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Godzilla Warfare Excerpt:
Val's comm link buzzed in her ear, waking her. Not another problem with the simulator, she thought. Damn thing breaks more than the mining trolls on Mars Seven.
She toggled it on with a little more force than required, hurting herself which just added to her annoyance. "Harris here, this better be important."
"Sergeant Harris, report to Captain's Bachman's office immediately," a mechanical voice said.
Oh sh**. Val rolled out of bed, sorted through the pile of uniforms, searching for one less wrinkled than the others. An impossible task. Finally, she found a pair of fatigues that didn't look like it had been on the losing side of a fight. She dressed, tied her long auburn hair into a regulation knot, and sprinted for the Captain's office.
This is it. Time for the you've-outlived-your-usefulness-talk. Time for the let-the-younger-generation-take-over speech. Even though, at forty-two, she was still able to outsmart the newbs, the invention of the planet-wide shields had rendered her expert skills obsolete.
She paused outside the Captain's door to compose her expression before peering into the retinal scanner for identification. The base on Mercury Three was far enough away from the action to be safe from a direct attack. Indirect was the new strategy. Thus the talk.
The door slid open, revealing a waiting area with a receptionist. Val fully expected to be gestured to a seat in the typical army hurry up and wait manner, however the Private working the desk admitted her into the Captain's office without delay.
The Captain sat behind her desk and watched Val approach and salute. Bachman's immaculate uniform lacked a crease. The knot of her blonde hair had been twisted into perfection. Val resisted the desire to yank at her semi-wrinkled shirt.
"Sergeant Harris, I have an assignment for you," the Captain said.
Biting down on her surprise, Val waited.
Captain Bachman glanced at the collective's screen. "There's an unexploded MFG-66 on Jupiter Nine and since you're the expert in disarming those…what do you call them?"
"Godzilla bombs, sir."
"It's an reference to a mythical Earth creature that can destroy a city, sir. Since the MFG-66 has enough energy to flatten a city with a population of thirteen million or less, we've code named it the Godzilla, sir." And it managed it without using nuclear energy. No sense contaminating the planet you're fighting over.
"Interesting." The Captain tapped on the screen. "There is a bullet waiting to take you to Jupiter Nine. Please report to deck twelve, barrel two right away."
"We're at war with J-9, sir." And a whole list of other ungrateful colony planets.
"Not at present. We have signed a cease-fire agreement with them, and are currently involved in treaty negotiations. This mission is an act of good faith on our part Sergeant, so don't screw it up or UFoP will come down hard on us."
The Captain confirmed what Val had surmised on her own. The war with J-9 and the other colony planets hadn't been going well these last few years.
Val swung by her tiny office next to the beast, a.k.a. the simulator to gather her equipment. She hadn't been assigned a field job in over seven years. A few of her instruments were out of date, but so was the Godzilla. Odd. This whole mission felt…off. Not much she could do about it. Val sent a message to her second, putting her in charge of the newbs' training and nursing the temperamental beastie. Good luck.
From NO MAN'S LAND,
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EDITED BY: MIKE MCPHAIL, DARK QUEST BOOKS, MAY 2011