Here is an (un-edited) sneak peek at Do Not Go Gentle, the sequel to Rage of Angels:
Space Marines my ass…
There was a crashing/splintering sound to Char’s right and a strobe-bright muzzle blast illuminated the fire-shot darkness. The suit next to Char disintegrated, the slave arms flying through the air. An Abrahms main battle tank had crashed through a building down the block and fired. THOR suits were described as ‘resistant’ to small-arms fire up to 12.7mm; it didn’t even slow down the depleted-uranium penetrator from the tank’s 120mm smooth-bore.
Char put three armor-piercing bursts from her TSIW through the front sprocket of the tank. It was thick and strong, but the shots weakened it and the seventy-tone weigh of the tank twisted it, throwing the track and immobilizing it. Her eyes flicked to a series of icons on her HUD. Two kilometers away a HIVE2 missile boosted straight up from its launcher, and a countdown started on her HUD. The barrel began to track towards her, and she moved. She didn’t fire again either; the heavy slugs wouldn’t penetrate the tanks frontal armor. She didn’t seek cover; nothing in this town would stop or even deflect a round from the tanks main gun.
A good loader could have the gun reloaded in eight seconds or so. At five seconds the HIVE2 missile plunged through the top armor of the tank. The turret lifted several inches and white fire shot out, then the hatches blew and geysers of white flame roared into the night like giant blow-torches.
Seivers, she thought. That was the name of the newbie that just bought it. More missiles flashed down from above and she saw a turret flipping into the air, high enough to be visible over the rooftops. The sound of small-arms fire was becoming sporadic and dying away.
The suit’s com spoke. “All broadsword units stand down. The enemy is in retreat with National Guard units in pursuit. Stand by for orders.”
Broadsword was the THOR unit call sign, and at this point Char was more than willing to take a moment. Cracking suit on a mission was against regulations, but at the moment Char did not give a good goddamn about that. Space Marines my ass, she thought again. All we’ve been doing so far is hammering shit-kickers with delusions of grandeur…
She shivered as the crisp air of the Montana night on her skin suit gave her a chill. They had in fact been to space. Once. Three months after Hammerfall, when the asteroid nick-named ‘Mjolnir’ had knocked the crap out of the Marabunta mother-ship and sent them fleeing into the deep solar system, their unit had been lifted into orbit in a cargo module on an RBFR to spend a day trying out the new MMUs in their modified suits. The launch was kind of exciting but hanging out in orbit in a big empty hold for hours while tests were run and adjustments made was definitely not. The MMU training had been comedy gold however.
There’d been nothing funny about tonight’s action though. The Free Montana People’s Militia had brought a few ‘liberated’ National Guard Abrams tanks to the party. Two of her newbs were dead thanks to the tanks. On top of all the blood, bodies and wreckage that meant there was also radioactive thorium scattered around the AO. Char didn’t care about that either. She was getting pretty damned sick of shooting up her fellow citizens.
The problem was that the FMPM had no such issue. They were perfectly happy to leave their compound and raid nearby towns for supplies and slaves from among their fellow citizens. Their definition of ‘citizen’ of course did not include women or people not of north-western-European ancestry. Since Skyfall their compound had become a Disneyland for psychopaths. Captured women and girls were either forcibly married into the clan, or if they were unlucky sent to staff the ‘comfort stations’ provided for the pedophiles and rapists among their members. Women too old or unattractive might become drudges if they were lucky. If they were unlucky they were ‘expended in training.’
The tanks had been a nasty surprise. Fortunately this hadn’t been a scratch mission; they’d had full fire support from a block of HIVE2 missiles and autonomous mortars. A lot of the tanks never even got a shot off before they ate a missile or a precision-guided mortar shell or five.
A suit loomed over her and Needle’s voice came to her over a private channel. “Button up, Char. We gotta bounce- 10th Mountain needs our support at the compound.”
She looked up at him and sighed. “Roger that. No rest for the wicked I guess.”
“You alright Babe?” he asked. They weren’t a ‘thing’ any more but they were still close. He didn’t comment on her cracked suit.
“Yeah, I’m fine, really. But this shit is getting old. We’ve got a crapload of alien assholes out there somewhere getting ready to come back and corn-cob us and all we’re doing is killing each other. It’s starting to really piss me off!”
“I hear ya, but we got it to do. Reload at the assembly point, our rides will be here in five.”
“K-O. I guess these shitheads aren’t going to kill themselves.”
At a silent command her suit closed with a clunk of magnetic latches and she got up and headed for the reload. She was down to a couple of hundred shots out of her fifteen hundred-round basic load. Still got ammo, so I guess it’s not officially a bad day, she thought wryly. Three new barrel-packs for her TSIW and a dozen or so grenades later she was on-board a Valor tilt-rotor heading for the FMPM’s home turf.
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