Perspective Part II
Five Years Later
“I just want to drop the scum off and be rid of them,” Captain Priestly said to his executive officer. “I don’t like their kind—damn blood suckers—vampires in the military—what’s next!” He paced the bridge nervously as if by doing so his actions could somehow make the vampires go away.
The XO, Commander Keefe, wholeheartedly agreed with the Captain. He wanted to mention the operation which resulted in the destruction of the Excalibur years earlier, but it had been classified and the story altered, attributing the loss of the ship to enemy fire—it was better for morale.
Captain Priestly sighed deeply and continued pacing, ensuring that each footstep echoed loudly off of the steel deck plates. Keefe recognized the Captain's mood and knew it was best to stay out of his way. The Captain could be explosive when he was not in complete control—the standard type “A” personality. This was one of those moments when the bridge of the ship, the United Planets Ship Lexington, seemed extremely small.
Keefe gazed up at the chronometer to check the arrival time at the target; the display indicated less than two hours remained. The information regarding the mission was unknown to both him and the CO. The ship's computer had received the pre-programmed coordinates from the Joint Chiefs so they were truly flying blind on this one.
He looked at the Captain and shrugged his shoulders. “Who knows?” he said. “But the fact that we won’t have to send any of our men down to the planet has its benefits. It must be pretty messy if they are sending them in first.”
“I suppose,” Priestly agreed reluctantly. “But I still don’t like this. I feel like I’m carrying the black plague or something. And what if these creatures should get loose on my ship? I don’t like this—none of this. What the hell are the JCS thinking about this whole concept of starving them for the op?”
Keefe could understand Priestly’s concern all too well. The memory of these creatures relying on the blood of living beings, and the friends he had on the Excalibur mixed together like oil and water.
“In theory,” Priestly began, “well…in military theory that is, it’s probably a good concept to have them operate at peak performance, but from the rumors I’ve heard, the problem is that their hunger is not specifically predictable or controllable. If pushed too far, too fast, the creatures will attack anyone, including us.”
Keefe looked at him curiously. He wondered how much the CO actually knew in regard to these vampires. “What else have you heard?”
“The scuttlebutt is that this breaking point, controlling their hunger, has some problems. Supposedly, they once managed to escape their captivity and they slaughtered the crew on the ship that was transporting them.”
“Wonderful,” Keefe muttered and then said to himself, If only you knew it wasn’t a rumor but the truth.
“After that event, the control over the creatures was made supposedly foolproof,” Priestly continued. “Nevertheless, even with all these risks, the end result of the effectiveness of the vampire units warrants their continuance in service. They have brought a tumultuous peace to the galaxy.”
“Based upon fear,” Keefe added his voice full of sarcasm.
“True,” Priestly said nodding his head. . “I say send them all out of the airlock, jettison the whole bunch. If they aren’t human, then they shouldn’t be allowed to live.”
“As much as I might agree, skipper, I don’t think the Joint Chiefs would,” Keefe said. “I just think I would feel better—safer—if they were somewhere else.”
“Me too. But, the platoon is under extremely tight precautions with redundant security measures and perimeters maintained. Their commander assures us he has positive control of them.”
“I still don’t like it.” Keefe scoffed. “Taking risks with the crew and ship. If something should go wrong…it could get messy.”
“Well, they have been used successfully the past few years,” Priestly said, “and apparently with much success as a fighting force.”
“Yeah,” Keefe agreed. “What’s the buzz statement? A self-sustaining unit, as long as there is a warm-blooded enemy available. They’re good-to-go under any conditions, minus the few exceptions of daylight, being blown apart, or being staked through the heart.”
“And positive control,” Priestly added, “the human-vampire hybrid controller. More of an abomination—blending species—such bullshit. You know what they are trying to do—create the ultimate killing machine. Abominations, I say—playing with creationism is a dangerous game.”
The door to the bridge opened and a Navy Commander wearing black fatigues stepped onto the bridge.
“Speak of the devil,” Captain Priestly said. “Here’s their esteemed leader.”
END PART II