Helga Ate is finally getting her chance. Chosen for a coveted slot in the glorious Nighthawks, Special Forces, she will certainly be able to prove herself as more than a half-alien outcast.
But when her team deploys to the moon of Dyn, tragedy strikes and Helga is put to the ultimate test–survival. Facing insurmountable odds and escaping torture, Helga and her mentor, Cilas Mec, are forced to face a fate worse than death. Battling brain-eating aliens and human pirates, the odds are stacked against them in every way. The rescue should be coming.
Unless the Alliance is involved in this botched mission…
Can Helga survive the odds to get out alive, or will she be the last of the Nighthawks?
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“So listen up,” said Lamia, “the Dredge is only about 24 meters
“That’s it?” said Wyatt.
“Clear the channel, Wyatt, this ain’t the time or place, copy?” Cage said.
Lamia let them finish. “There is a chance that there are a number of them. We’re seeing blood stains from the wounds it took, but it seems to be moving at a rapid pace. This means that there’s bound to be more inside of here, possibly a nest that we will need to destroy.”
The comms grew silent and Helga knew that they were all thinking the same thing. Why would they be pursuing this dangerous behemoth into its lair to fight more like it?
“It’s either we do this now, or risk the surface where the lizards have us outnumbered and outgunned,” Cage said, as if he could hear her thinking and wanted to explain.
“Aim for the mouths; it’s their weak spot. They have a metal-like exoskeleton, tougher than a ship’s hull. There’s no point in overheating your weapons trying to penetrate it,” Lamia said. “They are highly intelligent creatures, so please don’t make the mistake of underestimating them.”
Helga’s mind went back to Lamia’s las-sword. I bet it could cut one of those things in half, she thought. Were there las-guns and las-bullets that the Geralos had in their arsenal? She thought about the futility of going up against ordinance like that, and she hoped that the tech was restricted to melee weapons.
After they started to move the cave opened up, spreading out to give each of them a clear line of fire. Cage was in the center leading them through, while Wyatt hugged the right wall close to him. Helga hung back with her auto rifle raised and her rockets pulsing steadily. She liked this mode of travel since she exerted no energy doing it, but when she saw that she was the only one floating, she quickly turned it off.
The HUD of her helmet mapped the cave, utilizing the synced data from each of their vantage points. The fork had divided them, but it converged further ahead where she saw the two green blips of Varnes and Lamia Brafa.
“We got contact!” said Varnes, and she could hear auto rifles over the comms. The Master Chief picked up the pace, charging forward, and they followed him, pushing through.
As they ran to keep up with Cage Hem, Helga chanced a glance behind her. She saw a hole in the ceiling that they had somehow missed and her heart jumped out of her chest and into her throat. Silver ridges and monstrous coils dropped down to their level, then teeth reflected her PAS’s light and it came for her. She took a step back and squeezed the trigger, pulsing her shots to keep her weapon from overheating.
“Contact on our six, Master Chief,” she shouted, but no one seemed to hear her.
Kinetic rounds ricocheted off the monstrosity as it twisted towards her through the tunnel. She felt a presence on her side, and Wyatt ran up, adding his gunfire. He was using one hand to shoot while using the other to urge her away from it. Together they drifted backwards using their rockets while the dredge kept coming with its mouth closed.
“Damn it,” whispered Wyatt. He pushed her back. “Get ready to shoot when it opens its mouth.”