Meet Your New Queen

Posted: June 12, 2014 by writingsprint in Dubrillion Burning, Science fiction
Tags: , , , , , , ,

female soldierPost #34 of the Dubrillion Burning series

Finally! The flurry of work isn’t over yet, but I caught a break tonight. As thrilled as I am to publish Shadow and Shade — and I’ll be smiling about that one for months — I’ve been dying to get back to the Battle of Cainar Spaceport.

We left off with a strike team heading for the base shields, a diversion team heading for the unit guarding the northern flank, and Raffa doing some fancy flying in the middle of the transport drop. The big change that I’m making tonight is that I’m putting Risha in direct command of the diversion team. Originally I had her in a sniper position where she could fight and see the big picture at the same time. As realistic as this is, I decided a while ago that I didn’t want her to be an armchair general. She’s in the thick of it. Like The Wild Geese, they make their plans, the teams get their assignments, then they carry them out. There isn’t anyone giving orders from a tent miles away. I need to think more about this, but in the meantime this is where I’m going.

The communications officer working the fighter cover channel said, “Acknowledged, raider inbound.” He switched to the frequency for the antiaircraft gunners. “Air defense, priority alpha. Raider inbound in the drop channel. Danger close. Do not fire unless you have a clear shot.”

The com line crackled. A gunner asked, “What are we supposed to do, then? Wave at him?”

The Loyalist general in charge of the base looked at the drop channel display on holo. The raider was weaving back and forth between the transport ships, adjusting speed to stay out of fire lines from escorts and the ground. It was suicide. He had to be less than a dozen meters away from them as he passed. The general couldn’t tell if he was doing it on purpose or messing with the convoy’s heads. Twice he thought he actually saw them bump each other. The transport captains were swearing, calling for help.

“Is it a suicide run?” he asked. “Plasma reading?”

“Negative plasma reading,” a technician said.

“Could they have a shielded bomb?”

“No sir. We’d still see something at this range.”

At least they weren’t all about to be turned into cinders. It was a five-minute drop. Four minutes to go. He had to decide now. They needed those transports, but the raider could be heavily armed. The fuel depot, ammunition, the shields… one ship couldn’t do much, but no one could be stupid enough to pull a stunt like this without aiming at a big payoff.

The general said, “Divert three antiair units. Take him out. Tell the transports to break out of the channel.” They could lose half of the transports or worse now, but he couldn’t take the risk.

At the northern end of the spaceport, Rebel forces threw a rain of artillery and blaster fire on a park and buildings at the other side of bridge from their positions. The Loyalist positions had been turned into a small castle of ferrocrete barriers and gun positions weeks ago.

A company of Loyalist troops fired back. They fired more than they had to in order to keep the Rebels from getting ideas about crossing the bridge. They just had to wait until the shields were up again. More than one wished they could just blow the bridge and be done with it, but the commander wanted it kept up. Bridges were expensive and time-consuming to rebuild. It was only a matter of time before they pushed the Rebels back across the sea. And while it was here, the Rebels would keep attacking it, bleeding themselves out against a position they couldn’t take.

Behind the combat area, medics ran back and forth pulling out wounded as they needed. Near the medical section, a miniature command post had been set up to coordinate the defense. It was a small group, mostly there to handle communications, identify targets and ask for artillery. South of the command post, sheltered by tall buildings, troops manning two ammunition and supply dumps tried to look harmless and stay out of the artillery fire.

The major in charge of the northern defense shook his head. His captain asked, “A raider?”

“Not our problem,” the major replied. He checked his watch. Three minutes, fifty seconds. Blaster fire struck a building near them. He ducked. Slowly, he came back up. “Check on those—”

His eyes widened as a dozen troops in muddy green armor stormed the post. He gasped, lifting his comlink to call for help, when a beautiful woman with brown hair and blue eyes marked with deadly conviction put four shots of automatic blaster fire into his face.

The medical section and ammo dumps were overrun even faster. Over the unit coms, people heard shooting and screaming, abruptly cut off. With the Rebels in front of them, most of the defenders thought they had bigger things to worry about. Those few who were just beginning to turn their heads were met with a blinding tower of fire as Risha blew the ammunition dump.

On an open channel, she shouted, “Free Dubrillion!”

I haven’t decided whether these Loyalist commanders are important enough to have names. The general might. The one leading the northern defense didn’t live long enough to merit one, but it could help for flavor and clarity. “The major,” “the captain,” etc. gets old.

Photo credit unknown. Used without permission.

  1. A.D. Everard says:

    Nice! I enjoyed the dialogue too. Great pic, by the way. 🙂


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