A Prayer for the Fallen by J.L. Doty

A Prayer for the Fallen

A Prayer for the Fallen by J.L. Doty (The Blacksword Regiment #3)
English | 2020| Sci – Fi| ePUB | 3.1 MB

After John and Nikaela are rescued from the rogue warship Sycorax, Katrine Primatov has only a lone hunter-killer to back her in the remote Sarkovie system, and she is faced with a Kelk force of overwhelming firepower superiority. The Kelk decide to take John and Nikaela back to Viktorkinde, whether Katrine likes it or not, and everyone is pretending they’re not prisoners. With no choice in the matter, she accompanies them, and the three are reluctant “guests” aboard the Kelk heavy cruiser Konigsborge.

But the Kelk are quietly at war among themselves, fighting their own battle against superstition and irrationality. John and Katrine begin to learn the roots of the Kelk hatred of the Blacksword, and Nikaela does what she can to help them stay alive.

Pray not for those who fell before, and grieve not for those yet to fall.

John stepped through the doorway. The stocky sergeant closed the door, then did something and a green telltale above the door flashed red. He led the way down the corridor, with John following and the taller corporal behind him. They encountered no one, which was perhaps by design, and after a short distance stopped at an open doorway.

The stocky sergeant turned to John. “You wait here with Bergen.”

John thought he might have just learned the corporal’s name, though whether it was the man’s family or given name, he had no idea.

John saw through the doorway into the head, and it looked much like any head on any ship anywhere: lots of plast and steel. He watched the sergeant enter the room with his hand resting on the butt of the heavy grav pistol strapped to his side. The man looked into each of the privacy stalls, and into an adjoining compartment that appeared to be a large shower area. Then he called out, “It’s clear, Bergen.”

The corporal nodded at John and said, “Go ahead, Maestra Mathius.”

John walked into the head, chose a urinal and relieved himself under the watchful eyes of the sergeant. He wondered if the Kelk shared the same casual indifference to nudity as his Commonwealth comrades, but saw nothing there to give him any clues regarding that.

When he finished, the two Kelk NCOs escorted him back to his private compartment. The sergeant unlocked the door, and as they had done at the head, the short fellow entered the compartment with his hand resting on the butt of his grav pistol, while John and the corporal waited outside in the passageway. Then the sergeant emerged, declaring, “It’s clear.” He stepped aside so John could walk through the open door.

John hesitated, taking a moment to carefully compose what he wanted to say in Kelk. “Grandeseergent, how should I address you?”

The man paused and eyed John carefully with a look of uncertainty. His eyes shifted to his comrade as he said, “He knows our rank insignia.”

The tall corporal nodded slowly. “Of course he does. Gotta know who outranks who, so he knows who to kill first.”

The sergeant nodded sadly as if resigned to the inevitable. “He is a Blacksword, after all.”

John couldn’t determine if they were threatening him, or teasing him. They had again spoken slowly so he could follow their words, and it certainly was the same kind of mocking banter he often heard from his old platoon mates.

The sergeant returned his attention to John, shrugged his indifference and said, “I am Grandeseergent Matsen. And my tall handsome friend here is Unterseergent Kolbeck.”

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