Prison Planet (THE RIM CONFEDERACY Book 3)

Prison Planet (THE RIM CONFEDERACY Book 3) by Jim Rudnick Read Free Book Online

Book: Prison Planet (THE RIM CONFEDERACY Book 3) by Jim Rudnick Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jim Rudnick
called—were like a caged terrier ready to fight its way above its weight class, and yet not a single one stepped over the edge of the Square to enter the Farmers Market.
    But it appeared not to matter to the Ramat, as the front two ranks began to two-step across the walkway. In less than seconds, they were engaging with the students.
    They first pushed them backward, but as the crowds of protesters were so deep, there was nowhere for them to go. Even though most were not trying to resist, they simply couldn’t comply with the screamed commands to disperse.
    The clubs stopped their pounding on the shields and began instead to pound on the students and protesters.
    No quarter was given as some of the Ramat bashed heads while others were now firing rubber bullets into the middle groups. Others right up front sprayed the students who were looking to find a way out of this melee, and the screams began to ring out.
    Some students pushed back and the occasional Ramat was downed, but for the most part, students were being beaten, abused, and perhaps more as the Ramat third and fourth ranks now entered the fray. Their job, it appeared, was to put the boots to all the students who were down on the ground. They brutalized the protesters and by no means did they show any mercy at all ... if you were within reach, you were severely beaten, and the follow-up medics were held off by the Ramat to not risk themselves.
    At least that’s what it appeared like to Nusayr, as he stood behind the mirrored windows near the juncture of the closest government building, and he nodded to himself. Movement against the students had been the first of the four-step plan. As he watched from the far side of the Square, he noted the sudden influx of newscast vans and reporters running toward the riot. He wondered for a moment what the body count would be at the end of the day and hoped that the innocents who gave up their lives for the freedom of the planet. This part of the plan needed to be enough to incense the city but not enough to have a full head of steam ... yet ... the plan still needed time to unfold.
    Unlike a normal space station up at the top end of the EL space elevator, Pike Station did not revolve nor orbit Halberd at all. Instead, anchored by more than 30,000 miles of carbon-based tubular trusses, it maintained the same spot above the city Andros far below it. Home of over 1,500 souls, it was the link between the prison planet and the rest of the RIM Confederacy, though ships could, of course, still touch down on the landing pad in the city too.
    Mostly, the business of Pike Station was to provide the tether between the EL space elevator and the huge stellar cargo ships that were to be loaded with new elevator pods to be shipped all over the RIM. Being able to carry almost 2,000 of these pods meant that the cargo ships always tried to be as efficient as possible, as the manual labor of trying to jockey thousands of those pods inside the cargo holds always took far too much time. And time meant money.
    At the top of the EL space elevator lay a final siding just below the Station itself, where the pods were sorted by color, size, and models, and then the loading teams drove the pods into their places in line. Barcodes were read by the team leader, and updates made to the ships’ manifests and databases confirmed the new additions to the ships’ cargo and the loading went on and on.
    Once that was done and the cargo ships were full, they powered up and left Pike Station bound for their list of planets where the purchased pods would be unloaded and deployed into other space elevators as integral parts of their systems. With almost twenty planets having space elevators here on the RIM, the plant here on Halberd was busy creating new pods that were always in demand, and that fact was lost on nobody involved with Halberd either, especially not the Pike Station commander.
    Rear Admiral Ethan Higgins, the Pike Station commander, gazed at

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