"Warfare" Snippet

The following is from Warfare, the forthcoming third book in my Woman at War saga. Warfare should be available in late '20.

~

The disconcertingly odd sound of something whistling through the air approached.

Incoming!

We waited until it popped loudly. As the others crowded in a moving scrum around me—shoving me toward the distant cargo container—I glimpsed a wall of bluish smoke behind us, cutting us off from the enemy citadel.

Beams came through, anyway. A burning sliced my inner left knee. Breath left me in a gasp. Lorenz was hit, too—I could tell from her grunt and collapsing body weight.

“Move!” Harral bellowed against the whistle of another inbound object.

Instantly, a shrieking and brightness filled the world at our backs.

We fled the instantaneous inferno, scampering for the container, but not fast enough. Harral was hit twice.

I stumbled as the pain in my knee got worse. My flesh had been ripped and I was tearing it further in the interests of self-preservation. Overtaken by panic, I regained my feet and reached the cargo container. The rusty, trapezoidal shell had thick walls with a ladder climbing to a topside hatch. I got behind it, turning to locate Zjarniha. My half-witted former captor was innocent in all this.

An absolute wall of orange flame consumed the spot where I had just been, where Cheney and his business partners now lie dead. Fire obscured all but the radar of the Mitasterite fortress. Greenish beams swept the area randomly, hitting the now-still form of Harral in the dust. Forgotten spider webs in Holla trees caught fire, eager to join the ruin.

It struck me then that only Captain Robesom had made it with me. Of all my rescuers, only one was still alive.

To the left, a fleeting shadow loping away through smoke was, I hope, Zjarniha. Whatever fate awaited her, it had to be better than my current fix.

Robesom was speaking into his squawker, but his words were indecipherable above the noise of the inferno.

Then a new, horrifying roar above forced me to look up. It was the Thorson cruiser.

On fire.

Tumbling.

Right toward us.

“In—get in!” Robesom shouted.

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