Dozens of unknown ships were descending upon Cemetery. From the images the recon unit had managed to lift before it was blown to pieces, they were no more friendly explorers than the Lefu were. They were clearly killers, but they lacked the predatory grace of the Lefu warships. There was nothing to the newcomers but ugly steel and sharp edges. Most of them, at any rate. There were a half-dozen ships in the heart of their formation, larger than the rest by half. They lacked the bloated-U profile and the sharp angles of their kin; their ‘core’ was a simple rectangle five kilometers long that bulged with massive protrusions on all facings. Goldstein’s first thought was that they were carriers, but there were no visible hangars on those ovular structures, only windows. Not even troopers, then – colonizers. He was looking at the species that had murdered the world beneath him, come to claim it as their own.
Chapter 7: Verona couldn’t sleep. She was too wound up from the excitement of the day, thinking too many thoughts. Her bedroom was on the third floor, across the hall from Lady Vipress. Normally, she would have taken a place in the servant’s quarters until and unless Alexandra sent for her. It was... presumptuous to… Continue reading To the Victor, the Spoils: Chapter 7
“We should be at the Osel farm before lunch.” Letha nodded. “Good.” She wanted to get there, finish the investigation and find someplace safe to spend the night. Away from the Dead Lands and even farther from things like Linny Kater. Or at least, whatever had once been a young woman named Linny Kater. “I hope we find something useful.” “We probably will,” Justir answered her. “Is that optimism or instinct talking?” “Pessimism,” the former paladin replied. “And instinct.”
Abigail leaned forward in her chair as the mass of Lefu HAVOCs opened like an unfurling flower. Some of them were braking hard, still on approach to the planet. The rest were shifting ranks as they came about on a course that would take them right to her pilots. What in hell are you playing at? Humanity’s experience with the Lefu was not what one might call vast, but they had the range to slag Hyperion Secundus from thousands, if not millions of kilometers away. Why did they need to decelerate in order to…. Oh. “They’re preparing to break atmo,” the wing-captain realized.
Capricorn City was, by pre-War standards, not a terribly large place. Its population was less than a tenth of Minneapolis... had anyone still lived in its crumbling wreckage. Many major population centers were dead and had been for decades. Only places that the Hegemony had prioritized in rebuilding like Garamond gave some semblance of human civilization returning to Earth. Five billion people died. Some starved as crops were poisoned and stores ran out. Others fell to disease; many through the filth of war but others from the Hegemony’s bioweapons. Riots, civil wars, radiation sickness – the ways that humanity had used to tear itself apart were both many and varied. After Johannesburg, when the Coalition’s last, desperate chance for victory had failed, the killing had truly begun in earnest. No... not killing. It had been too sterile, too clinical for that. Culling. The eradication of defiant populations and anyone who could pose a threat to the Hegemony and their damned High Human Culture. And that bitch upstairs was the one who had made it all possible. Why couldn’t she have just died? It wasn’t an angry thought. If he’d seen Savoy revelling in this new world, it would be easier to find that hatred. Instead, it was almost despondent.