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Archangel

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  • 480 Nombre de pages
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Archangel is the second installment of the explosive, pulse-pounding Spectre War science fiction series. An enemy you can’t ... Lire la suite
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Description

Archangel is the second installment of the explosive, pulse-pounding Spectre War science fiction series. An enemy you can’t kill. A soldier who can’t fight. An interstellar war that can’t be won . . . until now. As a soldier of the Celestial Expanse, Guardian First Class Michael Sorenson knows better than anyone that when the Spectres invade, there are only two options. Run or die. However, his defensive war takes on a whole new spin when he’s recruited into Division 7, a Research & Development facility with the ultimate mission: to create a large-scale weapon that can kill Spectres en masse. Here Michael joins a team of military elite who have the daring--and dangerous--task of taking new weapons prototypes out into the field for testing on enemy troops. Yet the closer they come to developing a working WMD, the more it becomes clear: There’s a saboteur in R&D. With all signs pointing to a massive Spectre attack brewing on the horizon, the creation of a new weapons system yields an opportunity to end the threat once and for all. As the days count down toward its launch, Michael must hunt down the saboteur . . . before the saboteur hunts down him.

Praise for the Spectre War series:

"Nova grabbed me from the first chapter, and never let go. What a ride! Unforgettable, fast-paced and original, this book kept me guessing to the end." —Amie Kaufman, New York Times-bestselling co-author of These Broken Stars

"Lia is a genetically-engineered bad-ass." —The MarySue

"A super start to what looks like a fine series; readers will be eager for the next installment." —Booklist

"This is an excellent debut...creative and surprising." —RT Book Reviews

"This book definitely scratched my kick-ass teen heroine itch, and it did it in SPACE. That’s a perfect combo if I’ve seen one." —BookRiot

“Lia’s story is entertaining and fun, with many elements of daring and suspense…. It’s a fun science fiction novel that does not rely on the genre to be interesting, making a good choice for both genre and casual fans.” —Bibliofiend

Auteur

Margaret Fortune wrote her first story at the age of six and has been writing ever since. She lives in Wisconsin. Nova is her first novel.



Échantillon de lecture
1

“GO, GO! C’MON, people! Let’s move it!”
 
Footsteps pound against the hard metal decking, and I stop to wave a couple of scientists on. “Pick it up, everyone!” I exhort them once more. “The docking bay is still half a station away!”
 
At the back of the group, Madison shepherds the stragglers while ahead Tabs leads, aero- launcher at the ready as she keeps her nose alert for any scent of the enemy. Her pace, no more than a light jog for me, might as well be an out-and-out sprint for the civilian scientists cordoned between us. Already several are gasping, clearly out of breath though we’ve hardly covered half a klick, and I can see the pace starting to lag. Some of the greatest minds of the century they might be, but these people are no athletes. Nor are they exactly spring chickens.
 
We reach the end of the hallway, and Tabs pauses to unlock the door. I jog in place as she slaps the universal de-keyer on the lock. One of the squatters managed to trigger the station locks, securing every door in the place at once. Tabs can get through it with her device; it’s just a question of how long it will take.
 
And who might catch up with us in the meantime.
 
I scan my eyes back over the hallway behind us, though I know it won’t do any good. Our enemy can’t be seen, can’t be touched, can’t be heard. Like terrible ghosts, the Spectres are incorporeal, aliens with the power to take any human being as a host. And once they bond with a human to become a squatter, there’s no way to get them out.
 
Short of killing the host, that is. Talk about one hell of a cure.
 
“Corporal?” I ask through my helmet mic.
 
Working on it, Sorenson,” Tabs answers. “Madison, how are the civvies doing?
 
Holding up so far.
 
Good! Sorenson, keep an eye on the fences for me.
 
“On it.”
 
I key the map display on my helmet, scanning the projection on the left side of my face shield as it enlarges. A miniature layout of the station appears before me, red dots indicating the positions of all the force fences in the habitat. Over half of them are blinking, a sign that they’ve been triggered by ghouls—Spectres that haven’t bonded with a human yet. I count the number of intact fences between us and them.
 
“Four fences,” I bark tersely into the mic, then take a deep breath. Four—that’s good. We could still make it. As I watch, the farthest one begins blinking. Slag.
 
“Three fences, Corporal!”
 
I got it,” she yells back as the door in front of us springs open. “Take point, Sorenson. I’m going to clamp it in case any squatters are behind us.
 
I automatically shift to the head of the group as Tabs stays behind to secure the door. “Let’s go, people! There’re only three fences between you and infection. C’mon, move!”
 
I set an even tougher pace than Tabs did, but either the short rest or the threat of permanent enslavement did the trick, because everyone is up and running now. We sprint down the corridor, turn down another hallway, and come through an archway into the main courtyard.
 
Zipping around the tubs of trees and beds of flowers interspersing the room, I head for the exit at the far end. We’re two-thirds of the way when several station security officers burst out of another entrance. They shine crimson in the setting light of the red dwarf star beaming through the high dome above us. More escapees? I wonder as I dodge a park bench on my line toward the exit.
 
A burst of light whizzes by my left ear as one of them shoots his pistol at me.
 
Nope.
 
Shoving my aero- launcher under my arm, I pull out my stun pistol and fire back. “Corporal, we’ve got squatters!”
 
I see them!
 
From over my shoulder, I see Tabs swing around from her position at the rear to cover us from the side while Madison covers us from the middle of the pack. Their pistols whine in short, sharp bursts as they exchange fire with our attackers. I see one squatter go down and can’t help wincing. For all that this man is firing at us, he doesn’t truly know what he’s doing. No doubt the Spectre in his head has made him believe we’re the infected ones. To shoot him is pitiable.
 
It doesn’t make him—or his cronies—any less dangerous, though.
 
More shots ring out. A light starts blinking in the corner of my eye, but I ignore it, intent on herding my charges through the firefight to safety while Tabs and Madison lay down cover. A scientist just behind me lets out a cry as he’s hit, clutching his shoulder as he starts to fall. Barely pausing, I heave him up against me, shielding him with my body as I pull him along.
 
Reaching the far archway, I usher him into the arms of two of his comrades on the other side. Then I’m running back out into the courtyard, waving the scientists on through the exit as I go back for the stragglers. A young woman is pinned behind a tree; she’s more than happy to run for the door once a blast from my pistol takes down the shooter. A frightened lab tech is frozen behind a rose bush, unwilling to move until I haul him bodily out from his corner and drag him toward the archway. I only stop long enough to throw a shrieking blond doctor over my shoulder along the way.
 
Back inside the archway, I release my charges and lean back around the frame to lay cover fire for the final scientists. Madison’s already here, doing emergency first aid on an injured civilian. As the final few crowd safely into the passageway, I use my helmet scan to take a quick headcount. Two, six, eleven, eighteen. Twenty-three.
 
Slag. We’ve lost one!
 
Sorenson, Madison! Over there!
 
I’m whirling around before Tabs finishes speaking. She’s stationed about halfway across the courtyard, where she’s taken refuge behind a park bench. Charring on her vest shows she’s taken a couple of hits, but she’s still in top form, picking off a squatter with an easy shot to the thigh. Her gaze meets mine as she throws a quick nod out across the floor. My eyes zero in on where she nodded, and I freeze. I’ve just found my missing scientist.
 
He must have gotten turned around in the confusion, for he’s way past our side of the courtyard and into the squatters’ area. Even from here, I can see the blood oozing through his smock as he lies unmoving on the floor.
 
“I see him, Tabs,” I reply. “If I lay down cover, can you reach him?”
 
Negative. There’s too much open space between me and him.
 
She’s right. There’s not enough cover; with all the fire she’s drawing, there’s no way she’d be able to reach the injured man without getting gunned down herself. With Madison on first aid, that leaves me. Quickly, I assess the scene, then nod.
 
Jamming a fresh energy cartridge into my gun, I tell her, “I think I can get him. Just keep ’em busy, Tabs. Madison, cover these civvies at all cost.”
 
Will do.
 
Affirmative.
 
A quick volley of bursts from my pistol sends the enemy ducking for cover, and then I’m running out into the courtyard. Darting from tree to bush to bench, I try to stay hidden as much as I can while my long strides eat up the floor. A couple of pistol blasts graze me, but I barely notice. I’m only about fifteen meters away when two squatters come down through the bushes just meters away from my target. Before I can take action, they move left, disappearing behind a stand of palms about halfway between me and them.
 
I swear softly. “Tabs, can you get those guys?”
 
A pause. “Negative. They’re using the gazebo as cover. I can’t get the shot.
 
I frown and blink my eyes four times fast. The infrared vision in my combat lenses snaps on, enabling me to pinpoint the squatters’ locations through the small gaps in the tree trunks, but the palms themselves provide too much cover for me to get a shot in. Except for a small opening high up between the fronds, the tangle of trunks and foliage are like a wall. Between these new guys covering the left and a couple of snipers blocking the path toward the right, there’s no way to reach the man without getting hit. I stare at the scene in consternation, unable to find a solution.
 
Sorenson, if you can’t reach him, you can’t reach him,” Tabs’s voice comes softly through the com after a minute. “It’s not like you can just fly through the trees.
 
Fly! Inspiration strikes me like a jolt of electricity as I remember my g-ball days. I grin. It’s crazy. No, it’s insane! But it might just work . . .
 
“Madison, can you access the station controls for the courtyard?” I ask through a private channel. At his affirmative, I explain my plan.
 
I can almost see him shaking his head through the mic. “You’re lunar, Sorenson, you know that?
 
“Yeah. Are you in?”
 
Just give me the word, man.
 
I grin crazily and switch back to the main channel. “Tabs, hang on to something!”
 
Before she can ask what I’m about, I grip my pistol tight and sprint straight for the palms. Shots fly out around me, but I’m moving fast and they don’t even get close. Harder, faster . . . the trees are coming up now. I have to time it just right. Springing onto a park bench just in front of the trees, I yell, “Now, Madison!”
 
The artificial gravity goes off just as I push off the top edge of the bench. I fly up and over, the sudden weightlessness giving me the bounce I need to soar high. I spot the opening in the palm fronds, tuck into a ball, and somersault straight through the gap.
 
What the—!
 
My pistol is out and firing before the squatters, suddenly weightless and disoriented, even know what’s hit them. They both go down, taken out at point- blank range with perfect shots to the torso and head. Untucking, I aim myself for the injured civilian. A half meter away, I yell, “Drop me, Madison!”
 
The gravity goes back on with a whir. My restored weight hits me like a ton of titanium rods, sending me to the floor. After years of playing grav-ball, the sensation doesn’t even faze me. Instead I uncurl, landing in a crouch just in time to catch the civilian before he can hit the floor. The sudden impact almost knocks the wind out of me, but I manage to stay on my feet. Dragging him into the trees, I quickly slap cauterizing patches over his wounds. He’s alive and breathing, at least. Madison could tell us more. I throw the man over my shoulder as carefully as I can.
 
“Tabs, I’ve got him!”
 
Meet you by the fountain in thirty?
 
“You got it.”
 
Either Tabs and I managed to seriously thin down our attackers or they’re all still disoriented by the gravity shifts, but no shots ring out as I run for the fountain. Tabs meets up with me, and together we make for the archway. As soon as we’re through, I hand the injured man to Madison and make a jump for the overhead gate. All of my g- ball skills pay off as I catch the bottom edge in one leap. Tabs grabs the other side as it comes down, and together we slam the heavy gate to the floor. The latch engages with a click, and Tabs immediately pops a clamp onto it.
 
We grin, thumping our chests and knocking the sides of our fists in one quick movement.
 
Tabs nods. “Pro libertate—”
 
“—pro vita,” I finish.
 
For freedom, for life.
 
We knock fists again and jog to catch up with our charges, who have gathered at another locked door at the end of the hallway. Tabs immediately starts on the lock while I consult my map.
 
“Damn,” I curse quietly. Almost three-quarters of the station’s force fences are blinking now. The way to the West Shuttle Dock is still clear, but behind us is a different story.
 
“Corporal,” I subvocalize into my mic. “We’ve only got one fence left.”
 
Tabs’s eyes flick to her own visor display, then to the gate we just shut. She lets out a frustrated curse, and I know she’s thinking the same thing I am—that no door in the galaxy, no matter how thick, can stop a ghoul. Quickly, she turns back to the lock.
 
Nail-biting seconds pass before the door springs open. We’re on the homestretch now; I can see the entrance to the docking bay just meters down the corridor. By unspoken agreement, we all pick up the pace, even the scientists. Though I know we’re not out of the woods yet, I let out a sigh of relief as we pass through the last force fence into the shuttle bay.
 
“Hey, slowpokes. Where’ve you been?” a voice greets us as we enter the port.
 
Arlo, Cress, and Reyes are there, ushering a knot of civilians through the lock onto the transport. Between the three of them, they’ve managed to round up another thirty or so civilians.
 
Tabs winks at me and answers. “Oh, you know Sorenson. He insisted on taking the scenic route.”
 
“Stopping to smell the genetically engineered flowers again, Mikey?” Arlo asks, flashing his trademark cheeky grin.
 
At one time, I might have responded in kind. Winked back, made a joke about our flight through the courtyard. Now I just acknowledge the comment with a gruff shake of my head and turn back to the bay entrance. Through the com, I can hear Tabs and Arlo quietly speaking.
 
What about Christo’s triad?
 
Overrun.” Arlo hesitates. “They spaced themselves. Didn’t want to end up hunting their own.
 
Or they didn’t want to become tools of the ghouls. Though it’s not unheard of for soldiers who have been infected to take their own lives, my chest still tightens at Arlo’s report. Through the com, I hear Cress murmur something that sounds like a prayer, and I know she feels the same way.
 
What are your orders, Corporal?” Arlo finally asks.
 
Just get those civvies loaded, Guardian,” Tabs answers in a terse voice. With Christo gone, she’s the ranking NCO in our squad.
 
A sudden blink, blink, blink on the side of my visor draws my attention back from the conversation. The second to last force fence, the one at the courtyard archway, is down. My hands tighten on the barrel of my aero-launcher at the realization that only the fence at the entrance to the bay remains between us and them. Not that the force fence is anything like a real fence, able to keep things in or out. It will provide a warning, nothing more.

Informations sur le produit

Titre: Archangel
Auteur:
Code EAN: 9780756410889
ISBN: 978-0-7564-1088-9
Format: Couverture cartonnée
Editeur: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Science-fiction & fantasy
nombre de pages: 480
Année: 2018