Bellato spies have acquired some significant information that the Empire is moving en-masse to what appears to be a new parallel to Novus. An elite team of first-responders are sent out into the new wormhole to investigate.
“The Empire lugnuts can’t lie, can they?” the Sarge asked.
I know he’s my superior, and I’m his numer-two, and whenever he asks me anything so uncertain as this means he’s got a bad feeling about this whole thing.
“Well, sir, I’ve never known if machines can lie,” I quipped.
“Intelligence has sent us here, on the dot after the intercept. This is either another Novus parallel, or somebody in there hates us so bad. Did you forget a birthday, Corporal?”
“Sir, no, sir, I have not.” I’m very good with remembering birthdays. And we love parties. We’re so good at our jobs here with the first-response starforces that we can afford to celebrate whenever we’re on shore leave.
“Then buckle up compadre, today we’re gonna be Magellans.”
Our FTL ship broke through the wormhole’s exit gate and right before us was a sight to behold.
A new Novus, clear and bright as a freshly-minted marble of glassite. No evidence of nuclear fallout visible from the thackosphere.
“Damn, that’s beautiful, ainnit?” I said as we approached. I couldn’t help but hang my mouth open: it’s always awe-inspiring seeing this world this young and untouched, and this is my first time being on the team that lands first. At least, from the Union.
“Well, savor it. It ain’t gonna be gorgeous for long,” Sarge whispered wistfully. “If the Empire was here first, then it’s going to get messy real quick. Our objective is to explore known Bellato coordinates and reactivate any and all facilities for immediate use and settlement.”
“Excuse me, sir, did you say… reactivate?”
“The latter part of the intercept mentioned in-orbit visual on intact Empire locations-of-import. Central has good reason to assume that ours will be as well. We need to get up and running as fast as those boltbags can.”
“Uhhh, sir. What if they’re there already before us?”
The collective whirr of MAUs started and grew into a deafening din behind and below us in the bridge.
“We may be a shocktroop contingent, but times like these, we bring in the big guns. Lots of ‘em.”
“Right.” I can’t show any hesitation in front of the Sarge, he’ll never let me live that down. Permission to start drop prep, sir.”
“Go for it. I have a bad feeling about this, but you know what we do about bad feelings, Corporal.”
I cocked my rifle. “YESSIR, we shoot it in the face, SIR!” I bellowed. “You heard the man, we drop in T-minus-10, Starforce-1. Empire hostiles expected, so we’re going home tonight with a few new steel necklaces. Move out people!”
The Bellato indeed had arrived a few moments before due to some favorable coincidences, but the Empire was quick on its feet. War would break everyone on this parallel as well. It was inevitable. It never ends.