Redemption protocol (contact)

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Redemption Protocol

 

 

Mike Freeman

 

 

A thrilling story of exploration, intrigue, battle and vengeance set on a distant alien world...

 

Redemption Protocol is a hard hitting space opera/ scifi adventure. It is the FIRST book in the Contact series.

 

Rated [R]. Violence, sex, profanity.

 

Visit my website at:mikefreemans.blogspot.com

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(Note the 's', thanks)

 

Thanks for buying this book – I hope you enjoy it.

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Copyright © 2011 Michael Freeman.

 

US English Amazon edition V1103.1.45.US

 

 

 

 

Redemption.Being made free from the power of evil.

 

 

Protocol.Procedure for healing a disease or condition.

 

 

Localization

 

This book automatically customizes to its delivery location, currently [Earth]. This customization includes measurement units and cultural analogies. If you wish to change location please tap the cover of your sense device three times and state your preferred planetary system.

 

Communication

 

A cast is an encrypted radio communication transmitted from mind to mind. It is usually perceived as a voice in the recipient’s head. People frequently speak the words they are casting, though not always. Where speed is of the essence, casts are streamed to text in the recipient’s mind’s eye and thousands of casts can be received, processed and transmitted in a single second.

 

A point communication is transmitted from person to person through direct contact. Point comms use a sealed interface and are almost impossible to eavesdrop.

 

Where it may clarify the text, the ‘>’ sign is used to distinguish cast communications.

 

Six Days of Night

 

Damnation

 

Reflection

 

Resurrection

 

Revelation

 

Retribution

 

Reckoning

 

 

 

 

 

Damnation

 

 1. 

 

 

 

 

Anna ran up the corridor, doused in red flashing lights, her feet rapping out the rhythm of her fear. A multitude of ship alarms tore at her senses, superfluous. She knew the intruder was close behind her, massive and heavily armored.

Invulnerable.

Terror ripped at her senses, her face set in a silent scream. She clawed at the air as she ran, grasping for more speed, for salvation.

Her uniform was soaked in Sarah's blood and brain splatter.

Sarah, her best friend, was dead.

She knew she was going into shock. It didn't help.

On shipnet, the dot depicting the intruder swept along, implacable and merciless. Seven of her crewmates’ vitals were dark – deceased. Ten of them left.

A life blinked out of existence.

Nine left.

She gasped. She wanted to close her eyes and hide. This couldn't be happening. It couldn't be real. The intruder’s dot converged smoothly with the end of the corridor behind her. There was a bright flash.

Eight left.

The end of the corridor was coming, but it wasn't coming fast enough.

She found religion in those last few meters; begging, pleading, willing her Lord to save her.

Please, God, let me make it.

~    ~    ~

 

Tully looked over at Katie, the girl that wild horses couldn't drag out of his mind, as she sat surrounded by her friends. So near, yet so far.

The square outside his building had a small playground with a merry-go-round, a slide and some swings. Katie sat on the right hand swing with one foot dangling beneath her, like an angel perched in the crook of the moon. As Tully looked over, his heart rate accelerated and his hands began to sweat. Katie glanced across and he smiled.

Too late. By the time he’d smiled, she'd looked away.

Why was this so difficult? His entire life now revolved around asking her out. Stage one: plan to ask her out (infinite detail), stage two: fail to ask her out (infinite embarrassment) and stage three: regret not asking her out (infinite remorse). Repeat cycle until death, apparently.

He couldn't stop thinking about her; her blonde hair, her pink hair band and the quirky black socks she wore with her white sneakers. Her skin looked smooth and soft – he wanted to touch it. He knew his mum would go nuts at him asking out a girl who had, heaven forbid, blonde hair. But every time he saw her it made his whole day better. Unless, that is, he'd told his buddy Jan that he was going to ask her out. Talk about pressure.

“You're staring, Tully.”

He looked away.

“Well?” Jan said.

“Today is the day.”

“You said that yesterday.”

“Today.”

“And the day before.”

“Try and help me, Jan!”

“She wants you. She keeps looking at you. What's the worst that can happen?”

“Humiliation. Embarrassment. Ridicule.”

“Only words. You read too much poetry.”

“Words have weight, my father says.”

“It's not your father you want to kiss though, is it, Tully?”

~    ~    ~

 

Anna collided with the wall at the end of the corridor and pushed herself sideways, rounding the corner in the nick of time. She sprinted the last few meters to the bridge and launched herself through the open doorway.

Captain Morgan thrust a weapon into her hands.

“Here.”

He pointed to the far side of the room. Anna hurried past crewmates crouching behind consoles. They hadn't had any time. No one was even wearing a suit. They were overmatched and underequipped. The attack, so far inside Alliance space, was a total shock. She imagined Karver separatists. But the capability of the intruder was beyond expectations. It was outrageous.

She stopped on the far side of the room, furthest from the door. Seven crew left. Their last stand. There was nowhere else to go.

“Should we jettison the LX?” she asked.

Captain Morgan smiled and shook his head. He stood to one side of the doorway with his weapon raised.

She watched on shipnet as the intruder approached. The image of the intruder’s heavy combat suit flickered and froze. She frowned. Surely the intruder couldn't have disrupted shipnet?

She had to get out of here. She was on leave in two days time; three whole weeks with Stevie. She'd been planning it for months.

She looked down at her tunic and grimaced.

“Any help?” she asked.

“Help is on its way,” their Communication Officer confirmed.

“How long?”

There was a pause.

“Ten. Ten minutes.”

No one said anything. No one had to.

~    ~    ~

 

Katie sneaked another glance at Tully. He had dark unruly hair and light coffee skin. He was thin and wiry and delicious. She thought he looked exotic. At night when she thought about him, she imagined his kiss would taste exotic, like rare spices. At night, the thought of his lips made her feel hot and restless. Now, it just made her feel frustrated.

“What's he doing Mel?” she asked, for perhaps the eighth time.

“He's looking at you.”

“Ugh. What's wrong with me?”

“Nothing. He likes you. He's just a coward.”

“No, he isn't,” she hissed.

“Then why isn't he coming over?”

“Because he wants it to be perfect.”

“Duh. Maybe there are too many of us. Maybe that's what's scaring him.”

“He's not scared!”

“You want us to go?”

“No, no way.”

“Ooh, are you scared?”

“Mel!”

“What will your mum say?” Mel crossed her eyes. “She'll. Go. Nuts.”

Katie laughed.

~    ~    ~

 

Anna hefted the unfamiliar weapon in her hand. She was a flight navigator, for God's sake. What was she meant to do with this thing? Captain Morgan gestured at her to get down. She ducked down behind the forward console, shielding herself from the doorway.

She looked around. There was nothing but bulkhead and screens behind her. She clung onto her weapon. She had to make it out of here.

Captain Morgan exuded confidence. They were properly armed and their defensive position was strong. Help was on its way. Her face grew determined. She wasgoingto make it out of here.

Captain Morgan cleared his throat.

“Unauthorized intruder. I will give you––”

There was a loud bang, then silence.

Anna swallowed. She forced herself to look around the side of the console. Captain Morgan's headless body stood, one hand still raised, next to a smoking hole in the wall.

Fire erupted from her crewmates, obliterating the wall. Captain Morgan's tottering corpse disintegrated. She cowered behind the console with her heart galloping. Someone was screaming.

It was her.

~    ~    ~

 

Tully stared over the yawning chasm at Katie.

At night, it was simple, clear and obvious. In the day, with Katie so close by, it was complicated, labyrinthine and opaque.

At night, his confidence was a mountain, rising above the clouds like a beacon for the world. Now, looking at Katie, his confidence would comfortably fit in a toddler’s bucket. It trickled away like sand in an hourglass, shrinking with every passing second of procrastination.

Jan sighed.

“C'mon, Tully, we have to get to class. You've had your chance. Again.”

Ouch.

“No. Wait.”

“You always say that, Tully. Tully?”

His legs were striding forward. He didn't know who was controlling them or what was powering them. He could hardly feel them. He floated into no man's land.

“Tully!”

He turned his head. Jan was grinning like an idiot.

“Remember to smile.”

Tully nodded as his legs carried him away from Jan and toward his blonde Princess.

“Good luck!”

~    ~    ~

 

Anna felt time dilate, deforming under the pressure of events.

Thousands of hammers pounded anvils, battering her senses. The bridge reeked of brimstone; the kinetic rounds traveling so fast they burned the very air around them. Pungent smoke curled around her. The red combat lighting colored it blood, transforming the bridge into a tenth circle of hell. She drew her knees up and hugged herself, desperate to be anywhere but here.

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