Chapter 23 - Dangerous Truths

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Date and time unknown - it was impossible to tell how much time had gone since Voshtek K'Or and Jason Scharn had been stranded in the dangerous forests of Vidar. Small specks of daylight always seemed visible through the cave entrance. It seemed that either a day cycle was lengthy or the two suns in Alpha Centauri took turns to provide light on this part of the satellite.

Small amounts of movement had become slightly easier for Jason but the damage to his shoulder kept him confined to his makeshift bed, the straightest rock that Voshtek could find in the cave. His stomach rumbled uncomfortably which instantly triggered his suit to pump some liquids into his bloodstream. As the feeling of hunger subsided, Jason couldn't help but desire real food which he could hold and place in his mouth. The actual action to eat and drink had become one of his greatest desires despite knowing his suit would keep him alive for around a couple of weeks.

Voshtek didn't seem to eat much, but when he wasn't painting a picture with words of his beautiful homeworld and culture, he was meditating. When his meditation broke, he still seemed full of life and energy, but Jason knew that Voshtek could only keep it going for so long.

Jason couldn't help but admire his fellow survivor. As they talked about various subjects, despite their obvious differences, they also contained a lot of similarities. If there wasn't a war going on, were they to meet, building a friendship would not be out of the question.

But there was a war and how it all began was a niggling feeling that Jason could not ignore.

Jason wiggled on the rock uncomfortably and squinted angrily towards a purple moss type plant he had been eyeballing for a few hours. If he wasn't irritated by its many shades of purple, his conversations with Voshtek had become the main focus of his thoughts.

Was Voshtek telling lies, creating some sort of sick perverted propaganda to gain Jason's trust? It wouldn't achieve much and Voshtek was more than capable of killing Jason at any time.

Was Voshtek telling the truth? That someone in the USM or Human Confederate committed major war crimes which in itself started an intergalactic war?

The moss glowed slightly as a ray of light hit it making Jason sigh in frustration. He really wanted to rip it off the cave wall but instead, he tried to focus on the many strands of information he had accumulated with Jacqueline over the past few months.

Operation Rebirth was this black hole that people investigated, either directly or indirectly, and then, almost instantly, disappeared, killed or removed from service. Operation Rebirth could be this chemical attack, it would explain why it was so dangerous to even know about it, but it was currently all conjecture. Nothing connected the dots.

If Operation Rebirth caused the war, then it would have meant that someone had used a significant amount of resources to reach the Tau Ceti system, done a bit of reconnaissance, and launched chemical weapons. There had to be evidence to the fact.

The moss started to flicker as various rays of light bounced into the cave. Jason turned away knowing it was starting to make his blood boil. He had been in this cave for far too long.

As his anger rose, so did his memory of General Richard von Striken. This man took delight at the removal of his father from office, then made it abundantly clear his dislike for Jason. He had also been involved in investigations into Jason's godfather, General Vladimir Proviski, all of which were currently inconclusive. His arrogance, his aloof personality, his narcissistic tendencies, everything about him would really wind up Jason the wrong way.

However, removing his emotional feelings for the man, could it be possible that he was involved somehow? He always seemed to appear when something bad had gone down.

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