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) (9 page)

BOOK: Gamma Nine (Book One)
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Gray smoothed
down his silver moustache with his sausage-like fingers, eyeing the
female officer next to his command chair. His silver hair echoed
the colour and bristle texture of his moustache.

“Why so nervous
my scrumpet?” he said, knowing that P-SEP, nor the military, had no
policies against sexual harassment.

The female
officer huffed at him. “I am not nervous sir, just eager.” She
looked at the dark ship on the screen in the middle of the bridge,
squinting as she took in details the ship systems were adding to it
by the minute. “That ship would put up one hell of a fight,
sir.”

Gray smiled at
that, such a petite and beautiful young thing, yet so passionate
about shedding blood. Perhaps that is why he was so attracted to
her, not that he would ever mention it to anyone.

“Indeed, it
would put up hell of a fight right before it blasted our little
ship to excrement and junk.”

“So, shields up
then sir?”

Gray nodded.
“You read my mind Remy, shields to full. Bring us about, show the
bastard our most flattering side.”

Remy responded
instantly, yelling out her captain’s orders to the rest of the
bridge crew.

The Hyperion’s
engines flared, its manoeuvring thrusters making it drift away from
the Stygian Council.

Its thrusters
making it drift away from the vessel beside it, baring its backside
to the larger vessel.

Twice they had
almost killed him. He had been forced to stand his ground on one of
the platforms, fending off the pack multiple times as they sought
to bring him down. The last time was the closest he had come to
being skewered by one of their spikes. The pack was down to only
four now, slaying at least one during the fierce fighting.

Christian had
no time to think on what would happen if he failed here, his timer
was down to twenty-one hours already, who knew how long the
Labyrinth would take to conquer, who knew how many more rooms or
obstacles he had to traverse before the end. The fight had been
raging for more than an hour, constantly attacked from all sides,
testing his weaknesses like true killers.

One of the
little horrors darted towards him, bringing its sharp pincers
trailing behind it like tails. He side stepped it with ease only to
see another leap from the edge of a nearby pillar. It did not leap
directly at him, instead it used another pillar to try and leap at
his flank. Christian met the monster with his Anvil shield,
directing its blows away from him, swinging at it with his combat
blade. This opened up his other flank to the third terror, the
largest one, rushing at him with spikes outstretched in front of
it. Christian pivoted just in time, the creature’s spikes glancing
off his shield’s smooth edge, momentarily throwing the monster off
balance.

He seized the
opportunity and kicked at the beast with all of his strength, the
kick connecting with a crack of bones. It was sent flying over the
edge of the platform they were fighting on, squealing as it fell.
Christian thought he had killed another, but the largest of the
pack was far from incapacitated, he saw it rise on a pillar that
had shifted up close to the platform he was on. It would take more
than just a kick to fell the beast child.

The fourth
member of pack had been jumping around the fight, from pillar to
pillar, probably waiting for another opportunity to try and
surprise him.

Two of the
creatures dashed at him from the sides, trying to split his
attention, forcing a gap to open. Christian threw his blade at the
one on his right and swung the Anvil shield to his left, the shield
connected with its target the same moment the blade split the head
of the creature on his right. The creature slumped and slid towards
him, killed almost instantly by the blade penetrating its skull.
The shield blow had caused the other monster with pincers at the
end of its limbs to stagger backwards, giving Christian an
opportunity to hurt it even more. He jumped at the horror, his
shield raised, bringing it down on its head. It crumpled under the
blow, falling to the ground with a wheeze of escaping sounds.
Christian followed his shield bash up with a downward punch from
his armoured fist, reducing the creature’s head to sludge.

He was almost
too busy to notice another creature make its appearance. Christians
reap sight highlighted the heavy footfalls of something approaching
with accurate pings on his visor.

The new
monstrosity came into view a few platforms away, if these other
creatures were once children, this one was the daddy. It stood as
tall as he did, with two giant scorpion-like tails hovering behind
it, attached to its back on muscled limbs. It still looked human
enough, save for the obvious mutations. This one had eyes and an
almost normal human face. It chattered at the largest of the pack
Christian was fighting, and the child monster returned the sound
with a bark of what sounded like agreement.

These creatures
were smarter than they looked, communicating in primitive means,
but communicating enough to coordinate attacks.

The larger
beast never had the chance to attack Christian. From behind him a
heavy machinegun opened up, reducing the monster to a blood smear
on a nearby pillar. Christian was too surprised to move. The
largest of the pack was engulfed by a fireball explosion, melting
it down to its smallest parts.

The last
creature that had been running and jumping around the fight made
one last attempt at Christian’s exposed back while his attention
was elsewhere. It was caught by the neck in mid-air by an armoured
hand, struggling in the Titan’s grasp before it died. The Titan
that had caught it used his other hand to rip the head from the
small nightmare, ending its misery.

Christian
watched the Titan throw the body of the creature over the edge of
the platform and walk towards him. Two other Titans jumped onto the
platform he was standing on, all three of them converging on him.
Another stood on a pillar a distance away, checking his equipment
and communicating with someone over his radio.

The largest
Titan spoke first, slapping Christian on the back. “Well done
Little Bear,” he said with a heavy accent.

“Little B?”
Christian tried to ask.

But he was cut
off by the Titan wearing enough explosions to flatten the building
they were in. “Excuse him. He has a strange name for everyone. I am
Xander, or Boom-Boom to Pyoter.” He gestured to the giant Titan
next to him. “And yes, I do realize his name for me makes me sound
like an infant going potty, but what can you do, look at the size
of him.”

Pyoter chuckled
and folded his arms. “Da,” is all he said.

“We are leaving
Corporal Quinn, grab your shit.” The other Titan on the platform
said.

Christian
recognized the voice and the mannerism as the Titan spoke.
“Nathan?” he asked. “But I am not done here, my training is not
complete. I need to finish this.”

“No, we are
leaving now. Get ready to move out.” Nathan turned his head to
Xander. “We need a door. Make one.”

Xander
unclipped a few explosives from his belts and jumped to the
platforms leading to the nearest wall.

“Nathan,
please.” Christian pleaded.

“No. Move out.
That’s an order, brother.”

Christian could
say nothing more, when Nathan took that kind of tone it was best
not to argue with him.

Chapter Two
Hyperion


Know this, for the sake of humankind I
would sacrifice them all, my entire crew, even though they are part
of me and my ship, we would die to keep the rest of our people
safe.”
-Captain Willis Gray, Cruiser Hyperion

There was no
time for debriefings or questions. Christian’s new squad had
exfiltrated him in mere minutes. There were no formal introductions
as they left the Labyrinth, he could only listen to the chatter
between the squad members, not daring to speak out of place. He had
no time to say goodbye to anyone before he left, the squad escorted
him to landing pad outside of Beta Facility without speaking to
him, only ushering him forward, where a Firefly drop ship waited
for them.

The drop ship
was a fat-bellied shuttle that looked more like a beetle than
anything air worthy, its heavy armour adding to its bulk, it might
have looked like a lump of metal but it could out manoeuvre most
civilian shuttles in void or atmospheric operations. It was
especially handy during combat drops, its nose and side mounted
heavy calibre weapons carving bloody lines in the enemy formations,
making any landing zone safe before its cargo could disembark. It
was the obvious choice and perfect match for Titan deployments.

Christian sat
in silence as the ship lifted off, wondering who would speak to him
first and explain what the hell was going on.

It was the
giant Pyoter that spoke first. “Relax Little Bear. The boss will
clear things up for you, and for all of us.”

“Why do you
call me that?” Christian asked.

“Because Big
Bear is over there, and you are the younger one. I thought it was
obvious.”

“But we are the
same size, why not just call him bear and call me something
else.”

Pyoter nodded
to Christian. “Da, he was called Bear, but now you are here,”
Pyoter lifted his arms, animating his words with added hand
gestures. Something the people from his world did all the time,
perhaps thinking that the hand gestures would help the apes they
were speaking to understand them better - it did not have the
desired effect.

“I would have
preferred something more...more unique.”

“Little Bear is
unique,” Pyoter chuckled and looked at the rest of the squad,
looking for support from the others.

“At least it’s
better than mine,” Xander chipped in. He sat next to Pyoter - with
a seat between them, because of Pyoter’s size that was what past as
being next to him - counting the explosives hanging from his
armour. “Ladies would at least be interested in where yours came
from, the story behind it, mine just makes them giggle and walk
away.” He had finished counting, resting his hands on his knees as
the drop ship went through turbulence during its climb to the
heavens. “Impossible to get laid with a name like mine, and he
always has to lead with my name during introductions with the
fairer sex. Such a big bastard you are Pyoter, and I am not
referring to your size.”

The Titan that
had not said a word to Christian since the Labyrinth added his own
comments to the discussion, the sergeant stripes sparkled on his
right shoulder, the light of the ship’s interior bouncing off of
them. “I don’t know why you are complaining, you all were blessed
with regular names at birth, and I am the one that has to suffer
every day.”

“Oh shit, here
we go again.” Nathan was standing in the doorway leading to the
cockpit of the ship, listening to the squad’s conversation with a
smile on his face. “I told you I would shoot you if you started
this again.”

“What? Why? The
FNG hasn’t heard it yet, you can shoot me later.” Rivers, as he was
called by the rest of the squad, sat a few seats away close to the
ramp of the drop ship. His helmet turned towards Christian. “Ask me
my full name mate.” He was waiting for the question so he could
launch into a lengthy re-telling of his father and his naming
conventions, luckily he would have to cut it short, Nathan’s
irritation forcing the shorter version.

“Don’t do it
kid,” Xander pleaded.

Christian was
curious now, so he stepped into the trap voluntarily. “What is your
full name Sergeant Rivers?”

“My name, my
full name, is Argyle Reece Stacey Elliot Rivers,” he said, adding
emphasis to every name, letting them sink in better for some
reason. “The second,” he added. “When I was older my Ma informed me
that my Pa was drunk out of his mind the night I was born. He was a
funny one.”

“I don’t get
it.” Christian could not see the joke in his name.

“Think about
it, you will see it eventually.”

The rest of the
squad broke out in laughter. Pyoter slapped Christian on the knee,
obviously understanding the joke better than he did.

Christian just
nervously laughed with the rest of them, he was pretty sure that
they were all on something.

Rivers
whistled, cutting off the laughter with his ear screeching mouth
acoustics, pointing through a small armoured window between Pyoter
and Xander, partially obscured by the first’s bulk. “There she
is.”

Christian
followed his pointed finger and saw the cruiser he was going to
call home from now on.

He just
swallowed at the sight of her. Astonished at how pristine she still
looked, being almost three-hundred years old.

Nathan held his
right hand to his helmet, listening to something over the drone of
the ship’s void engines. “Captain Locke is waiting for us, no more
jokes. Corporal Quinn, you will be first in line. Form up.”

Christian
released the locking mechanism of the seats restraint, standing as
he disengaged his helmet from its neck seals, holding it under his
left arm as ceremony upon meeting a senior officer required.

This was it, he
thought.

The first few
steps down the loading ramp of the drop ship was nerve racking, the
entire docking bay of the Hyperion was frantic with activity.
Christian guessed that his sudden removal from his trails was part
of the preparation of whatever was happening. Everywhere workers
loaded crates onto loaders, disappearing into storage areas and
re-emerging again to gather more crates.

“Those crates
contain our supplies, you will get a taste of our five star mess
halls very soon,” Nathan said, noticing Christian’s focus
wandering. “Make sure you get your supply of toilet paper, the
first few weeks are rough on your system.”

BOOK: Gamma Nine (Book One)
10.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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