Incident at Trakan Part 3

Incident at Trakan Part 3

“Rare earth minerals, several fortunes in heavy metals, and more M’tait artifacts than anyone has ever seen, let alone had a chance to get their hands on without them turning explosive,” Troop Captain Nikoilo said.  “No wonder they tried fighting us over it.” “It was still stupid,” Vakolo growled.  They were standing in the entry chamber that the Caractacans had cleared.  It was now the Sparatan groundside command post, with Sparatan troops on security at the various openings, some descending into the pits to explore the nether regions of the base.  Vakolo himself was in combat armor, standing next to the troop commander at their hasty command and control station where a portable holo tank had been set up, updating the base layout and troop dispositions as reports came in.  “They were vastly outnumbered and outgunned.  They should have had the wit to surrender immediately.” “I have yet to meet a pirate who would qualify as a great thinker, Strategos,” Nikoilo said dryly. Vakolo just looked at him, but the Troop Captain’s helmet was as faceless as his own.  He just shook his head.  He should take the man to task for the remark, but if any of his men

Incident at Trakan Part 2

Incident at Trakan Part 2

Squad Sergeant Jules Ncube crossed himself as the dropship began its final braking maneuver, gee forces pressing his armored form deeper into his acceleration couch.  He had not yet faced the M’tait in combat, and while the initial scans of the planetoid below had led Centurion Waylander to believe that there were no actual M’tait present, he had seen enough combat to know that the initial orbital reconnaissance was rarely to be relied upon entirely.  There were always things below that the radar, lidar, and thermal and optic telescopes couldn’t quite see. The dropship began to shudder a little, and in the visual feed on the flatscreen in front of his face, Ncube could see the faintest trace of an orange nimbus start to flicker around the truncated, conical hull.  It was nowhere near some of the fiery displays he’d seen on hot drops; the nameless planetoid known only as Trakan Target One had only barely enough of a trace atmosphere to warm the hull a little.  Almost as soon as it had formed, the nimbus was gone, as the dropship’s drive accomplished more to slow its descent than any aerobraking could hope to. The horizon was a golden line

Incident at Trakan Part 1

Incident at Trakan Part 1

I originally wrote this as a newsletter draw for the separate The Unity Wars newsletter.  Since I’m folding the series into my main author “brand,” I’m going to serialize it here. Trakan System Tyrus Cluster 4,400 hours since the fall of Oram Prime Seventy-five starships hung in the black, only the faint starlight reflecting off their hulls.  Ahead, the star designated Trakan on most starmaps was little more than a slightly brighter pinpoint of light amid dazzling myriads. The largest formation of ships was made up of angular, chisel-nosed battlecruisers, painted a bright blue, with the wreathed Sigma emblem of the Sparatan Space Force only dimly visible in the star glow. Nearby floated two dozen broad, dumbbell-shaped star cruisers, their hulls a deep red that almost looked black in the dimness of deep space.  The characters etched on their flanks were alien; tehud symbols spelled out each ship’s name and its place in the Vergsegeilith Task Fleet, out of Bilbissari. Two ships didn’t fit with either group.  The three-sided, coppery arrowhead bore no markings whatsoever, but was immediately identifiable as belonging to the Order of Shufa, one of the most secretive and rarely seen of the galaxy’s Military Brotherhoods.  The silvery