By Michael W. Davis
Champagne Books: https://goo.gl/vnCzVT
They protected humanity for centuries. Now it’s their turn to need protection.
“I think someone collided full speed with their rocket pack against the ship. Chemical modules lit up like a bomb.”
“Hope it wasn’t one of ours.”
“Don’t think so. Wrong vehicle.”
This far out, there were no signs of battle, just intermittent sparkles, like distant fireflies on a summer night against a cloudless sky. The silence, the reflection of the comet in his rear visor, the glow of a full moon—none of the imagery foretold the ensuing loss of both enemy and friends two miles ahead, but he knew that was the inevitable conclusion. Friend or foe, the hounds of death would feed well today.
“Kind of weird out here. I know what’s coming yet everything is so beautiful.”
“That’s about to change,” Lex said. “Check out the fourth enemy craft.” A pink flash, then another, and a third, along the entire length of yellow structure.
“Wasn’t that one targeted by Delta pod?”
“Yes. Lucky bastards drew first blood.”
“Look. It’s collapsing. Son of a bitch, the Baker mines worked.”
A shock wave from the large explosion one mile away reached their location and smacked them front on, causing their combined mass to gyrate. “Cassie, tell your suit to cancel our spin.”
She did, and their flight path realigned toward the battlefield seconds away. He panned all indicator lights against his heads up display, but none were blinking red. “Computer?”
“Check for system integrity across both suits.”
One hundred percent.
“Wow, I’m surprised that didn’t crack our forward shield.”
Their breathing accelerated, synchronized as the excitement of two blended into one and permeated their brains. “Damn Cassie, we better get there before the battle’s over.”
He calibrated the alignment of their flight path. “Use your maneuver jets to synchronize our trajectory.” A few burst of her attitude thrusters and their combined course aligned perfectly with the center cluster of the first enemy craft. “Cassie?”
“My suit predicts we’re fifty seconds from contact. On impact, advance thirty yards up the structure, I’ll do the same in the opposite direction. That should make one hell of a hole in their hull. Once you attach the mines, remember to push off with your legs. A hundred yards out, fire up and get the hell out of there.”
“Understood, and you do the same.”
“I will. If you get to the shuttle first, initiate recovery operations for our squad or any other flyers.”
He disconnected their tethered linkage and held her side with two hands. “Separation in three, two, one.” Lex gave a slight push. “Suit, rotate my position for landing.”
He again formed his body into an X shape and his orientation flipped one hundred and eighty degrees. He closed his legs and straightened both boots.
Deceleration in five seconds.
The negative force vector traveled alone his spine. In response, he bent both knees.
Eighty feet per second, fifty, twenty, ten, contact in three, two, one.
The boot magnetics attached first, then he crouched and used those in his palms to ensure a four-point contact with the massive vehicle. Lex crawled along the alien frame until he arrived at the center cluster to the main structure. He attached one mine, slid ninety degrees around the axis and planted a second then stood upright and surveyed his black suited comrades as they darted to, from, and around the enemy space craft orbiting on the daylight side of the planet. Like hornets buzzing some evil creature that invaded their nest, the earthling’s drew blood again and again with pink flashes sparkling across the Bracan fleet.
Lex witnessed Cassie’s launch from the surface and prayed, “Please, protect her for me.” In an instant, she grew tiny and disappeared against the moon. He turned and plotted his next move—to plant his extra two mines on the hull of the nearest ship. “I can do this, I know I can.” He pivoted on his feet to break magnetic contact, then started at the second enemy craft using only his maneuver jet. In a few seconds he said, “Suit position for landing.”
The onboard vapor thrusters fired and accomplished their purpose, only with an arrival harder than expected. “Ouch.” His approach speed had been too high and the attraction capacity of his boot magnets too low for his forward inertia. “Son of a bitch.”
Lex slid along the radial axis of the yellow structure heading for a collision with a three-foot beam extruded straight out of the surface. He clawed and scratched his hand and knee magnets trying to establish a hold. “Oh shit.” He closed both legs and ran smack into the bar. “Oh that hurt,” but his motion finally stopped. He shook his head, “Olson, you are one lucky bastard.”