Contact Front by Rick Partlow (Drop Trooper Book 1)
English | 2020 | Sci – Fi | ePUB | 2.9 MB
Go to war or go to jail.
For small-time street hustler Cam Alvarez, the choice is simple. He has no family, no friends, no place in the world…nothing to lose. When his latest con results in the death of a cartel hitman, Cam opts to join the Marines and leave Earth to fight a vicious alien enemy.
Drafted into the Marine Drop-Troopers, Cam discovers there’s one thing he’s even better at than running street-con games, and that’s killing the enemy. Wrapped in an armored battlesuit, Cam finds purpose amidst the horror and destruction of the war, and the opportunity for a new sort of friends and family…if he can break the habits of a life spent alone, trusting no one.
And, if he can survive…
The billboard spewed government lies far above us, and I pretended to listen while I watched the crowd in the Zocalo.
“Final casualty estimates from what has already become known colloquially as The Battle for Mars have yet to come in, but Commonwealth Fleet Admiral Sato has announced that the cruiser Midway, which was set to launch from the shipyards there, has been destroyed, along with several other ships in the docks for repairs and refitting. The Tahni attack was beaten back at great cost and Fleet sources say it may be some time before the cruisers lost in the strike can be rebuilt.”
The talking head was narrow-faced, short-haired, and androgynous, a computer simulation meant to comes across as pleasant and non-threatening while it told the masses the official story about an alien attack on the Solar System that had taken out a good portion of the Commonwealth’s military arsenal. Did the government think we were stupid? Did they think if they sugar-coated the news enough that we wouldn’t get scared?
Watching the cattle shuffling along obediently through the shops of the Trans-Angeles Underground, heads down over their scansheets, reading the latest celebrity gossip, I decided the government was probably right. A billion people were crammed into the Trans-Angeles Metro Center, most of them chawners on the dole in the Underground, living on free soy paste and spirulina powder and free virtual reality entertainment, in boxes ten meters on a side. Sometimes it seemed not one of them cared about anything past the end of their nose.
“Hostilities with the Tahni erupted again decades after the Truce ended the First Interstellar War,” the announcer continued, “when the Tahni attacked squatter colonies in the Neutral Zone with a ruthless nuclear bombardment.”
The inoffensive face was replaced by images of a planet from orbit, pinprick flares of light rising over one of the continents. Who took the video? I wondered. Or was it another simulation, like the announcer, like most everything about life down here in the Underground?
“Commonwealth President Gregory Jameson responded by launching targeted conventional strikes against Tahni observation posts on their side of the Neutral Zone, and it was assumed things would return to the status quo before the Tahni launched a vicious sneak attack on our military shipyards in Martian orbit.”
There he was. I tuned out the billboard stream and the hawkers at their kiosks trying their best to drown it out with advertisements of their wares, and locked my focus on the man in the green and yellow jacket. It was cheap and flashy, made on the public fabricators from free patterns on recycled material, typical for the chawners in the Housing Blocks, but in this case, it was camouflage. This guy wasn’t a chawner on the public dole, and he didn’t live in a ten-by-ten box. The edge of a holographic tattoo crawled up the side of his neck, an expensive extravagance most people down here couldn’t afford.