Canto 77– Dome Invasion (The Blood-Red Thread)
The arc-welder burned a gaping hole through the lowest level of the underwater dome on Farwind. Water began gushing in before the trooper had finished cutting the hole.
“Won’t this flood the dome?” Ferrari asked through the metal commo dot attached inside his underwater helmet. “Shouldn’t we be finding another way inside?”
“Don’t worry, Commander,” said a trooper in his yellow and blue battle armor, “We will only flood the ground floor to the level of our waists. We’ve successfully done this operation before.”
“Before? You’ve invaded this dome before?”
“Yes, during the last insurrection. It isn’t our fault the civilian government couldn’t hold out against Brona Tang.”
The trooper’s words inspired absolutely no confidence in any of us. We were in this thing way over our heads, and I don’t mean just because we were at the bottom of the sea.
As water rushed inside the dome, the gaping hole was suddenly big enough for armored men to walk through. This we did, single file. The Commander led the way, followed by Duke Ferrari, Ham Aero, six troopers, and then me. The rest of the troops were guarding the rear.
Inside the dome, water was gushing like a series of water-park fountains splashing amok. It looked to me like the water really could rush in and fill the entire dome.
The Commander took off the helmet he wore and pitched it aside. “Tac-Officer! Give me a readout on the enemy positions. Do they have a scan-lock on us yet?”
The man in the suit with all the wires and antennas took off his helmet and began studying a monitor that popped out of his armored chest-plate.
Ferrari stepped forward to consult. “Commander, I think we should find the control room and try to capture this place from its top.”
“You are not a military man. Leave this to us,” snapped the Commander.
“Uh, sir…” The Tac-Officer was pale. “We have a problem.”
The Commander frowned at him. He opened his mouth to say something cruel in the way commanding officers usually do when they hear things they don’t like. Suddenly, we heard ominous sounds all around us. Guns were being cocked and plasma weapons began to hum. Above us, a ring of troopers in black combat armor stood up, training at least a hundred different weapons on our exposed position.
“Does this seem bad to you?” I asked Ham.
Ham had just taken off his diving helmet and now he smiled at the deadly arsenal arrayed against us. “This comes under the general heading of not good, yes.” I noticed he was strikingly handsome when he smiled.
“You gentlemen must surrender immediately,” said one of the black figures surrounding us. “We have orders to kill you all and leave no member of your group alive.”
“It is troublesome how the military mind usually works,” I said. “I suppose this is the end for me.”
“Yes…” said Ham, no longer smiling. “This is not good at all!”