When daylight trickled through the jungle canopy, Charlie moved around the dieing campfire waking his comrades. It wasn’t long before they were digging through their rucks for MREs.
“Wanna go see what our friends look like?” asked Brackett, walking up beside Charlie Two Sons.
“Mind if I tag along?” asked Doc Hunnicutt.
“Come ahead,” replied Brackett.
They walked three abreast into the grassy clearing between the village and the fence. Halfway to the fence they came across the first bushy haired body.
“Sure ain’t pretty to look at, are they?” commented Doc, looking down at the loin clothed corpse of the Mukmow.
Brackett put the barrel of his pulse rifle on the chin of the Mukmow and opened his mouth to reveal a set of large pointed teeth.
“Could we move on now?” asked Doc, swallowing hard. Brackett chuckled at Doc Hunnicutt as they walked away from the body.
They moved around the clearing stopping at each of the corpses, some of them looking more vicious than the one before, but each of them equally intimidating.
“I don’t think I’ll sleep again until we get out of this jungle,” said Doc when they finally returned to the campsite.
After finishing their breakfasts, the Freelancers put out the fire and readied themselves to resume their mission.
“We’re movin’ out, Mister Miles,” said Brackett, pressing the mic to his throat.
“How was your night, Sergeant?” replied Gordon.
“Interesting to say the least. We got to meet some of the locals.” He proceeded to tell Gordon Miles about their experience of the night before.
“Well, good luck today, Sergeant,” said Gordon.
“Alright, people, we’re burnin’ daylight,” said Brackett. With Charlie Two Sons again at point and Maia between Renita Cortez and Doc Hunnicutt, the Freelancers moved out across the clearing and left the village behind.
* * * *
Gordon Miles switched off the commlink and sat back in his chair and stared at the slow swirling colors of Planet C1789. Max looked over at the leader of the expedition.
“Having second thoughts about coming, Mister Miles?” asked the android. Gordon Miles looked back at his pilot and smiled.
“On the contrary, Max, I envy Sergeant Brackett and wish I could be down there with him. Being the first human to set foot on another planet’s surface, finding new and wondrous things. It’s all so exciting, Max,” said Miles, his excitement evident in his eyes.
“I hope you still feel that way once we get down there, sir,” replied the android.
“I have to, Max, we have no where else to go.”