This will be a short post with the exception of the excerpt. I have been battling sleep apnea and now have the wonderful addition of a throbbing tooth that will probably need a root canal in the future. Here’s hoping that antibiotics will take care of it for this flare up, and I can get it taken care of a couple months from now.
Exodus: Empires at War: Book 10: Search and Destroy is out on Amazon Kindle, and should be out in paperback in a week. It should be available on all the Amazons worldwide, but I will only give the links to Amazon.US and Amazon.UK, since those are my two largest markets. This is the tenth volume in the main storyline, and the fourteenth book in the Exodus Universe overall. Right now the plan is to do twenty books in the main storyline, which makes this the end of the first half of that series. I will also continue the Machine War series for at least five books, and have some more Tales of the Empire short collections planned. And then? Well, I have this idea to go back to the beginning and tell the story of how the Empire began, from the flight from the Ca’cadasan invasion through the reestablishment of the human species as a power to be reckoned with. After that? Well, I have a lot of ideas for other Space Opera series, Fantasy series, Alternate History series. Alternate History is a long time love of mine, and I have some ideas I think will do very well in that marketplace. But I still have a long way to go with the Exodus series.
Exodus: Empires at War: Book 10 follows the action on both of the fronts of the war, as well as the guerrilla naval war with the Fenri. It also offers a look into the workings of the Ca’cadasan Empire, from the halls of power to the commanders on the fronts. An Empire that has rolled over all opposition in its past, and now finds itself facing a powerful coalition that is not about to lie down and let them have their way. As said before in other blogs this is a big war in a big Galaxy, with a lot going on. It was never meant to be a series where one side comes up with the winning superweapon and the war is suddenly over. Instead, it’s a long back and forth battle for supremacy, with setbacks along the way. And now for an excerpt.
PO 1st Winston Nagawa stood in the hanger of the Scranton, armored up, wondering how in the hell he got into such a situation. It was bad enough to have to be aboard a warship during combat, but to take place in a boarding operation. It struck him as a bad idea, especially in hyperspace. He had images of pirates swinging across from the deck of one planetary ocean ship to the deck of another on ropes that hung from creaking masts. Instead, he would be exiting one ship that was moving through space at a significant percentage of light speed onto another doing the same.
“You ready, PO?” asked the naval officer who would be in charge of the assault. A Lieutenant JG engineer from the Scranton, in command of a Marine platoon and a couple score of spacers.
“As ready as I’ll ever be, sir,” answered Nagawa, looking around the hangar at the other armored figures. Thirty-three Marines in battle armor, some heavy, along with thirty spacers wearing their shipboard medium armor. This was team Alpha, which had two initial targets aboard the liner. The engineering section, which contained the only means of blowing up the ship. And the passenger sections along the way, where almost all of the ship’s crew and many of the civilians should be located. Team Bravo, thirty-three Marines and twenty spacers, under command of the Marine commander of Scranton, would be going in on the one hyper capable shuttle available. They would target the bridge, where all the command and control systems converged, and the auxiliary control station.
“You make sure that nothing happens to you on the way to engineering,” ordered Lt. Mishara with a smile. “You’re the only one who knows his way around this engineering section.”
“It’s not exactly the same as the ship I served on, sir,” commented Nagawa.
“Still closer than anything the rest of us have seen, PO.”
A signal buzzed over the com, and every person in the hangar tensed. “Team Alpha. Check your environmentals. Mission is a go. Mission start time, two minutes.”
Nagawa ordered his suit to lower his faceplate and looked over the diagnostics of all his systems. Everything was a go. He checked the particle beam rifle hanging around his neck and made sure the proton pack was seated properly and that it was powered up. The same with the backup pistol holstered by his side. His HUD was showing a timer, and when it hit one minute and thirty seconds he went ahead and linked into the ship’s tactical system, in time to see the light cruiser’s laser rings fire brief beams of energy, striking singular points on the liner. The beams were invisible, the strikes were not, and hull alloy flared with each strike. The cruiser rotated around the liner, firing. One beam came back, hitting the cruiser and doing minimal damage, just before being taken out.
“Liner’s defenses offline. Launching shuttle.”
On the other side of the cruiser the starboard hangar opened and the hyper capable shuttle flew out into hyperspace, curving around the ships and taking up a station on the reverse side of the liner.
“Prepare for movement. Twenty seconds.”
The hatch of the hangar everyone had been standing in slid inward, then split and moved out of the way to both sides. The side of the liner was a couple of kilometers away and moving closer. In seconds they were in close proximity, and the space between was enclosed in the combined hyperfields of the two ships. Magnetic grapples held the two ships together, and Nagawa hoped that the tractor was a secure link. Otherwise, they might be falling out into hyperspace, to their doom.
“Opening up the Star’s hangar,” came across the tactical net. A bright flash appeared on the hull across from the boarding party, alloy flaring and vaporizing into space. The cruiser put the full power of one ring into the hatch, an eight meter wide spotlight beam that burned through the thin hull of the commercial craft in a couple of seconds.
“Boarding party, go,” came across the general com.
Winston wanted to go at that moment, to get the crossing over with. That wasn’t his spot. The initial crossing went to the first squad of the Marines. Twelve heavy battle suits, flying out through the cold plasma field over the hangar hatch, into the forty meters of empty space, and through the opening on the hatch of the liner’s hangar. The Marines went through two at a time, their eyes sweeping the hangar as they entered. Shouts rang out over the com, followed by a short scream. A part of the still intact hangar hatch glowed, as if some beam weapon had struck the other side.
Two more Marines entered, then another pair, and commands rang back and forth as they engaged in combat on the other ship. More Marines entered, until the entire squad was in the hangar. The second squad launched itself across the space, another twelve heavily armed and armored Marines. More hot spots appeared on the hangar hatch, and one point blew out as something powerful struck.
“Hangar is secure,” came the voice of the senior Marine Sergeant over the com. “You can start sending the spacers over.”
That meant Nagawa’s group, and he lifted from the deck and headed out, crossing the space between the ships as quickly as possible. He still had time for a glance upwards, through the combined fields, into the red emptiness of hyperspace. It sent a shiver down his spine, but he was back inside in moments.
The hangar looked like a battle had been fought. Two Marine suits lay on the floor, one unmoving, a large hole burned through the torso. The other was still moving, but was missing an arm, and one of the newly arrived spacers, a medic, was kneeling by the Marine. There were holes in several places along the walls of the hangar, a shuttle was a total wreck in the middle of the chamber, while another had a hole through the cockpit. Scorch marks were everywhere, the sign of particle beams fired with abandon. And there were a half dozen small armored suits laying in attitudes of death, as well as one that was about the size of a medium suited human, though of non-human design.