There were no windows on Beredul. Especially not in the deep bunker-like depths of the long-abandoned fadohl depot facility now called Grand Central, where the Earth-humans and their Wiyert allies had set up the command post for planetary operations. So it was hard to know if it was really morning or not, but it certainly felt like one. Tired and cranky.
Joey Ramirez checked that his sidearm was firmly seated in the leg holster, tucked a handful of energy bars in a side pocket, swallowed the last precious dark drop of coffee in his mug, and glanced about to see if he’d forgotten anything before heading out. He’d noticed a certain reluctance lately to leaving the area the Earth team had repurposed as living and working quarters. Even though he was the only one there now, the familiar ammo cans, gear, and personal stuff the others had left behind gave it a homey, lived-in feel. He hoped they were doing OK. He hoped they would come back soon.
Not that he disliked the Wiyert. Tough characters, in a real bad situation. He was glad to help. Thing was, though, they never shut down. They were always in hard combat mode. Never laughed. He’d seen a kinda sorta smile on a couple, the ones they’d rescued from the planet they’d been stranded on, but they’d been hanging around Earth-humans for longer. Thing he really missed was somebody to joke around with.
Didn’t matter. He had a job to do, and he couldn’t do it here in what they called the Unready Room. It was more of a wide corridor, really. The main opening led, through a few doors and passageways, to the immense underground open space that had previously stored several hundred ancient robotic devices and now contained a giant Wiyert refugee camp. A small US flag was pinned to the wall facing the open area with the hastily scrawled text “You Are Now Entering the American Sector” underneath. Not that any of the Wiyert could read it—yet—but it served as fair warning that their usual rules didn’t apply past that point. Continue reading