Screamer by Jason Halstead Read Free Book Online

Book: Screamer by Jason Halstead Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jason Halstead
these were larger. They ran on two legs and were covered in a shimmering coat of iridescent scales or feathers, from her range she couldn’t tell. The biggest difference was that their fore limbs were spaced further apart, closer to where a proper birds wings would be.
    She shook her head and turned away, not wanting to know if the hunting tactic was going to work or not. She raised her rifle in her naked hand and checked it for the thousandth time. The energy pack remained nearly full, allowing her close to sixty shots in primary fire mode. If she needed to generate a laser it would drain faster, depending upon the intensity of the beam.
    Of her arm the cuts had stopped bleeding and the wounds had begun to crust and scab over. Elsa almost understood the desire for the planet that the preliminary data reports had incited. She suspected if any of the people that wanted to experience the miracles of Vitalis spent a weekend in the jungle they’d change theirminds
    “ FIST Team, Dark Angel enroute. ETA four hours.”
    “ Roger Dark An—“ Elsa sighed. The interference was reduced the closer she got but enough remained to interfere with communications. “—Party wait—“
    Party? She could handle a party. Elsa popped her visor to let the sun and wind caress her face a few moments before she headed out, leaving the grassy plain behind and heading towards what looked like a gap in the ridge. It was only a few degrees off from the signal direction and given her options she’d rather rough it through a mountain pass then try to climb the peak of one then slide on her ass down the other side.
    As she walked Elsa wondered if everyone had made it. Usually uncontested drops went without casualties. Accidents still took place, she could remember losing a corporal several years back on her first drop with FIST team three. It had been barely more than a training drop but his pod had plowed straight into a dam and ended up imbedded in the bottom of the reservoir behind it. The capsule was unable to deploy and by the time the others had reached him his oxygen had ran out.
    There were some special people in her platoon as well, not that she liked to admit it. Jess Robinson, the teams medic, for example. Jess and Elsa had bonded quickly, being the two female FIST members with the most seniority. Jess was only a Sergeant but that was because she had a tendency to let her mouth get her into trouble. There were two other women, but one had only been with FIST three for a few drops and the other had been assigned specifically for this mission.
    Then there was Darren Hilton, a pain in the ass kid who was both the youngest and the most junior in rank on FIST team three. He was a private first class and the fact that he’d been able to try out for a FIST team in the first place was surrounded with controversy. He’d petitioned straight out of boot camp and been denied, but then he kept trying over and over until somebody decided to shut him up and give him a chance. The results of his tests were indisputable, the kid was gifted.
    Elsa had taken a special interest in him when he’d been appointed to her platoon. She was the Gunnery Sergeant, it was her job to make sure everybody knew what they were doing. That young and inexperienced, she knew he was going to be trouble. It turned out aside from being naively arrogant, the kid didn’t have a flaw she could find. She searched hard too, or at least that was the excuse she’d used the first time she’d slept with him. She didn’t have the luxury of an excuse the other times, it was just that he was as good in the sack as he was at everything else.
    She sighed and cleared the wistful smile from her face. Only thoughts of Darren on his back beneath her could distract her from the deadly perils Vitalis had thrown at her. She glanced at her arm to remind herself of the dangers of distraction. She moved on, focusing on the scenery and looking for threats. She considered deploying a solar

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