Jamie wasn’t sleeping well; she struggled and tossed about on the cot. The last good sleep she had gotten was on the retrofitted cryo-sleeper ship that hauled them to the 12 Ophiuchi system. That was the scene of the crime. Where she went from soldier to Custom. Converted was the term they used.
Her Custom body was constantly being upgraded and the upgrades fucked with her sleep. They started when she reached R.E.M sleep. There, her dreams became tech-manuals, updated intel on new Nix species, status of the war, and new bio-ware upgrades to her brain implants.
But while she was on LRRP duty, Jamie’s implants had been out of range of the base servers. Now that was back in the wire, it could finally update her, and it seemed to be worse than usual. Her dreams twisted during all of this, to horror. Scenes from her time in the thick, fighting, being wounded combined with nightmarish blurry visions of the Nix ripping people apart. Then her mind flashed to the deep cold of the cryo-pod, and the evil that stalked her in the jungle.
Suddenly bolting out of the cot, Jamie’s feet slapped the cold metal of the barracks floor. Everything evened out, her heartbeat calmed and the sweating stopped.
She was wide awake.
“Damn! I’m getting a shower.” She said out loud, but the only answer was snorting.
Being 0530 local Honiara time, there was no one in the showers or in the chow hall when she made it there.
“Jamie,” Beth Interrupted her thoughts. “Want some company?”
“Of course.” Jamie kicked out a cheap metal chair for her. When Beth set down her tray, Jamie snatched a biscuit.
“Seating toll, soldier.” Beth flipped her off, and Jamie tried to smiled with an mouth fill of biscuit.
“Couldn’t sleep, huh?” Beth asked.
“Fucking uploads! Why don’t they do that later, I needed that sleep!” Jamie moaned.
“Yeah, we were out in the bad bush too long, I swear, I’m still not totally sync’ed in.”
“Being a Custom sucks.” Jamie tossed her last piece of toast into the remains of the soy eggs.
“Hell yeah, sister!” Beth agreed
“What have you heard from your friend in Operators?”
Beth smiled shyly, and hid behind her coffee cup. “Hmm…we’re it and the Bashar has moved into low orbit.
“Orbital bombardment or nuclear assault?” Nicky was standing over them with a shit-eating grin.
They all jumped. “Damn it Nicky! Beth yelled “The Nix are bad enough!” He sat down, and all eyes turned back to Beth.
“No, my contact-”
“Bed-buddy, Beth.” Jamie needled.
“Yes, yes, alright.” She was red in the cheeks.
“The Bashar?” Nicky prompted.
“Oh…yeah…it’s moved for pickup.” Beth finished.
“Pickup? You mean like the Terrans are bugging out?!” Nicky raised his voice, and it echoed around the chow-hall. Eyes fell onto their table.
“Damn it, Nicky!” Shushed Beth. “Yeah, they’re prepping for a launch.” Silence washed over them.
“We’re finally here.” From behind came Mariam and Tom wandered up being the group.
“You two took long enough!” Beth greeted the reminder of their LRRP team.
“Hard to get outta bed when it’s warm.” Tom deflected.
“Answer the question.” Jamie forced out over the chatting, tryiong to refocus the conversation.
Beth looked down at her half-eaten pancakes. “The last perimeter bases were wiped out. We are the last base on this damn moon.” Before a response could be spoken, flashing text appeared in their enhanced eyes.
REPORT TO LT. IBANEZ @THE WESTERN FRONT
They stuffed down the last of breakfast, and swore while pushing back their chairs. Tom saw Jamie still in the chair. He extended a hand to her.
“C’mon, Jamie,” He hit my shoulder, “time to get back in the shit!”