Chapter One

52 7 0
                                                  

From the very beginning, relations with the kekjua were never exactly cooperative. The aggressive, warmongering nature of the Kekjua Stratocracy was a direct conflict with the Coalition's vision for galactic peace. Ever since its founding, the Intergalactic Planetary Coalition had aimed to bring peace to the galaxy's many species. It wasn't long after making contact with the kekjua that the vision of peace had to be interrupted.

The Kekjun War was started from a single spark. That spark was a colony ship heading for the planet Evos somewhere deep in Void Space. The attack shook the entire Coalition. It was the first time in its history that they had been brought to war. Luckily, the combined power that humanity and the zull brought to the forefront was significant.

The war had been going so well for the Coalition. Over the first four months, Coax forces had been crushing the kekjua at every single intersection. Battle after battle those beasts had been brought to their knees by superior numbers and superior firepower. They had believed that the kekjua would be crushed with little effort and minimal casualties.

They couldn't have been more fucking wrong.

***

The Coax was deploying the entire 2nd Infantry Battalion to the surface of Kekjuak. Captain Uhan had assured LTC. Sarkis that 75th Company would sweep the city with little effort. Sarkis had apparently given the mission the official "Okay", because within an hour the 75th had boarded a carrier heading for Kekjuak, the kekjua home planet.

As always, the Captain's briefings were short and sweet. He had pulled all five of his Lieutenants to the ship's briefing room to outline the mission. The u-shaped table could fit almost twenty people, but for the time being only the five seats were occupied. The far wall was just one giant LED screen occupied solely by a rotating Coax seal. At the center of the table, between Uhan and the rest of us, was a large round map table. It used holograms to project a topographical view of any area within the Coalition database. At the moment it was displaying the surface of Kekjuak.

"Alright men," Uhan said, "Our mission is as follows. The 75th is to take the city of Yahk."

Uhan pointed at a medium-sized blip on the large map of the planet.

"The kekjua use the place as some sort of weapons facility. We will be hitting the city at dusk. Reports suggest heavy cloud cover."

The large screens behind Uhan changed to show the weather reports. A heavy influx of dust clouds was predicted to overcast the city through the night. Hitting them in that setting should deliver an effective blow.

"Strenger, Blythe and Polaski. Your platoons will be deployed to the western, north-western and south-western edges of the city respectively. You'll hit hard and hold your positions. Reconnaissance sweeps have told us that the majority of their forces are positioned on the western edge, so your goal is draw even more of their troops to you."

Strenger and Polaski nodded, but Blythe simply stared at the map. Her eyes were wide, almost as if she was worried about the upcoming battle. It seemed as though something was chewing at the back of her mind. I noticed her leg was shaking anxiously.

"Hedberg, Dewitt. You'll be waiting until Strenger, Blythe and Polaski have held their positions. After that, your platoons will land in the dunes to the east and move into the city from their flank. With most of their forces distracted to the west, you should be able to launch a successful offensive into the city."

It was a decent plan. Feign an offensive from one side, then attack with force from the other. It's a tactic that has been overused throughout human history, but the kekjua weren't human. Given how stupid the beasts were they might never see it coming.

DunesWhere stories live. Discover now