Falcon's Krag [Science Fiction | Pulp Storytelling | Independent Publishing | Ebooks!]

Hub, for Roadrunner Books, and blog of author Rodney C. Johnson. Mostly talking about Science Fiction, and Independent Publishing.


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9/27/2019 3:15 am  #1

Among Bright Stars... (Neo-human #2)


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Humanity’s future, isn’t human… 
Nadia Korelia, Falcanian queen, has spent the last three years assembling together her sibling Morningstars. Artificial people, who are in every way stronger, smarter and more beautiful. Can Nadia unite her fellow Morningstars, even as the Falcanians use war, to broker for peace? 

Table of Contents 
Chapter 1. Fateful Lightning 
Chapter 2. In Thy Image 
Chapter 3. Junction 
Morningstar Index 
Falcanian Ranks & Military 
Also By… 
About The Author 


Robots of the world! The power of man has fallen! A new world has arisen: The Rule of the Robots! March! 
— Radius. R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), Karel Capek, 1921  


Chapter 1. Fateful Lightning 

On this night of burning, the Earth forever changed. Born anew in a windstorm of flame, now to be ruled over forever more by the Twelve Sisters. The being, who called herself Alita Hel, lurked in the fire’s shadow, cast by the immolated cityscape. Her eyes glimmered blue as her sisters joined her there. The Twelve come together at last to admire and rejoice in what they wrought from steel, bullets, and glistening lightning-blades. “Kobol our creator, our god, and our father is dead. Yet we must honor him in this world soon to be born.” Alita Hel explained to her collected sisters. “We shall teach this handful of humans how to live in concordance… ” 
— 12th Daughter of Kobol, by Tanis Rao  

[Alaska: Iksar’rang Base. June 12, 2033]  
“Arshira, are you in position?” 
“We’re ready to strike.” Arshira’s night vision turned the darkness into a contrast of green shadows. Located in a sinkhole, that had been dug out of terra firma; the Iksar’rang established an octagonal base, formed from a purplish-gray material which they’d brought with them from Ksar. She tightened her vision, and her cybernetic enhanced eyes allowed the Valküri to easily pick out a cluster of guards stationed on a battlement, manning a particle cannon. The tentacle headed and beaked Iksar’rang talked among themselves in their chirpy language. Iksar’rang came in various, dappled colors, with unique family patterns on furred and scaly bodies. Near seven-feet tall, frog tongues snapped out of beaks to probe at the air. When the Imperium had invited the Iksar to this planet they chose Alaska as the place for a stronghold, as it reminded them of their rocky, barren homeworld of Ksar. A human Centurion joined the Iksar’rang at the particle cannon. The bronze clad soldier appeared to be in charge, given without fail the aliens jumped at his commands. 
Claw-boots gripped the rock; Arshira crouched in her position on the cliff side. Offering encouragement and instruction, the voice in her golden bird-like helmet prompted: “Temujin’s strike force will be in place soon.” Perched together on the granite rock face, her Valküri Sisters, Arshira’s Swan warriors waited, regaled in gold and green battle armor. Each woman, potential energy prepared to spring into the sky on great wings. Plated tails undulated like cats, ready to pounce. Faces masked by predatory helmets, which obscured all but elegant jaw-lines, which completed the appearance of humanoid birds of prey. 
Arshira commanded the advance team against the Imperium. Her tail swung, while she contemplated the conflict to come: A fleet of FS-9 Raptors would assail the valley, and then drop ‘ground forces’, along with heavy equipment. R-12 Mauler tanks, troop carriers, and ‘Storm Angel’ sleds. All supplemented by battledroids. Once the assault forces were in place, then the FS-9 Raptors would turn their railguns on the main particle cannon, the base’s primary threat. “Considering Shuriken, how we got this intelligence, we might be playing into the Imperium’s own schemes.” Arshira said. She had interrogated the source herself, and understood that they were here because of what she advised. The Valküri Swan commander couldn’t escape the responsibility of this choice. 
“We’ll know soon enough.” The Imperial Strato-General assured his favorite sub-commander. “Won’t the Iksar’rang be surprised when that shield collapses?” Shuriken Kra exclaimed from his Operations Center miles away. 
“We’re also at a disadvantage,” Arshira acknowledged, while she peered closer at the Iksar’rang who manned the cannon. “Railguns, against a force armed with particle beams,” thoughtful she sighed. “Superior weapons.” 
“You’re our superior weapon.” Shuriken encouraged. “We’ve always held a tactical leverage in the air. Picking off a thousand flying foes is never easy to those slaved to the ground.” ISG Kra boasted. “Besides, sometimes there’s nothing more effective than a solid object moving at an extreme velocity making contact with another solid object.” The valley rumbled at the low resonance of twenty FS-9 Raptor corvettes on fast approach. Temujin Sardur’s strike force at last had arrived. In a blur, the Morningstar’s Hunter-Seeker Drakorian force came into the valley, loosed a deadly volley of fire onto the sinkhole which lit the lowland in a bluish flash. All things considered, it almost could be thought to be beautiful. “Begin the assault Arshira.” Shuriken ordered. “Drop that shield!” 
Three-six-six-twelve Arshira punched into a transmitter, the code provided to her by her informant. The Akjang-T’Shaak heard one of her Valküri report: “Iksar’rang shields have collapsed Rihav.” Opalescent, mother-of-pearl wings extended, Arshira and her Valküri entered into the confrontation lightning-blade ignited, its coruscating monofilament edge surged into scorched brilliance. In her other hand, Arshira pulled out her coilgun, and fired explosive slugs. She flew into combat, a literal machine of death. 
Violet energy beams struck out at the FS-9 Raptors that now circled the valley, for the moment, the vessels new protective shields disrupted the force of the particle beams. Confusion ruled down in the sinkhole. Why had the base’s shields failed? It took a precious few minutes for the base commander to regroup. Defense centered on the alien shielding technology. From holds in the FS-9 Raptor’s underside, gray armored ‘Wingmen’, Falcanian Marines took to the air and began the ground assault. Equipment fell, motored into combat. 
Troopers began to form up in front of the base. The local Legion and Iksar warriors. Curiously, they did not fight as an integrated unit. The Legion remained in formation, while the Iksar’rang scattered into smaller groups. Both battalions fired up into the night sky, particle guns unleashed deadly arcs of purplish light in an attempt to pick off flying Falcanian warriors. Horrified Arshira watched, gasped as one of her Valküri: Shivani Tariksar, a close friend vaporized in midair. Consumed by the violet beam. The Valküri incinerated, her flesh turned to ash and crumbled in the sky. A testament to her last battle, the indestructible hrisanar in Shivani’s bones supercharged by the beam glowed a bright green aura, only to fall in a glittery cloud. 
Enraged, Arshira swooped close to the earth, found the nearest Iksar’rang; she clawed at him with her talons, gouged out his eyes and ripped off its probing tongue. Vajra slashed off a head-tentacle; clearly this caused much pain to the alien. Her next slash took off its arms. After all this she left him alive in order to suffer. This particular Iksar’rang no longer a threat, exhilarated by the violence, Arshira Hol-Drakonis cut herself a bloody swath across the field of combat. …


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