"How much further is it?" John Yates was tired. Angelia Lopez was equally tired but had 10 years less on her age odometer than John who was nearing retirement at the end of his commission. Briskly walking for over a week the two rangers felt certain they'd have seen "It" before now but that was how these 'Excursions' sometimes went. You'd climb cliffs, walk along crumbling powdery red dirt paths, all the time lugging a full 20 pound pressure suit on a sweaty body.
The sun was always up there in that coral red sky - a pale reminder of just how intense it could be if this desert world was a million klicks closer. Thankfully, they had a constant temperature regulated space suit that even though manufactured to the lowest of specifications allowed them to sweat instead of freeze. Never could predict just what extreme your miserable piece of shit equipment would force you to endure. All the crap came from the same labor slave factories in the asteroid belt.
"Damn we've got Freedom Freaks claiming this rotten stretch of dust." John was clearly irritated at having so many unusual situations on this, one of his last treks across this God forsaken planet. The Legion Seal covered the sheer rock face.
Their glorious leader, the savior of interplanetary Corporatism, the all-knowing, all seeing, all something or other tyrant that ruled this decay riddled solar system had graciously bestowed the name Freedom Freaks on those who sought to live outside his direct punishment.
Not allowing any individual thoughts or actions. Dragor Ivanovich or more precisely Chief Executive Ivanovich the sick monster had been an absolutist since he could drag a severed head along the floor with one hand while crawling toward dad's warm embrace - the product of pure evil. His was not a brutality wielded with restraint, confined to a few tortures and mass executions, restrained by a powerful cabal, but sheer unrelenting violence ripping to pieces anyone foolish enough to cross his path. Hence the term "Freaks" terminating his pet phrase "Freedom Freaks" - for he truly believed that if you were stupid enough to desire freedom in his private dominion of terror you had to be some kind of freak.
This group of degenerates that John and Angelia had stumbled upon would get the full treatment. Nothing would be held back even if they hadn't yet fulfilled the requirements of their Excursion. John clicked on his wrist communicator. "This is Zelon536 requesting a full cleansing of the Uldrich Region sector 45-78-54? It only took a few seconds for the hard deep voice to respond. "Cleansing will take place within 5 minutes."
That gave them just enough time to erect their Personal Shields. They quickly looked around for a smooth patch of ground and brushed away any rocks too ensure a good seal.
Meanwhile, breaking through the atmosphere of this bleak bit of hell was a Scorpion Attack Cruiser readying a Fusion bomb for deployment on the camp. Children could be seen running around kicking a ball beneath the temporary atmosphere totally oblivious to the SA Cruiser that was about to murder them and their parents. The killing machine was fully ready to vaporize these insignificant ten thousand souls - these Freedom Freaks.
Mere seconds remained. Time ticked by at an imperceptible pace. Not able to think without first 'swallowing' the prescribed phony logic these rangers of the grand planetary slave cage didn't comprehend how the "it" of their "Excursions" fit into the "Freaks" cry for freedom. The "It" that all rangers sought to kill; the "filthy stinking winged creature" was not filthy or stinking but an intelligent life form that risked being executed not for stealing precious metals from mines but for saving irreplaceable souls. Digging near the mines was but a clever red herring meant to hide their true intentions, their real mission.
All of a sudden the Legion Seal started glowing - activated by the "It". The Scorpion Attack Cruiser vanished. The crew had transmitted a cryptic message minutes before being obliterated - "systems malfunctioning". Nothing strange about a malfunctioning system on how ever many SA Cruisers that never made it back to their bases - just some more cheap slave junk that failed.
The children continued playing their game of kick ball. The rangers saw a flash of blinding light and reported that their mission was successful the "It" had been killed. Once more, illusion beautifully shaped reality.