Klingseis Chapter 3

 

Klingseis Chapter Three

The time is 0430, Lieutenant Klingseis. Your briefing begins in ninety minutes.

The time is 0430, Lieutenant Klingseis. Your briefing begins in ninety minutes.

The time is 0430, Lieuten-

I instinctively drive my right fist into the wall panel above my bed to silence the computer. The standard alarm goes off automatically based on your duty roster. Their wake-up call only gives you forty-five minutes to report to your post. I make sure to double that to give me enough time to prepare for the early morning briefing.

I don’t mind rolling out of bed and strutting to the shower, donning my uniform and reporting for duty. I sure as hell don’t mind getting in my flight hours. But the thought of that podium fills me with dread, standing in front of the pilots of the Ironsides. I am the wing commander, the person in charge. Knowing that none of us have experienced actual combat, other than the odd skirmish with the fragmented separatist groups, often keeps me up at night. Every single one of my pilots, including myself, are too young to have been part of the war over the ‘Andromeda Bridge’, back when there was a wormhole to fight over.

Preparing for an attack from the Ralgoths is our primary focus. Like a coiled snake, they wait for the appropriate time to strike. I know that every passing moment brings us closer to the day when the Ralgoths decide humanity has been allowed to exist for too long. The simulations may promise that we are ready to kick ass, but everything in me screams it won’t be that easy. We know very little about our enemy, and that lack of knowledge is immensely dangerous. It would be easier if they were human. We would know what drives them, how they think, and where they draw the line.

I grab my shower gear and leave my bunk to head toward the officers’ bath. I keep my head down to avoid any awkward salutes from mechanics or engineers who feel the need to offer respect. If I act too busy to be disturbed, they often leave me alone. Grease monkeys are generally the only people who are in the hallways at this time of the day. I recognize many of their faces, but don’t know any of their names.

Officers tend to keep to their own kind for regulation reasons, and since I always wanted to be a pilot, it was necessary for me to become an officer. Pilots take that inclusiveness to an extra level, one which regs do not require. It’s not uncommon for pilots to go weeks without speaking to anyone beyond each other and the mechanics who maintain our birds. We fly together, we eat together, we drink together, and most of time we sleep together. The last two are intimately linked, obviously. The recreation area we frequent on the port side of the ship is affectionately referred to as “pilot country.” Most grunts will stay away, unless they are looking for a fight. Our mutually aggressive personalities tend to generate a fair share of brawls.

An involuntary yawn catches me off guard and I almost drop my shower gear as I try to cover my mouth instinctively. I might have stayed up too late last night, over-prepping like usual. I wanted to make sure I had the briefing down cold.

This one isn’t going to be enjoyable. First order of business is punishing Richter and Simmonds for some drunken groping that happened in view of the XO last week. Thankfully, Briggs didn’t make my apology too stressful. He is pretty understanding about these kinds of things. He’s a hard ass officer, and a former grunt for that matter, but something tells me he would have been a great pilot. It’s difficult to fight a smile when I think of the Lieutenant Commander. I’d love to see him in a cockpit. He probably could have flown circles around some of my guys if he hadn’t picked a rifle instead of a control stick.

I open the door to the bath and find myself alone. I’m the first one on my shift to use the facilities, as usual. In an attempt to distract myself from the chilled water striking my body, I allow my mind to wander. Of course, the first thing it goes back to is the XO. I could think of worse ways to start the day. I have a little extra time, might as well do what everybody does in these showers.

This shouldn’t take long anyway.

 

Klingseis Chapter 4

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