back side of it. A moment later, the hatch opened.
“Ready the floaters.” Sergeant Jeevers ordered, and they moved to the bag. He and his assistant prepared six floater units, programmed with an interior map of the mine, taken from a spectra-analyzer from the fleet in space. They released two and they disappeared into the gloom of the vertical airshaft.