A battle raging inside of her mind...
At only eighteen, Helga Ate has lived a full life. After losing her parents and joining the Alliance Navy, Helga has proven to be special—special enough to be chosen for the prestigious Nighthawks.
But sometimes being chosen is too much for anyone…
Helga, having experienced war, is determined to bury her survivor’s guilt and the memory of her first mission. With the pressure mounting, Helga will stop at nothing to keep it all together.
But rest and relaxation are not within her reach after a satellite is attacked and human lives are lost. Helga must once again join forces with the Alliance to embark upon yet another dangerous mission of death and destruction.
Will Helga be able to survive the mission and rescue those in need—or will she succumb to the demons warring inside of her mind?
Raileo Lei ran as if the bullet in his leg was just a mere scratch that he didn’t have to deal with. Inside his hand was an OKAGI “Widow Maker” rifle, lifted from a corpse that they had passed. It was a modern model of the OKAGI rifle, with laser rounds and a coolant mod. Since the guns they had experienced since coming in the village had been mostly ballistic, he was quite surprised to find this gem, which was an Alliance weapon designed for spatial combat.
Helga too had picked up a fallen weapon, but hers was an auto-rifle of the Vestalian ASR variety. It was an older automatic but rated high on most catalogs due to its reliability. This was how it was chosen from the three that she saw, and now it hung across her back as she ran with her pistol in hand.
They had made it out of the house and then onto the neighbor’s rooftop where they ran along the length before jumping across to a taller structure. Raileo had suggested that while they waited on the lieutenant, they should offer topside support in case his escape was messy.
Helga initially was hesitant to comply since Cilas had ordered them to hide, not to initiate action. But the rage was in her at the atrocities she had seen, so she allowed the rebel inside her to win and took them up to the rooftops.
She kept her eye on the house as Raileo slid to the edge and wedged himself behind a reservoir tank. When he was ready, he gave her the hand gesture which indicated as much, and Helga slid the pistol down into the holster on her leg. Standing next to him, she placed the auto-rifle on top of the tank where she leaned into it, aiming at the house.
“Cilas,” she whispered into the comms, not bothering to switch to a private channel.
“I’m here,” Cilas said, after what must have been the galaxy’s longest second.
“How are we looking on that escape from the house?”
“Not good, they got reinforcements, so escape has been delayed for—”
Helga saw movement so she muted her comms. “I’ll take the heat on the insubordination, Ray. Put some fire on that bush to the left of the house.”
As if he had been waiting for her words, Raileo fired and a spark of fire erupted from the forest across from the house. Cilas was still talking, but it was hard for Helga to pay attention when she saw a man embroiled in flames stand up and collapse into another. All of a sudden Cilas was running through the backdoor, darting between houses before ducking down next to a stack of logs.
“Ate, report, was that you with the fire?” he said in a voice both harsh and out of breath.
“It was me, sir, we are on the roof,” Raileo said before Helga could come up with an excuse. “I had the shot, so I took it upon myself to use an ignition round.”