Nebula Chronicles I A thousand nightmares

Chapter 2 Living with it

17th April 2365

Cyrus system, space station Andromeda

Sachiko was sitting in front of a television screen in the staff room in her science wing. News had broken a few hours ago that the Alliance had made first contact with another species, and it was as hostile as could be. They were at war with the monster from her nightmare. Seven years had gone by since she first saw it. How long had the Trephydons watched them? Maybe ever since that horrible day. She was scared for Scott. He was probably going into battle against those things soon if he hadn't already. He had sought out a mobile unit so he was probably on his way to New Rome now. Actually given the instant travel with the wormhole stations he was probably there already. She closed her eyes hard when she realized he could already be dead. Whatever way the aliens could go, Cyrus was only two jumps from them. from the Romano System to the Theda 13 System or to the inhabited Beta System. But they couldn't get far there. Beta had one populated planet and that was Thor. It was like a fortress and it would take millions of men and thousands of ships to take it. Since it was the last and fastest jump to Earth it was heavily fortified. Navy presence, gun stations and space mines. At least it would be a hard fight for humans, but these aliens might have an easy time.

Her mind went to her dad. Captain of the Destroyer Victorious Dawn. He was probably about to join the fray too. Beat the aliens back from New Rome before they could get a foothold in Alliance space.

She heard some of the scientists working for her talking. They were scared and confused. What happened on Grimsby's Folly was classified so nobody had heard that there was aliens, making this a shock for everybody not read in. They was already riots of every planet. People was understandably scared.

"Excuse me doctor," one of her assistance said.

She broke from her thoughts and returned to the present.

"Ma'am, Colonel Telford is here to see you."

She nodded.

"Show him to me office."

Telford entered her office with her and sat down opposite her by the desk.

"How are you holding up kiddo?" He asked. Without anyone else there they could ignore the professional crap.

"Not so good," she admitted. "I haven't slept yet. Couldn't."

"Did you try?" He asked pointedly.

"Yes. Is this about the…dissecting I'm gonna do?"

He shook his head and raised his palm.

"No. There is a body on the way soon though."

"C-can you tell me what's happening on New Rome? Please."

Telford was silent for a moment before leaning forward.

"Listen closely kiddo. We are losing on ground and in space. They have plasma weapons that does a ton of damage." She remembered that. Get hit by one of those yellow bolts and it incinerates a few decimeters of whatever it hits. So it you get hit in the arm, goodbye arm. It would take it clean off,

"They have…well, three Battlecruisers in system. Against our Corvettes, Frigates and Destroyers and a handful of Light Cruisers. We're brutally outmatched in firepower. Our shields is the only reason we're still in the thick of it I hear."

Sachiko was horrified to hear how poorly it was going. It had been a day and it already didn't look good.

"W-what about the, eh…what was the…"Escort Carriers?" she had heard about them. "And how did they get there?"

"First few rolls off the line soon. Admiral Wrathman isn't hopefully. Thinks we'll lose the Battle of New Rome and has to focus on the next step. Next question, I'm told they are using Wormhole technology too."

"C-can't we just destroy the Wormhole station and make sure they can't use it. They'd be stuck around New Rome." She had no idea if it was a sound idea or not but to her it sounded good.

"Won't do much. They brought their own Wormhole station, transported by a large transport ship. From the Romano System they have a jumping off point into Thrace and Beta Systems, and through Theda 13 to us in Cyrus." He raised his hand. "The top shots is working on it so let's not assume we're screwed. We'll beat them back before they can attack another system. Count on it. Humanity ain't rolling over." He started smiling with confidence. "In the darkest of moments, there is still light. Mind you that wars are longer than a day so it'll turn. It was just a sneak attack."

Whether he really meant it or not it made Sachiko feel a little better. She returned the smile.

"That wasn't what I came here for actually. I came to talk about Director Hayden."

She felt a knot in her stomach at the mere mention of the man.

"D-do you know why he sent men to my home? To take me by force?" She might be overstating it but she didn't care.

"I personally spoke to him and he explain that he wanted to speak to you about these aliens, specifically the one on Grimsby's Folly. Why, I don't know since we weren't attacked at the time. I explain to him that next time he needs to go through the proper channels. He can't just send men to a head scientists home. That's unacceptable. I suspect he actually wanted to get you to work for Sentinel instead, might not have let you go without a yes." He paused. "I warned him that next time I'm alerting the Alliance Science Division board. They will no doubt launch an official complaint to the government and military branch and Sentinel Corporation will be in trouble. Alliance can't let the, abduction, of its employees stand. Military contractors have limited authority and if he oversteps it, we'll bring Sentinel down."

"That's a relief. I can't thank you enough Jack."

He smiled. "No need kiddo. I always got your back." He got out of the chair. "I need to get going. I have some drills planned for the garrison. They need to be at their best."

They hugged lightly before he left and Sachiko decided to call her home to check on the nanny.

"Oh, hell ma'am. Checking up on us?" The young woman answered.

"Something like that. How's my little girl doing?"

"Sleeping. I just put her down. She's too little to…understand any of this." The nanny swallowed and released a controlled breath. She lost her cheerful first response.

"Yeah. Has the dog walker been by?"

"Eh, yes ma'am. Erik took them out twenty minutes ago. Should be back soon."

"Good. Good. That's everything really. I'll let you get back to it."

"Good bye ma'am."

"Good bye Lucy." Sachiko hung up the channel and leaned back in her chair.

When she finally got herself to sleep-granted in her office-someone had to wake her off course. It was a marine corporal. Her secretary was standing behind him and mouthing 'sorry' since he apparently had marched right passed her.

"What is it?" She asked yawning.

"We have a specimen for you Doctor Nakajima," he said promptly.

She flew out of her chair and stared with wide eyes.

"Fetch Doctor Freeman," she told her secretary. "I want him and his team in observatory one."

"Yes doctor."

She followed the young corporal out of her office and down a corridor and down an elevator to a level below. That placed her and the corporal outside the medical hangar bay with two familiar faces waited. Telford and Hayden.

"Doctor Nakajima," Telford greeted her pleasantly.

"Doctor," Hayden said with a nod and a handshake she begrudgingly agreed to.

"Director, Colonel. We all here for the same reason?"

"I'd say so," Telford affirmed.

She glanced at Hayden for a moment. He was in his early sixties and clearly rich as few. He wore a suit looking worth forty or fifty thousand credits or so. Together with his combed grey hair it gave him a rich snob look, very fitting in Sachiko's mind. She didn't have time to dwell on his rich guy appearance because the doors to the small hangar bay slid open and eight marines marched out with a hoovering gurney. On it, a strapped down Trephydon. She felt her heart skip a beat and she had trouble breathing. The awful clicking from its mandibles began to echo in her mind and she couldn't break eye contact with the alien.

"Good job Delta Squad," Telford complimented.

"It was harder than it sounds colonel," their Squad leader answer.

Telford smiled. "Flying into a war zone, avoiding getting shot down, landing, fetching an alien corpse, who would have thought."

"Is it…dead?" Hayden inquired carefully. He had an Aiur accent. It was basically a mix between Australian and Spanish.

"As a doornail, sir," the Squad leader assured.

Telford put a hand on Sachiko's shoulder and smile encouragingly at the small Japanese woman. He brought her out of her mindset. "Meet Delta Squad CO, Gunnery Sergeant Marcus Matlock."

"Doc," Matlock nodded. "It wasn't easy to kill we hear. A good sharpshooter put three bullets in its head before it cracked the exoskeleton skin shit."

"Wish we could have killed one ourselves but the marines on the ground had a body nearby," a young feminine voice said.

She was standing beside the gurney, looking down at the body. She and Maddock was the only marines in the Squad that didn't have standard issue armor to a point. Usually the military was pretty strict with that Sachiko remembered Scott telling her ones. Matlock's black military issued jacket above his titanium plated combat armor and a black and white scarf around his neck. It had a square pattern. His helmet was slick and as black as the plating and his visor was tinted black.

"Are you gonna be cuttin' this thing up doc?" The young woman asked.

"I…" Sachiko started but was at a loss for words. She could not get a single word out of her mouth.

"She will be supervising the autopsy, yes," Telford came to her rescue seamlessly. "One of her teams will do the, cutting, in question."

The woman took two steps towards her.

"Staff Sergeant Natalie Elliott, ma'am," she introduced herself. "I'd like to watch. I think it'll be…exhilarating."

To Sachiko's shock the young woman sounded very excited. She placed the accent as Welsh.

"Ehm, sure."

Her armor was pretty standard, apart from a white skull painted on her tinted visor. In one word, it was creepy. Add to that she sounded no older than twenty, probably around eighteen or seventeen. How was someone so young in Force Recon?

Two marine's rolled the gurney up to Sachiko. She stared at it. The exoskeleton covering its body was lighter than the one on Grimsby's Folly. The black eyes sunken into their sockets was shut and there was a crack from the sniper bullets with dry blood, or she presumed the black substance was blood. His mandibles hung to the sides leaving his maw wide open. His armor had been stripped.

"He's got not dick or boobs," one of the Recon marines commented.

"Doc?" Matlock asked. He noticed that Sachiko seemed mesmerized by the alien corpse.

"I-I'm okay," she said anxiously. "I-I would theorize that it…might have its sex organ inside the exoskeleton, to be taken out when required."

"Natural dick protection," a marine chuckled.

"Shut up Greene," Matlock ordered.