“This just another Bug Hunt Colonel?” Captain Timlin asked.
“Not exactly,” the Black Ops Colonel replied. “It’s a little bit more than that.”
Colonel Karnes took the cigarette from his mouth and put it out in the ashtray. These are going to kill me one day he thought to himself. Looking into Timlin’s eyes he said, “Alpha 41 was a Z-lab.”
“A Z-lab?” Timlin repeated out loud. Timlin swore to himself. That explained why COG was getting involved. What was a Z-lab doing in Xeog space?
“Technically its not in Xeog space,” Karnes answered the thought. “Close to their home world; but not in their space.”
Timlin had forgotten that the Colonel was a low level Psy. It wouldn’t happen again.
“But we are talking Bugs right?” he asked.
As Karnes spoke Timlin realized this mission could quickly turn into his worst nightmare. As if extracting LWCs* wasn’t bad enough, the inhabitants of Alpha 41 were doing some highly classified “gray” work. Just what it was no one was saying, but Karnes made it very clear that Timlin was to return with data, samples, and if possible, survivors willing or not. Unwilling survivors? Survivors explained why they couldn’t just “blast the place from space” but unwilling? Hmm…
“This is a high priority mission with low priority support. Time is short so that means you have less than 2 hours to get in, do what we ask, and get out.” Karnes opened the “black box” and pulled out the chip and handed it to Timlin. The Captain took it and slipped it into the CPU imbedded behind his ear. Within seconds the mission specs had been downloaded. Timlin felt a slight tingle as the chip dissolved.
“We good with this, Frank?” Karnes asked.
“Affirmative. But I do have a question. Isn’t Hallern dead?”
Karnes pulled out another cigarette and lit it. “Not exactly…”