Cogs in the Gears of War by Tim Marquitz
English | 2020 | Fantasy | ePUB | 2.7 MB
At the end of the world, where magic and technology have merged, every day is a battle. Jax, the leader of a ragtag band of mercenaries, raids a border outpost and encounters far more than he bargained for. Trapped, Jax pits his gearbinder skills against an army led by the warmancer, the most powerful of all techwizards. Come nightfall, bodies will litter the ground. One might well be Jax’s.
The two stormed down the steps and burst out into the courtyard. Jax yanked his radio loose and fumbled with the button as he continued to sweep the installation, pinpointing the signals tingling against his senses.
“We’ve got rog infiltrators headed our way,” he announced across the comm. “I need backup at the head outside the command HQ.”
A tangle of affirmatives washed each other out seconds later.
“They’re coming through the shitters?” Riley asked as they ran.
“Where better to hide a secret tunnel in and out of the complex?” Jax growled. “Who the fuck’s gonna go digging around in there?”
Riley grimaced. “Not me.”
The pair skidded to a halt just outside the small, shed-like building that made up the restrooms as Conor, Malkom, and four others from the team arrived, huffing and peering about, eyes on a swivel.
Conor blanched, the smell hitting them as Jax whipped open the door. “I’m thinking I’d rather surrender than go rooting around in there looking for a hatch.”
“Not necessary. They’re coming to us,” Jax warned. “Heads up.”
There was a low rumble and the scrape of steel on stone, and then a thunderous crash. The floor beneath one of the bathroom stalls exploded upward, flinging debris, foul water, and excrement everywhere as the infiltrator burst through the floor.
A sleek, metal monstrosity the size of a Great Dane, the rog hurtled forward, serrated teeth gleaming in the gloom. Red eyes gleamed as its gaze settled on its prey. A distorted roar spilled erupted from its maw, and Jax gritted his teeth, the whirring of its mechanics grated across his nerves like glass shards scraping across concrete.
The rog zeroed in on him and seemed to grin as it lunged for his throat, knife-like claws clattered across the tiles.
Riley raised his Kalashnikov tactical shotgun and put a slug dead center in the rog’s snarling face. It did nothing to halt the beast’s momentum.
Claws flashed, and Jax stumbled backward as the rog slammed into him. His ribs creaked at the impact, and the world swam, all the air knocked from his lungs.
But Riley’s shot had done just enough to turn its jaws aside.
Razor-sharp teeth slammed shut not more than an inch from Jax’s face. A wash of air brushed his cheek, and the infiltrator’s basso growl reverberated through his body. Its eyes rolled in their sockets, and Jax knew its every move was being relayed to the enemy outside. The rog’s weight pressed down on him as it opened its mouth for another attempt at tearing him apart.