The stomping sound of a dozen troops marching in unison filled the corridor. The lobby area of Platform Four had been transformed from a refuge for lab workers to an open space ready for battle. Barricades constructed from flipped desks and workbenches filled the room now. Hudd wanted to ensure the Crest’s warriors had every opportunity to control the field they could.
“Myra, I need you at the south wall, keep your eye on that entry point. And please, please, please don’t shoot me. The armor only protects so much,” Rafe said. He turned to Hudd.
“Hudd, you’ve done incredibly well today. Get to the living quarters. Your mission is to get back to Aki, with or without us, when things are safe.”
Hudd nodded. Myra saw that the order was far from welcome, but it was an order.
Rafe sighed and then slapped the side of his helmet, “I’ll be in the doorway.”
“Sir,” Myra said before moving to her position.
The boot sounds grew louder, closer.
Myra readied her rifle and sighted the doorway, aiming just slightly to the right of Rafe. She pondered sending a bag round at his leg for a brief moment before realizing now was the not the time for jokes.
“Stalwart Crest,” a voice boomed from the corridor. “This is Commander Donte of the United Human Fleet, I am here to order you to stand down. Operating orders are changed for your mission.”
Myra heard Rafe’s disbelieving laugh form across the room.
“Commander Donte,” Rafe responded, “this is Captain Rafe Najinca of the Stalwart Crest, at my commission briefing we called each other by first names. Do you mind if we continue in that manner?”
Donte rounded the corner with his troops flanking him.
“That would be just fine, Rafe.” Donte said. He motioned to his troops to holster their weapons. Myra lowered hers as well after noticing Rafe move his pinky finger downward. Commands had to be subtle in these situations, Myra knew that all too well. She heard a buzzing sound in her helmet. Rafe had turned on his comm-link so she could hear the conversation as well.
“Orion, what are we doing here?” Rafe asked the Commander.
Orion? Myra had assumed Donte’s first name was Commander.
“You’ve stepped in it, Rafe. It would be best for you to discontinue your current path.”
“Orders are to stop all threats to Earth’s development. That includes efforts made by galactic corporations to interfere with the terraform process. We’re just a few years away from the planet being habitable again, why is this happening now?”
“You think this just started? You think this hasn’t happened on every single planet UHF builds? I know you suspect Argo Navis has some malicious role to play on this world. My agent signaled as much.”
“Your agent? You admit to involvement?”
Myra began recording the conversation at this point.
“Argo Navis,” The Commander started, “according to the old earth myth was a ship that carried heroes. They set out to find a tool that would save lives and faced a mighty dragon to do so. Our Argo Navis is much the same. Stay out of the way and let us do our work.”
“You speak in riddles, Orion. Give me a reason I should not send everything we’ve found to UHF Central?”
“We’ve reclaimed the Messier Fields.”
Myra did not know what that meant, but it rendered Rafe silent.
“I thought that would get your attention. Know that Argo Navis is doing the right thing. We monitor our corporate rivals in order to stop them from creating another fiasco. We work to save humanity from itself. Now get back to the Crest and burn your records. I have to clean this up.”
Donte motioned to his troops to move into the Platform.
“Orion,” Rafe said, grabbing the arm of the Commander before he could walk away, “whatever you need, the Crest is with you.”
“Glad to hear it, Captain.” Donte joined his troops.
Myra watched the troops move through the lobby on their way to the check the rest of the Platform.
“What was that?” Myra asked stepping next to Rafe.
“You heard it all right?” Rafe asked.
“Yeah. Does not mean I understand it.”
“It means Donte is leading a revolt. And we just joined it.”
Myra removed her visor and stared at her Captain.
“Let’s get back to the Crest. We have work to do.” Rafe holstered Freddy and opened a comm-link with Hudd, summoning him to the docking bay.
Myra stood motionless, unblinking, unsure if she was even breathing. She heard Rafe’s statement over and over in her mind. When she realized what the words meant, she knew she had only one option. Follow her captain. She holstered her rifle and ran to the docking bay. There was work to be done.