100 Years Prior to the Battle of New Vega
Tyrus Rex looked out the small viewport of the Obsidian Crow. Beyond was Earth, covered in cloud from a nuclear winter that wouldn’t dissipate for another century at best. Once, Rex had seen the beautiful blues and greens on the planet, although there had been far more brown than green thanks to the bio-engineered poison that had killed off so much of the planet’s vegetation. His hand went subconsciously to the faded NASA patch on his leather bomber jacket.
“You know, Tyrus, there are considerably better ships available than this old hauler.”
Rex turned to face his passenger, the only person he’d brought on the trip. The only person he could bring on the trip. “I like this one.”
Casper Sullivan chuckled and shook his head. “I like avoiding being soaked in radiation. From the moment we enter atmo, this thing won’t give you four hours before we’re saturated. To tell the truth, I’m a little worried about even being in orbit of that hellhole.”
“Home, Casper,” Rex said, looking back to the planet. “Home.”
“Not anymore, Tyrus. Not for a long time.”
Rex stifled a sigh. This would be difficult, because Casper Sullivan was a difficult man. Not because of any deficiency, but because he demanded an explanation. He needed to see the plan, understand it, and agree with it. Rex… wasn’t good at helping people see what he saw. He wasn’t good with words. Wasn’t a leader, though men had always followed him.
“It’s…” Rex began, and then, for reasons he wasn’t aware of, answered his friend’s first question. “I know how to fix this ship. You can always find parts. It’s not finicky. It’ll let you experiment a little and still do its job.”
Casper looked around the ship, trying to see the old bird again in this new light. “They were decent enough bombers, I suppose. I wouldn’t know about how well they serve as freighters.”
“The radiation won’t be a problem,” Rex said, jumping to the next problem he felt he needed to clear for his friend. “You drop me off.”
“You’ll get fried, Tyrus. Savage enhancements are all fine and well, but there has to be a limit somewhere.”
Rex shook his head. “I’m not… not trying to test any limits. I’ll wear the armor. It’s gotten me through worse.”
“I guess you’d know a thing or two about getting off an irradiated world alive.” Casper folded his arms.
“If you ever figure out a better way to stop these Savages,” Rex said with an intensity that caught his friend off-guard, “let me know.”