Sword of Axia (The Arcadian Jihad)

Sword of Axia (The Arcadian Jihad) by Eric Schneider Read Free Book Online

Book: Sword of Axia (The Arcadian Jihad) by Eric Schneider Read Free Book Online
Authors: Eric Schneider
Tags: Science-Fiction
the blackness of space in silence, then there was an abrupt grinding crash. Guide Tell looked at Blas.
    “What was that?”
    “Space debris, Sir. It’s alright, it wasn’t big enough to do any damage, we’re entering an orbital path, there’s lots of debris, there always is. All we need do is keep pace with it.”
    For an hour they waited, clinging to the handholds as the air grew stale and the temperature plummeted, but there was no more incoming fire. They had joined the thousands of pieces of scrap metal that slowly orbited the planet Isolde year after year, until their decaying orbit sent them plunging down to burn up in the atmosphere.
    “It seems you were right, Captain Blas,” Tell said eventually. “They think we’re all dead.”
    Blas nodded. “We need to make our way to the shuttle bay. How many shuttles and lifeboats do we have?”
    “Two shuttles and four lifeboats,” Gehlen answered. “But we can take everyone off with just the shuttles.”
    “Take every gun, piece of equipment and case of food we can carry. We might need all of it when we’re down there. We’ll leave a small maintenance crew on board, they can use portable life support systems so that they’re not detected and they’ll be able to make limited repairs while we’re on the surface. We’ll need this ship later. ”
    “I hope we manage to steal those warships,” Tell said. “We’ll have a hard time otherwise trying to start a revolution with only one damaged cruiser.”
    “Guide Tell,” Berg Smetana looked across at the President. “If your people on the surface are as good as you say they are, I’ll get those ships for you.”
    Tell looked back at the Hesperian warrior, the tough, battle-hardened merchant-assassin. Since his release from the chains he was a different man. Tell sensed an immense strength, a raw, elemental power only thinly hidden beneath his skin. Without doubt he was ready to explode into murderous violence, to return to the profession he had been born and bred for. Killing.
    “Yes, yes, I believe you will, Mr. Smetana.”
    “Start moving everything to the boats,” Blas ordered. “Admiral, could I ask you to supervise the ship’s boats, I’ll go around with Berg and start stripping out all of the equipment we need. Does anyone know where we’ll be landing? Somewhere friendly, I hope. And warm.”
    “I have the co-ordinates here,” Serena answered. “We’ll be landing on the far side of Isolde, I’m afraid it’s very cold, it never sees the warmth from Arcturus. We have a base there, once we’re inside you’ll find it’s got everything you need.”
    “Good, I suggest we start moving.”
    Admiral Rusal led the President and the rest of the civilians to the shuttle bay, pulling themselves along on the handholds. Blas and Smetana took the rest of the bridge crew on a tour of the vessel to collect the equipment they would need. Gehlen took three crewmen and started collecting foodstuff. It was a vital mission. Since the Axian war food had been scarce inside the Nine Systems, the fanatical attacks on Corazon had been prolonged and deadly, the resultant damage immense. It was a strategic flaw that needed to be corrected, Blas thought, almost the entire food production for billions of people centered on one solar system. Most of it on one planet. Whoever controlled Planet Corazon could control the other eight systems, provided of course that they had enough weaponry to defend Corazon itself. He filed that information in a compartment for later, when the revolution succeeded someone would need to deal with that weakness. ‘If’ the revolution succeeded, he reminded himself. So far, they had one crippled ship, it was not much to begin with, it was a shaky start. They assembled in the shuttle bay area and everyone, even Guide Tell Blas noted with amusement, lent a hand to packing every closet, nook and cranny in the boats with the equipment and food they were taking with them. Finally they climbed

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