I have another RIFT scene for you guys, and today we join Sue on her first patrol in enemy territory.
Before we head out with the Janissaries of the Covenant, I just want to mention that I had a friend over in Oxford, England do a little fact- checking for me for a scene from my Super Secret Project. The SSP is (naturally) a book, and it will be released sometime in 2015. I hope to have it ready by Spring, but I can´t promise anything. But anyway, this scene that I´ve named "One last walk in The Parks" will be one of the "Secret files" that I plan to include as a bonus in the upcoming omnibus edition of the Exodus Trilogy. It is a long scene, and could probably be rewritten into a short story, and published on Amazon for $0.99. I might still do that, but more likely it won´t be available outside of The Exodus Omnibus edition and of course as part of the SSP.
There is one exception though. Before I release it anywhere else, I´ll send it as a free gift to all my newsletter subscribers. So if you haven´t already subscribed, you can do so here, and make sure you get yours too!
Alright, so let´s head out north, to the no man´s land north of the Covenant border, where Sue is about to face combat for the first time.
RIFT - Scene 13:
She was breathing heavily, every breath misting in front of her, fogging up the visor for a split second, before the the nano bots cleared it again. It was freezing cold outside, but within the battle dress she was comfortable. The AI regulated the temperature and let moisture out through vents, keeping her warm and dry. A few hours ago, she had felt a jolt of energy as the suit had injected a small dose of caffeine into her system, but the effect was long gone by now. The adrenaline of being out on her first patrol had worn off as well. For three days they had been walking, with just two hours of sleep. And not a sign of the savages, except a few run down huts that Tac Hordvik had explained was the remains of an enemy settlement that had to be terminated years ago. «Too close to our borders» he had said, and continued to explain that no settlements south of the river were allowed. That would be too risky. Not that he had needed to tell any of them. It was all part of basic training, learning about their enemy and the rules of engagement.
Now she was beginning to look forward to returning to camp. She had expected combat, but the Tac had explained beforehand that the savages often fled instead of fighting them, especially since the patrol would never penetrate the deep woods. In a couple of hours they would reach the exfiltration point, where they would be picked up by an armored airship. Once they returned to camp they would march through camp, still wearing the battle dress, to be treated with a lavish dinner. On such occasions it was not uncommon that one of the Strategoi or some other high official would come and join them, share the meal with them, and talk to them almost as equals. It was one of the traditions of the Janissaries, a rite of passage of sorts. Whether shots had been fired or not, they would then be full Janissaries, no longer mere initiates.
Sue was jolted from her thoughts by a whisper inside her helmet. It was Keisha, who covered the left flank with Brad. She looked over and saw they had already raised their weapons, ready to fire at anything. Sue, on the opposite end, raised hers as well, covering the right flank, with Quinn. She didn´t like him, but they were team mates and whatever personal issues they had disappeared as they worked together as limbs of the same body. Julian, the front man had taken a knee, and held a hand up to his helmet, signaling activity in front of them as well. Tac Hordvik, positioned a little to the back, centered, looked over his shoulder and gave a signal for Sue to leave the right flank and strengthen the front with Julian. They had trained for this, and Sue noticed the movements came naturally to her as she quietly slipped behind Quinn´s firing zone, to take up positions with Julian. The six man patrol, though green, was a cohesive fighting unit now, ready to move against whatever came their way, and Sue felt the rush of adrenaline as the AI injected a stimulant into her veins. Her breath became deeper, her focus clearer and all signs of fatigue disappeared in an instant. Even her vision improved, the contrasts became more clear, and her eyes seemed to receive more light, enabling her to see things that normally would be hidden in shade.
«Contact, ten o clock, two hundred meters» she heard Keisha´s voice say in her helmet. The voice was steady and calm. She looked over and saw what had previously been hidden. A camouflaged blanket, probably heat resistant so the AI wouldn´t notice, hid several shapes, stirring.
«Three seconds.» Tac Hordvik said, just as calmly. Sue moved her weapon slightly, so not to alert the enemy.
«Two.» She tensed.
«One.» She threw her weapon up to her shoulder, not bothering to aim at first. It was all about overwhelming the enemy at first.
«Engage.» The deafening roar of automatic weapons, the explosions of smart rounds, one in every ten, the screams of their enemy as they realized they were under attack. It only took a second before the sound was adjusted to comfortable levels by the AI, and she wondered what it must be like for the savages.
«Baseline left.» she heard Tac Hordvik say, louder, but still calm and systematic. He had been under fire before, and she was glad to have someone like him lead her now. Sue and Julian stepped just as they had trained for so many times, while Quinn on the right flank would move behind them all and take up positions to the left of Tac Hordvik. She was relieved that fear didn´t stop her from doing everything just as they had trained. Then again, it might be something the AI gave her.
Seconds later, the team was lined up, side by side, space two meters between them, still firing at where the enemy had shown itself. So far, so good.
«One forward.» The Tacticus´ voice said. She moved forward, while counting. One, two, three, four, five. Down on one knee, firing in bursts. Julian, to her right, fitted another hundred shot magazine into his weapon. She still had sixty left in hers, so she waited. Keisha, on her left didn´t change hers either.
«One covering.» Keisha said.
«Two forward.» Tac Hordvik said. It was all just as they had practiced, everything moving smoothly, taking the battle to their enemy within seconds. Sue fired everything she had, while Quinn, Hordvik and Brad moved forward.
«Two covering.» she heard Tac Hordvik say as they took a knee to their left, keeping the perfect line intact. She quickly ejected the almost empty magazine, sticking it to the suit, where magnets would keep it in place for later. A fresh magazine went into her weapon and she was ready. Keisha was eyeing her, having done the same.
«One forward.» Tac Hordvik said. She leaped up and moved forward. One, two, three, four.
A loud blast from the back made her stumble and fall.
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