Lamber and St. Laurent crept up on their first two targets, red outlines in their IR sensors showing the warm bodies huddled behind a ten foot snowdrift about forty feet away from the doors, where the other two figures stood. St. Laurent reached her target first, a man wearing a civilian environment suit. His visor was so iced over that she would have been invisible even without the active camo. With the camo and silent approach, she was able to get within just a few feet of him before he even turned his head. She punched with her battlesuit’s armored fist.
The hardened carbotanium caught the man squarely in the chest, knocking the wind out of him as he collapsed around her arm like a rag doll. She caught the falling body, hoping she didn’t break too many ribs, and lowered the gasping figure to the ground. Taking one of the personnel autorestraints from her belt with the other metal hand, she slapped it over his head and activated it. The net-like device expanded and covered his entire body in less than a second, cinching itself at his feet and sealing. The mesh surface tightened and immobilized him, cocooning the man in a sound- and electronics-deadening Faraday cage, preventing any outbound transmissions from comms, neuretics, or anything else short of two tin cans and a string. The body struggled in the net, but made no sound. She moved on to her secondary target.
Meanwhile Lamber had taken out his primary a little differently, St. Laurent noticed out of the corner of her heads-up. His immobilized target, while showing life signs, also showed no signs of movement, and appeared to be bent at a very unnatural angle.
On the other side of the compound, Jimenez and Sowers were in position. They crouched on the opposite side of a mining vehicle from Beta, two figures that appeared to be smoking and talking in low tones. Sowers sent a quick burst to Jimenez, signaling him to go around the back end of the vehicle as he rounded the front.
They both slowly made their way around the truck, stepping carefully around waste containers. Just as they approached arm’s reach, Jimenez tripped over a half-buried container and fell forward into the snow, not being able to compensate quickly enough for the mass of his battlesuit.
The two sentries looked up in alarm, seeing the indentations in the snow as Jimenez struggled to right himself. One of the men shouted and raised a weapon as a cigarette fell from his lips. Sowers cursed as he caught a burst of a comm. He snapped an active jamming signal out, blocking any further communications from the sentries, but most likely alerting others to their presence.
Stepping forward quickly, Sowers was able to disarm his sentry with a quick chop of a steel arm. He heard the bones snap in the man’s forearm as he screamed in pain. A careful smack to the side of his head knocked him out cold, and his body dropped into the snow.
Jimenez wasn’t so quick as he staggered upwards from his fallen position in the snow, and the second sentry’s weapon spat rounds rapid fire. Jimenez stumbled back under the onslaught of the rounds, but his suit’s carbotanium shell withstood the kinetic impacts. Sowers took a few steps forward and grabbed the assault rifle, yanking it from the sentry’s hands and crushing it, the loud firing immediately ceasing. With his other hand he grabbed the sentry by the front of his environment suit, picked him up, and threw him into the side of the mining vehicle with a loud thump. His unconscious body slid down into a sitting position in the snow.
Sowers went over to where Jimenez was standing to assess the damage. He sent a quick burst to Gabriel to let him know the targets were down, but that it wasn’t exactly quietly. Jimenez sent a neuretics apology to Sowers, who snorted in his helmet. You owe me, buddy, he thought.
Meanwhile St. Laurent and Lamber were both approaching the doors where the other two sentries stood. St. Laurent watched the passive scans in her heads-up, puzzling at one’s unusually small size. Before they were within twenty feet, they heard rifle fire from the other side of the building. Double time, she sent to Lamber, and the two of them sprinted the last few feet to the two figures at the door.
The sentries were alerted, and their figures went into crouches in St. Laurent’s heads-up. As she got within arm’s reach, she skidded to a halt in shock. In front of her, in a combat stance, was one of the Poliahu aliens she had seen in the briefings, wearing partial body armor and holding a laser pistol. Before she had time to react, the alien fired, and the light blast splashed across her armored chest plate.
Her electronics squealed in protest as several systems were overloaded. The battlesuit was able to take laser blasts in stride, but not entirely unscathed from such point blank range. Servos froze up, immobilizing her, as the energy pulsed its way throughout her suit. Her training kicking in, she frantically sent commands to her backup systems, rerouting alternate power and e-links in a split second. Freed up from the pulse, she dropped to one knee and reached out, grabbing the alien’s weapon before it had a chance to fire a second time. Fighting the urge to fire her suit’s arm-mounted pulse rifle, she pulled the alien’s arm downwards and pulled the gun from its grip as her other hand grabbed the alien’s armor to restrain it. A detached part of her brain noted the lack of claws on the alien’s hands, unlike what Gabriel had showed the team in the initial briefing.
Lamber had already immobilized the other sentry and turned to help St. Laurent. As he stepped towards the struggling duo, the alien’s small chest suddenly erupted in red gore, splattering on the doors behind it. The lifeless body fell backwards and St. Laurent let go of it. It landed in the snow with a wet thud, and blood pooled around it, quickly freezing in the super-chilled atmosphere.
“Cease fire!” St. Laurent screamed, breaking comm silence. She quickly got to her feet, checking her scans for nearby activity. Finding it clear, she sent a burst to Gabriel.
Gabriel was monitoring from the back and caught not only St. Laurent’s yell, but the angry tone of her burst. He quickly contacted Sabra, knowing it was her Burton round that just took the first life of the mission. He received an emotionless neuretics click in return. He shook his head. Loose cannon, he thought. He sent another burst to Sabra to recall her.
He called for a rally at the main colony entrance, and the team moved out.
Like what you read? Pick up Gabriel’s Redemption for Kindle, Nook, and at Smashwords for various e-reader formats. Print version will be coming within days! Oh, and the e-book version now has a sneak preview of Book 2 in the trilogy, Gabriel’s Return. Just a little appetite-whetting for you…