Lex quietly entered the large command room, where a portly man was already waiting for him. “Sir, the Scots are closed, the colonists will not be able to take over this sector. However, they have complete control over the rest of the underground colony, what should we do now?”
Brief silence, then the man replied: “Colonists? More like rebels. This ungrateful pack, I let them build their colony in my beautiful caves and then they suddenly don’t want to pay the rent anymore! They should get to know me! I’ll tell you what to do: kill them! I don’t want to see any of them anymore!” Lex was not really surprised by these words, rather dryly he nevertheless asked: “Sir, these are people!”
“Well, the … ‘rebels’ are probably a thousand and we only five.”
The client looked suspiciously at Lex. “What do you mean by that?” I hired you to deal with exactly such a situation. “
“Yes, but with a commission of such size a small commission would be appropriate. Especially if one considers that our task to protect the colonists would probably be finished after that, and we would have to look for a new job.”
“Oh, that’s what you’re after.” The man lowered his gaze again and lit a cigar. “How much?”
“A thousand human dollars.”
“A thousand? You don’t find that a bit exaggerated, I could have paid your troop for another two years with that. “
Lex smiled. “Listen, stop haggling with me. First, the living space is so tight that you will probably earn twenty times as much if you sell the empty colony. Secondly, you have hardly any other choice, either we clean up the underground areas or they leave this moon through the emergency exit. ” The man growled, then blew some smoke towards his counterpart, before taking another drag. Lex was not impressed by the smoke. “Come on, agree or not?”
“Your people are probably the only race that is even greedier than my own. But well, a thousand dollars, the deal is done. “
“Human dollars!” Lex quickly interjected.
“Yes, human dollars, your mistrust is almost unbearable.”
He waved it off and Lex left the stuffy room again.
The five of them walked down the long, dark hallway towards the main door of the colony. They all wore the same black uniform, with some yellow lettering and symbols printed on it. But except for the big initials ‘S.P.’, they were all foreign, incomprehensible characters and symbols.
“So, what’s the plan?” Joe asked his commander.
“We’re going to kill all the colonists.”
“What? Are you joking? There are at least a thousand of them, and we’re only five. Besides, they’re human beings, can we really do that?”
“Shut your mouth! How dare you question our commander’s decision?” Terra gave Pete a angry look. She, Joe and Lex had been a team for years; Pete and Neo had only joined the Silver Panthers a few months ago. The two of them had impressed with their excellent references, but trusting their leader was something they still had to learn.
“Calm down,” Lex interrupted, to prevent a fight. “We’re not doing this for nothing, we’ll get a thousand dollars when the mission is over.”
“You made sure to ask for human dollars?”
Lex gave Joe a dirty look. “Of course, how could I forget that unpleasant experience on Astauron 2?”
But the prospect of money did not calm Pete down, so he raised his doubts again: “What good are a thousand dollars if we don’t survive this?”
“Exactly,” came Neo’s quiet voice.
Lex saw the fire in Terra’s eyes start to flare up, he took her hand in a calming gesture. “Calm down,” he whispered to her, and then said to the others: “We were prepared for this possibility from the beginning. The colonists should only have light weapons. Maybe a few pistols and rifles, but nothing else. We are the Silver Panthers and I am confident that we can handle this task without any losses!”
“If this job is so safe, why did you need to bring us both into the team three months ago? But surely not because two of your colleagues are retired!”
Before Pete knew it, he had Terra’s fist in his face and fell to the ground. “Shut your mouth, you little rat!” Joe and Lex held her back. Neo helped Pete back to his feet with difficulty. This made him realize the hurtfulness of his words.
“I’m sorry. But I don’t feel like dying.”
“If you don’t want to come, please, but you won’t find another job where you can earn a hundred dollars so quickly.”
“Why only a hundred?” Neo looked at Terra with questioning eyes. But to prevent another outbreak of violence, Lex decided to answer the question.
“First of all, Terra is right, we’re not going to force you to come along. Secondly, part of the money goes towards weapons and a little bit goes into our retirement fund… And as leader, I get two shares.” Lex paused for a moment, then asked in a louder voice: “So, are you in or not?”
Neo and Pete nodded.
“Good, then let’s go, we can’t wait too long, the colonists will surely be preparing for an attack. Joe, you take care of the car; Pete and Terra, you’ll prepare the weapons together.” His colleague gave him a angry look when she heard the order. Lex gave her a quick smile in response, which made her face light up with a smile as well. Finally, he turned to Neo: “You take care of Plan B, okay?”
“Then let’s go! I’ll take care of the electronic lock on the main door. Let me know when you’re done.”
Less than thirty minutes later, the five had reassembled at the main bulkhead. A black sedan was parked outside the metal gate, the windows tinted and the tires replaced with chains. In addition, many other details distinguished this car from an ordinary sedan.
“Hey, was there a problem?” Lex pointed to some oil splatters on Joe’s face.
“Oh, nothing earth-shattering, just a small defect in the engine. The car wouldn’t start again, we’ll have to buy a new one soon.”
The tension in the two relatively fresh team members had been evident the whole time, but now they blurted out: “What, didn’t you jump? … The thing is still running with motor?”
“But I don’t feel like staying lying in the middle of the colonists.”
“Take it easy, everything’s fixed.” Joe had to laugh when he saw the puzzled faces of his new colleagues. “Trust me, everything will be fine.”
“If you say so, but there were problems with the weapons too.”
Lex turned to Terra. “Is what Pete says true?”
“Yes, unfortunately. An error has occurred with one of the weapon sets. A resistance is fried, so the laser and magnetic shield are not operational.”
“Never mind, I don’t really need a set, I just have to settle for a regular projectile firearm.”
“You are kidding me? Without a magnetic shield, the probability of being hit is at least three times higher!” Pete looked at his commander in horror. He had already turned around and walked towards the car.
“Then I have to be a little more careful. And now put on your gear and get in the car, I’ve bypassed the electronics of the bulkhead locks, with a push of a button the way is clear.”
Joe followed his leader into the car first, still chuckling lightly. “Don’t worry you two, we’ve done this a hundred times before.”
“Right, you better be glad we’re not letting one of you fight without a set.”
Finally, everyone was seated in the car and the gate, made of a steel-Tritan alloy, opened. The car drove slowly into the corridor beyond, which ended in a bright light after about five hundred yards. The bulkhead closed again.
“How could the resistance of a K6 combat gear actually stew through? As far as I know, they are designed for the highest loads.”
Lex, already fighting the colonists in his mind, shrugged. “Let’s put it this way, don’t let a K7 plasma wave hit you. But we don’t need to worry about that today.”
“That’s right, and now be quiet, there are people who want to concentrate!”
Neo didn’t have much time to think about it, because the gigantic cave opened up in front of them. At least ten square kilometers across and five hundred meters high. Bright lights, almost as bright as the sun, illuminated the area, houses, fields and machines could be seen.
“We must not damage the generators under any circumstances. Without them the atmosphere of the cave would collapse immediately, just getting the temperature above freezing again afterwards would take a few months.”
“Thanks for the tip Joe, pass me the mic?”
There was a metallic click, then a dull roar filled the area around the car. The intercom echoed Lex’s words throughout the cave: “This is the Silver Panthers! Due to this morning’s rebellious riots, it has been decided to withdraw your privilege to this habitat. We will treat every individual as an enemy and kill them. Please don’t try to resist, you will all die! …
Here they speak…”
“I dont understand.”
“Why this announcement?”
Terra turned to the two. “Believe me, in time you will understand.”
Lex let Joe put the mic back in its holder. The first shots began to hit the car from an ambush. They didn’t even cause a scratch in the specially coated paintwork.
“Look, a roadblock.”
Lex stopped in front of the blockage. Bullets rained down on the car like rain, but without leaving a trace.
“Why don’t we attack?”
“Do not worry.”
“We always allow three minutes between our warning and the attack.”
A loud bang interrupted Neo. A dent had formed in the side door.
“Shit, they have plasma guns, class three or even four.”
Another charge hit the windshield. It bounced off and was reflected upwards. A silvery shimmer could be seen on the disc, which was slowly fading.
“The xenon additives are supposed to make the glass resistant to plasma charges up to class 8, so don’t panic. And the casing is only penetrated after an hour when fired from K5 projectiles.”
“Who’s panicking here?”
Pete flinched as another charge bounced off the disk. The cave’s lights dimmed slightly, and shards rained down. The metallic crackle of the bullets soon died down and only the roar of the occasional plasma impact made the car tremble slightly.
“Five, four, three, two, one…”
Terra looked up from the digital clock displayed on the control unit on her right arm. All four group members looked at Lex expectantly.
“Okay, let’s go!”