The ports at Pretoria were home to dozens of ships at any given time, whether it be cargo, personnel, or military. The sprawling mass of metal and energy fueled docking bays extended for quite a while. The bustle of man and machine, carrying all manner of cargo, started from the morning until very late in the day. A small, unremarkable, beat-up, run down, ancient cargo ship slowly dropped in and very nearly missed the docking bay, much to the dismay of the loud yelling fat man in some tower somewhere along the dock. As the ship pulled in, the underside cargo door slid open and a creaking screech of metal on metal shot through the dock, a sound of a ship that had not seen much in the way of care for many years. Most ships were well maintained and even somewhat quiet, their engines and reactors by this time a well oiled machine of nuclear fusion that made surprisingly little noise. However, the old hunk of junk sitting in the cargo bay was hardly one of those masterpieces of Terran engineering. Every person within 100 yards could hear that fusion core hum and hiss as if it were about to melt down.
"Touch that rifle again and I'll smack that silly grin off your face, Ivan!" A voice rang out, loud and boisterous. A stout, ripped, drunk man carrying a duffel bag stepped off out of the cargo door and laughed as he waved to a tiny Russian who closed the door behind him. The man was in beat up black Viper fatigues. He had cut the legs of the fatigues off at the knee and had cut the sleeves off of his shirt. Underneath the rippling mass of old fabric was something that no civilian would recognize. Looking as if it was just one of those breathing shirts that athletes would wear, the fabric was actually a tight weave of carbon-fiber armor. The light of the cargo bay seemed to get lost in the fabric, making this man stand out a little where everything was so bright and shining like a new dime.
"Sir, You can't offload here, this is for cargo only. You have to--" A man in uniform that was clearly security for the docking bays stepped up waving his arms like an idiot.
"Lieutenant Frank Traxis, TCMP. Get the fuck out of my way." The shorter man said as he went to walk by the security guard when his path was blocked. The security guard and three other tall, dumb rednecks stood in his way.
"You're going to have to go through personnel receiving like everyone else, smartass." One of the men said as he reached for Frank's arm. Frank reached into his pocket and pulled out a PDA that identified him as a superior to these four idiots in front of him, and they all looked at each other in confusion.
"Get the fuck out of my way." Frank said, curtly. The soldiers stepped aside and saluted. "Yes, sir."
"I could get used to this officer thing." Frank laughed as he walked away, turning toward the main concourse where he was sure he was probably about to be scolded for being late by his new commander. He glanced down at his PDA for a moment and stopped walking, laughing to himself.
"Aww, you son of a bitch." Frank said, realizing he had been told to meet an hour before the actual meeting. His previous commanding officer knew him too well, "Well, I'll make 'em think I'm turning over a new leaf!" He exclaimed to nobody in particular, continuing his walk toward the concourse. "I wonder if they'll buy it considering I just ditched my dropship to hang out with an old drunken Russian..."
After finishing a small meal from a street vendor as he entered the city, Frank dropped his duffel bag by a trash receptacle and ripped his beaten fatigues off, throwing them in the trash. Reaching into his duffel bag, he pulled out his combat vest and slid it over his shoulders. His side-arm had been in a holster on his side the whole time, easily concealed in the beaten fatigues, but his two rifles were in the bag. The SRT-111 was a collapsing energy rifle, it collapsed to the size of his side-arm when not in use and rested comfortably in the inner left holster of his combat vest. His MP-2110 fit in the rifle sling of his vest and rested along his back. Despite the shocking appearance to civilians of a man walking in full combat gear down the street, Frank knew he could get away with it. He stuffed the duffel bag in the garbage and turned down the street.
He walked into the TCMP building about 5 minutes ahead of schedule, 55 minutes behind his schedule. Walking through the lobby, nobody even bothered questioning him or stopping him to check his ID. No doubt they had been told he was coming, and it wasn't like anyone else was going to walk up in Viper combat gear. He took the elevator to the top floor and checked his breath for the remnants of the few bottles of vodka that he had been swilling on the day-long detour from his previous stop. Reaching into one of the pouches on his vest, he popped a breath mint as the doors slid open. His walk down the hall gained purpose, as he no doubt expected fully shock the uptight woman he was soon to be serving under. His uniform left little to the imagination and Frank knew how he looked. He wanted to test her resolve, and she probably knew it was coming. No doubt she'd been privy to a thicker file than she'd ever seen on a soldier and she'd combed through it to lecture him on long before he arrived.
As the doors to the meeting room shot open as he approached, he turned and was greeted with two faces he didn't expect to see. He might have, had he read the dossier, but he didn't read those things. No matter how arrogant or lippy Frank got, he knew better than to try and raise hell in front of some of the commanding officers of the entire TCM. He shot to attention and saluted as he thanked God for having him dress in his combat uniform. It wasn't formal, but if he'd shown up here in beaten up fatigues, he'd likely have been demoted on the spot. This wasn't ideal, but it wasn't going to get him screamed at by a man who could have him shot and nobody would give a damn...