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Mar 17

An excerpt from Gabriel’s Return – some jungle combat to brighten your day

A snippet from a scene out of Gabriel’s Return, book 2 in the scifi adventure series. Though I’d love for you to take a look at this story (which I think has the best action out of all three, but that’s just me), you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not actually starting with book 1, Gabriel’s Redemption. Or why not jump in with both feet for the complete trilogy? Or (never let it be said I didn’t give all the options), try out the series prequel for freeGabriel: Zero Point. All are available on my Books page. Yes, I’m shamelessly plugging my books.

So settle back and enjoy some jungle carnage…

Gabriel's Return full res[In position,] came Olszewski’s burst.

Gabriel double checked the icons in his heads-up and verified everyone was set. He took a deep breath and reached over his shoulder to his concealed pulse rifle. His gloved hand closed around the stock, and he sent the confirmation.

[Proceed when you have a shot.]

Olszewski sighted down the scope and saw a minutely-detailed image of the hide. The steelroot was thick, but he saw some breaks in it, and the faintest hint of movement. Lining up the Dobranoc, he felt the tingle in his hand as he gripped the trigger pad. His neuretics removed the single-shot safety code, and he squeezed the pad.

Six depleted uranium rounds spat from the end of the long sniper rifle barrel at over nine thousand feet per second, only a few milliseconds between each round, and only a barely audible clack sounding at each one. The forty-eight caliber slugs tore into the steelroot, blowing huge chunks of wood in all directions. Olszewski watched the destruction through the scope the entire time, as the recoil on the Dobranoc had been reduced to near zero by the finest Polish weapons techs the Olszewski family could afford.

Out of the carnage, a bloody body holding a long rifle dropped onto a flat part of the yellowbole branch the hide was built on, bounced, and tumbled to the jungle floor below. Olszewski quickly safed his rifle and tucked it over his shoulder into its back pouch, then scrambled down the tree trunk, on the side facing away from the hide.

On the ground, two terrorists, obviously shocked at the sudden turn of events forty feet over their heads, jumped from their concealed hideouts and started firing automatic kinetic rifles wildly in the direction of the tree Olszewski had fired from. Gabriel pulled his pulse rifle from its pouch and brought it to bear, but waited as the scene played out. He was a bit too far back from the two positions to make a difference at this point; Negassi and Sowers were nearly on top of them.

Sowers jumped up from his position, only fifteen feet from where the terrorist had popped up, and raised his assault rifle. The terrorist must have caught the movement, and he shifted his firing towards his new target. Gabriel saw Sowers get clipped by several rounds, the impacts staggering him back, but he managed to fire off a few rounds, and the terrorist went down in a spray of arterial blood.

Negassi’s opponent was far closer, the icons in Gabriel’s heads-up nearly blending into one. He was shocked she had been able to get in that close undetected, but not nearly as shocked as the gunman was as two takobas flashed in the green-filtered light. His right arm was severed at the elbow and the rifle immediately stopped firing. He screamed in agony and surprise as the second blade arced his way. The scream ended in a gurgle as the takoba slashed across his upper chest and throat. Gabriel didn’t watch the end result, knowing it would be an image he wouldn’t want to relive later on.

He stood up and grabbed Sennett by the upper arm. The corporal hopped up from his position, and the two men double-timed it to the scene of the carnage.

As Gabriel approached the fallen terrorist Sowers had taken out, he noticed Sowers had taken his helmet off and was breathing heavy. “You okay?” he asked.

Sowers nodded, trying to catch his breath. “Caught me off guard, sir, that’s all. I’m fine.” He looked down at the body, which had taken several rounds to the chest and face. “They’re using steelroot as armor?”

Gabriel took his own helmet off, and looked down where Sowers was staring. He saw pieces of gray wood scattered around the body. “No, not as armor, but it looks like they’ve figured out it blocks our neuretics to a point. It appears he was lying underneath a pile of it.”

“Same here,” Negassi said. She was wiping her takobas clean, a blurry outline with two floating swords and a bloody towel making for a surreal image in Gabriel’s visor.

“Sowers, tend to the hostage,” Gabriel said, pointing towards where the unconscious man was tied to a tree. “If he’s completely out cold, hide him somewhere.” He paused and sent a shielded burst back to Eden City about the hostage, the third one he’d notified them of. One more, he thought.

A screech from above sounded, and Gabriel looked up to see a flutter of wings, followed by several dozen more as a large flock of spiderbats took flight from a nearby tree. He wondered what had set them off now after all the weapons fire, when suddenly a fat raindrop landed in his eye.

Shit, he thought. This will make the last few miles a pain in the ass.

The skies opened up.

Speedpaint__Jungle_River_by_I_NetGraFX

steve

About the author

Steve Umstead

Steve Umstead has been the owner of a Caribbean & Mexico travel company for the past ten+ years, but never forgot his lifelong dream of becoming an author. After a successful stab at National Novel Writing Month, he decided to pursue his dream more vigorously…but hasn’t given up the traveling.
Steve lives in scenic (tongue-in-cheek) New Jersey with his wife, two kids, and several bookshelves full of other authors’ science fiction novels. Gabriel’s Redemption was his debut novel, published in February of 2011.

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