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ARC Angels (Coming May 2022)

Adult – Soft, Action-Packed Sci-Fi – 120,000 words

Warning/Recommendation: profanity, violence, romantic and sexually awkward situations, banter, various triggers, high explosives, and possibly a pun or two – the following sample chapter is censored


Angels is a scrappy pilot and dreamer (think Han Solo, Ep IV). 

Locke is a conflicted ex-mercenary and hardened killer (a bit like John Wick in power armor). 


They’ve spent half a lifetime together and half a lifetime apart. Reunited, they’re gearing up to hunt the galaxy’s biggest monsters, so they can chop them up and get rich selling the parts. But they’re flat broke and Angels’ ship – the Shrike – is a mismatched scav-job cobbled together from junked ships, with none of the good mods. So they’ll have to work their way up from the bottom.

Their path to greatness will be paved with hardship, d-bags, armored Horuken warbears, a creepy insectoid Rodan army, mercenaries, ancient enemies, and shadowy Fluresian black-ops hunters.

To win, they’ll have to choose between wealth, power, love, longing, or peace. All while navigating a future ruled by the whims of faceless mega-corporations and a soulless race of sentient AI that some worship as gods. 

There’s an awesome robot sidekick too.


This series is perfect for fans of Star Wars x Monster Hunter x Power Armor x Swearing. 

Warning/Recommendation: profanity, violence, romantic and sexually awkward situations, heavy banter, tension, triggers & high explosives, space battles, and possibly a pun or two



Chapter One

G’henna



Locke’s voice came over the comm, cool and warm at the same time, “Our sensors have just detected a Horuken battle-cruiser. It’s currently on a shallow intercept course.” When Angels didn’t respond, he added with annoyance, “We don’t know what their intentions are… look, you don’t want to be out there when it makes its pass.”

But this was exactly where Angels wanted to be, her boots mag-locked to the hull of her ship – the Shrike – with nothing between her and the limitless dark, hurtling into the unknown at terrifying speeds. In fact, she couldn’t think of any place she’d rather be. Besides, Angels didn’t take orders from anyone, least of all Locke. Even if he happened to be one of three people in the whole galaxy that she gave a crap enough about to actually listen to.

All the same, maybe she should get back to the airlock. The hull would protect her if that incoming Horuken cruiser decided to hard-scan the ship from close range. The resulting radiation would fry her like an egg, shields or no.

But Angels didn’t truly believe they were in serious danger, despite the bear-like Horuken species’ widely respected thirst for blood. Her heads-up display was telling her that this particular Horuken cruiser flew under the Arc Hunters’ banner. Therefore, it was just one of many escorts protecting the hunting guild’s flagship – the G’henna. Which was their destination, and the reason that Angels had come all the way out here in the first place. Joining the guild was going to be her ticket to fame and fortune. Locke’s too.

His continued silence over the comm spoke volumes.

Physically, there were only a few meters of hull and air separating them, but between them was the seven-year gap that they’d spent apart; nearly a third of their lives – a black hole in the almost everything-else that they shared. Now, they were back together. As partners. Business partners. Friends.

When she spoke again it was to Brix that she said, “C’mon buddy, let’s go take a look at that Horuken cruiser.”

She never called Locke “buddy” because he couldn’t have a nickname like that looming over him. Not if they were ever going to have a future together. Not that Angels was sure she wanted one.

It was complicated.

Brix didn’t respond either, buddy or not, which meant that he agreed with Locke but didn’t want to contradict her.

Undeterred, Angels said, “Take us closer…”

After a few more silent seconds the ship begin a gentle turn and Angels smiled to herself.

Locke came back on the line, resigned this time. “I’m going to get into my armor now.”

Not that it would make any difference to the Horuken.

“Good thinking,” she replied. “We’re not far from the G’henna, and I want you to look badass when we get there.”

He didn’t respond to that either. Well, that was fine; she could talk enough for all of them. 

Brix complied with her order in spirit, if not intention, and the cruiser turned out to be too far away to be seen with the naked eye. Her suit’s visor had great magnification for close-up repair jobs, but not so much across the vast distances involved with looking at stuff that was, spatially, still relatively close. Ultimately, the imposing Horuken warship was little more than a reddish-orange smudge on her hud. One which let them pass unmolested, not bothering to hard-scan or target-lock them.

Slightly disappointed by the missed opportunity, and quality of her optics, Angels boost over to the starboard airlock. It was further away than the portside one, but that lock doubled as Brix’s crew-quarters.

Brix was an old, clunky, spare-parts refurb, and she loved him dearly. He was big too, and wouldn’t fit anywhere other than the airlock. Except for the cargo hold. But that’s where Locke spent most of his time, and the two of them mixed like oil and fire, and beyond that, she needed the cargo space for storing actual loot. And weapons. And stuff. All of which were currently in short supply. 

A lot was riding on what they’d find on the G’henna. 

Angels punched the release on the airlock, watching the icy puff of residual moisture laden gasses wash over the worn hull before dissipating entirely. Pretty, but it meant that the lock would need new seals soon. Another addition to a long list of much-needed or critical repairs that she couldn’t afford.

The Shrike wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t big. And it wasn’t pretty – though Angels would argue that point if anyone other than her had said it. Basically, it was a sleeked-up scav-job. A mismatched patchwork cobbled together from better ships, with none of the good mods. Except for the engine core, which was pretty awesome. But it was all hers. And it came with additional perks, like Brix. Locke too.

She fought the sticky hatch-lever and made her way through an iris into the lock. Then the walls sputtered and hissed while the pressure equalized enough for her to shimmy out of her EV/M suit. Which she left on the floor. Then through another, swishing, iris – in her skivvies – peeking both ways before scooting into a cramped central hallway filled to overflowing with assorted plas-lok containers. 

A few steps aft and she slipped inside her tiny cabin, one of two – across the corridor from Locke’s – and shut the door behind her. Like the Shrike, the cabin wasn’t big or fancy. Just a narrow walkway between the door and a slim desk with a big vidpanel above it on one side and her bunk on the other. There was a wc in the back, and built-in shelving, behind plas-glass doors, at the front.

She brought navigation up on the wall-display and confirmed their present position within the Mrh’sheva system. The G’henna was waiting not far off, among a large cluster of ships. The Horuken cruiser that they’d passed earlier was represented by a yellow diamond on the map, one of several in a roughly circular pattern around the flagship.

Angels quickly showered and changed into her favorite, light-grey body-suit, black boots, and white coat.

She let her hair down and blew her bangs out of her eyes, and then the bangs swayed right back to where they started as the ship lurched. She called out, “Hey Brix? You forget how to fly?”

The bot’s response over the ship’s comm came quickly, flat and monotonous. “Minor debris field.”

“Anything I should be concerned about?”

“No.”

Fine. Brix could fly the ship from his airlock almost as well as she could from the pilot’s seat. The bot’s “brain” consisted of all of the ship’s original nav-computer and half of his original hardwire. Much of that was old enough to qualify as ancient. They hadn’t made a BottoRobotto model IX for a very long time. But, like the Shrike, he patched up well enough.

The ship continued to rock as it slowed and when Angels left her cabin, she used the overhead rails to steady her progress aft. She eased toward the partially-open cargo bay door and called out, “Hey, are you decent back there?” 

Locke grunted, a response that she chose to interpret as a “yes”. But with things so tight aboard the Shrike, decent was a fuzzy term anyway.

She slipped inside and there he was. Dark and handsome. Looking like a proper killer on account of the hard-earned, scarred, green-black Combat Suit that he was presently climbing into. And because he was a killer. He’d become one in “the gap” – the seven years they’d spent apart.

Killing was one of the things they didn’t talk about, but she had a lot of questions. 

Locke shimmied deeper into his suit with barely a glance in her direction. The type of guy who saw and heard everything except the deafening noise in a girl’s head. Oblivious, he gave Angels a nod as the armor folded itself around his body, its internal bolts whirring away, sealing him in – except for the helmet, which sat on a nearby workbench. 

The rest of the cargo bay was filled with empty space and precious-few small crates of loot. They’d need to offload them for a good price if they were going to keep on eating and flying.

Noticing her sideways glance, Locke said, “Don’t worry about those, we always get by.” 

He was a terrible liar, but she gave him a smile anyway, adjusting her long white coat in way that invited compliment.

“You’ll grow into it,” he said.

She took his misguided comment as a slight against the Tri-Gun strapped to her right thigh. He didn’t regard the gun as a “proper weapon” because Angels had made it herself, out of a mechanic’s tool. And because it wasn’t all that powerful compared to the weapons that Locke favored. Added to all of that, was the fact that the Tri-gun was a little too big to be holstered on her thigh, but she liked having it within easy reach.

“Hilarious,” she replied as lightly as she could manage. And then, “We can’t bring anything bigger aboard the G’henna anyway.”

“I know.”

“Don’t look so disappointed Locke, we’ll get there. Big guns, good times, buckets full of credits… that’s what this little adventure is all about.”

Not answering, he fussed with his sidearm. It was a boxy black military job but not a great one. Universal Mechanics kit advertised itself as a practical blend of price and performance. He finally said, “And if this plan of yours doesn’t work out?”

It was a fair question, but it irked her that he’d asked it. “What are you getting at?”

“We didn’t come all the way out here to sell cargo.”

“I’m assuming you have a point.”

“We don’t have an Arc Hunting sanction,” he said, proving that he’d been paying attention all along. They’d need an official Sanction from the guild if they were going to make this Arc Hunting thing work – that, or they’d have to fly under someone else’s.

Angels adjusted her belt, paying close attention to the buckle. “Yeah, well…”

Locke looked at his helmet, perhaps preferring to have this conversation from behind the visor. He said, “Those big tickets are out of reach, and we can’t afford a sanction anyway. Which means you’re angling to crew for…” but he trailed off as her expression faltered. “You want to join a crew? Seriously? The deal was… me and you.”

“What if I said that we could work our way up -”

“- from nothing?”

She crossed her arms, “Look where we are now. Teaming up with an established outfit would give us a step up. Sure, we’ve done okay on our own, but look around, we’re on our last legs here. And I’m not ready to call it quits. We need this opportunity. Any opportunity.”

He huffed. “You know what our share would come to? As supplementary crew? I’d be just another meat-shield, and that wouldn’t pay enough to cover the Shrike’s expenses, let alone ours… then where’d we be? And you? A glorified scavver?” 

“Or a pilot,” said Angels. “I have many talents.” She gave Locke’s armor a hard jab, more for emphasis than anything else. “I’m no scavver, and I’m nobody’s slave. Corporate or otherwise. You know what I want… to see proper planets. And to fly anywhere I want to. With nobody to stop me. Nobody to challenge me. Free to take what I want. When I want it. And I’d like you to be there while I’m doing it.”

“Uh-huh. I’m just imagining how I’d fit in.”

“Are you s**ting me right now Locke? You want the same thing!”

He checked the big gun too. The one that she knew he didn’t like to leave behind and wouldn’t be able to bring aboard the G’henna. He was looking at it, not her, when he said, “We’ve been doing alright on our own.”

“That isn’t enough for me.”

“But… I don’t see how… there’s other ways… Angie, I…”

Angels. She was Angels now. “Ugh. What, you figure us for some kind of settlers, is that it? Sign up on a fifty-year corporate billet? Join a colony? Maybe we could get a nice spot in the shadow of a terraformer? Somewhere green? I can see it now… fields of FarmUltra Quantum Wheat blowing in the wind, a piece of straw whistling between your teeth. Locke the farmer. Swords to ploughshares. And me? Grown fat on a larder-world, homesteading with a couple of nugs nipping at my heels? Sounds lovely, but if that’s your take, then you can keep it.”

Locke grinned, “Sounds charming.”

“I dare you, then. Settle down and see if you can make an honest woman out of me.” 

“You’ll never be an honest woman, Angels.”

He was smart too. “So?”

Lock holstered his pistol with a sharp click. “Alright, you called my bluff. No qwheat. No cabin. Not now anyway… there’s time enough for that if we get a chance to grow old. Besides, I’m all done with joining other people’s causes.”

She grinned. “You see? That’s what I’m talking about. You don’t want to go back to your hell, nor me to mine, neither. So, where does that leave us?”

“Where do you come up with this s**t anyway?”

“What’s your big strategy then, smart guy?”

“I found you. That’s as far as I went, plan-wise.”

“So, what the hell were you thinking about all that time you were gone?”

He shrugged large because of the armor. “Dunno, mostly I thought about surviving another day. Catching up with you. Getting a few drinks. A shower, maybe.”

“I hope it wasn’t in that order.”

“I didn’t realize you had hopes.”

She’d had many, but what Angels said was, “Not for the long-haul.” She was avoiding eye-contact and referring to their shared-but-separate upbringing on the same multi-system convoy. Ships that spent months or years going in one direction, and then doing the same again, but the other way around.

They’d met shortly after her thirteenth birthday. Locke left at sixteen. Seven years apart. By his choice. If he’d wanted to stay he could have, for the long haul. But Locke had left and later, she’d gone too. But not after him. By then she had thought she never wanted to see him again.

Angels half turned and asked him, “Would you ever go back?”

Brix chose that moment to ping the comm, saving Locke from the prospect of taking the conversation any further. He became intensely focused on the big vidpanel mounted on the side wall.

After a moment, the forward view came up, revealing the Mrh’sheva system overlaid by sensor-data.

She saw Locke tense up, but Mrh’sheva was just a single, boring, crappy star on the edge of Horuken space bordering the Rodan Infestation. No big deal. Not anymore. The four living species were all friends again. At least for now.

The Horuken and the Rodan had been at war at least three or four times. And had been again, until just recently, in fact. But the war was over and it hadn’t taken long for the big corporations to “utilize” systems like Mrh’sheva. The corps set up just as soon as the gunships left, and sometimes, even earlier than that. This particular star was of little value to the bear-like Horuken, but the dead planet and asteroid fields orbiting Mrh’sheva were plenty interesting to Exoris, the civilized galaxy’s biggest mining corp.

Or they had been.

Nobody knew exactly how Exoris f**ed it all up, but the planet was gone now, destroyed and broken. Unofficially, by way of a freak mining accident. Officially, Exoris had no comment. Today the system was no more than a few billion comets, rocks, and asteroids circling the solar drain. Exoris shut their operation down a year ago and got out before someone could blame them for messing up the local sector even more than the war had. There was probably some sort of liability there too, legally speaking. 

Either way, the view outside was beautiful: doomed cometoids slowly making their last decaying orbit into the sun, one side heating up and trailing brilliant white streams. Not just water-vapor, but also trace minerals, metallic elements, and radioactive particles. Spectacular to watch, but a total pain in the ass to navigate – thus the occasional lurching and swaying. 

“Way to go, buddy,” Angels said encouragingly into the comm, wanting Brix to know that he was doing a good job. 

Locke was still watching the screen when he said, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Come on, it’s not like you to get cold feet.”

He grunted. “Angels, I’m with you, ok? But they’re going to laugh us off the G’henna… we’re not prepared for this. We should come back another time. Try to get another docking pass. By the way, how did you get us this docking pass?”

“I’m a creative problem solver. Besides, what’s there to worry about? You have that fancy armor of yours.”

He shook his head. “On the G’henna, this kit’s not going to impress anyone, trust me. With enough credits, and your social skills, I can see how you could talk your way into a scouting ticket. Sure, we’d have to start at the bottom, but we don’t have enough credits, and you don’t like being on the bottom…”

Angels raised an eyebrow.

Locke cleared his throat and continued, “…um, anyway, Arc Scouts are basically scavvers. You know that right?”

She felt that Locke was being difficult on purpose. “It’s a legit way to earn a ton of credits. At the low end, just one of those contracts are worth more than we made on our last ten runs! Give it a couple of years and we could move up the ranks.”

Locke sighed. “Even if we could swing it, parading me in front of a bunch of hardened hunters, begging for handouts in a battered Mark One isn’t much of a plan.”

Angels gave him a stern glare. “You should be as happy for us as I am. That’s what I think. This could really change our lives. Or it could, if you’d just give it a chance to. So, let me sweeten the deal, Mr. Skeptical… there’s some kind of rogue Horuken carrier that’s been lurking around this system. It must have got itself lost in the war against the Rodan, or something. Whatever the case, its back, and disrupting the local shipping lanes. Exoris has pinned a huge corporate bounty to its ass. The contract’s open for kill or capture, but the payout’s double for a capture. The only tiny little catch is that it’s you have to be an Arc Hunter to take it. Thus, our current mission: we get onto the G’henna, get ourselves crewed, get the loot and – last but not least – we get rich. Are you following me Locke, or am I going too fast for you?”

Locke did that surly thing with his eyes, and said, “A Horuken carrier?”

“Uh-huh.”

“You, me, and the Shrike.”

“And Brix.”

“Right. That’ll tip the scales. I can’t wait to hear how you’re planning to capture it.”

“Who said anything about -”

And that was when Brix announced, “Docking sequence initiated.”

Angels had to steady herself against Locke as the deck tilted. Cometoids slewed slantwise across the vidpanel as the G’henna and its accompanying armada swam into view.

She felt her breath catch in her throat. The G’henna had managed to find a sliver of rock-free space in which to set up basecamp. The Arc Hunting guild’s flagship stood out like a crimson, broken, sideways spear – with the sun’s light glinting off its starward edge, setting it on fire. The Shrike’s sensors identified its overall structure as conforming with a known Governance configuration. It had been a galactic Governance vessel, once. Originally it had been designated the Grsh’hrenna, meaning “the render of limbs” in the growling Horuken tongue. The Governance had commissioned the flagship as an offering to the bears, back when they finally agreed to come into the fold. But that was then; it had changed hands a few times since, and was now the Arc Hunter’s main base of operations.

The guild had a stranglehold on all sorts of sanctioned freelance work. The lower echelons – scavvers and unsanctioned bounty hunters – operated on the fringes of legality, while real Arc Hunters had access to the best contracts, the awesome power of AR|C suits, high grade weaponry, and more credits than they knew what to do with.

“Fuck me,” whispered Angels as Brix brought the Shrike beneath the G’henna, its turrets and launch tubes sliding by, reminding anyone who may have gotten any big ideas to reconsider them.

The flagship, as impressive as it was, was surrounded by an equally impressive armada. Up close were a pair of hedgehog-like Governance cruisers, and the Governance didn’t like to fly its flag on anyone’s behalf. Including its own. It usually contracted out the heavy lifting to the various mercenary banners. Said mercenary corps, were mostly (if not wholly) owned by the big corps. Who formed the conglomerates that held the Governance together in the first place. They also sponsored the Governance’s membership, filling its political structure from within their own self-interested ranks. Like a Rodan birthing-circle, everyone was eating each other’s larva.

Aside from the hedgehogs, there must have been two or three hundred other ships in all classes and sizes rallied around the G’henna. Battleships, corvettes, cruisers, hundreds of fighters, various leisure craft, unknown craft, and support ships.

The Shrike passed through the docking bay’s force-field and Brix announced, “Landing. Angels. Acknowledge.”

Her ears popped as the computer matched the Shrike’s internal pressure with the G’henna’s. She said, “Thanks Brix, meet us at the cargo hatch, will you? I need you to get the loot prepped for trade.”

“Acknowledged.”

Angels punched the release on the loading-ramp and a gigantic hangar slid jerkily into view. The cavernous space beyond thronged with milling crowds of mechanics, pilots, civvies, armored badasses, and dozens of ships landing, sitting on their pads, or taking off. Some of those ships looked like they’d come fresh off the line. Most had flecked paint, gouged metal, and the odd rough patch, or melt, bearing the scars of combat with pride. Like their owners, who strutted around the docking pylons, stomping purposefully in front of their competition in varying degrees of awesomeness.

She figured that Locke was right – his dumpy suit wasn’t going to impress these people. That was for sure. Well-equipped Arc Hunters lingered everywhere, creating pockets of predatory stillness in the constant ebb and flow around them. The civilians and bots moving past those groups gave them a wide berth. Sometimes there’d be a shout from one of the hunters, or one of them would make a sudden move…. and the crowd would freeze like a photo. And then somebody would start laughing, and dozens of shoulders would slump in relief. Everyone would start milling around again, and strutting, and trading, and loading or unloading cargo, or whatever else they’d had in mind.

And now, that she was finally here, Angels was doubly sure that the barely contained mayhem below her was what she had always wanted for herself. It didn’t matter that the Shrike looked small, janky, and out of place on the landing pad. Angels could blow off its scavvy appearance with a casual smirk, or a subtle wink – hinting at hidden powers her ship didn’t actually possess. After all, most things in life were all about presentation. And they presented well – her and Locke.

She tried her best not to smile as she sauntered down the ramp and into the fray.

Locke didn’t have as much trouble controlling his expression because he didn’t really care what people saw when they looked at him. Better if they could see when he was angry, happy, or bored. It would save them all a lot of time that they’d never get back.

He picked up his helmet, letting it hang limply at his side, then spent a moment considering the weapon rack beside the armor-bench and rejecting the impulse to grab his rifle. They’d be in real trouble if they needed to shoot their way out of here.

Locke stopped at the edge of the ramp and thought about his options. There wasn’t anywhere he particularly needed to be until Angels found them a contract. He was free to follow his whims – beginning with a drink.

A soldier knew that no matter where they landed, every port of call was the same as any other. There was always a place to park the ship. Another to stow extra gear. A dozen or more in which to get lubricated. And a few more after that, to sleep it off. Like that block of short-term accommodations right behind the mech-bays; aptly named the Fire and Forget.

Every port had lodgings like the F&F. Temporary bunks were always in high demand. All of these spacers, going from one hangar to the next, hopping from one system to the next, one bunk to the next – then moving on again. Most people spent weeks, months, or years in the relative solitude of the great divide, taking comfort where and when they could find it.

But he wasn’t here for that today, and he hoped Angels wasn’t either.

And, the more he thought about it, the less Locke felt that he could relax aboard the G’henna. The guns-to-ego ratio was too great. And there was something else too, a nervous energy that he couldn’t quite place. So, with every step he took into the swirling, intense crowd, he could feel his focus sharpening. His muscles tensing, then “relaxing” into an easy coil.

Locke let the din of the cargo bay wash over him, isolating the important sounds. Half-expecting, half-hoping for a fight. Flexing his fingers and visualizing his pistol sliding out of its holster. Training the weapon on a new target. Taking a breath. A shot. And the next breath light – as the target fell – like he had stolen it from them.

Outwardly, he appeared to walk easily, making his way toward the Fire and Forget and looking for the nearest bar.

That was when he saw Brix, wading through the crowd toward a massive window overlooking the assembled armada. Angels stood in front of it, her back to the crowd she’d come to seduce, long and elegant in her white coat and blonde hair. Relaxed and confident.

“Brix,” he called out over the hubbub, but the robot ignored him, doggedly heading toward Angels. Then he barked into his comm, “Bot! Cargo! Remember what Angels said about the cargo?”

Brix stopped mid-stride, in that freaky habit that old robots had, turning its head back toward the Shrike.

Locke said, “That’s right. She wanted you to unload the loot. And guard it while we find a buyer.”

“Angels might need my assistance.”

“I’ll take good care of her,” he said.

“Doubtful. But acknowledged,” it replied, making its way back toward the ship and clunking resentfully up the ramp past Locke.

“And close up when you’re done, will you?” he said, but Brix pretended not to hear him.

The robot’s reaction made Locke uncomfortable, and he was angry at himself for letting it get to him. Then again, maybe his discomfort originated from within the crowd of hunters and killers surrounding him. Well-equipped mercs, freelancers, hunters, all mixed up with the types of people he hated the most – puffed-up, overbearing preeners. Like that pair of dickheads two bays over. They were suited up in shiny silver AR|C that probably cost more than the Shrike, and everything in it. Including Angels and Locke. Their armor looked too new and too clean to have ever actually been used for anything more dangerous than showing off. Undoubtedly they’d bought it with corporate funds siphoned off by well-meaning relatives. Having an Arc Hunter in the family could be useful, and their sponsors got to feel dangerous by proxy.

But at the end of the day, the fakes and the flakes were in the minority here. Anyone with any sense could tell that most of the assembled hunters were dangerous. The ones that Locke respected were clad in well-worn but carefully maintained gear. A mix of old and new. With an attention to detail and a situational awareness that didn’t come from overly relying on their sensors. They carried themselves like the kind of people who’d done some shooting and felt comfortable enough with the concept to do it again. Despite having someone else do the same to them.

It was even possible that Locke had crossed paths with a few of them in the past. But if they were still alive and well, maybe not. Whatever. There were no banners aboard the G’henna. If he came across anyone he’d crossed, he’d buy them a drink and save the killing until next time.

But the drinks would have to wait. Locke made his way over to Angels instead, passing a medium fighter on the way that identified itself as the Last Gasp. A Cygnus Heavy Industries lancer. Good in a firefight, but with enough room in back to drop a squad straight into the shit. A better than decent ship. A bit flashy, but solid.

A Horuken in full AR|C stood at the bottom of the Last Gasp’s loading ramp. The bear looked big and puffy, almost half as tall again as Locke in his Combat Suit, Mark One. An expensive and deadly ArmaGhede coil-gun rested easily in its armored grip.

Either the Horuken hadn’t gotten the memo about heavy armament aboard the G’henna, or it had special dispensation.

Whatever the case, a whole army of armored Horuken weren’t his problem anymore – though the man Locke saw standing beside Angels might be.



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