Chapter 10: Revelation

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The way to the bridge was a twisted, unpleasant nightmare.

Things started out bad when they found their way off the medical deck and came into a vast network of cargo bays.

"Christ, like being in a cave," Greg muttered.

"Yeah...at least we seem to have the place to ourselves." Kyra spoke in soft tones.

Holt looked nervous. "Don't bank on it staying that way."

They'd come to a massive cargo bay, easily triple the size of the underground warehouses Greg had found himself trapped in deep below the surface of Dis once upon a time. Now, enormous piles of crates towered over them, stacked pyramid-style. Greg decided that Dark Ops were overly fond of pyramids. He supposed he should thank them. He might be dead were it not for that design. Besides the crates, Greg spied huge cranes that hung from the ceiling like inert, metal bats, and small anti-grav hover-dollies were everywhere.

The trio made their way through the cavernous bay. Greg listened, but there seemed to be nothing in the room with them. According to the map, they'd have to move through three of these before getting to an elevator that would bring them close to the bridge.

Greg spoke. He needed at least some kind of mild distraction. "So, Holt, I've been meaning to ask someone about the war that took place not too long ago. I've heard about it, but, obviously, I can't remember it."

"Oh, boy. The war. I was out of the Marines by the time it started. It began brewing about eight years ago. They called it, of all things, the Systems Wars. I'm not totally clear on the details. What it largely boiled down to was politics. Some charismatic asshole started going around, gathering mercenary armies and angry civilians to his cause. Soon, he was a million strong...then ten million...then he had a few systems to his cause. By the time Galactic Alliance sat up and really took notice, it was too late.

"It probably wouldn't have amounted to anything if they hadn't launched a surprise attack on one of the more important planets. They blew up an incredibly well-guarded military headquarters and assassinated a trio of high up, key political figures all in the same two-hour period. It was highly coordinated and highly effective. It was a declaration of war. A lot of people who had been on the fence suddenly found themselves wanting to go to war against the GA. It really seemed like the rebels might have a chance of overthrowing the government."

"Is the GA...evil? A dictatorship? I mean, I didn't get that feeling..." Greg trailed off.

Holt shook his head. "No, nothing like that. Obviously, they do shady shit from time to time and they have questionable ethics, but what government hasn't? No, they're pretty good, all things considered, and I'm not some mindless patriot, either. I've had plenty of bad things to say about the GA, but the alternative is worse, honestly."

"So what happened?"

"Well, that attack I mentioned took place about five years ago. After that, it was hard fighting. It was brutal. It looked like it was going to go on for a lot longer after three years of damned hard fighting. Then, suddenly, over the course of a few months the opposition just...fell apart. Several of their leaders, many of whom were politicians and military titans, turncoats from GA, up and died. Worse, they lost several key locations. It was like dominoes. No one is too sharp on the details, but the rebels just faded away."

"I thought you said you didn't know much about the war," Kyra said.

Holt chuckled and shrugged. "I guess I like to downplay any knowledge on my part. Being in the military, I naturally took to checking up...but I'm not what you'd call obsessive in my pursuit of knowledge."

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