Chapter 19 - Honor

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When the first soldiers walked into the hangar bay, everyone except the Alphas hit cover.  Silas immediately identified the weapons held low.  They moved strangely, compared to Terrans, but that was no doubt due to their physiology.

While they were armored, they didn't wear anything resembling an environment suit.  He could make out five fingers on each hand, two eyes, a single nose with two nostrils.  But they were tall.  Both easily broke the eight foot mark, but neither could have weighed more than two hundred pounds.  Working off of averages, their joints were at about the same scale as human.

Silas found that oddly coincidental.  If he could squish one down to six feet, it would be nearly indistinguishable from a Terran, save for the ashen skin tone.

"I bet you're analyzing physical properties, right now."  John slid him a sideways grin.

"Of course I am, what the hell are you doing?"

"A normal person would be in awe that we humans are seeing alien life for the first time."

"Do you even know me?"

"Of course I do.  Thats how i knew you were making a tactical analysis.  So, if it comes down to it, how do we take them out?"

"Just like any other human.  And it will come down to it."

At this, John completely turned his head to see if the young pirate was joking.  Amber eyes met jade and saw no trace of humor.

"You don't think they're alien?"

"John, there is no craft even remotely resembling this one, those, "he gestured vaguely at the bladed fighters the four androids were still crawling all over, "or the ones out there."  Silas threw a thumb absently toward the breach behind them.  "What is standing in front of us is not Terran.  They're alien."

"But they're close enough to use human killshots?"

"Yes.  Let's go with that for now."

"Good enough for me.  What makes you think it's going to come down to it?"

Silas lowered his head and peered intensely from under his brow as he pointed at the Alphas, leisurely standing out in the open.  "That is our First Contact committee."

"Point taken.  I'll take the left, you take the right."

The Alphas held their ground as two more aliens moved through the debris and took up positions in front of their kin, dropping to one knee so the rear soldier could aim over the forward.  Two more came in, then two more.  It was a simple and efficient maneuver.

The Alpha with the axe planted the butt in the ground at his feet and crossed his arms over the blades.  "Can we get on with this?"  he shouted.  The alien soldiers raised weapons the moment his tin voice could be heard in the methane rich atmosphere.  Axe Alpha was unfazed and leaned onto the blunt center of his weapon.

Several minutes passed as the aliens came through, two at a time.  The last ten moved in front of the first two and formed a protective semi-circle. A soft click permeated the air as One's unit disengaged their safetys at the same exact moment.

Four aliens cleared the broken doorway and took position at the center of the arc.   The three in front were much broader of shoulder than those that had preceded them.  Their movements were steady and sure and they handled their weapons with obvious ease.  Silas looked at the Alphas.  The men stood straight, the relaxed posture gone.

Silas was interested in the last one, though.  He was the tallest of the lot and fairer of both skin and build.  He carried no weapon in his hands.  His midnight blue robes swept the floor at his booted feet, cinched about the waist with an ornate sword belt.  Inside a holster was a finely wrought rapier.  His hair was jet back, his face angular.  His eyes were sapphire and steady.  With controlled timing, he cast his gaze to every individual on his opponent's side of the hangar bay.  The alien didn't look at faces, weapons, or apparel.  He looked straight into their eyes.

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