Read Colliding Worlds Trilogy 03 - Explosion Online

Authors: Berinn Rae

Tags: #romance, #paranormal

Colliding Worlds Trilogy 03 - Explosion (2 page)

BOOK: Colliding Worlds Trilogy 03 - Explosion
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The sounds of chairs scraping on concrete pulled Jax’s attention back to the room.

The general held up a finger. “Make sure you have your troops pulled out by oh-eight-thirty and not a minute later. We cannot come back for anyone left behind.”

“Aye-aye, sirs” chimed around the room as the officers departed, everyone looking tense. Jax eyed Ace, who shot him a look every bit as bothered as he felt.

“Jerrick and Monsen, a word.”

Snapping upright, Jax and Ace spun on their heels to return to the room. Ace, being the lowest ranking officer left in the room, waited for the others to leave before closing the door and catching up to stand at Jax’s side to face the general.

“As you were,” Jax’s father said as he rustled around some papers before leaning back on his desk and facing his two officers. “Lieutenant Monsen, you have more potential than just about any soldier I’ve met.”

“Thank you, sir,” Ace replied.

“Yet you manage to fuck up every time you get a promotion. I’m giving you one last shot.” He tossed Ace a small box. “I’m giving you a field commission, Captain Monsen.”

Ace stood straighter and replied quickly. “Thank you, sir. I’ll try not to fuck it up.”

The general smirked. “Since you’re now a captain, you will no longer report to Captain Jerrick. Echo-Three is now under your command. His company is your responsibility, effective immediately.”

Ace frowned. “Sir?”

Jerrick pursed his lips. “Captain Jerrick will receive new orders when we reach Whiteman.”

Ace saluted. “Noted, sir.”

Jax’s brows rose, but he was smart enough to stay silent.

“That will be all, Captain Monson.”

Ace paused and shot Jax a quick frown before giving a curt nod to the general. “Thank you, sir,” he said and left the room, closing the door behind him.

Jax’s father looked around the room before leveling his gaze on his son. “What I’m about to say could get misinterpreted for treason if it fell onto the wrong ears.”

Jax didn’t respond, simply because how could one respond to that?

“We’ve never been fair with the Etzee’s residents. The Sephians that are here could’ve gone home, but they remained here to start a new life. They
chose
to remain here. I’m not worried about them since they had a choice and could head back to Sephia. As for the Draeken, well, they have no home. We’ve been keeping several hundred restricted to the Etzee in hopes to keep in line the several thousand orbiting our planet in those giant core ships of theirs. If we kill those residents now, I have no doubt their compatriots will retaliate, and that could make the Omega virus look like nothing more than a slap on the face. At oh-nine-hundred, we’re going to fuck ourselves by bombing the Etzee in hopes to stop whoever unleashed the Omega virus, and we’re not even sure that someone is in the Etzee.”

“Sir?” Jax asked, though he’d already suspected where his father was headed.

Jerrick cracked his knuckles. “I’m giving you a counter-directive for one hour in order to save our world. Save the alien delegates to the Triad. Roden and his officers, Sienna and her trinity, and whatever families you can, or else we’re all dead. And then get your ass to Whiteman and report in that you were delayed in transferring records.”

Jax’s muscles shook with tension, his lungs could barely take in air. After another breath, he found the ability to speak. “I understand, sir. I will do what I can.”

“Good. I’ve already put the paperwork through that you’ll be driving a large supply truck with remaining medical records. It’s large enough for you to get out the key personnel with that. It’s going to be chaotic over the next fifteen hours. With your company now under Captain Monsen’s command, no one should notice your absence.”

His father looked relieved, but yet deathly ill at the same time. It had been the third time in Jax’s life that he’d seen his father emotional. The first was when his mother died. The second was when Jax had been taken by the Sephians. “If you’re caught with the Triad, there’s nothing I can do. You need to get them off the Etzee, then let them fend for themselves. Do you understand?”

“Aye-aye, sir,” Jax replied, his chest uncomfortably tight. “Will that be all?”

“Troops evacuate at oh-eight-thirty. Scouts are posted a mile out in each direction to make sure no one escapes. It doesn’t give you much of a window to sneak out the critical few. Be out of there by oh-nine-hundred and not a minute later, got it?”

Jax swallowed, and then nodded.

His father came forward suddenly and embraced him. It was fast and hard and over before Jax could respond. The general walked around his desk, sat down, and began to shuffle papers. “You’ve got a lot of work to do, Captain. Better get to it.”

Feeling disjointed and edgy, Jax nearly stumbled out the door, to find Ace leaning against the wall.

“Captain,” Ace said.

Jax smirked. “Captain.” But, he quickly sobered.

Ace joined his side as they walked outside. “I’ll get your guys out all right.”

“They’re
your
guys now,” Jax replied.

“Hoo-fucking-rah.” Ace didn’t smile. “You be safe.”

Ace had to have an idea something was up for the general to promote him at such an odd time. Jax didn’t reply. Instead, he pulled his buddy into a quick, hard embrace. It was much like the one his father had just given him and spoke of the same heartfelt emotions that words couldn’t relay. When they pulled away, neither said a word, just went their separate ways. The general was right. They had a lot to do and not damn near enough time to get it done.

Chapter Two

2200 hours

“Excuse me.” Talla Kohlm veered around the soldier blocking her path.

He mirrored her steps, blocking her way once again.

She heard the booted steps of his partner coming up from behind. Her only chance for escape was the dark alley between the two empty trailers at her right.
Trap
. Refusing to appear cowed, she glared and entered the alley.

Better to walk into a trap than to be shoved.

Broken glass crunched under her feet, which explained the lack of light in this particularly foul-smelling alley. The nearest post stood empty, no guard on duty. These men had planned their games well. The sounds of footsteps echoed behind her, and she turned to face her assailants. It was hard to make out their features, but she’d no doubt a sneer of imminent success already crossed their faces.

Each man took a cautious step closer, as though they’d cornered prey like this many times before. In response, Talla took a step back, only to bump into a dumpster. One of the humans chuckled. “Don’t be scared, dragon lady. We won’t hurt you.”

Talla clenched her teeth at the taunt soaking his words. Her wings, though banded tight behind her back to prevent flight, flicked in agitation. She couldn’t scream for help. It would do no good, anyway. She couldn’t attack, let alone kill these bastards without severe repercussions against her and her people. There was only one constant at Etzee — the humans always sided with their own.

Hard to believe less than a year had passed since her people’s so-called peace treaty with the humans. It had taken them less than a month to round up every remaining Draeken and Sephian left Earthside to be essentially imprisoned within the high chain fences of the Etzee. The Draeken, with their wings restrained to prevent flying, were only slightly worse off than the wingless Sephians. Both races had tracking devices implanted in their necks. None were allowed to leave the Etzee unless they were leaving the planet altogether. All of this in the name of “for their own safety.”

The humans had lied. They’d never wanted peace. They’d wanted power, control, and supremacy. They simply weren’t ready to live on this planet as equals with another race, let alone two, and so they’d fallen into old habits of dealing with others who weren’t like them.

Every day in the Etzee was a fight to retain her heritage. Twilight had already faded to black. She’d found it suspicious the sergeant had kept her in the work center to finish a menial cleaning assignment while everyone else had been allowed to go home early. The reason became all too clear when that same sergeant stepped into the alley behind the two, putting a hand of each of his men’s shoulders. “I hope you’re not starting without me, boys.”

“Just warming up,” the one on the left said.

With that, the sergeant stepped between the two men. Metal clinked on metal as he unfastened his belt. With a man on each side, he stalked slowly but confidently toward her.

“You’re a pretty one,” one of the soldiers cooed. “We’ve been watching you for a
long
time.”

Talla swallowed, biting back a shiver. Both her flight and fight urges were blasting through her system. If her wings weren’t banded, she would’ve easily flown over their heads and to Laze’s trailer for relative safety. But the humans had given the Draeken a choice: have their wings banded or amputated. Like everything else the humans had done, ultimatums had been issued under the pretense of choice.

Talla was a soldier. She’d taken on much more dangerous foes than these misfits. But fighting, regardless of who started it, was illegal, and she was already on strike two. One more strike, and she’d be put in lockdown.

No one who went to lockdown had ever been seen again. She had to be careful.

As the men stepped closer, they spread out to pin her in. Her heart was racing. Bile rose in her throat. She balanced on the balls of her feet, knowing she could take down one, maybe two, without leaving any marks on their bodies. Three armed soldiers moved the odds out of her favor. She pulled her arms into a defensive position. “Leave me alone.”

The sergeant paused. “We don’t want to hurt you, honey.” He gestured to his men. “We just want to talk.”

Except the way he said the word
talk
sounded anything but harmless. “Don’t come any closer,” she commanded.

“Or you’ll do what?” the man on the right mocked. Moonlight glinted off the blade he now held.

She saw that the other one had already pulled out a handgun. “C’mon, dragon lady. Tonight’s our last chance for a bit of fun. We don’t have time for your games.”


Fyet da
.”
Fuck you.
Talla lunged to the right, swung around, and then dove at the man on the left. Her elbow connected with his sternum. He grunted, pulling his hands toward his chest. She twisted his wrist as she pulled the gun from his hand. As the same time, one of the others grabbed her long hair and yanked her off the soldier now cursing up a storm. Pain shot through her scalp, but pain she could take.

Dropping the gun, she threw herself back onto the man pulling her against him, knocking him off balance. As they fell, she spun to straddle him and clapped his ears with all her strength. He cried out, and his hold on her instantly relaxed.

Just as she went to leap off the writhing man, she froze. Cold, sharp steel pressed against her throat. Warm blood trickled down her neck. Any movement would result in a severed artery.

She could do nothing while the first soldier, still wheezing and coughing from her blow, stepped around and reclaimed his weapon from the ground. Aiming it at her heart, he knelt and checked on his fallen comrade, who was whimpering while cupping his ears.

“We were going to go easy on you before,” the sergeant said from behind. “Now it’s going to hurt.” The piercing pressure on her neck lessened only to have duct tape slapped over her mouth. She found herself kicked forward onto her hands, knocking the breath from her lungs. Before she could get her bearings, he shoved her onto her back so that she faced him.

The soldier with the gun glared at her, fury shining in those weasel eyes. Then his fist swung out. Talla’s vision went white as pain shot through her nose. A hand gripped her face. Blood trickled down her throat. With her mouth covered, she fought to breathe, the blood choking her breaths. As her vision slowly returned through a haze of white stars, she found herself looking up at a cruel grin. “That’s for hitting me.”

“C’mon, quit playing. Hold her down. We don’t have much time,” the sergeant said as he pulled at her pants.

Talla shoved at his hands as she struggled to slide into a defensive position. While she was nearly as strong as one man, she was in too much of an awkward position to gain leverage. Two men had easily overwhelmed her.

One of the soldiers grabbed her wrists and yanked her arms over her head. She mumbled and cursed behind the tape. Agony overtook her when he knelt on her sensitive wings and held her against the ground while staring down at her. Her shout was muffled behind the thick tape. If felt as though every cell under her skin had been soaked in acid.

Her nose was already swelling, reducing her air supply to nil. The tape prevented her from coughing as blood continued to trickle down her throat. The only good thing about her situation was that she’d soon pass out from lack of air. She wouldn’t witness what they were about to do. While she still could see, she turned to face the human coming down on his knees before her. She focused on remembering the sergeant’s face, as well as the faces of the other two men. Knew that, no matter how long it took, she would track them down and kill them one by one.

Her lungs burned, and her body fought for air even as she clenched her eyes shut, trying to will herself into blacking out sooner.

“Sarge! Behind you!”

Her eyes popped open. The soldier kneeling on her wings shouted an instant too late.

Her rescuer had two large hands already on the sergeant’s head, twisting. With a pleasant-sounding crack, his head fell at an unnatural angle on his shoulders. He collapsed forward, only to have her savior shove him to the side, revealing himself to her.

Laze!
She shouted his name, but it came out as “Mm!” from behind the tape. The world swirled around her as she began to sink into oblivion. Her lungs burned so fiercely. But, while the soldier with the gun was distracted, Talla used her remaining strength to yank her hands free. She ripped the tape off her mouth, sucking in a deep breath. She tried to pull herself up, but the soldier on top of her still had her wings pinned.

BOOK: Colliding Worlds Trilogy 03 - Explosion
6.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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