Authors: C. E. Martin
BLACK KNIGHT DOWN
BLACK KNIGHT DOWN
(Stone Soldiers #5)
Copyright 2013 by C.E. Martin
This book is a work of fiction. The characters, names, places and events are purely fictional and not based on any real event. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
All Rights Reserved. No portion of this work may be reproduced without the express written permission of the author, [email protected], with the exception of excerpts for the purposes of review or discussion, as explained in the Fair Use Act.
thanks for letting me get this one done!
Stone Soldiers Adventures (Prequel Short Stories)
Stone Soldiers: Catching Fire
Stone Soldiers: City of Bones
Stone Soldiers: Sea of Monsters
The Stone Soldiers Series
(Stone Soldiers #1)
Brothers in Stone
(Stone Soldiers #2)
Blood and Stone
(Stone Soldiers #3)
Shades of War
(Stone Soldiers #4)
Black Knight Down
(Stone Soldiers #5)
(Stone Soldiers #6) (Coming Soon)
To combat the supernatural, the U.S. Military has formed a Joint Forces Unit comprised of psychics and super soldiers. Based in Miami, Florida, Detachment 1039 responds to threats conventional forces cannot handle.
Stone Soldiers- men turned to living stone- lead the battle against the forces of darkness. Comprised of former special forces operatives, a post-cognitive psychic and a Cold War-era super soldier with the power of electrokinesis, the Stone Soldiers are led by America's oldest super soldier: Colonel Mark Kenslir. Rendered immortal by a combination of curses that grant him the enhanced strength and endurance and possessing a natural resistance to magic, the Colonel has defended America for over sixty years. Training a new generation of super soldiers, he and the Stone Soldiers are aided in their fight against evil by Josie Winters- a cryokinetic who can freeze objects with her mind- and Dr. Laura Olson- a vampire M.D. who uses her undead powers to kill, or to heal- all in the name of National security.
Together, the Detachment puts their lives on the line to protect America from the mythical and the magical…
Sir Reginald Brenton briefly wondered if he was the first Druid in space. Despite his years of practicing the ancient arts of his ancestors, he could not help but wonder at the majesty of the stars outside his small spacecraft,
. The view was simply magical.
Sir Reginald tore his eyes off the glory of the heavens and focused on his instrument panel once more. According to his timer, he would be back within communications range of England in another forty five minutes. More than enough time to complete his mission.
No one had batted an eye when the eccentric entrepreneur announced he would personally handle
's first commercial satellite deployment. He had been flying aircraft for years and had come to be known for his hands-on approach to his thriving financial empire. An empire built not just on his business acumen but on a healthy stipend from the Crown for the magical services he rendered his beloved England.
Sir Reginald rotated his craft around and adjusted his speed, retrojets firing to slow the orbiting craft to match his flight plan. A flight plan he had calculated himself and which was markedly different from the one he had filed with NORAD, NASA, the ESA and all the other myriad organizations that watched the heavens intently. Different because he was sure they would object and wonder just what he was doing if he had revealed his exact destination.
He glanced out the thick windows of the
again, straining to see the object his new employers guaranteed would be there. But if the object they sought was in orbit as they claimed, it was swallowed in the blackness of Earth's shadow.
Sir Reginald remotely opened the cargo doors of his craft and released the small satellite he had been paid to place in orbit at these very specific coordinates, at this very specific time, on this night of the full moon.
As it cleared the
cargo bay, the satellite looked like any other put into orbit by man. A spinning, silvery thing with foils and panels and antenna, carried away from Sir Reginald's craft by the faintest puffs of compressed air.
The satellite rotated in place, both on its axis and around so that its main engine faced parallel to the
line of travel. Blue-white gas leapt from the engine and the satellite pushed further away.
Sir Reginald activated a receiver on his craft, cueing the camera feed from the satellite. He was most curious to see this object the Americans had paid him to intercept.
The spinning satellite closed its distance with the target, rotating around again and firing its engine to slow its approach. Arms on the satellite began to unfold- not to spread out solar panels for the collection of power, but to reach out in spidery fashion like the fingers of an enormous hand.
The target was now just visible in the cameras. A long, gleaming black tube, some nine feet in diameter and thirty-six feet in length. The satellite continued to drift closer, rotating back around and using its retrojets to slow its speed now.
As his remote camera got closer to the object, Sir Reginald realized it was not made of metal. It appeared glasslike- black, like obsidian. And it was inscribed with something- symbols, all along its outer surface, from one end to the other.
The satellite finally reached the target, a small airbag deploying suddenly to absorb the impact of collision. The long, spidery arms extending from the satellite immediately sprang into action- suddenly gripping the huge construct like a claw. The arms were so long, they encircled the massive object, touching each other on the far side of it. Sparks erupted in space as the ends of the claws welded each other together, gripping the strange black construct in an unbreakable embrace.
Panels now jettisoned off the sides of the satellite, revealing large, glowing crystals, each nearly the size of a basketball. They glowed dimly in earth's shadow- like the sinister eyes of some mythical creature.
"Those witches better be right," Sir Reginald grumbled under his breath. He had just spent a sizeable amount of his fortune to put this strange satellite in orbit, intersecting the weird, artificial construct as it circled the earth in its north to south polar orbit.
If his employers had lied to him in any way, had exaggerated what this construct was or worse- tried to renege on their deal to share its contents- there would be hell to pay.
Hundreds of miles below Sir Reginald and the private spacecraft
, Jane Drowley was intent on making a payment to Hell. In human blood.
Her silver blade held high over her head, Jane chanted out the ancient words she had been taught by her predecessor while her four companions held the sacrifice by her arms and legs.
The young girl's eyes were filled with horror as moonlight glinted off the blade held over her, but she could not scream or even move- Jane and her cohorts had administered a drug to the child to prevent that.
!" Jane finished. Her arms tightened and she started to plunge the long, curved blade down into the child's chest and into her heart.
Instead, something very sharp sliced through the air and removed both of Jane's hands in one clean stroke. Jane's arms came down, severed several inches above the wrists, spurting out blood. Her knife, still clutched in her white-knuckled hands, clattered as it bounced off the large, table-like rock the child was held down on.
Jane's eyes blinked rapidly in confusion as her hands and knife landed by her feet. Then the pain of the sudden, double amputation reached her brain and she opened her mouth to scream.
The point of the blade that had removed Jane's hands and saved her captive's life now erupted from her chest- just to the left of her sternum. It had been thrust through her body with inhuman strength- through her back, her heart and out the front of her dark robe. It choked out the scream in Jane's throat and she died instantly.
"What the-?!" Kristine McIntosh declared, releasing the hand of the paralyzed sacrifice. Like her sisters, she hadn't quite figured out what was happening yet.
The knife that had just cleaved Jane Drowley's heart in two was pulled from her back, the point vanishing back inside her chest, allowing her body to drop to the ground. Which in turn revealed her killer.
He was well over six feet tall. He was covered in long, dark tatters and strings of grass and weeds- resembling a two armed bush of monstrous proportions, with no face.
At the child's feet, Tina Kerut released her grip on the captive's other wrist and grabbed for the wand tucked into the sash tied around her ritual robes. As her fingers brushed the end of the wand the bush man moved with lightning speed, a grassy arm extending and releasing a large knife in an underhanded throw.
The knife- large enough to be considered a small sword in some eras- sliced through the air as though shot from a cannon, moving faster than any baseball player could hope to throw. In less than a heartbeat it found its mark- the blade puncturing Tina's robe, chest and heart with bone-breaking force. She staggered backwards then collapsed to the ground, dead.
!" Jennifer Maas declared, her wand extended. A brilliant flash of orange light swept out from the end of her wand, moving nearly as fast as the thrown knife and engulfing the grassy man.
Green light flared from within the thick strands of grass and sticks on two legs. Then a second knife sliced through the air and scored another terrifyingly-accurate hit- this time to Jennifer's heart. She staggered backwards, her wand dropping from her fingers. As the gnarled stick hit the ground, so did Jennifer’s lifeless body.
!" Kristine McIntosh and Kimberly Vaughn exclaimed in unison, wands extended like fencing blades.
The gnarled sticks each unleashed streams of purple energy, like whips toward their attacker. But where purple energy met green and brown grasses, green light flared from deep within the mass of plant material. And the purple tendrils of living energy exploded brightly.
Then the grassy man raised his hand. In it was a black, Desert Eagle magnum, semi-automatic handgun, with silencer attached.
The huge pistol barked loudly twice- sending its .50 caliber, Action Express rounds deep into Kristine's chest, exploding her heart and ripping open her back.
Kimberly Vaughn's jaw dropped open and she stood there like a deer caught in the headlights of a car, completely baffled. Her last thought was that for a silenced gun, the huge semi auto was far louder than she ever would have guessed.
There followed two more hip-fired shots, each scoring perfect hits in the fifth witch's chest, causing her body to slump to the ground, dead, like her sisters.
The grassy man's hand and pistol disappeared back into the mass of vegetation covering him. With his other hand, he reached up and pulled off the thick hood of his ghillie suit.
dn't you be running?" he asked, his unmasked face still obscured by the shadows.
Laura Hickma was too scared to run. Standing just outside the goat's blood circle poured on the ground around the sacrifice and where her sister's had just been murdered, she had been hoping that her dark ritualistic robes would keep her hidden. But the large man with streaks of green and black painted over his face, and large, over-sized tactical goggles seemed to be staring right at her.
The man took a step forward, out of the shadows from which he had emerged and into the moonlight. He was clearly visible now as a man- a man in a suit made of fibers, cloth strips and grass. The kind of suit Laura had seen on some TV special on military snipers. Clean shaven, the man’s young-looking face was partially covered by streaks of dark green camouflage face paint and a pair of large tactical goggles.
Knowing that her opponent was flesh and blood, and not some monster conjured from the netherworld did not reassure her. The soldier standing before her had just murdered her entire coven in less time than it took Laura to stir a pot.
Suddenly, running seemed like a very good idea.
The last witch turned and dashed off through the woods, throwing back her hood to reveal her purple hair- and to help her see better as she sprinted away in a panic. Her long robe caught at her feet and nearly tripped her, but somehow she kept running. Dry branches from trees scraped at her face and arms and she flailed at them, trying to work her way through the thick forest which she and her sisters had carried the unlucky trick or treater they had abducted.
Back at the small clearing, the soldier stepped forward and checked the pulse of the small girl on the rock. "Shhhh, you're okay now," he whispered.
Satisfied the girl's heart rate was strong, he pressed a needle to the side of her neck and administered a quick shot. The rapid fluttering of the child's eyes slowed, then her eyes closed, peacefully.
"Control? Do you have my position?" the soldier asked.
From a tiny speaker made into the rim of the goggles he wore, the soldier received an immediate response. "We have you on satellite, Colonel- medics are closing and will be on site in three minutes."
The soldier turned, and sprinted away from the sedated child, moving swiftly through the forest after the last witch. In his field of view, the oversized goggles displayed a variety of information in head-up display: his compass heading, altitude, GPS coordinates and a glowing arrow pointing back behind him, with a red cross in a circle. An indicator for the team of combat medics now hauling ass through the forest to the site where the Colonel had just killed five witches.
The Colonel moved with inhuman speed through the forest, powerful legs propelling him faster than they should. He ducked and dodged the trees packed tightly in the dark woods- occasionally lashing out to sever the smaller limbs and trunks- those the diameter of baseball bats. He made a great and terrible crashing noise as he ran, blazing a path of broken and splintered wood.
Laura heard this noise- a noise that seemed to be growing louder and louder, approaching her. Her sides were now burning and her feet hurt. Her breath came in great, ragged wheezes. She was clearly out of shape- her diet of organic produce and soy products no substitute for vitamins and exercise.
At last, she stumbled out of the woods- to the side of a two-lane road in the middle of nowhere. She glanced left and right, and finally saw the minivan she and her sisters had driven here in.
Somehow, she pushed herself on, barely able to keep upright as the terrible crashing was catching up to her. She fumbled under her robes and finally got her keys out and triggered the remote door lock on the van.
She slid on the wet pavement of the road as she ran around to the driver's side, nearly falling. Again, luck was with her and she managed to stay upright. She reached the driver's door and flung it open and dove inside. As she did, she realized the terrible crashing sounds from the forest- of trees being toppled as if by some large beast- had stopped.
Laura locked her door and plunged her key toward the ignition. But suddenly, her van was jolted by a mighty blow- as if another vehicle had struck it in the side. She felt herself nearly thrown from the seat as the van rocked from the impact. The keys for the ignition fell from her grasp.