Alien Arcana (Starship's Mage Book 4)

Alien Arcana (Starship's Mage Book 4) by Glynn Stewart

Book: Alien Arcana (Starship's Mage Book 4) by Glynn Stewart Read Free Book Online
Authors: Glynn Stewart
deploy them. Anti-missile lasers nailed one SAM.
    The other five slammed head-on into their targets, wiping four shuttles and their cargo of ground troops from the air in flashes of antimatter annihilation.
     

Chapter 11
     
    As the Marines headed for the hole the assassin’s explosives had opened in the ground, Damien found Romanov standing next to him. It wasn’t possible to read the emotions of someone locked in a two-meter-tall suit of exosuit armor, but somehow the Lieutenant still managed to appear impatient.
    “We need to get you underground, too,” he noted. “If we let you get killed, there’ll be hell to pay, no matter what.”
    The Marine gestured toward where the shuttles were sweeping in. “Once they have those boots on the ground, they’re not going to nuke their own people. If we’re going to make a tunnel fight of this, I’d rather not leave the most important objective on the planet outside those tunnels.”
    “Touché, Lieutenant,” Damien allowed. The runes they’d found in the lower levels were probably more important than he, but he doubted he’d be able to convince the man charged with keeping the Hand alive of that.
    “Let’s go.”
    Damien couldn’t see the rapidly approaching shuttles, but he could hear them by the time they’d reached the open wound the assassin had ripped open trying to kill him. It was a larger opening into the underground tunnels than any of the handful of ancient airlocks that had been forced open.
    “Are we leaving this for them?” he asked the Marine as he dropped into the hole.
    “For now,” Romanov replied. “If nothing else, we don’t want them going through the labs. Plus, I have a plan for this hole in the ground.”
    They passed by a fire team of exosuited Marines just inside, clearly setting up whatever plan Romanov had. Deeper in, another set of Marines was ushering the last stragglers of the research team toward the hole Kurosawa had opened to start this whole mess.
    “This is my stop,” Romanov told Damien. “I don’t expect you to go hide behind the civilians, my lord, but this kind of tunnel knife fight is our job. Leave us to it.”
    Damien didn’t like it, but the Marine was right. With a nod and a sigh, the Hand left the Marines behind.
     
    #
     
    Denis waited for the Hand to pass through Kurosawa’s tunnel behind the rest of the civilians and then nodded to the Marines waiting there. They unfolded a portable blast shield covered with runes on the “safe” side to reinforce its flimsy frame, over the tunnel.
    It wouldn’t stop anyone who actually made it to the tunnel, but it would stand off gunfire or even major explosions. Since Denis had sixteen Marines, including himself, to stand off six shuttles’ worth of attackers, explosions were a major part of his plan.
    “Here they come,” Chan reported, feeding everyone the datastream from the camera drones they’d left all over the domes and alien ruins outside. “Those…yeah, those are our shuttles, boss.”
    Denis flipped to the visual feed from the tactical map he’d set to update, and nodded his silent agreement. The paint job was different, pitch-black instead of the Marines’ dark gray, but it was recognizably the standard assault shuttle the RMMC had built for their own exclusive use.
    The visual suddenly fizzled and grayed out.
    “EMP sweep,” Chan reported.
    “It’s always nice to deal with professionals,” Denis said calmly. “Bring up the second wave of drones.”
    The visual feed and the tactical map returned, showing him the assault shuttles sweeping back around, their scanners poking for any sign of defenders. Denis had enough time to recognize the flight pattern—the pilots, whoever they were, had been trained by Marines —before a second electromagnetic pulse swept the area, killing his second wave of eyes.
    “ Paranoid professionals,” Chan told him. “We’ve only got one more set of eyes, boss. What do we do?”
    “Hold for sixty seconds,”

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