The Borrega Test, the sequel to The Anuvi Incident, is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle.
Fifteen years have passed since the incident in the Anuvi system. As the changes unleashed by that event ripple through the culture and society of the Naati, the Hegemony is driven to the brink of civil war. Sensing an opportunity, the Union sends Senator Frances Arrington as ambassador to negotiate with one of the Naati factions on the independent Human world of Borrega, located in the Neutral Zone. McFinn, long exiled to the glaciers and mountains of the planet Turrentine, is selected by a Very Important Person to act as attaché to the Ambassador. Unknown to all, a small religious sect on Borrega, tested by privation and battle, has other plans for the representatives about to arrive on their world. Looming in the background is the Hominin Union, driven by a history of war and death to unite all Human and Hominin worlds into one political entity, no matter what the cost.
With these events in motion, Dr. Hans Beckenbaur, geologist turned adventurer, tracks down Dr. Batista’s research while pursued by the shadowy forces of the General Intelligence Directorate. He believes he has discovered the location to another Harbinger artifact, and he sets out with Dr. Ferrel and the motley crew of the Trieste to discover the truth about the ancient alien race and its relationship to Humans, Hominins, and the Naati.
Or to die trying.
“They’ve grappled us, Commander,” Cavanagh said. “Assault troopers are sliding across the grappling lines toward the main airlock. You’re going to want to see this.”
McFinn tapped a few keys on his pockcomp and the holographic image feed from the main airlock sensor appeared. Three Naati, in their dull gray armor, floated outside the airlock, and more moved along grappling lines toward the Coch. Each Naati had a large oblong object strapped to its chest.
“What the hell are those?” he thought. “Bombs?”
A Naati looked at the sensor and smacked it with a fist. The holographic image disappeared.
“They’re knockin’, Sergeant Cobrado. Get ready.” McFinn donned his helmet.
The next few moments seemed like an eternity. Smoke from damaged systems wafted by, and the emergency lights cast a red light throughout the entire deck. McFinn urinated in fear as he knelt and brought his ion rifle to bear, the warmth spreading onto his legs.
The inner airlock door exploded with sparks and smoke, shrapnel whizzing by McFinn’s head. He heard an eerie keening sound, a high-pitched tone that seemed to warble and click simultaneously. It was so loud his helmet sensors cut the volume. The sound pierced his mind with fear, and if he hadn’t already urinated, he would have hearing that awful noise.
Oblong objects sprang from the smoke surrounding the airlock. Almost a blur, within a second they covered most of the twenty meters between the airlock and the Marines. Each object moved on four legs, leaping across the deck at great speed.
McFinn fired. Blaster fire hit several of the objects, but even more appeared, and bowled through the assembled Marines, knocking many of them over and shattering their defensive formation. One of the Marines stumbled and knocked McFinn against the bulkhead. McFinn rolled back and away. When he opened his eyes he saw the front part of one of the objects split into four long pieces and fold back, revealing the head of a beast: it had a huge mouth of razor sharp teeth, red feral eyes, and a multitude of spines on its head. The beast howled and bit the upper part of a Marine’s arm. With a sharp movement of its head, it pulled the arm free, armor and all. Blood sprayed out over the floor and the other defenders as the Marine screamed in pain.
McFinn rolled backwards and got to his feet. “Retreat!” he cried. “Retreat!” As he ran to the first emergency bulkhead, he looked over his shoulder and saw Marines and security personnel following him.