Absolute Zeros by Xander Franklin
English | 2019 | Sci-Fi | ePUB | 439 Kb
Absolute Zeros : For the troopers of AZH-01, life is an exercise in routines.
Wake up, respond to alarms, stand in formation—slack off in between. Get your gear, don’t break scram-time, and stay out of Sergeant’s crosshairs. Securing the edges of populated space isn’t the glory and excitement they were promised, but these aren’t the Inter-Stellar Coalition Force’s best and brightest.
Rania doesn’t mind routines. Routines give her something to hold on to, they guide her as she finds her niche in the sweaty locker room of military life. Just like the other troopers, all she wants is to do her job, stay out of trouble, and get one day closer to getting out. That routine is shattered when something claws its way through the station’s doors. Something swift. Vicious. Hungry. With the chain of command shredded and the power knocked out, it’s a race against time for Rania and the other troopers of AZH-01.
They were just trying to get through the day, now they’re fighting to survive the night.
“He paused for a few beats, assessing his surroundings as best he could from within the thick layer of his overcoat and thermal mask. The dying light drew long shadows over the valley, the glare from the ridgeline shining directly into his goggles. Seeing and hearing nothing, he circled the herd again, trying to catch a better glimpse of what had set them on edge.
He stopped again as he neared the head of the group. The wind had shifted, this time coming in from the east. The bellowing ceased, replaced with an ominous silence from the nervous beasts. It must be northward, he thought, changing direction to investigate further. Vernis strode with purpose towards a hummock of loose snow, confident that whatever the problem was, it lay on the other side of the hill. Sheathing his scanner, Vernis unslung the long rifle from his shoulder. Archaic by present standards, the kinetic weapon had been in his family for generations, and he took comfort from the knurled wood stock in his hands. As he crept towards the hill, his eyes swept left and right, searching for signs of anything unusual.
Vernis began to circle the snowdrift when he caught a glimmer of orange from the corner of his eye. Turning to face the hill, he drew closer, attempting to pinpoint the origin of the orange shimmer. A few feet in front of it, Vernis lowered his rifle, perplexed. The mound shifted slightly, and too late Vernis realized his mistake. Too late he turned to run, dropping the rifle in the deep snow.”