Captain (The United Federation Marine Corps Book 4)

BOOK: Captain (The United Federation Marine Corps Book 4)
4.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub









Colonel Jonathan P. Brazee






Copyright © 2015 Jonathan Brazee


Semper Fi Press

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.


This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.



I want to thank all those who took the time to pre-read this book, catching my mistakes in both content and typing.  I would like to thank my good friend, Lizzette Contraras for helping me with my Spanish,  and  I want to thank John Baker, my editor, for catching my many typos and mistakes.  Any remaining typos and inaccuracies are solely my fault.



Original Cover Art by
Panicha Kasemsukkaphat




Chapter 1



“Come on, give me something!” Captain Ryck Lysander, United Federation Marine Corps pleaded with his AI.

Somewhere, ahead of him, the remaining opposing forces were holed up, and Ryck needed to know just where they were if he was going to succeed.  The OF, on the other hand, were doing everything they could to jam and spoof Charlie Company’s sensors, and they were doing a pretty good job at it.  A ghost contact flared briefly on his PICS’ face shield readout before fading.  Had his AI penetrated the opposing countermeasures, or was that a clever misdirection?

Charlie Company had entered the built-up area at full strength:  212 PICS-mounted Marines and sailors.  At the moment, there were exactly 31 bright blue icons on his display, 31 Marines left to carry on the fight.  This was his first operation as a company commander, and within hours, he’d lost 85% of his men. He knew that his every move was being watched and analyzed, but he tried to suppress that thought and focus on the task at hand.  He couldn’t worry about what the evaluators or the CO thought about his actions.

“Sams!” he passed on the P2P.  “Can you see anything?”

Gunnery Sergeant Bobbi Samuelson was his only staff NCO left.  He and Sams went way back, and he’d brought Sams along with him when he took over the company, along with First Sergeant
and a few others of his trusted crew.

“A lot of nothing,” Sams answered.  “Their shielding is too good.”

“I’m thinking—no, I’m pretty sure—that the main body has to be in M344,” Ryck said, indicating a three-story office building some 200 meters and two roads ahead of them. 

Every building, intersection, and landmark had been assigned an alpha-numeric designator which made identification simple and quick.

“That’s where I would be,” he continued.

“And maybe that’s where they want you to think they are,” Sams countered.

“You’re an evil bastard, Sams,” Ryck told him.  “Well, we can’t sit here.  We’ve got 58 minutes until the main landing force arrives, and this town needs to be clear before then.”

The new face shields had an improved eye interface, and with a little practice, using the interface was almost as easy as using a pen and plastisheet. Through a series of ocular gymnastics, he passed an overlay to what was left of Sergeant Kashmala’s squad.  The sergeant was the third senior surviving man of the company, and Ryck needed him to clear the left flank and provide security for a final assault by the rest of the company.

Kashmala acknowledged the order and within moments, the seven blue icons on Ryck’s display started to move.  Ryck then whipped up another frag
to get the remainder of the company ready.  The original ops order had been trashed almost at first contact, and the remainder of the fight had been through a series of frags.   With his lieutenants and most of his staff SNCOs lost, Ryck had been effectively reduced to being a platoon commander again—which might have been appropriate given the fact that he had less than a platoon-sized force left.

Sams and Sergeant Mercure acknowledged the frag while Ryck motioned in the three Marines and Doc Pure Soul, who he had gathered into a small headquarters, to gather around.  Frag overlays were fine, but a face-to-face was better.

“Look, time’s running out,” he said over his externals.  “We’ve got Sergeant Kashmala and his team moving up on our left flank, and the rest of the company needs to cross Route Tiblisi so we can be in position to assault their last stronghold.  But if you look here,” he said, highlighting M213, “the underground passes below it.  If I was trying to keep out a company of PICS Marines, and I knew they had to cross Tiblisi, I think M213 would be a good spot to refuse the crossing, and if it got too hot, I’m thinking there’s an entrance to the underground here.  So the five of us are going to take care of that. 

“Only, what did I say about breaching buildings?”

“No doors,” LCpl Jersey Hollington quickly offered.

“Right, no doors.  No, we’re going through the wall right here,” he indicated on their displays.

“Through the wall, sir?” Doc asked.

“Yeah, I don’t care what the grubbing ROE says, I’m in it to win it, and I’m tired of this shit.  We’re in PICS, and we’re going to use them,” he said.

“Ooh-rah!” the others chimed in. 

“Sams,” he passed on the P2P.   “Give me two minutes, then I want you to move it.  Tiblisi’s going to be covered, but we don’t have much choice.  I’ll be securing M213, so get your ass across as fast as you can.”

“Roger that.”

Ryck wished he would have been leading the crossing instead of Sams, but the vagaries of the battle meant that Second Platoon, with which Ryck had been moving, had been decimated, while Third, with Sams, had been the least hit.  Ryck didn’t want to think of First Platoon, and with it, the first sergeant.  The entire platoon had been wiped out to the last man.

There was a flash of an explosion up ahead to the left, and immediately, the seven blue icons of Kashmala’s team turned to gray.

“Mother grubbing shit!” Ryck yelled. 

Just like that, his left flank security was gone.  It had to have been a pretty big booby trap to take out seven Marines in PICS.

He had to move.  He couldn’t give the enemy the initiative.  Charlie Company had been pushing, and he knew he was hurting the OF, keeping him on his heels.  But the enemy was on the defense, and that gave him the advantage of shaping the battle space to suit his needs, not those of Ryck and Charlie Company.

“OK, let’s move it!” he shouted at the others.  With a servo-powered jump, he cleared the almost three-meter-high wall, easily landing on the other side.  He immediately moved into a run, building up momentum.  A PICS could get up to 40 KPH, and at 900 kg, that should generate more than enough force to destroy the wall of his target.  He had just picked his spot when Hollington sprinted  past him, leaned forward and slammed into the wall, or more accurately,
it, in a cloud of dust and rubble.

Ryck’s instincts had been right on.  There were four of the OF in the room, weapons trained to cover Tiblisi.  With clear fields of fire, they would have had a Turkey shoot with Sam’s force.

Ryck immediately took the one with the big autocannon under fire.  His M222 was made for close quarters like this, and it poured kilojoules of energy into the other guy’s armor.  Within seconds, his opponent was dead, and he slumped to the ground, back against the wall.  Ryck could swear he saw the enemy give him the finger as he went down.

Energy weapons sizzled while Hollington’s M77 put out a steady stream of 8mm fire, each round a flash of red light. Ryck’s shields started to degrade to the danger point when one of Hollington’s rounds penetrated and took Ryck’s attacker out.

It had taken only moments, but the room was secure.  He’d lost PFC Gnish, though.  He was down to four here and 23 with Sams.  He should feel sick to his stomach, but that would come later.  Now, he had to keep his head and lead his men.

“Sams, move it!” he passed on the P2P, only to cringe as a horrible caterwauling filled his interior speakers.  He tried to lower the volume when the sound stopped.  With his ears ringing, he tried to call Sams again.

“Sams, do you read me?”


He switched back to the command circuit.  “Any listener, do you read me?”

Still nothing.

Those mother-grubbing sons of bitches!  They’ve taken out the comms!
he realized.

He pulled open the window to motion Sams across, but as he looked, big PICS were dashing across the road some 150 meters away.  Sams had already started to move.

One Marine stopped as he was hit and went to the ground.  The rest, at least from Ryck’s vantage point, made it.  They would be 100, maybe 120 meters from the objective.  A PICS could cover that over open ground in seconds.  With another building between them and someone trying to stop them, it seemed like forever.

“Hey, Skipper!” Hollington shouted out over his externals.  “You were right about the underground.  Looks like there’s an entrance here.”

Ryck went over and took a look at the hatch where his lance corporal was standing. There were no lights below, so Ryck switched on his infrared torches and went to night vision.  The stairs went down one flight to a landing, and he could see another flight of stairs leading farther down.  He pulled up the city schematics again, but he knew he wouldn’t see anything.  The schematics became notoriously inaccurate when combat loomed.  It made sense, however, given the layout to the city, that the underground would run close to this location.

The stairs leading down, though, looked pretty shaky.  He glanced back at the dead enemy. They were in armor as well, and if they had arrived via the underground, then the stairs should hold his men and him.  If they had come using the surface streets, then the stairs could just be a trap waiting to collapse under their weight.  Still, the thought of possibly making it behind his objective had some real tactical appeal.

“Sir, we’ve got someone coming in,” LCpl Jaanson called out.

Ryck immediately checked his display, but the company disposition was frozen to the moment when they’d lost comms.  Things like the city schematics could be pulled because they had been downloaded into his PICS, but no new data was available.

Jaanson reached through the window and motioned the two runners around in back of the small building to come in through the breached wall.

“Sir, Gunny Samuelson sent us to let you know he’s going to go through with the assault.  He’s going to go through M315 if you want to link up with him there.”

Ryck didn’t know who was inside the PICS facing him, and with the system out, he couldn’t pull it up.  It didn’t matter.

He looked back at the stairwell leading down.  This could be one of the shifting winds of opportunity that could bring success, or it could be a deathtrap.

Make up your grubbing mind, Ryck!
he told himself. 
You’re the commander, so command!

Any action was better than inaction, and that settled it.  As the old earth wet-water navy hero, John Paul Jones, said, “He who will not risk, cannot win.”  He was going all in on this.

“You, get back to the gunny.  Tell him to move around and be seen.  But I don’t want him to assault before . . .” he paused to look at his display timer, “. . . 10:43 local.  Then I want him to hit them with everything he’s got!  But watch long for friendlies.  

“You,” he said, pointing to the second runner, “what’s your name?”

ller, sir, Third Platoon.”

“Well, M
ller, you’re now with my headquarters element.  You’re staying with me.

“And you, go!  What are you waiting for?” he told the first runner.

As the unnamed runner took off, Ryck gathered his four fighters.  “Hollington, I want you to go down the stairs.  We’ll be watching.  If you get to the bottom, and it’s part of the underground, shot back up.  Doc, you and M
ller stay her and provide security.  Jaanson, you and I are going to watch Hollington.  Let’s do it!”

Ryck kept watching his readout.  Even if the underground gave him a straight shot, he was cutting it close.  But he was running out of time.  He just hoped he wasn’t sending Sams and the rest on a suicide mission.

He watched Hollington slowly make his way down the metal stairs.  They creaked, and Ryck could see them stress under Hollington’s weight, but they held. 

“I’m in the tunnel,” Hollington blasted over his externals from below.

Ryck winced.  He should have told him to signal them with a light or something.  If anyone was there in the underground, he would have heard the lance corporal, too.

“Jaanson, go,” he told the lance corporal.

“I’m next, then Doc, then M
ller, you come in after Doc.  Wait until each of us clears the stairs until the next one gets on.”

It took almost three long minutes, three minutes Ryck wasn’t sure he had, before all five were in the underground.  It was pitch dark, but the infrared torches on a PICS were pretty powerful, and with their night vision turned on, they could see the entire passage tunnel.  Using hand-and-arm signals, they moved in the direction of their objective.  It was the correct choice.  Within 30 meters, the tunnel joined the station. 

The turnstile almost stymied them.  This was an industrial strength turnstile, and none of them had any credits, even if the power had been on.  They tried bending the gate, but it was way over-engineered and didn’t even flex under the combined power of two PICS.  They were wasting time when M
ller, who was providing security, pointed at an attendant’s booth.  This wasn’t nearly as strong, and while it was a tight fit, each of them was able to pass through and onto the maglev tracks.

If the power had been on, the maglev tracks would have proved tricky for a Marine in a PICS.  With the power off, though, the tracks were just a nice path for them to follow.

Underground, Ryck was blind as to where they were.  He could pull up the schematics, and he knew where they had entered the underground, but that was about it.  He pulled a grid over the schematics and counted out the distance to their objective.  It was 175 meters.  But that objective would be somewhere above them.  This underground had to have an exit or at least an access tunnel, and Ryck was guessing that would be at the I28 intersection 200 meters beyond the objective. 

BOOK: Captain (The United Federation Marine Corps Book 4)
4.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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