- Genesis II
- In Final Edit
- Aug 2019
CSA Director Allstrom, The Heit Directive
No more than a dark shadow in the prow of the boat, Colonel Matthew Brannon sat silent and still. His eyes were closed yet he was on alert, pushing his awareness into the night, seeking any form of threat, any unnatural sound or smell. Once assured there was nothing out of place his eyes opened, immediately scanning the area around him while pupils remained dilated. There was nothing to see but the hint of the rise where the beach moved back from the water and the line of the peak where it leveled off, inward, towards the heart of Aletheia Island.
So far, their passage into Beggars Bay was going exactly as planned, and that was making Colonel Brannon nervous. Rule One was to have a good plan and Rule Two was be prepared to adapt when the whole thing went South, which it almost always did. No plan ever worked out that well. Yet this one was playing out textbook perfect. The thought sent a shiver down his spine. Something wasn’t right.
He had no proof, just a feeling, but that was enough. It was time to get prepared. If he was right, and something was amiss, they would need to act fast and decisively to gain control of the new situation they would find themselves in.
He turned away from Aletheia and the beach at Beggars Bay, faced the officers behind him.
“Prepare for landing. Something’s not right. I don’t know what, so we need to be ready for anything and everything. Make sure the rest of the men understand.”
Brannon turned back to face the beach just a few short minutes away. The Marine Salamander carrying Brannon and his squad ran smooth and silent, fast for so little noise. The other Salamanders were arrayed on both sides, slightly behind him. He always took the point.
He was the first to set foot on the island, stepping off his Salamander as it nosed onto the beach. His squad was close on his heels, spreading out, already on the move, several moving forward, scouting the way ahead. By the time other Salamanders slid up to the shore, Brannon’s team was past the beach and into the scrubby mix of panicum, morning glory, and sea purslane clinging to the barrier dunes. They met no resistance, saw no one, the landing continued, routine and uneventful. Brannon’s worry deepened.
Signaling the rest of the platoon, Brannon and his squad started working their way inland, moving quiet and furtive, the others following fifty meters behind. Once over the dunes, Brannon called a halt, sending three men to scout ahead. It was time to see what was waiting for them up there.