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Captain Malachi gazed out from the window of his bridge into the black

expanse of space. It was a beautiful, an infinite blackness, punctuated by brief


pinpricks of light. Here, in the deep expanses, away from celestial bodies, there was
nothing to see, save for the murky blackness of the vacuum. It was peaceful, far
away from the war.
Behind him, bridge personnel sat before displays that displayed the bridge in
golden, warm light, much like the sun of Super Earth, the homeworld that all upon
the bridge owed fealty to. Large, blue banners marked with the globe ensign of the
Federation called for alacrity and awareness for freedom, and large screens
broadcast propagandistic messages in bright white letters. These kept the Captain
grounded, and pulled him away from his desire to become lost in searching the
blackness. There was an entire universe to liberate out there, and he was damn well
going to do his part.
The war had ground on for several months now, the federation locked in a
three front conflict against inhuman, wicked abominations who hated freedom. The
filthy cybernetic communist secessionists had launched a new offensive from
Cyberstan, killing billions, while Federal forces struggled across thousands of worlds
against the multitudinous bugs and WMD toting Illuminate. It was a dark time for
mankind, alleviated, to some degree by the humanitys fighting passion and
inflamed belief in the only truth of the universe, that of managed democracy.
Malachi commanded the Sovereign Franchise, a kilometer long cruiser
bearing enough ordinance to liberate planets until they exploded, and carrying
mankinds deadliest weapon, a squad of four Helldivers. The Helldivers were the
most humanitarian of Super Earths armed wings, but also the most brutal. The
Cyberstani traitors insisted that this made no logical sense, but their degenerate
propaganda made no difference to Malachi. The Helldivers had brought liberty and
happiness to countless worlds over the corpses of millions of freedom hating
tyrants, and Malachi was damned if that was not a good and humanitarian thing to
do.
The Helldivers stood behind him now, hunched over a golden, glowing table
that displayed dozens of contested systems across the galaxy, sector by sector. A
hovering hologram showed the planet the squad was currently considering for
deployment. Malachi was theoretically the one in charge, since he was the skipper,
but the command Helldiver officer was ultimately the one who chose drop zones.
Malachis job, for the most part, was to make the coordinates and drop the
equipment, and to tell the Helldivers when something simply wasnt possible,
although this was rare due to the sheer amount of glorious patriotic might that the
Sovereign Franchise packed.
Colonel Eisenhand Strachen was gesturing almost casually at an objective
point that demanded the termination of two hundred hostiles, golden light throwing

every scar and crag on his face into sharp relief. The golden highlights on his black
body armour glinted in the half light of the observation/launch bridges consoles.
The other squad members were arrayed in positions of interest and thoughtfulness,
nodding along as Strachen traced a path through the ravines of their next target, a
desert world bearing the name Gobi, a reference, as far as Malachi could tell, to
the desert of the same name in Monghei.
Gobi was a Cyborg world, and had been for several months of brutal fighting
between Federal and Secessionist forces that had cost almost thirty million hostile
casualties and eighteen million friendly ones. The situation, as such, was one that
Super Earth command could no longer ignore, and thus necessitated the
deployment of Helldiver units for hardpoint demolition to ensure the liberation of
the planet. Democracy was at risk, and the planet had to be saved from its hateful
undemocratic occupiers, even if everything on it was to die.
Strachen cleared his throat, before speaking in clear, unaccented English,
showing his roots from Seatcouver, Were ready to begin, Captain.
Malachai to bridge, op commencing, prepare coordinates for jump.
Yes, sir, engaging engines for freedom.
Malachi felt nausea briefly in his stomach as the drives spooled up for jump.
Space and time was folding, and the effect on the human body was that of a brief
moment of intense vertigo, and, as much as Malachi hated to admit it, fear. The
drives engaged, and suddenly, the ship was thrown forward, as evidenced by the
stars blurring past it. Malachi counted down mentally, and the ship, once again, was
in realspace. A mere five seconds had passed. Malachi once again gazed out of the
observation plate.
Malachi blinked.
***
Malachi couldnt believe his eyes. Instead of a warfleet orbiting a heretofore
freedom-less desert world, the scene that confronted those on the observation
bridge was one of a terran world, with no signs of fleets or war of any kind. Whether
or not the planet was actually free was another question, one possibly requiring the
usage of many, many democratically approved warheads. Malachi once again
turned to the comm, grimacing in annoyance, sure already that the day was going
to be entertaining, and not in the safe, sarcasm thoughtcrime free fashion.
Bridge, what is the meaning of this? Malachi queried.
Sir, I dont know. The coordinates arent showing, and broadcasts are being
jammed by the planet!

Yes, Malachi decided, this was a planet requiring much liberation for defying
mankind. He turned to the Helldivers, who were staring out the window in confusion.
The black and gold armoured defenders of humanity now turned their confused
gazes to him. Malachi sighed. This was going to be a long day.

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