Chapter 12: Cave Complex

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Trent stood on the bridge of the speedship and stared out at the murky blue atmosphere of the planet below. The ship was nosing its way carefully towards the planet, honing in on a power signature they had picked up a few moments ago. The only one in the area. Beside him, Drake heaved a sigh and shifted around in his armor.

"This is exactly what I was hoping to do with my Tuesday night," he muttered miserably.

"Is it Tuesday? I thought it was...Monday," Trent replied.

"It's Saturday," the blonde Spec Ops pilot intoned without turning around.

"Huh...guess it all kind of runs together when you're busy," Trent replied.

They stood in silence for a few moments longer. Trent thought back to the space station. After the failure at the club, he and Drake had tracked down Kinner again and paid him another however many thousands of credits was required to do another job. This time, he showed his technical prowess even more, as he came up with a genuine answer. The method he had done this was largely lost on Trent. All he knew was that Kinner had tracked a ship that had initially made the drop off through the lonely complex network of space travel.

He gave them a planet that had no name.

It was a blue, rocky planet with a poisonous atmosphere that distantly orbited a miserable dwarf star at the absolute edge of known space, in a direction no one seemed to be interested in going. Now this is what Trent had been expecting when he'd gone on the hunt for Rogue Ops. It was perfect: out of the way, in the middle of nowhere on the way to nowhere, no life signs for a hundred lightyears. This was the kind of war he was familiar with, the kind he knew how to fight. On that thought, he turned and began leaving the bridge.

Drake followed him into the corridor.

"So, I was thinking," Trent said as they moved into the armory. "Maybe when this is all over, we should go back to Mezzanine. Or some pleasure planet. I'll take Gen, you take that blonde pilot you're convinced wants the D, your D specifically, and we can make like a double-date out of it or something. And you can see that Gen isn't the home-wrecking shrew you apparently think she is."

Drake heaved a sigh. "I don't think she's a home-wrecker, I just..." He hesitated, lost for words, for thoughts. "I don't know. I guess I've just got a bad feeling about something. I don't know what. Yeah, we can do that, it'll be fun."

"Great!" Trent said, genuinely happy. He began sorting through a gun locker, searching for the appropriate gun. "I was thinking we should do things a little differently this time, go in quiet. What do you think?"

"Sounds like a plan," Drake replied.

Trent grabbed a silenced pistol and a silenced assault rifle. "Don't forget to grab the armor-piercers," he said.

Drake snorted. "At this point in my life, I don't leave home without a few magazines of fucking armor-piercers."

"We don't have a home," Trent reflected.

Drake stared at him for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah, I guess so." He turned back to his own gun locker and continued gathering his arsenal for the mission.

Trent did the same.

* * *

They set the speedship down on a relatively flat plain of rocky expanse not far from the base of a mountain range. So far, no one had shot anything at them and no one was running. They seemed to have slipped in without anyone noticing. Trent and Drake stepped out of the airlock and onto the rocky ground. It was dark, rainy, and miserable. Trent was suddenly reminded of the stories Greg had told him, when he had very first awoken on that mining planet. He tried to imagine what it would be like, to wake up with no memories, surrounded by darkness and zombies. It was a miracle that Greg had survived. He respected the man.

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