Birthright: Battle for the Confederation- Pursuit

BOOK: Birthright: Battle for the Confederation- Pursuit
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Birthright:

Battle
for the
Confederation

 

Pursuit

 

 

Ryan Krauter

Copyright
© 2014 by Ryan Krauter

Cover art
by Ryan Krauter

All
rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced, distributed, or
transmitted in any form, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without
the prior written permission of the author.

Novels by Ryan Krauter

(hyperlinks)

 

Birthright Series:

 

Invasion

 

Reprisal

 

Crusade

 

Turmoil

 

Pursuit

 

The Out of Nowhere Series: (Young Adult)

 

Out of Nowhere

 

Shadow of Doubt

 

 

The Fixer
 
(click to follow link)

 

My Own Prison
 
(short story) (click to follow link)

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

Ahhh, writer’s block.  How I have managed to hide from
thee, my nemesis.  I find that if I can just sit down and fire up the old
electronic typing apparatus, I can manage to get some work done.  And yet here
I sit, not knowing who or what to acknowledge in the appropriately named
‘Acknowledgements’ section.  Well, it’s better than not having any idea how to
end the novel, wouldn’t you say? 

I could thank technology, from my home built PC to my iPad
and bluetooth keyboard, for allowing me to work on my novels anywhere I can
find time and a place to write.

I could go the other direction, and wax romantic about
getting away from the previously mentioned technology; going camping, setting
some marshmallows on fire and slowing down a bit.  That’s a good time as well.

I think it’s high time I pay respects to you, those that
have shelled out a few bucks to read my works.  I wrote the first two novels in
the Birthright series before I realized I could put them up on Amazon and
Barnes & Noble for sale.  It’s been about three years since then, and the
Kindle Store is a very different place.  There are seemingly exponetially more
authors and subjects to choose from than when I started.  If it doesn’t create
a generation gap, go ahead and picture Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man right now. 
“In my day, we had to grind up wood and make papyrus and then write using ink
we made from spit and berries, and we liked it!”

So thank you, dear reader, for reading my books.   I hope
you enjoy them, because I had a geniunely good time writing them.  It’s more
fun for me than watching reality TV and just consuming.  I wanted to create
something instead, and I sincerely hope you found it worth your time.  There
are a lot of authors out there today, and that’s a good thing because as a
reader myself I feel like there are a lot of people out there who are writing
books I’ll enjoy.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dedication

 

As always, my work is
dedicated to Krista, Colin, Chase, and Sydney.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

 

 

The small moon hung innocently in space, turning
the days away as it had done for the uncaring eons, orbiting a gas giant that
had captured it from its trip through the solar system millions of years ago. 
Some combination of gravity from the gas giant as well as the composition of
the moon itself had served to establish enough mass and a magnetic field to
produce an atmosphere, even some peaceful oceans.  It featured a small
temperate zone at the equator whose conditions had attracted researchers and
adventurers, some of whom had set up a fairly profitable mining operation for
those unique elements that were below the moon's surface.  There was a
smattering of indigenous animal and plant life, though nothing that would
excite the average biologist.

About the only interesting thing about
the place was the task force of Confederation warships in orbit, high above the
tranquil forests.  There was a pair of destroyers, a cruiser, a Crusader class
hunter/killer, a Starshaker class battleship, and even a Marine Assault Ship.

"The electromagnetic fields from the
gas giant are playing holy hell with the sensors," muttered the officer at
the Sensors station in the spacious briefing area at the rear of the Assault
Ship's bridge.

"The miners down on the moon's
surface supposedly had an algorithm figured out to see through all the
garbage," the officer's partner quipped as he tapped some commands of his
own.  "Isn't it in the mission file anywhere?"

"Hang on; I'm looking."

The second sensor operator scanned the
surface once again.  The naval force was orbiting high above a former mining
encampment; the biggest on the whole moon, in fact.  It was quite an operation,
with multi-story buildings, a fully developed town and housing for almost ten
thousand, and two separate spaceports for taking ore up to orbit for shipment. 

The only thing missing was the people. 
It had been almost a month since the Governing Committee and its head, Senator
Zek Dennix, had announced the formal suspension of hostilities between the
Confederation and the invading Priman force which had been cutting a swath
through the galactic arm they resided in.  Since that announcement, many
settlements and interests along the frozen borders had been evacuated and
abandoned; it was clear that Confed was leaning more toward appeasement and
cooperation than in protecting its pre-invasion territories, and many had seen
the writing on the wall and had left for the relative safety of the inner
planets.

Senator Dennix had even gone so far as to
issue a list of places that were off limits to Confed civilians and military
alike; only in recent days had he finally relented and given the navy a list of
places they
were
in fact allowed to investigate.

That brought them here, to a moon claimed
by the Galactic Ore Corporation.  The minerals mined here were of some value,
but more importantly this system was the farthest out that Confed units were
allowed to roam.  Fleet Admiral Privac had wasted no time in ordering a
scouting force to recon and secure the moon.  The navy had plans to install a
listening post and do what they could to monitor Priman traffic outside Confed
borders.  The Fleet Admiral had been hampered by Rules of Engagement issued by
the Governing Committee which required him to use minimum practical force so as
not to possibly antagonize any Priman observers who might see them.

"Ok," the first sensor tech
announced proudly, "I have the algorithm running.  It's not exactly
written with our hardware in mind, but I made a few changes and I think we're
all right."

"Whatever would we do without
you?" the second tech asked sarcastically, but with a grin that was born
of much mutual ribbing.

Ignoring him, the first tech continued. 
"Ok.  I see our landing force on the eastern side of the city.  They've
spread into the town under air cover from the Talons that escorted them down. 
Hovertanks and powered armor are moving up.  Looks like we're on schedule. 
Still no life signs other than our people."

"I'll tell the captain; he's
convinced the Primans are hiding behind every asteroid we fly past.  Maybe now
the poor guy can calm down a bit."

 

 

Captain Second Rank Kleth Orjon, one of
the senior ground commanders from the Marine Assault Ship Aniteo, stood atop
his hovertank and surveyed the countryside through his electronic field
glasses.  The young Drisk man had the traditional high-ponytail of his people
and in fact loved anything with a tradition and heritage.  While he could have
used his data pad, the mini holo generator in his tank or the data projected on
the faceplate of his helmet, he preferred to see things with his own eyes using
the old fashioned magnifiers.  As a result, he'd parked his command tank on the
biggest hill just outside of town and surveyed his troops as they converged on
and entered the city. 

It was an honest-to-goodness town, not
just some ratty mining encampment that had sprawled up and crept across the
terrain surrounding the processing facility.  There were shopping centers,
entertainment complexes, apartments; everything he'd expect to find on a major
planet.  His troops hadn't been in a lot of urban combat; in fact, the few
engagements they'd been in had all seemed to be over lonely Confed outposts and
armories, usually in out-of-the-way locations or on airless moonlets.  He
wasn't going to pass up this chance to review urban operations, and had
deployed most of the 5000 troops and mechanized units at his disposal.

"Jumper One and Two," he said
into his headset as he looked through his field glasses.

"Here," came two voices over
the headphones.  Kleth saw both companies of powered armor suits as they
established their position on a hill and set up their perimeter.

"We're almost set here," Kleth
continued.  "Get ready to advance."

"Understood."

He watched as the powered armor units
changed orientation and spread out for their advance into the city.  Confed's
latest generation of powered armor made the average soldier about a full head
taller while wearing the suit.  It was an exoskeleton, armored and powered by a
fuel cell good for almost a week in sustained combat.  They carried the venerable
HMR-12 assault rifle, but most troops also packed specialized weapons such as
anti-aircraft missiles, flamethrowers, flechette guns, heavy machine guns, even
EMP and Electronic Warfare weaponry.  They'd be ready for whatever they came
across in town, but unfortunately he didn't expect to see any Primans.

 

 

Aboard the battleship Renown, Captain
Mora Grell sighed in disappointment.  She'd just received the latest updates
from the surface as well as the Marine Assault Ship Aniteo, named like most of
the class for important worlds in the Confederation. 

There was nothing to report.  No ships on
this entire side of the solar system.  Nothing on the surface, either.  That
was the most surprising.  With the mining company's presence gone, she'd
expected thieves, looters, pirates, scavengers of some sort.  There was a lot
of useful equipment down there just begging to be removed from the planet.  But
there was no activity at all.  This mission was turning into a great
disappointment.  Sure, it was the most action she'd seen in weeks, but she
wished desperately that it was more than an operation to seize an uninhabited
moon, grab some refined ore and plant a few sensor platforms.  There were more
Primans needed killing than sensors that needed placing, and assaulting an
empty planet wasn't going to accomplish anything, no matter how convincingly
they did it.

"How long until the main sensor
platforms are deployed?" she asked her ops officer.  With any luck they
could at least patrol around the outer reaches of the system once they were
done and maybe find out something useful.

 

 

"City secure," Captain Orjon
heard through the tactical net. 
Well,
that's it then
, he
thought.  There was apparently not going to be anything interesting worth
seeing here.  Perhaps that meant the Primans were actually obeying the treaty
and staying out of Confed territory?  Not that the navy knew; they were so
hamstrung by their ROE that they couldn't even patrol much of their own
territory near the DMZ between Confed and the occupied space around it and
coreward.

"Alright," Orjon said over the
net, trying to not sound disappointed.  "Jumper One, you take your
mechanized troops and head for the mining company's offices and secure as per
the plan.  Jumper Two, you take the spaceport on the other side of the city. 
Tanks, we're heading back to our rally point on the outskirts to set up a
perimeter.  Bring in the rest of the vehicles, dismount, and we'll search the
city for anything interesting.  Might as well be sure nobody got left behind."

 

           

Aboard the Aniteo, the sensor techs were
about to go off-shift.  Being the most experienced at their positions, they had
been on station during the run-in and initial landings, but now with the system
clear they were turning their consoles over to the next junior officers and
would observe them at work.

"And we have this site over here
marked for gunnery practice from the Aniteo's surface bombardment guns
later," the sensor tech was telling his replacement as he pointed to a
scrap yard outside of the city limits.  Ground assaults were rare where the
Primans were concerned, and the captain had wanted to get everyone some
practice, even the crew of the huge surface bombardment batteries.  "Hang
on," he said, annoyed at the computer.  There was a glitch now, a sensor
shadow around an area behind one of the newly-deployed orbiting sensor
platforms.  "Stupid thing."  He looked over at his partner. 
"Can you check Platform Four?  We just lost a quarter of its scanning
sectors."

"Sure.  Stand by."  Clicking,
typing, swiping, the second sensor tech worked the controls at his station
while the junior officers stood behind them, eager to have their time on the
consoles and trying their best to not look annoyed.

"Oh, sheifah," the sensor tech
said in dismay.

 

 

"Captain!" Mora Grell heard the
excited call from her comm officer and was about to mention something about
maintaining composure until she saw the look in the woman's eyes. 

"What is it?" Grell asked as
she hurried to the station.

"The sensor platform feeding us this
info just got scrambled and went offline, but it sent us this."  She
tapped a spot on the touchscreen and an image sprang up on the main holo
display at the front of the bridge.  It was a huge mass of Priman capital
ships.

 

 

Captain Vol smiled as he surveyed the
formation ahead of him on the main display of his bridge.  He had two dozen
heavy cruisers at his disposal; he'd learned a painful lesson not very long ago
that one should never assume one had enough ships to deal with an enemy.  As a
result, he'd virtually demanded that his force for this operation had enough
hulls to be decisive.  Things had been uncertain until Representative Ravine,
who had become a trusted comrade and now his patron among the senior military,
simply assigned him the ships he'd requested. 

Representative Ravine stood at his side
now, sharing his knowing grin.  She saw the incoming data and drew the same
conclusions he did.  The loyal Confed forces attempting to seize this moon
could put up a solid fight, but Priman ships now carried the operational
version of the EMP torpedo that was part of their new arsenal of
electromagnetic weaponry.

"Disperse the flanking units,"
Vol ordered his ops officer.  "We don't want any of them running.  Or
surviving."

Ten of his cruisers split off to encircle
the Confed ships.  Vol's forces had been lying in wait, powered down and
virtually undetectable.  It would have prevented them from moving to intercept
an enemy and so was of limited tactical value, but the Primans had known the
Confed navy was coming and what they were after.  Those forces were now backed
up against the moon's atmosphere with his own ships converging on the sides to
cut off escape; the Confeds had nowhere to run.

Captain Vol turned to Representative
Ravine.  "Would you care to give the order?"

Ravine acknowledged with an eager grin
and nod.  She turned to the weapons crew on the starboard side of the bridge. 
"Launch EMP torpedoes."

 

 

Captain Grell was just putting the
finishing touches on a quick deployment order for her task force on her data
screen when she heard the weapons officer call out a torpedo launch.

"Why the hell would they launch this
far out?" she asked of the weapons tech as she stomped over to his
station.  "We'll have forever to let our point defense turrets generate a
shoot-list and take them down.  I suppose a few will get through, but that's a
serious waste of weapons, especially considering they don't have reloadable
tubes like we do."

BOOK: Birthright: Battle for the Confederation- Pursuit
6.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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