Chapter 6 - Planet Loki

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10th April 2310 23:09 EST - It had taken over a week for the USM logistical transport Perth to make its trip from Europa to the Alpha Centauri system with the use of Faster Than Light (FTL) travel.

The Perth's cargo was eight thousand new recruits, all brought in to gain a foothold within the Alpha Centauri system, specifically the planet Loki.

Among them the 223rd Crazy Tigers Rifles Regiment, fresh and excited from their completed tests within the military training camp on Europa. Most had joined in the hope to become heroes in the war, some had joined because they had no choice, and some had come because it was an opportunity to see the stars.

USM Perth didn't have much in the way of viewing the outside apart from the bridge and a couple of observatories. The observatories only had limited visits throughout the day. As the Perth had been converted from a cargo freighter to military transport, luxuries like observation windows were considered unnecessary.

The view, however, from the observatory was astonishing. Jason had never been to another star system before. Watching the Alpha Centauri binary stars tussling with each other's orbit like two fireball titans ready to battle, was beautiful and awe-inducing in equal measure. Rigil Kentaurus, the larger star of the two, was a star similar to that of our sun though a few million kilometres bigger in diameter. Toliman was much smaller and its tinted reds looked like the star was in a constant sunset.

It was a stunning sight, one which many of the soldiers were trying to gather memory clips of to show to friends and families when they returned from rotation.

The planet Loki started to come into focus. The 3rd of 22 planets in the system, Loki was named after the Norse god of chaos, aptly named because of the complete chaos its dense foggy clouds caused communications between the planet floor and its orbit. It was one of the USM's primary sources of chemicals for stims used by soldiers for increased endurance, vitality or recovery, therefore, its strategic importance was relatively significant.

The aliens, now dubbed Ceti's due to their origin being that of the Tau Ceti system had hit this planet hard, overrunning the local militia with ease and taking control of the planet in just under three months.

It had taken another five months for the USM just to gain a foothold within the orbit of the planet before enduring heavy losses from retaliatory attacks by the Ceti's. Now it was time to try and establish a 'beachhead' on the planet to gain control and restart production to the rapidly dwindling stim stockpiles.

That's what Jason was here for. Part of Operation Chaos Anvil, a massive operation involving a total of 250 thousand troops.

Jason watched as more of the planet came into view. He stood in astonishment as he could see its dense yellow clouds swirling constantly around the planet. The planet was almost completely engulfed by the dense foggy cloud and the visibility of the ground was almost non-existent.

"Crazy Tigers report to briefing room 17 on the USM Athena at zero hundred hours."

Jason heard the voice over his internal comm link placed inside his ear. He turned towards the front of the ship hoping to get a glimpse of the Olympus class Carrier Athena. Feeling giddy inside like a schoolchild he smiled within himself realising he was starting to achieve his dream of being an integral part of the military and having the opportunity to see one of the greatest flagships the USM had to offer.

What originally seemed like a small blip in the sky turned out to be a huge 4-kilometre long vessel gliding around the orbit of Loki surrounded by a number of smaller space-faring craft.

An impressive sight even more so as the Perth flew into the belly of the Athena engulfed like a whale chasing plankton.

As much as he wanted to admire the ship he knew he wouldn't be on it for very long. Rumour had it that they were there to be part of the first wave to retake the planet. Within a few days, he and the 223rd would be sent to establish the beachhead.

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