A distant rumble passed through the asteroid as the sharp tones of a buzzer cut through the small cabin.
Valin sat up and ran a hand over his face, mussing the dirty blonde hair aout as he dragged himself into a sitting position on the edge of the bed. He grimaced as he wiggled his toes just above the bulkhead, dreading the coming shock. He took a deep breath and pushed himself up, shivering as electricity ran up ad down his body, from the tip of his toes, to the top of his head, all the way down to the tips of his fingers.
The asteroid rumbled again, somewhere under the bulkhead, the reverberations running up through the soles of his feet, up his spine and rattling his teeth.
Valin waved his hand towards the wall, activating a solenoid flush with the smooth bulkhead. “VeeAy, bring down the shutter and prepare incident reports for my watch.”
The small orange figure shimmered to life in the form of a small child, a ball tucked under his arm. The Virtual Assistant nodded and shimmered away as the shutter outside the small window in Valin’s cabin cracked, sunlight shining through the sliver, spilling brilliant orange light over the floor.
Valin scratched his head as he looked out the window, posting fists upon his hips as he watched the carnage unfold outside his cabin window.
Through two feet of carbon reinforced poly-steel, streaks of orange fire pained the sky above the earth a myriad of shades of brilliant oranges, earthen grays, and bloody reds. The earth sat floating distant, no longer an aquamarine gem, but barren desert pock marked by thousands of meteors that fell with regularity. Orange streaks had just begun to highlight the dark side of the northern hemisphere, streaks of orange and gold lighting the earth just below the horizon.
“Valin, are you up?” The intercomm crackled to life, the solenoid glowing now. The strangled static couldn’t hide the annoyed feminine tone.
Valin scratched his chest as he punched in a quick code into a panel on the wall, the scent of coffee brewing slipping into the air. The solenoid lit up again, but Valin had already punched the transmit button. “I’m up, Jules. Can you have Sergei send the report from last night to my VeeAy? It looks like we’ve already got another meteor shower developing over Canada.”
“I think I can convince him.” Jules’ voice crackled over the intercomm. There was a moment of silence that Valin used to open the constituter and pulled out the cup of coffee. He looked down into the murky contents of the insulated cup and grimaced. He sighed as he stepped back up to the window. The Crepuscular rays that pooled on his floor slowly diminished as something passed the porthole. Valin looked up from his cup of coffee and the floor, only to watch as an Archimedes class carrier drifted past, the blue motes of light of its fighter pickets dancing about like fireflies.
The UCNS Retribution I believe… The mile long carrier drifted past several long moments later, the light pooling on the floor of Valin’s cabin once again.
The solenoid blinked once. “Valin, you haven’t fallen back to sleep again, have you?”
“No Jules.” Valin grumbled softly, trying to keep the annoyance from his voice. “Do you have the report for me?”
“Have I ever let you down?” Valin could hear the smile in Jules voice.
“Not even once.” Valin indulged in a smile as the light on the solenoid blinked out as he set his cup of coffee down on the table and went about dressing himself for the day ahead. “VeeAy, please read off Lieutenant Solomov’s report.”
The orange figure shimmered to life again, nodded once and then blinked into a massive screen that spread across one entire wall of Valin’s cabin.
“Lieutenant Sergei Solomov, watch officer of Meteor Station One-zero-seven-three-Zed-Alpha. Coalition adjusted date: January 7th, 2377. End of watch notes as follow. Light meteor showers observed over Australian DMZ, remnants of the Pan-American Continental remains, heavy showers over the Russian-Georgian Nuclear Reserve. Damage to observation bunkers minimal, nuclear weapon storage bunkers all appear to be intact. Combined force of Jah’Le, Lehnth, and Varth’Kah ships made entrance into the system but was repelled by the garrison fleet. No Coalition losses reported. Salvage of alien vessels has begun. Remains of Luna continue to break up and orbital distance continues to degrade at approximately 50 kilometers per day. Reclaimers attempting to land on the Protected Colonial Reserve were escorted from the battle zone by frigates of Garrison fleet. End of report.”
The Protected Colonial Reserve. Earth. Valin looked down at the desolate remains of a home planet that humankind had once called home and snorted in disgust. We may have lost Earth, our home, but in their desperation to demoralize, they instead galvanized. It won’t be much longer till we’ve crushed the supposed Revolutionaries and their Insurrection.
The orange wall display glowed, casting harsh shadows in the cabin, but as Valin’s eyes glanced over the read out, he could only sigh and shake his head.
The solenoid blinked. “Admiral Valin, Captain Makarov has requesting a meeting, sir.”
“Tell him to come back with something interesting.” Valin growled as he straightened his tie and adjusted his collar. “I grow tired of simply policing the Garrison Fleet and babysitting the meteor scientists who like to watch rocks fall to earth. I grow tired of the endless waiting.”
“The Captain requests to speak with you regarding two things, Admiral.” There was a pause in the transmission. “First is security preparations for the Centennial of the New Belgrade Christmas Massacre. He apparently has some concerns about the dropping of so many caskets as a part of the Return ceremonies.”
“As with every year, Florence has more security concerns.” Valin exhaled sharply, shaking his head. “And the second matter?”
“A Revo Fleet is approaching Agricultural Planet 538, Bessna.” Jules said over the intercomm. There was a moment of silence before the door hissed open and the Admiral’s assistant walked through the doorway, a tablet under one arm and a fresh cup of coffee in the other. Jules smiled at him briefly, her raven hair glimmering in the harsh, sterile light that shown in from the corridor. Icy blue eyes sparkled dangerously as she handed over the coffee and then the tablet. “Naval Special Projects has sent out an alert asking for assistance, clearance level Alpha-Crimson.”
Valin froze for a brief moment. Alpha-Crimson for a junker Revolutionary Forces fleet? That hasn’t been enacted since the end of the first contact war, 112 years ago. What could the Revos possibly have the would call for Alpha-fucking-crimson? “Do we know why the security alert went out?”
“Yes, Admiral.” There was a moment of silence as Jules’ eyes fell to the deck. She took a deep breath and looked up at the Admiral and nodded bravely.