Read Gamma Nine (Book One) Online

Authors: Christi Smit

Tags: #military action, #gamma, #nine, #epic battles, #epic science fiction, #action science fiction, #fight to survive, #epic fights, #horror science fiction, #space science fiction

Gamma Nine (Book One) (32 page)

BOOK: Gamma Nine (Book One)
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“Maybe you can
create an insect sized camera we can hide in Artemis’ cell and see
what happens,” Christian suggested with a chuckle.

“It crossed my
mind, but I would probably be thrown out the nearest airlock if it
was ever discovered. No, I will wait for my orders, like the rest
of us.”

“Agreed,”
Christian said as he followed Rivers and Jay into the firing range,
closing its door behind the trio as they set to firing the Godwaker
for the first time.

Christian had
shared his dream with the older Titan as they watched the Lancer
prepare for Godwaker’s test fire. His brother was still in
recovery, and for some unknown reason to Christian it had just felt
right to talk to Rivers about his disturbing...vision. Rivers had
listened to every word, remaining still, nodding his head from time
to time as Christian explained what he had seen.

“It sounds like
Angelicas to me, or at least what we know it looks like from
orbital photos,” Rivers said as Christian finished his
explanation.

“But what does
it mean?” Christian asked the veteran Wolf.

Rivers huffed
at the question. “Do I look like some mystic to you? How the hell
should I know?”

Christian did
not answer, instead he asked another question. “Should I tell the
others?”

“I would, any
little bit of information helps in the long war against the
Beasties.”

“What about the
dark figure?”

“That...I would
leave out, for now, it already sounds crazy enough without some
dream being talking to you, or through you.”

Christian
nodded in agreement. He was silent for a few moments before
speaking again. “I remember the stories about Angelicas, or Gamma
Nine as it is referred to now. It gave me nightmares as a
child.”

“It gave all of
us nightmares, and we weren’t even there during the outbreak. We
only heard the stories and saw the images, just living through the
aftermath and the war still going on around us. Subjugation Day
broke our backs over the Beast’s knee. I can’t imagine what those
opening days must have been like. I doubt many of us would have
survived without our current technological advancements...” Rivers
trailed off and took a step forward, pointing his finger at Jay
nearby. “No you damned fool, that goes in there and that attaches
to the clasp on the back. Are you even able to wipe your own
backside when we aren’t around?”

Jay stared at
Rivers like a critter about to be run over, not moving or making a
noise, surrendering to its fate.

Rivers took
another step closer. This time he used both his hands to explain to
the nervous Lancer what he wanted him to do. His gestures were
accompanied by his customary ancestral swearing. “It’s a sling so
you can carry the bitch better, not a piece of female clothing. Got
it?”

“Yes sir,” Jay
replied, his voice soft and low like a teenager’s.

Rivers turned,
shaking his head as he took his place next to Christian again.
“Where were we?” he asked the rookie Titan.

Christian
smiled at the exchange between two people who were quickly becoming
his favourites. “Nightmares,” was all Christian said.

“Ah yes,”
Rivers sighed, as if what he was about to say was very difficult
for him. “Many years ago, and don’t ask me how many, I was
stationed at an intelligence relay station inside the dead zone.
This was long before I volunteered for the Titan project. I was a
young, piss-for-brains private, too curious for his own good.”
Rivers paused for a moment, his eyes shifted to the decking of the
firing range. “I remember one night in particular, images came
pouring in from a probe sent to scout the dead zone around
Angelicas. The probe had passed by the planet close enough to
capture images of the surface, close enough to see through the
areas with thinner cloud cover. The things I saw that night, things
I had to record and report back to my commander, still haunts
me.”

“What did you
see?” Christian asked before he realized it was a sensitive
subject.

“Death,” Rivers
said without hesitation. “I saw a city of death, ruins of a once
great world being consumed by sand. The worst was when we looked
closer at those images and saw what was inside the decaying
city.”

“What?”
Christian asked again.

“Bones, vast
piles of them, and not just scattered randomly. No, they were piled
up as a wild animal would pile up its kills in its lair. The images
were classified as top secret almost immediately, and then they
were buried under mountains of bureaucratic bullshit. No-one,
except the people on duty that night, and the commanders of that
sector, ever saw those images. I image that planet looks even more
horrific these days. Who knows what is going on there and what is
still alive on that husk of a world.”

Christian chose
not to say anything, leaving the veteran Titan to let the moment
pass without adding more pain with unneeded questions.

Rivers shifted
and chuckled as his eyes cleared up from the pain buried deep
within the old Wolf. “You are the only one I ever told that story
to.”

“I am honoured.
Thank you,” Christian replied.

“You should
be.” Rivers started walking forward again. “Enough grab-ass for
now, let’s get to firing my baby.”

Christian
smiled at Rivers and followed him, both of them stopping a few feet
away from the waiting Lancer.

Jay had
connected the rifle to his helmet and fastened the sling correctly
to the rifle. Hopefully Rivers would not yell at him again. Jay
wore his segmented Lancer armour, the emerald green replaced by a
matt-grey, non-reflective coating. His visor had been replaced with
the same mirror-finish visors the Titans had.

Christian
looked at the ex-Lancer, recalling the conversation Locke had with
Sabian after waking up from the recovery tanks.

Locke had read
Corporal Joshua’s file extensively before meeting with Sabian. The
Titan Captain and the Lancer Commander had come to an agreement
regarding the young Lancer’s future. He would be assigned to the
Wolves, and because of his exemplary service and training records
he would be given a chance to prove himself as a Titan scout. A
position Locke had created to test the Lancer, a position that
never existed before Locke had made the decision to do so.
Attaching a regular soldier to a Titan squad was unheard of, but
desperate times called for new, and very radical, ideas.

Christian
returned his focus back to the Lancer, his eyes stopping to look at
the snarling wolf on a field of green painted there the day before
on his right bicep. His eyes moved to Jays left armoured bicep and
saw the ex-Lancer’s personal insignia. A pair of silver wings
encircled a silver sniper’s crosshair, the words Quaerant Corde
painted within the crosshair. The words were from an ancient
language, long dead to most of humankind. Only used by the military
and scholars still aware of its ancient history. Roughly translated
the words meant seek the heart, a fitting choice of words for
snipers. Christian recognized the insignia almost instantly. It was
the insignia given to soldiers that had graduated from the
prestigious sniper academies on New Horizon’s largest moon -
Aurora.

There was more
to the ex-Lancer than Christian had previously thought, and he
would be looking at the young soldier’s file the first chance he
got.

Jay positioned
the rifle on its bi-pod, aiming it down range to a target almost a
thousand yards away.

The firing
range was an old walkway in the belly of the Hyperion, sealed off
by engineers when the Titans came on-board the first time. Gray had
allowed the unused walkway to be assigned to the Titans for
whatever they needed it for. The Wolves, when they weren’t firing
their weapons down it, used it as a training gauntlet to hone their
skills with.

Jay inserted
Godwaker’s heavy clip and pulled the slide back to ready the rifle.
He looked at Rivers and waited for the Titan to give him the go
ahead.

Rivers nodded
at Jay and Godwaker howled for the first time. The shot could be
heard decks above the firing range, causing many sleeping crew
members to wake, and a few unlucky ones to shit themselves.

A few corridors
away the shot rang inside the recovery tank Nathan was still in. He
opened his eyes as the sound of Godwaker’s awakening echoed around
him.

The slumbering
Titan was finally at full health again, and he wanted to know what
he had missed.

Chapter
Five.One
Safety


Only fools would
think that there is still such a thing as true safety. We hide
behind walls, and inside giant vessels, burrowing deeper and deeper
behind false securities. We add layers of armour to our soldiers,
yet they are still slain without much resistance. We build what we
hope are impregnable fortresses and bunkers to hide in, but somehow
the enemy still infiltrates our defences with relative ease. It is
time our ignorant race realized that we are all doomed. There is
nowhere we can hide where the Beast won’t find us and consume us
until we are nothing but dust and memories. It is time we stop
lying to ourselves about a future we will never see. Instead of
cowering in the dark, waiting to die, we should embrace our
ultimate destruction, facing it with our shoulders back and our
heads raised high. Oblivion’s gaze has fallen on humankind and it
is time we stared back into the nothingness beyond.”
-Excerpt from The Book of Oblivion, Church of Oblivion - Sect
reported as destroyed after the Massacre of Koraan, 2530 - 21
ASD

Jessica felt a
hand brush against her cheek, followed by a wet cloth being placed
on her forehead. She opened her eyes slowly. Her eyes struggled to
focus at first, but after a few moments her vision cleared to
reveal a dimly lit room, lined with steel shelves full of canned
goods and other survival items.

Tristan looked
down at Jessica, smiling as her sister finally woke up. It had been
many days since she had lost consciousness. Tristan had never left
her side, choosing to stay with her until she woke up. She curled
up next to her big sister at night to sleep, keeping them both warm
in the cold room.

Jessica tried
to speak but her throat was too dry to get a word out. Instead she
moved to sit against the wall her head was resting against.

“Don’t move
yet,” her sister said. “Move too quickly and you might pass out
again. Don’t you remember what father taught us?”

Jessica stopped
moving and conceded her sister’s question, nodding to the little
dwarf as she lay back down on what felt like a steel plate beneath
her. Her body was going to hurt, and her back probably most of all
from the uncomfortable furnishings.

Tristan saw her
sister grimace as she felt beneath her with her hands. “It is the
best we could do. This place was built for only one person, so
there weren’t many things to lay you down on.”

“It’s OK. The
pain is worth it if we are safe,” Jessica replied with a rasping
voice, swallowing the razors in her throat down.

Tristan lifted
a cup full of cold water to her sister’s lips, helping her sip on
the miraculous fluid slowly. “Uncle Nash has been very kind to all
three of us, even you while you were out cold. He gave us his
daughter’s clothes to wear. They don’t fit very well but at least
we don’t smell like feet anymore.” Tristan giggled before placing
the cup back down on the floor. Her mood changed almost immediately
as soon as the cup touched the floor. She looked at her big sister
with watery eyes and an angry look on her face. “Don’t ever scare
me like that again, OK?” she said, grabbing and hugging her sister
without waiting for an answer.

Jessica hugged
back before speaking. “I won’t. I guess I was too exhausted. I am
glad we made it here.”

“We are safe,
for now anyways. Uncle Nash says nobody knows about this place,
except us. All of the walls are sound proof, the power is off grid
and the water supply is completely independent from the city’s
utilities, so we are almost invisible to the outside world.”

“Uncle Nash?”
Jessica asked. She was curious why Tristan called him that.

“He told me to
call him that. He said we were family, and we should not be so
formal around each other. You have a problem with that?” Tristan
tilted her head to the side as she waited for her sister’s
reply.

“No. No
problem,” Jessica replied.

“Good,” a voice
said from the doorway that had opened between two shelves close to
Jessica’s feet. “I wouldn’t want to kick you so soon after waking
up.” The man called Nash smiled through his thick beard. He grabbed
something from the shelf beside him and bit down on what looked
like old rubber, chewing it as he spoke again. “When you are ready,
the brainy bastard that was with you requests a word.” Nash jabbed
a thumb to the room behind him and turned to leave. He stopped to
speak again. “After that we can discuss our current situation in
great detail.”

Jessica just
sighed, she knew what the old man meant, and she was not looking
forward to that conversation at all. More bad news would not help,
but there was probably no more good news to go around anyways.

“I will go get
Sam. Try and sit up,” Tristan said.

Jessica nodded
and shifted her hands to her side to help support her weight. The
sharp pain in her back reminded her how weak her body had become
since she had lost consciousness. She managed to move enough to sit
upright against the cold wall above her makeshift bed.

She heard
Tristan speaking to Sam in the room beyond the open door. Jessica
reached for the cup of cold water, lifting it to her face. She
hesitated for a moment before taking another sip.

Her mind
wandered to Christian, and her heart sank as she realized she might
never see him again.

BOOK: Gamma Nine (Book One)
2.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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