Marauder Ramses, page 1part #4 of Mating Wars Series
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I slam the apartment door with one hand and grip my gun with the other. It’s my first day on Earth and I’m already breaking the rules. I was supposed to meet up with the Chicago Police Department the moment my shuttle touched down, but I got an odd warning on a secure channel before I even broke orbit, and I don’t have time for bullshit bureaucracy.
I slam the door again, harder this time, and I keep pounding with my fist.
“Fuck it,” I mutter. “Time to break some more rules.”
I kick the door, expecting it to break into pieces, but it just wobbles and bends. Damn it. There are too many Seraphim and Marauders on Earth now, and no one feels safe living in a house where a Seraph – like me – can just break the door open like it was as thin as tissue paper.
“I can smell you inside!” I shout. “I’m a Seraph, not a human cop!”
The guy inside is Seraphim, as well. I hear a few footsteps from within, moving toward the door.
“Leave me alone then, man. You know what’s up!”
“I’m a peacekeeper!” I shout through the door. If he’d open the fucking door, I wouldn’t have to shout.
“For real?” he says. “Prove it.”
“Then open the door and I’ll show you my badge.”
All right. We’ll do this the hard way. Peacekeepers – in theory – are the only ones authorized to use Marauder weaponry, and humans haven’t quite figured out how to make compact plasma pistols yet.
“Back away from the door,” I shout.
“What you doing, man?”
“I’m proving to you that I’m a peacekeeper.”
I adjust the gun so that it will fire a wide blast at low velocity, then pull the trigger.
The plasma shoots out, nearly coating the door. Within moments, the door is melting, and the smell of burning wood makes me hungry for some smoked ribs, at least until the wood melts down and starts emitting an acrid stink.
When the door is nothing but a smoking pile of chemicals, I leap over the debris and into the asshole Seraph’s apartment. He’s staring wide-eyed at the smoldering remains of his door, and his pale pink ears are bending back and forth in anger.
“You burned my door down!” he shrieks. “That’s not very peaceful!”
“What’s your name?” I ask, holstering my weapon.
“Kaleb,” he says.
“Where’s your roommate, Kaleb? I’m Ramses Ivanov.”
I hold out my badge for him to read.
“I don’t know, man,” Kaleb says. “Sanga doesn’t tell me where he goes –”
I reach out a hand and shove Kaleb’s chest until his back slams into the wall. He grabs my forearm to try to break free, but I squeeze his wrist and bend his arm backward. He’s strong, but he doesn’t have the training I do.
“Ahhh,” he shouts, wincing in pain. “Shit, man, let me go!”
I don’t let go. I grip him harder and bend his arm way too far in the direction it’s not meant to go. “Talk, and I let go.”
“They’ll kill me!” he hisses. “You won’t!”
I bend his arm further, just short of breaking it, but I don’t go any further.
He screams out in pain, but just keeps muttering. “They’ll kill me! I can’t talk. I don’t wanna’ die, man!”
I finally let go of his arm. He grabs hold of it to cradle it, and then backs away from me as if I were a venomous snake.
“Who will kill you?” I ask.
“I’m not saying a word,” Kaleb says.
“I think it’s the Marauders from the Darkstar,” I say. “And I think they have Seraphim from Earth working for them.”
I shove him into the wall again, and I look deep into his pale green eyes. They widen in fear when I mention Darkstar. He looks down, avoiding my gaze.
“Mind if I take a look inside, Kaleb?” I ask. “I never saw you here. You were out getting drunk, so I had to burn your door down and search the place from top to bottom.”
He nods at me, grabs his wallet, and rushes outside.
I ransack the place, tearing apart every drawer, dresser, and cabinet. There’s nothing there. Based on what I find in Sanga’s room, he does nothing but eat jerky and smoke. The floor is covered in ashes and jerky wrappers, and…
I hear faint footsteps behind me, and then suddenly there’s the telltale sound of a human gun – oiled metal plates sliding against each other.
I jump and roll, and the moment I leave the floor, I hear the gunshot explode behind me.
I pull my own gun out from its holster as I roll, and I raise it toward the shooter and fire – not having the luxury of checking to see who it is before I kill him.
And then I see it’s Kaleb. I’ve shot a hole clean through his stomach. The gun drops out of his hand, and his mouth hangs wide open.
His body collapses to the ground. I search him. He’s got nothing on him but the gun, but I know I heard his keys jangling when he walked out a few minutes ago. The keys are not there now.
I grab my phone and shout into it as I run. “Chicago P.D., this is Ramses Ivanov! I made a...pit stop...before reporting in. I’ve got a suspect dead and a potential terrorist attack unfolding. Requesting backup!”
I scope out the alley around the corner, and spot a dumpster. Before biting the bullet and diving into the dumpster – a dirty lesson I learned a few years back – I check beneath and behind it. There I find Kaleb’s keys and phone. The phone is locked, but when I wave my badge over it, it opens right up.
I scroll to his message and see one he’s received from Sanga.
“Kill him, then meet us at the station.”
I shout into my own phone. “Train station! Terrorists at the train station!”
Shit. My shuttle landed at the train station. I was right there. I had to sneak around the main lobby to ditch the cop they sent me to meet. Elise something or other. It’s a good thing I lost her, or else this attack would have happened while I was getting my ass kissed at their backwater police station.
My phone lights up, and it’s the chief, of course.
I pick up and hear him, already shouting.
“Where the hell is our V.I.P.? Don’t tell me you lost him! I know his shuttle landed over an hour ago!”
I grit my teeth and take in a deep breath. I speak back into my phone in a calm voice. “Sir, he told me he would meet me just under the clock in the main lobby. I’m standing under the clock right now, and have been all this time. He’s ignored all my messages. He was ordered to report in with us, so he must have chosen to disobey –.”
“Don’t blame it on him!” the chief fumes. “Now you’re going to get t
I mute the phone.
I take a sip of my coffee and continue waiting. If Ramses fucking Ivanov wants to dick us around, that’s his choice, but I will not be the one who takes the heat for his bullshit.
Just as I’m about to unmute my phone to see if the Chief is still shouting his insults at me. The phone flashes red. An emergency message starts broadcasting directly into the implants in my ears, bypassing the phone entirely.
“Chicago P.D., this is Ramses Ivanov! I made a...pit stop...before reporting in. I’ve got a suspect dead and a potential terrorist attack unfolding. Requesting backup!”
A map of his location displays right onto my eyes – more implants – and I realize he’s less than ten blocks away.
I run, still holding my coffee cup in my hand, shoving my way past several bystanders as I plow my way out of the train station. I try to throw the cup of coffee into a trash bin as I run, but the lid pops off the cup and hot – though thankfully not scalding – coffee splashes all over my arm.
“Fucking Ivanov,” I grunt, running faster as I clear the bulk of the crowd.
I shove the lobby doors open, turn left out of the train station, and race down the street.
I’m in pretty good shape, and at this pace I can probably make it to Ivanov’s location in just under seven minutes.
The bastard not only disobeyed orders, but he managed to kill someone in his very first hour on Earth. Peacekeeper my ass.
I’m halfway to his location when he issues another emergency broadcast right into my ears.
“Train station! Terrorists at the train station!”
I dig my heels into the sidewalk to stop myself.
“You have to be shitting me! I was just there!”
And now I’ll be there a few minutes before Ivanov. I’m sure a Seraph can run faster than me, but not that much faster.
Ivanov is breathing heavily as he describes the suspects, and I can tell by the map that he’s gaining on me. I might only get there a minute or so ahead of him.
“We’re looking for one or more Seraphim,” he says. “Prime suspect is named Sanga Horizont. He’s six-foot eight inches, medium build for a Seraph, long hair….”
“I’m almost there, Ivanov,” I say, gasping for breath.
I can see the train station again as I turn the corner.
“You in uniform?” he asks me.
He’s no longer on the emergency channel, just speaking directly to my implants.
“Stop running,” he says. “You’ll scare them.”
“Don’t tell me how to do my job, asshole.”
I do stop running, though. He’s got a point. It’s normal for uniformed police officers to be milling around the train station. But as soon as you see police running, you know something is up.
“And stop those cars!” Ramses shouts. “Send backup, but don’t make it so obvious.”
I see all the backup on my map slow down and begin parking along the roadside.
I’ll definitely be the first to arrive now, but at least if this Sanga guy doesn’t know I’m onto him, he might not shoot me on sight.
I walk into the main lobby, but pretend to be looking down at my phone. I scan the room from the corner of my eyes, acting completely disinterested and unaware of any danger.
The first thing that catches my eye is the tallest man in the station. Not a Seraph, but a pure-blooded Marauder. He looks like he’s pushing sixty years old. His skin is deep purple rather than the pale pink of a Seraph, and everything about him screams danger.
“Got a suspicious Marauder –” I start to say, reaching for my gun.
Something grabs my arm as I reach for the gun, and I hear Ramses Ivanov’s voice – in the flesh – right in my ear.
“Don’t mess with this one,” he says. “I’ve got this.”
I spin around, not sure if I’m going to gut punch him or kick him in the balls.
But then I see him. He’s almost as tall as a pure-blooded Marauder, and his face looks like a chiseled marble statue back from the Imperial days. His cheekbones are impossibly high, his strong jaw is both imposing and gorgeous, and his eyes are the vibrant teal of the northern lights in the dead of winter.
His eyes widen as he sees me, and I see his mouth open just wide enough to expose his perfectly white teeth. His ears twitch three times, and then stop.
“You’re...Elise?” he asks.
I force myself to calm down, trying to will my heart from pounding so hard in my chest. He’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, yes, but he’s a cocky asshole, and if I don’t keep my guard up, he might just get me killed.
“Elise,” I say. “I mean...yes, I’m Elise.”
He grabs my hand and starts pulling me out of the station.
“What the hell are you doing?” I hiss. “That Marauder has to be involved.”
Ramses turns around and glares at me, and even when glaring, those beautiful eyes take my breath away all over again.
He finally gets me outside, then says, “You stay here. I’ll handle this.”
He moves back toward the station as if it’s totally settled. He’s discarded me, and I don’t deserve even the slightest explanation.
From the other side of the huge doorway, I see uniformed backup arriving.
Ramses stops just short of the doors, and then I hear his voice again coming over the emergency channel.
“There’s a Marauder inside. My father had me memorize the faces of every last Marauder from the lost ships. This guy is one of them. Grius. He’s from Darkstar.”
The uniformed officers stop dead in their tracks.
As part of the integration process over the past twenty-five years, Marauder technology has been tightly controlled. Weapons are limited to each planet’s militaries – and to peacekeepers. And the most dangerous of Marauder weaponry, such as biosuits, are banned entirely. Before the Marauders arrived in the solar system, half of their fleet – which wanted to obliterate us rather than integrate with us – was destroyed. Except for two ships. Those two ships were thought to be lost after nothing happened for decades.
But a few years ago, a defector from one of those ships reached Mars. He told us that the two ships are still operational, and there are a few thousand Marauders who are still alive on them. The defector said they are in a super-wide orbit around the sun, calling themselves Darkstar.
If the Marauder just inside the train station is truly from Darkstar, then all weapon bans will be totally moot. He could be wearing a biosuit for all we know. I can see fear in the postures of the frozen cops on the other side of the doorway.
But not on Ramses. He shoves the door open and disappears inside the train station.
“Shit!” I shriek.
“He’s a peacekeeper,” one of the officers positioned across the doorway from me broadcasts through my ear implant. “He knows what he’s doing.”
I grit my teeth. The cop is just saying that to justify not going in. But I became a cop to help people.
I shake my head and follow Ramses inside.
The first thing I see is Ramses. He’s halfway across the main lobby, walking straight toward the Marauder.
The next thing I see is a long-haired Seraph, and Grius hands something to him. The Seraph must be Sanga; he matches the description.
Ramses has his hand on his gun beneath his coat. I can tell, even if the hundreds of people surrounding us can’t. I consider trying to disarm him, as I don’t entirely trust him to not open fire in a crowded train station.
But the moment Sanga makes the handoff, Ramses lets go of his gun and stops walking. He turns at a 45-degree angle and walks away from the two terrorists.
“I see you following me,” he says into my ear.
I’m tired of fighting with him, and the fact that he put the gun away at least shows he has a brain behind that perfect face.
“What’s your pla
“I’m worried it’s an anti-matter bomb,” he says. “We know Darkstar has a small amount left. Grius may be arming domestic terrorists.”
“How far would we need to evacuate –” I start to ask, but Ramses cuts me off.
“The blast couldn’t be too big,” Ramses says. “Anything more than a few micrograms, and Harmony would have caught it entering Earth’s zone of control. But even a few micrograms can do huge damage.”
“Shit,” I whisper.
Grius disappears down a hallway, but Sanga lingers in the main lobby, his hands shoved down into his pockets. Sanga looks nervous, and he’s staring at the doors.
Sanga pulls his phone out, presses it to his ear, and waits.
After about ten seconds, Sanga’s eyes bulge, and he shoves the phone back into his pocket. His ears prick straight up, and he begins to scan the crowd.
“He’s looking for me now,” Ramses says. “Elise, distract him.”
I look for Ramses, but he’s gone. Moments later, I notice that Ramses is already positioned behind Sanga, and he’s coming up behind him.
Shit. Shit. Shit. One clumsy move and that bomb could go off.
How am I supposed to distract him? I’m uniformed police, and anything I do to draw attention to myself is just more likely to make him detonate the bomb.
Before I can think of anything to do to distract him, Sanga spins around and breaks into a sprint.
“You spooked him!” Ramses shouts. “You were just supposed to distract him!”
“I didn’t do anything!”
“Exactly the problem,” Ramses says.
Ramses breaks into a run after him, and when the bomb doesn’t blow up right away, I decide it’s safe to run after him, as well.
The three of us race down into the hallway that breaks off into the train platforms. I shout onto the emergency channel, ordering an immediate evacuation of the station.
I don’t know how big the bomb blast might be, but evacuating the station could greatly reduce the number of casualties. I want as many people kept safe and out of the way as possible.
An alarm begins blaring, and a voice instructs people to exit the building in an orderly fashion.
AYA MORNINGSTAR SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Marauder Kain: Scifi Alien Invasion Romance (Mating Wars Book 5)Marauder Fenrir: Scifi Alien Invasion Romance (Mating Wars)Unbearable Heat (The Grizzly Next Door 2)
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