“I really hate this. I mean *really* hate this,” Anieka muttered as she discreetly tugged at the hem of her dress uniform. She was pretty sure that the close cut jacket and micro miniskirt over skintight leggings was the brainchild of some retired military official who had a rather skewed view of women in the military. Dressed in his own white jacket and pants with the colored trim and shoulder boards of his position in Delta, Kat just grinned.
“We could always get that dress back for you. You stunning little cream-puff, you,” he murmured back. The presence of all the dignitaries of Rael and the Unite League was all that kept Ania from smacking her teammate - that, and the glare Ryan shot at them. It didn’t promise death so much as extreme pain and long term suffering. Between them, Brent did his best imitation of sleeping while standing up, mostly because he had no interest in being there at all, but even less interest in being the one speared by the Commander Eyes. Pietro might have the boring duty of being on call in the Delta Flier, but he was in comfortable clothes and not under the curious eyes of all and sundry. Ania felt distinctly like the prize catch in a zoo as each Raelan glanced at her or at Ryan, trying to determine the truth of the duel that had been fought that morning; Duke Tyrell had been officially excused from attending the treaty signing owing to his “honorable wounds”, the extent of which had not been announced to anyone as yet. It was Tyrell’s affair to tell his countrymen or not, the Delta Squad was done with it all.
An hour or so into the proceedings Anieka’s eyes were caught by the unassuming chamberlain slipping up next to King Beaumon and whispering something that caught his attention very quickly. A fast, murmured conversation ensued between King and the GloSec chief beside him while the latest ULE dignitary went on about peace and good relations. A nod from the security chief and a pointed look toward the Delta Squad as the chamberlain approached and led them away. They offered a strict low-key salute to the assembled, who scarcely noticed the passing as the ULE lead council stood to continue the political dance.
As the chamber doors closed on the heels of Delta, the chamberlain explained hurriedly: off the western coast a giant metal sphere, skeletal arms and gun ports abounding with no other goal than the island. It had been spotted and tracked by the lighthouse that guarded the coast; by the time the mirror-relayed message reached the castle and transferred to the necessary ears the sphere would be have approached the shallows. Ryan got a distance to his eyes as he pictured the area being discussed, but the Commander issued his orders as they took off running for the courtyard where the Delta Flier rested.
“Brent, go kick Pietro awake and get the Flier there on the double. Comm lock on me. Kat, Ania, grab the ballibikes; you’re harriers. Remember, you have no communications so watch my signals, but in general we keep it on the beach until the Flier gets lock and kill.” A tight grin as they all skidded into sight of the Flier. “Time for the REAL demonstration,” ignoring Brent’s muttered, ”finally.” “We get this done so the Council never know they needed us.”
“Aye aye. Delta, go!” in chorus. Ania shucked her jacket and tossed it to Brent as he went in. Able now to move in her black tank-top she and Kat pelted for two of the bikes, built special for the tech-crippling island with their hard-wired systems and ballistic loads. Ania knew the ear to ear grin on Kat’s face was mirrored on her own. No matter that physical confrontation was not her style; rather than political intrigue and pomp she would slug her way through with Delta teamwork any day. Ryan roared out on his bike, followed closely by the other two ground-bound in neat formation as the Flier finished warming up for vertical take-off. Anieka cast her eyes up briefly into the sky.
“Let this happen fast and let all be safe. And please, let the treaty be signed before we get back!”