“November,” Riven nodded to the AI. The AI platforms were still relatively new technology, and their limitations have yet to fully be realized. That, of course, had a tendency to make many humans uncomfortable with a machine that could outthink and outmaneuver them with the potential to just learn and grow more. November had an odd appearance, considering most AI platforms, but she was also legally recognized as a person. Which happened to make the uncomfortable people a helluva lot more uncomfortable around the machine legally declared as a human.
Riven didn’t care if November was reduced to beeps in order to communicate – she was one of the best damn pilots in the AAF, and without her they weren’t getting off the planet anytime soon. “November. You’ve sustained no damage in the landing, I trust.” Riven showed the AI Vincent’s cache beacon, addressing her as she would any other soldier. “We need to retrieve the medical supplies and meet up with the rest of our crew with it – hopefully with survivors from the Valkyrie. Cydrans have touched ground somewhere north of us, judging by the ship flying, so we need to get moving stat.” Without another word Riven started in the direction the beacon blinked on the map, her pistol drawn.
“November, do you know anything about Arandia?” Riven asked. She knew what most soldiers knew – Arandia had been a colossal failure. One of the first planets that the AAF and Cydrans battled over, and the AAF came away with little more than bloodied noses. That was thirty-some odd years ago, but it was Riven’s hope that there would still be standing AAF bases that the Cydrans left standing – after all, once the humans were driven off planet side there were no more threats. She knew some of the planets fauna, and little about the flora, but mostly she knew that it was lightly populated until the last five years or so. It was believed by Intel that one of the leaders of the Cydran army was stationed here, presumably Teloh’Fain, the “Prelate.”
“This is Medic Merrill. I’ve located the pod. I’m moving in to se-OH SHIT!” Riven stopped in her tracks. Had the Cydrans hit so soon? “Merrill? What’s going on?” She demanded through the comm. Of course, now would be the time for Riven and November to run into a small Cydran squad. Riven growled and ran for cover behind a tree, looking frantically for the AI. They needed November – there was no other way around it. She eased around the tree as much as she could, pistol loaded and charging. Riven didn’t see the Cydran that seemingly materialized beside her.
“Filthy heretic.” Nariem’Tha hissed, firing a plasma round into the unconscious human found in the escape capsule. The blast burned off half the human’s face, skin melting and charred. The Cydran sneered at its pathetic body, wondering (not for the first time) how something so weak and feeble wasn’t simply run over by the Immortal Fist. Like an infestation of bugs in the house, you had to squash every single one, or they just came back. But they could be killed. In fact, that they had put up so much of a resistance was a testament to their tenacity. But they were woefully simple creatures without any understanding of just exactly what they were up against. Their very technology was based off of the Cydrans! And they thought that they could attack the Eminent Star? That they could possibly destroy it? What arrogance!
The space beside Nariem distorted, solidifying into a heavily-armoured soldier equipped with the newest addition to elite ground forces – the smoking cloak. It utilized the same technology as the one on the Eminent Star, turning soldiers – for all intent and purposes – invisible. The only problem was that the smoking cloak had a tendency to malfunction when applied to smaller, living organics. For the most part, however, it worked just fine.
“Urith, take your men and reinforce my forces. Neutralize any of the heretics you find.”
The big Cydran nodded his armoured head before tapping a place just behind his ear. The smoking cloak activated quicker than it deactivated, and he was gone instantly. “No survivors.” Nariem called after the elite soldier. He shot another round in the corpse to emphasis his point.