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and get back to you later.
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  *** Dizem 4 Colony, 3rd Sphere. Rose's House, 2104 hours ***

 

The doorbell kept ringing while Rose took her time in getting to the intercom.

- Who is it? -

- It's Daniel, flower. -

- Wait a moment. -

Rose opened the door and Daniel was standing there. Another guy was standing right behind him with a happy look in his face.

- Hi there, Rose! - Said a cheerfull Mike.

- What's he doing here, Daniel? -

- He said it's important. -

Mike pushed Daniel out of the way and went inside. Rose went after him trying to stop him and Daniel just entered and closed the door.

- You're not in your house, Mike! -

- So what? You're my precious workers anyway! -

Mike was trying to grab some drink from the refrigerator and Rose was holding him off. Daniel just walked past them, took the drink and closed the refrigerator door.

- Stop that and tell us why we are here, Mike. - Said Daniel, while he calmly opened the can.

- What? Can't I spend quality time with my workers? -

- Well, you're not specially a bringer of good news. If you're here is 'cuz there's a problem, am I right? -

- ... Right... - Mike gave up and sat in one of the chairs by the table. - I'll go straight to the point. We need you two for a covert operation. -

- I told you, Mike, no more covert operations for me. - Said Rose, almost inmediatly.

- Same here. -

Rose and Daniel sat by the other side of the table.

- Are you two still mad about last time? How many times do I have to tell you, there's no way intelligence could have known that was a trap. -

- Whatever... I'm content with my job, anyways. -

- Do you really want to spend the rest of your life behind a desk, Daniel.-

- Well, it's not fun. But it is WAY safer than going in your missions... -

- Oh, c'mon! If everything goes allright, you two will be the first citizens of the Council to pilot one of those new weapons of the Vanguard Task Force. -

- Still not interested... - Said Daniel in a monotone voice.

- ... OK... I guess I'll have to find other pilots... - Mike got up slowly and walked towards the front door. - I guess I'll have to find pilots who'll want the fifty million credits reward... -

- Wait! - Rose got up so fast that Daniel, who was right besides her balancing in his chair, fell backwards. - What did you just say!? -

- Thanks for asking if I'm OK, flower. - Said Daniel from the floor, trying to get up without spilling his drink.

- Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you that there's a fifty million credits reward for the completion of the mission. - Mike turned around with a look of satisfaction on his face.

- Did you hear that, Daniel? FIFTY MILLION CREDITS!!! We can finally say goodbye to this freaking colony and get a house in one of the HALOs!!! -

- I heard that. - Said Daniel, not very convinced. - It has to be one hell of a mission if the Council has that much money as reward for a single run? -

- What can I say, they are desperate to get their hands in those weapons. -

- And just what kind of weapon is it? - Asked Daniel, trying to ignore Rose who was numbering things they could do with the money.

- Well, they are the size of a fighter, yet just four of them managed to destroy the "Slava" and the "Kara". -

- Just four fighters destroying two "Paladin" class cruisers!? -

- They had a carrier supporting them, yes, but the records indicate that those four delivered the fatal shots. -

- OK, then. Suppose we accept. What do we have to do? -

- Well, you would have to find a way to get into the enemy's carrier, the "Calm And Cooperative", rescue the captain of the "Slava", who managed to scape along with most of the crew but was captured, and then steal some of those weapons. - Mike paused to evaluate Daniel's expression. Rose was still numbering things she would do with the money and she was already on the "for the wedding party" part. - We have captured a "Broadsword" fighter that you can use to infiltrate the carrier and we have good intel of it's whereabouts. And it's not like that carrier is going to leave anytime soon, anyways. -

- What do you mean? -

- The Kara tried to ram it before going boom and although it wasn't severily damaged, they made an emergency landing on "Arce 2". The Ghosts reports that the repairs of the "Calm And Cooperative"'s engines
will take between one and three days. -

Daniel was thinking if he should accept that job. It seemed pretty risky but Rose had already accepted when Mike said they would get big money out of this. He didn't liked the idea, but there was no way he would leave his fiancee alone on this kind of mission.

- ... I'm in... - Said Daniel, after a few minutes of thinking.

- What about Rose? -

- Rose? She's in already, can't you see? - Rose had a calculator and was trying to decide how much money she would spend buying clothes and cars.

- You better stop her. She's going to spend all your money at this pace. -

- Nah. She likes to keep her account with pretty high numbers. That's why she lives here. -

Mike laughed and then turned around.

- Be on Terminal 7 at 0700 tomorrow. -

- Gotcha. -

Mike left and Daniel spent what was left of the night trying to get Rose to calm down.


*** Dizem 4 Colony, Spaceport. Terminal 7, 0700 GMT ***

 

Daniel and Rose had arrived to the military terminal five minutes ago and where now entering a small "PRIDE" class modular warship. Daniel saw Mike in a car going into one of the hangars trough one of the loading bays behind the ship. When he was about to call for him, a woman stood in front of them.

- Welcome to the Krikav, Rose, Daniel. - Daniel turned around and saw an old friend with an officer uniform standing there.

- Sam! Long time no see, girl! - Said Rose cheerfully while trying to hug her.

- Stop that, Rose. -

- What? Why? -

- She's our superior now. -

Daniel was right, Samantha now had the captain's insignia in her chest instead of the Ghost's one. Rose halted right where she was and stared for a while at Samantha. After a while Rose hugged Samantha strongly.

- Congrats on your promotion, girl! -

When Samantha finally managed to free herself, she composed her uniform and signed Rose and Daniel to follow her.

- So you haven't changed, Rose? - Said Samantha.

- Nope! - Answered Rose as soon as Samantha finished her question. Samantha just giggled at her answer.

- You should have told us you were promoted, Sam. - Said Daniel a few steps behind the girls. - We would have bought you a present orĀ  something. -

- Forget the presents! We need a party! -

- I haven't had the time. Things have been pretty hectic since those two "Paladin" cruisers were destroyed. -

- I see. - Daniel kept quiet for a while, thinking about the mission that awaited him. - Say, what are the plans for the mission? -

- Oh, just the usual. You'll be infiltrating as VTF officers using a captured "Broadsword" fighter. We'll fake an escape while the Ghosts take care of modifying the data on the officers you'll be supplanting.-

- And the objectives? - Asked Rose, getting all serious all of a sudden.

- You have to capture at least one of the new weapons. That's just the secondary objective, though. Your primary objective is to rescue the Council officers onboard the "Calm And Cooperative". -

- Funny name for a carrier, don't you think? - Said Rose.

- Well, yeah. It makes no sense unless they are referring to their prisoners after they torture and brain-wash them. - Answered Daniel in his usual, monotone voice.

- Huh... We better hurry, then? -


*** High orbit over Dizem 4. "PRIDE" class modular warship, Krikav. 0752 GMT ***

The VTF officer nervously looked around the small room while Daniel kept walking around while reading some documents. After a while, he stopped and stared at the prisoner.

- First lieutenant Mikhail Ivanovich... Fighter commander assigned to the "Ouroboros" carrier as second unit of the third wing... Captured in battle and considered MIA... - Daniel threw the file on the table. -

This tells me nothing... You will now tell me all I want to know and you'll be back on your cell before noon. We have a deal? -

Mikhail just sat there, quiet and looking down.

- Looks like we'll have to do this the hard way... - Daniel took out a pair of leather gloves from his pocket and put them on. He then grabbed Mikhail's head strongly. - Tell me all you know! - Electricity began running through Daniel's hands and towards Mikhail, surrounding him. A few minutes later, the door opened and Daniel stepped out taking off his gloves. Mikhail lay in the center of the room, unconscious. - Interesting... -

- What's interesting? - Rose was waiting for him, already dressed as a VTF officer.

- Specialist Mio Suzuki, I presume? - Rose chuckled as answer as she saluted him.

- We are all ready to go, first lieutenant Ivanovich. -

- Good. -





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