Horrible meeting


"You want details? All right. I'll tell you everything as it happened. Me and Airut often take jobs just for the two of us. It's not like were best friends forever. But yeah, we spent lots and lots of time in station bars...


We understand each other. Didn't even need comms. Just wave the wing. Your squadmate will understand. Oh well. We were probably the best duo in our sector. Even the military tried recruiting us. We didn't like all the drills, orders and so on. Don't go there. Don't touch these. Ugh.


And then this Imperial security services hag comes along. It was late in the evening on 31 October. Remember that clearly. And she says to us. Guys, you're like so cool, come on, it's not far away. Do it really fast. Just a bit of air. She just had to air something in that system that night. Maybe they saw someone there, or someone disappeared. Never really cared. But the partner listened carefully. Yeah.


You know how this goes. Jobs are hard to come by. Aliens everywhere. Stuff with Cybers. Damn pirates popping up. Refugees in every corridor. Just flying by the sector is pretty dangerous. Could stumble upon a biomorph raid and that's that. A huge Alien ship appeared nearby. Started shooting portals throughout the system. Barely made it, they say. People were killed... Our merc brothers too. And that was, well, easy.


We took the job. It's money after all. Needed just that much more for a new fighter too. Well, you know. The T5 thing. Just the engine's 20% more powerful than mine, and the guns... But, I got carried away.


We went. We had to do it really fast. Right there and then. We went so quietly. Stars pulsing far away. Like they were hinting at something... Going on afterburners to the right gate, cracking jokes through the comms. Waving to fellow mercs. It was all right.


One sector, another. Approaching midnight Imperial time. There's the right sector. Airut moves ahead. I followed him quietly. We always move like that. He's ahead, I'm behind. Covering our own sectors. Each other's back.


Suddenly, no Airuta. Not on the radar. No visual too. Everything still there. He's not. He was there a second ago. Boom, he disappeared. Without a trace. Nothing. I looked around checked the asteroids. Nope. And then I got it. Aliens. It's them for sure. Or Cybers. Or a new military weapon test. I could vanish like that too. I can't even shoot anyone. Basically, I panic.


I only just start panicking, as a sort of portal opens up ahead and there's Airut right before my eyes. The portal promptly closed. I yell at him on the radio and comms - where have you been, what happened. Not a sound in response... And I hear it. he's on the microphone. Breathes heavily. Doesn't say a word. Then rushes at me at full speed. Sixth sense saves me! I can feel it's not him.


Nothing left of my friend. I pull a manoeuvre on full thrust. A precise one. He starts firing. Shield down at once. I managed to get away from the line of sight and limp to the closest asteroid. My finget was on the missile trigger. So, I... hit the target. Right in the ammo box.


And then the portals are out. A lot. Never seen so many at once. Biomorphs come in droves. I huddle between two asteroids. Shut everything off, even the reactor. Feign dead. Stop breathing. I see a colossus drifting past. Never seen anything like that. Couple of kilometers long. And maybe a couple dozen. It was too far. But I won't forget. I'll dream of it at night. Turrets everywhere. Drones and fighters like flies around it.


A few hours past I leave my refuge. System's clear. No one around. Just me. Airut's burned ship drifting close by.


So it goes around here. Men disappear in a blink. What happened to him? I do not know. Do the Aliens brainwash people? Maybe so. Many spread the whispers like that. We feel the bad times come. Scary..."

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