Happy Holidays all! Finals are over for this term and break is well under way. I can’t say I’ve been doing as much writing as I would like to be, but I’ve had a scene that was spurred by a combination of music that I’ve been listening too and an idea that is to come in Jayko’s storyline–not too terribly far in the future from Star Catcher. I had to get it out of my head despite it being a couple of books away at the least. I can’t wait to get to this point in the storyline, but it needs a good amount of development before I’ll be able to reach it and dive into it fully. In the mean time however, enjoy this little excerpt from a future story. Cheers!
Tag Archives: Battle
Laurel lay at the crest of the bluff overlooking the valley below. Set in front of her on it’s bi-pod, was here long-range kinetic scout rifle. It’s butt snugged up against her shoulder-plate, visor linked into its optics, she scanned the entrenched Ssin. Their silver-plated arched forms strode about on patrol around the perimeter set at the base of the mountains.
Large ground to air cannons had been set up around the valleys leading in to key points. Going in by ground seemed to be the only option to Laurel with the gravitational distortion enveloping the ring of mountains, preventing any orbital strikes on the area. Not to mention the Ssin fleet orbiting high overhead.
The valley below her that they had been tasked to recon was the most direct route into the Gate caldera, as Jayko had called it during their briefing. The wide opening into the valley from the grasslands was perfect for a joint air and ground attack. She knew it, and so did the Ssin.
The sun was heading toward the horizon, falling behind her. This strike needed to happen soon. Laurel could only hope that the info they’d sent up to the Arcayan advance vessel had made it back to Jayko and the rest of the fleet.
Catching movement through the scope, she saw the two figures of the twins moving quickly, nimbly through the Ssin fortifications in the valley below. They were heading back.
Good. They need to get their asses back up here. Both Tappen and Tarren had opted to set up some sabotage on the massive cannons protecting the valley entrance. Laurel panned ahead of them a ways to a Ssin patrol that was headed right for the twins.
Letting out a hiss of breath from between her teeth, she sighted in on the lead Ssin, mentally activating her radio. “Patrol, baring twelve hundred from your position,” she said as calmly as she could. Just watching them move through the Ssin forces put her on edge. “The Created”, as they were called by the Arcayans, were some of the fiercest and most deadly opponents that the squad had ever faced. And if they were allowed to live, they adapted quickly, so the next time they fought, there was no chance of survival.
“Come on,” she hissed quietly.
“Clear,” called back the twins in unison.
She let out a breath she hadn’t known she’d been holding and panned away from the lean Ssin looking for the twins. They had vanished from their previous path and were no where to be seen.
“Just keep it quiet down there and get back up here in one piece.”
There was a double clicked response from their radios.
Now, where’s Ben? She scanned the hills leading up to the fortifications. He’d headed off to get a look from a different angle and had sent back some good intel from his recon. However, he was supposed to be back by now.
As if on queue, her radio came alive with his voice. “I’m on your six. What’s the sit-rep?”
“Glad to have you back. Twins are just finishing up on their end. Intel’s away, so we should be getting a response sometime soon hopefully,” replied Laurel. She felt Ben’s presence as he crawled up next to her on his elbows, a scope held in one hand.
“I don’t see ‘em down there,” he said scanning the fortifications.
“They skirted around a patrol.”
“I give ‘em two minutes.” Ben kept the scope up to his visor trying to locate them.
“Give us some credit,” came Tappen’s response from their radios.
“How ‘bout thirty?” chimed in Tarren. “We’re on your six.”
Ben grunted. “Now all we need is the cavalry, then we can really get this party started.”
Laurel reached out and flipped up the bi-pod on her rifle and started a backward crawl from the edge of the bluff, rifle cradled in her arms. When she was back far enough she sat back on one leg, and checked the charge on her rifle. Tappen and Tarren came up next to her, crouching. Ben joined them momentarily.
“Do you really think this is going to work?” he asked. “They have a helluva lot of defenses. Just between us.”
Laurel shook her head. “Don’t start. Everything is riding on this and you know it. You saw how serious those Arcayans were in orbit. I just wonder when they’re getting here.”
Ben nodded. Silent. Then, his head jerked up. “Holy shit.”
Laurel and the twins turned to look at what he’d seen behind them. At the same instant their radios came alive with chatter. “Heavies incoming! Look alive down there!”
“Strike cruisers! In atmosphere!?” cried out Ben in shock.
On the horizon the clouds had parted into a mist, whisked away by the drives of the array of Gamma-Class Heavy Strike-Cruisers that were descending from orbit onto a path right up the valley toward their position.
“Let’s kick the door in! Cover your heads!”
A pinpoint of light winked at tip of the cannon slung under the belly of the lead cruiser. Laurel and the squad threw themselves to the ground, covering their heads as the super-sonic round impacted on the gravitational distortion behind them. The ripple of the shock-wave engulfed the area in a roar of sound, light, and debris.
Even on their perch several clicks out from the Ssin fortifications, the squad felt the full force of the strike.
“I take what I said back! Who the hell authorized the firing of a Jump Cannon in atmosphere!?” shouted Ben over the noise.
Laurel uncovered her head as a shower of grit rained down on them, the dust from the impact clearing steadily. The roar gave way to the steadily increasing wine of afterburners. Looking up into the sky she caught sight of the first wave of starfighters as they blew by overhead, unloading a salvo of missile fire on the Ssin ground forces before pulling up to skim over the top of the distortion.
The Ssin fortifications went up in a hail of fire and explosions
Her radio speaker crackling with static from the initial blast, it alive on multiple channels, with orders being give and status updates coming in from hundreds of places at once.
“Weapons free, you are weapons free.”
“Jump Cannon online! Charging for another strike.”
“Ssin fighters incoming! Watch your six!”
Laurel slowly got to her feet as the next wave of fighters streaked by overhead, followed close behind by dropships of all designs. Almost immediately she picked out a familiar form and a familiar voice as well.
“Yeee-haw! We’re not missin’ the party are we?” came the voice of their pilot over the radio. Their dropship came in low, circling around and dropping down, hatches open. As Laurel watched, she spotted the figure standing in the doorway of the dropship, rifle strapped to his back, pistol at his hip, hanging onto one of the hand panic-bars overhead.
“Jayko!” called out Laurel over the radio.
Raising an armored hand, he waved them on-board. “Need a lift?”
“Hells yeah!” cried out the twins scrambling to their feet and hopping up into the bay with him. Laurel pulled herself in along with Ben and the dropship started to ascend.
Jayko touched the side of his helmet. “Recon team aboard. You may initiate the drop.”
“Drop?” asked Ben quizzically coming up beside Jayko and Laurel.
An Arcayan voice came over the radio. “Drop initiated. Impact in thirty.”
Jayko just nodded to the sky above them.
Laurel saw the form of the Arcayan Advance Vessel materialize in the sky high overhead, followed in the next second by twelve flaming comets streaking through the lower atmosphere. On the crest of the hill where they had been moments ago, the comets struck hard throwing soil and dirt into a cloud around them leaving craters in the green earth.
The twelve heavily armored mechs, stood, their limbs articulating, long heads on the swivel as they pulled out their cannon sized rifles from their backs, cradling them in four sets of mechanical limbs. Steam rose from their armor as they started to move forward, sighting in on the nearest Ssin ground to air cannon that was turning it’s aim from the sky to fire on them.
With a discharge of energy down the cannon sized rifle, the mech fired and the Ssin cannon erupted in azure fire shattering with a roar.
“Holy hell!” breathed Ben. “And I thought those things were impressive just standing in their bays.”
“Heck of a landing spot,” said Laurel remembering that they had just been standing on that bluff.
“A tactically sound spot for a landing. The Arcayans wanted to make sure you were out of harms way before dropping into the fight.”
“Nice of them to make sure we were clear,” retorted Ben.
The dropship juked wildly in the air. “Hang on,” called the pilot. “Fire’s getting heavy. We’re coming in to the LZ.”
“LZ, sir?” asked Laurel.
Jayko nodded looking over to her and un-holstering his rifle one handed. “You ready to take on some heavy fighting?”
“Always,” confirmed Laurel, checking the charge and ammo supply on her own rifle. Under her helmet, her gin on her face couldn’t have shown with more confidence.
Jayko stood on the bridge of his dreadnaught, the Laser Lancer. Outside the bridge-spanning viewport, the bright star at the center of Helios Station glinted, shedding it’s blue-white light on the fleet of gamma class heavy cruisers orbiting the station.
A massive artifact from a time lost to humanity and the galaxy, the several hundred kilometer space-station ringed the artificial star at it’s heart. When he’d first seen the station, it had reminded him of a throwing weapon, with it’s sleek hull and sharp edges, but the evidence that it was more than what it appeared became evident when one got much closer to it. Hundreds of city spires rose from recessed sections of hull, dwarfed by the size of the station. At the inner edge of the ring, tall curving wall sections rose up, acting as solar radiation collectors. The cut-outs along the station’s outer edges: docking bays, vast enough to hold entire an fleet of dreadnaughts.
It was still unknown whether the station had been intended to act as a safe-haven or a weapon. Regardless of that fact however, the station had never seen use until only very recently.
Jayko’s focus on the station was broken as Jessica’s hologram appeared next to him and spoke.
“The task force is nearly assembled, Jayko. We’re waiting on what remains of the Combine Human-Dekk Fleet,” she reported.
Jayko shifted his gaze from the viewport to the scan the bridge of the Lancer. He’d relinquished command of the massive bird-like dreadnaught years ago, but had kept it close by as a precaution. Now, the massive ship and the task-force it commanded were needed once more to lead an assembly of ships larger than the Combine Human-Dekk fleet had been at the height of it’s days.
He gave a small nod. “I didn’t expect the Council to divert any forces here. They don’t view this threat as a priority over maintaining the Ssin front-line. Is there any word from out recon team?”
“We have received the data they have acquired from the planet. The Arcayans are preparing to act if we do not reply soon.”
A series of holographic windows appeared along with a 3-D projection, before the two of them displaying images and analyses of a large ring of mountains. Information tags adorned each of the towers piercing the mountains and and the surrounding terrain.
“Overlay with the battle-plans, please. Any changes?”
Images changed, lighting up with a criss-cross tangle of vectors and troop positions. “Only minor. All is as expected. They have set up fortifications at base of the Gate caldera and there is a gravitational distortion protecting it from orbital bombardment.”
Jayko nodded and looked over at the AI. She smiled back at him. “Shall I put you on fleet-wide?”
He smirked back at her. “Do it.”
She turned to look out the viewport and then nodded. “You’re live.”
Jayko stood straight and gazed out at the assembled fleets. There were over a thousand ships of all sizes floating in the black out here between star-systems waiting for his word.
“This is Jayko Troven, addressing all assembled ships. We have just received the data from our advance recon team. The enemy is dug in and are waiting for us. They knew we would come to know of there plans sooner or later—but what they did not know is this: They had not a clue that we would come together in this time of need—species, fleets, from across the galactic arm—to hit them with a force greater than this galaxy has ever seen. They thought that we would fracture, that we would run, that we would crumble beneath their feet.
“I for one say that we will not! We will fight! We will stop them dead in their tracks!” Jayko raised his fist, his words growing confident. “Each and every one of you have made it to this point, survived the worst that is out there. What is to come though will test each and every one of your skills. This is why I will not be commanding this strike.”
Jayko paused for a moment his gaze hardening, a smile coming to his face. “Instead, I will be fighting along side-everyone. I have more than enough trust in each and every one of you that I will fight as well, that I will put my life alongside yours.
“The order has been given. Let’s hit ‘em hard!” shouted Jayko triumphantly.
He nodded to Jessica and she cut the transmission. “Let’s follow suit. Light ‘em up and move ‘em out. I’m counting on you to coordinate with me on the ground.”
“Aye, sir,” she said, inclining her head with a smile.
“Task force dropping out of FTL, sir!” called out one of the bridge crew. “We’re being hailed.”
“Put ‘em on,” said Jayko turning to look for the arriving ships. A sizable group of ships of dekk and human design dropped from FTL followed close by five large dreadnaughts.
A hologram appeared before Jayko. The Fleet Commander was dressed in a crisp Combine Fleet naval uniform and smiled when he saw Jayko. “We didn’t miss the party, did we now?” asked Admiral Adren Hale.
Jayko broke into a wide grin. “You’re just in time!” he said, happy to see his old friend from the Combine Fleet. “The Council finally made up their mine, did they?”
Hale shook his head. “Sadly they decided to sit with their thumbs up their asses. I had to make the decision myself. The Ssin border’s not going anywhere. And between the two of us, when you messaged me about this whole thing. It wasn’t hard to see where my forces were needed. My men are ready to follow you to hell and back if it means we can finally stick it back to the bastards that kicked us out of the core worlds.”
Jayko nodded. “Fall in. Jessica will fill you in the on the plan.”
“You’re not leading this thing?”
“Nope. I want to see this through personally.”
Hale smirked at Jayko. “That’s just like you. I’ll keep the skies clear and we’ll be on station when you need us. Good hunting. Hale, out.”
“The same to you, old friend. Jayko, out.”
The transmission cut leaving Jayko staring at the view before him. The Lancer had adjusted it’s orbit around Helios Station along with the other fleets, moving into position for FTL transition. Jessica had linked in to the entire fleet network and was coordinating the jump. They were going to bring the entire fleet into orbit around the planet right on top of the Ssin forces blockading it.
Taking the helmet of his crimson colored ability enhancing armor, Jayko slid it over his head, locking it in place. The AE armor was tighter than he remember, but it felt good to step back into it.
“Guess I better gear up, and get ready.” He shook his head and looked over to Jessica, smiling underneath the golden visor. “It’s going to be one helluva shock when Helios Station drops in on them.”
She smiled back. “First impressions are everything.” With a surge of acceleration, the Lancer and the fleet jumped. It was time for battle.
Hello internets! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, at least it’s been a while since I posted something here.
College has gotten, as usual, crazy hectic and who knows how much more hectic it will get in the coming months as I try to find the motivation to sit and study up. I figure I’ll get through it somehow, I always seem to. But, that’s not why I’m here. I just wanted to write a short update and give a taste of what’s been going through my head lately. I’ve really been itching to get back to writing, but it seems like forever since I did anything writing related, so I’m feeling real rusty. At the same time though, I did take the time to try and scrape off the layer of rust and finish up the last few chapters of the next book after Star Catcher. I think I’ve called it a sequel in the past, but it’s really just a new story unto itself.
So, I got that finished up and now it’s time to start editing it. I’ll have more to say on that later, but at the same time, I’m trying to get my mind back into novel planning mode, which I’m finding really hard. I keep coming up with ideas and having no where for them to go, no good way to fit them into a coherent story. I think I just need to sit down and start writing again. So, I did! And below is the result. It’s not a beginning, it’s not an end, it’s somewhere in the middle. It takes play sometime after the sequel that I just finished up. So let’s call it a scene from the sequel to the sequel. That’s a lot of sequels. Anyway, it’s a little out of context, so if you want some back-story, head on over to the shiny new E-book page and pick up copy of Star Catcher– available in paperback soon! This follows the characters from it, so happy reading!