The Dragon swiveled slowly, guns moving to target each group in turn. As his team dropped their weapons soldiers ran in and cuffed them hand and foot.
When they were all secure the Dragon came in for a landing, turning so that its boarding ramp faced the agent. It lowered and a tall man in sinister black armour and a facemask stomped out.
“Rebels! You have assaulted Arcernment soldiers. You have the right to remain silent until we can arrange for your interrogation”
“Rebels?” Kral shouted, incredulous “Says the man bringing a private army onto the Arc in unregistered transports?”
The agent patted the air “Calm down Kral. I think I know whats going on here” he turned to the masked man “You were brought here by the Director? By Callion?”
“I told you to be quiet!”
“I will be, in a moment. We are all members of the Special Forces. We all answer to Callion. He is the Director to us”
The man faced him for another few moments before turning back to walk into the Dragon.
“Sila? Contact Callion. Double check these cretins lies. It would not due to execute his agents without first clearing it with him”
With that he stalked back into the belly of the Dragon and the hatch closed behind him.
One hour later the agent was marched into the briefing room by two of the masked man’s soldiers and the woman he had identified as Sila They escorted him to his chair, unlocked the handcuffs, and left. As the door closed behind them Callion glared at him from across the table.
“Explain why you assaulted Arcernment soldiers”
“They opened fire on us first sir”
“Thats not what they said. They said that you were deploying your hood mounted guns”
“We had hood mounted weapons in our groundcar?”
“Don’t play dumb with me. Why did you fire on them?”
“Because they were shooting at us. That is the only answer I can give. Check my neural readout; you’ll see that I’m telling the truth”
Callion glared at him before moving on.
“Why were you in the area in the first place?”
“One of the team members discovered evidence of unscheduled landings by unregistered vehicles at that docking bay. Combined with evidence that we had that the Butcher was going to be slipping out aboard an Earth Council ship we believed that this was what happened”
“Because of your idiocy I lost two dozens good soldiers! And now everyone knows about troops arriving that way and about my docking ships there”
“Sir, I don’t see why you couldn’t just bring in troops through conventional means, unless these were to be private soldiers. In which case the Arc government should know about you equipping a private army with their funds”
Callion directed a hate filled glare at the agent. It promised pain.
“It is not your duty to question Jor, but to serve. Since there have been no sightings of the Butcher since a day before your attack I am forced to believe that you are right in assuming that she left the Arc. Because of your ineptitude she escaped”
“Sir, its because you had undeclared-”
“Silence!” Callion roared at him, spittle flying “I am in charge here! I will do as I please!”
He sat back and took a moment to regain his composure.
“You are dangerously rebellious. If I were you, with your chip, I would be a bit more…careful”
The agent doubled over as a jolt of pain spiked through his skull. It felt as if every piece of his body was being pierced by needles, sliced to bits, and burned, all at the same time.
Finally the pain stopped and he sat back up, shaking.
“Better? No more questions? Good. Since you let the artist escape I have a new mission for you. You are to go to the battlefront. Assassinate military leaders of the enemy, politicians, anyone whose death will negatively impact the war effort for the Earth Council. I leave it to you to choose your targets so long as I get results. Sometimes I will direct you at specific people. Understood?”
The agent nodded.
“Then get out. I’ve prepared a dropship. You can load your team’s railcar directly onto it, or you can load the vehicles and resources individually. Requisition any additional resources that you need. I want you and your team off the Arc by the end of the day. Meet up with the Third Fleet group. You’ll be assigned a ship when you get there, likely a carrier or a corvette to act as your personal vessel”
“Understood sir” The agent stood and walked to the door. He stopped just before leaving and looked back. Callion had already turned back to the screen behind him and was issuing orders to someone, the agent forgotten.
Which was fine by the agent. The more Callion forgot about him the more freedom he would have. And the more freedom he had the sooner he would be able to bring down Callion and his private army, the sooner he could be free.
The agent collected his equipment from the table where it sat and checked it over for any problems. Finding none he strapped his weapons back into place before marching out to find the team.
“I guess they are my team now” he muttered as he turned a corner and saw them all sitting on benches, hands cuffed.
“Let them go. We’re leaving” he waved a hand at the guards who, after a moment glaring at him moved to uncuff his team. Everyone was there except for Thomas, Alexander, and Lori. But they were at the hospital getting emergency treatment with Thomas overseeing them. He would call Thomas, tell him that they were leaving and get the three to make their requisitions from there.
He slowed only slightly as he passed through, heading for the exit and the new groundcar that Callion had given them. Kral fell into step beside him, as did Cassy.
“What’s happening now sir?” almost all of the mistrust was gone from Kral’s voice.
“We’re going off to the war. Requisition what goods you need”
“Yes. Callion decided that he didn’t want us around to kill his private army anymore so he’s shipping us off to go kill Earth Council soldiers”
“Sir! How can you say that about the Director? He wouldn’t build a private army. He’s loyal to the Arc!”
The agent turned to look at Cassy incredulously, one eyebrow raised.
“What? I thought you knew about him”
“He was right about you. You are going rogue. And you want to poison us against him. You want to make the conspiracy that you were talking about”
The agent just looked at her.
“If you really believe that then you can stay behind. Anyone else believe I’m a traitor?”
Everyone shook their heads.
“Even you Kral?”
“No proof yet sir”
The agent walked away from Cassy and swung himself into the groundcar. With a flip of the switches he powered it up and made sure that the hood turrets were locked down this time.As everyone climbed in he hit the gas, and the groundcar leapt forwards, towards the docking bay, the war, and the future.