Private Mick Ramsey stared deep into the wondrous abyss of stars and unexplored planets from his small quarters of The Hammer. After six weeks of scouring the galaxy for Pyro, he was still amazed by the universal scope these routine voyages into deep space brought. Maybe he was probably amazed by the fact that he was finally making something of himself. From working as a street rat for two-bit gangsters back on Earth to serving as a soldier for humanity’s most powerful military organization- The Conglomerate.
He had not planned such turn of events in his life but it was a start.
But his dark brown eyes didn’t reflect that sense of achievement in the mirror. In fact, all he could see was just 19-year-old boy getting ready for another resource-salvaging mission. A big sigh left his wide chest and he almost forgot that he let the sink run wild again. He closed the raging tap, put on a body fitting shirt that a concealed a lengthy scar that ran from his left shoulder blade to his chest.
Ramsey suddenly felt his wrist tingle and vibrate. He averted his attention to an holographic-interfaced monitor on the wall of his bunk bed. He stepped up to it and lightly gripped his CONTECH band attached to his wrist. The metallic band lit up in a neon blue aura and began an audio and transmission feed. Static. Then a stern and professional voice cackled into clarity.
“Private Ramsey, This is Mila, can you report to the armory? I’ve got your ViroSuit ready to go but I’m afraid your GS-5 will need further calibrations.”
“Wait, you mean my rifle? Yeah, it got jammed last time I was on the field. Why can’t I just get a new one?”
“That is why we are running calibrations Mr. Ramsey, we can not just issue ’new’ equipment just because you damaged already effective tech,” Mila said impatiently.
Ramsey scoffed, “Are you kidding me Mila? 2.5 round-burst, 10 clip discharge with range of only 45 meters. That’s really a problem when you got Kyra trying to rip you to shreds. I gotta reload that thing like I’m wacking it off! I mean, After all the crazy amount of funding The Conglomerate gets, you’d think we could get some decent upgrades. How come we don’t get the good stuff like Tavern and his unit?”
“That’s because you are part of a non-essential combatant unit. Out here in Sector Horizon, your missions entail Zero threat of the Kyra. And besides, your GS-5 is spec’d for salvaging resources. Now please stop your complaining and report to the armory!”
“Just saying, we can really use some upgrades in case we encounter some Kyra. Like all we’ve had to do is just tap rocks with guns. Personally, I’m dying to tap some alien ass.” Ramsey countered. “Wait, that came out weird.”
“Mr Ramsey!” Mila interrupted for her sake ”You know very well that is highly unlikely.”
“No it’s not”
“There aren’t any Kyra where you operate.” Mila sighed. “Which part of non-essential combatant, do you not understand?”
Ramsey muttered under his breath, ”Your face is non-essential.”
“What was that?”
“Nothing! reporting to the armory”
In seconds, Ramsey made his way into the armory through a high-speed elevator. A door bolted with tungsten-titanium alloy and a computed lock that had individually poster sized characters ”ARMORY” permanently engraved onto it stood in front of him. He raised his CONTECH-strapped wrist to confirm identity and the “AR” and “MORY” mechanically split open.
Ramsey had seen a lot of sci-fi movies with virtual Virtual Intelligence programs that had super-sexy automated voices back on Earth but ARA was the sexiest by far. He considered it a top-notch cliche. It was like a super sophisticated robot Angelina Jolie having phone-sex over a PA system. He couldn’t help but smile as the door whirred and hissed open ”EN-TERING AR-MORY, WEL-COME PRI-VATE RAM-SEY.” He tried not shudder with delight as the software program greeted him.
He noticed Mila hunching over her spec desk. Her dark thin eyebrows were scrunched in serious concentration over various interfaces that were attached to a rounded laptop. Light and numbers rolled off her light and almost-pale skin as she worked several diagnostics for ViroSuits and GS-5s. Her leather-clad work uniform gave her petite physique some edge and definition, especially in her butt. But Ramsey would never tell her that. Initially, he thought she got the job because she may have been one of the attractive women aboard The Hammer but she was damn good at what she did. After all, she was some sort of prodigy genius.
One time, he looked her up on a search engine Yoodle. She graduated with a bunch of latin-sounding honors in Engineering and Biology from the prestigious Vescit University on planet Voranin. After six months with registering for a military program in The Conglomerate, Mila was posted as the youngest Chief weapon and tech expert for the engineering unit aboard The Hammer. Her file came with recommendations and great engineering achievements but her biggest contribution to the Conglomerate was coming up with a scientific theory that utilized natural resources such as Pyro to research and upgrade weapons and tech via sector-wide. Ramsey didn’t know much about the scientific terms or findings and other crap like that but what Mila discovered was a technological breakthrough. Pyro was an abundant resource all over various planet sectors and the fact that it could have been used to help fight the war on Invasion was another milestone discovery for humanity. Her research led to galactic fundings from peace organizations and business corporations to back The Conglomerate on their mission to keeping Universal Peace for humanity and other extraterrestrial races. Because of Mila, soon the War on Invasion would be won.
Then came the politics, Ramsey didn’t want to get into it but he never understood why Mila still worked as some scientist on a service ship. With her record, she could have gained a senate seat as universal bureaucrat or ambassador for Universal Defense at The Representatives. Funny thing is, no one ever knew why she didn’t even pursue such an honor. She even turned down the press and media outlets that wanted to consult her after she deciphered the known elements of Pyro. But Ramsey wasn’t going to get into it.
He stood at the other end of the room to see if she’d notice him but he was convinced she was lost in her own world of advanced weaponry.
“Good, you are here,” she said.
“Yeah, if you didn’t notice, ARA welcomed me,” Ramsey replied sarcastically
“Well don’t just stand there, come test out your suit and I re-assembled your GS-5 so it should operate without any…inconsistencies” Mila emphasized the last word as her emerald-colored eyes fixated on the young soldier.
“Yeah, thanks” Ramsey said nonchalantly.
Mila finally looked up after hearing the withdrawal in his voice. Ramsey was just another young kid who thought being a soldier for The Conglomerate was the closest thing to becoming a movie star. Always hungry for a fight and adoration of the media and public. He did everything with enthusiasm but the routine missions were starting to take a toll on him. But he brought it on himself.
“Look, you do know most of the funding goes into units with higher priority missions and that is sometimes why we don’t always receive the best equipment but I do what I can to get them to standard functionality. You are the only personnel here that complains about the tech here. You should realize that the Representatives let us work within our means. You of all people should understand Mr. Ramsey that we are just an engineering and salvage crew.”
“Which is basically like the sewage department of The Conglomerate, I don’t even know why I let Jason talk me into this damn unit!”
“What we do saves lives! You may not respect this unit but you need to remember and appreciate that,” Mila retorted sternly.
All Mila could hear was the hum of the ventilation and holographic buzzes filling the silence. Surprisingly, Ramsey didn’t talk back but reluctantly looked away and nodded.
“Your registered ViroSuit is ready. Upload your CONTECH link to it, equip your GS-5 and rendezvous with your team at The Bay in 5. And don’t forget to start up your log before you leave.”
Mila sighed. Ramsey looked into a monitor recording activity in the armory. He raised his wrist to another virtual interface display screen on a desk adjacent to Mila’s.
“Audio Log #7, Cycle 647. September 7, 2188. Private Mick Ramsey Reporting in for resource location and salvaging mission to Alura. Intelligence and VI program ARA pinpointed it’s another planet which exhibit numerous desposits of… you guessed it. Pyro! And my team will take a Hammer shuttle to scrap all that good old material from rocks with crappy equipment so ESSENTIAL COMBATANTS can get their precious reserves to upgrade their already kick-ass weapons on top of their ridiculous amount of funding from The Representatives.”
“Please try to remain professional, Ramsey,” Mila pleaded.
Ramsey walked up to a platform that harbored a bunch of padded leather-looking suits that bikers back on Earth. His locker held his ViroSuit v.2.1 #00938188. After unlocking the maximum potential of Pyro, a harnessed fiery element could optimize adrenaline to flow through the body constantly at will, enhance vital signs and of course, three of the human senses that assist greatly with eye and hand coordination, and speed up movement to 25 percent. It could adapt to hostile environments of planets such as Xeranon, its climate burned at 250 degrees but the VS would keep its subject cool by utilizing limited amounts of Pyro injected through the suit. The suit even came with mini first-aid kit compartment at the back.
Ramsey slipped on the suit easily. The first time he put it on, he was amazed at how perfectly it fit. However, given the ViroSuit’s bio-synthetic features, it could adjust to any body type via endomorph or mesomorph. For Ramsey, that wasn’t even the coolest part. As much as Ramsey got tired of salvaging. The VS turned you into this mini-superman, a temporary invincibility machine.
His CONTECH link started to blink the neon sky-blue aura as it was attached to the skin of his left-wrist. It then attached to the leather seam of his VS suit. Suddenly, a reinforced metallic-casing emerged from the VS then started to encapsulate his arms, his torso, the casing then wrapped around this legs. Finally, Ramsey’s neon-lights that represented Pyro readings and power, fluctuated through core parts of the suit. The middle of his metal chest radiated with Pyro. The back of his shoulder blades and forearms indicated he was up and running and ready for duty.
“GS-5 is locked and loaded,” Ramsey stated as his rifle lit up and coordinated with his CONTECH link.
Soon, Ramsey’s exposed head looked like it had a shelled core exterior that split from the nape of his neck. It then conjoined into a helmet with a triangular shaped visor that served as a Heads-up display that briefed him with the following information on his vitals. ” You know, I hate these missions Mila but I gotta admit, these suits are kick-ass.” Ramsey’s automated and transmitted voice erupted from his helmet.