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Ghost Squadron: Degeneration

Snippet 6

“Here we go. I knew it was in here somewhere,” Jack said. He scanned the paper before looking up. “As you are aware, because I keep reminding you of it, you’re overdue for electing an XO. The command structure for Ghost Squadron is a bit unique since we wanted you two to be equal partners. Because of that, it’s growing even more crucial that you have a second in command of this ship.”

“What about ArchAngel?” asked Eddie. “She likes to manage everyone.”

“Although she takes care of this ship, she’s not right as an XO,” began Jack. “You see, we manage processes, which ArchAngel is superb at. However, we lead people and that’s not a job suited for an AI.”

“That makes sense,” stated Eddie.

Jack laid the report down on his desk before tapping it with the tip of his finger. “I’m actually thinking we can kill two birds with one stone here.”

The screen behind Jack’s head flickered, revealing an image of a rotating planet.

“Wow, you and ArchAngel have really coordinated your act,” said Eddie.

Jack didn’t look impressed. He shook his head. “Yes, sometimes it feels like she’s listening to my thoughts,” he said dully.

“What planet is that?” asked Julianna, trying to help the meeting stay on track.

“Right,” said Jack, wheeling around to look at the screen. “This is Klamath. It’s a small planet, largely covered in ice.”

Julianna noticed that much of the planet was almost entirely white. There were some bodies of water and a few masses of greenish land, but not much.

“You want us to go to an ice planet? I’m glad you reserved this for after I was upgraded,” said Eddie with a laugh. He leaned over and whispered loudly to Julianna. “We have resistance to cold, right?”

She nodded, keeping her gaze forward.

“Besides from requesting that you elect an XO, I’ve also been thinking that Ghost Squadron needs a special forces unit. What you all did on Nexus was impressive considering you didn’t have any ground forces. However, I don’t want you going into a similar situation without having your own detachment in the future.”

“I’m not sure I’m following you,” said Julianna, continuing to stare at the rotating planet of Klamath.

Jack nodded, like he understood her confusion. “There’s a squad of Special Forces soldiers stationed on Klamath. They were set up by the Federation under General Reynolds, about like Ghost Squadron. Specifically, they are located in the northern hemisphere on a small bit of unnamed land. The natives are considered savages and this team was sent there to try and quell some of the warfare.”

“You want us to go after this Special Forces team? Recruit them?” asked Eddie.

“Wouldn’t we be pulling them away from their mission?” asked Julianna.

Jack shrugged reluctantly. “Unfortunately, although this team is considered quite skilled, they haven’t been able to disband the attacks. Sometimes we can go in and create peace. Sometimes we can’t.”

“So the forces are being pulled out?” asked Julianna.

“Exactly. And this team is being reassigned to Ghost Squadron, which I suspect they will enjoy way more than their current assignment,” said Jack.

“Yeah, not having your balls covered in frost bite would be a welcome change for most,” said Eddie.

Balls, said Pip in Julianna’s head before returning to being quiet like before.

She rolled her eyes.

“We’ve tried to send word to Lieutenant Chad Fletcher to relay the change in orders,” said Jack. “However, the natives have them practically overrun. Any communications in or out of the planet have been compromised.”

“So you need us to buzz over there, help them out, and tell them to report to their new base of operations, is that right?” asked Eddie.

“Correct,” stated Jack. He then lowered his gaze, his eyes suddenly heavy. “Surveillance shows that the special ops team is still strong in numbers, however, like I said they’re close to being overrun.”

“So you’re sending us into a war,” said Julianna. She read the change in Jack’s tone, the tension in his shoulders.

“The natives are unreasonable and our attempts to intervene appear to only have pissed them off further,” said Jack.

“These natives? Are you going to give us a hint when you refer to them as savage or is it a surprise?” asked Eddie.

“For that, I’ll have Officer Sours brief you. She’s studied the mamaths, as they are called,” said Jack.

“Mamaths?” asked Eddie. “They sound quaint.”

“As quaint as a giant bunny rabbit with razor sharp teeth,” said Jack.

Julianna let out a long breath. This was a dangerous mission and right after Eddie had been upgraded. He was still getting used to his body and that did take some time. “This special ops team you want us to pick up, are you sure they are worth us going out to this planet?”

“I could send a carrier ship, actually.” Jack mused for a moment and then shook his head, deciding against the idea. “No, I think it should be you all who bring in the team. They are under serious fire and getting out of there will be an ordeal. Furthermore, I want you to see the team in action and vice versa. First impressions are everything and adding a special forces unit to Ghost Squadron isn’t something I take lightly.”

“We will need both Q-Ships, is that right?” asked Eddie.

“Yes, and take a few Black Eagles for cover as well. You’ll understand more once you speak with Marilla,” said Jack.

“You mentioned killing two birds with one stone,” said Julianna. “Something about this and the XO?”

“Right, I did,” said Jack. “Lieutenant Fletcher has been leading this team of twelve for several years. He’s well respected by his team, makes sound decisions and is an incredibly skilled soldier. I also think that he makes a natural choice as your XO. However, you’re going to have to bring him in first. Get to know the guy. Have him on the ship.”

Eddie slapped his hands together and looked at Julianna. “You ready to grow the family?”

She nodded, reluctantly. This was the correct thing to do. It felt right to grow Ghost Squadron, but still she knew she’d always value when the team was small. She’d always think fondly of its inception.


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Check out The Variant Saga or Renegade Star while you wait for more Ghost Squadron.

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