Earth 3100 AD
31 March 04:45
"Catherine Vimes? Of course I know that name. That's my sister you're talking about. How could I not know my own sister?" Vincent Vimes grinned wide, looking up from a shot of blue velvet, a common Grunt alcohol. It took allot to get a Grunt drunk, more so for a Heavy Gunner and those were exactly who he was surrounded by.
Mention of his sister had done little to stem his resolve to get shit faced. His glasses raised once more. "I know of the great amazing, highly decorated. Catherine Vimes. Do you mind if you leave me, the not so great, not so amazing, Vincent Vimes to his refreshing beverage. The bottoms up, brothers and sisters of the core!"
Vincent drank, tilting his head all the way back and pushing it forwards once again before looking around. None of the others had bothered to raise their glasses. There were several heavy gunners surrounding him, his fellow grunts had had enough. It took allot to get to a Heavy Gunner drunk, they made amazing drinking partners, only they weren't drinking.
The smallest, which was twice his size slapped his back hard. "You are full of shit. Vimes you and your sister are the same and are destined for something big. I just have no idea what, but I know it's going to be beyond anything the rest of us at the Paarl barracks. The UED only hands out the greatest leadership rankings to the city barracks' in the northern hemisphere. My own brother is the work mule for the Zaghouan city's barracks. It's a bit of a nightmare for my brother. Telepaths are a nightmare to be bossed around by, the worst part is that even with the god damn mind reading they know how much you hate them and still act like complete motherfuckers. "
This statement was immediately met by a cheer and the drinks they'd once hesitated on were downed and refilled quickly. The idea that he'd have to leave these people put a lump into his throat, one he washed down with another shot and another shot.
Delta Six, Prima 8(Far side of the black hole)
December 20th 18:00
Vincent's eyes opened slowly, taking in the his surroundings. The dim light made it easy to count out the men and women he'd been locked into a tiny steel bowl with. Forty five steel pods set in a tempered steel cylinder laid out in a circle.
He wasn't supposed to see this dim lifeless room.
Something 'irregular' just had happened, he just didn't know what. Men and women from the Paarl barracks looked up from their respective pods making eye contact, darting from person to person before the display panel in from of Vincent's eyes flashed green and a letter filled his gaze.
He wasn't a telepath and so he couldn't read minds, but he didn't need to when most computers could read his, and listened. It wasn't exactly his mind the machines were reading, just his direct intentions working off a temporal lobe soldiers were implanted with. That letter flashed up in front of his eyes and automatically scrolled as he read.
Congratulations Corporal Vincent Vimes on your new promotion to Lance Corporal.
You have been given this assignment as it's your first assignment out of planet. You are most likely wondering why the upgrade. You have garnered the highest test scores in your aptitude tests in both high gravity simulations, insectoid simulations and high danger classed creature types. You also have a high marksmanship and shooting scores among grunt level troopers.
You along with the team you will be leading will be clearing a hill that's set to be used as the new colonist mining location, but the UED need the grounds cleared. The tunnels are too small for our machinery and our tanks to clear so your team along with several others will be placed strategically around the hill and then you will clear it of all threatening life forms and destroy any means of them reforming without destroying the tunnels themselves. A list of the creature types found so far have been listed along with their ability to rend human flesh and crush steel. Take none of this for granted.
On and on the words scrolled and then rescrolled, images flashed, scrolled down and the flashed again. Fully detailed schematics were filed out and then spread out, zoomed in, zoomed out where he needed them to. The details on where he would land and who was on the ship with him appeared. The ship was filled with people from his own barracks, where they would be reassigned. Unfortunately the details of exactly where they would be going were nonexistent, above his pay grade. But not for long apparently, he was still years behind Constance but moving from Private First class, to Corporal to Lance Corporal, one jump after the other. It was all so thrilling and upon eyeing one location to the next followed by all the data he could pick up that he had access to.
There was so much there to be gleamed it gave him a head ache which led to the temperature of the room altering to in an attempt try and clear the pain.
Delta Six, Prima 8, Tsar planet.
December 22nd 21:00
There were six space stations that used up the highest of UED finances and recourses. The sixth largest space ship was the compactor. The ship itself was the length of New York, storing and operating on over a four billion tons of raw material, which had been processed into the first colonist city in planet Tsar. A fully functional city, with its own power supply and agricultural fields capable of holding thousands of workers, hundreds of thousands of workers if the recourses allowed.
They were the seventeen of them set out in orbit, either waiting to land or still under construction.
They all just needed the right home.
The perfect landing zone had been found on the first hill. Alpha point or Hill Alpha.
If only it weren't for the bug problem.
Delta Six, Prima 8, Tsar planet, orbit.
December 24th 08:00
He wasn't the first one to the briefing but he wasn't the last either. There were over three hundred men and women off different sizes pouring into wide steel doors. Glowing in front of his left hand shone a green arrow with numbers marking seat number and distance from the seat itself.
Crossing the steel doors he crossed into a wide auditorium capable of holding thousands by the looks of it and at its heart was a stage, behind a plain white wall. It might have been impressive had he not seen so many of the type before. Grand design but devoid of luxury, simple down to the very basic seating and barely any colour what so ever to be seen.
The green arrow turned red, bringing him to an abrupt halt. Fifth row from the front, there were people there already. The seating was arranged, undoubtedly by their squads so the men and women around them were undoubtedly a part of Gamma team. Nerves struck and pulled on him like elastic cords being yanked by a child. Gun fire, torture, death he wasn't supposed to be afraid of those and yet he was terrified of uttering the words that he was sure were supposed to come out of his mouth. Nothing came.
Instead he nodded his head at the group and sat between them, looking forwards without turning his head to the group. He'd taken in what he'd needed. Eight people by the look of the coloured insignia on their shoulders, purple. There were three Grunts, two male, one female, there was a Medic, a Heavy Gunner a Sniper and finally a Telepath. The words of the heavy gunner back in his old barracks brought him back. It didn't matter, he was in charge. It was then that Vincent immediately tried his best to stop thinking. Thinking about a Telepath in front of a Telepath was just plain silly.
He didn't dwell on the thought, the last seat being taken and the sudden change in lighting didn’t allow him to. At the base of the auditorium, at the stage, a woman had just stepped up. Behind her a high resolution and high definition image had just opened up of her torso as she spoke. Vincent's heart sank. If there was ever a time to want a drink, it was right then.
The massive 3D image of Constance Vimes moved from left to right. Vincent found the large 3D image lingering in their direction for only a second before it moved on, whether it as his own paranoia or ego telling him to act or whether it wasn't he couldn't tell. What he could tell was that Constance had somehow taken the role of an officer. The insignia on her chest spoke of a ranking above that of a Sergeant Major but rather that of a Lieutenant. He should have been happy, he should have been proud, only he wasn't, he was shocked and appalled. When had this happened? Why was he only finding out now? Was she not a Master Sergeant when he'd taken off from Paarl?
The briefing began slowly, her words heavy and sharp. The strong tone of a former Heavy Gunner who, unlike any other had turned specialisations, most especially from extremes such as Heavy Gunner to Telepath. Something of which had been considered physically impossible, making her by far the most prestigious member of the Vimes family line.
Constance stopped, pulling away from her podium almost as if to stretch. After a moment she stood at the podium once again.
"The life of a soldier, we are told, means little. This is not true. It never has been true. Look at the soldier in front of you and the soldier behind. Look at them carefully because I am about to throw a large number at you. That number simply put is three million. Three million credits is the value of each and every single one of you. The value of each of you terms of the value of recruiting each and every one of you. The cost of training you, offering you beds, taking you off planet, housing you off planet ,food, water, accommodation, the very tables and chairs you sit on at this moment. Three million credits."
Her eye brow raised slowly as her eyes seemed to focus on every single one of them. Vincent's eyes rolled. She was pausing for dramatic affect and it was always a nightmare to watch back at home, more so now that they weren't children playing soldier anymore.
"The total sum of which is a fraction of what you are all worth. Now look at the soldier next to you once again. Because each and every one of you have the value of 400 hundred trillion humans spread across the galaxy. Your prime value though is quite simply 65 thousand human beings, each of them working on this ship who will be starting out on Alpha before the rest of colonists come in. In which the value of your lives rises to the millions. You are the walls that separate every single one of those from life and death. Our species survives in numbers through perpetual growth and development. This land and these resources are the life blood that will keep so many alive, it's out of need not want that we are here. We fight so others do not thrive but we fight so others may live.
Now give me a hooorah!"
She yelled, her voice taking up a base in her tone. There was a wave of movement and sound as the entire auditorium jumped to their feet and responded.
"Now arm up in the name of the planet Earth! Follow your team leaders to the designated locations and lock and load!"
Green light shone in front of his hand and he read the direction he would be leading them but he didn't leave instead standing up straight and saluting his 'men'
"Lance Corporal Vincent Vimes! I I know we will make the UED proud and kick some alien ass before anyone else. Now as we walk I want names, ranking whatever the hell your deal is. Let's move."