Following the Blue Light

Riley's Log #10

Field Log: 0010
Sergeant 1st Class

So it seems we’ve found a settlement out here in the swamp. Looks like we might be here for a day or two resupplying and working on a few technical problems. It also looks like we might be getting a new operator on board… if he can show a modicum of respect towards yours truly.

I know I’m not in a position to be barking orders. It’s not my ship, but I’m the pilot and no one snaps that out from under me without the courtesy of a little forewarning. Yet, as such individuals are so prone to do, he will give me a reason to put him in his place like the dog he is. I am a patient man after all, and revenge is sweeter when they aren’t expecting it.

Sierra seems more and more intuitive about my moods however, since she keeps trying to convince me that fighting will solve nothing. Of course, I have no intention of fighting, that’s just opening myself to risk, but… I suppose it might still be hard to think of a Coalition soldier as anything more than a grunt.

Now I just want to get out of this pathetic excuse for a town. The stench of this place makes one feel unclean in the biblical sense, and its population consists of thieves and bottom feeding scroungers happy to wallow in the mud and filth of this place.

For Sierra’s sake though, I will keep my mouth closed about it for now. For whatever reason she values these creatures, and as I value her, I will do my best to control my pride and animosity.

Riley's Log #9

Field Log: 0009
Sergeant 1st Class Riley Caine

Sierra came bursting into my room last night, convinced that something was watching her. For such a smart girl, she sure can be skittish at times. The source of her fear seems to be a unoccupied sleeping quarter at the end of the hall. She took me to investigate it once and all I found was a broken toy and a bunch of old junk.

It did give her a reason to stick around though. Once I got her settled down she fell asleep and it was… peaceful. All my life all I’ve ever felt is focused hatred and just sitting there like that, even for a little while, it was a level of calm and clarity of mind that I had all but forgotten about. For all the good intentions Sierra has though, I know deep down inside that it will never be enough.

I keep dreaming about the night that it happened; the explosion. I keep feeling my bones break and my flesh burn and the consuming pain that came after that when she found me. I remember every bullet I took for a cause that was a lie, and all the times I was used by those who were supposed to love me. Then, just when I think my mind is finally done relieving my worst memories, it starts all over again.

I’ve seen this before in men, my men, when they had something that they just couldn’t wrap their mind around. It builds and builds until it consumes you. Will Korso’s betrayal do that to me? The need for revenge already feels so oppressive that it’s pushing everything else out of me. The only thing keeping marching forward right now… is her smile.

She always smiles when she sees me… Even though I don’t deserve it.

Riley's Log #8

Field Log: 0008
Sergeant 1st Class Riley Caine

Though I realize my opinion may not account for much, being that I am only a hateful, ignorant Coalition soldier, but despite that my many years of tactical experience should carry at least a screed of weight. There’s only so many ways that you can explain that something is a bad idea though.

I hurt down into my core, covered in bruises and I’m surprised we made it out of there at all. I know it’s not even remotely unusual to find some newly evolved freak of nature, but that was something else entirely.

An entirely isolated ecosystem growing from the ruins of an abandoned post-rifts ruin. The whole place stank of death and rot, filled in places up the walls with corpses and bones. Then there were those things – freakish, subhuman monsters that seemed to want little more than to pull the skin off our bones. In the end we got them on the run, but they were smart enough to set a trap for us, and they knew when they were beaten. I almost got their shaman, but it was too quick for me.

People may criticize the Coalition for its shoot first, and don’t ask questions attitude, but in a world where those kind of monsters squat and lurk under every rock and rotted tree and don’t think twice about turning you inside out for breakfast; I am more than happy to not take my chances by hoping something “might” be friendly.

Riley's Log #7

Field Log: 0007
Sergeant First Class Riley Caine

Last night Sierra invited me to come to her room. She was a sweet, yielding conquest and I will not deny that she awakened within me sensations that I had forgotten could be felt. I left when she fell asleep though, I didn’t want her to take any flack for bedding me from the mutants, and I could see happening. It’s always so predictable how intolerant living beings are – I know my hatreds, but at least I don’t hide it under a pretense of civility.

I walked around the ship for awhile, but then I sat and waited for morning in the cockpit. I took us out at our usual time and none of them seemed the wiser to my actions the night before.

Luckily something came up that should keep attention off of Sierra and I. We stumbled, quite literally, onto a possible archaeological site which the mutants and Sierra seem eager to explore. I’m not so sure it’s a good use of our time or resources, but it isn’t my job to ask questions – just hold the gun.

I’ve prepared sensor readings to map the subterranean structure so hopefully we won’t be going in blind.

Riley's Log #6

Field Log: 0006
Sergeant 1st Class Riley Caine

I should be surprised by what was found today, but after so many betrayals I should have known that there were other lies as well. This though; it runs so deep that it would shake the Coalition to its core. I guess another reason why Korso wouldn’t want me to return, and yet another piece of ammunition to destroy him with – some day.

In the meantime, it is a weapon that will serve me well. What it lacks in strength, it makes up for in speed and firepower, which will be to my advantage. I suppose they think of it as my payment for piloting their behemoth. Since they provide for me in other ways, it seems more than a fair trade.

Besides, if things go south, it’s an easy exit.

Sierra seems glad I have something to work on other that sitting all day up in the cockpit. I thought it was just my imagination, but I keep catching her watching me out of the corner of her eye. Maybe she doesn’t trust me as much as I thought.

Riley's Log #5

Field Log: 0005
Sergeant 1st Class Riley Caine

They asked me to pilot their robotic vehicle today; and by they I mean Sierra. The mutants didn’t seem that thrilled about there being a Coalition pilot behind the controls, but it doesn’t look like they have much choice either. I have little room to talk though, as neither do I.

For now I suppose it could be worse – I get to put my skills to use and we get moving as far away from that op as possible. Sierra said to go south, so that’s exactly what I’m doing.

The doc’s nice enough to talk to at least through the long hours of travel, and she tends to ramble so luckily I don’t have to say much. She does ask me questions sometimes though; what kind of missions have I been on, why did I join the Coalition, and if I had family.

She seemed genuinely surprised that I was born into the Coalition and didn’t opt in as some desperate gambit for my families salvation. Back home, being a soldier was an honorable profession, so why not? Besides, I was damn good at it.

It was hard to answer the last one though – I don’t want her getting anxious about me bailing, but I didn’t want to lie to her either; she didn’t deserve that after how she stuck her neck out for me. I just told her no one who would miss me and for now she seems satisfied with that.

The sad thing is, it’s probably Gods honest truth.

Riley's Log #4

Field Log: 0004
Sergeant 1st Class Riley Caine

The medical officer took me outside today. She gave me my things and said I could leave. I know now that I misjudged her, though not in the way I thought I had. What I took for sympathy to a cause was simply empathy for my own poor state. I wish she’d just killed me when I’d asked her to, but there’s no point in bringing that up now.

I won’t lie, I did consider walking away – returning to the Coalition, a war hero again, surviving to return and fight another day, but I didn’t.

Korso, the man I’d admired and respected my entire life, threw me away like garbage, and all for what? So he could advance his agenda? I was getting to smart, he said, asking too many questions. “Just be glad you can die a hero son. You will be remembered.”

Sure, maybe I could have gone back, but knowing Korso he would never risk me talking about what he did and I’d be dead in a flash anyways. The more I think about it, the more I see that dying just lets him win. I won’t let him get away with using me, but I’ll be patient. I will design his demise the way he did mine and when it comes I want him to know that I was responsible for it – just like he made sure I knew before he pushed the detonator.

For now, here is a good place to keep my head down. A body missing out here in the swamps is nothing unusual, and the medical officer, Sierra, seems to have a soft spot for me. Maybe I can use that to my advantage.

Riley's Log #3

Field Log: 0003
Sergeant 1st Class Riley Caine

The medical officer released me from the restraints today provided that I didn’t try to escape. She told me she wasn’t going to try and hold me anymore, but she was worried something would happen to me if I left.

I don’t understand why she’s keeping me here. Clearly they’re enemies, and yet she continues to try and repair my injuries despite my reluctance to comply. Perhaps I have misjudged this individual based on the choice of her company. She may yet sympathize with the Coalition, though I will test this theory further when I am more convinced of her motives.

Riley's Log #2

Field Log: 0002
Sergeant 1st Class Riley Caine

The medical officer has been keeping me under chemical sedation for almost a week. I am so weak I can barely move, but I must make sure something survives to be found with my body. I remembering the medical officer asking me questions, but I didn’t answer. I couldn’t trust myself to not say something compromising.

I didn’t realize until now how debilitating my injuries were to this point. I suppose it was adrenaline keeping me up before.

She’s coming… I have to hide this.

Riley's Log #1

Field Log: 0001
Sergeant 1st Class Riley Caine

I have found myself in a potentially hostile environment. I am being held in the medical bay of an unknown organization for reasons that are as of yet unknown. I have no way to communicate with my unit that I can find. Attempts to leave the room have been met with violence from mutant animals of varied species. They seem content to leave me alone however provided I remain within this area.

Their medical officer, who I have identified as a human named Sierra Mist, seems to be the one responsible for my imprisonment. Her decision to assist me seems to be a point of contention between her and the rest of the crew. I can only assume that this is due to my Coalition affiliation.

I have foregone arming myself to maintain the element of surprise with my implants should I need to fight; additionally, there is nothing present in here that could do more damage. Aside from a lack of serviceable weapons, I have secured the means to leave a log of my experiences. I hope that should I not survive that this record of my actions might be found by my superiors and allow my death to remain honorable.

The medical officer should be coming soon, and I will make another escape attempt.


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