Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
I glanced at the hatch as sergeant major Patricia Golden walked in, “something?”
She smiled, “looking for an excuse to flee the paperwork?”
I grinned and sat back, “Now that you mention it, yes.”
She laughed as she crossed to the desk and set a sealed packet on the desk, “a warning notice.”
I picked it up and broke the seal before opening it. I read it and looked at Patricia, “looks like the eighth is going to Antilla.”
She nodded, “Just us?”
I shook my head, “The sixth and third will be joining us. The emperor wants a reprisal raid on the queen’s nest.”
Patricia sucked in a breath, “that is going to get messy.”
The Quazel were an insect race and very aggressive. Two weeks before they had moved into a system we claimed and destroyed several stations and used kinetic strikes to take out the only city. I had been commanding the eight regiment for almost fourth months and this was our first major action.
I leaned back, “let Beckman know and set up a briefing for the battalion commanders later tonight. I need to look this over before I have my lunch with Fleet Admiral Kreager.”
Patricia nodded, “I’ll get supply too.”
I went back to reading as she left. The operation was simple, eighth dropped first with Sixth on our left flank and third on the right. We move straight for the queen’s nest and attempt to send a battalion down to kill the queen while sixth takes out the starport and third the warriors hive. The entire regiment was going in wearing the new fleet issue combat armor.
The three fleets jumped into the system and the destroyers and cruisers accelerated to meet the Quazel warships in the system with three battleships following. The carriers were behind the battleships but sent out waves of tach fighters. I watched most of the action on the bridge with admiral Kreager before checking the time and headed to the shuttles.
I walked aboard my shuttle and nodded to the crew chief, “button up and let the captain know we are ready for launch.”
She smiled and turned to the intercom as her other hand started closing the hatch. Patricia grinned as I began stripping and putting the new combat armor on. My helmet visor was like the new command glasses. I did a system check as I settled my swift and the Denta assault rifle. I had extra ammo just in case things went bad. I felt the shuttle launch as I started regiment status checks and moved to the battalions.
To protect the shuttles we were jumping in using capsules. I settled into mine as we headed towards the planet ahead of the other regiments. My visor flickered and admiral Kreager appeared, “all the ships have been destroyed and we still have a go.”
I smiled, “Your turn to buy the drinks when we get back.”
He grinned, “you can put them on my tab for all your boys and girls.”
I glanced at our position as he turned away, “looks like we are coming up on the ejection point.”
I flicked the regiment comm channel, “see you on the ground eighth.”
I saw the red light go green as the admiral turned back and opened his mouth. My capsule exploded down the drop shoot, “ABORT!”
I glanced at my readouts but no other capsules followed mine. I looked back at the white faced admiral, “status?”
His lips were thin, “plasma generators.”
I glanced at my heat shield status, command capsules had triple redundant heat shields. I switched to the regiment comm, “colonel Beckman you are in charge.”
He nodded as plasma surrounded my capsule and cut the comm signal. I bypassed the anti grav program to keep it from going active and armed the outer heat shield charges. When they fractured and began splintering I detonated the outer shell and the second began heating up. I dialed up the suit coolers as it started to get warm and watched the atmosphere altitude.
I detonated the second shell away as I passed through the plasma layer and activated the anti grav systems to slow me. My comm came alive as I rotated the capsule to look around, “Pendragon?”
I smiled as my capsule slowed enough for me to detonate the last heat shield, “still here colonel. Check with the admiral and try to use kinetic strikes on the plasma generators.”
I checked my altitude before detonating the capsule and stretching out, “I’ll see what I can do while you work on retrieval.”
I kicked up the scan image from below and started gliding to the north. I finally touched down and shut the anti gravs down and a platoon of Quazel rushed out of the thick underbrush. I lifted my rifle as I knelt and shot the first four through their thorax. I shifted my fire to one that had bright color on its body chiton. His head exploded and I went back to the closest warriors.
I stood after the last one died and started moving. I knew if I hit the queen’s hive every warrior on the planet would be focused on it. I killed several warriors as I moved and it wasn’t long before I was using Thumper on groups of them. When they moved away I started moving faster, a minute later heavy weapon fire began ripping the brush and trees apart.
The command suit was enhanced more than normal so it wasn’t long before I was out of the impact area and still moving. Troop transports dropped down between me and one of the hive entrances. Rounds from Thumper exploded each before the warriors could exit and showered those on the ground with debris. In the confusion I dropped into a smaller entrance.
Drones moved through the other tunnels as I tried to stay out of their way to avoid drawing attention. I used another smaller tunnel and found a tunnel down. I checked each level as I went and finally saw warriors standing guard. That told me I had reached a level that might have the queen. When I checked lower I saw what could only be eggs in niches.
I smiled as I stayed in shadows and moved towards the center of the level. I watched from a wall niche as workers brought eggs down and moved them into tunnels. I timed it and moved right after an egg was carried out. I climbed up and glanced into a huge chamber with guards around the walls and workers around a large Quazel in the middle.
I pulled Thumper and aimed, before I could fire a worker saw me and squeaked. The warriors moved with blinding speed and fired towards the tunnel. I jerked as a tearing pain ripped through my shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The queen and all the workers that had suddenly thrown themselves on her were ripped apart in the explosion.
The warriors attacking me stumbled around firing at each other as I dropped and rolled. I was up and running for the other tunnel I had used to enter the hive. Climbing one handed wasn’t easy but I finally made it to the level I had climbed down from. I used the suit mapping to retrace my steps as workers stumbled around blindly.
When I walked outside it was to see warriors fighting each other. I checked my map before moving around them slowly, staying low. When I was clear I started moving faster, my suit had administered a pain block for my shoulder as the suit nanites began working to repair the hole a penetrator had put in it.
I headed south towards the starport, “colonel Beckman?”
His voice sounded surprised, “SIR!”
I smiled as I used the suit augmentation to make anti grav leaps, “let the admiral know the queen is dead. I’m moving towards the starport now.”
“Damn sir, when your signal stopped we thought you were killed.”
I glanced around, “It was close, all the warriors are shooting anything that is moving and the drones can’t seem to do anything.”
“Copy, how long to reach the starport?”
I check my readouts, “thirty minutes unless something develops.”
He cleared his throat, “the plasma generators are linked through the starport.”
I sighed, “more good news. Okay I’ll see what I can do.”
I continued moving using anti grav leaps until I finally saw the starport. I dropped to the ground at the sight of soldiers around it firing at anything and everything. I moved closer on the ground and then grinned as a plan formed. I using shallow gullies and ditches to crawl through the perimeter and then moved to a huge plasma generator.
I moved around and stood before firing at several soldiers from the very edge. I dropped and began crawling away as they returned fire on the generator which caused other soldiers to join in. Three hours later the last plasma generator exploded and I used Thumper on the relay beside it. After it exploding I opened my comm, “how does it look now colonel?”
“Clear. Eighth is entering atmosphere now.”
I looked around, “just don’t land on me. I’ll be waiting where the plasma relay used to be.”
He laughed, “see you in a few sir.”
Ten minutes later small kinetic strikes tore the soldiers around the starport apart just before dozens of assault shuttles flew in and landed. I watched as my men and women poured out and started moving to clear the perimeter. I smiled as sergeant major Golden walked out of the first shuttle and glanced around before heading towards me.
She snorted when she reached me, “Just the one injury?”
I grinned, “good to see you again too.”
She turned, “the admiral said the drinks are on him.”
I nodded and turned as colonel Beckman walked up with my staff, “I’ll keep observing colonel.”
He nodded and gestured back towards the shuttles, “since you managed to do our job this was just a retrieval mission.”
I grinned and started for the shuttles, “in that case tell our people I’m ready to buy the first round. Admiral Kreager can buy the second.”
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