… that’s what they told him when they handed him his orders. He’d heard it before and the phrase had always proven to be false.
He was to take a squad of highly trained, and very specialized troops to a planet, so far removed from their usual area of operation, that it had no name. It was a planet known only by its alpha-numerical designator; ORP0513. The only people aware of that designator were the ones that had originally assigned it. . . until this mission came down.
Sergeant Joseph “Razor” Reznowski started his career much like many other soldiers. Tired of being a nobody and going nowhere fast, he enlisted as soon as he was done with his secondary education. He found himself suited to be a soldier during basic training and excelled at every task given to him throughout the sixteen week course. The “higher-ups” took notice of the Trooper as he breezed through weapons qualification and completed testing of his Primary Skills well above any of his peers. Instead of being assigned to a regular line unit after basic, he was fast-tracked to the prestigious Scout Recon Academy. Never before in his life had Razor felt so at home.
He graduated from the S.R.A. at the top of the Commandants List and was immediately assigned to Bravo Troop, Second Squadron, Second Motorized Recon Regiment. He was assigned a squad of seasoned Troops, and by utilizing their knowledge and experience, he molded himself into a leader respected by every Troop in the Regiment.
Now, here he stands… Squad Leader of Joint Patrol 6. When they came out of hyperspace, he broke the seal on the packet containing the mission specifics. The first couple of pages were the standard intel dump concerning call signs, supply drop schedule and the environment they’d be operating in. He had saved the details of the op to read until they were safely on the planet’s surface. What greeted him when he re-opened the packet almost brought him to his knees.
” Locate Lieutenant Colonel Travis “Black Death” Spaulding, aka – TK-0211. Missing in Action and believed to be on ORP0513. LTC. Spaulding is to be terminated on sight.
NO CAPTURE – NO PRISONER – MISSION IS COMPLETE ONLY UPON PROOF OF DEATH
contact this station when proof is obtained for extraction “
Of course he’d heard the rumors, everybody had. He’d always dismissed the story of a Trooper going rogue as a myth, a tall tale, a legend the ‘cruits would share amongst themselves when they were out of “war stories” to tell. The documents he held in his hand dispelled any notion of that myth, it was real. Now his job, and that of the men under his leadership, was to track down the legend himself and terminate him.
So it turns out, this “mission of a lifetime” was exactly that. He read the last line again “…contact this station when proof is obtained for extraction”. The only way off this rock was to finish the assignment, or spend the rest of their lives trying… no grey area there.
He looked down across the valley beneath him and wondered if Spaulding was down there, looking back at him, already planning ways to evade him and his team. For that matter, he wondered if Spaulding was still alive. Perhaps he’d already met his fate and their mission would be nothing more than a recovery operation. Razor had a lot of questions and very few answers were presenting themselves. How did Regimental Headquarters know Spaulding was here? When was the last known contact? What was his motive for abandoning his duties as an Officer?
He had to get back to camp and fill the others in on the details. Maybe bounce some ideas off of them, see if they’d all heard the same story. The devil will be in the details during this mission.