(Part 7) M31: First Blood
Posted By: Greg and Wes Foutch<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 28 July 2003, 5:52 PM
Private First Class Jake Dade awoke to the all too familiar sound of artillery fire. An explosion shook the Earth beneath him, making his headache even worse. Stationed in the southern section of the Russian area, he hadn't slept for days. Oh sure, a few hours here and there, but it was not nearly enough for any man. Russian rebels, he thought. When are they gonna learn? He rolled over and peeked out the top of his foxhole. He raised his M-16 and fired off a few rounds into enemy lines. He saw one soldier go down, another hit the deck.
"Private!" a commanding voice said. Jake ran to the radio.
"Yes, sir?" he said.
"We're sending in reinforcements. The commanding officer will give you your orders."
"Sir, yes sir!" he said and fired off a few more rounds into the enemy mass. He was rewarded with a high-pitched scream, and a grenade sailing in above him. He hit the ground as the deafening explosion rocked his little hole. Jake was covered with dirt and debris from the blast. That one must have been close, he thought. He retaliated with a grenade of his own. He saw the flash and two soldiers go flying through the air.
The faint sound of a motor was approaching from the distance. Finally, the Private thought, some reinforcements. A large T1-30 armored tank rolled into his view and fired a 90 mm high velocity explosive round into the mass of Russian soldiers. After two similar shots, not much was left of the small group. The remaining fled from the scene, losing all dignity in their hasty escape.
"Sir! Colonel!" Jake was surprised that he had come.
"You are to report back to base camp. A helicopter is
waiting for you there," the Colonel reported.
"Sir, yes sir!" he shouted. "And... thank you, sir!"
"Just get in the vehicle, Private."
"Sir, yes sir!" Jake said and got into the camouflaged Hummer. The driver hit the ignition switch and the vehicle roared to life. He cranked the wheel and put the accelerator to the floor. The monster took off, the gigantic tires spitting dirt behind it.
Arriving at base, Jake climbed out of the military vehicle. He briskly walked to the awaiting chopper. "You will be given mission status on board, Private," the pilot said as he packed the Huey helicopter with emergency supplies.
"Great," Jake replied and climbed in. Then, "General! What a surprise...Sir," he added. For the General was sitting in the passenger seat, seemingly waiting.
"Private First Class Jake Dade. You have been called to go on a secret mission, planned by the CIA and the U.S. government. All that is said in this chopper is to remain in this chopper, until you depart on the secret mission, or are talking with this list of authorized personal." He handed Jake a list. "If you do not want to go on the mission, say so now, and you can return to your post. If so, this chopper will be airborne, heading to Moscow where a transport has been arranged. Yes or no; are you in?"
"Sir, definitely. I'll go, sir!"
"Good." He leaned to the pilot. "Let's get her airborne!" The Huey began it ascent and was heading to Moscow. "This mission is the most secret ever attempted. Nothing of this status has ever been tried, never even been planned. But you have been chosen to embark on the U.S.S. Santa Maria, in order to try and recover the people of the U.S.S. Pinta. You're going to M31, soldier."
"M31? You mean...space? Light years away?"
"Yes. It will take approximately 4 months to reach M31. This mission will be dangerous, but the crew of the Pinta has made contact with another sentient species. Unfortunately, the terms of the first meeting were less than peaceful. The aliens attacked the Pinta, possibly killing all on board. That's why you and a selected crew are being sent; it's the what that we're having trouble with."
"What do you mean, sir?" Jake questioned.
"Well, we have no clue what they are. Come to think of it, we really don't know why they did it either."
So, basically, we're going to M31, and we could make peaceful contact or hostile contact."
"Nothing, sir. Nothing."
"Great. Not get some rest; we'll be in Moscow at 07:30, in two hours."
"Yes, sir." With that, the private leaned back in chair and not quite closed his eyes. He didn't want to sleep in the presence of the general, but his weariness took over and he drifted into a light slumber.