Atlas: Infinity Verge Trilogy: Book II

BOOK: Atlas: Infinity Verge Trilogy: Book II
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Contents

ATLAS

Copyright

ATLAS

1: TP-D

2: EXIT VECTOR

3: LAST YEAR

4: BREAKER JONES

5: AURORA INTELLIS

6: ICARUS

7: BANDITRY

8: ABEL CAIN

9: ECHO SHADE

10: AI

11: ATLAS

12: MIRAGE

13: BIRDS & BEARS

14: ATTACK

15: WRECKAGE

16: JUSTICE

17: SPACE ELEVATOR

18: COMM BUOY

19: FIRST FLEET

20: CATCHING UP

21: SPACE FLIGHT

22: DINA

23: BOARDING ACTION

24: ADM

25: NEW CREW

26: RESCUE

27: QUINTAR V

28: FALLOUT

29: EXO PRIME

30: SATYR

31: BREAKER'S BACK

32: WARP-T

33: ESCAPING EXO

34: EPILOGUE

Terms

Other Works

Abbreviations & Terms

Other Books

About the Author

ATLAS

Infinity Verge II

 

DJ MORAND

Copyright © 2015 by David J. Morand

All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced, or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Cover design by: DJ Morand.

 

Author’s Note

For more of my books or complimentary review copies, visit me at
djmorand.com
or sign up for the mailing list at
djmorandauthor.com/mailinglist
.

ATLAS

Infinity Verge II

1:
TP-D

 

Quintar IV - EFNF Alpha Base: Personnel Quarters

2973 ESD - Wednesday, March 12th 06:00 hours

 

A tall man with dark brown stubble growing from his head and beard looked over schematics for a destroyer-class warship. He frowned and narrowed his hazel eyes. Sighing heavily, he scrutinized the design.

This is ridiculous,
the man grumbled internally.

It was beyond his understanding why the designers of the ship would decide on a destroyer versus a gunship. Gunships were lighter, more maneuverable, and ultimately a better fit for his particular skill set. The EFNF asked him to consult on the design. He assumed it had to do with his ability as a gunship pilot. With his old URSA GS-I, he out flew every manner of warship piloted by an EXO. Now, the Exodus Fleet Naval Force wanted him to captain an unidentified type of destroyer.

TP-D,
he harrumphed.
Sounds like the designation you’d give a flying toilet paper dispenser.

The design was obviously intended to be a state-of-the-art destroyer. They had given it that stupid letter designation. His greatest frustration, though, was that he still unsure what power and capabilities would be available in the vessel.

He was not opposed to the commission they had given him, but he wondered about their motives. He wasn’t upset that he was going to be working with a full crew. He was upset that he felt the crew to be wholly inadequate compared to his former co-pilot. He was upset that he - Abel Cain - would not be piloting a gunship. Abel was upset at the fact that he had not even been included in the design of this boat.

Boat, that’s a better term for it,
he decided.

He checked the schematics again. The aft thrusters were designed with too much lift and not enough thrust. The port and starboard engines didn't have adjustable nacelles, but instead stationary turbine-like engines. He wondered how they planned for him to make any atmospheric landings without adjustable nacelles.

At least, they increased the firepower
, he conceded.

The Kodiak -
god he missed her
- was a formidable opponent against insurmountable odds. However, the destroyer design showed twice the number of laser turrets and, at least, three additional anti-matter cannons, mounted on swivel turrets. The schematics didn’t include the planned missile payload. Abel sighed again.

The command deck at the front of the vehicle, was acutely human in design and arrogant. He had allowed the EFNF to assist in the design of the Kodiak before. They had put the command deck at the front then as well. That had caused a major snafu when the quantum plates locked up and sealed against the cockpit. The event forced Zee, Echo, and himself planet-side, in highly unfavorable conditions. Being forced planet-side set him on the path to being an EFNF subordinate again. The same event led to the death of his best friend. He lamented the loss of Zee. Someone, he decided, needed to set these engineers straight.
Who the flak decided to call this thing a TP-D?
He thought.
Everyone is going to make endless fun of that designation
.
I can hear it now, they’ll call it a toilet paper dispenser.

Abel paced around the room and began mockingly playing to an audience. “Ladies and gentlemen! I present to you the TP-D, the latest in toilet paper dispensary!”

TP-D designated the ship as a Titanium Plated Destroyer, but he couldn't get the thought of the other things the acronym could mean out of his head. Abel promised Echo he was going to name it
Atlas
, after Zee's fascination with bears, but he hadn't been consulted on the naming conventions. If he still had the Kodiak - and Zee - he would have left already. He considered letting the EFNF figure out their own shit... As things stood - if he ever wanted to fly again - he was at their mercy.

Walking across the room, he surveyed the quarters they gave him. The thick soft carpets, a bed fit for four, a recliner, and his own desk decorated the room. It was wasteful lavishness to him. The office had a vaulted ceiling. He looked up in disgust at the metallic colored walls. He knew they were not metal, but a composite compound intended to absorb the planet’s heat. This was an office for an Admiral, not a Captain. He refused the Vice Admiralty the Fleet Admiral offered him. Abel knew what he was and what he wasn't. He was a pirate and a scoundrel; taking command was not his style. He accepted the Captain's commission just so he could get airborne again. All this time in the soft, luxurious
Admiral's
quarters made him feel like a fraud. The Quintarrans had pegged him as some kind of messiah, because he had broken the control of the AI. Abel wanted to know who had designed the AI. Even Zee had refused to tell him that.

Abel didn't know what to do with the idol worship of the Quintarrans. At first it had been fun, but now it left him feeling out of sorts. Abel didn't want to have anything to do with saviors or idols from the Quintarrans and he wouldn’t put up with it from the EFNF. Zee was the last Quintarran he had known and Abel had come to love him as a brother. After Zee’’s death, Abel was done trusting people. People let you down and people just wanted to use you. Zee had been the best person he knew and no one else would compare.

Captain Echo Shade was an entirely different kind of person altogether. Abel considered her a ...
significant other?
The usually silent part of his mind commented. The half-Quintarran woman was a vision. Her dark hair, piercing blue eyes, soft lips, and full womanly curves mangled his thinking. When Echo and Zee had rescued Abel from the New Exodus prison, when Echo had kissed him, they nearly consummated their relationship then. In the presence of her people, she had withdrawn. Whether from idol worship or mistrust, he did not know. He assumed, at first, it was grief at Zee’s death, but it went deeper than that.

The Remnant - as they called themselves - had allied with the humans of the Exodus Fleet. The two factions formed what they were calling the True EFNF. In truth, it was a conglomerate of two remnants made up of those who had survived Admiral James David Shade’s betrayal, and the descendants of those who abandoned their families centuries ago. Echo told him of the Remnant and how they had pulled up roots when it became apparent other Quintarrans were under the influence of the AI. Having saved Zee from the AI, Abel felt a personal anger towards the Remnant. He felt it was their cowardice that put the Quintarran systems in such jeopardy. If they had intervened, the EXO virus might never have evolved and merged with Alek Vale. So much hinged on the decisions of leadership, Abel knew he was not the right person to make such decisions.

According to Echo, the merger of the Remnant and the EFNF happened shortly after Abel and Zee had put the EXO shield in place. The duo took action where the Remnant should have. The shield had been destroyed by Admiral James Shade in an attempt to kill the EXOs. The attempt failed and the EXOs broke free. If the Admiral had not died in the attempt, Abel swore he would have killed him.

Maybe not,
he thought.
He was Echo's father
.

James Shade, Echo’s father and Abel’s mentor, had betrayed them both. It was worse for Echo. She had lost both her parents in the destruction of the EXO Shield. Here on Quintar IV, it was as if she desired to prove she was more loyal to the True EFNF than her father’s legacy. Among the True EFNF, James Shade was the traitor. For Abel, that was an odd thought. Admiral James Shade had labeled Abel a traitor when he befriended Zee and stole the URSA GS-I. It all seemed so long ago now.

The URSA GS-I
, he thought.
Kodiak.

The Kodiak had been his baby from the moment he began to assist with its design. His intent from the start had been to steal it. Abel’s design allowed Zee to control the ship functions remotely through his nanites. That control was what branded him a traitor. When the two of them stole the ship, Abel and Zee had been publically labeled as traitors to the EFNF. They had barely escaped with the
Kodiak
,
because Zee was the only one able to control the ship properly. Abel had installed haptic holographic controls, but he needed nanites to maneuver it effectively. Abel injected himself with Quintarran nanites, similar in function to Zee's. The microscopic robots allowed him to control the steering and maneuverability of the
Kodiak
.

He barely remembered the experiment. What he did remember were painful memories. Echo told him he broke the alteration barrier. He had to ask her what she meant by that. According to the Quintarrans, breaking the barrier altered one’s physiology. However, he broke through and altered his genetic makeup. His children would not quite be human. He supposed he wasn’’t anymore either. He thought about the modification process again. For weeks, he had been laid up with body wide spasms and seizures. It was a miracle he survived the process.

Now I have greater bone density, enhanced reflexes, and the ability to remotely link my nanites to a starship,
he thought.

Thoughts of his existence plagued him now. What was he now that the
Kodiak
was gone? The ship had been a part of him and he was a part of the
Kodiak
. Having lost Zee and the ship - he felt alone. The feeling was deeper than that, he blamed himself for Zee’s death. He didn't know how he could have stopped it or what he could have done besides take his place. It was little consolation that he lived while Zee died.

“Captain Cain. You are requested,” Abel looked behind him and turned promptly.

The enlisted man at the door saluted crisply in a finely pressed uniform. Abel examined him. The black-collared doublet had a single silver seam just off center from the chest. Above the man's right breast was his rank and surname, MCPO Remington.

Abel translated it internally,
Master Chief Petty Officer Six Remington
. Six Remington, one of the crew he was training in the TP-D simulations.

Such a stupid designation,
he grumbled.

“Six, who is requesting?” Abel said as he returned the salute. His own doublet was left open at the collar, although his rank and surname decorated his right breast as well, Cpt. Cain.

“Fleet Admiral Clark. Sir.” Six replied, still crisp and direct as he always was.

“At ease soldier,” Abel said sarcastically. “For goodness sake man, you don't need to be so uptight. Tell Andromeda, I'm on my way.”” Abel grumbled.

BOOK: Atlas: Infinity Verge Trilogy: Book II
12.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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