Ravenshaw stood with her arms folded, flanked by Talana and Maxwell. The big screen in front of them was showing multiple live feeds from Tokyo, where an alien terror attack was taking place. One particular feed offered an aerial view from a new helicopter, which Ravenshaw was focused on. The helicopter was flying above a freeway in Tokyo that the aliens had blown two ends off of, trapping what appeared to be hundreds of cars in between.
She felt her mouth dry out as the civilians panicked trying to get out of their cars, some of them packed together so tight that the doors wouldn’t open. She watched the civilians crawl over their cars as they ran towards both ends of destroyed freeway, seeming ignorant that there was nothing left but craters on either end. Suddenly, the camera panned along the highway and Ravenshaw saw a squad of Mutons on one end, firing plasma indiscriminately at the civilians, and she saw the blue exoskeletons of Chryssalids racing ahead of them.
“Oh, no,” said Talana.
The tide of civilians suddenly shifted, flowing away from the aliens. Ravenshaw winced as she saw a Chryssalid pin a civilian to the ground, while the Mutons gunned down several more fleeing civilians. The camera suddenly panned again and revealed a Sectopod deploying at the opposite side of the bridge, firing its cannon and destroying several cars in one go. She tore her eyes away and looked over the rest of the feeds, all of them showing a similar story.
“Turn it off,” said Ravenshaw. The screen suddenly went black, killing the feeds. She turned and stepped away, feeling bile crawl up her throat as Maxwell muttered, “Looks like things are still bad everywhere.”
“We should’ve gone,” said Talana.
“No we shouldn’t have,” replied Maxwell.
“We should’ve been there to protect those civilians!” exclaimed Talana. Ravenshaw turned and said, “No, Maxwell is right. Lose the battle to win the war.”
She shook her head and said, “Enough. Both of you, go see to your squads. We’ve only got 5 days until we attack the command ship, be sure they’re ready.”
The two squad leaders nodded and departed the situation room in silence. Once she was alone, she pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed, trying to push the images of the slaughter out of her mind. Not wanting to see the other soldiers for the time being, she decided to head over to mission control.
As she walked the passageways towards the mission control, she found herself mulling over the scenes happening in Tokyo. She wasn’t entirely sure if calling the mission off was the right thing to do. She turned the alternatives over and over in her head, wondering if there was something else she could’ve done. Could she have sent Siren or Chimera? She didn’t want to tell them, but the risk of losing a squad leader was too great when victory felt so close. She could have allowed the one of the Bogeymen to lead a squad, but she held doubts about their leadership abilities, though their technical abilities were beyond reproach. And while she held great respect for the soldiers under her command, sending a squad without their squad leader against a Sectopod was out of the question.
“ATTENTION ON DECK!” someone shouted, startling Ravenshaw, when she realized she had wandered into mission control. She looked around the room, still seeing the scars from when the base was attacked, and then addressed the skeleton crew of technicians.
“At ease, everyone,” she said, allowing them to get back to work. She walked towards the hologlobe in the center of the room, looking up at the small symbol that denoted alien activity, when the technician asked her, “Anything I can do for you ma’am?”
“Can you focus on the command ship?” she asked.
“Absolutely, ma’am,” replied the technician, and the globe spun to reveal the purple outline of the alien command ship, still flying off the eastern coast of South America.
“Has it moved at all?” she asked.
“Negative, ma’am. It’s staying in the same exact spot, no activity in that area as far as we can tell. It’s just sitting there.”
Ravenshaw nodded, leaning on the railing in front of the globe. The scenes from Tokyo crowded into her brain once more, and she hoped that the gamble would pay off.