Read Slaves of Hyperion (Star Crusades Uprising, Book 6) Online
Authors: Michael G. Thomas
Tags: #Technological Fiction
SLAVES OF HYPERION
By Michael G. Thomas
Copyright © 2012 Michael G. Thomas
Published by Swordworks Books
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
The mineral rich jungle world of Hyperion was never fully colonised prior to the forming of the Alliance. Its great continents were abundant with wildlife, and it was frequently assailed by mighty storms that flooded entire islands. Few lived there before the Uprising and even fewer afterwards. It was the final stages of the Great Uprising that saw the Echidna Union commit one of its most heinous of crimes, the firebombing of the only major city, New Stanley.
The downfall of Hyperion
Spartan glanced down at his datapad and examined the face of their target, for what must have been the hundredth time. Chraige Attez was a major player in the Kerberos underground, and according to his file; in the last six months his group had been responsible for the capture and execution of at least ten officers in the new Alliance. If the file was to be believed, he had been a close associate of Typhon and the Zealots that had done so much to bring death and destruction to the Confederacy. It was much more than that though, this man could be traced right back to the bombings on Prime prior to the War. There was a good chance he was part of the ring that called themselves brothers and included Typhon as their number. Video evidence placed him at the scene of the infamous barracks bombing in which nearly three hundred marines had been murdered. This man wasn’t just a terrorist; he was one of the faces of the enemy that had been the catalyst to the entire Uprising. The War may now be long over, but there were still plenty of sympathisers and collaborators that needed to be brought to justice.
“We’re passed the last tracking station, and from here in, we’re low and fast!” said the pilot over the helmet-mounted communication systems worn by all those on board. Spartan thought back to the briefing prior to the start of the mission, the words of the Major Daniels, the commander of Alpha Squadron, Alliance Special Operations Group, still echoing in his head.
No mistakes, it has taken two years to finally track him down. If you find him, you
kill or capture him.
Don’t come back without his head on a platter.
It was a simple brief, and Spartan
could hardly disagree with his commander’s sentiments,
a man like Chraige Attez had no place in civilised society
. The man had chosen this path himself, and Spartan would see to it that his life took a completely different path from this day onwards. He would no longer have the chance to spread his messages of hate and violence to the citizens of the fledgling Alliance.
“Hey, Spartan!” came a familiar female voice. He turned to see Teresa, his dark-haired Hispanic partner and now mother to their first child. Most expected her to leave after the birth of their son, but she had left him with her grandparents on Carthago. Marines with experience like her and Spartan were in great demand, and she wasn’t going to be held back by a child. Not that either of them had much of a choice. With the victory at Terra Nova had come the end of the War and the dissolution of the Confederacy. The birth of the new Alliance had put great demands on the soldiers still left, and although they had both tried, neither had been given permission to forfeit their commissions in the Marine Corps. He remembered the choice they had been given, either they found somebody to look after the child, or they would have to put him up for adoption in the state sanctioned department. If he quit, then he would still be sent back to prison, even after all he had done for the Confederacy. Spartan had been furious, but they had talked about it, and Teresa’s grandparents had been adamant at playing a major part in this. Spartan was privately happy at the whole affair; he got his family but on his own terms, and where it fitted around what he and Teresa were doing.
Once the boy was a little older, he told himself that things would change, but for now the Alliance needed him more, and the grandparents on Carthago could do a much better job than him. There were things he would want to teach the boy, how to fight, how to lead and how to do a great many things. That day would come.
“Yeah?” he replied through his throat mic as he turned his mind back on the mission and away from his new family.
“The new satellite scans are in, look,” she said and handed over her own device that showed a live feed of their target. It was at night, but the thermal imaging clearly showed the position of the guards as well as a local police headquarters just a kilometre away. The site was an old police station that according to their intelligence was now being used by
and his family. It was tempting to simply bomb the place, but they had to be sure. News reports of random Alliance bombings of civilians would cause uproar if they got it wrong. Anything less subtle than a Special Forces raid, and the man would melt away, just as he had done for years.
“You sure we shouldn’t have told them we are coming in? I don’t think the local security force will be happy to learn we’re dropping in on their jurisdiction.”
Spartan shook his head.
“No way, you saw what happened two weeks ago. There are too many moles. This is no minor raid.
is one of the biggest players we know of with the Zealots. We wouldn’t even know about him if we hadn’t come down hard on the groups on Terra Nova. Each operation leads us further up the ladder and tells us more about them. A year ago, we knew almost nothing about them, just their demands and the fact that they seemed to hate anything about us. No, we get him, learn what he knows, and then use that to find whoever is left in the movement. We do that, and we can apologise for the intrusion later.”
He looked out of the window and could just make out the dull black shapes of the other three Cobra light aircraft crewed by the 27th Special Tactics Squadron. The unit had been formed at the same time as Spartan’s new unit for just these kinds of operations. The Cobra was much smaller than the craft he usually operated with but was ideal for special operations. Shaped like a large bug, they were equipped with four rotating engines that allowed the machine to take off and land vertically. On the small stubby wings fitted to each side were dual-linked servo controlled L48 rifles as well as Hydra unguided rockets. The Cobra aircraft was short-ranged and could only carry a maximum of eight passengers, but this was more than enough for this kind of mission. He could see the two pilots at the front of the craft from where he was strapped in, and both wore helmet-mounted night vision gear. The inside of the craft was only very lightly lit with a dull red glow; it was as though the craft was switched off. The co-pilot looked over his shoulder.
“Lieutenant, we’re three-minutes out,” he stated simply.
Spartan nodded to the man and turned back in his chair to look at the others. Sergeant Morato was his next in command, and the other six were all experienced men and women, a mixture of police, soldiers and marines that had trained together for months. His old unit was being rebuilt following heavy losses and damage in the War. For now these ad hoc special units had been created to tie up the many loose ends remaining since the Union surrender. Spartan wished for a moment that he had the people he had worked with back on Terra Nova, especially Gun and Khan, his two Biomech friends in the Jötnar. Still, perhaps their brand of violence wasn’t ideal for this mission. He grinned to himself as he imagined what the two giants would do upon arriving at this compound. They were just as likely to bring down half the structure, as they were to actually capture
He tapped his throat mic, making sure it was active.
“Lieutenant Spartan here, the mission is a go. Remember, we go in hard and fast, and we’re after one prisoner. Anybody else that gets in our way is collateral damage. Either bind them or shoot them, and then move on. We do not have the time to take anybody else back with us. Good hunting!”
He glanced back to Teresa who was already lifting her visor so that she was completely enclosed. Each warrior in the Cobra was wearing the thickly armoured, but tight fighting Personal Defence Suits worn by all Confederate Marine Corps personnel. The PDS allowed them to operate in space or even underwater and contained their own air supplies, filtration and basic medical aid features. Unlike the gear he had worn though, their equipment was black, and they wore no insignia of any kind. His main weapon was his small calibre, triple barrelled XL52 Mk II assault rifle, one of the newest and most modern weapons in the Confederate arsenal. Large stocks had been recovered on Terra Nova, and all Special Forces and elite military units were being equipped with them.
“Sir, we are on final approach, sixty-seconds!” called out the co-pilot.
Spartan nodded at him and looked around once more at his team. They knew the plan and were all ready for what had to be done. He looked down to his XL52 rifle and checked the setting one last time. He’d spent some time on the range with the new weapon, but this was its first use with his unit. Unlike the L48 rifles they normally used, these weapons were actually miniaturised projectile accelerators that had multiple coils used as electromagnets in the configuration of a synchronous linear motor to accelerate magnetic projectile to ultra-high velocities. A selector on the side of the weapon allowed the firer to select two different power levels, a rapid firing low power mode and a single shot high-power mode that used the full power capacity of the weapon. A quick twist of the muzzle would activate the silent mode, a new modification on the Mark II that kept the projectile subsonic for covert operations. This selectable power made the weapon perfect for special operations forces where firepower was always at a premium. At least that’s what they had been told. Spartan pulled down his visor like the rest of his unit and checked the details on the head-up display (HUD). The health indicators for each of his fighters were in the safe zone, and they were all ready for the raid.
“Remember, no prisoners. We’re on the clock with this one.”
The Cobra shook slightly as the engines swivelled to feather the landing. They were coming in fast and needed to make sure they didn’t slow down until the very last second. Too slow, and they would be heard, making the operation even more dangerous for the team. Too fast, and they could crash or overshoot the target area.
“Ten seconds!” called the co-pilot, and at the same time he hit the red light in the crew area. It was the signal that they would be landing. Each of the warriors did a quick final check of their gear and braced themselves for the landing, thirty-two elite commandos, heavily armoured and carrying the best weapons in the Alliance. He spotted a yellow flash outside, but before he could respond, they were already on the ground. The side doors slid sideways, and he was out. His feet hit the firm ground, but he was ten metres away before he spotted the fire. It was the first Cobra that was tasked with dropping its team directly onto the roof.