WARDOGS INCORPORATED is one of the largest and most professional mercenary corporations operating in the Kantillon subsector. If you need a bodyguard, an assassination team, or an armored cavalry regiment complete with air support, WARDOGS Inc. can provide it for you… for a very steep price.
Tommy Falkland is proud to be a Wardog. And he’s delighted when WDI’s executives sign a massive contract to arrange for a little regime change on a no-account low-tech planet that looks like a highly profitable cakewalk. But when the transportation company unexpectedly fails to deliver their armor and artillery dirtside, Tommy and his fellow Wardogs find themselves caught in the middle of the killing zone.
And there they learn that bullets will kill a man dead just as quickly as a plasma bolt.
BATTLESUIT BASTARDS is the first in the WARDOGS INC. series of Quantum Mortis novels.
Four hours later I found myself on a clunky unmarked VTOL aircraft along with the rest of the platoon, heading to parts unknown. The pilot and copilot were in civilian clothes, as were the two guys in cargo. One of them looked familiar but I couldn’t place him. You see a lotta stiffs in this business.
The sun was setting as I looked down over the countryside. We’d been told we had a special bonus contract, but I had no idea what it was. We’d been given heavy rifles, loaded up with armor-piecing rounds, suited up in armor, then sent up the ramp into this shuddering deathtrap of a low-tech flying machine.
After seeing no explanations were forthcoming, I leaned my head back and shut my eyes, exhaustion overcoming my curiosity.
I awakened to Park shaking my shoulder. We were landing. There was a rough bump, then a settling of struts, then the crew popped the doors. I unstrapped, jumped up, and followed the platoon out into the darkness. I pulled on my goggles and looked around. We were in a stretch of tall rolling grass near a highway. Judging by the thermal signatures, we were probably the only people for miles, though I couldn’t see over all the hills. Not even an all-night diner, just empty grassland.
When we were all out and some cargo had been dumped by the crew, the helo took off and left us. In the middle of nowhere.
All eyes were now on Jock.
The sergeant cleared his throat and addressed us. “As you all know by now, you’re on a special mission of utmost importance. We’re out here to–”
“Kill the prince,” a Wardog interrupted. Someone else whistled.
“That crazy Ulimbese general sent us here to kill the prince!”
“Shut up, Cole,” Jock said.
“Yessir,” the man said.
“Bad manners aside, though,” Jock shrugged, “that is our objective.”
There were murmurs around the group. We were mercs. It wasn’t like we wouldn’t shank an enemy in the dark. The emperor must’ve felt the same way and we were the shank. But this was stone cold.
“You will, of course, receive the appropriate bonuses,” Jock said. “Now, we’ve seen the prince and his men. We’ve also seen their vehicles. That’s why we’re here. Right now their convoy is being tracked by drone.” He paused and took out his tablet. “Based on their progress thus far, they’ll be here within the hour.”
He pointed to a bend in the road, “We’re going to set up an ambush in the road here, but as of right now, there is a civilian vehicle on the road roughly ten minutes ahead of the convoy, so we’ll wait for that to pass, then we’ll create an L-shaped ambush just past that bend, with a machine gun team in the road with two teams of our guys in a row along the creek bed. The convoy will enter the kill zone, at which point the machine gun team will commence firing, then the long leg of the L takes them out.”
“Sir, no RPGs?” asked Goodman.
Jock shook his head. “No RPGs this time. Our client requires a decent photo of the deceased, not a splatter painting. Now, I want a fire team a quarter kilometer before the L, right where the hill peaks, in case they manage to turn around or get nervous. This team will also act as our spotters.
“A quarter kilometer beyond the L, I want another machine gun team, just in case they follow SOP and mash the gas and somehow get through our first ambush. We’ll have eight men in the grass keeping rifles along the long leg of the L. You have likely already noted the rifle upgrades, as well as the armor-piercing rounds. No one gets out alive.”
“Understood,” we chorused, then went to establish our positions.
I was between Goodman and Four-eyes. “Hey Falkland,” Goodman said to me. “How come we don’t just have some guys in the road pretending to be a road crew? Hard-hats and a barricade and all that. Maybe a flare. We could get them to slow down, then pow!”
“I dunno,” I said.
“Well, I do,” Four-eyes said. “You do that and they’ll know something is up. Guys that do security for important people would smell that old trick a kilometer away. A group of military-age guys hanging around a barrier in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night? Might as well put up a billboard that says ‘free assassinations ahead.’”
“Oh. That makes sense,” Goodman nodded. “I never got to do this kind of cloak and dagger stuff before.”
“Stick around,” I said. “We also do windows.”