“We have to get rid of him. The maniac is going to get us all killed“.
The speaker lapsed into a silence that was disturbed by the clink of glasses, the gurgle of liquid.
“There is a way...”
“There is a troop ship due in three weeks time...”
The assembled listened to the speaker. Some nodding heads unconsciously.
The speaker finished. Looked around at the assembled heads. The heads nodded. Without vocal acknowledgment, the decision was made. There was another moment of silence, as though to add weight to the gravitas of the decision, then talk turned to more mundane matters.
Treel knew something was wrong. Very wrong.
He looked around at the grizzled countenance of his fellow passengers. None of them he would have liked to meet in the street, in daylight. Let alone a dark alleyway in the middle of the night.
Each face bore the countenance of a hard life of pain, misery, hardship, of the knowledge that every moment may be the last. And that was just the females in the transport. The only similarities Treel had to the other passengers, were the combat fatigues he wore, the unit flash on his upper arm and the las-rifle nestled between his knees.
Treel knew how it worked, or thought he had, when he had signed on the dotted line. First phase, or Common Military Syllabus (recruit) 1 as the Imperium liked to call it, where the Imperium broke new recruits into the Guard, into something they could mould. CMSR 2, was where the new recruits were shaped into something the Guard could use. CMSR 3 was where the recruits were given their specialist training and –hopefully- lost the recruit moniker.
That was the theory.
The reality was that Treel found himself moving not from CMSR 1 to CMSR2, but to the front line. He knew he would find himself on a transport to the battle lines of some conflict. Just not this soon and so ill prepared. It took all his self-rrestraint not to surge from his seat and run down the transports central aisle a gibbering fearful wreck.
Treel had tried to bring up his confusing situation to several people he had thought in charge, yet he lacked the confidence building of CMSR 2 and had been easily brushed aside.
Swallowed up by the troops leaving the shuttle, he found himself swept from one transport to another, left with the feeling that something was going on around him that every one knew except him.
The flash of heavy munitions ahead lighted the sky, yet he was the only one on the transport captivated by the dancing lights.
The transport jerked to a harsh stop and again Treel was somehow caught up in the rush and swept outside.
Free from the confines of the transport, the air reverberated to the continual detonation of heavy artillery and weapons.
Aware that his options were lessening as time went on, he tried to break from the group in search of an officer. A hand reached out, grasped his collar and he found himself back amidst the veterans. He looked sharply around at the figure that had terminated his bid for freedom. One look at the scarred visage that glared down at him, dried his protestations within his throat.
The sounds of explosions grew louder along with the level of devastation that surrounded the groups’ passage. Streets rapidly became rubble filled, then turned into a series of interconnecting trenches.
Several times they had to hug the trench walls to allow stretcher-bearers and their screaming cargos past.
Wrecks of once grand tower blocks jutted from the rubble covered ground. The buildings were floorless, open to the elements and ready, it appeared, to fall at a moments notice.