Coalescence, Chapter 6

Sergeant Couryn Greymark stared at the cybernetic implants covering Jon-ah’s eyes. He wanted desperately to trust the man in front of him; he had a bad feeling that before this sortie was over, he would need all the help he could get. But he could not get a read on the smuggler.

Given Jon-ah’s past, the sergeant doubted he could appeal to any sense of the man’s loyalty. But on the other hand, he hadn’t run when he had the chance. Though, he still might.

“Sarge, the transport’s down, and they got Fritz!”

Dammit, not Fritz! “I don’t suppose, Mr. Jon-ah, that you know how to operate a CZR-9001, do you?”

Jon-ah shook his head.

“Didn’t think so. Your blasters are in the lean-to right next to this one,” he indicated the direction with a head nod. “Grab ‘em and follow me.”

The smuggler leapt to his feet, shedding the remains of the restraints around his wrists, and left the tent. Couryn, meanwhile, had retrieved his helmet and placed it firmly on his head.

“Give me a sit-rep, people.”

“Sir,” came a response, “mercs entrenched to the north and the east, indirect mortar fire coming from the south.”

“Mandos?”

“No sir, doesn’t look like it.”

Small miracle. “Jenson, Wicks, scout out the south, see if you can silence those mortars. Mago, hop on the horn and let HQ know we’re under fire. Everyone else, dig in, but don’t get comfortable. Whitestar, how’s Fritz look?”

Voices rattled in over his comm.

“Sarge, Fritz is out, unless we evac him now, he’s not going to make it.”

“Sir, this is Jenson, Wicks is dead.”

Sighing, Couryn turned to face Jon-ah as the cyborg emerged from the supply tent with a couple of blaster pistols slung low on his hips. “Alright Jon-ah, time for you to prove I didn’t make a mistake letting you go. Head to the south edge of the camp, and follow Private Jenson. You’re going to take out those mortars.”

Without so much as a nod, Jon-ah took off at a sprint to the south. Yup, thought Couryn before returning his attention to his comm-link, that one’s had some training alright.

“Alright Kat, stabilize Fritz the best you can, I’m on my way.”

Setting off at a jog, Couryn quickly arrived at Fritz and Katrynne’s location. She was snapping shut her medkit as he approached. Nodding at him, her short pony-tail bobbing, she reported.

“He’s not going to make it. And the transport’s been fried by a couple of ion grenades. I won’t be able to get it running quickly enough to do us any good.”

Couryn swore. “Alright, bucket-up, grab Fritz’s CZR and set up on the east. Be ready to support the north or south if I need you to.”

She nodded with the same resignation that seemed to accompany all her mannerisms, and wordlessly put her helmet on, picked up Fritz’s fallen assault cannon, and grabbed a spare ammo box. Without staying to watch her, Couryn resumed his jog to the north of the camp, where he hoped his boys had not taken too much of a beating.

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