*TAKEN FROM THE PERSONAL FILES OF SERGEANT JULIO GERADLEZ DURING THE EARLY STAGES OF THE SERIN CAMPAIGN*
Serin Prime was a poorly kept secret; an outpost on the other side of space from Paradiso exploring some old stone towers left behind by whatever extinct civilisation had managed to eke out a meagre existence on that thin temperate equator. Water-sellers had been siphoning off the glaciers for years, transporting it in those huge Hydro-regulators you see clogging up the stellar-ways. No one paid it any attention before, but I guess something happened to make it a little more interesting.
Anyway, Corregidor Brass sent us here in a fresh frigate, one with the new ferrous pole anti-gravetic system – you know; the ships with an ionised, revolving pole at the centre to generate artificial gravity? It’s a little harsher than the older systems, but you can take a shit without meds. That ship was literally fresh off the factory line; you could still smell the paintwork as we came on board and flipped for bunks. That’s when we knew something was important about this mission; you don’t get a new, reliable vessel unless something big’s going down.
Journey time was short; we didn’t even have chance to get to know the rest of the crew properly before we were getting briefed on our arrival and entry procedure. Mjombi had only been in a couple of fights, bless her. She was definitely disappointed. Personally, I found it worrying; anytime you rush somewhere, it’s bound to be because you want to arrive before others do. The other Wilds didn’t appreciate me doubling drill times and running dust-off training at first, but man do they thank me now.
I watched the approach from the prow cupola, staring through the empty dark of space at an unfamiliar star. The system’s sun was weak; it flared and guttered like a dying flame, but still threw out enough heat and radiation to blister the brand new paint job on the frigate. The planet drifted closer and closer, revolving a little faster than earth. It seemed covered in snow, white as a ping-pong ball except for a band of beautiful clear blue that stretched across the equator. Dotted throughout was landmass; the inhabitable areas of Serin Prime. Beautiful, but lonely.
Recon went snafu; we closed in on a larger research outpost and dropped in some Hells, but it went to shit after fifteen standard minutes. Nav hadn’t factored the planets revolution speed, so we settled into high orbit and watched the place turn; it was seventeen minutes until we could send a back up to the team, and by then Phalanx forces had swarmed them. I dropped in with my Wilds and a pair of Geckos and we prepped for trouble, but by the time we got there the fight was over. We recovered Ace, Alex and Erica, but they were in a messed up shape. They lost a man too; Hermanos. We jettisoned his effects and held a brief ceremony.
After that, briefings got serious. We sat in operation rooms rather than the mess to discuss our objectives. Came up with time scales, LZs, the lot. Drills became mandatory for all crew. Drops were timed and the frigate took to implementing geo-synch orbits. There were only about fifty of us then, all Corregidor born, trained and bred, but a small force against a concerted offensive. I don’t blame Brass for calling for back up.
It was six days later that the Righteous Indignation arrived, flashing into our local space using tight-beam technology banned throughout most of the Sphere. That was all we needed to work out that Bakunin had come to our aid. Luckily, they’d left the furries at home; what we got instead was a contingent of Nuns with guns, all walking arrogance and silent, judging stares. There were seven of them, calling themselves the Sisters Merciful. Each one had taken a call-sign based on the polemic seven virtues. I rolled my eyes at first, until I saw them training in our barracks. They had Kusanagi with them.
The Indignation coupled with our frigate and our ships became a flotilla. The sisters had brought a motley bunch including a Daktari and a Clockmaker, which were welcome additions. With a couple of Moderators and a few Zeros, we began to feel like an actual military. The Zeros immediately made themselves useful providing recon and intel that we simply hadn’t been able to gather with the Hellcats in rehab. The cyber-support provided by the Custodians within the Sisters Merciful was very well appreciated, especially with the Aleph presence. We actually began securing some of the hot-zones and achieving our mission objectives.
On that note, it’s important that I set some things straight. We were never told what we’d picked up whenever we went on retrieval. It was always tech-crates, sometimes marked with bio-hazard signs, some even rigged with Electric Pulse defence systems. I watched Price piss herself when the first one got her; she was in Med for two days after. On the odd occasion we were sent to do what we do best; search and destroy. The Aleph had dug in deep and we were often needed to blow open the lids. We were often teamed up with ‘Zilla, the force’s Iguana, while we went on missions; I think it’s because my brother wanted to take to the field with me. Regardless, you can read my field reports on the official channels, if you really need to.
It was after six standard weeks that we began to pick up signs of other forces present on Serin Prime. First it was our friends, the Haqq; a few notable run-ins with pretty girls toting shot-guns and pheremone enhanced defence fields quickly alerted us. Apparently, our presence wasn’t notified by the Haqq representatives, so we were regarded as a potential threat, yet because we seemed to act without official Nomad support made us a separate group. Whatever doesn’t break down our careful trade treaties, right? Regardless, we burned out a few Bourak nests and thre back beers discussing how best to deal with Hawwa without too much concern. It wasn’t until the ground forces started finding the husks of seed-pods that we started to get worried. Until then things had been straightforward for us; a normal Sphere military theatre. When signs of Combined Army interest began cropping up, us officers began having sleepless nights.
Worse yet, the Intruders found something. It was another poorly kept secret; it took me one hand of poker to find out that it had been named “Packet Strigoi”, a name used for old Earth vampires. It had been pulled out of the only dead body they’d found on the planet so far. I won’t lie; it was at this point that I filed to get my team transferred. There’s only so much weird shit I can take.
That’s when she turned up. Piloting a state of the art cruiser that docked with our frigate, the Interventor appeared. I remember the day she walked aboard, flanked on either side by Spektr agents. I’d been told what to expect, but to watch this cold, calm woman stroll aboard, while my personal HUD began pinging cyber-infiltration alert notifications was chilling. Within moments she had made her way to Commander Shepard, shook her hand and followed her into CIC, while simultaneously hacking all of our personal records. I’d later find out that we’d all just been hit by a carefully prepared logical algorythm designed to break into our files, but at the time, she seemed like a network goddess, capable of anything.
At that moment, I became very glad that she was on our side. That’s really when things got interesting.
*LOG ENDS HERE. LEVEL 7 CLEARANCE NEEDED FOR FURTHER FILES*