A solider’s tale

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He leant against the wall and looked up at the slate-gray sky, another 4 hours and he would be picked up and taken back to base. He clutched his pulse rifle to his chest and willed the time to hurry by.

He was sure standing guard over a warehouse was not what his great-grandfather has signed up for 110 years ago. The scientists after decades of searching had found a signal from what could only be intelligent life in the same galaxy but very far away. The world united to build a mega ship crewed by 2000 which would fly across 100.5 light years to investigate the source of that strange signal. The ship was powered by … well the solider didn’t actually know what it was powered by, the corps called it the BFE, a polite abbreviation for “Big Fucking Engine” … which pushed the mighty ship and its crew at 99.4% of the speed of light. The scientists had no problem building a BFE but somehow they never found the time to make a suspended animation system so the crew that had originally volunteered did so in the knowledge that it would be their great grandchildren that would complete the mission.

The soldier’s great-grandfather had been a grunt and this tradition has continued all the way up to him. From his birth in the 87th year of the flight it was assumed he would follow in the family tradition. He longed to be something different but on a ship where you were either a military grunt or a science geek, his life choices were somewhat limited. Not smart enough enough to be a Sci and to smart to be the cannon fodder he was. Life really sucked sometimes!

“Fuck Him” the solider cursed his great-granddaddy for the millionth time for being such a dick!. It really took a special kind of dick to be suckered by the recruiting officer into volunteering for this mission.

The first splash of rain bounced off his respirator. “Fuck fuck fucking bolloxing fuck” he thought. The atmosphere here was not quite the same as he had been used to on the ship. Not enough something and too much something else was bad for you he had been told. Never the less he had experimented on his first sortie.

“Well”, he reasoned at the time, “you can’t travel the whole way along one of the arms of the galaxy and not have a sniff, can you?”

It smelt alien, sort of thicker than the ship’s air and it left a metallic taste in his mouth. having said that it wasn’t exciting enough to be worth the 2 weeks in the corps hospital wing and the 3 weeks of punishment duty he had to endure for doing it. Punishment that made him miss all the fun.

When they arrived the locals hadn’t reacted well. The aliens were really rather primitive or so he had been told by a rather nice scientist whose underwear he was longing to explore. When the ship settled into orbit it took only hours for the first missiles to be launched. It really had been pathetic! You see,when you design a ship to travel so far and so fast you had to have really really shit hot shielding or the first comet you come across would leave you FUBARed. The alien missiles where primitive, powerful but primitive and basically bounced off the shielding. Their blast partially reflected partially absorbed by the ship. Mind you it did give the crew a fantastic light show and he got to hold the nice wee scientist’s hand!

There had bee a pause as the aliens on the planet considered what to do next. The crew of the ship waited, not out of fear , but because the alloy that formed the skin of the ship had to be dewidgetised, or something that sounded like that, from flight mode. Once this was complete the shuttles and fighters could be launched. Since the ship was close on 50 miles long that is one hell of alot of skin to dewidgetise, at least it hadn’t been his job! The wait was boring for the corps but had been busy busy bust on the science decks as the ship’s AI compiled the translator code that was downloaded into each eBattleSuit and iSciSuit helmet so they could understand the locals.

Once they landed and made official contact. The corps was tasked with building and protecting a base camp that had been set up below the ship which hung like a dark green moon in a low geo-stationary orbit. It was around this time the solider had taken his first sniff of and alien world.

Tension between the crew and the aliens increased when several of the local religious leaders who had suddenly realised that their prophets, messiahs and holy writings had said nothing about 50 mile long space ships appearing in the sky resorted to what religious leaders do best. They claimed the whole thing to be demoniacally supernatural and declared holy war on the ship and it’s crew. This was bad enough but then one of the larger of the alien armies joined in and it all got a bit rough!. Whilst the solider polished the heads on the ship, the rest of the corps had left him to it and gone and kicked some alien butt.

By the time he had been released it was all over, the corps had turned the ships BFGs (the G is for GUN) on some of the larger cities. Within a week resistance had all but disappeared. Slowly very very slowly the aliens were coming to terms with the new status quo and their place within it.

The soldier checked his watch, three and a half hours to go! Bugger he needed a pee, something to eat and a chance, just the smallest chance, with that nice scientist from deck 4. He switched off his suit’s personal force field and turned to pee against the wall. Some of his corps mates had joked about making out with one of the locals. The soldier shuddered at the thought
they weren’t that different from the crew, two genders and vaguely similar organs. He closed his eyes is momentary disgust and thought “… FUCK! Their knees flex back to front and their eyes! If and it is a really big if ever shag one it would def have to a three bagger. One for my head one for her head and a spare for me in case her’s fell off”

His eyes shot open before he even realised the pain in his side. White hot pain erupted, filling his world. His hand sought the source … and questing fingers found the sticky wetness that had nothing to do with the slowly falling rain. He chanced a look down and noted with horror that it was blood, his blood, from a knife wound just under his ribs. Oh god there was
way to much blood and it was seeping through his fingers way to quickly.

His strength waned with every heartbeat. He sank to his knees, “Fuck it” he though” Not here, please no, not here…..” Suddenly cold and useless fingers lost their grip and his pulse rife clattered to the ground. He reached for it but his vision blurred and his balance deserted him leaving him prone on the ground his legs drawn up into the foetal position.

As death approached his eyes opened for one last time and he was looking into the face of an alien man holding a dripping knife the man’s face was contorted with rage .. but his eyes like so many of his species were blue … oh so very very blue! Bile rose in the soldier’s throat. Consciousness was slipping away fast. As he closed his eyes the translator unit in his helmet crackled into life, the last thing he heard was the high pitched voice of the alien translated perfectly by the AI ….

“…and you can fuck outa here you bollix. That’s one less of you pale-big-eyed-gray fuckers I have to worry about. Your lot will hafta learn that Belfast is only safe for humans! NO SURRENDER!”

Finis

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