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Authors: Nick S. Thomas

Time War: Invasion

Table of Contents

TIME WAR: INVASION

 
By Nick S. Thomas

SMASHWORDS EDITION

Copyright © 2014 by Nick S. 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.

Prologue

The year is 2074 - War has raged between East and West for twelve years. Chemical and biological warfare has decimated the populations of much of the world, but also led to mutations in some humans. With dwindling human resources, both sides turn to Genetic experiments that create enhanced super soldiers in a desperate attempt to survive and win. The Allies of the Free World call them Augmented and Psychologically Enhanced Servicemen, or A.P.E.S.

Over two billion humans have been killed; entire countries reduced to wastelands. The war seemed close to its end with a hard and bitter fought victory for the Allies, but when Allied forces, due to a potential threat on board shoot down a civilian transport, a cataclysmic turn of events is set in motion. Aboard that aircraft was the entire family of Maximilian Villiers, one of the foremost weapon and technology specialists in the allied nations, the greatest and most gifted of his generation. Embittered by the senseless loss of everyone he loved, Villiers defected to the evil nations of the NAM powers, with nothing left to live for but a cast iron will to destroy the Allies.

With his most loyal comrades by his side, Villiers turned his knowledge, expertise, and genius over to the enemy. Soon victory no longer seemed certain. And when all hope seemed lost, the last chance for victory lies in the hands of one such team of A.P.E.S. A single squad from Second Platoon, 1st Battalion, 12th Allied Infantry Division, but they call themselves the Luckers. A name branded on them for they are all that remain of their Battalion following weeks of bloodshed. By chance they have discovered the location of Villiers, but have just two hours before the evil genius will once again vanish and continue his campaign of annihilation. They know Villiers is the key to success in the war, and are all that stands in his way now.

Chapter 1

"Come on, you apes!" yelled Corwin as he leapt into the driver's seat of a DART.

The Sergeant’s stripes on his body armour were barely visible anymore. In part scratched off through wear and coated in a layer of the orange dust that infected everything in the sweltering desert where they were forced to fight. The short-sleeved shirt beneath his armour was wet with sweat and as filthy as his armour. His face was tanned and craggy, but with the look of a soldier who had not slept in days, his black hair and stubble filled with as much dust as everything else.

"Shotgun!" Vi shouted.

The agile young woman rushed to the vehicle with a cat-like speed and flexibility, but before she could reach its side someone dropped from the walkway above and landed firmly in the seat beside Corwin. He was of slender build but with chiselled muscle definition and a look in his eye of a crazy person.

"Not fucking cool!"

"Tough shit dyke bitch," he replied with scorn and no sense of humour at all.

Without warning, and with incredible speed, she punched him in the face and caused his head to snap just a little to the side. He smiled as the faintest drop of blood seeped from his lip. He looked away for a moment as if turning to Corwin, but immediately snapped back and smashed the back of his fist into her face. The impact was hard enough to throw her off her feet, and she was too stunned to break the fall. She landed hand on the metal floor that echoed from the impact.

"Harland! Enough!" Corwin shouted.

"You hit like a girl," added another, stepped up beside Vi and offering his hand.

But it wasn't done so out of friendship or comradery. She stared at him and could see him undressing her with his eyes and revelling in his sexist agenda. It was Porter, a tall and well-built man who was twenty years older than her. A wicked grin stretched across his face and a huge cigar was tucked between his teeth. He looked like a bigger, rougher, and far less likeable take on Corwin. There was always something off-putting about him, and always a seedy look in his eye. She shook her head and refused, flipping back up onto her feet as if she was almost weightless.

"Thanks a lot, asshole," she replied, but his smile remained.

A snake tattoo ran up her neck and around her left ear where her hair had been shaved high and met with her hairline. Her silky black hair then flowed over her shoulders.

"We don't have time for this!" Corwin hollered, as he usually did.

He was always the first to leap headlong into any situation, trusting his gut and instinct over common sense or logic. A younger soldier rushed up and leapt onto the vehicle. He looked to be little more than eighteen years old and exuded the sort of youthful enthusiasm and excitement that was both endearing and tedious all at the same time. He had short mousey brown hair and had clearly tried to mimic the look of Sergeant Corwin. There was no seat left for him, so he jumped atop some of the equipment and held onto the frame of the vehicle.

Corwin fired up the rotors of the DART and began to lift off as Vi jumped onto the gun ring on the rear. The vehicle was of a simple frame construction, no armour at all, and only minimal stowage space beyond the capability of carrying the three of them. Ammunition cases, water cans, and boxes of explosives were strapped precariously all over the vehicle. The two sets of overlapping rotors were spinning at full speed as Corwin banked the craft, and another two identical DARTs came into view in front of them. They too had full compliments and were starting to lift off.

Two twin-rotor blade single seat bikes, they called Hawks, were also rising off the ground. They were inside a vast and deserted hangar embedded in the side of a rocky canyon. Few reminders were left of the magnificent hive of activity and technology that used to inhabit the space. It had long been scavenged or put to other use.

"Think this intel is reliable?" Vi asked.

"It's as good as we're gonna get, and I'm not gonna miss a chance, no matter how long a shot it is," replied Corwin.

He looked over to see Harland was being his usual stoic self. They all knew the chances of success were slim; let alone survival. Only the teenager among them was naive enough to think otherwise.

"Hey, you still never told me why you call yourselves the Luckers."

"Is there a question in there?" Corwin asked.

"Should never have brought this kid along," added Harland.

"Kid?" he asked incredulously, "Why do you have to keep calling me that?"

"Because you're a little bitch who's not made for this life."

"All right, so what is your name?" Vi asked.

Her tone was unusually sympathetic and even caused Corwin to turn back to see if it was genuine.

"Hunter, Hunter Hall," he replied confidently.

Vi laughed, and Corwin followed, seeing she hadn't changed at all. Harland only shook his head in disapproval and added.

"Hunter Hall? Sounds like a rent boy name to me."

Hunter was intimidated by all of them and didn't know how to respond, so he kept his mouth shut.

"Luckers?" asked Corwin, "Because we're the lucky ones who survived the Broadhead Offensive."

"From your Platoon?"

"From our Company."

A look of fear overcame Hunter, and he began to go pale.

"Don't fear death. You can't stop it," added Harland.

Corwin shrugged, realising the comment was actually surprisingly calming to Hunter. The journey went on for more than thirty minutes without a word, each of them psyching up for the fight. Corwin finally looked over to his flank to the ride on one of the Hawks just three metres away. Atop the vehicle was another of the female team members. She wore a skin-tight desert camouflage jump suit and no armour at all, just a three-quarter duster. It had been allowed to fade and gain enough dust that it blended with their environment. Her hair was bleached blond with red streaks and tied back, so it seemed to almost blend with the camouflage she wore. A rifle almost as long as she was tall was slung on her back. But he could not see her eyes for the slender mirrored glasses she wore, a concession she made to fashion over function.

She turned and looked into his eyes, though he could not see hers. She seemed to gaze upon him as if admiring or enjoying the view, and yet her face was stone cold with emotion. He smiled back at her, for it was all he could think to do. But she turned back to the controls without response.

"Pretty fucking hot, ain't she?" Vi asked.

Corwin shrugged and smiled.

"Can't deny it."

"Who is she? Hunter asked.

"Lecia Esperon, hottest, most badass girl I ever met. And she can shoot better than any one of us."

"Keep dreaming," added Harland.

A voice came over the comms that all of the team wore.

"This is Beyett. We're just a few klicks out. Looks like some kind of underground facility built part into the canyon, and I'm getting energy signatures from the place that are off the chart."

"From what?" Corwin asked.

"I've...no idea."

Corwin shook his head.

"You've got no idea? Shit, we really are in trouble."

"I've pinpointed a location for us to set down. We'll have to continue on foot, unless you want to get shot out of the sky."

Corwin looked at the target flashing up on the console beside him and quickly banked to head for it, reducing velocity sharply until they were skimming just above the surface. A red warning light flashed on the console.

"We've got incoming!"

Vi got up to the pintle-mounted gun and racked the huge bolt back.

Missile trails appeared before them. Corwin reached forward and hit the countermeasures switch. A scatter of smaller missiles rushed out from concealed barrels in the front of their craft. Two of the incoming missiles ignited and sent debris smattering over the prow. Corwin ducked down, and a shard of metal zipped past his head. Lights flashed over him as the dull and heavy drone of the vehicle mounted cannon opened fire.

The tracer like fire from the weapon smashed into the rock several hundred metres ahead where they thought the missiles had come from and were blasted open with little effort. But a moment later another six missiles appeared to materialise from nowhere and soar towards them. Once again Corwin reached for the countermeasures, and several of the missiles ignited when a red warning light flashed to say they were empty.

"Fuck!" Corwin shouted on seeing two of the missiles rush right for them. He banked hard on the controls, and both missiles collided with each other just a metre from the lower hull of the Dart. The blast threw them off course as if they weighed nothing at all. Hunter was thrown off the side, and it was only Vi grabbing the loop on the collar of his body armour that left him dangling from the edge. She strained herself to hold on with everything she had as they plunged towards the surface.

"Hold on!"

Corwin tried the emergency power, but nothing. Lastly, he hit the escape shoot. He looked around just in time to see it deploy from the back of the craft and unceremoniously rip from its mounts and flutter off into the wind.

"Oh, shit!" he exclaimed, as he turned back and gripped the frame of the vehicle tight.

"Brace for impact!"

Seconds later they slammed into the rocky surface and felt the structure of the Dart buckle in the centre. The bow rose up off the ground and finally slammed back down to the surface. They continued scraping across the rocky terrain. Sparks flashed up all around them, and they could see a large opening and drop ahead. It was seemingly where the missiles had come from. He looked over to Harland. He was grinning like an idiot, as if on a theme park ride. Hunter was screaming in horror, but the rest of them were stoically silent as they awaited their fate.

As the Dart was about to reach the edge and make a plunge over it, one of the rotor blades jammed in a jagged rock and anchored their vehicle. They lurched violently to a halt. Hunter and Vi smashed into the roll bars and crashed down to the floor of the vehicle, but Corwin and Harland were launched forward out of their seats and burst through the windscreen.

They were thrown right to the edge and over. At the very last moment Corwin came to his senses and fired a dart into the rock with a line that ran into the console of his forearm.
 
He grabbed hold of Harland's arm as they flew over the edge. The line finally stopped them, and both men crashed into the side of the rock. Corwin could feel blood dripping down his face where the glass had cut deep, but he had all his wits about him now; the life-threatening situation had sent adrenaline pumping through his body. He could feel his arms stretched to the limit. Harland was barely holding on with one hand, though didn't look at all scared, despite the two hundred-metre drop.

They could see it was a vehicular entrance to the enemy’s base and with a dozen craft far below them. Both were able to survive a fall more than any normal human being, but this was too much. They felt a violent jolt and dropped a few centimetres as part of the dart lost its anchor point.

"Drop me," said Harland calmly.

Corwin looked down once more to see the deadpan and look of utter conviction on his face.

"I'd do the same to you," he added.

Corwin was in no doubt, knowing what a sadistic psycho Harland really was.

"No way!"

"Do it!"

Corwin shook his head.

"No fucking way!" He grasped Harland's wrist tighter.

Harland drew a knife with his other hand and rested the edge of the blade on Corwin's wrist.

"You know I'll do it."

He looked into his empty eyes and knew it to be true. He shook his head and finally released his grip. Harland fell rapidly, but as he got a hundred metres down, Lecia appeared below him on her Hawk. He slammed into the seat behind her, causing the vehicle to veer out of control. Lecia banked hard and pulled out just as they were about to slam into the cliff face. Corwin sighed in relief, before turning back to help himself. With the weight of his comrade off, he took a firm hold on the line and leapt upwards. In one quick leap, he was on top of the cliff edge.

The rest of his squad stood there, and Lecia was putting down beside them. He could see Harland looked far than impressed to be saved by a woman, and one as promiscuous as Lecia, but he said nothing as he got back to his feet. They all awaited Corwin's words. The Sergeant was already battered and bloody from going through the windscreen, but he did not feel the pain. A chip in his brain suppressed it. He'd pay the price at a later date.

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