Read Aneka Jansen 7: Hope Online

Authors: Niall Teasdale

Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Adventure, #Artificial Intelligence, #spaceships, #cyborg, #robot, #Aneka Jansen, #Pirates, #Espionage

Aneka Jansen 7: Hope

BOOK: Aneka Jansen 7: Hope
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Hope

An Aneka Jansen
Novel

By Niall Teasdale

Copyright 2015 Niall Teasdale

Amazon Kindle Edition

 

 

Contents

Part One: The Proper Use of Weapons
Part Two: Standards
Part Three: Ballistic Intelligence Acquisition
Part Four: Ariadne and the Pirate Queen
Part Five: Making Omelette
Part Six: The Death of Captain Kade
Part Seven: Hope
Part Eight: New Haven
Part Nine: Bright Light of the Sun

 

Part One: The Proper Use of Weapons

Carson City, Gariamon, 6.11.559 FSC.

Whoever had named Carson City had had something of a wry sense of humour. Nestled in a small valley on the edge of the Carson Range, which at no point exceeded two hundred metres altitude, it had seven bars, four brothels, nine guesthouses, one hotel, a general store, a prospecting supplies shop, an assay office, and around two hundred permanent inhabitants. The itinerant population was higher due to the people who used it as a supply base for their travels in the hills, and the place looked like what someone would have created if they wanted to film a sci-fi western.

Tully’s was not the most popular bar in Carson City, but it had its fans. That was if ‘fan’ meant someone who liked to drink themselves into a stupor in relative solitude among others of a like mind. Some of them drank in solitude in a group, but they were all alone even when they were talking to someone else. You could do business in Tully’s, especially business you wanted kept quiet, because no one listened to what was going on around them and that, more than anything, was what kept the place afloat: the local criminal gangs left it alone so long as they could use it for quiet meetings.

Everyone looked at the door when it opened, letting in a blast of cool air, and yet no one really looked at the door: the clientele had mastered the art of interested disinterest and most of them were back to their drinks in an instant having dismissed the woman walking in as one of the many prostitutes the town hosted to relieve prospectors of their hard-earned cash. Gulliver Tully was allowed to take a longer look, and so his eyes went from the mass of tousled, iridescently purple hair which fell to the upper slopes of her breasts, down past those substantial breasts, the narrow waist, the wide hips, to the long legs, and that was when he saw the large handgun strapped to her right thigh. The hookers were generally armed, but they were more discreet about it.

He allowed himself further assessment as she strode over to the bar. She was tall and her body showed muscle, nothing extreme, but her shoulders showed development and her abs, showing under the tight, deep-purple, high-hipped unitard she was wearing, were well defined. Her thighs looked like they could crush a man to death. The brief outfit and no filter mask suggested she was tough and local: it was cold outside and extended exposure to the unfiltered atmosphere tended to make you sick. The gun and the knee-high, grey work boots she was wearing did not really fit with the suit or the hair, which gave her an ‘I just got out of bed and I wasn’t sleeping’ look. Tully was not a fan of incongruity, though his vocabulary was not large enough to include the word, but he
was
in favour of not asking too many questions. He asked one.

‘Drink?’

She scanned the tariff over the bar. ‘What’s the beer like?’

‘Gnat’s piss,’ Tully replied flatly. ‘I lie. The lager’s gnat’s piss, and the beer is gnat’s piss with stuff floating in it.’

‘Glass of the thicker gnat’s piss then.’

She looked around the room briefly while he pulled her beer. No one looked back. Then she dropped a note on the counter, took her drink and walked over to one of the side tables, sitting with her back to the wall. Tully noted that she had a clear view of the door and that that big gun of hers was hidden under the small, round, plastic table. He was starting to have a bad feeling about this one.

Five minutes later, when the tough in the leather jacket walked in, Tully’s assessment was confirmed. The man looked like one of the local goons who came by now and then, and the bulge under his jacket suggested he was armed, though that was not especially unusual. The fact that he made straight for the woman indicated that he was there with a purpose and that he knew exactly who he was going to do that purpose to.

‘You’ve been asking questions,’ the thug said. ‘You’ve been looking for people.’

‘Yes,’ she replied. ‘I’m looking for some friends from off-world. You don’t know where I could find them, do you?’

Tully, watching from the bar, made his assessment of the situation and then checked that there was no one, especially himself, in the line of fire.

‘Well, I just came from your “friends,”’ the man stated, ‘and they told me they don’t want anything to do with you. They said I should
forcefully
explain to you that they don’t want–’

‘Thank you,’ the woman said, cutting him off.

He frowned at her. ‘What?’

She leaned back in her seat. ‘I’m going to give you some free advice, not that it’s going to be much use to you, obviously, but I learned it from watching
Star Wars
, which you’ve never seen, and I think it’s something you should know. Never, under circumstances like these,
ever
let the person you’re trying to intimidate get her hands under the table.’

His eyes widened and he started to reach for his gun a fraction of a second before the table exploded, followed by the thug’s chest. The woman drained the remainder of her glass and placed it on what was left of the table before getting to her feet and walking around to the corpse. A quick search produced a small fob, the key transmitter for a vehicle of some kind, and with that in hand, she got to her feet and started for the door.

‘Sorry about the mess,’ she said as she passed Tully. ‘The beer wasn’t that bad.’

The thing that was surprising Tully was not the casual murder, that happened, or the theft, but that her hair was changing as she walked. The colour had started to fade as she stood up and by the time she had reached the door, the tousled mass had drawn back to her shoulders and was a vague mauve.

She stopped outside and thumbed the key. On her right there was the sound of locks disengaging and she headed that way. By the time she had reached the ground car, her hair was a short, white cap. Opening the door, Aneka Jansen slipped behind the wheel and hit the start-up button.

‘Al?’ she asked silently.

‘The car’s navigation system indicates that his last stop was a brothel on the edge of town,’ Al replied from within her.

‘They must have paid him up front. Stupid, considering.’

‘Prior to that he was at an industrial park on the outskirts of Duchema territory.’

Aneka gave a grunt of displeasure and pulled the door closed. ‘Let’s get out there. They’re the last people we want getting their hands on this stuff.’

~~~

Gariamon was a corporate planet. The neighbouring world, Elspa, had been settled by refugees from Old Earth after the Xinti War and they had built their society around hard work and a corporate ethic. Gariamon was simply the latest world they had selected to strip-mine of its resources and discard. Aneka was unimpressed with their attitude, but then she was not trying to recruit them.

It meant that the planet was run, for the most part, by the large mining corporations based out of Elspa. Gariamon had an abundance of minerals, and in every part of the planet where they could be extracted in bulk, the corporations ran huge mines and kept their employees happy and controlled. Outside those states, in places like Carson City, independent prospectors were allowed to function because it was uneconomic to run large facilities. In the rare cases where an independent actually stumbled across something major, they would be persuaded to hand it over. Until then, they had some freedom.

Meanwhile, the corporations were always busy trying to get ahead of their competitors. They hoarded finds and technological discoveries, they spied, they cheated as much as the complex legal code of Elspa would allow, and sometimes they got more violent. And that atmosphere was what had brought the people Aneka was hunting to Gariamon.

The edge of the Duchema Clean Mining Corporation’s territory was marked on the eastern side by a river which had once been about a hundred metres wide and was now a trickle since Duchema siphoned off most of the water for their ‘clean’ mining operation. The polluted mess which was left was pumped back into the valley several kilometres downstream, well out of range of anyone’s noses. Aneka crossed the river quickly and easily, avoiding the bridge with the corporate checkpoint on it. The last thing she wanted was Duchema knowing she was there; technically, she was not even on the planet.

‘Gwy? What do you have on sensors?’

‘I’m detecting twelve humanoids within the building, Aneka.’ Her ship, invisible behind a cloaking screen nothing on the planet could penetrate, was in geosynchronous orbit over the equator and her sensors were still capable of penetrating a Plascrete structure at over forty thousand kilometres. ‘Vital signs and metabolic readings tend to indicate Human or Jenlay. General posture indicates eight armed guards.’

‘Okay, give Al a positional mapping and we’ll work out a viable penetration route.’

The building appeared to be some sort of warehouse, a hundred metres by fifty and probably three storeys high. It was surrounded by a chain-link fence two metres high, which she vaulted smoothly before continuing on to the wall.

‘Options?’ she asked.

‘Without a full internal schematic, this is conjecture,’ Al replied, ‘but given the positions of the guards and the aerial photographs from Gwy, I believe your best option is via the roof. There is an access door on the south-east corner and a fire escape beside it.’

Aneka glanced south, spotted the three-stage stairway down the side of the building and headed for it. ‘Are you getting any network traffic?’

‘The building has no internal network. I am picking up two standard communications devices. I am attempting to gain access… and we have a bug in someone’s pocket.’

‘…exactly is this thing? Looks like a standard blast rifle.’ The voice was muffled by the pocket the microphone was probably in, but Aneka could tell the speaker was a local: the accent was distinct and the language was the Elspa variant of English.

‘That, my friend, is the latest thing in urban pacification.’ The second voice had a flatter accent with the slight American sound to it which marked the speaker as definitely not an Elspa citizen. ‘Yes, it’s a blaster, but this fires positrons. It’s essentially the same kind of weapon that the Xinti used during the war to such effect. Hit someone with that and they won’t be getting back up, and neither will the people standing around them.’

‘Great,’ Aneka muttered to herself. The word had a double edge: these men were selling antimatter particle weapons into an unstable political environment, but on the plus side she had actually found them, finally. Reaching the roof door, she began working on the lock.

‘And you can supply in bulk?’ the first speaker asked.

‘As much as you need.’

‘Okay… What else do you have?’

‘Keep an eye on them,’ Aneka said silently as she slipped into the building and the voices were cut off.

‘His personal unit is being most informative,’ Al commented. ‘I have contacts, shipping routes, schedules, everything Winter wanted.’

‘Huh, bloody amateurs.’

A ladder let Aneka down onto a gantry hung within the cavernous building. It did seem to be a warehouse, largely filled with mothballed heavy vehicles. There were a few huge trucks and the rest seemed to be mobile drills and excavators. It certainly gave plenty of opportunity for cover, but the little scene playing out in the centre of the room was quite visible from Aneka’s vantage point above.

The buyers were typical corporate types, dressed in the high-collared suits which seemed to be the current fashion. The salesman was trying to fit in, but his suit looked slightly wrong and Aneka suspected that it was actually made from reactive fibres. Basically the guy was dressed in a bulletproof jacket. His colleague was not even trying to look like a local: his body armour was a state-of-the-art powered exoskeleton with hyperdense plating. He had, however, neglected to wear a helmet.

The guards needed to be taken down first and they were spread out around the room. It was going to take time…

‘Mister Jarrow, that’s the salesman, appears to be in full flow,’ Al informed her. ‘He has moved on to forty-millimetre plasma grenades and is being quite effusive regarding their destructive potential.’

‘Let’s hope he has a few more things to enthuse over.’ Aneka made her way across the gantry as fast as stealth would allow.

The guard with the sniper rifle keeping watch from a block of offices hung from the roof frame was the first to go. She snapped his neck before he even knew he was not alone and then found the staircase down to ground level. There were four men patrolling the perimeter of the room and three standing guard at the doors. They were armed with Gauss rifles, not a real threat to her, but she wanted them taken out cleanly so she took her time over it, marvelling at the brilliance of ensuring that not one man could see any of the others once the sniper was gone.

BOOK: Aneka Jansen 7: Hope
10.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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