SUNS ECLIPSED (The Indigo Reports: Story 2.0)
Space Opera Novel
“True SciFi is a magnificent world to enter and this is just the beginning of what I know will be a great series.“
EXCERPT FROM SUNS ECLIPSED
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2017
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Criselda I, Criselda, Eriuman Republic
Criselda was only the secondary system in the Dejulii portfolio. No one had bothered to give the one livable world a unique name. Everyone called it Criselda, rarely bothering with the “I” that should come after the name. The equatorial band barely supported human crops, forcing the natives to depend upon imports. The Criseldans were more fertile than their land. They turned trading into big business. Criselda housed the Republic’s supply depots, equipping every ship in the Erium Navy. Security around the city-sized depots was backed up by the might of the military cruisers and destroyers constantly hoved-to overhead. No one in their right minds would consider breaking in to the depots.
Which was why Bellona and her people were busy doing just that.
Khalil, Sang and Bellona crouched in deep moon-shadows cast by the nearest building to the depot perimeter, a good twenty-five meters away from the fence. The night was dark, the moon a sliver, and the shadows and pockets deeply obscure. The depot, though, was ablaze with lights.
“This is complete madness,” Khalil said as they watched guards armed with ghostmakers cross-examine a civilian at the single, highly secure gate of the primary Criselda supply depot.
“I heard you the first time.” Bellona worked to keep her voice even.
Sang lowered the trinoculars. “Laser nets across every open space, with barely half a meter between each strand. If we step into them without the tags the guards have implanted, we’ll be detected.” He looked at her. “There are easier targets than this.”
“None of the others have the stash of ghostmakers Criselda does,” Bellona replied. “And that is the last time I will say it. Clear?”
No one replied. Khalil merely nodded.
Bellona looked over her shoulder. The long alley they had crept through to reach this point was now empty, with only fused dirt and tendrils of early morning fog wreathing around the base of the buildings. Even the air she breathed tasted damp and lifeless. Nothing grew here without constant encouragement.
“Are the others in place?” Bellona asked.
Sang paused, his gaze focusing inward as he discussed everyone’s status with Connie, the private yacht. Connie hung in the outer atmosphere overhead, coordinating communications.
Khalil wouldn’t look Bellona in the eye. He kept his back to the corner and peered around it, even though Sang had the trinoculars.
“This was your idea,” Bellona reminded him.
“I said you needed a coup, something to make the free worlds take notice. Breaking into Criselda is grander than what I had in mind.” He glanced at her and away. “We’re here now.”
“Your fatalist streak is showing,” Sang said, his tone chiding.
“Says the android, the ultimate in fatalism,” Khalil replied.
“The others?” Bellona asked Sang.
He nodded, his pale, freckled face grave. “Hayes says the door he was expecting is not there.”
Khalil frowned. “It was on the blueprints.”
“It’s not there now,” Sang replied. “The blueprints are therefore wrong. Hayes says no door is not a problem.”
“Is he going to bust his way through the wall?” Khalil asked, the frown still in place. “This is supposed to be soft-shoe.”
“Connie wasn’t certain. She didn’t understand what Hayes said he would do. She said something about ‘peeling’.”
Bellona looked at the walls of the structure on the other side of the perimeter. They were made of pre-fabricated panels of steel sheets sandwiching a layer of insulation, bolted to plasticrete stub walls. Someone had added a lackluster colour to the steel a long time ago. The average human would not be able to broach the seams with their bare fingers, but Hayes was not average.
“If he says he can get in, leave him to do it,” Bellona said.
Neither Sang nor Khalil spoke. The silence was telling. They didn’t agree with her. They had not agreed at any point in the operation, but they were cooperating anyway. It was an isolating sensation, one she didn’t like. She would have to get used to it, she realized.