Work in progress, constructive criticism welcomed. I am no great writer but I have fun imagining this stuff, so bear with me please.
The timing on perimeter defence is likely off but I haven't checked. It just sounded nice. Also, I am aware that TSA marines are thoroughly briefed on Kharra lifeforms and I am preparing a re-write. Maybe make the Marines TSA recruits (which does NOT make them raw draftees).
Night's End - by Silverwing
16.01 Ship's Time
After six months in space, the sudden shift in the pitch of the engine sounds was a welcome distraction. All over the ship men looked up from what they had been doing, at each other, at monitors or even the ceiling.
"All-right, men. We have recieved a priority alert." Commander Harris' voice sounded metallic and slightly distorted through the ship's intercom. "At 03.46 Ship's Time, the freighter AKS Benev sent out an SOS over all standard frequencies, as well as emergency frequencies. After careful analysis, the boys back at TSA Headquarters flagged the ship as TSA temporary property, in reference to section 33-b of the Charter. It seems we have another Khara incident, boys. We arrive at app. 18.20 Ship Time. Suit up and prepare your letters home. Harris out."
In the mess hall, 6 pairs of eyes turned to Lt. Mulligan, the only Khara veteran on ship. Nobody said anything for some time. Sitting with his back to the rest Mulligan was nevertheless very aware of their eyes on him. He carefully finished his food, wiped his mouth and then, cup in hand he turned slowly around.
"Ok, now. You all have questions. One at a time. Blevens?" All six Frontiersmen knew that Mulligan had been one of the three survivors of the Biggalow incident, and the only one able and willing to return to active duty. Mark Blevens, a six-foot-five, crewcut hulk of a man looked scared as he licked his lips several times in preparation. "Um. I... I was just wondering if its true what they say. That they can vanish before your eyes?" Blevens shifted his feet at the thought, as if preparing to run. His watery blue eyes begged Lt. Mullins that it wasn't so. "They can. And they do. Next, Keadle?"
After a half hour of stammered questions and brief answers, Lt. Mulligan felt the time was right. "I know how scared you are. I can see if in your faces, hear it in your voices, and you are right to be afraid. You have read the reports, you have heard the rumours and now you have heard me. The Khara are tough, intelligent and fast. But so are you." Abruptly Lt. Mullins spun and pointed at Frontiersman Brown. "Brown! Max time for perimeter defence?" Brown snapped to attention and answered without hesitation: "Infantry portal one and two, 15 seconds, sir! Turret Factory and Armoury, 40 seconds, sir! Obs and..." Lt. Mulligan halted him with an outstretched hand. "Thank you. The Khara are also vicious combattants, merciless soldiers and silent stalkers. Schultz! At the Kinto incident, were you detected by rebel forces?" Schultz looked up with fire in his eyes, "Never!" Mulligan allowed himself a slight smirk before continuing, "I could go on. Each of you are pound for pound, with you armament and armor, as capable in the field as the Khara Skulks." Several Frontiersmen cheered but others merely looked at the Lt., perhaps anticipating his next words. "But you will not just be fighting Skulks. You will fight Lerks, who will damage you severely and be gone before you know that they were even there. Fades who wil rip your limbs off, eat your eyes and then, maybe, let you die." The cheering died quickly. Now, he had their full attention again. "I have only one advice for you: Stay together." The Frontiersmen looked slightly puzzeled. "I know you are all the best of the best. I know that most of you are heroes of earlier confrontations. Forget all that. No heroics, all right? If you see a Skulk slip around a corner you don't go after it alone. Two men as an absolute minimum, preferably three."
-= To Be Continued =-