Steel Gauntlet

Steel Gauntlet by David Sherman, Dan Cragg Read Free Book Online

Book: Steel Gauntlet by David Sherman, Dan Cragg Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Sherman, Dan Cragg
Tags: Speculative Fiction, Military science fiction
the Soviet RPD-series 40mm antitank free-flight missile and the American 66mm light antitank weapon. Where the Straight Arrow improved on these weapons was its self-contained guidance system, longer range, and devastating destructiveness. The Straight Arrow had an effective range of one thousand meters, and at that range could penetrate over four hundred millimeters of rolled homogenous armored plate.
    “That baby,” his enthusiasm was building now, “could be fired over open sights as a direct-fire weapon, or its self-contained guidance system could be activated to launch a heat-seeking missile for indirect fire. It was muzzle-loaded and percussion-fired, but a short distance from the muzzle the rocket motor cut in, boosting the missile to a velocity of a thousand meters per second. The rocket was fin-stabilized. The penetrator rod was made of depleted uranium, two times denser than tungsten steel.
    When this hit the armor of a tank, its entire kinetic energy was concentrated in a spot about the size of your thumb. The penetrator turned white hot and punched through the plate, shedding its ‘skin’ as it passed through. But the skin followed the penetrator through the hole and dispersed inside the tank into white-hot granules twice as dense as steel, instantly igniting everything they touched. So even if the main round itself didn’t set off the fuel and ammo, the thousands of granules would. I don’t need to tell you what they did to the crew.”
    He paused. The room was completely silent now, each man’s eyes focused on the Straight Arrow, which dissolved suddenly into a tank rushing at great speed across a snowy ridge line. A bright finger of light flashed out of the left side of the screen and touched the turret of the tank. There was a brilliant bloom of white light as the round penetrated, and then the turret leaped into the air on a gout of flame.
    The mortally wounded tank ground erratically to a halt, burning intensely. The camera shifted then, looking down into the burned-out hulk through the hole where the turret had been. What had once been a man sat melted into the driver’s seat.
    The trid screen went blank. “Those films were shot by the Canadians at the Battle of Lake Mistassini in 2052. Gentlemen,” Professor Jere Benjamin concluded, forgetting momentarily who he was, “let’s go get ‘em!”

    Staff Sergeant Charlie Bass stretched luxuriously beneath the warm goose-down comforter that lay across Katrina’s oversize bed. During the night the sheets had become tangled and askew and pillows had fallen onto the floor, but the comforter was huge and warm and more than adequately covered their naked bodies. Beside him, Katrina shifted her position slightly and sighed in her sleep. Her thigh came to rest against his, and its warmth seeped into Charlie and aroused him again.
    Outside, the winds whistled shrilly about the buildings of New Oslo, driving tiny tendrils of snow across the rooftops; gusts whipped powdery snow ghosts into the air from the banks piled along the streets. Winter had only started in New Oslo, and already a meter of snow blanketed the capital of Thorsfinni’s World. The newly risen sun glowed dimly through the icy haze enfolding the awakening city as well-bundled citizens, cheeks bright from the subzero cold, hurried about their early morning tasks.
    But inside Katrina’s snug apartment, Charlie Bass was warm, satisfied, and happily looking forward to the coming days. Katrina had promised him that they’d take a trip into the nearby foothills of the Thorvald Mountains, where she would teach him how to ski. But he didn’t give a damn if he spent the rest of the week right there in that bed.
    Great Buddha’s golden balls, he thought, smiling and settling farther down into the luxuriously soft mattress beneath him, this woman has taken twenty years off my age! The tantalizing odor of fresh-brewing coffee wafted to him from the kitchenette. His stomach growled. In a

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