Chapter 4

Landed at last.

The transport's engines turned off, and the back hatch opened with a loud noise. The team started getting off one after another in perfect order as they knew they had to do, with Siegler first in line. Their uniforms all alike bared no markings of ranks or names, civilization or mission. No one could pick out the officer through a scope.

When everyone was on the surface of the planet, they formed a rectangle and headed straight to the headquarters' building. They saw people and troops around the street, waiting for the next attack, and attending the injured. Their faces were dirty and grim, their bodies and limbs tired, and their hearts full of uncertainty. They didn't even bother to look at them as all, citizens and troops, were sure that their fate was sealed, and that they were abandoned from everyone. The sky was black with grey clouds ready to pour foul rain on the tormented land. Siegler looked at the sky and at the people on the streets and knew the planet was doomed to be exterminated whether they succeed in their mission or not.

The distance between the landing pad and the headquarters' facilities was not far. After all, if the planet was to be evacuated, the distance of the landing pad should be close enough so everyone could reach there. All around the headquarters they could see burning buildings and devastated blocks, along with signs of bombardment. Even the headquarters didn't make it unscathed by the whole devastation. Holes made of shells and bullets could be seen on the building, and those parts of the building that were of high importance were barricaded and fortified. The team halted in front of the door and the guard looked at them with suspicion, now and then, as if something was wrong. Finally, he let them enter and told them where the commanding Commissar could be found.

The interior of the building was very different from the exterior. Clean floors and desks, freshly painted walls everywhere and directional light spots filling the place in bright light. The people working there however shared the same sadness in their eyes as everyone in this fortified last pocket of resistance. The team awaited in a hall, where another officer instructed them, taking only Siegler to meet Commissar Klemrith, the now-ruler of the planet.

Siegler found himself in a large hall of the building, full of maps of the planet, and huge piles of reports since the beginning of the situation. Siegler remained in attention in front of the Commissar, saluting, despite the lack of his office markings and the look on the Commissar's face. The Commissar responded to the salute, even doing so mechanically, and got off his chair. His uniform was dirty and ragged in a few places but that was not what caught Siegler's eye. It was his bionic leg, which Klemrith didn't bother to hide. He standed in front of Siegler and spoke with his heavy voice.

"Welcome Officer, to this tormented planet which as it seems, is forsaken by all. I have learned of your mission and I will share with you any information of the whereabouts of the demagogue for we have no time to lose. The last report of his visual identification was just 32 kilometers from here due north. I can provide transport for your team but I really don't know if that would be good for the mission. Here are the reports and all the needed information," said Commissar Klemrith handing over to Siegler a pack of reports and information.

"Thank you Commissar. Your help is greatly appreciated. As for the transport it is not needed as you have pointed out the mission we are on is based on stealth. I will report through vox when the subject is found and eliminated," replied Siegler saluting. The Commissar was too tired or frustrated to salute back. Siegler walked out of the hall and back to the room where his team awaited. He entered, and everyone waited for him to talk. "The subject," started Siegler, "is 32 kilometers from here. That is where the last reports point out. I believe we should be going, since we wouldn't have transport, and I think in two days we should be there and finish our mission. Now for the plan. Moa and Knuckles will be moving about 500 meters in front of the rest of the squad to see and notify any enemy movement. Simon and Christof will be in the back as fire support for the squad. Is that clear?" Everyone waved their heads in approval.

"Where are we leaving from sir?" Helenova asked. "I don't believe we will walk out the front gates?"

"Actually, I haven't asked about that. But I will ask either the Commissar or his Officer" replied Siegler, feeling awkward for the lack of the information.