Lt. Rod Baltomar of the New UN Spacy stood before his commanding officer, Ushio Todo. They were in the Commander’s office, a Spartan space furnished with very little. Most NUNS higher officers had offices replete with mementos, either of a military or a personal nature or both. But Todo just kept a few Zentradi artifacts and his desk with a holo-computer. Currently the Commander sat with his elbows resting on the desk, fingers interlaced, staring down Rod with his one visible eye. NUNS regulations were specific on the officer dress code but Todo somehow maintained a number of linear tattoos on his face. The artificial eye wasn’t the result of standard modification that many of the uncultured Zentradi received but was the result of a battle he’d been in while young.
“The YF-25 wasn’t destroyed,” he began, “Rather, our intelligence indicates it went down in the Julia Islands. Why didn’t you destroy it as you were ordered?”
“With respect sir, I thought I had. I was not expecting the pilot to survive.”
Todo knowingly grinned at Rod, causing him to shift ever so slightly in his at-attention position.
“Don’t try to fool me Rod. I know you’re fighting style; you are ruthless and efficient and if you had truly meant to kill that pilot, you would have made sure of it. Why did you let him go?”
Rod hesitated; should he tell his commander why he had shown mercy to the SMS fighter? No, better to tell some truth but not all.
“I am ashamed to say that I was… amusing myself sir. I deliberately damaged the craft just enough that it would crash to the planet, unless the pilot happened to be skilled enough to survive, which apparently he was.”
“Only somewhat skilled. His survival is largely due to the SMS frigate Gefion being nearby and rescuing him from the water. I have no doubt that they will be suspicious as to why we attacked their fighter.”
“Forgive me sir, I failed you,” said Rod, bowing his head low.
“I can understand your want of a challenge Rod. The bandits and bounty hunters that crawl across this planet are hardly worth dealing with. But remember why we came to this planet, the promise we have worked so hard for. We can’t afford to have the SMS sticking their noses where they don’t belong.”
“But sir, the local SMS branch only have a few operational fighters. They couldn’t hope to pose a threat to us.”
“And yet that pilot was able to take out three Ghost drones. Aisha Blanchette, their leader, is rumored to be building some new weapon for SMS and they do have a strong relationship with the Hunter Guild. They could cause trouble enough. And now we have wild Zentradi appearing. Rod, I need to know, if we are forced to take steps, will you be able to do what needs to be done?”
Rod remembered a burning military base and a young woman dying in his arms. His eyes narrowed and he snapped his arm up in a rigid salute to his commander.
“Sir! Yes sir!”
“Excellent. Now, I believe we have some very interesting new recruits that I would like you to meet. If we can spin them a good enough tale, they would make great allies. You are dismissed Lieutenant.”
Rod snapped his hand back to his side and executed a perfect about face and left the office. Todo reclined ever so slightly in his chair and went back to studying the report on his holo-screen. It was a report dated from the Protodeviln War back in 2045 on the Protoculture’s EVIL-series bio-weapons…