I’m standing in the office of my commanding officer, Fire Lieutenant Naeus. We are in a ship that is part of a fleet protecting the Torega system. My platoon has led a brave defense alongside millions of other Troopers against a massive army of Sorecrians led by a Warlord. The Sorecrian fleets took heavy losses and orbital bombardment across the surface resulted in the annihilation of Sorecrian ground forces. They tell us we saved the system, but the Knights involvement in the fight made the greatest difference.
They held off two Warlords, one about five years ago and the other a few weeks ago. The Warlord assaulted their Orbital Platform like the last one did. The Knights kept him busy while much of his fleet was destroyed and their own forces aided us on the planets. It was a slaughter. The Warlord eventually destroyed the Orbital Platform, but with few forces left to lead he escaped the system. The Platform is being repaired and the Knights are certain the Warlord will return.
“You wanted to see me sir?”
“Yes Sergeant…” Naeus looks up after typing something into his console.
“Your platoon did an outstanding job holding the line in this system. Because of your good work you’ve been noticed by our company commander. Who should be here any moment…”
Company Commander Temehl comes into the office and I salute quickly as does Naeus.
“As you were.”
“Yes sir.” We both say.
“Sergeant, as your Lieutenant was saying. Your platoon not only held the defense line that was obviously broken, you also pushed forward and knocked out the artillery position that was hammering our lines. Initiative like this is hard to come by.”
“Thank you sir.”
“No, thank you Sergeant. If it wasn’t for you we would have lost more Troopers than we did. To show our thanks, a rare opportunity has come to you. You can choose to accept or deny, you will not be judged on your decision not to.”
“What do you need me and my men to do sir? I’ve already told the Elites no, I do have a wife I want to see again someday.”
“No this is not in invitation into the Elite. Another star system is under siege. The Sorecrians have taken out the Orbital Platform and every defensible location in the system is now under attack. Seeing as how your platoon is part of the garrison here in this system, your men will not be able to go with you. What we want is to offer you a chance to spend six months with your wife. First you must join in this defense and see it to the end.”
“Sir, why this battle?”
“The star system is low on experienced Troopers. Sergeants with skills like you are being offered this same opportunity. You will be leading a platoon fresh from boot camp in the defense of the system’s capitol planet Vae’ Somm. Hold the Sorecrians back and when they are crushed in the star system, you will be on the first fleet trip back home to be with your wife. If you do good this battle the offer may come up again in the future.”
I couldn’t believe it. Six months of leave with my wife. How could I say no? I knew the situation in the system had to be bad if they were offering six months, but by Daverius, I couldn’t resist. I had to be with my wife again…
“Six months sir?”
“Yes Sergeant, six months and all you have to do is show this platoon how to have the same initiative as you.”
“I can’t guarantee success, but I promise, sir, I’ll do my best. Where do I sign?”
The Commanding Officer shook my hand and when I looked over at Naeus he had the tablet out for me.
“May I make a request sir?”
“I want Corporal Welks to go with me. He’s my best friend and if it wasn’t for his bite my bark would only be noise.”
“Certainly, if that will increase your chances of training these boys, I don’t have a problem with it.”
“Thank you sir.” I said as I signed the electronic tablet.
“Good man, I knew we could count on you Sergeant.”
“Thank you again sir.”
“No problem Sergeant. Go grab your gear, you and Welks will be heading to join boot camp planet Thorenus to meet General Darius’ fleet, which is picking up Troopers to take to Vae’ Somm.”
I left the office after saluting and rushed to the communication station to tell my wife. I flipped switches and pressed the correct buttons to dial to my home. After moments of dialing the screen powered on and my beautiful wife was there.
“Hey, it’s me, love.”
“You’re safe! Oh thank Daverius. When did you get back onboard?”
“A few hours ago.”
I could tell she was checking me on the screen and she would notice the blood and scrapes on my face.
“What happened on your forehead there?”
“Sorecrian artillery, don’t worry about it. I have big news.”
“What?! Did everyone make it?”
“Almost. We lost a few trying to hold while everyone else retreated.”
“Why do you have to be so over-zealous? You’re going to get killed someday…”
“Would you please listen to me? I have big news.”
“What is it?”
“Because of my bravery the Trooper Corps is rewarding me with six months of leave.”
“Really? I’ve missed you so much and I’ve been praying to Daverius daily for your return.”
“Yep it’s true.”
“I got to call my parents! Your parents too! We’ll have a huge celebration and everything! When do you get home?”
“I have one more thing to do before they give me leave.”
“What’s that…?” I could see the fear on her face.
“I have to lead another platoon in the defense of another star system. Once the battle is over I will be sent home directly.”
“I knew it…”
“The fighting must be really bad in that system. You aren’t going to Vae’ Somm are you?”
That was the planet, what had she heard about it?
“Yes. That’s the planet.”
“NO!” She cried.
“That star system has been under siege for five years. Military theorists are saying the battle is lost and the Daverians should pull back while they can. There was a show on today, for two hours it covered Vae’ Somm. My cousin, Thehra, was on Vae’ Somm and she promised to keep contact with me daily so I would know she is safe. I haven’t heard a word from her in days. Last message was that a Trooper came to her door asking her to go with him. She said she would be back later, but still nothing.”
“I’m sure she’s fine, they probably evacuated her off the planet and she doesn’t have communication access.”
“Is there any way you can get out of this?”
“I’m sorry, I’ve already signed the paperwork…”
She continued to cry and I began to wonder if I made a mistake. I had never seen her cry like this before. She was terrified for my life and I obliviously signed it away…
“I don’t want to lose you…”
“Look. It’s not like this is my first battle. I’m a Sergeant, it is a miracle that any Troopers get as far as I have in the rank structure. Daverius is watching over me thanks to your prayers.”
“I know…”She said as she wiped her tears.
“I just have this feeling I’m never going to see you again…”
“Hey, you always get that feeling and what happens? Nothing…If it makes you feel better I’ll keep my crazy bravery to a minimum and focus on staying alive, just for you.”
“Do you mean it…?”
“Well I need to go talk to Welks, I will see you soon my dear. I love you and can’t wait to hold you in my arms again.”
“I love you too. Keep yourself safe and pray as often as I do. Let me know when you are coming home so I know when to organize the celebration.”
“Alright. The first thing I do when I get back onboard is contact you.”
“Well, you can shower first.”
“Are you sure? I think you enjoy seeing me like this. Battlefield hero!” I flex my arms for her as she laughs.
“Oh yeah, you know it. In fact don’t shower at all, just come home like that.”
“I’m joking, please shower, I don’t want to know what rotting Sorecrian hides smell like after they’ve dried in your hair.”
“Okay, Okay. I really do have to go, I love you and I’ll contact you as soon as I can.”
“Alright, I love you.” She kissed the camera and I blow a kiss to her.
The screen shuts down and I lean back in the chair. What have I gotten myself into…? A five year siege? How intense is the fighting? I promised myself, I would do as the officers wanted, but still keep myself safe. If Daverius was to grant me one thing for the rest of my life, be it I survive this battle…