Authors: A. E. McCullough
Tags: #Science Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Fiction, #Speculative Fiction
A race against time…
DJ heard the high pitched retorts of the Ŝkorpion gauss gun
milliseconds before he was hit.
He felt multiple impacts
along his left side but after that, how many he had no idea. The first few that
hit him had knocked him down and his whole left side was afire with pain. Even
though he felt the wetness of blood along his arm and chest he knew that he had
been lucky that the trauma plates built into the liberated SIS uniform had
absorbed the majority of the energy from the hailstorm of bullets. The two
android bodyguards hadn’t been as lucky as they lay in pieces with just a
twitch here and there.
When the gauss gun clicked
empty, DJ looked up and gauged the distance to the Admiral. Considering the
pain in his left arm, he knew that at least one bone had been shattered. A
quick glance also informed him that several rounds had entered and exited
through the meaty part of the arm. And since he was having trouble breathing,
at least one rib was broken. With those limitations in mind, he knew he
couldn’t cover the distance between them before Roger had a chance to reload.
But he had to try. Forcing
himself to his knees, DJ began the race against time with the fate of his
daughter as the prize.
Available on Amazon in print or eBook format
The Tales of the Wolf Series
The Coming of the Wolf (Book 1)
Enter the Wolf (Book 2)
Darkness Falls (Book 3)
Coming the spring of
The Last Spartan Series
The Last Spartan: Different Paths
The Last Spartan: DJ’s Mission
The Last Spartan: The Great Hunt
Coming in the fall of
Lost Lands: the Game
A different kind of fantasy novel.
Coming mid 2013
|The Last Spartan|
Copyright © 2012
by Andrew McCullough
This book is a
work of fiction. Names, character, places and incidents are the products of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American
Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by
any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval
systems, without permission in writing from the author, except by reviewer, who
may quote brief passages in a review.
Cover Art by Phillip K. Aiken.
First Edition: December
his novel is
dedicated to the men and women who choose to become
Law Enforcement Officers
It is an important and mostly thankless
job. Many times we are cussed at just for doing our job. Although when some nut
walks into an elementary school or a movie theater and starts shooting, we are
inevitably asked ‘why weren’t you there to stop it?’
The hard truth is that day in and day
out, we cover our assigned beat surrounded by negativity, fear, hatred and
loathing. Yes, there are people out there who express their gratitude for our
job but they are the exception and not the rule. We LEOs strive to make a
difference in the world. Our daily goal is simple, to do our job to the best of
our ability, to serve and protect, to go home at the end of our shift and to
make sure our partner does the same. Somewhere in all that, we do our best to
face down the monsters who would harm the innocents of the world. That is our
job…our calling...our mission and I’m proud to serve with each and every one of
trying to find a way to properly express my gratitude to men and women of who choose
this line of work, I came upon this quote from Ronald Reagan, the 40th
president of the United States.
is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to
our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed
on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling
our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United
States where men were free.”
As I put the final touches on this
novel, the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy – 12/14/2012 – is on the news and
still fresh in my mind. The arguments for gun control and banning of violent
video games have already begun. I hope that our society will realize that this
is more of a ‘mental health’ issue and less a ‘gun control’ issue. There are
sick people in the world and we, as a society, need to face that. We cannot
have more legislation against guns and expect that to fix the problem. There is
an old saying…when you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have guns. Please
take a moment and truly think before you act.
A special thanks goes out to Scott, Alex
and Venus who were my beta test readers and proof readers. Between these three,
this simple tale grew and developed into this novel through their insights and
Phillip K. Aiken is a freelance digital
artist, illustrator, computer technician and writer. He has worked as a
self-taught computer technician for over 7 years and has certifications in
computer programming and computer technology. He currently lives in South
Carolina and can be contacted at:
I met Phillip when I held a cover contest on the DAZ3D Art Studio forums.
Phillip submitted several cover ideas and eventually won the contest. I am
thrilled to have him as my cover artist.
– A. E. McCullough
Every Friday at noon Galactic Standard Time (GST)
the displays of nearly every system hooked to the Core-Net became filled with
exciting images of the events which had happened that day from around the
Coalition. Of course, interspersed throughout was some of the award winning
footage captured by news reporter Jennifer Moody and holo-recorder Ryan Puente
during the failed assassination attempt on the President eight months earlier.
When the tagline ‘YOUR DAILY NEWS IN A FLASH’ came on the camera panned down
and shifted from the studio in New Atlanta to whatever remote site they found
themselves in, today it was the ruins of Egypt.
Ryan panned his camera across the ruins of the
Great Pyramids of Giza. He knew from his lessons back in school that there were
once three magnificent stone pyramids built by slave labor over five millennia
ago. However, only one of the massive structures remained intact and a major
portion of its top had been blown off during the war with the Unified Islamic
Nations at the turn of the century while the other two had been completely
destroyed leaving only piles of rocks. Nevertheless the lone pyramid made the
perfect background for today’s story.
Bringing his camera around, Ryan focused it on his
beautiful partner. He often wondered how strange that being in the right place
at the right time had taken a part-time job and turned it into a wonderful
career. With a shrug he chalked it up to good karma and flicked his hand to
signal his partner. Showtime.
Jennifer Moody, the dark haired reporter who had
become a network darling overnight, fidgeted with her hair as Ryan panned his
camera across the desolate landscape. Even after eight months of globe hopping
and countless interviews she always felt slightly nervous right before she went
on camera. Even she had to admit that Ryan had picked a perfect location for
today’s segment. She held her breath as the camera was trained on her and he
gave her the signal. Flashing the audience a beautiful smile, she began.
“Good afternoon everyone, I’m Jennifer Moody and
I’m here at the ruins of the Great Pyramids of Giza with my favorite holo-recorder
Ryan’s hand briefly popped onto the screen as he
waved from behind the camera. They had done it during their first report
together after the failed Presidential assassination and it had quickly become
“…and welcome to your daily news in a flash.”
Jennifer turned away from the camera and looked
across the sea of sand. Ryan followed her lead.
“And why are we here in the ruins of Egypt? Well
it just so happens that the refugees of the Unified Islamic Nations play a part
in today’s story. As many of you know, after the war the majority of the
survivors from the countries which made up the U.I.N. had to evacuate these
regions due to the high levels of radiation which covered the countryside. Most
left Earth to live among the stars and they became the driving force for the
colonization of Jupiter and Saturn. As a matter of fact, one half of the
members of the Jupiter Defense League and one of every three working for Titan
Avionics can trace their heritage back to these lands. Why is that important?”
Jennifer paused. She knew that Ryan was shunting
video-feed from the network archives to the transmission.
“Some of you may remember that Titan Avionics
builds the Raptor, a military grade starfighter currently used by the JDL and
the Confederacy. Interestingly enough, the Raptor was originally designed and
built for a Coalition Fleet contract but the military chose the Avionics
Strategic International Dragon over the Raptor to become the standard Fleet
starfighter. Titan Avionics was left to peddle their starfighter to the
colonists to use for a local defense force. Of course, when certain systems
seceded from the Coalition and formed the Confederacy, the CSA immediately had
access to an extremely agile starfighter that could rival the Dragon. During
the war there were allegations that high ranking Titan Avionics executives had
collaborated with enemies of the Coalition and a congressional investigation
was called. Eventually Titan Avionics was cleared of any wrong doing and all charges
were dropped. Still one has to wonder how the Confederates always had the
latest versions of the Raptors. Hmm….”
She waved her hand as if to dismiss the subject.
“That’s a question best left for another day. This
reporter has learned, through very reliable sources, that Titan Avionics has
been granted the contract for the next generation warship. Now, I’m not talking
about another starfighter here, I mean the biggest nastiest starship ever
created by man. How do I know?”
Jennifer flashed her award winning smile and
leaned forward ever so slightly; just enough to highlight her ample cleavage.
“Well, I could say it was female intuition but it
isn’t just that. The project name for the ship is ‘Dreadnaught’ which when
broken down to its root words means ‘Without Fear.’ Now, I’m no military
scientist but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that you don’t go naming a
small cruiser or even an advanced battleship,” she paused and made the
quotation mark symbol with her hands, “Without Fear. Logically, this name would
be reserved for something massive.”
Jennifer stepped back and shifted her head to the
left to highlight her favorite profile.
“We have also learned that this ship was rushed
into production mere days after the failed Presidential assassination attempt.
This brings several questions to mind. Is this a sign that the truce with the
Confederacy is coming to an end? Has the administration learned more
information concerning the assassination attempt which they aren’t sharing? And
why would such a lucrative contract go to a company that clearly has
connections, currently unsubstantiated, to the Confederacy? Inquiries to the
Fleet have gone unanswered. However, we have been granted an interview with
retired Fleet Admiral and Titan Avionics Chief Executive Roger Thomas.”
Stepping to the left where the lone pyramid was
once again behind her, she gave the audience a big smile. “So, we will be
traveling to Saturn to get some answers. Until then remember… K.C.C.O. This is
Jennifer and Ryan, signing off.”