Prisoner of War
“Friendly” was not a word used to describe Kurt Traverstine. “Warm” and “approachable” were also words rarely said about the career soldier.
It’s not that he was a horrible person. Kurt was just busy with his work. A top Alliance marine, 250 successful ops under his belt, and several medals celebrating his valor and combat expertise.
He was almost insulted that it took so long for him to be invited to the Agency. Not as an agent, but as the director of security for an Alliance vessel.
Though in addition to his new role, he was made aware his primary mission was one of protection and monitoring, for he had joined the crew of the Cerberus along with a woman on work release.
A woman who had, until recently, run with a prominent terrorist group.
So Kurt had decided before he joined officially, he would speak to the squad’s leader, Agent Zeus. From all reports he was cleared to read, a well-respected military man. They should get along famously.
It has yet to be mentioned yet, but Kurt is not Human. Short in stature but heavily muscled, with a clean shaven face and head. Tattoos of his family’s history and culture painted the canvas on his body.
Kurt was a Dwarf, and damn proud of it!
So there he was, sitting outside of the command bridge, just waiting for Agent Zeus to arrive.
Even as an observer, Kurt found himself really liking the Cerberus, although it’s primarily human crew annoyed him. Most Agents were human, for whatever reason.
A treasonous thought crossed Kurt’s mind, but he quickly buried it down. In an age where psychic testimony was prevalent, a thought like that could earn him a re-education.
‘Kurt Traverstine?’ Agent Zeus asked, shaking the dwarf out of his reverie.
Kurt stood, straightening his back and saluting.
‘At ease, Traverstine,’ Zeus said with a smile. ‘So long as you do your job, you don’t need to bother with salutes.’
‘Respectfully, sir,’ Kurt said proudly, ‘a Dwarf like myself lives for the chain of command.’
Zeus nodded. ‘Carry on, then.’
Zeus strode onto the command deck and Kurt followed.
‘Do you have a report, lieutenant?’ Zeus asked, sitting down in his chair.
‘Prisoner is in the brig, and I have moved my belongings to Room 14B.’
‘The brig?’ Zeus said quizzically, ‘I was under the impression she was on work release.’
‘Yes, sir,’ Kurt said hesitantly.
‘So, if she’s helping us, regardless of who she is, she should get her own room. Yes?’
‘Or she should share said room in case she tries to sabotage the ship.’ Kurt said quietly.
‘Good idea,’ Zeus agreed, ‘though, it shouldn’t be you sharing the room. A woman is entitled to some time away from annoying men.’
Zeus laughed at his joke, but Kurt didn’t. It wasn’t that funny.
‘One of your agents, then,’ Kurt offered. ‘A female agent sharing the room with Warsaw will put my security concerns at ease, and quell your concerns as well.’
‘Excellent. I will put her with Agent Dionysus, she still has a bunk in her room. Is that all?’
‘Actually, sir, I’ve had a glancing look around the ship...’
Minnie sat in her new room, after hours in the brig. She was sharing with Dionysus, the agent she didn’t have enough time to properly talk to on Set Station. It would be interesting to share living quarters with someone who was supposed to be her enemy.
Minnie had no belongings, except what the Alliance had allowed her. Toiletries, plain clothing and the tools required for her job, that only worked in the engineering bay when a guard was there. So he side of the room was extremely bare.
She sighed, and lay down on her bunk, staring at the ceiling. If someone had told her earlier she’d be working on an Alliance ship, an AGENCY ship, in the future, she’d have laughed at them for being so stupid. But her she was. A prisoner, yes, but still working there.
The door opened, and Dionysus walked in with a smile.
‘Hi there,’ she said, sitting down slowly. Minnie noticed the bandages and staples holding her together.
‘What happened to you?’ Minnie asked, silently wondering if Dionysus had been worth the sacrifice of Cerberus.
‘I took a grenade and some bullets to keep the mission a success. It’s fine, I’ll live.’ Dionysus lay back on her bunk and sighed outward.
‘A grenade? What kind?’
‘Uh...’ Dionysus closed her eyes, trying to remember. ‘Oh wait, no, it was something Enyo did. Fiery flower, or whatever. Chemical explosion. Sorry... It’s still a bit of a blur.’
Minnie nodded, then heard the sharp intake of breath. She stood up immediately, and walked over, helping Dionysus lie on her pillow, and threw the blanket over her.
‘Thanks, roomie,’ Dionysus said with a grin, then grimaced. ‘It hurts to smile.’
‘A bright person like you must hate that.’ Minnie said happily.
‘Don’t make me laugh, please.’
Minnie sat down next to Dionysus’ bed for the rest of the night, both of them talking about the missions on Set and Titan. And where they were going now.
‘Bjarni, it’s called,’ Dionysus said, ‘Some ice planet with a high value asset. It’s a big mission, so we need to take extra people.’
‘Are you going to be alright in time for that?’ Minnie asked, concerned.
‘Yeah, I’ll be fine. We can’t jump because of White Squad’s distress beacon, so I have time to heal. But they’ll probably want to take you, Minnie.’
Minnie had expected that. That meant Kurt was likely going as well. Her jailor. But working for a squad like Olympus would be interesting. She wondered what her objective would be, and what she should bring.
‘I hope we end up on a team,’ Minnie said with a smile. Dionysus smiled back, then groaned and grumbled at the pain.
‘I’ll be fine,’ she said to herself as Minnie laid down in her own bunk.
‘I’ll be fine,’ Minnie repeated.
“So, are we going to talk about it?” Epione said, breaking the silence on the command deck.
“Epione,” Zeus murmured, but she persisted.
“No, Zeus! You opened fire on the King’s Gambit! White Squad! Our friends... And we’re all ok with this?”
“Agreed,” Dionysus said, with Thanatos rolling his eyes behind her.
“They opened fire on us!” Apollo retorted.
“They aimed at our engines! It was a crippling hit!” Enyo retaliated.
“Enough! Olympus, be quiet!”
Everyone that had been arguing stopped to let Zeus speak.
“You all have valid points,” Zeus said quietly. “Yes, White Squad were our friends, and yes, Junior confirmed the shot to our engines was intended to stop pursuit. However, the fact remains that they opened fire on us first, and refused to stand down. This is a war, and they are AWOL. Even though they were our friends, deserters are still punished by death. By us, if needed. Clear?”
Epione opened her mouth to retaliate, but though better of her plan.
“Clear,” she grumbled with the rest of Olympus Squad.
“Alright, Belle, we’ve got time to revise. Let’s go over what we know,” Zeus said sternly.
Belle came online and brought up a holographic map of the Bjarni facility. It was gigantic, covering enough landmass to house the population of Washington D.C. in 2018.
“Jesus,” Tartarus murmured.
“We have to search the entire place?” Apollo added.
“No, only a few of us do. We’ll be splitting up into three teams. Team One will consist of myself, Tartarus and Dionysus. Our mission will be to locate Dr. Wilson, our asset, and bring him back if he’s alive.”
Tartarus nodded, silently annoyed he was on rescue. Dionysus just studied the map.
“Team Two will be Thanatos, Epione and Enyo. You three will be data recovery. Everything and anything you can pull, do it.”
Enyo smiled happily. Thanatos tried to find the best location to perform their task. Epione nodded at Zeus.
“Team Three is Apollo, Warsaw and Traverstine. You three will find and activate the station self-destruct. No waiting, either. Captain Nevada wants that place to be a crater.”
Apollo nodded. Destruction of property was something he could get behind. Minnie was excited, if confused. Her punishment for terrorism was blowing up buildings?
“Known threats?” Kurt said respectfully.
“None, so prepare generally. Although, satellites can confirm it is not Klisk.
A collective sigh of relief made Zeus chuckle.
“Any other questions?”
Epione rose her hand.
“That pertains to the mission?” Zeus affirmed.
Epione lowered her hand.
“Alright, Phil will be in charge of the shuttle, so we have our escape plan. This is a science facility, so plan accordingly. Meet back here at 1300.”
Olympus Squad left, until only Zeus, Kurt and Minnie were left.
“Lieutenant?” Zeus asked.
“Is it wise to give an objective like this to Warsaw?”
“Is it wise to give an Elven engineer with a history for terrorism a mission to destroy a building that belongs to her enemy. Seems like a match made in heaven to me.”
Kurt nodded. It made logistical sense, but morally it still seemed off.
“That’s why I’m sending you with her,” Zeus added. “You two can work together, Alliance and Concord.”
This statement set both Kurt and Minnie off.
“Working with is very different to forced labor from a tyrannical government,” Minnie spat.
“A heartless terrorist like all of her friends can’t be reformed,” Kurt said venomously.
Zeus didn’t have as much insight to this war as two people who had been fighting it. A good opportunity to learn about both sides.
“We can do this later,” Zeus commanded. “For now, gear up.”
Kurt and Minnie left, glaring angrily at each other. Zeus tapped into his computer.
‘How did the Realmic Concord start, Belle?’
Everyone was aboard the shuttle, with Phil and Zeus at the helm. Spitfire planes had nothing on this technological marvel: leather seats, autopilot, readouts for engines, weapons and life-signs for all aboard.
At the same time, Zeus knew how to pilot a Spitfire. Phil seemed to be in her element, thankfully, flipping switches and running her fingers over the holographic displays.
“Everything’s a go, Zeus,” Phil informed him. “Hopefully you didn’t eat before we left. These shuttles aren’t the best in turbulence.”
In unison, everyone hastily put their safety harnesses on.
“Alright, then. Off we go!”
The shuttle lifted off the hangar floor, and sped towards the planet’s surface.