Project: AKRA pt 13

(They are down to three people, assaulting the base soon, will they be able to save AKRA?)

 

Raist spread his arms out while he was falling through the sky, seeing the two of them further down through clearings in the clouds of mist close to the bottom of the river.  He enjoyed the quick freedom of the descent when the small cord he was tied on began providing a counter to gravity as he rapidly slowed down, controlling the final length of his descent with a button on his suit.

Spinning around slowly, he lowered himself the final few body lengths to the small rock platform the other two were at.

Agrest took their three cords, pressing them into the wall and triggering their camouflage system, which caused them to fade into the rock color.

“What’s the likelihood of hostile creatures in this water?” Raist asked.

Philira shook her head rapidly.  “No way, this water is too fast.  Even if there are creatures, the water should hide our thermal signature with the outside of our suit being cold.  I’ll wave when I have the system set up on the other side.”

She knelt down, spiked another rod into the ground and dove into the water without waiting for any command from Raist.  Her body moved up and down in a rhythm as the wave started by her head swept through her whole body over and over as she flew across the rapids.  Scouts…good at everything.

“I am glad she is such a good swimmer,” Raist said.

“Yeah, never got good at that style.  Luckily I could pass all my tests doing the side-stroke.”

Raist was spiking his safety system, hooking it up to the line Philira was establishing when Agrest put his hand on his shoulder.

“Something doesn’t feel right.”

Raist didn’t like the pit in his stomach hearing Agrest say that, but evenly responded, “Why, what’s wrong?”

Agrest shook his head.  “I don’t know, can’t explain it.  But call it a Sniper’s intuition.”  Raist was ready to dive into the water having seen Philira’s pink hair emerge from the other side and waved the two of them over when Agrest interrupted him.

“If I don’t make it out alive, can you deliver a letter I have in my room back on the ship?” Agrest asked coldly.  His joking demeanor was totally gone, replaced by a dim realism.  “It’s to that girl we saved last time on Azure 2.  I was always scared to write her back.  But at least let her know that I died, but was thinking about her, okay?”

Raist turned around, and pushed him hard.  “Don’t you dare say that!  What is everyone’s problem?!  We have been through way worse shit than this.  Border-Action 9, the assault on Klattu, being stranded on Kilo?  Come on, Ziko’s arm?  I lost both of mine on Kilo.”  Raist lifted both of his arms as he went on.  “These are bio-synths!  We sustained a few injuries early and everyone is thinking this is the end?”

“Heh.” Agrest pushed Raist’s hand away as his lip rose in a slight grin. “You feel it too, then?”

Raist turned around, mad Agrest had basically gotten him to admit his unease, and dove into the water.  He started swimming with all his might against the harsh current.  Memories of the drownings he sustained during swim ‘training’ came back to him, but only focused his mind as he crashed through the waves and rocks.  He felt a strong pull that was Philira’s line dragging him to the other shore.  He felt his back legs sweep to the right, pulling away from him, and suddenly went spinning into the water as he got trapped in a whirlpool.

Underwater, he tried kicking off a huge rock he was trapped next to, but the whirlpool was too strong.  He stopped struggling and went limp, conserving his oxygen.  His nanites would keep him conscious for a much longer time than even the best breath-holders on Terra were capable of before nanites, but still knew anything could happen.

He protected his head with his arms as he hit the rock over and over with every spin of the water.  Feeling the line on his suit finally tighten, it forcefully ripped him out of the whirlpool and back to the surface.  He turned on his back, took a breath, and continued covering his head as Philira dragged him to the other side.

“Brings back bad memories of water survival school!” he shouted over the din, standing up and shaking the water off his face and hair as he backed away from the spraying mist the river was generating.

“Haha, yeah,” she agreed as she smiled. “Lot of memories is for sure.”

He suddenly remembered that as much as he went through, while he was in tactics and strategy classes, she was probably still out there swimming and running.  He felt bad for even thinking about his hardship; he had no doubt the ‘expendable’ Scouts were trained far more cruelly than the Leaders.  She had swum through those rapids that likely would have killed Raist had he not had assistance.

Agrest was dragged to the shore and Philira hid the line across the river.  Now that this line and the descent line were established, on the return trip all they would need  to do is hook up to it.  The mechanism could pull them across the river, or up the cliff.

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Project: AKRA pt 11

“It’s okay…I know.  I can get a bio amp replacement if we make it through this.”

“Hey, you guys over there?”  Agrest’s voice shouted.  “Get over here now!”

Ziko pushed himself off the tree, they all grimly watched for a moment as what remained of his arm was quickly chopped and consumed by the blade grass and its acid once the suit’s structural integrity had been broken down.  “I hate this fucking place.” It seemed to be an understatement from Ziko as he watched his arm get eaten by the grass.

The three walked over to Agrest, his huge sniper rifle leaning against the tree.  Raist realized it was Agrest’s shot that killed the diving bird before it killed them.

Leio was sitting on the ground, her knee looked crushed, and everything under it was gone.  Her other ankle was broken, bent back up to her calf.

“What are you going to do with me?” she asked, looking straight at Raist.  He felt his stomach drop a bit with the implication of one entirely real option he could take to save the rest of the group time.  This was a woman he was intimate with, yet the mission was now at risk of being compromised due to both her legs.

“What happened?” he asked, trying to buy some time to think this through.

“The ankle was from the fall, and this,” she pointed to her missing calf and the crushed knee, “was from that bastard over there.”  She indicated a large dead beast.  “Heh, damn.  I’ve never seen such a hostile fauna before.”  She leaned back while they crouched down to inspect her damage.  Even with her mutilated legs, she still was amazingly lusty, along with a slight independence still obvious in her countenance.  “No wonder they put their fortress here.  Secure the skies, and let the planet take care of the ground.”

Raist could feel everyone waiting for him to decide what they were going to do with the obvious change in plans the injuries and the planet presented to them.  Maybe they were especially waiting to wonder if he would leave Leio, or kill her.  The latter might be humane.

He stood up.  “We are not leaving anyone behind.”  He looked to Ziko before continuing, “I am taking you off Assault-role.  It’s too dangerous to not have a combat-able person not firing, so because of your injury you are the one who will carry her.  Leio, you are staying on the Sweep.  The rest of us are changing our weapon configuration.  Agrest, switch to your Silvershot for faster shots, I’m moving down to the ‘Saw and Leio you go with whatever you can shoot while still staying on Ziko.  Z, you can either go weaponless or take a one-hander.”

“And me?” Philira asked.

“Stay with the Plaz-Shot.  It is obvious to us now most of the fighting is going to be close range.  I need Agrest and Leio to be on drone watch out.  We are not that far in raw distance to our target so we are going to press on.  I do not think resting is a wise decision.”

He walked over to Leio. “You know what we have to do right?” he asked.

“Of course, get it done already.”

They dragged her to an area devoid of the grass where it looked shot up from the battle.  He handed her the handle of the SSAW with its softer grip, pressing it towards her mouth, she opened it and bit down on the handle.

“Hold her,” he commanded.  Philira and Agrest knelt down and held her body and arms down.

“Heh,” she muttered out of her jammed mouth, turning her head towards the sky.  “Never…get used…to this.”

Raist knelt down by her foot, grabbing the misplaced foot, and, without waiting for any okay or any delay, pulled downward and backward.  Immediately her leg started flailing while the other two struggled to hold her down, letting out a painful ‘guuuaaaaa!’ through her gritting mouth.  It was clear she was trying to maintain control despite the massive pain and compared to a scream most would have let out, her moan was fairly benign.

He continued pulling back until it was straight, and pushed it softly back into the semi-correct position.  He held her foot still for a moment while she stopped moving; she spit the gun handle out.  “I’m okay…”

All three of them let her go as she sat there.  “Should be walk-able in about a cycle.  I feel my nanites reforming the bone already.” It was quiet for a moment before she continued. “Well, stop staring at me already!  As much as you guys like to do it, let’s get this going.”  He reluctantly managed a smile at her pride hiding her shame of slowing the group down.

She lifted an arm up and Raist grabbed it, hauling her body over his shoulder then transferring her to Ziko where she sat on his shoulders.  She used her one leg to wrap under his shoulder to his back and was using her hips to hold onto his head.

“Not pretty, but it will work.  Z, can you still function?” Raist asked, handing him a pistol for his one remaining arm.  The chemicals in them and their advanced nanites could keep them functioning at conditions worse than this, but still wanted to make sure.

“You mean with that hot ass wild woman riding him all night?” Agrest joked.

“I think his head is facing the wrong direction for anything wild,” Leio said, giving Ziko a tight squeeze.

“Damn Raist, no wonder you like her.  I can tell she’s probably into bondage,” Agrest responded.

“Don’t make me squeeze his head off.”

“Why would you punish me for your two perverted minds?” Ziko said while he practiced moving around a bit with Leio on his shoulders.

“I think he’d like that.” Agrest added, “Either getting his head squeezed off, or your ‘punishment’ that is.”

At least their spirits…and chemicals… were still high enough to joke.  Raist looked at the Spreading Squad Assault Weapon he was holding in his hands, its neon blue lines pulsing an incredible power just waiting to be unleashed.  He was practicing drawing his knife out of the SSAW Philira had hidden in it in the event of a surprise.  Raist was glad their spirits were still good for now though.  He knew how bad missions could get.

Project: AKRA pt 10

Raist took a prone position in the clearing Ziko had cut through the forest with his CSW, while the two close range fighters fought back-to-back against the horde, standing right above Raist.

He was taking careful burst shots, squeezing a few rounds, gauging whether the creature needed more rounds to die, then either delivering, or moving on to a new target.  The counter on the side of the rifle shot down rapidly.

He squeezed the final 30 into some creature hopping between the trees and as he rolled to his side to put a new magazine of 1,000 in.  The magazine was in, and his hand was going to the ‘accept’ toggle when he saw a huge bird diving out of the sky right at their group.

“Up…!” he started, but it was too slow.  Its mouth peeled open to reveal a tri-maw opening ready to consume one of them.  The creature was closing on them when its large neck was separated from its body, liquid exploding out the backside as its head crashed to the ground not far from them, its body gliding into another dead creature.

“What?”

Raist toggled the rifle back on, and saw a line of white tracers clearing the sides of part of the trees.  He knew that weapon anywhere: it was Leio’s Sweep Rifle, but she was aiming horizontally.  What killed the bird?

“It’s Agrest and Leio!” Philira shouted, another of her clips dumping out of her Plaz-Shot and hitting Raist in the head as she reloaded with robotic speed.

He didn’t need to tell the two he was with to not hit them, and he hoped the other two knew they were here.

Beasts continued advancing on them until all of them mysteriously stopped, turning and running as fast as they could.  Death had not scared them before, so it was definitely something different.

“Phi?”  Raist asked.

“Something’s coming…top of the trees.”

The strange silence had returned to the forest, though a few wounded screams still pierced the night.  Raist hated killing animals, and hearing their moans as they were sawed apart by the grass hurt his soul.

“Drone!”  Philira shouted, grabbing Ziko and diving to the shot-up ground.  Above them a large floating disk hovered over the scene of their battle.

“Shoot it!  Shoot it!” she yelled.

Raist was the only one of the three with the longer-range weapon and brought it to bear, and though he was giving it rapid bursts of ten sonic rounds that were undoubtedly flying straight through its hull, its size would not easily be brought down.  The two he was with were each rapidly reaching for their longer-range weapons as a firing arm extended above the disk.

A loud whoosh reached them long after the rocket did, rending the ground apart as they were flung through the air.  Raist crashed into one of the trees between two of the razor edges and escaped serious damage.  He switched his weapon to packet mode, morphing the small rounds into larger slugs designed to pierce before blowing apart inside their target.

He aimed at the disk that was readying another rocket and started shooting, catching the white tracers of the Sweep Rifle also on target of the drone.  The thin, fast spray of the Sweep rounds, and Raist’s exploding slugs were pounding away at the machine.  It tilted to one side for a moment, but righted itself.  Raist was sure it was going to fire again until its core exploded and it crashed somewhere into the trees above them.

He was breathing hard, his mind in combat mode, looking around everywhere for the next thing to kill, and with nothing moving for a long time he gradually began to come off his combat high.

Something was hurting his core and looking down, he saw a mat of the spiky grass imbedded into his chest after being propelled by the rocket.  He pulled each out; feeling the distant pain of sucking out the semi-vacuum each projectile had created in his body.

He pushed himself out of the slight cove of his tree and staggered to the clearing.  “Who is alive?”

“We are, but Ziko is hurt,” Philira’s voice had an edge he never heard before in it.

Raist ran over and saw Ziko slumped next to a tree almost exactly like where Raist had been blasted.  The difference was he was moved slightly to one side, right into its sharp edge.

“Zi…ko?” Raist asked nervously.

“Yo, I’m alive, but shit…these plants are even worse than the creatures.”

Ziko’s words made it seem like he was okay, but Raist realized Ziko’s left arm had been cut cleanly off right by the shoulder.  His nanites and suit sealed what was left of the arm to prevent any bleed off; it actually looked like he had a stub arm his entire life with how clean it was.  The fact he could talk clearly was a result of their advanced training, and very tailored drugs to block pain and maintain combat efficiency.

“Your ar—” Philira started, Raist grabbed her and shook his head no.

Project: AKRA pt 5

They are doing an orbital insertion down to the planet…here we go!

 

At this distance the descent suit did not block out the visual yet, and each prepared differently for what was coming.  For Raist he was always struck by the strange sensation of his appreciation of beauty in nature, even as his job was often to kill without remorse.  There was just something in the divine perfection of how color and motion came together.  He sounded stupid when he talked about it, so he tended to keep that part of his thoughts to himself.  It was easier to joke or swear than to be philosophical, or far easier to talk about banging Philira than wonder about reality with those around him.

All five of them had small micro tethers that kept them connected for the duration of the drop, and within the tether was an advanced processor that regulated each motion of their descent suits to keep it descending evenly and without problems.  With no warning the visual went black as spheres enclosed each of them, protecting them as they first hit the atmosphere and to prevent them from catching fire.

He hated this part the most, as nanites were blocking out the sound ever since he launched out of the ship, and now the black provided no distraction for his mind.  It was the questions that bothered him the most.  It was never doubt because he didn’t have any.  More like if his life could have been different, if it should have been different.  Unlike a lot of classes like Scouts, he had choices many of them never did.  With choices came responsibility, and the weights of deaths were weighing on him even if he did not overtly show it.

Did he think too much about things?  His previous Scout, Laiun, told him as much.

He knew above him the descent suit would have streamers deployed to slow their velocity, whipping violently based on the speed they were coming in with.  He knew underneath him the landscapes might now start to be visible, but all that was around him right now was darkness.

Light filled the void as the surrounding sphere melted away above and beyond him.  The planet had changed a lot since he last saw it from space: he could see clouds, the green/purple of plants, even mountains in the distance.  The melting of the sphere reformed into parachutes that variously reformed themselves with the synchronization orders of the rest to ensure the perfect descent of the team onto the planet.

Get through one jungle, a river, more jungle, and then the base of the mountain.  Sounds simple in premise.  Not too far to cross at all.  That mountain didn’t look too far away; he could get there by a single planet cycle.  This was going to be the easiest ‘hard’ mission they ever took.  He could ‘retire’ pretty quick, as he was burning out as a result of the destruction he caused.

That was before something went wrong with their descent system and Ziko suddenly fell out of the pentagon formation.  The rest of them went crashing into the strange upper-story plant life that ripped their advanced suits apart as if they were paper.

As Raist went tumbling to the dark forest floor, his only thought was that he had never felt this much pain this early in a mission before.  He had never lost someone before it even started.

“Ziko!”  He screamed before his head impacted something hard and he blacked out, still falling farther down.

Project: AKRA pt 4

Continuing the story, they are about to get down to the planet

 

Ziko was by default the group mule based on his strength, but on raw speed no one could touch Philira.  For a moment her bright pink hair became visible, as did her youthful body as she disabled her camouflage to readjust some equipment.  Soldiers had specific natural hair colors based on their Class: Female Scouts were pink, female Supports were bright orange, male Supports were light blonde, Leaders had black and so on.  They could be manually overridden, but was rarely done.  Almost all combat was conducted in combat suits or stealth fields so this issue did not matter.  For most soldiers, their class was a mark of pride.

“Damn, I thought a saw an angel there for a moment,” Agrest said.

“Of death?”  Raist asked, slamming an energy clip into a pistol and watching the counter read ‘full’ before the text dissolved into the number ‘100’.

“Maybe, I don’t know. I was a little confused though…”

“Why?” Ziko asked.  Raist smiled, and tried to hide his laugh that Ziko fell right into a trap.

“Well, aren’t angels supposed to be hot?  I thought she’d be a bit bigger if you know what I mean.”

“Agrest…” Ziko started.

“Bigger?”  Philira asked.  “But I am not the shortest here.”

“Bigger like Leio over there.”  Agrest disabled his cloak to hold his two hands out in front of his chest.

Raist was snickering while he watched what shimmer was likely Ziko trying to catch Agrest while he was shouting, “Why the hell do you always fill her head with your perverted shit?!”

“Everyone has at least three-range cover in their weapon choices, right?”  Leio was updating a graphic overlay showing the positions of the squad, with colored ovals representing the effective range of their weapon choices.

Philira, being the lead, naturally had a powerful, short-range weapon; the graphic showed a dark red oval that covered a short distance in front and behind, covering from Ziko up to Raist in his middle position.  Conversely, at the back of the formation, Agrest’s personal Rail Rifle had by far the biggest range, but in an intense close range firefight could not keep up, and thus his main oval was less colored; nevertheless the vast coverage could still assist any of the team in a fight.

“Raist, you are a little weak on the close range,” Leio said, looking over the constantly updating data. “Not sure the pistol will cut it in these quarters.”

“Throw me the SSAW.”  A strange looking blue weapon was flung through the air and caught by something invisible.  “I’ve been meaning to try this out.”

“It’s slow on the recharge,” Philira commented easily.  “Here, let me show you something.”  A Vibro-Knife was picked up off the table, and Raist handed the SSAW over to the invisible tug.  She revealed herself and walked next to Raist, her hips touching his as she held the gun to show him.  “You can store a knife here in the lower duct.  Useful on the downtime,” she smiled at him and stepped away.  It was a slightly flirtatious or sensual move, but given her naivety in relationships, likely didn’t understand what she was doing.

He held the weapon in his shoulder, pretending to fire it then letting it drop while he drew the knife from where it was held.  “Damn, that is a pretty nice trick. That really is a good place to hide it.”

“Saved my life before.”  Raist wondered what creature or alien had a Vibro-Knife stabbed through its head to save Philira’s life.

“I’ll show you a trick later, how’s that sound?” Raist asked her slyly.

“What kind?” Philira asked, totally innocent.

“One that will leave you feeling real good.”

“Not Raist too…” Ziko moaned.

“Survive first, and I’ll show you.” He only did those jokes because he enjoyed how defensive Ziko would always become.

“I will,” she said firmly.  “No matter what.”

“Okay, looks good.”  Leio showed the planned formation to everyone, leaving comments open for anyone to input.  The unspoken rule they had acquired over the battles was that you made no recommendations about anyone’s main weapon, but you could request a change in either of their two sub-weapons, since it was often your ass that depended on it.

“Agrest,” Ziko began, “can you swap that inductor for something with a bit more range?  Maybe the Silvershot?”

“Aww, feeling lonely near the front, lil’ buddy?  I think Philira has enough firepower for both of you.  But even that still leaves my little angel up there out of range.”  Agrest gave Ziko a hard time, but swapped his weapon without protest.  Upon further review Ziko was indeed a bit bare on the covering fire.  Philira had him supported heavily, but only Raist had him within range of powerful rapid fire support.

He had finished, and at this point it was mostly small things others were finagling with.  “Orbital Sync in five…” Raist said.  Everyone stopped their banter, and shoved any supplies or extra energy cells in, packed up quickly, and went to the launch bay.

“Synch up?”  Leio asked.

Yes – Everyone responded on the Inter-Connect System, an implanted communication system that could reduce talking to a near-psychic level of communication.

Launch in three – Leio’s voice played in all of their minds while the air in the ship was pressed back into tanks, leaving the room they were in devoid of atmosphere, their suits protecting them against both the low pressure and the lack of air.

Two – The door opened up, the huge planet’s blue, green, and purple forests standing defiantly against the black of space.  At this distance the beauty defied the danger.

One – Each of them could feel their suits change as they prepared for entry.  The first change was the locking in with the launch system.

She didn’t have to say ‘zero’ or ‘go’ as the moment they were pulled out of the ship with by the launching system was obvious enough.  The catapult system was designed to ensure the even spacing of the entire team, as even the most trained jump could result in a vast dispersion pattern from orbit.  A pentagon shape of the five of them fell through space towards the planet.

Presenting Project: AKRA (a free story serial)

Project: AKRA is a completed sci-fi story that is of an elite military rescue of a hostage.  Expect action, cool weapons and intense segments.

Project: AKRA is currently free on amazon if you can’t wait, otherwise enjoy the sections as they come!

 

Project: AKRA

 

Ironically, the Emotion-Field concept as an aspect to reality proved so revolutionary that the first groups to find evidence of its existence fought and killed for its secrets, deeply contrary to the discovery’s eventual implications.  It was the first indication of higher dimensional aspects that influenced our reality, as well as our own ability to change them.

 

– Terran Intradex Ver. 4 Excerpt on ‘Emotion Field’

 

See Also: Star Priestess, Classed Soldier, Project: AKRA [Declassified]

 

“I have reason to believe you are the best…feel like putting that reputation to the test, soldier?”  The hooded figure had a light cloaking field over it that made it seemed almost like an illusion to the soldier it was speaking to.

A small smirk crossed the face of the soldier as he brushed two fingers through his short hair.  “Naturally.”

The hooded figure laughed, but its tone was masked by a voice-modder, rendering its tone completely neutral so it could not be identified in any form. “I know you have taken hard missions before, but I do not expect the survival rate to be particularly high on this.  There were only three groups that had both the clearance and the battle experience your group possesses.  I hate sending such a valued asset like your group on a mission like this, but it is one of particular import to the Star Priestesses.”

‘To the Star Priestesses’ meant for all intents ‘to the Aelisha’.

Though the black-haired man was arrogant, he was not stupid, and likewise answered carefully.  “Interesting; I assume this is your estimation of the danger.  If I may ask, is that an academic estimate, or a once-soldier’s estimate?”  A very small portion of Star Priestesses were soldiers, but a large percentage of Aelisha in secret operations like this were warriors.

“The latter,” the figure said in an easy tone that belied its long combat experience.  “A rather well-connected criminal syndicate has stolen a very valuable collection of data.  Its name is AKRA, an information processing and application unit.  It holds an understanding of the universe we are just barely starting to comprehend.”

“And it’s our job to recover the data,” the man offered.  It was probably an Aelisha he was dealing with most likely some high-rank diplomat or something similar.  For the briefest moment he mused about tackling the creature and ripping its cloak off to see whom it was.

“ ‘Naturally’,” the cloaked figure mimicked.

The black-haired soldier laughed at the imitation, but in his mind he could tell there was something deeply wrong with this mission his squad was going to undertake.  He always believed in his combat instincts, but this was different.  Something was calling to him beyond just his instincts, but he had no idea what it was saying.

Considering the credits his group was offered, some mysterious ‘clearances’ for advanced weaponry they recently had been given, and the entirely personal reason that he felt something calling on this job, he knew he would do it.  The soldier named Raist, told the figure they would take the job.  As soon as he had said so, the figure had turned and started walking out, shimmering like a ghost that was barely visible.  “Wait, one question though.  Why us?”

“You were asked for specifically.”

That was interesting.  He didn’t know too many people that knew him and were still alive.  “By whom?”

“You are not privy to that information.”

“Ha, I am used to that,” he said to the figure that had departed.

The figure was far enough away it was completely invisible, but before it had completely left the room, its voice said to Raist, “But know an old friend sends their… regards.”

Counting the friends he had that weren’t in his squad and were still alive took about four fingers.  He stood there for a moment, digesting the conversation that had just occurred.  He spun his pistol lazily out of habit, more concerned with his thoughts.  It crashed to the ground, and he crouched down quickly to grab it.  He saw something like a small string or thread against the background blackness of his pistol and grabbed it.  The single medium-length strand of hair was a bright pink.

‘That was a Solarian girl, maybe a Star Priestess or a Classed like me…I wonder who she was?  Something felt weird about her.’  All Star Priestesses and really anyone this deep in secrecy were a little weird though.  He shook his head, trying to stop thinking about things.  ‘Too many thoughts and feelings; just focus.’

Big Scifi giveaway I am part of

Hey guys I am part of a big scifi giveaway this week.  I am giving away Project: AKRA if you have not picked it up yet.  Lots of new talent to check out.

http://sffbookbonanza.com/freebooks/

I am still hammering away at trying to be an author, so something like this could help big!

Enjoy if you check it out.

New story time! Slipdrift

Hey guys going to start the same thing with Proud Infinity, give sections of a story out each day and the whole book will be done in about a month.  This story is about a guy who is a start athlete and is caught and forced to play a deadly version of the game.  The whole story is over at amazon for 99 cents right now.

 

Slipdrift

 

The violent sport of Gun-Drift still endures with its popularity, despite calls to stop the game, or the occasional rumor of illegal/deadly versions.  Nearly every planetary system contains an Arena that has Gun-Drift among its events and carries a tremendous public following.  There have only been a few substantiated reports of these unregulated Arenas, but have proved difficult to close down the tight crime rings that keep them in operation.

 

– Terran Intradex Ver. 4: ‘Gun-Drift’

 

See also ‘Common Games at Arenas’; ‘Gun-Drift: Confirmed Deaths’

 

“Don’t look at me with those eyes,” he warned as I kept my gaze coldly focused on the man I hoped I would one day kill.  His flunky clubbed me in the stomach due to my noncompliance, shouting “Listen to ‘um!” in a drawl.  I tried fighting my head and eyes upwards to him one more time, but the shock rod hit me in the back, knocking me to the floor.  I staggered one knee up, starting the say the name “Fe…” before I heard the whine of the electrically charged rod hitting me one more time; I went down, blacking out before I even hit the ground, unsure if I was saying his name, or the name of the girl I loved.  As my world shut down it would be the last time I saw the natural light.

 

***

 

Somewhere in an abyss of unconscious thoughts swirling without any guidance, a vague sensation of something slipping down my eyes eventually became overpowering.  “Uhhh…” My partially comatose body rolled to the side, but the strange spilling sensation continued.  Like a shock across my body, the lightning strike of awakening blasted across my physical and mental states as I opened my eyes and found myself looking at the rusting pipes of a fixture.

‘Where am I?’  I rolled to the side as I saw the teal-colored thin wall of a repulsion-field extending from the ceiling to the floor; excluding the light this produced, the rest of the locale I now found myself in was dismal, dark and dank.

Proud Infinity pt 33

2nd to last post for the story, I hope you guys are enjoying it.

“The ship’s security card is over there.” She pointed to a building that we walked towards.

“How the hell are you doing this?”

“You remember asking about my Chrono Psionics?  Well, even the most developed on the physical plane fall fairly flat with ours.  Now that the time fracture is gone, all the various pathways in front of us are clear.  I am just choosing, and telling you, the correct ones.”

“Isn’t that kind of powerful if you can see all the options time could take, and I am able to act on it?”

“Quite so.”  She nodded turning around to look at me for a moment.

“A limitless actor, who is given perfect information…”

A guard had opened a door in the back of the building and turned away from us, propping the door open with his foot while he went to the bathroom.

Proud nodded to me. “It’s the red one with an orange stripe.”  I slipped in behind the guy, hoping I could see the card easily, which I did, and grabbed it painfully in my mouth, slipping back out and around the corner.

“Unbelievable,” I said between closed teeth, shaking my head, holding the exact card she said I would find.

I was about to walk in front of the guard’s shack when she grabbed my arm, shaking her head.  “He is going to see this regardless, and a lot of other paths are converging here.  We just have to run now.  The ship is the silver one with the red trim on its tail fin.  I gave you enough energy that you should be able to manage it.”

I nodded and we started running.  A bit later I heard yelling and a few shots exploded across the pad.  Twice Proud physically pushed me to one side or another while a round hit exactly where I once was.  I held the card up and the ship responded, then we both jumped in as the door closed.  I was breathing hard, holding the ground, then lifted my body up and started laughing before she joined in on my jubilation.

“We did it!”

“Not yet,” she said coldly.  I looked at her with worry.  “Start the ship, then we will be okay!” She laughed at what was probably a joke to her.

“Right.”  I nodded and went to the bridge, starting the ship with a few pushes of my chin and hitting a random coordinate in it.  Suddenly the ship was taking off.  The ruins of the ReCorp building were visible as we gained altitude. “Do time fractures happen often?”

She shook her head, frowning. “Unbelievably often.  Just about every space faring race runs into this at least once through their various particle accelerators trying to ‘understand’ the universe.  They never realize they will not understand anything that way.  It only leads to destruction.”

“Thanks for coming to save me.  Seriously.” My head went back and forth a bit, maybe trying to shake itself free of everything going on in it.  “But now, is that it?  You are off to stop another time fracture?  Are you going to leave me?”

“Only if you want me to.”

“Hardly.  I’d love you to stay with me.  If I could be so selfish to request it.”

“Well, then I will!” she stated loudly, hugging me.

“Isn’t it your job to stop the fractures?”

“It was.  Perhaps you do not understand.  I was created to stop that fracture, and now it is stopped.  So in a way, I am without a purpose.  You felt purposeless, but I am much more so.  You were born, in the physical sense, and I was born in a different sense, with my sole purpose being to pair with the most responsive physical element, that’s you, and stop this local time fracture.  So now my purpose is complete.  It is like the immune system of your body, the task is complete now I am adrift.”

Proud Infinity pt 31

Getting close to the end, what is going to happen!?

 

I woke back up, eventually, and was still in chains.  Okay, so this was definitely ‘reality’ as much as I had flirted with different states of that word.  My mind went through a few scenarios on what exactly this meant.  There appeared to be no doubt I did indeed bomb the ReCorp building.  Sounds like I am probably slated to be executed here, maybe after I’m tortured awhile to see what I can produce as far as my contacts or whom I was working for.  It was all for a girl, man, all for some crazy girl.

Proud.  Hmm, did she really exist?  Evidently Mitreah did, as the info screen referenced her.  Yet, I could have sworn that Proud absorbed some bullets that would have laid me out.

Did I really live all those cycles over?  Of course.  I had to have, because how else could I have gotten that bomb, or found Mitreah’s secret phrase, or figure out the perfect paths for everything?  Or…what if I always had that bomb and Mitreah was given to me from a shadowy contact?  Was I an agent programmed to forget what exactly I was doing, and come up with some massively delusional story to hide the simple truth that I was just a terrorist against the Solarian Federation?

Damn, was that the truth?  It was true I could not remember even two cycles ago.  Ha, holy shit, I literally could not remember what had happened two cycles ago.

Had my secret neural trigger activated and blanked everything out?  “Uhh…” I tried moving my arms, and groaned from the pain of the wrist locks and my arms not being able to move.

“Proud…were you just a lie?  Was everything just a lie?”  Was I just an agent with his combat android sent to eliminate whatever advantage the Federation was developing here?

Another thought came to me.  What if indeed the cycle reset over and over, and that was simply Proud’s goal from the beginning: not so much saving the universe, but simply preventing the time fracture after which I no longer mattered?  I prevented it, so her goal was accomplished.  Why would she care about one stupid little Solarian locked up for his crimes?  This was especially true if it was for the whole universe’s sake.  As long as I did my duty, I was completely expendable.  Wow…that was fucked up.  I got played hard.  Maybe I would have cried, but the emotion felt foreign to me.  Distant.

 

***

 

Sometime later – ha what an ironic word, ‘sometime’ –  I had thought I had lost my arms.  I could no longer feel them, and it had been at least a few cycles as my hunger had disappeared, replaced by the slow consumption of myself.  In the pain and dark despair I eventually decided that I probably did indeed experience a time fracture, and Proud was real, but I had done what she wanted all along and there was no reason to ‘save’ me or ever even say anything to me again.  Hell, I fucked her and shot her to make it even worse.

Do we cry over a white blood cell that kills itself in our service?  Hardly.  All we do is expect them to make that decision again and again.  And I was probably worth infinitely less.

I was just a single white blood cell.  It was the metaphor I had settled on.  I did my part to help pull the universe out of the problem it was in.  Proud was some director, and I did my sacrifice, everything else moved on.  Wow…I hadn’t felt so abandoned in a while.  Yet I sympathized in a way.  I did not care about the individual blood cells dying to save me.  Why would the universe?