Enjoy another short excerpt from my third #Starshatter #book titled Treads Of Vengeance.
Dozan finally stopped before a small weapon’s stall at the very end of Applecrate’s marketplace. Inspecting the merchandise, Dozan noticed that indeed the weapon selection was rather limited, although plentiful in quantity. Most guns were old and had seen much use, something easily noticeable by the apparent wear and tear. A dent here, a scratch there; all weapons had seemingly changed hands many times over but after inspecting one the Kil’ra made his decision – each gun had a name etched in its grip or stock and all without exception had kill notches. In his mind it was highly appropriate for guns such as these to be wielded by their newly formed youth battalion. The stall owner was but a child; no older then twelve perhaps, the girl wore an aura of stubborn defiance around her like a jewel encrusted gown. The long, jet black, straight hair that she wore as a ponytail and her porcelain white skin were indicative of the girl’s pure Asian ancestry. At first his nose caught the scent of strong medication, but muddled with the smell of metal, gun grease and ozone coming from the weapons’ power packs, he soon forgot about it. She was dressed in simple, clean and well kempt blue summer dress with a pair of darkened, vintage biker glasses covering her eyes. Around her waist, the girl wore a utility belt bristling with all sorts of repair and weapon crafting tools. The girl’s PDA was seemingly an advanced model and she had, strangely enough, linked the Walter M91 laser pistol to its sensor module via a physical cable. Though it was the same model as his own, her gun seemed lighter and sported instead of his overcharge module, double power pack attachment and a virtual targeting unit. Dozan knelt before the human child and smiling pointed at the stall:
“How much for rifles, side arms and power packs enough to arm a battalion strong force of light foot, young lady?”
The girl’s face twitched as she instinctively turned her head toward his booming voice and raised her hands, hesitantly touching the sleeve of his armored uniform – Dozan’s eyes widened when he realized that the child was blind. He gently led her tiny hands when she tried to reach for his face.
“Kil’ra? Welcome on Applecrate, father.” – Her voice was soft, quiet and not surprisingly sad. Yet within the sadness, Dozan sensed a hint of the same defiance reflected in the stern posture that she had exhibited on the outside.
“My name is Akira but everyone here calls me the ‘Gun girl’”
“Dozan’Re, moral officer of IMS Starshatter. Your eyes, may I ask how?”
“During the last invasion a Jaern PPG blast hit the house I and my friends were taking cover. I managed to drag those who survived from the burning building but...” – the girl removed her old fashioned glasses. Dozan studied her burned and disfigured eye sockets, noting that the wounds were extraordinarily deep, and covered with medi-gel. She slowly put the glasses back on and motioned towards the weapon stall – “I lived but most of my friends didn’t. To begin with I’ve lost my parents in another raid back on our home station of Farpost 3. After the battle I told the neighbors here that my father had taught me how to fix weapons, and they were kind enough to shelter me. Brought me all of these guns so that I can make my living by fixing and selling them to others.”
The PPG was a beastly cannon which fired wide arcs of plasma, very slowly, and in much shorter ranges than modern Terran weapons of the same type. This technology was ancient and most races used it for orbital bombardment or hitting stationary targets since it required only energy and was therefore cost efficient compared to bombs. It was a weapon of terror, a weapon of mass destruction. You couldn’t use it with much success against moving spaceships since most were well protected by energy shields and armor-plating. The Jaern were one of the few races famous for employing PPG’s for close air support and they blanket fired it on weaker enemy positions or reinforced civilian buildings. Only after they’ve secured the necessary foodstuffs, of course...
Dozan almost reached over and touched the girl’s face but his hand stopped midway. Once more he made a concentrated effort to keep calm, steeled his voice and asked:
“But your eyes, can’t I... ?”
“No! I don’t want handouts! My parents didn’t bring out a leech into this galaxy, no they did not! I can work and soon will make enough to pay for the eye cloning and surgery. It is but a couple weeks more until I have the needed sum, father. There is no need to worry about me.”
He opened his mouth to speak but the looks that the nearby vendors gave him almost made Dozan tear up. Those Terrans! What was it that they used to say during and after the 1969 invasion? “We will bend but not break!” and “Fall if we must but not on our knees!” Dozan looked at the stall again and prepared a list of weapons in his PDA, once more directing his attention at its owner.
“So then, what will it cost to equip my battalion of light foot?”
“Well, father, my weapons are in perfect order. The people who last owned them, sacrificed themselves to protect this place and the people who live in it, therefore I shall take no less than three thousand creds for the rifles, pistols and all ammunition for them, and believe me when I say this father – I do have plenty of those in storage. The weapons are an assortment of railguns, laser rifles, and pistols, every piece is in perfect working order as I mentioned earlier. I will throw even a hundred grenades, a mixed container full of claymores and anti-tank mines, just for good measure. The infantry heavy weapons will cost you extra. How many machine guns?”
“Six heavy and twenty light, plus twenty shoulder anti-material lasers and/or rail rifles. What about melee, do you have any vibro weapons that you can spare?”
“Bayonets, the best you can buy on this market. Excellent vibro-blades, sixteen inches long or forty centimeters, and yes, all of my rifles have the attachment. That would be another five thousand credits, and that’s a bargain.”
The girl turned around and her fingers craftily waved above her PDA – she was using a Terran made software for the blind. The device spoke with words and numbers while she slid the now full holo-file into his PDA, Akira’s sad smile slowly morphed into a happy one.
* * *
To those who still dream of the good old days when science fiction was still fun and not chalk full cancerous SJW crap, I say - give my Starshatter series a chance! They are available on Amazon both in Kindle and paperback format. Those of you who are willing and able, can support me on Patreon or Subscribestar.