“Sir?” A soldier stood at parade rest in front of a large screen, a well-decorated man sitting behind a desk on the other side.
“Kill the alien, and destroy the temple.” It took the soldier a moment to comprehend the order. “Do you understand?” The man added, more than a little irritation creeping into his voice. The soldier roused himself from his daze and snapped a salute.
“Y-yes, sir!” he replied.
“Good.” The man had grown impatient and turned the screen off. The soldier noticeably relaxed, despite having been ordered to destroy the only sign of intelligent life humanity had come across. Sitting down at his desk, he stared out the viewport at the temple, shadowed against the blue-green swirls of Neptune. The soldier would have to send down a group of soldiers, enough to do the job and contain the research team working in the temple. He’d have to give the order to just do it, rather than notifying the research team of evacuating.
He sighed, reaching across his desk for a bottle and two glasses. Next, he placed his hand on a button, listening as a female voice responded.
“Get me the Lieutenant for the marines stationed with us.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll send him directly to you.”
Five minutes later, a knock echoed through his office.
“Come in.” The soldier was standing at his viewport, his back to the door as the Lieutenant entered.
“You wanted to see me, Captain?” The Lieutenant saluted as the Captain turned around, returning the salute.
“At ease, Lieutenant.” He moved behind his desk. “Drink?”
“No, thank you, sir.”
“You may need it after what I have to tell you.”