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Free #scifi #ebook offered on #Amazon July 16 – 20, 2022 by James Pyles and Starry Eyed Press .

♬ Science – TimTaj

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Kaamus forces had been using the derelict spacecraft as a makeshift command base while they raided the local villages. Kekijek’s squad along with dozens of others in the battalion had been driving the enemy back across their lines for over a week. This was one of their last strongholds.

Kekijek held her plasma rifle upright, butt braced on the uneven and scarred decking while concentrating on the holo. Not meaning to, she was muttering as she watched the progression. She had a firm lock on her troops and tactical algorithms predicted the most likely location of their targets.

Moed had circled to the right of the ship’s galley. He made it behind a pair of Kaamus rebels who thought they were observing from the high ground of a cargo lift cage. The display lit up her Corporeal for a few moments and then twin enemy targets went dark.

“Two down, Lieutenant.”

“Stay sharp, Moed.”


He was a little cocky, which worried her, but he was her best sharpshooter. Moed had become her right arm since Sergeant Grenelli bought it three days ago in an ambush.

Tresian announced her kill just a few moments later.

There should have been seven or eight enemy targets in this section of the ruined ship. N’kro got one, Benois two, Tors and Zuc one each. Was there a sleeper the tac-comm didn’t pick up?

Her intruder alarm went off almost too late as Kekijek ducked and rolled down a ramp to her left. The last Kaamus soldier had been sheltered by part a half-melted generator. She made a rookie mistake not checking an obvious place of concealment behind her.

Her armor’s right scapula section went hot setting off a holo alert. There was no pain, so the shot hadn’t penetrated. She raised her rifle and fired. The beam missed as her opponent flattened, coils of heavy transfer conduit shielding him.

She took his former position behind the generator, boot soles gripping slick flooring. He’d guess where she was in seconds. Gravel shifted to her right. They both fired. He vanished in the flash.

Kekijek blinked to clear her vision. The goggles almost hadn’t darkened fast enough to save her from blindness. Then she nearly wailed in sudden agony. Another holo alert. Armor breach. Her knee and ankle armor had caught a direct blast, but for less than a second. She didn’t feel the auto-injectors, but her suit had just shot her full of pain killers and antibiotics. The torment dimmed, but her leg went limp beneath her when she tried to use it.

Smoke from under a jagged metal plate just ahead. It smelled of ozone. Cover was too small to hide a person. She took a chance, struggling to crawl around to her right. His rifle. The power cell must have overloaded. He was lucky it didn’t explode and take him out.

She realized, “He’ll try to get behind me and…” Rolling onto her back, she blocked his chest with her rifle as he lunged onto her. The plasma baton he had tried to stab her with was inches from her face. Her goggles darkened to save her from the brilliance, leaving her all but sightless.

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