The Cybernetics of the Hydra — Chapter 6
Security and Control Center
“I simply cannot understand how they expect us to work with the twentieth legion, officers. No matter what we do, their obscure and cryptic ways find a way to mess it up! Captain Alana will kill me when she hears that we lost a whole cargo at six hundred hours.” complained Jaccobio. Or as his crewmen knew him Controller Orsso, ten years in command of the surveillance operations. Jaccobio turned this a daily habit after lunch; he went on blabbing away with the latest incident he had to fix. Yesterday, a squad had taken the wrong ship when deploying for a special operation.
They all stood in an elevated platform in the control room. It was a bright area with several windowpane; it was consequently clean too. Jaccobio stood looking at the main projectors while a tech-priest performed a daily ritual beside him. Two ranking officers sat in their stations. Feder, logistics supervisor, and Rozeff, closed-circuit monitoring supervisor, were Jaccobio’s right hand. They mostly relayed orders from Jaccobio and briefed him with any difficulties. Both officers sat straight and mindful of their work panels. Feder had spent several years in that chair and had nourished the vertical relationship with Jaccobio. Rozeff didn’t, and under his personal experience it didn’t weigh any difference. Still, Feder felt that adulation was the road to glory. And so, he did not waste any single opportunity to elevate Jacob’s stance.
“You are right, Sir. I think these incidents should be reported properly, Sir. Particularly based on its periodicity and the considerable burden given to the operations of our ship.” said Feder.
“That would be nice.” said the Controller. After that, there was a second too long of extra silence. Feder looked away, back to his workstation, and then looked at Rozeff. His colleague read his face.
“Maybe it would be better if the priest wraps thing up first. Sir.” said Rozeff.
Jaccobio nodded. The priest focused on her chanting paid no attention to their secrecy. They revised other minor issues of the day. After a few minutes, the priest was gone.
“What is it?” said Jaccobio.
“It is the legionnaires, Sir. We have video records of a space marine of the twentieth legion abandoning his post. That would make him accountable for at least one of the transport ships during the operation.” Feder paused to let it sink in. The loss of three thousand and seventy-eight souls; all family and friends.
“Is this what was conveyed to Captain Alana this morning?” asked Jaccobio.
“Yes, I did, Sir. I’ve tried to get a secure communication with you.” the logistics supervisor shivered.
“I know. There is nothing to worry here, kid. A meeting was called and the decision stays. Flawless victory for the three hundred seventy third!”
“But they are wrong, Sir. They committed war crimes!” pressured Feder.
The Controller’s face turned sour. “Wrong, you say? Feder you should mind your words even in our privacy. Remember the ancestral saying: ‘Be like water’. Do you need me to say it again? The High Administrator, Captain Alana, the XXth legion captain, and Egar, from the World Eaters! And his madness was raging. If the nails take on him, it could be disastrous. So, if you keep pushing on this, Feder, you can choose between dying from a ravenous marine with a chain sword or poisoned in your sleep. Eaters or hydra we are to shut up now.”
They all stood in silence.
“I will not push, but I won’t stop informing you.” Feder sat down.
Rozeff felt scared. His usual denial was out of control after last month’s massacre. Jaccobio’s answer clicked something in him. This time it wasn’t frustration or despair, it was genuine fear. He had also seen footage of suspicious behavior. He was used to it after several months with the Alpha Legion. But he was now up to something rotten. Or at least, under the current situation, with the World Eaters overrunning the basic humanity of the “Acquirement”, the perverse footage was enough to trigger the panic. The panic shook his body and he excused himself to the restroom. Feeling a bit relieved, Rozeff washed his face and regain his posture. He needed to share this with Controller Orsso. They were in severe danger.
He reached out to grab a towel and dried up. In the reflection of the mirror, he saw the door bouncing against the wall and a huge cerulean marine stood in the frame. Rozeff couldn’t hear the voice from the intercom in the marine’s helmet, but he could hear the Alpha legionnaire loud and clear.
“Target confirmed.” said the marine.
He wanted to tell them “They are killing us! Right now. In the corridors, in front of our own eyes. They will kill us!”. But it was now too late. His body fell down squirting blood from the severed neck. His head particles were spread on the room’s mirrors. Another marine came with inflammables and burned down the corridor and restrooms. Sadly, the closed-circuit supervisor was not there to check the cameras registering the crime.