Alien courage (rise of the empress)

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ALIEN COURAGE

RISE OF THE EMPRESS

By Keith Chessell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text copyright © 2013 Keith W Chessell

All rights reserved

Table of Contents

 

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

ChapterOne

 

 

 

 The date wasAugust 6, 1945. High above the Pacific a B-29Superfortresscruised at 29,000 feet on its mission against the Japanese mainland. The crewsipped hot coffee to ward off the cold as its pilot ColonelTibbetsbriefed them on the final aspects of their mission. The crew were reticent asthey realised their payload consisted of the first atomic bomb to be used as aweapon against mankind. A dark page of Earth’s history was being written thisday but in man’s arrogance and relentless search for destructive capabilitieshe never realised it was not only Earth’s history that was being written.Covert forces foreign to Earth had monitored with interest the development ofnuclear technology on this planet; they watched and waited.

Far below on a small islanda platoon of US Marines wereengaged in a mopping up operation.Their task was to patrol a group of small islands that had been occupied byJapanese forces as they were driven back towards Japan. Japanese ship watchesstationed on such isolated islands had proven costly to Allied shippingpreviously in the war; each island with any strategic importance had to bepatrolled individually.

Lieutenant Peter Boland stretched hislegs and stamped his feet on the ground to get some feeling back in them.Crouched for hours watching the same clearing in the jungle had taken its toll.He was convinced if there were anyJapshere theywould have seen them by now.

“Sergeant Driscoll!” he said sharply.

“Sir.”The Sergeant replied standing up from behind a treeand resting his Thompson machine gun on his hip.

“Take a couple of men and scout out thatridge to the north. Don’t go any further than the trees over there,” Peter saidpointing with his carbine at a patch of jungle sitting just below the top ofthe ridge line. “And if you find no evidence of theJapswe’ll call off the search here and circle around and come up on the other side.The cliffs to the top are too steep and slippery to negotiate.”

The Sergeant scratched his weatheredface and looked upwards. “Seems like a damn waste of time this search Sir. Evenif someJapswere here the poor bastards would behalf starved and pretty pissed at being left behind. We haven’t seen a live Japfor weeks now and the dope is we’ll be fighting on the Jap mainland within amonth. Can’t we call it a day and get some chow?”

Peter couldn’t agree more with theSergeant but orders were orders and this was the last island in the group theywere ordered to search. Get this one done and it’s time for a little rest Peterthought. “Just get the ridge scoutedSargand we’lldiscuss whatever you like when you get back,” Peter said with a dry smile.

“Yes Sir,” the Sergeant replied with ashrug of his shoulders. “Parsons, Ackhurst saddle up. We’re going for a walk upthat ridge. Come on, get a move on.”

The three soldiers set off across theclearing and soon disappeared into the jungle on the other side. Peter turnedand surveyed the area behind him. Thirty men in his platoon were concealed inthe jungle before him. He could only make out a few of them from his positionbut he knew exactly where they were. “OK everyone,” he said loudly enough to beheard by all of them. “Relax the fingers on those triggers. You can rest up butkeep a keen eye out. Get ready to move out when theSarggets back.”

Peter felt the tension of his men relax;for two days they had scouted this side of the island for any evidence of Japactivity such as trails, camp sites or rubbish from ration packs but thankfullynothing. He was now hopeful their mission would be over by tomorrow. He allowedhimself to think of his home back in Oregon, his wife and son, a feeling ofnervous excitement swept through him as he realised he might actually be goinghome soon.

Suddenly his attention went on fullalert. Like so many times since he first landed as a green soldier on Guadalcanala strange instinct swept over him. He dropped slowly to one knee concealinghimself behind the fond of a large fern as he stared up at the ridge line amile or so away.

“What is it Sir?” Corporal Mathewswhispered quietly behind him.

“Don’t know. Maybe nothing but I thinkwe had better be on the alert. Something doesn’t feel right about this island,”Peter replied.

“Any orders Sir?”

“Get the men to withdraw about twentyyards into the jungle and no one is to go into that clearing or exposethemselves. I just got this feeling we are being watched.”

“Yes Sir.” Corporal Mathews replied andsilently withdrew to carry out his orders. The Corporal had been with Peterfrom the beginning of the war when they were both Privates. They were the onlytwo left from the original platoon after two years of jungle warfare with theJapanese. The rest were either killed inaction or sent home wounded. He had learned to respect Peter’s instinctswithout question. Peter’s actions in battle had earned him a field commissionand numerous decorations but he always rejected any notion he was a hero. Healways remained quiet on the subject of his actions in battle but he alwaysseemed to do exactly the right thing.

High up on the ridge line a singleJapanese soldier stared down into the valley below. He saw three enemy soldiersworking their way up towards him. He knew they would never get to his positionas the cliff face was too steep but he carefully took out his binoculars andfrom deep in the shadows of a cleft in the rocks he searched for more of hisenemy.For quite some time he carefully scanned the junglesbelow but could see no one.Frustrated he could not locate the main bodyof enemy troops he became nervous when he lost sight of the original threesoldiers on the ridge below him. He withdrew to report to his Commander.

An hour later Peter ordered his platoonto remain where they were. He then took Private Hanson with him to make theirway around the clearing to intercept the Sergeant and the two other soldiersreturning from the ridge. Peter could not get the feeling they were beingwatched out of his head and didn’t want the Sergeant and the others exposingthemselves by entering the clearing near their old position.

The going was tough as the jungle wasthick with vegetation and the vines easily tangled around the legs. The highheat and humidity caused the men to sweat profusely and they were very gladwhen they made it around to the other side.

“They should be back anytime now,” Peterwhispered to Hanson.

“Yes Sir. What a horrible placeLieutenant,” Hanson replied crushing a mosquito on the side of his neck.

The slightest noise from somewhere closemade Peter react instantly giving Hanson a violent shove to his chest. Hansonwent flying off his feet and disappeared into the fern fronds just as a longburst of machine gun fire sliced though the space where both he and Peter were standing only amoment before. Peter had dived rolling to the side and crawled quickly away.

“Stay where you are!” Peter shouted atHanson as he calculated the machine gun must be no more than the visualdistance in this jungle of fifty yards. He smoothly had a hand grenade off his belt, pulled the pin and hurledit towards where he calculated the machine gun would have to be. A deafeningexplosion shook the area followed by the screams of a wounded man.

One Officer and four Japanese soldiershad climbed down the cliff to investigate the sighting of the enemy in thevalley. They had volunteered to remain behind when the main body of Japanese Forceswere retreating across the Pacific. Their task was to hinder any enemy thatventured onto their island in any way they could and report any ship movementsoff the coast. Their radio batteries had deteriorated, gone flat and would notrecharge. They were desperate to capture any enemy batteries.

The Japanese soldiers were close tostarvation and were living off the land. Their desperation had forced them totake risks they would not normally take and they were now concerned the enemywould leave the island without a chance of them capturing much needed supplies.

Peter stood up quickly and ran to thecover of a large tree. Rifle shots rang out as he ran, bullets whistled pasthim and made long drawn out sounds as they crashed their way through the junglefoliage. Peter felt incredibly light on his feet, he saw colours vividly andeverything slowed down in time even though he moved swiftly. At a glance he sawthe muzzle flashes of three rifles and had instantly computed their range andwhat cover they were behind. He didn’t know why he did what he did but heflicked his helmet strap off his chin and threw his helmet high in the air. Itlooped spinning in the air and fell crashing into the foliage many yards away.

The attention of the Japanese soldierswent momentarily to the noise and movement caused by the helmet. This was themoment Peter anticipated; he swiftly brought the carbine to his shoulder, brokecover and fired two quick shots before getting back behind the tree again. Theside of the tree suddenly exploded into splinters as a bullet ripped into theedge of the tree where Peter was just standing. A short distance away twoJapanese soldiers lay dead, one shot in the head and the other in the chest.

Peter did not hesitate when a newwarning of danger materialised in his mind. He took two giant strides away fromthe tree anddivedfull length, landing on hisshoulder and then rolled away just as a Japanese hand grenade exploded besidethe tree. In an instant he was on one knee and emptied his magazine firing in asmall arc into the jungle. The unmistakable sound of a bullet striking humanflesh with a sickening ‘thwack’ came to his ears followed by the deep moaningof a dying man.

Peter remained still and just listened,his eyes open wide, fully alert. The moans of the dying man ceased, replacedwith an eerie silence.

A rustle of foliage behind him came as asurprise and in an instant he had his pistol in his hand spinning around. Hesighed with relief when he saw Hanson carefully making his way toward him,rifle at the ready. Peter felt no danger now and stood up putting his pistolback in its holster. Hanson had a look of complete surprise on his face. Hehadn’t fired a shot and had missed out on the very quick and noisy battle.

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