Alchibah, Dawn A+3
Gabe and I had poured on the coals very carefully. We were not going to show the Rogons anything more than they had already seen. Firebirds ship I was not worried about, UNWG standard procedure was for SAR birds to be stripped down and fast. Any of their human advisors would tell them that, hopefully that would move her well down any threat list. It was up to the rest of us to annoy them enough to make that true.
Mariana quipped, “Before you two really open these things up I need some more anti-nausea pills.”
I turned grinning, “Why does it never bother you during a shooting match or when you are driving?”
She laughed, “Try adrenaline, it beats lots of things.”
“Well, you can pick up your pills at the Lab, burn over there as fast as you can. Dr. Wood has to be overwhelmed and you know that place better than he does. Hell, you and Kurt just built the place.”
We flared in killing the ACHE at 20 ft and sat down on the under jets. When the main drive cut Mariana was moving for the hatch and before I could unbuckle, she was gone.
I had seen the destruction from the air and started up the hill from the landing site. The first person who got to me was Connor Benjamin and it was the Father not the LTC whose agonized face I saw.
“Connor, She and River are flying a SAR mission. We might have lost Travis and Fallon, plus there is one Goonie floating up there we want a chance to save. And before you ask John, Summer will be down around mid-afternoon. She and Mike are going to fly cover for the Bus with Jan and Kurt.”
Scythe still looked concerned, “She has no real dogfighting time, what if one of those Dragon ships comes over the Horizon?”
“John, their top cover is Ghost and Digger!”
Joe Fortson’s voice came from uphill, “And that’s that tune in one note Major.”
I turned and grinned, “Ain’t no way they were gonna get you. What you got Gunny?”
“Nothin’ particularly good, and a lot of the other stuff. And in my old age I am beginning to worry some. Just from the little I’ve seen it looks like the Rogon’s could swat us like a bug and I wonder why they don’t. Beyond that there is the whole problem with the Guardians. We have no explanation for why they aren’t talking and no idea what they were really up to in the first place. And then there’s the destruction of so much of what we built up over the last year and a half. Makes a grown man want to cry.”
“Don’t know if you heard yet, but we found Robbie McMaster’s body out by the crater where the First Inn used to be. He was stretched out beside a Rogon that had somehow got hold of McMaster’s knife and must have decided to try a little acupuncture to cure a sudden heart problem. Guess that don’t work any better here than it did on Earth. We’ve lost a lot of good people and we’re going to loose some more. Maybe all of us before this is over. We better make sure it was worth it.”
“Yeah, I hear you. What about the people in the caves and on the southern continent, Joe?”
“Not a damn thing yet and that worries me too. We saw a ship head that way but have no way of knowing till we start getting scans from the Mayflower it she went there or it was just coincidence. We have too many balls in the air and too few hands. Hell we got balls up we can’t even see, mush less catch.
“Les is getting ready for a council meeting but we better have a private session first. Make sure we have a united front and plan. I think that is going to be a problem too. Buchanan somehow has convinced a few of the weaker sisters to try and bring off a Peace at any Price scenario. Kinda walk out in front of the caves and reach our hands up to the sky begging for forgiveness and mercy. I’d kick his ass from here to Bombay if I had a choice but I don’t. We got a constitution and rules, with Nash gone I’m the one who’s handcuffed so I do what I must. I just hope when the day of reckoning comes I get my licks in first.”
“ Tell you what, if we can prove Buchanan Dirty; I’ll grit my teeth and let you have the lead, that way I can swear he tripped a few times. Besides we have to get this place off of a War footing. The Rogon’s aren’t coming back to here because we kicked their Ass Flat up there.
“If there is anymore fighting, I think we can keep it out in Space where it belongs.
How’s Bart making it?” Andy asked.
“Same old Bart. You probably heard about the excitement that first night. But the Dora ain’t doing much flying now. Energy and fuel, our reserves went up with the town so he’s kinda watching things in the caves for me to make sure no one does any thing they’d regret later.”
“I’d ask about your day but I’ll save it for later at the planning session. See ya in a few hours, gotta go see a man about a dog.” And with that Joe trudged back towards the ruins of Liberty City.
“OK, here’s what we do! Stonewall, release any Militia attachments you acquired during the fighting and tell then to find the Gunny. Then, take your pure Strike Force assets and do a perimeter sweep for stragglers. Use those suits hard, we don’t care what the damn Goonies know now.
“As soon as you finish that sweep, you become Councilor Benjamin again. Find Les and inform him that at the very least Mariana will be available via teleconference for a Council Meeting. Offer him the Briefing room up at the Ft. if he needs a place.
“Scythe, likewise as soon as you finish you are John Pierce the Contractor again. Find out whose homes were destroyed or are unlivable and get with Kara about getting them into those spare bungalows up at the Ft.
“Kat, hike it up to the Dam Complex and open up the throttles. Start the Liquid H & Liquid O cracker back up, get with John and light this town back up. Unless the Rogons have a fool for a Science Officer, they know they have stumbled into an Industrial Base that ain’t Stone Age. Better yet, you and Gabe take your bird up there. While you are working you are our Alert+5 crew.
“I am going to take a look at town center, then go try to get the Comms up. I just hope Tim stayed holed up like I told him instead of going out and playing PBI like Robby.
While the crew was having a fast huddle and coordination meeting. John looked up the hill to the edge of what used to be Hanna’s. “What’s the Boss doing?” he asked.
Gabe turned slowly and gazed, “Wait till you know him a few more years and you will understand. The Laird always cries alone!”