Read Omega Force 6: Secret of the Phoenix Online
Authors: Joshua Dalzelle
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real persons, events, or places are purely coincidental; any references to actual places, people, or brands are fictitious. All rights reserved.
Edited by Monique Happy Editorial Services
TABLE OF CONTENTS
“Operation is still green, Captain. Strike team is in position on the surface and signaling ready.”
“Very well. Move the
into lower orbit and begin targeting surface-to-orbit emplacements with the heavy mag-cannons. As soon as I give the order to fire, signal Captain Reddix that his Marines have an execute order. They can start their mission.”
“At once, Captain.”
Captain Kellea Colleren walked calmly to her chair on the bridge of the battlecruiser,
, trying to exude a sense of calm for her crew. The truth was that her stomach was tied in knots. This was one of the most ambitious operations she’d ever assumed command of: multiple ships, a ground team, and an extraction plan that relied on what could kindly be described as a wildcard.
The general idea was to feign a direct assault on a fortified planet in order to give the small team of Marines on the ground the chance to get in and secure the mission’s primary objective: the capture and retrieval of a warlord who had taken control of the planet Olem in a bloody coup that overthrew the duly elected government.
But her Marines weren’t your average grunts that needed large numbers to overwhelm an enemy’s position. Her ship carried a full company of Galvetic Marines, arguably the most ferocious fighting force in the known galaxy. This would be the first time she’d turned them loose in a live operation where they would meet heavy resistance. Even though they were greatly outnumbered, her concern lay more in what might happen to the citizens of Olem than the Marines themselves.
“Mag-cannons are in range,” her operations officer reported.
“Fire all forward batteries,” Kellea ordered. “I don’t want a single surface gun left operational within five hundred kilometers of the primary target.”
“Firing forward mag-cannons,” the tactical officer said crisply. “Battle damage assessments coming in on your display, Captain.”
“Marines have been given an execute order,” Operations reported. “They’re deploying now.”
“Oh Gods,” Kellea muttered under her breath.
“Relax, Captain,” a voice said softly at her elbow, too softly to be overheard. “They’ve got a capable chaperone with them and they’ve done well up to this point.”
“They’ve never encountered this type of resistance, Crisstof,” she answered. “If they get backed into a corner this could turn into a bloodbath.”
“Captain Reddix will keep them in line,” the older man insisted. Kellea didn’t trust herself to answer.
“We’ve just received the signal,” Mazer Reddix said loudly. “Final gear check and then we move in fifteen seconds.” Mazer, commanding officer of the entire company aboard the
, was personally leading the small, platoon-sized strike force that would execute the primary mission. Captain Colleren had also sent along some added insurance with the platoon. At first Mazer had bristled at the perceived insult of needing a babysitter, but when he found out who would be accompanying them he was secretly overjoyed. As well trained as his Marines were, nothing beat years of experience.
“Lucky, how does it look?”
“This street is still clear up to our breech point, Captain Reddix,” Lucky said calmly. The battlesynth had switched to combat mode when Mazer gave the call to perform a gear check, his glowing red eyes reflecting off the interior wall of the small shop they’d taken residence in.
“Let’s mount up!” Mazer called back to the rest of the platoon, all of who were now standing. “This will be a dash and grab, Marines! Do not engage unnecessarily. Moving fast will be our primary defense. Lucky, please signal the extraction team that the mission is now live.”
“Signal sent, Captain,” Lucky answered. “I will alert you when I receive confirmation.”
“Please do,” Mazer replied. “Go ahead and move to the wall, we’re right behind you.”
Without a word, Lucky opened the shop door and strode purposefully towards the high security wall that was twenty-five meters from the Marines’ location. When he had approached within ten meters, Mazer flipped the switch on the localized jammer he was carrying just in time to watch the battlesynth fire his repulsors and go soaring up and over the wall. A few seconds later a thin, wide strap came snaking over the wall and dangled loosely.
The first Marine in the platoon charged past Mazer and grabbed the line, climbing up and over the wall, which was at least twelve meters tall, in less than fifteen seconds. All thirty-eight Marines were up and over the wall in just under eight minutes, with Mazer being the last to climb up and drop over the edge.
“I’m the last, Lucky,” he said quietly, checking the defensive formation his Marines had deployed into as they came over the barrier. The battlesynth was quickly reeling in the line as Mazer scrutinized his troops. Unable to find anything to chastise them about, he waited until Lucky had stashed the ascent line before signaling him to the head of the column.
They found themselves in a beautifully landscaped garden on the other side of the formidable security wall, but they were also a quarter of a kilometer from the nearest cover that was across an expanse of well-lit, open ground. The low-power jammer Mazer had employed earlier may have scrambled the perimeter sensors for a moment or two, but once they crossed that wide expanse they were almost sure to be seen by the security forces on the premises.
“We should proceed with caution,” Lucky said to Mazer, “but once we are spotted, it will be hard-fought ground all the way to the objective anyway.”
“They didn’t send us because it was going to be easy,” Mazer said lightly. “My Marines will do their job.”
“Of that I have no doubt, Captain Reddix,” Lucky said. “My only advice is to stay focused once the fighting starts. If the platoon scatters into smaller skirmishes we will lose the tactical advantage.”
“Relax, my friend,” Mazer said, letting the thinly veiled insult go unchecked. “We’re not berserkers. We’re not even warriors anymore. The line will hold.”
“I meant no insult, Captain.”
“And I didn’t take it as such,” Mazer said, his eyes never leaving the building ahead of them. “This is a new situation for all of us, and we’ll be required to prove ourselves just like any other unit. The fact Captain Colleren tasked us with the primary mission goal is a great honor. We will not let her down.”
“I do not suspect that you will,” Lucky agreed after a moment.
Mazer motioned to the rest of his platoon and they broke their defensive formation and separated into three squads, each racing for a different part of the compound. Two of the twelve-man squads would be tasked with securing the compound’s defensive systems. The last twelve-man squad, plus Lucky and Mazer, would have the more difficult task of achieving their primary objective: abducting a dangerous and violent warlord who would not want to be taken alive.
Mazer led his squad between two of the smaller perimeter buildings and onward towards the centrally located palace. Weapons fire from another part of the compound indicated one of the other squads had engaged resistance. Mazer held up a fist and stopped his squad just short of the entrance to the narrow alley he had led them into. The other Marines looked around, behind and above them, not at all liking being trapped in such close confines should they be discovered.
“We hold here until main power to the complex has been disabled,” Mazer whispered back. “The scrambler Twingo gave us will work against simple surveillance equipment, but the automated turrets around the palace won’t be affected. We’ll never even make it to the door.”
“I will take position on the roof of this building and keep overwatch,” Lucky said. Before Mazer could agree or disagree, the battlesynth fired his repulsors and streaked up and over the roof line. Instantly there was the exchange of weapons fire and the unlikely sound of hand-to-hand combat. After several thuds and a few wet snaps, the Marines were startled when a body was flung from the roof at high velocity. It struck the wall of the adjacent building before falling into the alley in a heap.
“Sergeant,” Mazer said, “police that body.”
“At once, Captain.” A burly Marine walked up and rolled the broken body over, checking it for life signs and weapons before dragging it back into a doorway so it wouldn’t interfere if the squad had to move quickly. The sounds of fighting intensified from the area the power station was located at. If the squad was able to push past the defenses, the power coming into the compound should be cutting out soon.
The power station itself was an unbelievable stroke of luck when they began planning the mission. As a precaution to keep someone from exploiting the power lines to infiltrate the networked systems on the compound, all the power from external sources came in through the switching station, was filtered and conditioned, and then sent on to the buildings within the walls. It was an obvious Achilles’ Heel, so there was an impressively powerful shield that would make a precision strike from orbit nearly impossible. A ship would have to take out the entire complex, and when it got close enough to attempt that the surface-to-orbit guns would make it a bumpy ride.
What the designers had never imagined, however, was that anyone would be so insane as to infiltrate the city and try and breech the walls with a small, undetectable ground force. As such, the effective area of the shield didn’t begin until nearly ten meters above the top of the wall. The security forces weren’t concerned about any small force that was audacious (or stupid) enough to scale the wall and attempt an assault. They were more than confident that—between their own forces and the automated defense systems—any attempt would be laughably futile. They’d never counted on a full platoon of Galvetic Marines being within their walls, however.
Following an enormous explosion that shook the ground, the compound was plunged into darkness. Shouts of panic and confusion rang out from everywhere and the renewed sounds of fighting now came from a different part of the complex as the second squad took their signal and began their assault on the security force barracks. Dim lights began blinking on as the emergency generators were brought online and a rush of troops could be seen making their way towards the power station.
No sooner had they passed when Mazer was startled by the loud thud and cracking pavement that marked Lucky’s arrival from the rooftop. “We appear to be clear up to the palace,” he said. “The emergency generators will be unable to power the automated defense systems for approximately twenty minutes.”
“Then we’d better get started,” Mazer muttered. He raised a hand to get the squad’s attention and then held up three fingers, counting down the seconds. When he held only one finger aloft he faced forward and braced himself. When the last finger ticked off he dropped his fist and took off at a dead sprint, covering the one hundred and fifty meters to the palace as fast as he could. He could hear his squad right on his heels as he focused on the large maintenance door that would be their ingress point.
As the Marines charged the door, Lucky moved off to the side and slowed his pace. This was their mission; he was only here as an advisor. Mazer reached the door first and slapped a breeching charge on the handle as the others fanned out in a defensive position, weapons pointing away from the building. The charge blew with a loud
but the door held firm.
Mazer grabbed the ruined edges of the area where the latch used to be and heaved. The sound of tortured metal rending was drowned out as weapons fire began to pepper the side of the building. Even though they were well outside the effective range of their plasma rifles, the security forces were now aware of the new threat and were attempting to at least distract them.
Half of Mazer’s squad carried plasma rifles with the same limitations. The other half, however, carried railguns. The Galvetic Marines had been so impressed with Jason Burke’s weapon of choice that they made it standard procedure to have railgunners in each deployable unit. The roar of hypersonic rounds going downrange was deafening for those with organic ears. The results were gruesomely inevitable as the small tungsten carbide rounds impacted the advancing troops. Most were simply blown apart; others were so horrifically injured they were no longer a threat.
“Inside! Let’s go!” Mazer shouted, marshaling his troops through the now open door. Lucky walked in behind them and pulled the doors shut, welding the ruined metal into a solid barrier with one of his cutting lasers.
“Our objective is on the top floor; that’s six stories above our current position,” Mazer said. “Bravo and Charlie squads will be engaging forces on the grounds to cover our movement. If Charlie was successful there shouldn’t be too many roaming around. Split into three-man fire teams and set intervals to ten meters … I don’t want a lucky grenade to take us all out. We’ll be taking the stairs that run parallel to the maintenance lifts. Expect heavy resistance as we near the top. Let’s move!”
They’d all been briefed on the details of the plan, of course, but Mazer liked to reiterate the steps as they moved along. Nerves were stretched taut as the group of excitable warriors got their first taste of a live operation. Their commander didn’t want them becoming distracted or making rash moves in their excitement. So far things had gone mostly to plan.
The Marines, and the tireless Lucky, raced up the stairs, reaching the top floor barely winded. Mazer held up a fist and waited for the first trailing fire team to catch up to them. He held his ear close to the door that would lead out onto the top level, but couldn’t hear anything past the heavy breathing of his own troops. He reached into his cargo pocket, pulled out a small device courtesy of the
engineering section, and placed it over the control panel for the lock. A red light on the device flashed once and then it began cycling through its code-cracking algorithms.