Warlord (Dead Force series, Book 5) by SD Tanner - Read Online
Warlord (Dead Force series, Book 5)
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Warlord (Dead Force series, Book 5)

In a Universe where nothing is as it seems, the Dead Force are splintering into factions, and every alien Tag meets seems to know more about him than he does, but none will tell him the truth.  Finding Grunt's army should have been easy, but they aren't where he left them.

Critically underpowered, it appears Tag has started the drum beat for a war he can't possibly win.  With trust in Tag's leadership eroding, the race is on to build an allied force.

Dead Force series is the latest in the SD Tanner collection. It's a wild ride through space, filled with cool tech, mad aliens, and a stubborn squad refusing to quit.

***

Dead Force series.  Planned Release Schedule

Books 1 - 3 (box set) Sandman, Lockdown, Firefight (available now)

Book 4: Valhalla (available now)

Book 5: Warlord (available now)

Book 6:  Judas (May/June 2018)

Book 7:  Eagle (June/July 2018)

***

Dead Force series (Books 1 - 3 available in a single box set)

Book One: Sandman

Finding over a million sleepers on three arks, an infestation of space fleas, and no idea how he or the squad got there, Tag is having a bad day. Uncovering the truth proves more bizarre than he could have guessed, but never one to pass up a challenge, Tag decides revenge is the best course of action.

Book Two: Lockdown

In search of the truth, Tag and his squad head to Earth where they learn just how far they are from where they started. Realizing they're not entirely blameless for what happened to the world, Tag desperately looks for a way to gain the upper hand against enemy aliens he can't even find.

Book Three: Firefight

War is about real estate and, with Jessica near death, Tag is running out of time to reclaim even a small part of his country. The Dead Force are willing, but Tag must find a way to steal what he needs from the aliens to turn them into an effective fighting force. Determined to slam a stake in the ground and declare it his, Tag raises his bet, but it just might be a step too far.

Book Four: Valhalla

Having secured Valhalla, home to his Dead Force army, Tag aims to steal more of the enemy's arsenal before extending his control over Earth. He finds a planet called Caladar that may be to blame for all their trouble, but they just might have the solution he's looking for.

Also by SD Tanner

Books in Dead Force

Dead Force Trilogy: Books 1-3

Valhalla: Dead Force Book 4

Warlord: Dead Force Book 5

Books in Navigator

Navigator Boxset (Books 1-4)

Books in Bombardier

Bombardier Trilogy

Books in WarriorSR

WarriorSR Trilogy

The Hunter Wars series

Books in Hunter Wars

Hunter Wars Boxset (Books 1-3)

Hunter Wars Boxset (Books 4-6)

Books in Eden Lost Trilogy

Eden Lost Trilogy

Standalone Books

Time to Die

Twisted Daze

Published: WildRide Publishing on
ISBN: 9781386609544
List price: $2.99
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Warlord (Dead Force series, Book 5) - SD Tanner

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Page 1 of 1

EPILOGUE

AUTHOR’S INTRODUCTION

This story is primarily told through Tag, but please see the character name in the Chapter heading to know which person is narrating.

For other books by SD Tanner, please check out Hunter Wars Series, Navigator Series, Bombardier series, WarriorSR series and our standalone Sci-Fi thriller, Time to Die.

CHAPTER ONE:

Mofugly

(Tag)

The sound of their boots echoed around them, but the metallic floor and heavy gear made it impossible to tiptoe, plus they would have looked like idiots.

Miserable place, Rok muttered.

He had to agree.  The high, gray walls were covered in vertical orange stains as if they were bleeding rust.  Above their heads was only a murky darkness that could have been gathering storm clouds, only he wasn’t sure where the building ended and the sky began.  The air was misty and his visor kept blurring, forcing him to rely on the cover over his left eye, but it was being less useful than Cogless.

Temperature: Error!

Oxygen: Error!

Gravity: Error!

Wind: Error!

Radiation: Error!

Regardless of what the conditions were outside their gear, they had no problems walking and he couldn’t detect any wind.  The corridor was wide enough to be a four-lane road, and he wasn’t sure it wasn’t one.  Listening to the echo of their footsteps bouncing off what looked like metal walls, he assumed the ground was made of the same material.  Clearly it had seen better days and, like the walls, it was battered, dented and stained.  In the distance, the corridor appeared to widen or maybe it led outside.

Tag, we need to stay near the extraction point, Judge said.

As usual, Judge was being more cautious than he wanted to be.  Mayla and Joker were working together to identify the many planets visited by the robot interfectors.  She hadn’t exaggerated how busy the Caladarians had been hunting for the ideal planet to call home.  Joker told him they’d identified over a thousand planets with some type of life, and the interfectors had been to every single one of them.  It meant the virus could have come from anywhere and, worse than that, it might have infected every planet the interfectors had visited.

Don’t be an old maid every day of your life, Judge, Rok replied.

He agreed Judge could be a bit of wet blanket and decided against telling Rok to pull his head in.  Stay icy.

Rok snorted loudly.  Oh, very helpful, Tag.  I was just about to lose my rag.

More like wet your pants, Judge muttered.

Nice teamwork, Rok said sarcastically.

They were walking in formation along the metal road with Rok on point and Judge to his left.  Rok had selected a man called Caleb to be on their six.  The other two troopers were Harry and Kit and, despite the feminine name, Kit was male.  According to the Dead Force soldiers who were alive after his squad had died, women had made up thirty percent of their combat forces, but only a thousand of his seventeen thousand troops were female.

Nothing was moving around them and he was growing bored.  The endless gray and clunking of their boots on the metal floor was lulling his brain to sleep.  Hoping to stay alert, he asked, Where are the women?

He hadn’t worded his question well and a chorus of laughter filled his earpiece.  Hoping to stop the inevitable sarcastic replies, he added, Less than ten percent of the Dead Force are female.

Don’t look at me, Rok said decisively.  I didn’t touch ‘em.

I’ve heard that about you, Rok, Caleb said with a snort.

Of course, you have.  It’s not a secret.

Not a well-kept one, Judge added.

Caleb snorted again.  Don’t listen to Rok, he’s full of it.  Women talk, dude.

He didn’t care who Rok slept with, it wasn’t as if anyone needed his permission.  Rok was growing bored on point and half-turning to look back at him, he said, We can’t check a thousand planets this way, not if they’re all gonna be this crap.

They’d asked Mayla to find them a planet with alien lifeforms, which meant somewhere under the murkiness was life, but he was beginning to doubt her data.  Her home dome hadn’t been responsible for the teleporters or record management.  After searching the domes on Caladar, they’d found several thousand survivors who now lived in Valhalla maintaining the teleporters and interfectors, which had at least solved one of his problems. Grunt was on Earth working with the Caladarians to find any records of his home planet, K’cha.

An alien should have dropped on Rok from a great height, if only to teach the muscly little man to respect the peace while he had it, but the corridor opened to another wide road cutting across it.  On the other side of the intersection was a bridge with barriers at both ends.  They walked to where the two roads crossed and stopped to study the bridge in front of them.  It had been blown apart so there was a fifty-foot gap between one end and the other, making it impossible to cross.  Between the two damaged ends of the bridge was a sheer drop and Rok was looking over the edge.

Shiiiit.

Joining Rok to peer over the edge of the road next to the bridge, he gave an appreciative whistle.  The ground was several miles below them, and the bridge should have led them across the chasm to join the identical looking buildings on the other side.  He glanced along the sheer wall, noting it was more than a mile long in both directions.  They were standing in a city on a platform with no way off it.

Look up, Judge said.

Dropping out of the dark cloudy sky was a football field-size disk, with blue lights spinning around its rim and a glow from the base reflecting against the clouds.

Rok aimed his KLAW at it. Rok, hold your fire.

Not stupid, Tag.  I’m covering it, you know, like a proper soldier does.

Judge, options?

No good ones.  We can’t go forward, and if we head back along the corridor, we could be cornered.

Engaging the disk was probably not the safest way to go, but it might contain the lifeforms Mayla assured him existed on the planet.  There was a chance the city had been torn apart during a fight with their enemy, meaning the indigenous lifeform on the planet could be an ally.  Wasn’t that the main reason he was touring the planets?  To enlist allies in his quest to wipe out an enemy he couldn’t find.

The disk was dropping lower and he could see the base had a patchwork of metal squares as if it had been cobbled together from trash found in a dumpster.  Scarred and dirty, it looked like a well-used combat vehicle, which further proved to him that the city had been hard fought over.  The gloomy light at the base went dark, and it wasn’t until bodies began dropping from it that he realized it had opened.  Smoke belched from the gap, making it impossible to see what was happening on the ground.  Out of the murky haze came a body.  It was over ten feet tall and the face had no eyes or a nose, only an open mouth with a tusk at each corner.  Sharp teeth covered the top and bottom jaw, and the leathery flesh around the mouth pulled tightly behind its head, so that it ended in a scaly spine.  The chest was broad and covered in what appeared to be a natural armor.  Long and muscular legs protruded from the torso, and a rat-like tail flicked around as if it were an angry cat hunting its prey.

That’s one ugly mofugly, Rok said, sounding impressed.

Not only was its flesh solid like armor, raw red streaks ran across the dark skin as if someone had clawed it open, and to call it ugly was an understatement.

Ignoring Rok’s accurate description of the alien, he raised his gun and stepped toward it.  My name is Commander Tag.

Rok groaned.  Don’t say we come in peace, Tag, ‘cos nothing good ever starts with a lie.

The first mofugly alien was joined by three more and they were at risk of being outnumbered.  Judge said, Tag, we should pull back.

Four mofuglies were standing in a line in front of them while smoke or steam continued pumping from the disk above them.  Their tall, muscular frames were lit by a foggy light from the open hatch at the base of the ship.  Sharp blue flashes continued spinning around the rim of the disk which was only adding to the eeriness of the moment.

Refusing to stand down, he took another step forward.  Who are you?

The answer he got was disappointing.  An arc of lightning exploded from the alien’s mouth and Rok shouted, Son of a bitch!

He was already stepping backward when Judge roared, Pull back!  Pull back!

They were on the run, but the mofuglies were faster.  Their long legs moved swiftly, and a tail whipped ahead of him, tangling in Kit’s legs.  The trooper lost his balance and skidded onto the metal floor.  The mofugly leapt onto Kit’s back, letting out another lightning blast aimed at his head.

Barging full force into the alien’s back, he managed to dislodge it from Kit, while Judge shouted, Pair up.  Meet at the extract point.

It was almost the only play they had left.  At least the four mofuglies would be forced to fight one-on-one, not that he was sure it would guarantee anyone a win.  The mofugly on top of Kit had tumbled forward and was already leaping to its feet.  He opened fire and bullets streamed over Kit’s prone body, but he wasn’t moving, meaning they would have to carry him.

Rok, you’re with me.  Grab Kit.

On it.

Dragging Kit between them, Judge and Harry had run to the left of the corridor, while Caleb was racing down it, hopefully helping to clear the way to the extract point.  He was on one side of Kit and Rok had his other shoulder.  The first mofugly had staggered back under his gunfire, but the toughened chest plate had withstood his bullets.  It was already stepping forward, its mouth working as if ready to fire.  Judge and Harry were being chased by two other mofuglies and the fourth was hot on Caleb’s heels.

Rok didn’t wait for the alien to spit another blast of lightning, and he fired the KLAW one-handed, sending the mofugly sprawling.  Still firing, both he and Rok ran forward like two kids in a three-legged race, but Kit was unresponsive and his feet were dragging behind him. Maintaining a relentless rate of fire, neither of them spoke to one another.  Mofuglies had to die, and they had to reach the extract point, what else was there to say?

Judge!  Report!

Judge’s reply was peppered with the sound of gunfire.  Close to the extract point.

A bullet zipped past his head and hammered into the metal wall inside the corridor.  The mofugly was being pushed back by his and Rok’s gunfire, but also shoved forward by Caleb shooting it in the back.

Caleb, hold your fire.

Roger that.  Caleb paused, then added, I see Judge and Harry.  Heading to assist.

Kit was hanging from their shoulders, still unconscious.  The lightning blast had caused a catastrophic injury and he could only hope a pod would repair him.  They were less than a hundred yards from the extract point, but a mofugly was between them and where they needed to be.

Judge shouted, Tag, pull to the left!

He and Rok jagged to the left just in time.  Several frags flew toward the mofugly, which had turned to face them.  Its head had tilted back, and he was sure it was getting ready to fire another blast of lightning, but the frags got to it first.  Exploding between its legs, the alien flipped twenty feet in the air.  Without waiting to see how well it landed, he and Rok dragged Kit toward Judge and Harry.  Caleb was shooting at something behind them, but they were all inside the extract area.

Joker, emergency evac!

CHAPTER TWO:

Mindful Fail

(Tag)

Materializing inside the chamber on Earth, for a moment everything was quiet, then three Dead Force troopers burst into the room.

Joker said you might have wounded, one of them said matter-of-factly.

Taking Kit from him and Rok, they carried him out of the chamber, no doubt headed for the pods inside Valhalla.  Judge had flicked up his faceplate and was giving him the look.

What the hell is wrong with you, Tag?

Flicking up his own faceplate, he narrowed his eyes at Judge.  State your case.

Judge waved his hand at the chamber.  Good soldiers died to get you this.

What’s your point?

We’re adapting the arks for battle.  Judge flicked his chin at the ceiling inside the chamber.  Mayla has remotely controlled robot interfectors.  Hawk is building up the air fleet…

He raised his hand to stop Judge from listing their growing assets.  Yeah, yeah, I get what you’re saying.

Shame you didn’t listen before Kit got wounded.

He’ll be fine.

Judge had pulled off his helmet and, walking past him as he headed toward the exit, he gave him a final angry look.  Some days knee jerk reaction is all you’ve got, but it shouldn’t be your go to position.

He was telling him to be more considered and maybe he should be.  Believing nothing beat boots on the ground, he’d decided against using the remotely controlled robot interfectors, and that decision had cost Kit a trip to a pod which might not heal him.  He should have at least tested the robot interfectors before going to the planet.

As Judge walked out of the chamber, Rok called after him, And grumpy old woman shouldn’t be your go to position.  Without bothering to turn around, Judge raised a hand over his head, giving Rok a one-fingered salute.  Switching to a private channel, Rok added, Maybe we should have tried the remote thingy first.

Shrugging at Rok, he said, Mayla, send me and Rok to Caladar.

Where Joker and Jessica had barely understood how the teleporter worked, Mayla played it like a pro.  Many of the limitations Joker told them about turned out to be a lack of skill on his part.  The Caladarians had telekinesis, meaning much of their technology wasn’t easy to use without it. Realizing he couldn’t maximize the use of the gear, Joker’s teleportation team were being replaced by Caladarians.  The helmet he’d worn when Mayla had first shown him the robot interfectors amplified their ability to affect objects with their minds.  A Caladarian wore a robot interfector as if it were a suit whereas the most he could do was play it like a game.  It usually responded to his orders, but there was always a slight lag.

As he materialized inside Mayla’s home dome, she appeared by his side.  I have sent two robots to Planet Zagat-434, the one you just left.

She always seemed to know what he was thinking without him having told her, but when he asked her if she was reading his mind she had assured him that she wasn’t.  How do you know that’s what I wanted?

Your second told you what to do.

Judge had made his position clear and Mayla had heard it, yet he still wondered if there was more to her seemingly intuitive understanding.  He removed his helmet and no doubt his skepticism was showing through his pursed lips, but Mayla wasn’t biting.  Following her into the room with the booths and helmets they used to control the robot interfectors, the willowy sway