The alien’s name was G1253D2F93G; that was how it was spelled out in human languages, at any rate. It was a hexadecimal designation assigned when he was hatched, and packed a good amount of information regarding his profession, hive, and birth-world. In his dealings with the fleshy primitives they always seemed to shorten the designation to G12. He found that the human brain tended to trade precision for efficiency, and G12 had to admit that there was some benefit to that. Still, he couldn’t help but think that they should focus more on enhancing their personal communications methods with their limited technology. The species was not allowed to tinker with direct genetic modification or the use of artificial sentience, but their knack for cybernetics was an avenue many of their factionalized worlds were exploring.
“Goddammit, G12, where is that plasma flow? We commence the strafing run in thirty seconds and I’d like to do a little damage this time around!” Lieutenant Brode was yelling at the top of his lungs over the scream of the ancient fusion engines somehow strapped into the frame of the attack fighter he piloted. It was a mystery how the maintenance crew managed to meld the two completely unrelated technologies, but they’d worked quite a few miracles in the name of their rebellion against the Pillar Empire.
G12 clicked a few curse words in his native insect language before switching on his translator system. The human lack of patience was something that always irritated the K-Petch, and even G12 had his moments in which this human trait grated on his nerves. “It’s coming in a few seconds,” G12 replied, his normally black carapace shifting to a deep crimson spotted pattern to emphasize frustration. “The coils had to heat up.”
Brode yanked the controls to the side as he began the small dive-bomber’s hypersonic descent through the planet’s atmosphere. “Just so long as it’s ready when I pull the trigger,” he muttered.
The human-sized bug crawled over the back of the copilot’s seat and settled in for this final run. While in sociological terms the K’Petch were somewhere between ants and humans, physically they were similar to giant centipedes. Humans generally found them creepy, especially when they spoke in their buzz-clicking native language. “The plasma will be ready when you need it, Lieutenant Brode.”
The human grunted in response. He still wasn’t sure why the bug was helping, but was more than happy to take it. In the short time G12 had been helping the rebellion he’d completely revamped their operations and training. When he first arrived at their supposedly hidden base they were on the losing side of a war of independence against the Pillar Empire, but now they were on the edge of destroying the last Imperial base on the planet. Brode was not about to look this particular gift horse in the mouth.
Burning a flaming arc through the sky, the snub-nosed craft dove violently through defensive fire and a cloud of shrapnel unscathed. G12 installed a kinetic barrier on this ship to protect it from these anti-aircraft systems specifically; he wasn’t about to die to such primitive weapons if he could help it.
“We’re right on target,” Brode said as his heads up display started marking various targets with information. When the enemy facility’s reactor lit up on the screen he guided the ship on an attack trajectory.
The K’Petch pointed an eye-stalk back towards the plasma generator console and flushed a deep green with satisfaction. “You may fire when ready.”
When a firing solution alert went off, Brode keyed the trigger on the control stick and began to pull out of the dive. Brilliant yellow spheres of burning plasma scorched through the air as they descended towards their target. When they struck the reactor’s outer shell they erupted in massive gouts of towering flames that grew into a mushroom cloud spreading out below the now ascending attack craft.
Brode shouted in excitement when he saw the devastation below. “That’s it!” he cried. “The Pillar Empire is done here!”
“Apparently so,” G12 agreed. The translator was terrible for conveying emotional context, but great for deadpan responses.
The human looked over at the bug and slapped its segmented carapace. “Don’t you understand? All we’ve been fighting for is finally happening! We’re going to be free of the Empire!”
The K’Petch remained silent on the matter. It quietly monitored the heads up display while Brode stared.
The Lieutenant raised an eyebrow at the K’Petch’s apparent nonchalance. “This is all because of you, G12. This is your operat…”
A long tentacle shot out from a hidden place beneath the now black shell and pierced the human in the arm with a stinger. Immediately various toxins and genetically engineered bacteria were pumped into Brode’s blood, paralyzing him. “You are no longer needed for my operation, Lieutenant Brode. My mission does not end with this battle.”
“What?” the dying man asked through a mouthful of drool.
“My mission was not to help you fight for your independence. The Pillar Empire will never allow this world to escape and will redirect a war fleet here soon to repatriate your people. That was my mission here.”
Brode groaned, no longer able to form words as the toxins dissolved him from the inside.
“Why?” G12 asked for him. “Simply put we are weakening the Imperial fleet for other operations further down the road. Your rebellion will make a good diversion of their resources.” The K’Petch fell silent again as he piloted the dive-bomber towards his own ship hidden in orbit. He had another mission to embark on shortly and wanted some time to prepare. G12 turned dark yellow with orange stripes with contentment at his success. His hive-mother would be pleased.