The first battalion to arrive at the drop point was the 501st. Commander Yok, who led them nowadays, was a very experienced man, having the privilege of been one of the few soldiers in the war to have been personally awarded a medal by the Chancellor. He was very respected by his men and it hadn’t been very difficult to decide he would be the one to lead the invasion of Kamara. And even if they hadn’t chosen him, he would have volunteered. That was the kind of man Yok was, always putting the mission first, him second.
The planet Kamara was very far the industrial worlds and the farming planets but it was important for another reason: tourism. It had been a resort world for many centuries, a favorite spot for the wealthy of the galaxy but just after the war the ties to the planet had been cut and the indigenous population, which lived of the tourists, was left to defend itself when the Confederacy invaded. They destroyed many of the hotels and resorts, as well as many attractions that had made of Kamara the envy of all the tropical worlds.
Commander Yok landed in the jungle, near Kyloi, the capital of the world and the center of all confederate activity. The idea was simple: to decimate them with aerial attacks and then move in the troops. They were lucky enough to have two full cruisers for this mission so the planet was expected to fall shorty after the arrival of he army. Such was the trust put on Yok and his men that many aristocrats were already planning their trips to Kamara, not only to enjoy its beaches and climate but to recover the fortunes they had left in the many vaults constructed all around.
Before the first way of bombers departed, Yok demanded a probe to be sent and check for the status of the city and the population. But that proved useless as the probe, and the two sent after that one, exploded in midair before reaching the central area of the city. Bombing started and from a mountain overlooking the city, Yok was able to see how many buildings the bombs destroyed, how they fell and burned. He was pumped. He had been made for this in the factories of his home world, and now his flesh was ready for battle.
He led his men raging through the streets of the decimated city, running at first and the marching, all the way to the capitol of Kamara, building that was at the center of the city in every sense possible. They were silent, slowing down their march and blowing up roadblocks every so often. They climbed the steps of the capitol and went inside. No one was there, not a single confederate. They went to the top of the building and planted there the flag of the galactic government, claiming back Kamara. But joy was short-lived.
Everyone knew taking a planet couldn’t be that easy. It normally involved very heavy fighting and resistance. It required days, at least, or months at most. Besides, they hadn’t seen a single native. The people there were rather humanoid but with green skin. If they had seen one, it would have been obvious. But nothing, not one of them was lying dead on the street or hiding in any of the many building that the 501st checked on that first day. To prevent anything from going wrong, Yok asked for no more battalions to come down to the ground until the situation was clearer.
The first night was very confusing for the soldiers. They gather around and improvised fire and were rapidly divided into two groups: the one that believed they had won already because the enemy had abandoned Kamara and the other group, who believed there was something darker in the shadows of the capital. They discussed each theory thoroughly but didn’t reach any consensus. Yok didn’t really pay attention, not even taking part of the conversation.
He was a soldier, a hero for many and now he was in a situation in which he had never been before. The enemy appeared to be smarter this time or at least much more mysterious than usual. He wondered why there were no bodies, from any kind, why there were no signs of the invasion that had cut off Kamara definitely from the rest of the galaxy. Communications had been interrupted but in the capital all services appeared to be in optimal shape except they didn’t work.
Yok was the only one that didn’t sleep that night. Every other man closed his eyes and fell asleep fast. None of them were tired, they couldn’t really be but maybe it was because it was their first peaceful night in a while that they felt so at ease and in peace in Kyloi. The following they, they checked several other government offices but they couldn’t find anything that would explain why the planet was deserted. The army was already considering pulling off their war effort on the planet and place it somewhere they could actually help in some way.
But as decisions were taken, something happened and only the 501st was there to see it. Up, in the sky, several enemy cruisers appeared out of nowhere. They engaged the army in the air and the battalion on the ground could only see how their forces were destroyed in a matter of hours. The only ship they had was a shuttle that hadn’t been built for galactic travel. So they were trapped in Kamara with enemy cruisers in the air and a sudden sound that made their souls quiver. It was a sound they realized had always been there but just now they realized it wasn’t supposed to be there.
The enemy cruisers left the airspace, disappearing into the blackness of space, leaving the soldiers frightened to death on the ground. The sound didn’t stop, growing in volume and, apparently, in number. They all had their guns up, pointing at the sound as if they could attack it. But they couldn’t do anything about it. The sound continued as the small group of men climbed a building and decided to take shelter in the terrace, in order to see if they could decipher what was making that noise.
But when they decided to investigate, the sound stopped. However, damage had been done. The men were scared and knew they were trapped for at least three days if not more. Commander Yok tried to contact their headquarters several times but he was unable to do so. Nothing came into his radio, no communication of any kind. He even tired scanning the sky for ships, even maybe cargo vessels or whatever was up there. But nothing, it just didn’t work.
Then they heard another sound but this was weaker. It came from below so they descended the building and so what it was. A humanoid, one of the greens that inhabited the planet, was there in front of them. But it didn’t seem to be ok. It was barely moving, its arm an legs moving very strangely and his eyes just opened but unfocused. Commander Yok ordered the men to raise their weapons and wait for his command. The humanoid stayed there and he began to tremble, especially around the waist and chest. The men were all scared at this point.
Suddenly, the most awful thing that could have happened happened. The humanoid burst open and from inside his bodies many insect-like creatures emerged, breaking his ribcage and launching themselves towards the soldiers. Gunfire was heard all around, insects blowing up in one side and the other. Commander Yok ordered the men to climb up the building again. But he hadn’t realized many more insects had come out, they appeared to have been waiting for them or possibly they all hatched at the same time.
Arriving last in the terrace and locking the entrance, Yok realized the enemy had set them up. They had used some kind of creature to lay eggs inside the indigenous people of Kamara and use them as hosts that would burst open once the army had arrived. The bodies were probably in the sewers and hadn’t been detected because they were practically dead.
The insects pounded the door hard, clinking sound made by their pincers. Every single man tried to help in holding the door, except Yok. He knew what was going to happen, somehow he had always known. He decided to put on his helmet and face the true destiny of a hero, of a true soldier of the Republic.