Void Wraith (The Void Wraith Trilogy Book 2)

BOOK: Void Wraith (The Void Wraith Trilogy Book 2)
12.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Contents

Dedication

Previously on Void Wraith

Prologue

Chapter 1- 81 Days Later

Chapter 2- The Eye

Chapter 3- Home Again

Chapter 4- Helios Gate

Chapter 5- Coronas 6

Chapter 6- Catching Up

Chapter 7- Bock and Nolan

Chapter 8- Arrange It

Chapter 9- Annie

Chapter 10- Tibs

Chapter 11- Lena's Discovery

Chapter 12- Biscuits

Chapter 13- Dryker

Chapter 14- Shipwarming Present

Chapter 15- Mulholland Station

Chapter 16- Kathryn

Chapter 17- Run

Chapter 18- Primo Conclave

Chapter 19- Recovery

Chapter 20- Blow Them Up

Chapter 21- Think Like a Human

Chapter 22- Connecting

Chapter 23- Arrivals

Chapter 24- Shuttle

Chapter 25- Comparing Notes

Chapter 26- Decisions

Chapter 27- Feeding The Eye

Chapter 28- What Now?

Chapter 29- Running the Gauntlet

Chapter 30- Claw

Chapter 31- Stand and Fight

Chapter 32- Crossing the Line

Chapter 33- Derinia

Chapter 34- Fooled You

Chapter 35- Attacked

Chapter 36- Boo

Chapter 37- Refitted

Chapter 38- Pride Leonis

Chapter 39- Battle Lines

Chapter 40- Saving a Culture

Chapter 41- Alpha Duel

Chapter 42- Didn't See That Coming

Chapter 43- Hannan

Chapter 44- Prideless

Chapter 45- Bad News

Chapter 46- Interogation

Chapter 47- Real Creepy Shit

Chapter 48- The Forge

Chapter 49- Into the Fray

Chapter 50 -Begin the Assault

Chapter 51- Scan

Chapter 52- The Plan

Chapter 53- Orders

Chapter 54- Career Suicide

Chapter 55- Breaking the Accords

Chapter 56- Assessment

Chapter 57- Chu

Chapter 58- Appeal to Reason

Chapter 59- Pounce

Chapter 60- Abject Lesson

Chapter 61- Gotcha

Chapter 62- Wrath of the Prideless

Chapter 63- I Don't Think So

Chapter 64- Dryker

Chapter 64- Mow

Chapter 65- The Bridge

Chapter 66- The Challenge

Chapter 67- Um, Eww

Chapter 68- Chrysalis

Chapter 69- Aftermath

Chapter 70 -Unexpected Complications

Chapter 71- Meetings

For Pat and Kathy, two of the most amazing people I know.

Previously on Void Wraith

Whenever I pick up the 2
nd
book in a series I'm always torn. Should I re-read the first book, or just dive right in? I usually want to do the latter, but I can't always remember what happened in the previous book. This section is for all those people who can't quite remember everything that went down in
Destroyer
. I've decided to re-cap it just like a TV show, something fans of my
Deathless
series have really enjoyed. For those that have just finished
Destroyer
,
feel free to skip to the Prologue.

Also note that I'm not including information about the prequel story
Exiled
here. If you haven't read it I recommend it. It will introduce you to Delta, Reid, Kathryn, Annie, and Bock, plus you'll learn how Nolan was exiled to the 14
th
fleet. You can get it for free by signing up to
the mailing list
.

In an announcer voice: 'Last time, on Void Wraith..."

Commander Nolan has just been assigned to the
UFC Johnston
, an aging destroyer in the 14
th
fleet. The 14
th
is also known as "the underfunded 14
th
," where careers are sent to die. The
Johnston
is commanded by Captain Dryker, an aging hero from the Eight Year War with the Tigris. He's tired, cantankerous, and has a serious discipline problem.
 

The
Johnston
is emerging from a sun, through something called a Helios Gate. The Helios Gate is at the center of a star, and opens a wormhole to a neighboring star. Starships that want to use the Helios Gate have to be able to survive the internal stresses inside a star, which they do using their inductive fields. This field channels the magnetic energy inside a star to form a bubble around the ship. The sun itself powers the field, so the deeper a vessel goes the stronger the field gets.

Make sense? If not, think of it like this: it's a frigging Stargate in the middle of a sun.

The
Johnston
has arrived in the Mar Kona system, a human colony on the periphery of space. They've been dispatched because the colony has gone dark and OFI (the Office of Fleet Intelligence, known by the soldiers of the 14
th
as the Office of F*%cking Idiots) is demanding answers. Upon arrival, they find a debris field belonging to a Tigris science vessel.

There's no reason for a Tigris science vessel to be there, and no sign of whoever or whatever destroyed it. Then a Tigris warship arrives, looking for the science vessel. They assume the
Johnston
is responsible for the destruction, and move to attack. Captain Dryker does something no real captain would do. Ever. He walks off the bridge in combat, leaving the untested Commander Nolan to run the combat. Fiction lets me get away with crap like this.

Unsurprisingly, Nolan pulls off a brilliant maneuver that Michael Bay will enjoy producing because there are plenty of
pew pew BOOOOM
sorts of things involved. The Tigris lose, and Captain Dryker sends Nolan down to the planet with a squad of Marines to find out why the citizens are gone. If you've played Mass Effect, by this point you were probably asking yourself how long it would be before EA sued me, because MAN did the plot of
Destroyer
look similar.

Nolan and company run into a new enemy. This enemy has an imperfect cloaking system, a lot like the one used in Halo and Predator. The enemy clashes with the Marines, and there are casualties on both sides. Unfortunately, the enemies explode when they die, so it's difficult for Nolan to learn specifics about who or what they might be. They look like robots, but when Mills (handsome badass sniper dude) cores one through the chest they see orange blood spatter the trees.
 

Nolan and his Marines continue toward the distress signal they picked up in orbit. They find it in the middle of a set of ancient Primo ruins. Primo are the first race (primo means first in Latin), and have been on the galactic stage for tens of thousands of years. Their empire has waned, and as it faded they abandoned many habitable worlds, which races like humanity are all too happy to snap up.

Anyway, it turns out the distress signal was set by Lena, a Tigris scientist. Tigris are a race of bipedal cat people. Why cat people when they've been used everywhere from Thundercats to the Kilrathi? Because I have two house cats named Izzy and Fizgig, and I was looking for an excuse to write about them.

Lena is investigating the Primo ruins, because after laying dormant for over twenty millennia they are starting to power up. She tells Nolan that while she was investigating, her team was attacked. A strange blue ship showed up, and took her team as well as all the citizens of Mar Kona. She has no idea why, and was only able to hide because the Primo ruins blocked the enemy scans.

Nolan realizes Lena is important, and starts escorting her back to his shuttle. On the way, they see the strange blue ship, which can apparently cloak just like the shock troops (later called Judicators). The ship blows up the Primo ruins, and Nolan narrowly escapes.

We flip to Dryker, who gives a report to his superior, Admiral Mendez. Mendez is upset at Dryker for walking off the bridge during combat, but that turns out to be a smokescreen. He's really calling because Dryker is being hung out to dry. The Tigris claim Dryker blew up their science vessel, and humanity is turning him over for prosecution. The case will be tried by the Primo. Before the call ends, Mendez also asks if Dryker recovered any artifacts from the ruins (
dun dun dun
). We realize immediately that he's a little too interested. Plus, the guy has a thick black beard and smokes a cigar. We already know he's the villain.

Dryker decides not to turn himself over, and has Nolan interrogate their Tigris prisoner. Lena was on Mar Kona because she's an anthropologist specializing in Primo ruins. Several other worlds have been attacked by these mysterious aliens, and she wants to know why. She agrees to help Dryker find answers, and suggests they start on a Tigris world containing a similar set of ruins to those on Mar Kona.

Right after they arrive at Purito, a Tigris warship exits the Helios Gate. This is no privateer, but rather the most feared commander in Leonis Pride, Mighty Fizgig. Fizgig is based on my 16-year-old house cat, who is too old to care about your bullshit. She (the commander, not my cat) contacts Dryker, warning him that she's going to board his vessel and slaughter his crew. Dryker does his best to fight back, but her ship is both larger and more powerful. He's clearly losing.

Meanwhile, Nolan and Lena are trying to find whatever artifact might be hidden in the ruins. While they're exploring, the Tigris send a ground team to stop them. That team is opposed by Sergeant Hannan and her Marines. They square off, locked in a brutal fight. Hannan knows she can't hold the Tigris off forever, but is determined to go down swinging.

Then Fizgig receives a message that a nearby Tigris colony is under attack. She pulls back, letting the
Johnston
go. Fizgig arrives just in time to see the strange alien vessel cloaking. She's now aware there is a new player in the game, but is honor bound to hunt down and kill Dryker rather than investigate.

Lena and Nolan recover an ancient Virtual Intelligence (VI) from the ruins, but can't understand the dialect it uses. Lena is only able to translate two words: Void Wraith. They take the VI to a Primo library, hoping the scholars there can translate it. The Primo do, reluctantly giving the VI back to Lena and Nolan. Because they're spiteful bastards and know the
Johnston
is being hunted, they alert Primo authorities. Dryker orders Nolan back to the
Johnston
, and they get ready to flee.

They're too late. Three Primo carriers show up. The
Johnston
has no prayer, but quickly realize they aren't the target. The carriers attack the library, though the
Johnston
takes some serious collateral damage while escaping. There's some
pew pew pew, boom
, and then the
Johnston
flees to the Helios Gate. The library is blown up, and Nolan and Dryker realize why: someone was trying to keep the ancient Primo VI from spreading. The library made a copy, and someone didn't want that copy getting out.

Meanwhile, we learn that Admiral Mendez is a villain. It's terribly shocking. I mean, he has a beard and cigar, remember? We totally didn't see this coming. His villainy-ness is discovered by his daughter, Kathryn Mendez. Apparently Kathryn is the reason why Nolan got sent to the 14
th
, but we don't know why because the asshole author wants you to read
Exiled
to find out.

Kathryn learns that her father is working with someone he calls Bruce (Doctor Reid), and that both are clearly working for a third party. It's also revealed that the Primo and Tigris governments have been infiltrated as well. They're working on something big, and it sounds like it will be bad for everyone. Kathryn lets Nolan know, and he brings the information to Dryker. Kathryn overheard something about the Ghantan system, which doesn't show up on any known star chart. Dryker doesn't seem surprised, because he's old and wise and stuff. He also has a beard, but his beard is white so we know he's not a villain.

Lena realizes the Primo VI they recovered might recognize the system. Now that it's been translated, they can talk to it, and she learns that it knows all about the strange blue ship. The ship belongs to the Void Wraith, who wiped out the ancient Primo empire. The Primo VI is very familiar with the Ghantan system, and explains that it was a mining facility, and also contained a Primo shipyard.

The
Johnston
is still heavily damaged, but limps to the Ghantan system to see what's there. It turns out there's a factory building Void Wraith ships, and a big ass bomb. Uh-oh. Nolan and Dryker discuss a plan, and Nolan suggests they go flash their asses to the Goram law (go watch Firefly if you don't get that reference). The
Johnston
uses the Quantum Network to alert the humans, then flies to the Tigris home world.

Dryker talks mad shit over an open channel, and the Tigris start to pursue. That's exactly what he wants, as the goal is to get the whole Tigris fleet to the Ghantan system. It seems to be working, but then the Tigris admiral tells his ships not to pursue. He sends one vessel, Fizgig's
Claw of Tigrana
. Most of the Tigris think this decision strange, but no one does anything.

BOOK: Void Wraith (The Void Wraith Trilogy Book 2)
12.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Runs Deep by R.D. Brady
Forever Red by Carina Adams
Hand of Isis by Jo Graham
Involuntary Witness by Gianrico Carofiglio
B004TGZL14 EBOK by Omartian, Stormie
Parrot in the Pepper Tree by Chris Stewart
The Chessman by Jeffrey B. Burton
The Perfect Game by Sterling, J.