“You’re sure this is what you want?” Tirus looked Ven in the eyes as he asked the question.
She returned his gaze, unflinching. “Yes.” Tirus thought about it. Covert Extraction Operative, CEO.
Most of the soldiers used the slang term bosses as a playful way of showing respect to those who served in the toughest and most dangerous positions in the human military.
They went in to Arzat territory, typically in small groups, or alone, and attempted to locate and rescue humans from Arzat control or turn them against their masters.
The problem was that after hundreds of years of enslavement, there were humans loyal to the Arzat.
Attempting to “rescue” the wrong person could get an operative killed, along with any humans who were trying to escape.
Tirus wasn’t surprised by Ven’s decision, in fact he’d always expected it.
The young military had created the role when Ven was twelve, and while she’d already indicated she wanted to join the fight,
she had been particularly excited at the prospect of being a highly trained, elite soldier. Her school friends had even already begun playfully referring to her as boss. “Okay.
I’ll make the call first thing in the morning.”
Ven wanted to join the next batch of cadets to the academy so that she could finish her basic training in time to get in the next CEO training.
Otherwise she’d have to wait another year to attend it. The problem was that this meant leaving her senior year of school two weeks early.
Something that her parent, or in this case, guardian, had to approve.
Tirus had adopted Ven as soon as they had returned to Atlea, and she had known him as a father ever since.
He was frequently gone, with all the responsibilities of commanding the human forces, but she was always left in good hands.
Her school had a dormitory, for those children who were orphans, and although she had been adopted she still shared their grief of lost parents.
Most of them, like her, had been rescued at some point from the Arzat. There were a few however, who had been raised all their lives in Atlea.
Tirus walked closer to Ven and reached his hand to her cheek, brushing aside her red hair aside. “Just promise me you will be careful.”
“When am I not?” Ven gave her adopted father a sly grin.
It had been a busy week as Ven still had to take finals in several courses, but at long last it was done.
She’d said goodbye to the friends she didn’t expect to see for a while, or maybe ever again, and the one small bag she had with her was slung over her shoulder.
She was waiting for the sub that would take her to the surface.
From there she would ride a high speed surface transport ship to Aecor, where, on the southeastern side of the island,
a small peninsula stuck out ruining the lands otherwise nearly perfect circle shape.
The peninsula was short and fat, and covered in mountains smaller than those sheltering the island interior.
Here, nestled in a tiny valley three hundred feet above sea level sat the training academy complex.
Tunnels, stretched from the complex down through the mountains to to the sea with openings every fifty feet.
The numerous openings were necessary because the tides rose and lowered an average of one hundred and twenty feet per day.
During storms they could get higher, and the tide on record in the few short years since the academy was built was a whopping two hundred and eighteen feet above sea level.
Due to this the docks actually floated out at sea, a simple AI program had been developed to control them and each section had a small motor capable of maneuvering it.
A long floating platform ran from the nearest tunnel entrance at a given time out to the closest docks.
It was on the docks, just after she’d been dropped off, that she spotted it. She’d started walking towards the tunnel entrance as her ride began to pull away. Glancing to her left, she froze.
The ship was nearly three hundred feet long. Arzat in design, but with the forest green and deep blue colors of the human navy. Now called the N.V.
Yaeger, Ven hadn’t seen the ship in several years.
Tirus being the commander of the fledgling navy, had to spend most of his time at the naval headquarters in Atlea, and so command of the vessel had been passed to another officer.
Since the acquisition of their fleet and their first territories they had been able to start producing their own vessels using the technology recovered from the colony ship,
and the Yaeger was no longer the most powerful ship in the fleet though it was still a highly formidable vessel.
The sighting of the ship brought Ven back to that night. The screaming from the back of the column. Her parents deaths. The cell, and the Arzat smell of mold and vinegar.
Tirus and Felix coming to her rescue. She snapped out of it and looked forward to the tunnel entrance. Picking up her step, she marched forward with renewed determination.
She was going to get every last human out of Arzat hands, even if it meant personally killing every last Arzat.