Goliath and the Girl

New Intel

Officer Feinman wished he had gotten more rest before the operation had started.  He was on his fifth cup of coffee when the Goliath squads reported in.  His palmtop vibrated, and he flipped it open to read the reports.  A few more separatist scouts picked off, a few inches of progress on the main front on the west edge of the city.  Three more clones lost in combat.

Hardly worth reading, until he saw the New Intel tag on the bottom paragraph.  Feinman read the news and smiled, just as the new Commander stepped into his office.

“Officer Feinman?”

“Ah, finally here.”  Feinman stood and offered his hand, setting down the palmtop.  “Glad you made it, Tanaka.”

The Commander shook his hand solidly.  “Thank you, sir.  Just got off the pad a few minutes ago.  They said I should head straight to you and get up to speed.”

Feinman noticed a small computer tucked under Tanaka’s left arm.  He nodded to it.  “You get a chance to look over the latest?”

Tanaka nodded affirmatively.  “The separatists managed to get themselves a tank.”

“Nice little surprise, huh?  What do you think we should do about it?”  Feinman smirked to himself and stood.

The young Commander suddenly looked more self-conscious.  “I’d say… it seems as though we have enough air support to get in deep and bomb it.”

Officer Feinman chuckled, leaning against his desk.  “Do you know why we’re here, Tanaka?  Not the company, not Tower.  You and me.”

“Honestly?  I had a chance to promote to Commander, and this was the post they gave me.”

“You pissed someone off, that’s what happened.”

Tanaka had no answer, but the self-conscious look only deepened.

Feinman took a gulp of coffee and shook his head.  “You read the files.  We captured the telepad months ago.  It’s not contested.  The separatists aren’t getting off this rock.  You tell me, Commander.  New Corinth is the only city on this rock.  What are we fighting for, here?”

“The gold deposits,” Tanaka said uncertainly.  “The aerospace factory.”

Behind him, the palmtop vibrated with new updates.  Feinman ignored it.  “We’ve got both two jumps away.  Know what the separatists are doing?  They’re stripping parts from the mines and the factory to jury-rig into weapons.  We’re starving them out.  But you and I know they’ll hang on for years.”

Tanaka stared at his supervising Officer for a long moment.  “You’re saying New Corinth is a waste of time.”

“A complete waste of time and resources.  It’s someone’s – I don’t know whose – pet project, so it won’t die.  Everyone knows it’s a joke.”  Feinman reached over to his computer and turned it toward him.  He shook his head and scoffed.  “Know who called the other day?”

Tanaka already looked distracted and disheartened.  “Who?”

“One of the Coordinators from Sierra Colony.  He wanted two of my Goliaths.  266 and 231.  They’re good.  Maybe my best.  They’re on Charlie Squad, the one that cracked the separatist comm channel and found out about the tank.”

Feinman didn’t look up from the computer, but he could hear the frown in Tanaka’s voice.  “So they dump you out here and try to cherry-pick your resources.”

The Officer nodded grimly, staring at the screen.  “They wanna waste my time, fine.  Screw ’em.  Let’s see how Charlie fares against that tank.”

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