It was a cold day on the waters of Europa. Sergeant No I.D. stared across the seemingly endless ocean, hearing the waves splash against the hull of the E.S.S. Gateway, the research vessel he was aboard. He was on a special mission for the Europa Marines. As he stood there, fighting the cold, he thought about the events that had led up to this mission.
Years before, a project called CAMMY had gone horribly wrong. The experimental harvesting robots they had been working on had killed all the scientists in a very mysterious series of events. Many pirates had gone down, hoping to raid the underwater base. Few had returned. Those that did reported the robots working on something. Nobody knows what. That is what this Expedition was for.
Their mission had three phases. The first phase was a basic recon mission. The Photographic team was to take pictures from just below the surface of the water, and at various depths, but not going deeper than one hundred feet, to make sure they didn't alert the robots, which had been known to attack prowlers. The second phase would be a much closer dive, in small submersibles, to take more detailed pictures, and to get more information on what exactly was going on at the base. Phase three was the most dangerous, and was to be a direct docking with the base. The team would attempt to take pictures of the inside of the base, get any info they could from the computers, and try and capture a harvester robot for access to it's memory banks.
No I.D., and the squad under his command, would accompany the Photographic Team on the second phase, and would go down alone on the third phase. He thought the idea of trying to figure out what was going on was a much-needed thing to do. His only problem was only getting a single squad. The Generals higher up underestimated the potential hazard the harvester robots posed, and while No I.D. had plead his case, it all went in one ear, and out the other. But what the squad lacked in numbers, it made up for in skill. He was allowed to pick the members of his squad, 9 soldiers in all. After thinking it over, he decided to have one Squad Leader, one Sniper, one Grenadier, one Medic, one Light Machine Gunner, two Marines, and one Ripper. He would be the second ripper. The following are those he chose to take up those positions. Squad leader was easy. He picked Gammanco. Gammanco had been his friend for a few months, but they had forged a good friendship, and Gammanco was more than qualified for the mission. Next, he picked Lupin36 to be his grenadier. During a skirmish with the Titan Marines, No I.D. had been pinned down by heavy fire, and was surely going to be killed or captured, had it not been for Lupin placing a grenade right at the front of the trench No I.D. was in, killing the 3 soldiers advancing. For the Sniper, he chose Maverickhunter. Being his friend for quite some time, and having served in his squad, No I.D. knew that Maverickhunter was up for the job. It would be strange commanding Mavy, instead of taking orders from him. For the Ripper, he chose YAN01. Although he didn't know YAN01 very well, he knew he had great aim and control, from a visit to the shooting range with him. His choice for LMG was QUATTR0. He had had trouble finding good LMGs because it was a brand new class of soldier, and there weren't many trained yet. But after looking over training scores, he had picked QUATTR0 by a slim margin over several others. His two choices for marines were Sven, and 7hm, both good friends from squads he had served in. His choice for Medic was his good friend Ifitmoveskickit. Fresh out of the academy, he had risen through the ranks quickly, until he was at the same rank, Sergeant, as No I.D. himself.
No I.D. had completed his planning for the docking phase several days before, and was now just waiting; forever it seemed, to reach the base. Deep in thought he didn't hear the footsteps coming up behind him. Suddenly, he felt someone grab his shoulders and yell "Too the fishes with ya!" startled, No I.D. spun around. There stood Ifitmoveskickit, laughing so hard he was turning red.
"You scared the crap out of me!" Said No I.D.
"You should have seen your face! It was priceless!"
"Yeah, well, just be happy I don't outrank you any more. I could have you scrubbing the bathroom with a toothbrush right now."
"I did that in training once."
"And I am sure you enjoyed every second of it."
"So, what do you think about this mission? Sounds like a breeze to me." Said Ifit.
"Well, the first two phases will be. Don't be so sure about the third."
"Well, I don't care about all the stories of people being dragged to their deaths. They weren't the best-trained Europan Marines. We on the other hand, are some of the best."
"Still, the last expedition didn't get very close to the base. We are actually going to dock with it and go inside."
"Well, no dumb robotic farmer is gonna get the best of Me." says Ifit, confidently.
"I certainly wouldn't want that. What a shame that would be."
"Oh, you are just jealous of my cool hair."
"Oh, I always wanted to be a walking oil slick. Better make sure you don't contaminate the water."
"Oh, be quiet. Anyway, I am getting hungry. I am gonna go get a snack."
"That's just like you, eating up all the food. See Ya later." Waving goodbye to Ifit, No I.D. thought about what was to come in the next few days.
48 hours later...
No I.D. looked out at the Border Buoys that the Ship was passing by. These marked the border of the underwater base and it's surrounding waters. It had warmed up considerably over the last couple of days. So far, the weather had worked for them, and the forecast was clear for the remainder of the expedition, although there was a chance they would run into a minor storm on the way home. He had nothing of importance to do this day. It was the next 2 days he was anticipating. The 2nd photo-dive in submersibles would most likely be an easy job, especially compared to the docking phase. He watched as the Photographic Team got suited up for the photo dive. He heard footsteps behind him, and he turned around. The footsteps he heard belonged to Maverickhunter, or Mavy as they called him.
"What's up?" asked Mavy.
"Nothing much. Looking forward to a day full of guys taking pictures, while we stay up here playing cards."
"Tell me about it. If I play one more game of solitaire, I am gonna jump overboard."
"Well, hang in there, only one more day before we get some action.
"Yeah, I am just getting restless. 7hm never seems to get bored. I don't know how he does it."
"We all know 7hm is 'special' in that he can't get bored while on a mission.
He must have some kind of motivational audio tape series hidden somewhere."
"I wouldn't doubt that."
"Well, they seem to work. He has survived several battles. And that terrible oil spill that Ifit caused when he took a shower."
"Yeah, almost lost a few men in that terrible disaster."
"Anyway, I am gonna go read the newspaper."
"How are you supposed to do that on a ship?" asked Mavy, puzzled.
"It is sent via satellite to the computer systems, and you just print up either the whole paper, or whatever section you want."
"Cool. I have been dying to find out how good the Ice Demons are playing. Show it to me."
As No I.D. started walking off, he saw the divers start jumping in the water, not knowing that in the waters lurked dangers beyond their imaginations.
Part 2 coming soon...
I would appreciate any comments you might have about this story. For any feedback you want to send, here is my e-mail: [email protected]