Excerpt: Tell Me Something True
“This was an utter waste of our time.”
After three pointless hours on Miana, I was beginning to agree with the sentiments of Rayan Ira, our team’s engineer.
We had been wandering the planet for the better part of the afternoon after someone sent an anonymous tip to the base, rumoring an active rebel outpost on Miana. As the outer rim base for the InterGalactic Alliance, our team’s missions generally had to do with the lingering rebels from The War: squashing rising factions, investigating long forgotten rebel worlds, negotiating treaties with villages previously under the rebels’ thumb.
None of that happened on Miana. We came across beautiful wildflower fields, clear skies, and brilliant sunshine. The planet was warm and inviting, with not a trace of rebel activity. Not so much as a crumbling ruin. It was the type of place someone would plan a picnic, not an uprising.
Commander Sawyer Way’s lips pursed in a tamped down grin; I could tell he agreed with Rayan. It was politically correct for him to say, “It was worth checking out, just to be sure,” because he was our team leader and the IGA base’s military Commander.
The sun highlighted his sandy blonde locks that were just a touch too long; he had shown me ‘surfer dudes’ on his home planet of Earth that had similar hair, even though he was, as he called it, a ‘farm boy from the South.’ I felt a familiar stirring in my belly as I gazed at him, a feeling I’d been experiencing for the past several years but never acted on. I could not. He was my commanding officer, after all, not to mention my best friend.
“Can we go home now, Papi?” That was Carlos Rivero, our medic. As a doctor, he also reported to the Chief Medical Officer and wasn’t always available to travel with us, but he was a close member of the team, nonetheless.
“Is that how all of you feel?” Sawyer demanded, resting his gun against his shoulder.
“It has been a walk in the park, as you would say,” I teased, giving him a half smile. Immediately, I bit my bottom lip. I tried to walk the fine line between friendly and flirtatious, but sometimes I felt as if I were giving away too much.
“I am ready to fall into my nice soft bed,” Rayan added.
“Fine, fine. I give in,” Sawyer said. “Back to base!”
There was laughter and a smattering of cheers as our mission was declared over.
It died as weapon fire exploded around us.
“Back to the transport zone!” Sawyer roared, hunching down as bullets flew overhead.
I ran after the team, glancing at the oncoming people. Even though they were firing weapons at us, I could not call them soldiers. They looked like farmers, unaccustomed to the guns in their hands.
Rayan was tripping over herself under the weight of her equipment in her haste to get to the pad. Without thinking, I hefted one of the bulky bags and settled it across my back. Rayan stumbled, and I tried to steady her.
“Move!” The bellow came from Tony Barbos, combat expert, a little sharper than intended as a bullet whizzed dangerously close to his shoulder, missing by mere inches.
The transport zone was mere yards ahead, a twenty-foot floor in the middle of the grassy field. The area was too peaceful to have a monitor or shield, so we were free to beam ourselves out as soon as we were within range.
As soon as Rayan’s foot hit the pad, she dematerialized, Carlos following as Sawyer and Tony protected our flank. When the two of them caught up to us, I handed off the equipment bag and took my turn protecting the flank as they returned to base. Only then did I turn and run the final steps to the launch pad, fingers poised over my transporter band.