If you’ve been following Nick Walker’s career, you already know that, before he became a United Federation Marshal, he was a combat grunt in the Star Marines. Now the 8th installment of the Nick Walker series, Revolt on Alpha 2, takes you back to the beginning. The Rebel Coalition has overrun most of Alpha Centauri; the Colonial Defense Force couldn’t stop them, the Federation Infantry couldn’t stop them, and now it’s up to the Star Marines.
Nick Walker, a twenty year-old Star Marine, faces combat for the first time. Nick has resigned himself to the likelihood that he will not survive the war, but that only makes him more deadly on the battlefield. Here is an excerpt:
Nick slammed his rifle to his shoulder and took aim at the office building, but had no target. He swiveled to fire at the city hall, but if two machine guns couldn’t silence that gun, his fire would likely have little effect. He lowered his rifle and looked around, desperate to shoot at something, but the enemy was barricaded behind stone and marble. He now wished Dubose or Jaeger would send Third Platoon to assist, but checked the thought—adding more naked bodies to the shooting gallery would only help the rebels, not the Star Marines. The assault on the square had barely gotten off the ground and was already stalled. This was turning into a disaster.
He saw two Star Marines moving through the park in his general direction, men who were wounded or lost or both. It occurred to him that they probably didn’t know he was there, and might think he was a rebel. He needed to alert them before they fired on him, but how?
Before he came up with an answer, two more guns opened up on the park, these from the library just forty yards north of him. He watched in horror as brilliant tracers blitzed into the park, heard one Star Marine grunt in pain, and saw another dive for cover. Without thinking, he opened fire on the nearest window. This one wasn’t barred or barricaded, and he poured five rounds through it. The gun fell silent. He shifted to the second and pulled the trigger, but his rifle clicked on an empty chamber. He had forgotten to change magazines.
He ducked back behind two trees and quickly slammed a fresh magazine into place, but before he could do more, the remaining machine gun swiveled in his direction. Bullets chewed into the slender tree next to him, ripping the trunk apart. As the tree jerked and toppled, he rolled around behind the other one, bullets ripping up the ground next to him.
A second stream passed inches over his head, sounding like hornets on steroids. Panting with fear, he closed his eyes and froze, hoping they would stop.
Ready to die,Walker? Looks like tonight may be it.
The library gun ceased fire, giving Nick a chance to swallow in relief. He chinned his mike again.
“Walker! Talk to me! Are you hit?”
“I don’t think so, but you’ve got to get some kind of H.E. on those government buildings! If they won’t authorize P-guns, then bring the sleds back.”
“The sleds are on their way. They had to rearm, but they’ll be here in a couple of minutes. Keep your head down, because it’s going to get noisy.”
“Yeah, no shit. Too bad I don’t have a helmet cam—I could get some great combat shots.”
“Yeah, too bad. But don’t try to be a hero, Nick. I need you alive.”
“Just keep the other guys alive, will you, Sergeant? I’ll be fine.”
“I’m sure you will.”
“But you oughta see it, Sergeant. Talk about a ringside seat! It’s like being on the field in a solarball game.”
He heard Dubose laughing, then the world ended in a series of bright flashes. He had no idea where they came from, or who they belonged to—the ground under him heaved like a planet quake as fourteen heavy artillery shells plunged into the park in a single salvo. Nick was flung into the air as the park disappeared in what seemed like one massive explosion of singing steel and billowing flame.
Nick Walker, Star Marine: Revolt on Alpha 2
Coming this winter.