Authors: Mason Elliott
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Alien Invasion, #Colonization, #First Contact, #Galactic Empire, #Military, #Space Marine, #Space Opera
The Citation Series, Naero’s War: Book Two
High Mark Publishing
Seattle & Portland, Chicago, London
The Citation Series, Naero’s War: Book Two
© 2014 by Mason Elliott. All rights reserved.
Published by High Mark Publishing
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Titles by Mason Elliott
The Spacer Clans Adventures
The Citation Series
Naero’s War, Book One: THE ANNEXATION WAR
Naero’s War, Book Two: THE HIGH CRUSADE
Naero’s War, Book Three: NAERO’S TRIAL*
Short Fiction in Ebook Format
Fantasy with Author Garan R. R. Faraday
Mergeworld, Book 1
Mergeworld, Book 2
Mergeworld, Book 3*
After Nilar-2, Mystic adept Naero Amashin Maeris was officially attached to the Marines of Bravo Command, and rushed to join her new official unit on Ovedar-3. No longer just an advisor, but as an MCL, or Mystic Combat Liaison, she would serve her first mission with Marine Company 36, 250 elite Bravo Marines in total.
Marine Company 36 consisted of five reinforced platoons of fifty Marines each. One Command or HQ platoon, one mek/heavy mekanized weapons platoon, and three rifle platoons. Their commander was Major Ivana Luna, and the XO was Captain Viho Cheyenne. The Combat Field Commander was Captain Samson Konrad, with Combat Field First Leftenant Yaeden Adams. First Sergeant Samuel Gordon and Gunnery Sergeant Peyton Valmont and all of their aides filled out the Command staff. Each of the five platoons had their own leaders, squads, and fireteams.
She had never met or served with any of these people directly, nor they her.
Naero had obtained permission from General Walker himself to join her new unit in disguise at first, as just another new recruit/replacement named Miranda Allen. She wanted to get to know her new mates on a personal level before they just saw her as a Mystic ringer who was simply tacked onto the company like a secret weapon of some kind.
And she wanted them to get to know her, as well. If they were going to be fighting together during the course of a long war, she wanted all of them to be on the same wavelength.
Miranda-Naero jumped down to the surface of Ovedar-3 with all of her Marine gear. The planet was an earthlike with extended polar regions, not glaciers. The habitable zones were contained in a band that covered about two-thirds of the planet’s surface, centered around the equator up through much of the tropics.
Ovedar-3 had been a peaceful, Joshua Tech border world with the Alliance before the war. The Ejjai Invasion had penetrated this far and had been attacking and killing on the planet’s surface for only thirteen hours.
Thirteen hours too long for any world.
The bloodred invader fleets quickly overwhelmed the sparse system defenders, on a world that had not known any hostilities in more than a century. Now, Ejjai clone shocktroops swarmed around and encircled the ten largest population centers on a sleepy world of three billion sentients, mostly human landers. Now those landers scrambled in terrified panic to defend themselves with any meager means of defense that came to hand, against a hyper-violent, implacable foe who simply wanted to process them all into frozen, carrion meat blocks.
Miranda-Naero reported for duty, a replacement for a Marine who had been seriously wounded in the action on nearby Kulator-6. Naero had briefly read about the intense action there.
She wanted to meet her new mates and settle in with them, see how they operated, win them over a little before she went all MCL on them. Her actual rank would put her equal to or just under the commanding major, and that could be a barrier as well.
She wanted to be one of them. One of their team.
Elite warriors were a rare, complex breed, and as close-knit as any family that depended on each other for their very lives.
To be accepted as a part of such a family, she would have to earn it–as a Marine, a Spacer, and as a person. Just jamming her in with them did not gain her anything. And even worse, from what she had heard from some of the other Mystics, MCLs were often shifted around by Command on whim and impersonal appointment. Many Spacer Marines viewed the Mystics as something spooky, or even inhuman.
“Pfc Allen,” the platoon leader on duty called out to her on sight. The second leftenant ushered her into a nearby nanohut and went behind a desk to confirm the new replacement’s arrival and duty orders.
“Just a moment, Allen.”
They were inside, out of view, so Naero snapped to and saluted, ready for anything. “Yes, sir!”
The officer looked up with a smile and returned the salute crisply. “At ease, Allen. Welcome to forward base Baker-3. I’m 2
Platoon Leader, Second Leftenant Ana Wilde. Get you and your gear squared away with your new squad next door, Squad 2, under Staff Sergeant Owen Valmont. You’ll be in Fireteam 2 with Sergeant Milton Ramsey. You know what you’re in for with us, right?”
“What’s that, sir?”
“This is a large scale invasion war, and it’s going to be fast and hot–a deadly marathon. We could drop down every day and slug it out in a new place, even a new world. Each day you’re going to fight until you collapse. Bravo’s going to be the tip of a very bloody spear, and it does not end until the invaders are all crushed. You got that, Marine?”
She nodded. “Copy, that, sir. That’s what I’m here for.”
The leftenant grinned. “Good. Again, welcome and dismissed. Get over there and join your squad.”
Naero saluted again. “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”
A few steps across the way and she entered an even larger, barracks-style nanohut for 2
Platoon and its four squads. It almost exactly resembled their quarters aboard their awaiting Marine dropship.
With the soundproofing, you couldn’t hear anything from the outside. The mixture of noise and quiet that she walked into like a sudden wall within was to be expected.
There were about forty-nine other Marines besides herself, all sleeping, joking around, reading, arguing, gambling craps with dice off to one side, or checking their gear. A few were sparring in pairs or practicing blade techniques in other open spaces.
The barracks was dark inside, except for the well-lit parts over by the bunks and the latrine.
Miranda-Naero spotted a bored-looking corporal on watch duty, sitting at a tiny desk, sipping a citrus lix pak and yawning as he watched a WebBall sports match on a pad.
He didn’t look at her. “Name?” he muttered.
With a sudden tumult from further within the nanohut, Naero hadn’t heard what he said. “What?” she tried to shout over the din.
The corporal shouted, “What’s your name, rook?”
She walked up closer to the desk. “Pfc Miranda Allen, attached to 2
Platoon, Squad 2, Fireteam 2.”
The corporal froze his pad and put it down, crumpling up the lix pak and tossing it over into the recycler. He was a mid-sized man, in excellent shape as all the Bravo Marines were. Maybe in his mid-twenties, but his eyes already looked sunken a little. A plain face, with plain brown eyes. This guy did not smile much she guessed, for whatever reasons.
He muttered a question under his breath as to whether they were sending them midgets now. Naero was very short.
But she still took offense.
“Who sent you here, Allen?”
“I just saw Second Leftenant Wilde–”
Scott started a bit and raised one eyebrow. “You saw the Anaconda…and she was in a good mood?”
“I…guess so. Why do they call her–”
“Leftenant Anaconda Wilde. They call her that because she throttles the life out of dumbass rooks when they inevitably screw up in the field. Then she swallows them whole, digests them, and shits out their bones. Got that, rook? You don’t fuck with the Anaconda”
“I didn’t. Loud and clear, Corporal…?”
“Scott. Corporal Baylor Scott. Call me Baylor, Scott, or Corporal.” He waved a finger for emphasis. “None of that Scottie crap, or you’ll wake up wet in your bunk with your cute little nipples sliced clean off, sweetness. Copy that, rook?”
“I copy, Corporal.”
“Okay. I’m sorry. Not trying to be a prick. I’m just sensitive about my name, is all.” He looked over at the mob and yelled out, “Hey, Sarge…Sergeant Val!” A tall, lanky sergeant with red hair looked over. Scott muttered under his breath again. “Yeah, you, ya moronic ape. Look this way.” He spoke out loud again. “Stagger over here, Sarge. Come hold the hand of our new little rook, Allen. She needs some milk and cookies. Tuck her in tonight and sing her a lullaby before she gets her dumb ass shot off tomorrow.”
The sergeant bounded over with long strides of his gangly legs. He was like a huge gamboling puppy, with oversized hands and feet.
But he seemed cheerful and good-natured enough, compared to Corporal Scott. But Non-coms could be mercurial in nature. Sweet and supportive one second, bitter and harsh the next. Valmont even shook her hand.
“Welcome aboard,” Valmont told her. He had hazel eyes and short red hair. He was early to mid-twenties at best. He probably couldn’t even grow a full beard still. “Is Scott giving you his brand of shit?”
Miranda-Naero grinned. “Why no, Sarge. Except for threatening to de-nipple me in my sleep, he’s been a perfect gentleman.”
Valmont chuckled. “Makes the gals swoon, he does. Scott’s a regular Max Lii. It’s a wonder he’s still single. Come with me and store your gear, find your bunk, and meet the rest of these goons, Allen.”
“Oh, goodie!” she squealed.
Scott only glared at them both for a second, and then flipped his pad back up.
Of course all forty-seven of the others either ignored her or tried to overwhelm her at first.
“Yeah, yeah, show some imagination,” she told them. “All of the short jokes are too easy. I’ve heard ’em all before, many times over. So think up some new material!”
Miranda-Naero did her best to hold her own and keep up as she stashed her gear in her equipment locker, her personal effects and extra clothes in her trunk. Valmont helped her re-code her seclocks with her thumbprint.
Finally she came to her bunk up top and could relax a bit. The others tried to settle down and go back to what they were doing.
Sergeant Valmont did his best to make the initial formal introductions. “All right you goons, shut your holes and listen up. This is our new rook, Miranda Allen. Look out for her and show her what to do, if there’s something she don’t know.”
The others howled at him. “Yeah, yeah, Sarge. Sure, sure.”
Someone from one of the other squads shouted over as soon as it got quieter. “Tell the dumb bitch she’s on her own, you jacking tossers!”
Some laughed, some shouted insults back at the heckler.
Valmont suddenly roared at them, “Shut the hell up, you stupid rock apes!” That put them down.
Sergeant Valmont picked up where he’d left off. “Allen, welcome to 2
Platoon, led by Second Leftenant Ana Wilde. I’m the second in command of the Platoon, Staff Sergeant Owen Valmont, leader of Squad 2 and Fireteam 1, along with Debra Steiner, Waylon Aztec, and Wallace Archer.”
A few said “Hey,” or waved briefly, but they didn’t look at her. The others kept gambling. Miranda-Naero waved weakly, but didn’t say anything.
Valmont kept going. “You’ll be in Squad 2, Fireteam 2, with your fireteam leader, Sergeant Milton Ramsey. Milt, say hello to Allen, your new rook.”
Sergeant Ramsey was too busy rolling the bones, and winced as he went bust. “Shit it all–snakes!”
Miranda-Naero just grinned. Valmont kept going. “And here’s the rest of Fireteam 2: Bessa Jackson and Acer Adams.”
Jackson was up in the top bunk across from hers. She had dark eyes, a big smile, short, straight, glistening white hair, and skin like dark chocolate. She was long, powerful, and curvy. “Damn, itty-bitty. You’d best watch yourself among these horndogs. Us gungals gotta stick tight. You let me know. Any of these go-go-rillas even looks at you wrong, and I’ll kick my size eights so far up their hatch that we’ll have to have ’em made inta boots!”
Everyone liked that one, even Miranda-Naero. They all had a good laugh.
A handsome looking mook with short, dark, wavy hair leaned out from the bunk below and smiled, exposing his guns as he stretched what looked to be a pretty amazing physique. Intense gray eyes openly leered up at her. “They call me Acer, baby-girl. Acer Adams. Cause I ace everything. Every foe I’ve met has tried and died, and my women all stay satisfied. And I’ll be under you tonight, honeycakes–dreaming of you moaning in my arms, and giving me your tight, sweet, sweet love.”
Miranda-Naero rolled her eyes. “Haisha, Ace. You know, I hate neutering lover-boy clowns like you. All that blood, and the girlie-screams when I make that slice. Owie. Please, let’s not go there.”
The unit hooted and hollered at both of them.
Acer was unfazed. “Yeah…she wants me. Only a matter of time. They all come around.”
“Yeah, sure,” Bessa said, “and that’s just the guys.” More laughter.
“See? Everyone wants a piece of this,” Acer said, quite pleased with himself.
He had to duck and dodge when the others started throwing stuff at him.
Sergeant Valmont laughed right along with the rowdy lot. “All right, you goons. Ace, keep that diseased tool of yours in its cage. Allen, you already met our other loverboy, Scott. He’s the leader of Fireteam 3 with Chime Fox, Falco Borelli, and Trisha Marshall.”
The three of them actually looked up and nodded. In unison, they all said, “Hey, Allen.”
Miranda-Naero smiled back. “Hey guys.”
Chime Fox was also shorter–but still fifteen millimeters taller than Miranda-Naero. Chime had brown eyes and short golden hair. She had a stack of paperbacks–real-life actual books-in a plascrate next to her.