Trees were few and far between on this battlefield and Razaal took this rare opportunity to catch a little sleep beneath the shade. He had stripped out of his breastplate, detached his shell, and laid down on the dried grass beneath what seemed to be an old-growth tree. It was gnarled with flaking bark, and its thick roots that stood above the surface were covered in a thin layer of a rusty-colored lichen.
He had just about gotten comfortable as one of the new scouts approached. Morlin, Razaal believed his name was. Razaal hadn't talked to him much at all. Razaal shut his eyes. Maybe if he looked asleep he would be left alone.
Razaal's eyes were firmly shut.
"Kid, I'm fast asleep, do you really want to wake me right now?"
"Sir, it's General Tal, he's requested your presence in the operations pop-up."
Razaal squinted as he propped himself up. Morlin was green, even for a repton, and his uniform was still relatively clean. Typical third officer material.
"Fark, alright, thanks kid."
Razaal extended his hand and Morlin pulled him to his feet. The repton was caught off balance by how much Razaal weighed. The kid hadn't met many terrekin. Dense muscle added some weight. Little things like this reminded Razaal every day that he was a bit of an anomaly in the Grand Galactic Alliance's army.
"Do you need an escort, sir?"
Razaal stared at the officer.
"I think I can find my way to the most secure spot in the front, soldier."
Morlin was about to respond but only managed to slump off in embarrassment. Razaal shrugged and made his way toward General Tal's post, shell slapped on his back and chest-piece tucked beneath an armpit.
Razaal had been in this area for about three months by this point. A fifth of a year in what was already a three-year conflict. Of all the fronts of this dividing war, Cor 3 had to be the most monotonous. It was dangerous, sure, but the back and forth was the worst part. It was one thing to put your life on the line where it mattered, it was an entirely different thing when it was risking your life for the same damn 20 kilometer stretch of ground back and forth.
Razaal had his doubts about the whole thing on a couple of levels. One, the Blassnauts were tough and they had their share of supporters. The schism, or whatever it was that split them off into a resurgent empire brought along the reptons, mostly, the gaur, and a few other territories. That was a huge sign that maybe the Alliance was already going to lose the fight.
The other level was the fact that Razaar was only about 30 years old. Terrekin had a lifespan on average of about 200 years. It'd be one thing if he was fighting this war after about a century under his belt, but to be fighting it with as young as he was...
He stepped over a sleeping grunt.
Elsewhere another captain had his unit running drills. It seemed pointless. Firing from one trenchfield to another didn't leave much need for running.
Though, maybe that other captain had a point. Razaal had ordered his unit to a little rest. Once he was ready maybe some drills were in order. Maybe he'd been too lax, but then again, look at the circumstance.
The smell of the mess tent made him slow his pace a bit. He shook his head and pressed on.
The pop-up came into view. It was a squarish, armored building, modular, and served as the operations hub for this part of the front. Just off to the side were the tents of the lieutenants, far away from the front. Razaal had passed on the logistics branch of his duties, instead focusing on combat. He sometimes wondered if he'd made a mistake. Lieutenants served as the counterpart of the Captains, received the same pay, and spent more time out of harm's way.
Razaal stepped into the pop-up.
To be continued...
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Cosmic Dash: Silver Spiral StoriesScience Fiction
This collection of original stories explores characters and settings from the science fiction webcomic Cosmic Dash. This collection features a novella, short stories, and flash fiction. Unless otherwise noted, all stories are appropriate for a gene...