Chapter 369: Good News From The Imperial Army
(Unova Syndicate- Planet T’ramran)
“This is a complete disappointment!” Lt. Xerane shouted angrily as he observed the mercenaries slowly gathering in the middle of the clearing.
The deadline for returning had long been passed and now five hours later there were still some stragglers making their way to the meet up point.
What infuriated the young officer the most was the fact that the mercenaries seemed to not even care that they were not on time.
There were still a few teams missing but at this point Lt. Xerane was ready to conclude the mission report with or without them.
Sophie let out a small sigh as she leaned against a nearby tree and enjoyed the cool shade.
No one bothered to talk to her and frankly that suited her just fine. Finch was hidden safely away in a small handbag that was securely attached to her hip.
Sophie had made sure to poke numerous holes in the bag’s outer surface and place bedding inside in order to make the tiny Servie comfortable.
Making contact with a scout from the Imperial Army had been a welcome surprise and now she was one step closer to returning home.
However, there was something about Finch that bothered Sophie.
She couldn’t quite put her finger on it but her instincts kept flaring up slightly as she stroked the handbag.
But there shouldn’t be a reason to distrust the handsome Servie… at least from a certain viewpoint.
The Imperial Army had a duty to rescue civilians whenever possible and Sophie should be an important priority since she was the daughter of a high noble.
Sophie frowned ever so slightly as she carefully reviewed the encounter with the scout in her mind.
Her enhanced memory allowed her to easily recall even the tiniest details about the encounter and the events that followed.
Sophie closed her eyes and was about to focus in on one particular scene when Lt. Xreane’s loud roar snapped her out of her daze.
“Now can anyone give me some good news?!” the military officer yelled.
“Please report immediately if you observed any traces of the scout that was rumored to be hiding on this planet.”
There was an awkward moment of silence as each mercenary glanced around at each other and saw no one willing to respond.
“Anyone?” Lt. Xerane groaned in frustration as he placed a webbed hand on the side of his forehead.
“Sorry but I didn’t see anything but trees and bushes,” Sophie lazily drawled. She yawned sleepily in the direction of the military officer.
Sophie’s nonchalant words opened up the mouths of the other warriors and soon similar sentences echoed around the clearing.
“Yeah… there ain’t nothing but fucking grass out here.”
“My team and I almost died fighting some horrible worm beastly that came from the underground!”
“Are we going to get paid still?”
“Good question! I didn’t walk for hours to not get some kind of compensation!”
Lt. Xerane’s mood was lowered even further as the topic shifted towards how much money the Unovan military owed them for the past two days of work.
For heavens sake, these greedy bastards wanted to get paid for failing to complete a mission.
What a ridiculous notion!
Lt. Xerane cleared his throat and pulled up a holographic projection on his wrist communicator before reading out a series of lines,
“As per the contract that you signed when joining the Unovan military, any mission that results in a failure regardless of the cause may lead to punishment by the disciplinary committee.”
“In addition, it is left up to the supervising officer to determine whether or not compensation must be given.”
Loud groans and complaints rang out immediately after Lt. Xerane finished reading out the rest of the contract.
He calmly removed his blaster pistol from the pocket on the side of his uniform and fired off a warning shot into the air.
Lt. Xerane understood fully well that these brutes only understood the language of violence.
Sophie observed the unhappy expressions on the faces of the mercenaries and filed away that information for later.
Even though the military needed these hired warriors to serve as cannon fodder on the battlefield, they were clearly treating them badly.
Leaving compensation claims up to the supervisor without any way to appeal their decision was an insidious method to avoid having to pay.
Perhaps she could use the rift between the hired warriors and the military officers in the future…
Unfortunately, that future came through a bit sooner than Sophie could have possibly imagined.
“The mission will now be officially declared a failure and hence…” Lt. Xerane’s speech was interrupted by a fierce growl.
Sophie took a look to her left and saw a muscular warrior wearing what could only be described as primitive tribal attire.
His body was vaguely humanoid but there were several physical traits present on his body that displayed the features of his race.
The body of the warrior was covered with soft down feathers and his face was sharply angular and similar to a bird’s.
Sophie was impressed by the wickedly sharp reaper-like scythe that was attached to his back using thick metalloid ropes.
“Hey.. I ain’t going nowhere until we settle this payment shit…” the warrior growled menacingly.
“Look as I just stated…” Lt. Xerane replied impatiently.
The warrior explained calmly before finishing his statement with a threat,
“Yeah. That contract said that its up to the supervisor whether or not we get compensated and you are our supervisor.”
“Now give us some compensation or I will snap that flimsy little neck of yours…”
Threatening the military officer in charge of their unit?
Sophie wasn’t sure if she should be impressed or laugh at how idiotic this stupid fool was. Clearly whichever squad had picked this moron did not choose him based on his intellect.
The defiance of this lone mercenary clearly caught Lt. Xerane by surprise but soon an expression of rage flashed across his face.
“I WILL NOT TOLERATE ANY DISRESPECT FROM THE LIKES OF YOU!” Lt. Xerane screamed in fury.
He confidently pointed his blaster pistol at the offending mercenary and fired off a plasma round into his skull.
Sophie’s golden eyes darkened as she secretly reached for the metalloid needles hidden in her back pocket.
This was not good.
“Please don’t escalate,” Sophie quietly whispered as she glanced around the clearing trying to get a feel of the mood.
She could not afford to join this impromptu rebellion since there was a strong chance that the Unovan military would group all of them together as traitors and then demand a mass execution.
Clearly she was not the only one who thought about this possibility since quite a few warriors also showed signs of hesitation.
“Does anyone else have a problem with the lack of compensation,” Lt. Xerane chortled as he played with the pistol in his hands.
The arrogance and pride that oozed in his voice as well as his unpleasant smirk made Sophie want to punch him right in the face.
She exhaled softly in order to calm herself down and then waited with bated breath to see if anyone else was going to make a move.
No one else did.
Clearly the death of the outspoken mercenary was enough of a warning for the rest of the warriors.
Lt. Xerane continued his speech as though nothing had happened, “Now as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…”
(Two Hours Later..)
(Sun’s Glory Starship- Private Cabin)
Sophie sat quietly on a chair and watched as the Servie on the bed in front of her began to press a series of buttons on his communicator device.
Apparently Finch had received word from the command center of the Imperial Army and a rescue team would soon be dispatched.
Lily and her safety would be the highest priority so the officers sent to rescue them would be at least in the qi tide stage.
Finch even reassured her that there was a very real possibility that a void stage cultivator would be deployed as well.
Sophie smiled gently and cheerfully displayed the joyous emotions that a lost noble heiress should have after been told that help was coming.
But secretly… she was silently feeling as though something was increasingly strange about the rescue operation.
There were just a few details in Finch’s good news that didn’t make sense when examining the full context.
Why was there no message that contact had been established with her father?
Wouldn’t it be advantageous to the rescue effort to get private reinforcements from a high noble house?
And even if they didn’t need the extra assistance… Shouldn’t they send a message to the duke and inform him that his daughter had been found?
Finch glanced up from the contents of the report and internally smirked when he saw the happy expression on the hybrid girl’s face.
She had no idea what was in store for her…
The Servie scout tapped a few commands on his communicator and quickly replied to the unknown number that sent out an inquiry for more information.
Finch had just closed the tab after writing out a few more details about Sophie’s suspected combat level when he felt a tap on his shoulder.
His heightened senses as a scout gave him the confidence to use his communicator while in the hybrid girl’s presence but…
When did she sneak up on him?
Finch’s heart dropped as he hurriedly wondered if he had managed to close the tab in time. He nervously looked up and saw Sophie staring at him with no change in her expression.
“I am gratefully for the help that you have provided and promise you that my father will reward you greatly for your actions,” Sophie swore loyally.
“It is merely my duty,” Finch replied bashfully while secretly observing Sophie’s face for any trace of deceit.
He found nothing so the suspicious feeling in his heart gradually disappeared.
Sophie maintained her pleasant demeanor and began asking questions about Finch’s personal life all the while keeping a single finger on his shoulder.
Finch was happy to shift the subject to himself and began to talk about tales of his youth in the Alpha Star System.
Sophie nodded and laughed appropriately during the conversation and Finch could sense his nerves greatly relax.
“Now let me tell you about the time I…” Finch paused mid-sentence as something caught his attention.
He could have sworn that for a brief moment that the hybrid girl’s golden eyes turned into a pale milky white colour.
Finch rubbed his eyes and when he took another glance, the colour of Sophie’s eyes was the same as he remembered.
Was it the stress of planning the ambush that was causing his mind to play tricks? Or was the usual side effect of using his mind control technique acting up again?
“Is something wrong?” Sophie asked quietly.
Finch hurriedly shook his head and decided to just keep that unnerving observation in the back of his mind.