STAR WARS: Republic Commando
Hard Contact Triple Zero True Colors Order 66 Imperial Commando: 501st
STAR WARS: LEGACY OF THE FORCE
Bloodlines Sacrifice Revelation
STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS STAR WARS: NO PRISONERS
GEARS OF WAR Aspho Fields Jacinto’s Remnant Anvil Gate WESS’HAR WARS City of Pearl Crossing the Line The World Before Matriarch Ally Judge
My sincere thanks go to Mike Capps, Rod Fergusson, and Cliff Bleszinski at Epic Games, Allfathers of the best damn universe ever; Epic’s artists, directors, and animators—the new Old Masters—for inspirational art; Dawn Woodring, protection dog trainer, for advice; and “Raven Maven” Wade Scrogham, USAF historian, for rotary aviation support.
CoverOther Books by This Author Title Page Dedication Acknowledgments Prologue
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
About the Author Copyright
MAIN MESS BAR, VECTES NAVAL BASE, NEW JACINTO—CAPITAL OF THE COALITION OFORDERED GOVERNMENTS. DATE: LAST WEEK OF BRUME, 14 A.E.
I’m not a people person. But you probably guessed that already. And no, I don’t want you to buy me a beer. If you think there’s some nice guy inside me trying to get out if only someone would give me a chance—forget it. But then you’re dumb, like 99 percent of human beings. You can’t help it. “Come on, Baird. Don’t be an antisocial dick allyour life. Take a day off.” Her name’s Sam Byrne; all mouth, leather, and tattoos, and about my age—so she’s old enough to know better. She slams a brimming shot glass on the bar and shoves it at me. “Muller’s teaching us to play navy chess.” “Oh, that’s so exciting. I think I just wet my pants.” Sam waits a beat and then snatches the glass away. If it’s Dizzy’s moonshine, she’s doing me a favor.“Fuck you, then,” she says, and stalks off. I need to cultivate that Marcus Fenix thing. He can sit at a bar on his own all night and no asshole goes near him. But then he’s Fenix. It’s not just the Embry Star war-hero vibe. It’s something else. It’s like the guy’s got warning buoys around him, even though nobody’s ever seen him really lose his shit with anything except grubs. Even morons still havesome survival instincts, I suppose. Shit, I wish someone would turn off that frigging TV behind the bar. Listen to that asshole yakking on about the future and the chance to build something better. What fucking future? We haven’t got homes or running water for most of the refugees yet, but whoopee, we got a TV channel on air. Actually, it’s just radio with still shots. Everyone’s got a radio.There’s a few TVs in the communal areas, and the civvies here think that’s terrific. A boon. An improvement. Well, hoo-fucking-rah. Dumb people are lucky. I envy them. I mean it. Ignorance really is bliss. The problem with being in the top 1 percent—yeah, I am, does it make you squirm because I say it?—is that you understand just how badly fucked the world is. And it’s not getting any better. It’sjust changing. But any shit looks better to most folk as long as it’s different. Nice new media channel for the people. Y think? Well, Chairman Prescott needs a way to feed all the dumb bastards his propaganda. And ou keep the frigging journos busy so they don’t actually do any real reporting, of course. And you think we should celebrate because the grubs are gone and we can start over? No, we justreplaced the Locust with a new kind of two-legged vermin—Stranded crime gangs. We’ve bombed the world back to the last century and sunk our own damn city, so now we’ve got no manufacturing, no infrastructure, and no way to rebuild the rest of Sera. But Prescott says it’s all going to be fine because we’ve got shitloads of fuel thanks to Gorasnaya. Flip that coin, though, and the other side is...