Ven figured it had been about twelve hours since the sinking. There was still no response on the radio.
The sun had long set, but thankfully the ocean water wasn’t cold enough induce any sort of hypothermia, and they’d been able to rotate whoever had to be in the water at a given time.
Ven didn’t mind, but soon realized that Metrin and Colton were not fans of being on the open water.
During Ven’s turn off the raft there was a sudden commotion. She heard the sound coming from behind her, and spun around. Peering into the darkness.
She could see nothing but she knew the sound of a submarine surfacing. Then at last she saw it, it was the ship from before. Sleek and black.
The flat deck rose to the surface and she and her squad reached for their weapons. The very hatch that Ven had fired at began to open.
Unsure what to expect, she kicked her feet to keep herself afloat while pointing the weapon at the opening. Moments later she dropped her weapon down in relief.
Felix had come out, looking the same as ever. “Felix!” Ven yelled to him.
He replied in his mechanical voice, “Never before has a recruit boarded this vessel. Your tenacity has exceeded even my expectations.” That was high praise coming from the robot.
“Well these cowards were too busy fighting over the life raft. I had to do something.”
Felix laughed, it was robotic, and some people found it off putting but Ven had learned to love it after spending the bulk of her youth getting to know the machine.
They were then taken aboard the vessel and given a debrief of the training mission.
It had been intended to see how they would react under the most dire circumstances, and while all of them had passed,
Ven was awarded a special commendation for her bravery and “tenacity” as Felix had put it.
Soon enough they were back at the naval training center, learning more about different vessels, the biology of the Arzat, where their weaknesses were, and how to win in hand to hand combat.
It wasn’t likely, the Arzat were simply more physically imposing than humans, but they had been killed by hand on rare occasions.
They had a particularly soft spot at the back of their skull that Tirus himself had once used to take one out on a mission.
Three weeks later Ven had passed her basic training with flying colors and was off to her advance CEO training. She couldn’t be more excited. Tirus had been there to attend her graduation.
“I’m proud of you kiddo.” The knick name had long been Tirus’ way of refering to Ven, and it made her feel warm inside even as she had approached adulthood.
“Couldn’t have done it without you.” She smiled back at him, but as she said it a sadness crossed her eyes.
As if reading her mind Tirus responded, “They would be proud of you too.”
With that, a single tear fell from Ven’s left eye as she fought to hold them back. Tirus pulled her in to a warm hug the same as when he’d first met her.
Though now she was nearly as tall as him, and his gray had spread to consume most of his hairs.
There was one week remaining of boss school as they called it, Ven was in the woods, hunkered down quietly, awaiting a response from command.
Her training mission was to infiltrate a mock base and rescue three prisoners.
Typically the Arzat killed humans without thought, but they saw the value of military intelligence and so kept some ranking officers alive and attempted to torture information out of them.
That was the scenario for this operation.
The base was a thousand feet ahead of her, surrounded by trees, and she waited for the command to proceed.
At last, her radio crackled through, audible only through the small bud implanted in her ear canal. “This is command, clear to extract.” With that Ven had approval to begin the mission.
She’d been watching the base for several hours, and had finally spotted a weak point in the patrols where she should be able to get in undetected.
There were no walls around the base, but sentry towers were positioned every few hundred feet, with two guards atop each one.
At one tower a guard had frequently been leaving for short periods, Ven guessed that his stomach was upset, and she waited for him to leave again.
After only twenty minutes she saw him start to descend the later, and soon he was inside one of the buildings.
Sticking low with the bushes, she crept silently forward towards the tower, moving only when the lone guard was looking the opposite direction.
She thought to herself that this would be harder with an Arzat, given their wide angle of view, but she was willing to take advantage of the opening regardless.
Soon enough she was climbing the later as quickly and silently as she could, praying that the other guard didn’t come back.
At the top, she held position and reached into her pocket, pulling out a small stick with a mirror attached. It was a primitive implement, but it worked nonetheless.
Without exposing herself she was able to spy on the guard atop the tower.
As soon as his back was turned she crept the rest of the way up and stealthily approached him from behind. Click.
Her mock weapon was pointed at the guards head, and he dutifully dropped to the ground to play dead. Next, she dragged him to the side and awaited the second guard.
Only a few seconds after moving the “body” she heard the clanking of the other guard on the ladder.
She waited for him to reach the top and climb up before using the same mock shot to the head to “kill” him.
The Arzat had no compassion for humans and thus Ven had learned and been trained to have no compassion for them.
Now that the top of the tower was secure she was able to scan the base. She had six hours until the next guard change, so she took her time surveying.
She wore a pair of ordinary looking glasses, however they were anything but ordinary.
With a sophisticated software system tied in to other systems, like her earpiece, she was covered in an array of technological devices.
The glasses could zoom in like binoculars, send pictures or live footage back to command, even assist with targeting moving enemies.
After two hours she had determined which building the prisoners were most likely in.
It was the building with the least activity, yet a high ranking officer, visible by his insignia, had entered it twice in the two hours.
She guessed to check the status of the interrogations, as he was clearly returning to the command center, which had much more activity.
She waited for him to leave again before readying her approach. Again reaching in to her back pack, she pulled out a small drone and controller.
The drone had an optical camouflage and was nearly impossible to see if you didn’t know where to look.
It also contained a sound throwing speaker, capable of making noise up to hundred feet away while being silent next to the drone itself.
She flew the drone to the opposite side of the base before programing the sound to explosions, and aiming the it to make noise just outside of the perimeter.
Then, she set the unit to auto, and started the sequence.
Ten seconds later the drone began doing it’s job. Ven could hear the loud bangs and booms, and the drone would continue to move on its own to avoid detection or weapons fire.
After thirty seconds half the base appeared to have run off towards the “explosions.” That was when Ven made her move.
Quickly she climbed down the ladder and raced to the building weapon in hand, she “shot” three guards who saw her, and one who was guarding the building she was headed for.
Looking around, she could see no one else and reached into her bag to produce a small torch.
She pointed it at the lock on the door and hit a button, in moments the locks metal had turned to liquid and began pouring down the doorway.
She then ran the torch along the opposite side of the door, where the hinges would be, and a swift kick sent the door falling into the cement building with a loud clang.
Inside, there were two guards who were still reaching for their weapons as she took them out.
Running down the hallway, she found the prison cells where the three “captives” (all classmates of hers) were being held.
One was Metrin, who had a device clamped on his leg to force him to limp as though he were injured.
Ven produced the torch again and melted the lock before tossing three small pistols in the cell, one for each captive. Then she went to assist Metrin.
The four of them moved outside the building right as a group of guards had started to return and a mock gun battle began to take place at the entrance to the building.
Ven grabbed the drone controller and flew it to the center of the enemy squad before hitting the button that would have made it self destruct if this were real.
All of the enemies fell to the ground except one, who was slightly further away. He was quickly taken out by gun fire instead.
From there, the operation was uneventful. They quickly left the base and in a matter of minutes they had moved deep into the woods.
Slowed by Metrin, they weren’t moving fast, but they made steady progress for an hour before stopping to rest.
It was then that Ven finally got a response back from command. “Good job Cadet Yaeger” Ven’s family had not had a last name so she had used her adopted fathers.
“Hold position, we are coming to pick you up.” With that, the radio went quiet, and Metrin’s clamp clicked and fell off his leg.
A short time later a quadrocopter was hovering overhead and a rope ladder was lower through the trees to them. Once all were on board, the copter raised altitude and headed back towards command.