"The "For My Sins" has begun its deceleration burn, Commander. We will be within Concilum Prima orbital space within a few hours. Local Nomad command have already been apprised of our imminent arrival. As expected, we have been tasked to provide immediate relief to Nomad forces fighting within Montalban." Commander Desanges considered this report. They ducked their head to avoid getting hit by a low-hanging pipe. The "For My Sins" was a fast Destroyer. It wasn't meant to be a troop transport but had been hastily modified for stealthy orbital insertions. They liked to think that this was because the 8 Working Angel CRRRC was designed for rapid deployment under the most unusual circumstances and that limited troop capacity and storage space for vital equipment was part of the job, but they also weren't stupid enough to not notice the rather pointed name of the Destroyer they had been assigned. "How are our numbers?" "Between the contingent aboard, our agents already on the planet, and what local assets we can request to be diverted to assist, I say we are currently at 30% strength." "That's only to be expected. Others will filter in in time. This is the kind of scenarios we were created for. Still, I expect the men to be on their best behavior. There is to be no repeats of the Raveneye friendly fire incident, or--god forbid--the Japanese Bottom Bachelor Party fiasco. Am I cle--" "Sir! Permission to speak?" Commander Desanges turned from their XO to glance at the soldier standing at attention. It was the Morlock Up Yours. "Granted." "I heard we're being sent to Montalban? If so, I would like to volunteer to be part of the initial drop, sir!" Commander Desanges blink. This was unusual. Up Yours wasn't exactly known to be the volunteering type. They stared at the Morlock, too surprised to speak at first. "Granted. Go get yourself ready, there will be a briefing soon." "Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!" the Morlock said gratefully, before excusing himself to prepare. Commander Desanges watched the Morlock disappear from view before turning to their XO. "What the hell was that about?" "Yours has a sweetheart in Montalban," their XO replied with a straight face. "Wait? He has a sweetheart? How is this even possible? "Well..." Still keeping a straight face, their XO pulled something up from their datapad and held it out for the Commander to see. It was a letter which read: Dear Up, Oh how I long to see you and do all sort of pleasant human activities with you like swimming in the jewelled seas of Montalban and eating fish. I like fish. The sushi you sent last time was delicious. Unfortunately, I cannot leave the planet just yet for my mother is still sick and all our money is going to her healthcare. It is a cruel thing being a poor cetacea human person in Montalban. Please send more WhaleCoin if you can. The last care package was an incredible help and we are ever so grateful and I promise I will book passage to see you once my mother is well and able to swim walk again. XOXOXO Ellie The Commander stared. "It's, um, 37713 actually," the XO admitted. "Everyone but Up knows she's a dolphin." "Gods, why has nobody told him?" "Well, it's funny for one. That and the Black Labs sent us a message, and I quote: 'lol, don't spoil it. We also want to see where this goes.'" "Huh." The 8 Working Angel Orbital CRRRC enter Concilium Prima orbit and joins the battle.