It was both a dream and a memory. She was in Atlea. Twelve years old. She and her friend were running. The friend had stolen from a shop, but the shopkeep had seen.
When her friend took off running Ven did too.
They ran around corners and bends, trying to lose the man. Soon enough they did, but they had run in different directions and got separated.
Looking for her friend, Ven wandered into a viewing area.
The viewing areas were indoor parks with trees and greenery and they typically had windows into the ocean around as well, hence the name.
It was dark, the artificial lighting turned down to simulate night. Her friend was not here, but Ven walked to the glass, looking out into the dark trench of ocean. That was when it appeared.
An alien face with insect like eyes, it was essentially a large head with tentacles instead of a body. It’s mouth was like that of a fish, but it bore no teeth.
It was a mysterious creature only rumored to exist. An Aether.
Then as fast as it appeared it was gone. In the blink of an eye. Ven didn’t even see it turn around or swim away. It simply disappeared.
She turned around to see if anyone else was there, if anyone else had seen. But there was no one.
“It’s time to wake up boss.” The mechanical voice held mirth in its use of the word. Was Felix actually proud of her?
“I’m up.” Ven sat up and waited a moment for the sleep to wear off. Then she got out of bed. “Lead the way.
” She spoke the words to Felix who spun around and exited, leading the way to the briefing room.
It was here that Captain Yang and Ensign Riley awaited them. “Did you get some sleep?” The captain asked Ven. “Yes, thank you.”
“Good.” Captain Yang sounded genuinely glad. “We’re an hour from the drop. Command has called to complete a briefing”
“Ok.” Ven responded, and with that Yang pushed a button on a small console in front of her. She also handed a small device to Ven.
“What’s this?” Ven started to ask.
“He’ll explain.” Yang was quick to answer.
Behind Yang a video screen came to life with an image of Admiral Entra.
“Hello Ven, Felix.” Entra got straight to business. “Your mission is the rescue of Commander Yaeger, and if possible the recapture or destruction of the Atlas.
We believe the ship was taken to the Arzat central command, on this island.” The screen changed to a map of the northern islands.
The archipelago consisted of nearly one hundred islands, out of which only fifteen were significant in size. The largest one was circled on the map.
“You are to use any means at your disposal to complete your mission.
As we do not know where the commander is being held the first order of business will be to infiltrate the central command headquarters and attempt to obtain his location.
Your holographic emitter has been programmed to replicate a high ranking Arzat.” Ven looked at Riley who hadn’t mentioned that. He simply winked in response, a sly grin on his face.
“His home is here.” The map zoomed in closer to a specific house. “Kill him to ensure you aren’t detected, then use his identity to get in to the base and obtain the information.
Your implanted ear bud will be in constant contact with Sky Eye 2, which is tasked primarily with providing support for this mission.”
“Can’t you contact the commander through his bud?” Ven asked.
“His bud went offline shortly after he was taken.” That could mean only one of three things, either he was dead, his bud had been removed, or he was in a facility which blocked the signal.
She hoped it was the last one.
“Roger.” She confirmed that she understood.
“You were also just given a device by the captain.”
“Yes sir,” Ven responded pulling the device from her pocket.
“Should you find the Atlas and be unable to recapture it, place that device onboard, and activate it, then you have ten minutes to get off, and Sky Eye 2 will do the rest.” A brief pause.
“Do you have any questions?”
“No sir.” Ven responded, as fiercely determined as ever.
“One more thing...” the admiral paused, “Venuvia, do be careful.”
She fought back tears that tried to spring forth. “Yes sir.”
With that, the screen went dead. It was just the four of them again. Captain Yang was the first to speak. “Well, time for you to suit up. Good luck boss.”
Ven smiled through watery eyes. “Thanks, but I don’t need luck,” she looked at the robot, “I’ve got Felix.”