PERSONAL LOG ENTRY 215-B S.H.A.R.P. Agent Sebastian O’Connor ETC [designation ‘ALDEBARAN’] Quinmont 6
I woke up far too early. Aldebaran is alive, in every sense of the word. The strange, early-morning reptilian howls will take some getting used to, and I’m not the only one. The others woke up fatigued as well. Most had dark circles under the eyes, were lethargic and drained. Until a better solution comes about I’ve advised the team to look for a decent material that could be fashioned into ear-plugs.
With a full day ahead of us I organized a brief at HQ with plenty of warm coffee to combat the fatigue. Since clean drinking water is still our number one priority, I organized the most able-bodied diggers into a rotation to keep fresh arms digging the impromptu aqueduct. Lumber would be required to fashion the duct itself so my second order of the day was an expedition to the forests south-east of Alpha.
Myself, Hodges, Sparks, and the unnamed, hulking trooper would venture into the forests while Spence and Mimi would manage the camp in my absence. We loaded up the supplies: saws, winches, pulleys, levels, and other tools to which I can only guess the function of. To Sparks, the supplies were like old friends. I caught him smiling at a saw blade, thumbing the teeth to ensure its sharpness. He is a curious man Sparks, but his expertise is more than valued.
We jumped in the A.T.O.M. and headed south-east over a flat expanse covered in stalk-like grasses. A number of the tank like reptiles we had previously viewed at the waters edge were grazing.
‘Slow down.’ I had said to Hodges, who was driving the transport. He did, gradually. We marveled at the beasts for a moment.
Even the hard-ass heavy trooper stared from the viewport, wide-eyed. His unkempt hair, black with sparse gray along his sideburns was like a black lion’s mane resting upon his broad shoulders. His beard was in much the same shape: long, ragged, coal black. Scars from battles long since past decorated his cheekbones and forehead. His eyes were perhaps his most disarming quality, black as the cosmos, like massive pupils. I judged this a fine moment to introduce myself; the spectacle was subduing his callous cynicism, and that seemed to me a rare occurrence.
‘Beautiful aren’t they?’ I began, approaching his viewport to stare alongside him. He stiffened. His face dropped the glazed look and regarded me with those cold, black-holes for eyes.
‘Majestic, sir,’ he responded without even so much as a hint of a smile His voice was low and dry, like ash.
‘A better word, I agree. Majestic. We haven’t yet been introduced. Sebastian O’Connor,’ I said, holding out the proffered hand.
‘Warren, sir. Emmet Warren.’ He saluted rigidly.
‘Emmet, lose that stiff salute and shake my hand, damn you.’ I knew it was a risk, but I put every bit of stern inflection into my voice to attempt to win him over. It worked. He looked shocked. A small smile appeared on his scared lips. I was smiling too, I realized. He finally released his right hand, which had been previously glued to the trigger of his light-machine gun and shook my hand with a crushing grip.
‘Good to meet you, sir.’
‘Likewise.’ I said, hiding a wince at how tightly my hand was being gripped. He released it after a second or two and returned his hand to the comfort of the trigger.
‘Is your right index-finger married to that trigger Emmet?’ I laughed.
‘Till death do us part,’ he responded, joining in with a hearty chuckle.