Shattered Sun (The Sentinel Trilogy Book 3)

Shattered Sun (The Sentinel Trilogy Book 3) by Michael Wallace

Book: Shattered Sun (The Sentinel Trilogy Book 3) by Michael Wallace Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Wallace
changed tactics.”
    “Bring the Kettle up on the big screen.”
    Apex hunter-killer packs had been scouting the gas giant’s ice ring for the past day, looking for Sentinel 3. Sometimes, one of the packs had swooped at a spot in the ring, and Tolvern held her breath, sure that the Singaporeans had been discovered. But either the aliens were chasing their own tails or they were trying to bluff the battle station into revealing itself. Nothing came of these charges.
    Now, instead of sniffing at the ring, they were blasting it with energy pulses. Tolvern laughed.
    “What are they doing? Hoping for a lucky shot?”
    “Don’t seem like that’s going to work,” Capp said.
    “Let them try,” Tolvern said. “It’s like flying over a forest at thirty thousand feet and hoping to shoot a deer hiding beneath the canopy.”
    “This particular forest is a quarter of a million miles in diameter,” Smythe said. “It might take them a while.” He tapped at his console. “But I’m not sure that’s what they’re going for.”
    Smythe pulled the view out to show the entire gas giant, a roiling, copper-colored world, its atmosphere filled with giant, Albion-size storms in gold and burnt orange. The ring itself was thin, ethereal, almost invisible. Smythe and Lomelí changed filters and enhanced the view until the planet faded and the ice ring became a field of milky-white diamonds. Or rather, rings , plural. Mostly ice, some rock.
    The enemy fire didn’t look so random with a new filter in place. Instead, it became apparent that Apex was spacing its fire at even intervals around the ring. The energy weapons vaporized ice and rock, leaving a thin, empty slice in the ring when they’d passed. The ships then moved on to burn another hole. Other ships circled the ring, scanning instead of burning.
    “They’re sure hammering away,” Smythe said. “We can feel it all the way out here, could practically turn off the sensors and put a cup against the hull and hear all the banging.”
    “So sound travels through space in your universe, does it?” Capp said. “A little muffled, or what?”
    Smythe gave her a look. “That’s one of your metaphors, Capp. You know that sensors have nothing to do with sound, right? It’s not bloody sonar.”
    “I ain’t an idiot. You got a point?”
    “The point is, it’s not a very sophisticated scanning technology, but it seems like they have a strategy to make it work.”
    “Don’t mean it’s a good one. Them Chinese know what they’re doing. We couldn’t even find ’em ourselves, remember?”
    Tolvern let the pair bicker for a few more minutes, then cut them off. “Smythe, what can we do with our own sensors?”
    “Like Capp said, we can’t find the battle station from out here. I wouldn’t think we’d want to. If we shine a light on them, the buzzards will pick it up, too.”
    “That’s not what I mean. What happens when we hit the enemy ships with active sensors? I know that gives away whatever stealth we may have ourselves, but it makes a lot of noise. We can make it hard for Apex to hear.”
    Smythe’s eyes lit up. “You know what would be even better? If we get the Hroom to join us. If each of those sloops picks an enemy ship, we can make that much more noise.”
    “Excellent,” Tolvern said. “Get me the general.”
    The Hroom sloops were much closer now, with the general’s flagship only a few tens of thousands of miles away, and there was barely a delay before a familiar Hroom face filled the viewscreen. It wasn’t the general, but Dela Zam, the high priestess. Capp muttered an oath.
    “I need to see the general,” Tolvern said.
    “He is off duty.”
    “Put me through to his com link, please.”
    “He is ill and not seeing anyone.”
    “How about Lenol Tyn?”
    “The colonel is not in command, I am.”
    Tolvern stared, disbelieving. “And this is the general’s own wish? What he wanted? For you to be in charge of his fleet?”
    “This is the order he

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