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    Introduction - Lieutenant Tanner Brown

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    Introduction - Lieutenant Tanner Brown

    Post by CivBase on Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:32 pm

    Chapter 1

    Year 2371 : Rotation 247
    On board the Paragon, orbiting the planet Oracle

    Tanner peered out the twenty-foot long window of the Paragon at the grassy planet of Oracle. He was trapped in a nearly mile-long warship that orbited around the planet and was eager to put his feet on solid ground again. He and the rest of the Paragon's crew had been waiting for the landing platform to be cleared below. Supposedly, a gas leak ignited a large portion of the down zone, but even after fourteen hours the information was scarcely known and still unconfirmed.

    Lieutenant Tanner Brown was a marine for the Confederation Naval Forces, a well-trained, respecting officer with a bright future ahead of him. At least, that's what the official Confederation report said. The Confederation Naval Force, established in 2253, was a galactic government built to unite Earth and seven other colonized planets stretching across the Milky Way. During it's service, the CNF had always acted as more of a peacekeeping service than an actual government; however, recent terrorist activities drug the Confederation into more aggressive action. The newest colony, Oracle, had been receiving an above average amount of such activity. That's where the Paragon comes in.

    After tugging on his navy-issue blue jumpsuit, Tanner glanced at the atomic clock behind him. It was only 2319, but the first of Oracle's two suns was already peeking out over the planet's horizon. A golden ring spilled over the edge, causing the entire planet to sparkle. As the darkness slowly peeled away, the vast green planes of Oracle became apparent. Tanner released a heavy sigh. Sights like these only came once in a life time, and it was a refreshing break from the dull-ray walls of the Paragon. If he wasn't careful, he felt as though he would be float out the window and into the beautiful scene.

    "Hey, if you're though with the sightseeing, Dawson called for a last-minute inspection. He says we're landing at oh-five-hundred hours." Tanner turned to see Lieutenant Julia Sillara (see-yar-ah) smiling at him from across the hall. She wore a jumpsuit much like his, but her sandy blond hair flowed down to her shoulders while Tanner's thin, brown hair was cut down to military length. He'd have to ask here how she got away with that later.

    "Oh yah? Does he think we won't fit in the cockpit after last night's re-fried beans a la freezer burn?" Tanner yelled back.

    Julia chuckled, "I don't know, but he's in the blue armory. You'd better not keep him waiting." She disappeared back through the door.

    "Alright, I'm going. I'm going."

    Tanner fingered at the zipper on his pocket and began down the hallway. Just before passing the door that Julia stood in moments ago, she poked out once more. "By the way, if you see anyone else, let 'em know." He nodded and she vanished yet again. Time to see what the Old Man had in mind.

    The "Old Man" was Blue Company's nickname for Commander Ronald Dawson. He was only a few weeks under forty, but it wasn't common to see a man that age in the CNF. Below Dawson were Blue Company's four Lieutenants: Tanner Brown, Julia Sillara, Danni Graff, and Louis Stanford. Each of the Lieutenants commanded their own platoon, comprised of roughly thirty to forty men each. Blue Company wasn't alone, though; two other companies, each with a respective color, were also on board, all commanded by Captain Elizabeth McCallum. While Tanner participated in some idol chats with soldiers of other companies, the teams mostly kept to themselves.

    A short walk through the primary hallways lead to the armory. Tanner walked up to the metal blast door, easily five times the size of most other doors in the ship. The blue triangle confirmed he was in the right place, and the door slid open almost noiselessly. Commander Dawson sat on a plain metal crate in the middle of the room. A quick inspection reviled that the room was built as a large hexagon with double-sided weapons racks spaced about ten feet from each wall, forming a second hexagon on the inside. Lockers, terminals, and keypads dominated any space that hadn't already been taken by weapons. Tanner saluted, as proper, and Dawson nodded in reply. "Permission to enter. How was the sun rise?"

    "Breathtaking," Tanner said with a smile. He walked in the room and noticed Lieutenant Graff leaning against a rack lined very precisely with handguns. Tanner continued a few steps further in the room, allowing the door to slide shut behind him.

    "Well, good," the commander chuckled, "I wish I had time to enjoy things like that anymore, but these attacks have kept me far too busy. Do yourself a favor, son, and make good of the time you have now. Lord knows you'll get much more of it for a while." The door on the opposite side of the room flickered and slid open. Dawson turned to see Julia and Louis in the doorway, who saluted just as Tanner had done a moment ago. The commander clapped his hands together, "Looks like the party's finally arrived."

    Danni spoke for the first time, "Sir, if you don't mind me asking, what is it that you called us here for?"

    "I was just getting to that." Dawson got up on his feet and looked around at the officers, "As I'm sure you all know, a recent spike in terrorist activity on Oracle's surface has the Confederation concerned. From the reports, it doesn't seem like too much trouble: a handful of sloppy murders at the hands of a couple of trigger happy radicals. We'd have them out-matched with Blue Company alone, but I'm not calling the shots up there. After we land, our orders are to set up a base of operations just outside the eastern city border. From there we will have easy access to the landing pad, the city, and minimal traffic further to the east. I have called you all here, however, to do a little tidying up before the ribbon cutting ceremony. Blue Company hasn't seen much action for the past month, and I want to know that you boys..." Julia coughed, "...and girl, haven't gotten sloppy on me." Louis rolled his eyes, but maintained a strict, military composure.

    "What?" exclaimed Danni, insulted, "A few days of R&R and you think we can't shoot straight anymore? We didn't become officers with our good looks!"

    "You know very well that I don't doubt your abilities. We recently got some new specs and I thought you'd like to try it out." All eyes were on Dawson. "That's right! The boys down at tech packed the ship with brand new armor and even a few weapons."

    Tanner examined the weapons racks more closely to see that, as the Old Man had said, a handful of new gun models lined the inside of the armory. "Anything special?" asked Julia.

    Dawson laughed, "I think you're going to like this." He turned around and unfastened the crate that he was previously sitting on. A broad smile spilled across Tanner's face as the commander lifted out a shiny blue helmet with a glossy, black visor. "It's still a prototype, but the Captain let me know the gist of it. The exoskeleton is built in thousands of pieces, divided into six parts excluding the head here. Apparently it's made of some new material they found. Underneath the exoskeleton are two more separate layers: one spreads the impact across your body, while the next acts as a cushion. Like I said, the details are a little too technical for my tastes, but that's what I caught."

    "So, how much abuse can this thing take?" asked Louis, still staring at the helmet.

    "McCallum said they can stand up to a direct hit from most anti-armor rounds. Sure, you'll break a few bones, but you'll live and that's the important part."

    Tanner grinned, "How many of these do we have?"

    "Enough to outfit this entire ship and her crew comfortably."

    Louis frowned, skeptical, "They're equipping an entire army with a prototype?"

    "These things have been in prototype for almost a year now. Up 'till this point, they were used only for small ops. This is the final test: large-scale, long-term use on a real CNF operation. It's also probably why they filled the entire Paragon just to shut up a few rebels. The boys upstairs want to be sure there are no unforeseen hiccups before mass production. Besides, it's like I said; it's not like we'll be seeing too much action down there."

    "Well, why is it that we've never heard of this material before?" Julia asserted, "They shouldn't be keeping their own commanders in the dark."

    "Julia, this isn't the first time they've kept the new tech on the down low, and I don't blame them. Rumor has it they're even budding a mechanical soldier out of the stuff. It's all speculation for now, but that's not information to allow in the wrong hands." The room was silent while Dawson eyed each officer. "So, if our little game of twenty questions is over, let's get these things on."

    Wide eyes and grins littered the room. For most of them, it was an early Christmas and they were skipping right to the presents.


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