Crimson Worlds: Doom Squad
From Jay Allan's Crimson Worlds comes a story of perseverance
The highly trained young servicemen of the 105th Sustainment Brigade find themselves bored out of their minds. Stationed on the relatively peaceful planet of Akafar, they do whatever they can to pass the time. But when a surprise attack on a nearby fort calls for Army intervention, PFC Devon Andrews is the one to lead the convoy.
What should have been an easy run turns into a fight for survival, and with time running out, Devon must lean on his training, but will it be enough?
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105th Sustainment Camp
Al Saed Region
Planet: Akafar (Teforus system)
Day One – Evening
“… and action!”
The backdrop was an arms supply warehouse, shelves stacked with ammunition. Pacing the floor, a masked gunman brandished an assault rifle. As he walked by a table loaded with heavy XR-67 rounds, another younger man hopped out and popped him on the arm with a roundhouse kick. The masked man flew back, losing his weapon, and the young soldier moved in for the kill.
“Cut!” he shouted, then ran to the back of the room to stop the camera. “That was a pretty good kick, right?” he said to the masked man, who was now back on his feet.
“You held back on it, let me see the replay. I told you I can take the hit. Just go through with it, that way it looks legit.”
“Go through with it? Are you off your stims? If I catch you in the face and you show up with a bruise tomorrow, Cap’s gonna have questions. He knows we run supply duty together, bro, you can lie but he always knows.”
Devon Andrews had to laugh. He was right about the Captain. The man seemed to have a sixth sense for bull, and would call you out in an instant. He walked over to Kenny King and stared at the screen as his friend replayed their video.
It was chilly inside the building, chillier than it typically was on an otherwise cold planet. Normally the heat would be on, but it was off due to an order to preserve power, an order that had only been announced that morning. Now, instead of going shirtless to show off their 105th Doom Squad Battalion tats, they were in ACU uniforms, Devon’s beneath a navy blue coverall to make him look the part of the enemy.
Kenny rewound to the beginning where Devon snuck into the building, dressed as a masked assassin. His disguise was poor, but it was the best they could do with what they had inside the room. They had considered using one of the many suits of armor that lined the walls of the building, but that would’ve been overkill and not worth the trouble, so they settled on rags and coveralls.
Devon saw him throw the kick and it was better than he thought, so he punched Kenny in the arm and gave him a reassuring nod.
“You’re a natural bro,” Kenny said out of the side of his mouth. “What are you doing here on this dusty planet when you should be taking kicks from actors all over Hollywood?”
“Serving the Alliance, one delivery at a time,” Devon said with a quick roll of his eyes. “Quit screwing around. What do you really think?” he said, turning to face his friend.
Kenny began to laugh one of those deep diabolical laughs people tend to do when they think they’ve gotten away with something. It was so contagious that Devon joined in, and they rewound it once more to admire their work. The scene was a good start to what could be some solid entertainment for their buds. Everyone they showed it to would be impressed, as long as the officers were kept in the dark.
“Alright, now we can just spar around for the struggle. Then I move in for the kill, and you sell it like you did that kick,” Kenny said.
“Real sparring though,” Devon said, “or it won’t look real. You know in those old movies they used to just go light on the hits but speed up the film and it looks all fake. If we fight but keep it low with no face blows, anybody watching our movie will think we’re going at it for real.”
Kenny grinned and nodded in agreement, then placed the camera in a lower position. Devon replaced his mask and got himself into position. As they began to tousle, they didn’t hear the door open, and PFC Casper Martinez walked in to watch them go through their rounds of punches and kicks. When Kenny saw him he motioned to Devon, and scrambled away to power off the camera.
“How long have you been there?” Kenny said.
“Long enough, dumbass,” Casper said. “From the looks of it though, you owe me for the save, since Devina was about to get all into that ass. With the flopping I just saw, I was wondering if you two were fighting or making a sex tape.”
He started laughing, but the other two men didn’t seem to find it funny. Like Devon, Casper outranked Kenny, who was not only new to the company but also new to the Army and to adulthood. Casper was also revered for seeing plenty of fighting action, a fact he loved to remind the junior-enlisted soldiers whenever they were feeling a bit too good about themselves.
He stood at the door with his massive arms crossed, and they did everything they could to put the “props” back on their shelves. They replaced the munitions and fixed their uniforms to look the part of respectable soldiers.
“You’re gonna be cool about this, right, Casper?” Devon asked, as he tucked in his shirt and buckled his belt.
“I don’t care what you ladies do behind closed doors, Devina. I’m just here to relay a message. Captain Suarez sent me here to get you.” He paused and looked around the room, as if he had just noticed what it was they were doing. “How in the hell does counting supplies turn into whatever the hell this was?”
“We’re making an action movie,” said Kenny proudly, and Casper looked as if he smelled something funny.
“Guess I’m driving somewhere?” Devon asked. He fell in beside Casper as the trio walked out of the building. It was still light out, the time being 0700 in the Al Saed region, and the sky was on fire from the sun retreating into the horizon. “About damn time. I need something to do other than poke around in the supply room.”
“Be careful what you wish for, Devina, you just might be getting it on this mission,” Casper said.